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The Gap Between Our Ears

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posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 10:19 PM
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The Gap Between Our Ears


Over the course of human history and until the very recent past there has been a disparity, between knowledge and hypothesis (in just about every topic of enquiry) where our imaginations have had ample room to fill said void with gods and demons all controlling, unseen, the things of this world that we did not understand. The era known as “The Renaissance” brought us new or long lost insights into many a basic discipline, from medicine to astronomy, to music and literature. But there was still a long way to go. Then we arrived at “The Enlightenment” “The Age of Reason” and the “Industrial Revolution” all of which were instrumental in one way or another in closing that gap and evicting the imaginary ghouls that resided there. We understand now, that there is a very real, very natural process at work in the oceans, in the skies, in the motor-functions of the lifeforms that populate this plant, in the sun. We know that these things can be explained by means of real-world phenomena without an appeal to the supernatural and an increasing number of us are being convinced that, not only can their current status be explained naturally, but so also can their very origins. The “God of the Gap” has had an increasingly smaller space to occupy.

No one has felt the pinch of this steady implosion more than those who try to defend the existence of this Gap God by pointing to those questions that are still unanswered. Gone are the days, when this group could point to the rains and draughts as evidence of their god's pleasure or wrath. Gone are the days, when they could point to the nightly dance of the heavenly bodies or the life and death rivalry of the sun and moon. Gone are the days that they could point to monsoon and earthquake as signs of their god's judgement. Well, gone are the days that they could point to those things and have an audience actually give them the time of day. We all know that the planet still seems to be brimming with nut-jobs that continue to attempt to point to heart-breaking tragedies like Katrina, 911, last years hurricane, Sandyhook as evidence of their god's anger with mankind. Thankfully, very few people give them heed and if the media were to just stop giving them air-time they just might go away.

But there are a group of people, usually Christians who have found what is, in my opinion, the last gap in our knowledge and are effectively employing our ignorance of it against us as a proof that their god must exist. These Christians are usually presuppositionalist or transcendentalists and generally Protestant (of one flavour or another). But the thing that they have in common is their attempt to place the evidence for their god squarely in the gap between our ears.

I am currently engaged in conversation with two of these types. Both presuppositionalists, both Baptist and both appealing the the mystery of the brain and consciousness as a clear and evident sign of their god's existence. In a conversation that has since devolved even further into appeals to ignorance, performative inconsistencies and arguments from authority, one presupper wrote me the following:


As with the idea of "causality". 225 years ago David Hume advanced an argument against its existence that stands undefeated to this day and yet we all know that causality exists. How do we know? Noam Chomsky of MIT who is the preeminent expert on philosophy of language has a proposition called the " Poverty of The Stimulus" in which Chomsky ( an avowed atheist) concludes that at any given point in the development of an individual, that person "knows" more about language than he could possibly have learned. And his conclusions don't change from Swahili to Chinese to American English etc. In essence he is stating that there is an innate capacity for imposing a linguistic order on our thoughts and experiences. That is similar to Kants Transcendental Idealism in which we impose an order on reality that we cant really justify empirically or rationally but that we all understand and use. [sic]Personally I think its the imageo dei in us...


Now, I could go on for at least four pages concerning all the many issues in this statement and believe me, I did go on with the author of this tidbit (see here) for some time. To sum it up, not only does this represent a repression of new understandings of Hume's problem with induction (see here) and a misinterpretation of Chomsky's work in linguistics (see here) and an ignorance of the errors in Kant's Transcendental Idealism (see here) but it is a complete and utterly open appeal to ignorance. It's basically saying, “I dunno (and you don't either) how this human experience occurred or works, so must be god done it!”. Well, I'm sorry, that's not good enough for me. It shouldn't be good enough for any of us, considering we have the unique vantage point that we do. We have seen down through the ages countless, innumerable theories just like this one, shattered on the rocks of reason. We have seen the god of the gap in full retreat for more than two hundred years and this is it? Are we going to let him have this one last stronghold? The gap between our ears?

In a lengthy exchange between myself and another Baptist presuppositionalist, I came across an almost identical argument. To paraphrase it, “Consciousness is currently a shadowy spot in our knowledge, and that is the proof of my god”. The conversation, in it's entirety, can be found here.

