Mod+ 249. TIM FREKE ON SOUL CRUSHING SCIENCE

S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#81
I wonder too... and also wonder if our facilitation with and mastery of technology adds to this... then again, it hard to think of a time in history when it wasn't so.
If one is willing to accept spiritual entities (including ghosts) and alien abductions - admittedly a big leap that I'm not sure I'm 100% ready for - the Gnostic narrative makes a lot of sense. The oddness of abduction phenomenon, the difficulty of communication with the spiritual realm(s?), and the rarity of both make it seem reality is either a game or a prison.

I second the James Carpenter idea!
Thirded. :)
 
#82
but wasn't the whole thing craziness? I'm mean were talking about a group of people who took this Jehovah (YHWH) character, who started out as some thunder god, and then they gave him full control because he did all these horrible things to their enemies and to them (he had to, he was a jealous god)... and it is from this cloth that we weave the "prince of peace" story.

again, I'm totally down with Jesus/Christ-consciousness, I just don't think the experiences us modern folks are having with Jesus reconcile with the history. I can't bridge that gap.
Edit: I posted too soon.

You do well in establishing the link between Jesus & early Christianity with Judaism. Unless we appreciate that Christianity was a Jewish revival/sect/phenomenon, it's impossible to read NT in a meaningful way.

Jesus was a Jew, Paul was a Jew; they went to the synagogue, they prayed Jewish prayers, sang the same psalms, memorized the same scriptures. It took decades before the Christians were expelled from their local synagogues!

Now, if it was all craziness ...I don't think so. But I find it a lot easier to start with Jesus, and then go back to explore the Jewish roots. The problem with OT texts portraying God as a wiping out people, is real. Or laws about sacrificing animals. It's simply very hard to reconcile with the NT message of God = Love.
 
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#83
One way of viewing OT texts differently (to make sense of the "craziness"), is to look at God of the scriptures as a "missionary" to the world. He communicates to the world through their culture, practices and even their ("pagan") religious practices.

I love Greg Boyd's take on this:

The first thing I’d say about animal sacrifices in the Old Testament is that it’s important to know that all Ancient Near Eastern people sacrificed animals as a way of appeasing the gods. In fact, this has been a staple of human religion around the world from the start, as Genesis 4 (with Cain and Able’s sacrifice) illustrates. Interestingly enough, there’s no suggestion in Genesis 4 that God asked Cain and/or Able to sacrifice anything. They just started doing this. I suspect this reflects the fallen human sense that we are estranged from God and that he’s angry about it, so we instinctively want to do something to rectify this.
and

(...) Later in Israel’s history, when people began sacrificing animals without repenting in their hearts, the Lord told them (through prophets like Isaiah, Hosea and Amos) that he despised their sacrifices, for they are meaningless without a change in heart.f
Read his post here: http://reknew.org/2014/06/why-did-god-require-animal-sacrifice-in-the-old-testament/
 
#84
249. TIM FREKE ON SOUL CRUSHING SCIENCE
Interview with consciousness philosopher and author, Tim Freke examines the absurdity of science-as-we-know-it.
I thought this was a great show. One of the best I have heard. I identify with the concept of seeing consciousness as both individual and universal, like particle and wave. It is the only paradigm that actually makes sense to me.
Thanks for the show Alex, it was a good one. I'd love to hear more about NDE's too.
Doug, Australia
 
#85
I, too, resonated with what Tim had to say on this.

On a related note, I think all the science/religion/consciousness debates would be a lot friendlier and more interesting if we got better at living with cognitive dissonance. We want so badly to make sense of the world in some ultimate, final way that we tend to think we've arrived at a theory of everything when we really haven't. We're able to sustain this illusion by sweeping under the carpet any evidence or experience that doesn't concur with our theory, and that alienates us from people who are still taking that evidence seriously. What if we could hold our theories more loosely and be willing to accept that, good as they seem at explaining a lot of the world, there are still phenomena out there that remain puzzling or downright contradictory to it? Maybe we're not built to hold those kinds of contradictions in our minds, but I feel like it's something I'm trying to learn how to do.
Excellent comment, sums up how I feel too, Doug
 
#86
Agreed!

However, I think that when people from either 'side' find fault with their own side, that is an effort away from war - just as finding fault with your potential opponent tends to promote war.

I think the war-weary West is sick of a process in which countries are destabilised in the name of democracy, and then require some sort of intervention.

