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Author Topic:   Stephen Jay Gould: The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister’s Pox
Faith
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Posts: 33872
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 8 of 92 (759581)
06-13-2015 10:53 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by MrHambre
06-13-2015 10:36 AM


Science, Humanism and Spirituality
I certainly don't feel that human beings are "special" in that they're separate from the biosphere or blessed; but we're unique in the sense that we've developed an understanding of our place in the universe and our responsibility to each other and the rest of life on Earth.

I always felt we were special, long before I was a Christian, and I resented scientific reductionism with its unbelievable arrogance in reducing us and our amazing abilities and our complicated history to the lowest materialist ponderings of the ********* / stooppidest scientist out there. I accepted evolution so I didn't really have an explanation for our amazing uniqueness and value, how our qualities could possibly have come up out of the material universe, I simply recognized that we are worth so much more than that and that aligned me with the Humanists in this conflict you are talking about.

So when in my forties I became a Christian I found enormous satisfaction in the Biblical view of humanity's great worth, in spite of our great sinfulness, which explained another aspect of humanity I hadn't even thought about much.

But all I really wanted to say here is that human specialness includes the reality of soul or spirit, and these are very real though denied by arrogant Science despite the fact science has no means to detect or measure them.

And I like science. It's just way out of its proper sphere when it makes comments on spiritual matters, even the matters you mention of art and humanities.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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Faith
Member
Posts: 33872
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 38 of 92 (759739)
06-14-2015 8:06 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by ringo
06-13-2015 12:18 PM


Re: Science, Humanism and Spirituality
Faith writes:
... I resented scientific reductionism with its unbelievable arrogance in reducing us and our amazing abilities and our complicated history to the lowest materialist ponderings of the ********* / stooppidest scientist out there.

It's funny how you equate humility about our "amazing abilities" to arrogance.

There's no humility in reducing Shakespeare or Plato or Confucius or the Bible to their atomic constituents, that IS arrogance, and a recipe for mindless demoralization.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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Faith
Member
Posts: 33872
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 39 of 92 (759740)
06-14-2015 8:10 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by AZPaul3
06-14-2015 7:45 PM


Right, after you've reduced it all to mindless material forces, what's left but the lowest kinds of hedonism?

I used to cry over Mozart or Handel's Messiah because there is no explanation for such sublime ideas in this iodiotic material universe concocted by science. Can you really live on Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream or feelings about poems that make no sense in this kind of universe? REALLY?

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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Faith
Member
Posts: 33872
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 45 of 92 (759754)
06-14-2015 10:12 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by AZPaul3
06-14-2015 9:49 PM


It isn't about "just enjoying," or about "beauty, awe and magic." That's part of the reductionistic mind set, just a form of hedonism in the absence of meaning. Art is about meaning, not a mere experience to titillate or cheer us up, it's about a reason for existence, it's an affirmation of something transcendent, all shrunken to cartoonishly pathetic uselessness when viewed through the microscopic lens of science. There is nothing in reality as defined by this life-shrinking science that even begins to correspond to the meaning to be found in the work of the greats we've all listed here.

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Faith
Member
Posts: 33872
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 48 of 92 (759774)
06-14-2015 11:49 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by AZPaul3
06-14-2015 10:58 PM


You are missing MY point. I grew up in this science-besotted world, I was part of the Sputnik generation that got a megadose of science propaganda in high school, pushed as the salvation of America and indeed the world. EVERYTHING was reduced to science. My high school best friend went on to get advanced degrees in biology (and then had a nervous breakdown of the sort you could only have in the 70s flood of eastern religions that nearly drowned us all, which may or may not be relevant to this topic though I strongly suspect it is). i was geared to writing and the humanities in general and came to resent the scientism of the times, as I already said, which in my immediate environment took the form of Behaviorism. I LOATHED it, it's pure poison to the human soul.

ANYWAY,

... it's about a reason for existence, it's an affirmation of something transcendent...

Which are meanings you give to objects through your eyes, philosophy, acculturation, hope. The science did not belittle your ability to do this one bit.

Oh yes it did. It dictated the terms in which I was allowed to have such experiences, which is what you are doing now. Imputing my experience to mere subjectivity, reducing all of it to a figment of the mind. That's really a form of soul murder.

You assign certain "meaning(s)" to the Sistine Chapel, to Rodin's Le Penseur, to Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles". You may find them transcendent of humanity or an essential statement of the human condition. Or not.

Certainly not every claim to art has truth in it. Those that do, however, have it as something intrinsic, not something merely subjectively imputed, that shows the pathetic smallness of the physicalistic science that thinks it can contain such things. The sadness of great music for me always was that "there is nothing in this world that deserves such music. How can such music exist in this shrunken material world?" So people make gods out of sex and Haagen Dazs ice cream because the glory such music celebrates doesn't exist in this shrunken world. You are celebrating a fiction and that's the depressing thing. How can we have such feelings and thoughts and aspirations in such a desert of a world? And it is primarily the worldview of reductionistic science that created this shrunken miserable trivial meaningless world. We crave Reality, and we can't personally invent reality, we recognize it.

Again, the science behind the objects as well as the science behind your responses does nothing to detract from your imparted meanings, reasons and emotions, transcendent or other wise.

