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Posted: 23 February 2007 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 76 ]  
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homunculus,

Whatever you want to tell us about yourself will be appreciated.


As for my professional credentials, I’ve been a physcial scientist at a large research university for 20 years.  My education was in chemistry, but my current field is materials science.  I collaborate on grant-funded research projects and proprietary industrial applications.  I operate several laboratories and have expertise in nanotechnology.  I hold a scientific patent and have published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles as well as a few pieces for educational magazines.  I have written policy at the university level.  I also run a large educational outreach internship in which I train university students to present unusual science demonstrations to k-8 students at local schools. 

Sometimes, I give presentations at parochial schools because I feel it is important to help people understand science in ways that are not hostile to their faith.  My approach is to present science from a biblical perspective, rather than the philosophical world-view known as methodological naturalism (MN).  I believe MN is an appropriate boundary condition on science, but not life.  More importantly, my hope is to inspire bright young minds to explore science for themselves, and thereby develop critical thinking skills which are vital in today’s world, and in their life of faith.  Some of the schools I go to are so conservative it takes an act of God to get permission from the administration to visit.  They are usuallhy concerned I might discuss the age of the earth or evolution.  I encourage my friends to read Sam’s books because I believe Sam truly has our best interests at heart and his arguments deserve our best attention. 

Faith-wise, perhaps I am best described by the term “christian mystic”.  While I hold the core beliefs of orthodox Christianity, and am a member of a non-denominational “bible church”,  I am open to a diversity of opinion and experience, and don’t much care for bickering over issues that are not edifying.  My dad was an Episcopal clergyman and my mom was a teacher/librarian who in her youth was a Quaker.  I serve others in several dedicated ways as well as when a need arises. 

I consider myself a person of integrity, generosity, openness and compassion.  I have come to terms with the brokenness that attends life and belief healing is a choice.  While I choose my own path carefully, I know it takes all kinds to make a world.  I’m patient and forgiving, but have boundaries to be respected. I’m open to compromise when it yields a workable solution, but won’t sacrifice what’s important just to get along.  With me, what you see is what you get.

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Posted: 23 February 2007 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 77 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]1. Why “homunculus”?

2. Also, in the post you referred to being Catholic.  (btw how did you capture the link for that post?) Do you subscribe to the theory that the Catholic Church evolved from the early movement called the Judiazers?  I’ve always felt that theory explained a lot about the Catholic Church.

The first name I chose for myself on this forum was tyhts, which came from a fiction manuscript I’d recently written, tentatively titled Take Your Homunculus to Starbucks. Catchy, eh? Too bad no one would publish it, but I actually never expected to see it on the bookstore shelves anyway, and didn’t put much effort into trying to market it. The process of writing it was therapeutic in a way that probably couldn’t have been accomplished even by spending a fortune on a shrink.

How that title originated has to do with the contents of the novel, and after posting here as tyhts for a couple of months, I just felt like being called homunculus instead. I find the concept of a homunculus interesting, though it’s no more real than an Id, ego or superego. I guess the first time I even came across the idea of a homunculus was about 15 years ago when I started reading about autism. I remember Uda Frith talking about how certain oversight aspects of mental organization seem to be impaired in some people with autism, which fascinated me for some reason. I’ve since had the good fortune to have worked with several people who have autism, and indeed, their central processing units, so to speak, really do seem lacking. I started a home for mentally disabled children about 9 years ago, and one of my kids, Jason, who recently moved to an adult facility, has severe autism. In a sense, his teachers and I needed to act as his homunculus. His name carried into my writing, as the protagonist of my novel is named Jason.

How’s that for chatty, way-too-much information?

As for my Catholic upbringing, I’m looking forward to googling “Judiazers” to find out what you’re referring to. I enjoy pondering and lightly reading about very early Christian roots, but have zero expertise as far as being able to discuss the subject with others here.

I captured the link simply by scrolling to the exact spot I wanted you to see, then highlighting the address line and storing it by hitting control-c, for later retrieval.

Your work sounds amazing, Parable. I once worked closely with mechanical and materials engineers doing model making/machining/tooling, and I can certainly appreciate your very high-tech work. Glad to hear that you give back to the community by visiting grade-school classrooms, as well. Thanks for the quick autobio, and I hope I’ve answered your questions.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
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Posted: 24 February 2007 02:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 78 ]  
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Parable, seeing as how we’re being all touchy-feely lately, I can’t help but ask you for your opinion of Bishop Spong and his call for drastic reformation in your former church. In particular:

The 12 Theses

1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.

2. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.

3. The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.

4. The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ’s divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.

5. The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity.

6. The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.

7. Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.

8. The story of the Ascension assumed a three-tiered universe and is therefore not capable of being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age.

9. There is no external, objective, revealed standard writ in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.

10. Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way.

11. The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior control mentality of reward and punishment. The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior.

12. All human beings bear God’s image and must be respected for what each person is. Therefore, no external description of one’s being, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, can properly be used as the basis for either rejection or discrimination.


source:
http://www.adherents.com/largecom/epis_12theses.html

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
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Posted: 24 February 2007 03:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 79 ]  
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This may be a bit of a mistake, homunculus. Parable self-describes as a “mystical Christian” not interested in doctrine or the facts of the matter, but whether the teachings are worth anything. They are, but not because they can be uniquely attributed to something called “Christ™”, as Mia has so adequately documented. Teaching them as the purview of Christianity appears to be a Gatesian patent infringement of the most insidious kind.

My position, to reiterate, is that the goal of trying to get the whole world to unify under one banner, while not a bad idea in itself, is unrealistic, and is frequently diagnosed as a specific sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

I’m trained as a scientist, too, and have done research with material-scientific aspects. We’re not talking about the “band structure of gallium arsenide” here. We’re talking about The Banner of Christ™. Corporate religiosity.

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Posted: 24 February 2007 03:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 80 ]  
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Salt Creek,

Parable self-describes as a “mystical Christian” not interested in doctrine or the facts of the matter, but whether the teachings are worth anything.

No.  I said “christian mystic”, not “mystical christian”.  There is a specific historical association for the former, and that was my intent.  I never said was I not interested in doctrine or facts.  They are the context in which the teachings arise.  While the teachings may be considered out of their context, context provides insight that relates to how the teaching may be applied.

....but not because they can be uniquely attributed to something called “Christ™”, as Mia has so adequately documented.

Where might I find Mia’s documentation?

...the goal of trying to get the whole world to unify under one banner, while not a bad idea in itself, is unrealistic, and is frequently diagnosed as a specific sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Diagnosed by whom?  Frequently?  Please cite your references.

We’re talking about The Banner of Christ™. Corporate religiosity.

Jesus drove out the money-changers from the temple.  I think he’d do the same today.  With regard to spreading the good news of the gospel

“Given Jesus’ own example and his teachings on virtue and duty, such activities ought not involve any deception, coercion or manipulation…..For Jesus, love is an observable consequence of following him.”  Doug Groothuis, ON JESUS, p. 75, in the chapter “The Ethics of Jesus”.

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Posted: 24 February 2007 03:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 81 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]

...the goal of trying to get the whole world to unify under one banner, while not a bad idea in itself, is unrealistic, and is frequently diagnosed as a specific sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Diagnosed by whom?  Frequently?  Please cite your references.

http://www.answers.com/topic/monomania

In Moby Dick by Herman Melville (1851), Captain Ahab is a monomaniac, as shown by his quest to kill Moby Dick. One particular situation where he is stated as a monomaniac is in the crew’s first encounter with the whale, stating “..in his narrow-flowing monomania, not one jot of Ahab’s broad madness had been left behind; so in that broad madness, not one jot of his great natural intellect had perished.”

It’s so frequent that it’s practically effing definitional. Don’t take monomania literally. You must see that it did not prevent Ahab from being captain of his ship, master of his soul.  :D

[quote author=“Parable”]Where might I find Mia’s documentation?

http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=59201&highlight;=#59201

You know, it doesn’t surprise me that you insist on documentation in a forum, and yet probably would not embarrass yourself so by failing to do your due diligence on a research project. You want to have your cake and eat it, too.

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Posted: 24 February 2007 04:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 82 ]  
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homunculus,

I know a bit about autism.  One aspect is particularly insightful, that autism is characterized by an inability to assign signficance to people over objects.  That is, to an autistic person, another person is no different from a table.  In this context, I wonder how they see themselves. 

I did some research related to loss of mercury in dental amalgam.  You might want to check out the work of Dr. Boyd Haley.  Google gives plenty of hits on him.

..your opinion of Bishop Spong and his call for drastic reformation in your former church. In particular:

Regarding Bishop Spong, I’m collecting a big pile of stones…..that is, I’ll respond one at a time in my next post.

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Posted: 24 February 2007 04:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 83 ]  
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S.C., Parable and I are bonding—the ebb and flow of aggressive adherence to fact and/or doctrine has its softer moments, during which self reflection can sometimes give rise to insight. I’m honestly curious about how Parable sees Spong’s views, and I was planning to ask him if he felt any motivation to attempt to reform some of the more fundamentalist sects of Christianity. I suspect that if I were still a Christian at my age (51), I might be writing essays and letters to pastors in the hope that a more reasonable take on things might be achieved. Thanks though, S.C. I appreciate your input as always.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
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Posted: 24 February 2007 04:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 84 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]. . . autism is characterized by an inability to assign signficance to people over objects.  That is, to an autistic person, another person is no different from a table.  In this context, I wonder how they see themselves.

Parable, I would slant your statement just a bit differently: “autism is characterized by a tendency to assign less-than-usual signficance to people over objects.”

I say this to avoid a black-white, on-off application of a valid observation. Keep in mind that autism is an extremely diverse disorder, and blanket statements can end up not always helping situations. But you’re right, generally. Fascinating stuff.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
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Posted: 24 February 2007 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 85 ]  
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[quote author=“homunculus”] “autism is characterized by a tendency to assign less-than-usual signficance to people over objects.”

Then consumerism is a form of autism 8)

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Posted: 24 February 2007 04:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 86 ]  
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[quote author=“homunculus”] “autism is characterized by a tendency to assign less-than-usual signficance to people over objects.”

[quote author=“Hippasus”]Then consumerism is a form of autism 8)

On that basis, Hippasus, anything except radical humanism is a form of autism. :D

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Posted: 24 February 2007 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 87 ]  
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Salt Creek,

...it doesn’t surprise me that you insist on documentation in a forum, and yet probably would not embarrass yourself so by failing to do your due diligence on a research project.

Again, I’m not insisting on anything.  When you make a point and support it with reference to another source, it is not only a courtesy on your part to provide it, but also it is a standard by which academic discourse may proceed.  If you feel that a forum is not the place for this kind of conversation, just what is this forum for?

On what basis do you obligate me with “due diligence” to make your utterances into research projects?

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Posted: 24 February 2007 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 88 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]Again, I’m not insisting on anything.  When you make a point and support it with reference to another source, it is not only a courtesy on your part to provide it, but also it is a standard by which academic discourse may proceed.  If you feel that a forum is not the place for this kind of conversation, just what is this forum for?

On what basis do you obligate me with “due diligence” to make your utterances into research projects?

In my brief but prolific career here at the Sam Harris forums, I have repeatedly proven myself a vituperative as$hole with little or no respect for any rules that may or may not govern intellectual discourse such as this. Nobody need take me seriously; in fact, the only occasions on which I think it possible are when somebody responds to me. Yet here you are, over and over again, responding to my “utterances”. I cannot fathom it.

