Questions about the Soul

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Amergin, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. Amergin

    Amergin New Member

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    I have been told by my early school teachers about the soul. As I understood it, every human being has a soul. The soul was described to me as not a material entity, but it inhabits the human body in some way. When the person dies, the soul leaves the body and resides somewhere until the Last Judgement. I was told that non-human animals did not possess an immortal soul. The animal soul supposedly died when the animal died. This I think is the Christian belief. The soul is not matter nor energy but something else entirely.

    I think some non-Christian religions believe that all animals including human animals possess a soul. Some think the soul migrates at death to inhabit a new body, not necessarily of the human species, reincarnation.

    Correct me if I am wrong so far.

    If only humans have an immortal soul and non-human animals do not have an immortal soul, where along the long course of biological evolution from unicellular protista to Pikaia to fish to amphibians, to reptiles, to mammals, to mammal primates, to Apes/Monkeys, to Apes, to Hominids, to the first humans (H. habilis), to H. erectus, to H. rhodesiensis, to Homo sapiens sapiens.

    At what point in that direct evolutionary line, did immortal souls inhabit animals? Do all animals have the same kind of soul, or is it only humans? If only hominids, was it Ardipithecus or Australopithecus? If only members of the human genus, then which human first had an immortal soul? Was it H. rudolfensis, H. habilis, H. ergaster, H. erectus, H. rhodesiensis, or H. sapiens sapiens?

    Since that evolutionary transition was slow and gradual, it is difficult to draw a line where a Homo sapiens baby was born to H. rhodesiensis. If sapiens has an immortal soul and rhodesiensis does not, how did sapiens acquire the immortal soul?

    It seems reasonable that if we have an immortal soul it was present also in H. erectus, Australopithecus, Pierolanthropus, Carpolestes, Permian mammal-reptiles, amphibians, fish, amphioxus, Pikaia or some Cambrian worm.

    Second question is about the nature of the soul. If the soul is not matter or subatomic particles, or tiny vibrating energy strings, what is the composition of the soul?

    I realise that different religious systems may have different versions of what is the soul.

    My personal concept of soul is that it is the summation of active electrochemical circuits in networks that produce consciousness, cognition, memory, perception, reason, emotion, basic and complex motor functions, sexual identity, sexual orientation, and programmed sexual functions. When the person dies, where does this programme go? I believe that the soul vanishes in much the same way music stops when I unplug the radio.
     
  2. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    imo

    soul=consciousness=mind
    it is neither "eternal" nor "immortal" (nothing created is)

    when I die, God will "take" my "soul" away
    He will restore it when my body is resurrected
    The whole experience would be like going to sleep...

    This is my understanding of what is stated in the Quran
     
  3. earl

    earl ?

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    Well, the music doesn't always stop after you "unplug the radio." :p
    Catalogue of ITC Journals earl
     
  4. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    God is like an ocean, and living things are like cups dipped into that ocean. Each cup is of a different size. That within the cup could be called a soul. At death, the cup breaks, the soul falls back into the ocean.


    You identify part of the software only, not that which powers it - but even with this analogy, do you not realise electro-magnetic fields, as with all fields, are theoretically infinite? A part of us is still travelling the universe even after we die.

    Cosmology is based around observing the electro-magnetic signatures of bodies long since vanished.
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Namaste Amergin,

    These are the questions aren't they?

    Are we a body with a soul...and how exactly does that work?

    Like the meridians that ancient orientals discovered and modern science dismissed until recently because they couldn't find them in an autopsy...

    Big surprise to traditional chinese medicine that the allopaths couldn't find the life force in a dead person.

    But now...they've got electronic devices that eerily follow the old meridian lines and indicate exactly where the acupuncture points are....even though it has been done for millenia without the modern tools or science.

    So back to...

    Does the body have a soul? Well also doesn't show up anywhere during an autopsy. And they can't find it during surgery.

    Or does a soul have a body? Or can one soul split and occupy many bodies? Or one body have two souls? And how do you define it and what is the connection? And how many are hanging out when we go back through time, as how many humans are alive, and does the soul have multiple incarnations, or only one, and where are they waiting, and ....and....and.....

    And if someone can't answer all your questions regarding the answers to your previous questions does that prove that the only answer is to become atheist?

    or if in fact it is all conjecture as none of it can be proven in any way shape or form currently does that indicate we should throw the whole lot in the garbage?

