0
   

My letter to my athiest brother

 
 
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 04:03 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;72984 wrote:
My point is, however, how did this massive molecule of unimaginable complexity appear so early on primordial earth?
Did you watch the video I linked to in my last post?

Further details can be found in this one, also well worth watching:

YouTube - The Origin of Life - Abiogenesis
Alan McDougall;72984 wrote:
Even given an eternity this should not have happened by chance, the universe is relatively young and the argument that given enough time everything that can happen will happen becomes redundant
Maybe so, but it's not a relevent objection to evolution or abiogenesis as no biologist who understands the theories would state that chance is needed beyond that which effects common natural elements and forces anyway, and the 4,000,000,000 years that we think the Earth has existed in a more or less stable form is more than enough time for the changes required by the theories.
0 Replies
 
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 06:02 am
@Alan McDougall,
Wikipedia

The initial crust that formed when the Earth's surface first solidified totally disappeared from a combination of this fast Hadean plate tectonics and the intense impacts of the Late Heavy Bombardment. It is however assumed that this crust must have been basaltic in composition like today's oceanic crust, because little crustal differentiation had yet taken place. The first larger pieces of continental crust, which is a product of differentiation of lighter elements during partial melting in the lower crust, appeared at the start of the Archaean, about 4.0 Ga 4 billion years ago. What is left of these first small continents are called cratons. These pieces of Archaean crust form the cores around which today's continents grew.

Origin of life

The replicator in virtually all known life is deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA is far more complex than the original replicator and its replication systems are highly elaborate.
Main article: Abiogenesis

The details of the origin of life are unknown, but the broad principles have been established. There are two schools of thought about the origin of life. One suggests that organic components arrived on Earth from space (see "Panspermia"), while the other argues that they originated on Earth. Nevertheless, both schools propose similar mechanisms by which life initially arose.[24] If life arose on Earth, the timing of this event is highly speculative-perhaps it arose around 4 Ga 4 billion years ago.[25] In the energetic chemistry of early Earth, a molecule gained the ability to make copies of itself-a replicator. (More accurately, it promoted the chemical reactions which produced a copy of itself.) The replication was not always accurate: some copies were slightly different from their parent.

If the change destroyed the copying ability of the molecule, the molecule did not produce any copies, and the line "died out". On the other hand, a few rare changes might make the molecule replicate faster or better: those "strains" would become more numerous and "successful". This created evolution. As choice raw materials ("food") became depleted, strains which could exploit different materials, or perhaps halt the progress of other strains and steal their resources, became more numerous.[26]

Now for the life of me explain how life suddenly appeared at the very moment the first protocontinents appeared 4 BILLION YEARS AGO?
0 Replies
 
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 07:52 am
@Alan McDougall,
Well first of all, may I offer a mild rebuke as to your use of the term "suddenly appeared". It strikes me that if you think after all my talk of single stage fallacy it might be possible to acknowledge that no one is theorising over life simply popping out of nowhere. The vids I posted give a good indication of the various processes leading to the first forms of life, and it wasn't some overnight manifestation by any scientific account (though it is for religious ones, of course).

However, that's only a minor quibble of course, and I only bring it up really to demonstrate that those who do talk with some enthusiasm for abiogenesis and evolution to say something over and over again ("it's not random" "it did occur in a single step") and never be acknowledged (poor us - sniff!).

What does the formation of continents also imply?

Oceans!
Oceans are much better than dry land for the formation of complex molecules because of the way water dissolves certain minerals, carries them about and dumps them due to the strength of currents in the water.

Furthermore hot vents offer a more stable environment for many of the processes needed for abiogenesis to occur in the ocean than geysers do above sea-level.

So the reason the first self-replicators appeared during the same era as the formation of the continents is because the resulting oceans provided the right environment for life to begin.

Whereas before oceans formed the highly unstable nature of the world would have meant that even if self-replicators had developed they would have soon been destroyed by tectonic and volcanic forces.
0 Replies
 
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 08:14 am
@Alan McDougall,
Dave all your comments are good, but my problem is still summarised in the image below

My problems is still the gap between amino acids and DNA

Amino acids >-----------GAP------------------------------>DNA LIFE
0 Replies
 
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 08:40 am
@Alan McDougall,
As far as I understand it...

