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Re: Race and Genes

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  • louise
    Chris Lofting. Just to make clear that I have no respect whatever for your criteria of respect. Whenever you post your inanities to the group, I must consider
    Message 1 of 26 , May 2, 2009
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      Chris Lofting.

      Just to make clear that I have no respect whatever for your criteria of respect. Whenever you post your inanities to the group, I must consider whether to intervene, and this situation will continue unless the moderators find my responses unacceptable. Your condescending and juvenile attitude led me into much false confession. You should take a look at your own insufferable vanity.

      Louise

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "chris lofting" <lofting@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      >
      > > -----Original Message-----
      > > From: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > > [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of louise
      > > Sent: Saturday, 2 May 2009 11:05 PM
      > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > > Subject: [existlist] Re: Race and Genes
      > >
      > <snip>
      > >
      > > Chris, In this instance I find your contribution highly
      > > polluting. It literally makes me want to retch. You appear
      > > to be referring to political questions, with an astonishing
      > > degree of ignorant posturing, having shown yourself quite
      > > unable to 'live in peace' when your own arguments here have
      > > been exposed to the rigours of debate. How can you
      > > seriously, or anyone else here tolerate taking seriously, a
      > > 'neurological perspective', when we are talking about human
      > > subjectivity and its real-world complications? Maybe this is
      > > a question of list politics, or list policing. Louise
      > >
      >
      > Louise - I find you ignorance, vanity, and arrogance astonishing at times -
      > you really should see someone about it. Your focus on subjectivity fails
      > miserably in that you obviously have no understanding at all about the
      > unconscious and its influence on the 'subjective' - you seem to believe that
      > there is no tie of neurological function and human subjectivity and
      > real-world issues! LOL! The NATURAL consequence of a DEMAND to
      > differentiate, to DOUBT, will elicit an increase in refined consciousness
      > that is grounded in mediation and uncertainty.
      >
      > To follow an existentialist perspective without understanding the dynamics
      > that seed such is reflective of a lack of depth in thought, a knee-jerk
      > existence and so reflecting behaviours that focus on stereotyping and
      > symmetric thinking - traits you keep demonstrating.
      >
      > cordially,
      >
      > Chris.
      >
    • Herman B. Triplegood
      Tom: Yeah, Einstein stepped away from his original pacifist position. But that, I think, was a right choice at the time. He saw very clearly the grave threat
      Message 2 of 26 , May 2, 2009
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        Tom:

        Yeah, Einstein stepped away from his original pacifist position. But that, I think, was a right choice at the time. He saw very clearly the grave threat that was posed by the Nationalist Socialist movement in Germany.

        One of things that we don't usually look at, however, is this. The intensity of the threat posed by fascist regimes was increased by the advances in technology.

        Remember Clausewitz? He theorized that if total war ever did become possible, it could subvert all political agendas. Gaddis mentions this in his history of the Cold War. Either the attempt to achieve the political end by extra-political means succeeded, or it did not.

        Clausewitz saw the gathering storm on the horizon: the possibility of total war. The relationship between war and politics became reversible. War can, and still does, serve political ends. But now, politics also serves military ends.

        This is not only frightening, but also seemingly inexplicable.

        Why has this happened?

        What is going on?

        It is as if the impulse to wage war has really taken on a life of its own. That was the threat posed by those weapons of mass destruction during the Cold War. Everybody knew that. Once the nuclear genie was let out of the bottle, the escalation to total war would be inevitable.

        The threat has not gone away. If anything, looking toward the near future, the threat of total war may very well increase as we stare down the spectre of some individual, like Bin Laden, getting his hands on a nuclear weapon. We can still pretty much depend upon governments to, in most cases, do the right thing, as long as the way to dialogue remains open, and cooler heads can still prevail.

        But how do we counter the irrational threat of the apocalyptic visionary? Such a visionary could topple governments with just a few well placed nuclear weapons. Then who know what will happen next?

        It is not at all clear to me that, in the end, this wonderful gift of technology that we have given to ourselves will not ultimately be our total undoing.

        Things like racism, and the tendency to supplant old ecclesiastical authoritarianism with new scientistic authoritarianism, or even the tendency to want to reinstate ecclesiastical authoritarianism, make it very clear to me that, when it comes down to reason and rationality, there is no guarantee that cooler heads will, in fact, prevail.

        All the more reason why, as far as I am concerned, we should take very seriously the threat posed to our survival, as a species, by the wide spread tendency to reduce reason to raw emotion, and the tendency to reduce human freedom to mere mechanism.

        This machine that we have created is very real, and it is blind, and if we let it go, if we lose our control over it, it will do what it does, automatically, without regard to either life or freedom, because, it isn't us, it is, indeed, the absolute antithesis of every thing that we, ourselves, really are.