[cont]
edit on 7-7-2013 by Philodemus because: (no reason given)

edit on 7-7-2013 by Philodemus because: (no reason given)

edit on 7-7-2013 by Philodemus because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 10:22 PM
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I have to wonder what effect it will have on the worldview of people like this when we learn the secrets of the final frontier; the final frontier of our minds. What will they do when we understand our consciousness in stark and bold detail? What will they do when we figure out how higher primates work, and higher mammals, and dogs and cats and rats all work? It's not a matter of “if” we will figure it out, but “when”. What happens when there is no doubt that our brains are the sole cause of our consciousness and there is absolutely nothing magical happening here? Where will their god go? Where will he hide? Or will these Christians finally give up their pretense of having “evidence” for their belief, finally fully admit to no rational justification for their ideas and completely fly on “faith” alone? I don't think they will. I don't think they will because of their very nature as human beings. We need reason. It is our only source of knowledge and it is our only means of action. Without it we are lost and adrift. I need it. You need it. They need it. There is no other way to decipher the world around us. No other way to choose what course to take. We are not infallible and omnipotent and we don't have an infallible and omnipotent ghost telling us the answers to the questions of life. They are ours to discover and ours to accept or reject. Even those who wish to say that the human experience is “the image of god” in us have no choice but to employ their reason (for better or worse) to come to this decision. It isn't magically zapped into their heads. You are an individual and you think with your own mind.

In Humanity,
Daniel



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 10:49 PM
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reply to post by Philodemus
 

I walk down the street and I come across this wonderful garden lush with vegetables and flowers and I think to myself, what a wonderful garden, I wonder who planted it?

I see all these growing things coming up out of the ground and being born and I wonder to my self where did all these living things come from? I see their seeds and eggs and wombs, and I wonder where they are from, originally.

Then I look at the stars and think to myself that we haven't seen any but our own little world, one grain of sand on a million beaches, how can I say that my little grain of sand is the only one that has life?

Life is the difference. How did it get here? Where is it from?

Concluding "this is it, we are it" at this point requires a really narrow gap between ones ears.



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 11:04 PM
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reply to post by intrptr
 


Thank you for your response. For your consideration, Rand:

They claim that they perceive a mode of being superior to your existence on this earth. The mystics of spirit call it “another dimension,” which consists of denying dimensions. The mystics of muscle call it “the future,” which consists of denying the present. To exist is to possess identity. What identity are they able to give to their superior realm? They keep telling you what it is not, but never tell you what it is. All their identifications consist of negating: God is that which no human mind can know, they say—and proceed to demand that you consider it knowledge—God is non-man, heaven is non-earth, soul is non-body, virtue is non-profit, A is non-A, perception is non-sensory, knowledge is non-reason. Their definitions are not acts of defining, but of wiping out.


And Peikoff:

Every argument for God and every attribute ascribed to Him rests on a false metaphysical premise. None can survive for a moment on a correct metaphysics.

For instance, God is infinite. Nothing can be infinite, according to the Law of Identity. Everything is what it is, and nothing else. It is limited in its qualities and in its quantity: it is this much, and no more. “Infinite” as applied to quantity does not mean “very large”: it means “larger than any specific quantity.” That means: no specific quantity—i.e., a quantity without identity. This is prohibited by the Law of Identity.

Is God the creator of the universe? There can be no creation of something out of nothing. There is no nothing.

Is God omnipotent? Can he do anything? Entities can act only in accordance with their natures; nothing can make them violate their natures . . .

“God” as traditionally defined is a systematic contradiction of every valid metaphysical principle. The point is wider than just the Judeo-Christian concept of God. No argument will get you from this world to a supernatural world. No reason will lead you to a world contradicting this one. No method of inference will enable you to leap from existence to a “super-existence.”



In Humanity,
Daniel



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 11:14 PM
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reply to post by Philodemus
 

So maybe you are confusing me with someone who believes in the traditional biblical explanations for creation and life...

not so. I just want to know where DNA came from? The "Genetic Code". It is encoded, right?

Who wrote that code?



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 04:58 AM
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reply to post by intrptr
 



I just want to know where DNA came from?


Amino acids that have bonded at the molecular level.


It is encoded, right?


You're playing with semantics.

DNA is not "encoded" like the HTML and CSS of a computer.

By "encoded", all that is meant, is that DNA is contained within all living things, as a blue print of hereditary genetic material which is transferred from adult to offspring sometime during conception. The exact period I'm not familiar with anymore (it's been forever since I studied biology).


Who wrote that code?


Your parents.

 


While I don't agree that all of the mystery in life goes out the window when we finally acknowledge that consciousness is directly linked with the brain (something I already believe), I don't feel that the scientific rationale for how human beings come to be is in any way faulted.