Step 1) Simple organic chemicals such as methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide are abundant in the atmosphere or in solution.

Step 2) Nucleotides form spontaneously from these elements under certain conditions.

Step 3) Polynucleotides (chains of nucleotides forming on charged clay as a catalyst as explained in the first video I posted).

Step 4) At this point certain polynucleotides could "inhabit" fatty acid vesicles, as explained in the the first and second videos I posted.

Step 5) These polynucleotides would split and regroup under certain conditions, and as such a process would be subject to natural selection better replicators would arise. RNA and DNA are examples of these good self-replicators.

YouTube - 3 - The Origin of Life Made Easy (for schools)

YouTube - NEWS: Abiogenesis Confirmation
0 Replies
 
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 08:53 am
@Alan McDougall,
Dave I will look at the vidoes later all these things are scientific truths, but the exact recipe in the very short time still bothers me, and no matter what anyone stated it will not move me from my position of believing in god. What and who god is is debatable but god exists becuase god equates to existence. God is the primordial biologist there is simply no way of getting around it and many great respected scientists believe the same as I do

I will regress the argument further, who made the elements , who supplied the heat, how did the strange chemical water come to be exactly where it should be at exactly the right moment in time, who created the rocks, the slime from which we all emerged????

Who.......................................................Dave...................................who????????
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 09:29 am
@Alan McDougall,
Dave ,Alan we have been here many times and both your knowledge on this subject is well beyond mine but is it important to understand the method life formed to believe or not believe in an engineered universe.
I ask it many times but never get a real answer,is life a an eventuality given the right circumstances? I believe it has to be and the period of time for it to evolve must be roughly the same.
This is the big question if you could call this process"the formula for life" has it always existed? I claim that formula could be written down and it could be replicated by a higher intelligence, that formula has always existed.
Always existed? before the big bang or did the big bang give rise to the possibility.In my humble opinion the moment the BB occurred it was inevitable by the nature of the universe and the elements it would construct.Now this is to me is the amazing thing how could we see an event without a known cause be so significant in so many ways.You can continue to repeat the claim that it is just a natural event with no hint of an engineer but for me the absolute enormity of the BB with no clue whatsoever of its origin has to make you question that view.
0 Replies
 
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 09:42 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;73032 wrote:
Who.......................................................Dave...................................who????????

Nobody - anything.

---------- Post added at 10:44 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:42 AM ----------

xris;73037 wrote:
I ask it many times but never get a real answer,is life a an eventuality given the right circumstances?
Eventuality? I doubt it. Likelihood? I think so.

The arguments of physics are a lot less solidly understood than those of biology. For example - abiogenesis is a much more comprehensively understood theory than the theory of the Big Bang, which has a variety of interpretations all of which are the subject of some controversy.

So whilst I think the Big Bang is the best argument out there - I would hesitate from drawing too many conclusions from it - there is a lot left to figure out.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 09:53 am
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;73041 wrote:
Nobody - anything.

---------- Post added at 10:44 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:42 AM ----------

Eventuality? I doubt it. Likelihood? I think so.
So why if you replicated the circumstances it would not occur?You are bordering on the created by denying it was not inevitable.Do you know of any other formulas that dont work given the correct mix?
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 07:17 pm
@xris,
xris;73046 wrote:
So why if you replicated the circumstances it would not occur?You are bordering on the created by denying it was not inevitable.Do you know of any other formulas that dont work given the correct mix?


Hi xris the universe is expanding and something that is continuously expanding must have a point in time when it began to expand Just old fashioned common sense.

We have to regress the whole scenario of the birth of our universe to its origin or alpha point, and this is called the big bang

Who set off time and space from this first singular, we have to have a start and a place where The buck begins with Me?
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 05:06 am
@Alan McDougall,
Quote:
I don't think life's nothing - I think it's fascinating - I'd like to learn all I can about it really. I love natural history and zoology. I think theists need it dumbed down and can't appreciate it for itself. They'll only take their medicine if it comes with a bedtime story


Hi Dave - interesting response, very thought provoking. I will have to consider this all in some more detail. It takes some reading.

