Karma - Page 2
Old 03-12-2012, 11:58 AM   #21 (permalink)
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So what matters so much then - the fact that we act based on human constructs, or the need for some, and I emphasize some, to defend them as though they represent certain absolute truths, whether received from a greater power or gathered from an objectivity that lies beyond our abilities in an absolute sense? To me problems arise with regard to beliefs, which are dogmatic, as opposed to faith, which allows for and requires doubt and extends to all models of the all and everything.

Faith is faith is faith, and multiple faiths have co-existed peacefully and on equal terms all over the place through all of history. Fundamentalsts and extremists are the squeaky wheels that get all the press. I don't see a lot of those types talking about things like karma.
faith absolutely does not allow for doubt, by definition. i am with you in intent, but unfortunately it is just not true.


anything that allows doubt, investigation, analysis - and that opens up all avenues for that doubt - is not faith, although some faiths often pretend they are doing this. if you, for instance, have theological debates, you may open up an interpretation to doubt, but you are not opening up everything the religion believes in to investigation. there are no theisms that i know if that are ok with questioning everything and with admitting that it might all be a load of nonsense. this is a very real and very significant probleam socially, politically and morally speaking.

nothing should be defended as an absolute truth that cannot be demostrated as such.
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:11 PM   #22 (permalink)
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'trane:

Thanks for clarifying.

From what you said, I'm gathering that you're saying that you oppose "forcing" faith on somebody else. I also agree with this and believe that people should be able to practice their faith without forcing it on somebody else. However, using your faith to make moral decisions is absolutely okay in my books, unless the faith is radical as I have previously stated (ie. islamic radicals jihad belief).

Thus, believing and acting upon karma is okay.
ok, here's the problem: believing in something that can't be proven is one thing, and i would be ok with it if it were possible not to act on it. but people do act on it, and by doing so impose it on others. opposition to gay marriage is one perfect example. but there are others far more dangerous (death to the infidels!) and far less odious (sunday shopping), all that have impacts on my life. the fact is that i think this is all nonsense, and i don't see why my life needs to be impacted by your fairly tales unless you can demonstrate why there are pragmatic benefits to our social arrangement to necessitate that i pay any heed to them.

as for karma - it belongs in the 'less odious' category. but i think it has negative social consequences because it takes human agency away. i did good so i hope good is done to me, or, she did bad, so we don't need to do anything because bad will come to her. none of this is particularly helpful (we have social arrangements to deal with these things), and i think we are better off as a society if we base our thoughts and actions on things that actually make a difference.

but all of this falls under what fancy called 'hocus pocus'. it may not be the most damaging kind of hocus pocus, but it is all make believe. adults shouldn't believe in the easter bunny. it probably won't cause major harm if they do, but they are doing themselves and their communities a disservice by believing in it because they are inhabiting a fantasy land instead of the real world. i think we are better off leaving karma in the same dustbin of infancy as the easter bunny.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:36 PM   #23 (permalink)
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faith absolutely does not allow for doubt, by definition. i am with you in intent, but unfortunately it is just not true.


anything that allows doubt, investigation, analysis - and that opens up all avenues for that doubt - is not faith, although some faiths often pretend they are doing this. if you, for instance, have theological debates, you may open up an interpretation to doubt, but you are not opening up everything the religion believes in to investigation. there are no theisms that i know if that are ok with questioning everything and with admitting that it might all be a load of nonsense. this is a very real and very significant probleam socially, politically and morally speaking.

nothing should be defended as an absolute truth that cannot be demostrated as such.
So Jesus did not have doubt? Doubting Thomas did not have doubt? Buddhists do not negate certainty at every step? Meanwhile, does science, particularly in seeking out the origins and basic principles of how the universe works, not rely on faith more and more, in needing to establish theories that simply cannot be proven. For decades we thought we were approaching an ability to come up with unifying principles that could be verified. Now there is a requirement of faith.

Nothing can be demonstrated as an absolute truth. So do we not act at all? I'm actually ok with that myself. I think humans get way too caught up with the need to act on the world. Ultimately it is power that matters more than anything else, and for me, as long as power is not exercised in the name of absolute truths, and allows for me to seek out truths on my own terms while remaining malleable and responsive to collective needs of all sorts, then I can live with it for the most part.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:51 PM   #24 (permalink)
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So Jesus did not have doubt? Doubting Thomas did not have doubt? Buddhists do not negate certainty at every step? Meanwhile, does science, particularly in seeking out the origins and basic principles of how the universe works, not rely on faith more and more, in needing to establish theories that simply cannot be proven. For decades we thought we were approaching an ability to come up with unifying principles that could be verified. Now there is a requirement of faith.