I urge more due diligence upon you because the post that I linked to is in a thread in which you are participating and particularly because the post is a direct response to you. Now that you know which post I am referring to, I’ll try to stick to the substance of the matter.

As far as I understand it, your argument is that Christian teachings represent a unique and compelling alternative to humanistic or other invented ethical systems. If it is even possible for you to succeed in framing this as an academic matter, I admit my cause will be lost. If your hope is for me to respond to you as though I regard Christianity a matter deserving of academic gravity, other than as a history of superstition and confusion, I think I can afford you the satisfaction only very sporadically.

I appreciate very much Mia’s effort in documenting an important aspect of Christianity that is not unique. I take it that a good part of your argument that Christianity is compelling is that it is unique. If so, your argument is sh!t at this point.

If Christianity’s unique and compelling nature revolves around how it conceives the sources of justice, mercy, grace, and love, much of that conception is based on notions so fantastical that, to no one’s surprise, you are not getting much traction for discussing it on that basis, either.

You seem to demand a certain amount of intellectual respect from people, but the subject matter at hand has no intellectual merit. You seem to be more interested in debating the terms of the debate, rather than the subject matter. Those more experienced in debates with theists may recognize a familiar refrain.

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Posted: 24 February 2007 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 89 ]  
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Salt Creek,

Yet here you are, over and over again, responding to my “utterances”. I cannot fathom it.

I have responded consistently because you have consistently expressed interpretations of my remarks, or assessments of me, that I believe are not justified. 

From now on, lets just assume that anything you say about me is subject to debate and leave it at that.  Hence, you need not say it and I need not respond. 

I urge more due diligence upon you because the post that I linked to is in a thread in which you are participating and particularly because the post is a direct response to you.

You assumed I had read Mia’s post.  I had not yet done so.  Besides, it was in another thread, not much use to anyone who is not following multiple topics.  I’m sure they appreciated the link to Mia’s post, as do I.

As for the other link, about monomania, there was nothing in that link that supported your contention that

...the goal of trying to get the whole world to unify under one banner, while not a bad idea in itself, is unrealistic, and is frequently diagnosed as a specific sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Your statement remains unsubstantiated.

...your argument is that Christian teachings represent a unique and compelling alternative to humanistic or other invented ethical systems.

I have not suggested Christianity is compelling.  If it were, everyone would be compelled to be a Christian.  The signficance of any idea unique to Christianity is due to the merits of the idea, not its exclusive origin.

If your hope is for me to respond to you as though I regard Christianity a matter deserving of academic gravity…

All religions merit academic inquiry.

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Posted: 25 February 2007 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 90 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]As for the other link, about monomania, there was nothing in that link that supported your contention that

...the goal of trying to get the whole world to unify under one banner, while not a bad idea in itself, is unrealistic, and is frequently diagnosed as a specific sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Your statement remains unsubstantiated.

My bad. Careless mistake on terminology. “Delusional” works better in relation to messiah-complexes. What would suit you as documentation of this as a “frequent” diagnosis? Let me guess: A peer-reviewed statistical study. How about DSM? Monomania is a kind of OCD, I think, but I will have to look that one up, too.

I have not suggested Christianity is compelling.  If it were, everyone would be compelled to be a Christian.  The signficance of any idea unique to Christianity is due to the merits of the idea, not its exclusive origin.

The “merits of the idea” still as far as I know depend on the hypothetical about Jesus being the incarnation of divinity. I hope you acknowledge that anyone not trafficking in divinity (even as a hypothetical worthy of further investigation) is going to have problems with this.

I repeat: If your hope is for me to respond to you as though I regard Christianity a matter deserving of academic gravity…

All religions merit academic inquiry.

I suppose I will have to agree, even if only sporadically. Religions at least merit serious consideration, as Dawkins seems to imply by the title of his latest book, as possible examples of delusional psychopathology. I read the Dawkins book immediately after reading “The End of Faith”.

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