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Rebuttal of Newsweek column on Science & God


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A recent short Newsweek column by one Stephen C. Meyer promotes three reasons why scientific discoveries supposedly support the existence of God (yes, that god).  
 

https://www.newsweek.com/how-science-stopped-backing-atheists-started-pointing-back-god-opinion-1724448


Biologist blogger Jerry Coyne issues a comprehensive rebuttal here, well worth reading…

 

https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2022/07/15/stephen-meyer-in-newsweek-three-scientific-discoveries-point-to-god-as-usual-his-claims-are-misleading/

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, TABA said:

A recent short Newsweek column by one Stephen C. Meyer promotes three reasons why scientific discoveries supposedly support the existence of God (yes, that god).  
 

https://www.newsweek.com/how-science-stopped-backing-atheists-started-pointing-back-god-opinion-1724448


Biologist blogger Jerry Coyne issues a comprehensive rebuttal here, well worth reading…

 

https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2022/07/15/stephen-meyer-in-newsweek-three-scientific-discoveries-point-to-god-as-usual-his-claims-are-misleading/

 

 

 

 

 

With Meyer being that transparently biased as a "creationist," and "Intelligent Design" proponent, his opinions will probably have little bearing on the audiences he seeks to reach. But the very science that Meyer cites as leading people away from god and religion, spanks is ass red raw in response to his pseudo-scientific claims of evidence from science for the existence of the christian god. 

 

Jerry Coyne zeroed in the same general arguments I've been making about the Genesis myth and how it can in no way be reconciled with modern science and the evolution of the species. The biggest problem here is that people trying to shoehorn anything back to the finally decided, after long periods of religious evolution, one and only one of the many gods mentioned in bible, into a scientific framework, have already failed a priori and there's zero percent chance of overcoming that fundamentally false assumption. 

 

Meanwhile, it's full of assumption for Dawkins declare in any dogmatic way that there's no purpose or meaning to existence. Which I assume is a wrong direction as well. It's not based on anything other than incomplete views of the nature of reality, which, are beyond the reach of science altogether. The lesson going out nowadays is that science deals with how things work and not what things actually are. Not knowing or having the ability to determine what things actually are, precludes it from weighing in on those type of philosophical and metaphysical issues. 

 

Good luck trying to firm up a truth claim consisting of no purpose or meaning to existence from a platform of pure ignorance concerning the true nature of reality. 

 

This is the landscape of the near future revealing itself. And it's more than entirely possible that traditional religion will fall. Followed by its foe, a now outdated materialist or physicalist-based atheism (lead by Dawkins and crew) falling right behind it. Because both merely represent an immature period in human evolution and development. And the truth is still out ahead of us awaiting discovery and further, incremental, realization.

 

All of this new information doesn't justify blatantly false traditional religious views. It presents something new entirely. The theists don't grasp that. Consciousness in quantum physics, for instance, doesn't prove the christian god. It actually goes the opposite way and points to pantheistic and panentheistic implications which counter monotheism. And that's only if they're established as true, correct, and factual.

 

And that same sort of new information doesn't justify a blind, purposeless, and meaningless universe either. Both are wrong in the context of the new information informing science and philosophy and causing people to look in newer directions. 

 

The bottom line is that agnostic positioning is the closest thing to truth that we have available to us, as a species. Anyone trying to argue otherwise will be more than hard pressed to do it.

 

The answer to purpose and meaning should have always been left as 'inconclusive' rather than overstepping the boundaries of what we can know for sure. If we don't even know what the nature of reality is via science, how in the world are people going to make these firm conclusions about the nature of reality based on a platform of ultimately not-knowing? 

 

 

 

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Newsweek has become a real right-wing rag. The Discovery Institute? Puhleeze.

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From the Newsweek article...

 

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.

 

🙄

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2 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

From the Newsweek article...

 

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.

 

🙄

Riigghhtt...  but these are the sort of views that Newsweek enjoys printing. Discovery Institute! Puhleeze. 

