Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

'Explore as much as we can': Nobel Prize winner Charles Townes on evolution & intelligent design
UC Berkeley News ^ | 06/17/2005 | Bonnie Azab Powell,

Posted on 05/16/2007 6:54:51 AM PDT by SirLinksalot

click here to read article


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-50 ... 101-150151-200201-250 ... 651-655 next last
To: GourmetDan
"People who want to exclude evolution on the basis of intelligent design, I guess they're saying, "Everything is made at once and then nothing can change."

I guess they're not. Course, without misrepresenting ID an evolutionist (theistic or otherwise) wouldn't have an argument.

Granted that is a misrepresentation of ID, namely in claiming that ID holds that everything was "made at once" with no further change. However you also misrepresent ID, at least to any extent that you imply this claim is rejected by or inconsistent with ID.

The truth is that any and all assertions or suppositions about when things were made are equally consistent with ID.

The accurate representation of ID is that is completely vacuous wrt to any claim about when creation or "design" events occur[ed]. Likewise as to whether or not they occur[ed] all at once or in some temporal sequence, to what extent if any they are supplemented by natural (non-design, evolutionary) change, how they occur, etc, etc.

Basically on absolutely every substantive, empirical claim ID is silent, vacuous and embraces self imposed and intentional ignorance and incuriousity, excepting exclusively the "inference" that certain features are the result of "intelligent design". But of course we don't know anything about what such "design" actually is, and even less what it means for something to be the "result" of it.

This state of affairs is an entirely intentional feature of Intelligent Design, which itself was designed not with a scientific mission but with a political/activist function: i.e. to serve as a kind of umbrella organization/ideology for antievolutionists. It's vacuousness is aimed at avoiding the fate of all previous such efforts at unifying antievolution activists: their tendency to fragment and schism over questions such as the age of the earth, progressive versus fiat creation, the origin of entropy, the global or local extent of the flood, the nature of the biblical "canopy" or "firmament," and other such questions invariably treated as matters of dogma rather than rational and potentially soluble scientific dispute.

The main activity of "Intelligent Design advocates" is to conduct and endless song and dance act aimed a making the casual observer think that it has something substantive to contribute.

151 posted on 05/31/2007 2:52:31 PM PDT by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: RussP
The “burden of proof” is not on ID advocates to prove ID or to “disprove” evolution (which are essentially equivalent endeavors).

That's news to me. HOW are they equivalent?

Prima facie ID is equally consistent with any amount of evolution and common descent, and equally so with no evolution. After all there are "design advocates" holding both position, i.e. those like Behe who have no problem with common descent, even with (at least potentially) univerisal common descent, and those like Jonathan Wells who seem to be thoroughgoing antievolutionists and quibble even with sub-species microevolution like industrial melanism in Peppered Moths.

It seems to me that -- since ID is consistent with any amount, or no amount, of evoluiton (see also my message just upthread on the vacuousness of ID) -- the question of whether or not "design events" occured is, logically, completely independent of evolution.

There is a connection but it has to do merely with the instrumental matter of detecting "intelligently designed" structures: i.e. the methods of detection suggested by IDers all amount to claiming that this or that structure couldn't have happened "naturally" (by a stepwise evolutionary process) so it must have been "design". However in this very message you explicity reject such logic (saying it couldn't have been that so it must have been this), at least when (you think) evolutionists do it, so this question of detection can't be the reason that proving ID and disproving evolution are "equivalent endeavors".

152 posted on 05/31/2007 3:37:43 PM PDT by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 130 | View Replies]

To: Stultis
"The accurate representation of ID is that is completely vacuous wrt to any claim about when creation or "design" events occur[ed]. Likewise as to whether or not they occur[ed] all at once or in some temporal sequence, to what extent if any they are supplemented by natural (non-design, evolutionary) change, how they occur, etc, etc."

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The very purpose of ID is to identify which features are designed and which features are not designed.

"This state of affairs is an entirely intentional feature of Intelligent Design, which itself was designed not with a scientific mission but with a political/activist function: i.e. to serve as a kind of umbrella organization/ideology for antievolutionists."

Exactly why evolution is defined merely as 'change'. This intentionally vacuous definition of evolution gives politically-active naturalists the perfect 'bait-and-switch' tactic to get their agenda implemented under the umbrella of deceptive 'science'.

"The main activity of "Intelligent Design advocates" is to conduct and [sic] endless song and dance act aimed a making the casual observer think that it has something substantive to contribute."

The main activity of 'naturalist' advocates is to conduct an endless song and dance act aimed at making the casual observer think it has something substantive to contribute.

153 posted on 05/31/2007 4:44:31 PM PDT by GourmetDan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 151 | View Replies]

To: GourmetDan
"The accurate representation of ID is that is completely vacuous wrt to any claim about when creation or "design" events occur[ed]. Likewise as to whether or not they occur[ed] all at once or in some temporal sequence, to what extent if any they are supplemented by natural (non-design, evolutionary) change, how they occur, etc, etc."

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The very purpose of ID is to identify which features are designed and which features are not designed.

Wrong how? That's exactly what I said in the message you quote. All they do is infer design (say that this or that structure is the result of "intelligent design"):

Basically on absolutely every substantive, empirical claim ID is silent, vacuous and embraces self imposed and intentional ignorance and incuriousity, excepting exclusively the "inference" that certain features are the result of "intelligent design".

My point was that IDers refuse to say anything else about "intelligent design" structures, such as how, when, where, etc, the design is actually instantiated, and therefore we don't know anything useful about what it actually means to say something is the result of "intelligent design". We might as well say something is the result of "yarp" or "yada, yada". All I'm gonna tell you is that "yada, yada" is not "evolutionary naturalism," but as to what it actually is I ain't gonna say nothin'.

Your attempt, via bald assertion, to claim intellectually equivalency on this ground for evolutionary theory is amusing. Anyone who's actually read even a small sample of the relevant scientific literature knows that there is nothing remotely like the IDers' systemic incuriousity as to mode and mechanism on the evolution side. Indeed most dramatically the opposite. The literature is filled with discussions of specific mechanisms.

154 posted on 05/31/2007 5:03:14 PM PDT by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 153 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
Possibly we could take a next step and say that Being and Life are identities. That could lead to all kinds of interesting speculations, such as cosmological theories of a living universe, astrobiology, etc.

Or, the being of the universe is living, an organism. But why the caps? Do they make the organism a necessary being?

155 posted on 05/31/2007 5:18:04 PM PDT by cornelis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 150 | View Replies]

To: Stultis

I agree that “proving ID” and “disproving evolution” are not necessarily “equivalent endeavors.” I got a bit sloppy with that claim.

The truth of that claim depends on how “evolution” is defined. As you point out, there are many variations in the meaning of that word.

However, the claim *is* true for a particular meaning of the word “evolution:” The purely naturalistic meaning. The purely naturalistic meaning explicitly rules out any and all ID, so by definition, “proving ID” is equivalent to “disproving (purely naturalistic) evolution.”


156 posted on 05/31/2007 5:41:30 PM PDT by RussP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 152 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
[... Possibly we could take a next step and say that Being and Life are identities. That could lead to all kinds of interesting speculations... ]

Amen.... it's so cool being a child of God..
Imagination is pregnant with possibilities in children..

Children are so comfortable with "observing" metaphorical entities but are made to enforce "observing" literal entities as they are assimilated into rational adult life..

Observing the literal and observing the metaphor must be very important factors in the study of "Observation".. Because thats the difference of what we are talking about with the observations of science and the observations of metaphysics.. When metaphysics students lose their childlike wonder they become serious scientists.. but unimpaired scientists can love metaphysics..

For the metaphor is far deeper in meaning and scope than any measly literal definition.. of anything.. The literal entity is bound by language but the metaphorical entity is released by it.. The Study of "Observation" MUST take into account the observation of the literal with the naked eye and the observation of the metaphorical with microscope and telescope..

157 posted on 05/31/2007 6:00:17 PM PDT by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 150 | View Replies]

To: betty boop

When you jump from complementariness to the being of a living universe, why does this conjure the Ghost of Hegel with a smile? Chase him away, won’t you? Otherwise it scares me overmuch into thinking this living being is what unifies the complements of being and non-being.


158 posted on 05/31/2007 7:44:09 PM PDT by cornelis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 138 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
Thank you so very much for your wonderful insights and that excellent excerpt!

An artist once told me that the sculptor removes the stone which does not belong in order to reveal the masterpiece that was always there. I hadn't thought of it in terms of the observer problem, but it does make sense. The masterpiece was "real" in the mind of the artist and in the stone, though only he perhaps knew it.

I'll be meditating on your speculation that Being and Life could be seen as identities.

159 posted on 05/31/2007 9:51:35 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 150 | View Replies]

To: Stultis
"Your attempt, via bald assertion, to claim intellectually equivalency on this ground for evolutionary theory is amusing. Anyone who's actually read even a small sample of the relevant scientific literature knows that there is nothing remotely like the IDers' systemic incuriousity as to mode and mechanism on the evolution side. Indeed most dramatically the opposite. The literature is filled with discussions of specific mechanisms."

Your attempt, via bald assertion, to claim intellectual superiority for evolution as a theory is amusing. Anyone who's read a sample of the relevant scientific literature knows that there is nothing remotely like the evolutionists systemic story-telling on the ID side. Indeed most dramatically the opposite. The literature is filled with the wild imaginations of naturalists desperately proposing unobservable mechanisms to explain clear design in biological systems.

160 posted on 06/01/2007 5:55:42 AM PDT by GourmetDan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 154 | View Replies]

To: cornelis
But why the caps? Do they make the organism a necessary being?

LOL consider them nervous tics if you like! One does not confer necessary being on anything by capitalizing its name. :^)

161 posted on 06/01/2007 10:22:37 AM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 155 | View Replies]

To: cornelis; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe
When you jump from complementariness to the being of a living universe....

To me, the complementaries refer to the knowability of the universe, not the "beingness" of the universe. It seems to me the complementaries are dualistic in that they are seemingly "mutually-opposed" to one another; but they are not the "thesis" and "antithesis" terms that sum up as a totally abstract "synthesis," and so aren't dialectical in their form or relations. And if they sum up to anything at all, it would not be to any kind of abstract being, but only a (hopefully) truthful description of reality, not reality itself.

I confess to being a little nervous that you would find me doing metaphysics here WRT the principle of complementarity, when all I think I'm doing is epistemology....

Jeepers!!! I wasn't aware that I'd invited Hegel to this party -- did you really see him? Yikes!!!!!!!! LOL!

Thanks so much for writing, cornelis!

162 posted on 06/01/2007 10:42:43 AM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 158 | View Replies]

To: betty boop; cornelis; Alamo-Girl; .30Carbine
[.. To me, the complementaries refer to the knowability of the universe, not the "beingness" of the universe. It seems to me the complementaries are dualistic in that they are seemingly "mutually-opposed" to one another; but they are not the "thesis" and "antithesis" terms that sum up as a totally abstract "synthesis," and so aren't dialectical in their form or relations. And if they sum up to anything at all, it would not be to any kind of abstract being, but only a (hopefully) truthful description of reality, not reality itself. ..]

Bohr with his complementary logic is a bull in many China Shops.. Thank God.. All them idols "needed" "re-arraigning" anyway.. When logic comes to a "Y" in the road going one direction is what science does well.. following BOTH directions is what is intended.. according to Bohr.. Does this mean "scientists" are generally lazy?...

163 posted on 06/01/2007 11:06:12 AM PDT by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 162 | View Replies]

To: hosepipe; Alamo-Girl; cornelis; omnivore; ahayes
...following BOTH directions is what is intended.. according to Bohr.. Does this mean "scientists" are generally lazy?....

I don't think Bohr is saying that scientists are supposed to follow both roads for the simple reason that their methods and tools are suitable to only one of the roads -- natural science -- and not to the other road -- philosophy. Therefore, it is the job of scientists to make descriptions of what they can observe, not to tell us what the "nature" or "how" of Reality is, let alone the "why." In short, it seems he would like to see science purify itself of all philosophical tendencies....

Which really, is a very hard thing to do. As Alamo-Girl has pointed out, everytime a scientist puts a quantity into a mathematical formula, he is already dealing with universals -- which is the province of philosophy, not science. The physical laws themselves are said to be universals. And anytime a scientist tells you he is looking for a "grand unified theory" or a "theory of everything," he is hopelessly enmeshed in philosophical (metaphysical) presuppositions. For the idea of "unity" is a philosophical idea, not a scientific one, strictly speaking.

