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01/06/2006 08:07:08 AM · #76
Originally posted by graphicfunk:

Current scientist sound like monkeys when they get lost in their gibberish...

HEY, I AM A SCIENTIST! I'd appreciate it if you ooh ooh eeh eeh aah aah. Oooh ooh ooh OOH ah ah ah eeh ah ooh ooh oh.

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01/06/2006 10:02:39 AM · #77
Originally posted by graphicfunk:

Current scientist ... can not even begin to explain electricity or gravity and even fire still baffles them.


Yikes. You don't think scientists have a pretty good understanding of these processes?

Originally posted by graphicfunk:

Now back to the initial question, who made us or where are from?


"Who" is a pretty big assumption, and not the only possibility.

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

We wouldn't even be having this discussion if those who sought "objective truth" weren't trying so hard to belittle or discredit those who seek "subjective truth".


Hmm... "subjective truth." Now THERE'S an interesting term. Truth based upon opinion rather than fact. Sounds like an oxymoron to me.

Can anybody really argue that dinosaurs didn't exist? Before humans, the planet was dominated by successive waves of plants, marine life, amphibians, reptiles, etc. Anybody care to dispute that? We KNOW that macro-level changes occur, even in contemporary times. Show me any record of a poodle in Roman times. Going from a wolf to a poodle or mexican hairless is a pretty significant change. Such changes don't require intelligent guidance either... look what happened to common house mice left in a particular environment for just 150 years or so.

Like poodles, humans weren't around in the early days when Barney was the only show in town. We arrived somewhere along the line- well after other varmits had claimed all the good real estate. We know that humans didn't "poof" onto this planet as-is either. Just a few million years ago, there were various hominids, but no sign of Homo Sapiens. I hear arguments that we haven't found a common link between apes and man, but what are Cro Magnon, Neanderthals, etc. if not earlier branches on our family tree? Is it not plausible that this line of ancestry continues to smaller, hairier and more primitive forms? Remember that apes have also changed over the years and any common ancestor (if indeed there is one) wouldn't necessarily resemble a monkey. Heck, the closest living genetic relative to the elephant may be the gerbil-like rock hyrax! Why would our greatest grandparents look like monkeys any more than hyraxes look like elephants? I believe that with advances in DNA testing and future fossil discoveries a common ancestor WILL be found within the next hundred years. I'm equally certain that a big chunk of the population will dismiss the discovery as a hoax or error no matter how compelling the proof.
01/06/2006 02:28:02 PM · #78
We get lost in scientific thought and controlled patterns of thought but then we are dealing with understanding of a process such as evolution. Consider the following, for argument sake:

Make like there is no light and a a functional bulb was placed before you. It is easy to analyse the glass, the filament and the anodes that allow current to find the resistor to dissapate the heat and glow. Books can be written and they may indeed explain the bulb, but then the nature of electriity remains a wild card. It is just a force whose usefulness we can tap into. Well, soon there will be improvement as meted out by our bright scientist. Evolution is part of creation. In the case of the bulb it is the human mind that guides it. In the theory of evolution it is who that guides it? Compare the need for humans to improve earlier inventions.

Now look at nature and how there is a definite purpose for self perpetuation of species. Look at the trouble and the hardship and how they are overcomed to preserve life. March of the Penguins is one example. There is nothing that negates the possibility that a creator set off the initial spark and endowed life with a driving force.

No sense to carry on with evolution, the concept is accepted because we experience it ourselves but we guide it in our own lives and it begs the question what guides it in nature.

Look, man is so advanced from his supposed ancestry that no one can claim, with a straiht face, that we are beyond question directly tied to the chain behind us. Consider: it is only manking that builds hospitals and surgical tools, Builds colleges and nurtures scientist and philosophers and musicians and poets. Where else do you find this?

We understand a lot but we may still be hanging out about the feet of the elephant analysing textures and skin temperatures not realizing that we are missing the bigger picture. Reality has been treated by all the heavy thinkers and some have admired the "Maya" theory. Can the eye look at itself? Perhaps your perception tool may see it, but that is not the same.

