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Thread: POFO Anything Goes Thread. ((Warning do not enter if you can't handle fire))

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob19 View Post
    A) Assuming there's a lack of design brings into question an infinite number of other assumptions.
    How so?

    B) Assuming the Universe is unfathomable is itself an assumption.
    True. However, it's only one assumption. Whereas proving that the universe is fathomable takes many, many more. So many I don't think any religion really offers a full explanation for things. There are always mysteries. An unfathomable universe simply takes that idea to an all encompassing extreme.

    C) Counting the number of assumptions on a topic like this probably isn't the best way to determine the plausibility of a theory.
    Well, as you said, there's really no way to prove or disprove many of these hypotheses. Occam's Razor is just a generalized way of thinking about the soundness of a hypothesis.

    D) It's still a bit of a cop-out that doesn't really offer anything in the way of explanation.
    It's not meant to offer an explanation. Why must you have an explanation?
    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWalrus View Post
    How so?

    True. However, it's only one assumption. Whereas proving that the universe is fathomable takes many, many more. So many I don't think any religion really offers a full explanation for things. There are always mysteries. An unfathomable universe simply takes that idea to an all encompassing extreme.

    Well, as you said, there's really no way to prove or disprove many of these hypotheses. Occam's Razor is just a generalized way of thinking about the soundness of a hypothesis.

    It's not meant to offer an explanation. Why must you have an explanation?
    I don't need an explanation, but it's not really a theory about anything if you're not attempting to offer an one. You're essentially saying, "I don't know and I don't know therefore my theory is more sound because I have to account for less things by saying I don't know about them".
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob19 View Post
    I don't need an explanation, but it's not really a theory about anything if you're not attempting to offer an one. You're essentially saying, "I don't know and I don't know therefore my theory is more sound because I have to account for less things by saying I don't know about them".
    Saying there's a lack of design isn't the same thing as "I don't know." It isn't quite the same thing as rejecting the notion of Gods -- in fact it was rather popular in the 18th century to assume that God just didn't care -- but I have to admit I pretty much reject anything theological. I don't buy any of it, really. Or at least none of it that I've heard. I think it's all in our heads.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWalrus View Post
    Saying there's a lack of design isn't the same thing as "I don't know." It isn't quite the same thing as rejecting the notion of Gods -- in fact it was rather popular in the 18th century to assume that God just didn't care -- but I have to admit I pretty much reject anything theological. I don't buy any of it, really. Or at least none of it that I've heard. I think it's all in our heads.
    Denying God and denying a design still doesn't account for the existence of anything, though. So again it's not as much a theory itself, as it is a rejection of another one. You also don't have to be religious to acknowledge the possibility of some higher form of consciousness. I couldn't say with any degree of certainty that the "God" possibility (or whatever you may call it) is any more or less possible than any number of plausible theories, & as I'm sure you'd agree, anyone who claims they can is full of hot air.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob19 View Post
    Denying God and denying a design still doesn't account for the existence of anything, though. So again it's not as much a theory itself, as it is a rejection of another one.
    Well, I turn to science for an explanation for the origin of the universe and the origin of the species. Their theories aren't facts, of course. But at least they're following a scientific method. There are religious people who deny what science has to say about these matters but generally these people are called crackpots, so I doubt my ideas about the origin of the existence of things is all that different from your average Christian or Hindu. The difference between us would likely be more down to whether the universe had a "first cause".

    I'll expand on that point. The "first cause" thing is common line believers use against non-believers, as it's generally taken as an axiom going back at least to Newton that everything has a cause. Therefore you roll back farther and farther until finally you get to the Big Bang or the Beginning or whatever you want to call it. If it can't cause itself, then who or what caused it? The people who believe in God point to God as the cause. The problem with that is that God -- or whoever -- also has to have a cause. Believers like to say that God is God's own first cause, but that sort of defeats the purpose of the argument.

    Anyway, I do suppose my theory is a bit short of follow up explanation, but where do you go from "randomness"? I think it's more about how you get there.

    You also don't have to be religious to acknowledge the possibility of some higher form of consciousness.
    So what would be a non-religious form of higher consciousness?

