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 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 101
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My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.Page 5 of 8    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

I don't think purpose is what you're talking about here; instead you seem to be talking about ability. All living organisms have a purpose (which is almost universally to exist and reproduce). Humans are nothing special in this regard. The only thing different is that we are more capable of modifying our environment. Of course this could all change - the next meteor strike could wipe out humanity in a stroke.


:) You are making my point.
The only thing different is that we are more capable of modifying our environment
Different!
The conclusion you reach that it is irrelevant is without justification. You are placing a value judgment of 'not valuable' on the different ability to modify the world as we see fit which has been working over thousands of years toward the unification of a worldwide dominance and a definite eye on the universe.

Your conclusion that it is 'only because we can' equals 'non valuable' in the hierarchy of intentions and purpose does not make sense. We “can” therefore we are without purpose?

Or are you trying to say that our natural organization of society and consistent domination of our environment is meaningless and if we would have been sea slugs with legs the same thing would have happened? There is no evidence to support a lack of purpose.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
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Posted: 6/9/2012 5:00:35 PM

Purpose denotes an intent....and thereby an intelligence in directing the creation of such an advantage.

Compare with an effect.

Is the purpose of a tree falling across a river to give animals a dry crossing.. or is that the effect?

Is the purpose of having long arms to scratch one's ankles without bending over, or is that the effect? Of course long arms also has the effect of reaching a few more pieces of tasty and nutritious fruit than a short armed runt.

And I can still scratch my ankles.

Nature operates under its own laws. The purpose of living organisms is to survive, and no direct observable "intelligence" is required to do this. A virus is the perfect example since all it is is just a bit of genetic material in a protein coat, yet it fulfills its purpose without any sort of intelligence directing it what to do.

I can understand where you're coming from since in the human world we are the instigators of things. However, to extend this to nature itself is, IMO, anthropomorphism. One of the reason why Dawkins and others call the Theory of Evolution a "consciousness-raiser" is that it opens our eyes to a new way of understanding things, to realize that not everything is created the human way. Evolution teaches us that living organisms, including complex ones that have intelligence and show purpose and intent, can be created without some supermind overseeing it, that a top-down approach isn't the only way things are created. I see that you're still thinking the old way though.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
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Posted: 6/9/2012 5:04:14 PM

Different!
The conclusion you reach that it is irrelevant is without justification. You are placing a value judgment of 'not valuable' on the different ability to modify the world as we see fit which has been working over thousands of years toward the unification of a worldwide dominance and a definite eye on the universe.

Your conclusion that it is 'only because we can' equals 'non valuable' in the hierarchy of intentions and purpose does not make sense. We “can” therefore we are without purpose?

Or are you trying to say that our natural organization of society and consistent domination of our environment is meaningless and if we would have been sea slugs with legs the same thing would have happened? There is no evidence to support a lack of purpose.

I'm saying that our purposes are essentially no different from the sea squirt: it is to survive and reproduce. Even the goal of space travel and colonizing space and/or other planets comes from our desire to survive, since we know that earth won't last forever and has limited resources to sustain our growing population. As one scientist said, we should aim to be a two-planet species.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 104
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 6/9/2012 5:48:29 PM
A rather deterministic perspective.

We have NO free will.

Just the universe spinning itself out, and something called life trying to counter it.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 105
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Posted: 6/9/2012 6:02:46 PM

I'm saying that our purposes are essentially no different from the sea squirt: it is to survive and reproduce


That is absolutely not true. Show me the law of the sea squirt. Your words again... "since we know..." We... and Know... differences again.

The only reason for the 'man is no more unique in the universe than the sea squint' is because of an attempt to create a morality from the natural world. If we are no more 'special' than a dust mite and we only exist to breed there is nothing sacred, unique, or special about humans. So, if we need to cull the heard. It's for the best. It is an attempt to remove the survival part of humans. Just bugs to be exterminated when usefulness is outlived.