~ Wandering Scribe



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 05:14 AM
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reply to post by Philodemus
 


Ever since I was anesthetized for some back surgery I've had absolutely no trouble accepting that consciousness, and self-awareness, are entirely dependent on the brain's activity.

My qualm comes with your small comment here:


Gone are the days, when this group could point to the rains and draughts as evidence of their god's pleasure or wrath. Gone are the days, when they could point to the nightly dance of the heavenly bodies or the life and death rivalry of the sun and moon. Gone are the days that they could point to monsoon and earthquake as signs of their god's judgement.


Have you ever studied, in brief or great detail, world mythology?

The Sumerians (c. 6000-2700 BC) had a myth featuring the farmer-god Ninurta. During this myth Ninurta is presented with a magical mace, called Sharur. Aided by Sharur, Ninurta travels to the land of Kur, a dark, mountainous region surrounded by the World Sea. While there, Ninurta uses Sharur to slay the giant serpent Asag.

The Vikings (c. 0-1300 AD) have a myth, part of the Ragnarok cycle, featuring the god Thor. During this myth Thor is given the magical hammer, Mjolnir. Taking Mjolnir with him, Thor travels to the edge of the world, which is surrounded by the World Sea. While there, Thor uses Mjolnir to slay the giant serpent Jormungandr.

Ninurta was a farmer-god, who protected the citizens of Sumer from encroaching monsters. He was not part of the Anunnaki (chief gods of Sumer), instead choosing to be a "savior of the people", whose cult developed independently of standard Sumerian priestly mythology.

Thor was a farmer-god who protected the Viking peasantry from encroaching giants. He was not allowed to cross Bifrost with the Aesir (high gods of the Norse). When the Christians arrived, Thor became a "savior of the people", even becoming their keeper after death (there's an entire historical clash between the White Christ and the Red Thor, where the Norse refuse to accept Jesus Christ, because Thor is their protector).

Now, here's the kicker: the Vikings never encountered the Sumerians, and there is no counterpart to Ninurta in Ugaritic, Anatolian, Greek, or Roman mythology (the most likely route that religious/mythological tales traveled between cultures).

Consciousness might be entirely brain-based. And maybe those old gods are dead and gone... but, how exactly did the myth of Ninurta become the myth of Thor then, if there's not some greater element to consciousness?

~ Wandering Scribe



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 09:30 AM
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reply to post by Wandering Scribe
 


DNA is contained within all living things, as a blue print

Ok, so your preferred "terminology" is "blueprint". Who drew up the first plans?



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 12:32 PM
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reply to post by intrptr
 



Ok, so your preferred "terminology" is "blueprint". Who drew up the first plans?


Way to ignore the rest of that post.

Your parents "drew up the plan" together when they decided to make you exist.


~ Wandering Scribe



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 03:35 PM
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Originally posted by Wandering Scribe
reply to post by intrptr
 



Ok, so your preferred "terminology" is "blueprint". Who drew up the first plans?


Way to ignore the rest of that post.

Your parents "drew up the plan" together when they decided to make you exist.


~ Wandering Scribe


But I'm not ignoring it. For the first point you yourself called it a blueprint. Even you see order. You used the word blueprint. I used code. One is compelled to give it a hierarchy. It isn't "mush".

On your second point, I overlooked it because to me your answer of "your parents made you" is simplistic. Thats like me asking where that amoeba came from and you saying from another amoeba. And that one? And so on. Leading all the way back to the first seed egg, womb and embryo.

To me its then the same question I asked in my first response... how did the first one get here? Who planted the first garden? The only answer I see is life is not from here, the Universe is ancient. Life from out there was brought here and sown like you sow a field of vegetables. From seed.

I know its extrapolation. So is the electric mud puddle theory. Neither is conclusive.

Which is more probable?



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 04:37 PM
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reply to post by Wandering Scribe
 


That's an almost 10,000 year spread. You don't think it's maybe likely that the commonly used pieces in the mythology puzzle might align once or twice (even if it's true that Sumer had a 0% influence on Europe)?

Thanks for the interaction with my post, by the way! How's your back now-a-days?

In Humanity,
Daniel



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 04:43 PM
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reply to post by intrptr
 


Have you read Antony Flew's "Invisible Gardener" analogy? Reminds me a lot of your stance. The trouble is in the way one is to integrate this into his reason. As long as we are postulating natural begets natural, I'm willing to play these mental games. Any other postulation goes against everything that informs our thought process.

Thanks for post here, by the way! Have a good night!