Many people regard Bohr as being a pretty obscure thinker. So who's to say "my" interpretation is the correct one?

Thank you so much for writing, dearest 'pipe!

164 posted on 06/01/2007 12:48:15 PM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 163 | View Replies]

To: betty boop; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; Stultis; RussP
OK, on the epistemology part, we have the observer problem opening up into three different problems.

(a) observation yields limited knowledge, such that what we know is but knowledge in part. This is obvious. If our knowledge were exhaustive, we would no longer discover anything. But it is easily forgotten. If the observer problem has a problem it is that we often take what have discovered to hold for what we haven't discovered, or don't care to know, often by applying principles in one area of thought to stop the gaps elsewhere. All the -isms suffer from this, logicism, marxism, legalism, scientism.

(b) observation cannot fix the subject of study, such that "the act of observation itself disturbs the observed object, and thus changes the total system."

(c) observation results in concepts abstracted from existence, such that further theoretical speculation yields conclusions that may not hold true for the thing in the real. Thought is a world of its own. The $100 in my mind, for all its worth, is not a $100 in my pocket. A useful theory, as Ortega puts it, must "mate happily with reality" to become knowledge.


165 posted on 06/01/2007 1:16:56 PM PDT by cornelis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 162 | View Replies]

To: cornelis; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe
A useful theory, as Ortega puts it, must "mate happily with reality" to become knowledge.

Ortega puts the problem very well indeed.

I'm not entirely sure what you intend by the word "fix" in (b). But it does seem clear to me that the observer can be seen "disturbing" and thus modifying that which he observes. Consider the case of a cultural anthropologist, for instance, who travels to a tribe of primitive people for the purpose of studying it. His very presence as a complete "outsider" of obviously different culture than their own disturbs the behavior of the people he's come to study. Or what of the claim by a literary analyst, that such-and-such book will have wide appeal among a variety of different readers, for each will find in it perspectives congenial to his own outlook.

More to cover but I must stop now: Dinner is served! And I'm hungry!!! I hope to be back later.

Thanks so much for writing, cornelis!

166 posted on 06/01/2007 3:46:51 PM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 165 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
I'm not entirely sure what you intend by the word "fix" in (b).

I meant no more than the citation (in your words) afterward explains.

Here's a tidbit from Gilson in Being and Some Philosophers.

The world of Aristotle is there whole, in so far as reality is substance. It is the world of science, eternal, self-subsistent and such that no problem concerning existence needs nor can be asked about it. It is one and the same thing for a man in it to be "man," to be "one" and "to be." But while keeping whole the world of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas realizes that such a world cannot possibly be "metaphysical." Quite the reverse, it is the straight "physical" world of natural science, in which "natures" necessarily entail their own existence . . . physics is that very order of substantial reality in which existence is taken for granted. As soon as existence no longer is taken for granted, metaphysics beings. In other words, Thomas Aquinas is here moving the whole body of metaphysics to an entirely new ground. In the philosophy of Aristotle, physics was in charge of dealing with all "natures," that is, with those beings that have in themselves the principle of their own change and of their own operations . . .
But tell me, how could you be talking metaphysics when it concerned the the natural world?
167 posted on 06/02/2007 12:51:57 PM PDT by cornelis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 166 | View Replies]

As soon as existence no longer is taken for granted, metaphysics begins.


168 posted on 06/02/2007 1:54:03 PM PDT by cornelis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 167 | View Replies]

To: cornelis; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; ahayes; omnivore; metmom; Quix; T'wit; editor-surveyor
But tell me, how could you be talking metaphysics when it concerned the the natural world?

Because there's more to "the natural world" than physics, cornelis. Plus even the physicists and biologists can't seem to avoid doing it. As a case in point, much of modern day science is firmly premised in the philosophical doctrine of materialism. I've recently mentioned other examples hereabouts.

I mean, human beings are a part of nature; they are thus "natural." They also seemingly happen to be more than the sum total of the cells and molecules and the astronomical number atoms and sub-atomic particles and atomic quantum states that compose their bodies. It's not even possible to make a "full description" of a living organism or a human being based on the methods of present-day physics: Who knows, for example, how to gather and collate information about a virtually astronomical number of quantum states, affected by quantum events continuously triggered from "outside" the organism, which would also need to be quantified, which would be necessary for a full description of a living organism in physical terms?

The biologists have basically taken the position that life must be taken as an irreducible, foundational "given," and then just go on from there, happy as clams. To ask 'what life is?' is a foolish question from the standpoint of methodological naturalism: You do not have to know the answer to this question to do first-rate science. Similarly physicists take the quantum of action as irreducible to anything that could be further detected by science. Life and the action principle are both taken axiomatically.

I am fascinated by, and honor, the findings of state-of-the-art theoretical developments in the sciences. But to the extent that there's "more to man (and the world and society) than mere matter," neither physics nor biology has the complete answer to the questions that matter most to most thinking human beings -- and they are likely unable to produce one, on sheer methodological grounds.

So I admit I do see philosophy as fully "complementary" with the natural sciences. You don't get to do both at the same time, and possibly no one person can effectively do both equally well anyway; but you do need them both to make a "full description of the system" that includes living beings and especially man. :^)

Thank you so much for Gilson's statement RE: Aristotle's attitude toward his own philosophizing -- "In the philosophy of Aristotle, physics was in charge of dealing with all 'natures,' that is, with those beings that have in themselves the principle of their own change and of their own operations." Obviously, this attitude is founded on the premise that "nature" (or "natures") is to be defined as what bears within itself the principles of its own change and operations. Living beings, however, are finite and contingent; so it appears they cannot wholly be responsible for their dispositions themselves; they do not completely reduce to the expectation of the physicial sciences that once you know the initial conditions, then the laws of physics do all the rest.

Rather than the term "metaphysics" (incorrectly credited to Aristotle), I'd really prefer to use the more generic term, "philosophy" instead. Metaphysics has become identified with particular schools and doctrines; philosophy (as practiced by Plato and Aristotle) gives us a chance to return to "realist" models of exploring and understanding reality.

