Michael Stuart Kelly Posted December 5, 2022 Share Posted December 5, 2022 God or No God or Something Else? The following 8 posts got peeled off from a discussion I was having with Stephen Boydstun in a thread in his corner called Some of my Philosophy Writings. The discussion went way beyond his own writings and into a specific topic about God and religion. It's a good discussion, too. Enjoy. Michael ============================== Stephen, I actually understood what you wrote. I have a comment about this idea, though. On 12/4/2022 at 7:55 PM, Guyau said: Rand writes: “‘Things as they are’ are things as perceived by your mind” (AS 1036). She means in context not only things as perceived by your mind so far, but as perceivable by your mind at any stage, and she means not only your mind, but any sound human mind. My problem is how do we know what is in "any sound human mind"? There is only one way to know it, from observing sound humans in their speech and actions. There is no way to get into their brains and observe. Fortunately, modern brain science is coming up with ways to record, contrast and compare the brain working, but essentially we depend on others to tell us what they observe and see if it aligns with what we observe. And, that being the case, I personally am loathe to exclude certain things from existence and call it fact. I don't call this unknown God in this context. It's the phrase I learned in 12 step meetings: "Higher Power, however you conceive of it." The logic in my mind goes like this. If I restrict all knowledge as being rooted in things I can observe, what happens if something exists that humans can't observe? Or observe yet? How can we validly make judgments and absolute statements about the nature of that? We can't. We can talk around it, but we can't with certainty. Evolution takes a long, long time. Some people believe the human being is the pinnacle of evolution for detecting all the elements in the universe. Well, I agree that humans detect a hell of a lot of them, and humans build instruments to extend their capacity to observe more. But just like swarms form--seemingly out of nowhere--in a species of birds, they are detecting something in reality that humans do not. They are communicating in a way that humans do not. Is it possible for humans to eventually evolve some sort of sensory capacity to detect what the birds know? Or instruments to bring their perception of reality within human perception? Maybe. But I think it is just as plausible that humans will evolve further organs to detect parts of reality not available right now. I think the similar experiences reported by people in different places, times, and without the ability to know what others observed about, say, near death experience--for one example--means something. The traditional dismissal of this is that parts of the brain are not acting as they normally do when a person is near death, it's a bug in the circuits so to speak that deludes the person. But it it? Or do they detect something that exists that is only available to their perception when near death? For the life of me, I cannot speak with certainty about things I don't know and cannot know. I can say with certainty I don't or can't perceive something with the equipment I have, but I cannot say it doesn't exist if I don't or can't perceive it. So when I see all of that similarity between reports of NDE, I believe I have to keep an open mind to several possibilities to explain it until I can know for sure it is not this or not that for reasons that take that thing (death) into account according to its own nature, and not just according to how "any sound human mind" perceives it. So I ask myself, what would a developing organ look like in evolution? When wings evolved, was it like an on-off switch where one moment a species had no wings and the next moment all the individuals had wings? Or is it more likely that a transition period happened where partial wings were present in some individuals (with all sorts of gradations) whereas they were not present in others, and that the partial wings worked imperfectly, when they worked at all, by today's standard? If I were an animal evolving back then and I could talk, how sensible would it sound to say that animals can't fly. Period. Why? Because flying doesn't exist. Or even say flying for all birds exists as if that were a fact? The following is anecdotal, but this is where my own standards on these matters start. When I finally decided to give up drugs, I looked at a source of my anxiety back then and concluded this certainty issue was at root. At least for a huge chunk. So I thought it through and I concluded that the universe was way larger and way smaller than I could observe, and that there was a hell of a lot of time--before and after my life span--I had no access to for observing. So I concluded that I can be certain of some things, and I will likely never know for certain other things, not just because I don't know them, but because I--possibly--can't know them with the equipment I have. I am an individual in a species that is evolving. After I concluded that, peace of mind came. I mean, I still had to go through hell to get out of addiction , but I no longer blamed myself for lacking certainty when I didn't know something about existence. My default condition for perception and knowledge is limited--at least for the present--to the normal limitations of any sound human being. Is there something more? Some people say no. Period. Some people say yes. Period. I say, "Damned if I know. I hope so." And that's good enough for me because it has to be. I don't see how it can be any different with what I have and am. Michael 1 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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