Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You better believe it!

Here is some 'wisdom' from an article by Jason Lovelace called, "How to Properly Read the Bible."

" How,.. can someone read the Bible and understand?

"We Must Understand What the Bible Is."

"First and foremost, the Bible is a love letter. "

"..the Bible is food for the spirit, and it is living water for the soul. The Bible is living! It is alive!"

"The Bible is definitely a tool, and a useful one."

"We need to remember that the Bible is a weapon, and we must use it carefully."

"Ask God to help you understand the Bible, and he will help you."

"People make the Bible difficult when they try without help. If we will take our time, ask God to help us understand, and get to know God through the Gospels, we can understand the Bible the way God wants us to. Let us pray."

I will NEVER understand how someone is supposed to believe the entire Bible before having 'cracked' the Bible.

Whether you are going to believe it or not is not even considered in Mr. Lovelace's little essay here. Believing that there is a God is taken for granted. Believing that there is a Holy Ghost is taken for granted and, if you read the essay from the beginning there are four or five quotes FROM the Bible giving us hints on how to read it.

I get the feeling that if I sincerely asked how, as an atheist, I could try to understand the Bible(and perhaps come to believe it's 'truths'), Mr. Lovelace would have to tell me that I ought to stop being an atheist first.

This is confusing. I cannot imagine getting any kind of coherent reply from a Creationist if I invited them to read, "Origin of species.", by first believing that Darwin's conclusions were correct!

The Creationist would think me insane!

This is why I think that the entire system of 'learning the Bible' sets out as confusion technique. To be a 'decent' client for Mr. Lovelace's 'how to' technique, one would either have to have taken the notion of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit as a 'given' from as far back as you could remember OR be vulnerable and/or searching for 'the TRUTH' to escape a drug/alcohol/food addiction to be able to read and understand the Bible from the point of view that you already believe it.

I CAN empathize with those who rebelled against mom, dad and the kind pastor's "hokey" beliefs only to hit a void in their life and come back 'home' and declare that their 'atheism' was a DAMNED LIE.

Such a person might go further and declare that they tried to believe in evolution but he/she was busy drinking and cavorting to pay much attention and declare THAT just another belief system, one which, since he/she has 'seen the LIGHT' was just 'wrong thinking'.

It is easy to see how mom, dad, the pastor and even the prodigal child would be ever so pleased with themselves and all that college money wasted would be forgotten, forgiven, or at least considered a pay-backable loan while the prodigal child returned to the fold of his father's business or a simpler life of 'toiling the soil'(or any equivalent) sure in the knowledge that that higher learning stuff was the Devil's work and those colleges and universities(at least the non-theological ones) were the Devil's playgrounds.

"The Prodigal Son" is even a template for this very act of homecoming by the kid who thought that he/she was smarter than shit.

Failure is seen as a learning process here. Failure is, in fact, SUCCESS!
Ignorance is bliss!
The outside world is cruel, inasmuchas they expect you to LEARN difficult concepts and police yourself of the tendency to procrastinate, chase the girls/boys, party hearty etc. etc.

I CAN empathize with intelligent kids who got sidetracked and had to go home to mommy and daddy with their tails between their legs blaming everyone and everything BUT themselves for their failure.

157 comments:

oneblood said...

This is where Augustine went wrong but Descartes went right. They both believed in God, but only Descartes decided to try and ditch his preconceptions. Augustine thought scripture proved itself.

Affirmation: the bible is true and good.

Negation: the bible is stupid and a load of nonsense

Reality: it's a book compiled by men. So what kind of books do men write?

I'm assuming all sorts from the ridiculous to the pertinent.

And the bible is as pertinent as it is ridiculous.

You know why it's ridiculous but for the life of you, you can't figure out why it's pertinent even today. So are the other religious texts, there's a reason and it has nothing to do with unseen.

The bible works for those who are addicts because it acknowledge's their biological "other" which atheism does not.

Realize pboy you subscribe to a philosophy because of the "way the world is" too.

Atheism doesn't stand a chance against spirituality in total if it continues to ignore the internal reality of the believer.

Science will keep expounding and explaining away myth, even as it discovers that believing in myths has significant positive effects that go beyond anything atheism can provide.

Well it can't provide, it's simply unbelief.

As a theist all I would suggest to you is that you're not seeing a bigger picture that has to do with what mankind needs to thrive. You believe in things everyday, all the while espousing unbelief in everything that requires belief.

You're human; you accept paradoxes and live by them. You're just not as ridiculous as Richard Dawkins or Osama bin Laden.

Belief is a spectrum, one part is mundane and minute. This part gets proven on a daily basis.

The other part is completely ludicrous and doesn't get proven at all except maybe by an accident across millenia.

To reiterate: The science proving the merits of belief, faith and meditation to the believer is mounting everyday. The same science is also continually proving that the old religions were wrong in their assumptions about creation, miracles etc.

So what are you going to do? Showing me or another theist that God doesn't exist is one thing, but dismissing the whole construct....tsk tsk pboy how unscientific is that?

Asylum Seeker said...

Yeah. I like when they try to explain what they deem the Bible's usage (as it were) to be, but when it is filled with meaningless metaphors and declarations that you basically have to believe the things that you supposedly derive from reading it at the outset...my brain begins to leak.

oneblood said...

That was poorly written and truncated, I'm in a rush. But I hope you get the gist.

Asylum Seeker said...

"Atheism doesn't stand a chance against spirituality in total if it continues to ignore the internal reality of the believer."

Hopefully, they can turn to other philosophies for that! Don't think atheism itself can offer much. Looks like St. Brian can do it, and others seem to do something similar, somehow. Don't know how, but they do.

GearHedEd said...

Oneblood said,

"Atheism doesn't stand a chance against spirituality in total if it continues to ignore the internal reality of the believer.

Science will keep expounding and explaining away myth, even as it discovers that believing in myths has significant positive effects that go beyond anything atheism can provide."

What is this unnamed 'internal reality, and is this internal reality the thing that provides what atheism doesn't? Not trying to be a dick, oneblood, but that's pretty nebulous...

GearHedEd said...

I have yet to be presented with an answer that makes sense to the question of "meaning" or "purpose". There is none, as far as I can tell. People of faith say to us, "Life MUST have a purpose, for we were created; if we were created, then there's a reason we were created-a purpose, if you will".

That's speculation and wishful thinking. Furthermore, in the opinion of this atheist, it's also putting the cart before the horse: Men created religion and gods, not the other way around. Now we justify ourselves and derive purpose from the Creator we ourselves created.
I don't see where there's a need to feel "special". If we were all convinced of our ordinariness, we all might be more humble and less prone to fight over things like whose fairytale God is stronger than the rest.

mac said...

There is no rhyme nor reason. It just IS.

I'm Ok with that. I see no need for a superior being, be it the Biblical god, Alah, Ginesh or whoever.

Yeah pboy, I'm with you here :-)

pboyfloyd said...

I'm interested in hearing your response to these comments, oneblood, when you have some time to relax, have a wine, give it some thought, no rush.

Why even bring up Augustine and Descartes?

I don't think that belief in the Bible before reading it has anything to do with them at all.

mac said...

I've always thought it condescending to suggest that I can't understand the Bible.

I read, I write. I have a decent comprehension level. Why is it necessary for the Bible to be explained to me as if I'm a child ?

pboyfloyd said...

Well mac, it is my understanding that they don't want you coming to the 'wrong' conclusion.

"You need the Holy Spirit, after all, right?"

