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Old 12-01-2013, 06:27 PM
 
31,385 posts, read 32,096,081 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post

ovcatto is not a person I care to engage.
A wise decision.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:43 PM
 
31,385 posts, read 32,096,081 times
Reputation: 14896
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
I can't resist pointing out that comets do not enter our atmosphere and if they did it WOULD be cause, even in the 21st century, for running in terror of the end of the world ;-)
See that's what happens when you write in haste and get sloppy. You confuse comets with astroids and in the same sentence say things like comets don't enter earth atmosphere.

‘Shockwave Of Fire’ Rained Down After Old Comet Strike On Earth, Scientists Say

Quote:
I was speaking to a very limited aspect of knowledge, that causes us to have a more clinical and matter of fact approach to things, which itself is both good and bad.
Which as little bearing on the topic or spirit of the topic, which is, knowledge and the devaluation of human gods.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:08 PM
 
243 posts, read 389,662 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
In bulmabriefs' thread questioning logical atheism, I made a couple references to many atheists being in their own way as deluded about the universe as theists. I think the sentiment(s) expressed above demonstrate my point (although NDT refuses to be characterized as an atheist, FWIW). Anyway, IMO, this tendency to describe the universe as beautiful is not all that far removed from religious delusion. At its core, there is nothing beautiful about the machinations of physics. Nothing. But some of our best scientists (and, believe me, I can and will endorse a well-written Sagan passage as much as the self-proclaimed "naturalistic pantheist" might) are "victimized" by (and/or gifted with) this default (and/or fortunate) bias.

I'd like to challenge Tyson or Krauss (can't challenge Sagan, unfortunately) or anyone else (including you the reader) to spend some length of time where they TRULY consider the workings of physics that are occurring (mostly invisibly) all around them on a daily basis. Not simply as some distant or semi-distant phenomenon...but as the moment-to-moment reality that it (collectively) is.

I personally think any conception of beauty is significantly, perhaps entirely, a function of some form of ignorance. Or in lieu of ignorance, intoxication...which is why I thank my naturalistic non-gods for the existence of EtOH, as I have a difficult time imagining beauty aside from when I'm under its influence. I don't at all mean to imply that I'm not ignorant in many ways...but I do have a hard time finding beauty in day-to-day sober existence when my default mindset is to attempt to "think rationally" about everything....

But combine IPAs with music and, voila, synergistic effect:


The Flaming Lips - Embryonic (FULL ALBUM) - YouTube

On the other forum I post on semi-regularly, someone recently posted an Einstein quote about how, to paraphrase, he couldn't conceive of a reductionist explanation for everything, because to do that would be to reduce a Beethoven symphony to being a mere variation in wave pressure. Well, sure...and like him I'd have my same subjective reasons for wanting to withstand a theoretical explanation for everything. Doesn't mean it can't be done, though (to some as-yet-unknown margin of error). "Should" is a different question entirely. I'll end this rambling discursive post by saying that at some point in the near future we may have to take seriously the question about whether or not to try to institute a (surely futile by that point, but) moratorium on scientific research, so as to try and preserve some of the "wonder" in life.

(Dawkins being another who, say in "Unweaving The Rainbow", makes the argument for a sense of aesthetic appreciation being augmented by actual knowledge of the true workings of things...I disagree entirely. I used to be entranced by things when I did not really know what they were or how they worked. I still don't have a practical understanding of many things, but the theoretical understanding exists for, well, everything. There is a real sense of loss there, and I entirely disagree with his thesis and those that are more or less advanced in Ohio Hello's post above)
Well that was a bit of a downer ....it read pretty much like "ignorance is bliss". Your post certainly made me examine my own beliefs more deeply though.

I had a long response typed out to this, but it went off on a tangent that didn't directly address most of your post. So I'll start again with hopefully more organized thoughts. EDIT: this didn't happen; they're still a mess.

I don't completely disagree with you. The more one understands the workings of maths, or physics, or chemistry, or biology, or on and on up the chain of science, the less mysterious the world around us becomes. Religion thrives off the mysterious and the unknown; it's why IMO education is the greatest thief of faith. My own personal educational path focused/focuses on biology, so my understanding of the intricate workings of the non-biological unseen is vague, but present.