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13 hours ago, ficino said:

Newsweek has become a real right-wing rag. The Discovery Institute? Puhleeze.

I also noticed that through the years it has seemed to take a swing to the right.  

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On 8/11/2022 at 9:01 AM, Joshpantera said:

With Meyer being that transparently biased as a "creationist," and "Intelligent Design" proponent, his opinions will probably have little bearing on the audiences he seeks to reach


I’m afraid columns like this probably DO have a bearing on their audience.  I suspect the average reader of Newsweek is not looking for a rigorous examination of the arguments for and against theism.  They are most likely theists who are happy to have their presuppositions reinforced by an article like this.  
 

On 8/11/2022 at 9:01 AM, Joshpantera said:

Meanwhile, it's full of assumption for Dawkins declare in any dogmatic way that there's no purpose or meaning to existence. Which I assume is a wrong direction as well. It's not based on anything other than incomplete views of the nature of reality, which, are beyond the reach of science altogether. The


I agree with Dawkins in some respects about this, disagree in others.  Of course I share his atheism, but I also agree that there is no purpose or meaning to existence, outside of the meaning or purpose we derive for ourselves.  But I disagree with him that science can provide us with meaning, or that science can serve as a full replacement for what people gain from theistic religion.  Obviously as a scientist himself, it provides much of the meaning and purpose in his life, but for the rest of us something more is needed.  For me - and for many others who have left theism behind - that something comes from learning from the great philosophers.  Not a study of philosophy as a dry academic pursuit but as a guide to how to life a good life in the few decades we are allotted.    And by “good” I don’t mean righteous in the christian sense but rather fulfilling and with as few regrets as possible.  Since I deconverted I have been taking on board ideas from Stoicism, Epicureanism and Buddhism to varying degrees and it’s been very rewarding. I no longer ask what would Jesus do, but I am learning a lot from Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epicurus and others.  
 

Josh, I know you have had a keen interest for many years in metaphysical concepts that might be called “spiritual”, while still being firmly atheistic.  I’ll be honest and say that many of these concepts are quite over my head!  But I don’t think such concepts are needed in order to replace religion for most of us.  I don’t know if I am strictly a materialist or not (I haven’t studied it enough), but I think I’m in the vicinity. So I guess I would agree that science by itself can’t provide meaning for most of us, an embrace of science combined with adopting a coherent philosophy can do so.  

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5 minutes ago, TABA said:

So I guess I would agree that science by itself can’t provide meaning for most of us, an embrace of science combined with adopting a coherent philosophy can do so.

Damn it, @TABA!  Quit stealing my posts!

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6 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Damn it, @TABA!  Quit stealing my posts!


I bet a man of your intellect could rework your proto-post to add to the discussion… 

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42 minutes ago, TABA said:


I bet a man of your intellect could rework your proto-post to add to the discussion… 

What could I add that you haven't already said, though?

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10 hours ago, TABA said:
On 8/11/2022 at 9:01 AM, Joshpantera said:

With Meyer being that transparently biased as a "creationist," and "Intelligent Design" proponent, his opinions will probably have little bearing on the audiences he seeks to reach


I’m afraid columns like this probably DO have a bearing on their audience.  I suspect the average reader of Newsweek is not looking for a rigorous examination of the arguments for and against theism.  They are most likely theists who are happy to have their presuppositions reinforced by an article like this.  

 

Are we talking about the same audiences? The people who have left religion and pay more attention to science now as metioned in the polls? Who he's trying to convince back to religion from science?

 

The news week religionists reading the article are just a case of preaching to choir. I thought he was trying to speak to influencing people to come back to religion who have left. So as to change the polls. 

 

I don't see how outdated appeals to ID will have any bearing on bringing back to religion those who have left or lost interest (the none's). The gigs up. Religion is already lost on those people. Rehashed apologetics is pretty lost on that crowd. 