You need to believe before you even open the book.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

The Bible is an incredibly well-constructed set of programming instructions all wrapped up in a tasty Jesus coating. Take a bite and you're infected with the Jesus Virus, something quite discrete from actually following Jesus, mind you. Jesus is the bait and the rest of the book sets the hook firmly in your ego. Once you're proud enough, there's no going back. It's like a computer virus designed for human brains.

oneblood said...

Umm sorry pboy...yes. Good call on the relax bit.

I'm not talking about whether God is real. He doesn't need to be to produce the "internal reality" (read biochemicals). But the belief in the idea of him or pixies or nirvana produces a mixture of biochemicals that is a psychological force. It's not only dopamine. Otherwise I'd just say believers are getting high.

Per Mac,

As someone who likes science I'm wondering what the third option is. Atheism has default philosophies that don't fall under Brian's BB. Brian's BB is to me an example of a third option.

It's a third option because of the whole I'm with God, I'm with not-God psychology that runs through a lot of philosophy. Brian just ignores that and rolls with his thought experiments.

I think the institution of atheism has some things to ponder. Meaning not to abandon atheism but to come up with a material solution to "God," not just explain it/him/her. Does that make more sense?

I would even go so far as to say that atheism v. theism is a debate that's far from over because of each sides eagerness to dismiss the tangible merits of the other.
Including some of the proverbs, history, and philosophy that is in the religious texts.

Oy vey, you called it pboy, I'm beat. Just what the world needs, another cranky theist.

oneblood said...

Intuitive Brian,

How did you get rid of your preconceptions? There doesn't seem to be a base from which to start. I emailed a philosopher I respect about this and he just told me to take a class from him.

Was it back on Dinesh's blog you said you did some thought experiments before arriving at the Big Brain?

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

I'm more confused than usual. Am I hearing that the placebo effect of spirituality justifies the beliefs just as if they were factual? Sugar pills can be perceived in such a way that a person's chemistry can be altered in a temporarily positive way. That doesn't alter the basic fabric of reality though. Nor does it justify pumping people full of sugar pills.

Asylum Seeker said...

"emailed a philosopher I respect about this and he just told me to take a class from him."

That was....helpful of him (?).

oneblood said...

Yeah Asylum

I know he didn't mean to be dismissive, but it still came across as unhelpful.

Pboy and Brian are right about preconceptions. So in order to be more objective. How does one ditch them?

Just believing or not believing in x doesn't necessarily help you to create a metaphysics. If a person is sincere and has the time, why not?

Not only in posts, but in life I've been presented with the two constructs/institutions I comment on the most. I see flaws in both and they seem to be monolithic in their declarations on philosophy.

I've chosen one camp and not the other, but I feel like I'm beyond caring about either as an institution. Institutions aren't perfect but their supporters say they are. So it follows that even the minutae contained in them are above questioning or "they can't be wrong."

Instead of continuing to beat my head against a wall, I want to split. Kind of "give up." The only benefit in talking and debating like I have been, is the questioning of belief (the "provable" kind, and the unprovable).

I don't think all preconceptions can be eliminated because of language, but a lot can.

Where to begin the deconstruction...not a clue.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

How did you get rid of your preconceptions? There doesn't seem to be a base from which to start.

-------

actually Oneblood I believe there is a perfect place from which to start shedding preconceptions. (I preconceive it to be good since it's how I go about it ;)).

History and behavioral psychology. I consume all the history I can get my hands on and try to find as many versions as I can. It's an imperfect approach but it helps to understand events that transpired and how they are perceived today. The deltas between those two points are often more instructive to me than any philosophy texts.

Harvey said...

Oneblood:
"To reiterate: The science proving the merits of belief, faith and meditation to the believer is mounting everyday. The same science is also continually proving that the old religions were wrong in their assumptions about creation, miracles etc.

It seems to me that there may be demonstrable benefit to "belief", since it occurs in response to the fear that we mortals experience with the realization that the world is a dangerous, often painful, and frequently unpleasant place. Worse, we recognize that we have virtually no control over any of these "boogeymen". If we add to this, in modern times, the distinct possibility that we may succeed in destroying the whole world in our lifetimes and the fact that it appears that there is no further "meaning" to our existance than, like all other species, to survive long enough to reproduce and raise enogh offspring for ongoing species survival, it should be no wonder that many of us "need" the solace of belief. It does not surprise me that we can detect endorphins and other hormonal changes that are "positive" responses to religious belief and/or experience, since many of these same responses can be demonstrated after psychotherapy, grief counselling, etc.
Having said this, I see no more "support" for belief in God or some religious doctrine than in the appropriate use of psychotropic drugs and/or psychotherapy or meditation. Certainly, they can all be useful and beneficial to the recipient. The real problems surface when believers, needing emotional reassurance that they are "right", feel the need to impose any of it on people who neither want nor "need" those beliefs.

GearHedEd said...

Oneblood said,

"Just believing or not believing in x doesn't necessarily help you to create a metaphysics."

What do we NEED a metaphysics for?

Saint Brian the Godless said...

The thing you've isolated here Pboy is important.

So obvious that it's often overlooked.

They need you to believe even before you open the book, and for good reason.

The ground must be prepared for the programming to take properly.

All the talk of having faith is pure programming. There is no virtue, divine or otherwise, in blind faith. It's a synonym for idiocy.

That "God works in mysterious ways" chestnut is no excuse for the frequent occassions where God has acted in a clearly immoral or even sadistic manner. There is no mystery to sadism.

The Bible is a mere book written my mere men. Period. That much is obvious. If it were divinely inspired it would include information more advanced than that which was known in that day. It doesn't. Not one thing. And it would be inerrant, and it is FAR FROM THAT. It's a comedy of errors.

So of course, you must ask God for help in reading it, since that way you already believe in God before you see how stupid the only written justification for His existence is.

Harvey said...

Oneblood:
"As a theist all I would suggest to you is that you're not seeing a bigger picture that has to do with what mankind needs to thrive."

I would argue, both as a non-believer now past the age of seventy and a physician with a good deal of experience in psychology that this statement cannot be supported. The only evidence I have ever encountered for this "need" is that most cultures, especially in primtive times, have seen fit to create a deity that they could try to propitiate in an effort to gain some control over the vagaries of earthly existance. It has only been since the advent of Christianity that we have been told that we must seek (need ???) some greater "meaning" in life than to simply have lived and successfully reproduced, like all other living creatures. It is, of course, understandable that believers suggest that humans cannot "thrive" without some hope of greater meaning than reality tells us is all there is, but this is quite clearly not the case. One can find myriad examples of whole cultures that do not believe there is a "heavenly" reward and have done quite well, thank you. Although it is true that unbelief does not provide any such "hope", it seems specious to argue that it is "empty", since, unlike your religion, it neither intends nor needs to provide more than an observation of reality, without manufactured "metaphysics".

Harvey said...

Oneblood:
"As a theist all I would suggest to you is that you're not seeing a bigger picture that has to do with what mankind needs to thrive."

I would argue, both as a non-believer now past the age of seventy and a physician with a good deal of experience in psychology that this statement cannot be supported. The only evidence I have ever encountered for this "need" is that most cultures, especially in primtive times, have seen fit to create a deity that they could try to propitiate in an effort to gain some control over the vagaries of earthly existance. It has only been since the advent of Christianity that we have been told that we must seek (need ???) some greater "meaning" in life than to simply have lived and successfully reproduced, like all other living creatures. It is, of course, understandable that believers suggest that humans cannot "thrive" without some hope of greater meaning than reality tells us is all there is, but this is quite clearly not the case. One can find myriad examples of whole cultures that do not believe there is a "heavenly" reward and have done quite well, thank you. Although it is true that unbelief does not provide any such "hope", it seems specious to argue that it is "empty", since, unlike your religion, it neither intends nor needs to provide more than an observation of reality, without manufactured "metaphysics".

