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Showing posts from July, 2011

Expressionist absurdity

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InRationalist SpiritualityI suggest that a possible answer to the perennial question of the meaning of existence is that physical reality is a kind of expressionist artwork: a device or allegory whose aim is to evoke certain subjective states – emotions and ideas – for the sake of experience and insight. A peculiar characteristic of physical reality, as an expressionist allegory, is that we all experience seemingly the same allegory from slightly different points of view. As I discuss in Dreamed up Reality,what guarantees this consistency of experience across subjects are the laws of physics and logic that give reality its continuity, self-consistency, and predictability. Thanks to this consistency, reality provides us with a common playground of shared experiences, instead of isolating each one of us in a unique, idiosyncratic universe of private reveries that would forever prevent us from communicating meaningfully with each other. So the laws of physics and, more fundamentally, …

Evolution, intelligent design, and other myths

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When I think of, and talk about, the big questions of science and spirituality, I do not adopt the notion of a supernatural being separate from nature as the external ruler of reality; somehow the form of such notion doesn't resonate with my intuitions. However, I am indeed sympathetic to the possibility that there may be intelligence and awareness intrinsic to nature. In other words, that as our knowledge of nature advances we may find a natural intelligence and awareness – not just mechanical laws – woven into the very fabric of reality at multiple levels. As I sought to elaborate on in Chapter 6 of Rationalist Spirituality, our science today is very far from showing that it has uncovered all causal influences determining the observable phenomena of nature. The notion that it did simply reflects a pervasive but ultimately unjustified extrapolation grounded purely on subjective values (a paradigm), not on empirical evidence (I discuss this in another article in this blog). Ther…