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Old 12-04-2013, 08:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
In all my infinite wisdom, I wish to say, **** you.

Last edited by ovcatto; 12-04-2013 at 09:18 PM..
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Southern California
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"Not only is there no God, but try getting a plummer on weekends." - Woody Allen
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Old 12-06-2013, 10:49 PM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
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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'm putting you on being an overly-self-assured septuagenarian who cannot and will never be able to imagine what it's like to see the world from a point of view different from one's own.
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:13 PM
 
31,385 posts, read 32,092,865 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
I'm putting you on being an overly-self-assured septuagenarian who cannot and will never be able to imagine what it's like to see the world from a point of view different from one's own.
Oh, rest assured, I understand your view point, I understand many view points and a multiplicity of visions of the world, that's one of the benefits or misfortunes of being a septuagenarian. But being able to understand, and I understand your vision all too well, isn't the same thing as agreeing.

You see Matt, it isn't I who refuses to see another view point.

Quote:
there is nothing beautiful about the machinations of physics. Nothing.
Now where is the open mindedness in that declaration?

You then enter the discussion with:

Quote:
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.
So. when the challenge is accepted and the argument forcefully defended, you cry, whine, and play some ageist bs while telling people (well me in particular) to F**k themselves. Can't stand the heat, then stay the frack out of the fracking kitchen.

But like I said, I do understand you, perhaps better than you understand yourself considering this statement

Quote:
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 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....
That my young friend is not the statement of a mentally healthy individual. Seek help, go to rehab, sober up, drink some coffee and smell the freaking roses, take some advise from a septuagenarian life is freaking short.

Then you closed your initial statement with:

Quote:
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.
Did you really expect that what you yourself described as a "rambling discursive post" would be treated as anything else?

Well let me close by saying, one of the great benefits of having lived this relatively long time is that the closer I come to facing my own mortality the more wonderful knowledge of that which is around me has become more precious. There is simply not enough time in any man's life to know so much as to be so jaded that the world around us would be any less wondrous as a result of that knowledge. Being jaded is a luxury of youth, and as George Bernard Shaw once quipped, "life is wasted on the youth." And it seems readily apparent to me that you are wasting a lot of life at this point.

Peace.
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:08 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
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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)
I'm sorry but I'm not with you on this Matt. Notions of beauty, aesthetics or awe are entirely subjective things that vary from person to person. I understand that for you there may be nothing beautiful about the machinations of physics, but that doesn't mean that it is the same for everyone. You can call it delusional but then if that's the case, what idea of beauty isn't delusional? People find beauty in different places. Some may find it in their partners face, or in a flower or a stream or a mountain.
To me awe is whatever triggers an emotional response - something that makes you catch your breath, your heart beats a little harder and maybe you might even feel your eyes turning a little watery.
I understand entirely how a solar eclipse works, but seeing one was absolutely one of the best experiences of my life and if I ever have the opportunity again I would. And it was absolutely beautiful to me. Quite literally breathtaking. I'm not sure you can call that delusion.
Carl Sagan certainly understood this I'm sure.
Quote:
The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us -- there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation of a distant memory, as if we were falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.
Reading that quote alone even without a beautiful picture of the cosmos to support it sends a shiver down my spine. I could read it over and over and never tire of it.
I'm sure our contemporary physicists truly do consider the working of physics around them on a daily basis and I'm confident some of them do absolutely find beauty in it. (Maybe not all of them. Scientists are generally not known for their emotional responses, that would be true.) But you imply that you are able to find beauty in life when you are not sober. It shouldn't be too much of a stretch then to imagine some people are able to achieve this, or an appreciation at least of similar things without alcohol?

Last edited by Cruithne; 12-08-2013 at 12:35 AM..
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Old 12-08-2013, 03:09 AM
 
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I'm with Cruithne on this. The topic is about how human ideas of creator gods is inadequate and absurdly parochial when compared to the size and complexity of the cosmos. The discussion has thrown up some points.

Atheists are anti -religion. Atheist is what we are. Anti -religion is what we do.