Sorry, that is the end result I see in your philosophy. Doesn't even take a belief in God. How do you kill a race? You remove their humanity. Easiest way to do that is to remove their uniqueness and class them as one. Next, call them bad, backwards or against the 'right way' of thinking. Demonize them. Next is open season until the eventual cleansing.

That is why one philosophy about life should never fully win. Secular society does not mean extermination. That doesn’t mean we should be stupid enough to think it can’t happen.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
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Posted: 6/9/2012 6:48:45 PM

That is absolutely not true. Show me the law of the sea squirt. Your words again... "since we know..." We... and Know... differences again.

The only reason for the 'man is no more unique in the universe than the sea squint' is because of an attempt to create a morality from the natural world. If we are no more 'special' than a dust mite and we only exist to breed there is nothing sacred, unique, or special about humans. So, if we need to cull the heard. It's for the best. It is an attempt to remove the survival part of humans. Just bugs to be exterminated when usefulness is outlived.

I never said human societies aren't unique. We've evolved to do thing certain ways, just like other living organisms. Reminds me of the saying: you are unique... just like everybody else! :p The only point I want to make is that we are products of nature, with everything that it implies. You seem to make out humanity like it's an exceptional species, apart from everything else. I'm saying this is incorrect.

Our species, our culture, our way of living and surviving is important to us, but only to us. We should be proud of who we are and should try to survive and thrive as best we can (this is the point of our existence afterall - I'm not sure why you're talking about extermination) but should never assume an importance beyond ourselves. From the perspective of the planet, we are just the latest species to rule the earth, just like the dinosaurs before us.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
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Posted: 6/9/2012 7:19:43 PM

Our species, our culture, our way of living and surviving is important to us, but only to us.


:) It's all in the fundamentals isn't it. It is only important to us because... We are the only species capable. Take the ultimate in your world view to its ridiculous limit and where do you get. You wonder why I bring up extermination but you forgot that it is a significant reason why you dislike religion. It is our history. It is a fact of being human. Religion and governance has probably always been the most apt for comparative relationship rather than science and religion. Science can be used in politics just as easily as religion was and it is highly likely it will be used for even greater destruction then has ever been known. Maybe then you would realize, all this time, it wasn't man’s purpose or God you questioned but simply politics and religion.

We are a virus. Quite simply at our base level we are a virus. We have infected this planet and our consuming its resources beyond its capabilities. In your world view this is for no other end result then to consume our resources until it can no longer sustain and then die off as the host dies. In mine, we have yet to achieve, and understand the brass ring of our purpose which maybe that it is the same as Gods purpose. The tree of life wasn't forbidden. Knowledge of right and wrong was a test. Knowledge of everything is our job. How would you use knowledge of the universe? Would you play God and stop all the bad things from happening to your creations?
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
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Posted: 6/9/2012 7:42:27 PM

Or are you trying to say that our natural organization of society and consistent domination of our environment is meaningless and if we would have been sea slugs with legs the same thing would have happened?
(my emphasis)

Who can say? It might be more apposite to ask why homo sapiens rather than say... homo australopithecus sediba.
You seem to be suggesting there was, and is, something 'special' (a 'purpose) that was built in to homo sapiens as opposed to all other hominids, and indeed all other animal species.
One wonders at what point did this 'special purpose' get inserted into homo sapiens? Was it in the progenitor we share with the other hominids and we got it (whatever 'it' is) by accident? Or it was intended all along that of the various descendants of the proto-hominid that only sapiens would have 'purpose'?

Was it the 'purpose' of homo erectus to evolve, over several hundred thousand years, from an ape species that came down out of the trees and then die out? Did the climate change that drove 7 or 8 different ape species out of the trees and out onto the plains have the 'purpose' of producing, somewhat miraculously, only homo sapiens? The other hominid species being some kind of camouflage perhaps?

What evidence do you have that homo sapiens even have, or had, any special 'purpose' other than the obvious biological one we share with all other animal species?

