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God and Ultimate Reality
Posted: 03 August 2008 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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unsmoked

Not a very bright fellow I see.

Uh… yeah, my sig says the same thing that I said to your initial post. Let me dumb it down further for you.

Science is reality, and the only reality. ‘God’ is an illusion.

Any more questions?

You can play shithouse philosopher all you want to and play make believe but…..

These simple words and this fundamental concept will be all you ever circle back to.

Sorry, but there simply is just no such thing as magic. Except for deluded people who dwell in intellectual cowardice.

Feel comfortable being one of those or no? Please…make sure you do not disappoint yourself.

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Posted: 03 August 2008 06:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Following that, I just thought I’d mention the notion that “ultimate reality” seems like a kind of pleonasm, along the lines of “genuine leather” or “one hundred per cent pure”.

[ Edited: 03 August 2008 06:41 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 04 August 2008 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Salt Creek - 03 August 2008 10:38 PM

Following that, I just thought I’d mention the notion that “ultimate reality” seems like a kind of pleonasm, along the lines of “genuine leather” or “one hundred per cent pure”.

Or “Virgin Wool”

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Posted: 04 August 2008 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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McCreason - 03 August 2008 09:46 PM

Science is reality, and the only reality.

No, science is the way that we attempt to gain knowledge of reality, it is not reality.  Don’t go confusing the map with the territory.

The map is not the territory
The menu ain’t the meal
So is it all a fairy story,
Or is there something real?

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Posted: 04 August 2008 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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burt - 04 August 2008 12:49 PM

No, science is the way that we attempt to gain knowledge of reality, it is not reality.  Don’t go confusing the map with the territory.

Reality is what you deal with as an organism. Science is a compact description of it, and makes it possible to know more about reality than your senses can convey directly. You cannot see the atmospheric convection that condenses cumulus clouds at its tops. You can feel the wind but you cannot see the large-scale fluid vortices of meteorological pressure systems. I assure you, Burt, those things are real.

Your brand of philosophical bullshit (linguistic quibbling) is tiresome. You’re conflating the unknowns that science has not worked into its theories with some metaphysical concept of “ultimate reality”. The suggestion is actually that reality could turn out to be a lot different than what we think it is now. Nobody but the mystics pays attention to that sort of crap. The sensory apparatus that organisms evolve is consistent with the reality in which it evolves. Theoretical physics is concerned with creating compact descriptions of nature in order to make predictions of experiments which interact with reality. Interpreting theory in relation to “ultimate reality” is a game played by philosophers using a lot of stale old bullshit.

What’s remarkable is that physics has told you that electromagnetic radiation is transmitted in a continuous spectrum, and is not divisible into the ROY G BIV or paint chip digitization that people use for practical purposes. Quibbling about the difference is a matter, well, for quibblers. The metaphysical divisions invented by early philosophers were a product of people who knew a few things, but could not really, by any stretch of the modern imagination, have been said to know what they were doing with it.

Some metaphysical conception of “ultimate reality” is hardly important for feeding yourself and avoiding predators. That the human brain is capable of inventing fantasies to deal with the existential angst of remembering the past and fearing the future is probably a permanent aspect of psychology, but it has little to do with the reality that feeds you and also bites you in the ass if you don’t carry around a close enough approximation of it.

That your sensory apparatus does not fold you into “ultimate reality” is a linguistic quibble, and is an attempt to inject woo-woo into what is actually a very straightforward business of interacting with the world. In fact, your sensory and cognitive apparatus has evolved far enough to be able to recognize sensory illusions. That some individuals take their delusions as real is a shame.

Any idiot with a road atlas can probably figure out that in relation to the highway, the map is not the territory. The best way to illustrate this is that potholes are not normally marked by the preparers of the map. However, the highway is the reality, and is a way to get from point A to point B. In fact, maps are real, too, but they are used in a way different from the highway itself. So intoning pompously that “the map is not the territory” is phony-intellectual crap intended only to make the speaker appear “profound”, and to grab for respect that is entirely unearned.

burt - 04 August 2008 12:49 PM

No, science is the way that we attempt to gain knowledge of reality, it is not reality.  Don’t go confusing the map with the territory.