In Humanity,
Daniel



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 05:02 PM
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reply to post by Philodemus
 

Because I like to keep an ear up, I looked.

The Invisible Gardener


"Two people return to their long neglected garden and find, among the weeds, that a few of the old plants are surprisingly vigorous. One says to the other, 'It must be that a gardener has been coming and doing something about these weeds.' The other disagrees and an argument ensues. They pitch their tents and set a watch. No gardener is ever seen. The believer wonders if there is an invisible gardener, so they patrol with bloodhounds but the bloodhounds never give a cry. Yet the believer remains unconvinced, and insists that the gardener is invisible, has no scent and gives no sound. The skeptic doesn't agree, and asks how a so-called invisible, intangible, elusive gardener differs from an imaginary gardener, or even no gardener at all."

I have two problems with that tale. People are "looking for a gardener to return" instead of asking who made all these vegetables that we planted in our garden?
The other is the use of people. I would change it too "two vegetables" growing in the garden arguing about the existence of "Invisible" Gardener(s). Vegetables are born, they grow, mature and seed but are incapable of sensing the gardeners that presumably tend them everyday.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 10:29 PM
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reply to post by Philodemus
 


Oh, don't get me wrong. There are definitely mythological motifs which present themselves again, and again, and again in the myths of the world. The spread of myth based on seasonal, and agricultural themes is widely acknowledged.

Enlil, the Sumerian storm-god and King of the Gods, is comparative with El in Babylon, Ba'al-Hadad in Ugaritic mythology, Teshub in Anatolian mythology, and Zeus in Greek myth (to name just a few). These gods represent the beneficial and destructive seasonal storms, which either allowed, or destroyed, that seasons harvests. They held immense sway over whether or not the people survived, and as such, were often cast into roles of authority.

Less seen, and significantly less acknowledged though, are elements that are not based on seasonal cycles and agricultural themes, like the Ninurta/Thor overlap. The peasant-god who becomes the Hero and savior of the people, by slaying the serpent of the Abyss, with a sacred hammer provided to him by magical smiths is not found in every culture, nor is it based on a season, a harvest, or an astronomical event.

Similarly, in Sumerian mythology the goddess Ereshkigal (the offspring of a giant monster) is ruler of the Underworld. She makes the laws, enforces the laws, sees to the dead, and rules with an iron fist. Nearly every other culture between Sumer and the Norse (both in time, and space) has a male ruler of the Underworld:

Nergal, who usurps the throne from Ereshkigal in Babylonian mythology
Osiris who judges the dead and rules the Fields of Osiris in Egyptian mythology
Hades, Lord of the Underworld in Greco-Roman mythology
Don, the Dark One, who is King of the Land of Wealth in Celtic mythology
Aita the god of the Underworld in Etruscan mythology
Satan who is Lord of Hell in Christianity

But then we come back to the Norse. According to Norse cosmology the Underworld is known as Helheim, and is ruled by Hel, a goddess. Hel is the daughter of Loki and a giantess. Essentially, the Norse Underworld is ruled by a goddess, born of a monster, the same outline as Sumer. Once more, as with Sumerian mythology, Helheim is a place of absolutes.

The comparative myths of Ninurta/Thor, and Ereshkigal/Hel have no basis in seasonal, or agricultural rites. They are purely conscious in nature, stemming straight from the creative faculties of human beings. So, again, I have to wonder how, without any actual contact, these two cultures at opposite ends of the mythological timeline, and world, managed to develop the same mythic motif, despite every connecting culture between developing the opposite one.

The machinations of the mind are, well and truly, astounding. Not that it needs to be wrapped up in magic, or God, or some spiritual claim though. They are amazing without the supernatural given as the reason why.

And of course. If I agree with the topic of a thread, I'm usually more than willing to support it.


~ Wandering Scribe



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 10:55 PM
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reply to post by Wandering Scribe
 


I started working on an analogous conspectus some time ago that compared God and Time. I titled it "God is Time". There's a thread lurking around on ATS by myself of the same title. I've since developed it into more than 80 pages.

Anyway, as I was researching the paper, I came across a geologist, Andrew Gustin, that has an entire site on the subject of God being Time. It's a really good site.....I'll look for the url....but if you search it I'm sure you could find it. Anywho, he is working on another project along the lines of what you're suggesting here. Basically, looking at collective thought. I think his is looking at from a quantum angle.....interesting stuff. The human machine, though natural, is still a extremely deep mystery.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 10:57 PM
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post by Wandering Scribe
 


Found it...

