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Topics - Ka

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1
Collapse Narratives / Message from the CJCS
« on: August 19, 2016, 02:56:30 PM »
(From a Winkyleaks hack of the personal computer of the CJCS)

Super Ultra Top Secret Burn Before Reading Message from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Select Top Brass of the US Armed Forces

Much as we all like the present situation where after we retire we can get cushy well-paid jobs as military consultants to multi-national corporations, I think we all know that this situation cannot continue, due to having reached the limits to growth, and those corporations requiring growth to --er-- keep growing, which they must do to stay in existence. This goes for the whole national and global economies. And so I think we all need to consider what to do to carry out what our real job is supposed to be, namely to preserve as a functional entity the United States of America. This means formulating a decades-long transition plan to turn the populace from a bunch of greedy whiners addicted to oil and private property and hugely complex production and distribution networks into a decentralized loose network of more or less self-reliant and environmentally sustainable communities. In this message I won't be going into what that future will be like, but rather on the immediate steps we need to take to make it possible.

As we all know, the current governing of this country rests on the three-fold power structure of corporations, politicians, and ourselves. The corporations control money, we have the guns, and the politicians make it all legal, with the corporate-controlled media keeping the populace in line. So clearly, what we need to do is to take the corporations out of the loop, since they are the only ones that need economic growth. To do this, I propose that you all be ready with your favorite politicians to react in the following way at the next financial meltdown.

- Be sure to make it a complete meltdown. That is, tell the pol's that this time there will be no bail-outs. Instead we let the financial system fail completely, so there is no money circulating, and so economic activity comes to a halt.

- Make sure you have good contacts with National Guard units and police departments, so you are ready to step in quickly to quell riots over empty shelves, when the politicians declare martial law.

- Be ready with legislation to
 - nationalize all financial institutions that have FDIC accounts. Of course these accounts are all frozen, but we don't want people to think the money is just gone, even though it is.
 - nationalize all major media outlets. Be ready with propaganda to place the blame for all this on corporations.
 - authorize the military to oversee the production and distribution of food and other providers of necessities, such as utilities, gas and diesel refining and distribution, telecommunications, healthcare. "Overseeing" basically means telling the managers and employees of all the companies involved to keep doing their jobs, at the point of a gun if necessary, with the promise that they will get paid just as soon as a new money system is implemented (see below).
 - Close all military bases in the Eastern Hemisphere. Henceforth the reach of the US military will be restricted to North America, though we may want to extend that to Central, or Central and South America, and possibly to West Africa. More discussion is needed on this. Clearly we need to control Canada's oil, but it might be that trying to control Nigeria's and Angola's will not be feasible. But for sure, we will need to plan our energy future without MENA and FSU oil.

Beyond this point I'm afraid I can't be definite on what is possible. So what I am proposing is what I think is feasible and -- with the proper propaganda push -- can be made acceptable to the populace, given that they have just gotten the scare of their lives from the financial/economic meltdown.

The new monetary system will be 100% fiat, completely controlled by the US Treasury (not banks and the Fed, the former being nationalized, and the latter history). All adults will get a Basic Income, enough to buy necessities, plus some fraction of that for dependents.

The companies that we have been overseeing to keep necessities flowing are all nationalized, their employees becoming government employees (their stock and bond holders getting bupkis). Government employees get the Basic Income plus some extra. This extra can be spent on private enterprises -- crafts, better quality locally grown food, or what have you. In other words, more money keeps being created, which can be used to develop non-government businesses. These will need to be well-regulated, e.g., to make sure they aren't environmentally or socially harmful. One thing to do is not allow corporations as legal entities at all.

State and local governments become branches of the federal government. After all, they have no money, so what else can they do. If there are some local jurisdictions that think they can go it alone with just minimal connection elsewhere -- have enough community cohesion and local resources that they think they can survive through barter or their own money, by all means let them be, even offer police protection. After all, that's what we want to happen everywhere eventually, so they can serve as prototypes.

The national debt is of course history, since the monetary systems it was based on, in the US and elsewhere, have disappeared.

The only income of the government is what people pay for the products and services of government-owned businesses. The only expense of the government is employee salaries. No taxes, no government contracts. To limit corruption we may need to make the financial accounts of all government employees public records. There is also the problem of making sure government employees do the work they are being paid for. Suggestions on this are welcome.

Private ownership of cars will be phased out. It can't be immediate because too many need cars to get from home to job. What I suggest is that the government offer some sizable percentage of a car's worth (say half), with the promise that that percentage will decrease as time goes on. In this way, local governments can acquire cars to serve as shared taxis while they get public transportation in shape for a future of no private cars. Of course no new cars will be built.

All land and buildings become government property. To make this palatable, rents paid will be made roughly equal to what was being paid in property taxes, plus sales and income taxes, all of which go away. Of course many own property as investments and for income from rents, but them's the breaks.  We'll probably need to make self-employed plumbers, electricians, roofers, etc. government employees, since the gov't is now responsible for maintenance. Ok, ok, there are a zillion details to be worked out to make all of this happen. What I suggest is that you all get involved on doomer websites where people have been thinking about post-collapse issues, see if maybe some wiki can be set up to work out these details -- of course keeping your military status to yourselves.

By the way, doomer sites seem to be split between left and right-wing types. Forget about the right-wing types, all they care about is armed protection of their pitiful fantasies of self-sustaining ultra libertarian compounds. Perhaps we should consider allowing them some area in which they can  (post-collapse) play out their fantasies, say northern Idaho and western Montana. Just a thought. The left-wing sites have some good ideas for life down the road (permaculture, localization, etc) but that's not our immediate concern. Though we should coopt them in the short term as part of the propaganda program -- i.e., give the populace something to look forward to decades down the road.

So what do you all think? Can it be done, or is our only post-collapse future spending the rest of our lives keeping people in FEMA camps, or ourselves in bunkers?

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Spirituality & Mysticism / Is God a Doomer?
« on: February 04, 2014, 11:18:34 PM »
And if so, is he Lite, Full, or Uber?

Pretty much all of what I see in trying to predict what sort of doom is upcoming is based on a particular view of nature, and of humanity, both of which do not stand up to factual scrutiny. But to include the reality of God as a fact is, of course, controversial. And even if included, how can we know what he, she, or it, has in mind? What I want to do here is to present some facts that do not require revelation, yet do show that the role of the supernatural in our current predicament should not be ignored.

I could spend a couple of pages to make clear what I mean by 'God', but that is unnecessary. What matters is whether one accepts (a) that there is a supernatural realm, and (b) that it is anterior to the natural realm, that is, what happens in nature is to some extent dependent on the supernatural, even if not completely determined by it.

So. Is there a supernatural realm? Well, if we take 'nature' to be all that we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch, then clearly there is. On the one hand there is the quantum realm, which to the extent we understand it, does not at all act in the same way as that which we sense. On the other hand, there is our thinking, feeling, and willing, none of which is explicable in terms of that which we sense. Of course, there are those who are doing their damnedest to convince us that it can be made explicable in those terms, but their attempts to do so (epiphenomenalism, emergence, or simply denying the reality of the mental) are absurd to anyone who hasn't a dogmatic commitment to materialism.

However, just accepting that there is a supernatural realm does not, without more pages, warrant accepting (b). But here are some non-philosophical things to think about that do.

Here is a fact, accepted by all (pointed out by Barfield in Philology and the Incarnation): All of our words we use to describe our mentality have their roots in what we consider words that describe natural things and processes. 'Expression' comes from 'pressing out'. 'Spirit' meant 'wind' or 'breath'. 'Emotion' from 'move'. And so on. The use of these words for mental processes didn't start until about the middle of the first millenium B.C., and it took a long time after that before some forms came to have only their non-physical meaning.

Another fact: In the beginning of the Iliad, Achilles is angry at Agamemnon because the latter took the former's slave-girl from him. Achilles would, then, naturally want to kill Agamemnon, and being Achilles, could do so. But he doesn't, because if he did, that would mean the end of the whole Troy expedition. Now in a modern setting, we would say that Achilles' reason prevailed over his passion. But that's not what Homer said. Instead, he said that Athena told Achilles to restrain himself for the greater good. Similarly, all through the Homeric tales: it is the gods that do the thinking for the humans. And, of course, the poet didn't regard his poetry as his creation either: it was credited to the Muse.

Nor did this attitude just stop with the rise of reason among the Greeks. Consider Socrates' daimon, or that it was only in modern times that the word 'genius' stopped meaning a source external to the inventor or discoverer.

We can interpret these facts in two ways. One is that the ancient peoples had minds just like ours, but were too stupid to be able to distinguish the mental from the non-mental. The other is to say that, for them, there was no such distinction. That is, for them, there was no 'mental' and 'non-mental', there was just....call it something like 'life'.

The only reason to accept the first interpretation is because we are committed to rejecting the reality of the supernatural. But this amounts to rejecting evidence to maintain a dogma, in short, an irrational fundamentalism. So let us take the second interpretation, and see what that implies. (Note: I am aware that I have not here considered various objections that could be raised to accepting the second interpretation, so if you have them, raise them, and I will try to respond.)

Ok. So for early peoples, there was no distinction in their experience to call for dividing reality into 'mental' and 'non-mental'. But since their reality included speaking, feeling, and willing, then that means that in our terms, where we do make the distinction, all of their reality was mental. And so it was. There was no stream or tree without its spirit. They didn't "make up" gods and nymphs and so forth. They experienced them. Which should lead us to ask: why don't we?

Before getting to that question, it might help in trying to imagine what it was like to live in those times to consider a group of people in a similar situation. These are children, before age six of seven. They have no ego, and no conscience, yet can speak. What they don't do is reason. Reason passes through them -- they can understand "do that and you will be punished", but they can't question such reasonings. Basically, they do not have a mental capacity that is detached from the non-mental, which allows them to observe and think about things. And that is why we can't remember things from that time. (Note: I am not saying that an adult from the Homeric age was just like a child today, just that they shared to some extent the same kind of mental capacity.)

Another thing to consider: if the general run of the population did not think (but had their thinking done for them), how did technological advances come about? How could they become civilized? Well, ask them (so to speak) -- what did they say? That innovations came from the gods. Why should we doubt them? Why else would they acknowledge the authority of priests and prophets -- those who were more able to listen to what the gods had to say? And why they regarded their kings as gods -- because, in a sense, they were, that is, incarnations of more advanced spiritual entities than the norm.

But this all changed, and went away, so that now the reader is likely to think that what I said in the last paragraph is nonsense. On the other hand, to reject it outright is what C.S. Lewis called "chronological snobbery" -- the belief that we know what's really going on, while they didn't. There is one thing we do know, however, which they could not, and that is the difference between us and them. And so, back to the question: how and why are we different from them?

To understand it, we must ask about the intervening period, the classical and medieval ages, from about 500 BC to about 1500 AD. And here I will start with a comparison like the one used above, and say that, in general, the people of that time were like modern children from age six or seven up to puberty. The "in general" must be noted -- there were exceptions, just as there were exceptions in the early period. Those latter were the priests and kings (some of them, anyway), while in this middle period the exceptions were the occasional Pythagoras or Socrates or Augustine. When I say that one could compare modern pre-pubescents to the generality of that time, what I am saying is that they could experience themselves thinking, but they hadn't acquired the ability to think for themselves. Instead, they copied the thinking of their superiors, the authorities. (And here we must guard against another case of chronological snobbery. We now look back with disdain at those who blindly followed the Church, or the Emperor, while the case is more like why we do not allow children to run their schools, or live without parental authority.)

Now we still haven't answered the question of how this change, from the pre-classical to the classical came about. Nor can we answer it in natural terms. There is no way that people "just started" to do their own thinking. Rather it is something that occurred on the supernatural level, with new incarnations having that ability to move from the early to the later stage of childhood. With the second change, from pre-pubescent to post-pubescent, though, we do have some indication of what caused it. And that is that ability to experience one's own thinking, and in particular, the ability to think about that which is outside of ourselves. Thus we have a distinction between what would come to be called subject and object. And the more we think about things, the less we experience a thinking reality in the things. Until the modern age, no one (except maybe a few oddballs like Lucretius) doubted that a thinking, feeling, willing, and rational reality lay behind what was sensed. And, though it gradually died out, that reality was experienced, but extra-sensorily. This is what Barfield calls 'participation', and which was a fact for ancient and medieval philosophers.

But now we don't experience it, and the philosophers, for the most part, went badly in error in trying to make sense of a world without apparent participation. Religion too was affected. The Christian fundamentalism that arose in the beginning of the 20th century couldn't have happened in an earlier age, but even the modern so-called "liberal theology" has in major ways gone off the rails. Well, going into all that takes us too far afield, so I'll just restrict myself to noting the worst result -- the rise of scientism and the materialist/physicalist/naturalist metaphysics that has dominated the intellectual class for the past 150 years or so. Which, of course, denies (a) and (b) above, that there is no supernatural, and so can have no effect on the natural. It might also be noted that materialism, when taken to its logical conclusion, ends up as nihilism, and nihilism leads to despair, which according to Christianity is the greatest of sins.

Obviously, I disagree, and hope that what I said above shows that, at least in the past, the supernatural did direct the development of humanity. Which means that I don't expect it to stand by and let it all disappear. Yet one cannot discount that possibility entirely. For a major significance of the modern stage we are now in is that further development in human consciousness is, to some extent, up to us. We can, intellectually, figure out that the supernatural is real, but clearly something more is needed to experience it in its fullness. And if we are to survive in the long term, that is what we must do. Athanasius said (back in the 4th century) "God became man so that men can become gods". But it won't happen because God waves a magic wand. It will happen if and only if we make it happen.

What does all this imply with respect to Doom? Several things.
- There is a relation between modern intellectuality, with its belief in a mechanistic nature, and the rise and now collapse of industrial civilization. The latter will collapse, with accompanying die-off, but the more the relation between the two is recognized, perhaps the better we can deal with it, and build something more rational.
- That something will not be tribalism. Well, it may look like that for a while, but in the long term that is unworkable. Consciousness has changed, and the modern (and post-modern) consciousness would have to retrogress to make it viable. That is because modern consciousness is that of individuals. Tribal organization does not foster individualism. Since individualism is a necessary step in the evolution of consciousness, it must be fostered.
- So what does foster it? Civilization, which makes possible an elite, thanks to having a majority of peons to do the scut work and allow the few to think. To date, however, most of this thinking has been directed toward selfish ends. If there is to be a future, that too must change. The vehicle for changing it is religion. But, also to date, that hasn't been going so well either. Consider, though, that in the modern age there has been a huge expansion of the intellectual elite. But, as noted, it has largely been captured by those who deny the reality of the supernatural. Suppose it comes to its senses and this vast army of thinkers starts taking religion seriously? Chesterton said "It is not that Christianity has been tried and failed. It is that Christianity is hard, and has not yet been tried." Collapse just might tell us that it is time to try it. (Not that one must be nominally a Christian to "try" it. One can say the same for Buddhism, or other traditions.) And, perhaps, one might try to build a civilization where everyone does some scut work, and everyone is given time to think.

So my answer to the original question can be summed up as: yes, God is a doomer, in that the modern age has been an orgy of materialist (in both senses of the term) excess which, being false as an ontology, and immoral as a lifestyle, cannot continue. (Note: I am not saying that God is going to punish us. Rather, materialism, again in both senses, is simply irrational, while reality is rational. Sooner or later, the irrational ceases to work.). But what kind of doom is basically up to us. We can get through the zero point if we acknowledge the reality of the supernatural and bring that reality into our daily lives.


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Spirituality & Mysticism / On Interpretation
« on: December 04, 2013, 02:02:04 PM »
I've moved this here, for obvious reasons.

UB, this is what I believe.

There exists two dimensions, The Relative and The Absolute.  The Relative is the intellectual/phenomenal world.  It exists within time, but not the time we think of as time.  It exists in discrete moments, constantly changing, subject to the forces of cause and effect.

If the moments were truly discrete, there would be no way to connect them up. So there is something that connects them, or alternatively, there is something that turns a whole into discrete moments.

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I believe that we can not really understand this world because we have no real access to it.  What we can know, we know before our own intellectual processing kicks-in.  Once this happens, we change what we "nakedly perceive" into our own [interpretation of] reality.

Note the duality here. There is us, unable to access it. As for the "knowing before our own intellectual processing kicks-in", this is often called "pure experience". Making this distinction is what I call (following Robert Magliola, in Derrida on the Mend) "centric Zen". The alternative is "differential Zen". The problem with centric Zen is that it preserves this subtle duality. There is the Absolute, and then there is the Relative. One needs to go past this to differential Zen, where the Absolute is, yet is not, the Relative (or as traditionally said: emptiness is not other than form, form is not other than emptiness).

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The Absolute "exists" outside of our ability to understand.  It just "is."  If you can tap into this, then one can see things closer to the way there are, allowing "better" interaction with ones environment.  It is simply being more aware of what is actually going on as opposed to our interpretation of what's going on.

The point of differential Zen is to get over the idea that there is some true "way things are". If there are things -- which there are if there is an "environment" or "what is actually going on" -- then there is form. And then there is the subject observing the form, supposedly seeing things as they actually are. In other words, your metaphysics is still operating within the subject-object form. Otherwise, one cannot speak of someone's "interpretation" as distinct from what is "actually" going on. Well, one can, but only within the terms of the relative (that is, one can build a theory about, say, the structure of the solar system). But when relating the relative to the absolute, such talk is itself an interpretation, and a misleading one at that.

But, then, what I am saying is also an interpretation. The way out of this dilemma is not to privilege some actuality over interpretations, but to recognize that all actuality, if it has form, is semiotic. Then there is no longer a metaphysical divide between language and reason on the one hand, and reality on the other. Interpretation, then, can be reinterpreted as creativity. The only problem is that we tend to get attached to our interpretations.

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Spirituality & Mysticism / CFS and Religion
« on: April 19, 2013, 11:10:49 AM »
I need to reply to the following, but moved it here to avoid derailing the UBI thread.


The problem in the current system is, solving those problems requires the people learn to use CFS. That's been bred out of humanity over the last two thousand years, at least in the west.  Remember that until the reformation, showing that you had enough brain cells to be useful to humanity usually resulted in death at the hands of the religion.  Still happens in many places where variants of the desert religions hold sway.

I don't remember that. Those who were put to death were judged to be heretics, and I can't offhand think of a heresy of that time that we would say showed smarts that were any more "useful to humanity" than orthodox Christianity. Or is it your opinion that Manicheism is more useful? Or practicing Judaism secretly while proclaiming you were Christian? Not that such beliefs were less useful, but I don't see them as more useful. So perhaps you should give an example of a pre-reformation thinker whose ideas were clearly more useful to humanity who was put to death for promoting those ideas. You know, like Socrates, or Jesus, but after Constantine.

Also, to say that Christianity "bred [CFS] out of humanity" ignores that what we call CFS is rooted in Aristotle's metaphysics, preserved and developed by the medieval scholastics. The scientific revolution, in its rejection of the Aristotelian notion of final causes in nature, is actually counter-CFS. Or do you deny that there is any intentionality at work in (non-human) nature? So if there has been any breeding CFS out of humanity, it is more the work of modernist materialist philosophers.

But I suppose what you are trying to say is that since the reformation there has been a growth in the idea that we should learn to think for ourselves, and not just submit to authority. I agree with that, but it is not something that was bred out of humanity by Christianity. Do you think ancient Egyptians thought for themselves? No one did, except for a few Greek philosophers. Instead, it took two millennia for the modern idea of the self to develop, so that the masses could think for themselves (which of course is still only a partial accomplishment). That development was the result of the marriage of the "desert religions" with Greek rationality.

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Spirituality & Mysticism / Faith and Reason, again
« on: March 27, 2013, 07:53:24 PM »
But you'll start another Christian debacle trying to get them to see that point.  How much energy has gone into trying to prove Christianity with apologetics?  When it comes down to the Bible, the great transmission of Christianity, having to be written by divine intervention and believed on faith.  Why do you need to try and prove faith with apologetics?  It doesn't make any sense.  Faith doesn't care about apologetics...otherwise it wouldn't be faith.

Why are you into Druidry and not, say, evangelical Christianity? Answer: because you thought about it. At least I doubt that you listed all faiths on a wall and threw a dart at it, and it happened to land on Druidry. Apologetics is just the name for "thinking about it". And it is not about proving anything, just figuring out for oneself which faith makes most sense for you. RE did it, Ashvin did it, I did it, and you did it, as does everyone who thinks about their spiritual stance. True, we each came up with a different answer, but that's because we vary in what we presuppose, what we know to start with, how deeply we reason, just as different people rationally come to differing political or economic views. Faith and reason are -- or should be -- complementary.

Of course, this does not mean that you or anyone should feel obliged to defend your faith against gainsayers. But you shouldn't be surprised when someone's faith is attacked that he or she responds.


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The Kitchen Sink / Why is Re: How do we know what we know?" locked
« on: November 28, 2012, 08:26:37 AM »
Tried to post and find that this topic, and only it in the Spirituality/Mysticism folder is locked. ??

7
Spirituality & Mysticism / Science in re Theories of Everything
« on: October 09, 2012, 09:54:31 PM »
A continuation of a discussion that shouldn't have been in the Cannibalism thread.

(Ashvin, I'm putting your whole comment here, just for continuity. Specific things addressed will be below)


No, you said that Christianity is the only TOE that is adequate to the scientific evidence. I replied that my TOE is also adequate to the scientific evidence. Now you are saying that Christianity "will ultimately prove to be the only way to adequately understand reality through science". That is a different claim. But it is a claim, so I will now repeat why it is a bad one, and that is, that not all reality can be understood through science. Science is the development of theories about sensed reality. That which senses that reality is therefore not within the scope of science. Neither are the nature of God or Christ, or Christ's divine purpose in incarnating -- which is to say all that really matters with respect to Christianity in terms of salvation.

There is really not much disagreement here, Ka, because I never claimed that science is capable of explaining the full extent of reality. So, you are correct to say that we must resort to many other fields of knowledge to develop a true metaphysical TOE. BUT, science will always be a part of that TOE, and scientific findings cannot contradict the TOE. If they do, then either your scientific findings are incorrect, or you have not actually reached a true TOE. That was my point.

You are somewhat incorrect to suggest that science cannot get us to core Christian doctrines, though. The way it can do that is by providing credibility to the supernatural inspiration of the Bible. If the latest scientific research matches up very well with predictions derived from the Biblical texts, then it would be very difficult to explain such accuracy with any natural explanations. And, if the Bible is inspired by God, then we can also trust in the perfect accuracy of its core history and theology.

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All the "evidence we have" necessarily presupposes uniformitarianism.

I don't think is a good word to use here. When I say the physical laws of the Universe have not changed, I mean the most fundamental forces (gravity, electromagnetism, strong/weak nuclear), and the corollary laws associated with them, such as those of thermodynamics.  The best evidence we have for that immutability is from astronomy, where scientists directly observe the past (all the way back to the earliest moments of the Universe). If there was any change in those physical laws between then and now, they would definitely be able to detect such a deviation (not to mention, life would have not been possible, and therefore this discussion we are having).

Some people also talk about uniformitarianism in terms of historical developments in the formation and "evolution" of stars and planets and specific geological and biological developments on those planets. In that sense, I believe in a combination of uniformity and catastrophe, which I believe is the dominant view, and best explains the evidence we have from various fields of science (also meshes well with Biblical accounts).

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Well, you're mixing things up here, as the date and place are not in the Bible. But in particular the bit "created fully-formed by God" is not, and cannot, be demonstrated through science. Hence this is not a scientific model.

That is not true, and you will see why if you read this article - http://www.reasons.org/articles/who-was-adam-an-old-earth-creation-model-for-the-origin-of-humanity

The core tenets of RTB's model are these, and they are directly taken from a comprehensive understanding of the Biblical accounts:

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Humanity is traceable back to one woman and one man.
Humanity’s early population size was relatively small.
Humanity originated in a single location in or near the Middle East (the Garden of Eden).
Humanity’s origin occurred recently.
Humanity spread around the world from in or near the Middle East.
Human culture (which reflects the image of God) appears and expands explosively in the archeological record from the time of humanity’s origin.
Humans share anatomical, physical, biochemical, and genetic similarities with the extinct hominids, also with great apes and other animals.
Humans are behaviorally distinct (in ways that reflect God’s image) from the earlier hominids, the great apes, and other animals.

You must read the entire article to truly grasp what the scientific argument is, though.

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I read your article, and none of the science in it provides a means to choose between your TOE and mine. Which is my point. Earlier you gave a couple of long quotes that seem to drive your thinking. The second starts with:

"Did man crawl his way into existence over millions of years? Or did he leap to two feet by supernatural design? Did humans emerge from amoebas or did a Creator intend for life to possess purpose, value, and meaning?"

The author goes on to show the first option is untenable (and I agree). But that does not imply the second option is true. See Surly's list in which this is called the fallacy of the false dilemma. In short, there is nothing you have referenced or said in your piece on your blog that provides scientific evidence for your TOE in preference to mine. Now I haven't read everything you have referenced, but I am confident in saying that there is no determining scientific evidence because of what I said above: that the differences between our TOEs lie outside of the scope of science.

Now you haven't really been exposed to the full nature of my TOE, but the remark I made earlier -- that rather than saying God creates this or that I hold that communities of spiritual entities do the creating -- can serve as a difference for our purposes. So if you have some scientific evidence that shows your TOE to be right and my wrong, please provide it. Otherwise, I don't see how you can maintain your original claim.

Well I have really have no idea whether your TOE can provide scientific predictions that are testable or not (I suspect not), but I know for a fact that mine can (see above). If all of those tenets listed above were to be proven true by the scientific evidence, in accordance with the Biblical models of humanity's origin, would that still be compatible with your TOE and, specifically, your view of the Bible?

End of original

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There is really not much disagreement here, Ka, because I never claimed that science is capable of explaining the full extent of reality. So, you are correct to say that we must resort to many other fields of knowledge to develop a true metaphysical TOE. BUT, science will always be a part of that TOE, and scientific findings cannot contradict the TOE. If they do, then either your scientific findings are incorrect, or you have not actually reached a true TOE. That was my point.

Right, no disagreement here. But your original claim was that only Christianity met these criteria, and that is what I objected to.

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You are somewhat incorrect to suggest that science cannot get us to core Christian doctrines, though. The way it can do that is by providing credibility to the supernatural inspiration of the Bible. If the latest scientific research matches up very well with predictions derived from the Biblical texts, then it would be very difficult to explain such accuracy with any natural explanations. And, if the Bible is inspired by God, then we can also trust in the perfect accuracy of its core history and theology.

The problem is that supernatural inspiration does not entail that what is revealed has been revealed with "perfect accuracy". There is the very real possibility (I would say near certainty, given Barfield's thesis) that the inspirers would have had to tailor their revelations to the intellectual capacities of the inspirees. Which is why in parallel with a revelation to the Jews, there was needed the development of reason in Greece before a sensible metaphysics, and hence an adequate TOE could be worked out. If I were limited to recommending one book for you to read it is David Bentley Hart's The Beauty of the Infinite. Hart is an Eastern Orthodox theologian, but I have seen his book praised by Catholics, Anglicans, and Calvinists. Naturally, I don't agree with him entirely, but the Christianity he portrays is one I find a lot more rational than yours. Because, in the end, the attempts you find so important to establish the literal truth of the OT are beside the point. (See below).

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Well, you're mixing things up here, as the date and place are not in the Bible. But in particular the bit "created fully-formed by God" is not, and cannot, be demonstrated through science. Hence this is not a scientific model.

That is not true, and you will see why if you read this article - http://www.reasons.org/articles/who-was-adam-an-old-earth-creation-model-for-the-origin-of-humanity

The core tenets of RTB's model are these, and they are directly taken from a comprehensive understanding of the Biblical accounts:

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Humanity is traceable back to one woman and one man.
Humanity’s early population size was relatively small.
Humanity originated in a single location in or near the Middle East (the Garden of Eden).
Humanity’s origin occurred recently.
Humanity spread around the world from in or near the Middle East.
Human culture (which reflects the image of God) appears and expands explosively in the archeological record from the time of humanity’s origin.
Humans share anatomical, physical, biochemical, and genetic similarities with the extinct hominids, also with great apes and other animals.
Humans are behaviorally distinct (in ways that reflect God’s image) from the earlier hominids, the great apes, and other animals.

You must read the entire article to truly grasp what the scientific argument is, though.

I read the thing, though eventually started skimming, since it was clear that neither he, nor did you, respond to my point, which is that one cannot conclude from that evidence that the actions were carried out by God. In other words, even if all the points listed were well demonstrated, and hence that these supernatural events occurred, it does not tell us the actual agency, nor the "how" of their occurrences. Your response, I would guess, is that if we can show that the source is accurate concerning the events, then it is accurate as to their cause, but that one cannot assume. And that is because the people then, and we ourselves, are incapable of understanding the sort of agency required. And so they were told something they could understand, namely, taking the concept of a pagan god, with which they were familiar, and raising it to a monotheist concept. This served the actual purpose (according to the Barfieldian story) of moving "spirit perceived on the outside" (as pagan gods) to spirit experienced on the inside (as reason, or better, Logos), a process that has taken 2000 years, and is still incomplete.

Ok, that is just another story. So how do we choose between them? Well, by arguing metaphysics. I recommend Hart (who would probably reject Barfield) as a kind of middle ground between your literalist view and my evolution-of-consciousness view. I really do see your fundamental error as being idolatrous, something which, at least, Hart might cure you of. You caught the disease of idolatry (as did we all) in your atheist phase, but fail to see how it still infects you (and people like Ross and Rana) in your current phase.

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Well I have really have no idea whether your TOE can provide scientific predictions that are testable or not (I suspect not), but I know for a fact that mine can (see above). If all of those tenets listed above were to be proven true by the scientific evidence, in accordance with the Biblical models of humanity's origin, would that still be compatible with your TOE and, specifically, your view of the Bible?

Yes, see above.

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Economics / Happy Downscaling Movement
« on: August 29, 2012, 05:28:12 PM »
I find this encouraging: http://www.beppegrillo.it/en/2012/08/passaparola_when_less_is_bette_1.html

Not that it is a new idea to readers here, but that it is taken seriously by the founder of Italy's 5 Star Movement. If there is to be any political hope for Europe (or the US) it is that this idea becomes wide-spread.

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"Economic growth is the cause of the crisis that we are experiencing and, therefore, it cannot possibly be the solution because one cannot think of resolving a problem by strengthening the causes that have brought it about. If we continue to produce more and more, this constitutes an increase in the supply of goods. However, if the number of people involved in the various production processes continues to decline, then the demand for goods declines because of the decline in the disposable income that people use to purchase the things that are produced." Maurizio Pallante

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