Post by toskaliku8711 on Sept 5, 2011 19:39:49 GMT -5
Doc is pretty interesting on the big question in modern studies on the Cosmology and astrophysics: what happened before the Big Bang? (I have been reading some interesting articles by one of the guys interviewed, Andrei Linde).
They interviewed the Albanian physicist Laura Mersini:
Very interesting for a couple of reasons. It's nice to finally see cosmologists and astro-physicists trying to refine and re-evaluate the Big Bang model which had become stagnant in the last decade. It's also kind of cute to see hardcore scientists flirt with philosophical questions, the biggest of them being how and why should anything come to exist (the default, "energetically favorable" condition is that there should be nothing). And of course I share in some of the pride of having a smart Albanian lady contributing at the front edge of knowledge.
On the other hand, and I have been thinking this for sometime now, I had already postulated the existence of multiple universes, an infinite number of them actually; with each heartbeat of God, a Universe is born. (No, not the insecure, jealous, vengeful and petty christian god who "creates" a world and people only to hide himself and the truth from them, then in a total surrender of free will asks them for blind faith and adoration, condemning them to eternal scorching suffering if they don't... what a perverted god for a weak and corrupt people!)
Post by toskaliku8711 on Sept 6, 2011 11:31:50 GMT -5
I don't know, the very word "god" has become such an abstraction that it hardly has any value in it left. It's come to the point where we may have to simply abandon the very term, it is valueless and way too full. I mean, what does it encompass? Who is this "god"? Is it the (im)mutable laws of physics or is it some sentient being? I don't see how we can even remotely use the term. "god" is man made and really has little or nothing to do with the massive, unimaginable structure that we call the universe (we are a single planet revolving around a one star out of billions in a galaxy out of 400 billion+ galaxies in the entire universe of perhaps an endless number of possible universes, our terminology seems hopeless to try and grasp the vastness of it all).
As for theories, yea they are pretty interesting. Problem is that they are all turning into endless metaphysical theories none of which have the slightest remote amount of evidence. On a more positive note, I like the idea of an eternity of theories of the metaphysical... the amount of possible great literature is just as endless.
You are right, I can hear the Nietzschean echo that the old gods are dead, the old words are dried up and dead. We need to hack our way forward by thinking new thoughts and giving them new meaning and more precise definitions.
We know so little about ourselves, about our world, about how the universe is put together, that only our human hubris upon a foundation of our weakness and ignorance and promoted by the priestly caste interested in the enslavement of humanity have taken the liberty of staking claims of knowing "God", like leeches feeding off humanity's metaphysical insecurity and ignorance.
The knowledge of ourselves and the physical universe is the best we can hope for at this stage, the closest we can come to knowing "God" for a very long time to come.
Yes, the theories are interesting, some of them may turn out to have substance some of them may not. I think the difference between physical and metaphysical is an artificial one, man-made. If we can make contact with something and measure it with our instruments then we call it "physical", if we cannot then it's "metaphysical", the stuff of religions and old wives. But, part of the problem is simply our instruments, for instance, think about the "double slit experiment" which we all read about in physics 101. We shine a ray of light on a metal plate with two thin slits, and we capture what comes out in the other side; well, it turns out that light behaves both as a wave and as a particle, which were always thought of as mutually exclusive categories. So the same "thing" (light) can be two completely different phenomena. The result we get is a consequence and limitation of our theoretical background and experimental setup, because Nature is unified, it only has one playbook. With time and effort we will uncover more of the playbook, see its unity, and get a little bit closer to the "truth".
Post by toskaliku8711 on Sept 6, 2011 13:01:16 GMT -5
I try not to be as nihilistic and cynical as most Nietzsche followers tend to be (although it's hard not to be); and I have given up my staunch "antitheism" of my childish past. When I consider the absurdity of existence, I have to admit that even the impossible seems entirely rational to some extent. Arguing that man is pointless is just as absurd as arguing that man is special.
Yes, the theories are interesting, some of them may turn out to have substance some of them may not. I think the difference between physical and metaphysical is an artificial one, man-made.
The difference was perhaps rational when we were absorbed in discussion over the earthly natural and physical; however, it was blown out of the water when we discovered the absurdity of space time. The "metaphysical" always leaves room for some of the true questions of man: our awareness of our own mortality. If men can lay some claim to the metaphysical then we can keep the "soul" (aka our consciousness or our subjective experience). I think that this is the main qualm with the metaphysical, that it inevitably will lead to issues of life and death. The metaphysical has given birth to the new age religions: the "quantum mind" and the vast number of other pseudo-scientific beliefs that try and retain dualism.