    I mean after all we can teach a person 2 + 2 = 4, and we can all agree on it. We can toss a rock up and watch it land a thousand times and see there is gravity. We can all agree on this...

    Why cannot we agree on creation, and G!d and souls...why dozens of religions and numerous of sects of each?

    Do the Bhuddists have it right, that afterlife, G!d, souls....all that is unanswerable therefor not worthy of discussion because we've got plenty of suffering and issues of value that we can answer, can work toward solving right now.

    Or if the Quran, or Torah, or Bible, or Upanishads, or Gita, or Tao or Shintoism, have a concept, a belief, an understanding that resonates with you, yet without proof acceptable to Amergin, without crossing all the eyes dotting all the tees....is it ok if we just go with the flow that suits us....

    And you go with yours?

    If we can't answer the unanswerable, do we really have to explore the nuance of the unanswerable?
     
  6. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    I have this funny feeling that after all is said and done, the truth of reality will hit us like a V8 slap to the forehead :)
     
  7. OAT

    OAT Where is the TAO?

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    In Buddhism, there is no such problem as there is no belief in a permanent unchanging soul nor is there a belief in an almighty creator god.

    All that we experienced with our senses, are causality-based. "Soul" is merely a label by people in general on a causal-chain. "God" is merely a label of people in general for the concept of a source of all phenomena.
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Like when you learn a magicians secret....

    "Is that all there is??"

    "How did that ever fool/confuse me??"
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I think the way of thinking about Quantum Physics serves the question better than the tradition empirical sciences, and the science v religion viewpoint. There's an articles I've just found here.

    to highlight a point made above:
    If you want to understand the soul, I would read Plato on forms and ideas, for a start, but review his vision of duality in the light of JudeoChristian theology and Quantum theory ... especially Logos and the logoi.

    A really interesting area is recent discussions under the title of 'Transcendental Thomism'.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  10. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Haven't we recently done the soul to death??!!??

    s.
     
  11. Amergin

    Amergin New Member

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    For me, God, is like the Cosmos, containing the universe
    with all of its galaxies, stars, planets, nebular clouds, black holes, white holes, quazars, and the nano-universe of energy. In other words everything in our universe compriises God. God is the properties of energy and matter, atoms, molecules, macromolecules, and living organisms. Perhaps I am a science oriented pantheist.

    When the human or any animal begins life at the unicellular state, it has the blueprint for the development of the body including the brain which is the seat of consciousness and cognition.

    When we die, the soul (cognitive functions of the brain) ceases to function. It does not disappear. It breaks down into atoms of H, O, N, C, and other elements. These atoms were created in the core of ancient Stars that long ago went supernova. Many of those elements collected in the spiral dust cloud of the early Solar System. Those which stuck together by electrostatic charge and later gravity formed our planets and the elements later combined in all bacterial, protista, plants, animals that flourished on Earth's possession of water and distance from the Sun.

    Thus God, the universe, in the formation of stars made up our elemental-molecular composition...life and complex molecules that could actually think about itself. That leads to our Soul which I consider a Brain function. When we die, our atoms return to the non-living universe where some may become part of trees, grass, insects, worms, edible vegetables where they may be incorporated into living humans, cows, or sheep.

    I think this is our real immortality. The atoms of our body are older than the Earth and Sun, having formed perhaps 8 to 10 billion years ago. Our atoms were here before we were born, and will still be intact long after our brain generated consciousness (soul) has been dispersed.




    I doubt that electromagnetic field are infinite. However, the electromagnetic subatomic particles are nearly infinite. The waves of such fields may cease to function, but the electron sized particles on which the waves ride, will survive. I cannot answer if electrons pop out of existence just like some pop into existence from nothingness. We do not know if nothingness is really nothing.

    When we observe a galaxy in the early stages of formation, 13 billion years ago, we may be observing the picture of a galaxy long since dispersed or exploded. We see it as it looked 13 billion years ago.

    What is nothingness from which particles pop into and out of. We speculate about 11 dimensions of which the 4th to the 11th cannot be observed but shown by math. We can only see the lesser dimensions 1st, 2nd, and our own 3rd dimension.

    We of the third dimension can draw or paint something in a two dimensional picture. We can indicate the location of a single point in a one dimensional universe. That point is too small to see or measure mass.

