Skip to comments.'Explore as much as we can': Nobel Prize winner Charles Townes on evolution & intelligent design
Posted on 05/16/2007 6:54:51 AM PDT by SirLinksalot
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Thank you so much for writing!
Revelation is revelation, the only kind there is.
No, not necessarily. But don't forget, I put great stock in the complementarity principle.
Notwithstanding, I must also mention that of the two saints, Anselm is closer to my heart.
Where it seems (to me at least) that Aquinas was "constructing a [rational] system," Anselm simply said: "Speak to my desirous soul what you are, other than what it has seen, that it may clearly see what it desires." And again, "O Lord, you are not only that than which a greater cannot be conceived, but you are also greater than what can be conceived."
That is certainly true, RightWhale. On the other hand, there's nothing in this acknowledgement that precludes one from inquiring into the source of the relevation. It seems to me that the quality and truth of the relevation is dependent on the quality and truth of its source. FWIW
Heidegger came in the wake of Hegel and Nietzsche as a type of existentialist who wanted to do without a metaphysics, whose experience of the world was always and ever an experience of space-time existence and nothing but. He’s one of those characters who are willing to shift the old meanings. Transcendence, if anything is an arch-epoch of human existence in time.
Kant, who said he finished what Plato began, is really an Aristotle who works inside after declaring the outside inaccessible. But his reasons are different for finding things inaccessible. It isn’t a practical consideration as it was for Aristotle. It is more logical and conceptual. Like Aristotle, Kant accepts the givenness of the world, but it is through conceptualization whereby the contradictions or paradoxes are resolved. Such is the hallmark of a scientistic “metaphysics.” The nous has become the fully revealing god of a phenomenal kingdom. Who cares about noumena after that?
In short, three different socks that don’t match.
I simply don't know enough even to know what it is that I don't know. I am interested, but don't know where to start.
I read Kierkegaard on Don Juan in 10th grade. It kind of turned me off on philosophy for awhile--just as Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Years kept me from enjoying Gulliver's Travels...
Or, to quote science fiction author Keith Laumer:
"I didn't know you read Kant."
"Can't read, you mean."
If cornelius, RightWhale, Alamo_Girl, & Betty Boop could give me a couple of 3rd grade level primers to start with, I'd promise to put them on my ever-burgeoning "to read" pile. :-)
(Full Disclosure: Just had a very successful job interview in Minneapolis yesterday...might have to put off the reading until I've relocated...)
Now that was funny ... and worthy of my College Philosophy teacher who thought the discipline to be the only subject deserving of college status outside of science and math classes. He was always hungover.
This has been the mystery of painters and poets as well as string theorists and other inspirationalists all along. James was on the right track, as was Whitehead, as was Vico, and Leibniz should be read so. Claustral permission appears to be the locus. That is what we call revelation, satori, inspiration. Everything we attribute to creativity is from sensation, which is all from Nature. Of course we create nothing, not even our society (all attempts are doomed), that is the baliwick of the Divine.
I am aware that none of this makes any sense at present.
I approach the quandary from a different perspective, i.e. what a beginning means.
In the absence of time, events cannot occur.
The origin of space/time is a more fundamental issue in every discipline than is the origin of energy, the origin of information and the origin of life v. non-life/death in nature.
In making a beginning of all that there is both spiritual and physical, God created space, time, causality, events and things - i.e. existence.
Which is to say, existence has no meaning apart from space/time, which is geometry. Even spiritual beings and eternity itself cannot "be" apart from time.
Moreover there is nothing of which any of these can be made but God Himself or more specifically, Gods will whether His creative will or His permissive will or some other type of will of which I am unaware.
No God, no existence; no Beyond, no here. To that extent, they are complementary but the reverse does not hold. God is (I AM) when every other existence is not, i.e. in the absence of time, God is. He is the only possible uncaused cause of "all that there is."
Those philosophers and scientists who formed their theories and systems before the measurement of cosmic microwave background radiation in the 1960s could appeal to a steady state universe and thus rationally justify a reduced sense of reality that all that there is is that which can be perceived by physical senses or mental reasoning, i.e. rationalize their atheism and politics or ideologies based on it.
