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post #21 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 03:45 PM
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RE: The definition of God in a technological world

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kvining - 4/13/2005 3:51 PM

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jpb5151 - 4/12/2005 8:58 PM

What S-KLASSE8 and jjl said. Also, since the same technological age that brought us molecular genetics has also brought us the conclusion that our entire universe -- and all life within it -- will most likely fizzle out, I'm left wondering why a Gene God would oversee all the genes with the divine knowledge that they will ultimately become extinguished. The only hope for our precious genes is that our perceptions of the universe are wrong, but if that's the case then maybe our perception that all life centers around genes is also wrong. Nuts, I've got a headache now...
Well, perhaps the Gene God is some type of local entity, and is as much at the mercy of the physics of the universe as we are - he sees his job to create systems which constantly adapt to the systems that are not in his control.

What I find amusing in all this is how simple it is to create a religous system that reflects our technological level, and seems to have an innate logicality to it that can be spread to the masses. Our ancestors totally discard the mythological gods when it becomes obvious that a chariot is not pulling the sun around in the sky. Based on our current level of scientific understanding, it is pretty easy for us to discard the idea that a seven-horned beast will be arriving anytime soon to throw us all in a lake of fire, nevermind all the biblical scientific inaccuracies. In past eons, Jewish tribesman need a God that can explain to them their enslavement. DO we now not need a Gene God to explain the pointlessness of life ?
There really isn't the need to postulate any kind of special local processes (or 'gods') since what we see in natural selection is just chemsitry & physics following the usual boring physical laws that, to the best of our knowledge, apply everywhere (and everywhen) in the Universe.

As for pointlessness, it seems to stem from an absence of immortality - would you really want to live forever? Would immortality be enough to supply a point to existence?
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post #22 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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RE: The definition of God in a technological world

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jjl - 4/12/2005 6:34 PM

One way to approach this is to look at the watch made by 'the blind watchmaker' and see what we can infer about the latter from the properties of the mechanism.
Here are a few pointers for discussion about what I have learned about evolution in a nutshell.

All species are transient - everything goes extinct in a relatively short period of time.

Natural Selection is utterly brutal.

What you see in complex adaptations are weapons created in an evolutionary arms race.

There is no compassion, pity or any other 'no payoff' behaviour in the animal world. What looks like altruism invariably turns out to be a complex route genes use to aid their replication i.e. be selfish.

Conclusion: I wouldn't like to meet the guy who thought this mechanism might be a laugh to create. Sounds more like Morgoth than Jehova.

On the other hand, I would like to meet the guy who made such elegantly simple physical laws, who made such a truly stupendously gigantic universe, and made such beauty in almost everything around us.

Bit of a puzzle, eh?


That is brilliant. Here is my thought - we have two separate rulers - the genetic imperative - brutal, utterly ruthless, with any means justifying the end of long term, epochal survival - and then we have The Self, living for life and self actualization in the extraordinarily brief period of less than a hundred years. Many, many of the things we classify as "evil" and many of our most negatively connoted words can be seen as part of the genetic imperative, while much of what we see as "good", the value of all life, even that which the genes might consider useless, the locking up of the predators among us, etc. Perhaps this is the root of the bleak dichotomy of human existence and choice.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #23 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 04:20 PM
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RE: The definition of God in a technological world

That's exactly how I see it. We have this built-in tension between good and evil. The evil, remarkably like the 'original sin' of Chritianity, reflects the amoral nature of Nature and the legacy of evolution. Despite this, we have some limited insight into ourselves through self-awareness. This insight gives us a glimpse of something other than psychopathic competiton and greed as the point of life, and this 'something other' might be 'the good'. Where this insight comes from is a huge puzzle - why do we not all agree that life should be 'everyone for themselves and screw the other guy'?
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post #24 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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RE: The definition of God in a technological world

Hmm, we could take this into the political realm - "conservatives" seem an excellent match, I am talking the new conservative here since there was a time when being conservatice did not meaning being a predator, to the idea that "whats mine is mine and screw you", with a disdain for the weak and powerless or the "genetically" impure, which followed down it's path leads us to Hitler, the ultimate worshipper of the Gene God, while the other path, the lifting up of the meek, the emphasis on free will and free choice, "the liberals" lead us on a path to Christ. Perhaps mankind is divided into left and right at birth. I can only conclude that those who serve the genetic imperative, serve the Dark Side.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #25 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 05:51 PM
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RE: The definition of God in a technological world

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kvining - 4/14/2005 11:39 PM

Hmm, we could take this into the political realm - "conservatives" seem an excellent match, I am talking the new conservative here since there was a time when being conservatice did not meaning being a predator, to the idea that "whats mine is mine and screw you", with a disdain for the weak and powerless or the "genetically" impure, which followed down it's path leads us to Hitler, the ultimate worshipper of the Gene God, while the other path, the lifting up of the meek, the emphasis on free will and free choice, "the liberals" lead us on a path to Christ. Perhaps mankind is divided into left and right at birth. I can only conclude that those who serve the genetic imperative, serve the Dark Side.
Because I share most of your political conclusions this makes sense to me, though I suspect the 'new conservatives' have little trouble seeing us in the same way. It is rather tempting to see the source of much our suffering - our inability to 'just get along' - in terms of the tension between our genetic heritage and our self-awareness, though, but perhaps a source of hope lies in that it IS possible for education to overcome it in the end. Unfortunately, we may be running out of time as a species - hopefully I'm wrong. A vision of the future where the current period is described as 'the age of barbarism' is pretty attractive.

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post #26 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 08:28 PM
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RE: The definition of God in a technological world

The terms "good" and "evil" are purely subjective. I think more appropriate terms are "correct" or "incorrect". The world and EVERYTHING in it, including you and I, are never wrong, bad, evil or incorrect, it is only our PERCEPTION that anything is out of place. We and everything in the world are following our/it's nature, and the natural nature of the world does not have the capacity to be incorrect. Our expected perception is the ONLY thing that can be wrong. We cannot change our nature. Nature is NEVER wrong. When the wolf kills the rabbit, it is not good or evil, only natural and correct.

"I have spent MOST of the money I have made in my life on expensive women, expensive cars, and expensive drugs. The rest I just wasted." S-KLASSE8, "Belief in the supernatural, reflects a failure in the imagination." - Edward Abbey "Give me a firm place to stand, and I will move the Earth." - Archimedes - 1979 (fully restored) 450SLC - 1989 (fully restored)420SEL - "S CLASS STYLE - S CLASS ATTITUDE"
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post #27 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 01:28 AM
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RE: The definition of God in a technological world

Quote:
kvining - 4/13/2005 5:50 PM

Quote:
jjl - 4/12/2005 6:34 PM

One way to approach this is to look at the watch made by 'the blind watchmaker' and see what we can infer about the latter from the properties of the mechanism.
Here are a few pointers for discussion about what I have learned about evolution in a nutshell.

All species are transient - everything goes extinct in a relatively short period of time.

Natural Selection is utterly brutal.

What you see in complex adaptations are weapons created in an evolutionary arms race.

There is no compassion, pity or any other 'no payoff' behaviour in the animal world. What looks like altruism invariably turns out to be a complex route genes use to aid their replication i.e. be selfish.

Conclusion: I wouldn't like to meet the guy who thought this mechanism might be a laugh to create. Sounds more like Morgoth than Jehova.

On the other hand, I would like to meet the guy who made such elegantly simple physical laws, who made such a truly stupendously gigantic universe, and made such beauty in almost everything around us.

Bit of a puzzle, eh?


That is brilliant. Here is my thought - we have two separate rulers - the genetic imperative - brutal, utterly ruthless, with any means justifying the end of long term, epochal survival - and then we have The Self, living for life and self actualization in the extraordinarily brief period of less than a hundred years. Many, many of the things we classify as "evil" and many of our most negatively connoted words can be seen as part of the genetic imperative, while much of what we see as "good", the value of all life, even that which the genes might consider useless, the locking up of the predators among us, etc. Perhaps this is the root of the bleak dichotomy of human existence and choice.
You are alreading inventing codicils to your basic thesis, when they are not necessary. The genetic material has an operating system in it that is suited for each species, and other bits of the genetic material have the instructions for building a suitable brain and nervous system for the operating system and the various programs it runs. Dogs come with an operating system to run a suite of programs needed for them to be dogs, with an afinity to sniff each others asses, lick their dicks on the couch, chase cats, cars and balls, and so on. Their other genetic bits make their brains with the hardware to run that operating system and suite of programs, and only those programs. Same with cats. Same with humans. It seems obvious to us that when dogs run in packs, cooperatively hunt and then share their food, cooperatively raise pups, and so on, it is for their and their pack's survival. When humans do the same things we get all confused and make up mechanisms like "love" and other invented (out of thin air) reasons or logic for what we do. I think we get off on this path because we have a need to justify our belief that we are so much different than dogs, cats, rats, cows, and so on. We need to get off that line of thought and observe ourselves and our behaviours just like we were observing bees or some other living things with odd mental and physical characteristics.