    Suppose beings or undefined phenomena in the higher dimensions can enter our dimension, but we would only see three of its 4 dimensions. That leaves a possible speculation about a god of higher dimensions. A hypothetical being of the 2nd dimension would only see a line if we stuck our nose on the flatland.

    Amergin
     
  12. OAT

    OAT Where is the TAO?

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    Hi Amergin,

    Based on your view of "God", how do you regard sentience? Is it something that emerges from matter? Or do you regard sentience as distinct from matter? Or that there is something even more basic than sentience and matter, from which both sentience and matter arise?
     
  13. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    The definition of Soul which work best for me, is that it is Consciousness. As such, it exists on every plane of being of Cosmos. Of these planes, in the larger sense, human beings can only experience 5 ... out of a total of 49. This immediately confines our scope.

    Different religious and philosophical systems describe and label these planes differently. Some combine them, others distinguish them in such a way as to account for 7 distinct Principles of Being existing within the 5 planes.

    Of no real question is that human beings inhabit the physical body on the physical plane. It simply makes no sense for me, however, to try and equate, or identify our true Self with the physical body. After all, we only descend into a new physical body some 4 1/2 months prior to birth, and we typically inhabit it for no more than 100 years. What, then, IS IT which does the incarnating?

    Is it the astral body, with its accompanying aura, which accounts for the true root of our emotional life - both within (while ensouling) as well as outside of the physical body? I don't think so. At best, the emotional world is the plane of consciousness where a good portion of humanity is most active, studied by psychology yet still thoroughly misunderstood. The astral self certainly survives death, but it too, eventually undergoes a transition ... and the real person withdraws from it, just as he has withdrawn from the physical.

    Incidentally, the physical body cannot exist without itself being ENSOULED by the etheric double (interpenetrating it, and existing a few centimeters beyond the periphery of the dense, thus displaying an aura). The etheric body cannot truly separate from the dense body, for by very definition this is what we call - death! The Bible contains a passage which tells us plainly of the loosing of the `silver cord,' with reference to the `golden bowl' ... and many of those who have had near-death experiences or out-of-body experiences describe SEEING this silver cord. The etheric body, however, always remains anchored, within the heart, while the astral body separates and goes on its journeys.

    After the astral body is transcended, some months or years following physical death, what then remains? What is it that has withdrawn and continues on, and thereby brings us one step closer to an `Immortal Soul' and true Self of man?

    Some would say that it is the mind, or mental body. This, surely, is something worth preserving between our many thousands of human incarnations. Surely the mind, this principle of Conscious awareness, is our Soul!

    Not so, if we wish to understand the true Individual. The mental body, too, is a temporary vehicle of consciousness. How can we define THIS as the true man, if the mental body, just as the astral and physical bodies, is reconstructed for each new human incarnation? Tabula rasa, tabula rasa! How is this our *permanent self*, if the mind, too, even though inhabited for hundreds and hundreds of years, is eventually transcended and cast aside?

    Esotericists have, for this reason, labeled as `Soul' that vehicle - and the true Individuality occupying it - which exists in the subtler ethers of the mental plane. In so doing, they acknowledge that the Wisdom of the Vedas discussed these matters many thousands of years ago, addressing all that I have said here with much more technicality and in far finer detail. Further, EVERY religion teaches much the same, if using different language and focus, properly adapted for the people and the time in question.

    The Soul, for esotericists, is a triple-entity, thereby reflecting the essential triune nature of Godhead. It is a being, fully Self-Conscious on its own plane, existing far, far transcendent of our normal everyday awareness. This latter, after all, exists AT BEST upon the various portions of the mental plane to which we have become attuned, yet typically with practically NO true self-consciousness UPON that plane. In other words, just because we can even have this discussion, or entertain such ideas, in no way entails that any of us is directly conscious of, or upon, the mental plane!

    After all, if we were, it would not be a matter of debate at all. We would simply nod in acknowledgment, and perhaps ponder the worlds which are sublter still, than the mental plane. These, sometimes called the Buddhic plane and the Atmic or Nirvanic plane, are seldom reached by human beings at all, except in moments of deepest meditation or profound rapture. Of course, this does then account for all the variety of religious experience which any human being has ever witnessed. Either his or her consciousness has been privileged enough, during brain awareness (or perhaps during a dream) to reach the Bliss and Peacefulness of the Buddhic realm ... or perhaps s/he has even touched the periphery of Nirvana itself, and been able to return to speak of this minor Samadhi. In either case, the very nature of the Consciousness in these worlds is such that we have been introduced to that plane, so to speak, by our very own Soul.

    The Soul, then, as a triune Being, directly inhabits and is active upon the Nirvanic, Buddhic and Higher Mental planes. These, any experienced esotericist can attest to directly. It may not be so simple for most of us to simply re-focus our attention such that we are immediately attuned to these realms of Being. But having once experienced them, it becomes quite an absurdity to try and deny them. Thus we do our best to help others to recognize their existence and seek experiences thereof, or at least to realize that in fact, all spiritual experience can be traced to these levels, thereby having perfect commonality as far as Causation is concerned.

    I could share a far more technical approach to this question, giving you a material basis (or uphadi) for the Soul on the physical plane, and showing how a correlation exists upon the astral and lower mental. But doing so would only demonstrate how, in fact, string theory was thoroughly grasped by various individuals 150 years ago and more. Permanent physical atoms, one of which every human Soul has in its possession, consist of 10 associated [st]RINGS, these being together twisted into what appears the approximate shape of a heart. This particle, then, which science knows as a proton, survives our entire series of thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of human incarnations, along with its astral and lower mental counterparts in far, far finer matter.

    Lots of folks still can't grasp the simple, scientific basis for the obvious response to the familiar philosophical brain-teaser:

    How man angels can dance on the head of a pin?

    ALL OF THEM, silly.

    But this makes far more sense when you realize that of the mass of substance sitting there reading this post, only one, tiny PROTON of your physical body will survive your death this time around ... as usual. And once your life's review has taken place, you won't likely even have much opportunity to directly experience that proton, or another vehicle constructed around it, for say ... 1000 years or so?

    Humanity became ENSOULED in the esoteric sense about 18 million years ago. This is when the true Humanity of our globe could be said to be born, esoterically and astrologically speaking. The Manasaputras, or Agnishvattas, are esoterically cognate with human Souls. These are the Solar Angels, existing upon the Higher Mental Plane in the same way that our LOWEST expression as the threefold human personality (mind, emotional, body) is the DENSE physical plane ... or lower portions thereof, consisting of solid, liquid and gas.

    The Soul is most definitely, then, an entity in its own right, with a history that precedes our Humanity, and an entire world of its own experience which will only be our ken in some far-distant cycle, when we shall fulfill, for some other Humanity, the role of bridging, or Christ-Principle (linking highest Spirit, with lowest matter) ... just as the Soul has pledged to do for us, now. This is how the Cosmos seems to work, such that the Pay-it-Forward principle is EVER present and required.
     
  14. Courage

    Courage Member

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    Soul and spirit are sometimes exchangeable words as you don't need to distinguish them all the times in discussion or dialogues. More or less like when we say that something is done by you, we cease to further distinguish if it is done by your left hand or right hand. Instead simply say it is done by you or by your hands.

    Soul carries one's consciousness, it is one's true identity when a body is absent. It is a more durable identity to define yourself than the body which will vanish away in your physical death. The relationship between a soul and a body is more or less like a worm and its cocoon. The true identity of the worm is the 'worm' more than the 'cocoon'.

    Human spirit is used to carry some characteritics inherited from God, such as our earthly love (say our love for our children or parents), such as His law in our heart. The spirit will return to God once we are physically dead.

    Soul is somehow can be described as 'worm' yet it is basically transparent. It is transparent to each other. You won't be able to see them by default unless a soul would like to manifest itself into some form for you to recognise. Alternatively, you need God's help in order to see them as something visible.

    Spirit (i.e. of angels) on the other hand, can have a form to show itself up. This refers to an angel's spirit. For example, a cherub is a spirit, he can show himself up in a form. Under normal circumstance, we won't be able to see an angel. It is not because the angel won't show himself up. It is because the angel is not in the same space/plane as our fleshly body. Thus we can't see them unless we can move our soul abit away from our body. Then we have a chance to see the spiritual entities (i.e. the spirits, not souls).

    Other than the angels, there could be other creatures which are in the form of spirits. Their origin is uncertain. Possibly they are high end animals like chimps or apes. Or from hybrids between humans and other homo erectus such as Neanderthals and so forth. Or human souls trained (by fallen angels or other evil spirits) to carry a visible form.