Since then, the ever consistent, accumulating evidence is that space/time is created as the universe expands. And it is not just expanding, but accelerating. IOW, there was a beginning of real space and real time and therefore, physical causality, energy/matter, things and events. At the very minimum, there had to be an uncaused cause of the geometry, i.e. God.
Nowadays, all the atheists can do to justify their hope that God does not exist, is to theoretically push the beginning backwards to prior universes, prior causations. This is the plentitude argument, that anything that can happen, did. However, the plentitude argument requires an infinite past (space/time) and thus, these theories are merely obfuscations because whether brane theory or something else, all cosmologies rely on geometry for physical causation!
In sum, without an infinite past, no one can rationalize denying God the Creator. And there can be no existence - spiritual or physical - apart from God's will.
Neither time nor space exist. There are no patterns in nature. Also, information is inessential. Makes no sense, for sure, but in claustral philosophy, also called organic philosophy, it begins to.
I am so glad for being pinged to your worthy post, and grateful most of all for this perfect (precise and concise!) conclusion. Amen!
And thank you for the kudos, but truly when cornelis and betty boop get into a brisk discussion of philosophy - or when RightWhale asserts a new theory - I have to spend a lot of time researching the word concepts and thinkers before I can even comprehend much less respond. So I'd greatly benefit from one of the primers, too. LOL!
I would, but believe me this is evolved far from my own starting point. I was merely looking for the origin of rights and the state. There is darned little on that of any use, and I have even read Hegel and some other names including Aristotle, which is possibly a translation from Latin, which was from Arabic, which was from Aramaic, and who knows if he wrote it in Aramaic to begin with.
Plotinus was quite the jokester and sometimes it is easy to forget that he was pre-Christian. He apologized every day for presenting himself in corporal form.
Which is probably one of the silliest statements imaginable. As others have said, it leaves you with both feet planted firmly in the air. Every statement you make about science is rife with philosophical presuppositions. The problem is that "science" today operates in an overwhelming presupposition of naturalism, so that when you challenge those presuppositions, you get the same tired old cant about putting up the lab equipment and "praying about it" or other such rubbish.
Not at all. Science is a branch of philosophy descended from street-smart Aquinas. Thomists.
That's almost as bad as Kierkegaard...
Have you considered reading any of the enlightenment French, or nosing about among the Federalist papers to find *their* cited sources?
Which is probably one of the silliest statements imaginable. As others have said, it leaves you with both feet planted firmly in the air. Every statement you make about science is rife with philosophical presuppositions.
Sorry you disagree. But that's OK; you go ahead and make whatever philosophical statements you want about science. Science, on the other hand, will keep on doing what it does whether philosophers say yea or nay. We'll see where each is in fifty or a hundred years. (I'm betting on science.)
The problem is that "science" today operates in an overwhelming presupposition of naturalism, so that when you challenge those presuppositions, you get the same tired old cant about putting up the lab equipment and "praying about it" or other such rubbish.
Science works with the natural world, that is, with things that can be measured or observed in some manner. Things that cannot be observed or measured are left to philosophy, religion, and other fields. I see this as a strength, not a problem.
Philosophy, theology, and other fields are free to take whatever assumptions they want and run with them. Knock yourselves out! But when you claim results, you need to make sure they can be verified in some manner, and that they are not just the product of somebody's fevered imagination.
I am currently reading Lessing and Herder, who were reacting to the French revolution. Also, I am reading Ockham and Bacon, Roger, having read Bacon, Francis a couple years ago. There is a lot of reading. The trail became clear not long ago when I finally stumbled across a book in the Public Library and found that the author actually appeared to know what he was talking about. Fom there I followed his cites, and then the cites of those cites. After a while it starts to make some sense. Since I have been power reading for effect I have been doing what I can to preserve my eyes, which are still functional—that is important. I do not spend much time reading articles on the PC monitor since that will ruin the eyes. I find most of the modern writing on these topics is silly and may be disregarded without missing anything. Read the AntiFederalist papers, which is the stenographers note of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, there being no journalists reports allowed. Closed-door, bipartisan, secret, rushed through—sound familiar?
Not at all. Science is a branch of philosophy descended from street-smart Aquinas. Thomists.
Science may be descended from philosophy, but the greatest advances came when science divorced itself from the shackles of philosophy and theology and began to look for answers on its own, using its own assumptions and methods.
Currently, working scientists pay almost no attention to philosophers and their mumblings.
That's true since the colleges don't require philosophy except possibly an Ethics for dummies course, however, many scientists dig into philosophy when they are more mature and not working so hard on making their nut. Many of the best and most influential philosphers were scientists before. Kant was a physicist.
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm 1646-1716
Whatever it is, it is older than both ID and the Rapture.
Is that how you can tell when senility sets in? ;-)
Positivism is dead. Has been since the 1930s.
For one thing, youve been speaking of Whitehead for several threads, so if you are resting in his view of organic philosophy a reconciliation of math/science and theology/philosophy - I must hasten to note that he was born in 1861 and thus, like Hegel (born 1770) and Nietzsche (born 1844) to whatever extent they address the physical, none of them had the insights of modern physics, cosmology, et al.
That of course doesnt mean the philosophers were ipso facto in error in whole or in part, but rather that they were not as informed as we are today and thus it falls to us or modern thinkers to put their insights in context.
There is also some dispute in the interpretation of Whitehead vis-à-vis theology as we can see here: Process Theism
Nevertheless, those who maintain that all that there is is an illusion or a dream (e.g. I am a figment of your imagination) have no basis for correspondence with math or science at all. It is a statement of faith much like the statement that God created all that there is last Thursday. Indeed, if Lanza's speculations were taken to the extreme, it would suggest that "reality" comes into existence as a result of the observation itself.
Einstein famously said that reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one but he was speaking of local realism in physics.
It seems we are always coming back to the epistemic divide. If all of science and math would adhere to Bohrs counsel, then it would limit itself to what it can say about the physical and nothing about the meaning of it. That would leave the broad reach to the philosophers who have the toolkit including the wisdom over the ages, to address the essence and to the theologians to put all of the knowledge in context with revelation, doctrine or tradition, i.e. systematic theology.
But of course that only works if the philosophers and theologians make an effort to understand modern math and science, e.g. Wolfgang Pannenberg.
I had to look that one up. One definition I found was:
the form of empiricism that bases all knowledge on perceptual experience (not on intuition or revelation)No wonder the philosophers dumped it! It was about to put them out of business!
Whitehead explained relativity to Einstein. Philosophy was a second career for Whitehead, after he retired from mathematics. He is hard to read, but he has to be read first hand since translations suffer from the usual failure to transmit meaning.
Indeed, whatever is not observed has as much significance as whatever is observed. And, truly, the observation - or ommission - is causal to what happens next and thus contributes to the unfolding of reality.
Lanza's speculations are very useful to us in our research of God and the Observer Problem - but I still hesitate on quoting him directly because his speculations are often applied to the extreme which would lead to the "reality is illusion" deadend.
Unfortunately, positivism means different things in different areas of expertise. Logical positivism was killed off by Goedel, but historical positivism lives. Positive in this sense is not the opposite of negative but the other, similar-sounding term spelled the same meaning that which is placed or posited. Completely different word even though spelled and pronounced the same, like half our wonderful language.
I disagree with this presupposition, RightWhale. As William James wrote, "Great thinkers have vast premonitory glimpses of schemes of relation between terms, which hardly even as verbal images enter the mind, so rapid is the whole process." We are not speaking at all of "sensation" here. He adds to this statement a footnote:
Mozart describes thus his manner of composing: First bits and crumbs of the piece come and gradually join together in his mind; then the soul getting warmed to the work, the thing grows more and more, "and I spread it out broader and clearer, and at last it gets almost finished in my head, even when it is a long piece, so that I can see the whole of it at a single glance in my mind, as if it were a beautiful painting or a handsome human being; in which way I do not hear it in my imagination at all as a succession -- the way it must come later -- but all at once, as it were. It is a rare feast! All the inventing and making goes on in me as in a beautiful strong dream. But the best of all is the hearing of it all at once. [I added the bolds]Notice that Mozart uses analogies to vision and hearing in his description of the creative process; but there's not a scintilla of "sense impression" going on here. This creative process is entirely internal to the mind.
You wrote: "Of course we create nothing, not even our society (all attempts are doomed), that is the baliwick of the Divine."
Tell that to Mozart!