I did not get that material from the 'Discovery Institute', and am certainly not a biblical creationist nor Christian in any sense other than the cultural. I endeavour to practise Buddhist meditation with varying degrees of commitment. However the atheist movement has made me realise I retain a much greater core of Christian archetypes than I was aware of (kind of opposite to the intent of the God Delusion I suppose, but Dawkins annoys the crap out of me.)

I really don't see the attraction of abiogenisis, other than to prove that 'God didn't do it' (not that it can be proven one way or the other). But even without a literal belief in 'The Creator', I do believe there is an intelligence behind the universe. Except for in my case, it seems a lot more like Brahman than Jehovah. It is like in an implicit intelligence, becoming explicit through the evolution of the species. We are evolving to a recognition of our true nature, which is something we rarely glimpse (even though we are never anything else in the end). I believe we are life made conscious, the universe is coming to know itself in us and as us. If we have gone through billions of years of evolution and a lot of immense struggle to be here, this is the reason. I believe that learning to fulfill this great mission by becoming fully conscious is our challenge. That is what I understand by faith. It is much nearer to Benares than Jerusalem, as the saying goes.

The problem the non-God theory seems to have, to me - and this certainly goes for Dawkins, Hitchens, et al - is that (1) scientific understanding is not a 'whole of life' discipline. You can't live your life 'scientifically' (not unless maybe you're some kind of early marxist or health nut or something.) Dawkins waxes lyrical about a 'very religious non-believer', referring to Einstein, as a kind of model for the only religious consciousness that he recognises (and notwithstanding the fact that in the subsequent Walter Isaacson biography, Einstein makes his disdain for atheism abundantly clear.) But I have to ask, what kind of model can Einstein make for the average suffering person? (I am sure Einstein would have detested this also. And Hitchens just comes over as a miserable curmudgeon). And (2) true or false, myth or history, the Judeo-Christian ethos is the bedrock of our civilization and provides a real, umbilical link between man and universe for millions (billions?) of people. Bertrand Russell may have been proud of the fact that he is the product of chance and necessity (e.g. Free Man's Worship), and you yourself might think that 'life is fascinating', but at the end of the day, nihilism is a real threat to the moral condition of modernity, as Neitszche forsaw but could never overcome. What happens if you change your mind?

So I am actually in the process of re-discovering the meaning of - maybe not 'religion' actually, but certainly 'faith' - a feeling of belonging, being at home in the universe, having some connection to the whole grand show, and the sublime intelligence that is behind it. (I believe it purely on the basis of the saying 'as above, so below'.) I am certainly not beholden to the literal meaning of Genesis, but I do believe in Creation, as distinct from happenstance.

I got to stop all this talking, I'm driving myself nuts. Thanks.
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 06:35 am
@Alan McDougall,
The universe had a beginning, and it originated out of the collapse of another universe or maybe a black hole of another universe spewing out energy in the form of a white creating our universe, and so on and so on forever into infinity.

The Kabbla has some interesting ideas about the origin of everything. God equates to all existence, he/it encompasses all reality and to create the universe he withdrew part of himself to create the primordial vacuum, into which our universe emerged when time began
0 Replies
 
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 12:56 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;73313 wrote:
Hi Dave - interesting response, very thought provoking.
As is your reply.

Quote:
I did not get that material from the 'Discovery Institute', and am certainly not a biblical creationist nor Christian in any sense other than the cultural.
I am sure you didn't do so knowingly, but certainly Stephen C Meyer is a prominent spokesman for the DI.

YouTube - Stephen Meyer vs Michael Shermer parte 2

I suspect the Evangelical Philosophy Society, desirous of a scientific (or pseudo-scientific) essay on the shortcomings of biology's account of natural history approached the DI for their position on the matter - and as you can see a fairly strong case was made - but only if you beleive the misconceptions the essay's writers assign to biologists.

Quote:
However the atheist movement has made me realise I retain a much greater core of Christian archetypes than I was aware of (kind of opposite to the intent of the God Delusion I suppose, but Dawkins annoys the crap out of me.)
I'm a huge fan of dawkins in his element which is popular ethology and zoology. I deeply recommend The Blind Watchmaker as his best book and I think you would be impoverishing yourself not to read it simply because his religious opinion is sometimes strident.

