Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by wil, Jul 30, 2018.
Fascinating theories - thank you !
It's impossible to have a discussion with people who assume, as an article of faith, that consciousness is created in the brain. They just keep asking for proof. When you say it can't either be disproved, they move to wanting 'evidence' if not actual proof.
When you say you're not a scientist, but suggest that scientists like Wheeler and Penrose are talking about a sort of disembodied quantum intelligence, they answer that Wheeler and Penrose have a lot of strange notions and anyway are not brain scientists.
It's exactly like trying to have a discussion with young earth fundamentalists. It's an article of faith. It's not open to debate.
It's the extremist party on either side. The atheistic scientists, especially the militant anti-theists can become really nasty and insulting. Their superiority and sarcasm is sickening.
Their insistence on brain-generated consciousness also forces them to have to anthropomorphise any conception of 'God'.
Everything is 'logic'. But everything is not logic. Emotions arent logic. Art and music arent logic.
Everything must be proved. But you tell them they can't prove string theory or dark energy -- or even say what 'energy' is -- they say: but at least we know what to look for. We'll find it eventually.
I could go on. But essentially it's reached a point where science, instead of rightly and correctly refusing to allow theology to influence research or dictate what questions may be asked -- has now begun to actively and loudly campaign against the possible existence of any 'higher power' than Man.
Which means, in the absence of finding some clever aliens out there, that Man is the highest intelligence in the universe.
I just don't believe in upsetting myself getting into arguments with such people anymore.
Interesting, and something I'll be looking into.
Right off the blocks I'd say the first point of dialogue between theology and panpsychism is that the latter seems (if I have it right) to argue that consciousness arises out of complexity. Theology, of course, argues that God is simple, God is one.
The panpsychist theory is not panentheism, as panentheism assumes a Deity that is over, above and separate from the created cosmos, and the cosmos is an emanation of the deity, the deity's own substance.
The pantheist theory is that there is no 'en' element, that God is the cosmos and the cosmos is God.
Panpsychism theory is that consciousness emerges from complex, perhaps Quantum, or perhaps some unknown phenomena, but not God.
In the material world as we know it, there is a simple categorisation of being, which for the sake of argument I will list as:
Mineral – unconscious
Floral – semiconscious (That flowers turn to face the sun, for example, is a chemical trigger, that clams open with the tide is more complex, and seems to signify a process triggered by the phases of the moon.)
Fauna/Animal – conscious
Human – self-reflective consciousness
If we expand this to cover a conscious cosmos, there are two possibilities:
Stars, galaxies, etc., might be conscious at the mineral level, whereas the more 'mystical' belief is that stars/galaxies are supra-conscious?
All quite interesting ...
Unless God created complexity with the intent of consciousness arising from it?
I don't like either/or options, I like smashing things together.
Yeah I got that wrong pantheists.... G!d is in everything, is everything....
It'll be good enough to provide reasonable evidence of disembodied consciousness just for now. That alone would be enough to open a discussion about what it is or where it comes from, imo?
If the brain is like a computer, many functions will indeed originate from within the unit: ordinary activity. But the other function of a computer is to receive outside information from the internet. If the computer is damaged, its internet reception will be affected, along with its ability to perform straightforward maths and word processing.
It's a logical and good analogy, but these smart science anti-theist people have heard it all before; they just sneer at it: 'Where are these outside signals supposed to be coming from? Prove it, etc.'
You can't move water with a sieve and you can't try to discuss colour with someone blind, imo.
Open it up...
This discussion is about the Universe listening to Gaia scream she has parasites that are destroying her friendly flora and fauna
I so wish someone could provide reasonable objective evidence of disembodied intelligence. I cannot. Although I do not doubt it. I have had so much direct experience of 'angelic' consciousness. Prophetic dreams. Spiritual guidance.
In my own life there is no doubt left. But it's pretty much subjective, and always open to being just coincidence.
It's not good enough, of course. God is found in quietness and humility and silence.
I like Al Capone: Happens once, it's happenstance; twice, it's coincidence -- third time, it's enemy action.
'To what shall I compare this generation, they say: We piped and you would not dance ... but wisdom is justified of all her children.'
I believe the key may be in discerning the difference between the voices in my head and G!d/angels speaking to me... if there is one.
If someone's acting on voices in his head, he's probably almost definitely schizophrenic, imo. That way lies madness. Don't listen to voices in your head. If God speaks in words, it will just be one or two words, a confirmation or perhaps caution against your own chosen choice of action.
Make your own choices and trust God to guide your steps, and bring you to the right way, even if you take the wrong way.
There are physical laws and there are spiritual laws. God's not going to dance to prove himself to satisfy anyone's curiosity.
The Spiritual dimension surrounds and contains and permeates the dimension of Nature. 'The greater wheel of Spirit turns the lesser wheel of Nature, and is not turned by it.' Nature being all that we can perceive, from growing seed to neutron star. Imo
imo...as usual being the most important 3 letters in almost any post.
Being a tradition fan, when I turned to Buddhism (a long time ago) my first interest was Tendai (this was tied up with my martial arts studies.)
Looking again recently, I took another look at a teaching specific to Tendai, the Three Truths:
1) The Truth that all phenomena is empty,
2) The Truth that all phenomena has a relative (albeit temporal) existence,
3) The Truth that both are true at the same time – this is known as the Middle.
The first truth is a well known Mahayana teaching (sunyata). All appearing phenomena (including us) are a compound of many different elements, causes and conditions. We are not entities that exist outside of or apart from everything else (as the 'I' would have us believe).
We are dynamic, in constant change and flux, and very much interdependent with all other phenomena. We are contingent, and we are ephemeral. We cannot say there is a permanent 'I', nor can we say that 'this' is who we are, because that 'I' is always changing.
