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  1. #1
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    Default "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    First sentence of The Holy Bible!
    Anybody else need a shot of Mescal to wash that lie down?
    Please discuss rationally.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    So a century and a half after Darwin wrote the Origin of Species and the following years of Science (yes I believe the world is not flat) and you would like
    a discussion about what exactly?

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    I think people back when were smarter than we give credit.

    Chi, for example. Or Qi. Probably sounded crazy way back when. It’s hard science, now...

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    I think people back when were smarter than we give credit. Chi, for example. Or Qi. Probably sounded crazy way back when. It’s hard science, now...
    Just as smart as we are, some of them - but VASTLY more ignorant of the physical world.

    But excuse me - did I miss where Chi got included in physics textbooks?
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    I think people back when were smarter than we give credit.
    I tend to think you're right, but they didn't have the same goals as we do now. Science wasn't a discipline of thought where they were living. They searched for meaning in the world around them and, I think, used stories to tell truth. The Old Testament was handed down orally for a long time and the stories had to be memorable. That doesn't mean there isn't fundamental truth within the story. It just isn't the truth that the OP is searching for.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    how do we define "created" in what way.

    An architect can say they created the building, so can the engineering company that oversaw the construction, so can everyone who worked on the project.

    Created can mean a lot of different things

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by rregge View Post
    how do we define "created" in what way.

    An architect can say they created the building, so can the engineering company that oversaw the construction, so can everyone who worked on the project.

    Created can mean a lot of different things
    The Creator inserted Her sonic screwdriver into a Quantum Gravity Field and gave it a turn. Then She wandered off to bake cupcakes.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Note that it doesn't say how.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    Note that it doesn't say how.
    In 6 days? must of been more than mescal I guess...

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    So, there isnít an invisible electrical force that permeates all things?

    Hmmm.

    I could SWEAR physics class said we were all just electrical charges.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    So, there isn’t an invisible electrical force that permeates all things?
    Not dark matter, apparently.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    So, there isn’t an invisible electrical force that permeates all things? Hmmm. I could SWEAR physics class said we were all just electrical charges.
    Four of 'em, actually, not all electrical as such. Did the folks who came up with Qi talk about four forces?
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Four of 'em, actually, not all electrical as such. Did the folks who came up with Qi talk about four forces?
    No. They talked about, and understood, the Grand Unified Field Theory that modern science is still searching for.

    Tom
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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Four of 'em, actually, not all electrical as such. Did the folks who came up with Qi talk about four forces?
    Right.

    Nevermind the folks talking philosophy before Jesus was even a dream understanding that electric energy permeates and connects all things.

    They didn’t say quark.
    Last edited by amish rob; 11-24-2020 at 11:22 AM.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Nevermind the folks talking philosophy before Jesus was even a dream understanding that electric energy permeates and connects all things.
    Sure. Guesses, with a certain resemblance to modern physics after the fact. Good guesses, to give them credit. But Qi doesn't much resemble the forces of physics unless you stand a good long way off and squint.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Sure. Guesses, with a certain resemblance to modern physics after the fact. Good guesses, to give them credit. But Qi doesn't much resemble the forces of physics unless you stand a good long way off and squint.
    Well.

    Guesses.

    You sure are sure about a lot.

    Bye.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Well. Guesses. You sure are sure about a lot.
    Nah. I'm just guessing. But please don't imagine I think the ancient Chinese philosophers were at all stupid; they were as smart as anyone today, and a hell of a lot smarter than most. But they did know much less about the physical world than we do now, even non-genius non-specialists like you and me. How should it be otherwise? Lots of very bright people have been working on these problems for a long time, and testable verifiable empirically-based knowledge is cumulative. I don't have to figure out Newton's laws, or the atomic and molecular structure of matter; that's already been demonstrated. I don't have to come up with the idea of evolution through natural selection, or DNA, or entropy; it's already been done, and I can just read about it. We have the advantage of the work of millions of people over thousands of years. Why should we be surprised that we get a little closer to the truth than folks a long time ago?
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Nah. I'm just guessing. But please don't imagine I think the ancient Chinese philosophers were at all stupid; they were as smart as anyone today, and a hell of a lot smarter than most. But they did know much less about the physical world than we do now, even non-genius non-specialists like you and me. How should it be otherwise? Lots of very bright people have been working on these problems for a long time, and testable verifiable empirically-based knowledge is cumulative. I don't have to figure out Newton's laws, or the atomic and molecular structure of matter; that's already been demonstrated. I don't have to come up with the idea of evolution through natural selection, or DNA, or entropy; it's already been done, and I can just read about it. We have the advantage of the work of millions of people over thousands of years. Why should we be surprised that we get a little closer to the truth than folks a long time ago?
    If quantum mechanics tells us anything at all, it tells us that there IS no "physical world" at all; merely wave functions and probabilities.