Being Catholic agnostic allows one to enjoy the catholic traditional heritage..Fine. I suppose one could call me a Hindo- Buddhist agnostic. That does not stop me being unbelieving about the claims, in fact not knowing whether they are true or not means that I logically must disbelieve - not deny, but disbelieve those claims. Especially since I do see some problems with the arguments. It is even less credible with the Biblical claims.
Going the logical step from an agnostic enjoying what one religion has to offer to an atheist able to enjoy what all religions have to offer - and all that non - religion has to offer - would gain one more than is lost.

The clinical view of the cosmos -world cannot explain Beethoven. Etc. True. It is misunderstood that atheists only appeal to science and logical reasoning as mental tools for arriving at reliable conclusions. They are irrelevant to matters of personal preference. They can find out about the wonders of the universe but are nothing to do with the emotional response to those wonders. Succinctly, We do not lose out at all on art appreciation, but those who use nonscience, illogic and emotional - response reasoning lose out on not being able to come to sound conclusions.
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,082,614 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
The clinical view of the cosmos -world cannot explain Beethoven. Etc. True. It is misunderstood that atheists only appeal to science and logical reasoning as mental tools for arriving at reliable conclusions. They are irrelevant to matters of personal preference. They can find out about the wonders of the universe but are nothing to do with the emotional response to those wonders. Succinctly, We do not lose out at all on art appreciation, but those who use nonscience, illogic and emotional - response reasoning lose out on not being able to come to sound conclusions.
I agree with you and Cruithne, but I do see a tradeoff in that demystifying things by having cold, clinical knowledge of how it works, has to by definition take some of the mystery out of life. That some people can see as much or nearly as much wonder in a sunset despite knowing intellectually that it is just sunlight refracting at a certain angle through atmospheric dust, speaks to the fact that our emotions can be generated by subjective thoughts that nevertheless persist alongside that scientific understanding, such as, "I like red horizons with big disks to demarcate night from day, particularly when the horizon is mountainous or is an ocean". That latter statement has no rational justification, and if you are a fairly heady sort of personality, your head is going to want some rational, intellectualized justification for such feelings, and is going to have way more trouble finding it if you understand the mechanics of sunsets.

All that said, I still regard the gains far greater than the losses. I miss some aspects of god-belief as a source of comfort and optimism, too, but I don't miss being bamboozled and deceived and set up for huge falls as a result of god-belief, either.
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:47 AM
 
31,385 posts, read 32,092,865 times
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Originally Posted by mordant View Post
I agree with you and Cruithne, but I do see a tradeoff in that demystifying things by having cold, clinical knowledge of how it works, has to by definition take some of the mystery out of life.
You asked earlier why I was jumping on your case, well that is because the topic is about atheism and how "mystery" creates/leads to religious dogmatism. But if mystery is important to one's life, then I would argue as I have before that there is infinitely less cold clinical knowledge than what we infinitely do not know or understand about ourselves, our planet or our universe to occupy infinite life times exploring. Our universe is like one immense matryoshka doll, once we discover the cold hard fact about one thing it reveals to us pathways to uncovering another. Gawd help us if that sort of mystery were left in the hands of the dolts who still hold to their Genesisistic (did I just make up a word?) believes, and thank gawd that one of the most enduring traits of our somewhat remarkable existence is the drive to uncover those mysteries for no other reason that to gain a greater appreciate our world and the heavens that surround us. In short, the marvel of the universe is subjectively and objectively far more exciting and challenging that sitting back and saying "god did it!" And low and behold we are better for it.

Quote:
I miss some aspects of god-belief as a source of comfort and optimism, too, but I don't miss being bamboozled and deceived and set up for huge falls as a result of god-belief, either.
Personally, this atheist cannot miss that which never existed, I know more miss theism, than I miss Santa Clause or the tooth fairy. Knowing the hard cold facts that my parents worked hard to buy me stuff expanded my love an appreciation of that which they gave me. I miss my parents because they were real, I don't miss Santa Clause.

