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Re: [existlist] Digest Number 226

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  • Christopher Felton
    Very well articulated, Patrick. Hello, all. My name is Chris, and I, too, have been a lurker (at least part time). Patrick, I agree with most of what you ve
    Message 1 of 13 , Mar 6, 2001
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      Very well articulated, Patrick.
       
      Hello, all. My name is Chris, and I, too, have been a "lurker" (at least part time).  Patrick, I agree with most of what you've written. Though not used often to describe the state of religious people today, I feel that the word 'brainwashed' is appropriate. I find it ironic, though, that the most fundamental of these religionists are also the quickest to label one of another mystical persuasion as brainwashed.' Nonetheless, the latter, as well as the former, are of the same or similar herd mentality. Interestingly enough, I've also recognized that even atheists (which I am), can also fall privy to a "herd" type of mentality. For it isn't so much religion which influences one to be of this stock, as it is irrationality. After all has been considered, the only point within the message to which I am disagreeing is the statement, "we are wired for want of an explanation of the universe..."  I don't think we're even 'wired' for that. Man, in all of his complex nature, is still simplistically carnal. I think that the rational mind is more of a subtle discovery which must be stoked by deliberate, consistent, and objective thought, rather than an automatic machination which is naturally part of us. 



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    • Edward Alf
      Patrick & Folks, im a lighting engineer working for a civil aviation authority .. im involved in the design standards for the lighting that is used for
      Message 2 of 13 , Mar 6, 2001
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        Patrick & Folks,

        im a lighting engineer working for a civil aviation authority .. im involved
        in the design standards for the lighting that is used for guidance to pilots
        ... i started reading more on optical process in the brain, since i wanted
        to find out how fast the brain can process information ... that is, what
        should be the time duration of flashing signals like the stuff you see on
        towers .. anyway one thing led to another and, since im religiously
        inclined, i got into this neuron stuff and how we see the world ... there
        are lot of books on the subject and as in any field, there have been
        tremendous advances in the past few years ...

        i am starting to wonder about color itself ... assuming that we have the
        same quality of eyes (not color blind), if i select what i think is red, how
        come you recognize it as red also ... i can understand that red is actually
        a radiated energy having a wavelength of about 700 nanometers ... but why do
        both of us say that it is red? ... the only thing that is happening in the
        eye is that a molecule in one of the three types of cones (i.e. the red
        sensor cone) is bent (or is it unbent) to act as a kind of switch sending a
        single to the brain ... the signal itself has nothing to do with color ...
        it is just a signal ... so how come we now see the same thing? ... did we
        met in some past life and agree to call this 700 nanometer energy as "red"?
        ... interesting questions ...

        science cant be a religion ... at least the sort of science that we taught
        ... the principle of our science is based upon logic ... if you can know the
        speed and direction of an object at point A and then at point B, you can
        predict through formulas what will occur at point C ... science is based on
        rational thinking ... religion is irrational ... before you jump on that, im
        using the word "irrational" here in a specific manner and i do not mean
        something which is deficient ... irrational thinking can be just as valid as
        rational thinking ... religion is irrational because you cant get there
        through reasoning ... it primarily requires a certain leap of faith ...

        that is why i was wondering if existentialism can include a god, since
        existentialism seems to me to be a reasoned philosophy and therefore does
        not satisfy the brain's need for spirituality ....

        regards

        eduard


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Patrick" <ptmcgra@...>
        To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 4:45 PM
        Subject: [existlist] Geocentric model of the universe etc....(Was Digest...)


        > hi Eduard, et al.
        > When I saw MIB I thought that alien in that guys head was
        > interesting. When you think about it, we are always receiving
        > information just like computers do. I mean, when I look at an apple
        > and see it as red, its not really red, thats just how our brain
        > interprets it (some people confuse this with solipsism, but its
        > nothing of the sort). Just like a computer sees input as a bunch of
        > ones and zeroes, we see it in a meaningful way. Now I'm not going to
        > argue that colors dont exist, physics has proved their existence
        > through light waves, what I am saying is that this is our way of
        > interpreting those light waves. If we could see light waves beyond
        > this, like Infrared or ultraviolet waves, we would probably have
        > another color for that. I didnt know that a Kaiser did that
        > experiment on children, however I remember some ancient king or
        > emperor tried it and the child said what sounded like bread in
        > Persian or Sumerian or something and they thought that language was
        > the original language.
        > The reason we have these models is because humans are naturally
        > curious. I wouldnt say that science is a religion, I think it would
        > be more correct to say that religion is a science, that is-religion
        > is an attempt to make sense of the universe.
        >
        > P~M
      • Edward Alf
        Christopher, i can see there is a difficulty with my statement of the brain being wired for spirituality ... it tends to give the idea of a sort of
        Message 3 of 13 , Mar 6, 2001
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          Christopher,
           
          i can see there is a difficulty with my statement of the brain being "wired for spirituality" ... it tends to give the idea of a sort of robot-like existence ... perhaps i should have said an inclination or predisposition towards spirituality ... the brain operates by means of neurons and neural transmitters ... that is basically a fact and has been known since before Dr. Penfield was doing his studies in Montreal in the late 40s ... all of this is a matter of signals and processing ...
           
          much of what we do is a reaction to outside stimuli ... once the stimulus is gone, we may file away the memory for later retrieval ... but this implies a process of learning ... the thought that comes to my mind is whether spirituality is something that is inherent to human beings ... do we naturally seek after it ... or is this a kind of conditioning ... im beginning to think that it is inherent .. something that we are born with .. thus my use of the word "wired", to imply something that we are born with .. in our genes so to speak ...
           
          have fun
           
          eduard
          ----- Original Message -----
          Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 5:55 PM
          Subject: Re: [existlist] Digest Number 226

          Very well articulated, Patrick.
           
          Hello, all. My name is Chris, and I, too, have been a "lurker" (at least part time).  Patrick, I agree with most of what you've written. Though not used often to describe the state of religious people today, I feel that the word 'brainwashed' is appropriate. I find it ironic, though, that the most fundamental of these religionists are also the quickest to label one of another mystical persuasion as brainwashed.' Nonetheless, the latter, as well as the former, are of the same or similar herd mentality. Interestingly enough, I've also recognized that even atheists (which I am), can also fall privy to a "herd" type of mentality. For it isn't so much religion which influences one to be of this stock, as it is irrationality. After all has been considered, the only point within the message to which I am disagreeing is the statement, "we are wired for want of an explanation of the universe..."  I don't think we're even 'wired' for that. Man, in all of his complex nature, is still simplistically carnal. I think that the rational mind is more of a subtle discovery which must be stoked by deliberate, consistent, and objective thought, rather than an automatic machination which is naturally part of us. 


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        • skip2maloo2000@yahoo.com
          ... being wired for spirituality ... it tends to give the idea of a sort of robot-like existence ... perhaps i should have said an inclination or
          Message 4 of 13 , Mar 7, 2001
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            --- In existlist@y..., "Edward Alf" <ealf@s...> wrote:
            > Christopher,
            >
            > i can see there is a difficulty with my statement of the brain
            being "wired for spirituality" ... it tends to give the idea of a
            sort of robot-like existence ... perhaps i should have said an
            inclination or predisposition towards spirituality ... the brain
            operates by means of neurons and neural transmitters ... that is
            basically a fact and has been known since before Dr. Penfield was
            doing his studies in Montreal in the late 40s ... all of this is a
            matter of signals and processing ...
            >
            > much of what we do is a reaction to outside stimuli ... once the
            stimulus is gone, we may file away the memory for later retrieval ...
            but this implies a process of learning ... the thought that comes to
            my mind is whether spirituality is something that is inherent to
            human beings ... do we naturally seek after it ... or is this a kind
            of conditioning ... im beginning to think that it is inherent ..
            something that we are born with .. thus my use of the word "wired",
            to imply something that we are born with .. in our genes so to
            speak ...
            >
            > have fun
            >
            > eduard
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: Christopher Felton
            > To: existlist@y...
            > Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 5:55 PM
            > Subject: Re: [existlist] Digest Number 226
            >
            >
            > Very well articulated, Patrick.
            >
            > Hello, all. My name is Chris, and I, too, have been a "lurker"
            (at least part time). Patrick, I agree with most of what you've
            written. Though not used often to describe the state of religious
            people today, I feel that the word 'brainwashed' is appropriate. I
            find it ironic, though, that the most fundamental of these
            religionists are also the quickest to label one of another mystical
            persuasion as brainwashed.' Nonetheless, the latter, as well as the
            former, are of the same or similar herd mentality. Interestingly
            enough, I've also recognized that even atheists (which I am), can
            also fall privy to a "herd" type of mentality. For it isn't so much
            religion which influences one to be of this stock, as it is
            irrationality. After all has been considered, the only point within
            the message to which I am disagreeing is the statement, "we are wired
            for want of an explanation of the universe..." I don't think we're
            even 'wired' for that. Man, in all of his complex nature, is still
            simplistically carnal. I think that the rational mind is more of a
            subtle discovery which must be stoked by deliberate, consistent, and
            objective thought, rather than an automatic machination which is
            naturally part of us.
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
            >
            > Hello! your domain today!
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > From The Exist List...
            > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
            Service.
            > With all due respect, gentlemen, all this talk of neurons firing
            misses the mark as far as I am concerned. If I'm sitting in a cozy,
            romantic restaurant, and accross the table from me is, say, Gillian
            Anderson, who has taken a mysterious liking to graying philosophy
            professors in their late thirties (O.K., in their forties), I am far
            less interested in learning exactly which facial muscles have
            contracted when she smiles than in the good old language of motives
            and intentions. It may be accurate to speak of the neurochemical
            processes and/or neurons "firing" when she lifts an eyebrow or her
            eyes sparkle, but it isn't the sort of thing that will be uppermost
            in my mind. British philosopher, Roger Scruton, has expressed the
            same point as follows: "When the judge asks me why I put arsenic in
            my wife's tea, he will not be satisfied by my saying 'Because
            electrochemical impulses from my brain caused my hand to reach for
            the bottle and tip it into the waiting teacup'--although that may be
            a true answer to the question 'Why?' construed as scientists construe
            it, as request for cause. For it is an answer OF THE WRONG KIND."