 

10 hours ago, TABA said:

Josh, I know you have had a keen interest for many years in metaphysical concepts that might be called “spiritual”, while still being firmly atheistic.  I’ll be honest and say that many of these concepts are quite over my head!  But I don’t think such concepts are needed in order to replace religion for most of us.  I don’t know if I am strictly a materialist or not (I haven’t studied it enough), but I think I’m in the vicinity. So I guess I would agree that science by itself can’t provide meaning for most of us, an embrace of science combined with adopting a coherent philosophy can do so.  

 

Philosophy has higher ground over science in that way.

 

 

May be an image of 7 people, people standing, dog and text

 

The issue of only addressing how and why things work but never getting down to what things actually are, delineates a strong boundary. I hear a lot of people on social media now talking about being "metaphysically agnostic." Not committing to physicalist or idealist metaphysics. And remaining open to further insight. But this has only arisen in response to hard debate going around about physicalism and idealism to where people aren't nearly as comfortable anymore taking a strong physicalist position because it's been exposed for its weaknesses. And that has warranted enough caution to provoke this shift in position taking. 

 

That's how the christ myth theory played out over time. Nowadays people are cautious about it. And those in the know will readily admit to agnostic position on the historicity of jesus. Whereas in the early to mid 2,000's people were running around cocksure of themselves about historicity. The debates changed the landscape and curbed the cocksure attitude. This is happening with physicalism versus idealism now. These issues reverberate around discussion boards and social media. 

 

It will be interesting to revisit discussions like this in another 10 years. To see how different things will be at that time. 

 

 

May be an image of 3 people and text that says 'WELCOME TO REALITY KANT EASTERN PHILOSOPHY IDEALISM HEGEL SCHOPENHAUER SCHOPE MATERIALISM'

 

 

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I will say this: in my own life, having been raised to be an extremist, I've looked for meaning, purpose, and happiness in a lot of different places, and always to the extreme. 

 

I took my religion to the extreme, assuming as I was taught, that was the meaning and purpose of life; and the joy of the lord was my strength.  I found neither meaning nor happiness there. 

 

After deconversion, I went to the opposite extreme of hard-core scientist.  I spent more than a decade looking for purpose under the microscope, meaning in a test tube.  I've seen a lot of cutting edge science, put my hands on next generation HIV treatments, played a role in the first FDA approved cancer immunotherapy.  But, the novelty always wears off; and, although I find the work meaningful, I do not find it full of meaning.

 

I've taken looking for happiness in the bottom of the bottle to such an extreme that I've been known to consume isopropyl alcohol, acetone, pure laboratory-grade ethanol, and even beer (if I was really desperate).  Nothing but misery there.  I've done the same with relationships, with equal success. 

 

The funny thing is, I've always had an intellectual grasp of the idea that meaning, purpose, and happiness can only come from inside myself; but I never quite understood how to apply that knowledge in any practical way.  Until 2019.  That's when I quit "trying" to meditate, and just started spending time with myself instead.  Sure, it still often involves sitting quietly and trying to clear my mind.  But I've come to the view that eliminating distractions isn't some kind of mystical, spiritual passageway to nirvana and enlightenment.  It simply allows me to get in touch with myself and spend some quality time.  I realized I'm actually a pretty cool guy, once I got to know me.  It's an ongoing process, obviously; but I absolutely know where my happiness and purpose are now.

 

And Joey, if you're out there, we're coming up on 3.5 years sober, buddy.  Proud of ya!

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Is meaning and purpose simply outside our front door?

 

This may sound simple minded, but the focus I took when looking for meaning and purpose was to look at nature.  What is the "nature" of all living things? 

 

Life. 

 

To live, grow, mature and reproduce before dying and becoming "fertilizer" that helps future life to repeat the cycle.  And all living things have conditions under which they grow and function best.  Including humans.  So, is our purpose to promote, not just quantity, but quality of life for the planet?? (and universe)?  Looking at what is the best interest of the "whole ball of wax"??  Thinking of the overall best interest of WE, instead of just ME and my selfish wants??

