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Posted: 27 February 2007 01:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]  
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That’s really well stated, Bob.

I see potential for turning Pascal’s Wager on its head, by the way, by shifting the focus from the individual person to the large group or even the entire Homo sapiens species. That is, unless “we” (our species) somehow manage eventually to divorce ourselves from the god delusion, “our” long-term survival is in great peril.

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Posted: 27 February 2007 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]
I’m not sure however if andonstop and burt are on the same page though.  If Pascal’s wager (let’s call it wager #2) is about accepting anihilation (no god) or a belief in an afterlife (with god), and andonstop has admitted that this is his cosmic choice, then burt has just described his pal as a “weasly, ass-covering cop-out” because of andonstop’s opting for the afterlife choice.

 

Why are you assuming that I’m making the same sort of claims as andorstop?  I didn’t refer to andorstop in those terms, just to the acceptance of a belief in God on the basis of Pascal’s wager. 

As far as your idea that all is motion, I would disagree with that.  Don’t have time to go into detail on my metaphysical ideas, but I certainly would say that consciousness (although not self-consciousness) is not a product of motion since it contains no distinctions.

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Posted: 28 February 2007 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]You are partly correct andonstop, but I do not think that the body (the conceived material thing) IS life, no, according to the facts that we presently know to be true, it is more precisely the MOTION that is factually evident in the body that IS life.  I guess the analogy with the wagon is still apt (to a degree), I need the wheels (the motion) in my body (vehicle) in order to be alive (to work/function), while you’re still set on that pair of wings (the spirit/god) in order to be alive.  You see the difference is that I am depending on what we know to be true in order to come to my (so far, so good) conclusions, while you are depending on what you hope and imagine to be true to come to your conclusions.

Maybe the hopes/imaginings can result in a more “perfected” vision, but what good is such a vision if it has no basis in truth?  I want to know the truth, that is my primary MOTIVation and it gives me eMOTIVe satisfaction to know that I am not deluding myself.  Perhaps people like you and burt don’t need that sort of authentic experience in order to be satisfied, you are the ones who put wings on their wagons and expect them to work, when everybody knows just by an intuitive sense of how physical and motive forces operate that winged wagons don’t actually work.

I guess it hasn’t been explicitly stated although the subtext is there in all of my postings on this thread . . .  what I’m attempting to make plausible is that the thing that religious people are mistaking for a god is the obvious fact of motion itself.  I’ve already equated the idea of motion with the nature of spacetime and JustThis has given us a series of quotes from Einstein, Schroedinger, and Eddington that make it obvious to these physicists that the entire material world is merely a construct of conscious activity (motion).  These physicists agree that thing we call the material realm and all of its qualitative aspects (colour, form, smell, taste, texture, etc.) are produced mostly in our heads even while that evidence can be corroborated by measurements of certain phenomenal presences themselves.  Ultimately the world that we know as the physical dimension is just a dynamic mirage evolving in a constant spacetime environment - and we are merely riders of that cosmic storm.

IN order to actually understand the universal motion that manifests as spacetime, a person might have to travel through the cosmic “looking glass” that is our secondary motive aspect, conscious activity (the primary motive aspect is that of life itself).  It’s still a mystery to me, but at least this mystery is built on the truth of what is actually known in some conclusive domains and then taken specualtively to new vistas.  What burt and you are attempting is the opposite view, you first of all postulate an ultimate truth (god) and from there you attempt to work backwards in order to explain your situatedness in the world.  If some new fact is discovered about the world, then you have two options: 1)  you can choose to ignore the facts (andonstop is an expert at this), or 2) you can tweak the god postulate so that it fits more comfortably with what we know is true (you are both experts at that).  Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were all three talking about the same thing, but it’s going to take a good deal more tweaking . . .  and you both know that I don’t like to tweak with my truths unless someone gives me good evidence to do so.

I’m not sure however if andonstop and burt are on the same page though.  If Pascal’s wager (let’s call it wager #2) is about accepting anihilation (no god) or a belief in an afterlife (with god), and andonstop has admitted that this is his cosmic choice, then burt has just described his pal as a “weasly, ass-covering cop-out” because of andonstop’s opting for the afterlife choice.

Bob

ps.  That prayer is only as good as the slave who is shackled by his own untruths.

The beauty of Pascals prayer to me is his appreciation that faith must not be based on fear or self interest.

Your postulate on life as motion seems to disregard the source of motion, the propellor. In regards to truth, CanZen, it seems to me you are assuming the absence of evidence equals evidence of absence. That cannot be so.

I think the following italicized text presents a strong argument that truth is more than knowledge. I am curious what your thoughts and anyone elses might be on what is stated. My thinking is its references to “beliefs” and “faith” apply equally to all religionists; Atheists and Christians included:

Truth cannot be defined with words, only by living. Truth is always more than knowledge. Knowledge pertains to things observed, but truth transcends such purely material levels in that it consorts with wisdom and embraces such imponderables as human experience, even spiritual and living realities. Knowledge originates in science; wisdom, in true philosophy; truth, in the religious experience of spiritual living. Knowledge deals with facts; wisdom, with relationships; truth, with reality values.

Those who tend to crystallize science, formulate philosophy, and dogmatize truth do so because they are mentally lazy in adjusting to the progressive struggles of living, while they also fear or ignore the unknown. Human nature is slow to initiate changes in its habits of thinking and in its techniques of living.

Revealed truth, personally discovered truth, is the supreme delight of the human soul. There is never conflict between true knowledge and truth. There may be conflict between knowledge and human beliefs, beliefs colored with prejudice, distorted by fear, and dominated by the unwillingness to face new facts of material discovery or spiritual progress.

True faith is predicated on profound reflection, sincere self-criticism, and uncompromising moral consciousness. Faith is the inspiration of the spiritized creative imagination. Truth can never become an individual’s possession without the exercise of faith. This is because one’s thoughts, wisdom, ethics, and ideals will never rise higher than one’s faith, one’s sublime hope.

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Posted: 28 February 2007 04:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]  
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That certainly is the beauty of Pascal’s wager, yet if fear or self-interest are not what faith is based upon, then what’s left that would be MOTIVational enough to MOVE one to have faith?  Heaven and hell are instances of self-interest and fear, but take those out of the equation and what’s left, hope? (for what, afterlife in eternity? that god loves you?) - maybe it’s just pure love that MOTIVates the faithful?  (love of what, god? what is there that is tangible enough to love? words? ideas?)  You seem to have risen beyond fear and self-interest, but what’s left?

About the propellor
First of all let me say that there is nothing that is tangible that is NOT in motion.  Motion is the common denominator of every aspect of physical reality.  But more than that, beside being the “force” that maintains the material realm, motion is also the force behind life, perception, being conscious, language, ideas.  So not only does the objective dimension depend on motion in order to manifest itself, so too does the subjective dimension share this motile dependence.  All phenomena are produced by motion.

Now you say that I have neglected to mention the source of this motion, the propellor.  Obviously this cannot be a logical presumption, that motion has a source.  Motion itself, is the merging of space and time.  In order to posit the notion of a ‘source’ one would need to make time greater than motion and one would have to make space greater than motion, so that in the context of a spatio-temporal backdrop something like motion could begin somewhere at sometime.  Yet that is the antithesis of the nature of spacetime, and motion is merely the phenomenal way in which spacetime is made manifest for us.  Time and space are relative concepts when examined in the context of spacetime (motion), therefore motion must necessarily exist prior to both space and time since motion is the thing that makes them both possible.  Again, one might expect that in order for motion to exist, there must be material things that are moving thus supplying us with the idea of space and time merging.  But as anyone interested in the nature of subatomic physics could tell you, the material realm is (at the sub-atomic level) like a mirage.  The constituents of atoms are certain stabilized energies existing in close proximity with other stabilized energies.  All of this subatomic realm is a buzz of activity, electrons, protons, and neutrons all dancing in their capacity to bring forth a material world.  But at this level, everything is in constant motion, there is only nothing that is devoid of any movement.

