1. Standard memberapathist
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    01 Nov '13 00:02
    I'd like to hear from anyone with anything to say about pantheism, whether for, against, or sideways.

    While I'm comfortable, given my society and culture, being labeled an atheist, I do believe there is more going on than just atoms bouncing around (physics cannot explain mind). I find it wonderful that a bunch of cells (especially neuron cells) can give rise to a consciousness. Add in stuff like standing waves, sympathetic vibrations, group or hive minds. Are you not a god to the cells of your body? Who knows how many levels of gods there are?
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    01 Nov '13 00:41
    Originally posted by apathist
    I'd like to hear from anyone with anything to say about pantheism, whether for, against, or sideways.

    While I'm comfortable, given my society and culture, being labeled an atheist, I do believe there is more going on than just atoms bouncing around (physics cannot explain mind). I find it wonderful that a bunch of cells (especially neuron cells) can giv ...[text shortened]... minds. Are you not a god to the cells of your body? Who knows how many levels of gods there are?
    "I find it wonderful that a bunch of cells (especially neuron cells) can give rise to a consciousness."

    There is something that speaks to this at

    themindi.blogspot.com/2007/02/chapter-11-prelude-ant-fugue.html

    An ant hill, Aunt Hillary, exhibits consciousness and communicates via ant trails.

    Picking up midway:

    quote:

    ANTEATER: Silly fellow! That's not the way it happens. Ant colonies don't converse out loud, but in writing. You know how ants form trails leading them hither and thither?

    ACHILLES: Oh, yes-usually straight through the kitchen sink and into my peach jam.

    ANTEATER: Actually, some trails contain information in coded form. If you know the system, you can read what they're saying just like a book.

    ACHILLES: Remarkable. And can you communicate back to them?

    ANTEATER: Without any trouble at all. That's how Aunt Hillary and I have conversations for hours. I take a stick and draw trails in the moist ground, and watch the ants follow my trails. Presently, a new trail starts getting formed somewhere. I greatly enjoy watching trails develop. As they are, forming, I anticipate how they will continue (and more often I am wrong than right). When the trail is -completed, I know what Aunt Hillary is thinking, and I in turn make my reply.

    ACHILLES: There must be some amazingly smart ants in that colony, I'll say that.

    ANTEATER: I think you are still having some difficulty realizing the difference in levels here. Just as you would never confuse an individual tree with a forest, so here you must not take an ant for the colony. You see, all the ants in Aunt Hillary are as dumb as can be. They couldn't converse to save their little thoraxes!

    ACHILLES: Well then, where does the ability to converse come from? It must reside somewhere inside the colony! I don't understand how the ants can all be unintelligent, if Aunt Hillary can entertain you for hours with witty banter.

    TORTOISE: It seems to me that the situation is not unlike the composition of a human brain out of neurons. Certainly no one would insist that individual brain cells have to be intelligent beings on their own, in order to explain the fact that a person can have an intelligent conversation.

    ACHILLES: Oh, no, clearly not. With brain cells, I see your point completely. Only ... ants are a horse of another color. I mean, ants just roam about at will, completely randomly, chancing now and then upon a morsel of food.... They are free to do what they want to do, and with that freedom, I don't see at all how their behavior, seen as a whole, can amount to anything coherent-especially something so coherent as the brain behavior necessary for conversing.

    CRAB: It seems to me that the ants are free only within certain constraints. For example, they are free to wander, to brush against each other, to pick up small items, to work on trails, and so on. But they never step out of that small world, that ant-system, which they are in. It would never occur to them, for they don't have the mentality to imagine anything of the kind. Thus the ants are very reliable components, in the sense that you can depend on them to perform certain kinds of tasks in certain ways.

    ACHILLES: But even so, within those limits they are still free, and they just act at random, running about incoherently without any regard for the thought mechanisms of a higher-level being which Dr. Anteater asserts they are merely components of.

    ANTEATER: Ah, but you fail to recognize one thing, Achilles-the regularity of statistics.

