Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Favorite quotations, etc.
daylen
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by daylen » Wed Nov 13, 2019 3:53 am

Jason wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:52 am
That being said, I'd estimate that 95% of the time, I don't understand 95% of what the fuck you are talking about.
I do not know how to estimate what I know about what the fuck you are talking about.

Jason
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by Jason » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:27 am

This exchange would not have happened in the 1519. They'd have a go at how many angels can dance upon a pinhead but no one would raise issues about their basic ability to communicate through language.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:56 pm

Jason wrote:Gnosticism/dualism whatever you want to call it existed a hundred years before Mani. Pretty much started immediately with the New Testament Church in Jewish sects, although no one knows for sure. Saying Gnosticism started with Mani is like saying the blues started with Led Zeppelin.
The source I quoted above re Mani was "History of Iran: Empire of the Mind" by Michael Axworthy. I am not (yet ;) ) enough of a scholar in this realm to wish to quibble. However, I will note that although "Mani and the Gnostics" kind of sounds like a good name for a band (for imagined audience of clove cigarette smoking anorexic self-mutilators), I am as two with this genre of dualism.

I was thinking about your comment that a Materialist would not consider bifurcation into genders as part of core metaphor system. This is something I believe has changed in recent decades. For instance, the benefit of sexual reproduction over asexual reproduction has been mathematically modeled as superior in terms of information transmission and reduction of harmful mutations carried forward. IOW, this has been shown to be true in any system where anything like evolution takes place. IOW, it could be argued that something like sexual reproduction will quite likely emerge in any similar system. Of course, this leaves open the question of whether sexual reproduction can exist without gender division. Obviously, some creatures on Earth are hermaphrodites, but there is still a division between the gender functions within the individual creature. Also, humans are now capable of removing the mother's DNA from the ovum and replacing it with that of another human, but this is a highly energy intensive /expensive activity and perhaps most analogous to the tactic some birds use when they sneak their eggs into the nest of another for care-taking.

Anyways, the mathematical model is explained in "Information Theory, Inference, and Learning Algorithms" in the section entitled "Why Have Sex?: Information Acquisition and Evolution" by David MacKay, who also wrote a very good book on the topic of mitigating climate change. He was a stone genius who very unfortunately died young just a few years ago. I can just barely follow the math. I wish jacob or daylen or anybody else who is much better at math than me would read it and offer their thoughts.

Jason
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by Jason » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:38 pm

(@) Mani

Ascetic practices that still pervade Christianity cannot be traced to one source. Until the 4th century, Christianity identity was equated to martyrdom. It was not until the fourth century with Augustine that the Pauline "house divided" i.e. the interior life of the individual was sufficient to demonstrate belief became acceptable. However, during the Medieval period you had the ascension of the monastic orders with their ensuing ascetic practices. My point is, restrictive behavioral practices existed before and after Mani in all shapes and forms throughout the history of Christianity no to mention you are talking about a practice that died in the West hundreds of years ago which Augustine renounced in The Confessions which remains one of the most influential books inside and without Christianity. Keith Richards autobiography is a descendant of it.

With regard to gender distinction, metaphysics deals with the nature of existence within the cosmos. If you want to turn it into a gender studies issue or a sexual identity issue, I guess you can, although IMHO, it is really just a biological issue, not a philosophical issue. And if you do that, you now have to apply the distinction to the other branches of philosophy, ethics and epistemology which makes no sense to me.

chenda
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by chenda » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:46 pm

@7wannabe5 - You might like Zoroastrianism: An introduction by Jenny Rose. She says
Gnosticism seems to have been a combination of 'the Zoroastrian cosmic struggle between the opposing principles of good and evil with the Greek philosophical concept of the monad'...The spread of Manichaeism within Iran seems to have provided a channel for some of the Gnosticising tendencies of the second and third centuries CE to radiate back into Zoroastrian thought.
I would indeed make a great band name. I'm thinking an Indie outfit :)

Jason
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by Jason » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:21 pm

If Neil Young is the father of grunge, that makes Freddy Mercury the father of Gnostic Rock.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:23 pm

Jason wrote: My point is, restrictive behavioral practices existed before and after Mani in all shapes and forms throughout the history
Agreed. Having read memoirs of 20th century Irish nuns, I beg to differ on "died out hundreds of years ago."
Jason wrote:just a biological issue, not a philosophical issue.
Dude, saying "just a biological issue" to a 21st Century Scientific Pantheist is like saying "just the laws of physics" to a 20th Century Materialist. I thought it would be obvious that Scientific Pantheism is like unto the mature, complex version of the many spiritual beliefs that have shared metaphor of egg or seed as origin of universe.

Also, I believe in the theory of embodied language which in a nutshell ( ;) ) states that our human structure defines our use of language and our consciousness. So, the universe such as it will ever be known by the consciousness of a human was formed and grew forth from the first human "egg' (fertilized ovum.)