Peace
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:52 AM
 
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Yes. I have never been a God - believer, but I have been in the UFO camp and it took atheism and the importance of Valid data and sound reasoning for me to even know how to approach it. I would say that I am now cheerfully agnostic about aliens and find that the classic arguments for visiting saucers and the like have collapsed as badly as the classic arguments for God and Bible.

I can recall the fascination of believing that there was real substance behind the claims and also the frustrated bewilderment of trying to make sense of conflicting and nonsensical information. There is no doubt in my mind that i haven't really lost anything by wising up. All the enjoyment is still there. all the info and claims is still there, but I don't need to be led around by it. I have the mental tools to do what I tried to do as a believer, or at least half -believer; look at the Big Picture, rather than start with a belief and see what 'evidence' fitted and discard what didn't.
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
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Originally Posted by mordant View Post
I agree with you and Cruithne, but I do see a tradeoff in that demystifying things by having cold, clinical knowledge of how it works, has to by definition take some of the mystery out of life. That some people can see as much or nearly as much wonder in a sunset despite knowing intellectually that it is just sunlight refracting at a certain angle through atmospheric dust, speaks to the fact that our emotions can be generated by subjective thoughts that nevertheless persist alongside that scientific understanding, such as, "I like red horizons with big disks to demarcate night from day, particularly when the horizon is mountainous or is an ocean". That latter statement has no rational justification, and if you are a fairly heady sort of personality, your head is going to want some rational, intellectualized justification for such feelings, and is going to have way more trouble finding it if you understand the mechanics of sunsets.

All that said, I still regard the gains far greater than the losses. I miss some aspects of god-belief as a source of comfort and optimism, too, but I don't miss being bamboozled and deceived and set up for huge falls as a result of god-belief, either.
I see a number of perspectives going on here, just to try to summarise:
We have Mordant and Matt who view knowledge and logic as taking the mystery and therefore some of the awe out of life.
Ovcatto who sees pretty much the opposite, that knowledge and logic actually acts to enhance beauty,
and myself and I think Arequipa, who still are able to appreciate beauty regardless of how much we know and understand about the world.
I'm simplifying obviously but I think I got that right?

What this illustrates how subjective notions of beauty and awe actually are. Nobody is wrong here, its a case of personality, perspective and what stimulates an emotional response on a personal level.


For me taking away the mystery away does not necessarily equate to taking away my appreciation. Sometimes it might. Sometimes it might enhance it and sometimes my appreciation might remain despite what I know about a given situation or thing.

One person who understood this well was a mathematician called Eugene Wigner. He was one of those geniuses who understood the workings of the universe better than most and is known for his work in quantum mechanics, and coined the 'the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences'. His deep understanding mathematics and how it could be used to explain physical laws of nature to him was all the more wonderful and at the same time all the more mysterious. He said "The full meaning of life, the collective meaning of all human desires, is fundamentally a mystery beyond our grasp... I even feel a certain honor to be associated with such a mystery."

To give an example of what Wigner was talking about, take Robert Maxwell and his experiments with electromagnetism.
His work led to predictions of the existence of electromagnetic waves, and with a full set of equations, Maxwell was able to calculate the speed of these waves. He found that their speed was a constant, independent of the nature of the electric and magnetic fields. His waves travelled at 299,792,458 meters per second - the speed of light! In working with magnets and electricity, Maxwell stumbled across a fundamental constant of nature: the speed of light. It just "popped out" of his equations.
All fits together rather too well right? Magnetism, electricity and light are all intimately connected and it was discovered by accident.

We do indeed know and understand so much more than we did even 100 years ago and our knowledge seem to be increasing at an exponential rate, however I only see this opening up even more questions. I'm currently reading a book called 'The half life of facts'. It is fascinating reading. I might start a new thread when I've finished it but basically it says that in some subjects such as medicine and certain sciences, in 10-20 years time about half of what we know today will be either superseded or be shown to be wrong and replaced by something else.
So we can never know everything - there will always be something new to discover.

Last edited by Cruithne; 12-08-2013 at 11:33 AM..
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