The Maze Monster said...

i put your little song on my blog as a main post. loved it!

pboyfloyd said...

Hehe, what can I say, that fundy comment inspired me.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Intuitive Brian,

How did you get rid of your preconceptions? There doesn't seem to be a base from which to start. I emailed a philosopher I respect about this and he just told me to take a class from him.

-I just imagine that I'm visiting this reality, and attempt as much as possible to adopt the perspective of a complete outsider to everything that I look at, so that I look at it with "new eyes." So when I think about say Christianity, I examine it in my mind with the perspective of someone that is rational and emotional, but someone that had never heard of it before. From that perspective, all religions are just silly with Christianity being one of the more and not one of the less silly ones, and science makes sense but seems incomplete, likeit's missing something basic. Because of the gravity problem. Unifield Field Theory is impossible it seems. And the quantum realm is hinting at something really strange that requires a paradigm shift of *some type* for it to all fit together seamlessly. And from that perspective of an outsider to this place, to this entire universe mind you, not just the earth, to someone "new" to the laws of physics as we know them, etc, if one looks at the big picture and incorporates data from all valid sources, one gets something like the Big Brain as the result, the one paradigm where everything fits seamlessly, the simplest explanation for everything, the one requiring the least modification of the current scientific paradigm, the one explaining all phenomena with no exceptions. As far as I can tell, it's the winner. To the outsider, that is. To someone without any "reality bias."


Was it back on Dinesh's blog you said you did some thought experiments before arriving at the Big Brain?

Yes. Involving affirmations at first. Instead of doing affirmations just to get myself off my butt and do something, I did them just to repeat them and get the message down to my subconscious... I made it like a ritual in that I did the affirmations fifteen times a day at the same time, so I gave them importance in my mind. Things started to happen almost immediately. Huge coincidences, jungian type synchronicities, and also the affirmations kept coming true. So results. Subjective results though. But they were enough to keep me interested, and they always have been since then, too.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

And I'd had coincidences in my life before that, of course. Everyone does. Just NEVER anything so obvious and so often as I started to get after the affirmation thing. If I had gotten them like that for all my life, I would have grown up thinking that I was psychic. Before that point, it was the normal bell curve with an occasional outlier; aftewards it was more like a whole pattern of outliers with still the same amount of regular stuff as before.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

The "Outsider" persoective is a delicate balancing act in a way, since one can't really pretend that they've never heard of the laws of physics... But one can look at them with new eyes. So maybe the Outsider perspective is really more accurately the perspective of an outsider, new to this universe, that suddenly has instantaneously absorbed it all, everything that I already knew, but is judging it as if it were new information to them, with the attitude that whatever the ultimatte truth is, we certainly don't know it yet, so we cannot consider anything too "strange" to be true if it fits the bill as regards being able to explain everything neatly.

See, no organized religion can even co-exist with science unless one makes modifications to the religion. But the BB coexists with science, all of it, and even explains the stuff the we can't explain now, like entanglement or the wave-particle duality, or the concept of a probability wave itself which is pretty hairy to explain using just the science alone.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

So it's like I'm playing host to an Outsider in my head. He enters, with no preconceptions of this place because he's new to it, and when he "enters" my head he instantly has access to all my thoughts on reality, all the data that I have in me. Which isn't meagre. So then he says "science... yes, that makes sense. They're calling it science but it's just applied logic combined with careful observation and measurement, experimentation and peer-review... a good system as far as it goes. Which is pretty far. But it's hit a snag, a roadblock. Ahhh, let's see... Oh, quantum physics. That's interesting. Reality is completely different on the level of the very small than it is on the level that we can perceive directly. Apparently it suggests that matter is not solid in any way, and behaves more like consciousness in some ways at the level of the micro-tiny. :-)
Something missing here...
Let's look at religion now... Whoah! They're saying it's all due to a character, a personality, a being that created everything by force of willpower. What created the being? It's eternal. Okay... That's actually funny, it's so unlikely (to the Ousider...) But easily understood when I (as the outsider) access my files on abnormal psychology. Ahh. Yes. There's the explanation for the religious view, right there. Okay, I can dismiss that. All of it.
So then I must look for the explanation that doesn't invalidate the science we've already done, but expands upon it on some tangent that we're not seeing. Hmm... Oh, that quantum physics did say that at the level of the very very small, matter behaves like consciousness in a way. Hmmm.... What if it IS?

pboyfloyd said...

Gee Brian, maybe you can help me out with this crossword puzzle I'm doing here.

What's a three letter word for a supreme consciousness that created the universe as we know it?

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Of course I hadn't heard about the strangeness in quantum physics until after I started having the coincidences and was already looking for possible explanations for them.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Pboy, are you going to argue the same thing on three blogs simultaneously now?

No self-consciousness, no thoughts of it's own, no ego. The BB is nothing like a God. It's not an entity. It's more like a field.

Dude, you MUST be getting this. Pullin my chain???

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Gee Brian, maybe you can help me out with this crossword puzzle I'm doing here.

What's a three letter word for a supreme consciousness that created the universe as we know it?
-----------------
Spoken like a theist...

I dunno, Bob? Give me a hint.

pboyfloyd said...

Would you like to buy a vowel?

pboyfloyd said...

How about supreme as in all pervading(there is nothing else except 'the consciousness, right?)

And consciousness that is not necessarilly 'wrapped up in a personality'.

Once again, it is only the Bible saying this, and it was written by 'those of lesser understanding' than you, Brian.

All I'm saying is that perhaps the 'God idea' is the same thing except mixed up a bit by their POV and bad multiple translations.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

What would be our purpose in the BB?

We (all life really) are facets of it. So our evolution is it's evolution. We shape the universe as we observe it, and we both shape and observe it better as we evolve. Our purpose it to not only shape our reality, but to learn to shape it in a positive way for all life. We've never had brains of our own to see how to do that before, so it was default nature red in tooth and claw until Homo Sapiens showed up...

pboyfloyd said...

Well, the Bible just put a 'happyface' con sangre on it, that's all.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

You insist on seeing it that way because that way you have every reason to scorn it, and you enjoy scorning it. But I don't see it that way, and I can't see any reason to scorn it. We differ.

pboyfloyd said...

Scorn?

What? You don't think that the Bible has ENOUGH blood and guts now?

Are you THAT determined to distance your BB from God that ANYTHING I suggest is tossed out the window as 'scorn'?

Strip all the tall stories, astrology, Hebrews patting themselves on the back, cursing their bad luck and such away from the Bible and you're left with spirituality.

Your theory is my reality PLUS spirituality!

I think I see a MATCH!

Saint Brian the Godless said...

My "theory" is what I personally think is happening.

And furthermore, if it is true, science wll get to it eventually. It's in sciences nature to uncover it eventually if it is real.

And when science gets to it, it won't call it a Big Brain or spirit or consciousness. It will name it something scientific. Something vaguely like "The Universal Data Matrix" or some such thing. And then science will reexamine itself in the light of a new paradigm, that of the ground of all being not being matter as we've thought it was, but data. Few changes will be required. Call the data consciousness, or spirit, or something like that, but one thing you can't call it is God.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

My theory is that your theory was thought up by a pattern of consciousness with no real body that thinks it has one.

Or...

Your theory is my theory minus the wider perception.

Or...

or you're right of course. You may be.

pboyfloyd said...

Ahh!

So, we're all under a delusion that matter, space(and time?) exist?

Saint Brian the Godless said...

So, we're all under a delusion that matter, space(and time?) exist?
-------------------
Delusion is a strong word. A delusion means "not real." This is as real as anything gets.

If all reality were a "delusion," it would be possible to escape from it to some "real" reality. This is the only reality that we have access to, real or not. It works just like if it were real matter and energy. It is real matter and energy, just made of thought rather than what we thought it was made of.

What's the problem? Even if the BB is false, matter isn't SOLID you know... So even if the BB isn't true, matter is essentially "unreal" as it is! A bunch of fields. That's not solid... except to us, since we're also "only" a bunch of fields.

pboyfloyd said...

"Even if the BB is false, matter isn't SOLID you know."

Sure it is, solid matter is.

Pfft, Brian, so very very small things seem strange to us.

if things were 'solid' like marbles at 'tiny' size, then we could split them down until at tiny cubed we'd be perplexed at what WAS at that point, wouldn't we?

Plus how would compounds 'stick' together?

I don't understand why you are so AWED by the idea that electro-magnetic particles are, in fact electro-magnetic!

This is the same as a theist saying that if it wasn't made 'like this' our universe would not contain life! (as we know it)

Well, we wouldn't be here to give a shit, now would we?

Saint Brian the Godless said...

I'm not awed at it! (I almost added a pejorative before I remembered that I like you)

I'm simply stating that since matter is you must admit mostly by FAR empty space, and the "particle" that we might find at the center of it all or orbiting about it cloudlike, are themselves just bundles of forces and not "hard" in any sense, so all matter is a bunch of forces. So if you can "grok" that, you must be able to extend your imagination to the next step even if only for the purpose of a flight of pure fancy... that even the forces we're measuring are just how we are perceiving aspects of a consciousness-based reality that we, by labelling and quantifying, make real and constant.

pboyfloyd said...

.."mostly by FAR empty space.."

Sounds like awe to me. It's not 'empty' space the electron cloud is all over that with it's magnetic field.

You're thinking marbles, and there's no solid marbles.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Sounds like awe to me. It's not 'empty' space the electron cloud is all over that with it's magnetic field
----------------------
An electron cloud is a cloud of probability that the electron exists and doesn't exist within. All at the same time. It's potentially everywhere in it, and not really exactly anywhere in it. They're even described n terms of "probability density" if I recall. You have no problem with this? If not, you're not a good quantum physicist, since all good ones have huge problems with it.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

You're thinking marbles, and there's no solid marbles.
-------------------
Are you trying to irritate me by telling me what I'm tring to get through to you? It's not working.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

I mean, on reflection you must be busting my balls here. I spend like a thousand words trying to get you to see that electrons and other particles and even whole atoms are mostly space and fields and probability waves with no real solidity to them, and you respond after much argumentation that I'M the one that isn't getting the fact that they're not like little MARBLES?
I mean, do you think I'm three? I was the one CONVINCED that you weren't getting that, and to be honest I was wondering why...

pboyfloyd said...

No, I'm not 'trying' to irritate you.

I thought the pitbull/pantleg analogy was good if you considered it.

But you just considered it long enough to call me pantless.

So, now you're irritated.

PLUS if it were all 'marbles' the universe would tend to fill up with neutrons, but they can't be marbles because that doesn't reflect reality.

So just on some philosophical level alone...

..if you see what I mean.

pboyfloyd said...

Plus, Brian, wouldn't it suit your position if I DID think of atoms or at least atomic nuclei or at least protons and neutrons AS solid as AWED by the feeling that perhaps tiny 'things' ought to be 'solid' little marbles?

So you're stuck trying to convince ME that I ought to believe that they ought to be solid, but they're too small for 'solid' to mean anything.

Elementary particles couldn't 'appear' solid because then physicists would have to go 'powers of ten smaller 'til they hit THAT threshold, wouldn't they?

Half a 'marble' would be 'made of' something!

Oh, yea, so having convinced me to be awed by the vast empty spaces, you go a step further to make it all data, I 'get' it, what you're going for here.

Shit, Brian, here I thought that you were determined to irritate ME.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

God you're frustrating.

I'm too tired to continue. You win. Collect your fruitbasket at the convenience desk on your way out.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Okay, as a parting word...

It would suit my position if you listened and answered, even in the negative, without projecting so much scorn and ridicule that you make me feel like I'm a bald Hare Krishna in a saffron robe offering you a flower at the airport. Your every word is a pointed barb designed to tell me in no uncertain terms that you are "on to me" and the "fact" that I'm a mountebank proffering my snake oil for your consideration rather than attempting to engage you in serious conversatio or debate. Frankly it's more than a bit insulting to me. Am I being oversensitive? Must be my damn feminine side... Should have never developed the fucking thing.

That about sums it up, yep.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Plus, Brian, wouldn't it suit your position if I DID think of atoms or at least atomic nuclei or at least protons and neutrons AS solid as AWED by the feeling that perhaps tiny 'things' ought to be 'solid' little marbles?

So you're stuck trying to convince ME that I ought to believe that they ought to be solid, but they're too small for 'solid' to mean anything.
------------------------
Congratulations. You're smart enough to get what I'm saying. Good to know. It must be your "free choice" not to, then.

oneblood said...

That was one of the funniest exchanges I've seen on any of these blogs. I don't know what to say...

I'm kind of AWED myself at two intelligent and superperceptive men going at a metaphysical concept like Abbot and Costello. I don't know how you two end up on the blogs together at about the same time, but I'm rather glad for it (some Big Brain activity?).

If you guys ever did a book of exchanges, you would probably make me pee.

-----------------------------------

Brian,

When I pray, it feels like a meta-conscience construct. I was thinking about it the other day, and your overarching point about consciousness was well taken. But from science we know that consciousness arises from something. Saying there is an interconnectedness between individual consciousness(es) seems way more scientific to say than there is one consciousness that is only thought arising from nowhere. You adressed this in the BB post and I'll take a look at it again but you don't seem to talk about this much.

It seems like you've chosen the mind over the body from the 'mind body problem' but there is only body! Those fields are interacting in a particular manner and thusly creating consciousness.

If you're then saying that it's a consciousness that gives rise to the fields which gives rise to the individual consciousness...you arrive at theology. It reads like a creation.

So I'm with pboy up to a point.

Also how did we go from evolving and completely material to completely immaterial (in a sense)?
You're explanation reminded me of that great cartoon which has a formula written on a blackboard intersected by, "And then a miracle happens."

-----------------------------------

Last thing, you're a big duality guy. How does the one BB have duality going on?

You have so many things to explain in order for the BB to seem feasible.

oneblood said...

Thank you for answering my question by the way. I'll give it a shot.

-----------------------------------

GearHed,

You don't create a metaphysics because you have to. I just want to.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

But from science we know that consciousness arises from something.
--------------------
Do we?

Science can only at this point consider the types of consciousness that it is familar with. Human consciousness, animal, even perhaps computer someday, but all of these things are based in matter and thus are familiar to science to a greater or lesser extent. Since (if I'm anywhere near right) in the BB the scientists themselves along with everything they can perceive, test, and theorize about, are made up of patterns of consciousness and not matter, they of course see themselves and the rest of the BB (that they can see, test, etc.) as merely living or dead matter, energy, etc. This is highly understandable given the nature of the BB.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

If you're then saying that it's a consciousness that gives rise to the fields which gives rise to the individual consciousness...you arrive at theology. It reads like a creation.
-----------------
No, a subtle difference.

