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Praying Versus Acting

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The following advice is from a prayer book:

"Pray as if everything depended upon God, act as if everything depended on you."

I think that this is consistent with the idea of NOMA, formulated by the biologist Stephen Gould.

We exist in the material world; God exists in the spiritual world. The context in which the idea of

NOMA was formulated is summarized in my article about futile conflicts between theists and atheists:

http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/theo/atheist.html

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We exist in the material world; God exists in the spiritual world. The context in which the idea of NOMA was formulated is summarized in my article about futile conflicts between theists and atheists:

http://pages.csam.mo...eo/atheist.html

(from the article)

"The first step toward mutual respect between theists and atheists should be the recognition that most people on Earth live in two different worlds: material and spiritual."

This is true... and even an atheist can recognize the non material spiritual world of their own thoughts.

Your well thought out writing demonstrates that it is more productive to build bridges than to burn them.

Edited by moralist
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The first step toward mutual respect between theists and atheists should be the recognition that most people on Earth live in two different worlds: material and spiritual.

What does this mean? My thoughts don't exist in some 'spiritual world' separated from my body- they come from my brain.

"Will theology also become a partner of science, as Russell expects?"

What does theology have to do with science?

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Are you able to describe what it is that causes your thoughts to come from your brain?

I believe it's the result of brain activity: "The basic idea is that whatever subject matter is on someone’s mind — not just topics or concepts, but also, emotions, plans or socially oriented thoughts — is ultimately reflected in the pattern of activity across all areas of his or her brain,” said the team’s senior researcher, Dr. Matthew Botvinick." -http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/09/01/matching-brain-activity-to-words-and-thoughts/29100.html

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What is a thought?

It's pretty easy to google and look for an answer. I haven't read about it in much depth, but here you go: "...what thoughts are remains mysterious from a neuroscientific point of view. *They are certainly caused by brain function*, but we do not yet have a solid idea regarding what it is about brain function that gives rise to them... before one experiences a conscious thought, unconscious brain processes work behind the scenes to generate the thought." As the author notes, "[thoughts] are certainly caused by brain functions".

Any particular reason why you're asking these questions? I wonder if you're implying that thoughts DO exist in (or come from?) a spiritual world separated from the physical world.

Edited by mdegges
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It's pretty easy to google and look for an answer. I haven't read about it in much depth, but here you go: "...what thoughts are remains mysterious from a neuroscientific point of view.

Indeed. That's what I was getting at.

*They are certainly caused by brain function*,

If thoughts are "certainly caused by brain function", are they physical? If they are, can you hold a thought in your hand?

If thoughts are certainly caused by brain action, and the brain is certainly physical... then how can something physical create something which is non physical?

but we do not yet have a solid idea regarding what it is about brain function that gives rise to them.

Note the vagueness? I'm certainly not faulting it, because it is a perfectly honest statement. Thoughts are non physical, this is why there are no "solid ideas" as to their cause.

before one experiences a conscious thought, unconscious brain processes work behind the scenes to generate the thought."

This gives rise to an even more fascinating question... What is in control of those unconscious brain processes?

Any particular reason why you're asking these questions? I wonder if you're implying that thoughts DO exist in (or come from?) a spiritual world separated from the physical world.

Not at all. What you quoted actually made the point that thoughts are non physical. This is why science is having trouble getting a handle on them as to exactly what they are.

My view is that thoughts cause brain activity.

Edited by moralist
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(from the article)

This is true... and even an atheist can recognize the non material spiritual world of their own thoughts.

Your well thought out writing demonstrates that it is more productive to build bridges than to burn them.

Absolutely. It's ridiculous that you keep arguing with liberals over politics. You should embrace their views, and appreciate Keynesian-ism and socialism. Build bridges, don't burn them.

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(from the article)

This is true... and even an atheist can recognize the non material spiritual world of their own thoughts.

Your well thought out writing demonstrates that it is more productive to build bridges than to burn them.

As long as building bridges is about identifying what others think or believe, and never interfering forcefully against them - that's fine.

On two counts (basics, since there are many derivatives) are an Objectivist and a religionist never going to ever come closer:

Rationality espouses primacy of existence over consciousness. The religious say "I want it to be so".

(Science with theism is a contradiction in terms; each theist, therefore is in constant self-conflict between reason and faith.)

A rational morality is founded upon the autonomy of man, and his volition -

i.e. he has options. Without choice, no morality.

Religion fundamentally abjures morality when it lays down the authority of God, and belief in him as the supreme morality.

(And so needing to set forth man-made rules, codes and Commandments of behaviour we see in all religions.)

Edited by whYNOT
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Are you able to describe what it is that causes your thoughts to come from your brain?

We do not yet know enough about human brains to answer that question. However, all preliminary evidence suggests that thoughts start out as neuro-electrical events occurring in the body of the person experiencing the thoughts. So far there is not a lick, not an iota of evidence indicating that thoughts originate in a non-physical substance. That latter is the sort of mess that Descartes left us with. There is no mind-body problem any more than their is a stomach-digestion problem.

ruveyn1

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If thoughts are "certainly caused by brain function", are they physical? If they are, can you hold a thought in your hand?