 

And about becoming that "fertilizer" that we provide after death (if we would let things happen naturally) for future life also means passing on the wisdom we obtain while living.  

 

That's redneck Okie philosophy coming from a guy who never studied philosophy, and may have beginning dementia.   😁

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Following up upon what the Professor and Weezer have said about looking around for meaning and purpose...

 

 

In my opinion perhaps the bitterest pill of all for many people to swallow is the realization that reality has no discernible meaning or purpose at all.

 

Others however, come to this realization more calmly and can utilise their powers of reason to move on to the next logical step.

 

Which is to understand that nature, the universe and reality only have the meanings and purposes that we assign to them.

 

And nothing more.     

 

 

Thank you,

 

Walter.

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18 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

I will say this: in my own life, having been raised to be an extremist, I've looked for meaning, purpose, and happiness in a lot of different places, and always to the extreme. 

 

I took my religion to the extreme, assuming as I was taught, that was the meaning and purpose of life; and the joy of the lord was my strength.  I found neither meaning nor happiness there. 

 

After deconversion, I went to the opposite extreme of hard-core scientist.  I spent more than a decade looking for purpose under the microscope, meaning in a test tube.  I've seen a lot of cutting edge science, put my hands on next generation HIV treatments, played a role in the first FDA approved cancer immunotherapy.  But, the novelty always wears off; and, although I find the work meaningful, I do not find it full of meaning.

 

I've taken looking for happiness in the bottom of the bottle to such an extreme that I've been known to consume isopropyl alcohol, acetone, pure laboratory-grade ethanol, and even beer (if I was really desperate).  Nothing but misery there.  I've done the same with relationships, with equal success. 

 

 

I've just recently read "The Kybalion." An over 100 year old source code for navigating the Hermetic principles and all esoteric literature. I found the "pendulum swing" particularly interesting. The more extreme to one side the pendulum is taken, the equal but opposite extreme will follow. High, highs, swing to low, lows. And it can apply to many different things. 

 

I recognized right away that my first instinct upon realizing that theism is false was to go full into anti-theistic reasoning. In fundamentalist christianity the pendulum was pulled hard to the right. And when it broke free is flew to the far left. 

 

*anti-theism < atheism < pantheism > panentheism > theisms* 

 

What happened over time is that I narrowed the swing down to closer to center. And found my way into the philosophical pantheisms. And the pendulum narrowed down to a tighter swing each way from center. 

 

But it's not just about religion and belief. It can be about happy and sad. Or any two "poles," which is the way that the Hermeticist's frame it. And then I realized that yes, I stopped getting both high, highs, and low, lows. It all narrowed down to just left and right of center. Political views went the same way. Everything went that way. There are still some degree of delineating two extremes or poles, but they are much closer together than they were previously. 

 

Now I'm paying closer attention to the "poles," or extremes. And to be honest, it occurred to me that if I find myself going too far during a good time, I should try and tame it down and not allow the good time to get too extreme. Because an extreme but opposite is sure to follow. I'm more conscious of it while it's taking place now. 

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18 hours ago, Weezer said:

 

To live, grow, mature and reproduce before dying and becoming "fertilizer" that helps future life to repeat the cycle.  And all living things have conditions under which they grow and function best.  Including humans.  So, is our purpose to promote, not just quantity, but quality of life for the planet?? (and universe)?  Looking at what is the best interest of the "whole ball of wax"??  Thinking of the overall best interest of WE, instead of just ME and my selfish wants??

 

And about becoming that "fertilizer" that we provide after death (if we would let things happen naturally) for future life also means passing on the wisdom we obtain while living.  