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My axiom would be “the absence of evidence” is equal to “the evidence is absent.”  In order to say “the evidence of absence” one would need to first of all claim the presence of something, so only a theist could take your equation seriously.  And I hope that you do, because then you will see just how absurd that “presence” is!

Now to the text you presented

“Faith is the inspiration of the spiritized creative imagination.”  As far as I can make any sense of that statement, “the spiritized creative imagination” could refer to anyone who has managed to transcend the obsession with the material world.  Of course my own two paragraphs above are ample evidence of exactly such a transcendence, so that then becomes an expression of faith?  A faith in what?  Motion itself?  In spacetime?

In my own words the three classes of cognition spoken of here and defined as knowledge, wisdom, and truth are one particular way of slicing up the epistemic pie.  However to say that “truth cannot be defined with words, only by living” seems a bit off the mark.  I would say that “the real world cannot be defined with words, only by living” but ‘truth’ seems to me to be a verbalized accounting of that real world, that’s why truth is relative to an observer.  The one writing that piece appears to be of the persuasion that truth is there independent of an observer, my persuasion is that truth only becomes possible through an observer.  There is no absolute, independent ‘truth’ - that would be the observation of an all-being being and that is impossible.  The writer feels that knowledge pertains to things observed, thus it is limited to the material realm. I also disagree with that limitation.  Knowledge is about relations of things but it is also about relations of people . . .  knowledge can be about truth and it can be about untruth.  Wisdom, for me, might amount to understanding how to separate truth from untruth.  It could also be about how to find the truth within the fiction, how to discover the moral within the myth.

This piece was obviously written by a theist in order to put this theology higher than all the other ways of being informed.  Given that understanding, where would I classify this provocative bit of propaganda?  Is it knowledge, wisdom, or truth?  It is the truth of a theist, it certainly is not wisdom and definitely not knowledge.  So ultimately, for an atheist, this prejudiced account of information-gathering is an untruth.  It’s a fantasy or it’s a lie.

Bob

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Posted: 03 March 2007 04:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]IN order to actually understand the universal motion that manifests as spacetime, a person might have to travel through the cosmic “looking glass” that is our secondary motive aspect, conscious activity (the primary motive aspect is that of life itself).  It’s still a mystery to me, but at least this mystery is built on the truth of what is actually known in some conclusive domains and then taken specualtively to new vistas.  What burt and you are attempting is the opposite view, you first of all postulate an ultimate truth (god) and from there you attempt to work backwards in order to explain your situatedness in the world.  If some new fact is discovered about the world, then you have two options: 1)  you can choose to ignore the facts (andonstop is an expert at this), or 2) you can tweak the god postulate so that it fits more comfortably with what we know is true (you are both experts at that).  Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were all three talking about the same thing, but it’s going to take a good deal more tweaking . . .  and you both know that I don’t like to tweak with my truths unless someone gives me good evidence to do so.

I’m not sure however if andonstop and burt are on the same page though.  If Pascal’s wager (let’s call it wager #2) is about accepting anihilation (no god) or a belief in an afterlife (with god), and andonstop has admitted that this is his cosmic choice, then burt has just described his pal as a “weasly, ass-covering cop-out” because of andonstop’s opting for the afterlife choice.

It seems to me, CanZen, you are willing to accept the validity of motion, but not of personality.

“Annihilation” was your word as a description of afterlife. I would say the choices are to continue, or to cease to exist.

As a measure of someone’s spirituality, I think you will find civility, self-mastery, an accurate indication. Those who choose crude language, sarcasm and personal attacks have yet to overcome their animal nature with their spiritual nature. If you review the posts on this site, you will find spirituality thus revealed has little relationship to what one claims one’s faith to be.

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Posted: 03 March 2007 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]  
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It seems to me, andonstop, that you are willing to accept the validity of personality, but not of motion.

Let me just say that I accept the validity of personality but I do not divorce it from its foundational ground that is motion; personality is, afterall, about motivation and emotion.

Yes, “annihilation” was indeed MY word, but I meant it in its nicest connotation, like meaning, “to cease to exit” simply and permanently.

I see that you feel there is a separation to be made between animal nature and spiritual nature, I don’t agree.  I find that the purity and innocence of animals is where true spirituality can be found, most animals I know are very spiritual, in fact, human beings are the least spiritual beings I know.  The Native American people certainly felt that the spirits of animals were indeed of a higher nature than that of humans, and I tend to concur.

I also sense a bit of ‘superiority’ built into your idea of spirituality, perhaps this sense of moral betterness is a vestige of a christian theology still lurking in your personality?

Bob

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Posted: 03 March 2007 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]
About the propellor:
First of all let me say that there is nothing that is tangible that is NOT in motion.  Motion is the common denominator of every aspect of physical reality.  But more than that, beside being the “force” that maintains the material realm, motion is also the force behind life, perception, being conscious, language, ideas.  So not only does the objective dimension depend on motion in order to manifest itself, so too does the subjective dimension share this motile dependence.  All phenomena are produced by motion.

Now you say that I have neglected to mention the source of this motion, the propellor.  Obviously this cannot be a logical presumption, that motion has a source.  Motion itself, is the merging of space and time.

Excuse me CanZen, but could you explain to me how motion can be the “merging” of space and time, taking motion in the Aristotelian sense of change in general.  I’ll assume that you are referring to motion as a “force” in analogical terms because it certainly is not a force in the stardard meaning of the word, but rather (at least for accelerated motion) the result of the action of a force.

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Posted: 04 March 2007 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]I see that you feel there is a separation to be made between animal nature and spiritual nature, I don’t agree.  I find that the purity and innocence of animals is where true spirituality can be found, most animals I know are very spiritual, in fact, human beings are the least spiritual beings I know.  The Native American people certainly felt that the spirits of animals were indeed of a higher nature than that of humans, and I tend to concur.

CanZen, please clarify what you mean by spirituality. I don’t understand why you think all animals are more spiritual than humans. Can you use an alligator for comparison?

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Posted: 04 March 2007 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]  
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CanZen, please clarify what you mean by spirituality. I don’t understand why you think all animals are more spiritual than humans. Can you use an alligator for comparison?

I’m not Bob, but I have a thought here, this is an interesting thread, by the way.  Animals spend nearly 100% of their time exactly and precisely in the moment, where I think spirituality resides.  In the moment if is difficult not to experience a total connection with the rest of our natural world, and not to be intensely focussed upon the here and now.  Animals are centered and engaged upon whatever task they are currently undertaking, acting in the moment and doing the next right thing relative to their needs and the needs of other beings, offspring and the like.

We should be so focussed when it’s time to chop wood and carry water.

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Posted: 04 March 2007 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]  
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Thanks hampsteadpete, that was precisely my thought on the subject.  Most spiritual quests, at least the ones that I find reasonable, like in some forms of buddhism, in zen, and in daoism, the spiritual aim is to try and live life in the moment (in the momentum of the phenomenal realm) - of course this does not mean a forgetting of language and morality, but rather, it means that in spite of our linguistic nature (that throws us out of the present time) and our moral nature (same throwing - to know what will happen before we act), we can still attempt to live in the momentus present.  That’s where animals live (they are pure because they are not linguistic, therefore they cannot lie, and they are innocent because they cannot step out of the present in order to evaluate the future).

