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Discussion Forum

Monkeys

Started by Richard. Last reply by Rick Shelton Apr 7. 3 Replies

Time: Is there really such a thing?

Started by StaggerLee. Last reply by Richard Mar 28. 24 Replies

A New State of Matter?

Started by Pale Horse. Last reply by Rick Shelton Feb 26. 2 Replies

Common Core

Started by Brown Fox. Last reply by Brown Fox Jan 21. 2 Replies

Science for Children

Started by Mike S.. Last reply by Liam S. Nov 25, 2012. 23 Replies

Swedish Academy awards Cosmology

Started by Iosephus Lvcs Gonzalez. Last reply by Iosephus Lvcs Gonzalez Oct 16, 2011. 2 Replies

Coronal Mass Ejection and Earthquakes

Started by Dave Santuomo. Last reply by Dave Santuomo Mar 24, 2011. 27 Replies

What's your field

Started by Alex. Last reply by Clint Connolly Feb 5, 2011. 25 Replies

TEDTalks : The amazing intelligence of crows - Joshua Klein

Started by Paul Lavin. Last reply by Pariah du jour Jan 10, 2011. 1 Reply

Would you go?

Started by Ian Wilson. Last reply by Daniel Gaston Oct 20, 2010. 1 Reply

Fusion based economy within our lifetime?

Started by Matthew Thomas Lea. Last reply by Rick Shelton Jun 3, 2010. 3 Replies

Turns out our ancestors really did get it on with Neanderthals

Started by Daniel Gaston. Last reply by Pariah du jour May 6, 2010. 1 Reply

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Comment by Liam S. on March 28, 2014 at 10:06pm

Love Feynman. I have said, Mystery, awe, wonder, etc. Great. With you on that.

I have issues with Harris (I am familiar with him, I disagree with him on quite a few things). Sagan is great, though I still don't understand what spirituality means in this context. 

Thanks for the nat-geo link. Interesting stuff. 

Comment by Richard on March 28, 2014 at 6:31pm

“But I still don't know that that sense of wonder and awe, translates to anything that anyone would recognize as spirituality. That's an empty word at best, especially once divorced from supernatural or metaphysical constructs. “

 

 Hey Liam,

Interestingly, I just finished reading Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.  Here’s a quote from the book: “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”

 

I’m also an ardent fan of Sam Harris (if you’re not familiar with the man I suspect you’ll enjoy his writing and especially his debates.)  Here’s an article he posted on his website titled “In Defense of Spiritual”.  Although he’s an atheist, he’s currently writing a book on spirituality: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/a-plea-for-spirituality

 

 You might also get a kick out of some of his debates: http://www.samharris.org/debates

 

While this Feynman video titled “The Inconceivable Nature of Nature doesn’t get directly into the spiritual issue it’s a great example of the mystery and awe that Science can inspire. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU8PId_6xec

“Daniel - yes, I should have clarified sub-species. But it was a more branch off - dead-end, from what I understand. We share a common ancestor, but are not directly from their line.” 

 

It appears that Neanderthals weren’t a dead-end after all.  I think that’s what Daniel was alluding to: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140129-neanderthal-...

 

 Lastly, my wife hates the term and says I’m wrong-headed when I use it.  So, in pursuit of marital accord I concede you are right-- There!  At any rate, I’m not looking to get into a debate on semantics.  I was simply trying to express (perhaps less than clearly) my great and ever increasing awe at this strange and mysterious universe we live in.

Comment by Kevin on March 28, 2014 at 5:07pm

"I propose that individually, the odds of that are so great as to be impossible."

It is a mistake to determine the odds of an event happening post hoc, and from that making any kind of statement about how extremely unlikely it is that the event occurred a priori.  There are 8*1067 different ways to arrange a deck of 52 cards.  That is a truly GIGANTIC number!  In contrast, the universe has only existed for about .  If you started shuffling cards, once per second, from the moment of the big bang to the present, you would still need to shuffle cards for billions and billions of years for every possible arrangement to come up.  The odds against any one particular ordering of cards occurring is so incredibly small that one might claim it to be virtually impossible.  And yet, ever single time you shuffle a deck of cards, the cards end up in an order that had only a 1 in 8*1067 chance of occurring.  When you're dealing with really big numbers and places as big and as old as the universe "Everything not forbidden is compulsory."   

Comment by Liam S. on March 28, 2014 at 4:19pm

Yes, I have a sense of wonder/awe at the immensity, etc. The probability of me isn't the question - it's the development of conscious (self-aware) life, which I think is not as rare. 

But I still don't know that that sense of wonder and awe, translates to anything that anyone would recognize as spirituality. That's an empty word at best, especially once divorced from supernatural or metaphysical constructs. 

Daniel - yes, I should have clarified sub-species. But it was a more branch off - dead-end, from what I understand. We share a common ancestor, but are not directly from their line. 

Comment by Richard on March 27, 2014 at 5:43pm

But don’t you find wonder in the very idea that in the vastness of the universe and of the uncountable life forms that have lived on this planet, you and I are able to discuss such issues?  What is the probability of You?  Under any evaluation, it must be an incredibly rare thing

Comment by Daniel Rodriguez on March 27, 2014 at 5:32pm

The Neanderthals were integrated with all Non-African stock, eg, see my forehead. They weren't a different species, they were a subspecies, but so were Homo Sapiens Idatu which most likely was integrated into the East-Northeast Africans stock just like the Nearanderthal was taken into the other aspects of Humanity. 

Comment by Liam S. on March 27, 2014 at 5:28pm

I should clarify - any large scale, natural process driven, thing (e.g. evolution leading to a conscious life form). 

To say that the conditions, and the amount of time required could never happen elsewhere... we don't even know that it hasn't happened here before (the neanderthal are a different species that we are not in direct line of descent from - how far back does "consciousness" happen?  

Given the immense size of the universe (and the possibility that it is one of an infinite number of other universes, etc.) - I am not comfortable saying that conscious life is unique. Not even on this planet. 

Comment by Liam S. on March 27, 2014 at 5:22pm

I guess, my problem is that the word "spiritual" doesn't really mean much. 

Comment by Richard on March 27, 2014 at 5:21pm

The scale of the universe makes the idea that anything which could happen even just once (that we know of), being totally unique, absurd. 

 

But aren't you unique?

Comment by Richard on March 27, 2014 at 5:18pm

Liam,

The idea that I’m alive and can comprehend even a small part of the universe edges on the spiritual to me.  I’m not religious but I am in awe of the impossible odds that we defy in just being here.  Your take?

 

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