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Buddhism as a model?
Posted: 03 July 2007 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I see the recomendation for buddhism for a model for us to follow vs. traditional religion. I have been looking into buddhism for awhile now and came across the fact theres a "hell" in buddhism as well. One version being extremely hot, and another version being extremely cold, each with different layers. Besides the clear differences as in the hell of christianity, the time period in which you stay there is limited instead of eternal. Instead of going there because of lack of belief, you go there out of direct consequence for your actions. Does anyone know any history behind this, has this always been a part of Buddhism, or was it added in later on? Is it possible that christianity copied this idea from buddhism? I have been trying to formulate a plan in which us humans can follow, without fear, without dogma as found in religion. But also it being safe and effective for mankind. Without risk of falling into the trap of manipulation and brainwashing, with a direct negative result. I worry without the fear of damnation, people would fall into other models and cults that could have an extremely negative impact on society, beyond anything we've encountered. It is also this fear of damnation that drives me to reannalyize any possible consquence outside the traditional model of religion. Sam clearly points out the dangers of religion, he has a gift of articulating this to the reader. If we go back in time pre religion, was it complete chaos, were there wars constantly, did it take a threat such as eternal damnation to get people in line, were we chaotic animals? I'm writting this here because I belive we have some of the most brightest and most visionary people in this world on this board. If we can make a final declaration on the consequence of religion and our role as mankind, we must think of a way to reach other people to promote this new view, this new order of man. How might we accomplish this daughting task?

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Posted: 03 July 2007 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Buddhism and Vedanta can provide foundations for a spiritual system that does not rely on politics or culture. Vedanta argues that all religions say the same thing in essence, but that ideology messes up the fundamental message. Buddhism has had practices and worship rituals spread over it (Buddha said not to worship him, but the tallest statue in the world is of Buddha). When you strip away the pomp and circumstance, both religions provide intellectual and physical practices to help with meaning in your life (essentially meditation and exercises that focus the mind).

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Posted: 03 July 2007 07:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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[quote author=“Jefe”]Why do we need a complex model.  Why can’t we formulate a simple model that any person, no matter their political, philosophical, or social culture can follow?

I would say that the complexity is a natural consequence of the complexity of the human mind.  It is possible to come up with simple models, but they will always invite elaborations that distort the basic ideas.  After all, “Christ dies for your sins” is about as simple a model as you can get, and the five pillars of Islam are pretty simple as well.

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Posted: 03 July 2007 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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For a rational approach to Buddhism (free from hell realms, hungry ghosts and jealous gods!) check out Stephen Batchelor -
http://www.stephenbatchelor.org
His wife, Martine, is more intuitive but not anti-reason. Take a look at her ‘The Lazy Little Guide to Enlightenment’ on the same website.
Sample:
“Grasping is futile, rejecting is painful;
Care lightly and gently,
Like a mother holding a child,
Not too loose, not too tight.”

I don’t know if that’s ‘Buddhism’ but it is good guidance.

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Posted: 03 July 2007 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]I would say that the complexity is a natural consequence of the complexity of the human mind.  It is possible to come up with simple models, but they will always invite elaborations that distort the basic ideas.  After all, “Christ dies for your sins” is about as simple a model as you can get, and the five pillars of Islam are pretty simple as well.

People create complex, poorly-working models for reality (or whatever is on some higher plane from reality) because their rudimentary ape-descendant brains are not up to the task of creating a simple model that really reflects reality (or “really” reflects the higher plane, although in the latter case, how would anyone check the model?)

Really dumb (or prehistorically-ignorant) people, lacking even the rudimentary capacity to create complex models (of etc.), create simple and naive models that work even more poorly than the complex ones. “Jesus died for your sins” is an example of this type. Failing miserably at describing reality, it does not even coherently describe its version of unreality.

The best of the complex models that make an honest (even if mediocre) attempt to describe reality at a human scale are those created by science. For models of reality beyond the human scale, large and small, it is hit or miss, although some predictions of these models are borne out by observation.

Compared to even these mediocre physical models, the existing set of models for human conduct are tattered rags. Find one of these models that compels me with its logical and consistent description of human behavior (rather than an untested prescription for the same), and you will be presenting me with some ordinary observations about human conduct that are quite obvious to a person of average intelligence. Observations alone are no model. “The plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data’”.

[quote author=“Pat_Adducci”]rejecting is painful

Not if you devote all your criitcal faculties rejecting only the things that make you feel bad, or simply don’t make you feel good, in believing.

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Posted: 04 July 2007 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”]The best of the complex models that make an honest (even if mediocre) attempt to describe reality at a human scale are those created by science.

True.  Key words: “model” and “human scale.”

For models of reality beyond the human scale, large and small, it is hit or miss, although some predictions of these models are borne out by observation.

