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Author Topic:   Materialistic prejudice?
Jaderis
Member (Idle past 1502 days)
Posts: 622
From: NY,NY
Joined: 06-16-2006


Message 1 of 38 (461376)
03-25-2008 3:02 AM


In Message 154, Beretta says this:

Beretta writes:

Granny Magda writes:

Evolution seems weird and freaky to me, therefore it's not real."

No,not at all, it doesn't seem weird and freaky and therefore unreasonable. I fully understand why some people believe it but then those people start out with assumptions that matter is all there is. That's not weird and freaky, just prejudiced.

It is marginally on topic for that thread, but I wanted to take this statement in another direction so I am starting a new thread.

I will start out with a story (parts of which I have shared here before).

I grew up without a set religion. I was never told what to believe or not believe, but I was always told to ask questions. My mother is a biologist and was completing her degree when I was in elementary school. She often took me to the university labs with her in the evenings when there was no babysitter available and, eventually, because I was fascinated with the lab and her explanations of what she was doing. I knew the basics of evolution through her and through school and through my own voracious appetite for reading anything and everything about animals and nature past and present.

Just like any other child growing up I also had lots of philosophical questions and a fascination with the metaphysical. I had knowledge of the concept of ghosts, the soul, god(s), etc and I was never told that they were not real. My mother allowed and encouraged me to muse upon these concepts and as I got older the questions got bigger and my fascination got stronger. She never once told me that I should only accept things on evidence (I think she figured I would come to that conclusion on my own). She is somewhat spiritual herself, but it wasn't until I was in my late teens that we actually talked about her beliefs because she didn't want to influence me in any way (it probably would have because I look up to her so much and especially so, then).

Anyway, to bring this to my point, I grew up tacitly believing in the "unseen" and strongly believing in some of those things at various points in my life. I never started out with a "matter is all there is" concept. I had never even thought to think that. I still don't because I can't know, but those concerns are not a part of my life.

However, I accept the evidence for evolution. I knew the basics early on and I learned more and more as I grew up (and am still learning). I don't just accept it because it "makes sense" because it doesn't always automatically make sense. The science behind evolution is complicated (although the basics are pretty straightforward) and it takes time and effort to understand it all and then something new comes along the next day. I accept it because I took the time to learn. I didn't have any pre-conceived notions that kept me from learning or that forced me to accept it.

My early education in evolution was at the same time as I was exploring religion and other metaphysical concepts. I never once thought that they were contradictory because I recognized science and metaphysics as completely different areas. It just never crossed my mind that they had anything to do with each other. Of course, as I grew older and learned through both education and my own trial and error, I came to the point that I am at now where I pretty much only accept things that have evidence to back them up. I still wonder about things like the "soul" when I am in a particularly introspective state of mind, but I know that whatever answers I come up with are mine and mine alone and I can't convince anyone else and I don't normally worry about it.

So, what do you (Beretta or anyone else who thinks that "evolutionists" are biased towards materialism) say to someone like me (and I am sure countless others)?

Do you think that all "evolutionists" grew up in a materialistic vacuum and/or only accepted evolution once they dismissed all things metaphysical?

Do you think that all evolutionary biologists (regardless of religious affiliation) would just toss contradictory evidence (if ever found) in the garbage because they all think that "matter is all that there is?"

Or is the more parsimonious answer that the evidence is material and speaks of material things, so the person viewing the evidence (again, regardless of religious affiliation) should consider the material evidence as presented? They can have their own ideas about what was behind it (I mean, even though we have the germ theory of disease, Sakpata could still be responsible, no?)and nobody's stopping them, but the material evidence still speaks of material things and their own ideas about divine or otherwise metaphysical influence would be extraneous and unnecessary for the science.