I like those quotes in my original post because they remind me of moments in my life when I did feel an unmistakeable, biological, emotional response to the universe. The first time I sat in a field near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and saw the Milky Way. The first time I looked through a telescope and saw Saturn's rings. The first time I saw a photo of the Earth taken from space and realized I couldn't even make out my city. For me, they were beautiful. I'm curious if any of those would evoke emotion from you, or if you would just see groups of stars, discs of ice, and land amongst oceans. I'm not saying it's the wrong way of seeing them, but just different than what I'm used to.

These profound moments have been few and far between, but nonetheless they were fleeting seconds of understanding followed by the harsh reality that I'll never truly understand. Makes perfect sense, huh? I may understand the properties of light, or the basics of gravity, or that the starlight my eyes are intercepting is billions of years old, but as our Christian friends love to point out, none of our cleverest scientists have yet explained precisely how it all began. That's still mysterious -- still wondrous and awe inspiring.

The difference between these experiences and an adopted religion is that these are brief instances on the timeline of my life where I organically came to the conclusion that they had some sort of meaning, whereas religion seeks to artificially inject meaning into every second of your life and inherently governs your actions in order to achieve whatever desired result or feeling is required to belong to the faith.

To get to the point, I don't see this as the same as religious delusion. It's real, it's observable, testable, results support it, it's in front of me. I don't have to believe in a sky god because there's a sky right in front of me every day and night, bringing with it life, death, and window beyond our planet, and the REALLY exciting thing to me about it is that people far more educated than I can study it and make sense out of what was previously attributed to a group of deities, or later, a bipolar single deity.

You say that beauty may be a function of ignorance or perhaps intoxication. I can buy in to that, although I'd say intoxication is more likely. The euphoria I feel -- all those lovely chemicals mixing about in my brain and making my heart flutter -- when I'm say, standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, sure feels stronger and more satisfying than any drink or drug I've tried. I like your alcohol and music example and coincidentally, the Flaming Lips is the only band I can only listen to only when proper stoned; otherwise it's just a bunch of strange noise. I wonder if that's why, say, peyote plays a part in some American Indian rituals? Do mind altering substances provide a religious experience -- an escape from the known, even if it's not a conventional faith? If so, can sex?

Another thought that just came to me is that maybe our personalities are just a bit different. I'm a very emotional person (NOT because I'm an emotional woman, but person. We've had that discussion in another thread ). Rom com's make me happy cry, a book can put me in a melancholy mood for days, puppies make me burst with joy, etc., etc. Not to say you're an emotionless robot, but perhaps the manner or degree to which we respond to emotion is completely different. Which is fine. We'd never have the Temple Grandin's of the world if we were all the same.

In the end, I'm still an atheist. In the end, I still believe truth is more important than fairy tales.

Quote:
But some of our best scientists (and, believe me, I can and will endorse a well-written Sagan passage as much as the self-proclaimed "naturalistic pantheist" might) are "victimized" by (and/or gifted with) this default (and/or fortunate) bias.
I think it's interesting that you don't take a solid stance one way or another if they're strictly victimized or gifted with this maybe or maybe not fortunate bias.

----------------------

I tried to imagine what thinking like you might feel like. My result? Our emotions are nothing more than the chemical reactions happening within our bodies in response to any number of stimuli. That's taking it to the extreme, but it feels too bleak for my tastes. There's that word again: feels.

I'm glad I never made it past basic physics in college if I am forced to see the world in the my most basic level of understanding. If that were the case, I would have majored in English Lit and I could choose to quote great writers in response when asked how I perceived something (oh, wait, I just did in my last post. Maybe science wasn't the right choice for me ).