Note how cheaply you try to pass this bullshit off as something of value.  Twenty-five words or less, but total nonsense, and relying on people’s unwise tendency to economize in their thinking and unwise willingness to pay the price in lost rationality.

[ Edited: 04 August 2008 10:15 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 04 August 2008 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Salt Creek - 04 August 2008 01:45 PM
burt - 04 August 2008 12:49 PM

No, science is the way that we attempt to gain knowledge of reality, it is not reality.  Don’t go confusing the map with the territory.

Reality is what you deal with as an organism. Science is a compact description of it, and makes it possible to know more about reality than your senses can convey directly. You cannot see the atmospheric convection that condenses cumulus clouds at its tops. You can feel the wind but you cannot see the large-scale fluid vortices of meteorological pressure systems. I assure you, Burt, those things are real.

burt - 04 August 2008 12:49 PM

No, science is the way that we attempt to gain knowledge of reality, it is not reality.  Don’t go confusing the map with the territory.

Note how cheaply you try to pass this bullshit off as something of value.  Twenty-five words or less, but total nonsense, and relying on people’s unwise tendency to economize in their thinking and unwise willingness to pay the price in lost rationality.

Don’t be an idiot, you are conflating words with the things they represent.  That is soooo superficial, and I know that you are not that dumb so I can only assume that you take whatever chance arises to take another pot shot out of spite or whatever.  Whether you agree or not, it is important that people use words in a correct way and when possible I try to point that out.  (And have you not taken me and others to task for mispellings…)  Cumulus clouds are real, they are indicated by the words “Cumulus Clouds” but those words are not the clouds and anybody thinking they are needs to consult a specialist.

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Posted: 04 August 2008 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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burt - 04 August 2008 03:06 PM

Whether you agree or not, it is important that people use words in a correct way and when possible I try to point that out.

OK, I’ll take this comment seriously. Me, I think it is fun to play around with using words correctly, but in the end, that is why the mathematical descriptions of science are so powerful: They don’t involve playing with the words of natural language. You do not have to remind me that mathematics is also capable of describing entities that are not part of reality.

I’m well aware that the categories of language do not, in most cases, slice and dice experience precisely enough.

In the spirit of taking your comment seriously, I will ask you to elaborate on what makes it “important that people use words in a correct way”. Perhaps I will finally get some insight into the way that you think, Burt. I think I got there awhile ago, but I’m always willing to give you another chance.

burt - 04 August 2008 03:06 PM

Don’t be an idiot, you are conflating words with the things they represent.

Show me where I did this, and we can discuss it.

[ Edited: 04 August 2008 11:18 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 04 August 2008 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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McCreason - 03 August 2008 09:46 PM

unsmoked
Not a very bright fellow I see . . .Science is reality, and the only reality. ‘God’ is an illusion . . .Any more questions?

Sorry, but there simply is just no such thing as magic. Except for deluded people who dwell in intellectual cowardice.
Feel comfortable being one .

McCreason, I can’t tell if you are sarcastically agreeing with me, throwing custard pies, shooting paint balls, or real bullets.

The gist of my last post was that billions of people think their personal memories (and apparently their appearance) are going to continue after they die.  They adhere to a religion that promises this to them.  They dismiss other religions that make the same promise, saying that they are false, that the adherents of those other religions are going to hell.  I am saying that these antagonistic delusions, arming themselves with WMD’s, are threatening life on the planet as we know it.

What is it you are calling intellectual cowardice?  You say you are spelling things out for me, but your cryptic remarks are going over my head.  What magic are you talking about?

By using the words ‘ultimate reality’ I’m not talking about ‘God’ or magic.  I’m using ‘ultimate’ in the usual sense - basic or fundamental.  Was it Salt Creek who used to have a signature that said something like, “I know it’s real because it’s still there when I stop thinking about it.”  A tree, for example. (I know trees can be reduced to molecules, atoms, particles, maybe vibrating strings, but I’m talking about our usual senses - see Salt Creek’s and Burt’s comments above on that subject).

One definition of ‘magic’ is, ‘giving a feeling of enchantment’.  If I take an compass and draw a circle, then use the same radius to ‘pace’ around the circle, it strikes me as a wonder that it comes out exactly 6 ‘paces’.  There’s something fundamental about that - like it’s one of the building blocks of the Universe.  That’s magic to me, but natural magic, not supernatural - natural because any child can demonstrate it and see it. 