"You are metaphysicians. You can prove anything by metaphysics; and having done so, every metaphysician can prove every other metaphysician wrong--to his own satisfaction. You are anarchists in the realm of thought. And you are mad cosmos-makers. Each of you dwells in a cosmos of his own making, created out of his own fancies and desires. You do not know the real world in which you live, and your thinking has no place in the real world except in so far as it is phenomena of mental aberration." -The Iron Heel by Jack London

"Hazards exist that are not marked" - some bar in Chelsea


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Taz, posted 03-25-2008 11:42 AM Jaderis has responded
 Message 4 by Straggler, posted 03-25-2008 11:48 AM Jaderis has responded
 Message 7 by randman, posted 03-25-2008 1:13 PM Jaderis has not yet responded

    
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Message 2 of 38 (461400)
03-25-2008 8:54 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Taz
Member (Idle past 1368 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 3 of 38 (461413)
03-25-2008 11:42 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jaderis
03-25-2008 3:02 AM


I wanted to say this last night but this wasn't promoted yet.

I highly doubt people like Beretta actually thought it through this thoroughly.


This message is a reply to:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 4 of 38 (461416)
03-25-2008 11:48 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jaderis
03-25-2008 3:02 AM


I like the thougtful approach of your OP.

I think the two sides of the evolution debate are often talking at cross purposes.
I think the anti evolutionists in general assume that those who do accept evolution are doing so on the basis of a predefined world view that rejects God, or the literacy of the bible (either consciously or by educational brainwashing) rather than anything else more concrete. I think they reflect their own thinking and the methods by which they have drawn their creationist conclusions on their opponents. Thus talk of evidence and testable conclusions etc. is considered just a smokescreen for the entrenched anti-Christian message that, in the eyes of the creationist, is as equally faith based as their own.
Trying to get across the fact that scientific conclusions have to be materially/empirically testable to be considered even potentially reliable becomes almost impossible to get across in this context. In the absence of appreciating this fact it does just seem like the 'evolutionists' are imposing arbitary and unfair barriers to creationist conclusions. Thus the initial accusation seems strengthened and the positions become even more entrenched.

I shall be interested to see what antievo responses you get to your OP.


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Jaderis
Member (Idle past 1502 days)
Posts: 622
From: NY,NY
Joined: 06-16-2006


Message 5 of 38 (461418)
03-25-2008 11:56 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Taz
03-25-2008 11:42 AM


You're probably right, Taz, but I figured I would give them a shot at an answer. If no one bites, no one bites.


"You are metaphysicians. You can prove anything by metaphysics; and having done so, every metaphysician can prove every other metaphysician wrong--to his own satisfaction. You are anarchists in the realm of thought. And you are mad cosmos-makers. Each of you dwells in a cosmos of his own making, created out of his own fancies and desires. You do not know the real world in which you live, and your thinking has no place in the real world except in so far as it is phenomena of mental aberration." -The Iron Heel by Jack London

"Hazards exist that are not marked" - some bar in Chelsea


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Jaderis
Member (Idle past 1502 days)
Posts: 622
From: NY,NY
Joined: 06-16-2006


Message 6 of 38 (461422)
03-25-2008 12:06 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Straggler
03-25-2008 11:48 AM


I like the thougtful approach of your OP.

Thanks :)

I think the anti evolutionists in general assume that those who do accept evolution are doing so on the basis of a predefined world view that rejects God, or the literacy of the bible (either consciously or by educational brainwashing) rather than anything else more concrete. I think they reflect their own thinking and the methods by which they have drawn their creationist conclusions on their opponents. Thus talk of evidence and testable conclusions etc. is considered just a smokescreen for the entrenched anti-Christian message that, in the eyes of the creationist, is as equally faith based as their own.

Exactly. It's almost like they can't fathom that someone can come to a conclusion independent of their faith (or lack of it). For some of them it might be because their faith requires them to look at everything through the lens of their religious beliefs. They just don't understand people who don't do that.


