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1 Bob Levin  Jan 21, 2012 9:25:58pm

Academia on tiptoes. Just say it, religion and physics are now first cousins.

2 docproto48  Jan 22, 2012 12:44:31am

re: #1 Bob Levin

Academia on tiptoes. Just say it, religion and physics are now first cousins.

Therein being the ultimate question are they 1st cousins or are they different species.

3 Ding-an-sich Wannabe  Jan 22, 2012 12:51:21am

re: #1 Bob Levin

Academia on tiptoes. Just say it, religion and physics are now first cousins.

Philosophy and physics. Not religion.

4 Bob Levin  Jan 22, 2012 2:02:54am

re: #3 Sergey Romanov

re: #2 proto87

I think it’s important to redefine religion. For instance, I don’t see how it’s possible to understand the first chapter of Genesis without asking the very questions in the article. To me these are obvious questions, and they have to be asked. But I don’t know many people who say they are religious who ask these questions. It’s like beginning to read Huckleberry Finn and not caring when or where it takes place.

So studying Torah raises those questions, studying philosophy raises those questions, and studying physics raises those questions. Does it matter where the answers come from?

5 Ding-an-sich Wannabe  Jan 22, 2012 2:24:11am

re: #4 Bob Levin

Traditional religion takes these answers from revelation. Modern religion is often content with letting science answer some of the technical questions, while holding onto God as the first cause. Philosophy thinks these things through by using logic and science’s data, not relying on any sort of revelation, while also engaging in metaphysical speculation, sometimes wild.

6 Ding-an-sich Wannabe  Jan 22, 2012 2:28:43am

Also, both philosophy and science are asking the fundamental questions on this issue (different though these questions might be, if often overlapping) while religion already has its own answers to these questions.

7 Bob Levin  Jan 22, 2012 3:06:18am

re: #6 Sergey Romanov

Traditional religion takes these answers from revelation.

Are you talking Megalith religion or something more recent?

while religion already has its own answers to these questions.

It’s hard to talk about religion without running into strawmen. That’s the problem. How do you define religion without creating a strawman, or quoting someone who amounts to a strawman?

I would say that there aren’t answers, because the act of breaking strawmen cancels out something very close to 100% of religion’s answers. So what’s left? We’re left looking at the original texts and quite a bit of work, sharing square one with philosophers and physicists.

8 Ding-an-sich Wannabe  Jan 22, 2012 3:08:30am

re: #7 Bob Levin

Are you talking Megalith religion or something more recent?

Both.

It’s hard to talk about religion without running into strawmen. That’s the problem. How do you define religion without creating a strawman, or quoting someone who amounts to a strawman?

I would say that there aren’t answers, because the act of breaking strawmen cancels out something very close to 100% of religion’s answers. So what’s left? We’re left looking at the original texts and quite a bit of work, sharing square one with philosophers and physicists.

That’s the difference - philosophers and physicists don’t need the revelatory texts at all. The world is the “text”.

9 Bob Levin  Jan 22, 2012 4:29:42am

re: #8 Sergey Romanov

I don’t think you can combine Megalithic religion and modern religious development. Regarding the latter, there was no differentiation between science and religion, or religion and engineering. You can’t quarrel with the results of their work, which was based on some very serious individuals experiencing some very serious inspiration. But all knowledge rests on this inspiration.

Depending upon who you talk to, the words ‘inspiration’ and ‘revelation’ might be interchangeable—the feeling of knowledge or wisdom coming to you seemingly from nowhere, or from some place greater than the sum total of your own knowledge. Artists of all types, religious people, scientists, and philosophers depend on these moments.

Even if you have a revelatory text in front of you, you still have to figure out what it means. And, in Judaism there is an interplay between the interaction with the text, and your life, which leads to more understanding of the text, which will alter your experience of your life—in other words, same cycle of inspiration.

There is no time when this interaction stops. There is no time when you have the answers, plenty of hypotheses, which are constantly revised—it’s a very grounded method of inquiry. I won’t talk about results because it’s very process oriented. It’s the journey.

For an exercise, let’s look at the differences between appearance and essence. For everyone divorced, this was a hard lesson to learn. But there is a difference between appearances and essences. The philosophers have been at this for some time, although you’ll probably remember this moment from Philosophy 101: What is the essence of a chair? Answer: Chairness. Weak, yes? The physicists have taken the long road to get to this question, which is phrased as the difference between the world they perceive and the world or worlds they’ve discovered, which bear little relation to their daily experience. Both Asian religions and Judaism are based on the difference between appearance (illusion) and essences. I would postulate that Hebrew is a language of essences.

So, who has made the greatest strides in this question? If I’ve used any straw men, it would be using British Empricism (chairness), instead of German idealism. So, you have three very solid traditions of inquiry, one tradition with a fully developed grammar of essences. Definitely solid foundations.

10 Ding-an-sich Wannabe  Jan 22, 2012 1:33:24pm

re: #9 Bob Levin

I don’t think you can combine Megalithic religion and modern religious development.

Bob, in the previous comment you cut off this part:”Modern religion is often content with letting science answer some of the technical questions, while holding onto God as the first cause.”

I don’t think I’m mixing things here. A religion younger than Megalithic period is still not a “modern” religion, so my answer is “both”, but I’m not mixing modern religion here.

11 Bob Levin  Jan 22, 2012 5:37:28pm

re: #10 Sergey Romanov

Bob, in the previous comment you cut off this part:”Modern religion is often content with letting science answer some of the technical questions, while holding onto God as the first cause.”

I didn’t cut that off, I just wrote more in comment 9.

Did you ever read Raymond Williams book Keywords? He traces the definition of words through different historical eras, and the words change meaning according to the era. Let’s see if I can find a link….

There are several. Google Raymond Williams Keywords and browse around. Anyway, the point is that the definitions of the words that shape our thoughts change drastically from one era to another, and end up reflecting the mood of the times. For instance, in the European period dominated by the power of the Church, the word ‘empirical’ had a negative connotation, that one can only see the most superficial aspect of something, and is bereft of wisdom. In the Enlightenment, ‘empirical’ took on another meaning, the one we are familiar with today, and it’s considered a desirable quality in one’s work.

I think that ‘religion’ needs to go through a similar change, one that reflects the new reality of physics and philosophy. So our disagreement is that we haven’t found a common definition for the word ‘religion’. You are using it in the most acceptable and widespread understanding, and I’m saying that this particular understanding is fatally flawed. We agree on that. The old definition is fatally flawed. The old understanding is fatally flawed.

But, if we redefine the word (and actually bring it more closely in line with the texts) we get something quite new and genuinely enlightening. First cause, for instance, was a question that was asked in the 19th century. It’s reflective of a Newtonian worldview.

No one cares about first cause today, or more accurately, the discussion has moved way beyond that. We are moving towards an era where consciousness, I believe, is going to be more than a curiosity. It will be a vital part of physics, philosophy, and we will see that it was always the primary subject of religious texts.

Therefore, a statement such as ‘Let there be light’, is not about first cause, it’s about consciousness being omnipresent. Nachmanides, in the twelfth century, interpreted the entire first chapter as describing the Big Bang.

I have to go pick up Male Child Unit 1. Later bro.


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