Nothing can be demonstrated as an absolute truth. So do we not act at all? I'm actually ok with that myself. I think humans get way too caught up with the need to act on the world. Ultimately it is power that matters more than anything else, and for me, as long as power is not exercised in the name of absolute truths, and allows for me to seek out truths on my own terms while remaining malleable and responsive to collective needs of all sorts, then I can live with it for the most part.
i don't think you understand what faith or science mean if you really stand by that post.

science that does not accept doubt or analysis is bad science, by definition. faith that accepts unlimited questioning is not faith, by definition.


and no one knows what jesus thought (if even existed), so whether or not he doubted is irrelevant.

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Old 03-12-2012, 01:56 PM   #25 (permalink)
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When I said faith allows for doubt, I did not mean in an absolute sense. Of course one cannot doubt something wholly and still have faith. I meant to suggest that faith does not require extinguishing all doubt. Meanwhile faith requires the existence of doubt, since without doubt there would be absolute truths that could be followed without any need for faith.

Faith arises out of the unknown, and particularly out of that which appears to be unknowable. As long as there is a big unknowable factor, then one kind of faith should not be so concerned with denying another form of faith. In my mind it is much more important to look at how power is distributed and exercised.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:01 PM   #26 (permalink)
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you know what comes out of the unknown? questions that deserve to be investigated. not questions that deserve to be addressed by make-believe.

the power that is distributed and exercised through theisms is definitely worth looking at.


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Meanwhile faith requires the existence of doubt, since without doubt there would be absolute truths that could be followed without any need for faith.
this makes no sense to me.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:23 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:24 PM   #28 (permalink)
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you know what comes out of the unknown? questions that deserve to be investigated. not questions that deserve to be addressed by make-believe.
Where does this make-believe come from? Are you going to tell me that there was no investigation involved? That makes no sense to me.

Meanwhile science is in the position of requiring make-believe in its own right. Science has always looked to discover the fundamental laws of nature thought to have been fixed at the beginning of time, or to be the result of random events thereafter. Now it would appear that the historic mission of physics to explain all the properties of our universe in terms of fundamental principles - to explain why the properties of our universe must necessarily be what they are - is futile. Scientists have looked at how fundamental forces appear to have been fine-tuned to allow for life. Alter the nuclear force just slightly and the balance is lost. Alter any of the four fundamental forces at all and we aren't here to discover them. So there is either someone or some thing that had a design, or there are an infinite number of universes and we happen to inhabit the one that is just so. Great. So you can still have your science over religious faith. But that route is incalculable, unknowable, and not able to be seriously investigated. It requires a good dose of faith. Bad science! Go to your room.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:25 PM   #29 (permalink)
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@dvs - exactly. entertainment.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:30 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Where does this make-believe come from? Are you going to tell me that there was no investigation involved? That makes no sense to me.

Meanwhile science is in the position of requiring make-believe in its own right. Science has always looked to discover the fundamental laws of nature thought to have been fixed at the beginning of time, or to be the result of random events thereafter. Now it would appear that the historic mission of physics to explain all the properties of our universe in terms of fundamental principles - to explain why the properties of our universe must necessarily be what they are - is futile. Scientists have looked at how fundamental forces appear to have been fine-tuned to allow for life. Alter the nuclear force just slightly and the balance is lost. Alter any of the four fundamental forces at all and we aren't here to discover them. So there is either someone or some thing that had a design, or there are an infinite number of universes and we happen to inhabit the one that is just so. Great. So you can still have your science over religious faith. But that route is incalculable, unknowable, and not able to be seriously investigated. It requires a good dose of faith.
no, it requires hypothesis and testing. that is what science is and what faith is not. any investigations of physics that are respected take this approach. some things may take a very, very long time to prove, but that doesn't mean we are relying on faith. we are relying on the slow and thorough process of rational inquiry and scientific method, even if the starting point is a guess. that's very different than making stuff up (or using texts that are mostly translations of stuff that was made up) and coming up with answers based on those texts.

whether or not there is a designer/creator is a spiritual question. claiming that you know who He is is a matter of faith.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:39 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:46 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:51 PM   #33 (permalink)
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no, it requires hypothesis and testing. that is what science is and what faith is not. any investigations of physics that are respected take this approach. some things may take a very, very long time to prove, but that doesn't mean we are relying on faith. we are relying on the slow and thorough process of rational inquiry and scientific method, even if the starting point is a guess. that's very different than making stuff up (or using texts that are mostly translations of stuff that was made up) and coming up with answers based on those texts.

