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W Hathaway

Nothing wrong with being in a minority of one, if you conduct yourself as you have done here - in a most gentlemanly and courteous manner. Much appreciated!

I for one have found your input welcome, as it has resulted in some interesting follow-up comments. And it's good for contributors to this blog to be exposed regularly to a different viewpoint. Helps hone the grey matter!

Thank you, Hathaway, and best wishes.

"But the point about the scientific worldview is that it sees no gods, fairies, angels, monsters, demons or hyperdimensional intelligences,"

Not sure about that statement. Physicists suggest there are up to 10 dimensions, with a different you in each one of them. They also say there are a great many planetary systems capable of supporting life and are yet to determine what form they will take.

Although not readily accepted by all physicists, more and more physicists are seeing the likely hood that we have a conscious universe, which opens up the possibility of there being a god.

If this is the case, what form beings take may be multi-faceted, e.g. angelic (pure forms) or demonic (less fully integrated forms), much as we have on earth.

Lyn x.

I appreciate W Hathaway's contribution, but I do think he exhibited a tendency to engage in all-or-nothing thinking, which frequently took the form of straw-man attacks. For instance, when some of us questioned his statement that "science gives us everything worthwhile we now have," he (eventually) delivered the parting shot that few people are "heading for the rainforest to live in harmony with the devas and nature spirits there." But this is a false alternative. There's a lot of gray area - that dreaded zone of ambiguity! - between thinking that science isn't the be-all and end-all and thinking that it should be rejected altogether.

My own view, which I've expressed elsewhere, is that materialism is useful and valid within a certain context. I would compare it, by analogy, to Newtonian physics, which is also valid and useful within a (quite large) context, but not within all contexts. The materialist approach is not so much wrong as incomplete. It becomes wrong only when materialists assert that their approach is valid in all contexts, even when dealing with nonmaterial phenomena like consciousness. In the study of physical things, materialism and its associated methodology constitute a very powerful approach. The error lies in assuming that what works for physical things must work equally well for everything, and the usual result is that nonphysical phenomena are either dismissed as unimportant or unreal, or oversimplified to fit materialist paradigms.

Sounds ok to me in a nut shell. Some of you are well read so I'm sure you are familiar with Cayce.

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/cayce03.html

Cheers Lyn.

Respect to the Blog owner and Juan, but I think you may have overlooked or ignored the main thrust of Hathaway’s arguments.

As I read it he is saying there’s no reasonable philosophical alternative to the scientific worldview, that we must follow it even if privately we don’t accept it; do you remember that scientist a while ago (was it Gerald Woerlee?) who said scientists must be materialists and reject all parapsychology on principle?

I remember thinking last year about this and coming to an understanding of why anyone would want to adopt such a militant position. And I found answers. For example:

1. Copernicus and Darwin. Oh the agonies of science if it contradicts religious belief!

2. Suppose the planned route for a new motorway passes through a local den of water sprites and fairies. Who says so? The local psychic. And she can’t persuade them to move. Er…what happens next?

3. The ghost of Abraham Lincoln, according to a respected medium, tells her to spread the message that Republican climate denialists are un-American and that he’s turning in his grave (after reading an article by Neil deGrasse Tyson).

I actually had a big list but I think you’ll get the point.

Hathaway seems to be saying that Humans have adopted a certain way of life, and it is all or nothing. Ever since agriculture, we’ve been irreligiously taking more from the World than we give back, and even reducing our consumption won’t solve the problem of diminishing resources and overpopulation. But the alternatives are unthinkable, so we must soldier on and hope for ever rarer scientific and technological fixes. Isn’t that it, Hathaway?

I wish I had the patience to explain things with the thoroughness that you do, Michael I would have left it at:

"I appreciate W Hathaway's contribution, but I do think he exhibited a tendency to engage in all-or-nothing thinking,"

In fact, if I'd thought of it I would have said just that.

"Ever since agriculture, we’ve been irreligiously taking more from the World than we give back, and even reducing our consumption won’t solve the problem of diminishing resources and overpopulation."

