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The philosophical conception of god in the age of reason and science.

 
 
Jebediah
 
  2  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 10:51 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168394 wrote:
A lot depends on the way you approach the subject matter, though. To begin with, where are the data? In what discipline would you look for information about the nature of spiritual/religious views of the nature? I don't think it is well represented in modern philosophy. Personally I think comparitive religion, anthropology, and pre-modern and Eastern philosophy are much more fertile sources of information. Such an approach shows some basic presuppositions that are frequently made by moderns in regard to these matters, owing to their specific religious background.


I am continually surprised that you offer up ancient ideas as superior sources of knowledge. When these guys were wrong about so much, why think they are right about the origin of the universe? Various religions contradict each other constantly, and psychology tells us more about them than they tell us about astrophysics.

You're acting like the understanding of physics and the structure of the brain that caused people to stop believing in an immaterial soul affecting the body is...not data?


Quote:
I have no interest in it, - I was curious as to why you mentioned it. I presume it was because you thought that as I am a spiritual type, it is natural for me to believe it.
No. I brought it up a few times earlier as an analogy (an alternative one to captain crunch). You do not think that science's failing to predict the future is an argument for astrology.

But also...it has as storied a history as religion don't you think? Astrology was a huge part of ancient religions. Why isn't it a fertile source of information?

Quote:
I read some of the thread where some guy was tirelessly arguing the DNA is information and therefore intelligently designed argument. Aedes was patiently trying to correct him. You would have to explain that leap for me. But I'm sure you see that these kinds of inferences can be bad or good. They are something you start with and then try to provide evidence for. They are not the evidence themselves.


Quote:
If it is a scientific hypothesis, it should be testable. If it is not testable, how is it a scientific hypothesis? People will entertain all kinds of ideas, such as the multiverse, which are completely untestable, just because it sounds scientific, whereas if it sounds 'religious' they will not even be prepared to consider it, even if there are grounds for it. In other words, many people are quite prepared to believe in aliens, but completely unwilling to accept that there might be other planes of reality which intersect with this one.
They said it was theoretically possible. So I don't see that they were suggesting it as a scientific hypothesis. Although I've forgotten exactly why I brought it up. Someone said something about the universe having to be ordered in this way and that being evidence of god, or something.

But anyway, don't you see the difference between theoretically possible and theoretically impossible?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 11:12 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;168401 wrote:
I am continually surprised that you offer up ancient ideas as superior sources of knowledge. When these guys were wrong about so much, why think they are right about the origin of the universe?


There is an important difference between the idea of the source of being, and the scientific account of the history of the Universe.

In any case, I am sure that modern cosmology is going to end up looking very similar to Brahmanic cosmology. You tell me where they got this understanding from. It ain't Ken Ham and the Creation Museum, I can assure you.

Of course modern science is technically superior to anything in the ancient world. But we could be wrong about a lot of things too. We live in an advanced barbarian culture in many eyes, which is destroying the environment, annihaliting many cultures and species. We are not morally superior. We just have better tools. But we might also be responsible for destroying the planet.

Jebediah;168401 wrote:
But anyway, don't you see the difference between theoretically possible and theoretically impossible?


Sure. But there is a lot of 'scientific speculation' which can never be verified even in principle (multiverses, string theories, and so on.) But you will swallow it because it is 'scientific'. Meanwhile we can't account for 95% of the mass of the universe. Nobody seems to be having a problem with that.
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 11:56 pm
@prothero,
For me, it's important to look at the raw material of all thought. We are immersed in sensation and in a social order, a language. From here, both science and religion develop. I think the most difficult part of science is the problem or mystery of consciousness. Of course cruder religion sort of cheats on the issue. It just attributes the creation of "consciousness" to a superior being who is also conscious. (I put "consciousness" in quotes because certain philosophers have tried to resolve the dualism implicit in the mind/matter divide.)