"You are metaphysicians. You can prove anything by metaphysics; and having done so, every metaphysician can prove every other metaphysician wrong--to his own satisfaction. You are anarchists in the realm of thought. And you are mad cosmos-makers. Each of you dwells in a cosmos of his own making, created out of his own fancies and desires. You do not know the real world in which you live, and your thinking has no place in the real world except in so far as it is phenomena of mental aberration." -The Iron Heel by Jack London

"Hazards exist that are not marked" - some bar in Chelsea


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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2976 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 7 of 38 (461428)
03-25-2008 1:13 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jaderis
03-25-2008 3:02 AM


I think an interesting approach to testing your ideas in the OP would be to define or how you define what is material and what is spiritual? what is metaphysical and what is non-material?

What are the qualities that define each of those words?

You might be surprised to learn we have a great deal of evidence for what you think there is no evidence for.

Btw, I was raised in a secular oriented home fully accepting NeoDarwinism, but don't accept it now, based on the evidence.....not to debate that but just to point out you can come from the other side so to speak and come to believe the evidence does not support evolution.

Edited by randman, : No reason given.

Edited by randman, : No reason given.


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 8 of 38 (461431)
03-25-2008 1:32 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by randman
03-25-2008 1:13 PM


Starting Point
I think an interesting approach to testing your ideas in the OP would be to define or how you define what is material and what is spiritual?

As a starting point I would say that a material explanation is one that can be tested empirically.

A spritual or supernatural explanation is one that cannot.

Does that help at all?

It sounds as if you have followed an unusual path to reach your current position!!


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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2976 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 9 of 38 (461434)
03-25-2008 1:37 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Straggler
03-25-2008 1:32 PM


Re: Starting Point
Doesn't really help because let's imagine for a minute that spiritual things are real. I believe they are real, but for sake of argument, even if you don't think so, let's test this idea that they might be real.

Then, let's say we come up with a way to test for the existence of something spiritual.

By your definition, the spiritual thing automatically becomes material once it's testable. So in reality, your definition of material and spiritual are just reference points for our level of technology.

A better definition for this discussion to prove or disprove whether there is evidence for spiritual, material, metaphysical or whatever things is to list the qualities and properties that make up something material, physical, spiritual and metaphysical, and then see if we see anything with those properties and qualities within the universe.

Edited by randman, : No reason given.


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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2976 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 10 of 38 (461435)
03-25-2008 1:38 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Straggler
03-25-2008 1:32 PM


Re: Starting Point
It sounds as if you have followed an unusual path to reach your current position!!

That is true, but maybe not as unusual as I once thought.


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 11 of 38 (461439)
03-25-2008 1:59 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by randman
03-25-2008 1:37 PM


Re: Starting Point
By your definition, the spiritual thing automatically becomes material once it's testable.

Yes I suppose so. But isn't that how our knowledge has progressed? Natural phenomenon that were once deemed spritual or supernatural now have scientific explanations? (weather, fire, fertility etc. etc.)

I guess it is phenomenon which are claimed to be intrinsically spritual and therefore untestable regardless of technological levels that I was thinking of.

A better definition for this discussion to prove or disprove whether there is evidence for spiritual, material, metaphysical or whatever things is to list the qualities and properties that make up something material, physical, spiritual and metaphysical, and then see if we see anything with those properties and qualities within the universe.

Then I think it would be a good idea if you gave an example of the sort of thing you consider to be spiritual and what it is that makes spiritual rather than material.


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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2976 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 12 of 38 (461449)
03-25-2008 3:14 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Straggler
03-25-2008 1:59 PM


Re: Starting Point
The term "spiritual" in a Christian context and many other religions relates to specific properties regardless of science and technology.

1. Spiritual things are generally invisible, at least most of the time. That's not an absolute statement but invisible to people.

2. The spiritual realm and spiritual things are considered visible, however, to a degree by people trained or gifted (or both) to see those things via their spirit.

