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Has David Birnbaum solved the mystery of existence?
The Guardian ^ | 19 October 2013 | Oliver Burkeman

Posted on 10/19/2013 2:08:00 PM PDT by Berlin_Freeper

In the summer of 2012, a number of philosophers at British and American universities received a bulky, unmarked package in the post. It contained a 560-page book, written in English but with the Latin title Summa Metaphysica, by an amateur whose name they didn't recognise: David Birnbaum. It isn't unusual for philosophy departments to get mail from cranks, convinced they have solved the riddle of existence, but they usually send stapled print-outs, or handwritten letters; Summa Metaphysica stood out "for its size and its glossiness", says Tim Crane, a professor of philosophy at Cambridge. The book was professionally typeset. It even included endorsements from Claude Lévi-Strauss, the legendary French anthropologist, who described it as "remarkable and profound", and from the Princeton physicist John Wheeler, who once collaborated with Einstein. It would later transpire that 40,000 copies were in circulation, a print run any academic philosopher might kill for. The book claimed to have sliced through countless fundamental problems in philosophy, physics and theology, and there on the spine, where the publisher's name appears, was one deeply reassuring word: "Harvard".

Then the story grew stranger. In May this year, the US-based Chronicle of Higher Education reported that prominent scholars – scientists, philosophers and theologians – had been persuaded to attend an expenses-paid "international academic conference" at Bard College, a respected institution in upstate New York, devoted to Birnbaum's work.

(Excerpt) Read more at theguardian.com ...


TOPICS: Hobbies
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 10/19/2013 2:08:00 PM PDT by Berlin_Freeper
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To: Berlin_Freeper
The mystery of existence? W-why it is to serve The One. I thought we already settled this.


2 posted on 10/19/2013 2:14:26 PM PDT by GrandJediMasterYoda (What do we want? Time travel. When do we want it? It's irrelevant.)
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To: GrandJediMasterYoda

That has a distinct lack of potential.


3 posted on 10/19/2013 2:22:03 PM PDT by Berlin_Freeper
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To: Berlin_Freeper

Trouble with articles like this is you always want to read about what the individual actually said, but have to scroll down to piece together that they thought of this inference.

The problem is how do you get to say non-reality has potential to be reality? Can we speak of the non-reality of the universe having the potential to become a universe in reality. Can we even say that of non-reality itself with it possessing in itself the potentiality for reality.

Metaphysics gets goofy and complex the more basic and fundamental you go.


4 posted on 10/19/2013 2:26:34 PM PDT by Bayard
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To: GrandJediMasterYoda

I will NEVER hail or even acknowledge the win.


5 posted on 10/19/2013 2:29:12 PM PDT by wally_bert (There are no winners in a game of losers. I'm Tommy Joyce, welcome to the Oriental Lounge.)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

It is nice that Birnbaum has a hobby, but he shows all the well-known signs of being a crank and a phony.


6 posted on 10/19/2013 2:31:00 PM PDT by expat2
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To: Bayard

I think, therefore I am.


7 posted on 10/19/2013 2:39:08 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof .... but they're true)
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To: knarf
First Man:I think, I think I am, therefore I am, I think.

Establishment: Of course you are
My bright little star,
I've miles
And miles
Of files
Pretty files of your forefather's fruit
And now to suit our
Great computer,
You're magnetic ink.

First Man: I'm more than that, I know I am, at least, I think I must be.

Inner Man: There you go man,
Keep as cool as you can.
Face piles
And piles
Of trials
With smiles.
It riles them to believe
That you perceive
The web they weave
And keep on thinking free.