False.  All humans can know, by defintion, is that which is within the human scale.  How can a human “know” what is be “beyond” the human scale?  What faculty would the human “know” it with?  Certainly not the five senses operated and interpreted by the brain.

Don’t tell me, Salty, you have become a mystic.  :?:

“Reality beyond the human scale” is, by defintion, fantasy, conjecture, imagination.  From the point of view of religion, it would concern such unprovables as faith and the supernatutal.  From the point of view of science, it would concern conjecture, predictions, or educated guesses, which are actually and merely science fiction until “borne out by observation.”

Once a model is “borne out by observation” it is, by definition, within the human scale, by virtue of being observed.  Observing and conceptualizing what is observed are purely and uniquely human endeavors.

If you want to go “beyond the human scale,” you have to jump on the Star Ship Mysticism.  I don’t think, as the saying goes, you really want to go there   8)

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Posted: 04 July 2007 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“mahahaha”][quote author=“Salt Creek”]The best of the complex models that make an honest (even if mediocre) attempt to describe reality at a human scale are those created by science.

True.  Key words: “model” and “human scale.”

For models of reality beyond the human scale, large and small, it is hit or miss, although some predictions of these models are borne out by observation.

False.  All humans can know, by defintion, is that which is within the human scale.  How can a human “know” what is be “beyond” the human scale?  What faculty would the human “know” it with?  Certainly not the five senses operated and interpreted by the brain.

Don’t tell me, Salty, you have become a mystic.  :?:

“Reality beyond the human scale” is, by defintion, fantasy, conjecture, imagination.  From the point of view of religion, it would concern such unprovables as faith and the supernatutal.  From the point of view of science, it would concern conjecture, predictions, or educated guesses, which are actually and merely science fiction until “borne out by observation.”

Once a model is “borne out by observation” it is, by definition, within the human scale, by virtue of being observed.  Observing and conceptualizing what is observed are purely and uniquely human endeavors.

If you want to go “beyond the human scale,” you have to jump on the Star Ship Mysticism.  I don’t think, as the saying goes, you really want to go there   8)

Just what is “the human scale”?  Is it only those things I can see and touch and visualize?  Pretty limited.  Or does it include the denizens of the symbolic universes that we can construct?  If I grasp the Dirac equatons, as symbolic constructions, does that mean that I understand electrons and if so, in what sense?  All this talk about “the human scale” seems to presume that you know what that is, so how about enlightening the rest of us.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 04:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Since when do we evaluate the merits of a scientific hypothesis by asking whether it constitutes a complete explanation of existence?

Focusing on this version of the incompleteness problem is nothing but a StrawHerring™ for the practicing scientist. The quest to “explain it all” is an invention of those who make no observations, or who like to sit around and ask whether or not anything “exists” outside their own skulls. If somebody wants to postulate a multiverse as an “explanation” for our existence in this corner of it, she’s only trying to soothe the nerves of those who haven’t parsed the central message of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The gambit of adopting a completely skeptical (or mystical?) working definition of what an ‘observation’ is, or of dismissing the “operational” definitions of “knowing” something is itself nothing if not operationally motivated. The pretense of explaining all of existence with the Copenhagen interpretation is not an approach taken by scientists. When you boil it down, “The Copenhagen Interpretation” can be best described as “Three words which mean nothing by themselves”. More about the ways to know an infinite amount of nonsense about nothing can be found below.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 05:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”]Since when do we evaluate the merits of a scientific hypothesis by asking whether it constitutes a complete explanation of existence?

Are you talking to ME?

If so, I’m being misquoted.

I looked up Scientific Method on Wikipedia and find this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena and acquiring new knowledge, as well as for correcting and integrating previous knowledge. It is based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning,[1] the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.[2]

Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, identifiable features distinguish scientific inquiry from other methodologies of knowledge. Scientific researchers propose hypotheses as explanations of natural or artificial phenomena, and design experimental studies that test these hypotheses for accuracy. These steps must be repeatable in order to predict dependably any future results. Theories that encompass wider domains of inquiry may bind many hypotheses together in a coherent structure. This in turn may assist in the formation of new hypotheses, as well as in placing groups of hypotheses into a broader context of understanding.

Among other facets shared by the various fields of inquiry is the conviction that the process must be objective to reduce a biased interpretation of the results. Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share all data and methodology so it is available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, thereby allowing other researchers the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established.

So, when somebody in this forum posts about “models of reality beyond the human scale” I have to wonder what he’s driving at.  Like, if the reality is beyond the human scale, just who is it who observes and measures it, where do they go to do it, what do they measure it with?  Etc.

Or, am I just an obtuse dumbfuck?

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Posted: 05 July 2007 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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[quote author=“mahahaha”]

For models of reality beyond the human scale, large and small, it is hit or miss, although some predictions of these models are borne out by observation.

False.  All humans can know, by defintion, is that which is within the human scale.  How can a human “know” what is be “beyond” the human scale?  What faculty would the human “know” it with?  Certainly not the five senses operated and interpreted by the brain.