        Hb3g

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "devogney" <tsmith17_midsouth1@...> wrote:
        >
        > -
        >
        >
        > Herman,
        >
        > I agree very much with the gist of your post.Reductionistic materialism emerged in the political battle with Catholic dogmatism; and ironically what we are battling often influences what we become[a good example of that was the fact that Einstein and the inventor of the atomic bomb, Szilard, sent the letter to FDR proposing the bomb, because they hads heard Hitler had men working on it, otherwise neither Einstein or Szilard would ever have proposed such a bomb. In similar fashion, science had its beginnings in opposition to Catholic dogmatism, and produced a tradition that often was as dogmatic in their reductionistic materialism as the Church was in it's theism.
        >
        > The fact that the tenents of the reductionist, materialistic science was in general quite successful in terms of making practical inventions was quite impressive. I have heard that Newtonian theory was for practical purposes close enough to being correct for terrestrial purposes; but the superiority of Einstenian over Newtonian assumptions became relevent when launches into outer space began.
        >
        > The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.Einstein
        >
        > Tom
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > -- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@> wrote:
        > >
        > > I have been engaged in a rather interesting mix of reading over the past few months. I mentioned a week or so ago that I had read Isaacson's interesting biography on Einstein and Gaddis' short history of the Cold War. And I have also been reading Joe Sachs' translations of Aristotle's Metaphyscis, Physics and On the Soul.
        > >
        > > Here is another book I have been reading that, I think, throws a lot of light on how the drive toward purity, namely methodological purity, has played itself out in at least one branch of philosophy, namely, the philosophy of science. It is George Reisch's "How the Cold War Transformed Philosophy of Science: To the Icy Slopes of Logic."
        > >
        > > That whole bit about how the unity of science movement came out of the Vienna Circle and the logical empiricism of the nineteen thirties is a fascinating and disturbing story.
        > >
        > > Here is a snippet from the Vienna Circle's manifesto, Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung, written by Rudolph Carnap, Otto Neurath, and Hans Hahn, back in 1929:
        > >
        > > "Neatness and clarity are striven for, and dark distances and unfathomable depths rejected. In science there are no "depths"; there is surface everywhere: all experience forms a complex network, which cannot always be surveyed and can often be grasped only in parts. Everything is accessible to man; and man is the measure of all things."
        > >
        > > I, for one, do not see how there can be such complexity without depth, and, I would certainly take issue with the obvious reference to the Protagorean position that man is the measure of all things, and that there is nothing that is not accessible to man. What amazes me is that Niels Bohr, a quantum physicist, was a member of the unity of science movement, and that this statement about the accessibility of all things flies right in the face of the recently discovered Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as well as the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics championed by Niels Bohr, both of which imply that not everything is accessible to man, precisely because the indeterminacy of observation, according to Bohr and Heisenberg, is an intrinsic feature of physical reality.
        > >
        > > So, it would seem that the Vienna Circle and the unity of science movement were out of step with the most recent experimental results and theoretical developments that they, themselves, professed to hold in such high esteem.
        > >
        > > But the ideals that were behind the Vienna Circle and the unity of science movement seemed noble enough. Help science to do the most good for humanity. The whole project was conceived, in the early days, pretty much along Enlightenment lines. Science and philosophy ought to contribute toward making this world a better place to live. Progress is a good thing.
        > >
        > > But the project morphed over a period of several decades into a dry logical inquiry that ceased to have much relevance to humanistic concerns. Reisch believes this had much to do with the political environment. McCarthyism. Be that as it may. But I think, too, that it had a lot to do with the untenability of a purist methodological approach to science, and to philosdophy.
        > >
        > > Clear over at the other end of the historical and methodological spectrum, you have Aristotle. Yes, Aristotle places a lot of value on coming up with clear philosophical explanations. We want to figure these things out. But Aristotle was realistic about it. You don't really begin with clarity. You begin with obscurity. And an interesting thing tends to happen along the way. You realize that underneath this drive to go from obscurity to clarity there is something that never really goes away, and that something is the inherent ambiguity of the subject matter that is under investigation. The word "being" for example ends up meaning different things in different ways. You can't reduce it to just one single meaning. The same goes for other things like motion and life.
        > >
        > > Even philosophical first principles are not unambiguous. The ambiguity constitutes the richness of such concepts. But we easily mistake that richness for indeterminacy. Or, perhaps, we get confused ourselves, because we want a pure and simple explanation of a thing that, itself, is never pure and simple, no matter how determined it may be.
        > >
        > > It doesn't surprise me that Aristotle ended up placing a lot of importance on such things as ambiguity and diversity. He was a biologist, a naturalist, a profound investigator of nature, and he clearly recognized the value of diversity and the inevitable ambiguities that have to come into play when we try get a metaphysical grip on nature.
        > >
        > > In many ways, I think, what happened after the Enlightenment, as scientific method took hold and became the ruling metaphysical paradigm is that we took methodological purity to heart and raised it to the level of an ideology. There is no doubt that we have gained much by keeping things methodologically pure and simple. It is obvious. But there is also little doubt that we have lost a lot too.
        > >
        > > How to strike a balance? That is the question. In many ways, maybe, the existentialists kind of rebelled against the ruling scientific ideology because they took to heart what we all know deep down inside. Despite the allure, and the benefits to be incurred, by the pure and simple approach, life really isn't simple that way.
        > >
        > > Besides, it is also pretty obvious, I think, that in spite of its methodological simplifications, the scientific picture of the world that we have ended up with, when it comes right down to it, isn't really all that simple, but rather complicated.
        > >
        > > This all goes to the arguments about racism and racial purity too. The National Socialists prided themselves on having, supposedly, a scientific basis for their eugenics programs. That is why they started euthanizing the mentally ill. They felt that they had pure and simple scientific reasons for strengthening the German race by getting rid of the so-called genetic failures. Of course, there was a lot more going on than that. The genocide against the Jews may have been rationalized along such scientific lines as well. They were considered an inferior race. But we know that unacknowledged resentments and hatreds, irrational and unscientific beliefs, also played their role.