It seems the fundamental prejudice of a certain contemporary scientific attitude that no causes of things can arise outside the familiar four-dimensional space that we normally experience. And yet curiously I note that no "universal" seemingly can arise there either -- at least if you believe in the law of cause-and-effect as the lawful result of the actions of real bodies in close proximity on each other. Universals do not appear to be the products of four-dimensional spacetime "nature", but somehow as "ulterior" to it; but that nature appears to depend on and be governed by them. The physical laws of science themselves are universals.

Thank you so much for writing cornelis. Truly I value your comments. Obviously, I am still struggling to put my ideas into cogent order here, and to find adequate language to express them clearly.... It's good to have a highly well-qualified interlocutor.

169 posted on 06/02/2007 3:40:54 PM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 167 | View Replies]

To: betty boop; cornelis; Alamo-Girl
[.. Obviously, I am still struggling to put my ideas into cogent order here, and to find adequate language to express them clearly...]

Is it possible there are "no words" to adequately "explain the whole system"?..
Meaning mere language is insufficient to describe the physical and metaphysical reality..
If so, we humans are/may be in a maze.. we cannot fully understand.. to describe..

How intelligent would be the rat that made a nest in a Cul D'Sac instead of running the maze?....

170 posted on 06/02/2007 4:06:03 PM PDT by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 169 | View Replies]

To: hosepipe; Alamo-Girl; cornelis; .30Carbine
Is it possible there are "no words" to adequately "explain the whole system"?

Yep, I think that is possible, dear 'pipe! But we humans have to do the best we can.

Don't forget, God reveals Himself to us through His creation also, and evidently wants us to understand it to the best of our ability, as aided by His Spirit.

I hope this doesn't sound too "anthropocentrist," not to mention heretical; but it seems clear to me this whole show was put on for our benefit in the first place. It behooves us to appreciate the divine Gift by contemplating it and its meaning....

Thanks so much for writing, my very dear brother in Christ!

171 posted on 06/02/2007 5:21:48 PM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 170 | View Replies]

To: hosepipe; Alamo-Girl; cornelis; .30Carbine; kosta50
Dear brother 'pipe, I hope you won't mind if I append a further reflection re: my last before you've even had a chance to respond.

To me it seems the ULTIMATE complementarity is expressed in the Person of Jesus Christ, Who is simultaneously (and eternally) fully human and fully divine. This tells us (among other things) that God the Father dignifies the human in such measure that He would sacrifice His only-begotton son to physical incarnation as a human. I gather our Good Lord, in the Person of Jesus, was trying to draw our attention to His Spirit of Truth, His Logos, from which the beginning of creation was made, and which forever sustains it, in addition to His soteriological action in the Life of the Spirit which He commends to us, as befitting our created human nature as the image, the reflection of the divine nature, in the Name of, and by means of, His Son.

Give all thanks and praise to our Lord God, our Source and Sustainer from the Alpha to the Omega!

172 posted on 06/02/2007 5:55:16 PM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 170 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
[.. I hope this doesn't sound too "anthropocentrist," not to mention heretical; but it seems clear to me this whole show was put on for our benefit in the first place. ..]

Truth be told every thinking person I know or have known and respect is a little heretical.. The others rely on dogma and others opinion like a "christian talmud"..

The purpose of this Donkey and spirit show is a Donkey Rodeo with clowns and everything.. Humans do indeed often take themselves too seriously.. A Rodeo is a SERIOUS TEST but it is entertainment also.. The shows producer(s) should be honored for such a "believeable" plot.. don't you think?.. ;) After the last curtain the conversation between us about the show should be stimulating..

173 posted on 06/02/2007 6:29:34 PM PDT by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 171 | View Replies]

To: SirKit

Religion meets Science, ping!


174 posted on 06/02/2007 6:43:43 PM PDT by SuziQ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hosepipe; Alamo-Girl; .30Carbine
The purpose of this Donkey and spirit show is a Donkey Rodeo with clowns and everything....

Dear brother 'pipe, I hardly think that God intends us humans to fulfill our divinely-given natures as clowns in a Donkey Rodeo. To say such a thing is to cast in doubt His righteousness and purpose in creating man in His image in the first place.

The whole point and purpose of His Revelation, it seems to me, is to preclude such a ridiculous outcome. Or so it seems to me.

I'm really tuckered out dear brother, so am turning in early tonight. But I hope to see you again on the morrow! Meanwhile, may God bless you and fulfill all your needful requirements!

Good night, dearest 'pipe!

175 posted on 06/02/2007 7:04:34 PM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 173 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
[.. This tells us (among other things) that God the Father dignifies the human in such measure that He would sacrifice His only-begotton son to physical incarnation as a human. ..]

A God that can speak flesh into being so easily boggles the mind.. The harmonics of that speach should be a downright bodacious study.. Spiritual Telekinesis really.. Wonder if some of the Angels can perform spiritual telekinesis?... There could be levels of spiritual telekinesis.. Gifting in "heaven" could involve spiritual telekinesis in some form(s)..

Kinda makes you go..... Hmmmmmmm... know what I mean?..
The biblical metaphor of the Talents comes to mind..

176 posted on 06/02/2007 7:07:31 PM PDT by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 172 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
[.. Dear brother 'pipe, I hardly think that God intends us humans to fulfill our divinely-given natures as clowns in a Donkey Rodeo. ..]

I'm more of an announcer but I do know some clowns.. I see you as a proper lady with some kind of hat, commenting on the bull riding..

177 posted on 06/02/2007 7:17:26 PM PDT by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 175 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
Because there's more to "the natural world" than physics, cornelis.

True enough. But this doesn't even nibble at what I was fishing for on this identity of Being and Life as applied to the universe. But hey, I'm not the greatest at fishing and get skunked all the time.

178 posted on 06/02/2007 7:48:19 PM PDT by cornelis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 169 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
"...philosophy (as practiced by Plato and Aristotle) gives us a chance to return to "realist" models of exploring and understanding reality..."