So, egg within egg within egg, or complex system within complex system within complex system. It can't be described with mathematics or linear narrative, and you have to relax and find joy within that limitation.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:25 pm

@chenda: I will add that book to my list too! I was actually thinking of my sister's days playing in a Death Metal band on the West Coast. INFP's can come up with some dark sh*t.

daylen
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by daylen » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:53 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:56 pm
For instance, the benefit of sexual reproduction over asexual reproduction has been mathematically modeled as superior in terms of information transmission and reduction of harmful mutations carried forward.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muller%27s_ratchet

Here is a thorough yet technical book that covers the theory behind this and much more:

https://www.amazon.com/Evolutionary-The ... 0878937021

"Populations of sexually reproducing organisms would seem to have a way around Muller's ratchet, since through recombination an individual that is heterozygous for mutations at two different loci can still produce some gametes that are mutation free."

7Wannabe5
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 6:20 am

@Jason:

The egg definitively came first. Before the concept of the "Who" in "Who laid the egg?"

@daylen:

Thanks for the link. The article I read also addressed the issue of "too many men" and showed that in simple model while asexual reproduction can at best transmit 1 bit of information/generation, sexual reproduction can transmit information at maximum rate approaching square root of length of genome.

Anyways, I don't have time to type at length at the moment, but these models could be seen as core explanations for the benefits of "sharing" and could go towards explaining why some of the species among our closest remaining primate relatives tend towards peaceful behavior while others are more aggressive. Obviously, "polyamory" was my attempt at partial solution to problem of "too many men" which is resulting in high suicide rate in our tamped down. over-crowded, affluent society.

chenda
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by chenda » Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:59 pm

Nice basic overview of Gnosticism: https://youtu.be/Iuvk2bLCzwM

7Wannabe5
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:22 pm

@chenda: Thanks for the link. Very interesting and unbiased presentation which leaves me still very confirmed in my belief that given set of beliefs belonging to Gnosticism=G and set of beliefs belonging to what I mean by Scientific Pantheism = P, the intersection of the G and P would be the null set.

I am now reading and enjoying "Standing in the Light: My Life as a Pantheist" by Sharman Russell. I attempted "The Tao of Systems Thinking" by McCurley but couldn't get into it.

chenda
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by chenda » Tue Nov 19, 2019 4:58 pm

@7wannabe5 Yes he's got some great videos on religion as studied from an academic perspective. Russell sounds an interesting read.

chenda
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by chenda » Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:06 pm

Discussion of panentheism and non-duality from a Sikh perspective:
https://youtu.be/DViK5ExShqM

7Wannabe5
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:41 am

@chenda:

Very interesting. Not all that different from Alfred Wallace Russell -> James Lovelock thread of thought on the topic of evolution which I am reading about in "Here On Earth: A Natural History of the Planet" by Tim Flannery.
In summary, Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis describes co-operation at the highest level-the sum of unconscious cooperation of all life that has given form to our living Earth. It's not that living things choose to cooperate, but that evolution has shaped them to do so. It also shows that the living and non-living parts of Earth are inextricably interwoven. Lovelock argues, for example, that 99 percent of Earth's atmosphere is a creation of life (the exceptional 1 percent being the noble gases such as Argon) and that Earth's oceans are maintained in their current state by life itself. But most importantly, the Gaia hypothesis posits that Earth, taken as whole, possesses many of the qualities of a living thing...

And of course the deep interconnectedness central to the Gaia hypothesis presents a profound challenge to our current economic model, for it explains that there are both limits to growth, and no 'away" to throw anything to.
Flannery also notes that when Thomas Huxley's "Evolution and Ethics" was first translated into Chinese by Yan Fu, the characters he chose to represent the English word "evolution" could be read as "creation's performance." The theory of evolution was easily and well accepted in China because it was coherent with folk wisdom which already encompassed " a progression from foraging, cave-dwelling ancestors to fire-using and house-building ones, and then to agricultural beings.

chenda
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by chenda » Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:48 pm

@7wannabe5 - I love the phrase 'creations performance' ! It seems evolution has been easier to reconcile with reincarnation based religions. It's been pointed out there's a irony that it was in the west which discovered that the earth was billions of years old, where it was until recently believed it was ~ 7000 years old. Whereas dharmic religion had long postulated a universe billions or infinitely old. Although some Sufi mystics had talked of some kind of evolutionary reincarnation. Rumi wrote a poem of starting out as a rock, then a plant then an animal and then a human...Indeed some openly claimed to have experienced non-dual realisation, 'I am God' remarkably similar to Hindu ideas. And some got themselves into serious trouble for it, as Islam lacked the toleration of heterodox views which has been so characteristic of Hinduism. (I'd prefer to be poor under Islam though)

There's a book called 'God as existence consciousness bliss', by David Bentley Hart, an impassioned polemic against the New Atheists, which advocates (I think) a qualified non dualist/panentheist approach to Christianity. He freely admits he's borrowed the title from the Vedic tradition, but argues this was the tradition of early Christianity.