        > >
        > > I think that we have to ask ourselves a question here. In spite of the successes and positive results to be attained by such sciences as psychology, sociology and anthropology, does it really make sense to say that there can be such a thing as a science of man? I do not think that it was the intention of the major Enlightenment thinkers to promote the institution of a science of man. Rather, I think that it was their intention to promote the utility of science as an instrument that can further the the humanistic as oppsoed to the ecclesiastical interests of man. It was not about science for its own sake. It was about science for the sake of man. The underlying motives were humanistic motives, not positivistic scientistic motives.
        > >
        > > This is quite clear in Kant's first Critique. He clipped the wings of Newtonian scientism in order to leave room for a sense of trust in our humanistic moral concerns, as he said in the preface:
        > >
        > > "I have had to deny knowledge [i.e., of certain things, as far as Newtonian science is concerned], in order to make room for faith [i.e., our trust in the moral/practical interests of reason]"
        > >
        > > Kant wasn't talking about moral theology there. He was talking about humanism versus scientism. Are you surprised? You shouldn't be; if, that is, you read Kant's true intentions correctly. He felt that freedom needed to be saved from an encroaching scientism. Most commentators ignore that aspect of Kant because it doesn't fit into their scientistic distortions of Kant. The academic Kantians are the worst of all.
        > >
        > > But all of that Kantian Enlightenment sentiment got lost in the translation during the ensuing nineteenth and early twentieth century developments that did, indeed, supplant the humanistic concerns with the frankly scientistic ones.
        > >
        > > And then we ended up here...
        > >
        > > Hb3g
        > >
        > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator <existlist1@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > I have a more simple reason to avoid some discussions... they don't
        > > > reflect directly enough on philosophy. That is why you have to ask how
        > > > a discussion reflects back on personal choices, personal
        > > > consciousness, etc. If a discussion is nothing more than "Pub
        > > > Chatter" (minus the joy of dark beer), then it probably doesn't need
        > > > to continue. If you can contextualize (uhg) the chatter, then that's
        > > > different.
        > > >
        > > > Issues of race, religion, and gender, can be found in the works of
        > > > various philosophers. The question for me is if any philosophers
        > > > claims are countered or complemented by science. Does current research
        > > > support or debunk some philosophers? When I think race and
        > > > existentialism, I end up with Buber, Heidegger, and Camus -- each for
        > > > a different reason.
        > > >
        > > > Camus was definitely French, and proud of it, but acutely aware of
        > > > racism and classism within French colonial society.
        > > >
        > > > Heidegger was a strange mix of anti-Semite and lover of at least two
        > > > Jewish students. Go figure. I still need to read some of the
        > > > biographical works I purchased over the last two years.
        > > >
        > > > Buber started as a Jewish racist, ended up being an activist for
        > > > Palestinian equality. Buber himself admitted that his extremely
        > > > religious upbringing had adversely affected his views of other people
        > > > until he moved to Israel and realized people turn out to be amazingly
        > > > similar.
        > > >
        > > > If intelligent, sometimes reasonable people, cannot discuss something,
        > > > then I fear that prejudices are only allowed to continue and fester.
        > > > Until someone engages in the debate, "What is a witch?" nothing
        > > > changes. (Not that I think "reason" is infallible or trustworthy.)
        > > >
        > > > As for science, if we couldn't map people by genetics, I'd agree there
        > > > are no ethnic differences. However, we can demonstrate where people
        > > > migrated, when, and with whom they interacted. Ethnic groups are quite
        > > > genuine and unique, but they are nothing more than physical
        > > > characteristics. I must pay attention to those differences in my
        > > > research, since they are statistically important. If If I ignore race,
        > > > I could very well miss a key to helping thousands of families.
        > > >
        > > > The philosophical questions that arise are actually ethical questions.
        > > > For example, does a study of medications that are more effective on
        > > > one race than another feed social biases? Because of past racism and
        > > > horrible science, some groups don't want to participate in clinical
        > > > trials. What is the moral / ethical implication of not testing a
        > > > medication on some groups? Even if that omission is well intentioned?
        > > >
        > > > There are heart medications that work well with some ethnic groups,
        > > > but have no or even contra-indicative results in other groups.
        > > > Unfortunately, because we test most medications on white males, we
        > > > missed that some of these are damaging to women and minorities. We
        > > > didn't test on these groups for all the "right reasons" (past abuses).
        > > >
        > > > I admit that I still wonder what influence racism, even unconscious
        > > > racism, has on the diagnoses of autism and ADD/ADHD. If you enter a
        > > > special education class in Minnesota, the odds are that the majority
        > > > of students will be male and of African descent. In a state with 2 to
        > > > 4 percent minority population, nearly 60 percent of special education
        > > > is for minority students. Something is wrong. Why should I not ask
        > > > about racism? What about genetics? What a mess. No easy answer.
        > > >
        > > > Philosophers, ideally, keep science from running amok. I can at least
        > > > dream of that ideal. Unfortunately, philosophers are no better than
        > > > everyone else and, worse, can justify warped views with supposed
        > > > reason. (I think Peter Singer makes horrible views sound reasonable.
        > > > Then again, I'm an "advocate" for the disabled. But he is an "ethics"
        > > > expert, so he must be reasonable. Sure.)
        > > >
        > > > So, any topic should be open to discussion -- but only if you can
        > > > associate it with philosophical concerns.
        > > >
        > > > - C. S. Wyatt
        > > > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
        > > > that I shall be.
        > > > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
        > > > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
        > > >
        > >
        >
      • Exist List Moderator
        ... I have heard a few analytical philosophers discuss this paradox and they argue it is not a paradox at all. How science views precision and known to
        Message 3 of 26 , May 2, 2009
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          On May 02, 2009, at 7:16, Herman B. Triplegood wrote:

          > things, and that there is nothing that is not accessible to man.
          > What amazes me is that Niels Bohr, a quantum physicist, was a member
          > of the unity of science movement, and that this statement about the
          > accessibility of all things flies right in the face of the recently
          > discovered Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as well as the
          > Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics championed by Niels
          > Bohr, both of which imply that not everything is accessible to man,
          > precisely because the indeterminacy of observation, according to
          > Bohr and Heisenberg, is an intrinsic feature of physical reality.

          I have heard a few analytical philosophers discuss this "paradox" and
          they argue it is not a paradox at all. How science views "precision"
          and "known to man" is not the same as philosophy. This confusion is
          understandable, though. Philosophers have tried to borrow from
          science, with sometimes odd results.

          Even the Uncertainty Principle is actually "certain" once you study
          Schrodinger's mechanics.

          http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/

          The issue is if the theories of Heisenberg described a quality, a
          principal, a perception, or something else. There are definitely gaps
          in the mathematics. However, just because we can't do the math, or
          locate it yet, does not mean the mathematics do not exist.

          I certainly don't think science gives meaning, nor do I think mankind
          will ever have "all the answers" to understand the natural world. But,
          the question is if science should even be looked to for some
          questions? Maybe science is the wrong discipline for some questions.

          Because I do believe in cognitive sciences, especially neurology, I
          struggle with questions of free will and reason. I tell myself that
          having a tendency, an underlying predisposition, is not destiny.
          Genetics and birth are only starting points. Sure, they matter, but we
          do have the ability to reason, the ability to overpower / overcome our
          natures.

          The notion of science revealing everything is just uncomfortable for
          me. At the same time, I am not mystical or religious... so I end up
          wavering on issues of life and meaning. It's all quite confusing,
          which it probably should be.


          - C. S. Wyatt
          I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
          that I shall be.
          http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
          http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
        • chris lofting
          ... Consideration of the neurology research leads into the focus on mediation dynamics and the creation of specialist perspectives and their accompanying
          Message 4 of 26 , May 2, 2009
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            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            > [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Exist List Moderator
            > Sent: Sunday, 3 May 2009 12:40 PM
            > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: Re: [existlist] Purity and Philosophy
            >
            > On May 02, 2009, at 7:16, Herman B. Triplegood wrote:
            >
            > > things, and that there is nothing that is not accessible to man.
            > > What amazes me is that Niels Bohr, a quantum physicist, was
            > a member
            > > of the unity of science movement, and that this statement about the
            > > accessibility of all things flies right in the face of the recently
            > > discovered Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as well as the
            > Copenhagen
            > > interpretation of quantum mechanics championed by Niels
            > Bohr, both of
            > > which imply that not everything is accessible to man, precisely
            > > because the indeterminacy of observation, according to Bohr and
            > > Heisenberg, is an intrinsic feature of physical reality.
            >
            > I have heard a few analytical philosophers discuss this
            > "paradox" and they argue it is not a paradox at all. How
            > science views "precision"
            > and "known to man" is not the same as philosophy. This
            > confusion is understandable, though. Philosophers have tried
            > to borrow from science, with sometimes odd results.
            >
            > Even the Uncertainty Principle is actually "certain" once you
            > study Schrodinger's mechanics.
            >
            > http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/
            >
            > The issue is if the theories of Heisenberg described a
            > quality, a principal, a perception, or something else. There
            > are definitely gaps in the mathematics. However, just because
            > we can't do the math, or locate it yet, does not mean the
            > mathematics do not exist.
            >
            > I certainly don't think science gives meaning, nor do I think
            > mankind will ever have "all the answers" to understand the
            > natural world. But, the question is if science should even be
            > looked to for some questions? Maybe science is the wrong
            > discipline for some questions.
            >

            Consideration of the neurology research leads into the focus on mediation
            dynamics and the creation of specialist perspectives and their accompanying
            languages. See diagrams/comments in the intro to my IDM abstract domain
            model page - http://members.iimetro.com.au/~lofting/myweb/AbstractD.htm

            ALL acts of mediation, regardless of scale, are acts grounded in uncertainty
            such that ANY meta-level analysis of these perspectives will reveal this
            fact. Lack of understanding of what is going on in our brains has led to the
            perspectives of physics/mathematics etc on uncertainties AS IF a ground for
            all reality - when the fact is the ground is in the mediating alone. Once
            mediation is complete we have a result but such is made unconscious in the
            form of habit/memory available for recall when prompted by some context.

            > Because I do believe in cognitive sciences, especially
            > neurology, I struggle with questions of free will and reason.

            How?

            > I tell myself that having a tendency, an underlying
            > predisposition, is not destiny.

            Certainly not for your singular being, but an issue for your particular
            being that is pushed by context to achieve its purpose(s). The emergence of
            consciousness covers the emergence of mediation skills and the capability to
            work top-down in limiting the degrees of freedom possible in bottom-up
            activities. Ss such the development of consciousness benefits the
            achievement of purpose of the particular but the success of consciousness
            has generalised that formally local focus where we think out of context
            through the use of mediations in the form of symbols that we then take
            literally rather than figuratively.

            > Genetics and birth are only starting points. Sure, they
            > matter, but we do have the ability to reason, the ability to
            > overpower / overcome our natures.
            >

            Reason is hard-coded, it is not free of our biology and so neurology. It is
            the DEGREE of reasoning capabilities that make the difference between us and
            other neuron-dependent life forms. Lower life forms can consider the
            previous few contexts to influence the current, the extremes in us allow us
            to work backwards to some originating context eons ago and use that to
            influence the current and predict the next.

            We can even focus on consciousness as emerging to regulate reason as reason
            has emerged to regulate instincts/emotions. IOW we can reason ourselves into
            a corner such that, for example, a suicidal position is 'logical'!
            Consciousness allows us to CHOOSE to be unreasonable and so transcend such
            paradoxes.

            > The notion of science revealing everything is just
            > uncomfortable for me.