    Anyway, the evil spirits/demons are once upon a time humans who keep demanding a body to live (that's why the demon possession).


    Evolution is a joke!
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    It would seem to, from the above.

    The orthodox Christian position is that God is not a composite of things, but transcends the domain of 'things' altogether.

    On my very orthodox Catholic BA degree course, we were discussing the mythology and symbolism of the Garden of Eden. Contemporary Catholic theology encompasses evolution, and also posits that 'Adam and Eve' can be read to refer to a primordial communal condition, or an evolutionary event. One pointer is the explosion of 'art' among our ancestors.

    I think that scientific understanding is one of the most exciting and prfoundly moving things I've ever understood, that Black Holes seem to sit in the center of galaxies is tickling my mind as another ...
    ... but I would suggest the Quantum world tells us more. As I understand it, Elvis (or Plato, or whoever) is alive and well, somewhere in the Quantum probability universe.

    Our point would be God was there before time, space and the material cosmos.

    I think Quantum Physics disputes, and even disproves, that thesis?

    Well, as I understand it, both the idea of the 'particle' and 'wave' don't exist as such, but rather it's a construct that explains measurable phenomena?

    Ah! The metaphysical question: Why is there anything at all?

    OK. But that just pushes the problem back ... what did n-number of dimensions 'pop' into/out of, and why?

    The old gnostics of the 2nd century posited a kind of 'ladder' of paired beings (syzygies) ascending ... in many ways this has been replaced by the proliferation of dimensions, which again are just mathematical constructs ...

    But are we not then defining, and construing, God, according to our constructs?

    My point is that the traditional theologies do not seek to contain what we do not understand within what we do understand ... rather they allow for the fact that if God is God, then by definition God transcends our understandings, our constructs of the physical world, all predicates altogether ... so I think that the scientific perspective tries to fit God in a box, whereas theology thinks 'outside the box' and assumes God will not be explained according to empirical phenomena.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    The soul is love.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    All knowledge of the outside world is through the physical senses, and all knowledge thus derived from sensory experience is a representation in the sensorium, the subjective (egoic) experience of an external and objective reality.

    The senses receive data via the mediation of the various organs, this data is converted into electrical impulses, the electrical impulses stimulate areas of the brain, and the brain re-creates a 3D theatre of appearances, increasingly qualified according to 'good and bad', 'like and dislike' passions and appetites of the ego.

    Thus there is the external world and the internal world, by which one can posit a third world, which orchestrates the narrative, if you like, between the two, and this is the soul (the 'real self' as opposed to the 'egoic self').

    The function of the soul is mediate and directional, and should point the 'person' towards his end and his good, because it knows, that is it is aware of a kind of 'gravity' that draws it ...

    The training of souls towards the realisation of this end, according to the capability of the soul in question, is the object of the great religious traditions, they are a means by which Everyman can come into a substantial contact and relationship with the Real, whereas philosophy etc., is the province of the few by virtue of the Herculean asceticism required to attain its goal.

    The religions, and only religions, comprise a theoria, a tekne and a praxis in harmony directed towards the Real, the True, the Good ... philosophy used to do this, but does so no longer.

    +++

    The physical senses work by receptivity, they receive data from the outside world and are subject to that process, as much as we try, we cannot determine nor condition what we receive (the fatal flaw underpinning the Enlightenment, which assumes we can or will). The mental senses — that is the reason, intellect and will working in harmony — work the other way, by going out, not by the re-ception but by pre-(es)sentation ...

    (One should note this does not refer to the 'normal' exercise of the modern mind, which conflates 'reason' and 'intellect' and ignores or wantonly strips the latter of its own unique function.)

    Thus the soul is love because it is made to love, it seeks itself in the first instance (the will to live, or the will to be), its being or esse, as the Scholastics say, and secondly it seeks to communicate itself to others, its actus, by and through which it is known, and comes to know itself.

    +++
    Aside:
    'Original Sin' was the attempt to know the world by possession; by taking rather than giving, and thus the right-relationship was inverted, including man's relationships within himself ... thus the soul which should guide the mental faculty which receives data from the sensorium, was isolated, and the mental faculties became the slave of the passions and appetites of the sensorium (Eve was seduced by the appearance of the fruit, and misunderstood its essence) ... from this first sin (it is original in that sense) flows every sin, sin itself being unlimited according to the imagination of men (my name is legion) ...