Within their unique capabilities they too search for food, they find mates, they feather their nests, they reproduce, and die. Apart from the (evolved) sophisticated overlay, what do we do that differs significantly from that basic biological trajectory?


There is no evidence to support a lack of purpose.

You have it backwards. Part of the difficulty in proving a negative is that there nothing to refute.
It's for those making the claim to provide sufficient warrant to support it.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
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Posted: 6/9/2012 11:16:27 PM

There is no evidence to support a lack of purpose.

You have it backwards. Part of the difficulty in proving a negative is that there nothing to refute.
It's for those making the claim to provide sufficient warrant to support it.


You fall to your default argument again There is nothing there so nothing needs to be explained. And again, going outside and looking at the streets, cities, governments, technology, and pretty much everything humans have created isn't enough evidence for you. Doesn't need explaining. The sea slugs just didn't have legs.
 lyingcheat
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Posted: 6/10/2012 1:29:44 AM

There is no evidence to support a lack of purpose.


You have it backwards. Part of the difficulty in proving a negative is that there nothing to refute.
It's for those making the claim to provide sufficient warrant to support it.


You fall to your default argument again There is nothing there so nothing needs to be explained.

I didn't invent it, and it isn't my argument. It's the reality you're up against if you are claiming homo sapiens have a 'purpose' above and beyond the obvious biological one.

Besides which, I have actually pointed out numerous factors which either contradict or are serious obstacles to any proposed theory that homo sapiens have some so-far-unspecified 'purpose' - beyond the obvious individual biological one.


And again, going outside and looking at the streets, cities, governments, technology, and pretty much everything humans have created isn't enough evidence for you. Doesn't need explaining. The sea slugs just didn't have legs.

Streets are evidence for streets, and they additionally support the concepts of wheeled vehicles and transport efficiencies, etc etc. They also provide incidental support and evidence for such things as the practicality of concrete, macadam, tar etc used as road surfacing materials and so on and so on.

"Streets" (and cities, governments, etc etc) provide no evidence for homo sapiens having a 'purpose' for the same reason a sunset, or the shape of a banana, isn't 'evidence' of a creator deity.
It's because there is no connection between the two things that someone is trying, often just by repetition and/or relying on the credulity of the audience, to link.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 111
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Posted: 6/10/2012 3:02:51 AM
And therein is the difference in world views... the concepts that one argues from rather than about.

The religious person takes it as a matter of faith and sees intelligent reason behind most things. Enthalpy.

The a-religious takes it as a matter of faith that events unfold largely by accident. Entropy.

Perhaps the secular humanist bridges the two by taking the random accident of humans emerging and forming societies that are capable of then creating a purpose for themselves and ordering the cosmos accordingly.
 purfectmeow
Joined: 4/17/2012
Msg: 112
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Posted: 6/10/2012 3:48:05 AM
^Wow. Thats a great little summary of it all.
 purfectmeow
Joined: 4/17/2012
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Posted: 6/10/2012 4:06:52 AM
No, I cannot because spiritual matters cannot be documented by science.
We all know this too well. I believe there is a God by human choice.
Heres a question for you~ Can science be a religion?
Science does have some of religions virtues, except for faith.

Do you have faith in science?
 purfectmeow
Joined: 4/17/2012
Msg: 114
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Posted: 6/10/2012 4:52:53 AM
Thats a good question because I dont believe he knows everything.
 Demigod1979
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Posted: 6/10/2012 7:47:54 AM

I believe there is a God by human choice.

Is it really a choice? I cannot choose to believe the moon is made of cheese. I cannot choose to believe that diseases are caused by bad air. I cannot choose to believe that dinosaurs existed at the same time as human beings. There are facts for all of these, and I cannot just wish something true because I want them to be true.


Do you have faith in science?

