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Aguazul's Avatar Joined about 2 years ago
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Go to: Para-naturalistic theories cannot lead to practical engineering

Aguazul's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Aguazul

Wow, raytoman, where did all that come from? I am not at all religious. Where did you get that idea?

I studied degree-level Physics, I have a science background. Just I see Science as a partial view of reality. Well, anyone could tell you it is a partial view of reality or else what are all the leading-edge scientists working on discovering? So there is stuff yet to be discovered, and probably it is where you least expect it or where it is hardest to access (if you're a scientist) or else you'd already have found it.

Inside someone else's head is one place where science cannot yet observe in detail, the process of perception and consciousness in general. No machine can yet record my perceptions or memories in enough detail to be much use (although they are trying). So if something unusual happens to me, there is no way I can prove it to you. But I myself can build up a world-view that covers all that I've experienced, and increase my own knowledge and understanding. I'm analytical and curious enough never to be happy with a convenient explanation. Hmmm, it's impossible to convince you though, as you have no access to the evidence. Never mind.

Fri, 17 Aug 2012 21:39:14 UTC | #950971

Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

Aguazul's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Aguazul

@RobW, regarding morality. I don't know much about theoretical discussions, but tracing back the influences on myself, I find that the religious stories told in my childhood were designed to give examples of good and bad, right and wrong, and listening I found myself agreeing and disagreeing, so they were an influence. Actually, I think this is probably the main focus of CofE religious education for younger children in the UK -- rather than the child brainwashing and manipulation that some mention from the US. Also there are some common cultural ideas derived from religion in the UK (or Scotland at least) such as: Salvation through hard work, showing off is being big-headed, suffering is beneficial, whatever. So we should all be living in spartan white cells flogging ourselves daily: No fun for us!

To me morality is a set of rules partly designed so that a society functions well, and partly designed to guide an individual towards activities that suit the designs of whoever created the moral code. Maybe that is to be more spiritual, or maybe to be more productive, or whatever. In any case, to me morals are designed, and then taught. I don't see how they can be derived from empathy. Empathy is a feeling not a set of rules. Part of the journey is breaking and remaking parts of our inherited moral code.

Travelling reveals how the basic underlying morals change from place to place, revealed in what results people expect from different actions. Thinking about here in Peru, the old Inca commandments were: Don't lie, Don't steal, Don't be lazy (I think only the third one is still in force). Whereas we might use anger and threats if we weren't getting our way in a negotiation, a country Peruvian would softly explain in detail their whole sorry situation. I guess this might be based on an cultural expectation of empathy -- but it would never fly in the UK.

To your point about finally accepting that you were a Jew -- I can find a similar experience when I understood that I have Scottish roots (which I didn't know for much of my life). Suddenly a lot of things made sense. I had inherited a lot of Scottish baggage without knowing it, which had influenced my life in many ways (good and bad). Looking back it all started fitting together. So I need to look to Scottish culture and history to understand myself better: seafaring, clan warfare, Scottish Christianity, and so on. Now I've identified it, there are things I don't like about having inherited all this stuff, but what am I going to do? It is part of me. What I dislike, I have to resolve inside myself, and denying it isn't going to work. There are positive things to call on too, though.

To me the feeling of Jewishness is really complex and convoluted, and quite subtle and semi-contradictory as well. I'm not sure I'd like to live with it, but you don't seem to be asking to be saved from it. What are you saying? "Here I am, I've fallen back into my underlying Jewish cultural patterns and they feel just like a comfortable old pair of slippers, does this push any buttons for anyone?" The point about religion being the practice of rituals rather than the believing of notions was interesting though. Rituals are very powerful -- the feeling of singing in the school Chapel choir for packed Christmas services is etched forever in my memory. It doesn't make me a Christian, though -- or would you say that it does?