Message edited by author 2006-01-06 14:30:16.
01/06/2006 02:41:35 PM · #79
Originally posted by graphicfunk:

In the theory of evolution it is who that guides it? ...There is nothing that negates the possibility that a creator set off the initial spark and endowed life with a driving force.


Again, "who" is a very big assumption. Someone doesn't necessarily have to guide evolution any more than someone has to guide a brick when you drop it. Your statement above, if taken literally, negates itself. A sentient being can't be the creator of life because life would already have to exist in order for there to be a sentient being.

Message edited by author 2006-01-06 14:48:31.
01/06/2006 02:44:05 PM · #80
Did man create religion or did religion create man?
01/06/2006 04:18:47 PM · #81
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by graphicfunk:

In the theory of evolution it is who that guides it? ...There is nothing that negates the possibility that a creator set off the initial spark and endowed life with a driving force.


Again, "who" is a very big assumption. Someone doesn't necessarily have to guide evolution any more than someone has to guide a brick when you drop it. Your statement above, if taken literally, negates itself. A sentient being can't be the creator of life because life would already have to exist in order for there to be a sentient being.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

You see one question begets the next. "Who" is an assumption. I think, therefore I am. I am what? You can say I am a sentient by product but that does not truly explain what I am. It only offers one variation of many but no one can claim the truth of "being"

Now, you say that for a sentient to have created means that he was already created. You then refer to a falling brick. I have never seen a thrown brick resist the gravity and no proof of any awereness. You set off the brick, but you gave it the direction which it took. It was also you that dropped it.

It is easy to assume that there is no guidance, yet look at the planetary order. We can say that someone threw it much like a brick. But here the analogy of the brick yields to the planetary order.

It is not an easy proposition to argue for existance that runs so orderly by saying that it needs no guidance. Look at the seed and what is begot from it. You can say that this force is blind or whatever, but then you must admit of some type of architecture or of some blue prints.

The ancients came to one conclusion which still finds many adherents among the fledgling philosophical mass of humanity: Something is not begot from nothing. There is a pretty good order and evidence of cause and effect and no effect happens without a cause. Again, the search for the cause continues but it is no great argument to say that all of creation was caused by nothing. Men who have comtemplated these issues give credence to some form of force and this force is attributed to have initiated the cosmos. There is no need to humanize this cause, it may just be the pure essence of energy or the pure essence of "life" I mean life as in the state of being conscious without a carnal crown. We really have no answers to prove your point or mine. We simply agree that it is a complex mystery and with our little minds I doubt much progress in self comprehension. Look deep in yourself and observe the mysterious universe within you. Look outside and see how little we comprehend with our limited understanding and capacity.

And consider how ridiculous we sound expounding on these mysteries which indeed show that we are not truly fit to tackle.

Message edited by author 2006-01-06 16:25:17.
01/06/2006 04:22:56 PM · #82
Originally posted by graphicfunk:



The ancients came to one conclusion which still finds many adherents among the fledgling philosophical mass of humanity: Something is not begot from nothing.[/quote]

So how do you explain a god that has just existed forever with no beginning? Or no others like him for that matter.


01/06/2006 04:34:44 PM · #83
Originally posted by Brent_Ward:

Originally posted by graphicfunk:



The ancients came to one conclusion which still finds many adherents among the fledgling philosophical mass of humanity: Something is not begot from nothing.


So how do you explain a god that has just existed forever with no beginning? Or no others like him for that matter. [/quote]

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Remember we are way down at the feet of the elephant arguing from our limited vantage point. There is an answer. You see, the logical mind forms a proposition, defines terms and then involves to the first cause.
I am no expert but look at the dead ends that logic can not penetrate:

Infinity is one and another is absolute. For example take the number one and divide in half and then continue down halving every answer. There is no end is there? This is a small mimic of infinity. We are all trapped with our logic, good and advance as it may be, but it does not penetrate these concepts. the Poets do a better job than us. Hear music and feel the internal movement. Too much to analyse with too many roads that dead end.