If we're to use religion's definition of faith, then no. Although science might take along some assumptions it is always dependent on results. This is why so many scientists are skeptical of string theory, since it has not yet been field-tested (mathematically it works, but in real life???) Science does not pick its theories based on what's pleasing or elegant - as the saying goes: there is nothing worse than a beautiful theory destroyed by an ugly fact.

The scientific account of creation is probably the best illustration of the difference between science and religion. Virtually all religions have creation story that emphasizes the orderliness of nature and of living things. They also give a special place for mankind, as a favored creation, set apart from everything else. However, the scientific account does not do this. It describes life on earth resulting from a series of accidents and chance happenings (e.g., earth happens to be in the perfect "Goldilock" position in the solar system to allow liquid water to form, it has a metal core and a magnetic field that repels solar winds that can degrade our atmosphere, a microbe happened to have started producing oxygen giving rise to complex organisms, etc.). Comparisons with the other rocky planets make this absolutely clear - there is no hand guiding the development of life, and we just happened to be the lucky ones. Science also says mankind is nothing special, that we are just one species on the tree of life, a type of ape that walks upright who just happens to be the dominant species at this time. And finally, science indicates that in the long run life and everything that we know will disappear, stretched into nothingness in the Big Rip or squeezed back into another singularity. The fate of the earth is equally grim, likely becoming engulfed in the sun as it turns into a red giant and then becoming a dead cold rock after the sun dies. It does not provide mankind with a special place on earth, nor after death, no everlasting bliss, no after-life justice. The story that science paints is far more depressing than any religion you can think of. As the atheist philosopher Colin McGinn once said, he would like religion to be true. He would like to have immortality and would like to see justice meted out in the way that it should. The thing is, if science was really a religion then it would not cling to this depressing scenario, it would try to create a scenario that is comforting and meaningful - the hallmarks of religion.
 lyingcheat
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Posted: 6/10/2012 9:12:31 AM

And therein is the difference in world views... the concepts that one argues from rather than about.
The religious person takes it as a matter of faith and sees intelligent reason behind most things. Enthalpy.
The a-religious takes it as a matter of faith that events unfold largely by accident. Entropy.

Things 'unfold' the way they unfold.
Does water flow over a water fall by 'accident' or 'design'?
Neither. It just flows over.

Does water meander through river valleys by design to irrigate the plants that happen to be growing there, or is the fact that any particular valley has a river in it an accident?
Neither. Water flows downhill.

'Faith' regarding the properties and behaviour of water has no influence or effect on what it does. It just does it.

Is the fact that our sun, in common with many stars, is converting hydrogen into helium an accident, or is it by design?
Neither. An accumulation of hydrogen reached critical mass and a chain reaction started.
Is the fact that it is doing this a negative thing, or a positive thing?
Neither. It's just doing it. Up until the time it stops doing it.

etc etc etc


Perhaps the secular humanist bridges the two by taking the random accident of humans emerging and forming societies that are capable of then creating a purpose for themselves and ordering the cosmos accordingly.


About 150 million years ago a plant called Amborella trichopoda became (it's currently thought) the progenitor of all flowering plants. Flowers, as a system of reproduction for plants, led to immense changes in the landscape. They literally began to shape the earth because, with a reliable method of reproduction that could operate over great distances, they could colonise areas other plants couldn't.
But they didn't stop there, the existence of flowers also led to an explosion in insect species and, in turn, the animals that depend on insects for food.
Ultimately, flowering plants, in addition to nectar and pollen (used to attract insects and birds) developed fruit that grew directly from the flowers once they'd been fertilised. The fruit is generally rich in nutrients and sugars, conveniently changes colour when ripe, and contains coated seeds. It is intended to be eaten by animals that will convey it, along with the seeds it contains, some distance away and then deposit the seeds with a generous dollop of manure.

This whole process, wherein many animal species, homo sapiens included, have become servants that support the reproduction efforts of Angiosperms could be interpreted as a great Angiosperm Plan to dominate the earth and shape it to their benefit.