    When we look down now, there aren't even any turtles!

    Perhaps the ancient Chinese philosophers had a better understanding of reality that we, who cling to the notion of a "physical world," have, even now, with all our science.

    Tom
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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    If quantum mechanics tells us anything at all, it tells us that there IS no "physical world" at all; merely wave functions and probabilities.

    When we look down now, there aren't even any turtles!

    Perhaps the ancient Chinese philosophers had a better understanding of reality that we, who cling to the notion of a "physical world," have, even now, with all our science.

    Tom
    Nope.

    They didnít say quark.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    So, there isnít an invisible electrical force that permeates all things?

    Hmmm.

    I could SWEAR physics class said we were all just electrical charges.
    And neutrons, don't forget the neutrons.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    And neutrons, don't forget the neutrons.
    Yes, yes. Weíve been over this.

    They were dumb people who guessed wrong.

    Zzzzzzzz.

    Bye, bye.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    I have a rule that I try to live by. I don't read cookbooks to learn about geology. I don't read quantum mechanics textbooks to learn about reproduction of birds. And I don't read the Bible looking for science.

    That doesn't mean I can't learn a great deal from cookbooks, or quantum mechanics textbooks, or the Bible. I just read them each for what truth they have to offer.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    I have a rule that I try to live by. I don't read cookbooks to learn about geology. I don't read quantum mechanics textbooks to learn about reproduction of birds. And I don't read the Bible looking for science.

    That doesn't mean I can't learn a great deal from cookbooks, or quantum mechanics textbooks, or the Bible. I just read them each for what truth they have to offer.
    Not bad at all, but after 12 years of catholic school ,personally, I'll pass on that last book.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    I think the origins of that sentence are considerably older than the book Glen, and I'm sure I'm not the first to extrapolate it as the bible's 'big bang'.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    first two sentences of the tao, a much older and perhaps wiser spiritual text than genesis. . .

    Tao, the subtle reality of the universe cannot be described in words.
    That which can be described in words is merely a conception of the mind.
    Last edited by Paul Pless; 11-24-2020 at 04:17 AM.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    first two sentences of the tao, a much older and perhaps wiser spiritual text than genesis. . .

    Tao, the subtle reality of the universe cannot be described in words.
    That which can be described in words is merely a conception of the mind.

    This is The Way.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Thank you Paul, tonights reading.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    The key lesson of that chapter of the Bible is: ignorance is strength, knowledge is evil, learning will be punished.

    Note that the "knowledge" we are not allowed to have is moral knowledge. Don't worry your pretty little head about what's good and what's evil, just do what the Lord orders without questioning it.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    The key lesson of that chapter of the Bible is: ignorance is strength, knowledge is evil, learning will be punished.

    Note that the "knowledge" we are not allowed to have is moral knowledge. Don't worry your pretty little head about what's good and what's evil, just do what the Lord orders without questioning it.
    No George. The key lesson of that chapter of the Bible is: Chaos preceded the formation of the world we experience - the world of matter, land separated from water, sky separated from earth. Living things and dead ones, rather than merely dead stuff. Moreover, we experience that version of "Order" we live within as "very good" compared with the preceding Chaos - so we'd do well to appreciate it, and tend it. The Genesis story conceives of humans as gardeners, stewards of the place.

    Moreover, knowledge about one's charges isn't a bad thing at all for a gardener. And in general, for a species which across all cultures has considered itself unique in that it is self-aware, it's a good thing to learn stuff. Keeps us happy, and occupied. The Genesis story calls that characteristic of ours "very good" too.