    ... the ontological unity of sin is that it is founded on nothing. 'Sin' has no essence, no core, no being, but rather is the absence of ... hence the apetite for sin is never quenched, the hunger never satisfied, sin leads to more sin in a vain attempt to quench the craving for satisfaction, but sin is always, eventually, unsatisfying, unedifying, and entropic ... the self, subject to and enslaved to sin, pours out the essence of its being into nothingness, and thus eventually succumbs to extinction by the privation of all being.

    +++

    May the saints preserve us from ourselves.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  18. Amergin

    Amergin New Member

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    I think that we agree more than either of us think. Time began at the Big Bang along with energy. It took a few million years (guess) before energy formed matter. So everything we know for certain began existence with the Big Bang.

    I do not know what there was before the Big Bang. Yet, I fell that there was something before "creation." The question is what was before the Big Bang. Realistically we do not know. We cannot test theories of the pre-bang. I have heard hypotheses about membrane theory, vibrating super-cosmic membranes that on collision produce a Big Bang. I am not sure the Hadron Experiment will answer our question.

    Others postulate that the extra-dimensions somehow influence or cause new universes by some yet undiscovered mechanism.

    Many people have asked these questions leaving many "I don't know" people and those who speculated (without evidence) that the cause of the Big Bang must be a conscious cognitive being.

    Why do they postulate that the creative force was conscious and cognitive? I believe that primitive people who first speculated on causes, based their thinking on observation. Most things that are manipulated or made (like stone tools) are made by conscious people like humans. Termites build mound cities. Birds make nests. Bees build hives. It would seem that every thing had a conscious being causing it. What caused rain, volcanos, earthquakes, flowing rivers, growing trees, storms, meteors, and springs of water? The cause could not be seen without modern science.

    They then thought that since most known causes were intelliigent like human beings. One leap in speculation was that the creator of everything would require a super-intelligent being. Since the most known intelligent animals were human beings, it seems likely that God was a Super-Human. So powerful that he was omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. He was also so super that he could not be seen by our animal vision. Making God in paintings as an old man lying naked on a cloud made sense to most people. Some gods were named JHWY, Odin, Baal, Dagda, Zeus, Jupiter, Aed Alainn, Mother Earth, The Great Raven, The Great Spirit, and Quetzlcoatl.

    I think the invention of God was purely speculative but it made sense to any pre-scientific people. God was the agent who was there before the Big Bang. We rationalists, agree that something preceded the Big Bang. But we do not think it was necessarily a being with human like if expanded, personality. Deist say that the pre-Big Bang existence was a God, beyond our understanding who did not give revelations to old chaps starving in the desert eating who knows what weeds.

    Many people attribute the Universe to God but do not feel it necessary to attribute intelligence of animal-like consciousness to that creator. I am somewhere between that and a Hawking's Natural Laws of Physics and Math.

    Amergin
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Amergin —
    Could well be.

    One famous argument is 'intelligent design' ... it's not something I hold with as it's currently expressed, but it does raise questions.

    The short answer is nothing occurs in nature that the Laws of Nature do not allow for, but that is far from saying the laws of nature 'consciously' or 'intelligently' or 'rationally' direct evolution towards that end.

    The counter-argument that it's not intelligent design, but simply the result of an infinite number of universes in which one will, eventually, produce life, consciousness, being, etc., seems something of a non-explanation, a rather weak argument.

    Simply then, as man is aware of material laws, he has every good reason to assume laws governing consciousness, being, evolution ... and those laws were part and parcel of the Big Bang, they were hard-wired into it, as it were ... which leads us back to the question of what caused the Big Bang ... why is there anything at all?

    I think we still do ... we've just developed more sophisticated means of obsrvation, and more sophisticated rationalisations of what we observe.

    I think the first set (termites, etc.) shows signs of organisation for survival, the second (rain, etc.) does not.

    And would not they be right? The logic follows the line that God encompasses all possibility, not a God who is less than His creation.

    Not super-human, but rather something that transcends the human condition, and indeed every other condition.

    Again, logic would say so. Man is not omnipresent, not omnipotent, not omniscient — being finite and contingent. The argument is that God is neither finite nor contingent, therefore not limited as man is.