            Is there a difficulty here concerning the distinction between
            description and causal explanation? Is there a chicken and egg
            problem too? For which comes first: the intention that produces a
            neurochemical reaction?, or the neurochemical reaction which produces
            the intention? Just a thought.
            >
            >
            >
            > --------------------------------------------------------------------
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          • Edward Alf
            hi, i totally agree with your point ... not necessarily with Gillian Anderson as the object of interest, but at least the point that i would not be focused
            Message 5 of 13 , Mar 7, 2001
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              hi,

              i totally agree with your point ... not necessarily with Gillian Anderson as
              the object of interest, but at least the point that i would not be focused
              upon how my neurons happen to be firing ... :-)

              this all started when opened the subject of whether there could be a god
              worship within existentialism ... im aware that some referred
              existentialists did believe in god ... however, what i see is a rational
              thought out philosophy and this is counter to religion and spirituality
              which is irrational ... again, im not using the word "irrational" in the
              sense of something which is wrong ... irrational thinking is simply another
              (right brain, global) way of thinking ....

              so im wondering where does the religion and spirituality come in? ... the
              way i see it, human beings have an inherent tendency towards the spiritual
              ... i have referred to this as being "wired for religion" in the sense of
              your brain, which operates on the basis of neurons, has this inclination
              from birth ...

              as we enter into the 21st century there is a desire for some kind of
              spiritual satisfaction ... i would suspect that that is the reason why a lot
              of use are on this list in the first place ... but i dont see within
              existentialism anything which would provide this satisfaction ... whether
              this is put in terms of neurons or whatever, i would still like to find out
              from members how they see spirituality coming into this, if at all ...

              regards

              eduard

              > With all due respect, gentlemen, all this talk of neurons firing
              > misses the mark as far as I am concerned. If I'm sitting in a cozy,
              > romantic restaurant, and accross the table from me is, say, Gillian
              > Anderson, who has taken a mysterious liking to graying philosophy
              > professors in their late thirties (O.K., in their forties), I am far
              > less interested in learning exactly which facial muscles have
              > contracted when she smiles than in the good old language of motives
              > and intentions. It may be accurate to speak of the neurochemical
              > processes and/or neurons "firing" when she lifts an eyebrow or her
              > eyes sparkle, but it isn't the sort of thing that will be uppermost
              > in my mind. British philosopher, Roger Scruton, has expressed the
              > same point as follows: "When the judge asks me why I put arsenic in
              > my wife's tea, he will not be satisfied by my saying 'Because
              > electrochemical impulses from my brain caused my hand to reach for
              > the bottle and tip it into the waiting teacup'--although that may be
              > a true answer to the question 'Why?' construed as scientists construe
              > it, as request for cause. For it is an answer OF THE WRONG KIND."
              >
              > Is there a difficulty here concerning the distinction between
              > description and causal explanation? Is there a chicken and egg
              > problem too? For which comes first: the intention that produces a
              > neurochemical reaction?, or the neurochemical reaction which produces
              > the intention? Just a thought.
              > >
            • Juan Menendez
              ... Well, what can I say to a man who fails to find Gillian Anderson attractive? I m afraid that this alone has the effect of casting doubts upon your rational
              Message 6 of 13 , Mar 9, 2001
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                --- Edward Alf <ealf@...> wrote:
                > hi,
                >
                > i totally agree with your point ... not necessarily
                > with Gillian Anderson as
                > the object of interest, but at least the point that
                > i would not be focused
                > upon how my neurons happen to be firing ... :-)
                >
                > this all started when opened the subject of whether
                > there could be a god
                > worship within existentialism ... im aware that some
                > referred
                > existentialists did believe in god ... however, what
                > i see is a rational
                > thought out philosophy and this is counter to
                > religion and spirituality
                > which is irrational ... again, im not using the word
                > "irrational" in the
                > sense of something which is wrong ... irrational
                > thinking is simply another
                > (right brain, global) way of thinking ....
                >
                > so im wondering where does the religion and
                > spirituality come in? ... the
                > way i see it, human beings have an inherent tendency
                > towards the spiritual
                > ... i have referred to this as being "wired for
                > religion" in the sense of
                > your brain, which operates on the basis of neurons,
                > has this inclination
                > from birth ...
                >
                > as we enter into the 21st century there is a desire
                > for some kind of
                > spiritual satisfaction ... i would suspect that that
                > is the reason why a lot
                > of use are on this list in the first place ... but i
                > dont see within
                > existentialism anything which would provide this
                > satisfaction ... whether
                > this is put in terms of neurons or whatever, i would
                > still like to find out
                > from members how they see spirituality coming into
                > this, if at all ...
                >
                > regards
                >
                > eduard
                >
                > > With all due respect, gentlemen, all this talk of
                > neurons firing
                > > misses the mark as far as I am concerned. If I'm
                > sitting in a cozy,
                > > romantic restaurant, and accross the table from me
                > is, say, Gillian
                > > Anderson, who has taken a mysterious liking to
                > graying philosophy
                > > professors in their late thirties (O.K., in their
                > forties), I am far
                > > less interested in learning exactly which facial
                > muscles have
                > > contracted when she smiles than in the good old
                > language of motives
                > > and intentions. It may be accurate to speak of the
                > neurochemical
                > > processes and/or neurons "firing" when she lifts
                > an eyebrow or her
                > > eyes sparkle, but it isn't the sort of thing that
                > will be uppermost
                > > in my mind. British philosopher, Roger Scruton,
                > has expressed the
                > > same point as follows: "When the judge asks me why
                > I put arsenic in
                > > my wife's tea, he will not be satisfied by my
                > saying 'Because
                > > electrochemical impulses from my brain caused my
                > hand to reach for
                > > the bottle and tip it into the waiting
                > teacup'--although that may be
                > > a true answer to the question 'Why?' construed as
                > scientists construe
                > > it, as request for cause. For it is an answer OF
                > THE WRONG KIND."
                > >
                > > Is there a difficulty here concerning the
                > distinction between
                > > description and causal explanation? Is there a
                > chicken and egg
                > > problem too? For which comes first: the intention
                > that produces a
                > > neurochemical reaction?, or the neurochemical
                > reaction which produces
                > > the intention? Just a thought.
                > > >
                > Hi Edward,

                Well, what can I say to a man who fails to find
                Gillian Anderson attractive? I'm afraid that this
                alone has the effect of casting doubts upon your
                rational faculties. Fortunately, those doubts are
                dispersed the moment I read your posted
                messages--which are well-written and cogent.

                Suppose that you are right, that there is an inherent
                yearning for religious experience, that we are all--as
                Kierkegaard suggests--"God intoxicated men." Why seek
                a scientific explanation as the most illuminating in
                this context? I contend that it would be the least
                illuminating. From the days when we might have talked
                of similar topics in a cave after killing a bison (and
                I am convinced that, even then, people did so), it
                seems highly plausible that a universal human
                experience is the sense of the numinous, that is, the
                awareness of our smallness as beings agaisnt the
                awesome enormity of the universe. Add to this, the
                certainty of death (prehistoric persons had a
                life-expectancy of 28 years, up to the nineteenth
                century life expectancy hovered at 40 years or so),
                and you begin to see why it is perfectly rational and
                understandable for subjective, Freudian kinds of
                reasons, that humans would reach for something
                greater.

                It follows from this that prescientific humans would
                project those yearnings on to "spirits" representing
                natural elements and then on to a single master spirit
                and, eventually, on to a very abstract God, who is the
                master principle of the universe. And yet...

                I fear that we may discover that gods and/or God
                are/is less a being or entity "really" existing in the
                universe, than a human hope born in fear: What if the
                universal human religious impulse or God, if you like,
                is less a window from which we see out into the
                universe, than a mirror reflecting our own
                subconscious aspirations? If this is so, then we'd
                still have human courage and laughter, the possibility
                of love, and shared courage at the sense of that
                infinite star-stuff which is us too.

                Cheers,

                Gilligan
                >
                >
                >


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              • Edward Alf
                hi Gilligan et al, well what can i say ... i suppose Gillian Anderson is attractive, but it seems so shallow .. at least on the X-files ... a very attractive
                Message 7 of 13 , Mar 9, 2001
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                  hi Gilligan et al,

                  well what can i say ... i suppose Gillian Anderson is attractive, but it
                  seems so shallow .. at least on the X-files ... a very attractive woman to
                  my mind would be Marilyn Monroe .. and i dont mean the one who sang "happy
                  birthday" to Kennedy ... but rather the Norma Jean Baker who stared in the
                  movie "Misfits" with Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift and Eli Wallach ...
                  absolutely beautiful ... anyway im off topic ...

                  to give a scientific explanation does not deminish the idea that humans
                  reach out for the divine ... it is just the way in which we do it ... those
                  cavemen sitting around the recently bison were also using their neurons ...
                  if neurons is not the most illuminating explanation, then what would be
                  illuminating? ... im open on this ... i just think that when you get into
                  the abstract as saying that it is our inner soul or something, then it
                  detaches from reality ... i dont think that knowing our retinas are lined
                  with rods and cones lessens our appreciation for the beauty of a rose ...

                  i dont think that our worship of gods is born out of fear ... i think that
                  "fear" is the means by which religious authorities have kept "their" flock
                  under control ... if you dont follow the dogma, you will spend eternity in
                  hell, having some demon pull out your liver ... i would prefer that worship
                  is born out awe ...

                  i agree that we would still have human love, courage and laughter regardless
                  of how or what we believe ... our belief system is simply a means for focus
                  and to some extent, motivation ... whether you believe in Jehovah or Wilson
                  the basketball it amounts to the same thing ...

                  when we look out onto the world, we see chaos ... so many things are
                  happening ... it is a normal response to try to make some sense or order out
                  of it all ... a god provides some kind of focus ... lets say you are to go
                  out shopping for clothes ... i always find this a traumatic experience ...
                  but if i say that i am going to adopt a style, say of wearing only black
                  like Johnny Cash, then suddenly a path is open in the chaos .. i only look
                  at things that are black ... i have not really obtained order in the world
                  .. there are still red and blue shirts, but i have the ability to focus and
                  this is a way of survival for me ... and i suggest that this is all that we
                  want .. so that we can get on with our lives ...

                  i was wondering how others on this list might have mingled religious outlook
                  with philosophical existentialism ... or are they, like myself, still
                  searching ....

                  regards

                  eduard

                  > > Hi Edward,
                  >
                  > Well, what can I say to a man who fails to find
                  > Gillian Anderson attractive? I'm afraid that this
                  > alone has the effect of casting doubts upon your
                  > rational faculties. Fortunately, those doubts are
                  > dispersed the moment I read your posted
                  > messages--which are well-written and cogent.
                  >
                  > Suppose that you are right, that there is an inherent
                  > yearning for religious experience, that we are all--as
                  > Kierkegaard suggests--"God intoxicated men." Why seek
                  > a scientific explanation as the most illuminating in
                  > this context? I contend that it would be the least
                  > illuminating. From the days when we might have talked
                  > of similar topics in a cave after killing a bison (and
                  > I am convinced that, even then, people did so), it
                  > seems highly plausible that a universal human
                  > experience is the sense of the numinous, that is, the
                  > awareness of our smallness as beings agaisnt the
                  > awesome enormity of the universe. Add to this, the
                  > certainty of death (prehistoric persons had a
                  > life-expectancy of 28 years, up to the nineteenth
                  > century life expectancy hovered at 40 years or so),
                  > and you begin to see why it is perfectly rational and
                  > understandable for subjective, Freudian kinds of
                  > reasons, that humans would reach for something
                  > greater.
                  >
                  > It follows from this that prescientific humans would
                  > project those yearnings on to "spirits" representing
                  > natural elements and then on to a single master spirit
                  > and, eventually, on to a very abstract God, who is the
                  > master principle of the universe. And yet...
                  >
                  > I fear that we may discover that gods and/or God
                  > are/is less a being or entity "really" existing in the
                  > universe, than a human hope born in fear: What if the
                  > universal human religious impulse or God, if you like,
                  > is less a window from which we see out into the
                  > universe, than a mirror reflecting our own
                  > subconscious aspirations? If this is so, then we'd
                  > still have human courage and laughter, the possibility
                  > of love, and shared courage at the sense of that
                  > infinite star-stuff which is us too.
                  >
                  > Cheers,
                  >
                  > Gilligan
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  > __________________________________________________
                  > Do You Yahoo!?
                  > Get email at your own domain with Yahoo! Mail.
                  > http://personal.mail.yahoo.com/
                  >
                  > From The Exist List...
                  > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  >
                • Juan Menendez
                  ... Marilyn Monroe is definitely a very attractive woman. Yet one may find Gillian Anderson, who conveys a cooler, more intelligent (in my opinion) kind of
                  Message 8 of 13 , Mar 9, 2001
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                    --- Edward Alf <ealf@...> wrote:
                    > hi Gilligan et al,
                    >
                    > well what can i say ... i suppose Gillian Anderson
                    > is attractive, but it
                    > seems so shallow .. at least on the X-files ... a
                    > very attractive woman to
                    > my mind would be Marilyn Monroe .. and i dont mean
                    > the one who sang "happy
                    > birthday" to Kennedy ... but rather the Norma Jean
                    > Baker who stared in the
                    > movie "Misfits" with Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift
                    > and Eli Wallach ...
                    > absolutely beautiful ... anyway im off topic ...
                    >
                    > to give a scientific explanation does not deminish
                    > the idea that humans
                    > reach out for the divine ... it is just the way in
                    > which we do it ... those
                    > cavemen sitting around the recently bison were also
                    > using their neurons ...
                    > if neurons is not the most illuminating explanation,
                    > then what would be
                    > illuminating? ... im open on this ... i just think
                    > that when you get into
                    > the abstract as saying that it is our inner soul or
                    > something, then it
                    > detaches from reality ... i dont think that knowing
                    > our retinas are lined
                    > with rods and cones lessens our appreciation for the
                    > beauty of a rose ...
                    >
                    > i dont think that our worship of gods is born out of
                    > fear ... i think that
                    > "fear" is the means by which religious authorities
                    > have kept "their" flock
                    > under control ... if you dont follow the dogma, you
                    > will spend eternity in
                    > hell, having some demon pull out your liver ... i
                    > would prefer that worship
                    > is born out awe ...
                    >
                    > i agree that we would still have human love, courage
                    > and laughter regardless
                    > of how or what we believe ... our belief system is
                    > simply a means for focus
                    > and to some extent, motivation ... whether you
                    > believe in Jehovah or Wilson
                    > the basketball it amounts to the same thing ...
                    >
                    > when we look out onto the world, we see chaos ... so
                    > many things are
                    > happening ... it is a normal response to try to make
                    > some sense or order out
                    > of it all ... a god provides some kind of focus ...
                    > lets say you are to go
                    > out shopping for clothes ... i always find this a
                    > traumatic experience ...
                    > but if i say that i am going to adopt a style, say
                    > of wearing only black
                    > like Johnny Cash, then suddenly a path is open in
                    > the chaos .. i only look
                    > at things that are black ... i have not really
                    > obtained order in the world
                    > .. there are still red and blue shirts, but i have
                    > the ability to focus and
                    > this is a way of survival for me ... and i suggest
                    > that this is all that we
                    > want .. so that we can get on with our lives ...
                    >
                    > i was wondering how others on this list might have
                    > mingled religious outlook
                    > with philosophical existentialism ... or are they,
                    > like myself, still
                    > searching ....
                    >
                    > regards
                    >
                    > eduard
                    >
                    > > > Hi Edward,
                    > >
                    > > Well, what can I say to a man who fails to find
                    > > Gillian Anderson attractive? I'm afraid that this
                    > > alone has the effect of casting doubts upon your
                    > > rational faculties. Fortunately, those doubts are
                    > > dispersed the moment I read your posted
                    > > messages--which are well-written and cogent.
                    > >
                    > > Suppose that you are right, that there is an
                    > inherent
                    > > yearning for religious experience, that we are
                    > all--as
                    > > Kierkegaard suggests--"God intoxicated men." Why
                    > seek
                    > > a scientific explanation as the most illuminating
                    > in
                    > > this context? I contend that it would be the least
                    > > illuminating. From the days when we might have
                    > talked
                    > > of similar topics in a cave after killing a bison
                    > (and
                    > > I am convinced that, even then, people did so), it
                    > > seems highly plausible that a universal human
                    > > experience is the sense of the numinous, that is,
                    > the
                    > > awareness of our smallness as beings agaisnt the
                    > > awesome enormity of the universe. Add to this, the
                    > > certainty of death (prehistoric persons had a
                    > > life-expectancy of 28 years, up to the nineteenth
                    > > century life expectancy hovered at 40 years or
                    > so),
                    > > and you begin to see why it is perfectly rational
                    > and
                    > > understandable for subjective, Freudian kinds of
                    > > reasons, that humans would reach for something
                    > > greater.
                    > >
                    > > It follows from this that prescientific humans
                    > would
                    > > project those yearnings on to "spirits"
                    > representing
                    > > natural elements and then on to a single master
                    > spirit
                    > > and, eventually, on to a very abstract God, who is
                    > the
                    > > master principle of the universe. And yet...
                    > >
                    > > I fear that we may discover that gods and/or God
                    > > are/is less a being or entity "really" existing in
                    > the
                    > > universe, than a human hope born in fear: What if
                    > the
                    > > universal human religious impulse or God, if you
                    > like,
                    > > is less a window from which we see out into the
                    > > universe, than a mirror reflecting our own
                    > > subconscious aspirations? If this is so, then we'd
                    > > still have human courage and laughter, the
                    > possibility
                    > > of love, and shared courage at the sense of that
                    > > infinite star-stuff which is us too.
                    > >
                    > > Cheers,
                    > >
                    > > Gilligan
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > __________________________________________________
                    > > Do You Yahoo!?
                    > > Get email at your own domain with Yahoo! Mail.
                    > > http://personal.mail.yahoo.com/
                    > >
                    > > From The Exist List...
                    > > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist
                    > >
                    > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                    > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    > >
                    > >
                    > Hi Edward,

                    Marilyn Monroe is definitely a very attractive woman.
                    Yet one may find Gillian Anderson, who conveys a
                    cooler, more intelligent (in my opinion) kind of aura,
                    equally attractive in a very different way. Similarly,
                    there is not much disagreement between us when it
                    comes to ultimate matters of religious impulse and our
                    place in the cosmos.

                    I guess my take on this is to suggest, if you'll
                    forgive the expression, that we should render on to
                    Caesar what is his, and on to God what is His. By that
                    I mean, that you don't really need science to explain
                    the religious impulse in people, just common sense.
                    There is simply too much pretentious scientific
                    explanation of what is basically expressive of our
                    nature as humans. People feel small and insignificant,
                    so they invent or discover something greater than
                    themselves that can help them cope with the pain of
                    being human. Some of us need that (for me) "crutch"
                    and some of us don't. I don't. I am not a believer. I
                    do not really accept the concept of God.

                    I fear that as traditional concepts of God become less
                    and less intellectually respectable, more and more
                    people tend to deify science--which is very
                    unscientific, but it is "scientism." Science
                    talk--often having no real meaning--is the jargon of
                    our times. I suggest we take a step back and consider
                    whether we need an elaborate scientific way of stating
                    the obvious.
                    >
                    >


                    __________________________________________________
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                  • Edward Alf
                    i dont believe in common sense ... it seems to imply that the verification of truth is dependent some kind of democratic vote ... if 3 people versus 2 say that
                    Message 9 of 13 , Mar 9, 2001
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                      i dont believe in common sense ... it seems to imply that the verification
                      of truth is dependent some kind of democratic vote ... if 3 people versus 2
                      say that the sun comes up in the west, then it must be so ... or to put it
                      another way, the problem of common sense is that it is all so very uncommon
                      ...

