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I Lost (faith) and Found (reality)

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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 8:23:46 AM PDT
S. Kessler says:
Brian, your boss sound like he had borderline personality disorder. That's the Jekyll and Hyde personality type where you never know which your going to get. Before he met me, my husband was dating a woman who had this personality disorder and he describes it as a nightmare. It's the third type that scores very low on the empathy index.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 8:28:56 AM PDT
S. Kessler says:
Yes, there are historians who question the existence of Mohammed and Moses, for example.

I am a bit lost trying to understand your point about using scripture to condemn the gospels, though. Since the gospels ARE scripture. I do not see what questioning the veracity of the gospels has to do with intellectual honesty or dishonesty. Do you think they are beyond questioning?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 9:15:50 AM PDT
MaryAnn H. says:
Oh, AxeGrrl, I am so sorry for the loss of your precious dog. I hope all the memories of the cold nose kisses will make you smile a bit.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 9:17:30 AM PDT
MaryAnn H. says:
"Me, I happen to believe in the existence of an itinerent rabbi named Yeshua ben Yosef who ran afoul of jewish and Roman authorities and for that was executed."

On that, we are in complete agreement.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 9:22:38 AM PDT
MaryAnn H. says:
And with me, S. I do not find anything very complex in my meaning in living. I derive simple pleasures from things and people around me and love deeply the humans and animals in my life. How this can not be "meaningful" in and of itself, I do not understand.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 9:35:43 AM PDT
Axe:my beloved dog died today :(

SA: Sorry to hear that, Axe.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 9:38:26 AM PDT
Harry Marks says:
S. Kessler -

It is not impossible to think of reasons why Jesus' disciples might have made up the whole Messiah thing, but IMO it is much harder to make sense of the whole story that way than it is to think Jesus had it in mind. He was almost certainly an exorcist, probably did some healing, probably said novel and confrontational things (many of which he heard from elsewhere, but he seems to have assembled "the kingdom is like..." parables on his own), probably preached the advent of the Kingdom of God. So it is but a small step to give some shape to that by stepping into a ready-made role from prophecy.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 9:46:28 AM PDT
Harry Marks says:
S. Kessler -

We have had reports on the web of a growing frequency of serious narcissistic personality disorder, but I have seen no statistics. I am wondering if epigenetic transfer might explain such a thing. Have you read about it at all?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 10:14:48 AM PDT
AxeGrrl: I don't really have the 'oomph' to write something longer today, because my beloved dog died today :(

Rachel: I'm so sorry for your loss! Try to remember the good times and all the love you shared.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 10:19:23 AM PDT
Brian Hayes: Actually, I am just describing your actions, if you don't like what's in the mirror change it.

Rachel: Actually, I don't care what you think of me. I do object to you substituting personal insults and ad hominem attacks when you can't address a particular point. If you have nothing to say, then don't fall back on irrelevant insults. Here is some information to keep you from repeating the same silly mistakes:

An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it. Ad hominem reasoning is normally described as a logical fallacy, more precisely an informal fallacy and an irrelevance.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 11:52:08 AM PDT
AxeGrrl, I am so sorry about your dog.(((hug)))

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 1:16:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 7, 2012 1:35:17 PM PDT
Interesting perspective Harry.

As John F. Haught suggests in his own dissertation called, " Information, Theology, And The Universe ", from the Davies compilation I've been citing, it's possible to see all evolution as a " narratively informed " process, " ( as opposed to rigidly designed ) including the often chaotic and inconsistent character and development of human consciousness and nature. No " design " in the classic theistic sense, of excess order, which would " prevent the transmission of information and impede the entry of " emergent novelty ", but an " ... oscillation between noise and redundancy. ... If a hypothetical divine informational principle is in any analogous sense expressing itself in the unfolding cosmic events, it would not be surprising that natural process constantly harbors a reservoir of indefiniteness in order to have both a real future at all and the opportunity to give birth to elaborate instances of order such as that displayed in the emergent phenomena of life, mind, and culture. The cosmic oscillation between noise and redundancy is parallel to the encoding of information from letters of an alphabet. Without nature's capacity for moments of deconstruction no evolutionary " story " could be inscribed in it. Without a constant inclination toward a state of noise the universe could not be the carrier of meaning. ...." Haught.

Too much emphasis has been place upon metaphysical design in the discussion between orthodox believers and atheists. God as external and complex engineer of both the scaffolding of cosmos and the life and mind that would be placed upon it. Haught has a different take.