There was another concept that the ancients entertained: The first cause always existed and yes, this concept can be said to be way out, but try halving the numbers and try to reach the end...
01/06/2006 04:53:54 PM · #84
Originally posted by graphicfunk:

Now, you say that for a sentient to have created means that he was already created. You then refer to a falling brick. I have never seen a thrown brick resist the gravity and no proof of any awereness. You set off the brick, but you gave it the direction which it took.


My contention was that a sentient being could not have created the first life because the being itself is sentient (i.e. alive), thus life already existed. The brick analogy was in response to your assertion that guidance is required. A brick will still fall due to natural processes (gravity) without any guidance whatsoever, and the initial drop may be triggered by anything from a freeze/thaw cycle to a random meteor strike. Likewise, I believe that evolution (whether of animals or stellar systems) takes place naturally without any guidance.

Originally posted by graphicfunk:

You can say that this force is blind or whatever, but then you must admit of some type of architecture or of some blue prints.


Why must we attribute a purpose to everything or believe that all things were invented like some grand erector set? Can't the universe appear the way it does simply because of the natural laws of physics and chemistry over an extreme period of time? You are essentially asking, "Well who wrote those laws?" My answer would be, "Nobody. That's just the way it is." That may be hard for a spritual person to accept, but if you ask that person who created God, the answer will be similar- He just exists and always has (even though there's no physical evidence to support that claim)..

Message edited by author 2006-01-06 16:57:06.
01/06/2006 04:58:40 PM · #85
"Zero was at the heart of the battle between East and West. Zero was at the center of the struggle between religion and science. Zero became the language of nature and the most important tool in mathematics. And the most profound problems in physics...are struggles to defeat zero.

Yet, through all its history, Despite the rejectiona nd the exile, zero has always defeated those who opposed it. Humanity could never force zero to fit is philosophies. Instead, zero shaped humanity's view of the universe and of God."


From "Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea" by Charles Seife

I strongly recommend this book to anyone of an enquiring mind. You don't have to be a math-minded person to enjoy it, though it gets a little gnarly at times. It will open your eyes to some history and concepts you may never have encountered. It's not a very long book.

Robt.
01/06/2006 05:10:13 PM · #86
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by graphicfunk:

Now, you say that for a sentient to have created means that he was already created. You then refer to a falling brick. I have never seen a thrown brick resist the gravity and no proof of any awereness. You set off the brick, but you gave it the direction which it took.


My contention was that a sentient being could not have created the first life because the being itself is sentient (i.e. alive), thus life already existed. The brick analogy was in response to your assertion that guidance is required. A brick will still fall due to natural processes (gravity) without any guidance whatsoever, and the initial drop may be triggered by anything from a freeze/thaw cycle to a random meteor strike. Likewise, I believe that evolution (whether of animals or stellar systems) takes place naturally without any guidance.

Originally posted by graphicfunk:

You can say that this force is blind or whatever, but then you must admit of some type of architecture or of some blue prints.


Why must we attribute a purpose to everything or believe that all things were invented like some grand erector set? Can't the universe appear the way it does simply because of the natural laws of physics and chemistry over an extreme period of time? You are essentially asking, "Well who wrote those laws?" My answer would be, "Nobody. That's just the way it is." That may be hard for a spritual person to accept, but if you ask that person who created God, the answer will be similar- He just exists and always has (even though there's no physical evidence to support that claim)..


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Again, you speak of natural laws but observe the semantics and the meaning of "natural law" the implication here is a sense of order. When the amoeba detects an uncomfortable state it tries to move to a more favorable position. To follow this natural law is just as blind as believing in God. Natural laws that keep order. So now we attribute order to the inanimate. In short, you are expressing a faith in natural laws because you do not understand them, much like people believe in God. You argue that life is begot from a soup affected, perhaps by lightning, but then who place the the soup there and where did the lighting come from.