But is that true?
Is it by design? A long term one, since the process began about 450 million years ago and progresses still, with many many steps and an extinction event about 65 million years ago?
Or is it all just an accident? None of the events that led to this result are connected to any other, because it's all just a series of 'accidents'?
Neither.
It is natural processes driven by evolution and natural selection leading to complimentary and inter-dependent life forms, none of which occupy a 'special' position relative to any of the others.

There is neither evidence, or any need, for a 'god', a 'creator' or a 'design planner', in any of this. It just, rather wonderfully, is.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 117
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Posted: 6/10/2012 9:26:27 AM
An accident .... is an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance, often with lack of intention or necessity.



It just, rather wonderfully, is.


Wonderfully?

How so?
 purfectmeow
Joined: 4/17/2012
Msg: 118
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Posted: 6/10/2012 10:36:15 AM
Im not asking anyone to agree with what I choose to believe for myself.
Mine beliefs are mine, and I will have them for what ever reasons I decide.
Nothing will change my mind, the way I feel, nor the experiences I have had because of them.
Simple really. Just call me the crazy chick for believing in God. I dont have a problem with that really.
We will all find out at the end of this life cycle as we know it.

In the meantime I will continue to pray for posters as I see fit because I want to.
I will also continue to enjoy the diversity of posts found in this thread.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
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Posted: 6/10/2012 11:23:15 AM


It just, rather wonderfully, is.




Wonderfully?


How so?


As near as I can tell all he means is that it is kind of trippy. It triggers some brain chemistry and makes you go 'that's kewl'.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104240746

But if you can chemically induce the equivalent of a spiritual experience, he says, you can slide a person into a brain scanner and observe which parts of the brain light up and what neural networks are used.


Everything humanity has ever done was just to satisfy a chemical reaction. Kewl. Empathy has no meaning other than the chemical reactions produced. To be better scientists we should probably just cut the emotional sensation in our brains because they do nothing but interfere with the truth anyway. We are all just a lobotomy away from being the perfect human.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
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Posted: 6/10/2012 11:40:20 AM

Wonderfully?

How so?

How else? As in the wonders of nature.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
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Posted: 6/10/2012 11:49:06 AM
But there is nothing inherently wonderful within or about nature.

It is all just meaningless farts of a universe spinning out its energy into a cold and dark void.
 purfectmeow
Joined: 4/17/2012
Msg: 122
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Posted: 6/10/2012 11:58:43 AM
^hahahahaha you and Aries are cracking me up.....
 Demigod1979
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Posted: 6/10/2012 12:42:27 PM

But there is nothing inherently wonderful within or about nature.

It is all just meaningless farts of a universe spinning out its energy into a cold and dark void.

We, as human beings, perceive beauty and wonder (it is, essentially, subjective). There is no quality of "wonderfulness" attached to the universe. I don't know about you, but I find the wonders of nature to be breathtaking (if you don't find beauty in it, well that's your thing, no helping it).
 Aries_328
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Posted: 6/10/2012 4:26:33 PM

I don't know about you, but I find the wonders of nature to be breathtaking (if you don't find beauty in it, well that's your thing, no helping it).


And in the immortal words of no one special... 'So what.'
Who cares that you have a dopamine trip when you imagine your subjective view of the world. It's basically an illusion you are imaging anyway and irrelevant. You don't matter. Your opinion doesn't matter. Anything you sense is just neurons and synapsis projecting an illusion to your brain.

You may want to take a pill to correct that imaginary scenario that you find breathtaking. I hear lithium makes the magic go away. Don’t you find it the least bit curious that your special k view of wonder is ok but someone else’s is idiotic? I think for you to be fully intellectually honest you must give up your idiotic feelings of a sense of breathtaking wonder.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 125
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Posted: 6/10/2012 4:47:09 PM
There is nothing inherently wonderful about that blue black thing up there.

Any sense of wonder is merely the babblings of chaos... an accident at best.

Enjoy being a meaningless fart of entropy.
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