 

That's redneck Okie philosophy coming from a guy who never studied philosophy, and may have beginning dementia.   😁

 

We're on a roll here, this also "corresponds" to the Kybalion texts that I've recently read. The mythic symbol of the Ouroboros symbolizes everything you're alluding to above. It's my avatar pic here on the forum and I have it tattooed on my shoulder. Life is a self-consuming entity - it has to perpetuate itself through the consumption of itself. That leads to the myths of the Ouroboros as the first life, which, began a self-consuming process or cycle.

 

And you're last line about passing on the wisdom, yeah, that's what the Kybalion is about. And it doesn't matter that you haven't studied philosophy, these are deeper truths that reside within us all. No study was necessary. You intuitively knew all of this. By simply looking around at the world outside your front door and taking notice of what is. 

 

Ouroboros - Wikipedia

 

The ouroboros or uroboros (/ˌjʊərəˈbɒrəs/[2]) is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon[3] eating its own tail. The ouroboros entered Western tradition via ancient Egyptian iconography and the Greek magical tradition. It was adopted as a symbol in Gnosticism and Hermeticism and most notably in alchemy. The term derives from Ancient Greek οὐροβόρος,[4] from οὐρά oura 'tail' plus -βορός -boros '-eating'.[5][6] The ouroboros is often interpreted as a symbol for eternal cyclic renewal or a cycle of life, death, and rebirth; the snake’s skin-sloughing symbolizes the transmigration of souls.

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2 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

Following up upon what the Professor and Weezer have said about looking around for meaning and purpose...

 

 

In my opinion perhaps the bitterest pill of all for many people to swallow is the realization that reality has no discernible meaning or purpose at all.

 

Others however, come to this realization more calmly and can utilise their powers of reason to move on to the next logical step.

 

Which is to understand that nature, the universe and reality only have the meanings and purposes that we assign to them.

 

And nothing more.     

 

 

Thank you,

 

Walter.

 

 

When it comes to ultimate reality, we haven't a clue what's really going on. We have to trudge along doing our best with what we have available. But what we have available is clearly immature even within the scheme of our own abilities to conceive. We can conceive of levels of civilization ranging from planetary control to solar control, to galactic control, and finally universal control. And that puts us on the map at a level less than full planetary control, less than a level 1 civilization. 

 

So that's what we have available by our own imagination. Then you'd have to factor in how that may compare to the imagination of a much more advanced species or civilization from that perspective or conceptual ability. The hardline conclusion making is never warranted. We may as well steer clear of trying to conclude at all on things like purpose and meaning. The truth remains open to further insight. There's just no other way. The other way depends on making firm conclusions where none are actually possible. 

 

This is a type of agnostic discipline in my view. 

 

And relevant to agnostic-atheism for that reason. The agnostic disclaimer tends to justify steering clear of that kind of hardline position taking on questions of absolute knowledge. Blanketing all examples given. Including meaning and purpose. That's my appeal to the agnostic-atheist community anywho......

 

 

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59 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

And then I realized that yes, I stopped getting both high, highs, and low, lows. It all narrowed down to just left and right of center.

This is one of the things I secretly mean when I talk about following The Middle Way.  Sure, it's the 8-fold path; but, for me, it is also about finding the "middle" or center, as you call it.

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32 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

This is one of the things I secretly mean when I talk about following The Middle Way.  Sure, it's the 8-fold path; but, for me, it is also about finding the "middle" or center, as you call it.

 Totally! 

 

I thought of things you've said before on this site about the middle way as I was reading the Kybalion. It all makes perfect sense when focused in on like that. And how beneficial it can be in life to 'grab the bull by the horns' and stop oneself from going too extreme one way or the other through conscious focus on the issue at hand. 

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34 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 Totally! 

 

I thought of things you've said before on this site about the middle way as I was reading the Kybalion. It all makes perfect sense when focused in on like that. And how beneficial it can be in life to 'grab the bull by the horns' and stop oneself from going too extreme one way or the other through conscious focus on the issue at hand. 

The Moment is neither complicated nor simple, neither extreme nor temperate.  The Moment simply is.