Therefore our consciousness is part and product of the ephemeral, much as some scientific commentaries hold.
So theism obviously holds that 'God consciousness' is something of a different order to human or corporeal consciousness. God is only conscious in analogous terms.
Objectively, there is no correlation between God and the appearing world — no two things are more unalike than these — The one is Absolute, the other relative; one is Infinite, the other finite, one is Eternal, the other ephemeral, one is Formless, the other formal, one is Uncreate, the other created, one is Changeless, the other contingent and conditional, and so on...
The second truth is not often heard in a Buddhist context – that there is a relative existence. Things exist in their own right, but that existence is both provisional and conditional. All phenomena, including us, is temporary, dependent on causes, conditions and the interconnectivity of all other phenomena.
The third truth, known as the ‘Truth of the Middle’ — which corresponds to 'the narrow gate' (Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 13:24).
(Aside: For those into symbolism, there's a really interesting text on this: Numbers 22:21-35)
The Middle says that both truths co-exist at the same time, and each is true to itself in its own domain. All phenomena is, all phenomena possesses its own being (its esse of 'is-ness' as the scholars say), but it is empty and temporal at the same time, being caused from without, appearing for a while in the world, and then disappearing.
The overarching understanding is that the Three Truths are One Truth, as the one contains the three and the three contains the one.
(This is so close to Trinitarian theology)
The first contemplation on emptiness is to overcome the wrong view of permanence and to understand our relation with all phenomena.
The second contemplation on the relative is to overcome the wrong view of nihilism – the idea that because all is empty then nothing matters.
The third contemplation is to keep the mind and ones views balanced, to understand one in three-three in one and realise our true nature.
There is much discussion on the nature of the soul.
I would suggest the soul is life, and life is the soul – there's plenty of evidence in the Hebrew Scriptures for this. If a thing lives, it has soul, indeed, if a thing has is-ness, then it too has soul.
The soul is often described as the mirror of the Divine.
So we have two things — the mirror, which is the soul's 'isness' — its purpose is to reflect, and we have the reflection, which is not the soul, nor any part, neither in substance nor essence, of the mirror. What the mirror reflects (or should reflect) is the prototype or blueprint image of its existential being, as that exists in the Mind of God — what the Greek Fathers called the logoi. Here is its source and origin, and its end. These logoi have no substance other than images in the Mind of God. There is no substantial unity between a being and its logoi, because the logoi has no substance.
The mystery is that wo/man can reflect upon the nature of the mirror and the nature of the image, it is here that the creature is open to God, and God is open to the creature. This open-ness was the Gift of God to Adam, a grace offered, and withdrawn at the Fall.
The fact that all wo/men, in all places and in all times, can contemplate the Divine and the mystery of its nature tells us this grace is not withdrawn entirely, that the Divine is immanently present always and everywhere ...
But we will never find 'the missing link', the means by which we can substantially connect the cosmos to God, and thus eventually 'prove' God's existence, because there isn't one.
... Some thoughts, anyway.
My thinking is we eventually will... Or not, and by not I mean explain away G!d completely.
Of course either conclusion will not satisfy all
In my view, the day we explain God away is the day we settle for a mundane reason for existence.
it will be the end of art, of science, of meaning and the triumph of materialism.
Well human consciousness is complex and has complex origins, but that's not God consciousness.
End of art? of Science? of meaning? triumph of materialism?
I shouldn't be amazed at your nuclear hyperbole....but still am.
Hasn't every religion explained G!d away? In their view? I've heard so many say they know G!d...
Surely you've seen the video of Evanglisitic Preachers saying G!d told them, G!d wants them to have a new private jet...and the people should pay....the size of their homes, the size of their churches...
Catholic Church $200 billion + Vatican 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints $40 billion United States 
Church of England $7.8 billion United Kingdom 
Opus Dei (part of the Catholic Church) $2.8 billion Italy 
Church of Scientology $1.0 billion United States
90% of materialist capitalists are envious....
Art, Scientific exploration, search for meaning all proceed monotheism....
93% of scientists and 67% of philosophers are not believers... Couldn't find a study on artists....either way
Over the past 100 years this has probably changed fairly dramatically in all three fields (meaning, science and art)...yet the number of philosphers, artists and scientists has continually climbed.
I am an agnostic (don't know) pantheist (like to believe G!d is in everything) unitic (not your conventional Christian)...
Isn't this an ad hominem?
Actually, that's incorrect. In fact, it's scientifically wrong. According to New Scientist: "religious belief is ingrained into human nature. And a good thing too: without it we would still be living in the Stone Age."
Philosophy was there before the physical sciences, and philosophy will always have an overview on them, and theology is the First Philosophy. In short, the question of God was there before the question of things, and will be there still after all the questions of things have been answered.
OK. If you want to underpin that with a reasonable, rational and logical explanation of why, then we could discuss it ... I've stated my grounds for why I think pantheism, as a theory, just doesn't fly. Always ready to back up my claims and interrogate my beliefs.
As for the stats, depends on what 'scientists' the questionnaire covers, what questions were posed, etc. Theology is a science, did they ask theologians? 100 years ago, the figures might well have been reversed. A hundred years time, reversed again, who knows?
If you're arguing that the majority of materialists are materialists, then I'd agree. And there's more materialists round now than ever there was, but that's in the nature of the culture. Some would say that's the Kali Yuga.
(Actually, the prophecies of the Kali Yuga on the wike page are somewhat ... prescient?
But there's plenty of scientists out there saying science is in no position to pontificate (if you'll excuse the pun) on that which by definition of its nature lies outside its remit.
And I see signs of scientists coming round to the idea of something. When I hear scientists like Brian Cox saying that cosmologists and theologians should get together, talk, compare notes, then I have hope.
Separate names with a comma.