It doesn't work for me. When I read stuff from Plato or Aristotle, other than a few of the basic logical concepts, I don't think there's really much useful there. Part of it is the vagueness of ideas and concepts, part of it is the occasional nuggets of rank nonsense. Mainly it's too much in the "humanities" vein, which I find largely dehumanizing. Every time I see some politician or judge rationalizing some idiotic law or regulation or decision, with a nonsense of legalistic word-salad that could equally easily have come from the mouth of the average street schizophrenic, I think, that person probably studied philosophy before going to law school or some other word-centric outfit. An example, I recently (within past 6 months) heard Bill Bennett being interviewed on some other radio show, and he at one point mentioned "I was a double-major, literature and philosophy." I nearly burst out laughing. No wonder the guy's such an empty blow-hard. Two majors that are considered "cake" at most universities and are in any case nothing but a lot of reading and writing, which basic skills most of the college-bound have a good handle on by the end of third grade. After that it's just a lot of repetition and practice required, but rather little actual thinking, IMHO. And no contact with the real (physical) world is required, that's strictly optional.

I'm not saying there isn't anything there. I just think there's a lot less there, and what is there is of much less importance, compared to a lot of other things, than is generally admitted. If philosophy were actually so all-fired "fundamental" and important, philosophers would be at the leading edge of finding new knowledge, which they're not. For instance, whether it's the period from Russell through Godel when mathematics was set on new foundations, or all the work of the physics community in the first half of the 20th century which re-formed physics in terms of quantum mechanics, basically the physics and mathematics communities got precious little help from the philosophy community. (And I won't go along with a rebuttal that "well, those mathematicians and physicists were philosophers too, just of different stripes." When I use the word "philosopher," I mean the people who bring only the wordplay to the table. The ones who could actually help with the heavy lifting in the math and physics areas called themselves mathematicians and physicists, and the fact that they ended up having to pick up a lot of the philosophical slack around their areas in terms of attempting to "expain what it all meant" points only to the alienation from reality of the philosophers of the day, who were lucky if they could barely understand what was going on.)

What philosophers mostly do nowadays, IMHO, is quibble around the edges of what others do, spackling in the gaps of their own (philosophy's) old rationalizations about the world with freshly-minted word-salads of new rationalizations. It appears to me to be an empty enterprise, more about where we've been (or where we've escaped from, intellectually) than where we're going. If it's interesting to you or others, great. Just does little for me. For me, reality starts where we leave the words behind, and the weird stories and primitive beliefs that we construct with words, and deal with the physical world physically, in its own language, which is mathematical.
179 posted on 06/02/2007 8:46:17 PM PDT by omnivore
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 169 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot

In the original article, this guy is all over the map on the multiple meanings he’s using the rubric “intelligent design” to stand for. Is he talking about the creation of the universe? The origins of life? Behe’s laundry list of things Behe can’t explain and so concludes they must be explained by miraculous intervention by some “unspecified” supernatural entity? I doubt he even knows where he’s wandering. There is a long history of scientists getting funny in their old age and signing on to odd things that catch their fancy. I had one prof once who had a picture of Osborne Reynolds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_Reynolds ) in his old age tacked up, showing him holding a bowl of marbles, apparently toward the end of his life he latched onto some theory about the whole universe working like a bunch of packed together spheres. The prof was worried about going out like that, clutching on some nutter theory at the end of his life. It’s an occupational hazard I guess.


180 posted on 06/02/2007 9:10:28 PM PDT by omnivore
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: omnivore

You have no clue what education is about.


181 posted on 06/02/2007 9:25:07 PM PDT by California Patriot ("That's not Charley the Tuna out there. It's Jaws." -- Richard Nixon)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 179 | View Replies]

To: betty boop

Thanks for the ping, Betty. It’s good to see a scientist with enough humility to know that we don’t knew everything and never will. It is a realization that clears the way for seeing beyond ideological molds and mantras.


182 posted on 06/03/2007 4:07:39 AM PDT by T'wit (Confidence in science rests on belief in God's order and will not long survive loss of this belief.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 169 | View Replies]

To: betty boop

Amen, my lovely sister.


183 posted on 06/03/2007 4:55:21 AM PDT by .30Carbine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 172 | View Replies]

To: cornelis; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe
But this doesn't even nibble at what I was fishing for on this identity of Being and Life as applied to the universe.

There are "biology-friendly" cosmologies being constructed by physicists and astrophysicists right now, e.g., Lanza, Grandpierre, others, some of which advance the notion that the entire universe is a living being. It's fascinating to me -- so reminiscent of Plato. At the very least, they claim there is a "biological priciple" more fundamental than physics in the universe; that there are biological laws that work to set up the initial and boundary conditions of biological organization and processes first, and then the laws of physics can go to work.

Grandpierre, an astrophysicist whose specialty is the Sun, avers that he has seen evidence of biological behavior in our star. He has a book in the works: The Book of the Living Universe, already published in Hungarian by Springer-Verlag (2000), which is now being translated into English, with substantial revisions. Grandpierre believes that the theoretical biologist Ervin Bauer, a Hungarian employed in Soviet science until Stalin had him killed in 1947, discovered the key biological laws. (I can look them up for you if you're interested, cornelis, and report back.)

Mostly these ideas are hooted at by mainstream science. I find them interesting nonetheless; and so I'll get hooted at too, for sure! :^)

184 posted on 06/03/2007 9:19:04 AM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 178 | View Replies]

To: omnivore; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; cornelis; marron; metmom; editor-surveyor; YHAOS; MHGinTN
I recently (within past 6 months) heard Bill Bennett being interviewed on some other radio show, and he at one point mentioned "I was a double-major, literature and philosophy." I nearly burst out laughing. No wonder the guy's such an empty blow-hard.

Guess that must make me an empty blowhard, too, omnivore; for I was a double major in literature and philosophy. (I hope my minor in history might improve my "rep" a little in your eyes....)

Goodness, I find it amazing that you would find the humanities "dehumanizing." I'm simply speechless....

But I'm over that now: If I might make a "humanities" recommendation: Boccaccio's Decameron, a fourteenth-century collection of 100 short stories. It is a celebration of universal humanity that is by turns hilarious, ribald, scatological; serious, profound, tragic, noble. It presents man as he is, warts and all; saints and sinners, heros and villains, etc., etc. Everytime I read this work, I am struck by the thought "I KNOW these people! They are just like the people you meet everyday!" -- a testimony to the constancy and durability of human nature, down the ages.