    But even self-aware species are only species, after all. No matter how many grand things we learn, or how innovative our thinking, we still actually function within the bounds of reality - within the bounds of how the universe is actually Ordered. How biology works, how physics work, how chemistry works, etc. And we can't simply make up different rules of physics, biology or chemistry to suit ourselves (like throwing the carbon cycle way out of whack, for instance. Or killing off swatches of species within an ecosystem); a species within an ecosystem doesn't have that power. If we try to do that, chaos will start to re-assert itself in one way or another, de-creating stuff.

    I'd think, George, that your experience as an environmental advocate rather bears that last bit out.

    The point of the various stories contained in the Bible is rarely if ever (in fact, I can't think of a single place) to give scientific factual knowledge, but instead to suggest that we humans aren't actually Gods in charge of the place. And we all tend to get on better within the world when we acknowledge that.
    Last edited by TomF; 11-24-2020 at 09:15 AM.
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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    things go far better if they cooperate with the way the universe is "ordered,"
    Sure, but in reality, the Bible tells people to cooperate with the way authorities say the universe is ordered.

    I see the message coming through very strong: the "Lord" (convenient double-entendre) is the sole authority, and he ordered people to not figure out good and evil for themselves but just obey him blindly. They disobeyed, and got the ultimate collective punishment, applying to all their descendants forever.

    Later we get 10 commandments, most of which are concerned with establishing the "Lord's" total authority, and of parents as his proxies - a bit of Confucianism, anyone?

    Yes, we humans aren't godlike creatures in charge of the place - on the contrary, we seem to be no better at it than pond scum. But what we need is the humility to see ourselves as equal with the rest of the nature, and not as having the right to submit it all to our will as long as we ourselves submit to the "Lord" - which is what the Old Testament teaches.

    I like the New Testament a lot better, except for Paul.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    The key lesson of that chapter of the Bible is: ignorance is strength, knowledge is evil, learning will be punished.

    Note that the "knowledge" we are not allowed to have is moral knowledge. Don't worry your pretty little head about what's good and what's evil, just do what the Lord orders without questioning it.
    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    No George. The key lesson of that chapter of the Bible is: Chaos preceded the formation of the world we experience - the world of matter, land separated from water, sky separated from earth. Living things and dead ones, rather than merely dead stuff. Moreover, we experience that version of "Order" we live within as "very good" compared with the preceding Chaos - so we'd do well to appreciate it, and tend it. The Genesis story conceives of humans as gardeners, stewards of the place.
    Tom,

    your answer to George seems to dodge his point about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and how humanity was forbidden to eat from it. This is a perfectly clear demonstration that moral knowledge is for God, and blind obedience is for humans. The serpent actually tells them the truth, that by eating the fruit they will become "like God, knowing Good and Evil."

    I'm reminded of Philip Pullman's marvelous series His Dark Materials (aka The Golden Compass). This series never got the attention it deserves--basically it follows Milton's lead to upset the traditional narrative of Satan as the bad guy, and of "lost innocence" being a disaster for humanity, pointing out that it is only BECAUSE of the loss of innocence that humans become self-aware beings with moral knowledge and real agency. In other words, the Church is the villain in Pullman's work (as it is, arguably, in reality), and it is by moving beyond the innocence of childhood (with all the sacrifices that transition entails) that humanity becomes rational and moral.

    Blind obedience--the traditional Biblical view--is not morality. It is, in fact, entirely amoral. That is the point George was making. I'd love to hear your thoughts about that, and about Pullman if you've read his books. I always thought that Christians spent all their time attacking Harry Potter when the books that REALLY posed an existential threat (Pullman's) were entirely ignored.

    Tom
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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    your answer to George seems to dodge his point about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and how humanity was forbidden to eat from it. This is a perfectly clear demonstration that moral knowledge is for God, and blind obedience is for humans. The serpent actually tells them the truth, that by eating the fruit they will become "like God, knowing Good and Evil."
    I think it's an early attempt to explain why there is evil in the world. How many times have you heard someone say, "If there is a God, why does he allow...?" Yes, the serpent was right and now we live with the consequences. To what degree it is true vs God's design is above my pay grade.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Tom,

    your answer to George seems to dodge his point about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and how humanity was forbidden to eat from it. This is a perfectly clear demonstration that moral knowledge is for God, and blind obedience is for humans. The serpent actually tells them the truth, that by eating the fruit they will become "like God, knowing Good and Evil."