We cooperate because it was necessary for survival, and we learned that the hard way, through natural selection, like all the other successful species. We likely still need to do it to survive. Understanding we do these things to survive it becomes apparent, the primary purpose of our, and every other living animal's operating system is to run the "survive" program. "Survive" has more than one level. The first and lowest level is the individual, and the next, higher level is the family unit or clan, and the next is the larger group we associate ourselves with. It is the same with bees, dogs, lions, and elephants. Why would we be different?

Jim
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post #28 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 04:19 AM
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RE: The definition of God in a technological world

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JimSmith - 4/14/2005 3:28 AM
It seems obvious to us that when dogs run in packs, cooperatively hunt and then share their food, cooperatively raise pups, and so on, it is for their and their pack's survival. When humans do the same things we get all confused and make up mechanisms like "love" and other invented (out of thin air) reasons or logic for what we do. I think we get off on this path because we have a need to justify our belief that we are so much different than dogs, cats, rats, cows, and so on.
Jim
Dunno for sure, but maybe it's because our brains have developed to the point where we can sit and think about what we're doing and ask ourselves why we're doing it? We're on a much higher level, so we've got to be different, right? [Many people simply assume that the other animals don't think about why they're doing cooperative / communal things (even though it's certainly possible; animals as simple(?) as the fruit fly have been shown to possess cognitive abilities). I seriously believe that animals like dolphins do indeed think about these things, especially since they don't have televisions...]

Fortunately, many humans do indeed see things like "love" as a product of genetic programming that serves to help perpetuate the species (presumably, the great amount of resources needed to rear human offspring is handled better). These humans are often in the rather humorous position of being at the mercy of their genetic programming and simultaneously being conscious of the fact that their programming is in control.

... and it all started when our primitive primate ancestors began eating meat, enabling them to start spending more energy towards developing greater brainpower, which would naturally be selected for ...
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post #29 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 07:43 PM
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RE: The definition of God in a technological world

This entire subject is a recurrent circular paradox.

Perception without conclusive reasoning and fact. All theories and supposition is presented. Remember the "Traditional Religion in Third World Countries" thread?

Why bother discussing it? As was mentioned earlier, we have not the mental capacity for understanding our origins. Perhaps that knowledge is available through a spiritual awakening that only death may bring. For death is the unexplored, unexplained factor that we cannot relate to.

I am a Protestant Christian. I have a religious faith and a sense of rightousness. I am proud to practice that faith openly. It is because of my faith that I do not fear death. Those that preach ignorance, are ignorant themselves, I'm sure you would agree. Again, that's where perception draws from and narcissism greatly affects the balance of opinion.
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post #30 of 64 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 08:17 PM
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RE: The definition of God in a technological world

The usual suspects, including me, show up for this stuff. people who know God (or gods...) know that this kind of discussion is a waste of time. You'll not likely entice anybody who know's god to opine. So we will forever be blind to what maybe the most important perspective of all--somebody who believes in a transcendent entity of some sort.

Before folks knew of DNA and genes and such, there was this clever thing smart people said, "Men are just sperm's way of making more sperm." Probably too paternalistic, so let's subsitute "women" and "ova" for "Men" and "sperm". But the reasoning is the same whether it's genes or ova. It's all a mater of perspective.

Finally, I think we create in our culture the God that we need. Several folks have noted that the bronze-age versions are geting careworn--their rules were fine for nomadic or early agrarian cultures. But cities demand new gods or new definitions of old gods. Science just doesn't much care for the preliterate versions of physical reality.

It maybe that the god we have now doesn't yet have a form we can recognize because we are stuck in the conceptual brinze age belief of an anthropomorphic god 'out there'. Society is changing so fast that a conservative god just cannot keep up with changes. No mater how you search whatever sacred text you name, you're not going to find the holy writ to guide humanity through molecular engineering and its effect on human evolution and culture. No paradigms, no taboos. What kind of god is that?

It's the new god. It is defined by that which we cannot see, our modern parameters of life all point to a new myth but since we are living the myth, we cannot recognize it for what it is.

But even if I cannot sense it, I believe it is there. It is manifest in statements like, "science will find a way", whenever we consider the coming carbon-based energy deficit, or the anthropogenic global wrming, or some emrging dreadful disease, or the ability to order-up a gob of genes to make your in vitro-fertilized offspring a small god, etched in the fantasy-likeness of the Ideal Man.
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