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Old 12-21-2007, 12:25 AM   #121
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I've been watching this with some fear. When does the "believe as I do or God will damn you" morf into "believe as I do or I will kill you"?
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Old 12-21-2007, 12:40 AM   #122
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I've been watching this with some fear. When does the "believe as I do or God will damn you" morf into "believe as I do or I will kill you"?
Actually, it's happened a number of times over history with various gods or god-like worshipped monarchs or political leaders.
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:01 AM   #123
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So Cantuar, what would YOU be telling folks about the universe? Not about what the creationists or Jews or Christians or Muslims or whoever say, but what you say?
I'm an agnostic and I'm not a cosmologist, so on both counts I'm perfectly comfortable with "I don't know."
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Old 12-21-2007, 09:53 AM   #124
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Kind of an ego centric position there ERD50. What makes you think anyone would bother putting a label on you?
You probably lost the context of my reply without the earlier embedded quotes.

RR actually *did* ask me which label I would choose, so I offered up a pretty non-committal response, because that is how I feel about it. I really don't think anyone would care, other than for the sake of discussion here.

Trust me, I don't have any bumper stickers or T-Shirts proclaiming my faith, lack of it, or my view of others.

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Old 12-21-2007, 09:59 AM   #125
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THANK YOU - to 'the fed'

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Just curious if anyone here considers themselves a deist?
I gotta run, but I honestly wanted to say 'thanks' for starting this thread, and to the contributers. It's been an interesting, and generally very well behaved discussion. It forced me to reflect on my own thoughts a bit, which is always good (unless I end up on a ledge!, or bore people to the point that they end up on a ledge!).

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Old 12-21-2007, 02:51 PM   #126
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Ys, thanks to the OP and posters for this thread.

It has been thought-provoking to say the least. And I was very interested to see responses here by posters,along with their responses on other threads. What complex and varied sets of beliefs we all have!
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Old 12-21-2007, 02:55 PM   #127
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Agree, thanks to all for the willingness to exchange ideas without getting personal ("Hate the sin, love the sinner, eh?!). Have a Merry Christmas, Winter Solstice, Hannukah, etc.
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Old 12-21-2007, 03:02 PM   #128
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Is it over already? No Feats of Strength? OK, have a good Festivus!
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Old 12-21-2007, 03:17 PM   #129
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Some parting ideas for those interested.

The topic of "free will" came up along the way. Anyone wanting to really bend their brains may be interested in Augustine of Hippo's treatise On Free Choice of the Will. Written sometime back in 300AD or 500AD (or sometime a really longtime ago!)

As far as that goes, folks interested in individuals forming their "sets of beliefs" may find the journey of Augustine himself of interest. A reprobate given to womanizing in his early years, a son of a pagan father and Catholic mother, and for a while an adherent of a "cult" sect, he later was named a Saint of the Catholic Church.

Augustine of Hippo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

His book Confessions has been referred to as the first Western autobiography.
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Old 12-21-2007, 03:53 PM   #130
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The topic of "free will" came up along the way.
Roger Penrose wrote a book in which he argues that free will is a quantum effect:

Amazon.com: The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics (Popular Science): Books: Roger Penrose,Martin Gardner

Personally, I don't buy it. I think free will is an illusion, but it's a really good illusion, so I don't worry too much about my determinism.
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Old 12-21-2007, 03:58 PM   #131
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something is missing from this thread. oh, i know what it is. a graph...


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Old 12-21-2007, 04:55 PM   #132
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Are you kidding? The biggest news of the past half century has been the unexpected rise of fundamentalism of all stripes. Even Europe is getting a good taste of it thanks to immigration.

Also, inexorable is a boomerang word. Few things appear to be inexorable other than maybe a rock falling to lower ground once it has been dislodged.

Ha
I think that part of this is a backlash effect against the long term trends of scientific methodology/humanism/liberalism. Go back say 200 years and almost everyone would be classified as a fundamentalist.

