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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

O.C.A. Volume 1

The First Volume of O.C.A. today:

Amazing Organism of the Day
Argentavis magnificens or the Giant Flying Bird
With a 21 foot wing span and a body mass four times the largest bird today this 6 million years ago organism was capable of flying over 100 miles an hour while also having the ability to pick up human sized pray. I guess the global legends of man eating birds is possible

What "god" Allowed to happen Today:
Police removed two more bodies on top of the six already found in Cleveland rapist Anthony Sowells yard today. Where is god's wisdom in this one by the way?

Organization of the Day
Freedom From Religion Foundation
This is one of the most important support organizations for Atheist/Agnostic/Freethinking/Separation of Church and State in the United States. They have a weekly radio show on Air America and have a plethera of many resources and news articles pertaining to the state of Freethinking in the world.

Atheist Quote of the Day
"Man is a Religious Animal. Man is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion -- several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven.... The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste." ----Mark Twain

This is the first O.C.A. Volume and look for improvements and more features to come.

Evolve Beyond Belief


  1. Kale, I must say that I got so excited about responding to your new and unusually arrogant blog postings that I could barely concentrate during my classes and ended up giving them a game to play in order to write you now. Please don't read this as an attack onthe natural sciences, the target is scientism, the notion that the natural sciences offer the only genuine form of understanding, and ought to be the sole ground of any other. I am attacking the unjustified absolutization of the theoretical and I will try my best to be as clear and concise as possible, but I won't make any promises.

    It seems the real project of your blog is 'truth' which you claim comes from the thinking intellect. As a scientist you valorise theoretical understanding as the only trye mode of understanding. This theoretical attitude, contemplating the world, tries to posit it teutrally, as just there, something simply present at hand whose elements can be measured and their precise laws of interaction determined, but I would like to suggest, such a notion of objectivity is aleady an interpretation: it abstracts only certain aspects from the world we inhabit and then posits them as more truly real than the others. I would like to explain sciences unacknowledged dependence one the kind og pre-reflective holistic understanding it purports to explain.

    Let me take you back to 2500 years tot he inceptino of Western philosophical questioning, ancient Athens. Here is where 'We' began driving towards a knowledge that would be a timeless unconditional truth about the universe and human life, knowldge based not on dogma, religious or otherwise, but on what is attested to human reason alone. Such a stance on 'being' determines what the world must be taken in order for it to correspond to such an ideal of theoretical knowledge, a knowledge disengaged from its objects and positing it neutrally, from the outside as it were, construed as universally true. These basic, now seen as obvious, concepts established in Ancient Greece i.e. all things are held to be intelligible if analyzed in terms of notions of basic designs and their copies (Platonism), or in terms of constitutive forms and the material they shape (Aristotelianism) have set up habits of thought from which the West has never emerged. Basically trying to make a distinction between the inconstancy of things as given to the senses and what is taken to be their underlying essence, or masterplan. This view tries to establish a secure view of the bases of reality which are taken as permanent; a knowledge whose ideal is that of the perspective from a supposedly timeless realm so you can claim 'knowledge' and have 'domination' over it.

    You can tell me using reason the make up OF a flower insofar as it the onject of our cognition; not FOR the flower as it simply stands in itself and is simply a flower. At some point the giving of explanations comes to an end, and confronts something without reason i.e 'Why is there something rather than nothing?' From this perspective, after all the botanical facts and conditions have been adduced, the rose has no 'reason': it blooms because it blooms...

    Well crud I have to catch my ride home, I have been without a computer for a week now, and it's been incredible! I will follow up on this thought after your response; I probably didn't make myself that clear. We have time!


    Brett Ortgiesen

  2. Brett I'm glad you are so enthusiastic about responding. I don't have time to fully digest all the big words you used, I need to look some of them up I guess. Some points of your argument seem pretty shaky though.