Can you hold energy in your hand? And if not, does that make energy non-physical?

The answer to both questions is no: "It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is. We do not have a picture that energy comes in little blobs of a definite amount... The natural basic units in which energy is measured are those used for mechanical work; they always are equivalent to a unit of force multiplied by a unit of length. Other equivalent units for energy are mass units multiplied by velocity units squared."

If thoughts are certainly caused by brain action, and the brain is certainly physical... then how can something physical create something which is non physical?

It can't. You're assuming that thoughts aren't physical (ie: material, ie: real) because you can't hold them in your hand, just like you're assuming that energy isn't physical because you can't hold it in your hand. Both assumptions are wrong.

Not at all. What you quoted actually made the point that thoughts are non physical. This is why science is having trouble getting a handle on them as to exactly what they are.

No, it didn't. The quote said that the *specific* brian function that gives rise to thoughts is unknown. It didn't suggest that thoughts are non-physical.

Starting with the basics: existence exists, and consciousness presupposes existence. "Objectivism rejects belief in any thing alleged to transcend existence." Alright. Now by definition, non-physical things (d: "lacking substance or reality; incapable of being touched or seen") don't exist. And it's impossible to imagine that thoughts don't exist, because you can't explore existence without thinking.

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It is important to not conflate the two concepts of "material" and "physical". Material connotes tangible, and potentially an independently existing entity even for parts of a greater whole if a part was separated. Physical means causal, and includes in its referents attributes that are not separable and that can never exist independently.

Thoughts are physical because they are attributes of the tangible existent which is the brain and are both cause and caused; thoughts are not material because they are attributes that cannot exist independently or even isolated as parts.

The distinction between part and attribute is made by Ayn Rand in ITOE 2nd ed., in one of the dialogues appended to the book.

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The following advice is from a prayer book:

"Pray as if everything depended upon God, act as if everything depended on you."

I think that this is consistent with the idea of NOMA, formulated by the biologist Stephen Gould.

We exist in the material world; God exists in the spiritual world. The context in which the idea of

NOMA was formulated is summarized in my article about futile conflicts between theists and atheists:

http://pages.csam.mo...eo/atheist.html

from wikipedia:

Non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) is the view advocated by Stephen Jay Gould that science and religion each have "a legitimate magisterium, or domain of teaching authority," and these two domains do not overlap.

This is just the same old same old mind-body dichotomy found in Plato, Christianity, and Kant (and other belief systems not in that particular line of philosophical descent). It is both cliche and false.

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Well it is "the opium of the people".

Well yes I think a lot of mythological structures aid in keeping people psychologically stable in a quick cheap way. I myself am experiencing the fallout from abandoning my apparently flawed transhumanist mythological structure.Abandoning one's mythological structure creates chaos in the mind.

I think that these struggles are beneficial in the end though, and I would not take back the old myths if I could.

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Can you hold energy in your hand?

Yes. In fact even your empty hand itself is giving off energy in the form of body heat.

And if not, does that make energy non-physical?

It is so, and that makes energy physical.

It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is.

Isn't heat a form of energy? When I burn wood in the stove, it would be impossible to mistake the results for anything else.

If you would like to make a real case for the nonphysical... you would have much better odds if you chose to address thought as your issue.

Oh, and before it slips away unnoticed... I love that saying.

"Pray as if everything depended upon God, act as if everything depended on you."

In God we trust... but always count your change. :thumbsup:

Edited by moralist
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Just a small reference to a previous posting. We know pretty well what energy is and how it manifests itself in the spacetime manifold. Our most common experience with energy is heat and the motion of matter. In the most general abstract sense energy is a Laplacian which is invariant under the know symmetries and when extremized (maximized or minimize) gives correct equations of motion (change) with respect to time. Energy in its most general sense is abstract, like number.

Sorry for the interruption, but I just had to reply to this point.

ruveyn1

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In fact even your empty hand itself is giving off energy in the form of body heat.

That is not the same thing as holding energy in your hand, like one can hold an apple or a toothbrush.

"By definition, work is an energy (units measured in joules) requiring process. So, how do you describe energy? Energy is not a substance that can be held, seen, or felt as a separate entity. We cannot create new energy that is not already present in the universe. We can only take different types materials in which energy is stored, change their state, and harness the energy that escapes from the system in order to use it to do work for us. If the released energy is not used, it will escape and be "wasted" usually as heat." -University of Illinois

If you would like to make a real case for the nonphysical... you would have much better odds if you chose to address thought as your issue.

I hope by now it's clear that I'm not making a case for the nonphysical. I'm merely restating that there is no such thing as the nonphysical. Grames definitions should help you understand that nonphysical entities don't exist, but that non-material objects (like 'thoughts' and 'energy') do exist and are, in fact, physical.

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I hope by now it's clear that I'm not making a case for the nonphysical.

Ok, I understand now.

I'm merely restating that there is no such thing as the nonphysical. Grames definitions should help you understand that nonphysical entities don't exist, but that non-material objects (like 'thoughts' and 'energy') do exist and are, in fact, physical.

Then this begs another intriguing question:

What about love?

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