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Old 12-21-2007, 10:13 PM   #133
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Roger Penrose wrote a book in which he argues that free will is a quantum effect:

Amazon.com: The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics (Popular Science): Books: Roger Penrose,Martin Gardner

Personally, I don't buy it. I think free will is an illusion, but it's a really good illusion, so I don't worry too much about my determinism.

Took a look at Amazon. Interesting looking book. But nowhere in Amazon's list of " key phrases" from Penrose's book, nor in the book's table of contents, nor in several of the reader reviews, nor on the front or back covers of the book did I find the phrase "free will". Did he use code words in his narrative you interpreted as "free will"?
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:37 PM   #134
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Did you try the "search inside" feature? Take a look especially at pages 556-558. It's been 15 years since I read the book, but his entire argument is that the mind can't be modeled by a Turing machine, and a Turing machine is the underlying model for all computers and general computability.

On page 218 he says "The vexed question of 'free will' hovers at the background throughout this book."
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Old 12-22-2007, 01:41 AM   #135
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perusing the science stacks for my godson, i thought y'all would find this one interesting...i did!

Amazon.com: Before the Beginning: Our Universe and Others (Helix Books): Books: Martin Rees
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Old 12-22-2007, 10:57 AM   #136
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here's another fun one...

Amazon.com: A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe: Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science: Books: Michael S. Schneider
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Old 12-22-2007, 12:38 PM   #137
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I was reading a bit about the Anthropic Principle last night:

Anthropic principle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Robert Dicke[1] noted that the age of the universe as seen by living observers is not random, but is constrained by biological factors that require it to be roughly a "golden age".[2] Ten times younger, and there would not have been time for sufficient interstellar levels of carbon to build up by nucleosynthesis; but ten times older, and the golden age of main sequence stars and stable planetary systems would have already come to an end. This explained away a rough coincidence between large dimensionless numbers constructed from the constants of physics and the age of the universe, which had inspired Dirac's varying-G theory.

And it occurred to me that Buddhism is the only religion I know about that celebrates transience. Our individual lives are transient. Man as a species is transient. Carbon lifeforms are transient. The universe as it is today is transient.

So, transience seems like a really important concept. If widely embraced, it seems that it could change the way we live our lives. Sort of like the Buddhist "mandala sand" ritual, I think it would both drive us to create intricate beauty (perhaps as a society) and more readily accept death and destruction as natural forces.

Anyway, my point is that I still see a role for religion even if everyone were to accept scientific methods and beliefs. I'm always looking for that religion that is consistent with science, but at the same time provides that behavior-shaping focus and celebratory rituals that we need.

What do you think? Do we need a new religion?
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Old 12-22-2007, 02:28 PM   #138
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. I'm always looking for that religion that is consistent with science, but at the same time provides that behavior-shaping focus and celebratory rituals that we need.
You better go back and read some of what Augustine of Hippo said---St. Augustine. You and he have somewhat similar views.
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Old 12-22-2007, 02:33 PM   #139
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What do you think? Do we need a new religion?
Talk to Tom Cruise. He may be able to get you into Scientology. Why settle for transience if you can achieve transcendence?

Ha
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Old 12-22-2007, 03:28 PM   #140
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transcending is evolutionary. evolution by its nature is unending. transcendence is not a final destination, but a way point. even nirvana is just a stop along the way. so where most religions at best seek eternal paradise, buddhism, if you will excuse my crude explanation, seeks first to get everyone there via bodhisattva. after all the buddhas get off the wheel, sentient beings finish shedding themselves of this world and can then continue evolving beyond paradise. to what? well, it is transcendence and therefore beyond current comprehension. but no one moves beyond paradise until everyone gets off the wheel.

so the bodhisattva choose to forgo nirvana or paradise and instead rebirth into the world of suffering to continue helping others sentient beings seek peace.

always seek compassion.

"because of realization one does not remain in samsara, because of compassion one does not remain in peace."~~the abhisamayalamkara
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