    I understand the why is there something rather than nothing question. I just don't really think that you can use the flower as an example. The flower came to be, acts and is used for very exacting purposes, purposes that we can trace to the dawn of life, so unless you lump a flower and a walrus and a mushroom into the same boat of why is there anything then you can't use it singularly. And unfortunately, a rose does have a reason to bloom a very very good reason to bloom.

    I'm still fuzzy on the history lesson above that part. I know, or at least I feel like you've said there's no "hope" in science. I guess what I'm asking is for you to also address how humans have an innate need to believe in things that aren't actually so (as well as reason like you pointed out). I understand you feel that "theoretical" is just imposed by our brains but at least its based on things we see where as "belief" is based on things people can not actually see but create with their minds and imagination and faith.

    Also, at least theory isn't absolute, it is constantly being re-examined and modified, this is scientific investigation. So how can scientism and theory ever be absolute if it is never the same but constantly changing over time?

    You said you didn't feel like you were clear and I don't feel like I clearly understand you so maybe we should hash this out further, think about our points and try it from a same entry point.

    Also the point of this blog is not the search for "truth" only. It is pointing out the things in life that definitely aren't so as well as raising people's consciousness to what is actually happening around them. Yikes that sounds just like truth. Let me put it to you another way. If everyone keeps on with this magical religious thinking we are doomed. While things might not be "true" in your philosophical sense I'm pretty sure that if people keep revolving their rational of reality around a magical skygod that dictates all we are never going to get anywhere new.

    I anxiously await furthering of this discussion as I have to go.

  3. Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived. - Oscar Wilde

    I need to add that biologically we are all born instictive dualists (soul and body separate) but intellectually and realistically I am a monist, soul and body are the same thing, part of the biological expression or phenotype of a genepool of cooperating alleles and loci along our genetic code, a replicating code that we simply exist in and contemplate as a vessel. This doesn't mean I don't enjoy stories of dualism though as I still retain this instinct.

    In a sense I understand hopefully that you what you are saying is that things are so because we assign meaning. That doesn't mean that they don't operate under the laws of physics and natural selection. Science and reason seeks to understand this interaction where as religion follows the childs instinctual adaptation to assign meaning to things that aren't actually so, things that they can't understand.

    I don't know if that helps the conversation any.

  4. Ok Lets get started. First I used the ‘Flower’ as an example of any material object, it could have been a Walrus or a Mushroom for that matter, of which we dissect its parts and attribute names in order to have some knowledge of the whole but what I was try to say is there reaches a point when the ‘Why’ cannot be answered and the ‘Flower’ is without reason. I can go into this further but then we get a little more philosophical.

    I would also like to bring to your attention that the dualist notion has a distinctive history in out culture which can be dated back to the ancient Greeks, starting with Plato and Aristotle who I mentioned earlier, and it is this exact idea of duality, the intelligible and the sensible, that has determined our own epoch nearly 2500 years ago culminating in techno-science and the ever reaching desire for perfection and mastery over nature. You feel you have mastered nature because you know the scientific names of things that science has given names to and can measure results and experiments to such a degree that you can predict at a level of certainty a given outcome but please explain cause and effect for me in terms of ‘why’ and not ‘how’.

    Basically the history ‘lesson’ was just showing how science was able to emerge through the creating of such a duality in order for us to believe we have a more essential knowledge of the make up of things. Science is important for an understanding that is mostly used for producing something, hailing back to the ‘productionist metaphysics’ begun by those two philosophers I mentioned above. Basically science and all forms of knowledge epistemically in our culture have some self-created foundation that for us started in Ancient Greece which we are still basically living on. Your faith is in science regardless if you can show that something will happen 1 million times over and over it is still a belief in cause and effect, which you yet deny. Crap still so much more but I have my ride yet again….Tomorrow? Also that picture of Richard Dawkins, why is he looking up as if into the heavens, doesn’t that seem a bit confusing? Shouldn’t he be looking into a mirror instead? After all it’s the intellect that you scientist value over everything else isn’t it?