I'm saying that consciousness, not A consciousness, not a personality or any kind of being that thinks independantly, is the ground of all being. It's probably best for you as a christian to think of this kind of consciousness as data and not thought, although they are the same thing in the BB. So we're made of data, and not stuff, but since we think that we're stuff, we also naturally think that all the other data-things around us are made up of stuff too.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

One COULD say (inaccurately I think) that we're all thoughts in the mind of God, but if that's the case we have a god that's like a vegetable with no higher reasoning functions and no self-awareness, that has a whole reality in it's memory banks but doesn't even interact with it as a personality. A naked memory with no other functions.

It's not a BEING. It's more like a FIELD.

(Or so goes my line of thought, at any rate)

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Here's a statement that gets at it from another angle:

Our reality is like a very complicated program that has written itself onto the only thing that REALLY exists, if you can call it existence, this vast natural data bank which I'm calling the BB.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

And the data bank does not partake of duality in and of itself, but all reality and thus all duality is written upon it. It's neutral of itself, like a data bank always is. It's just the data storage, not the "reality" that is stored on it.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

It can act like a being, if we are predisposed to think of it a one. It's very flexible that way. The proof that it is not a being comes from the fact that when one can force themsleves to think of it as a neutral thing that is not a being, it readily complies to that as well.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Of course, a data bank here on earth is feminine in nature, being a storage and thus a type of enclosure... The data stored on it is masculine in nature... etc...

So maybe it partakes of both sides of the duality. Not sure. Fuzzy here.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

I have of course considered the possibility that the BB could be like a Deity.

If so however it's an evolving one that isn't very advanced yet. It seems to only be the sum of the least of it's features. It might be a nascent God, but if so it's just an idiot God at this point. And perhaps it evolves into full deity-hood by the evolution of it's individual parts toward an integration. (That would be us)

I don't consider these thoughts seriously however. It's reaching. It's simpler if it's just an "unconscious" field of data, some of which have developed into sufficiently complex patterns themselves to have achieved independant self-consciousness, but not self-conscious in and of itself. It explains it all with no need for a deity. Less complicated means more likely to be the case, I think.

oneblood said...

That actually clears some of it up. Do you think that perhaps you could invent or use another word to describe your BB besides 'consciousness'? It's not a complete misnomer but...

oneblood said...

Are you getting to evolution yet?

oneblood said...

"It's simpler if it's just an "unconscious" field of data, some of which have developed into sufficiently complex patterns ..."

-----------------------------------

But how? And how did the data become to be data? That means it is ordered. Was the data always and always will be?

oneblood said...

*come to be

pboyfloyd said...

So, the Beginning(of us) according to Brian.

We are data!

.......................

Okay, so that's not very satisfying.

We are a data STREAM! We arre a data stream inside a mysterious, non(or un)conscious consciousness(oxymoron?).

It's all reality for us because we are essentially doing it ourselves.

We can't get outside our reality because there is nowhere to go.

On the other hand data is doesn't change unless it is the output of a program.

Anything that changes could be regarded AS a program because we can imagine some programmer writing the rules and pressing the magic button, or saying the magic word, "Engage!"

But Brian, the program(which certainly IS data, is read by the chip as the program moves along, calling on the different functions, procedures etc.

Let's imagine the universe as a computer virus that has 'invaded' a supercomputer in some university.

There IS a supercomputer THERE, there is a source of power there and THAT is reality.

Sure the virtual reality of the virus COULD be a self-extracting thingy, that has the chip perform 'life like' changes to itself(the virus) BUT if the computer(reality) is shut down by real people, then the 'data' reality vanishes, or at least gets stored(hey, maybe the virus-program backs itself up for just such an occasion.

But don't you see my point here? Source of energy from 'real reality', chipset that performs the 'changing of the data' for 'us'.

There'd have to be a reality beyond the BB that allows the BB to operate.

pboyfloyd said...

Now you can hum and haw and 'but' all you want, still the data needs to be manipulated and original data needed to be imput.

This is why I think that you are a theist, trying to put the possibility of us just being data FIRST, being that, "Look how much bigger the universe is when we look further away, look how weird very small things are, so much nothingness in between 'layers' of reality etc. etc.

Having convinced your 'pidgeon' that that is even possible, the next step is to introduee a programmer, or even a computer to manipulate the original data!

Buddhists, certain Buddhists anyway, believe something very similar.

You need to explain a giant unconsciousness(which has some kind of real way to sustain itself. Like a brain which is fed by a blood stream or an application run on a computer attached to some kind of energy supply.

You can't just go circular like that!

I hate to go philosophical bullshit on you but the unconscious consciousness is a different category than it's data, i.e. our consciousnesses.

oneblood said...

Brian, why don't you just come out and say, "We are one."

pboyfloyd said...

Lets say, for example that I AM the Big Brain.

I dream(in my unconsciousness) of the universe, I dream of the World, I dream of life, which takes on a 'life' of it's own and realises that they are the only reality and they(collectively) are me!

It doesn't make any sense.

Okay Brian, tell me it doesn't have to make sense!

Butterfly dreaming I'm a man or man dreaming I'm a butterfly kind of thing?

Why, the next thing we know you'll be telling me that we're waiting for the Old Masters to return to give is the Teachings!

LOL

pboyfloyd said...

How about this one oneblood(If you're not just Brian's sockpuppet! LOL! Hey, we have the technology on these intertubes you know, just sayin'!)..

The BB is, in other words, 'THE FORCE!'
(The FORCE is not recommended for anyone under the age of 21, and the DARKSIDE, well, you don't want to have to change your name to 'DARTH' something, seriously dude!)

Saint Brian the Godless said...

How about this one oneblood(If you're not just Brian's sockpuppet! LOL! Hey, we have the technology on these intertubes you know, just sayin'!)..
-----------------------
I've "known" you a long time pboy but lately, and perhaps it's because of me and my BB scenario thing, you've become incredibly sarcastic and abrasive. If you wish to talk about what I think as well as what you think, then act like it, or else we don't have to talk at all. That would be a pity since I've come to genuinely like you, but if that's how you want it, who am I to stand in your way? Just let me know and I'll not waste words on you anymore and will consign you (in my mind) to that group of people that just doesn't care to communicate as much as they care to disparage others. If that's how you need it to be, than I will of course indulge you in that. That's always an option, of course. As it is now for example, I see no need to answer you. Perhaps if you rephrase it, adding in the respect that I give you, then we can have a discussion.

I don't like to be treated as a bumbling theistic moron any more than you would, you know. I'm not one, neither are you, so we can have a discussion amongst peers if you like, or if you insist we need not talk at all, since this is fast becoming a pboy diatribe against everything that I happen to say, have said, or will say, anyhow. You've mistakenly grouped me in with the theists in your mind. I'm not one. Continue to treat me like one and I'm afraid that you'll lose my friendship. I don't take well to such abuse. And I'm not even angry. I just insist on the respect that I give you. Stop the sarcastic crap, or stop discussing anything with me. I've had enough of sarcastic, unproductive people in my life, thank you very much.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Having convinced your 'pidgeon' that that is even...
-----------------------------
And much like the crazed theist, you're even mis-spellling your words now....

Pigeon. No "d."

pboyfloyd said...

Oh, I spelled pigeon wrong, BOO HOO, I'll never get over it!

You're such a poo-poo head Brian,

I thought we were FRIENDS who lied to each other now!

Saint Brian the Godless said...

I thought we were FRIENDS who lied to each other now!
-----------------------
I don't lie to friends. There's your problem, right there.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

What's got into you? Poo-poo head?

That's what I can expect in response?

Er, okay. I was under the misapprehension that you were an adult, but fine, if that's how it is...

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Ya know Pboy, life's too short to waste time wondering what people mean by it when they're assholes, so I'll just mosey on back to my place now. If you ever want to talk to me, you'll know where to find me. Thanks a lot for the education. I apparently needed it.

Nice place you have here. Who knew that when you named it "absence of good" that you were being literal???

pboyfloyd said...

I think maybe Botts and MI are right that you are on 'the verge'.

On the verge of understanding that is.

I WAS of course implying that now you were (at least trying) to constrain the style of my comments to suit you better!

I don't know Brian, what makes you think that that appeal to, "I just insist on the respect that I give you. Stop the sarcastic crap, or stop discussing anything with me.", start respecting what anyone at all says!

Havn't you been reading my comments for a while then?

YOU were asking ME to lie to you about how I feel about any comment you make!

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Havn't you been reading my comments for a while then?
--------------
Well, you're absolutely right. I should have known that just because you were an asshole to other assholes, that this in no way prevented you from just being a common asshole to everyone, regardless. My bad.

Rest assured I won't make the same mistake again.

pboyfloyd said...

Okay, now that you've gotten that out of you system(?), do you care to answer the idea that 'you'd' need some kind of 'platform', program, and energy supply for all the 'data' that is the universe?

In your BB universe that is.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

No.


Goodnight.

pboyfloyd said...

LOL

Saint Brian the Cartman says, "I'm going home!"

Saint Brian the Godless said...

I never saw you as this childish before. I'm very disappointed in you, pboy.

I thought I kind-of "knew" you. Wow. Was I wrong.

pboyfloyd said...

Okay, the joke is over. I'm not buying this bullshit!

If you don't want people to disagree with your BB theory or your insistence that 'duality' is somehow important, you really shouldn't 'expose' yourself to public comments.

Hey, there's a tab you can click on your dashboard thingy where you can make your blog private or vet comments before allowing them to be posted or not!

Who knows if you BB theory will be any 'truer' tho'.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

More childishness? How attractive.

I welcome disagreement. Not ridicule. You're no better than me. Grow up.

What aren't you buying? The fact that you've suceeded in insulting me? Believe it. You exceeded your own expectations. Apparently you had a hidden skill. Who knew?

pboyfloyd said...

Listen Brian, you can call me childish all day long if that's what floats your boat.

The only reason that I'm even bothering replying is exactly because I think of you as a friend(cyber-friend?).

I'm 53 years old Brian, and I am sorry that I made you feel bad, but I tried to quit that conversation but I kept posting to your 'funny skit' one to 'show you' that I didn't hold it against YOU that your stuff was meaningless to me, a(as you ought to know) DIAMOND HARD atheist!

If you say 'spiritual' I say NO. I will always say NO. I will say NO and say it 'funny'(at least to me) if I can!

I will not be constrained by the fact(if that's what it is) that it's your 'pet' idea.

What do you want me to say to you?

"Oh, good point Brian, I see how duality and the BB Theory might tickle you pink!"

"My what grand theories they are!"

"What was I thinking when I spent my life NOT BELIEVING in magical thinking, now that there's the BB fuckin' theory!"?

Saint Brian the Godless said...

You keep believing that you need to appeal to my pride. Why? I don't need that. Do you? That sounds like your need. I don't have that one. Sorry. I have other failings.

I not only never needed you to agree with it, but I loved the fact that you disagreed. At that level it only clarified my own thoughts on the matter. As long as you remained rational.

I knew all along that you totally disbelieved, and not only that, would never believe. I didn't care in the least. I never needed you to, nor really wanted you to. I think if you had, I'd have been disappointed in your cynicism, which I liked and counted on to keep me honest. To say the least, it would have stunned me if you ever had. It would have been as if Observant suddenly agreed with me about the fallability of the Bible. So I certainly never expected that.

But what I also didn't expect frankly, was that you'd turn into a schoolyard bully about it. You did everything but shout "nyeah nyeah!"

You decided that not only were my BB speculations untenable, but that they were worthy of ridicule as well. From someone that I thought was at least ready to listen openly. From someone I thought capable of it. Derision instead of descrimination.

I wouldn't have done that to you, were the situations reversed.

So I know where I stand now. I've learned. I guess I should thank you.

Hey, peace. This has been fun. I'm sure you enjoyed it.

pboyfloyd said...

So, it didn't bother you that I TOLD YOU that I didn't want to 'play', that, obviously(I thought it was obvious) that I didn't want to continue playing, think, how did I put it, yes, word-ping-pong with you on that topic?

Nono, YOU felt that it was benefitting you somehow.

Isn't that it tho'.

Still,(LOL) kinda fucked up your BB Theory that it's all data, didn't I?

oneblood said...

"So I'm with pboy up to a point."

How in the world did you miss this?

Did I post it for no reason?

Saint Brian the Godless said...

If you're talking to me oneblood, I saw it, but you were assuming at the time that I was speaking of A consciousness, not a field of consciousness without any self-awareness, so I assumed that you had thought that because of you thinking that what I was talking about was like a God when it wasn't...

You know, I love talking about this stuff, but I have a thread specifically devoted to it, so if you or anyone else wishes to continue the discussion that's where I'll be looking for you. As it is all I'm accomplishing is the wholesale pollution of Pboy's blog, and I'm sure that can't be polite. So I'll be happy to answer the "evolution" question or any others, in the appropriate place.

Bye for now...

GearHedEd said...

For what it's worth:

I see the BB stuff as another attempt to explain the unexplained. I get the duality thingy. I even get the "field of data" thingy. But my gut says it's no better than a religion BECAUSE it's just speculation (as in the TITLE of Brian's blog article), without corroboration, and is just more in line with what science has revealed up 'til now. Nobody's denying that science is incomplete. But that doesn't mean it will fail to describe the other things we're investigating.

GearHedEd said...

A little more on duality: I think there's more of a range, a 'greyscale' between the black and white. More in line with Aristotelian virtue philosophy.

oneblood said...

No Brian,

That was to pboy.

oneblood said...

To be very upfront in a milieu of rampant facades, I like both of you and try to address each of you in different ways. That was a pboy way...Statler and Waldorf-ish.

But he did call me a pigeon :-D

oneblood said...

Well said Ed. The religion I practice isn't remotely scientific except from a psychological perspective. Brian's BB at least tries to incorporate parts of quantum theories.

If indeed we survive as a race we'll be puzzling over the nature of reality for a while.

Aristotle had some things figured out for his day and age. He was thoughtful and insightful.

pboyfloyd said...

No, oneblood, I didn't call you a pigeon.

I was jokin' with both you and Brian that it was possible(anything is possible, right?) that you were a sock-puppet of Brian's.

Shit, oneblood, it's possible that Brian could be a sock-puppet of me!

Wouldn't that be a hoot! Me and myself bickering and arguing away, if it turned out that we were the same person!?

We don't know where any of the comments 'come from' really!

A commenter might be an entire committee of people sitting around reading the comments out loud and discussing what the best response might be, we just don't know.

But, I thought my point was, 'it doesn't matter!'

Brian isn't even trying to understand what I say anymore, he's hunting for the part that he can construe as sarcastic or insulting and childish.

Well, I can be all that.

It's allowed. I don't think that it's any defense of anyone's argument to keep pounding 'home' the idea that the person your responding to is childish, sarcastic and insulting, avoiding any points that they might have been brought up tho'.

GearHedEd said...

When I cam in this morning and saw the comments count at 90, I said to myself, "Self, I'll bet Brian's been in there!"

LOL

pboyfloyd said...

Indeed!

Saint Brian the Godless said...

avoiding any points that they might have been brought up tho'.
---------------------
I've never avoided any points that you brought up except that very last one or two since that was after you became a total ass instead of only one cheek...

:-)

So, feeling cheeky again?