    I'm reminded of Philip Pullman's marvelous series His Dark Materials (aka The Golden Compass). This series never got the attention it deserves--basically it follows Milton's lead to upset the traditional narrative of Satan as the bad guy, and of "lost innocence" being a disaster for humanity, pointing out that it is only BECAUSE of the loss of innocence that humans become self-aware beings with moral knowledge and real agency. In other words, the Church is the villain in Pullman's work (as it is, arguably, in reality), and it is by moving beyond the innocence of childhood (with all the sacrifices that transition entails) that humanity becomes rational and moral.

    Blind obedience--the traditional Biblical view--is not morality. It is, in fact, entirely amoral. That is the point George was making. I'd love to hear your thoughts about that, and about Pullman if you've read his books. I always thought that Christians spent all their time attacking Harry Potter when the books that REALLY posed an existential threat (Pullman's) were entirely ignored.

    Tom
    I've read Pullman's stuff - were big in my kids' circle of friends. Neatly imagined world, if a wee bit .. polemical. The daemon thing was an interesting fantasy-working-out of what a soul could be, what our attachment to our pets feels like, and the deep yearning in most humans, it seems, for an unbreakable relationship with an "other" who knows us and who we know more deeply than words.

    Yeah, Pullman sees The Church as the villains - sees formal religion as hateful and oppressive, and fundamentally juxtaposed against the naÔve spirituality of the human/daemon bond. Something which Pullman somehow doesn't notice is itself ... uhm ... religious. I found that an interesting unconscious subversion of Pullman's polemical premise.

    ***************

    The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (morality), the Snake, the human directive to simply obey ... the claim by the snake that through eating the fruit, humans would become like God, knowing Good and Evil...

    First, can we agree that this is a story, not an account of an historical event? That whatever truth it was intended to help folks understand was not, actually, about trees and snakes and falling and being expelled from gardens? Great.

    This story is still about understanding humans as simply a species among species. Limited. Finite. We are a few hundred steps beyond salamanders and gerbils in our capacity to know, to choose, to make distinctions - to affect the world by our conscious actions ... but we are still fairly primitive at this. Much more than is comfortable to acknowledge.

    The story is about obedience to reality (which in Judeo-Christian thought is rather the same thing as obedience to God, who is the source of reality). So perhaps substitute the notion "Reality" rather than "God" as you read the story.

    Reality says to humans: "Look at this great ecosystem you live in! You humans can do and eat and cultivate pretty much all this stuff - it's awesome. And it's beyond obvious that none of the other species around you have really anything like your conscious capacity to modify the world to suit their needs - you're far beyond them."

    But Reality also says: "Uhm, one thing though - that consciousness thing. It can make you think you've got capacities that you haven't. You're fairly little beings, after all, which don't live terribly long. And there's piles of stuff not only that you don't know, but that even in principle haven't got the chops to know or deal with safely. But it won't feel like that. So beware of what in a couple thousand years the Greeks will call 'hubris', and don't get out ahead of your skis. Now go have fun."

    And the snake (why is it a snake?) is that bit of our own brain disregarding that little warning about our own finite nature, and saying "Heh - hold my beer!"

    The knowledge of Good and Evil is, cosmologically in Genesis, the knowledge of "Bringing Order" and "Enabling Chaos." It's the fruit that humans are supposed to leave alone ... because it really is beyond us by ourselves to Bring Order, though we can certainly Enable Chaos. And we tend to Enable Chaos by doing behaviour which exhibits hubris - which inserts flawed and limited human judgment and discernment - typically to create human-centric benefits - into how we approach stuff.

    What the story of The Fall is saying is "Reality exists - and is external to what humans sometimes wish it was. Cooperate with it anyway, even if you think you know better - because there are unintended consequences that you don't have the chops to anticipate."
    Last edited by TomF; 11-24-2020 at 11:51 AM.
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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Yeah.

    Tequila.

    Because, there was nothing but savages over here in America when civilization started.

    Hahahahahaha.

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    Default Re: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Yeah.

    Tequila.

    Because, there was nothing but savages over here in America when civilization started.

    Hahahahahaha.
    Well, some versions of the tale have her drinking Ouzo, but no self-respecting God I'm aware of would be caught dead wearing one of those ridiculous hats!

    Rattling the teacups.

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