I don't know if his tone in such debates is necessary - though as far as I can tell the only reason to take real affront with it is because the topic of religion is so regularly handled with kid's gloves. I mean, based on the somewhat more strident tone of his opposition, and the lies they tell, why not forgive him the odd moment of intemperance?
YouTube - Richard Dawkins Reads His Hate Mail

Quote:
I really don't see the attraction of abiogenisis, other than to prove that 'God didn't do it' (not that it can be proven one way or the other).
Well, what if it just happened to be the truth? I'm pretty interested in the truth myself, and I think abiogenesis is a more likely explanation than a supernatural diety involved in some sort of conjuration of life, the universe and everything. I'm not a fan of abiogenesis just because it's godless, I like it because it makes sense.

Quote:
And Hitchens just comes over as a miserable curmudgeon.
I think it might be a cultural thing here, as someone who comes from the south of England I find Hitchens screamingly funny - but I think his dry and, yes, curmudgeonly humour is something that might get lost in translation.

Quote:
(2) true or false, myth or history, the Judeo-Christian ethos is the bedrock of our civilization and provides a real, umbilical link between man and universe for millions (billions?) of people.
I dunno about a bedrock of civilisation - remember that Christianity went through a pretty big remodelling to suit gentiles in the first century - meaning the Romans - and that our society is founded in many ways on Roman thought. Sects and schisms also provided a more adaptable bedrock for the religion - allowing it to be versatile (whilst also allowing the members of any one sect to privately claim that they are the 'true' believers). Also bear in mind that when Roman/Christian attitudes became unfashionable in the modern age Christianity had to pull the PR trick of being seen to act as midwife to enlightenment values else be sidelined as a barbaric relic of history.

Quote:
Bertrand Russell may have been proud of the fact that he is the product of chance and necessity (e.g. Free Man's Worship), and you yourself might think that 'life is fascinating', but at the end of the day, nihilism is a real threat to the moral condition of modernity, as Neitszche forsaw but could never overcome. What happens if you change your mind?
I don't know - it would depend on what I changed it to. However, why is the examination of my ability or inability to change it any more relevent to anyone else's - what would happen if a Hindu changed his mind, or a Christian change his?

It strikes me that the best way to avoid long term feelings of nihilism (a state which, by the way, I don't have any real issue with as I think of it as a kind of philosophical "neutral" - a position from which to work from in order to find personally what attracts and repels you without suffering from someone else imposing values on you (if you can manage it) - not necessarily bad at all though it can be paralysing) is to decide on a purpose for one's self. To figure out what really enthuses you and makes you happy - and to plan out how to enjoy more of it. I think many religions are inimical to this. Religion shares it's etymological root with ligature - meaning to bind people together. As such it must by nature revolt against individuality, imposing shared values and regards.

"If you wanna to be a different fish - you gotta jump outta the school", as Captain Beefheart said.

I agree - but I still respect an education - which is why I think the protracted campaign of lies in order to discredit science waged by people like the DI is very telling - because it does imply that many christians are happy to avoid truth if it conflicts with what they are told is truth by their pastors and holy books.

And I find myself very opposed to that - because I think those who are looking for observable truth should be able to do so without obstruction or slander.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Jun, 2009 02:28 am
@Dave Allen,
Dave this divide between pure creationists and evolutionists, that can never be bridged, its not my fight but does that mean there is not a question worthy of examination.
It appears to me the atheists are afraid of contemplating an engineered universe simply because of the consequences the creationists will attach to it.Why should blind ignorance by the creationists stop the debate on the possibilities some of us just consider.I dont conjure up a picture of this engineer or engineers when i muse on the formula for life,im a confirmed agnostic and i have no desire to design a creator to suit my views.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Jun, 2009 04:03 am
@xris,
I don't mind Dawkins when he is 'David Attenborough' mode, and I read many popular science books. I do wish he would stick to his knitting, though; while I am sympathetic to the annoyance that he must feel when confronted by flat-earth creationism, no reason therefore to declare jihad on all things spiritual. Put it this way - if 'religion' meant what Dawkins says it does, then I would agree with him. But there are many more shades of meaning and a vast range of insight and wisdom from spiritual cultures all over the world about which he knows nothing, and will never seek to learn on account of his prejudices about the topic. There are parts of the mind, or heart, that have to become 'spiritually activated' for certain realities to be seen ('Tosh', would be the response on the Dawkins forum. I know - that was the first forum I actually joined. And actually this is the main theological argument they use over there, or subtle variants such as 'rubbish', 'nonsense' or the ever-popular 'bollocks'). I don't think hatred of religion is a good basis for philosophy, but there seem to be plenty who disagree with me. (Interesting critique of the 'Protestant Atheism of Richard Dawkins' here. It goes some way to explaining why he is so uncannily similar to those he wishes to demonise.)

