Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by Metacrock » Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:44 am

sgttomas wrote:
Metacrock wrote:
The memetic definition of God is quite rigorous and grounded in reality, although turning it into a divine Creator requires some far-fetched sci-fi. While everything (God included) is ultimately explained by fundamental laws of physics, God can't be understood in those terms any more than biology, so there's a scientific motivation to treat God "on its own turf".

that is nothing more than a con job. It's like HRG's mathematical crap. I can use big words you don't know about to impress you and make you think I have secret knowledge you don't have. I can do that stuff too. that's what Transcendental signifier is about. O that's a real idea, and it's a good argument, but I use those Derrida terms fight back at Hans for his elitist secret knowledge stuff.
Hm. Well I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss what he is saying here. I detect a path to God that is unfamiliar to you, but perhaps not incompatible. After all, he is saying that making God equivalent to physical evidence would be inappropriate, because the information at that level can't be properly interpreted.

...as for HRG. Heh, he's my bitch ;)

-sgtt.

Yea but I have a visceral reaction to the whole meme thing. There are studies that prove it's just the result of tracing ideas epidemiologically. They can be so traced because they pass from person to person, like a disease. But the rest is just liberalizing a metaphor.

I've also seen atheists say about 16 different versions of what they are and what they do.
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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by KR Wordgazer » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:54 am

I'd like you to try again, though. What exactly is meme-God missing? Or better yet, if you could point to an outright contradiction between your idea of God and meme-God, I would be forced to concede that meme-God isn't really God after all.
Here is the outright contradiction, Quantum:
But you're right in that God is in all our collective heads, and He would not exist in the universe if there were no thinking minds. Would your God exist if there were no minds to perceive Him (does a tree fall, etc)?
I believe that we are in God's Head (metaphorically speaking), not the other way around. That is, if no human ever thought about God, God would still exist. However, if God were to stop thinking about humans, we would cease to exist.

I am afraid I really do disagree with both you and Sgt. Tomas. I believe God has existence independent of us, and that yes, He created the universe. It doesn't bother me that you think He is "unnecessary" to explain the existence of the Universe; meaning that you are able to come up with another explanation that makes sense to you. I think the idea of God as Creator makes more sense and fits the facts better. But again, I don't think the primary purpose of belief in God is to explain physical existence.

Which takes me to this:
But God is not about explaining creation, it's about meaning and the religious experience.
We are not on the same page here, either. God Himself is neither about explanations nor about meaning, in the sense you mean it-- according to my understanding of God. God just is. "I am that I am." What I said earlier was not "God is about meaning," but "belief in God is about meaning." You seem to be making "God" (the Eternal Consciousness and Source of all life) synonymous with "religion" (human beliefs that give their lives meaning, including beliefs in God).

So-- in my way of thinking, religions are "memes." God is not.

I have no objection to you calling yourself a theist or an atheist or whatever you like. :) I just want you to understand that your concept of God is not the same as the orthodox (in the generic sense of the word) Christian one. And I do consider myself orthodox.
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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by sgttomas » Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:21 pm

Metacrock wrote:Yea but I have a visceral reaction to the whole meme thing. There are studies that prove it's just the result of tracing ideas epidemiologically. They can be so traced because they pass from person to person, like a disease. But the rest is just liberalizing a metaphor.

I've also seen atheists say about 16 different versions of what they are and what they do.
I agree with everything you said. I said elsewhere, to KR, that the problem with memes is the metaphor people use to make a coherent story out of the concept.

-sgtt.
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by sgttomas » Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:37 pm

KR Wordgazer wrote:I am afraid I really do disagree with both you and Sgt. Tomas. I believe God has existence independent of us, and that yes, He created the universe. It doesn't bother me that you think He is "unnecessary" to explain the existence of the Universe; meaning that you are able to come up with another explanation that makes sense to you. I think the idea of God as Creator makes more sense and fits the facts better.
....it's mostly just hairy philosophy. When I'm feeling mystical I believe I can perceive God, but when I'm feeling pragmatic and philosophical, I have to concede that I'm trapped within my own skewed perception and I don' t really know what God *IS* in terms of the nature of existence.

So I'm forced to rely on what God is *LIKE* - the properties I perceive can be taken at face value. So God doesn't exist outside of my own mind, because there is no sense to be made of such an idea (to me). I think I can imagine a scenario where God is Creator (so did QuantumTroll), its just a weird one, because I sort of ignore space and time in the process. So God is the Creator of space and time, both of which are irrelevant! lol.

....too much philosophy. The important bits are to know the character of God.

Which takes me to this:
God Himself is neither about explanations nor about meaning, in the sense you mean it-- according to my understanding of God. God just is. "I am that I am." What I said earlier was not "God is about meaning," but "belief in God is about meaning." You seem to be making "God" (the Eternal Consciousness and Source of all life) synonymous with "religion" (human beliefs that give their lives meaning, including beliefs in God).
If one knows the name of God, one knows all the "religion" that follows (because it is a reflection of the divine character, which is embodied in the name/meme). The two are impossibly intertwined. This is really a semantics difference. Practically speaking, I don't see one.
I just want you to understand that your concept of God is not the same as the orthodox (in the generic sense of the word) Christian one. And I do consider myself orthodox.
Correct!! I'm quite proud of that ;)

Peace,
-sgttomas
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by QuantumTroll » Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:04 pm

KR Wordgazer wrote:
I'd like you to try again, though. What exactly is meme-God missing? Or better yet, if you could point to an outright contradiction between your idea of God and meme-God, I would be forced to concede that meme-God isn't really God after all.
Here is the outright contradiction, Quantum:
But you're right in that God is in all our collective heads, and He would not exist in the universe if there were no thinking minds. Would your God exist if there were no minds to perceive Him (does a tree fall, etc)?
I believe that we are in God's Head (metaphorically speaking), not the other way around. That is, if no human ever thought about God, God would still exist. However, if God were to stop thinking about humans, we would cease to exist.

I am afraid I really do disagree with both you and Sgt. Tomas. I believe God has existence independent of us, and that yes, He created the universe. It doesn't bother me that you think He is "unnecessary" to explain the existence of the Universe; meaning that you are able to come up with another explanation that makes sense to you. I think the idea of God as Creator makes more sense and fits the facts better. But again, I don't think the primary purpose of belief in God is to explain physical existence.

Which takes me to this:
But God is not about explaining creation, it's about meaning and the religious experience.
We are not on the same page here, either. God Himself is neither about explanations nor about meaning, in the sense you mean it-- according to my understanding of God. God just is. "I am that I am." What I said earlier was not "God is about meaning," but "belief in God is about meaning." You seem to be making "God" (the Eternal Consciousness and Source of all life) synonymous with "religion" (human beliefs that give their lives meaning, including beliefs in God).

So-- in my way of thinking, religions are "memes." God is not.

I have no objection to you calling yourself a theist or an atheist or whatever you like. :) I just want you to understand that your concept of God is not the same as the orthodox (in the generic sense of the word) Christian one. And I do consider myself orthodox.
Cool, yeah. I think we've come to an understanding. That was a very clear response, thanks :) . I was hoping maybe I'd achieve more, but I'm still satisfied that I learned something.

I didn't realize you were actually orthodox (which is why I misinterpreted what you said earlier), and I agree totally that my idea is unorthodox.

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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by Metacrock » Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:05 pm

sgttomas wrote:
Metacrock wrote:Yea but I have a visceral reaction to the whole meme thing. There are studies that prove it's just the result of tracing ideas epidemiologically. They can be so traced because they pass from person to person, like a disease. But the rest is just liberalizing a metaphor.

I've also seen atheists say about 16 different versions of what they are and what they do.
I agree with everything you said. I said elsewhere, to KR, that the problem with memes is the metaphor people use to make a coherent story out of the concept.

-sgtt.

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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by QuantumTroll » Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:15 pm

Metacrock wrote:Gotcha Sarge! check.
Hey Meta, I was wondering how you'd respond if I said that the idea I've described in this thread puts phenomenology in an empirical framework? The way I see it, the conscious mind is no less physical or empirical than any other emergent behavior, and phenomenology is essentially the study of the first-person experience. Therefore, the idea driving phenomenology is as sound as chemistry. Unfortunately, in practice I think it's more like alchemy, a good intention wrapped up in elaborate voodoo, unintentional misdirection, and ultimately failure. Given the sentence before the last, I think the previous sentence indicates that I do not really understand phenomenology, so I'd be pleased if you took it with a pinch of salt :) .

One caveat. If I'm understanding things correctly, I think Heidegger must be wrong, and ontology must follow epistemology. The experience of existence is not more fundamental than the stuff happening in our heads that is "making us exist". Thus this is more like Husserl's original realist phenomenology.

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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by Metacrock » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:54 am

QuantumTroll wrote:
Metacrock wrote:Gotcha Sarge! check.
Hey Meta, I was wondering how you'd respond if I said that the idea I've described in this thread puts phenomenology in an empirical framework?
phenomenology is a empirical framework.




The way I see it, the conscious mind is no less physical or empirical than any other emergent behavior, and phenomenology is essentially the study of the first-person experience.
no phenomenology is the attempt to allow the data to speak for itself. yes, it involves the first person framework, but not to the extent of dominating the data. It' s allowing the data to dominate you.

The mind is equivalent to consciousness, which has yet to be explained.


Therefore, the idea driving phenomenology is as sound as chemistry. Unfortunately, in practice I think it's more like alchemy, a good intention wrapped up in elaborate voodoo, unintentional misdirection, and ultimately failure. Given the sentence before the last, I think the previous sentence indicates that I do not really understand phenomenology, so I'd be pleased if you took it with a pinch of salt :) .

Its' quite odd how you seem to think that controlling the data and herding it into pigeon holes pre conceived for it is somehow more lose and objective and more true to "what is" than actually allowing the data to speak for itself.

don't forget there are two kinds. I usually mean Heideggerian when I speak of it, but there is another kind and they overlap at least in my use of the term.

there's also phenom method and phenom attitude.
One caveat. If I'm understanding things correctly, I think Heidegger must be wrong, and ontology must follow epistemology.

depends upon your understanding of epistemology. Phenomenology is an approach to epistemology. epistemology is not a method, it's a subject matter.

The experience of existence is not more fundamental than the stuff happening in our heads that is "making us exist". Thus this is more like Husserl's original realist phenomenology.

that's interesting. how does that relate to my arguments?
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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by QuantumTroll » Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:42 am

Metacrock wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote:
Metacrock wrote:Gotcha Sarge! check.
Hey Meta, I was wondering how you'd respond if I said that the idea I've described in this thread puts phenomenology in an empirical framework?
phenomenology is a empirical framework.
Ok, but usually it's not considered part of the same framework as, say, physics or neurobiology, but I put it in that context. This is high praise coming from me ;)

Therefore, the idea driving phenomenology is as sound as chemistry. Unfortunately, in practice I think it's more like alchemy, a good intention wrapped up in elaborate voodoo, unintentional misdirection, and ultimately failure. Given the sentence before the last, I think the previous sentence indicates that I do not really understand phenomenology, so I'd be pleased if you took it with a pinch of salt :) .
Its' quite odd how you seem to think that controlling the data and herding it into pigeon holes pre conceived for it is somehow more lose and objective and more true to "what is" than actually allowing the data to speak for itself.
Any empirical approach involves categorizing data and putting it in a contextual or theoretical framework. Data can only speak for itself when it is linked together with the rest of the cosmos. To put it another way: IF the mind is a phenomenon that works in a consistent way with the physical universe, THEN what I'm doing makes sense because it is putting the mind in the same picture with the rest of the physical universe. IF, on the other hand, the mind is extra special and has no place in a "scientific" or "reductionist" view, THEN I'm simply all wrong. You say to allow "the data to speak for itself", but data always requires interpretation. My way of interpreting data (basically categorizing and drawing connections) has historically worked pretty well.
don't forget there are two kinds. I usually mean Heideggerian when I speak of it, but there is another kind and they overlap at least in my use of the term.

there's also phenom method and phenom attitude.
That's one of the reasons I brought this up. I knew you're a Heidegger fan and a phenomenologist, so I thought you'd have some insight here :) . But as I explained a little later, I think Heidegger is a little off track.
The experience of existence is not more fundamental than the stuff happening in our heads that is "making us exist". Thus this is more like Husserl's original realist phenomenology.
that's interesting. how does that relate to my arguments?
Very good question. I assume you mean your arguments for God as opposed to some argument in this thread, correct? Well, maybe you could tell me what you think of "realist phenomenology", which I take to be a kind of descriptive psychology that examines the essence of consciousness from a first-person point of view. I simply haven't read enough to feel like I could say anything concrete about it, but I want to hear your thoughts.