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9 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

 

When it comes to ultimate reality, we haven't a clue what's really going on. We have to trudge along doing our best with what we have available. But what we have available is clearly immature even within the scheme of our own abilities to conceive. We can conceive of levels of civilization ranging from planetary control to solar control, to galactic control, and finally universal control. And that puts us on the map at a level less than full planetary control, less than a level 1 civilization. 

 

So that's what we have available by our own imagination. Then you'd have to factor in how that may compare to the imagination of a much more advanced species or civilization from that perspective or conceptual ability. The hardline conclusion making is never warranted. We may as well steer clear of trying to conclude at all on things like purpose and meaning. The truth remains open to further insight. There's just no other way. The other way depends on making firm conclusions where none are actually possible. 

 

This is a type of agnostic discipline in my view. 

 

And relevant to agnostic-atheism for that reason. The agnostic disclaimer tends to justify steering clear of that kind of hardline position taking on questions of absolute knowledge. Blanketing all examples given. Including meaning and purpose. That's my appeal to the agnostic-atheist community anywho......

 

 

 

I've highlighted the first two sentences Josh because what you say in them resonates with my point about reality not having any apparent purpose and we humans assigning purpose and meaning to an apparently indifferent universe.

 

Nobody has a clue about the true nature of reality, leaving it devoid of apparent purpose from our p.o.v.  Therefore, what we all do is to ASSIGN meaning to it, in whatever ways we find most comforting.  This is where imagination comes in.  This is us trudging along, doing our best with what we have available.

 

Science is of no help in discovering the meaning or purpose of reality.  But it is still a useful tool in helping us discard those meanings we've assigned to reality that are at odds with the data and the evidence.

 

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

 

I've highlighted the first two sentences Josh because what you say in them resonates with my point about reality not having any apparent purpose and we humans assigning purpose and meaning to an apparently indifferent universe.

 

Nobody has a clue about the true nature of reality, leaving it devoid of apparent purpose from our p.o.v.  Therefore, what we all do is to ASSIGN meaning to it, in whatever ways we find most comforting.  This is where imagination comes in.  This is us trudging along, doing our best with what we have available.

 

Science is of no help in discovering the meaning or purpose of reality.  But it is still a useful tool in helping us discard those meanings we've assigned to reality that are at odds with the data and the evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

What if we are in a simulation? Meaning and purpose would have to do with the simulation, which, is beyond our understanding but there are hints that this could be happening. There would be a meaning and purpose to the simulation, but we wouldn't fully understand it from our vantage point. 

 

What if we are in a Consciousness based reality? Meaning and purpose would have to do with the necessity for self-experience and self-interaction. But we wouldn't understand much more than that basic premise - that there is some type of meaning and purpose to life and awareness in the grand scheme. 

 

What if space-time is doomed? 

 

 

 

Most of our inclinations towards meaninglessness and purposelessness, are attached at the hip to space-time conceptualization. The reasons or logic for thinking that way is built upon a foundation of space-time conceptualization and physicalist assumptions and presupposition. All of which appear to be doomed. If true, then what follows, logically, would be that the assertions of meaninglessness that are founded on doomed concepts, are equally doomed for the same reasons. 

 

What's left are different avenues that are not shut off to meaning in the same way. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

What if we are in a simulation? Meaning and purpose would have to do with the simulation, which, is beyond our understanding but there are hints that this could be happening. There would be a meaning and purpose to the simulation, but we wouldn't fully understand it from our vantage point. 

 

Then we are back to square one, Josh. 

 

If we live in a simulation, it logically exists within the greater reality of the simulation creator/s.  As such we would have no access at all to the true meaning or purpose of their reality.  Our senses can only perceive what they permit us.  And if we can discover the meaning and purpose of our simulated reality, that would be of no help to us either because that reality is imposed upon us.  

 

And so we are forced to return to my earlier point.  