If that is W Hathaway's argument, I disagree with it. I don't think resources are diminishing (remember "Peak Oil"?), and overpopulation, to the extent that it's a problem, will prove self-correcting one way or another (either birth rates will drop, or famine and disease will right the balance in Malthusian fashion).

The things that worry me are the trend toward technocratic authoritarianism and the threat of nuclear proliferation among rogue states. This is the downside of science and technology - high tech (surveillance equipment, nuclear bombs) in the wrong hands (tehno-fascists and terrorists). But I don't think taking more from the world than we give back is the problem.

Good day to you Barbara,
I am sorry, but I can't agree that I "get the point"! Perhaps you could flesh-out your comments a little bit. I am left guessing trying to define all of the ‘its’ in your second paragraph, i.e., “As I read it” “we must follow it” “we don’t accept it”. And, I don’t understand what ‘militant position’ you are talking about and for which you provide three answers (?) which I also don’t understand. Perhaps the fault is mine but I am really trying to connect with what you are thinking.

I am not sure that Hathaway is saying that there is no reasonable philosophical alternative to the scientific worldview. That is just putting words in his mouth. What is the ‘scientific worldview’ anyway? Perhaps Hathaway will be inclined to speak for himself and explain his definition of 'scientific worldview'.

I think that Hathaway is stating---generally, that by using the 'scientific method' there have been many advances in knowledge about how the world/reality works particularly in medicine and its ability to heal people. My guess is that he probably is not well acquainted with the esoteric topics that are discussed in this blog and cannot specifically address them.

I wouldn't pick agriculture as a starting point after which humans have "irreligiously" (defined as lacking religious emotions, doctrines or practices or indicating a lack of religion.) been taking more from the world than they give back." From a larger perspective with the start of agriculture humanity began to advance allowing culture, creativity and society to develop and survive. And in many ways the development of agriculture has given back to the world, if not the earth . Farmers in my area cultivate the earth utilizing modern 'scientific' methods and machinery such as rotation of crops, protection of waterways, green manures, and incorporation of plant remains back into the earth each Fall as well as allowing non-productive land to remain fallow, to return to its natural vegetation or by replanting forests. They no onger "irreligiously" take from the earth in my view but give back to humanity through the production of food and various other materials.

On the other hand, chemical pesticides on crops may not be the best way to respect and honor the earth. I have no objections to genetically modified foods---most of our treasured crops, including fruits, flowers, forage, and food for humans have been genetically modified in some way. It is just when that modification is done to allow excessive amounts of chemicals to be used on crops or when the chemical is actually incorporated into the plant that I think we have perhaps gone astray.

And I don’t think that humans have developed a way of life that is “all or nothing”—Hathaway is not saying this although his views are often 'black or white'.

Woerlee is an anesthesiologist I think. Perhaps an understanding of anesthetics qualifies Woerlee as a ‘scientist’ I don’t know, but I think there might be a tendency to cast a wide net when defining the word ‘scientist’. I myself have a couple of degrees in biology, zoology, botany with minors in geology and chemistry and completed a ‘scientific’ study ( thesis ) for one of them. I have also worked for many years in the field of health/medicine but I don’t consider myself a scientist though I have even taught those things to students. (That is, unless I am trying to inflate the importance of my opinions about something, then I miraculously become a ‘scientist’.) - AOD ;^)

“I don't think resources are diminishing (remember "Peak Oil"?)”

Resources aren’t diminishing?! Really, Michael?

I was reading the other day how iron ore is now so poor in iron that mountains of it are needed to extract enough metal to do the biz. This is only possible because of improved extraction methods and huge machines using masses of fossil fuels.

I was also reading that the next economic collapse will be due to all those fracking companies going bankrupt – and the resulting recession will be way worse than 2008.

I guess I must be reading the wrong stuff! Is depletion of finite resources one of the Western myths I need to drop? Have you gone all woozy because of the new Tesla battery?

When you say that taking more than we give isn’t a problem, are you talking politically or philosophically? Because the whole point about materialism is that it is the modern philosophy of choice. I think we’ve subconsciously understood that we cannot appease the gods, because there are no suitable offerings we can give or noble sacrifices we can make – we need all the stuff ourselves, there’s nothing left for the gods or the rest of nature, and we’re certainly not going to ask their permission to exploit it.

Once I thought the gods might enjoy our culture as an offering. But lately -- nah!

W Hathaway,

||Yes, historically this has been true. But the point about the scientific worldview is that it sees no gods, fairies, angels, monsters, demons or hyperdimensional intelligences, and is therefore able to examine and use the laws of nature to our advantage without fear or emotional compromise.||

No, it will always be true so long as we are human. For example, science doesn't know how life originally came into being. So we tend to fill in the blank with an image of lightning zapping the primordial ooze. That's just a myth, a possibility at one point, but it helps make the story complete.

Not sure what you mean by "emotional compromise." Scientists are human and want to believe they are right and want to be remembered for having discovered something big, etc. People are biased for various reasons.

||As I say, this will probably eventually rebound on us, but we are entrenched in that worldview now and cannot escape it. Nobody really wants to escape it.||

I think you are conflating the scientific method with materialism. The scientific method is not a worldview.

||Nobody wants to give up the benefits we have garnered (some may *say* so, but so far I haven’t seen many refugees from industrial society heading for the rainforest to live in harmony with the devas and nature spirits there).||

This is similar to the Skeptics' "pink unicorn" trope, and it's insulting. Plus, it underestimates the opponent: "believers," for the most part, have their own internally consistent worldview and tend not to believe in random things. Thus, a Christian, Muslim, or New Ager wants the benefits of science and modern conveniences as much as a Skeptic does. People who return to the rainforest might be materialists who *don't* want those things.

||I won’t answer further points you and other commentators have made –I see I’m in a minority of one here, so I’ll just say thanks for your post- it was most thought-provoking.||

You're welcome! I think you'll agree that people here have been very respectful to you. Someday when you are in a group of Skeptics debating a single "believer," please do the same.

"Resources aren’t diminishing?! Really, Michael?"

Really. When people talk about a shortage of resources, they mean a shortage of known resources that can be extracted with presently available technology. But this overlooks three things: 1) there are presently unknown deposits of raw materials and fossil fuels that will be discovered by exploration; 2) there will be new methods of extraction that are unknown to us today; and 3) there will be new methods of generating energy and producing raw materials that are unknown to us today.

Talking about diminishing resources is like worrying that the Internet will become overcrowded and stop working; it assumes that there will be no new knowledge or improved technology to address the issue.

There are many things to fret about, and I'm not optimistic about our country or our civilization right now; but at least we aren't running out of materials or fuel.

I agree with Barbara on resources I'm afraid. There is bound to be new technology and hopefully more eco-friendly ones that nourish the planet, rather than deplete it.

"Talking about diminishing resources is like worrying that the Internet will become overcrowded and stop working".

Not nearly the same, an infinite web page as opposed to a restricted world resource.

Less people would help for sure, this would need a nuclear bomb? I don't think thats an answer. Even population control is a bit of a non starter. No I think we need to help our planet flourish by utilising sustainable methods of energy production.

Here's an article on soil depletion Amos-

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss/

Although I agree crop rotation, fertilisers, fallow fields, all help and we need to grow crops, and the best way we can. It suggests depletion does happen.

I love to seeing healthy plant life and nature, and I remember reading on the internet some years ago of a biologist I think, who grew a small forest of sustainable crops for a local tribe. What was astounding was the change in the local biosphere- more clouds came due to the vegetation, producing rain, as well as a myriad of insects and animals. The ecosystem produced a micro-climate that even he couldn't predict. I couldn't find it on the net, has anyone seen it?

I would love to see laws for example, that high rises grow plants and perhaps have grass verges. There will come a time when we will have to house animals in high rises in the future too I would think.

Just my thoughts- Lyn x.

\\"But how can an afterlife, if it exists, help us in this life? By definition, it is not here and now." W Hathaway//
-------------

You got it backwards. It's not about "here", it's about over "there". This side is a school that prepares us for life "over there." We are only here for the blink of an eye compared to eternity.

What do we learn here that we can't learn there? We can learn about what it means and how it feels to be separate - something that can't be learned in heaven due to those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness as reported by a lot of near death experiencers.

We can learn about time and space and 3 dimensions and time only going one way because time and space don't exist in heaven like they do here.

We can learn about what it's like to be inside and limited to a physical body and control that body - and the alternative would be to be pure consciousness with no limits and exist everywhere at the same time.

"Space and time are illusions that hold us to the physical realm; in the spirit realm, all is present simultaneously." (Beverly Brodsky)

"There is no distance here. So time does not exist." - Mark H's NDE

"I literally had the feeling that I was everywhere in the universe simultaneously."
Mark Horton's NDE

"I felt an understanding about life, what it was, is. As if it was a dream in itself. It's so very hard to explain this part. I'll try, but my words limit the fullness of it. I don't have the words here, but I understood that it really didn't matter what happened in the life experience, I knew/understood that it was intense, brief, but when we were in it, it seemed like forever. I understood that whatever happened in life, I was really ok, and so were the others here." Michelle M's NDE

We are simply here to learn the things that can't be learned in heaven. Then we shed these bodies like a butterfly sheds its cocoon and transition back to that original holographic film that our Universe is a projection from.

Michael said:

"The things that worry me are the trend toward technocratic authoritarianism . . . "

Michael, could you explain exactly what this means to you? I just looked up "technocracy" in a couple of sources so I have a general idea of what it's all about, but I'd be interested in hearing your slant on it, including what you see as an alternative approach.

I'm not fixing for a fight here. :) Just interested. In fact, your concern may well jibe with my own understanding of how technology is simultaneously helpful and destructive.

Bruce, "technocratic authoritarianism" was my shorthand term for things like: NSA monitoring of all emails and phone calls; surveillance cameras on every street corner; surveillance drones in the sky; and the possibility of GPS tracking of vehicles, cell phones, etc., by authorities.

To this I'd add abuses like forensic labs misreporting evidence to secure a conviction (not uncommon); the IRS targeting specific political groups; social media lynch mobs that try to bankrupt and destroy anyone who disagrees with them; and the groupthink of major institutions who use peer review and peer pressure to ostracize and marginalize dissenters.

Basically I worry that we are headed for an anthill society of enforced conformity and constant high-tech supervision and control. The self-styled "elites" on both sides of the partisan spectrum seem pretty okay with the idea, and populist protests (whether by left or right) appear to have little effect on those in power.

As an individualist and contrarian, I view these developments with dismay and, at times, alarm.

A trans4mind site that I found interesting for those who might like to read it. A personal spiritual experience.

http://www.trans4mind.com/awakening/

Cheers Lyn.

"Bruce, "technocratic authoritarianism" was my shorthand term for things like . . . "

Michael, thanks for clarifying. I wrote a little more about this yesterday, but for some reason, it doesn't seem to have posted.

"i wrote a little more about this yesterday, but for some reason,doesn't seem to have posted."

It's not in the spam folder or anywhere else, so I guess it just got lost. Sorry about that. TypePad is not infallible by any means.

"Basically I worry that we are headed for an anthill society of enforced conformity and constant high-tech supervision and control. The self-styled "elites" on both sides of the partisan spectrum seem pretty okay with the idea, and populist protests (whether by left or right) appear to have little effect on those in power."

George Orwell's 1984?

But there is something odd going on in the universe, and this goes back to the post Michael wrote about "coincidences." Last summer, I was just watching the series "Mad Men" on Netflix. I watched the part where the main character, Don Draper, meets with the CEO of Hilton Hotels in the presidential suite at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Three weeks later, I was actually staying in the presidential suite at the Waldorf Astoria in New York (I know, there's probably more than one presidential suite, but still...). I wasn't supposed to be in that suite, but there I was and it looked exactly like I saw on the show (I have photos). I'm neither wealthy nor very important, and yet it happened. Since that post, I keep remembering old "coincidences" and seeing new ones. All of this, NDEs, dogs (and cats) knowing when their owner is coming home, etc., has to be more than just "coincidence."

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