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 Author Thread: A Theory of Theories
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 25 (view)
A Theory of Theories
Posted: 12/19/2014 10:02:03 PM
Oh, ok. Thanks for your patience and your explanation. I find it interesting. I'm heading out of town for a few days but I'll check to see what's happening here on my return so I can stay caught up and maybe take part in the discussion.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 20 (view)
Posted: 12/19/2014 7:47:42 AM
I'm just returning to these discussions after a long absence. It will take me a while to catch up. I did come across another thread in which the same issue about 'hypothetical' was addressed. I added some further comment there with hope of clarifying why all hypotheses are valid when first examined and what helps to make a hypothesis a philosophical or scientific topic for discussion.

I hope you find it as I don't have time at the moment to look back for the thread. I can post that later if someone wants to know.

Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 23 (view)
A Theory of Theories
Posted: 12/19/2014 7:40:10 AM

Yes but you can test Newton's theory and it works within its' limitations.
There is no test for humans travelling time.
Worm holes don't even exist. We imagined them and found that our math supported the imaginary concept.

We don't have to have a current ability to test a hypothesis in order to come up with one. We would never progress in science if we didn't 'imagine' the possibilities.

If a hypothesis is upheld by any currently acceptable measure, ie mathematics, then it rests upon a foundation that scientists generally recognize and the hypothesis will likely be testable at some point. Einstein thought he was a failure - today we know what a raging success he was.

In the field of mathematics some theories had not been accepted for centuries, today they are (ie Fermat's Theorem).
A hypothesis is simply a statement about a possibility. What follows the hypothesis in philosophy or science is the ‘argument’ detailing the inductive or deductive reasoning that is used to convince others that the logic, follows from the course of actions taken.

A hypothesis about spiritual beings in not only a valid hypothesis but such ideas led to the hugely popular study of the metaphysical in the field of philosophy. Of course science has long been associated only with studying what’s possible in the physical world.

So whether one hypothesizes about worm holes, time travel, or the spiritual realm all hypotheses are valid but it’s up to the individual putting forth the hypothesis to explain the premises that the conjecture is based on. That explanation will most likely determine whether the discussion will be a philosophical one or one of science.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 18 (view)
Posted: 12/18/2014 10:25:15 PM said nothing.
And if you read my posts, you'd see I already stated that humans cannot travel time.

I didn't intend to be disagreeable. I was actually trying to give some reasonable explanations of my own opinions as I had difficulty discerning yours from your sarcasm.

When I asked if you had any other hypotheticals I was asking if there was anything that I had missed. It's a conversation, I was attempting to keep it going.

I noticed a certain complaint in another thread about the inadequate communication in these forums. I'll try harder if you will.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 21 (view)
A Theory of Theories
Posted: 12/18/2014 9:53:54 PM
Perhaps the confusion comes into play when people are discussing theories with such a strong foundation that many other theories have been positively developed from the first. One example is Newton's theory of gravity. It was considered to be extremely accurate until Einstein. But even today Newton's theory is accurate and serves as the foundation of other proven theories on gravity, even Einstein's. Unfortunately, Newton's theory has a limitations we could never have known until we advanced.

Today Newton's theory is still taught because it is still as accurate as it ever was, now we just know its limitations.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 22 (view)
Solar power indifference
Posted: 12/18/2014 9:44:19 PM
Thanks awesomefifty. There used to be a way, but we've since been relegated to the forgotten sector.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 16 (view)
Posted: 12/18/2014 9:42:10 PM
I don't know that I would say time is non directional, awesomefifty. What about multi-dimensional? If that's the case then a wormhole might be like a tear in our time/space fabric or perhaps an intermittent doorway beyond our known dimension.

With no way of understanding the multi-dimensional nature of the internal time/space fabric that might exist past the wormhole opening we would have no way of navigating to a desired time and place within our own dimension.

Furthermore, there is likely to be nothing that we could create from the atoms that make up our physical reality that would protect our physical form while traveling in another dimension as we are designed to withstand and prosper here.

Any other hypothetical statements you might make?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 19 (view)
I read it in a peer reviewed article. It must be true? LOL
Posted: 12/18/2014 9:23:08 PM
I wanted to respond to the peer review process. andyaa, has provided some good information about how peer review works. But there is a little more that I think should be mentioned.

Peer review is not a re-test scenario. The peers are not recreating anything. Their job is to make sure the strict scientific standards of writing, format, citation and so on have been followed. They check for purpose/thesis that gives the experiment direction, that the intention of the author is clear. There will be proper sections: Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, and References. Perfect in-text citations with EXTENSIVE referencing.

And all of that is the simple version, most science papers are more extensive. As andyaa has said, peers are usually highly respected scientists in their fields and they have worked in their field long enough to see most errors that would disqualify an experiment.

A paper can be rejected for of a multitude of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with whether the science is perfect. If format is bad or references are lacking papers can be returned. That doesn’t mean the science was rejected. This strict adherence is necessary in order to maintain the ability for re-testing or for broadening the scope of an experiment by other scientists.

Sometimes, after a peer review publication, an idea is proven wrong AND that means the peer review system worked because we learned that something about the experiment was invalid and we can continue the experiment with another methodology, or some new hypotheses or take it in a new direction. That’s how the science peer review system works.

It gets reviewed, published and then every other scientist in the world can tear it up or give it a boost.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 14 (view)
When do we start to die?
Posted: 12/18/2014 8:49:30 PM
If you pay a fare to ride a train to the end of the line, when does the trip begin and when does it end?
If you are alive are you mostly alive or mostly dead?
Perhaps we cannot choose to be born but we can certainly choose to die.
If we choose to die, when did we begin to die?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 20 (view)
Solar power indifference
Posted: 12/18/2014 8:42:51 PM
It's been a long time since I've posted, it seems I forgot how to post urls so they can accessed. If some would be kind enough to direct me. And accept my apology for the bad attempt in my last post.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 19 (view)
Solar power indifference
Posted: 12/18/2014 8:41:19 PM
Technology requires investment and it's a good thing there has been some. Consider the amazing uses for spray-on miniature solar cells. Not unsightly, able to be flexible and even put in the paint of a vehicle. [url] [/url]

If we use solar, wind, geothermal power tactfully and when we can preserve all that power for a future use, then we can have a power grid that will accept the excess power of a town cooperative to be used for another location that is in need or for a 'rainy' day.

We need to think in smaller units ie. cooperatives a best practice for conservation and sustainability all the while considering our own limitation and those of our neighbors in other coops (towns, regions, states). We can build a different kind of infrastructure creating a people's economy without government or corporate dominance.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 13 (view)
Posted: 12/18/2014 8:07:01 PM
Let's try using hypothetical with regards to time travel. So, awesomefiftyman, hypothetically, in which direction would we travel to get to the past?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 60 (view)
Posted: 4/5/2013 8:18:01 PM
Drinkthesun… Thank you for complementing my post.


I do believe that if we recognize that we are all in this together and part of a bigger picture that includes everyone, the earth, and ecosystems, we will look after ourselves and therefor be capable enough to look after our community and our earth. Sometimes it seems too much of a burden, but really it's easier and more gratifying and the moral thing to do IMO.

Expecting someone or something to do this for us is a cop out in our responsibility to ourselves, each other and all things.

I agree, people should have developed a value system that includes respecting, protecting, and even nurturing the environments we live in and the natural resources that we depend on. But there are a lot of reasons why so many people never have made those connections.

In a recent get-together with some friends I brought up the issue of our overuse of plastics. I briefly explained that plastic is an unsustainable product and it is destructive to all environments on our planet. It was not surprising that everyone AGREED, but what was surprising was that I was the only one whose purchases were somewhat guided by the packaging and I was the only one who recycled, re-used and repurposed various products to any extent.

But then the fun started. I asked the question, "what did people use to do before there was plastic and how could we get away from using plastic today. We had some really funny suggestions that ended up having some possible merit and some serious suggestions that we ended up laughing over.

In the end, everyone agreed that if they had a choice they would choose to purchase products that were packaged sustainably, but they would not make changes that required a little more work and a little more research and thought input.

Is that a value system flaw, a matter of time constraint, laziness? I’m not sure yet. I know those people and they are good and caring people but ….

So while I’m working on me, I’m also trying to figure out how to get others to this place that I am at, this place where we should all respect, protect, and even nurture the environments we live in and the natural resources that we depend on. We should do that because as you said DameWrite -

it's easier and more gratifying and the moral thing to do IMO.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 56 (view)
Posted: 4/4/2013 8:43:21 PM

What is it? and care to share how you figured out yours.... and where it came from and why you hold on to it?

In just the first several posts, there are various different thoughts provided in answer to the OP’s questions.

In msg 2: IgorFrankensteen suggests that one might create a philosophy by which morality must be made accountable.

Woobytoodsdy, msg:5 does not believe we are born as a ‘blank slate’ but prefers to think that morality is a black and white issue which is encoded into our DNA.

ChristianGuy777 msg: 9
Provides the best example of what Vanaheim (msg:6) identifies as

Reason is key to being moral. If a teacher cannot explain why a student should do a thing, then that student is not being moral by following instruction… What it most definitely does not mean is doing what someone tells you is right just because they told you

Vanaheim msg: 6
Makes it clear that morals are an action/behavior. He uses a method of his own design for “negotiating problem solving”.

I would like to ask him – is it only argument or disagreement or persuasion that invokes the need for your moral behavior?

newEarthling msg: 11

For humans, morality is avoiding acts that can hurt 'other people' physically or mentally.