Plus the book gives a fascinating account of the Black Plague in ~1350 A.D. Florence: the horrors, the social transformations it caused, etc. (Recommend the Mark Musa and Peter Bondanella translation. Their language is very modern and fresh -- which is most fitting; for Decameron was among the very first works of literature to be published in the vernacular: It was "the height of modernity" in its own time. The book was deplored and condemned by the religious authorities practically everywhere it went. :^) Up to quite recent times! Go figure....)

You wrote that most college-bound students have a good handle on the basic skills of reading and writing "by the end of the third grade." Simply amazing, that they could begin their college career "literate," and yet manage to graduate as illiterates -- and not just in reading and writing skills, but also in terms of knowledge of their own culture and history.

If you believe that writing doesn't require the most painstaking thinking -- well, I guess I should stop myself now, otherwise I'll surely say something I'd regret....

You wrote: "If philosophy were actually so all-fired 'fundamental' and important, philosophers would be at the leading edge of finding new knowledge...."

omnivore, philosophy is the MOTHER OF SCIENCE. As late as the 19th century, science was still called "natural philosophy." Philosophy is the historic source of mathematics (Pythagorus, Euclid), psychology (Plato's specialty), biology (Aristotle), physics (Democritus, Leucippus) -- the list can be easily extended, but I hope you get the picture.

Both Einstein and Bohr -- you know those guys who radically transformed all of physics in the twentieth century -- had a consuming interest in the philosophy of science, and Bohr was probably one of the greatest epistemologists who ever lived. Einstein was (IMHO) a frank Platonist; and his thought was strongly influenced by Baruch (Benedict) Spinoza, a seventeenth-century Jewish philosopher.

You wrote:

For me, reality starts where we leave the words behind, and the weird stories and primitive beliefs that we construct with words, and deal with the physical world physically, in its own language, which is mathematical.

For me, reality starts before there are words to describe it. And that is why our articulations about it are so important -- they are the only means we have for grasping knowledge and communicating it to others.

We -- you and I -- are parts of the physical world; but neither of us is reducible to mathematics in the sense I gather you to mean.

Guess we just have different points of view, omnivore. Thank you so much for sharing your observations with me!

185 posted on 06/03/2007 10:20:31 AM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 179 | View Replies]

To: betty boop

Thanks for the ping, and for continually asking the unaskable, and attempting to answer the unanswerable.

(and for dragging the naturalists out of their comfort zone)


186 posted on 06/03/2007 11:06:41 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Turning the general election into a second Democrat primary is not a winning strategy.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 169 | View Replies]

To: editor-surveyor
Thanks for your kind thoughts, editor-surveyor!

The search for truth is a divinely-drawn, unending quest.

187 posted on 06/03/2007 11:56:31 AM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 186 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
Goodness, I find it amazing that you would find the humanities "dehumanizing." I'm simply speechless....

Strange that anyone who would reduce our existence to the merely mechanical level of the physical world would consider the humanities *dehumanizing*.

188 posted on 06/03/2007 1:49:41 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 185 | View Replies]

To: omnivore
Two majors that are considered "cake" at most universities and are in any case nothing but a lot of reading and writing, which basic skills most of the college-bound have a good handle on by the end of third grade. After that it's just a lot of repetition and practice required, but rather little actual thinking, IMHO.

And sadly, that's where most high school graduates stay. But it's not the fault of the humanities.

And no contact with the real (physical) world is required, that's strictly optional.

The same could be said for most *scientists*. Getting stuck in the lab all the time conducting experiments for a living tends to warp ones view, which is likely where the absent-minded professor stereotype comes in. Totally useless in the real world.

189 posted on 06/03/2007 1:56:08 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 179 | View Replies]

To: betty boop; Alamo-Girl; omnivore

Of course there are philosophers and then there are philosophers. Some are engaged in trying to explain or identify truth, and these are the greats, there are the ones who even after a hundred generations we can still read with profit, because the questions are still current, even with all of the water under the bridge since then.

To read these guys, and to attack the same problems with modern eyes is to become part of a 3 thousand year old conversation that is still ongoing.

Others seem to be engaged in building their own reality, and in this I am in agreement with people who refer to it as empty wordplay (as would Socrates, who spent most of his time going after such people). Foucault is a good example of this, and a host of others like him.

When you think of philosophers, you think of the classic thinkers, and of the war of ideas that we deal with every day, and there is nothing more necessary, nothing more interesting, civilizations rise and fall on the outcome of these debates. These debates are not really fought out in college classrooms by the clueless boobs assigned to teach them, obviously, they are fought out in peoples’ souls.

To be ignorant of the big questions is to be just one more of the herd, unaware of your destination and purpose, unaware of who is directing your steps and with what motive.

You aren’t a “philosopher” because you have a PHD and tenure, you are a philosopher if you have a clue, and are engaged in the war of ideas. In other words, you, my friend, are a philosopher in the best sense of the word, I say that having read you for years now. I know you. But if your college philosophy professor was one, it was a lucky accident.

There is another class of philosophy as it relates to science. Philosophy in this context is both pre-science and post-science, in a way. Science operates at the edge of knowledge, and when our scientist stares out into the dark past the ring of campfires and asks the unasked question, he is engaging in philosophy. He may be a scientist on his day job, but at that moment he is doing philosophy. The scientist sets about doing the research that sheds light on the question, and as the data is uncovered, it is again the scientist wearing his philosopher’s cap that tries to make sense out of what he is seeing.

And then there are guys like me, looking over his shoulder, I can’t do the science but I can do opinion all day long.

I didn’t always have a high opinion of “philosophy” because I didn’t have a high opinion of most of the empty nonsense that pours out of the pens of people who are usually being lauded as great thinkers. They remind me of the kind of guy your school system hires as this year’s poet laureate, who pays for his year’s stipend with some awful and endless verse that the kids have to be forced to listen to at some school assembly, or the guy who is this year’s “resident composer” who comes up with some awful symphony that will be mercifully forgotten as soon as everyone files out of the auditorium and can get to their MP3.

The ones we love to hate are precisely the guys like Derrida and Foucault, and why leave out frauds like Chomsky, guys only a college professor could love, and will be forgotten as soon as the current crop have retired and been replaced by the next crop of walking clichés.