            Science is not so much a thing, it is more a methodology. Its current issues
            are in its grounding in symmetry through its demands for repeatability etc
            (and so making the subjective 'unscientific') and so a focus on sameness.
            See Deleuze etc for a focus on an emerging logic/mathematics of difference.
          • devogney
            -CS, I think science can certainly play a part in putting us in greater touch with various realities, both external and internal. I think the only real danger
            Message 5 of 26 , May 2, 2009
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              -CS,

              I think science can certainly play a part in putting us in greater touch with various realities, both external and internal. I think the only real danger is tendencies to assume that all other methods of learning are useless, or at least second rate. Science assumes results that can be replicated, but most of our life experience is not something that can be replicated numerous times for statistical sampling. Science in recent years has in many cases confirmed many things by brain scans etc that previously were subjectively experienced, although in many cases there were traditions of such experiences. Science being able to note correlations in brain activities with reported subjective states makes what was subjective more objective, what was more occult more scientific. I believe science can be a very good servant in human psychological and philosophical evolution, but allowing reductionist, materialistic paradigms to limit your imagination and inquiries is not conductive to becoming all that we can be.

              Religious views
              Hawking has repeatedly used the word 'God' (in metaphorical meanings)[34] to illustrate points made in his books and public speeches. Having been described as an atheist by various people, including his former wife Jane,[35][36] Hawking has stated that he is "not religious in the normal sense" and he believes that "the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws."[37]


              Imagination is more important than knowledge...
              Albert Einstein
              - More quotations on: [Imagination]
              It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
              Albert Einstein

              My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
              Albert Einstein

              Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
              Albert Einstein


              The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
              Albert Einstein
              US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

              The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.
              Albert Einstein


              The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.
              Albert Einstein

              Tom





              -- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator <existlist1@...> wrote:
              >
              > On May 02, 2009, at 7:16, Herman B. Triplegood wrote:
              >
              > > things, and that there is nothing that is not accessible to man.
              > > What amazes me is that Niels Bohr, a quantum physicist, was a member
              > > of the unity of science movement, and that this statement about the
              > > accessibility of all things flies right in the face of the recently
              > > discovered Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as well as the
              > > Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics championed by Niels
              > > Bohr, both of which imply that not everything is accessible to man,
              > > precisely because the indeterminacy of observation, according to
              > > Bohr and Heisenberg, is an intrinsic feature of physical reality.
              >
              > I have heard a few analytical philosophers discuss this "paradox" and
              > they argue it is not a paradox at all. How science views "precision"
              > and "known to man" is not the same as philosophy. This confusion is
              > understandable, though. Philosophers have tried to borrow from
              > science, with sometimes odd results.
              >
              > Even the Uncertainty Principle is actually "certain" once you study
              > Schrodinger's mechanics.
              >
              > http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/
              >
              > The issue is if the theories of Heisenberg described a quality, a
              > principal, a perception, or something else. There are definitely gaps
              > in the mathematics. However, just because we can't do the math, or
              > locate it yet, does not mean the mathematics do not exist.
              >
              > I certainly don't think science gives meaning, nor do I think mankind
              > will ever have "all the answers" to understand the natural world. But,
              > the question is if science should even be looked to for some
              > questions? Maybe science is the wrong discipline for some questions.
              >
              > Because I do believe in cognitive sciences, especially neurology, I
              > struggle with questions of free will and reason. I tell myself that
              > having a tendency, an underlying predisposition, is not destiny.
              > Genetics and birth are only starting points. Sure, they matter, but we
              > do have the ability to reason, the ability to overpower / overcome our
              > natures.
              >
              > The notion of science revealing everything is just uncomfortable for
              > me. At the same time, I am not mystical or religious... so I end up
              > wavering on issues of life and meaning. It's all quite confusing,
              > which it probably should be.
              >
              >
              > - C. S. Wyatt
              > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
              > that I shall be.
              > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
              > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
              >
            • louise
              ... Herman, Not at all. In the context of this particular discussion list, we have not arrived at any clarification of the term. In my opinion, bigotry still
              Message 6 of 26 , May 4, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@...> wrote:
                >
                > Louise:
                >
                > You are trying to make racism sound reasonable.

                Herman,
                Not at all. In the context of this particular discussion list, we have not arrived at any clarification of the term. In my opinion, bigotry still reigns, just as it does in the real political world. As somebody who has suffered from the mental violence which self-justifying delusions about superior selfhood incite in the racially-ignorant, I am still struggling to believe in the extremity of what is involved. Jesus. It is all too much. I truly love the honesty of your statements, and wish to reply at more length to this particular posting when I become capable.
                Louise
                ... quite sick of irrational righteousness