    Same logic again ... God is not a body as we and everything else is.

    And still does ... rational man has lost his poetic and symbolic sensitivity to interpret signs.

    I agree that God is speculative, but where do you begin 'science'? Philosophy is the first science, from which all subsequent disciplines flow ... and there are plenty of philosophical arguments for the existence of a deity.

    'Scientism' and 'empiricism' is a kind of fundamentalism divorced from its philosophical roots — it's a closure of the mind. If sciece had depended upon empirical data only, from the very beginning, we'd not have advanced one jot.

    Nor do we theologians, that's a very materialist view of God. The God you suppose is 'man+', which is not what theology supposes at all.

    Well you can see their polemical and anti-philosophical stance in that very comment! Suffice to say, in a peer-review journal, that viewpoint would get trashed, and deservedly so.

    Then they have a defective idea of 'God'.

    To step from deism, or even theism, to the belief in a God who can be known, or a God who makes Himself known, is a huge step, and takes faith, not empirical data.

    I would suggest you focus more on the God of the philosophers in the first instance, before looking at the God of the theologians.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  20. Amergin

    Amergin New Member

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    Evolution by intelligent design is countered by observation. I. D. does not support or disprove God. Evolution produces many forms that later fail when conditions change if they cannot adapt. 90+percent of all kinds of life forms have gone extinct. Humans, for example, have a biophysiology that is full of seeming errors. We have a spinal column best adapted for horizontal position of a quadruped. Evolution allowed us to walk upright as an advantage in Ape/human evolution.

    However, humans still have that quadruped spine with all of the weight above any level bearing down and squeezing on the soft disks. The result is millions of Americans with chronic back pain, many of whom are on disability. With real I.D., the bio-engineer would have made a spine with a more flexible notochord strong enough to support weight but no disks to herniate and paralyse millions of people. There are many structural flaws in all animals. That is because evolution was not intelligently planned. It just allows mutants need to be only fit enough to survive changed conditions. It does not demand the mutations to be perfect and they never are.

    Correct. Animals and Plants happen to have developed DNA that has loose internucleotides that allow frequent rearrangements. These happen all of the time. Most do not thrive. When ecosystems or environments change unfavourably to a species, some mutants who may better live in the changed environment will prosper over the original species. It is clearly not planned. DNA mutates and causes changes in phenotypes, with different properties. Some will be better adapted for survival and most will not. Adaptations may be greater strength, better cold tolerance, greater heat tolerance, better defensive armour protection, better predatory teeth and claws, venom, or greater brain complexity with advances in intelligence.

    I have a hypothesis that planets fit for biological life will eventually have predators, herbivores with speed or defensive armour, warm fur or sweat glands, or greater intelligence. In addition, it is all random chance survivors being the lucky 1% of mutants that succeed.

    Multiple universes are purely speculative. A different universe may have different laws of physics and chemistry. All we know is our present universe and a good bit about its laws. In our universe, an earth like planet in orbit around a Sun-like Star, in the habitable (Goldilocks) zone with Water, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Hydrogen is likely to produce a variety of life forms from the super large, the predatory fierce, the herbivorous speedsters, and the intelligent animals with manipulative extremities.

    Neither you nor I know that answer. Nobody knows that answer. Our difference is that for me, not knowing an answer does not compel me to use my imagination and invent some cosmic intelligent being. My rational scepticism makes me highly doubt a God with human behaviour patterns, vengeance, hatred, vindictiveness, and interfering in our individual lives. Some other undefined gods, conscious or non-conscious are equal propositions.


    Rain does follow many variable rules in when it forms, falls, or fails to fall. It is best considered in Chaos Theory, which is why weathermen so often are wrong. Rain does follow natural laws of physics just like the termites and the last surviving human species, us. Termite organisation follows a long progression from more solitary insects to some who lived together in groups. Those groups who developed cooperative survival behaviours proved better than solitary ones. Humans evolved societies in much the same way. Homo sapiens sapiens the only survivor of 8 different human species, may have left the others behind because of social organisation, altruism, and organised group fighting... more than simple intelligence. Termites are the social successes of the arthropod clan and humans the social successes of the vertebrates.