Vietnam
Afghanistan
Iraq
Georgia
Lybia
Egypt
Syria
(The list isn't complete)

This process has created immense suffering, and very little democracy.

David
The so-called "Cold War" between USA and USSR (and their respective allies) was quite hot for the "Third World" countries. While USA did invaded and destabilised a lot of coutries for the sake of democracy, USSR repeatedly did the very same thing for the sake of communism - with the same lack of success. Instead of democracy/communism, a surge of civil wars, with the suffering and destruction they bring, was the result.

After the fall of USSR, USA continued the same course, now without the fear of Soviet couter-action... Until recently, Russia has suddenly recalled its "Imperial" past and now want to re-enter the "Global Massacre for the Noble Ideals" game. I would wish it to bring humane life to the Russian people first, and to help peacefully and humanistically the other people of the world second.

But, unfortunately, the desire of the Russian authorities is to counter global American imperialism with regional Russian imperialism - which will lead to a lot of blood-lettting and life-crushing to the small coutries and nations again (and to the deprivation of the freedom for the citizens of both USA and Russia). I, personally, classify any form of imperialism, whether global, regional and local, as reactionary, cruel and shockingly stupid. We won't reach anything until we learn the equal dialogue - and imperialism is essentially the forceful monologue.
 
#87
This was a great episode. Listening to it got me thinking about the book Metaphysics by Peter Van Inwagen. In that book he argues that anti-realism of the 'there is no way the world is' variety is incoherent and self-refuting, and then suggests that we basically have to choose between realism and idealism. For various reasons, he ends up arguing that realism is more plausible, while admitting that there are no knock-down arguments here. What really interests me, though, is Van Inwagen's claim that an idealist has to be a theist, whereas a realist may or may not be a theist. Here's the passage:

There does not seem to be any other way for an idealist to account for the order in which our sensations come to us than to follow Berkeley's lead and ascribe this order to the activity of God. A person who accepts the existence of an external world can (at least as far as anything we have said so far goes) be a theist or an atheist or an agnostic. But someone who rejects the existence of the external world has no real option but belief in a Supreme Mind.
 
#88
This was a great episode. Listening to it got me thinking about the book Metaphysics by Peter Van Inwagen. In that book he argues that anti-realism of the 'there is no way the world is' variety is incoherent and self-refuting, and then suggests that we basically have to choose between realism and idealism. For various reasons, he ends up arguing that realism is more plausible, while admitting that there are no knock-down arguments here. What really interests me, though, is Van Inwagen's claim that an idealist has to be a theist, whereas a realist may or may not be a theist. Here's the passage:

There does not seem to be any other way for an idealist to account for the order in which our sensations come to us than to follow Berkeley's lead and ascribe this order to the activity of God. A person who accepts the existence of an external world can (at least as far as anything we have said so far goes) be a theist or an atheist or an agnostic. But someone who rejects the existence of the external world has no real option but belief in a Supreme Mind.
I have never understood this argument. While I do believe in a "Higher Power," I don't see why idealism would require that belief any more than materialism would. Why do we assume an exclusively mental world needs someone to order it while a purely material world doesn't? What the world is "made of" doesn't seem to make any difference. In either case, you have the problem of explaining why the laws of the universe operate uniformly everywhere, and why one object (whether material or mental) is able to affect another. Why does Van Inwagen think this is so much less mysterious on a materialist view of things?
 
#89
I have never understood this argument. While I do believe in a "Higher Power," I don't see why idealism would require that belief any more than materialism would. Why do we assume an exclusively mental world needs someone to order it while a purely material world doesn't? What the world is "made of" doesn't seem to make any difference. In either case, you have the problem of explaining why the laws of the universe operate uniformly everywhere, and why one object (whether material or mental) is able to affect another. Why does Van Inwagen think this is so much less mysterious on a materialist view of things?
Yeah, that's a good point, and I'm not sure what he would say about it.

But maybe by 'the order in which our sensations come to us' he means the whole consistent 'common world' we have, including crucially the existence of unobserved objects. The idea is that the existence of objects that continue to exist even when nobody is observing them requires either a super mind that's always observing everything (Berkeley's idealism) or else a mind-independent external world (realism).
 
#90
But then we also have the Matrix, the universe as computer simulation theory, and panpsychism. Do these count as realism or idealism? Do they count as theism or atheism? My own view, as I've said before, is that this whole metaphysical debate is pretty much irrelevant to our politics and ethics anyway. I reckon 90% of professional philosophers would agree with me on this, but 90% of people on this forum would disagree with me!
 
#91
But then we also have the Matrix, the universe as computer simulation theory, and panpsychism. Do these count as realism or idealism? Do they count as theism or atheism? My own view, as I've said before, is that this whole metaphysical debate is pretty much irrelevant to our politics and ethics anyway. I reckon 90% of professional philosophers would agree with me on this, but 90% of people on this forum would disagree with me!
I think I'm with you on the politics, maybe the ethics, but then again everything is related... Bernardo (Kastrup) makes a pretty good argument that philosophical materialism is linked to cultural materialism/consumerism. Would you agree?

I think he has a good blog piece specifically regarding this. I'll try and dig that up.
 
#92
I think I'm with you on the politics, maybe the ethics, but then again everything is related... Bernardo (Kastrup) makes a pretty good argument that philosophical materialism is linked to cultural materialism/consumerism. Would you agree?

I think he has a good blog piece specifically regarding this. I'll try and dig that up.
Yeah, please do. I'd like to read it.

In both the Freke and the Kastrup interviews, there's a suggestion that materialism is actually just a very negative and 'soul-crushing' philosophical interpretation of the scientific data, and that other much more positive non-materialist philosophies are available and fit the data equally well.

One problem with this is that even within the mainstream materialist community, there are hundreds of different interpretations of the data. Some will say that we're 'clever monkeys hurtling through space ... going nowhere' and that love is just chemicals. Others, like Sagan and Tyson, will really emphasize the wow factor and incredible majesty of it all. Others will go in an environmentalist or animal rights direction. Others will say that having a finite lifespan gives our life an urgency and seriousness that it would otherwise lack, and that if we were immortal nothing would really have any value. Others will say we should just party and have fun while we're here. Others will say that evolution shows that we're all connected and that racism and nationalism have no basis and should be resisted. And on and on and on.

People are trying to make out that materialism is just one thing, and that deep down materialists are all the same. I don't buy it.
 
#93
Yeah, please do. I'd like to read it.

In both the Freke and the Kastrup interviews, there's a suggestion that materialism is actually just a very negative and 'soul-crushing' philosophical interpretation of the scientific data, and that other much more positive non-materialist philosophies are available and fit the data equally well.

One problem with this is that even within the mainstream materialist community, there are hundreds of different interpretations of the data. Some will say that we're 'clever monkeys hurtling through space ... going nowhere' and that love is just chemicals. Others, like Sagan and Tyson, will really emphasize the wow factor and incredible majesty of it all. Others will go in an environmentalist or animal rights direction. Others will say that having a finite lifespan gives our life an urgency and seriousness that it would otherwise lack, and that if we were immortal nothing would really have any value. Others will say we should just party and have fun while we're here. Others will say that evolution shows that we're all connected and that racism and nationalism have no basis and should be resisted. And on and on and on.

People are trying to make out that materialism is just one thing, and that deep down materialists are all the same. I don't buy it.
Hey Dominic, I think this is the piece by Bernardo I had in mind... I'd be curious to know what you think.

Also, this quote from this interview --
I think we face two enormous crises as a civilisation today: One is the environmental crisis; the other, a psychological crisis. Idealism certainly informs my position here, particularly regarding the latter.
You see, materialism, as the reigning metaphysics informing society today, has a number of pernicious consequences: It tells you that only matter exists, so there can be no other truly valid goal in life but the accumulation of material goods; it tells you that you are going to die anyway, so you better plunder while you can, for you have nothing to lose afterwards; it tells you that existence is meaningless anyway, so it spares you the weight of all responsibility for achieving something meaningful in life; and so on. As a result, most people live in deep anxiety for the inevitable oblivion that awaits them; they are depressed because they lack meaning in their lives; and they act irresponsibly towards others and the world, because what have they got to lose anyway? In this manner, materialism makes a significant contribution to psychological imbalance and social irresponsibility.
Now, if materialism were indeed the best explanation for what's going on, then so be it; let's bite the bullet. But it is not. We do not need to pay this price as a society, because materialism is wrong. You aren't going to die; your life isn't meaningless; and plundering the stuff of the Earth is not what this is all about.
 