Real philosophy is precious when you find it. Most of its would-be practitioners are not only wrong but laughably wrong, or dangerously wrong, ranging from the too-dumb-to-know-they’re-wrong to transparently evil to conmen, and if you have the stomach for it you study them so you can defeat them before their ideas become headlines in your morning paper or whole chapters in a history book. And the few philosophers who are capable of divining truth, doing battle on its behalf, and refuting the rest, these are the guys you are looking for. These are the guys we aspire to be.


190 posted on 06/03/2007 8:38:22 PM PDT by marron
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 185 | View Replies]

To: betty boop; cornelis; omnivore; ahayes
Thank you so much for all of your wonderful posts, dearest sister in Christ!

I don't think Bohr is saying that scientists are supposed to follow both roads for the simple reason that their methods and tools are suitable to only one of the roads -- natural science -- and not to the other road -- philosophy. Therefore, it is the job of scientists to make descriptions of what they can observe, not to tell us what the "nature" or "how" of Reality is, let alone the "why." In short, it seems he would like to see science purify itself of all philosophical tendencies....

Which really, is a very hard thing to do. As Alamo-Girl has pointed out, everytime a scientist puts a quantity into a mathematical formula, he is already dealing with universals -- which is the province of philosophy, not science. The physical laws themselves are said to be universals. And anytime a scientist tells you he is looking for a "grand unified theory" or a "theory of everything," he is hopelessly enmeshed in philosophical (metaphysical) presuppositions. For the idea of "unity" is a philosophical idea, not a scientific one, strictly speaking.

Many people regard Bohr as being a pretty obscure thinker. So who's to say "my" interpretation is the correct one?

Truly I do not see how a person can think apart from applying some kind of philosophy.

He may not realize it, but his sense of “all that there is” will guide his understanding. Ditto for what he accepts and how he values knowledge – how sure he is that he actually knows something. Likewise for the mathematician who discovers a formula with universal application and substitutes a variable for a constant to accomplish that end.

Even so, scientists generally speaking do not have the necessary toolkit of methods to “do” philosophy or theology even though they choose and apply it (perhaps unawares.)

Thus I strongly agree with Bohr that science should limit itself to what it can say about the physical and phenomenal world using its own methodology – and resist the urge to speak about the essence of any thing.

191 posted on 06/04/2007 9:35:55 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 164 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot

Oboy! Another opinion on Evolution. Six billion to go.


192 posted on 06/04/2007 9:38:16 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Treaty)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: marron; betty boop; omnivore
marron, you and betty boop always leave me speechless with your magnificent essays! There is nothing left for me to say, because I so strongly agree.
193 posted on 06/04/2007 9:56:56 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 190 | View Replies]

To: betty boop; omnivore; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; cornelis; marron; metmom; editor-surveyor; MHGinTN
I find it amazing that you would find the humanities ‘dehumanizing.’

Thanks for the ping, betty. Like you, I’m amazed.

I’m amazed that anyone but a Liberal would think that most college-bound students are at an acceptable level in the basic skills of reading and writing. On this very forum have we not heard, from almost every side, that America’s reading & writing skills are in a miserable state? Is this not the case? Correct me if I’m wrong. I would be very glad to hear that I am mistaken.

I’m amazed to read that Bill Bennett is an empty blowhard. I didn’t know there was any other kind of blowhard save an empty one, but it’s shocking to learn that friend Bennett is to be found among them. But, then, again as usual, we read the accusation stripped of any attempt to make the case, as though the accusation proves the fact. Of this latter I am not at all amazed, for it is a standard Liberal schtick.

I am amazed to read that the humanities are "dehumanizing." I wasn’t aware that there was anyone of discernment left in America incapable of making the distinction between the humanities and what in most universities is quaintly identified as “the Humanities Department” (more often some bastardized title being substituted). Anyone who has followed the battles of Dr. Mike Adams with the University of North Carolina surely must understand the distinction without a need for coaching. And, of course, there are many on this forum who have no need for the example of Dr Adams either, being themselves participants in the battle.

We all know who is in charge of our universities and our public schools. It is not Conservative Christians. Yet we learn that it is the fault of Conservative Christians that our universities and schools are overflowing with Socialist/Marxist garbage. I am not merely amazed to hear this; I am astounded.

And then once again I am propelled well past mere amazement to learn that self-evident truths and the consent of the governed are but pointless words and useless philosophy.

194 posted on 06/04/2007 3:11:38 PM PDT by YHAOS
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 185 | View Replies]

To: YHAOS; metmom; Alamo-Girl
I stuck in the bit about humanities being dehumanizing as a bit of a tweak. I think of word-manipulation, including my own, as a fairly low level of human thought. Human, but barely so. We learn to speak as infants and learn to read and write very young. Word manipulations are used by the dominator classes, the lawyers, the politicians, the clergy, the talkshow hosts, the suits, those who would tell us what to do and think. I just find it generally pretty empty and absent of meaning. Math, the sciences, and engineering, OTOH, make more sense to me. They convey meaning to me. They provide me with evidence, by conveying meaning, that there is another human at the other end of the communication, in a way that often the word-centric domains do not. When I hear the word-manipulators croaking out their dominator-class nonsense, I recognize them as human, but just barely, and I sense that they are trying to drag me down, dehumanize me, not uplift me with fresh insights and meaning.

Of course most kids read and write poorly. They're even worse at math, though. The point is, people can think up complete nonsense and package it in words, and need little more than a third-grade education to do so. Further practice at reading and writing makes their words more elegant, but in most cases appears to add little to their cognitive content.

Bennett - he's full of opinions and obvious enthusiams, but I haven't seen any serious thought out of the guy. He does argue well. I just don't put much value on that. He's a suit. He talks like a suit. When I hear him it's just nails on chalkboard for me.

I guess it comes down to a "two cultures" divide (C.P. Snow's term for a problem he identified but expressed badly). I'm constantly astonished that people would privilege word-manipulation over an understanding of natural sciences and math. To me that seems like inverted values. Likewise (or just more specifically) I wonder why anyone would privilege philosophy over them. I don't see philosophy as foundational. To me it's an epiphenomenon that surfs on other, more substantiative fields, almost as a, dare I say, parasite. (First humanities "de-humanizing," now philosophy a "parasite!" I'm in trouble now...)

"...self-evident truths and the consent of the governed ..."

