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Les Sleeth
Dec6-05, 07:12 PM
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The best physicists theorize from what they can experience, which is a good thing. But if they lack the ability to experience God, isn't it a bit egocentric to think God is therefore not possible to experience but rather merely what's unexplainable and peculiar?
For the traditional physicist who has not the ability to experience God in the sense of a transcendent being, it is unexplainable that someone else can; therefore he will categorize the ``transcendent creature believers´´ in the God bag .
I believe I understand your point, but I don’t understand why you would try to justify that attitude (if you are). It seems to me you are describing a dogmatic, self-absorbed thinker who concludes that if something is claimed which is other than what he already believes, then he summarily tosses it in a category he’s set aside for things he doesn’t care to understand.

The other day I was watching a PBS special where the interviewer quizzed hard-core religious fundamentalists from Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Each judged all the world in terms of what they assumed was true. To tell you the truth, I cannot tell the difference between a religious fundamentalist and a scientific one. Both assume the truth of a theory, both try to search only for those facts which support their belief, both filter out, ignore and dismiss all that is contrary to their beliefs, and both tend to be condescending toward non-believers.

I know the traditionalist scientist thinks his belief is different. I see it as like the difference between the father who oppresses through yelling and threats, and the father who oppresses by out-intellectualizing his child on every point. Yes, the intellectual’s oppression is more cleverly accomplished, but in the end it is still just ordinary old oppression. Similarly, dogmatism is dogmatism no matter how intelligently it is practiced.

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Yet there are things about reality which aren't explained by mechanics.
Such as ??
You asked for consciousness but let me start with two other traits which I’ve written about as non-mechanical before. One is creativity. An analogy I’ve used in the past is you, the mechanist, attempting to 100% account for, say, Monet's painting Beach at Sainte Adresse. When we receive your report, we find for each point on the painting you’ve listed every wavelength of color, paint chemistry, canvas materials, paint thickness, geometric shapes, pressure used by the brush, and so on.

Once you are done, you claim you’ve explained all that needs explaining because the “exhibited” physical painting is 100% accounted for. But that’s because the only thing you are looking at are the physical/mechanical aspects, the only thing that interests you are the physical/mechanical aspects, and the research method you used to study the painting (empiricism) only reveals physical/mechanical factors.

But I, as an art lover, see and especially feel “something more.” To make your analysis as a scientist you don’t need to feel something more, but to appreciate the work of art, you do. Art is a good example to use because there is no doubt that an artist must work through some sort of physical medium. But the physical medium hasn’t shaped itself into art; neither did the hands alone do it, nor the intellect alone figuring out how to work with various colors do it . . . there was “something more,” a creative expression of something the artist was trying to reflect in his work.

Speaking of appreciation, what is that? There are those who actually develop the conscious trait of appreciation. We don’t need that trait to be conscious, or to survive. But for some of us, that trait is what has made life meaningful, and enjoyable. I have to eat to survive, but I have also learned how to eat slowly, attentively, 100% absorbed into what I am doing so I can experience it as fully as possible. Before that, I cooked the same way, to make sure I have the kind of meal that can be enjoyed that manner.

What is love but a type of appreciation. What is interest but the effort to appreciate something mentally. If you look around this world, you will see the happiest people are appreciators, and often they are also the finest creators, thinkers, and achievers because they love the things they do. How does it fit into the mechanistic equation?

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You could make an effort to define consciousness (I exposed myself to criticism by making a provisionary definition of God).
My own definition for consciousness is 1) self-aware awareness 2) that “retains” what it experiences 3) so that it develops, learns, individuates as it becomes more experienced.

But I didn’t criticize you for attempting a definition of God, I was critical of the mental attitude that thinks because one hasn’t experienced something, no one has; and as well, the assumption that if something doesn’t fit neatly into one’s belief system, then there is likely nothing to it.

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Here's the logic of that supposition. Amino acids self-organize for a few steps, therefore, chemistry can self-organize for a million steps to become a cell. Do you see a problem with this logic?
Ah, every physicist would argue that a system with so many degrees of freedom is impossible to study exactly (for now) but that this is by no means a reason to *believe* in something different. I believe that such complicated dynamics will be studied in the foreseeable future and that our theories shall give good results (as suggested by work in statistical physics).
Yes, but I say there is already reason to doubt that pure mechanicalness can self-organize with the quality needed to reach the high functionality of a cell. Actually what I am saying is that the physicalist’s a priori belief has messed up his objectivity.

See, why would the truly objective mind believe anything at all? If you look at how chemistry behaves outside of a living system (i.e., as in regular chemicals in a vat), nothing happens there that should give the objective mind hope it will/can self-organize for thousands of progressively organizing steps to become a self-sustaining, reproducing, metabolizing, adapting system.

The objective mind is free to admit that some other unrecognized influence might be responsible for the quality of organization found in life; but not the physicalist who believes in advance of and despite contrary facts that mechanics can do what is utterly uncharacteristic of them because he is already committed to a mechanistic belief system.

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Finally, are you sure there isn't a way to experience what some refer to as God?
Of course I am not sure: the same goes about telekinesis for example. The point is that one should not speculate whether this can be explained by traditional physics or not as long as we cannot calculate yet the behavior of a bucket of water.
It didn’t seem to me that was your point, which I interpreted as claiming that God is nothing more than how humanity fills gaps in knowledge.

From my experience in debating science believers I have come to believe they trust science because they can experience what they/others claim. With science, you don’t have to take someone’s else’s word for it, you can go find or set up a situation that has been claimed true and observe yourself. Usually the scientist calls this practice (i.e., to confirm hypotheses by observation) empiricism.

However, I prefer to call science a type of experientialism. If you look at what makes science really different from most epistemologies, it is its reliance on experience. We’ve always hypothesized, and some of it was very logical. But lots of things that seem logical are proven untrue when we finally get to where we can observe them.

Given the immense successes of the empirical variety of experientialism, a question that is pertinent to the God issue is, “can God be experienced?”

The experience required for science is sense experience. But did you know there is 3000 year history of people (most often monastics, hermits, ascetics, etc. devoted to the inner life) who practiced withdrawing from the senses? What kind of experience do you think that is? One thing is certain, if it’s possible, it isn’t the same sort of experience as sense experience. Further, who do you think has made the most impressive reports about finding God experientially? Those who practiced this inner method of withdrawing from the senses.

Guess how many science believers know the slightest thing about the successes of the inner practitioners, or for that matter anything about this experience at all? Virtually none. Yet that doesn’t stop the science believer from saying things like “there’s no evidence of God,” or from assuming science is the only epistemology worth mastering.

Here’s a link to a fun little thread I did, a pretend debate between someone who’d achieved inner skills and someone purely outer: