[FoRK] Re: "Thanks for the Facts. Now Sell Them."

Joe Barrera <joe-fork at barrera.org> on Mon Apr 23 08:22:36 PDT 2007

Now that you've descended to arguing with yourself, do you think
you could create your own mailing list (or blog, perhaps) and do
your arguing there instead?

- Joe

Lion Kimbro wrote:
> On 4/22/07, mattj at newsblip.com <mattj at newsblip.com> wrote:
>> Quoting Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at gmail.com>:
>>
>> >  "The universe is the womb that bore me, and  "the universe is my 
>> body."
>> >
>> >  Both of these are, quite literally, scientifically, true.
>>
>> No. "Literally", a womb is an organ of a female mammal.  You are using
>> a metaphor.  The appropriate word here is "figuratively", roughly the
>> opposite of "literally".
>
>  You're right; It's not literally true.  It's a metaphor.
>  You caught me mis-speaking.
>
>  The universe doesn't have a womb, except for all of the instances
>  where there are wombs.
>
>  But it is true that the universe made us, and this is a literal truth.
>
>  Wait-- that's not true either...  Because, "made," you know--
>  factories, people putting things into place, assembly lines, or people
>  putting things together with their hands, or ...
>
>  It looks like slippery slopes, as far as the eye can see.
>
>
>> You also wrote, regarding "Born With A Bang: The Universe Tells Its 
>> Story"...
>>
>> > The book doesn't say that the universe has an independent
>> > consciousness-- it says that the universe has become conscious,
>> > and that scientists (who we presume are telling the story to you)
>> > are telling its story to you.
>>
>> Er, no.
>>
>> I just got the book from the library.  It is *all* first-person, told
>> by a loving Universe.  It begins:
>>
>> "My Dearest Earthling,
>> You may not know me. We haven't talked before. I am the Universe and
>> it's time for us to get to know each other.
>> [and later,]... Mind you, my dear Earthling, your Milky Way is only
>> tiny neighborhood in my vast expanse.  Even though your galaxy is very
>> special, I care equally for all my galaxies!"
>
>
>  This is fair criticism.
>
>  Evolutionary spirituality, the Great Story, are not about a sentient
>  universe in the sense that the book portrays.  This book then,
>  is clearly out of step with message.
>
>  However, I will cite the top Amazon reviewer:
>
> ---------
> Some parents might also object that treating the Universe as a person
> reeks too much of New Age nature-worship pantheism. Such a criticism
> would be unwarranted - Morgan, after all, knows that the Universe is
> not actually a human being, and even young readers should be able to
> see this as simply an engaging storytelling device. Any child who
> enjoys watching talking planes or a purple dinosaur on TV, while
> knowing that neither is real, can appreciate Morgan's narrative
> approach. This book should be of value to any family, regardless of
> religious or philosophical orientation, who possess a serious interest
> in science or nature.
> ---------
>
>    
> http://www.amazon.com/Born-Bang-Universe-Sharing-Children/dp/1584690321
>
>
>> Taking to heart Jeff's comment about precision, meaning, and slippery
>> slopes, I think I'm done with this thread. Cheers,
>
>  Sadly, we cannot scold Carl Sagan for his misleading statements:
>  "We are a way for the universe to know itself."
>
>  I'm sure we had to see it in context.
>
>
>  In the interest of precision, I'll state that I don't feel the cheer;
>  Rather, I feel the disappointment.
>
>  However, if you are to take Jeff's comments about precision, meaning,
>  and slippery slopes to heart, you have a challenging task ahead of you-
>  you will need to interpret the universe, without interpreting.
>
>  Re-read this,
>
> -------------
> You come to grips with the fact that the only
> purpose of life is what you make of it;  that the world is a cold,
> hollow, soulless place, and that no --- you are not a precious
> fucking snowflake.
> -------------
>
>  ...asking yourself:  "Is this an interpretation of scientific facts,
>  or a scientific reality?"
>
>  Since we must interpret, since we have the freedom to choose
>  the interpretation, and since the interpretation we choose will
>  ultimately shape our own lives and the lives we influence--
>  I believe it simply MUST be a positive interpretation.
>
>  The facts are what the facts are.  But the interpretation of
>  the facts is yours to create and live by.
>
> "A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe
> as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of
> reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or
> later, such a religion will emerge." -- Carl Sagan
>
>  Take care,
>    Lion
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