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View Diary: Why can't I dismiss belief in god? (203 comments)

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  •  asdf (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exlrrp, PatriciaVa, librarisingnsf, Dumbo
    Especially since dreams, love, intuition and hope can be explained quite well anyway
    Well, go ahead then!

    Einstein’s Theory of Relative Stupidity: Anyone who attempts to make George Bush look like a frigging genius, will end up looking like George Bush.

    by quiet in NC on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 06:20:45 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Well.... (10+ / 0-)

      There are these fields called' psychology' and 'neuroscience'. Innumerable books have been written on the subjects.

      As I tell climate deniers, if you really want to know, you do some research yourself instead of demanding random people on the Internet spoonfeed you.

      •  asdfg (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        librarisingnsf
        demanding random people on the Internet spoonfeed you
        i meant my comment in jest but i see you continue to look at it in the worst possible light.  Rollin' my eyes here.

        Einstein’s Theory of Relative Stupidity: Anyone who attempts to make George Bush look like a frigging genius, will end up looking like George Bush.

        by quiet in NC on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 06:45:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  We have a domain/scope problem here. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        offgrid, lotlizard

        It's like if somebody asked you to explain why Tippi Hedrin opens that door at the top of the hall in The Birds, and you answer that it can all be explained through cellulose film, three color ink dyes, projectors and lens focal lengths.

        That doesn't adequately answer the question because the answer lies outside the domain of things that can be explained that way.  Simply describing the mechanics of some physical process that expresses a more complicated non-physical concept doesn't work.

        •  There are no non-physical processes (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BPARTR, Roadbed Guy, sagesource, caul

          Everything that happens, even human behavior, is just because some molecules are arranged one way and not another.

          Since molecular arrangements are very complex, we can't easily analyze people's behavior from first physical principles (though progress is being made in that area).

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 08:59:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are many processes in (0+ / 0-)

            mathematical modelling that have no direct relationship with molecules at all, other than the fact that some guy with a math degree brainstormed them.

            For instance, in computer science, there's a fun little thing called genetic algorithms.  Genetic algorithms try to find solutions to problems through a process akin to natural selection, with different possible solutions mutating and competing and dying.

            Now, I would call that a process that is non molecular.

            Next, you could say, "Yes, but it has to run on a computer that is made out of molecules, or be worked out by hand by a human with a pencil and paper..."

            I would say, no, it doesn't have to be calculated at all.  The process of a genetic algorithm exists whether or not you think of it, and all the solutions that it would produce exist whether or not you or a computer actually calculate it out.

            •  Those aren't "processes" (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sagesource, caul

              They are simply ideas or concepts, which is different. A "process" is something that "happens", i.e. some physical object changes form.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:17:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, that's a very convenient definition, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lotlizard, JamieG from Md

                which makes the whole discussion moot.  In Computer Sci, we had different uses for the word than you probably had in biology or chemistry.  But let's use your definition.

                I still say this: "Simply describing the mechanics of some physical process that expresses a more complicated non-physical concept doesn't work."

                That is, describing the process by which Tippi Hedrin's image appears on the screen to open that door doesn't give me any useful insight into why her character opened that door.  In fact, Tippi Hedrin's character IS a character.  She's acting out a script.  The script may or may not make sense.  And yet, when we watch the film, we try to think of why she's doing things the way she does them.  Even though there is no real person on the screen, and Tippi Hedrin was just an actress and the writer and director might have been on drugs and the scene we're talking about might have been edited badly into the film from some chronologically different sequence.

                We try to MAKE sense of it in our minds.  Making sense of things is what we do as humans.  We create narratives for everything.  Even for the names of the processes in physical sciences.

    •  Dreams: (12+ / 0-)

      random firing of synapses in response to input and memory.

      Love: dopamine and serotonin receptors responding to pleasure stimulus... at its best in a reinforcing feedback loop.

      Intuition: pattern recognition.

      Hope: fear

      The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

      by RedDan on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 06:43:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's really good, I wouldn't have thought of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul

        all that.  But wouldn't you say that hope is a psychological defense response to fear?

        I hate it when I hope.  Because there's just too much wiggle room for dire outcomes.

        Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

        by ZedMont on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 07:11:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes that fully explains love all right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RedDan, quiet in NC
        Love: dopamine and serotonin receptors responding to pleasure stimulus... at its best in a reinforcing feedback loop.
        We'll just put you down as a real romantic

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 07:58:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What combination of neurotransmitters (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sally Foster

        makes somebody a hero?

        If you feel like that question isn't clear enough and requires further definition of terms, let's try this: What makes a hero a hero and how do you quantify it?  If you can't quantify it, does that mean heroes aren't really heroes?  