As for what I meant by 'changing your mind' - very badly expressed on my part, I should re-phrase it. What I mean is, you or I might be very interested in life, or have a great sense of scientific curiosity, and it may well be possible for an intelligent and well-integrated person to sustain this throughout their life. But I do wonder how robust this is in the face of the many vicissitudes of existence, without an over-arching sense of purpose such as that traditionally provided by spiritual culture. In that context, religious practice is not an intellectual argument, but what you do every day, the basis for the way you treat people and how you conduct yourself, and also a big part of your connection to the community and the world as a whole. When it is internalized in this way, through one's behaviors and day-to-day life, it generates a deep level of emotional well-being, I believe, provided it remains healthy. And there is empirical evidence for this. I don't think this is well represented by the flat-earth types, and accordingly not well understood by their antagonists.

When I say that nihilism is a real threat, it may not be for an intelligent person such as yourself, but, I would argue, the ridiculous hysteria that is being displayed over the death of uber-narcissist Michael Jackson, or the fixation in the popular press with celebrities: I would suggest that a great deal of this is misplaced spirituality, and that Hollywood has become, in the popular imagination, a kind of Valhalla where those gods and goddesses (='stars') get the nearest thing to immortality the modern world has to offer (= 'rich and famous', with plenty of sex thrown in). Chesterton said once "teach people to believe in nothing and they will be ready to believe in anything" or words to that effect. And indeed, many people in the modern world live vicariously through the mass media and the acid rain of US popular culture which generally serves to propagate only selfishness, delusion and craving. Not a big step from there to "nothing means anything" I think. Maybe this is one reason why Christianity is growing fastest amongst the newly-urbanized masses of the developing nations. They are not looking for an intellectual rationale. They are instinctively seeking to inoculate themselves against nihilism.

---------- Post added at 09:19 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:03 PM ----------

Quote:
Religion shares it's etymological root with ligature - meaning to bind people together


Afraid not. To bind, yes, but 'bind people together'? Not at all. A similar etymology might be 'yoga', meaning 'union', typically given as 'binding the soul to the supreme'.

To the athiest - to Dawkins, certainly - spirituality of whatever stripe is an oppressive force, a retrogression to superstition and a pre-scientific mentality. It is completely different from the viewpoint of one who has had a taste of what it is really about.
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Jun, 2009 05:32 am
@Alan McDougall,
"Tegmark agrees that nature's fine-tuning cannot be passed off as a mere coincidence. 'There are only two possible explanations,' he says. Either the universe was designed specifically for us by a creator, or there exists a large number of universes, each with different values of the fundamental constants, and, not surprisingly we find ourselves in one in which the constants have just the right values to permit galaxies, stars and life." Marcus Chown, The Universe Next Door, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 103?

Take your pick, for me god is the best option

Alan
xris
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Jun, 2009 06:02 am
@Alan McDougall,
Who Built the Moon Part of that fine tuning is seen with the relationship of the earth moon and sun.It could be just another one of those coincidences we are so used to hearing about.
0 Replies
 
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Jun, 2009 02:22 pm
@xris,
xris;73569 wrote:
It appears to me the atheists are afraid of contemplating an engineered universe simply because of the consequences the creationists will attach to it. Why should blind ignorance by the creationists stop the debate on the possibilities some of us just consider.I dont conjure up a picture of this engineer or engineers when i muse on the formula for life, im a confirmed agnostic and i have no desire to design a creator to suit my views.

I wouldn't describe my own negatively-tinged ambivalence towards the idea of a cosmic engineer as fear - though I find some of the pictures drawn of such an engineer frightening - yes.