I don't know what it is about these evolution things that cause people to go all nonlinear and start making snide insinuations about one's bona fides as a normal patriotic American. What next? Accuse me of not liking apple pie? Kicking puppies? Liking the French?
195 posted on 06/04/2007 7:00:39 PM PDT by omnivore
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 194 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
Didn't mean to dis you back there. Pythagorus and Euclid did make real progress. (My favorite ancient Greek was Archimedes, but maybe he doesn't rate as a philosopher.)

Painstaking thought can go into writing. I find most writings are not, however, evidence of painstaking thought. Mostly they look like rationalizations wrapped around beliefs people have come to without the benefit of either physical evidence or serious thought or both.
196 posted on 06/04/2007 7:19:31 PM PDT by omnivore
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 185 | View Replies]

To: Alamo-Girl; marron; cornelis; hosepipe; YHAOS; MHGinTN; .30Carbine; metmom; editor-surveyor; ...
...scientists generally speaking do not have the necessary toolkit of methods to “do” philosophy or theology even though they choose and apply it (perhaps unawares.) Thus I strongly agree with Bohr that science should limit itself to what it can say about the physical and phenomenal world using its own methodology – and resist the urge to speak about the essence of any thing.

This would be a result dearly to be desired, dearest sister. But it is also a devilishly difficult thing to do. It cuts across the very grain of how human beings actually live their lives -- which usually involves trying to integrate their knowledge and experience with a view to the future, by drawing on the past. This seems to be the general condition of most intelligent human beings, whether they be great scientists, or just plain folks like you and me.

According to Niels Bohr, the very thing that ought to be avoided in science is exemplified by his dear friend, colleague, and (sometime) adversary, Albert Einstein.

To put this into perspective: As earlier suggested, Einstein’s thought tended to the “platonic.” That is, he assumed an eternal universe, without beginning or end; and he thought that at the root of the cosmos, a fundamental mathematics, or logic, or geometry would be found to specify the “implicate order” (to use David Bohm’s term without permission) that governs the unfolding (or evolution) of the universe in space and time.

Then in my reading of late along comes the eminent physicist John A. Wheeler, a friend of Einstein, and friend and close colleague of Bohr, with his intriguing insight that Einstein’s “continuing rejection of complementarity [i.e., the uncertainty/indeterminacy relations of quantum physics], and 1917–1929 rejection of the big bang [theory], were influenced by his youthful admiration for the thought of Benedict Spinoza, implacable advocate of determinacy and of a universe that goes on from everlasting to everlasting.” [J. A. Wheeler, “Physics in Copenhagen in 1934 and 1935,” in Niels Bohr: A Centenary Volume; Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1985; p. 224.]

Plato and Spinoza seem to be in agreement with respect to the eternal-universe model: That is, a universe that subsists forever, with no beginning or end, for the reason that God subsists forever, without beginning or end. Moreover the two thinkers seem to be in accord on the conjecture that the universe is, at root, mathematically or geometrically founded and ordered.

But where it seems Plato and Spinoza part company is over the question of determinism.

For Spinoza, there is no free will in the universe: Even God creates by necessity; it is His nature; and it is by, through, and from His (immanent) “substance” that all other natural things are the reifications. In effect, Spinoza has created a fascinating pantheism on the basis of seemingly ineluctable rational principles.

Yet for Plato, the universe is not ordered deterministically, but by “persuasion.” Persuasion leaves room for free will, which Spinoza absolutely denies. The unknown god of the Beyond, Plato's Epikeina, draws us unto his everlasting truth by persuasion, not by force.

Anyhoot, much more can be said on this topic, and probably will be said in time. But for now, let’s leave it this way: Einstein’s philosophy was his lifelong guide to his scientific judgment. Which is hardly unexceptional. For who can make any judgment at all, if he lacks criteria of meaning, and a standard for his judgment?

I read Spinoza in my college years, and found him fascinating. I still do. Having revisited him recently at Wheeler’s suggestion, from what I know about Einstein (which is exceedingly partial in two senses), I conjecture that, if you can understand the thought of Baruch (Benedict) Spinoza, you just might gain insight into the workings of one of the greatest minds of all time, the guy who discovered the photon and gave us relativity theory.

And then spent the rest of his life arguing with Niels Bohr. :^)

To be continued…sometime. Hopefully. :^)

Thank you oh so much for writing, my dearest sister in Christ!

197 posted on 06/04/2007 8:38:14 PM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 191 | View Replies]

To: YHAOS
...as usual, we read the accusation stripped of any attempt to make the case, as though the accusation proves the fact. Of this latter I am not at all amazed, for it is a standard Liberal schtick.

Indeed YHAOS. Thanks you so much for your observations!

198 posted on 06/05/2007 6:20:17 AM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 194 | View Replies]

To: marron; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; omnivore; Coyoteman; YHAOS
Of course there are philosophers and then there are philosophers. Some are engaged in trying to explain or identify truth, and these are the greats, there are the ones who even after a hundred generations we can still read with profit, because the questions are still current, even with all of the water under the bridge since then.

To read these guys, and to attack the same problems with modern eyes is to become part of a 3 thousand year old conversation that is still ongoing....

To be ignorant of the big questions is to be just one more of the herd, unaware of your destination and purpose, unaware of who is directing your steps and with what motive.

So beautifully said, marron! Human beings are still asking the same questions about themselves and their place in the universe that they have been asking since the dawn of recorded history. The essential questions do not change. This is the irreducible core of the humanities, especially including philosophy.

Thank you so much for your very kind words, dear marron, and for your beautiful essay/post!

199 posted on 06/05/2007 7:47:06 AM PDT by betty boop ("Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." -- A. Einstein.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 190 | View Replies]

To: betty boop; marron; Alamo-Girl; inquisitor
[.. Human beings are still asking the same questions about themselves and their place in the universe that they have been asking since the dawn of recorded history. ..]

Humans are born totally needy.. as a parasite..
Some may never stop being a parasite.. but grow up as takers..

To become a "giver" maturity is required..
What is maturity?.. A Sacrificing of self centeredness to everything else..
The "Center of the Universe", then, is other than personal and becomes timeless..

Thoughts of "God and/or Eternity" can become relevant..
And questions about each can be interesting and not boring..

200 posted on 06/05/2007 8:35:03 AM PDT by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 199 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-50 ... 101-150151-200201-250 ... 651-655 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson