Mod+ 270. ASU PROF. LAWRENCE KRAUSS CALLS FOR DALAI LAMA TO STEP DOWN OVER REINCARNATION CLAIM

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. malf

    malf Member

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    Materialist atheists tend to hand wave the problem of "meaning" away. However, if one escapes the materialist shackles one can connect to meaning in some scripture, some NDE/OBE accounts, some mind (not brain!) altering compounds, some medium/clairvoyant reports and some meditative practices
     
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  2. politicaljunkie

    politicaljunkie New

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    I imagine you're joking. In any case, one can take meaning in the atheist 'materialist' view. In the sense that you are the actual universe become self aware as a human.
     
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  3. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    Here you've kind of explained your own beliefs - at least I think you are speaking for yourself, or on behalf of a group with which you feel some association. And it's all well and good. But still kind of empty. There's a what, but no why in your explanation.

    Personally I struggled through years of the the deepest despair, trying to find the why. One day I had a dream, which gave a hint, a small chink of light, expressed in the word love. I think there's a reason that religious texts speak in parables (note I'm not a follower of any religion). That is, some things cannot be explained directly, a single word, love defies ordinary attempts at explanation, so we have parables, we have dreams, we have stories, we have illustrations if you like. But words themselves fall away.

    edit: just noticed a typo.
     
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  4. evets010

    evets010 New

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    Critical for sure. There's a large bone of animosity levied against Krauss by David Alpert. I don't think you've expressed a good counter argument in this case. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Albert
    All of the anti Krauss critiques are coming from philosophers and theists. I've looked for a critical and unbiased review of this book based on physics only and have yet to find a review that was not biased. I did find this. It's not a review. It is another explanation of how this universe came from nothing. It is perhaps somewhat easier to comprehend. I don't like using blogs as a force to persuade because they are always opinion, but in this case I made an exception because of this article's explanatory power. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2014/05/22/is-all-the-universe-from-nothing/

     
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  5. K9!

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    People are finding meaning in their own personal experiences, not in scriptures or in someone's dogma. The value of the NDE accounts is in recognizing that they are personal experiences that are OK to have, and you don't need to keep them hidden away for fear of being pathologized and locked away for admitting to having them.

    What Krauss is saying is that we shouldn't trust our own journey in life. And for a long time that dogma has done well.

    The movement of mind>brain is about exploring consciousness on your own terms, finding your own meaning and having your own experiences.
     
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  6. Pete Byrdie

    Pete Byrdie New

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    I am a sceptic, yes. I haven't explained my beliefs, though, except in so far as I personally find plenty of meaning and fulfilment in the world I experience daily. There's wonder and goodness and excitement and love enough for me in the material world. But I try to avoid being the Dawkins, Krauss, Randi type of sceptic, dismissing experiences and research that doesn't fit my beliefs. Many in the UK fortean community use the Biritsh spelling, 'scpetic', to describe those of us who take neither paranormal experiences nor scientific dismissals at face value, but remain open to both, but we use the US spelling, 'skeptic', to describe those people who we think are merely defenders of science orthodoxy.

    That's interesting! I really don't think it occurs to skeptics to ask, 'Why?' I think they feel it requires the assumption that there must be a why. And they see no basis for that assumption. The why in your case seems almost beyond explanation. However, it seems to have a profound meaning to you.
     
  7. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    It certainly occurred to me as a skeptic* to ask why. Without it there was no reason to continue.
    * We're all in this together, there are no skeptics versus believers (though there may be believers versus believers).
     
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  8. Pete Byrdie

    Pete Byrdie New

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    So, you needed a 'why' to continue through life and be happy (and I certainly hope you are, and remain so)? A lot of people simply don't, I think. Perhaps they require only material things, which could imply that they're shallow, but I think that would be unfair. It's just, it's all they need. Many scientists and those interested in science, myself included, find so much joy from science and discovery and possibilities, as well as the presence of other people, that they don't really need any more. I don't know what it means that some people need nothing more than the physical, provable world, and others feel a hankering for more. However, I've been reading about paranormal phenomena all my life, originally as a believer, now as a person excited by the uncertainties and possibilities, so perhaps, ultimately, I've been proven to 'need' something beyond the material, too.
     
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  9. malf

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    Many proponents of mind>brain are find meaning in some religious texts and eastern teachings. A pick and mix approach can avoid the label of "dogma"


    I hear you, but this is the kind of hand waving I was trying to avoid in my answer to Pete. I can just as easily hear a physicalist saying that...

    "(it) is about exploring consciousness on your own terms, finding your own meaning and having your own experiences."

    ... And he would be accused of hand waving by many on here.
     
  10. Typoz

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    No. I didn't have a need to be happy. Just a reason to continue being. I was in fact vastly puzzled at the busy activity of people all around me. I'm sure many of them had never particularly asked themselves such questions. Others may well have have. But we are all different, I just found the whole thing a big puzzle.

    I should add that I'm talking mainly about a period of my life which was many years ago now. A lot has happened since then, I'm much more contented nowadays. Edit: That might be in part due to simply getting older. But I'm also in possession of much more data now than in those earlier years, so there's a lot more to take into consideration. (Sadly some of this data is disregarded by mainstream media, with no good reason other than what one might regard as fashion.)

    By the way, thanks for your good wishes.
     
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  11. Bertha Huse

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    There might be for you. But surely you cannot deny some of the severe suffering of others right now in the world, and/or lives cut short? Where is the meaning for these people (that is not you?)

    You say you are "genuinely" interested in how others find "meaning" in their life. But you have yet to answer the same question (as you admit) here on this forum.

    This I find odd. You want others to provide their beliefs on "meaning" but refuse to declare your own. What are they? Do you believe that reality is purely materialistic? That consciousness is a product of material processes? Are you an existentialist, where you believe human meaning is only that which we arbitrarily choose it to be? But reality itself is fundamentally meaningless?

    My Best,
    Bertha
     
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  12. politicaljunkie

    politicaljunkie New

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    David Albert holds a PhD in physics, Steve, so he probably knows what he's talking about. In addition, you seem to pour scorn on philosophy, yet seem to not be aware that any viewpoint held IS based on some sort of philosophy. Be it materialism/dualism etc.
     
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  13. K9!

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  14. Pete Byrdie

    Pete Byrdie New

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    It sounds as though you've reached a metaphysical crisis and had something of an epiphany at some point in your life.

    It seems to me, new atheists/skeptics have made a great deal of the issue of 'meaning', and brought it centre stage. In turns, they say the Universe has no meaning, then that we find our own meaning. I suspect both things are true, depending on perspective. Perhaps more to the point, reading some of the posts on this forum, I've begun to come to the conclusion that 'meaning' is not nearly as important to the debate as the new atheists have made it. Some people have a need for meaning that others clearly have not, and what people need from the idea of meaning is individual. It's as though the new atheist/skeptic community has pushed this thing onto centre stage to prove a point that illustrates their philosophy, buts it's a point that is actually irrelevant to the discussion. We can adhere to the strict rules of scientific method, and still look beyond them if we need more, as individuals. We don't need to be preached to by Dawkins, and the question of meaning, or 'why', has only become relevant because they've made it so.

    I've often heard new atheists talk of how we are all made from matter that has come from dying stars, or how we are the physical manifestation of the Universe given conscience, or how we are each the latest in a continuous line of creatures going back to the earliest lifeforms, each one having achieved the task of reproducing. I find these things awe inspiring, but the way they are put across is as an atheist substitute for the wonders of faith or spirituality or philosophical meaning. I think they fail to replace such things for many people. Such materialist wonders are fine for me. They inspire me, excite me, fulfil me. I don't need any more, nor do I expect to find anything more. But I doubt that is as common a reaction to those materialist wonders as new atheists would like.
     
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  15. K9!

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    You really don't get mind>brain. It is about valuing personal experiences. I don't see that in a physicalist mentality. I see physicalists stating that the mainstream view is the correct one (for the time being). There is very little tolerance of POVs that don't support the mainstream philosophy.
     
  16. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    There was more, much more, but some things, both the good things as well as the not so good I choose not to share, except with close friends.

    I do accept that each person has their own way to find through this life. I kind of ploughed my own furrow, in that the questions such as 'why' were my own, rather than in response to listening to others.
    I've always had a feeling of awe when looking at the night sky, and pondering on it's vastness. It's somewhat of a disappointment to me living in the UK that much of our night sky is flooded with artificial light at nighttime, so the stars I saw as a child are now hidden. There is a lot to be moved by in the physical world. But for me that is only one small fraction of what moves me. There is much more in those other areas which are actively rejected or dismissed - there's a universe out there (in every sense, not just the astronomical/physical sense), why not explore it? It seems odd to me that people choose to restrict their own vision - but this is their personal choice, and that is ok, as far as it goes. However when someone such as Dawkins attempts to influence others and persuade them to restrict their vision too, it seems a very questionable stance to me.
     
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  17. Pete Byrdie

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    Perhaps it represents his own unconscious desire to prevent others from stretching beyond what he feels capable of understanding. Rather than trying to understand, and risk accepting failure while others succeed, it's better to proselytise that the world ends with his knowledge. I've sometimes wondered whether that same instinct drives the more rabid fundamentalist religious evangelists.
     
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  18. Bertha Huse

    Bertha Huse New

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    It would seem like a pretty sick universe and reality to give us this sense of wonder and awe we feel when we look up at the night sky - even this sense of love we feel for ourselves and others - and even reality itself, just the amazing scope of reality and magnificence of it - for it all to be some kind of perverted delusion, some kind of fake trick manifested by undirected pieces and bits of random, purposeless matter.

    That love itself is just a delusion in a purposeless universe. Frederic WH Myers used to say that one of the most important questions one could ask is: "Is the Universe friendly?"

    A deceptive, mechanical universe that only pays attention to universal laws, where we as individuals are simply mere victims in a huge mechanical machine - where the near infinity of stars we see when we look up at night, is just a mechanical nothingness of being, and love a mockery of our own hopes for a soul - for ourselves and our loved ones ... I find not one whit to be friendly.

    The philosophy of nihilism isn't friendly. It is a black pit of nothingness that is hypothesized to turn the wheels of our universe. There is no solace of the human condition with nihilism. And there certainly is no ultimate meaning one can derive from nihilism or materialism.

    My Best,
    Bertha
     
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  19. evets010

    evets010 New

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    I don't like using blogs as a force to persuade because they are always opinion, but in this case I made an exception because of this artics explanatory power.
    As I said, Albert's critique is harshly biased, therefore not persuasive in my opinion. What would be persuasive is a critique based solely upon the science of the theory. Krauss is no dolt either.
     
  20. politicaljunkie

    politicaljunkie New

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    I never believe I said Krauss was a dolt. Secondly, it is a review/op-ed. Reviews of books are always going to be subjective. By that token, reviews of parapsychology books and indeed all science books should not be taken seriously either as they have either a severely negative or positive approach.
     

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