        I'm deliberately choosing a word here that describes something most of us have some understanding of but which can't be easily reduced to a discussion of neurotransmitters without making itself totally absurd.

        •  What's a "hero" (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy, sagesource, caul

          You asked the question, it's up to you to come up with a definition. In fact, re-ask the question without using the word since no one knows what it means.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:01:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kkkkate

            Somebody who is brave enough to do something difficult that may require sacrificing something of value.

            Actually, we can go on quite a while, defining value and self and brave, etc.  You might believe that when we are done, we will describe something that can be explained through neurotransmitters, chemical bonds, etc., but I think this is ultimately something more abstract than the natural world, more like literature analysis and philosophy than anything in the natural sciences.  

            •  So (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sagesource

              You don't think it is possible to explain why someone would sacrifice something for someone else using sociology or molecular biology?

              And you think that these other non-scientific methods you are describing are better than scientific methods?

              Somebody who is brave enough to do something difficult that may require sacrificing something of value.

              Actually, we can go on quite a while, defining value and self and brave, etc.  You might believe that when we are done, we will describe something that can be explained through neurotransmitters, chemical bonds, etc., but I think this is ultimately something more abstract than the natural world, more like literature analysis and philosophy than anything in the natural sciences.  

              Well, that's just an assertion on your part. Large swaths of human and animal behavior are already understood in terms of evolution, neuroscience, and other sciences that attempt to understand how large collections of neuron molecules behave as a group. There is no reason not to believe that all behavior can in theory be explained this way, no mysticism needed.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:24:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I grant you this: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kkkkate

                all OBSERVABLE phenomena can be described in some way through physical processes.  Including my typing this.

                However, I take a very different attitude from you, I suspect, on how we relate to this physical world and these physical processes.  Yes, they are observable.  Yes, they can describe all observable phenomena in a rational way, the way that describing film cellulose and lenses describes The Birds.  I don't think you and I RELATE to that physical world.  You and I exist in a world of concepts and narratives.  We impose meaning on the things we observe in order to help us understand them and try to grapple with them.  It's the ONLY way we can grapple with anything.  The meanings that we impose are always arbitrary, although some are much more useful than others and easier to communicate.  The meanings that we ascribe to things are as outside the scope of the physical processes of the natural world as numbers are.  

                Now, exercising a little jiu-jitsu, I can point out that the converse situation might be applicable.  Can a theoretical model of a physical world and all physical processes in it (this world or some other imaginary one) be described through a set of formulas and principles?  This is one of the basic assumptions in physics, so I'm not taking you into uncomfortable religious territory by suggesting this, that there is some unified theory of everything that is capable of explaining and describing everything in our observable world.

                Theoretically, if we had a formula like that, and a big and powerful enough computer, we could recreate everything in the universe through a modeled simulation based on that theory, in the same way that everything that happens in the game The Sims is modeled on the algorithm in the app program that comes on the CD, TheSims.exe.  We could exist in such a theoretical simulation program, right now, all our molecules could be expressions of a conceptual model, and we could have a hearty debate over whether any physical process we observe is "real" or not.

                According to Brian Greene in his book, The Elegant Universe, the race for such a theory is probably going to provide multiple solutions that are mutually inconsistent with each other.  I.e., there may be more than one way of modeling our universe, and they can't all be right at the same time, and yet each one of them will be, by itself, demonstrably true based on all predictions and observable phenomena.  

                I take the position that if/when that happens, they will all be true.

            •  Which is why... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dumbo

              ... many nontheists engage in literary analysis and philosophy, because.

              •  cut off (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dumbo

                because there is no one-size-fits-all wonder tool.

                •  That's true. (0+ / 0-)

                  I suppose I'm a pan-theist, which is a non-theist by many people's crude definition, but I agree with what you just said.

                  What I'm arguing against is the naturalist materialist position, a position that is often equated with atheism.  I don't see why it needs to be, but, oh well, I don't see either why religion has to be equated with fundamentalism.  They're both unwieldy.

                  This is closer to what I believe, Subjective Idealism at wiki, although I go off on a different tangent involving narratives.

                  Subjective idealism is a fusion of phenomenalism or empiricism, which confers special status upon the immediately perceived, with idealism, which confers special status upon the mental. Idealism denies the knowability or existence of the non-mental, while phenomenalism serves to restrict the mental to the empirical. Subjective idealism thus identifies its mental reality with the world of ordinary experience, rather than appealing to the unitary world-spirit of pantheism or absolute idealism. This form of idealism is "subjective" not because it denies that there is an objective reality, but because it asserts that this reality is completely dependent upon the minds of the subjects that perceive it.
          •  these days it's another word for victim (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            caul

            so essentially just being in the wrong place at the wrong time could make a person into a hero . . .

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