whether or not there is a designer/creator is a spiritual question. claiming that you know who He is is a matter of faith.
There is no longer any means at getting to first principles, nor of investigating the theories that explain things like why the form of energy which makes up three-quarters of all energy has a force that allowed for life to emerge and continue. Dark energy could have fallen within a huge range of values when it was discovered upon noting that the universe's expansion was somehow accelerating. Change the value of it's force by the tiniest sliver and we are not here. Scientists now must accept basic principles as accidental and uncalculable, and so beyond investigating, no matter how long. And they must believe in theories like the multiverse or string hypothesis, without any chance of proving them. To say otherwise is not to understand science at this point in time. Science, like much else, has ultimately become a matter of faith. I do not see that as something that requires it to be sent to its room with its fairy tales however. There are a whole range of ways of trying to come at the truth, and I find value in all of them. Yes, some do look towards guidance based on spiritual questions. Others look to parameters as observed in the physical world. None can claim absolutes. All are of human origin, and looking outwards at an unknowable immensity that we are connected to.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:58 PM   #34 (permalink)
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that's not faith lx. these ideas about the nature of the universe are theroies and accepted as such. they are not truths. and if they are discovered to be wrong, good physicists will just go back to the drawing board.

there is certainly a whole range of ways of trying to find truth. i would argue that making shit up as you go along, or claiming to believe in shit that was made up by others as they went along, is not one of them. you can argue until you are blue in the face that you may discover truth this way, buit quite frankly it is the intellectual equivalent of the monkeys at typewriters principle.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:50 PM   #35 (permalink)
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that's not faith lx. these ideas about the nature of the universe are theroies and accepted as such. they are not truths. and if they are discovered to be wrong, good physicists will just go back to the drawing board.

there is certainly a whole range of ways of trying to find truth. i would argue that making shit up as you go along, or claiming to believe in shit that was made up by others as they went along, is not one of them. you can argue until you are blue in the face that you may discover truth this way, buit quite frankly it is the intellectual equivalent of the monkeys at typewriters principle.
I'm an atheist, so I'm not about to go to war over the idea of faith. I do find it unsettling that faith needs to be oversimplified and denied it's inherent complexity in order to make it so utterly inferior as a means of human development.

And you've missed my point about dark energy and the theories taken on faith. The whole point is that they cannot be discovered to be wrong, or right. They are merely necessary, like Hanuman, to explain something as significant as 3/4 of the energy that exists. Well, maybe not Hanuman, make it the elephant in the room - Ganesh. See even though I'm an atheist, I have experienced religion throughout my life enough to see some value in some of it. Where there are problems with misuses of power on moral grounds, it is often due to those exercising power wanting more power, and not so much with a religious code, which they often do not follow themselves at all.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:01 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Btw - regarding typing monkeys - that's pretty much where the multiverse theory is at. If you have an infinite number of universes, you will get one of them containing Shakespeare and everything required to sustain life. These theories are not that far off from philosophy at all, differing only in that they hope to haul along all of the testable history of science, but essentially cause and effect principles, and governing parameters, have been replaced by a happy monkey accident. Dudes won a Nobel based on that last year.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:41 PM   #37 (permalink)
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first, i am not over-simplifying faith. it is what it is. belief in something that cannot be proven. it is also usually coupled with loyalty and trust, which is even more dangerous.

second, ideas like dark matter are still theories that have to exist within what testable evidence shows. they are not out there by themselves with no relation to the actual universe. they are there to fill gaps, but they will be thrown away or altered if evidence shows otherwise. you can talk around it all you want, but that is the difference between hypothesis and faith. one is testable and open to being proven wrong. the other is absolute and saying it is wrong is seen as defiance.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:35 PM   #38 (permalink)
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I agree that faith is faith, and said as much. Faith is faith is faith. There is much that cannot be proven, or at least very big questions that cannot be answered. The oversimplifying I object to is in regards to what comes of it, and how it is applied. There is a wide spectrum in that respect and you like to hone in on the dogmatic and fundamentalist approaches, which without a doubt are dangerous at bare minimum. There are plenty of faithful that begin from a point of approaching the great mysteries - the unknowable - our origins. This is what lies at the foundation of all religions, not the need to assert absolutes. Where those absolutes are asserted, and freedoms denied, I agree that the problem is great.

As for dark energy - it exists. That's the problem. Not only does it exist, but there is too much of it too ignore. The theories in play are an attempt not to hit a basic limit in our understanding of the universe, and they are posited without any hope of being supported by evidence, unless we are somehow able to know of infinite universes suddenly. This is nothing like Einstein using his imagination to posit something which could eventually be proven. There does in fact appear to be a point where scientific principles and the faith that springs from the heart of the unknown are beginning to intersect. There is much that has been explained between nothingness and the infinite, but nothingness and the infinite still remain elusive.

Anyway, you are suggesting I'm talking around stuff, when here I thought there was a discussion taking place. I have no problem with your need to see things the way you do. I would hope you could do me the favor of not considering me dangerous, but sadly I'm not sure if that's the case, so there's little point in me continuing on with this.
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