I found this talk by Prof. Mertzinger to be fascinating:
Post by toskaliku8711 on Sept 6, 2011 13:12:49 GMT -5
It makes sense to say Christian God. The Christian God of the Gospels is not the vengeful, angry and provincial god of Jewish scripture (which has made a comeback in American evangelism). They are very different beings and products of evolution and admixture with Platonic and Neo-Platonic values. It makes sense to distinguish between the gods, even if they derive from the same source.
Post by toskaliku8711 on Sept 6, 2011 14:12:38 GMT -5
Harry Potter is mostly shaped on the traditional myth stories. Look up Hero With a Thousand Faces by Campbell. It is the typical hero myth stories. Boy is born fated to be king, is exiled from the kingdom and then returns to eventually redeem himself and liberate his people. It has been there from Moses to Cyrus the Great, Pyrrhus or Epirus and Alexander the Great, Jesus, Mohammed and even Scanderbeg. Its a perennial tale, also called the "monomyth": en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth
Btw, I've never read the Potter stuff so I am basing it on what you just said.
This is an interesting discussion. Let's hope Canaris doesn't ban us. TSH, I have a vague recollection of our interaction
Now, I'm not so much into theology, but Melty, I'm not sure I understand when you say that "The Christian God of the Gospels is not the vengeful, angry and provincial god of Jewish scripture". I agree, but what does that go against what I said? I don't think you need to specify that you speak of the Christian God and not the Christian God of the Gospels because no one would use them interchangeably.
I'm even more surprised when you say that most of the Nietzsche followers (Nietzscheans) are nihilistic and cynical when the whole concept of Nietzsche's philosophy is to refute that stand; and I don't think anyone that would hold those qualities would call himself Nietzschean. Also, if you look at the works of those who have been influenced by Nietzsche (positively), such as Camus and Satre, you'll see that they do not promote nihilism.
At times one may get the impression that a Nietzschean wants to spread the feeling of nihilism, but as I mentioned above, that would be counter to the philosophy of Nietzsche. I remember when I l was listening to Marilyn Manson (they're one of the reasons I started reading Nietzsche) in my younger age and they came across as nihilistic; but then I listened to what Brian Wagnes (the lead singer) had to say and understood that he was talking about the opposite of nihilism.
Melty, I'm glad you no longer are antitheistic. I tried to explain to you why that is silly, but you seemed unaffected by my argument. You seemed to think that I was missing out on something. I wasn't familiar with the term monomyth, either. Interest stuff... thanks!
Lastly, I think you guys have the wrong stand on religion. You keep thinking that monotheistic religions enslaved the individual and regressed society. Yet it was also these religions that allowed great thinkers to ask the right questions--questions that the great thinkers of the ancient age would not have asked because it was not within their reach. Although Plato's Academy was destroyed, monasticism would eventually find its way and lead us to Renaissance. All of this wouldn't have been possible without Aristotele's metaphysics. All of these errors were necessary and as Nietzsche adds in Human, All Too Human, without these errors, we wouldn't have enjoyed great art such as Da Vinci's or Dante's The Divine Comedy. So let's put things in their right context. The right-wing Christians in the USA is a seperate subject.
PS. Donnie = mediocre.
"It is never god to close horizons one would say."
Also, if you look at the works of those who have been influenced by Nietzsche (positively), such as Camus and Satre, you'll see that they do not promote nihilism.
Hmm... Camus work seem to be filled with Nihilism. Sartre's embarrassingly so. They may have tried to fight it, but they are filled with it.
What work do you think of? I read The Fall after BR recommended it to me and it was a very positive book. I can't say I'm a critic and I'm not too familiar with his works. I haven't read The Plague yet (I remember you saying you were going to read it). Was it any different from my experience? A quick google gives me this:
Camus, like the other existentialists, was convinced that nihilism was the most vexing problem of the twentieth century. Although he argues passionately that individuals could endure its corrosive effects, his most famous works betray the extraordinary difficulty he faced building a convincing case. In The Stranger (1942), for example, Meursault has rejected the existential suppositions on which the uninitiated and weak rely. Just moments before his execution for a gratuitous murder, he discovers that life alone is reason enough for living, a raison d’être, however, that in context seems scarcely convincing.