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Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#94
Also, this quote from this interview --
I think we face two enormous crises as a civilisation today: One is the environmental crisis; the other, a psychological crisis. Idealism certainly informs my position here, particularly regarding the latter.
You see, materialism, as the reigning metaphysics informing society today, has a number of pernicious consequences: It tells you that only matter exists, so there can be no other truly valid goal in life but the accumulation of material goods; it tells you that you are going to die anyway, so you better plunder while you can, for you have nothing to lose afterwards; it tells you that existence is meaningless anyway, so it spares you the weight of all responsibility for achieving something meaningful in life; and so on. As a result, most people live in deep anxiety for the inevitable oblivion that awaits them; they are depressed because they lack meaning in their lives; and they act irresponsibly towards others and the world, because what have they got to lose anyway? In this manner, materialism makes a significant contribution to psychological imbalance and social irresponsibility.
This is surprisingly similar to a passage in a book by Spiritism-founder Allan Kardec, Heaven and Hell (1865), that I just happened to open for a minute last night:
Can anything be more agonizing that the idea that we are doomed to utter and absolute destruction, that our dearest affections, our intelligence, our knowledge so laboriously acquired, are all to be dissolved, thrown away, and lost forever? Why should we strive to become wiser or better? Why should we lay any restraint on our passions? Why should we weary ourselves with effort and study, if our exertions are to bear no fruit? If, erelong, perhaps tomorrow, all that we have done is to be of no further use to us? Were such really our doom, the lot of mankind would be a thousand times worse than that of the brutes; for the brute lives thoroughly in the present, in the gratification of its bodily appetites, with no torturing anxiety, no tormenting aspiration, to impair its enjoyment of the passing hour. But a secret and invincible intuition tells us that such cannot be our destiny.

The belief in annihilation necessarily leads a man to concentrate all his thoughts on his present life; for what, in fact, could be more illogical than to trouble ourselves about a future which we do not believe will have any existence? And as he whose attention is thus exclusively directed to his present life naturally places his own interest above that of others, this belief is the most powerful stimulant to selfishness, and he who holds it is perfectly consistent with himself in saying: “Let us get the greatest possible amount of enjoyment out of this world while we are in it; let us secure all the pleasures which the present can offer, seeing that, after death, everything will be over with us; and let us hasten to make sure of our own enjoyment, for we know not how long our life may last.” Such as one is, moreover, equally consistent in arriving at this further conclusion—most dangerous to the well being of society—“Let us make sure of our enjoyment, no matter by what means; let our motto be: ‘Each for himself;’ the good things of life are the prize of the most adroit.”

If some few are restrained, by respect for public opinion, from carrying out this program to its full extent, what restraint is there for those who stand in no such awe of their neighbors? Who regard human law as a tyranny that is exercised only over those who are sufficiently wanting in cleverness to bring themselves within its reach, and who consequently apply all their ingenuity to evading alike its requirements and its penalties? If any doctrine merits the qualifications of pernicious and anti-social, it is assuredly that of annihilation, because it destroys the sentiments of solidarity and fraternity, sole basis of the social relations.

http://www.innerenlightenment.com/e-Books.html
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#95
Following up on your post Ian, here's a new one from Prescott. I've no real idea about quality of post-life evidence but it is a good argument for continuing research suggesting mind != brain:

Overthinking it

Volumes of case studies have been collected over the 150 years that support this general outlook. A whole religion, Spiritualism, was founded on this evidence and was, for a time, wildly successful. The basic philosophy enshrined in the research is generally consistent with the most elevated teachings of traditional religions and with most people's best moral impulses. And since this outlook does not imply sectarian doctrinalism, nor threaten people with everlasting hellfire, nor teach them to feel guilty for the “sin” of being born, nor encourage them to commit acts of mayhem for the sake of a reward in paradise, it would seem that its general acceptance could only make the world a better place.

From just about any standpoint, then, there is no reason not to believe that this is the way things are. The facts support it, our own deepest yearnings are in sync with it, and the probable consequences for humankind if this viewpoint were widely adopted are overwhelmingly positive – certainly far more positive than the results of unbridled philosophical materialism, which treats people as disposable objects and has taken to questioning the very existence of the mind and self.

If this is so, then why do we make things so complicated? Why do we take a simple truth and try to make it into an elaborate theory? I'm not trying to be critical; I've certainly done this myself. I think it's a natural impulse. But why?
 
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