 

"Nobody has a clue about the true nature of reality, leaving it devoid of apparent purpose from our p.o.v.  Therefore, what we all do is to ASSIGN meaning to it, in whatever ways we find most comforting.  This is where imagination comes in.  This is us trudging along, doing our best with what we have available."

 

 

16 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

What if we are in a Consciousness based reality? Meaning and purpose would have to do with the necessity for self-experience and self-interaction. But we wouldn't understand much more than that basic premise - that there is some type of meaning and purpose to life and awareness in the grand scheme. 

 

Ok, so is this a commonly-shared consciousness based reality or do each of us inhabit our own separate consciousness based realities?

 

If it's the latter, then each of us generates our own meaning and purpose.  Leading us back to square one and my earlier point again.  We assign meaning and purpose according to our choice.  But each of us in our own separate realities may be part of a higher reality and never be able to know or discover it - being locked into our own separate bubbles.

 

If it's the former, then how does that work?  I can't even begin to imagine!

 

 

16 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

What if space-time is doomed? 

 

Most of our inclinations towards meaninglessness and purposelessness, are attached at the hip to space-time conceptualization. The reasons or logic for thinking that way is built upon a foundation of space-time conceptualization and physicalist assumptions and presupposition. All of which appear to be doomed. If true, then what follows, logically, would be that the assertions of meaninglessness that are founded on doomed concepts, are equally doomed for the same reasons. 

 

What's left are different avenues that are not shut off to meaning in the same way. 

 

 

Experiments in quantum-tunnelling suggest that changing the spin of one particle instantly changes the spin of another particle many kilometres away.  Yet, according to GR causality cannot move instantly between widely-separated locations.  Some scientists are speculating that this spells the doom of space-time.  As far as I'm concerning the jury is still out on this one, Josh.

 

But, what does it really matter?  Evolution has equipped our brains to understand the universe in terms of space and time.  That's all we have to use.  Our instruments and experiments require us to perceive their data with our senses.  That's all we have to use here as well.  So, unless we can somehow bypass the limitations of our senses and our brains, we can neither perceive nor understand reality as it really is.  We can only understand it filtered through our space-time dependent senses and our space-time dependent brains. 

 

If reality is not what we perceive it or understand it to be, then once again we are back at square one.  We are just as trapped by our senses and our brains as we would have been if we inhabited a simulated reality.  The truth of the meaning and purpose of reality is forever hidden to us by the limitations of our minds and our senses.

 

So all we can do is to assign whatever meanings and purposes we choose to reality and trudge along, doing the best we can. 

 

Thank you,

 

Walter.

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16 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

If we live in a simulation, it logically exists within the greater reality of the simulation creator/s.  As such we would have no access at all to the true meaning or purpose of their reality.  Our senses can only perceive what they permit us.  And if we can discover the meaning and purpose of our simulated reality, that would be of no help to us either because that reality is imposed upon us.  

 

And so we are forced to return to my earlier point.  

 

"Nobody has a clue about the true nature of reality, leaving it devoid of apparent purpose from our p.o.v.  Therefore, what we all do is to ASSIGN meaning to it, in whatever ways we find most comforting.  This is where imagination comes in.  This is us trudging along, doing our best with what we have available."

 

Whether or not we're aware of the greater purpose, doesn't even factor into this, though. It wouldn't matter if we discover it or not. There would be a purpose from the perspective of running the simulation, of what the simulation is meant to accomplish. The idea is that we'd be here inside the simulation assigning myriad meanings according to whatever we choose, and yet there would be an actual meaning and purpose that eludes us. 

 

These are reasons for taking an agnostic position on the issue of meaning and purpose. For all we know, there could be an actual overarching purpose that consumes any individual attempts at finding one. And whether we're aware of it or not has no bearing on whether or not one exists which simply eludes our knowledge. 

 

16 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

Ok, so is this a commonly-shared consciousness based reality or do each of us inhabit our own separate consciousness based realities?