"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within" - William Durant
This shouldn't be up for debate anymore, the evidence of this is everywhere yet ignored by the "harassed and bewildered men" (as he puts it). These bewildered people are the cause of our decontructionism, because they refuse to look beyond what they are taught, and keep the old-rusty wheels in motion.
Post by toskaliku8711 on Sept 6, 2011 17:50:32 GMT -5
Yet it was also these religions that allowed great thinkers to ask the right questions--questions that the great thinkers of the ancient age would not have asked because it was not within their reach.
Hmm... which ones? I'm not sure you are right. Most of the thinkers that we have to thank for the modern world did what they did either in spite of or ignoring the scripture. Entire scholarship that was based upon proving religion and scripture developed into the primary scholarship against Scripture (Archeology for instance).
Either way, this debate is endless and pointless. People did brilliant things in history, whether they were religious or non.
You sound arrogant, but whatever. The debate was whether Christianity as a religion left room for thinkers to grow and develop. We all know that Christianity held progress back, but some parts of it gave way to Renaissance. Aristoteles' Metaphysics gave way to the early science; Augustine had a great influence on Western philosophy; Leibniz had some good contributions too. Anyways, I don't like your tone, so I'm out. Better sound friendly next time.
"It is never god to close horizons one would say."
This is another broad topic with plenty of examples and arguments that can go to either side. Monotheistic religions had a great impact on their respective societies.
For instance, while Europe was in its dark age, it was the monks and monasteries that kept a high level of literacy and served as centers of learning. In the Middle East, it was the Islamic kingdoms that preserved the works of Plato and Aristotelis, to which they added their own great scientific advances, and transmitted them back to Europe when the Crusaders came to plunder, again under the banner of religion.
Christianity may have played a role in the Renaissance but it also brought us the Spanish Inquisition, burned Giordano Bruno at the stake and totally suppressed Galileo. On this note, I must also say that it's not "christianity" per se that is responsible for these things, but it is the church and priestly caste that build their power base around it, and used the misplaced hope of humanity for the christian message of divine love and salvation to simply accrue material wealth for the church, dabble in every political intrigue possible, and generally support the status quo of the political elites, with promises of other-worldly riches for the sick, the poor, the slave, serfs and the ordinary man and woman.
Again, yes, under the influence of Christianity, Europe as a whole still managed to make great advances in art, philosophy and science; these things are undeniable and part of our cherished European heritage today (if I can count myself among Europeans). But I think that people would have done these things with or without Christianity. The caveman in Lascaux did not need it to artfully paint his cave, the ancient Hellenes made their great accomplishments during the heyday of their pantheon of gods (and declined after adopting Christianity, even if only it's correlation and not causation). Point being, that art, thought and science are part of the human psyche, they happen under any condition. In the case of Europe, Christianity was there and added its flavor, permitted some forms of advancement while suppressing others, but in itself was not a necessary condition for these developments.
I would dare say that Europe would have been better off without Christianity. But this is "what if" history, it is speculation on my part, and speculation can't be neutral.
Aside, from the "historical" examples and arguments above, the reason I personally dislike religions and sound like some crazed political commissar is because of*gut feeling that I have about them. I am in no position to declare that Christianity, Islam and Judaism absolutely do not encapsulate a divine message, although that is my unshakeable personal subjective reality. I also believe they have a redeeming quality in that they have kept the spark of the human spirit alive, nourishing man with the hope that he is something finer than just another beast of the forest, and for providing support to the moral code of society.
That said, in my final and personal analysis, I dislike "religion" because it bred fatalism in the Arabs and apathy into Europeans.
There's smth intrinsically political about the three Abrahamic branches, far more so than any contemporary or historical religion. Intolerance is a central feature in them. They foster a sense of "we" and "them" that is far more emphasized than in other confessions, so to the point where it's even been encouraged to commit genocide on the "others" or heathens. Some might argue that they aren't intrinsically political, only that they've been politicized by power-hungry institutions,be they monarchs or the religious institutions themselves (the Church for example). But if one read into them, esp. Judaism and Islam, they're extremely political in their czontent in the sense that they regulate life and society down to most aspects of life .. whereas Christianity in its content is extremely apolitical in the sense that Jesus told his disciples and followers to disregard earthly matters and leave politics to the Emperor. Precisely bcs of this, Christianity was so welcomed by early political leaders, bcs from it they got divine legitimacy, it made the ordinary believers content with their lives because the true kingdom came after death, so there was no need to question the order of things.
I'm sure there are similar paralells in other confessions in other parts of the world, but Abrahamic religions in particular stand out for their expansionism and intolerance.
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