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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by Metacrock » Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:35 pm

QuantumTroll wrote:Hey Meta, I was wondering how you'd respond if I said that the idea I've described in this thread puts phenomenology in an empirical framework?
phenomenology is a empirical framework.
Ok, but usually it's not considered part of the same framework as, say, physics or neurobiology, but I put it in that context. This is high praise coming from me ;)
Yes, but see the reason for that is those studies are not truly empirical in the original sense of the word. They are inductive but not empirical in Cartesian sense. In other words they reify reality according to statistical frameworks rather than allowing the data to dictate. Thus they are actually "metaphysics" in Heidegger's sense.

Therefore, the idea driving phenomenology is as sound as chemistry. Unfortunately, in practice I think it's more like alchemy, a good intention wrapped up in elaborate voodoo, unintentional misdirection, and ultimately failure. Given the sentence before the last, I think the previous sentence indicates that I do not really understand phenomenology, so I'd be pleased if you took it with a pinch of salt :) .
Its' quite odd how you seem to think that controlling the data and herding it into pigeon holes pre conceived for it is somehow more lose and objective and more true to "what is" than actually allowing the data to speak for itself.
Any empirical approach involves categorizing data and putting it in a contextual or theoretical framework.
No. Only the inductive kind. The original term meant "I experince this first hand, I've seen it myself" from the Greek Episteme meaning first hand knowledge.


Data can only speak for itself when it is linked together with the rest of the cosmos.
No you are trying to say it can only speak when we tell it what to say. That's not true. It speaks for itself when you let the phenomena suggest the categories.

To put it another way: IF the mind is a phenomenon that works in a consistent way with the physical universe, THEN what I'm doing makes sense because it is putting the mind in the same picture with the rest of the physical universe. IF, on the other hand, the mind is extra special and has no place in a "scientific" or "reductionist" view, THEN I'm simply all wrong. You say to allow "the data to speak for itself", but data always requires interpretation. My way of interpreting data (basically categorizing and drawing connections) has historically worked pretty well.

Yes, data requires interpretation, but interpretation depends upon the categories you allow the data to fall into. If you select the categories in advance you only get the answers you want. If you allow the phenomena to suggest the categories then you see more possibilities.

The difference in data and phenomena is that data is already refined. Data is phenomena that has been sifted and refined and polished into "data," information that tells us what we want to hear. But Phenomena includes qualia and all kinds of things. So its' data in its raw state. You allow the categories to be suggest by the raw state of experience then you obviously more open to greater possibilities.
don't forget there are two kinds. I usually mean Heideggerian when I speak of it, but there is another kind and they overlap at least in my use of the term.
there's also phenom method and phenom attitude.
That's one of the reasons I brought this up. I knew you're a Heidegger fan and a phenomenologist, so I thought you'd have some insight here :) . But as I explained a little later, I think Heidegger is a little off track.
you are not alone in that attitude. Of he was off track ultimately, with his politics. But Marcuse shared that phenomenological interest.
The experience of existence is not more fundamental than the stuff happening in our heads that is "making us exist". Thus this is more like Husserl's original realist phenomenology.
that's interesting. how does that relate to my arguments?
Very good question. I assume you mean your arguments for God as opposed to some argument in this thread, correct? Well, maybe you could tell me what you think of "realist phenomenology", which I take to be a kind of descriptive psychology that examines the essence of consciousness from a first-person point of view. I simply haven't read enough to feel like I could say anything concrete about it, but I want to hear your thoughts.

One of my God arguments, one that I have not used on boards since I first began on message boards (because it's too subtle for most people) is Gabriel Marcel's personal argument for the existence of God. Marcel argued that he found God in the human consciousness, he saw God in other people's personal natures. That's a first person perspective.

Marcel was the leading Christian existentialist of the 20th century.

I have been slowly coming a new position beyond God arguments. I'm now trying to formulate a way of stating my position. We don't need God arguments. It's not a matter of proving, it's a matter of developing consciousness.
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