    What do you mean by less than his creation? Whether God is conscious or an unconscious set of natural forces, it or He is clearly different from us (it/his creation.) A powerful inanimate force of nature is clearly superior to its creation, mere talking apes. Different does not mean lesser. Creation of a Universe is clearly greater than anything made by man, regardless of that creator being conscious, intelligent, or inanimate force. Humankind will never make a universe using human intelligence.

    Something transcending the human being does not mean that this transcendence consists of animal intelligence, human inventiveness. or playing rugby. Intelligence is simply a behavioural adaptation produced by animal evolution as a survival tool. We are more intelligent than our former predators (lions). Lions are more intelligent than Wildebeests. Bald Eagles are more intelligent than salmon. All are animals. Intelligence does not apply to plants. There is no logical syllogism implying that transcendence includes animal intelligence. The only intelligence that we know of is in animals.


    We agree that man is not omni anything. Man is finite and contingent. However, we have no information about a hypothetical cosmic intelligent being. A universal force postulated by scientists may well be infinite and contingent. Such a universal unifying force need not have intelligence of any kind, and animal intelligence is the only kind we know that exists.

    God, in the Christian or Judeo-Islamic form, is purely speculative. I agree God is not like us. We invented God as a hypothetical explanation for all mysteries. Unfortunately, primitive man gave this entity a human personality with all of the faults of a Bronze Age Warlord, including male gender, anger, love, hate, vindictiveness, and capriciousness. I do not accuse God of being such.

    I am not sure what you mean by interpreting signs. Rational mankind is capable of interpreting poetry, art, music, literature, and mythological fiction. It is the rationalist who distinguishes mythology from reality, and fiction from documented history.


    Philosophy is pure speculation. Science does begin with some speculation. However, in science, speculation is followed by hypothesis to be tested. With evidence the hypothesis may be expanded to a theory. The Theory must be examined critically by very critical scientific peers. (And believe me, they are critical. I know.) Both the researcher and the peer critics try to disprove the theory or find flaws in the explanation. Only then can an idea be a genuine scientific theory. A Theory is the best explanation by reason and evidence, for observed phenomena. Evolution is not a Theory. It is an observed phenomenon. The Theory of Evolution is Natural Selection. Continental drift is observed movement of Continents on crustal plates. Plate Tectonics is the Theory of Crustal Plate movement propelled by magna currents balanced by plate spreading and plate subduction. The Fact is Tectonic Plate movement carrying continents and causing earthquakes and volcanoes at plate boundaries and magma hot spots. We know these, Evolution and Continental Drift to be facts. This is not philosophy.

    I totally disagree. Philosophy does not provide knowledge but unlimited speculation. Science is not fundamentalism because there are no sacred cows. Theories are always subject to re-examination or reformulation... not by philosophy or mythology, but by scientists skilled in logic, analytic thinking, associative comparison, and strong scepticism. We have advance in 100,000 years not by religion, philosophy, or meditation, but by scientific method. The first makers of stone tools were using a simple form of scientific thinking. It has led to understanding of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Solar Evolution, Planet Formation, Plate Tectonics, Galaxies and Black Holes, Chemistry, Physics, Biological Evolution, Neuroscience, Particle Physics with subatomic structure, and Quantum Mechanics. I am sorry, but philosophy and its cousin, Religion, have produced no definitive advance in mankind.

    It may not be your theology or my belief. However, it is the core belief in Christianity (Catholicism), Islam, and Judaism. However, the evolution of Jesus from a mere human into a subordinate god, and into a full god is well documented by writings of the arguing Christians themselves in the 2nd to 4th centuries. I suggest you read the book When Jesus became God, "The Struggle to define Christianity during the last days of Rome," by Richard E. Rubenstein. It is packed with well documented writing by the competing Christian Cults noted leaders.

    Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism all have very defective ideas about a God.

    How can one believe in a God who can be known when He does NOT make himself known, except in the unsubstantiated claims of revelation by a small number of rather eccentric people? If a God wished to be known, he would REALLY make himself known to ALL people simultaneously. The sky looks blue to all people who have intact vision. Therefore, we do not need to believe that the sky looks blue, it is a fact. Belief in a God who hides from our inquiry is not the fault of the observer but the lack of any reason to accept the God hypothesis.

    I dismissed the God of the Theologians when I was old enough to speak Gaelic and then English in the First Grade. The Bible made me an Agnostic.

    May the Force be With You,

    Amergin
     

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