Hhhmmmmm third-grade level philosophy primer??? Jeepers, I wouldn't know what to recommend! I don't have one of those myself....
If I may offer a suggestion: On the observation that "all of philosophy is but a recapitulation of Plato," I'd recommend reading his dialogues! The beauty of Plato is that he is not a system builder, he does not construct doctrines. He is more interested in the formulation of proper questions than he is in finding answers. His method is not to tell you what to think, but to show you where to look, and bid you to go and see for yourself. My favorites: Timaeus, Apology, Symposium, Gorgias, Critias (which features the Atlantis myth), Republic, and Laws.
There is virtually no issue in philosophy that Plato didn't originally raise in his works. Which explains the statement, "all of philosophy is but a recapitulation of Plato."
And in addition to being a world-class philosopher, Leibniz was also a world-class mathematician who independently developed the calculus.
The reverse is also true. It can be demonstrated that both Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr were students of philosophy, and their philosophical understandings deeply influenced their work as scientists.
I think what Coyoteman is describing when he says that no scientists today pay any attention to philosophy at all simply describes the situation of increasing deculturation that is advancing among many if not most Western intellectuals of our time. The education process is failing in its primary mission: To transmit the culture to the rising generation.
Oh thank you so much for mentioning Wolfhart Pannenberg, professor of systematic theology at Munich. He has been "dialoguing" with scientists of late! I highly recommend his fascinating work, Toward a Theology of Nature, 1993. It's simply a marvelous read!
The measurements of the CMB from the 1960's and myriad other observations since show that space/time is not fixed, indeed does not pre-exist, the universe (space/time) is expanding, there was a beginning of real space and real time.
As a philosophy, it retains merit but as science, it is debunked.
#283: There is virtually no issue in philosophy that Plato didn't originally raise in his works. Which explains the statement, "all of philosophy is but a recapitulation of Plato."
And that is one of the reasons I can't get excited by philosophy. Philosophers are still batting the same ideas around after 2,500 years, and are no closer to any resolution than Plato was. By way of comparison, just look at what science has done in just the last 250 years.
#284: I think what Coyoteman is describing when he says that no scientists today pay any attention to philosophy at all simply describes the situation of increasing deculturation that is advancing among many if not most Western intellectuals of our time. The education process is failing in its primary mission: To transmit the culture to the rising generation.
Deculturation? No. When you are doing many of the technical sciences studying philosophy is simply a colossal waste of time.
The education process is failing in its primary mission: To transmit the culture to the rising generation.
The education establishment has determined that western culture is not worth transmitting to the next generation. Science is increasingly ignoring "educators" as well.
And so sayeth the Curmudgeon.
We'll have to label him with a "handle with care" tag!!! LOL! But then again, people often take Bohr to extremes, and declare him to be an "Eastern thinker." I think Bohr would be surprised by this, were he still around to hear of it.
Thanks so much for writing, my dearest sister in Christ!
It will not do to read about Whitehead. Read Whitehead. Then translate. The problem with most translators is that they either do not know both languages or do not know the subject matter, or both. A handful of translators have done well, Luther being one.
Thank you both - #s 282 and 278 have good stuff for me in them! I’m reading along, hoping what’s bouncing around inside will coalesce and come out again somehow creatively!
Thank you for all of your beautiful posts, dearest sister in Christ!
Fine, but what else is there?
I'm afraid you're right about that, Coyoteman.
Yet culture is the center that must hold if society is not to disintegrate.
You evidently do not appreciate that problems of human existence are what inspire the philosophical questions that are still "open questions" after 2,500 years. 2,500 years hence, they will probably still be "open questions" -- assuming the human race hasn't destroyed itself first.
In short, these are questions that it seems eternally persist, which science has no method to address. Man has always been asking them, and probably always will. The sheer persistency of the questions is evidence in favor of the persistency of human nature as a given thing (i.e., something that doesn't "evolve").
Looks that way to me, too, dearest sister in Christ. The problem of "Second Realities" raises its ugly head.... :^) In the end, they can create nothing useful; but they are very good at destroying the public consensus on which free societies rest.
There is a reason why these questions persist and it is nothing spiritual. These things are vital to survival. We choose on the basis of virtue and virtue means 'strength.' The science or philosophy of choosing is called ethics or morals. Choose well. Choose strongly.
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