                      anyway ... i think you are speaking about two different things in reference
                      to science giving explanation and people wanting to invent something greater
                      than themselves ... if science gives an explanation it isnt to the detriment
                      of anyone (well perhaps to some) ... but it does provide a better grasp on
                      reality ... if religion is just neurons firing away, then some groups would
                      have to find some other reason for persecuting their fellow humans ... and
                      the church just might come to the realisation that we are here on earth for
                      more than just creating more "souls" ... that is if there is indeed such a
                      thing as a "soul" ...

                      with respect to finding something greater, i think that this is a basic
                      tendency for everyone .. a human sort of thing ... i dont think it is a
                      "crutch" ... it is more in the way of providing a focus ... that does not
                      mean that people who do not have a specific religion do not need a focus ...
                      i would bet that these people find focus in other ways ...

                      i accept the concept of god ... not that i believe in a god right now, but i
                      accept the concept and am going in that direction ... i intend to invent one
                      if i cant find suitable candidate ... afterall that is what the present
                      religions did ... they invented their god and wrote the books and everyone
                      went along with it, not because it was logical, but because it was
                      successful ... that is the proof of the pudding ...

                      but you may object that this is not the same thing ... one does not simply
                      go around inventing gods upon whim ... well lets look at an example ...
                      perhaps a poor one, but i will detail it anyway ... say you have been
                      advised by your doctor to go on an ocean cruise ... but you cant afford the
                      cost ... so you come to me and i tell you i would charge you only $50 ...
                      astonished, you ask how i would do it for so little ... i explain that an
                      ocean cruise is reducible down to only one sensation ... that of the rolling
                      deck beneath your feet ... thus, i will paint over your windows and get my
                      cousin to use his forklift to rock your house back and forth ... voila, an
                      ocean cruise ... but you object ... to you a cruise is more than a rolling
                      deck, there has to be the smell of the salt laden air and the sound of gulls
                      flying overhead ... ok ... for an extra $25 i can blow salt air through your
                      ventilation system ... and i think i can trap a few gulls that have been
                      scavenging around the town dump ... you can see how this goes ... it is not
                      the thing in itself (the cruise) which is of importance but the sensations
                      that come to your brain (sense of rolling, smell of salt air, sound of
                      gulls) ... so too it is not religion or god of themselves that are of
                      importance, but what you get out of it ... it was once said that god created
                      man, because he needed an audience ... i suppose you could turn that around
                      to say that man created god because man preferred to be an audience ...

                      my point is that all of this is a matter of function ... what role does god
                      perform and what are the derived benefits ...

                      i suppose that that is a rational way of looking at an irrational activity
                      ... but one can follow a certain logic and come to the conclusion that it is
                      time to make the jump to the irrational (leap of faith, so to speak) ...

                      the bottom line is that in order to make that leap, we have to have a solid
                      foundation and therefore, we may need an elaborate scientific way of stating
                      the obvious ....

                      have fun ...

                      eduard



                      > > Hi Edward,
                      >
                      > Marilyn Monroe is definitely a very attractive woman.
                      > Yet one may find Gillian Anderson, who conveys a
                      > cooler, more intelligent (in my opinion) kind of aura,
                      > equally attractive in a very different way. Similarly,
                      > there is not much disagreement between us when it
                      > comes to ultimate matters of religious impulse and our
                      > place in the cosmos.
                      >
                      > I guess my take on this is to suggest, if you'll
                      > forgive the expression, that we should render on to
                      > Caesar what is his, and on to God what is His. By that
                      > I mean, that you don't really need science to explain
                      > the religious impulse in people, just common sense.
                      > There is simply too much pretentious scientific
                      > explanation of what is basically expressive of our
                      > nature as humans. People feel small and insignificant,
                      > so they invent or discover something greater than
                      > themselves that can help them cope with the pain of
                      > being human. Some of us need that (for me) "crutch"
                      > and some of us don't. I don't. I am not a believer. I
                      > do not really accept the concept of God.
                      >
                      > I fear that as traditional concepts of God become less
                      > and less intellectually respectable, more and more
                      > people tend to deify science--which is very
                      > unscientific, but it is "scientism." Science
                      > talk--often having no real meaning--is the jargon of
                      > our times. I suggest we take a step back and consider
                      > whether we need an elaborate scientific way of stating
                      > the obvious.
                      > >
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      > __________________________________________________
                      > Do You Yahoo!?
                      > Get email at your own domain with Yahoo! Mail.
                      > http://personal.mail.yahoo.com/
                      >
                      >
                      > From The Exist List...
                      > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist
                      >
                      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                      >
                      >
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