Monthly Archives: April 2011

Stuart Hameroff on consciousness

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Hameroff writes: Why is our universe capable of stars, life and consciousness, all dependent on precise values for a large set of fundamental constants and forces? The odds against us are… astronomical. Yet here we are. Conventional science, for example Hawking and Mlodinow in their book Grand Design, claim a near-infinite multitude of parallel universes, this particular one being just right. We won the cosmic lottery! But there is no evidence nor even possible testing for this claim. An alternative view, consistent with wisdom traditions, is intelligence or consciousness embedded in the fine structure of reality from the Big Bang, perhaps from a previous incarnation of the universe as suggested by Roger Penrose in his recent book Cycles of Time (for which evidence does exist).

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Who is watching the simulation?

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Opinion reads: I find myself in the end with a theory that does not fit neatly into anyone’s political bunker. It is decidedly materialistic and atheistic. Yet according to the theory, spirits exist — deities, ghosts, souls, the consciousness of other people, one’s own consciousness — as rich perceptual simulations run on the hardware of the brain. That perceptual world has psychological reality and genuine importance to human existence.

Is it survival of the fittest, or is it cooperation?

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Article reads: “Survival of the fittest” is perhaps the most regrettable and misunderstood phrase in all of science. Absent from Darwin’s work until the fifth edition of “On the Origin of Species,” the phrase has plagued Darwinism for more than a century and has been misused to justify social and economic hierarchy, unequal distribution of resources, imperialist conquest and now the suicide of our species.

The problem is that natural selection does not make a distinction between competition and cooperation, and so natural selection says nothing about what drives evolution. Natural selection is thought to be a blind watchmaker, in fact.

Christians with arguments for atheists

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http://www.goddiscussion.com/60477/christian-apologetics-has-become-fun-again/

Argument #10: Atheists should not argue that human beings are robots, puppets, and machines programmed by natural selection in a closed system of cause and effect, and then argue for free thought and moral agency.

They don’t care about Darwin

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http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6079694

Article reads: One in 20 first-year biology students at Glasgow University don’t believe in the theory of evolution, according to new research.

Selling enlightenment

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Article reads: The popular ‘New Age’ movement of this era is a vast network of individuals, groups, organizations, cults, foundations, etc. who expound and preach a watered-down patchwork of borrowed spiritual beliefs and rituals which present a dazzling array of luring theories and practices, yet somehow fail to capture the depth and intended essence of the esoteric truths that were originally laid down by the ancient civilizations and wisdom traditions of antiquity.

Spiritual evolution

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Andrew Cohen says: When spirit overwhelms us, when we experience higher states of consciousness, previously unseen worlds open up to us. On the wings of spiritual ecstasy, deeper and higher human capacities for penetrating insight, profound cognition, blissful intimacy and all-encompassing love reveal themselves in all their glory.

Atheist chaplains

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Opinion reads: The report in the New York Times that atheists are looking for official recognition as chaplains in the US military in order to cater to the needs of non-believing servicemen is interesting.

Education website on alternative medicine

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Article reads: The National Institutes for Health (NIH) announced the launching of a new website designed to be a definitive resource for medical professionals to learn about complementary and alternative medicine in a press release on April 26, 2011. Developed by the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health, the website is meant to provide physicians and practitioners with the necessary information to intelligently discuss the effectiveness and safety of alternative practices and medicines with their patients.

Article picks up on Trinitarian philosophy

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Article reads: These two ideas – sacrifice (as self betterment) and empathy – are humanity’s two drivers, competition and co-operation. I reckon we have them in roughly equal parts, and their blending has been our species’ secret of success. Jesus’s genius was to merge the two in a single act, reversing the traditional sacrifice of other for the self, to give sacrifice of self for other.

The middle-term holds the polarity together, and provides the wellspring of vitalism. Remarkable!