Category Archives: Words of wisdom

17 not-so-stupid questions for Atheists

I found this nice and lovely post on Tiffany’s Non-Blog (run by Tiffany267, a “professional” bullshit debunker and, at the same time, pearl finder); see: https://tiffany267.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/questions-for-atheists-asked-and-answered/

Tiffany267 tells her followers that the original post can be read here: https://boldquestions.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/17-not-so-stupid-questions-for-atheists/

She also gave this motivation for “reblogging” the post: “One of my favorite atheist bloggers shared this list of questions targeted to atheists and some wonderful responses. Please enjoy!”

I just say: Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I – and seemingly Tiffany267 – did.

From now on I’m following this “Question With Boldness” blog.

Question With Boldness

Godless Mom was contacted by a christian student with a series of questions.  And, surprise, instead of being “gotcha” questions, they seem to be actual genuine questions, a real effort to understand non-belief.  So I’ll answer them here, and also cross-post them in the comments to the original blog entry, here:

http://godlessmom.com/questions-for-atheists-from-a-college-student-answer-them-yourself/?utm_content=buffera2f92&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Other bloggers and commenters have answered them, but I’m going to give my own answers without comparison to theirs.  So I apologize if this comes out as repetitive.

1. Why are you an atheist?

Because I don’t have enough evidence to warrant belief in any god.

2. Have you ever believed in a Higher Power?

Sure, I was raised liberal Protestant, and it was just the assumption everyone made.  God’s in charge, Jesus loves you, so let’s sing some more songs about love.  I was the kid that was involved in everything – Sunday school, youth group, youth…

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The Individual, Family, and Tribe: An Essay about the Evolutionary Origin of Homo Sapiens.

This is a quite impressive – yes, I would call it an excellent – blog post about the evolutionary origin of our own species, Homo Sapiens.

The blogger, Charles Rogers, ponders, above all, the question: Who are we? But he is also interested in this question: Why are we like we are?

Related to that second question is this one: Why are we constantly striving to trying to find the “Holy Grail”, i.e. the meaning of our lives? (The answers can probably be found inside ourselves, in our brains, how they are wired. And that wiring is, in turn, best explained by looking back at our evolutionary origin/history.)

Charles Rogers is constantly looking for the answers of such questions by reading a lot of books, both fiction and non-fiction ones. He is obviously eager to come across what others have found in their quest of explanations.

Among his references can be found – just to mention only a few of them – a philosopher (Friedrich Nietzsche), a neurologist and psychiatrist/psychologist (Viktor Frankl), a professor of chemistry (Addy Pross), and, above all, the world famous neuroendocrinologist, professor of biology, neuroscience, and neurosurgery, Robert Sapolsky.

So it should go without saying that this blog post is very interesting to read and mull. It’s not only concerned with the question: From where do we, Homo Sapiens, originate?

Another important question is this one: What is the meaning of our lives?

Charles Rogers’ own take on this seems to be: “It is clear to me that the basic ‘Why’ is our family and our tribe.”

That is, we are strongly connected/related to each other. (That’s why Mr. Rogers himself, a professor emeritus, uses his own blog in order to build (symbolic) bridges thereby trying to make it easier for people all over the world to connect with each other.

So I’m not at all surprised to find this quote among his “mantras”: “We think we are separate, but we are one.”

Unfortunately I miss at least ONE important aspect of the human evolutionary history in this blog post. I want more facts and opinions of the evolution of religion, man’s perpetual companion.

But maybe Mr. Rogers will discuss that matter in another blog post later on? Let’s hope that will be the case.

Suffice it to say, in this comment of mine, that evolution seemingly has wired the human brain to look for, and easily find, a more or less strong correlation between teleological thinking and preference for religious motives.

In short, our human brains intuitively perceive purpose-driven design in the world around us.

The stronger this quest for (finding a) purpose is, the stronger our pro-theist preferences become.

If we can’t see whose purpose/intention it is that/when something happens, we are extremely prone to invent Hidden Causal Agents (HCAs) to find the reason behind all that happens to us and in our environments.

If you are interested, you can read more about these ideas here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_thinking . And/Or here: https://bbnewsblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/the-two-information-processing-systems-ipss-in-your-brain-one-is-woo-ish-the-other-is-rational/ .

Charles Clanton Rogers

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Introduction:

“We think we are separate, but we are one.”  

 “He who has a Why to live can bear almost any How” (1)

It is clear to me that the basic “Why” is our family and our tribe.

I. Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (2) : You can live without someone who says: you are mine; You can not live without someone who says: ‘I am yours”  May you be blessed with at least one such person in life!”  The family and tribe is at its best when several individuals feel this ownership to one another. Ishiguro on platonic love is reviewed in the two links:

http://therogerspost.com/2015/09/14/never-let-me-go/

http://therogerspost.com/2015/09/16/never-let-me-go-2/

II. Addy Pross, What is Life, (3)  How Chemistry Becomes Biology.   

  th-7

In the beginning, non-living carbon-based chemicals joined to become “living” nucleic acids (DNA) manifesting a new force.This effect is characterized by an irrepressible self-replication…

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Life is Still Inexplicable – Subjective Versus Objective Characterizations

I just reblogged ONE of clanton1934’s many interesting and intriguing blog post about life and its meaning (if there is any at all).

Now it’s time for me to reblog another of clanton1934’s blog articles. I choose this one because the two fit so well together.