It isn't about anything I impart, it isn't about reasons and emotions, it is about life itself, Reality, objective truth. I wouldn't object to scientifically studying any of it except that they always make it the "real" explanation for everything, just as you are doing. However, on second thought, even the enterprise of studying it scientifically carries the reductionistic mind set, so in the end I say out with it all, it has no business at all in the spheres of the mind, soul, spirit.

And as I said to Hombre, if you let the science interfere with your enjoyment, your reason, your transcendence in the moment, then you need to get your head ... straight. The science will be there regardless.

Sorry, this is all your own reductionistic view of life which I am objecting to. Enjoyment? Transcendence in the moment? You are a million miles off target.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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Faith
Member
Posts: 33872
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 56 of 92 (759800)
06-15-2015 10:27 AM
Reply to: Message 51 by AZPaul3
06-15-2015 1:01 AM


Thank you for the Beethoven. Made a nice start to my day.

If an artwork's claim to "truth" (whatever that is vis-s-vis art) is intrinsic to its objective being then everyone would see the same thing and feel the same way...

If all my feelings for this piece were intrinsic to its object then everyone would feel the same as I when they hear it. They don't. I can't believe, this, but there are some people within our species that ... don't ... uggh ... don't ... like it. Can you believe that?

Anyway, Faith, if any piece of art actually contains as an intrinsic element of its objective form some transcendent power or truth then point me to it and I'll find you someone who thinks it's crap. That is the way of this world.

And it is this way because any meaning, transcendent truth, beauty beyond the heavens or any other attributes you care to assign to anything are subjective assignments and do not hold as universal to all.

Of course I get your point but I disagree. I don't think everybody has to hear the same thing in Beethoven's 9th you do for the music itself to objectively contain what you hear in it. (And other things other people hear that you can't.) People are different in what they respond to, that doesn't make the music or art or literature any more or less objectively valuable in itself. Being a melancholy teenager I got a passion for Rachmaninoff and it drove my poor mother crazy -- "too depressing." I can get carried away by Beethoven but you and I probably wouldn't agree even about other classical music.

I actually don't even LIKE Picasso. which makes me a rank philistine to many, but I love some of the old "primitives." I'm really not all that sensitive to music either despite my high moments. I don't have any feeling for math at all but there are mathematicians who really understand numbers and get depths of meaning from them, even something like ecstasy. Some people have a feeling for abstract science, lots don't. Etc.

I think all the human disciplines, including the sciences, can "speak sublime things" to some people. I'm sure Beethoven's 9th not only speaks to you personally but is really objectively speaking what you hear in it. Some people can experience more of what's actually there than others can. And to a great extent it can be learned too.

My problem was it made me want those things /experiences/ thoughts / places in the music to be real. I couldn't stand such glories being something in us that has no external reality, what a terrific cheat.

abe: THE THING IS A DEAD COLD UNIVERSE OF ATOMS AND CHEMICALS COULDN'T POSSIBLY INSPIRE SUCH GLORIES. IT'S AN INHUMANE PLACE. /abe

And it IS a cheat. That's what materialist science is when expected to explain all of life, a lie and a cheat. If you can hear something of a better life in some music, believe it, that life actually exists, you don't have to make do with this desert of atoms and chemicals. (By the way your YouTube video has been playing Beethoven's 5th since I started writing this. Yes, another whole sublime world to experience.)

This isn't really the same thing but just hearing a line of scripture out of the blue, even in the middle of something completely different, will often give me spiritual goose bumps. Yet so many at EvC actually hate the Bible. This is about Spirit, not just mind and emotions and I know I'm sensitive to it because God changed me. Nevertheless, at first I fought a lot of the Bible too, argued with it; I had to grow into it.

And it is this way because any meaning, transcendent truth, beauty beyond the heavens or any other attributes you care to assign to anything are subjective assignments and do not hold as universal to all.

Before I was a believer I got attached to the books of the philosopher Suzanne Langer (Philosophy in a New Key) whose ponderings on the nature of art made me experience all the arts in much more depth, could even give me goose bumps just reading her sensitive thoughts about it (odd since in one way they are very dry philosophy). There was no hint that she believed in God but she wrote about art as pointing to another Reality or God Himself, that being what art addicts are really getting out of it. Even that can be reduced to a mere psychological trick of course.

But if God is just a psychological experience of mine, I don't want it, I want the real true living God, and once I had Him I knew it.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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Faith
Member
Posts: 33872
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 63 of 92 (759885)
06-15-2015 7:32 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by AZPaul3
06-15-2015 3:07 PM


If a tree falls in the forest when nobody is around does it make a noise? I say yes. I say Beethoven makes a noise whether anyone can appreciate it or not. Objective reality. If your subjectivity is able to participate in it, lucky you.

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Faith
Member
Posts: 33872
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 81 of 92 (760015)
06-16-2015 7:25 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Tangle
06-13-2015 11:21 AM


Re: Science, Humanism and Spirituality
That aside, it's this mistaken idea that's causing all the problems. You, like all your ancestors, proved to themselves how special they were by creating a god to create them. After all, only a god could create someone as special as you.

How do people let themselves make up fake explanations for other peoples' motives like this, and pronounce it all so dogmatically too?

However, you also missed what I said: I thought humanity special before I was a Christian. God didn't tell me.


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