    I couldn't say with any degree of certainty that the "God" possibility (or whatever you may call it) is any more or less possible than any number of plausible theories, & as I'm sure you'd agree, anyone who claims they can is full of hot air.
    When you get into a back and forth like this the whole idea of what "certainty" means gets a bit murky. That was the ultimate nail in Statler's argument. "Knowledge is possible" wasn't something he could prove. It only sounded true if you use "knowledge" in a colloquial way.

    So yeah, I don't consider myself certain about anything, really. Other than the fact I exist. Once you start to relax the standard then I would personally say I don't find the idea of Gods all that plausible. It's not implausible -- even on that standard of implausibility -- but I don't consider it all that plausible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWalrus
    Well, I turn to science for an explanation for the origin of the universe and the origin of the species. Their theories aren't facts, of course. But at least they're following a scientific method. There are religious people who deny what science has to say about these matters but generally these people are called crackpots, so I doubt my ideas about the origin of the existence of things is all that different from your average Christian or Hindu. The difference between us would likely be more down to whether the universe had a "first cause".

    I'll expand on that point. The "first cause" thing is common line believers use against non-believers, as it's generally taken as an axiom going back at least to Newton that everything has a cause. Therefore you roll back farther and farther until finally you get to the Big Bang or the Beginning or whatever you want to call it. If it can't cause itself, then who or what caused it? The people who believe in God point to God as the cause. The problem with that is that God -- or whoever -- also has to have a cause. Believers like to say that God is God's own first cause, but that sort of defeats the purpose of the argument.

    Anyway, I do suppose my theory is a bit short of follow up explanation, but where do you go from "randomness"? I think it's more about how you get there.
    Nothing to add. Except maybe that a Big Bang doesn't have to preclude a "God", and a "God" doesn't have to preclude a big bang. Whether you're religious, or whether you're a scientist, you're basically asking for one free miracle (the birth of the universe), and take it from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWalrus View Post
    So what would be a non-religious form of higher consciousness?
    Just that. Don't get hung up on the specifics of man-made stories.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWalrus
    When you get into a back and forth like this the whole idea of what "certainty" means gets a bit murky. That was the ultimate nail in Statler's argument. "Knowledge is possible" wasn't something he could prove. It only sounded true if you use "knowledge" in a colloquial way.

    So yeah, I don't consider myself certain about anything, really. Other than the fact I exist. Once you start to relax the standard then I would personally say I don't find the idea of Gods all that plausible. It's not implausible -- even on that standard of implausibility -- but I don't consider it all that plausible.
    I'd like to hear your opinion on why you feel that way. Personally I can't find one legitimate reason to dismiss it as any less possible than any other plausible explanation. Also what's your image of a "God"? Is it a distinct separate being from the rest of the universe that created it like a sculptor would a sculpture? It's always possible I suppose, but if that's what we're dealing with then I'd agree with you. Westerners tend to associate the word, or idea of God, basically with magic tricks and supernatural occurrences. For a lot of Indians that couldn't be father from the case. I've posted this clip before, but it's Watts giving a short gist of the Indian concept of God. It's a very coherent and logical possibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob19 View Post
    Nothing to add. Except maybe that a Big Bang doesn't have to preclude a "God", and a "God" doesn't have to preclude a big bang. Whether you're religious, or whether you're a scientist, you're basically asking for one free miracle (the birth of the universe), and take it from there.
    It doesn't have to be asked for. The universe exists. What a scientist would tell you is that the proof that the necessary conditions existed in order for the Big Bang to happen can be proven by the fact that the universe exists. No matter how remote or obscure the conditions, here we are. It's known as the Anthropic Principle. Put another way, the proof that we can be here is that we are here.

    The details that science has revealed to explain how this happened may be incomplete, but at least they rely on the scientific method. And even then -- despite the fact that science's explanation is more rigorously obtained than religion's -- science has the good manners to call their explanation a "theory". Religion, on the other hand, is by nature didactic. Here is how it happened. I think you're selling science short by comparing the two so evenly.

