Re: virus: (God's Eyes + Bad Karma) = Any reasonible pretense for a Silly Graf

Tim Rhodes (proftim@speakeasy.org)
Mon, 29 Mar 1999 17:58:50 -0800

TheHermit wrote:

>In a debate, and this is more of a debate than a conversation, a point
>undefended is a point conceded.

Well, I would respectfully disagree with primary assumption above; I think most will agree with me that this is a forum for conversation, not a stage for debate. CoV is composed of active participants and curious observers, not of winners and losers. There is no panel awarding points to either side, only friends made and opportunities for friendship lost.

>I have noticed that the religious are very
>quick to claim these points. Just look at the whole "The US is a Christian
>currency" because of the inclusion of "In God We Trust" on their currency
>for just one example.

Did someone say that here? Or are you bringing your prejudices from another conversation (oops! "debate" for you, I guess) in here and painting us with them?

>Reeling out rope is possibly even less "caring" than correcting egarias
>errors.

SnowLeopard wasn't the only one I was reeling out rope to, my debating friend.

>Cute phrasing. Are you losing it? So soon? Should I give you some
>rope? I actually address the points made by the people I am holding
>discourse with.

No, you didn't. But I don't expect that you saw that, did you? Did you see how well it went over? Shook her to her very foundations, didn't it? (LOL!)

>I don't invent mono-variable functions in x and then refer
>to values in y.

??? (Last time I checked "f(x)" and "y" were considered the same in even the most basic texts. I'm afraid I don't understand what your saying.)

>Excuse me if I observe that a "one-dimensional entity" cannot wriggle. And
a
>one-dimensional entity watching a two-dimensional entity wriggle would
>simply perceive it blinking on and off.

So you did understand he analogy to some degree, I take it.

>Tim it sounds more and more as if this is your preferred data space:
>
> Faith Phaith
>Caring ............... Arsehole
> Lies Truth
>
>While the one below has a great deal to recommend it:
>
>
> Caring
> .
> . Belief
> . /
> . /
> ./
>Lies . . . . . -. . . . . Truth
> /.
> / .
> / .
> Proof .
> .
> Arsehole

>

Well, I'm not sure where the first chart came from, but yes, the second is quite close to what I was saying. Although I think it's a little odd where you put "Proof" on it. Was that a mistake?!?

Ohhh! I get it now! It's in 3-D right! Neato! Proof/Belief is on the z-axis, coming forward, correct? (I'm assuming Belief is in front, since that is the standard form for such graphs.) Of course, it has less to do with what I was saying in that light, but it's still a pretty neat graph anyway. Would you care to explain its use?

>The front right upper quadrant (+C+P+T) is quite attractive. And despite
>your implications to the contrary can be occupied simultaneously. The
>either/or choices are purely in your mind.

Could you be a little more clear about what you mean by that? I was urging you to use the upper right rather than the lower right. (2-D version) What did you think I was saying?

>As I recall, "noŽtic" (from Gk noŽsis a perception), automatically implies
>reason and the intellect. So if we toss out reason, then "noŽtics" fails to
>have a subject.

Why would you toss out reason? You nuts or something?!? But really... This is what I was taking about: (From a post to CoV on 1/27/99)

>>>Begin Archive Post<<<

SG wrote:

>I find that few people really understand why a lot of christians
>hold to their faith when there seems to be so much evidence
>destructive to the biblical world-view.
[snip]
>
>I believe it has more to do with a religious experience than anything
>else. When I realized the logistics of one Santa bringing every boy
>and girl in the world toys, I was able to discard that belief. Why?
>Because there was no experience to cement that belief into place.

I think this is a very important area that is often overlooked in discussions of religion and a topic which could benefit all of our understandings if thoughtfully explored in a forum such as this.

The "cement" you're talking about is what William James describes in his book _The Varieties of Religious Experience_ as having the four qualities of ineffability, passivity, noŽtic quality, and transcendence. ("NoŽtic" is a little used word that comes from the Greek for intellect or understanding. The same root gives us the word "knowledge." "NoŽtic" refers to a knowledge that is experienced directly; an illumination accompanied by a feeling of certitude.) In the book James speaks of a "noŽtic sense of truth" and the authority these states impart:

"Although so similar to states of feeling, mystical states seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge. They are states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for after-time."

In trying to understand religion it seems to me too seldom are asked the hard questions: How exactly does a /noŽtic experience/ impact the brain? What qualities does it exhibit and how do they come into play in the process? What is it about these noŽtic experiences that prompts the brain to assign a sense of certitude and authority to them which may be wholly (or seemingly) unrelated to their objective truth-value? And how does that all take place?

Personally, I suspect the answer lies somewhere within the workings of the limbic brain, a structure much older than the cortex, though equally well-developed (in humans at least), which deals which emotion and memory and provides the sense of conviction that individuals attach to their ideas and beliefs, in addition to prioritizing and managing incoming sensory data

from the outside world. I'm quite curious what selective advantage these experiences _must_ have provided to those having them to have garnered such an overriding significance in the workings of the brain.

Now, all that being said, I should worn you that this possibility of having a fruitful discussion on the topics above here, on the Church of Virus list, seems completely unlikely. There are many who frequent these parts which find it hard, if not impossible, to accept the realms of emotion or experience as valid and are therefore quick to classify-and-dismiss anything that smells even faintly of subjective experience. Such thinkers would withhold the label "true" for only those things that can be objectively proven and are unlikely to place any experience, religious or otherwise, in that same category. (And yet, oddly, I suspect these same individuals would be just as unlikely to dismiss their own emotional experiences--say, the feelings they felt as they helplessly watched while a tragic Juliet awakes beside her poisoned Romeo and crushed, slowly raised the blade to her own breast--as "untrue" just because these experiences were provoked in them by obviously fictional characters.)

And I find it strange that many of these same learned ones often seem infinitely capable of extracting universal truths from any Star Trek episode and yet guffaw when someone suggests that similar truths might be found in the more ancient stories as well. But that's beside the point...

>That is an analogy to the christian experience in "meeting Jesus
>Christ". It's like a whole new world opens up, and you want to tell
>everyone about it. It's so real that no amount of evidence seems
>to be able to destroy faith in it.

Yes, I think we're talking about the same things here.

>I have had that experience, and now am trying to find out if this
>experience is just a trick of the brain.

Love, anger, passion, fear, and comfort are also "just tricks of the brain." The real question is: What have we gained as a species by having this trick hard-wired into our brains?

-Prof. Tim
>>>End Archive Post<<<

Now, are we on the same page, TheHermit? Do you understand what I'm referring to when I say "noŽtic" experience? Or should I go over it again for you?

>I know why the religious believe as they do. For some people it is
rewarding
>(in the same way as T.M. or a dose of ecstasy can be rewarding. Been there,
>tried that.) and it is comforting not to need to attempt to think, not to
>need to find answers, not having to find beginnings or explain ends. We
are
>able to reproduce all of the "results" of faith chemically,

??? Please share, I'm unaware of these findings.

>and have a
>number of strong indications that a capacity for faith is genetically
>programmed.

???!?!?!! Again, please share. I'd be interested in these studies too. Did they use twins separated at birth, perhaps?

>A more interesting line of investigation might be what benefits
>a capacity for faith might entail.

Funny, I think I said the same thing two months ago. (above) Where were you then?

No matter. Yes, it could be a fruitful discussion (but not debate). Do you think we can have it here? Or does my original disclaimer still stand.

-Prof. Tim