... " In place of design, I would suggest that natural theology may more appropriately understand divine influence along the lines of informational flow, although this too is an analogy that can never adequately capture what actual religious experience understands as ultimate reality. The point considering the informational analogy at all is that, unlike design, it is fully open to the fact of nature's contingency. It does not insist that the plausibility of the idea of God depends upon the existence of ordered perfection in the natural world. Intelligent design proponents along with Dawkins, on the other hand, consider the fact that nature and life are speckled with accidents or spontaneities to be contrary to divine action and cosmic purpose, and hence as support for atheism. However, the existence of a God " who makes all things new " is, at least informationally speaking, consistent with the existence of an abundance of accidents in evolution. Moreover, the informational character of nature meshes naturally with the idea that nature is narrative to the core. One of the consequences of developments in geology, biology, and cosmology during the last two centuries is that the universe now manifests itself as an unfolding story rather than an essentially fixed state of being. ... "

This would evidently include our emerging preference for " depth and meaning " in the unfolding of the human story. In our sorting out of the " noise. " In the ascent (?) or development of our mindfulness. Like your mothers compassion and concern.

Haught continues. ... " Thus it would be more appropriate theologically to speak of a narratively informed, rather than a mechanically designed, universe. Information allows theology to think analogously of divine action as occurring somewhere between the extremes of absolute randomness on the one side and complete redundancy on the other. But it does require that there be no deviations from design. If we view the cosmos as informational, we will not be surprised that there is disorder at the margins of all organization ( as the first creation account in Genesis already intuits ). The notion of " design, " by contrast, is intolerant of any such disorder. And where disorder is forbidden, novelty is also excluded, and along with it any notion of a truly living God. .... "

The same perspective can even be applied in the discussion of evil, both human and natural.

... " Excessive redundancy and unnecessary noise constitute analogies for the two distinct types of " evil " that occur in the realms of life and human experience. The evil of excessive redundancy consists of the endless repetition of routines when the introduction of novel information would make way for the emergence of more being and value in the cosmic process. At the human level of cosmic emergence, an example of the " evil of redundancy " might be the obsession with our own cognitional certitude and existential security to the point that we ignore the political, cultural, scientific, or religious complexity of the world. It would take the form of a resistance to novelty and adventure, which are required to prevent the decay of human life and civilization. The " evil of noise, " considered in the context of a cosmology of information, consists in an excessive disregard for rules of order without which the carrying of meaning becomes impossible. ... "

To sum up, ... " If we could learn to view the cosmos as an information system, and cosmic becoming as an informational process, we should not be utterly surprised that at least some degree of disorder and redundancy would show up at the margins of its development. Unlike the idea of information, the notion of " design " is intolerant of disorder, and wherever disorder is completely ruled out so also is novelty. And wherever novelty is excluded so too is a truly interesting universe, as well as a proportionately challenging sense of ultimate reality and meaning. .... "

This all represents another expression of how the traditional debate between the believer and non-believer has been skewed toward an over-simplified, and hackneyed bias. A bias that most theologians jettisoned a long time ago.

Any comments on the apparent, maybe, discovery of the Higgs Boson?

Understanding what I do of the Higgs field and presumed Higgs Boson, I don't regard this news as problematic for the kind of view of divinity described above by Haught, or my own.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 1:16:56 PM PDT
Thanks. I figured.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 1:21:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 7, 2012 1:29:00 PM PDT
I grieve for your loss. I too love animals. Even with my allergies.

As I said, it's probably against the background of unrelenting suffering and loss over the course of human existence, and of all sentient life, that drives the philosophy of a Russell or Kung. I happen to agree with that philosophy.

I intuit something eternal as much or more, than I " need " an eternal " ground of being. "

And I think scientific philosophy is heading in that direction.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 1:38:54 PM PDT
AxeGrrl says:
S.Kessler wrote: "I'm so sorry about you loss, AxeGrrl. I must have missed your earlier post. I've lost several dear pets in my time and I know how devastating it can be. I send my virtual hugs your way. {{{{{{{{AxeGrrl}}}}}}}}"

Thank you for the hugs, SK, it's very sweet of you and much appreciated. I just wanted to pop in to thank all of you for your kind words. She hadn't quite reached her 7th birthday and it was a total shock :(

Anyway, i know this is all off-topic, so i won't write more, but thank you all.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 1:47:06 PM PDT
Niaih says:
I am with you in this thinking, and thank you for putting it into words. I also worship and revere the maker of that process: its name may be Accident, no prob. I want to thank somebody: the process is so beyond my ken I can only kneel and say Thank you. The need to give it/him a name seems human: just like our persistent building of churches everywhere all thru history. What is in us to make us even build them? Whatever that thing is in us, I surrender and acknowledge its evidence. No need to know all - merely observe and learn from the world around me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 2:26:40 PM PDT
Harry Marks says:
Philip -

This is interesting stuff. I am not very familiar with "informational flow" but I get "narrative".