Okay let us assume, all we can do, is that evrything in the universe always existed. This is logic against a brick wall and that is where all of us are. Physics and chemistry are mere observations of which we know very little. So again, I respect your point of view, but it is no better than that of the spiritual. You can say that yours is supported by science, but not really. All you have is the current sum of education and it does not answer any question with total authority.
01/06/2006 05:31:46 PM · #87
Originally posted by scalvert:

My contention was that a sentient being could not have created the first life because the being itself is sentient (i.e. alive), thus life already existed.


There is life without sentience, clearly: bacteria are alive but are not sentient. I have no problem accepting the idea of sentience without life. What does it mean to be "alive" anyway? This is a slippery slope. We are getting closer and closer to being able to create computers that "think", i.e. are "sentient"; would these computers be "alive"? It's a classic theme in the fiction of science.

Douglas Hofstadter, a remarkable intellect, has done much work in this area. Have you read his 30-year old Pulitzer prize winner "Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid"? I cannot recommend it too highly :-) He's moved on quite a ways from that, but the groundwork is fascinating. I spoke with him 18 months or so ago when he visited here (he was a classmate of my sister's) and we were discussing his current work on the nature of sentience/intelligence/consciousness. His thinking is that this is born in, or found in, the capacity to reason from analogy (I am oversimplifying grotesquely here). It can't seem to be pinpointed or "mapped". I pointed out to him that this "unmappable, unlocatable something" might correspond precisely with what we have heretofore called the "soul", and that if we DO succeed in "creating" a machine with true consciousness we will arguably have created a machine with a soul.

The very controversial scientist Julian Jaynes, in his "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Brain" makes a compelling argument that human beings have only recently (as in, "within historical time") actually evolved what we now call "consciousness", and he uses text-based analysis of, among other things, the Iliad and the Odyssey to make his point.

Robt.

Message edited by author 2006-01-06 17:34:09.
01/06/2006 05:40:58 PM · #88
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

"Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea" by Charles Seife

I strongly recommend this book to anyone of an enquiring mind.


The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero by Robert Kaplan is another well written and interesting book that explores the history of this concept (including the religious debate it inspired).
01/06/2006 06:06:01 PM · #89
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

... we were discussing his current work on the nature of sentience/intelligence/consciousness. His thinking is that this is born in, or found in, the capacity to reason from analogy (I am oversimplifying grotesquely here).


I have read from various sources about the development of human consciousness, and there is a very convincing theory that it developed within societies. If you could understand the consequences of your actions in someone else's mind, and act accordingly, then the primitive "politics" you could employ would confer an evolutionary advantage. The better you could predict the reactions of more people, the more deviously you could act but at the cost of requiring huge amounts of brain power. Evidence of early development of this kind has been observed in chimps: a beta male was seen shielding his erection from the view of alpha male but keeping it in view of alpha male's mate. Ie he knew the likely reaction of alpha male, and acted deviously taking that into account. This behaviour has only been observed in animals with the greatest intelligence. Humans can take a few hundred likely reactions into account when making a decision, almost unconsciously.

I have recently read further into the function of the human mind and understand that scanning reveals that when shown another person undergoing a certain experience, the mind replicates the activity of the mind of the person undergoing that experience: I presume that this is the reason that we cringe when we see someone fall over, as we can "feel" their pain. This natural reaction appears to accord with the importance of mind "reading" within our development as a species.

This seems to be broadly in line with your discussions: intelligence develops from the ability to understand intangible concepts.
01/06/2006 06:14:58 PM · #90
Originally posted by graphicfunk:

observe the semantics and the meaning of "natural law" the implication here is a sense of order. When the amoeba detects an uncomfortable state it tries to move to a more favorable position. To follow this natural law is just as blind as believing in God.


Why? Under normal circumstances, if you drop a brick, it will fall. If you heat water past its boiling point, it will evaporate. If you break the surface tension of a bubble, it will pop. That's just the way things work, and it isn't necessary for someone to have written the rules for that to be the case. In the absence of guidance, any action is still going to have a result.

While our understanding of the universe is indeed limited, that doesn't mean we must ascribe the unknown to magic. We can no more prove or disprove the existence of God than we can prove or disprove the existence of Zeus, but we now know that there isn't a giant guy in a toga lobbing lightning bolts from the sky. We don't have to believe in miracles to observe and appreciate the miraculous. ;-)
01/06/2006 06:42:02 PM · #91
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by scalvert:

My contention was that a sentient being could not have created the first life because the being itself is sentient (i.e. alive), thus life already existed.


There is life without sentience, clearly: bacteria are alive but are not sentient. I have no problem accepting the idea of sentience without life. What does it mean to be "alive" anyway? This is a slippery slope.


Perhaps I should have included sapience? While my description may not be worded correctly, the point remains. I'm pretty sure that most people would consider a sapient and sentient being with advanced knowledge and the independent capacity to create, move, communicate, express emotion and reproduce to be alive. Something that is alive cannot itself be the originator of life.
01/06/2006 07:04:38 PM · #92
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by scalvert:

My contention was that a sentient being could not have created the first life because the being itself is sentient (i.e. alive), thus life already existed.


There is life without sentience, clearly: bacteria are alive but are not sentient. I have no problem accepting the idea of sentience without life. What does it mean to be "alive" anyway? This is a slippery slope.


Perhaps I should have included sapience? While my description may not be worded correctly, the point remains. I'm pretty sure that most people would consider a sapient and sentient being with advanced knowledge and the independent capacity to create, move, communicate, express emotion and reproduce to be alive. Something that is alive cannot itself be the originator of life.


I don't think there's a semantic issue here re sentience/sapience. so don't worry about that :-) And you DO understand I'm debating you here, not proselytizing, right? I'm a pretty "scientific" guy, myself. That said:

I agree with you that "I'm pretty sure that most people would consider a sapient and sentient being with advanced knowledge and the independent capacity to create, move, communicate, express emotion and reproduce to be alive."

My point is more that I don't think it is inconceivable that sentience/sapience can exist in a non-corporal form; This "intelligence" (for want of a better term) would be everywhere and nowhere, it would have no need of communication perhaps, it might have no need of reproduction, etc etc. It just "is" what it is; a vast consciousness.

Now, we have ample anecdotal and (arguably) practical evidence that the mind is capable of influencing the physical world. Its a given that scientists will debunk this and seek alternate explanations of it; after all, we no longer believe in "magic". But I don't write it off that easily. I think there's a relationship that runs both ways in terms of causality and reality. I'm not alone in this, and the subject has been debated for centuries. So, I repeat, this "universal consciousness" conceivably can exist in a non-corporeal form.

What you've done is ascribe "conditions" on its existence that force it into the "alive" modality that is most realistic to you. One thing we do know, to a certainty; no system can contain and demonstrate its own proof. Everything we accept as "true" depends upon axioms, unprovable but "logical" building blocks. Change the axioms, and you change the perceived nature of "reality". We are all captives of our own minds. This seems obvious to me. That's why I try to expand mine, rather than trying to force confusing or contradictory things into the mindset I already own.

R.

edit to add: I am NOT saying you, personally, have a closed mind, I am speaking of myself only when I say this. In fact, you seem quite open-minded to me, all in all :-)

Message edited by author 2006-01-06 19:05:37.
01/06/2006 07:18:50 PM · #93
I'm not positive I'm in the flow of this argument, but I think I am. This is a different vein however.

The easiest to understand "magic" thing we tend to believe in is Free Will. Most people believe they are in total control of their actions; that they could do one thing or another in the exact same situation. This however goes beyond and scientific laws we currently understand and, in fact, contradicts them.

So if we can believe in this in a modern world? Why not believe in a "ghost" intelligence, for lack of better name.
01/06/2006 07:23:16 PM · #94
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

My point is more that I don't think it is inconceivable that sentience/sapience can exist in a non-corporal form; This "intelligence" (for want of a better term) would be everywhere and nowhere, it would have no need of communication perhaps, it might have no need of reproduction, etc etc. It just "is" what it is; a vast consciousness.