3. The biblical concept, imo, of spiritual is something that is intimately connected to, interwined with and part of the universe, not something strictly absent from our world, but part of it.

4. The idea of spiritual in terms of the universe is that what is spiritual gives rise to and forms the material world. Material existence is sort of subset of spiritual reality. Material things therefore don't self-exist but only exist due to the reality of spiritual world sustaining and giving rise to the physical world. In that sense, from a spiritual perspective, the universe is not fundamentally and in reality a material thing. What is material about the world is secondary or derived quality.

5. If we are talking about the difference between spiritual and material, we need to discuss these terms as they would be understood pre-modern science since that's more the origin of those terms. Rightly understood in modern terms, spiritual is a mere description of the universe. In other words, material are things that are visible, physical, etc,....whereas spiritual is also considered within the realm of human experience and the universe, but are qualitatively different.

6. There are rules and principles governing spiritual things and the spiritual world, but these rules can appear to defy "the laws" of science based on older science at least. For example, through spiritual principles something like a miracle can happen. I would submit, however, that no real law is broken just a statistical likelihood of something never occuring.

7. I will add spiritual things have their own energy, layman's terms, and so can have real world effects, but since they do not consist of matter, they probably don't have energy as defined by physics.

8. The most basic spiritual thing I would talk about is the Logos and spiritual realm creating or giving rise to everything in existence. I think there is a ton of evidence for it, in fact.

How do you define material and spiritual in terms of contrasting the 2?

Edited by randman, : No reason given.

Edited by randman, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by bluegenes, posted 03-25-2008 3:54 PM randman has responded
 Message 14 by Straggler, posted 03-25-2008 5:22 PM randman has responded
 Message 20 by Blue Jay, posted 03-26-2008 12:52 AM randman has responded

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 554 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 13 of 38 (461454)
03-25-2008 3:54 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by randman
03-25-2008 3:14 PM


randman writes:

1. Spiritual things are generally invisible, at least most of the time. That's not an absolute statement but invisible to people.

2. The spiritual realm and spiritual things are considered visible, however, to a degree by people trained or gifted (or both) to see those things via their spirit.

There's an immediate problem with number two. The "gifted people" often see very different spiritual realities from each other. How do you decide who's a seer or a prophet, and who has a neurological condition that produces hallucinations?


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 14 of 38 (461461)
03-25-2008 5:22 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by randman
03-25-2008 3:14 PM


Re: Starting Point
This is all still very broad. Are we talking about Ghosts? Gods? Parallel universes? Are dreams part of the spiritual world? I have had drug induced hallucinations which could quite probably be described as "spiritual" if it were not for the fact that I am such a hopeless cynic.

Invisible covers too many things. Microwaves are invisible but hardly spritual.
What leads us to believe that the spiritual world exists at all outside of our possible desire for it to be so?

How do we train someone to see the spiritual world? How do we know that they are not lying, delusional or even a little bit of both?

I have not considered the claims of those who declare themselves to have spiritual abilities in any detail but my understanding is that they consider themselves immune to testing and thus the validity (or otherwise!!) of their claims is unverifiable by their own terms and definitions?


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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2976 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 15 of 38 (461464)
03-25-2008 5:55 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by bluegenes
03-25-2008 3:54 PM


Doesn't really matter for what we are talking about. The idea here is to define via contrasting the differences in properties between physical and spiritual.

In reality, it's even more nuanced than someone seeing something true as oppossed to an hallucination. Someone can perceive something real, according to the Bible, but still be wrong (seducing spirits), and someone can see something both real and true, but misinterpret it, and of course someone can think they see something or hallucinate even as well.

To get into discerning what's correct would be another thread and I think would be based on one's religious and spiritual beliefs concerning truth.

My point is that there is the claim that the spiritual is generally invisible, but can sometimes be seen or discerned. The idea is to distinquish what "spiritual" actually means to people like myself and others that accept there is a spiritual world, and then compare those ideas with the facts.


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