    ACHILLES: How is that?

    ANTEATER: For example, even though ants as individuals wander about in what seems a random way, there are nevertheless overall trends, involving large numbers of ants, which can emerge from that chaos.

    ACHILLES: Oh, I know what you mean. In fact, ant trails are a perfect example of such a phenomenon. There, you have really quite unpredictable motion on the part of any single ant-and yet, the trail itself seems to remain well defined and stable. Certainly that must mean that the individual ants are not just running about totally at random.

    ANTEATER: Exactly, Achilles. There is some degree of communication among the ants, just enough to keep them from wandering off completely at random. By this minimal communication they can remind each other that they are not alone but are cooperating with teammates. It takes a large number of ants, all reinforcing each other this way, to sustain any activity-such as trail building-for any length of time. Now my very hazy understanding of the operation of brains leads me to believe that something similar pertains to the firing of neurons. Isn't it true, Mr. Crab, that it takes a group of neurons firing in order to make another neuron fire?

    unquote
  3. Standard memberKellyJay
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    01 Nov '13 01:31
    Originally posted by apathist
    I'd like to hear from anyone with anything to say about pantheism, whether for, against, or sideways.

    While I'm comfortable, given my society and culture, being labeled an atheist, I do believe there is more going on than just atoms bouncing around (physics cannot explain mind). I find it wonderful that a bunch of cells (especially neuron cells) can giv ...[text shortened]... minds. Are you not a god to the cells of your body? Who knows how many levels of gods there are?
    When you say 'god' what are you saying?
    Kelly
  4. Donationrwingett
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    01 Nov '13 01:342 edits
    Originally posted by apathist
    I'd like to hear from anyone with anything to say about pantheism, whether for, against, or sideways.

    While I'm comfortable, given my society and culture, being labeled an atheist, I do believe there is more going on than just atoms bouncing around (physics cannot explain mind). I find it wonderful that a bunch of cells (especially neuron cells) can giv ...[text shortened]... minds. Are you not a god to the cells of your body? Who knows how many levels of gods there are?
    I also label myself as an atheist, but I likewise have developed an interest in pantheism. I started a thread on the subject nearly a year ago:

    http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?threadid=150026&page=1
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    01 Nov '13 01:461 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I also label myself as an atheist, but I likewise have developed an interest in pantheism. I started a thread on the subject nearly a year ago:

    http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?threadid=150026&page=1
    Sorry I'm a bit lazy but I have only one question: is the pantheistic entity conscious; does it know it exists?
  6. Donationrwingett
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    01 Nov '13 02:041 edit
    Originally posted by JS357
    Sorry I'm a bit lazy but I have only one question: is the pantheistic entity conscious; does it know it exists?
    Some people would say yes. But I would say no. That would be 'naturalistic pantheism'.

    Edit: To quote from Wikipedia:

    Naturalistic pantheism is a form of Pantheism that identifies God or divinity with all concrete things, all finite beings, the substance of the Universe, or Nature. Thus, God is seen as the aggregate of all unified natural phenomena. It is frequently contrasted with idealistic pantheism, in which God and the Universe are identified with the essence of being, mind or consciousness.
  7. Standard memberapathist
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    13 Nov '13 22:17
    Originally posted by JS357themindi.blogspot.com/2007/02/chapter-11-prelude-ant-fugue.html
    ...
    I respect both authors. Not to say I agree or disagree with them, but they are honest thinkers interested in this issue. Read lots of their stuff, and damn wish I had more time to devote.
  8. Standard memberapathist
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    13 Nov '13 22:244 edits
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    When you say 'god' what are you saying?
    Kelly
    Okay, that's fair. Generally, capital "G" means the Abrahamic God, a personal entity which is Creator of the World and what Answers Prayers. (Sometimes. Sorry, decided not to resist.) But I mean a higher power, such as you are a higher power to an arbitrary cell in your knee cartilage (after all you can choose to excise it so you are You to your knee-cells). Hence the lower-case (god), because no-one has accused you of creating reality.
  9. Standard memberapathist
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    13 Nov '13 22:381 edit
    When we say WE REVERE THE EARTH, we mean it with just as much commitment and reverence as believers speaking about their church or mosque, or the relics of their saints. But again we are not talking about supernatural beings. We are saying this:

    We are part of nature. Nature made us and at our death we will be reabsorbed into nature. We are at home in nature and in our bodies. This is where we belong.


    That is from rwingett. Kinda side-steps the question, but I actually asked for it! I just don't know how to make progress on the issue. Flog me! Harder! ... aw shut friking stup ot!
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    14 Nov '13 06:241 edit
    Originally posted by apathist
    [quote]When we say WE REVERE THE EARTH, we mean it with just as much commitment and reverence as believers speaking about their church or mosque, or the relics of their saints. But again we are not talking about supernatural beings. We are saying this:

    We are part of nature. Nature made us and at our death we will be reabsorbed into nature. We are at ho ...[text shortened]... just don't know how to make progress on the issue. Flog me! Harder! ... aw shut friking stup ot!
    So what's the point of being an -ist of the panthe variety?
  11. Cape Town
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    14 Nov '13 07:18
    Originally posted by apathist
    physics cannot explain mind
    Cannot, or has not, or has not sufficiently for you liking? I see no reason why it would be impossible, and I think it has already been explained to a large extent. In fact, I think the advent of computer based minds is not very far off (20 years at a guess).
  12. Donationrwingett
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    14 Nov '13 11:28
    Originally posted by apathist
    [quote]When we say WE REVERE THE EARTH, we mean it with just as much commitment and reverence as believers speaking about their church or mosque, or the relics of their saints. But again we are not talking about supernatural beings. We are saying this:

    We are part of nature. Nature made us and at our death we will be reabsorbed into nature. We are at ho ...[text shortened]... just don't know how to make progress on the issue. Flog me! Harder! ... aw shut friking stup ot!
    What question is being sidestepped? And in what manner is it being sidestepped?
  13. Standard memberapathist
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    30 Nov '13 22:24
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Cannot, or has not, or has not sufficiently for you liking? I see no reason why it would be impossible, and I think it has already been explained to a large extent. In fact, I think the advent of computer based minds is not very far off (20 years at a guess).
    This is a fascinating subject. I too fail to see why physics cannot explain mind - because I assume it must be possible! I disagree that the existence of mind has been explained to any extent by physics. What leads you to conclude that physics has to a "large extent" explained mind?

    Is R2-D2 conscious? Does a thermostat have a mind? There is a giant furking mystery here, and denial goes nowhere.
  14. Standard memberapathist
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    30 Nov '13 22:291 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    What question is being sidestepped? And in what manner is it being sidestepped?
    Hey kid, if we disassemble you, part by part, which part is your mind?
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    01 Dec '13 01:13
    Originally posted by apathist
    This is a fascinating subject. I too fail to see why physics cannot explain mind - because I assume it must be possible! I disagree that the existence of mind has been explained to any extent by physics. What leads you to conclude that physics has to a "large extent" explained mind?

    Is R2-D2 conscious? Does a thermostat have a mind? There is a giant furking mystery here, and denial goes nowhere.
    Why do you think that the study of minds is a problem for physics?

    Physics tells you all about the fundamental particles that make up the mind,
    it explains the chemistry going on... But to explain minds beyond that you
    are looking at biology and computational and informational sciences.

    Minds are unbelievably [astronomically] complex.
    And that's just ants.

    Understanding how they work is really really REALLY hard. Which makes what progress,
    and there has been progress, that has been made so impressive.

    But there is a long way still to go.

    But the fact we haven't got their yet doesn't mean we can't or wont.


    What physics can do however is tell us if there is any special 'magic' going on that makes
    the rules different for 'living' rather than 'dead' matter.

    There isn't.
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