Friday Roundup

When you don’t really understand something, just call Captain Metaphysics!

The march for science wasn’t anti-religion and neither are most scientists.

Rather than the supposed cure, education may have different effects when it comes to Christianity and community.

‘I want to encourage people to keep an open mind and not to dismiss ideas because they don’t match their preconceived notions.’  Always wise to do, whether it is physics or philosophy.

The question, at this point, is how much longer can this myth be inhabited–how much longer before it becomes clear the emperor has no clothes?

Is there a real difference between living and dead matter?  Or, are we zombies?  Organic computers?

Empathy is great and critical but it has to be more than an emotional response–it has to be embodied, it has to be enacted.  Politics without empathy gets you, at worst, the Holocaust, at best, what we are currently experiencing.

Has it only been 100 days?  It feels like a thousand.

 

 

 

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8 Responses to Friday Roundup

  1. Burk says:

    Hi, Darrell-

    Thanks for the Lee Cronin link- what a crank! It is a much more diffucult problem than he seems to think it is. He is on a better track later on, in his quest to do a trillion micro-experiments with different conditions- this kind of approach has been very successful for other needs. All the same, it is highly unlikely that we will reproduce this kind of rare and slow event.

    But to the basic question.. he and I certainly share the same premise- the naturalist position that life partakes of no special properties not available from the natural world, right up to our consciousness. That is the way it seems from all available evidence, other than our vanity and narcissism, and does not really need further evidence at this point. But cracking the origin of life issue would be a nice addition to the story, as would a final pinning down of all our mental operations in physical terms.

    I wonder how the opposite, vitalist position maintains otherwise. As usual, one can’t just take one’s intuition at face value, so if one tries to transcend that, to a factual level, one gets a pretty relentless diet of naturalism. If you prick us, do we not bleed?

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    • Burk,

      “…It is a much more diffucult problem than he seems to think it is.”

      Indeed, much more difficult than many seem to think.

      “…That is the way it seems from all available evidence…”

      Well, that is the way it seems if one lives on a relentless diet of naturalism and views all the available evidence through that faith-held philosophical frame of reference. I would say one needs to expand his diet somewhat.

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  2. Burk,

    When someone looks at something from a different perspective, acknowledging they are coming at it from a different philosophical frame of reference, such isn’t “fake news.” What’s fake is when someone confuses “facts” for philosophy and says things like well “science” tells us, or the “facts” tell us such and such. So, instead of saying “all the available evidence” tells us such and such, just be honest and say, “From the philosophical perspective of naturalism, I would interpret the available evidence to mean such and such.” No one would disagree with that. Of course it would mean that if we looked at it from that perspective. Where the discussion should really lie is whether or not what we gather the evidence to mean is reasonable, given what we know in other areas of human knowledge, experience, and where there is some wide-ranging consensus. I don’t think naturalism or scientism does very well in that regard.

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    • Burk says:

      Hi, Darrell-

      Well, from the philosophical perspective of naturalism, weights drop from high to low elevations, and evolution happened to shape life as we see it, and life is a great big pile of molecular interactions and reactions.

      The problem is that you seem to think that other perspectives have other valid things to say about this. Perhaps from the philosophical perspective of Trumpism, Donald Trump created life as we know it, and continues to underpin it globally due to his winning huge-ness. Right?

      You can’t just take a perspective as some kind of talisman /black box and not look into its validity. Some perspectives are complete bunk. That is why paradigm shifts happen. That goes for superstition, as it goes for supernaturalism and related forms of obfuscation that fail any and every evidential test, even as they appeal to our most primitive archetypes and vanities.

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      • Burk,

        Those are not the views of naturalism but also encompassed by Christian views and other reasonable views. Simply noting a fact is not naturalism. You miss the point. The crux comes when we begin to say what we think, as noted in the link, what “life” really means, or what these facts mean at the point where they would become relevant to a philosophical question. Yes, some perspectives we can dismiss, Trumpism and such, but neither naturalism or Christian views fall into what can be dismissed so readily. Yes, paradigm shifts do happen, and, for instance is why the positivists (hint, hint) are no longer around. I do think other perspectives have valid things to say–that is called tolerance and humility. We should all try it a bit more.

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      • Burk says:

        Hi, Darrell-

        That is a very interesting judgement series- how some views are dismissable, and others aren’t. I am telling you directly that the religious views on the nature of life (not its meaning!) are, insofar as they differ from naturalism, dismissable. There is such a vast gulf between the seriousness, explicitness, and yes, evidence from the naturalist side, compared to the humbug, frankly, from the religious side, that the comparison is absurd.

        On the meaning of life and our subjective, aesthetic attitudes towards it, each other, life generally, etc., religions have a great deal to say, as do other philosophical and artistic traditions and innovators. These threads are of continuing vitality, especially now in our enervated age. But to think in your heart of hearts that the hand of god guided evolution, or sparked life, or grants us souls, or runs our consciousness.. all that is sheer nonsense and dismissable.

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  3. Burk,

    We all make those judgments, as you are doing here-you are telling us my views are indeed dismissable. I know you think you can dismiss Christian views. Unfortunately, outside your tiny community, they are still considered reasonable. And you are still not quite getting the point. It’s not just to the question of the meaning of life that any fact or piece of evidence might be pointed to, but many questions and issues–such as the very nature of life–that is still a philosophical question. Christian views fall into that area of reasonableness, consistency with other areas of human knowledge and experience, and wide-ranging consensus. There is no vast gulf in the least. In fact, it is your scientism that can’t meet this test very well. However, I still don’t think it should be dismissed. I think we can learn much from the naturalism viewpoint, one aspect being that it does help to keep people from simply spouting nonsense such as we hear from the people who support Trump and so forth. So feel free to dismiss other viewpoints, mine included, but that is the way of a closed and narrow mind.

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