 

If it's the latter, then each of us generates our own meaning and purpose.  Leading us back to square one and my earlier point again.  We assign meaning and purpose according to our choice.  But each of us in our own separate realities may be part of a higher reality and never be able to know or discover it - being locked into our own separate bubbles.

 

If it's the former, then how does that work?  I can't even begin to imagine!

 

We can look at a primary consciousness-based reality. A phenomenal consciousness common to everything with dissociated perspectives of itself referred to as meta consciousness. The purpose in this scenario for the existence of finite perspectives of experience, comes down to the infinite not being able to experience itself otherwise. Rupert Spira and Bernardo Kastrup had an interesting pod cast on the topic of the Infinite from its own perspective versus the need for fragmented finite perspectives of experience.

 

This goes in directions that will make theists and materialist atheists both cringe, admittedly. Because it illustrates lack from the perspective of the infinite. Some mystics opposed it and lashed out. Debates flared up. And anything to do with a consciousness-based reality is unacceptable a priori from the materialist camp. 

 

But there would be a purpose for the existence of meta-conscious experience within a universal scale phenomenal consciousness. It would be doing something within itself and that can go in the direction of interpretations that have to do with the "will" of nature. It would have a purpose for trying to experience itself from within. 

 

Just another reason to doubt cocksure attitudes about no purpose or meaning. As if that sort of firm conclusion is even possible. It really isn't. 

 

This discourse only illustrates what can be wrong with making cocksure attitudes instead of taking an agnostic attitude, that's all. There's no further point to it. 

 

16 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

But, what does it really matter?  Evolution has equipped our brains to understand the universe in terms of space and time.  That's all we have to use.  Our instruments and experiments require us to perceive their data with our senses.  That's all we have to use here as well.  So, unless we can somehow bypass the limitations of our senses and our brains, we can neither perceive nor understand reality as it really is.  We can only understand it filtered through our space-time dependent senses and our space-time dependent brains. 

 

If reality is not what we perceive it or understand it to be, then once again we are back at square one.  We are just as trapped by our senses and our brains as we would have been if we inhabited a simulated reality.  The truth of the meaning and purpose of reality is forever hidden to us by the limitations of our minds and our senses.

 

So all we can do is to assign whatever meanings and purposes we choose to reality and trudge along, doing the best we can. 

 

Where could this be going? The first two responses give it away! 

 

Not knowing ultimate reality prohibits any cocksure attitudes that use physicalism as a platform to make claims about a meaningless existence. There's no high ground to be located in that direction.

 

The fact that we don't know if there's a fixed meaning and purpose for existence, means that we haven't ruled out a fixed meaning or purpose, because we can't. For all we know, there could be. Agnostic positioning shines out over cocksure attitudes in all of these scenarios. And that's the only point. Beyond that, there's not much else to say. 

 

The only negation here would be to argue that yes, we can be sure and certain that existence has no meaning or purpose. But then the question would be how can we be that certain? 

 

Can't point to science, that won't work. 

 

Can't point to philosophy or mysticism, that won't work either. 

 

We'll locate agnostic foundations in any of those directions. Coming back around to the only true answer being, "I don't know if there's a fixed meaning or purpose for existence."

 

And THEN carry on assigning whatever meaning suits our fancy, aware of the fact that it's merely whatever suits our fancy. And you get to be right in the end anyways. But not at the expense of skipping a major step in the process that illustrates why it's an agnostic based issue by default. Curbing the cocksure attitudes by default. And leveling the playing field somewhat in that way. No one knows. We should never lose sight of that while throwing up subjective meanings and purposes...

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

"Nobody has a clue about the true nature of reality, leaving it devoid of apparent purpose from our p.o.v.  Therefore, what we all do is to ASSIGN meaning to it, in whatever ways we find most comforting.  This is where imagination comes in.  This is us trudging along, doing our best with what we have available."

 

The best we have available, is the agnostic positioning and answering, "I don't know." And never losing sight of that fundamental level fact thereafter. 

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