8 posted on 10/19/2013 2:47:09 PM PDT by newfreep (Breitbart sent me...)
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To: wally_bert

Someone told me at work today Obama is now working behind the scenes to get rid of term limits for POTUS. How about that? A third term and a fourth term and a fifth and a sixth! Dictator for life! I told him if Obama ever did a third term then Civil War 2 would break out with me leading the charge. lol


9 posted on 10/19/2013 2:50:31 PM PDT by GrandJediMasterYoda (What do we want? Time travel. When do we want it? It's irrelevant.)
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To: newfreep

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTHoKEd-Gjo


10 posted on 10/19/2013 2:50:41 PM PDT by newfreep (Breitbart sent me...)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

11 posted on 10/19/2013 2:54:24 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: Berlin_Freeper
"scientists, philosophers and theologians – had been persuaded to attend an expenses-paid "international academic conference"

Free food, drinks and lodging and one can get Scientists to agree on anything.

They are never wrong.

They simply say: "That's what we knew, based on the then current body of knowledge and technologies available."

When I attended school in the 60's , Neanderthal man was in the human chain of evolution.

And we only had a few years to live, see The Population Bomb by Stanford University Professor Paul R. Ehrlich

DNA and new advances in farming has since shown those , at the time indisputable Scientific conclusions to be wrong.

12 posted on 10/19/2013 2:59:37 PM PDT by NoLibZone (The reason we are where we are today is the belief that posting on a website will fix the nation.)
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Support Free Republic

13 posted on 10/19/2013 3:03:04 PM PDT by RedMDer (http://www.dontfundobamacare.com/)
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To: Bayard
The problem is how do you get to say non-reality has potential to be reality?

These cranks have been around for a while:

*********************************************

"We were just discussing a most interesting subject," said the earnest matron. "Dr. Pritchett was telling us that nothing is anything."

"He should, undoubtedly, know more than anyone else about that," Francisco answered gravely.

"I wouldn't have supposed that you knew Dr. Pritchett so well, Senor d'Anconia," she said, and wondered why the professor looked displeased by her remark.

"I am an alumnus of the great school that employs Dr. Pritchett at present, the Patrick Henry University. But I studied under one of his predecessors - Hugh Akston."

...

A young man said, astonished, "I thought Hugh Akston was one of those classics that nobody studied any more, except in histories of philosophy. I read an article recently which referred to him as the last of the great advocates of reason."

"Just what did Hugh Akston teach?" asked the earnest matron.

Francisco answered, "He taught that everything is something."

-- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

14 posted on 10/19/2013 3:04:56 PM PDT by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
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To: expat2
It is nice that Birnbaum has a hobby, but he shows all the well-known signs of being a crank and a phony.

And the article shows all the well-known signs of being about a rank and a phony.

15 posted on 10/19/2013 3:05:20 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: Berlin_Freeper
His work, said a commenter on the Chronicle's website, "reads like L Ron Hubbard had drunken sex one night with Ayn Rand and produced this bastard thought-child"

Great quote.

16 posted on 10/19/2013 3:06:56 PM PDT by Sawdring
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To: GrandJediMasterYoda; camle; Alkhin; Professional Engineer; katana; Mr. Silverback; MadIvan; ...
Totally like:


17 posted on 10/19/2013 3:17:24 PM PDT by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

Well, he has solved the mystery of how to get academic respect for crap.

Although the various “studies” department (black, feminist, queer, etc.) beat him to that by decades.


18 posted on 10/19/2013 3:26:43 PM PDT by Our man in washington
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To: Sawdring

Heck yes. Saved that one.


19 posted on 10/19/2013 3:42:38 PM PDT by CrazyIvan (Obama phones= Bread and circuits.)
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To: knarf

I freep therefore I post.


20 posted on 10/19/2013 3:45:36 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: null and void

Ah, yes; the great “Cloister”, avowed to be the Creator of The Cat People. Still love that episode...


21 posted on 10/19/2013 3:59:52 PM PDT by Utilizer (Bacon A'kbar! - In world today are only peaceful people, and the mooslimbs trying to kill them-)
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To: Berlin_Freeper
Rising from the Barbadian sand, Birnbaum saw the world in a new light: everything and everyone around him was an expression of cosmic potential, working itself out.

Known as 'Buddha Mind' in Buddhism.