If you are a scientist, and not a ferocious Christian or Muslim scientist who wants to live forever, can you please make your criticism more specific so I know what you are talking about?

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Posted: 04 August 2008 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Salt Creek - 04 August 2008 03:13 PM
burt - 04 August 2008 03:06 PM

Whether you agree or not, it is important that people use words in a correct way and when possible I try to point that out.

OK, I’ll take this comment seriously. Me, I think it is fun to play around with using words correctly, but in the end, that is why the mathematical descriptions of science are so powerful: They don’t involve playing with the words of natural language. You do not have to remind me that mathematics is also capable of describing entities that are not part of reality.

I’m well aware that the categories of language do not, in most cases, slice and dice experience precisely enough.

In the spirit of taking your comment seriously, I will ask you to elaborate on what makes it “important that people use words in a correct way”. Perhaps I will finally get some insight into the way that you think, Burt. I think I got there awhile ago, but I’m always willing to give you another chance.

 

Well, we both like playing with words, but in the spirit of play.  When somebody wants to convey accurate information it’s usually a good idea to be careful how it is phrased.  In doing science, I’m sure that you are just as careful, or more so in writing up your results as I am (and perhaps use just as much bad language at the perfidiousness of details) but it’s part of the job description.  So if somebody in denying the existence of magic says that science is the only reality then I can take it as a gloss on the actual state (after all, phlogeston was once part of science) or point out that in a serious discussion this statement has to be amended.  That at least directs attention to the difference between both mundane and ultimate reality (used the work to provoke) which is what we try to come up with descriptions of, and the language structures we use to construct our descriptions.  Fiction writers, on the other hand, at least the serious ones, have it tougher in some ways because they have to use language to convey things about peoples feelings, emotions, thoughts, all of that messy internal stuff.  As to how I think: I’ve worked for 35 years as a mathematician, but was trained as a physicist (theoretical, never had any experimental skills).  As for slicing and dicing with language, we can never get it 100% exact when talking about the physical world, (but 10+ decimal places is pretty good) which is why theories change on occasion.  Good thing, too, or we’d be almost out of a job. 

As for ultimate reality (bracketing death and taxes), I can only paraphrase Plato’s 7th Letter: “Ultimate reality is something I’ve never written about, nor shall I.”  raspberry

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Posted: 04 August 2008 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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burt - 04 August 2008 06:47 PM

So if somebody in denying the existence of magic says that science is the only reality then I can take it as a gloss on the actual state (after all, phlogeston was once part of science) or point out that in a serious discussion this statement has to be amended.  That at least directs attention to the difference between both mundane and ultimate reality (used the work to provoke) which is what we try to come up with descriptions of, and the language structures we use to construct our descriptions.

You and I and he all know what he means by “magic”, and there is no honest reason to be coy about it. When people talk about “magic” in a literary sense, or when a person refers to a “sense of wonder”, we know that the person is talking about an emotion. Discourse that incorporates woo-woo as if it were accessing a parallel reality or an “ultimate reality” is left over from a time when people did not know very much about the brain, about biochemistry, about electromagnetism, and a lot of other stuff. These ideas have not changed since the proto-linguistic days when people started to try to capture “explanations” in words. Stories like these belong to literature and not to science.

Forcing the conversation toward a literary mode and away from a scientific mode is fine, as long as it is made clear that we are seeking to represent experience artistically. Using woo-woo in referring to a person’s “subjective experience” (even one’s own) is an artistic endeavor, and people who want to talk about “experience” scientifically will be dealing with neurological states and the analysis of biochemistry, and not referring to contact with competing aspects of physical “reality”.

A discourse about subjective states that treads willy-nilly on the concepts of physics, the kind Andy Ross or Paul Davies and some others create, is a kind of literature, a kind of science fiction. The audience such writers seek, however, is one that does not know the difference between science and literature. Those writers are not my problem. Rather, their prospective audience is.

[ Edited: 04 August 2008 07:37 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 04 August 2008 11:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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Salt Creek - 04 August 2008 11:33 PM

Forcing the conversation toward a literary mode and away from a scientific mode is fine, as long as it is made clear that we are seeking to represent experience artistically. Using woo-woo in referring to a person’s “subjective experience” (even one’s own) is an artistic endeavor, and people who want to talk about “experience” scientifically will be dealing with neurological states and the analysis of biochemistry, and not referring to contact with competing aspects of physical “reality”.