I would say to me (and I do not feel I speak for atheism in general though I am sure there are others who feel likewise) that it seems so clear that gods are the result of human psychological biases towards anthropomorphising things they do not understand, or regard with awe, or whatever.

As internal mental metaphores for such things I see gods as quite handy (indeed, as jeeprs says he feels drawn towards certain hindu descriptions I also acknowlegde a fancy for them - but they seem more 'honestly metaphorical' to me - eg: Kali is an anthropomorphism of death, Shiva of energetic destruction, and so on).

My inclination to favour naturalistic models for the things for which gods often stand for leads me to hypothesise that the tendency amongst people to seek metaphysical answers must have an evolutionary influence. I suspect humans thrive when they aspire to greatness whilst being able to seek solace from disappointment and bereavement.

Before science provided competing answers to those that religion claimed for itself religion had the playing field pretty much to itself (philosophy aside of course - but philosophy has never enjoyed the mass appeal of either religion or science).

I don't see how science is "stopping the debate" - as far as I can see the debate rages pretty much everywhere and constantly. However, what I do think science has a right to do is retain it's method for what can be observed or hypothesised. I'm sure that when someone comes up with a working model that delineates an engineer science will be happy to subject it to it's method - but until then it's out of science's purview. People like the DI have to lie in order to make their claims fit - and I think it's right of people to call them on their falsehoods.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Jun, 2009 02:49 pm
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;73732 wrote:
I wouldn't describe my own negatively-tinged ambivalence towards the idea of a cosmic engineer as fear - though I find some of the pictures drawn of such an engineer frightening - yes.

I would say to me (and I do not feel I speak for atheism in general though I am sure there are others who feel likewise) that it seems so clear that gods are the result of human psychological biases towards anthropomorphising things they do not understand, or regard with awe, or whatever.

As internal mental metaphores for such things I see gods as quite handy (indeed, as jeeprs says he feels drawn towards certain hindu descriptions I also acknowlegde a fancy for them - but they seem more 'honestly metaphorical' to me - eg: Kali is an anthropomorphism of death, Shiva of energetic destruction, and so on).

My inclination to favour naturalistic models for the things for which gods often stand for leads me to hypothesise that the tendency amongst people to seek metaphysical answers must have an evolutionary influence. I suspect humans thrive when they aspire to greatness whilst being able to seek solace from disappointment and bereavement.

Before science provided competing answers to those that religion claimed for itself religion had the playing field pretty much to itself (philosophy aside of course - but philosophy has never enjoyed the mass appeal of either religion or science).

I don't see how science is "stopping the debate" - as far as I can see the debate rages pretty much everywhere and constantly. However, what I do think science has a right to do is retain it's method for what can be observed or hypothesised. I'm sure that when someone comes up with a working model that delineates an engineer science will be happy to subject it to it's method - but until then it's out of science's purview. People like the DI have to lie in order to make their claims fit - and I think it's right of people to call them on their falsehoods.
I think there are many who will use this debate as an excuse to prove a particular god or creator but that is the nature of the beast.I have no value in trying to prove an engineer, to feed my needs and find salvation in the stars.I maintain that even if i could convince you of my suspicion, no one could ever describe this engineer to me.My only doubt in my consideration is that i can not imagine who or what purpose this engineer was at when it engineered the universe.I do believe it is a matter of perspective, you see the universe and all the circumstances that led us to this point as just coincidence ,a matter of nature with no determined product.I see the first event as a determined plan for certain possibilities that would eventually lead to a conclusion.
We are now planning to chemically change the atmosphere on mars, to allow us to live there, can you imagine our potential to engineer space in three hundred years time, a thousand years from now.Could we manipulate matter? to kick start that one electron.
0 Replies
 
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Jun, 2009 03:01 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;73582 wrote:
There are parts of the mind, or heart, that have to become 'spiritually activated' for certain realities to be seen ('Tosh', would be the response on the Dawkins forum. I know - that was the first forum I actually joined. And actually this is the main theological argument they use over there, or subtle variants such as 'rubbish', 'nonsense' or the ever-popular 'bollocks').

Well I don't want to indulge in such callow boorishness, but it does strike me that all claims to feelings of spirituality hinge on a sort of numinous but vague set of assertions and feelings that are never actually defined.

And talking to a biologist, or fan of biologists, about how the heart is a seat of emotion isn't going to win any sort of regard.

So when you say that "spiritual activation is required of the mind for certain realities to be seen" I suspect you are using rather vague language to make an even vaguer claim. I mean, if I were to say "what reality have you percieved due to a mental or medative process that someone who didn't feel spiritual could not understand?" what would you say?

I'll be honest - to me it sounds quite an arrogant thing to claim and almost childish - along the lines of "you'll never know how I feel" or "I you could see things my way it'd blow your mind".

Well, of course I don't know what it is to feel spiritual, because I deny that "spiritual" has any value beyond the metaphorical. However, I suspect that what feelings and thoughts tend to be labelled spiritual are a crutch to help people get by in the real world - and I don't think I need or want the crutch. I enjoy fiction, music, and flights of fancy, but I don't see why they can't be appreciated as honest artful constructs.

Quote:
As for what I meant by 'changing your mind' - very badly expressed on my part, I should re-phrase it. What I mean is, you or I might be very interested in life, or have a great sense of scientific curiosity, and it may well be possible for an intelligent and well-integrated person to sustain this throughout their life.
Sure, something might happen - but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it - if I come to it. Don't the vast majority of people cope in this way?

Quote:
But I do wonder how robust this is in the face of the many vicissitudes of existence, without an over-arching sense of purpose such as that traditionally provided by spiritual culture.
I don't see how goal setting is something that religious people are somehow better facilitated for than the irreligious. To return to Dawkins - he has made himself one of the worlds most eminent educators, become well-known and wealthy, understood a body of difficult learning and reiterated it for a mass audience, and he has set himself the unattainable goal of tearing down religion.

Laughable perhaps - but all this isn't indicative of purposelessness.

Quote:
In that context, religious practice is not an intellectual argument, but what you do every day, the basis for the way you treat people and how you conduct yourself, and also a big part of your connection to the community and the world as a whole.
Only if you want to credit religion with things it may not deserve.

Quote:
When it is internalized in this way, through one's behaviors and day-to-day life, it generates a deep level of emotional well-being, I believe, provided it remains healthy. And there is empirical evidence for this.
There is empirical evidence to suggest theism leads one to be more likely to commit a violent crime, be responsible for teenage pregancy, and support war and torture - things I think are indicative of poor emotional well-being, anti-social attitudes and bad behaviour. It's not the whole story, because religious beleif is also corrolated with poverty and lack of education, but it is sort of telling.

Quote:
When I say that nihilism is a real threat, it may not be for an intelligent person such as yourself, but, I would argue, the ridiculous hysteria that is being displayed over the death of uber-narcissist Michael Jackson, or the fixation in the popular press with celebrities: I would suggest that a great deal of this is misplaced spirituality, and that Hollywood has become, in the popular imagination, a kind of Valhalla where those gods and goddesses (='stars') get the nearest thing to immortality the modern world has to offer (= 'rich and famous', with plenty of sex thrown in).
I agree to a certain extent that the worship of idols in this manner isn't appealing. However, it's certainly not nihilistic - nihilism isn't misplacing spirituality - it's about realising that the only person who can ultimately assign values, meaning and purpose to you is you.

Quote:
They are not looking for an intellectual rationale. They are instinctively seeking to inoculate themselves against nihilism.
Sure, they don't want to take responsibility for themselves, perhaps?

Quote:
Afraid not. To bind, yes, but 'bind people together'? Not at all.
I think that's an optimistic interpretation with little actual proof beyond your hunch.

But to be fair, I made a pessimistic interpretation on the same sort of hunch, so I'm not getting at you. Wink

Quote:
To the athiest - to Dawkins, certainly - spirituality of whatever stripe is an oppressive force, a retrogression to superstition and a pre-scientific mentality.
Or just simply a lie people tell themselves. I don't see it as oppressive - but I've yet to see it defined really. The spine tingling awe one recieves in the presence of something one loves? Why is that spiritual rather than endorphic? Because people want it to be? Because the roots of the awesome cannot be acknowledged to be mundane? I think that's reaching for assumptions that aren't based in truth.

Quote:
It is completely different from the viewpoint of one who has had a taste of what it is really about.
What is it really about?
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 01/18/2022 at 12:39:28