Why? Because that's what potential does. Birnbaum calls this process "extraordinariation".

Known as 'karma' in Buddhism.

Congratulations, genius, you just wrote a several hundred volume half-assed rehash of a 2,500 hundred year old view of reality that can be expressed in a couple of paragraphs. And you left out the key explanations of 'how' and 'what.'

22 posted on 10/19/2013 4:01:05 PM PDT by TigersEye (Stupid is a Progressive disease.)
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To: GrandJediMasterYoda

I know plenty of brain dead lemming liberals who would gladly support the wun as dictator for life. I do my best to keep contact with them to a minimum.


23 posted on 10/19/2013 4:02:46 PM PDT by wally_bert (There are no winners in a game of losers. I'm Tommy Joyce, welcome to the Oriental Lounge.)
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To: null and void

Lister and Frankenstein?


24 posted on 10/19/2013 4:03:28 PM PDT by wally_bert (There are no winners in a game of losers. I'm Tommy Joyce, welcome to the Oriental Lounge.)
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To: Utilizer

It’s Lister, Lister the stupid (I think - been years since I watched any).


25 posted on 10/19/2013 4:04:11 PM PDT by wally_bert (There are no winners in a game of losers. I'm Tommy Joyce, welcome to the Oriental Lounge.)
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To: Berlin_Freeper
It is an exhausting read, partly thanks to its length – volume two alone has 90 appendices – but also because much of it is written in a kind of rapturous, mystical prose, liberally peppered with capitals. A typical sentence reads: "The cosmic trajectory is from the bottomless VOID to the limitless EXTRAORDINARY."

What his WRITING needs is a lot of EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!

26 posted on 10/19/2013 4:08:42 PM PDT by Lonely Bull
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To: GrandJediMasterYoda

I told everyone I knew that this would happen before the 2008 election.


27 posted on 10/19/2013 4:09:15 PM PDT by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: knarf

I forgot my deodorant this morning. Whew!!!

I stink, therefore I am.


28 posted on 10/19/2013 4:09:45 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Berlin_Freeper
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 1:1 (NAS)

29 posted on 10/19/2013 4:12:26 PM PDT by Prospero (Si Deus trucido mihi, ego etiam fides Deus.)
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To: knarf

Cogito, ergo FReepum


30 posted on 10/19/2013 4:17:12 PM PDT by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Travon... Felony assault and battery hate crime)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

Prot: “I wanna tell you something Mark, something you do not yet know, that we K-PAXians have been around long enough to have discovered. The universe will expand, then it will collapse back on itself, then will expand again. It will repeat this process forever. What you don’t know is that when the universe expands again, everything will be as it is now. Whatever mistakes you make this time around, you will live through on your next pass. Every mistake you make, you will live through again, & again, forever. So my advice to you is to get it right this time around. Because this time is all you have.”


31 posted on 10/19/2013 4:18:16 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: wally_bert
It's Lister in actuality, but they misnamed him Cloister. I have the nine-dvd set and truly enjoy that episode, and if you are truly interested in the series I think I have a reference somewhere where you might be able to download that episode.

And before anyone jumps up and asks the continually-asked question of if that is 'legal';

It's Broadcast Television. Which means it was broadcast for free over the open airwaves. For years, including reruns.

I still have cassette tapes of old AM and FM radio broadcasts of songs I liked and no one seems to have a problem with that for some reason, but sadly lost the 4-track and 8-track tapes at about the same time I lost the Quadrophonic recordings.

I must admit I miss the VHS recordings of 'The Muppet Show' reruns most of all, truth be told.

Come to think of it I just might have two or three VHS tapes of Red Dwarf still in storage. I think I will take some time this weekend and do a bit of looking about now that I think about it...

32 posted on 10/19/2013 4:27:27 PM PDT by Utilizer (Bacon A'kbar! - In world today are only peaceful people, and the mooslimbs trying to kill them-)
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To: bert

> Cogito, ergo FReepum <

:-)


33 posted on 10/19/2013 4:35:33 PM PDT by GJones2
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To: knarf
I think, therefore I am.