I realize that the spiritual quest of christianity, islam, and (less so) judaism and hinduism, is partly an attempt to embrace the notion of a soul, and therefore each is really a disembodied journey.  So it makes sense that a christian and a muslim would find the idea that animals are more spiritual than humans completely ludicrous.  But these are religions that are caught up in linguistic (abstract) pursuits that reject the real world in favour of an imaginary world.  Christians see morality as innately spiritual, they see our moral nature as a step beyond the mundane phenomenal realm of pure animal being and they cherish this sense of superiority.  Yet, mostly unknown to them, zen buddhism and daoism are more mature philosophically, because these ways have already passed through the childish phase of thinking that humans are superior (because of their language and their morality), and they have realized that in order to succeed as true earthlings, we must now attempt the final journey . . .  to once again capture the purity and the innocence of our earth-dwelling cousins even while we use our language and behave with moral insight.  In this zen/daoist sense, human beings are still searching for a way to reintegrate their living animal spirit with their other cognitive accomplishments.  This sort of reintegration of the abstract realm with the phenomenal realm is the heart of spirituality.

Bob

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Posted: 04 March 2007 05:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]  
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I’m glad you brought up these two points, burt, that motion is a merging of space and time, and the idea that motion itself can be called a force in any way aside from the analogical.

To say that motion is a merging of space and time, is to view reality from a materialistic perspective.  It would suggest that space and time are already “out there” and that when something is put into motion, then there is a merging of the spaces and the times that this object occupies.  Now that is of course true (relatively) from a material-centered ontology. What I should have gone on to explain is that time and space are two aspects of one continuum, therefore from a pre-materialist point of view these two (space and time) come already merged in spacetime.  In spacetime there is no space and there is no time, they are two ways of our conceiving of the one underlying reality.

Now for us, material-bound, forms of conscious life, our access to the subliminal reality of spacetime is limited to our perception of pure motion.  Again, there is the visual perception of watching one object move in relation to another object, that is the external perception of motion.  Listening to the sound of an approaching train is another external perception of motion.  Watching yourself lift your arm is another even less external perception of motion.  Having an idea or wrapping a thought in a linguistic spell is an even more sublime experience of motion (now completely internalized).  All of these ways are merely glimpses into the real experience of spacetime (motion).  Perhaps something like throwing your body out of an airplane at 3,000 feet altitude, or hurtling off a canyon bridge with your feet attached to bungee cords, is a closer experience of the nature of spacetime. In these sorts of completely disorienting full-body motions we can feel something close to a true spacetime experience?

On the second confusing point - my reference to motion as a “force” of some kind, again the idea of motion (from a matter-centered perspective) is limited to the movement of one thing relative to another thing.  Now obviously the perception of these objects in motion does not convey the concept that the motion itself is a force, but rather that motion is the product of a force acting on the objects.  Yet obviously whatever is the force that is producing change in some objects it does manifest to us directly as motion.  Newton worked out how the motion is proportional to the force and the substance of the objects. What I was trying to get at is the direct relation of the force (energy?) to the motion in order to get a better glimpse of spacetime itself understood as some sort of universal continuum through which all phenomena persist. Experimentally it might amount to taking Einstein’s famous equation e=mc(squared) and stating it as “mass = energy / c(squared)” so that you could isolate out mass against the relation between force and motion.  Of course that is meaningless, really, but in the pure experience of your body-mass and the mass of atmosphere set against gravity and motion in the thrill of sky-diving, perhaps we are able to experience pure motion (space and time merged in their one original form)?

Again these are my weak attempts at trying to capture the experience of something that is the feeling of pure motion.  Conscious activity itself is, at some immeasureable level, something like pure motion . . . add to that the experience of motion itself (jumping off a cliff) and you have two distinctive momentums in coincidence.  If spacetime is a real phenomenon (which I am led to accept as true), then we must in some way be able to experience such a realm.  The experience of pure motion is as close as I can imagine. So if spacetime is a force in relation to matter, then motion is the nearest manifestation of that force for us.