I'm just working from the only evidence available. If a being is non-corporeal, then there are apparent conflicts with Adam's rib, fashioning people from clay, burning bushes and other tangible acts in the physical world, not to mention forming humans in his image. As for reproduction, did we not just celebrate a notable birthday?

I had an epiphany earlier today that models the universe as a conversion loop between matter and energy that could explain both the Big Bang and the universe we see today. I started to write it down in an earlier post, but while the concept is breathtakingly simple, the explanation was taking forever. I do enjoy a good debate, though. ;-)
01/06/2006 07:48:45 PM · #95
I think Hawking has proven that our universe is not a "yo-yo" universe. That is, it isn't an endless loop of expansion and contraction.
01/06/2006 07:56:54 PM · #96
Yes, but that's not quite what I was thinking of.
01/06/2006 08:44:03 PM · #97
The answer is coming soon:
//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060105/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_religion_court_2
01/06/2006 09:03:49 PM · #98
Now the governor of Texas is proposing that intelligent design be taught in our school system. I'd prefer that they get the basics down first before adding "pop" classes...
01/06/2006 10:05:25 PM · #99
Again: the real answers are evasive. My stand is not that of the agnostic, agnostics are like moderates sitting on a fence waiting to be convined one way or the other. The one thing I can say with dead certainty is that the more we learn, the less we know. yes, some of us take pride in our intellectual achievements and defend our positions because somehow we feel privileged but such is vanity. But our new knowledge has given rise to a new myriad of questions which remain unanswered. I tremble the moment I think I have unveiled a universal truth. I then run it to the trashing machine and while i see another answer of something, I see now a new set of questions and many i know have no answers.

Look, it all depends how we deal with knowledge. No one can feed me truism that I will accept. To accept without proof is to go on faith and while faith is good, it leaves a vastness of uncertanties. The fact of the matter is that the secret to life can not be found in one branch of learning. We can learn by rote certain dictums and repeat them but it does not mean we understand. The moment we think we understand we fall prey to our vanity. What it means is that we seek and seek but no man has died with the truth revealed. It can not be distilled into paragraph, book or thesis. The web spreads too wide.

Like you and all involved here, I enjoy such explorations, but not one of us have seen the top side of the elephant. Not one of us is so enlightened. We all still employ faith in our daily life because otherwise we will never cross the street. We accept teachings and while much makes sense much remains faith because we are unable to prove every premise. We use logic and yet we are not disturbed when logic meets a dead end. We simply disengage and follow a different path.

01/06/2006 10:07:27 PM · #100
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by scalvert:

My contention was that a sentient being could not have created the first life because the being itself is sentient (i.e. alive), thus life already existed.


There is life without sentience, clearly: bacteria are alive but are not sentient. I have no problem accepting the idea of sentience without life. What does it mean to be "alive" anyway? This is a slippery slope. We are getting closer and closer to being able to create computers that "think", i.e. are "sentient"; would these computers be "alive"? It's a classic theme in the fiction of science.

Douglas Hofstadter, a remarkable intellect, has done much work in this area. Have you read his 30-year old Pulitzer prize winner "Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid"? I cannot recommend it too highly :-) He's moved on quite a ways from that, but the groundwork is fascinating. I spoke with him 18 months or so ago when he visited here (he was a classmate of my sister's) and we were discussing his current work on the nature of sentience/intelligence/consciousness. His thinking is that this is born in, or found in, the capacity to reason from analogy (I am oversimplifying grotesquely here). It can't seem to be pinpointed or "mapped". I pointed out to him that this "unmappable, unlocatable something" might correspond precisely with what we have heretofore called the "soul", and that if we DO succeed in "creating" a machine with true consciousness we will arguably have created a machine with a soul.

The very controversial scientist Julian Jaynes, in his "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Brain" makes a compelling argument that human beings have only recently (as in, "within historical time") actually evolved what we now call "consciousness", and he uses text-based analysis of, among other things, the Iliad and the Odyssey to make his point.

Robt.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A fascinating book that creates a spiral for the reader to climb. I loved it and even though it is big, I wish it were bigger.
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