If God Is Time, Then Yes (IGITY)reply to

edit on 8-7-2013 by Philodemus because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 03:31 PM
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reply to post by Philodemus
 


IGITY was a rather interesting page, thanks for pointing it out. I've still got a few links to read, but, I think I get the GIST of the philosophy.

Personally, I've always felt that God (specifically YHVH, Abraham's concept of the Creator) was subject to time, as well as a host of other things (like iron, and purposeful deceit).

Everything the Biblical God does is contained within the framework of time, and directly related to some form of "history", as recorded by at least one culture. That opens up a whole new issue though: how Biblical history differs from archaeological history—surely a topic for a different thread though!

My mystification (if I can use the term without entering the realm of the actually mystical) concerning myth and the spread of motifs, was less to do with a single, all-powerful, omnipresent Creator though.

My personal thoughts concerning the myths I discussed have more to do with what your earlier reply suggested: a quantum network of thought. The idea that, while our brains are wholly organic, and operate off of mostly-understood biological input, there is a secondary level to thought that is capable of some pretty incredible things.

I've always been leery about calling it super-consciousness, or even relating it too heavily to Jung's collective unconscious though. To me, both of those suggest universal elements: an idea which exists within any, and every, human culture instinctively or biologically. This is fine and good for seasonal and agricultural mythology.

The death of the Grain in winter, and rebirth of the Wheat in spring, for example, is a motif which I believe exists as a piece of the collective unconscious. The Sumerians told the myth with their god-king, Dumuzi (Tammuz in Babylon). The Egyptians recalled it through the legendary first Pharaoh, Osiris. In Ugaritic myth the King of the Gods, Ba'al-Zebûl, is slain every autumn, and resurrected every spring by his wife, Anat the Queen of Heaven. A plethora of figure from Anatolia and Greece relay the seasonal myth: Telepinus for the Hurrians, Attis in Phrygia, Persephone in Greece, and Adonis in Rome to name just a few. Even the Norse have the kidnapping of Iðuna by the giant Thjazi, and her rescue by Loki (alternatively, she falls off the limbs of Yggdasil and plummets to Helheim, where the poet-god Bragi ventures to rescue her).

That is a prime example of a myth that has been sewn into the collective unconscious. But, when a particular motif shows up only in disparate cultures, with no obvious connection either temporally or spatially, I hesitate to suggest that it has to do with super consciousness.

I don't have an answer for why, or how, it happens. I can only point it out as an example of the mind, of consciousness itself, being something more than what it appears on the surface.


~ Wandering Scribe


edit on 9/7/13 by Wandering Scribe because: corrected some code



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 03:51 PM
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reply to post by intrptr
 


Your use of "who" is where I think we disconnect. There was no Who (capital W) that drew up, or encoded, the very first genetic material in the history of ever. It evolved, completely of its own accord, because that it what nature does. Nature grows, and expands, and becomes new things by its very... well, nature.

I suppose, if you're looking for a name behind the DNA plan, then it would be Nature (capital N). The problem with that, though, is that then you begin to move into the Planetary Consciousness theory/philosophy. I have my own disagreements with the Gaiafield, and Earth being "alive" and sentient itself. So, while I wouldn't treat the Earth and Nature as actual entities, they are the "Who" that made the first DNA.

Now, concerning where life comes from: the absolute origin of single-celled organisms and so on... that's still a mystery.

I have no problem with the Panspermia theory, that life exists throughout the Universe, and happened to reach us through a meteorite. The proto-planet period of the Earth's evolution certainly involved collisions with other proto-planets, asteroids, and meteoroids. Perhaps the material which later became RNA, and then DNA, first arrived on Earth from one of those collisions.

I also have no qualms about life having simply developed on the Earth over billions of years of trial-and-error. Consider the Tardigrade, a polyextremophile from the Cretacious period (and still existent today) that can survive in both the most heat-intense areas of Earth, and the vacuum of space. If a creature can evolve to survive both of those extremes, then life could have easily evolved on its own, right here on Earth, without any external assistance.


~ Wandering Scribe



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 04:21 PM
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reply to post by Philodemus
 


So you believe it is impossible for a 'God' to ever exist? Either creator of a universe, or an intelligence arising in a universe and creating entities?



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 07:05 PM
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reply to post by ImaFungi
 


Long time no talk to! Thanks for swinging by!

Essentially, yes, Ima. That's what I know. Go here. It deals with Christianity specifically but the philosophy applies to all mystic belief systems. Really, explore this site.here
Find the archive along the right. It's in PDF.

In Humanity,
Daniel



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