Saint Brian the Godless said...

And one doesn't have to hunt for the parts, either. They're pretty obvious.

Hey I get it. Online you see no need to hold back. It's cathartic I'm sure. I've done it myself now and again. Why not? Free country. You're right.

No skin off my nose. I can adjust.

pboyfloyd said...

Yea, Brian, but I keep getting this 'vibe', interspersed through your commentaries that it IS 'skin-off-your-nose'.

"Why I DO declaya, I didn't realize that you had such strong sentiment against ma 'theories' and such. Your response, why it gave me the vapors!"

AND..

"Ohh, my sensitive side, my yin, is just too ovadeveloped for your loutish commentary! You sah, are not the southern gentleman that I expect you'all to be!"

Followed by, "Just kidding, it's my sense of humor that just doesn't come across in print!"

I think that I'm noticing a trend.

Hey, have you banged any Brazilian sluts in the arse hole lately? Stuff like THAT never fails to leave a glowing picture in my mind!

GearHedEd said...

Looks like you guys need a little "Quit pro Quo" in here, too!

LOL

Saint Brian the Godless said...

She was columbian.

Hey, I'm fine now.

I just needed to pout for a while.

Quim pro Queef is better.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Pboy, you're too much fun to be mad with. In both senses of that sentence. :-)

oneblood said...

pboy,

does life have meaning?

pboyfloyd said...

Only while you're living, oneblood, only while you're living.

Back to you oneblood, does death have meaning?

oneblood said...

Only while you're dying?

pboyfloyd said...

That's a good one! Funny stuff!

But the thought of dying is horrible for people for different reasons.

You KNOW that you'll be 'gone'.

You'll miss your family and friends and you know that they'll miss you.

It 'feels' wrong. Our body reacts with a 'horrible' feeling when we're running out of air for example.

But when all is said and done 'alive' is living but dying is 'alive' too. Only dead is dead.

Is there meaning to life?

What is the meaning of a tree?

What is the meaning of a crow?

What WAS the meaning of a Tasmanian tiger?

What was the meaning of a T. Rex?

Is there any meaning to a jelly fish?

How about a star? Stars might be conscious in a way, they might be 'signaling' other stars!

Why not?

Now a God would really be in the position of a communicating star.

You might think, well no, a God could create things, living beings and stuff.

Well you could say that, in a way our Sun created us, with it's 'eternal' light and heat nurtures us, creates weather.

I suppose it's easier to think, "Pfft! What nonsense!", than to really think about it and notice that the Sun is more like a God than some invisible humanoid(perhaps huge) thinking and bringing into being pets to play with, because isn't that what we'd be to something as alien as a God or even a star is?(might even be the same thing, right?)

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Well you could say that, in a way our Sun created us, with it's 'eternal' light and heat nurtures us, creates weather.
------
pboy - all I can do is give you a big Hur-Ra (the pun police are after me!)

pboyfloyd said...

Hey, Pliny, I like to think that the answers are on Manswers because they have such hot babes demonstrating for them!

They did mention a good suicide method though.

Pump a shitload(pun warning, pun warning!) of booze up yer bum and you'll get alcohol poisoning!

To make the pun powers of 10 Worse, ya HAVE to repeat it just in case it was missed!

A SHITLOAD of booze, UP THE BUM, get it? Get it?

oneblood said...

I'm sorry pboy your scottish humor eludes me.

It's very subtle.

I have to infer most of what you mean.

Maybe double-entendres aren't your forte.

pboyfloyd said...

Well oneblood, you could just avoid my answer to Pliny concerning puns and double entendres and think of a response to my qwestion to you.

I'd really like to hear your thoughts on these issues since you brought up the 'meaning of life' thingy and I just expanded it to include the possible meaning of a God's life, if any.

oneblood said...

Fair enough. But I'll have to leave you with baited breath for now, because out east here I'm going to bed.

pboyfloyd said...

Have a good sleep my syber friend!

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Pboy, check this
out, one of my alltime favorite SF novels......

It applies, trust me. Read the plot synopsis. Amazing book.

Any favorite SF novels of yours perhaps?

oneblood said...

Oh snap! I read that book a long time ago.

Actually pboy, could you be more specific? Do you mean does our life have meaning for god, or does his/her/its own life have meaning?

GearHedEd said...

If you can find a copy, read this:

Venus on the Half Shell

GearHedEd said...

The punch line is awesome!

GearHedEd said...

The one you're composing better be GOOD, with this much time to think about it, pboy!

pboyfloyd said...

How about, I just got back from dropping Emma off at the hospital for her drip and I haven't gotten around to reading your comment, never mind thinking about it!

pboyfloyd said...

Well, oneblood, I think what I meant was...

"What is the meaning of a tree?

What is the meaning of a crow?

What WAS the meaning of a Tasmanian tiger?

What was the meaning of a T. Rex?

Is there any meaning to a jelly fish?

How about a star? Stars might be conscious in a way, they might be 'signaling' other stars!

Why not?

Now a God would really be in the position of a communicating star.

You might think, well no, a God could create things, living beings and stuff.

Well you could say that, in a way our Sun created us, with it's 'eternal' light and heat nurtures us, creates weather.

I suppose it's easier to think, "Pfft! What nonsense!", than to really think about it and notice that the Sun is more like a God than some invisible humanoid(perhaps huge) thinking and bringing into being pets to play with, because isn't that what we'd be to something as alien as a God or even a star is?(might even be the same thing, right?)"

GearHedEd said...

I wasn't harping on you, pboy, just figured you'd be right in there with commentary on the Inauguration like the rest...

GearHedEd said...

BTW, Mark's back spewing in the Obama blog again...

Fun stuff...

pboyfloyd said...

Yea, I'm going to comment 'at' Mark any minute.

I like Obama, but so far he's just well spoken rhetoric.(That's all he's been allowed so far)

Let's see how he does as far as policy and his promises are concerned.

Of course the only policy that the right have is that socialism is 'bad' and everything that smacks of socialism is bad and we've seen how that works out in real time over the past eight years.

GearHedEd said...

You been reading the haggis he's tying to throw at me then? Or would that be impugning haggis?

oneblood said...

Pboy,

I think your retort was inadvertantly helpful. Asking if something has meaning is incredibly ambiguous and relative.

So to me god has meaning and to you god doesn't.

So what is meaning?

That's really aesthetics isn't it? We talk about determinism and environment/culture dictating beliefs, but if there is any choice, choosing god would be aesthetics. Someone chooses god because whatever that entails for whichever god "satisfies" them.

oneblood said...

no i'm not talking about choice through compulsion, because that's obviously not a choice.

pboyfloyd said...

"Someone chooses god because whatever that entails for whichever god "satisfies" them."

Don't you think that religion is just 'there' pervading our 'reality' ALL the time?

There's a huge difference between choosing to believe in a spiritual/supernatural realm(you just don't) and choosing, say, between two identically priced monitors which both have brand names that you think are 'good'.

Harvey said...

OneBlood:
"That's really aesthetics isn't it? We talk about determinism and environment/culture dictating beliefs, but if there is any choice, choosing god would be aesthetics. Someone chooses god because whatever that entails for whichever god "satisfies" them.