Here’s a quote from this second (by me) reblogged article:

In my view, these objective observations and descriptions do not, however, explain: what is the source and nature of the force which drives the biochemistry and biological systems forward in spite of the natural characteristics of disorder and chaos. Lacking objective answers to this question, we are in the subjective arena. Some scientists believe these replicative forces toward complex structure and function, are the products of an enormous number of random encounters of non-living chemicals over extremely long periods of time.

[…]

Several prominent scientist insist that “evolution” does not mean “improvement”. Dawkins proposes that Darwin’s “descent with modification” is explained by random errors in DNA replication with some products having greater survivability than others. In this explanation, we humans are not an improving, higher form of life, just different from our deep ancestors, with, perhaps greater, on average, better survivability . These scientists deny a teleonomic character.

Pross disagrees and believes that both the structure and the behavior of all living things lead to an unambiguous and unavoidable conclusion— living things have an ‘agenda’ (Pross’ word). Living things act on their own behalf. The Pross “agenda”, I believe is an idea which should be in the subjective arena and not in Pross’ objective analysis..

Pross uses an analogy of an automobile without an engine (pre-life) and a car with an engine (life) to describe the replicating entity. “The entity with an energy-gathering capability is now like a car with an engine— it can go uphill too. That means that a replicating system with an energy-gathering capability would appear to have an agenda. It would seem to be acting purposefully, as it would no longer need to be confined to the downhill thermodynamic path, which we interpret as objective behaviour, but rather the path toward systems of greater organization and function, which could involve the equivalent of rolling some way uphill.”

This analogy does not answer the question: where did the “engine” come from and what makes the engine run?

Charles Clanton Rogers

PRinc_rm_photo_of_7-8_week_embryo

Review: Addy Pross, What is Life (1)

“TV’s  Talking-heads” frequently start their position statement: “I’m not a scientist but….” Then they proceed to inform you, in the manner of a peddler, that he is “right” and you are “wrong”. This is the ageless Zero-Sum Game:(2)  “I win – you lose!” 

Unlike those  sellers, this author is  a scientist and a physician.  What is  unfortunate in this “pseudo-debate”,  looking at both sides of the biological controversy –those from the faith-based discussants  and those employing observations  and reasoning, – each is playing the tired and ancient game: Zero-Sum.  

In my view, neither side needs to defeat the other in order to win, with what they are defending. My view is that just as oxygen and nitrogen can occupy the same space, the subjective (faith-based) and theobjective (science-based) are not mutually exclusive. In my view, an intelligent…

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Life is a Journey

Some people sport what I’d prefer to call encyclopedic knowledge. They remind me of polymaths.

And yet they are so humble, so non-egotistic.. They really lack inflated ideas of their own importance and “omnipotence”.

The fact is these polymaths usually know so much that they are able to explore and investigate Nature (and its “sibling” Life) on their own.

During their explorations they strive to build bridges between all the different branches of knowledge that, in a holistic view, constitute Nature and Life.

Knowledge used in that way leads to – and causes – wisdom.

I want do define that word/concept as “the quality of having enough knowledge and life experiences to make good and empathetic judgments, and to give coherent and sensible good advice to people in need of a helping hand.

The other day I came into contact with a blogger called Charles Rogers (a.k.a. clanton1934). His knowledge is of the encyclopedic kind. And his blog is full of both knowledge and wisdom.

That’s why I’m going to reblog two of his blog posts here on my own blog. He definitely is worth following and, of course, being read. He is absolutely worth being listened to.

Here’s a quote from his blog post: Clanton1934 calls it a “Conclusion”. Personally i’d prefer to call it Clanton1934’s credo or statement of belief(s). Anyhow, it’s very nice and inspiring to read:

Conclusion:

A parting question: Consider this: the greatest scientists who share Dawkin’s and Hoffman’s solely mechanistic, random-chaos view of the origin of life, have manifested in their encyclopedic study and meticulous manuscript authoring, an enormous motivative force driving their work. This force is not objective. Is not this the inexplicable subjective force of life which science can not explain (but some deny)?

Addy Pross’ conclusion serves to give us sound attitude: “Each individual is part of a nuclear family, which, in turn, is part of an extended family, which is part of a local community, which is part of larger groups of the human organization. The survival of the community requires far more than the individual. Reproductively speaking, individuals are incomplete. Biologically speaking, our individuality is actually non-existent.” That’s why a new pregnancy catches our attention. That powerful and compulsive news resonates with our fundamental selves.

“Just as importantly, we are also emotionally incomplete. Various psychological elements also connect us to the network. We obsessively need to be with others. We think of ourselves as individuals, but we are really just components of a network. Our “lifeboat” is not just many individuals, but an ever-expanding living network. The irrepressible force of life leaves no stone unturned in seeking ways to extend the invaluable larger life of which we are the stewards. We obsessively need to be with others. We think we are separate, but we are one. We think of ourselves as individuals, but we are really just components of a network.”

Life has a purpose; the purpose is the process; the process is the product.

Charles Clanton Rogers

Freedom_train_in_ga7THE FREEDOM TRAIN 1947  “Life is a journey, not a destination” (1)

Not everything that can be counted counts. Not everything that counts can be counted.” (2)

I have had an epiphany about Life. Now I see Life is a Process. The purpose is the process; the process is the product.

Here is a true story which has given me an analogy to this epiphany:  In 1947, a very special train was assembled to contain the nation’s greatest treasures and wisdom, among which was the originals of  The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of The United States.  (3)  The Freedom Train traveled to cities across the country carrying this wisdom-treasure. The train passed through the small towns without stopping. A teacher from such a community, upon learning that these jewels of wisdom would not stop, persuaded the conductor to at least go slowly through their station in order…

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