                >
                > But here are two problems that I have with that:
                >
                > 1. Purism. I've brought this up before. How does one reconcile the argument in favor of ethnic purity with the obvious facts of biological diversity and cultural diversity? We know full well, within the framework of ecology, that the loss of biological diversity leads to species extinction. As far as I see it, the forced abolishment of ethnic diversity, anywhere at anytime, whether by overt violent means, or by more surreptitious means, is tantamount to ethnocide, if not outright genocide.
                >
                > It doesn't work in nature. Why should we expect it to work for society?
                >
                > 2. Exclusion. How do we decide who or what gets excluded or included? History has taught us that the exclusion of entire ethnic classes is ultimately based, not upon reasoned judgment, but upon prejudice and distorted and even pathological emotion. Even to the point of the exclusion of the very facts of history itself.
                >
                > Amon Goeth narrated the long six hundred year history of the Jews in Poland on the morning of the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto. He gave a history lesson based upon acknowledged historical facts.
                >
                > But his final statement said all that needed to be said that day. The facts of history didn't matter:
                >
                > "Today, it never happened."
                >
                > That is what Amon Goeth said. Then, he and his men proceeded to massacre the Jews in the Warsaw gehtto.
                >
                > So...do we exclude truth as well?
                >
                > Pol Pot murdered three million of his countrymen in just under two years. Mao Tse Tung murdered thirty million for the sake of a cultural revolution over a period of about ten years. Stalin murdered about twenty million in the name of the Marxist/Leninist class struggle. And about fifty million "real" Americans were murdered in the name of manifest destiny. The litany of horror and violence, for the sake of ethnic purity, and exclusion, goes on even now. Rwanda. Darfur. The Taliban.
                >
                > Enough is enough. Don't you think?
                >
                > We are all on this planet together. We are all in this existential predicament together. There is no place left, really, for us to run off to and hide, because, most of us, for the most part, are too interdependent now to exclude ourselves from society for the sake of our so-called purity. Even the tree huggers know that. There is no "going back" to nature. The only way to go is forward. Not backward.
                >
                > We are all citizens of this one world first. Before all nationalities or patriotic sentiments. If that seems like a leftist kind of position, then so be it. There is a deep grain of truth in the heart felt need for cosmopolitansim, internationalism, and, above all, tolerance for what is always, inevitably, different, or unfamiliar.
                >
                > Doesn't the history of the twentieth century tell us something? Doesn't it tell us that the roads that lead toward ethnic purism, and exclusion of classes of any kind, the roads that take us farther away from the facts of diversity and multiplicity, plurality, go against the natural socio-political order in which we now, in fact, do find ourselves, and that they will lead, ultimately, to total holocaust?
                >
                > It isn't about us against them. It is about us, meaning, we the living, humanity as a whole, against the pernicious dichotomy that sets the us against the them in the first place.
                >
                > I cannot help but remember how repulsed I was by that web site in favor of the native British. The link to it was posted here a few weeks back. How is that kind of sentiment different from the sentiments that the Aryan Nation or Al Qaeda post on their sites? I don't see much of a difference.
                >
                > There is no such thing as "nice" racism.
                >
                > I was thinking, on the way home, about the strange catch phrases that we have been spoon feed to us over these past few years through the media:
                >
                > "War on drugs."
                > "War against poverty."
                > "War on terror."
                >
                > But what is the real war that is now being waged?
                >
                > I think it is this:
                >
                > "The war against personhood."
                >
                > If we lose the war against personhood, then I think we will lose freedom, and then, we will lose humanity itself, because, without freedom, humanity is pointless, and I firmly believe that freeddom is grounded, not in purity and exclusivity, but in mutual dignity, respect, and, above all, the beautiful diversity of the phenomena of life, and culture, to which we owe our existences and our histories.
                >
                > Have we really seriously looked at life in all of its profound diversity? I mean, through the metaphysical eyes of a philosopher like Aristotle? I think we have forgotten where we really came from. Man, the rational animal. A political animal. Hmmm... A human animal. Certainly. But, still an animal, like all the other animals.
                >
                > This, I believe, is Aristotle's profound metaphysical insight, right here:
                >
                > That there is nothing that is not life.
                >
                > And its corollary:
                >
                > Life is, par excellence, the diversification of form in action. There is no "one" without many.
                >
                > Hb3g
                >
                > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@> wrote:
                > >
                > > Jim,
                > >
                > > Thanks for drawing my attention to the sweeping nature of my allegations, which enables me to take a fresh look at what I was really meaning. In fact, my sense of urgency has become only a handicap, at present. So, in brief, the remarks were in reference to the continuing frustration I feel that a radical critique of what makes it into the public domain, especially on the subject of race, would constantly encounter irrelevant objections instead of open enquiry. Now, I continue to dig in my heels here, partly because I continue so indignant at the charges that have been pushed my way. This is chiefly in connection with Wil, who always announces himself as list policeman on such occasions. Mary tends to support the mainstream use of certain phrases, and the need for 'denunciation'. As you say, I do not wish to muzzle anyone, am simply responding to your enquiry. When I refer to "populist political talk", my reference is quite wide, because the contemporary academic consensus tends to provide an armoury of terms that claim exclusive possession of the moral high ground. I would contend that supremacism by violence, on the streets, represents a particular attitude of mind, that may be accompanied by a rhetoric from left or right. Racism looks to me a far more ambivalent word, and as usual, context is all. If I were approached by a distressed individual who had been assaulted, and who claimed to be the victim of a racist attack, I would not wish to argue with their terminology, whether they were black, white, oriental, mixed race, or whatever. This is because I would be responding as a bystander, as a human being, not as any kind of investigator. If, however, the word 'racist' is used in a piece of journalism, say, to stir up hatred against peaceable white activists by left-wing thugs, I have no sympathy with this abuse of intellectual power. The same applies in the case of any use of language as weapon with the aim of inciting to physical intimidation. If a group want to agitate for a change in the law, to introduce capital punishment or corporal chastisement for certain offences, that is one thing; if individuals are inciting others to vigilante justice or lynching, that is quite another. The apparent literal meaning of racism is the belief that race is a meaningful concept, answerable to reasoned enquiry, and significant in the socio-political domain. Only to allow one meaning, a pejorative one, for the word, is to assent to the use of cliche, in my view.
                > >
                > > Louise
                > >
                > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
                > > >
                > > > Louise,
                > > >
                > > > I am rather surprised that you suggest that "the list is persistently hampered by populist
                > > > political talk" and that we ought to try to avoid "the cliches of public discourse".
                > > >
                > > > I haven't spotted any populist political talk on this forum and I do not think the members of this forum speak in cliches.
                > > >
                > > > I wonder which members you are referring to. Clearly not Bill, as he is "an honourable exception". I myself will try to improve the quality of my contributions up to Bill's high standard, but perhaps you can give some examples of bad practice so I can know what to avoid.
                > > >
                > > > An uncharitable interpretation of your post is that you are trying to muzzle those members who disagree with your own views. But that would be a depressive interpretation which I, myself, will not entertain.
                > > >
                > > > Jim
                > > >
                > >
                >
              • Herman B. Triplegood
                Louise: I do empathize with your past experiences. Maybe mine are not the same. I don t know. But just so you know... I was always picked on as a kid. Maybe
                Message 7 of 26 , May 4, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  Louise:

                  I do empathize with your past experiences. Maybe mine are not the same. I don't know.