In this case morality seems to require a negative response (like avoiding) in order to morality to be achieved.

newEarthling, does that mean morality is avoiding inflicting unnecessary physical or psychological harm to others?

I tend to identify most with what IgorFrankensteen states in msg: 8

That is, it is not a thing that you can achieve, and then put on your mantle like an award, or a permanent title. It's an ongoing, very active way of living and growing.

My answer to the OP questions would be:

Morality is one of two things,
1. It is either the behavior that reflects the abstract ideas related to a system of values that one has developed through experience and critical self-reflection OR

2. Morality is behavior that is misguided and misdirected because the values that reflect that morality are not understood because those values were dictated to the individual who has never fully explored them.

My morality (behavior), as IgorFrankensteen suggests, is a work in progress but it’s foundations were formed when I was quite young, similarly to others in these posts. I watched my parents ‘respect’ all people and always attempted to be “fair” in their dealings with others and in all situations.

I think that beginning with those two ideas; respect and fairness, provided a great platform from which to develop a system of values for dealing with all the interactions between myself and the outside world. I continue to reflect, reassess and modify because I am not yet done learning and growing.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 23 (view)
Good vs Bad
Posted: 2/7/2013 7:50:35 PM

I see the error in my analogy. I guess I am questioning the utility of good and and bad by definition which brings us to question the morality/ethics of human behaviour.

Updated conclusion taking away the generalisations: Because things are used in a bad or good sense, men are bad or good in their behaviour. Men are not simply bad or good just as things are not bad or good in whole.

The value we place on things is often determined by their utility or purpose. For example, if all you want to do is make a quick note on scratch piece of paper then just about anything you could find to write with serves the purpose but if all you could find is a mechanical pencil with no lead - is the pencil bad?

The mechanical pencil was made with a specific purpose in mind but it only serves that purpose if there is lead in its chamber or on hand to be put in the chamber. With no led the pencil is certainly not good when you need something to write with.

While in a heated argument with another person, that person threatens you with a pocket knife. You happen to have that same mechanical pencil in your shirt pocket, it can be used as a weapon. If you use the pencil as a weapon and stab the other person in the eye with the pencil and run away – does that change the value of the pencil good or bad?

The pencil may have saved your life, do we now think that a mechanical pencil without lead is still a good thing?

Because things are used in a bad or good sense, men are bad or good in their behaviour.

Now consider the actions taken by the two people. If you consider one person to be bad, does that make the other person good?

By what standards would you compare the behavior of both people in order to determine if one person is good and the other one is bad? AND which one is bad and which one is good?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 17 (view)
Critical thinking for the masses, a new frontier...
Posted: 2/7/2013 7:05:38 PM
POFisLOL Msg: 14 I applaud your willingness to make the effort.

POFisLOL, was the only person who ventured to even try to apply a thought process to the scenario I offered.

The OP states :

I think critical thinking is important if your interests lie in more academic and intellectual pursuits. But it is trivial when coming to terms with being human and socializing with others.

The scenario presented, was about being human and socializing with others and it could be typical of the kind of matters one would be asked to think critically about. To the people involved (in the scenario) it would not seem to be a trivial matter.

So what do the rest of the posters have to say about the thought process applied by POFisLOL ; is that what you would consider a critical evaluation of the situation? If you don’t think so, then what issues do you have with it? How would you approach the thought process?

Come on – it’s a challenge that shouldn’t be too extraordinarily difficult for those who have a good understanding of what is meant by critically thinking things through.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 12 (view)
Critical thinking for the masses, a new frontier...
Posted: 2/6/2013 9:08:45 PM
Who can formulate and explain his/her Critical Thought Process for the following scenario:

You have a very close friend who is 28, and currently lives in another city. You know she has been dating some guy for about a year. You only met him once and you were not impressed and couldn’t figure out what she saw in him. She makes a trip to see you because she wants your advice. She is considering marrying him and she tells you that he just turned 19.

What is the critical thought process that you undertake when you consider the advice you give her?
In other words, what do you consider and think about before you advise your friend?

Remember that this is a very close friend and she deserves a well reasoned response, not merely an opinion based your gut feelings or the bias you retain from your first meeting of the guy. What you offer her can cost your friendship, and worse, it could ruin her life.

So think it through and tell us what those thought processes are and how they shape up.

Then maybe we can discuss the value of critical thinking in every day life, or maybe some people will realize that they have no idea what is involved in critically thinking things through.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 21 (view)
Good vs Bad
Posted: 2/6/2013 8:06:59 PM
Mialris – Msg: 1 OP

If the very things that we depend on to survive like air and water can paradoxically harm us. Then inadvertently, mankind or anything can also be good or bad. Only things in moderation are neutral and may be healthy. It is the amount of exposure or method of application that determines its neutrality or extremity.

Things like clean drinking water and air, sunshine and socialization have purpose, or utility, that provides beneficial consequences for human beings. In order to determine when benefits end and undesirable consequences begin, we have to understand what the benefits are and what limitations may cause undesirable effects.

For example:
We need vitamin D to survive: Our body’s can manufacture enough if we are exposed to sunshine for 10 minutes up to ½ hour a day.

But some people are extremely sensitive to direct sunlight and even 10 minutes could cause dire consequences. DOES THAT MAKE SUNSHINE BAD? Let’s think about it.

Those who cannot be exposed to sunlight can still get the vitamin D they need from other food sources.
The food sources that provide vitamin D are plants which require the sun in order to synthesize D.

NOW, is the sun bad for us or good?

All people can suffer dire consequences when over exposed to direct sunlight.
On the other hand – as a species we could not survive without the sun.

The sun is necessary for our survival (for all poeple) – as such it cannot be bad, it is always good.

So how do we explain the harmful effects of the sun? Answer: Human behavior.

We ‘ought’ to know when something is beneficial to our health and survival.
When we invoke the use of ‘ought’, we are not talking about good and bad, we are talking about a different philosophical concept, that of moral judgment .

Then inadvertently, mankind or anything can also be good or bad.

Humans are not good or bad – humans are a biological and our biological make-up is not something we, individually, control. We may be born with physiological defects but that does not make us good or bad.

Human behavior, the reasoning behind the behavior, and the consequences of that behavior are what we have used to ‘philosophically’ determine the right and wrong of our actions. The philosophy is concerned with ethics and morals.

So the OP has mistakenly misused two different philosophies and created an illogical condition in arriving at the conclusion:

Only things in moderation are neutral and may be healthy. It is the amount of exposure or method of application that determines its neutrality or extremity.

So I would ask the OP, are you questioning the utility of good and bad or are you questioning the morality/ethics of human behavior?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 38 (view)
What is god?
Posted: 1/20/2013 9:45:49 PM

So this is how it will work:

1. You will present your definition of god.

2. You will present a proposal for the objective acceptance of the existence of or non-existence of said defined god, by all people. Or a reason for why the concept of god should/should not be abandond.

In order to approach the OP in terms of philosophy, I would refer to the various philosophical perspectives through which the philosophy of mysticism developed.

Metaphysics begins this philosophic journey. In brief, it is the study the nature of being and reality, including: Ontology – defining and categorizing entities that exist. Cosmology: study of universal origin. Epistemology: study of knowledge, what we know, how we know, and questions of sufficiency and justification of knowledge.

Because metaphysics deals with non-objective reality, mysticism seems to have followed it as a natural progression.

Mysticism is the current English word the etymology of which includes several languages. The definitions encompassed by the word mysticism include secret (activities), concealed (unnoticeable) and hidden (within another context). The philosophy that developed around the word included some of the following ideas.

First: There is truth (knowledge) that exists outside of our normal physical sense experience. That truth exists in a non-physical world and is typically divine and/or spiritual in nature.

Second: The physical world is not wholly separated from the truth; they are connected by various means. In particular, humans have the ability to connect with the nonphysical though extra-sensory modes, and through extrospection (ie, a conscious, physical, experience through which one gains insight that is separate from the physical experience). An example might be a person concentrating or focusing on a particular thing, or simply meditating, and suddenly gaining unrelated insight.

Third: Insight is transformative. Upon gaining an element of insight into the divine/spiritual truth, however small, the person is transformed in some way (ie, person gains a new perspective and/or changes one’s system of values.)

Religions (people who form groups/associations based on common beliefs) and individual spiritual beliefs may all qualify as part of the philosophy of mysticism. However, not all such beliefs consider our connection with the spiritual as a connection between the physical and divine, nor as a dualistic connection of spiritual OR physical but rather as a continuous flow or consciousness that emerges through various realities.

Although ‘divine source’ is one concept within mysticism, it does not always reference god in a monotheistic way.

So for the purposes of the OP question, it should be made clear that the definition of god is just one of the ideas that stems from our philosophical source.

God - The one source of all truth and knowledge to which entities (defined by group or individual) are connected by spiritual modalities, as in extrasensory channels, or divine insight, as in sudden recognition or revelation.

I think most of us have enough knowledge and experience with various belief systems to know that anything more added to that definition is likely to exclude a great many. However, from the information given, it’s obvious to see that what humans ‘know’ about their particular beliefs, cannot stand up to questions of sufficiency or justification by rational/logical, objective standards.

To answer the next OP question
(give) a reason for why the concept of god should/should not be abandond.

