So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Moderator » Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:34 pm

Wow.

"What was it God was doing before making the Universe???"


This could be fun.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:07 pm

I can deal with mystery.

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby cynic » Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:05 pm

"What was it God was doing before making the Universe???"

playing video games
follow your bliss,mike

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Moderator » Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:08 pm

cynic wrote:"What was it God was doing before making the Universe???"

playing video games



This does explain the extensive use of visual effects.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby cynic » Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:38 pm

it's almost like being there, as if it's actually happening.

but of course it can't be, it's just too absurd. :lol:
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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Moderator » Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:36 pm

cynic wrote:it's almost like being there, as if it's actually happening.

but of course it can't be, it's just too absurd. :lol:


Well...to be factual...everything you see in the universe isn't actually "happening". In some cases it happened a long time ago. (In a galaxy far, far away.)
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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby cynic » Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:17 pm

"everything you see in the universe isn't actually "happening" "

while it is not my contention, some would insist that is mere relativistic speculation.

a virtual reality video game as reality explains all.
follow your bliss,mike

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Ezra Lb. » Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:11 pm

If there are multiple universes like Hawking thinks do they come into being all together or in some sort of sequence like flowers blooming in a garden? And would that garden be some sort of extra-dimensional fundamental state or merely another level in a nested series that goes on forever?

:shock: :? :shock:

My head hurts.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby cynic » Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:28 pm

while there are differing views of a finite number or infinite multiverses, both leave room for nested, various other modes of interconnectedness, as well as entirely separate and unique realities.

or not.
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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Duane » Thu Nov 18, 2010 7:08 pm

Something that occurred to me the other day:

In the 200,000 year history of the human race (and even farther back if older versions of us had consciousness), religious thought has ALWAYS been intertwined with the physical world, and it's only been in the last 500 years that we've been able to tease the physical world out of the mix. Starting with Copernicus, picking up speed with Newton and maturing with Darwin and Einstein, this is a REALLY NEW development in our history. In fact, it's younger than the advent of Western Civilization.

And with all new revolutions, there is a push-back.

Which is why I'm such a fan of the Non Overlapping Magisteria idea that Stephen Jay Gould references. The physical universe has its rules and methods of inquiry; faith has its rules and methods of inquiry. These two magisteria, obviously, don't encompass all possible inquiry. I think Art occupies a realm of its own, for example.

Most religions are really struggling with this. There is 199,500 years of forcing the physical world to conform with the spiritual one that we have to beat back. I believe that Catholicism and mainstream Judaism have acknowledged this, and I know for a fact that Mormonism has begun the process as well.

I remember growing up hearing about a 6,000 year old Earth, a world encompassing flood and other myths purported as gospel, and this was relatively recently, in the 70's and 80's. These myths have been disposed of (my alma mater Brigham Young University teaches evolution as fact without alluding to pointless "controversies," and tells any students troubled by it to consult their ecclesiastical leaders), and it's only among the very old (or very Republican) that these things are brought up as problems. Lately, the Church itself has, in a way, distanced itself from comment on scientific matters, saying, for example that it has "no official opinion" on subjects such as stem cell research.

But there are artifacts. The whole Blacks and the priesthood thing, for example. The original belief was that Blacks descended from a lineage that was not valiant in the gospel, so they (and their posterity) forfeited certain rights and blessings. And honestly, the Church was ready to move away from that way before 1979, but it simply had to wait for a certain generation of Church leaders to pass away before a consensus could be reached (there has to be unanimous consent before changes in policy).

After all, we ALL walked out of Africa, folks.

Then there was the whole Equal Rights Amendment fight, then, lately, Prop 8.

It will be interesting to see what the Church (and others) does over the next few decades. I think we WILL see a rising separation between organizations like Catholicism, mainstream Judaism, Mormonism and others and the more fundamental congregations who ever feverishly cling to certain literal beliefs that make less and less sense in a more informed world.

Joanna Brooks is a woman I used to attend church with. She writes some illuminating articles on how the church (and religion in general) is coping with a rapidly changing, and more rational, world.

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby cynic » Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:13 pm

duane ,
an article you may enjoy
http://ncse.com/religion/origin-myths
follow your bliss,mike

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Ezra Lb. » Fri Nov 19, 2010 8:28 am

FrankChurch wrote:I can deal with mystery.


Ok but you'll have to explain to me how your statement is different from

There are some things I am content to be ignorant about.

Nothing is worth the price of limiting our inquiries, not even peace of mind. There might be ultimate limits on what we can know but let's push them as far as we can. And finding those ultimate limits will itself be a victory.

Duane, paradoxically perhaps for a self-described atheist, my problem with the concept of "non-overlapping magisteria" is from the religious side. What religionist is content to have his religion remain totally private, personal and subjective? Many of you will raise your hand but you are a subset of a subset. Most of even the liberal religious folks think that when they talk about god or religion that they are saying something about the world. And what is religion about if not community? And if you talk about the world you cannot exclude science.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby FrankChurch » Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:04 pm

This brings me back to black matter. Nobody knows what it is or why it does what it does. Mystery, baby, mystery.

Human nature is still pretty mysterious. For years we thought children were born selfish, when they are actually quite ecumenical. Obviously, parenting is part of it.

Notice how kids like to help mommy make dinner or wash dishes, at least at a young age before they grow up to realize that work sucks.

Alfie Kohn has uttered some marvy studies on this.

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Duane » Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:21 pm

Frank, if you're referring to DARK MATTER, we actually know quite a bit about it. We know, for example, that it interacts weakly with baryonic matter (the stuff we're made of), and that it exerts gravitational force. From direct observations of colliding galaxies and dust clouds, we know that there is SIX TIMES more dark matter than baryonic matter.

Not exactly what it's made of, though, but we know what it ISN'T made of: protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks, etc.

Pick up the November issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN next time you're at the library or bookstore. Read all about it. We don't know what it is exactly, but we're getting close.

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Re: So I consider myself a Rational Humanist, apparently

Postby Ezra Lb. » Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:26 pm

FrankChurch wrote:This brings me back to black matter. Nobody knows what it is or why it does what it does. Mystery, baby, mystery.

Human nature is still pretty mysterious.


You're missing the point. I don't deny that there are mysteries aplenty. The difference is how you respond to them. Fall on your knees and sing praises to your ignorance? Or do your best to understand even if your knowledge is provisional and limited?

Only the second attitude is worthy of human beings.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter


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