You may be right about the "wonder of life" needing to be preserved, or we'll all need to supplement our mornings with a daily dose of Wild Turkey. Unless a tendency to to downplay emotion is somehow bred out of humankind though, I don't see this happening in the future.
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Old 12-03-2013, 06:44 PM
 
31,385 posts, read 32,096,081 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio Hello View Post
You say that beauty may be a function of ignorance or perhaps intoxication. I can buy in to that, although I'd say intoxication is more likely. The euphoria I feel -- all those lovely chemicals mixing about in my brain and making my heart flutter -- when I'm say, standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, sure feels stronger and more satisfying than any drink or drug I've tried. I like your alcohol and music example and coincidentally, the Flaming Lips is the only band I can only listen to only when proper stoned; otherwise it's just a bunch of strange noise. I wonder if that's why, say, peyote plays a part in some American Indian rituals? Do mind altering substances provide a religious experience -- an escape from the known, even if it's not a conventional faith? If so, can sex?
Yeah, right! Great musicians like Charlie Parker, Miles and Coltrane thought that they could be more creative high but only produced the worst recordings of their careers.

As for beauty being a function of ignorance... is pure ignorance, the kind of ignorance that leads people to believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, and the universe was created by a bearded gentlemen in the sky! Oh, science will destroy my faith.. oh my! If man is the result of mere happenstance what makes man special if there is no after life and my bottom dissolves in so many elements, atoms and particles why do I put up with the vicissitude‎ of life.

No my friends, beauty comes form being able to deeply grasp that which is before you.

When I first heard a Lightin Hopkins slow blues in A, I was enchanted but when I learned how he constructed his chords, manipulated a string to transform a note and the progression that he used to bring him back to the root note, my appreciation of the song increased exponentially.

The first time that I actually saw Ansel Adam's Moon Rise Over Hernandez I knew that I was looking at a remarkable work of art and it drove me to learn how the work was produced. The desire to know his technique is the same desire that has driven mankind's inquiry into the not only art but the world around us and our universe. The strive for knowledge of the wonders of our world is a quintessentially human trait. The desire for ignorance to just be held in awe is base and primitive. It is the same lack of motivation that drives some to be satisfied with the ignorance of "god did it."

Knowledge is inseparable from the true appreciation of beauty.
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:23 PM
 
243 posts, read 389,662 times
Reputation: 551
Quote:
Originally Posted by ovcatto View Post
Yeah, right! Great musicians like Charlie Parker, Miles and Coltrane thought that they could be more creative high but only produced the worst recordings of their careers.

As for beauty being a function of ignorance... is pure ignorance, the kind of ignorance that leads people to believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, and the universe was created by a bearded gentlemen in the sky! Oh, science will destroy my faith.. oh my! If man is the result of mere happenstance what makes man special if there is no after life and my bottom dissolves in so many elements, atoms and particles why do I put up with the vicissitude‎ of life.

No my friends, beauty comes form being able to deeply grasp that which is before you.

When I first heard a Lightin Hopkins slow blues in A, I was enchanted but when I learned how he constructed his chords, manipulated a string to transform a note and the progression that he used to bring him back to the root note, my appreciation of the song increased exponentially.

The first time that I actually saw Ansel Adam's Moon Rise Over Hernandez I knew that I was looking at a remarkable work of art and it drove me to learn how the work was produced. The desire to know his technique is the same desire that has driven mankind's inquiry into the not only art but the world around us and our universe. The strive for knowledge of the wonders of our world is a quintessentially human trait. The desire for ignorance to just be held in awe is base and primitive. It is the same lack of motivation that drives some to be satisfied with the ignorance of "god did it."

Knowledge is inseparable from the true appreciation of beauty.
I don't really know why you're ranting against me....I agreed with your OP. You've kind of gone off at everyone who's responded. Matt Marcinkiewicz was the one who (basically) said that ignorance is bliss, not me! I didn't quite agree, but he's welcome to his opinion. It seems that there are people who think like this and people who don't.

My post was directed towards Matt because he pretty much ripped my previous post apart (which agreed with you!). I was giving my thoughts on his words and trying to be flexible and see things through his POV. Some things I could put myself in his shoes and understand a bit, but ultimately I was saying I still feel a sense of wonder and awe when I see the universe -- my understanding of physics/chemistry/astronomy be damned.

As for drugs and the creative process, I think it's well established that many brilliant minds used them to facilitate their work. From Psychology Today:

Quote:
Weiner (2000), for example, noted “From American Indian use of peyote to Chinese people using plum wine, to Coleridge’s opium use, and Hemingway’s alcohol consumption, individuals have found that the exaggerated emotions and altered perspectives they’ve gained from drugs stimulated their creativity” (p. 211).
It feels like you're trying to create this infighting between atheists, which is really more characteristic for posters in the Christianity forum .
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:31 PM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,108,277 times
Reputation: 3965
Quote:
Originally Posted by ovcatto View Post
A wise decision.
In all my infinite wisdom, I wish to say, **** you.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:47 PM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,108,277 times
Reputation: 3965
Quote:
Originally Posted by ovcatto View Post
See that's what happens when you write in haste and get sloppy. You confuse comets with astroids and in the same sentence say things like comets don't enter earth atmosphere.

‘Shockwave Of Fire’ Rained Down After Old Comet Strike On Earth, Scientists Say



Which as little bearing on the topic or spirit of the topic, which is, knowledge and the devaluation of human gods.
Astroids? No such thing. Think you meant asteroids. I too can fight on your petty terms.

"Spirit of the topic" is a funny metaphor to use, considering. But even given that...you say that knowledge devalues human gods, rightly so. Yet you then say, in a later comment:

"Knowledge is inseparable from the true appreciation of beauty."

What, "pray" tell, is, exactly, the true appreciation of beauty? Idiosyncratic definitions hold no weight amongst the rational, buddy. Your idea of aesthetics is just one idea out of 7.125 billion, nothing more, nothing less.

Also, it's ironic that you'd call mordant (of all non-myopic people) out for lack of awareness of the "spirit of the topic", when you're the one who'll readily demonstrate his commitment to argumentation over minutiae, for the sole purpose of attempting to appear victorious in an online battle that wouldn't exist if you didn't have some unhealthy desire to wage it.

What do I know, though. I have no idea why someone would ever feel compelled to make 30k posts on this site. I have no idea about the conditions of your life which would've brought that insatiable compulsion-to-post-combatively about.

Peace, if you wish.
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:14 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,108,277 times
Reputation: 3965
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio Hello View Post
Well that was a bit of a downer ....it read pretty much like "ignorance is bliss". Your post certainly made me examine my own beliefs more deeply though.

I had a long response typed out to this, but it went off on a tangent that didn't directly address most of your post. So I'll start again with hopefully more organized thoughts. EDIT: this didn't happen; they're still a mess.

I don't completely disagree with you. The more one understands the workings of maths, or physics, or chemistry, or biology, or on and on up the chain of science, the less mysterious the world around us becomes. Religion thrives off the mysterious and the unknown; it's why IMO education is the greatest thief of faith. My own personal educational path focused/focuses on biology, so my understanding of the intricate workings of the non-biological unseen is vague, but present.

I like those quotes in my original post because they remind me of moments in my life when I did feel an unmistakeable, biological, emotional response to the universe. The first time I sat in a field near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and saw the Milky Way. The first time I looked through a telescope and saw Saturn's rings. The first time I saw a photo of the Earth taken from space and realized I couldn't even make out my city. For me, they were beautiful. I'm curious if any of those would evoke emotion from you, or if you would just see groups of stars, discs of ice, and land amongst oceans. I'm not saying it's the wrong way of seeing them, but just different than what I'm used to.

These profound moments have been few and far between, but nonetheless they were fleeting seconds of understanding followed by the harsh reality that I'll never truly understand. Makes perfect sense, huh? I may understand the properties of light, or the basics of gravity, or that the starlight my eyes are intercepting is billions of years old, but as our Christian friends love to point out, none of our cleverest scientists have yet explained precisely how it all began. That's still mysterious -- still wondrous and awe inspiring.

The difference between these experiences and an adopted religion is that these are brief instances on the timeline of my life where I organically came to the conclusion that they had some sort of meaning, whereas religion seeks to artificially inject meaning into every second of your life and inherently governs your actions in order to achieve whatever desired result or feeling is required to belong to the faith.