    I'd like to hear your opinion on why you feel that way. Personally I can't find one legitimate reason to dismiss it as any less possible than any other plausible explanation. Also what's your image of a "God"? Is it a distinct separate being from the rest of the universe that created it like a sculptor would a sculpture? It's always possible I suppose, but if that's what we're dealing with then I'd agree with you. Westerners tend to associate the word, or idea of God, basically with magic tricks and supernatural occurrences. For a lot of Indians that couldn't be father from the case. I've posted this clip before, but it's Watts giving a short gist of the Indian concept of God. It's a very coherent and logical possibility.
    My image of God is anything beyond the immediate nature of experience. Anything spiritual, whether in the form of a personified consciousness, or a life force, or any of that. Even something as simple as Gandhi's statement that it's not God that is truth, but Truth that is God. It sounds nice, but Truth can just be Truth. Any of it -- all of it -- requires belief, a certainty or kind of certainty about something where there can be no direct knowledge. As I've said, I don't describe to belief. I don't see why I should. I spend too much time trying to be actually informed and apply critical thinking to things to simply accept wholesale any supernatural system as being the true nature of the world.

    Yeah, Brahma makes a certain amount of sense. It's supposed to. Religions evolve just like anything else, to fill a role. Christianity makes a certain amount of sense, too. So does Buddhism and Shinto. Even Greek and Roman and Norse Gods make sense. No religious system has ever done a better job explaining evil in the world than the Greeks and Romans. It's all storytelling to me, trying to fill in the gaps beyond our ability to perceive... a byproduct of humanity's unlucky lot to be intelligent enough to perceive our own limitations in perception.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWalrus
    It doesn't have to be asked for. The universe exists. What a scientist would tell you is that the proof that the necessary conditions existed in order for the Big Bang to happen can be proven by the fact that the universe exists. No matter how remote or obscure the conditions, here we are. It's known as the Anthropic Principle. Put another way, the proof that we can be here is that we are here.
    That also sounds like something Statler would tell you as evidence of God. Our existence does nothing to prove that the Big Bang definitively happened. There isnít a scientist alive that would tell you that the universesí existence is proof of the Big Bang. If you canít even prove that the Big Bang Theory is correct, then you certainly canít assume thatís the only possible explanation for the Universeís existence. Us being here, and the nature of how we arrived here, are two completely different things that need not be confused.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWalrus
    The details that science has revealed to explain how this happened may be incomplete, but at least they rely on the scientific method. And even then -- despite the fact that science's explanation is more rigorously obtained than religion's -- science has the good manners to call their explanation a "theory". Religion, on the other hand, is by nature didactic.Here is how it happened. I think you're selling science short by comparing the two so evenly.
    My image of God is anything beyond the immediate nature of experience. Anything spiritual, whether in the form of a personified consciousness, or a life force, or any of that. Even something as simple as Gandhi's statement that it's not God that is truth, but Truth that is God. It sounds nice, but Truth can just be Truth. Any of it -- all of it -- requires belief, a certainty or kind of certainty about something where there can be no direct knowledge. As I've said, I don't describe to belief. I don't see why I should. I spend too much time trying to be actually informed and apply critical thinking to things to simply accept wholesale any supernatural system as being the true nature of the world.

    Yeah, Brahma makes a certain amount of sense. It's supposed to. Religions evolve just like anything else, to fill a role. Christianity makes a certain amount of sense, too. So does Buddhism and Shinto. Even Greek and Roman and Norse Gods make sense. No religious system has ever done a better job explaining evil in the world than the Greeks and Romans. It's all storytelling to me, trying to fill in the gaps beyond our ability to perceive... a byproduct of humanity's unlucky lot to be intelligent enough to perceive our own limitations in perception.
    I certainly didnít intend for it to be interpreted that Iím waging a Science vs. Religion debate. Iím not anti-science by any means, or pro-religion for that matter. You can still use the Scientific Method to determine how things happen, but again one doesnít preclude the other. I keep getting the impression from you (and please do correct me if Iím wrong), that you believe that if we could somehow prove the Big Bang definitively happened, it would disprove any theory of some unintelligible higher force of consciousness.