I would prefer that all organized religions to be abandoned. Referring to the scientific rather than to the philosophic; thousands of studies through the field of psychology have led to some strong theories regarding the disadvantages of holding or forming strong fundamental belief systems. For the individual, creating a fundamental belief system requires denial of any knowledge that might possibly be in opposition of a strongly held article of faith which can be harmful to the individual. The disadvantages of holding such beliefs often create systemic disruption that can reverberate beyond the individual and beyond the isolation of the culture in which the beliefs were developed.

If what a person believes prevents not only the individual from cognitive growth and development but also disrupts growth and development of societies, then it would be best to abandon the system to which the beliefs belong.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 281 (view)
Mankind's True Purpose
Posted: 1/5/2013 6:13:51 AM
Like every living thing on this planet, we evolved to fit within the particular naturally occurring (and ever-emerging) environmental structure. Humans are naturally social creatures so in that regard we tend to be sociocentric in that we think the particular social group that we relate within is somehow superior to others.

So if we have a purpose it would be to evolve beyond the value systems of egocentrism and past group sociocentricity, into a species-identifed sociocentric set of values, meaning that all humans, as part of the same genus should eventually think of themselves as part of one large group with one overriding sense of purpose.

As one group of beings our one sense of purpose should be to avoid behavior that harms the environment in which we are equipped to survive. Nature finds a way to incorporate every tool at its disposal and does so at its own pace. Humans create or destroy the tools for nature to use without regard for nature’s pace to incorporate it and thereby ignores human ability to adapt to nature’s changing environment.

Humans have one overriding purpose and it is to recognize our interdependence on everything in nature and to protect the environment against our current state of egocentrism.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 29 (view)
Suicide for Religion
Posted: 1/3/2013 1:15:30 AM
This is probably where we need to differentiate between suicide and martyrdom (if indeed there is a difference).

Below are some of the many ways that people lay down their lives voluntarily. Are they not all suicides? What do you think of this spectrum? What would you add or take away from it and why?

More importantly, whose death, among those who commit suicide, should we
admire them for staying true to their principles
and in any religious belief system, who could say that this one act is worthy, or not, of heaven’s grace?

The suicide spectrum: Suicide by category

Suicide 1 (euthanasia):
When facing the pain, suffering and certain death through a long debilitating disease (or old age) it seems better to plan a peaceful and dignified end of life experience

Suicide 2 (depression):
When a person cannot understand the world, and feels unable to control the outcomes of events around him/herself. The hopelessness of the situation leads to the only way out.

Suicide 3 (delusional rage):
Raging hatred for the particular external social forces that have created the hell that the person feels forced to endure. The best option is to end the hell but not until imposing the same sentence of hell on others – mass murderers who then take their own life in the end.

Suicide 4 (delusional risk):
A scientist who exposes him or herself to a disease to prove his or her cure will work. Those people who think that a few (or more) drinks have no effect on their senses or reaction time and drive anyway. The thrill seekers for whom near death experiences are exciting, especially those who find their escapades all the more thrilling with an audience.

Suicide 5 (self-deluded martyrdom)
Includes Hunger strikes or exposing self to situations that will end his/her life if not intervened, like dessert heat without water or unusually cold environment without shelter or fire. All for the sake of bringing attention of some cause, often religious in nature.

Also included in suicide category 5 are those who martyr themselves for the sake of belief systems, whether religious or socially inferred, such as the Kamikaze pilots of WWII or the Middle East suicide bombers and even military personnel who voluntarily lay down their life based on the self-deluded idea that following orders to engage in battle is a heroic duty that requires no further ethical or critical thought processing of their own.

Suicide 6 (altruistic action):
The act of defending the life or lives of others in the face of immediate and unexpected danger when there is no doubt the act will end her/his life.

Perhaps #6 is an instinctual action, but having been in such a position, I can say that I was aware of the consequence of my action; I accepted it and I had no fear for myself. I have never been able to explain how I escaped what I believed to be inevitable but I know that the person who was driving the vehicle of my imminent destruction was nearly hysterical, and could not believe I was unharmed. Oddly, I felt somewhat calm and my only anxiety was due to the scrapes my son incurred when I threw him out of the way of that vehicle.

It was the acknowledgement that I was offering my life to save another that led me to accept that suicide can be an altruistic action.

I also think that a person has the right to choose how to live AND how to die so, at one end of the spectrum is a critical thought process that culminates in the acceptance of death as a life experience that can be controlled with dignity. At the other end is the acceptance of death for no other reason but that it culminates in the continued life of another, or others.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 7 (view)
Suicide for Religion
Posted: 12/27/2012 10:49:01 PM

In reading about the Tibetan-Buddhist monks and their resistance to China, I notice some monks make their protestations but stay true to their principles at the same time by committing suicide. Any other resistance would result in violence, so to stay true to their Pacifism, they commit suicide.

Given the scenario above, we might first deduce that any particular Tibetan monk placed so much emphasis on non-violence that he was willing to commit a violent act upon himself rather than to force the hand of another to be violently raised against him. Secondly, we might conclude that the monk acted illogically because passive resistance is non-violent, so in that case the monk had no control over the possible violent reactions that such resistance might initiate. Therefore, the monk not only committed a violent act (upon himself) but did so based solely on the ‘possible’ violent reaction from another.

I have to admit that I admire them for staying true to their principles of Pacifism, but I wonder whether any others of you agree or not.

There is nothing about the final action of the monk, in the scenario, that is admirable rather, it was quite illogical.

However, to my knowledge, Buddhists tend to believe that they have little control over their ‘lot in life’ so they accept their place/status in life and concentrate on their internal values. Rebirth is a given in their beliefs which means that ending one’s physical existence is simply an act that is equivalent to opening another door to another kind of life.

Some might attribute that kind of exit to weakness, or to selfishness, as it could have been a greater service to others if the monk had, at least, attempted to use passive resistance even if it meant that he would suffer violence to his person even unto death.

But as history continues to show us, value systems that are deeply tied to spiritual or religious beliefs tend to omit logic when considering their actions.

And do you think that suicides go to Heaven?

Heaven is not a concept that is held in all religions or spiritually guided belief systems. Additionally, there are various beliefs about afterlife experiences in which heaven may hold different meanings depending upon the dogma to which one adheres.

Personally, I have little respect for self-imposed martyrdom, which could be the intention of the monks that committed suicide, but I think, in the monk’s case, the action of self-destruction was simply a result of self-delusion, which is usually illogical.

In my opinion, one of the worst acts of martyrdom is intentionally making a spectacle of one’s self-inflicted suffering as we see so often in cases of self-starvation (hunger strikes).
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 26 (view)
Historical question: The most important person in the development of western culture
Posted: 12/26/2012 11:04:32 PM
The OP asks the broad question, who is the most important person in the development of western culture. It’s difficult to respond to the question without a benchmark, ‘era’, or date, to guide the answer. So within the thread there are responses from that go back to approximatly 6 BC into the 1900s and rightfully so since Western culture has existed as long as humans have inhabited the western hemisphere.

In considering my response I decided to think in terms of modern Western cultures. These cultures have certainly influenced each other but I would argue that existing Western cultures have been most heavily influenced by the U.S.A. So I considered the question, “who is the most important person in the development of USA culture?”

John Lock – (society/philosophy) Civil governments are empowered by the people to protect life, liberty & property. And his radical idea that humans are born equal - tabularasa (blank slates) – and learn through experience.

Baron de Montesquieu - Governments should consist of three separate powers, executive, legislative & judicial and must work interdependently for to realize the full extent of their power with no one (or two combined) with greater influence over the other(s).

Adam Smith – Government is empowered by the people to act for the protection of the individual right to make choices for self-betterment and happiness, having been freed from the burden of governance.

NOTE: Although, it is not Smith’s original philosophy that has yielded such great influence in Western culture – it is the twisting of that philosophy, in the USA, that has led to the rise of capitalism and mass consumerism that has had the greatest influence on Western Culture – indeed on global cultures.

So I am prone to say that ADAM SMITH has had the greatest influence in Western culture, but it could not have been so if it were not for the democracy that developed in the USA, that was so heavily influenced by John Lock and Montesquieu, (and some others).

I guess I will have to divide my vote into thirds – John Lock, Baron de Montesquieu, & Adam Smith.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 48 (view)
spirit science
Posted: 12/8/2012 4:02:33 PM
JustDukky Msg: 62

There is a lot of philosophy surrounding Plato's theory of forms and a lot of refutes. Perhaps I used, out of context, only a minute section, my bad. I know that your post will require more consideration than I have time for at the moment. I may not get back to it until Monday but I look forward to responding to your post.

There is a lot of philosophy and current beleifs surrounding the idea of soul and the hardest part, from a scientific perspective, is gathering the various 'observations of behaviors' that can help to isolate area of study about the subject of soul.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 47 (view)
spirit science
Posted: 12/8/2012 3:36:59 PM
Coma White Msg: 61

No, those characterists are unique to the human character, and they are only really valid in a human context. You wouldn't need those characteristics in a completely different reality. There is no attachment. It's the ego that fears death and fears not existing anymore. It may be possible that your soul chooses or gets assigned to a character that is similar to it in some way. No one feels attachment to go back and finish things they were doing in a dream they had and that's how the soul feels when the person dies. You're waking up from a dream, so to speak. What you take from it is the experience of the dream.

Let’s try a different approach. What behaviors have been witness or experienced leading to the beliefs stated?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 46 (view)
spirit science
Posted: 12/8/2012 3:30:20 PM
_shakti_ Msg: 60

<div class="quote">This came up in my meditation thread.. the goal of meditation is to transcend thoughts, it can clutter actual awareness.. which lies beyond thought.

It's the attainment of pure awareness.

This is one of those situations where experience is superior to an explanation.. try meditating and see what happens? It's pretty difficult to get past what is known as the 'monkey mind', but when you do.. it's beyond words what you're able to experience. At least, it has been for me.. which is all I can really offer.

I admit that I am not familiar with the various form of meditation but I do think there must be a focused way in which to achieve a meditative state, such as focusing on breathing, a scene in your mind, or feeling the weight of the body and trying to overcome it. How does one focus to achieve the meditative state?

Pure awareness is quite ambiguous to someone, like myself, who defines awareness as the center of one’s focus of attention. For example, I do know that some forms of meditation concentrate on making, what is referred to as, a mind-body connection. The meditation is meant to increase our awareness of bodily cues and to accurately assess them. For example, many people ignore minor symptoms, aches and pains and hunger, but a person who has made the mind-body connection, through meditation, not only becomes aware of those symptoms but is better able to more accurately assess them.

That makes sense to me, but the “pure awareness” escapes me, would you mind explaining to a novice?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 45 (view)
spirit science
Posted: 12/8/2012 3:04:26 PM
Justlookingvt Msg: 59
Your response was appreciated and at the moment I only have a few comments.

I said: What are you referring to with the term “mental abilities”?

I presume you meant "why" not "what". I will answer the why. The why is because our mental abilities determine our level of awareness. IF awareness is included in the definition of soul (yet to be determined to be the case) then, it establishes a correlation between what the soul is and our brain's capabilities.

Actually I meant “what” as in what is a mental ability. Is it the ability to speak, hear, walk (whether enabled or not?). For example, does being color blind have an effect on our mental ability, since such a person cannot be aware of some or all color and could not cognitively perceive it? Or is mental ability associated with ‘potential’ as in, someone with an IQ of 85 may have the potential of a far greater IQ?

People have various levels of awareness at any given time – we tend to use a heuristic approach to our daily lives and because we only have the capacity of focusing our attention on one thing at a time. We can make a conscious decision to switch our level of awareness if we have the cognitive ‘ability’ to do so. Cognitive ability depends on physiological aspects of the brain and it ability to function as intended.

Regardless, there is no doubt that trying to connect soul to mental abilities is very problematic.

I said: Perception is the process of translating the information we receive through our senses into cognitive thought.

That is a simple definition and I agree with it. However, perception is also very dependent on our mental abilities not just our senses. The way we think about things greatly influences the way we perceive them. The reasoning process we apply to what our sensory inputs provide us is what determines how we perceive the input we got.

In this case it would seem that mental ability is related to cognitive ability. But again our cognitive ability functions as a matter of greater and lesser potential which are affected by experience, education, level of awareness or attention, and physiological conditions of the brain. We have to understand the complexity of interactions among the various bodily systems and between experiences of the person within their environment that lead to cognition or ‘mental abilities’.

That information will help us when we are trying to relate ‘behaviors’ to the possibility of a soul connection.

I said: You have not defined in any way the nature of a souls being before jumping to possible ways that it works.

I agree. The intent is to provide questions which would hopefully help in determining what the definition is.

I said: In effect you are saying “what if soul is…” and fantasizing all kinds of possibilities without regard to what we know through science.

Not quite fantasizing. Providing possibilities. Hopefully, by a process of elimination of what is and is not included in the soul we might get to a definition of what the soul is.

If the soul is to be studied, the first step is to attempt to establish a clear and concise definition of the entity to be studied. The questions I proposed were meant to be filters to consider in arriving at such a definition, which is the necessary first step.

In science questions are asked in response to an observed behavior. So in order to define the nature of soul we would be looking for examples of various behavior or behavioral outcomes that tend to make people believe in the existence of a non-physical entity and its direct interaction with a human or humans.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 44 (view)
spirit science
Posted: 12/8/2012 12:15:34 PM
Coma White Msg:57

By the self, I mean your physical body, your mind, and who you are as a social construct. If you experience cold, you do so because of receptors.

That’s an objective experience. Let me present a critical thought process using one of your analogies.

The best analogy I can come up with is a person playing an online video game and they experience things through their character in the context of the game, but the things that happen in the game don't actually happen to the person playing the game.

The person relies on cognitive functions to play a computer game. All games require some level of cognitive functioning. Consider a character in a war game; when the character in the game gets shot, cut, flamed and so on, the person playing the game does not experience those things ( has no ‘sense’ of them) instead, s/he experiences the objective imagery of the game and makes cognitive assumptions about those factors. Any emotions involved (hate, anger, fear) are also cognitively determined using the suggestive imagery of the game combined with the person’s relevant previous experiences.

That is not experiencing the emotions of a character instead, it is part of a cognitive function and what the person is experiencing is what s/he has conjured up in her or his imagination based on subjective factors of the objective event.

Now, About the following analogy:

The soul is just thoughtless awareness.

Awareness of what, itself, a human, a vision, a sound? When you turn a computer on, the electricity motivates the computer and it becomes aware of at least as much as it’s told to be aware of. The computer needs to be instructed to do something with all the data it has stored (because it has no brain or will of its own), in other words it is thoughtlessly aware.

Now consider that soul takes the place of the ‘person’ in the above computer game the question is, What motivates it to do so?

Further questions arise:
If our cognitive ability (our brain) instructs how we interact with the objective experience of playing the game;
What instructs the soul as to how it should interact with the objective experience of viewing through the senses and ‘perceptions’ of a human?

Perhaps if we understood more about the mode/medium of interaction between the soul and human.

The soul is not disconnected from you. It is just different from your phsyical body and the thoughts that occur in your brain.

In order for the non-physical to interact at any level with the physical there must be a mode/medium by which the two are connected. (think about the computer, an active electrical source makes it ‘aware’ but it also requires a hard (physical) link to accommodate interaction between itself and humans.

I think it might help to determine what human experiences would lead us to think that such a non-physical entity exists?
Just brainstorming here: is the link an organ (kidney, heart, brain, skin) or a ligament, bone a neural pathway???

In other words; What do you think is the physical (material) aspect of any particular human that feeds the interaction between the two entities (human and soul)?

I believe that the soul is unaware of the "true" reality that exists outside of this one while it experiences life here.

We already know that our human senses limit our ability to experience physical reality in totality, which is why we use mathematical language along with observation to assess the nature of physical reality but it (the physical) is a “true” reality whether any other kind of reality exists or not.

However, through this critical thought process I think I’ve gained a little more understanding of what it is you are referring to as “thoughtless awareness”.

Do you mean to say that while the soul is experiencing the physical, it is unaware that it is not a part of this physical reality?

Then questions remain like: What motivates (instructs) its behavior and since it has no mechanism for storing memory, what is it doing with the data (observations) it is collecting?

Or perhaps it is acting in a hedonistic fashion as in experiencing the physical realm for the momentary exhilaration it provides, having no memory from one moment to the next of its previous experience. Its only desire or need is to continue to have an observational moment.

Or perhaps it accesses the memory of the human it has connected with – but we are back to determining the mode/medium of that connectedness.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 43 (view)
spirit science
Posted: 12/8/2012 12:13:03 PM
Coma White Msg: 44
SUMMARY: The intro – the person writes of an experience and makes cognitive assessments about it, indicates a total awareness of the physical reality. The fact that this person has a memory of the experience suggests there must be a hardwired link that exists between the soul and human memory – what and where is it? Also the person suggests that the soul feel trapped and that it must wait for the human to die in order to be released.

Are we (humans) a prison for souls that have taken the wrong path? Or are souls something that are best experience through drugs (hashish perhaps?) OH he had a sitter it was most likely LSD. You know a brain on LSD and schizophrenic behavior often look alike. One, the drug, inhibits and excites various wiring in the brain artificially, similar to the dysfunctional wiring of some schizophrenic patients. He communicates telepathically with the being and is told there are some things he’s not allowed to know. Reminiscent of every theistic religion I know of.

So do you think this video is proof of the existence of soul? It has no resemblance to what you have expressed as your belief of what soul is. Given all those observations I don’t understand your purpose in suggesting the video.
In the second video the so-called soul continues to express itself in physical terms (before I was born, when I die, conversing with, my consciousness) I would think that communicating telepathically would not require language and if the communication was actually between two non-physical being (soul to soul) whatever exchange occurred would have be silent.

I’m sorry, it did not make sense to waste time watching either of these to the end as there was nothing to lend cohesiveness to your ideas about soul and that portrayed in the videos.

But I would like to continue to critically assess the personal claims of those in this thread. A reply to your Msg: 50 is forthcoming.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 40 (view)
spirit science
Posted: 12/7/2012 10:55:45 PM
Coma White Msg: 50

The soul does not include the self, the body, the mind, the personality, or anything like that. The soul accesses this reality through a human's consciousness. … It's possible that each soul is just part of one consciousness and it gets to experience itself subjectively through human experience in this reality.

By what terms do you define “self”? EX. If you answer the questions “I am…” in as many ways as you can – is that the definition of self? If the soul does not include the self but yourself experiences cold, then how does the soul ‘subjectively’ experience the cold? If you disconnect soul from self, body, and mind than how can anything the self, body, and mind experience be a subjective experience of the disconnected soul?

It's also possible that a soul could experience multiple lives at the same time because it exists outside of this reality. There is literally no connection between the person you are now and your soul, just like there is no permanent connection to the character you were in your dream last night.