A discourse about subjective states that treads willy-nilly on the concepts of physics, the kind Andy Ross or Paul Davies and some others create, is a kind of literature, a kind of science fiction. The audience such writers seek, however, is one that does not know the difference between science and literature. Those writers are not my problem. Rather, their prospective audience is.

Haven’t read either of those guys, but am looking forward to getting into a new book by Roland Omnes.  I take it that you are in agreement with the philosopher Paul Churchland (at least to the extent that you could come to agree with any philosopher) that if we used a precise language of neural electro-chemistry we could do away with all references to qualitative experiences?  Myself, I think there is a disjunction, but freely admit it’s an opinion.

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Posted: 05 August 2008 07:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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burt - 05 August 2008 03:27 AM

I take it that you are in agreement with the philosopher Paul Churchland… that if we used a precise language of neural electro-chemistry we could do away with all references to qualitative experiences?

I have no wish to bar people from describing “subjective experience”. The point I offer is that it is an artistic endeavor. If you do not wish to understand everything that happens to you as being the result of biophysics (as well as the rest of physics, geology, meteorology and so on) there is little I can do to convince you otherwise. You are not some other kind of material object in the universe, composed of something other than matter. If you think you are, why not volunteer to go into the big blender and find out? Whether or not a full description of it in terms of electrochemistry and physiology is ever achieved, describing one’s subjective experience artistically will still be valuable. Appropriating the language of physics to talk about micro-tubules or dimensional primitives beyond time and space is artistic, but it is not science. Petty philosophico-linguistic spats among the likes of Churchland and Dennett are no concern of mine.

[ Edited: 05 August 2008 07:11 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 05 August 2008 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Salt Creek - 05 August 2008 11:08 AM
burt - 05 August 2008 03:27 AM

I take it that you are in agreement with the philosopher Paul Churchland… that if we used a precise language of neural electro-chemistry we could do away with all references to qualitative experiences?

I have no wish to bar people from describing “subjective experience”. The point I offer is that it is an artistic endeavor. If you do not wish to understand everything that happens to you as being the result of biophysics (as well as the rest of physics, geology, meteorology and so on) there is little I can do to convince you otherwise. You are not some other kind of material object in the universe, composed of something other than matter. If you think you are, why not volunteer to go into the big blender and find out? Whether or not a full description of it in terms of electrochemistry and physiology is ever achieved, describing one’s subjective experience artistically will still be valuable. Appropriating the language of physics to talk about micro-tubules or dimensional primitives beyond time and space is artistic, but it is not science. Petty philosophico-linguistic spats among the likes of Churchland and Dennett are no concern of mine.

Good, we have a clear distinction.  There is another point connected to this, however, the scientific study of the way that various “fictions” provide structures for interpreting subjective experience, and control the attitudes taken toward potential experiences by co-opting innate biological imperatives.  Would expand on this more but have an appointment for a massage which I know, from long experience, will release various forms of psychological stress that has become embodied as muscular and kinesthetic tension.

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Posted: 05 August 2008 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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burt - 05 August 2008 01:08 PM

Would expand on this more…

To paraphrase Madonna,

Like a gasbag
Rising for the very first time

Now, for the prize at the bottom of the big crackerjack box… (drumroll) and the winner is…

There is another point connected to this, however, the scientific study of the way that various “fictions” provide structures for interpreting subjective experience, and control the attitudes taken toward potential experiences by co-opting innate biological imperatives.

It’s a plastic Jesus, for settin’ on the dashboard of my car. Big news here, folks: Survival is proven by what survives! Your interpretation of your subjective experience, plus a shiny coin, will buy you the brightly-colored gumball of mumbo jumbo.

Up, up and awaaaay
In my beautiful balloon….

The precision with which people slice and dice and spice “experience” until it is something new and different. It’s like a Ronco combination food chopper and sex toy. Now what would you pay?!

[ Edited: 05 August 2008 09:29 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 05 August 2008 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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I would add-

Science- a: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method.

I would say that ‘general truth’ is REALITY. Thus science covers or explains or simply is….reality.

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