January 21, 2009 6:34 PM"

Although there may be a choice, the vast majority of us are, in fact, driven strongly to "choose" whatever belief our family or upbringing has imposed upon us from early childhood. Almost without exception, posters on these threads have pointed out that their non belief resulted from finally thinking about whether or not they actually "bought" whatever religion they were taught when they were old enough to consider "rebelling" against parental wishes. I do not automatically imply that all non belief is a rebellion, so much as deciding against what our parents have "given" us requires reaching a point in life where we can actually consider making up our own minds. Whether this is actually a function of aesthetics or not is beside the point. Most of us never have a completely "free" choice, inasmuch as we cannot easily escape from environment/culture imperatives. In fact, this line of reasoning suggests that it must be that non-believers, for the most part, come much closer to making a real choice than do believers, who at best are simply agreeing to continue the beliefs they grew up with.
As to choosing a God that "satisfies" us, I certainly agree that belief most often is in response to a sense of "need" for something that "satisfies" our apprehension about the vagaries of earthly existance and, in the case of Christians, the hereafter.

GearHedEd said...

"Aesthetics or esthetics (also spelled æsthetics) is commonly known as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. More broadly, scholars in the field define aesthetics as "critical reflection on art, culture and nature." Aesthetics is a subdiscipline of axiology, a branch of philosophy, and is closely associated with the philosophy of art. Aesthetics studies new ways of seeing and of perceiving the world."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesthetics

oneblood said...

Sorry Ed, I guess I used it incorrectly. I should have stressed the "pleasing" part of it to dispell ambiguity. But not using it would've never given rise to the ambiguity in the first place :-)

Harvey, that's a judgement call which of course I am not willing to grant it's 'superiority.' I don't think it's 'more' of a choice to be an atheist than a theist for those who are aware of having a choice to begin with.

Of course if you can point out an objective value by which one could measure choosing atheism over theism after coming to the default of agnosticism, I would reconsider my position.

Stacy said...

EGADS! I seem to remember a conversation like this back when I was in college. Of course there were herbs involved.

oneblood said...

Egads is a great word. There are a ton of relatively arcane and brilliant sounding words that we don't use anymore. Too bad I don't remember too many off hand.

Are egads and gadzooks just synonymous, or do they derive from the same root word as well?

GearHedEd said...

No problem, oneblood. I may be an atheist, but I try not to be an asshole about it.
It's just semi-coincidental that you used the word "aesthetics", because we were discussing it in DD's remnant yesterday, too.

Stacy said...

Oneblood - When you mentioned "gadzooks" - my mind went directly to SCOOBY DOO.

I think there is one more ... "Zoiks"! :-)

__sorry to interrupt ... please continue.

Harvey said...

OneBlood:

"Of course if you can point out an objective value by which one could measure choosing atheism over theism after coming to the default of agnosticism, I would reconsider my position.

January 22, 2009 9:24 AM"


As an agnostic (best available one-word definition of where I find myself in all of this "belief" discussion), I can agree that it is a reasonable default position. However, as you and other believers sometimes like to point out, atheists are only as certain that there is no god as you are that there is one. Atheists, at least, can repeatedly point to the fact that we cannot "prove" a negative to account for their "belief" (which I certainly agree it is) that there is "definitely" no God. I suppose one could choos to say, "In the absence of any compelling reason to believe that a creator exists, I CHOOSE to believe that there is none." Of course, this is no more objective than "choosing" to believe what the Judeo/Christian/Islamic scriptures tell us. Perhaps we can agree that neither absolute belief nor absolute lack of belief can ever be totally objective, but why then should you as a believer insist on objectivity on the part of an atheist? As a Christian, you have at least some constraint to "bear witness" to others of the message of Jesus. The atheist has no such constraint and, if he is intellectually honest, doesn't need to "convince" you that his view is the "right" one.

Harvey said...

OneBlood:

By "bearing witness" I hope I am using the term correctly. I use it here as a non pejorative way of pointing out that I think most Christians "need" the safety in numbers provided by convincing as many non believers as possible that their particular version of Christianity is not only correct, but that there is a real chance that if they stick to its teachings they will, in fact, "get to Heaven". The atheist, and the agnostic, for that matter, has no particular "need" for others to agree with him, other than possibly as an intellectual exercise. (although I will admit that some of us on this thread exhibit a little more passion and, dare I say anger, in their reponses to believers)

GearHedEd said...

Harvey said,

" "In the absence of any compelling reason to believe that a creator exists, I CHOOSE to believe that there is none." "

You read my other posts, didn'cha? That's my definition of 'functional atheism' that I've posted elsewhere.

GearHedEd said...

I don't try to "convert" anyone, but it's fun for me to point out the contradictions and illogical thinking of most believers.

oneblood said...

Harvey,

I agree with you. I should have clarified.

I thought we were talking about the pragmatic reasons to choose atheism over theism after agnosticism has been acknowledged. Since it's dealing with more psychologically and socially complex issues. I guess the social examples will speak better...

Would we be better off if Newton had been an atheist?

Would we be better off if Sartre had been Orthodox?

I don't think the answers to those questions are clear cut.

oneblood said...

Ed,

No, it's cool. I'd rather be corrected than not.

What do you mean DD's remnant?

Well I know what DD means, I just didn't know of any blogs besides Brian's, Botts' etc.

pboyfloyd said...

I think that we would DEFINITELY NOT have been better off if Newton was an atheist.

I think that he would have been in real danger from the church.

I imagine that Newton would have been aware of Giordano Bruno being burned by the church only forty odd years before he(Newton) was born.

Here:-'In 1682, Temperance Lloyd, a senile woman from Bideford, became the last witch ever executed in England. Lord Chief Justice Sir Francis North, a passionate critic of witchcraft trials, investigated the Lloyd case and denounced the prosecution as deeply flawed.', Newton would have been well aware of this, being about forty years old!

oneblood said...

I see your point as well pboy, but Newton was a 'true believer.'

He was by no means orthodox, I think his talent kept him from being declared a heretic, but he was "Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs."

Pliny-the-in-Between said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pliny-the-in-Between said...

of course Newton was an alchemist as well but hey, nobody is perfect.

BTW - congrates pboy on a huge post turn out. And not all of them are Brian's ;)

January 22, 2009 5:00 PM

pboyfloyd said...

Yea, it's all good. Brian and I did get 'into' it a bit tho.

I was hoping oneblood's 'thing' about 'meaning' was going somewhere, then when it doesn't, it takes a bit of time to adjust and to remember that it's got nowhere to 'go' really.

Oh, yea, oneblood...

http://news.aol.com/newsbloggers/2008/09/27/obama-and-the-reagan-doctrine/195#c16689740

... the D'Souza 'remnant'

oneblood said...

I was sort of being cheeky.

But at the same time intrigued to see if you had a personal take on it.

pboyfloyd said...

Stacy says, "__sorry to interrupt ... please continue."

Consider yourself welcome to talk about your cat(or anything else) if you like!

Stacy said...

Well ... let's see. I have TWO kittehs (C'ling kitteh and bsmnt kitteh)3 great big interesting fish and a ball python.

But no plants - I'm a plant killer.

Take your pick!

pboyfloyd said...

Python eh?


Named 'Monty'?

Stacy said...

MONTY!!! Aauurrgghh!! That's BRILLIANT!! (repeatedly smacking my forehead for not thinking of that!)

No - Chico

It's my least favorite pet. It just lays there in a ball until it gets hungry - then it does this really disgusting thing with a live mouse - then it leaves a really disgusting mess a couple of days later. Blech ...

pboyfloyd said...

yea, Chico is good. Probably too many Montys, Fluffys and Satans.

We can't have a cat or a dog. Probably go after the bird.

GearHedEd said...

Gear has a cat. "Spazz the Leper-Kitty".

pboyfloyd said...

Cool!

'They say' that pets 'take on' the persona of the name that you give them.

'They', of course are mentally deranged.

Stacy said...

#156!!:-)

GearHead - you haz give me a idea!

(I have to go figure out how to do it though! ;-)

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