It seems to me that only philosophy has tried to deal with this problem in the most direct way. I suspect that certain spiritual thinkers and certain scientist as well have ventured into the heart of this strangeness. We always start from sensual-linguist-social experience and work from there. We end up knowing somehow that the sun is a fusion reactor. And all of this is utterly dependent upon mathematical abstraction. Here we are on planet Earth speculating amazingly on the big bang or on the topology of the universe. And yet for all this we cannot easily answer what our everyday experience is. And I don't think religion has answered this any better than science.

Well, it depends on what one makes of psychology and its relationship to certain spiritual traditions. Was Buddha a psychologist? Was the character Jesus a psychologist? This ties into the "emotional hygiene" concept. How much of religious metaphor was just the "id, ego, superego" of that age? Or the "Consciousness Explained" of that age? What if a thinker was ahead of his time to see all religion as myth, but still doomed to become a myth himself? Because his surviving contemporaries just didn't get it?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 12:06 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;168422 wrote:
And I don't think religion has answered this any better than science.


It all depends on what you mean. You could say that religion as it has been imposed on Western civilization by the Catholic Church, was fixed at a certain state of development. There were many completely alternative views of what it meant, that were more or less bulldozered out of the way by the establishment. Most people are only familiar with the dominant version. Some of the alternative versions are as different from the dominant version, as science now is from religion.

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 04:08 PM ----------

Furthermore, I don't know if philosophy itself is trying to desconstruct the raw material of sensation, thought, etc, as you suggest. Certainly that has been a guiding principle of phenomenology, (for example in Merleau Ponty) but I don't think analytical philosophy deals with it, does it?

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 04:13 PM ----------

Here is a sketch I contributed in June last year to provide some orientation about the different schools/models/traditions that intersect in these discussions of consciousness:

1. Scientific: One is the 'objective' accounts of consciousness based on a neuro-sciences approach. It refers to computational models, findings from neuro-science research, and comparative studies of humans and other animal species to describe consciousness. It seems to me that the neuoro-scientific account generally views humans 'biologically', that is as a species to be examined in relationship to its environment, and consciousness as an object to be described in relation to brain functions. I would think Dennett's 'Consciousness Explained' is an example of this approach. Its main criterion of truth is rigorous objectivity and an insistence on scientific rigor.

2. Phenomenological: An alternative account is the approach of phenomenal psychology. "In psychology, phenomenology is used to refer to subjective experiences or their study. The experiencing subject can be considered to be the person or self, for purposes of convenience. In phenomenological philosophy (and particularly in the work of Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty) 'experience' is a considerably more complex concept than it is usually taken to be in everyday use. Instead, experience (or Being, or existence itself) is an 'in-relation-to' phenomena, and it is defined by qualities of directedness, embodiment and worldliness which are evoked by the term 'Being-in-the-World'. Source. It insists that subjectivity is an irreducible component of conscious experience. An important text for a lot of this type of understanding is Merleau Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception. It also incorporates a lot of insights from existentialism.

3. Noetic/Gnostic/Mystical: Then you have various approaches from the broad spectrum of 'consciousness studies' which has roots in those Indian philosophical and yogic traditions which have taken root in the West (Buddhism, Vedanta, and others), and also in the Counter- Culture (Roszak et al) and the New England transcendentalists (Emerson, Thoreau). This area includes studies of mystical states, altered states, meditative techniques, and so on. This has its own specialized sub-vocabularies to describe not only various states of conscious experience but also attributes of consciousness and awareness as constituents of 'spiritual reality' and 'levels of reality'. I think William James could be regarded as one of the founders but if you include the various schools of transpersonal and integral psychology (i.e. Ken Wilber et al), and possibly also Jung, Hillman, etc.

4. Philosophical last but not least the eternal dialog between Plato and Aristotle or idealism vs materialism, which gets re-invented every generation or so and which still a major influence.

As should be clear to everyone, I am mainly out of (3) but am also interested in (2) and (4) to defeat (1).
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 12:18 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168425 wrote:
It all depends on what you mean. You could say that religion as it has been imposed on Western civilization by the Catholic Church, was fixed at a certain state of development. There were many completely alternative views of what it meant, that were more or less bulldozered out of the way by the establishment. Most people are only familiar with the dominant version. Some of the alternative versions are as different from the dominant version, as science now is from religion.


Agreed. And that is why I mentioned the psychological aspect of some spiritual traditions. Really, even the book of Genesis is psychological. Because it presents Adam as a namer. And this is already implicit linguistic philosophy!

You mean gnostics and such? I bet some of them weren't superstitious anymore than Plato, or perhaps even less so. I have a limited exposure to some of this. But it's been awhile. And I absolutely agree that we are talking about radical differences.

I just can't say for sure, but I expect that religious metaphors have generally been understood as facts, as history, by the majority of those exposed. That's a guess. Of course I also think that the myth still has a power this way, even if diluted. Jung writes well on this. He thought the alchemists, for instance, were projecting their own psyches on their "science." But he thinks the better alchemy texts are deep when it comes to psychological issues, accidently expressed metaphorically. I know Jung is out of fashion, but I just don't think he was a mystic. He risked proposing an acausal connective principle, which I simply cannot comment on. You may have already read him, but most don't anymore, or do they?

I think that the shorter life spans and more laborious lives in times past made anything less than supernatural comfort hard to settle with. The priestly class didn't work? Perhaps the exoteric and esoteric wings were necessitated by the social structure. How many were killed just by their rotten teeth? I suspect it takes a certain amount of health to accept the world as it is, excepting transcendent moments presumably available to all, peak experiences that are afterward interpreted according to one's inherited "metaphysics. "

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 01:21 AM ----------

jeeprs;168425 wrote:

Furthermore, I don't know if philosophy itself is trying to desconstruct the raw material of sensation, thought, etc, as you suggest. Certainly that has been a guiding principle of phenomenology, (for example in Merleau Ponty) but I don't think analytical philosophy deals with it, does it?


You have a strong point here. I was thinking of certain philosophers. I was cheating!

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 01:28 AM ----------

jeeprs;168425 wrote:

2. Phenomenological: An alternative account is the approach of phenomenal psychology. "In psychology, phenomenology is used to refer to subjective experiences or their study. The experiencing subject can be considered to be the person or self, for purposes of convenience. In phenomenological philosophy (and particularly in the work of Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty) 'experience' is a considerably more complex concept than it is usually taken to be in everyday use. Instead, experience (or Being, or existence itself) is an 'in-relation-to' phenomena, and it is defined by qualities of directedness, embodiment and worldliness which are evoked by the term 'Being-in-the-World'. Source. It insists that subjectivity is an irreducible component of conscious experience. An important text for a lot of this type of understanding is Merleau Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception. It also incorporates a lot of insights from existentialism.

I generally stick to this one, I suppose. I think Jung is a tweener. Of course I do like the Bible. I think it's a great book. But I read it as myth, metaphor, wisdom writing, brilliant poetry, and never in a supernatural sense.
The reason I'm so hard on "supernatural" is because it serves no purpose, except to the non-philosophical who have not considered what "nature" includes...which is everything. The debate is about what to include in this conception of "nature," right? But "nature" does have a certain leaning toward materialistic concepts, which are philosophically unjustified. How can materialism avoid dualism? If we say that the ultimate reality is matter, we are uttering an abstraction. We are speaking a thought that ignores that thought is what our science is made of. So materialism is forced to assert that "consciousness" (a difficult bird to fly) evolves from matter. Now this isn't impossible. I won't say that. But it's strange. Does it not suggest that we could indeed build a computer that has "consciousness?" Would a certain arrangement of atoms, if we could suddenly assemble them, suddenly experience "consciousness"? Strange thoughts.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 12:31 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;168429 wrote:

You mean gnostics and such? I bet some of them weren't superstitious anymore than Plato, or perhaps even less so. I have a limited exposure to some of this..


Everybody has limited access to this. The church made damn sure of it. If it weren't for Nag Hammadi scriptures discovery, and the small pockets of tradition that managed to survive, we would know nothing at all about it. (You know Descartes was a Rosicrucian? You could argue this is why he came up with Cogito. It is an inherently gnostic docrtine, in my view.)