Excessive redundancy (or control) vs. excessive noise reminds me of Kierkegaard's "angst of necessity" and "angst of possibility". It invites a careful distinction between disorder and chaos. I have often advocated that those who do not naturally "fit in" with a capitalist economy be "brought in", meaning given explicitly designed opportunities to practice whatever activities they find fulfilling in a modern, technological economy. A very rough example is the accession of China to the WTO. The idea is that we give up our urge to control (very much as we must with our children) in order to allow opportunity for all. This critically involves some disorder. Chaos is a kind of "rule of disorder" in which the centrifugal tendencies of the marginal become the dominant mode of decision-making. Not "too much decentralization" but "dominance of decentralized rivalry over decentralized pursuit of rational objectives."

It also reminds me of Feigenbaum's "stretching" (or positive feedback) and "folding" (or negative feedback), in dynamical systems. See "chaos" in the mathematical sense.

I think finding the Higgs Boson is a clear and needed case of "folding" or reducing the centrifugal tendencies of unfettered theory. Physics has gone through 40 years of exploration (wandering in the wilderness?) of marvelous possible versions of how things might be unified at a micro level, and some of the learnings will stick around, but it was overdue for pruning. I am not at all surprised that the "conventional wisdom" turned out to have the best intuition. I have no doubt there are still interesting surprises waiting around (in the promised land?).

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 2:29:04 PM PDT
Harry Marks says:
Niaih -

"No need to know all - merely observe and learn from the world around me."

You are one exceptionally sane human being. Please stay around to remind us all of this now and then.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 1:01:26 PM PDT
It seems an irresistible intuitive response Niaih. At least for some. Like you. Like me. And many others.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 1:20:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2012 1:26:27 PM PDT
You have got it in spades Harry.

The necessary randomness, redundancy, chaos, and emergent novelty; the presence of indefiniteness, that Haught speaks of as informing cosmic evolution, certainly informs thought and culture. From economic philosophy to political philosophy. And everything else that humans dabble in.

All of that stuff seems required to be the " carrier of meaning. " Disorder, deviation , and indefiniteness are necessary in order to facilitate the grand evolutionary story that is unfolding. Like the " interesting surprises " of physics.

It's all aimed, I think, at nourishing that " truly interesting universe. "

The only kind of universe that any " divine other ", or " ultimate informational principle ", or " ground of all being ", worth it's salt is going to inform.

I'll post a little more from the Davies book later.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 1:25:34 PM PDT
And again. I'm deeply sorry for the loss of your pet.

My sister hosts a menagerie of pets in her home, and they are wonderful to be with.

There at least. Not in my home. Aside from my allergies, my electronics and art stuff would be made short work of by so many teeth and paws.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 1:47:11 PM PDT
Gneiss Guy says:
Hey, Iam the first to tell you that there are parts of scripture that are cruel, barbaric and inhumane by modern standards, but then so are most legal and religious codes of the ancient times. I don't see or hear people raising a rucus over the fact that it was a common practice to sodomize prisoners of war before release or take groups of 100 and blind 99 and leave the 100th with the job of getting the rest home. Their rage is very selective.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 1:53:36 PM PDT
Brian Hayes says:Hey, Iam the first to tell you that there are parts of scripture that are cruel, barbaric and inhumane by modern standards, but then so are most legal and religious codes of the ancient times.

SA: Should a God not have done better than ancient humans?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 1:55:04 PM PDT
Gneiss Guy says:
SK, I dated borderline and this guy was worse, there was a sense that he took pleasure in the distress he inflicted. With the ex-girl friend it seemed it could be traced to her worries about losing control.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 2:04:05 PM PDT
tokolosi says:
... something about Yahweh being the same yesterday, today, and forever comes to mind.
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Discussion in:  Religion forum
Participants:  181
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Initial post:  Jun 11, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 7, 2014

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