To get to the point, I don't see this as the same as religious delusion. It's real, it's observable, testable, results support it, it's in front of me. I don't have to believe in a sky god because there's a sky right in front of me every day and night, bringing with it life, death, and window beyond our planet, and the REALLY exciting thing to me about it is that people far more educated than I can study it and make sense out of what was previously attributed to a group of deities, or later, a bipolar single deity.

You say that beauty may be a function of ignorance or perhaps intoxication. I can buy in to that, although I'd say intoxication is more likely. The euphoria I feel -- all those lovely chemicals mixing about in my brain and making my heart flutter -- when I'm say, standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, sure feels stronger and more satisfying than any drink or drug I've tried. I like your alcohol and music example and coincidentally, the Flaming Lips is the only band I can only listen to only when proper stoned; otherwise it's just a bunch of strange noise. I wonder if that's why, say, peyote plays a part in some American Indian rituals? Do mind altering substances provide a religious experience -- an escape from the known, even if it's not a conventional faith? If so, can sex?

Another thought that just came to me is that maybe our personalities are just a bit different. I'm a very emotional person (NOT because I'm an emotional woman, but person. We've had that discussion in another thread ). Rom com's make me happy cry, a book can put me in a melancholy mood for days, puppies make me burst with joy, etc., etc. Not to say you're an emotionless robot, but perhaps the manner or degree to which we respond to emotion is completely different. Which is fine. We'd never have the Temple Grandin's of the world if we were all the same.

In the end, I'm still an atheist. In the end, I still believe truth is more important than fairy tales.

I think it's interesting that you don't take a solid stance one way or another if they're strictly victimized or gifted with this maybe or maybe not fortunate bias.

----------------------

I tried to imagine what thinking like you might feel like. My result? Our emotions are nothing more than the chemical reactions happening within our bodies in response to any number of stimuli. That's taking it to the extreme, but it feels too bleak for my tastes. There's that word again: feels.

I'm glad I never made it past basic physics in college if I am forced to see the world in the my most basic level of understanding. If that were the case, I would have majored in English Lit and I could choose to quote great writers in response when asked how I perceived something (oh, wait, I just did in my last post. Maybe science wasn't the right choice for me ).

You may be right about the "wonder of life" needing to be preserved, or we'll all need to supplement our mornings with a daily dose of Wild Turkey. Unless a tendency to to downplay emotion is somehow bred out of humankind though, I don't see this happening in the future.
Definitely like this post. "Maths"? United Kingdom-rather-than-Ohio Hello?

Ugh, I just lost 25 lines of text due to a "random" page refresh. I guess I'll have to leave it at the above for now.

Last edited by Matt Marcinkiewicz; 12-04-2013 at 12:33 AM..
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Old 12-04-2013, 01:28 AM
 
243 posts, read 389,662 times
Reputation: 551
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
Definitely like this post. "Maths"? United Kingdom-rather-than-Ohio Hello?

Ugh, I just lost 25 lines of text due to a "random" page refresh. I guess I'll have to leave it at the above for now.
Thanks! I liked your post as well -- mordant's too. I just kind of thought everyone felt the cosmos/nature/whatever is beautiful and full of awe (awful?!). I really identified w/ ovcatto's first post. I've been moved to tears over the sight of a deciduous forest (withdrawal from living in Arizona at the time), and I know the inner workings of trees quite a bit better than those of stars.

And eeek, I'm turning into my mother! I'm English American -- dual citizen.

Bummer about your lost post. Happens to the best of us.

I blame Bill Gates.
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:24 PM
 
31,385 posts, read 32,096,081 times
Reputation: 14896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio Hello View Post
I don't really know why you're ranting against me. You've kind of gone off at everyone who's responded.
I'm not ranting against you just the quoted portion of what you wrote. As for going "off" in 40 posts, I've only taken issue with two individuals. Now I don't even believe that you are self-centered enough to consider yourself, everyone.

Last edited by ovcatto; 12-04-2013 at 09:11 PM..
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