    Iím also not putting them on equal footing. They serve two completely different purposes. Science focuses on ďHowĒ, and Religion on ďWhyĒ. This doesnít even have to concern religion, really. Judging by your reaction earlier, I get the feeling that you have a hard time separating the concept of a higher form of consciousness, from made-man religious ďstory-tellingĒ, as you put it. I only bring up various religious theories because people are more familiar with them. The Big Bang theory isnít even the only widely debated Scientific Theory out there; Simulation Theory, Multiverse Theory, etc. As I said, donít get hung-up on religion.

    The fact remains (for now, at least), that any dismissal of any legitimately plausible theory is on no more solid ground than subjective feelings and experience. Which is fine, donít get me wrong, but itís no more or less than that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob19 View Post
    That also sounds like something Statler would tell you as evidence of God. Our existence does nothing to prove that the Big Bang definitively happened. There isn’t a scientist alive that would tell you that the universes’ existence is proof of the Big Bang. If you can’t even prove that the Big Bang Theory is correct, then you certainly can’t assume that’s the only possible explanation for the Universe’s existence. Us being here, and the nature of how we arrived here, are two completely different things that need not be confused.
    I didn't say the Big Bang, though. I don't know whether there was a Big Bang at all. All the Anthropic Principle says is that because life exists, any necessary condition for life must have been met. We don't exactly what the necessary conditions are, though. Science has it's theories. It doesn't impact me one way or the other if they're right.

    I certainly didn’t intend for it to be interpreted that I’m waging a Science vs. Religion debate. I’m not anti-science by any means, or pro-religion for that matter. You can still use the Scientific Method to determine how things happen, but again one doesn’t preclude the other.
    The scientific method is by definition antithetical to faith or belief. I understand the desire to rectify the differences between them but on a fundamental level they're incompatible.

    I keep getting the impression from you (and please do correct me if I’m wrong), that you believe that if we could somehow prove the Big Bang definitively happened, it would disprove any theory of some unintelligible higher force of consciousness.
    That is not my opinion, no. I could give two ****s about the Big Bang. I'm curious about the origins of the universe and life but no more than that. My notions of existence are not dependent on -- or in conflict with -- the most current postulate.

    I’m also not putting them on equal footing. They serve two completely different purposes. Science focuses on “How”, and Religion on “Why”. This doesn’t even have to concern religion, really. Judging by your reaction earlier, I get the feeling that you have a hard time separating the concept of a higher form of consciousness, from made-man religious “story-telling”, as you put it. I only bring up various religious theories because people are more familiar with them. The Big Bang theory isn’t even the only widely debated Scientific Theory out there; Simulation Theory, Multiverse Theory, etc. As I said, don’t get hung-up on religion.
    "Why" is a perfectly natural question but it's also a dangerous one. It motivates you seek an answer when perhaps there is no why.

    The notion of any higher form of consciousness to me is storytelling. It doesn't need to have characters with personified traits to be a story. It's a take on the world for which there is no proof that fills emotional needs. That's what I mean by a story here.

    The fact remains (for now, at least), that any dismissal of any legitimately plausible theory is on no more solid ground than subjective feelings and experience. Which is fine, don’t get me wrong, but it’s no more or less than that.
    Not really. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    If someone claims to have been visited by a UFO, for example, I don't have to consider it plausible simply because it matches their subjective feelings and experience. It's an extraordinary claim, therefore the burden of proof lies with the person claiming it, not with me. Any religion makes a multitude of extraordinary claims for which there is no evidence, much less extraordinary evidence. Just because it's not necessarily implausible -- just as someone being visited by aliens is not necessarily implausible -- does not mean it reaches some sort of quasi-plausible footing.

    At least in Christianity they try to offer some reason why there is no proof. "Blessed are those who have no seen, yet still believe" and so on. Other religions by comparison don't even try. If this world is really the dream of Brahma, for example, where's the proof of it? Where is the spiritual value in not making this proof indisputable?
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    Moved into a new apartment yesterday. It's still a work in progress, but I thought I'd share a few pictures.

    Kitchen's through that window on the right. Didn't include it or the bathroom because they're a pretty standard affair.


    Plan on putting a small flat-screen on that wooden stand atop the fireplace.




    Screened-in porch facing out towards the woods is my favorite feature.
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