Interesting lecture from a Christian-Hindu dialogue concerning Ramanuja's qualified non dualism:

https://youtu.be/agNQyUGSgHM

Also a podcast on non duality which mentions the aforementioned book:

https://omny.fm/shows/chitheads/chithea ... -raw-audio

7Wannabe5
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:27 am

@chenda:

I agree that the gap between belief in reincarnation and the recycling/loop-closing ethics of 21st century systems theory applied to environmental concerns may be easier to bridge. Here is another somewhat related take on the topic by Flannery.
The complexity of relationships doesn't stop there. Larger living things are themselves composites, involving whole ecosystems of bacteria, fungi and invertebrates. Without many of these creatures- our gut bacteria for example- we could not exist. These fellow travelers make up 10 percent of our weight, and are so pervasively distributed over our bodies that were we to take away all 'human' cells, a detailed body-shadow composed of them would remain: we are in ourselves virtual planets of Gaian complexity.
Obviously, even the cells within our body that are 'human' and containing of our unique DNA ( as well as the unique DNA of our mitochondria) are constantly being sloughed off and replaced, so on that level we are literally being eaten by worms and reincarnated as parts of other humans long before our deaths.
Rumi wrote a poem of starting out as a rock, then a plant then an animal and then a human..
My Iranian-born "ex" and I once had a huge argument on the topic of whether or not there was any decent poetry written in the English language. I finally had to resort to something along the lines of " Yes, ... but it can be beautiful when it is spare like the architecture of a Quaker Meeting House." (One big, not so well known, difference between notions of masculinity and femininity in Iranian (Persian) culture vs. American culture is that "the arts" and openly expressed emotions are very much considered to be in the province of both genders. This is probably due to the fact that Persian culture has maintained an unbroken line of bureaucratic educated upper class for many centuries through the era of the Dark Ages in Europe and many internal upheavals.)
'God as existence consciousness bliss', by David Bentley Hart, an impassioned polemic against the New Atheists
Added to my list. Here is an interesting note from a very interesting book "A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived" by an author, Adam Rutherford, who would almost certainly identify as Rational-Atheist.

"
Pope John Paul II pontificated, as popes do, in 1996 that evolution was "more than just a theory," which while being a generous bridging gesture between the magisteria of science and religion, misunderstand that theories in science, unlike in the vernacular, are the top of the intellectual pile, the zenith of descriptions of the true nature of nature. Theories are the best we've got. Anyway, he tried to reconcile the idea of our divine special creation with the irrefutable evidence of our evolution from earlier apes by suggesting that there was an "ontological discontinuity" -if we were looking for a moment where the metaphorical breath of God metaphorically entered us, then it could be when those two (earlier primate)chromosomes fused (into our one Chromosome 2 which still hold evidence of recent fusion.) If that were the case, then the Denisovans and the Neanderthals are in our special club too (because successful matings are highly indicative of similar fused Chromosome 2.) Otherwise, there is no discontinuity, just a bumpy slide into our present.

IOW, the fusing of Chromosome 2 is the only major genetic difference between us and most other related primates, so if that fusing heralded the advent of our advanced consciousness or "human soul", then the Denisovans and Neanderthals also were in possession of "human souls." Since there is also some evidence that they created art and were in possession of the small musculature that allows for speech, these could all be viewed as part and parcel of emergent packet.

chenda
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Re: Celebration of Scientific Pantheism!

Post by chenda » Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:06 pm

@7wannabe5 - Added to my list :)

That we coexisted for most of our history with other human species (and possibly cross bred ?) is fascinating and something which I think everyone ought to know about like the big bang theory, yet it's something which does not seem to be vernacular knowledge. Similarly it's interesting to consider if other animals have anything comparable to religious beliefs. I think some mammals have been observed engaging in behaviour which appears to be ritualistic, such as funerals. But do they engage in metaphysical speculations or worship a higher power ?

The idea of dharmic religion of course is that birth as a human is very fortunate as you get your chance at liberation. Although I'm not sure the maths works well here, at the very least there must be a massive backlog of souls waiting for their turn at a human body. Or maybe the sense of self just 'takes turns' in a non linear way between sentineat life forms indefinitely. Which is unsettling to say the least.

(Wrt to Iran it might be a coincidence but I chat regularly to a guy in Iran who drinks, smokes and isn't shy about flirting yet posts the most soppy memes like that of a teenage girl. This may explain that it's a bit lost in translation)

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