                  But just so you know...

                  I was always picked on as a kid. Maybe because I was different. Too sensitive. Too much in my head and heart, and not much into playing kick ball and such. And, quite probably, it had a lot to do with my being a military brat. We moved around quite a bit. I never had much of a chance to settle down and socially integrate during my youngest years. And, during my junior high school years, I was ostracized by many of my young peers for declaring that I was an atheist. Some of the schools I went to were predominantly blacks and hispanics. I was "jumped" once during junior high school because I was white. But I dodn't end up being racist on account of that. And I was marginalized, while I was in the military, because I married a Korean.

                  Some of us go through these kinds of things. Others don't. What really matters is what we do with all of that. I do have a bit of a curmudgeon streak in me. I wouldn't say that I am misanthropic. certainly not. But I have seen too much of the bad side of human nature to really believe that everybody always wants to do the good.

                  And then, when my step daughter was murdered by her own father back in 2005, well, that really took the cake. She was only ten years old. That damaged my spirit. It certainly did. And it "broke" my wife in two. She will never be the same. And my life has changed because of that.

                  It was then that I picked up the philosophy books and began to really read them. Everything that went on before that was mere flirtation. Just dabbling. I missed my chance to be an academic a long time ago. And maybe that was for the best after all. I would have probably ended up being a snooty intellectual anyway.

                  You know, in some ways, I think that philosophy has been a refuge for me these past four years. Deep down inside I still hope for the victory of truth and beauty over falsehood and ugliness in this world. It is a real mess. There is no doubt about that. And the things that I have gone through are nothing compared to what some have had to go through. Vietnam veterans. Holocaust survivors. Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Targets of serial rapists and murderers. The poor and hungry. The homeless.

                  Overall, I think I have dodged most of the bullets. Except for one or two. But the tragedies that life can bring have certainly made a deep impression upon me. It can't all be for nothing. And there has to be something higher, something profounder, than the endless trivialities and banalities that we see played out and acted out around us every single day.

                  I am convinced that the something higher, or profounder, is NOT some god that is beyond all life and all reasonability, but simply life itself, something that is so close to us, so intimate, so a part of us, that we really hardly know it. We take it for granted. We miss its profound significance, precisely because it is so obvious, precisely because we are so engaged in it.

                  But its being obvious doesn't mean that it isn't deep.

                  No pain no gain. That is what I say. What good would life be if we didn't have to struggle to make it better? To make it mean something more?