I have said before, only half-jokingly, that my philosophical antecedents were amongst the victims of the inquisition. It is probably not true, but it is a good story.:knight:
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 12:38 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168434 wrote:
Everybody has limited access to this. The church made damn sure of it. If it weren't for Nag Hammadi scriptures discovery, and the small pockets of tradition that managed to survive, we would know nothing at all about it. (You know Descartes was a Rosicrucian? You could argue this is why he came up with Cogito. It is an inherently gnostic docrtine, in my view.)

I have said before, only half-jokingly, that my philosophical antecedents were amongst the victims of the inquisition. It is probably not true, but it is a good story.:knight:


Ah, I bet the Catholic Church would have roasted an exact replica of Jesus come to point out their idolatry! their superstition!Smile

Do you know the Grand Inquisitor by Dostoevsky?
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 01:46 am
@prothero,
I'll take that as a recommendation. I have been meaning to read some of his works. Hey I will buy out of this thread for now, I have already said too much.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 02:18 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168448 wrote:
I'll take that as a recommendation. I have been meaning to read some of his works.

All I can say is that Dostoevsky is one of the GREATS!
0 Replies
 
EdwinMcCravy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 10:34 am
@Pyrrho,
Hey Pyrrho. You are right on the money! "God" is meaningless. Atheists think "God" is meaningful like "unicorn". They think "God" refers to something that can be imagined but does not exist, like a unicorn or a mermaid. Thus atheists and agnostics have a religious-like faith that "God" is a meaningful word. I have had more heated arguments with atheists than I have had with theists. The correct name for our stand is "theological noncognitivism". Google it.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 11:45 am
@EdwinMcCravy,
Oh my, a new bullsh*t artist, who knows what every atheist thinks. How charming.
0 Replies
 
Romeo Fabulini
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 May, 2014 12:10 pm
Quote:
Prothero said: I submit the concept of god (western monotheism) as originally formulated by the medieval scholastics is not adequate or coherent in an age of science and reason.

I don't give a rat's ass what "medieval scholastics" said, and neither should anybody else..Smile
Jesus said :-"You have one teacher, me" (Matt 23:10)
0 Replies
 
EdwinMcCravy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2014 03:05 pm
@jeeprs,
Indeed! What meaningful definition is there for "God"? I know of none. If somebody is talking without thinking of anything they're talking about then they're just babbling.
0 Replies
 
Romeo Fabulini
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 May, 2014 04:41 pm
God defined himself- "I fill heaven and earth" (Jer 23:24) so in a sense the universe is a goldfish bowl; he's the water and we're the goldfish.
"In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28)
0 Replies
 
Romeo Fabulini
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 May, 2014 11:20 am
What other gods are there?
0 Replies
 
Mr philosophist
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jun, 2014 04:38 am
@prothero,
Here just read this book it will explain everything http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1320014305/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1402800153&sr=8-1
0 Replies
 
Romeo Fabulini
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2014 06:04 pm
If there are other gods they must be krap gods to let themselves be trashed by a humble kid from a woodwork shop..Smile


http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g64/PoorOldSpike/Religions_2012_zps1a611c24.jpg~original
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2014 07:08 pm
@Romeo Fabulini,
Oh man you are choosing the wrong illustration to make your case...not that I have any preference for any classical world religion or concept of God but for the purpose you should be choosing a demography chart, in which case you rather be quiet.
0 Replies
 
Romeo Fabulini
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2014 08:44 pm
Quote:
Fil said to me: Oh man you are choosing the wrong illustration to make your case...

Alright mate try this one..Smile-

Jesus said - "I've beaten the world" (John 16:33)

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g64/PoorOldSpike/team-jesus.jpg~original
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MWal
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jul, 2014 04:39 pm
@prothero,
There is no way good is impassive. He is happiness, satisfaction, and hope.
0 Replies
 
 

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