I stink, therefore I shower.

34 posted on 10/19/2013 4:43:19 PM PDT by Islander7 (There is no septic system so vile, so filthy, the left won't drink from to further their agenda)
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To: wally_bert

Frankenstein, yeah! I remember that stuff from kitty school. The Holy Mother, saved by Cloister the Stupid, who was frozen in time, and who gaveth of his life that we might live.


35 posted on 10/19/2013 4:44:05 PM PDT by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: Utilizer

I’ve got all the DVDs around and probably need to dig them out.

I may make them lunchtime viewing at my lunch half hour. I get 30 minutes and am in my cube.

Recently I have run the classic bw Dragnet, taxi season 1 and now SOAP season is now lunchtime entertainment.


36 posted on 10/19/2013 4:53:11 PM PDT by wally_bert (There are no winners in a game of losers. I'm Tommy Joyce, welcome to the Oriental Lounge.)
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To: Mr. Jeeves

When I was a freshman in college many years ago before going off to WWII and across the Pacific I had an assignment in a Psychology elective class to write a ‘free’ expression paper. I chose as my subject ‘Why Nothing is Something’. My paper rambled on for a couple of pages with double speaks. The lady prof. told me, as I recall, that my paper was interesting but it made no sense and besides my construction was poor. She did give me a ‘B’ for the paper. Today I still believe that with many things people make nothing into something.


37 posted on 10/19/2013 4:58:39 PM PDT by noinfringers2
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To: Islander7
I owe, I owe

-so off to work I go!

38 posted on 10/19/2013 5:00:00 PM PDT by Utilizer (Bacon A'kbar! - In world today are only peaceful people, and the mooslimbs trying to kill them-)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

Bump


39 posted on 10/19/2013 5:02:49 PM PDT by tophat9000 (Are we headed to a Cracker Slacker War?)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

What if all of the rest of you are just here for my entertainment?


40 posted on 10/19/2013 5:11:08 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Prospero

Amen.

1Co 1:18-25 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”

Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.


41 posted on 10/19/2013 5:37:49 PM PDT by Arlis (.)
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To: Arlis
"He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end."

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NAS)

42 posted on 10/19/2013 7:19:18 PM PDT by Prospero (Si Deus trucido mihi, ego etiam fides Deus.)
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To: GrandJediMasterYoda

Just let us know where those of like mind should assemble


43 posted on 10/19/2013 8:14:53 PM PDT by Shadowstrike (Be polite, Be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

I thought it was 42.....


44 posted on 10/19/2013 8:18:18 PM PDT by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Still bitterly clinging to rational thought despite it's unfashionability)
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To: null and void

Cloister the Stupid


45 posted on 10/19/2013 8:26:34 PM PDT by SoothingDave
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To: null and void

I’ve forgotten, what color were the hats ?


46 posted on 10/19/2013 9:30:26 PM PDT by fella ("As it was before Noah, so shall it be again,")
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To: fella

HOLLY: “`Yea, even individual sachets of mustard. And those who serve shall have hats of great majesty, yea, though they be made of coloured cardboard and have humorous arrows through the top.’”
LISTER: Does it say what happened to the rest of the Cats?
HOLLY: Holy wars. There were thousands of years of fighting, Dave, between the two factions.
LISTER: What two factions?
HOLLY: Well, the ones who believed the hats should be red, and the ones who believed the hats should be blue.
LISTER: Do you mean they had a war over whether the doughnut diner hats were red or blue?
HOLLY: Yeah. Most of them were killed fighting about that. It’s daft really, innit?
LISTER: You’re not kidding. They were supposed to be green.


47 posted on 10/19/2013 9:45:23 PM PDT by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

Has David Birnbaum solved the mystery of existence?

In a word? NO.


48 posted on 10/20/2013 12:15:48 AM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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