Don’t tell me, Salty, you have become a mystic.  :?:

I thought he was talking about Newtonian physics/cosmology/etc.  Sometimes these other models make predictions and sometimes they are verified.

[quote author=“mahahaha”]“Reality beyond the human scale” is, by defintion, fantasy, conjecture, imagination.  From the point of view of religion, it would concern such unprovables as faith and the supernatutal.  From the point of view of science, it would concern conjecture, predictions, or educated guesses, which are actually and merely science fiction until “borne out by observation.”

Not really.  One usually starts with something already in hand, even if it’s only an equation.

[quote author=“mahahaha”]Once a model is “borne out by observation” it is, by definition, within the human scale, by virtue of being observed.  Observing and conceptualizing what is observed are purely and uniquely human endeavors.

I think this is more quibbling about words.  In one sense, I guess you can include the model of the atom as “within the human scale”.  In another, not at all.  Someone might even argue that an equation is “fantasy, conjecture, imagination”.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“M is for Malapert”]I think this is more quibbling about words…

(e.g., “fantasy, conjecture, imagination”)

Contrast with belief, certainty, conviction, understanding…. but only for the sake of quibbling. For that matter, consider ‘quibble’!

[quote author=“mahahaha”]Or, am I just an obtuse dumbfuck?

Isn’t it hard to tell the difference sometimes, in this world that contains only differences (of opinion)? Maybe not “obtuse dumbfuck”, but only “inveterate quibbler”. We’re all bozos on that bus. The linguistic one, that is.

I pick Door #2.  rolleyes

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Posted: 05 July 2007 06:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“mahahaha”]Or, am I just an obtuse dumbfuck?

Isn’t it hard to tell the difference sometimes, in this world that contains only differences (of opinion)?

I pick Door #2.  rolleyes

But, at least I know that people who talk about “reality beyond the human scale” are not scientists.  Maybe you could call them “para-scientists”?

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Posted: 05 July 2007 06:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“M is for Malapert”]I think this is more quibbling about words…

(e.g., “fantasy, conjecture, imagination”)

Actually the quibble I meant was about the meaning of “within human scale”.

See what difficulties we get into?

[quote author=“Salt Creek”]For that matter, consider ‘quibble’!

Word of the Day: Quibble (verb)

Definition: To raise petty questions, to hesitate or argue over trivial issues, to cavil.

Usage: People quibble over quibbles (the noun) and those who do so can be quite quibbly (the adjective). Quibbling is the activity carried out by quibbly people when they quibble.

Suggested Usage: Back in September of 2001 the House of Representatives wasted a considerable amount of time quibbling, according to the media, over whether the defense budget should be $345 billion or $385 billion. Come on, fellows, what is $40 billion between buddies? Quibbling usually has to do with items far smaller than $345 billion: “Driscoll ran up a $100 bar tab, then quibbled with the bartender over a 25-cent item on it. The man is completely gonzo!”

Etymology: Just as a dribble is a small drip, and a nibble is a small nip, a quibble was originally a small quip in the sense of a petty remark or jibe. “Quibble,” then, was a diminutive whose meaning changed as diminutives eroded from English. (The suffix still enjoys this usage in Southern Germany, where a girl is a Mädel (little maid), a Häusel is a little house and little Hans is Hänsel pronounced [hensêl].) From Latin qui, quibus (Dative-Ablative Plural) “who, which,” a word often found in legal documents where quibbling is a fine art.

What I want to know is what happened to “jibble”?

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Posted: 05 July 2007 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Not to jibble too much here, but “scale” has a definite meaning amongst scientists. The “human scale” of length might encompass lengths ranging between some fraction of a millimeter to several billions of kilometers, far enough to get a signal back from a spacecraft (a human-fashioned object) now located beyond the orbit of Pluto or to artificially fertilize a human ovum. We know it took the spacecraft several decades to get there. We know the conception took place.

The tracks in a bubble chamber are not below that scale, although the objects that create the tracks (by producing an envelope of ionization) are. The curvature and implied duration tell you something about the charges and momenta and so on. Ionization is not ‘in your head’, if you’ve ever had a keratosis removed from your scalp.

A half-life of a couple of billion years for an unstable isotope is not really beyond the human scale, because it can be measured precisely.

That should give you some idea of what can be meant by “human scale”.

If you feel the need to question what “ionization” is, you are in another category of human.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”]That should give you some idea of what can be meant by “human scale”.

It sounds like your view of it and Mahahaha’s jibe**, then.  I retract my quibble.

**Mr. Word of the Day Was Wrong—he meant gibe in talking of a petty snark.  Never mind gibble—what do we make of giblets?

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Posted: 05 July 2007 06:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”]That should give you some idea of what can be meant by “human scale”.

Oops.  I AM a dumbfuck.

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