When you say the soul exists outside of this reality, are you referring to the physical world?

That would make the thing referred to as soul something that we can neither conceive of nor ever be able to connect with much less validate.

That means that any attributes we can conceive of giving it are total fantasy because there is nothing we can conceive of that does not have physical attributes.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 39 (view)
spirit science
Posted: 12/7/2012 10:54:50 PM
Justlookingvt msg 48

for instance, consider the following analysis done on the brains of people who practiced a form of meditation known as insight meditation or Vipassana in Buddhism. (shakti can be our resident expert in the field since she's experienced it, I have not.)

>>> fMRI were used to assess the thickness of the brains of twenty Westerners who had experience with Insight meditation. It was determined that their brains were thicker in regions of the brain involved with somatosensory, auditory, visual and interoceptive processing depending upon the amount of time that they'd spent practicing. The researchers suggest that this may slow cognitive decline typically associated with aging. <<<<

What is the source of the study that is being referred to?

If we accept a fairly common definition of spiritual meditation as, a method to contact/experience one's self/consciousness (soul?)

You have defined soul as our self/consciousness. Does that mean that soul is that by which we are aware of experiencing self in the current moment? Or are you defining soul as the that which contains the sum total of our memories gained through our conscious experiences?

Both, self and consciousness, are ambiguous and have not even vaguely been defined.

IF such correlation happened to be demonstrated, it could be concluded that our self (soul ?) is the sum total of all our mental abilities upon which our perceptual abilities are based on, thereby in turn, defining our various levels of consciousness.

What are you referring to with the term “mental abilities”?

I think there is also confusion about how the term ‘perception’ is being used. Perception is the process of translating the information we receive through our senses into cognitive thought. In order to ‘perceive’ external information there must be a sense mechanism. If you think that mechanism is that thing called soul then we are back to square one. You have not defined in any way the nature of a souls being before jumping to possible ways that it works.

There are some interesting questions directly related to the self (soul ?). For instance, is the self of an insane individual also insane ? Should the answer to that question be yes, then it would imply that our self (soul ?) is defined by the balance of chemicals in our brain as well as its structure. Should the answer be no, that would lead to the conclusion that the soul does not include the self.

Those questions ^^^ are only relevant if one accepts that the definition of that which makes us self-aware is that thing called soul but the problem is you have not defined the nature of a souls being so how can you question it? In effect you are saying “what if soul is…” and fantasizing all kinds of possibilities without regard to what we know through science.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 38 (view)
spirit science
Posted: 12/7/2012 10:52:37 PM
JustDukky Msg: 22

Long ago, Plato proposed that a world of forms "existed." The forms were the perfect models upon which (imperfect but perceptively "real") things were based. (perfect circles, perfect trees, etc.) I would like to suggest that the human soul is a Platonic form of the spiritually perfect human being (one that everyone can agree on -- something like say Buddha, or Christ) that forms the model of our spiritual potential.

I think the analogy is incorrect, possibly due to interpretive differences of what Plato was describing/explaining. In order to explain what my interpretation is, it might be helpful to read a very short analogy that Plato set forth in his volume “The Republic”. The link is provided below and my interpretation is below that.

Plato had a great propensity for observing nature, including living beings, and a talent for deep introspection of his innate human qualities which he generalized to all humans. Through the allegory of the cave, he is explaining the limited nature of human senses. He understood that humans did not hear what some animals could hear and that what we could see and smell were not like that of other creatures. He was attempting to equate the limitations of our senses in real world with the limitations of the people in the cave whose only exposure to the world were shades of gray – shadows on the wall in front of them.

Of course he was absolutely correct. The frequency range of human hearing is very limited, and what we see on the color spectrum is also limited as are smell and taste. Our sensitivity to touch has limits also. So we don’t experience the full range of physical reality so any human being, be it Buddha or Jesus (Christ), are also bound by those limitation. So when I read the analogy quoted above I don’t see the connection between two specific human beings and spiritual potential.

"Spirit" then becomes quantifiable as the amount of "soul" (in terms of degrees of the various (perfect) "soul qualities") a person might possess.

What is it that you think is measurable if you are equating human senses to spiritual potential? There is a failure here to add any definition to something that might be referred to as soul.

JustDukky Msg: 52

Another possible definition for a soul might be to consider that only one soul exists and we all "tap" into it. Consider the brain as an individual's "CPU" (definitely mortal). Is it possible that what we perceive (barely) as our soul is in effect perceived thru our selves' "network connections" to "other" (the universal "consciousness")

We sense with our sense organs that which is outside of us with our sense organs like eyes, ears, taste buds… so what is it that senses that external ‘other’ source and how does that experience get translated into perception?

In other words, by what mechanisms might we perceive the external something labeled (the only soul)?

The point is, you have not defined in any way the nature of a souls being before jumping to possible ways that it works.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 23 (view)
Being fair vs being right ?
Posted: 12/4/2012 9:41:01 PM
Truth and honesty are not always equivalent. Just as
Fair and balanced are not always equivalent

To be honest about what is fair, one must have a balanced perspective about the truth of the matter.

When the truth of the matter is the evidence of one’s honesty then the fair thing to do would be to hand over the balance of the bet or possibly to let it ride, anti up, reshuffle and deal the cards again.

It all depends – how lucky do you feel?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 30 (view)
spirit science
Posted: 12/4/2012 9:04:27 PM

Uploaded by QualiaSoup on Mar 31, 2009

I really liked it - thanks for suggesting it.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 28 (view)
spirit science
Posted: 12/4/2012 12:30:13 AM
The whole idea of a soul, spirit or life force, can get very confusing.
In order to even discuss such a thing, requires that it be defined.

So what is it or, in metaphysical terms – What is its nature?

People often relate things like “out of body” experiences with a soul/spirit so what inference can we make about the nature of such a being?

Anyone care to offer a suggestion as to the nature of a souls being?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 27 (view)
spirit science
Posted: 12/4/2012 12:14:35 AM

fMRI were used to assess the thickness of the brains of twenty Westerners who had experience with Insight meditation. It was determined that their brains were thicker in regions of the brain involved with somatosensory, auditory, visual and interoceptive processing depending upon the amount of time that they'd spent practicing. The researchers suggest that this may slow cognitive decline typically associated with aging.

I didn’t see who posted that ^^ quote first but the parts of the brain reported as being affected didn’t make a lot sense to me. So I did what an inquisitive person who really loves science tends to do… I looked into the research.

It’s very interesting. The research is fairly young and, as with all new areas of research, the study samples are rather small which tend to bring out the limitations encountered and the suggestions to overcome them.

The most important findings are suggestions for new directions in future research. There have been correlations drawn and in the studies that I looked at there was agreement that meditation seemed to correlate with thicker regions in the brain. Two studies had different findings related to the areas of the brain involved and another study took the suggested direction of one of those studies and discovered a reason why different areas of the brain might be involved.

But I suppose most people are more interested in the actual findings so I’ll post some of them, but I have to warn you – there ‘s nothing at all mysterious about it – there are simply some things that have not been researched yet.

First of all, morphology of the brain is not unknown, it occurs for many reasons and there are some established and understood factors that lead to the type of changes in the brain such as thicker regions forming due to meditation.

In the most interesting study, the researchers were interested in the neural pathways of meditation which they intended to follow through the cerebral blood flow of participants during meditation. They chose experienced meditators who were well versed in two types of meditation, “focus-based” and “breath-based”.

Using fMRI they made a baseline of each participant and then did imaging for each one as they meditated, in one and then the other type meditation. They discovered different cerebral blood flow patterns between the two types of meditation. Following the patterns they were able to find the areas of the brain that were most affected and did find that in those areas there was some thickening.

That helped to explain why some researchers found thickening in different parts of the brain. Furthermore, the thickening can be explained – if you love science check it out, it's interesting, but if you’re not as interested or familiar with the jargon I’ll give very simple explanation.

When blood flows in specific patterns often enough, fibers develop and more myelin develops and in some cases there is an increase in gray matter – all of those things add thickness to areas of the brain that are used more frequently such as in new routes around damaged areas and in other cases as well.

So the point is, it takes practice to learn to meditate and different types of meditation activate different areas of the brain which require greater blood flow to those areas. And if the meditation is done regularly, it similar to working out with weights, you build muscle or in the case of the brain, you build the area that you are exercising.

The interesting thing that still needs a lot research is how does building those areas of the brain affect things like, cognitive function, behavior, and even IQ? Interesting but not mysterious.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 286 (view)
Creationism in schools
Posted: 11/7/2012 7:57:55 PM
MSG: 474

Yes, we both agree that abiogenesis has happened, but the question is ¿did it happened naturally or supernaturally? Since natural laws say that life can only come from preexisting life, it is fare to conclude that it happened supernaturally. In fact a miracle is by definition an event that defies natural laws, so by definition abiogenesis was a miracle.

That ^^^ is one of the best reasons why creationism should not be ‘taught’ in school, let alone being taught as an alternative science.


The answer involves a question of logic. If some phenomenon is labeled as “a miracle”, i.e. a supernatural occurrence, then the science is done. What reason would there be to investigate a miracle any further? If “God did it” what further questions remain to be asked? If it is assumed that “God did it” then it is assumed that man can not repeat it, so where is the science?

Therefore, creationism is not a science, because it begins with the answer to every question “God did it”.

The problem is that you already made the philosophical assumption that ´´god did it´´ is an unacceptable explanation. You already decided that ´´I don´t know´´ is always a better answer than God did it. These means that it doesn´t matter what evidence is shown you will never conclude ´´god did it´

There can be no evidence that “god did it” because whatever god supposedly did - was a supernatural occurrence and no amount of investigation will provide a logical explanation. But obviously current science has found many logical explanations for thousands of things of which ‘believers’ might never have thought to question further only because the phenomenon in question was once attributed to the supernatural action of a god.

If god did it – the question is answered – so what science can there possibly be to prove that goddidit?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 271 (view)
Creationism in schools
Posted: 11/5/2012 9:36:02 PM
Msg: 449

<div class="quote">According to Behe, the eye is irreducible complex because even the simples eye, would require:
1) Lite sensitive cells
2) some kind of brain or neurological system that can ´´interpret the lite´´
3) a cable (or something) that connects the brain with the lite sensitive cells

these 3 things would have had to evolve at the same time, but since evolution requires one step at the time, not even the simples eye could have evolved. that was Behes point, not the stawman version that Miller refuted.

If everything about the functions of vision/sight, such as mentioned above, is "irreducible complex" to the point that it "had to evolve at the same time" then a glitch in any part of the mechenisms of sight should render the etire visual system useless. But there are humans who are born without completely functional cones in their eyes, and some who only have rods. Those things effect color vision so obviously color could quite easily have evolved in phases. We can lose an entire eye, it can be removed and the other will still function. We have perfectly functioning eyes but a very small leasion at the right spot in our brain, can renders one eye useless or perhaps simply create a hole in the visual field of one eye.

Clarly we could effectively dismantle our visual organs little by little similarly to what could have been a process of evolution. The complexity of our visual organs, today, is not so complex that we cannot reduce it "physically" which means it was not necesary for the whole visual sysem to be as we know it today. We can look at many other animals and see that vision exists on a variety of evolutionary scales.

Just becasue you don't understand doesn't me it irreducibly complex. Behe ADMITTED that he did not have scientific knowledge of the visual system and has relented the point. The fact that some people continue to hold on to this idea is - as has been noted - the argument from ignorance.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 8 (view)
Open-minded Science?
Posted: 11/2/2012 9:37:15 PM
Believing in something or in someone requires only one thing; faith. But how do we decide which thing or person to put our faith in? The answer is - we ask questions.

RidingOceanofLife: Msg 4

OK, this is something that I am very passionate about, so this may be long. Now, up front let me make this clear. I am a Christian, but that is because I see so many explanations that are personally dissatisfying.

The quote up there ^^ indicates that RidingOcean is Christian and the reason for being a Christian is that no other explanations are satisfying.

Explanations of what?

The scientific principles referred to in the rest of msg 4 suggest that the questions have something to do with how the universe works, but the specific elements of the questions are missing.

What EXACTLY does Christianity teach about scientific principles (or laws/theories) that make Christianity a better option in which to place one’s faith?

Additionally, if a person has faith in science, at least some of the time, does that mean that the person is not a Christian at those times?

When is it ok to put your faith in Science if that faith has already been committed to something else, like Christianity?

Is it even possible to commit all of one’s capacity for faith in one 'satisfying' ideology and still look for answers beyond the thing that occupies all of one’s faith?

Are any of those valid questions to consider when deciding where to put one’s faith?

In response to the OP:

The seekers are open to what may be found; the finders only build on what has already been found/proven by the seekers.

Consider all the questions in my post and then ask yourself -- Are scientists seekers or finders? Are religious people seekers or finders? Should we have more faith in seekers or in finders? Would one group be more prone to being both a seeker and a finder of empircal evidence of how the universe works?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 24 (view)
A career in Science.. Will I ever ?
Posted: 10/23/2012 8:59:53 PM

Some of us would argue Psych is stretching it a bit in the science dept Op

What is that suppose to mean?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 6 (view)
Political Philosophy: Free Speech & limits of Faith
Posted: 10/11/2012 2:12:58 PM

I really wonder what Duk would say if it was pointed out to him that he was trying to chemically alter the very makeup of a person who was gay....... To me that makes being gay part of the very being of the person, and not something that can be changed by outside influences.

Actually he responds to that in the petition and basically his point is:
He is a psychiatrist (a businessman) , a family presents a ‘willing’ child for therapy. The Dr discussed with the family what goals they hope to achieve and then determines the strategy (therapy) for getting to that goal.

It made me laugh – somewhat cynically, I think - because he was basically saying … I’m just doing my job and now the government wants to threaten me with disciplinary action for doing my job. And besides, the government is asking me to discriminate against LGBTQ by withholding treatment that the parents endorse.

There is also disclaimer of sorts in that this particular type of therapy is not to change anyone’s sexual identity.

OK, that’s pretty sly …. The only people who might seek to change their sexual identity are transgendered people so are they saying the purpose of their treatment of transgenders is to talk them out of changing gender ? The fact is that the term sexual attraction has been used in the document appropriately before that statement, so if that’s what they meant I’m sure that would have been what they said. Do you think Supreme Courts Justices and the Lawyers on the opposition would be so generous as to simply ‘assume’ they meant sexual attraction.

The audacity of some people is unbelievable.

Calling a family "christian" when they stand by and watch their child die, is one of the worst misuses of the term I have ever heard of. Here is the problem with how some see the duty of our govt. On one hand, they see it absolutely necessary to make certain that minors eat at public schools, in spite of the fact that the parents are the ones who SHOULD be responsible for their offspring, and then on the other, when a whacko set of parents refuse to take their kids to a real doctor for a blood transfusion, and the kid dies, people just shrug their shoulders. BOTH sets of beliefs, one that the govt. has a DUTY to feed kids, and the other that they don't have a duty to prevent an easily preventable death, are NUTS.

When children are in a public school they are in the care of the government, governments run the school and it is mandatory for students to be there. From that perspective it makes sense that the government should provide nutritious food.

Well there are religious exemptions for parents refusing to inoculate their children against deadly diseases. Which actually makes no sense to me and not because I disagree with all exemptions. In the case of treating one child with a non-communicable disease, I can concede to the exemption. However, allowing people to refuse inoculation (not for medical reason and there are some) puts society, as a whole at risk.

What is the answer? Sorry, I don't think that there is an answer that is universal in this situation..............

What do you think about something like this:
Determining risk to society vs risk to individual might be a way to reduce the many religious exemptions that exist. Another example is birth control being covered on insurance. The questions are not so hard. Is the religious organization open to providing its goods and accepting of the general public? Is the Organization required to conform to legally established hiring practices? If yes and yes – then the Org has to offer birth control options. Too simple?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 5 (view)
Political Philosophy: Free Speech & limits of Faith
Posted: 10/10/2012 10:47:00 PM

Freedom of Speech has always been one of, if not the MOST challenging concepts for any society to deal with. This is precisely because of the sort of questions you raise here, op, wherein it is asked, essentially, how do we keep Freedom of Speech for one person or group, from being used to LIMIT the freedom of speech of others?

Yes, that is it precisely, thanks recognizing it inbetween all my wordiness.

But to attempt to limit the damage they do to people who choose to follow them, by trying to block their messages of indoctrination, would itself be to act against Freedom of Speech.

That's true and while I do think that the process of some religious indoctinations are coersive and can cause emotional and psychological stress for children as they get older - I also know many people of various religious faiths who have benefited from their experiences and their faith without feeling the need to judge others by their religious standards. I also know even more poeple who have simply cast off all religious beliefs without being intolerant to those who continue to hold those beliefs.

I think there is more that goes on in a childs environment that lends itself to creating extremism whether it be in religion, atheism or in political views. Flipping the token over however, I do have a problem with having to financially contribute (through taxation) private religious schools - which is the intent of school voucher systems. I also don't agree that an governing agency should lend it's political endorcement to any organization that supports diescrimination within its policies (Boyscouts of America). It's a great organization if you're not gay.

I prefer to continue the daily battle, ...

It can be an interesting passtime and I learn a lot about law and history and such but the interventionism (e.g. climate change deniers) is not only irritating, it can also be detrimental.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 4 (view)
Political Philosophy: Free Speech & limits of Faith
Posted: 10/10/2012 10:16:41 PM
Many women prefer to have a woman doctor, and same-sex couples prefer to have LGBTQ family counsellors so it makes sense to me that many Christians would prefer a Christian doctor or therapist.

In that sense, Paul K, I would agree that I have nothing against the doctors or other liscensed practitioners putting their ideals into their work. However, we are not talking about adults seeking guidance from a doctor with a built in religious spin. It is the fact that minors are involved changes the emotional tone of the issue.

Besides the inforamtion that we have which concludes that this particular type of therapy produces more negative effects than it resolves, and that drugs are being administered to children to curb thier sex-drive, there is the fact that in many other cases involving minor children, the government has stepped in. So we can't simply conclude that in this particular case the govenment should have no intrest.

I wonder how the majority of Christians would react if the government, including the court systems, refused to get involved with cases in which the best intest of a child, as dictated by a parent, was contested.

For example: A child in a vegitative state, subsiting on life support, ceases to show active brain waves (brain death). The parents make the agonizing decision to remove life support. A Christian nurse, or friend immediately seeks a court order to override the parents directive. --- either the parents have the right to make medical decisions for their minor children, or they don't.

The same is true of a child in Christian families who falls ill and rather than take the childe for medical care they are deteremined rely on prayer. If the child dies, why should the parents be charged with having committed anything illegal. Or why should government have the right to step in and demand that the child be treated medically.

Again, either the parents have the right to make these choices on behalf of their children or they don't. We must either put up with watching the suffering and damage that such choices can cause or we say that in no case does a parent have the right to the last word over their childs healthcare if the choice is less than what some "official" prescribed treatment should be.

In other words religion should have nothing to do with these cases - however, the fact that a Jehovah Witness would rather have their child die than receive a blood transfusion, suggests to me that there are at least some areas in which govenment cannot step in. To do so would be to deny such persons their right to religious expression. So with as much regret at I have in me, I tend to think that where children and medical treatment are concerned, the govenment should have no right to supercede the decisions of the parent(s).

But I'm not saying that religious freedom should always receive some the defernce over social policy. For example, Don't Ask, Don't Tell was a law that should never have been effective. Though if it hadn't been put into effect, people today may still be serving from a dark closet, at least now they are free to be the people they are.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 2 (view)
Political Philosophy: Free Speech & limits of Faith
Posted: 10/10/2012 4:19:37 PM
Examples pertaining to the OP

Environment and climate change
Michael Crichton, from 'Environmentalism as Religion
Lord Nigel Lawson The Economics of Climate Change: An Appeal to Reason
Professor Richard Linzen

Each of the references above seems to find it necessary to turn environmentalism into a religion.
One of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists"(Crichton).
And it’s a very threatening one at that. However, one threat is
even more profound
than that of the
irrationality and intolerance of ecofundamentalism
which is, of course
the threat we face from the supreme intolerance of Islamic fundamentalism (Lawson).
Environmentalists themselves are targeted in the same way that many would target religious beliefs,
Essentially if whatever you are told is alleged to be supported by 'all scientists,' you don't have to understand [the issue] anymore. You simply go back to treating it as a matter of religious belief," (Linzen)
These people understand social psychology and they know the strings to pull.

Those are a few whose faith and freedom of speech have served as a major influence, resulting in climate change deniers. When policy makers are thus influenced, environmentalists become the target of legislation, the most powerful tool by which religious ideals can intervene. (e.g. - Illinois law that bans any person or organization from initiating a protest against the use of plastic bags). In essence, it is the freedom of speech that environmentalists are denied but we still have our belief, that plastic bags are environmentally harmful. But are those the same kind of beliefs as the beliefs attributed to religious morals?

CONVERSLEY: Free speech is also used to target those of faith whose morals are absent of directives pertaining to interaction between humans and environment. If we are to tolerate such beliefs, in accordance to our social doctrines of freedom, how can we logically and ethically preclude their freedom to use speech to undermine knowledge?

Example 2:
California has recently legislated a ban on exgay (AKA - conversion or reparetive) therapy for minors. Barely before the ink was dry a complaint was filed with the State Supreme Court (Cause 2:12-at-01319 Document 1 Filed 10/1/12).

In quotes below is a combination of quote and paraphrase (for the sake of brevity) but the information is accurately portrayed.
The law is specifically related to minors (children) as the next quote makes clear.

Anthony Duk (psychiatrist in private practice) treats those struggling with issues related to sex and sexual orientation, often including minors. Treatment frequently consists of counseling and prescription medication to control sexual drive. Under the new law Duk is subject to discipline by the California Medical board should he continue to treat minors with same sex attraction Under the new law Duk is subject to discipline by the California Medical board should he continue to treat minors with same sex attraction and transgender identity issues in this manner. Speaking for his patients, Duk says, that this violates their conscience and interferes with the minors practice of religion as well as that of the child’s parents.

It is claimed that in effect Duk must discriminate against minors who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning and it violates professional ethics to provide treatment regardless of sexual orientation. The statute also interferes with the private decisions between therapist and client. Issues related to sex drive are some of the most personal matters related to the human experience which include mental, emotional, and medical matters. Thus the statute involves government intrusion into an intimate zone of privacy. Constitutional amendments 4, 5, 9, 14 are cited to support the fundamental right to privacy so the government has limited authority to restrict access to treatment services and options including those extended to minors.

Privacy is one of the persistent themes of the complaint and indeed, I agree. In fact it was the issue of privacy that ultimately banned sodomy laws from being enforced. But sodomy laws pertained to adults, or those considered to be adult while this law pertains to minors. The question is what makes this issue that deals with “some of the most personal matters related to the human experience” so different from women who seek various methods of birth control? So we now have three legal issues that pertain to privacy, sodomy, birth control, and LGBTQ minors’ access to reparative therapy. Which do we uphold, how can we logically and ethically preclude their freedom of religion to use speech to undermine knowledge?

Just a side note – how convenient it is to ‘admit’ that the minors being treated are LGBTQ AND that we should not ‘discriminate’ both in the same sentence but then stops on a dime before admitting to the belief that LGBTQ are just other words that denote an illness.

The ban is equated to a new category of banned speech, that of “sexual orientation change efforts.” Rather than the usual limits of time, place and manner, this is one which stems from the speakers particular viewpoint of sexual orientation, same-sex attraction, and gender expression, so that a disfavored viewpoint is subject to professional discipline.

That quote ^^^ is a prime example of how I think freedom of religious expression has utilized the freedom of speech in a way that makes our other freedoms subordinate to them. If the 1st amendment works in favor of religious ideals it must be seized upon but when the amendment is not so favorable then all of society must make concessions in favor of the prime order, freedom of religious expression and freedom of speech. Where - in all of that is the idea of the “limits of faith”?

The statute contains no religious exemption exceptions, it would directly curtail religious expression of clergy who are also mental health professionals and proscribe religious speech of licensed educational and school psychologists in parochial and other private religious schools.

To me, that ^^ represents the kind of ideas that serve to divide our nation. We are no longer a national unit, we are two nations, with two sets of customized laws, one set of laws provides ‘exemptions’ for one side but there are no exemptions for any other view – that would be like asking for “Special Privileges”. If every law requires a religious exemption, there is no unity or consistency in the law and other freedoms will be infringed upon.

The statute casts a pall over parents of children with sexual identity confusion, same-sex attraction, and gender non-conformity by declaring that “family rejection” poses critical health risks to the children and that the state has a compelling interest in protecting these children from their parents’ disapproval.

It’s not like statistics make declarations, they are only numerical representations of objective factors. That aside, conversely, how far can the law enforce the limits of faith?

Our government seems to have become moral caretakers. I have often wondered if it make a difference if we instituted a “Don’t ask Don’t tell” policy to prohibit government officials from engaging the public about their personal religious convictions.

Would that be taking ‘the limits of faith’ too far?
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 1 (view)
Political Philosophy: Free Speech & limits of Faith
Posted: 10/10/2012 4:18:58 PM
Political Philosophy: Free Speech & limits of Faith
Should Reasonable Limits be Placed on Faith

I have concerns about the limits of free speech vs the limits of faith. I have been trying to resolve conflicts between conscience (ethics or morals) and action. I have been reviewing history, philosophy and science and I think it would be beneficial to hear how others view this dilemma.

First – a little background
Freedom of speech, as conceived in early U.S. history, was thought to be one of the most significant safeguards for preserving the ideals of the democracy. Being at liberty to freely express opinion and exchange ideas about our governing bodies and the creation/enforcement of policy, helps to assure an unobstructed flow of information. To that end the government invested heavily in various forms of printed materials, eventually becoming what we call ‘the press’ or newspapers and government still invest in the dissemination of news.

Evolution of Free Speech
One of the greatest pathways by which every day citizens can effect policy change is through grassroots movements. Effective grassroots movements have typically developed into large groups, actively and publicly pursuing the government to redress particular policies. These groups ‘make’ news and that news if reported through our current media. That too is information, but its reciprocal role of providing feedback to our governments has not only been compromised by the persistent problem of ‘patronage’ (favors granted by governing bodies) within the media system, it has been compromised by the rapid growth of media formats brought about by technology.

It is a struggle not only to find objective news reporting, but to get people, whose choices for information are extensive, to consider such sources of information. It means having to think critically about the information provided and today, most people are only interested in confirming pre-existing biases in less than one or two paragraphs.

Free Speech Today
The loss of the reciprocal feedback loop between governments & the people, and the rapid growth of media choices seems to have allowed free speech to shift from its original intention (informational exchange of government policy) toward targeting individuals and organizations to the point of upstaging our freedom and liberty to make determined choices about our lives.

Limits of free speech vs limits of faith
The focus of my concerns involves the influence that ‘faith’ has had in subordinating other rights to their rights of religious expression and free speech. Specifically, the questions is, when are we entitled to use our freedom of speech to directly target individuals and organizations to such an extent that the speech becomes a tool to limit and infringe on life choices that we are otherwise free to make?

The next post has some examples of what might viewed as the conflicts between conscience and action.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 15 (view)
A career in Science.. Will I ever ?
Posted: 10/8/2012 11:54:46 PM
Ok - 2 more cents added here.

<div class="quote"> I always feel like I'm capable of doing great things, such as being a weather forecaster and working at a news station on tv, or being a physicians assistant, or a masters degree nurse.

Why those professions? What is it in any of those professions that draws you to it? When you sit and think about all the possible job opportunities available to you how many jobs do you actually come up with?

If you don’t come up with too many, try the link for the Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook Handbook

Even here, you won’t find all the possibilities available because there is always the possibility of creating your own non-profit that fill a need for which few alternatives exist. There are many new opportunities taking shape in sustainability and green technology fields opening up.

A good place to start is by doing some comprehensive self-analysis. Unfortunately critical self-analysis is not typically something we do naturally so here’s a great way to begin. It’s called StrengthsQuest and for $12.50 you can take psychological test that will result in a list of your top five ‘natural’ talents. There is an on-line book you can download that helps you through the process of discovering and affirming your greatest naturally occurring talents and how to turn them into your greatest strengths. There are many suggestions for the kinds of jobs in which your strengths result in achieving success both in your job and in job/life satisfaction.

When you realize where your natural talents are, you will be better able to choose a course of study that will be more interesting for you. There are always required courses that are not interesting, but if you are motivated by having a goal (like your dream job) then you will be more likely to get through it.

Take advantage of mentoring whenever it’s offered, it’s there you may learn what study habits are best for you. I like the courses that have interactive on-line aids, some even offer games that make flash card obsolete. I use the internet to break the monotony of study by looking for You Tube videos about the subject I’m studying or just for surfing the net to find alternative presentation styles of the subject matter.

You must find out about yourself - by doing, not by giving up. Persistence and perseverance are qualities worth developing because even in your dream job you may encounter uninteresting tasks that need to be done.

As for me, I love the sciences but my weakest point is math. I always took one less class when I had to take a math course and even when I devoted 30 (or more) hours a week to math alone, I often failed to make even a C. That’s unacceptable for a prerequisite course, so I would do it again. I have never passed a math class on the first try but I now have B’s to replace every one of those course grades (so much a perfect GPA). But I did it and you can too.

Think of it this way, 4 years of your life (5 for me, damn math) where the majority of your effort is spent making the whole rest of your life easier, more fulfilling, and definitely more successful. It’s the hardest I have ever worked in my whole life (I returned to college at age 52) and it’s been the most rewarding in many ways. Good Luck – and don’t put it off, Math gets harder as you get older, trust me on that.

edited to add the link for Occupational Outlook
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 36 (view)
What to do with the Warrior Class
Posted: 10/5/2012 8:08:17 AM
The discussion about profiting from war is an interesting one. How do we profit from war?

Consider defense as in defending national borders against others. What are people defending?
We defend our natural resources both human and environmental. We defend our environmental resources becasue our lives are built around having those resources. We defend our human resources because it is the source of our defense.

What do we do with our environmental resources besides utilize them to meet the necessities of life and for our enjoyment. We also hold those resources hostage by using them to trade for services and goods, some of which are necessary. The question is, how much do we need that is not provided by our bordered environment versus now much do we want.

How often do we (as individuals) actually consider the cost/benefit ration to ourselves and others in our 'trade' offs?

The point is that profiting from war is not made clear. In fact we profit most when we go to war in defense of our resources and if we consider allied nations as beneficial to our 'trade-offs' then we must defend the borders of other nations.

But going to war becasue we find it difficult to "profit" from those we trade with rather than to profit by trade equality, then war is neither beneficial nor moroal. The best profit war can provide is to keep the status quo, but it the worst substitute for communcation and worse still when we enter into war only to keep a financial profit margin and global superiority that is based on finanacial gain.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 8 (view)
Age of Denial?
Posted: 10/5/2012 7:45:47 AM
I think we (globally) have already entered the Dark Ages. Progress is often associated with knowledge and technology and the assumption is that we are moving in a beneficial direction. But that assumption does not leave room for the necessary lateral and sometimes downward shifts which take us away from the path of incline that we once thought to be the most progressive forward moving way to proceed.

As we accumulate new knowledge, we find that our current path is detrimental to the original goal. In other words, the old way of thinking and behaving is no longer beneficial for the long-term. There are many reasons people resist making necessary changes, most of it boils down to fear of unknown or simply resist giving up the old ways because doing so in inconvenient or it takes work both mentally and physically.

So the dark ages are only dark because we are forging a new path – one that is divergent from the old. It begins as a lateral shift when enough people pull away from the original path trying new things with only a vision of the future to guide them. Those who are resistant see only the darkness of the path ahead, hence the dark ages. At these times it is only the visionaries who hold the light.

When we emerge from the darkness, it is because we have begun the incline, as a majority, and then we call the transitional period just before the light emerges as the period of enlightenment.

Thanks to the visionaries of the world, we are on the divergent, lateral, path and it is only those who resist the need for change that call it dark – yet they follow the only light they see – those who lead the way to enlightenment.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 134 (view)
Timothy Ball on Climate Change Denial
Posted: 9/30/2012 7:23:19 AM

I saw him interviewd on Michael Coren last night. When asked why there would be a huge climate change conspiracy, he said

"they want to create one world government. They are using climate change to scare everyone into forming one world government"

So it appears that the climate change deniers have an agenda of their own! To prevent the ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT cospiracy. Glad they are looking out for us.

So this thread is about

What do climate change deniers stand to gain?

First, it might be wise to take a serious look at those ‘scientists’ who are making claims in opposition to those whose work brings support to the issue of climate change. For example, what are their related academic achievements within their field of scientific study? What professional achievements are credited to those people prior to their vocal opposition to climate change? What challenges have been forwarded, in the peer review process, to the previous research of climate change deniers (including research that is non-specific to climate change)?

Further, aside from the scientific qualitative and quantitative aspects of climate deniers research, it is also wise to question what social achievements outside of their profession are deniers credited with (e.g., political, religious, corporate)? And finally, what are their ideologies in private life, what other issues do those scientists support and oppose? This particular analysis is often the best approach for those who have the least amount of scientific knowledge. By using this approach it is possible to remove the title of authority from those who might, at first, appear to have warranted it.

Being skeptical is a good thing, but being able to perform a critical analysis of those who present subject matter, with a level of authority, in a field that we have little knowledge of is far more crucial.
Joined: 6/27/2007
Msg: 143 (view)
Has society bred stupidity?
Posted: 9/29/2012 8:55:59 PM
Response to Gingerosity Msg 151

I'd think that stupidity and intelligence would be opposites, in general.

I like J. Martin Rlotsche's take on what intelligence means:

"Intelligence is derived from two words -- inter and legere -- inter meaning 'between' and legere meaning 'to choose.' An intelligent person, therefore, is one who has learned 'to choose between.' He knows that good is better than evil, that confidence should supersede fear, that love is superior to hate, that gentleness is better than cruelty, forbearance than intolerance, compassion than arrogance, and that truth has more virtue than ignorance."

I like the Rlotsche quote but it only speaks of one’s ability to identify between virtue and vice. How does a person attain the knowledge to identify between virtue and vice and what would guide the individual to choose one over the other?

So if intelligence is promoted by facilitating informed, rational choice, then the question becomes to what extent does society assist or retard such development and create an environment of freedom in which to choose?

I think your first assumption is backwards, we must first have knowledge (information) in order to apply it, rationally, to a choice. Therefore, having knowledge facilitates intelligence which is the ability to apply knowledge(information) to a choice in a rational manner. Then, I think, your two questions can be restated to be more relevant.
To what extent does society assist or retard the ability of individuals to attain knowledge (information)?
To what extent does society promote or inhibit an environment of freedom for the expression of choice?

Getting back to the first quote
I'd think that stupidity and intelligence would be opposites, in general.

I think that stupidity occurs in different ways, two of which I’ll state here.

1. Stupidity can be a willful act, it occurs when an individual makes an irrational choice by deliberately ignoring or denying information of which the individual has full knowledge.
2. Stupidity can also be attributed to the lack knowledge or , more specifically, ignorance of how to think critically. (at this point I leave out individuals who do not have the mental (cognitive) capacity to comprehend all the information much less make critical assessments)

In example (1) a stupid act by such an individual can be thought to be a rational and virtuous choice by those who are ‘ignorant’ of all the information that is necessary in order to form a more rational conclusion. For whatever reason, the ignorant have placed faith in the stupid person’s choice.

So Ignorance is lack of knowledge (or information), and those who lack information are not necessarily stupid. For example, a person may claim to be agnostic. That person may have sufficient information about various religious beliefs, and science and may be adept in critically evaluations. That person may reason (rationally) that all the dogma associated with religious beliefs is fallacious. On the other hand it might be going too far to think that humans will ever have it in their power to fully understand what preceded our universal existence. Therefore it might be best to consider that, at this point, there is not enough information with which to determine if our universe occurred through intention or through nature. I would not consider such a person to be stupid, but the person admits that ignorance (lack of information, which cannot be attained objectively) has played a role in the critical evaluation.

So stupidity is not the opposite of intelligence. Stupid people have knowledge and having knowledge facilitates intelligence. Ignorance however, is a lack of knowledge and since knowledge facilitates intelligence, the lace of it suggests the opposite of intelligence which is the ability to apply knowledge to a choice in a rational manner.

These are my thoughts but before I apply this thought process to the other comments about free market capitalism, widespread availability of scientific method and social contract, I would like to have some feedback.

Does it make sense that
Having knowledge facilitates intelligence which is the ability to apply knowledge(information) to choices in a rational manner. Would that make the following two questions relevant.

To what extent does society assist or retard the ability of individuals to attain knowledge (information)?
To what extent does society promote or inhibit an environment of freedom for the expression of choice?

And do my definitions of ‘Stupidity’ (1 & 2) and of ‘Ignorance’ lead to the my conclusion that:

Stupidity is not the opposite of intelligence. Stupid people have knowledge and having knowledge facilitates intelligence. Ignorance however, is a lack of knowledge and since knowledge facilitates intelligence, then the lack of it suggests the opposite of intelligence (intelligence being the ability to apply knowledge to a choice in a rational manner).
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