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 22:48:17 UTC | #950907

Go to: Para-naturalistic theories cannot lead to practical engineering

Aguazul's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Aguazul

I never said I was describing science. I was describing gathering knowledge about aspects of nature that science (as currently defined) chooses to disregard. So there is the whole of nature, and then within that there is the part of nature that fits the requirements of science for analysis. Anything that doesn't fit the requirements cannot be understood with science as it stands.

I claim that Science cannot encompass all knowledge about Nature because it intentionally limits itself in order to eliminate problems due to humans not being perfect observers. What we perceive is an interaction between our consciousness, our unconscious assumptions and the event being perceived. Science gets around this by assuming an ideal rational observer, which is really an illusion, a product of scientific culture consisting of hidden assumptions. With different assumptions, different perceptions are possible. I'm not talking about hallucinations or madness or flights of fancy, I'm talking about self-consistent world-views that just happen to be different to the traditional Western-scientific view.

What scientists call objective reality is a combination of actual fundamental reality (which no-one can perceive directly) and the 'scientific-objective' state of awareness. Objective reality is not something separate from us -- it is deeply entangled with our assumptions. Only by better understanding the mechanisms of perception within our consciousness does this become clearer, and then it also becomes clearer that there is more to learn beyond the so-called 'objective reality' of scientists.

From a personal perspective, this means looking out for any perceptions that don't seem to fit the rules, and carefully analysing them to see what they can reveal about either the nature of reality, or the nature of human perception. For me that also means pushing myself to do things that cause unusual states -- for example exercise beyond exhaustion, walking in nature, or any number of what might be referred to as 'spiritual' practices. A few cause repeatable unusual perceptions, others are impossible to repeat, but each unusual perception can uncover a bit more if properly investigated. I think most people would dismiss unusual perceptions as merely a 'glitch' in the human machine, an unexplained hallucination, "the mind playing tricks" or whatever, without taking the trouble to wonder whether their hasty analysis is correct. I would say that most people would not want their comfortable assumptions about the world to be challenged. However for me each one is an opportunity to learn more.

Yes, your approach of trying to understand your "UFO sighting" is exactly what I'm talking about, i.e. don't dismiss it, don't necessarily believe it either, but do be honest that you've seen something unusual. Then try and form an understanding, if at all possible.

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 20:06:36 UTC | #950839

Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

Aguazul's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Aguazul

Just picking up on one aspect, of the "living and enduring philosophy" derived from the religious/cultural "package". I tried previously to raise the question of where our sense of right and wrong comes from, our morality if you like. Science provides little guidance on this, and where it has been used it has gone badly ("greed is good" or ethnic cleansing or whatever). So Atheists must be getting their morality from some other source.

I wonder where people here feel that their sense of right and wrong comes from? I would guess for most it has its origins in the religious teachings that their ancestors received, and then passed on in their upbringing. Even I as a non-religious person can clearly recognise the habit of self-deprecation in myself (i.e. it is wrong to blow your own horn, or talk yourself up), which has its root in Scottish Christian thought. Even brought up away from Scotland and actively opposed to religion as a child, still this aspect has been incorporated in my sense of right and wrong.

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 13:49:21 UTC | #950819

Go to: Para-naturalistic theories cannot lead to practical engineering

Aguazul's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Aguazul

To voxu:

As we deal with events which are less and less likely to happen, the science becomes more and more difficult. What happens when we get to the stage where we'd be lucky if it happens once in ten years? Then we'd better make sure we're ready to record it in full detail. That one recording, that one data point is gold. There is no realistic hope of getting another one in a reasonable timespan. If you insist on repeatability, then you're saying that science can't use those rare observations, you're making a limit beyond which science cannot operate. This is nothing about the nature of truth or reality, rather it is about the artificial limits that science has made for itself. This is why to go beyond science to see more of reality, you have to adjust the groundrules a little, including being more flexible about repeatability as I suggested.

Mon, 13 Aug 2012 21:01:13 UTC | #950758

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