So, you can see burt, that I am walking on thin ice here in attempting to portray motion as some kind of force, but from our limited vantage point it’s the best I can do.

Bob

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Posted: 05 March 2007 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]  
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Thank you, hampsteadpete and CanZen.

We agree animals cannot lie; neither can they discern truth. I understand you to mean such animal mindlessness is pure, innocent and spiritual, and that such spirituality is ideal. By that definition, please explain why it would not then be ideal to walk away from the encumbrances of civilization, give up the ability to reason and speak, and forage for food in total animal-like mindlessness?

As to “superiority”, CanZen, I would argue it is an essential component of Darwinism. Which would you consider a higher level of thinking, Darwinism or “zen buddhism and daoism”?

hampsteadpete, about Phillip K. Dick’s quote, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”  When a competitor stops believing they have an opportunity to win, does the opportunity go away partly, completely or not at all?

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Posted: 05 March 2007 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]  
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[quote author=“hampsteadpete”]

CanZen, please clarify what you mean by spirituality. I don’t understand why you think all animals are more spiritual than humans. Can you use an alligator for comparison?

I’m not Bob, but I have a thought here, this is an interesting thread, by the way.  Animals spend nearly 100% of their time exactly and precisely in the moment, where I think spirituality resides.  In the moment if is difficult not to experience a total connection with the rest of our natural world, and not to be intensely focussed upon the here and now.  Animals are centered and engaged upon whatever task they are currently undertaking, acting in the moment and doing the next right thing relative to their needs and the needs of other beings, offspring and the like.

We should be so focussed when it’s time to chop wood and carry water.

I would say that animals are a-spiritual.  They do as they do because to a large extend (excluding deceit among chimps and so on) because they are sensory bound.  To be spiritual they would have to be aware of themselves as agents with free will.  (IMHO)  They do not have the cognitive complexity necessary to discover the possibility of spirituality, as it were.  I’ll return to a favorite quite from Cicero, refering to Pherekydes (identified by Aristotle as the transitional figure between mythical and philosophical thought): “It takes great intellect to withdraw the mind from the senses and divert thought from habit.  So for my part, I think there must have been many [to achieve this] in so many centuries, but as far as the literary record goes, it was Pherekydes of Syros who first said that the souls of men are eternal.”  Now, as I read this, withdrawing the mind from the senses and diverting thought from habit leaves open the space of free mental speculation and rationality and this is a non-material space in which things like time have no meaning—hence it is eternal.  In any case, it is the realm of not only formal reason but also of spirituality, and it is a realm that animals cannot enter.

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Posted: 05 March 2007 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]  
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Andonstop, it depends upon what the reality is.  Did the competitor have a legitimate shot or not?

Bert, I disagree that self-awareness is requisite for spirituality. One definition of “spirit” is the sentient part of of any being, and one definition of “spiritual” is “related or joined in spirit.”

I feel a connection to other sentient beings, and I am indeed sorry if you are not familiar with what I’m talking about.  Understanding spirituality in this way has greatly enriched my experience, and I would recommend it to anyone.  I do not wish to pick a fight, however, and if this is not your understanding, I hope your interpretation is as good for you as mine is for me.

Pete

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Posted: 05 March 2007 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]  
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We agree animals cannot lie; neither can they discern truth

What an amazing arrogant claim. Animals lie constantly. The chameleon is always lying about its color. The Praying Mantis lies when it pretends to be just another little twig.

To be spiritual they would have to be aware of themselves as agents with free will.

My dog exhibits free will all the time. It will be playing with the neighbor’s dogs. I call it to come home, and I can see my dog pondering what to do.

All living creatures have the ability to choose. They must constantly choose ‘fight or flight”. They must choose to eat or sleep.

The confusion arises because the phrase “Free Will” has no meaning. It is just one more thing in the infinite list of absurdities required to support a belief in the Christian God.

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