                  Hb3g

                  --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Louise:
                  > >
                  > > You are trying to make racism sound reasonable.
                  >
                  > Herman,
                  > Not at all. In the context of this particular discussion list, we have not arrived at any clarification of the term. In my opinion, bigotry still reigns, just as it does in the real political world. As somebody who has suffered from the mental violence which self-justifying delusions about superior selfhood incite in the racially-ignorant, I am still struggling to believe in the extremity of what is involved. Jesus. It is all too much. I truly love the honesty of your statements, and wish to reply at more length to this particular posting when I become capable.
                  > Louise
                  > ... quite sick of irrational righteousness
                  >
                  > >
                  > > But here are two problems that I have with that:
                  > >
                  > > 1. Purism. I've brought this up before. How does one reconcile the argument in favor of ethnic purity with the obvious facts of biological diversity and cultural diversity? We know full well, within the framework of ecology, that the loss of biological diversity leads to species extinction. As far as I see it, the forced abolishment of ethnic diversity, anywhere at anytime, whether by overt violent means, or by more surreptitious means, is tantamount to ethnocide, if not outright genocide.
                  > >
                  > > It doesn't work in nature. Why should we expect it to work for society?
                  > >
                  > > 2. Exclusion. How do we decide who or what gets excluded or included? History has taught us that the exclusion of entire ethnic classes is ultimately based, not upon reasoned judgment, but upon prejudice and distorted and even pathological emotion. Even to the point of the exclusion of the very facts of history itself.
                  > >
                  > > Amon Goeth narrated the long six hundred year history of the Jews in Poland on the morning of the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto. He gave a history lesson based upon acknowledged historical facts.
                  > >
                  > > But his final statement said all that needed to be said that day. The facts of history didn't matter:
                  > >
                  > > "Today, it never happened."
                  > >
                  > > That is what Amon Goeth said. Then, he and his men proceeded to massacre the Jews in the Warsaw gehtto.
                  > >
                  > > So...do we exclude truth as well?
                  > >
                  > > Pol Pot murdered three million of his countrymen in just under two years. Mao Tse Tung murdered thirty million for the sake of a cultural revolution over a period of about ten years. Stalin murdered about twenty million in the name of the Marxist/Leninist class struggle. And about fifty million "real" Americans were murdered in the name of manifest destiny. The litany of horror and violence, for the sake of ethnic purity, and exclusion, goes on even now. Rwanda. Darfur. The Taliban.
                  > >
                  > > Enough is enough. Don't you think?
                  > >
                  > > We are all on this planet together. We are all in this existential predicament together. There is no place left, really, for us to run off to and hide, because, most of us, for the most part, are too interdependent now to exclude ourselves from society for the sake of our so-called purity. Even the tree huggers know that. There is no "going back" to nature. The only way to go is forward. Not backward.
                  > >
                  > > We are all citizens of this one world first. Before all nationalities or patriotic sentiments. If that seems like a leftist kind of position, then so be it. There is a deep grain of truth in the heart felt need for cosmopolitansim, internationalism, and, above all, tolerance for what is always, inevitably, different, or unfamiliar.
                  > >
                  > > Doesn't the history of the twentieth century tell us something? Doesn't it tell us that the roads that lead toward ethnic purism, and exclusion of classes of any kind, the roads that take us farther away from the facts of diversity and multiplicity, plurality, go against the natural socio-political order in which we now, in fact, do find ourselves, and that they will lead, ultimately, to total holocaust?
                  > >
                  > > It isn't about us against them. It is about us, meaning, we the living, humanity as a whole, against the pernicious dichotomy that sets the us against the them in the first place.
                  > >
                  > > I cannot help but remember how repulsed I was by that web site in favor of the native British. The link to it was posted here a few weeks back. How is that kind of sentiment different from the sentiments that the Aryan Nation or Al Qaeda post on their sites? I don't see much of a difference.
                  > >
                  > > There is no such thing as "nice" racism.
                  > >
                  > > I was thinking, on the way home, about the strange catch phrases that we have been spoon feed to us over these past few years through the media:
                  > >
                  > > "War on drugs."
                  > > "War against poverty."
                  > > "War on terror."
                  > >
                  > > But what is the real war that is now being waged?
                  > >
                  > > I think it is this:
                  > >
                  > > "The war against personhood."
                  > >
                  > > If we lose the war against personhood, then I think we will lose freedom, and then, we will lose humanity itself, because, without freedom, humanity is pointless, and I firmly believe that freeddom is grounded, not in purity and exclusivity, but in mutual dignity, respect, and, above all, the beautiful diversity of the phenomena of life, and culture, to which we owe our existences and our histories.
                  > >
                  > > Have we really seriously looked at life in all of its profound diversity? I mean, through the metaphysical eyes of a philosopher like Aristotle? I think we have forgotten where we really came from. Man, the rational animal. A political animal. Hmmm... A human animal. Certainly. But, still an animal, like all the other animals.
                  > >
                  > > This, I believe, is Aristotle's profound metaphysical insight, right here:
                  > >
                  > > That there is nothing that is not life.
                  > >
                  > > And its corollary:
                  > >
                  > > Life is, par excellence, the diversification of form in action. There is no "one" without many.
                  > >
                  > > Hb3g
                  > >
                  > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@> wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > Jim,
                  > > >
                  > > > Thanks for drawing my attention to the sweeping nature of my allegations, which enables me to take a fresh look at what I was really meaning. In fact, my sense of urgency has become only a handicap, at present. So, in brief, the remarks were in reference to the continuing frustration I feel that a radical critique of what makes it into the public domain, especially on the subject of race, would constantly encounter irrelevant objections instead of open enquiry. Now, I continue to dig in my heels here, partly because I continue so indignant at the charges that have been pushed my way. This is chiefly in connection with Wil, who always announces himself as list policeman on such occasions. Mary tends to support the mainstream use of certain phrases, and the need for 'denunciation'. As you say, I do not wish to muzzle anyone, am simply responding to your enquiry. When I refer to "populist political talk", my reference is quite wide, because the contemporary academic consensus tends to provide an armoury of terms that claim exclusive possession of the moral high ground. I would contend that supremacism by violence, on the streets, represents a particular attitude of mind, that may be accompanied by a rhetoric from left or right. Racism looks to me a far more ambivalent word, and as usual, context is all. If I were approached by a distressed individual who had been assaulted, and who claimed to be the victim of a racist attack, I would not wish to argue with their terminology, whether they were black, white, oriental, mixed race, or whatever. This is because I would be responding as a bystander, as a human being, not as any kind of investigator. If, however, the word 'racist' is used in a piece of journalism, say, to stir up hatred against peaceable white activists by left-wing thugs, I have no sympathy with this abuse of intellectual power. The same applies in the case of any use of language as weapon with the aim of inciting to physical intimidation. If a group want to agitate for a change in the law, to introduce capital punishment or corporal chastisement for certain offences, that is one thing; if individuals are inciting others to vigilante justice or lynching, that is quite another. The apparent literal meaning of racism is the belief that race is a meaningful concept, answerable to reasoned enquiry, and significant in the socio-political domain. Only to allow one meaning, a pejorative one, for the word, is to assent to the use of cliche, in my view.
                  > > >
                  > > > Louise
                  > > >
                  > > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Louise,
                  > > > >
                  > > > > I am rather surprised that you suggest that "the list is persistently hampered by populist
                  > > > > political talk" and that we ought to try to avoid "the cliches of public discourse".
                  > > > >
                  > > > > I haven't spotted any populist political talk on this forum and I do not think the members of this forum speak in cliches.
                  > > > >
                  > > > > I wonder which members you are referring to. Clearly not Bill, as he is "an honourable exception". I myself will try to improve the quality of my contributions up to Bill's high standard, but perhaps you can give some examples of bad practice so I can know what to avoid.
                  > > > >
                  > > > > An uncharitable interpretation of your post is that you are trying to muzzle those members who disagree with your own views. But that would be a depressive interpretation which I, myself, will not entertain.
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Jim
                  > > > >
                  > > >
                  > >
                  >
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