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A Philosophical Thread about Good & Evil - Catastrophes, Coincidences & Theodicy

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Silent_Water

Governor
There is probably a general human longing for transcendence, mysticism and philosophy about it, especially in times of a pandemic - even or just here as you can partly see in threads like „Final Curtain“ etc. and therefore, you can see this as an possible futile attempt to raise the level of the discussions here to possibly hitherto unknown heights and widths and I would like to ask you for your thoughts about the examples at the end of this posting which I will mention to explain my doubts in almost everything what human beings every thought about religion. In any case, I would like to find answers which I probably cannot and will not find during my lifetime because much more intelligent people than me did not find them. On the other hand, it might be interesting for you to read this or to make your own comments about your thoughts after this looong prologue:

I sometimes try to summarize many of the - doubtful - statements in logical short forms, which are already often in religious-philosophical forms or other relevant literature on the problem of theodicy (= roughly: God's justification in the face of the extent of suffering in the world).

Since I think many threads here are great – not only because of my contributions - but on the other hand some things I would like to say about my philosophy may not fit into it, I would like to open a thread in which I put the most important statements about the theodicy problem in front.

You will forgive me that I may not reproduce some things without errors, because I am neither a philosopher nor a theologian, but just an interested layman who, however, has dealt a lot with the subject for private reasons.

The main philosophical problem of all reasonable doubters (e.g. the French philosopher Voltaire) with the beginning belief in God - which often makes them atheists - is the following logical contradiction (abbreviated with <->):

  • God is omnipotent and good; he can and wants to prevent human suffering. <-> There is suffering - a lot of it!
  • The simplest philosophical-theoretical possibilities for resolving the contradiction:
  • 1. Assumption: God is not omnipotent.
  • 2. Assumption: God is not good.
  • 3. Abandonment of belief in God.
The first assumption is followed by large parts of the more complex process philosophy or theology, which made a significant philosophical contribution to the theodicy problem during the 1980s, the most important representative of which in literature is in my opinion David R Griffin: God, Power and Evil. A Process Theodicy. Philadelphia 1976 .

The world is based on a 'creation out of chaos' - not, as was usual before, 'out of nothing'.

The difference is that God's power does not, so to speak, force matter to adopt increasingly complex structures, but rather persuades it to do so through trial-and-error attempts. God would therefore have no alternative between persuasion and coercion. All that remains is the 'persuasion' method. In other words: As with a potter, God would be given the properties of the clay material by the natural laws of the universe and would set limits to the potter's work.

More complicated possibilities for resolving the contradiction:

1. The traditional idea of omnipotence in the nature of God in connection with the idea of a real world different from God is contradictory!

In other words: We can only speak of a 'real world' if the beings in this world also have the power to change, otherwise they would only be actors in a predetermined action, in an unreal world. Being real and having power are inseparable from one another. A world in which this possibility does not apply would be inconceivable and unreal for us. An increase in the positive power properties of our world automatically leads to an increase in the negative possibilities!

Another example: omnipotence does not mean that God can do something logically impossible, but that he has the power to do everything that is logically possible.

As early as the Middle Ages, many theologians believed that even God could not create a 'round square' and that this assumption in no way restricted his omnipotence.

<-> Contradiction to 1 .: The value of free will in no way justifies the extent of suffering that free beings have inflicted on one another or can still inflict!

2. God very consciously set a single limit to human freedom: death, which not only limits life, but also the extent of suffering that people can inflict on one another. Richard Swinburne: The Existence of God. Stuttgart 1987, describes death in his book as the `` safety barrier of God '', which at first seems very strange, but in certain respects is absolutely correct.

3. The Soul-Making Theodicy according to John Hick: Evil and the God of Love. London 1988 starts from the assumption that the world is a place of 'soul formation', that is, that from the beginning man is a very imperfect being, which he is yet to become in the eyes of God. The likeness to God would be the goal and destination of human life. Of course, this theory assumes the existence of the soul or consciousness after death. The further development of this soul can only take place in a world in which evil and suffering are also possible. If the theodicy of soul-building is correct, then it would even be the intended meaning of suffering in the world. This theory does not rule out multiple lives or reincarnations. Is that what the Bible does somewhere? Interestingly enough, parts of this soul-making theodicy coincide with research results from surgeons, neurologists and psychiatrists who deal with the `death experiences` and` Out-of-body experiences of clinically dead, but successfully resuscitated patients, accident victims or similar.

You can stand for it however you want, but the fact is that these experiences have common aspects regardless of the culture of the narrator, e.g. `Time stretching effects`,` tunnel sensations`, sudden termination of any pain sensation and a deep feeling of peace - even with war victims in Vietnam.

Of course, these sensations could theoretically also be triggered by the body's own drug substances or hallucinogens, but there are several points that speak against it from a scientific point of view:

1. There is no known substance that, like a light switch when experiencing death, suddenly `switches off` the sensation of pain and when resuscitated 'switches on' again.

2. During brain operations that also included an electroencephalogram, no more brain waves were recorded in such patients at the moment of the death experience, and yet the brain must have burned off a veritable firework of sensations at that moment. Why, if everything is turned off, black, dark and switched off anyway? Nature doesn't waste anything else, does it?

3. In the meantime, due to medical advances, there is sufficient evidence that at the moment of death, consciousness really does seem to separate from the body. Several times after the operation, patients were able to describe in detail which instruments the surgeon had used, even though they were often new designs, which even the surgical colleagues were unknown in appearance.


Okay, this was only partly the prologue to this thread. I will also mention two catastrophes and their effects in different times. I still think there is also a connection between the catastrophy of Lissabon in 1755 and "BDSM" until today in this forum, because up to 1755, the Europeans as a whole lived in the "almost-certainty" that there is a caring God who will punish "wrong-doers" and all their possible perversions, that kings are on their thrones because of the will of God and so on.

But the 1st of November 1755 changed almost everything for all European philosophers and in my opinion was also one out of several reasons for the French Revolution which changed the world completely.
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the most famous German writer and poet of his time, was so influenced by the descriptions of this catastrophe he heard in his childhood that he wrote in his autobiography 50 years later he was sad because he could not find any plausible explanatory connection for his childhood’s belief in God and this catastrophe.
  • In any case, the earthquake which caused this catastrophe was probably the most powerful in Europe during the last 1000 years because even far away in Germany and Finland, there were reported unusual tremblings of buildings and motions oft he surfaces of lakes which were suddenly higher at one shore than on the other and no one could explain until the first news from Portugal arrived some time later.
  • Goethe’s quotation here:
  • https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erdbeben_von_Lissabon_1755
  • English description of the catastrophe here:
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1755_Lisbon_earthquake
  • Lisbon was on that morning hit by an „almost perfect natural“ and incredibly planned looking overkill. It was "All-Saints-Day" ...
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints'_Day
  • ... and the churches were full with faithful believers – and Lisbon in those times was still one oft he most religious and richest cities oft he European civilisation – when between 9.40 and 9.50 o'clock the earth shook so much that almost all churches and bigger houses collapsed completely, burying all the people in the churches, killing ten-thousands of inhabitants at once. Others in wooden houses died in the sudden fires which mostly were caused by broken oil lamps and candles. People who managed to get to the big free places at the harbor were hit about half an hour later by a tsunami of about 3 metres height. At least 25.000 people were killed during the first 30 minutes but estimates of all victims go up to more than 100.000 persons during the following 5 days. Ironically enough, the people in the churches were killed but the „Alfama“ hill with Lisbon’s „red-light-district“ where most brothels and lowest classes of Lisbon were situated, was the least damaged hill of Lisbon.
  • The king and his nearest noblesse who survived by pure coincidence because one of his daughters wished to stay over the celebration day in one oft he royal parks outside oft he city - tried to keep order by martial law but there were all kinds of imaginable crimes and also proven cases of cannibalism during the following four weeks.
  • Strange and terrible coincidences made the catastrophe even worse: The „Hospital Real de Todos os Santos“ (= the Royal All-Saints-Hospital) burned down in a short time in a conflagration which killed hundreds of patients whereas the walls of prisons came tumbling down, freeing hundreds of dangerous and mentally insane criminals
  • The reports from Lissabon shocked the whole of Europe and philosophers like Voltaire wrote sad and satirical stories like "Candide" in which they tried to show that statements like the one of the German philosopher Leibniz who said we would be living "in the best of all possible worlds" are complete nonsense.
  • A feeling of uncertainty came across Europe: God might not really exist or mankind does not interest him any more. And if God does not exist, what is the justification of kings to govern their nations rather bad than good? And moreover, if there is no one anymore who will punish crimes after life, why could one not commit any crime - also and especially sexual crimes - one would like to commit?
  • And here, it is interesting that Voltaire was a personal friend of the father of that Marquis de Sade, who must have known Voltaire and also Montesquieu because they were guests in the palace of the noble family of the de Sades, when this man, after whom "Sadism" has its name until today, was also there taking part in or at least hearing the philosophical discussions between his father and Voltaire - but probably taking his own and false conclusions for his own dark sexual desires:
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marquis_de_Sade
  • So, this special catastrophy of 1755 influenced much more of our history up to now and also here in this forum than most of us might think, I would say.


The second catastrophe of which I sometimes have to think about on all Christmas days of 26th December happened on this date 16 years ago. On 26th of December in 2004, I woke up lately because I celebrated with my mother and family the long evening before, switched my radio on at 9 o’clock in the morning because on my favourite radio station of those days, there were usually played the most beautiful love ballads and pop songs during the Christmas holidays. But the first thing I heard were the news that probably for the first time in modern history, a catastrophe had hit half oft he globe and was still not over because giant waves were possibly still crossing the Indian ocean. I really could not believe what I was hearing and seeing the following hours and days.

Compared to other catastrophes, this was the most terrible one not only because of the more than 170.000 Asian victims but even for some European states the worst single catastrophe since WW II because more than 500 Germans - and I knew a friend who lost a relative there - and 500 Swedes died on the 26th of December 2004 in their Christmas holidays in South-East Asia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Indian_Ocean_earthquake_and_tsunami

What I always wondered about is the possibility in warnings before such catastrophes. German news reported from Sri Lanka that many old people, especially women told their families before they had bad dreams in the night before in which their family members were in danger.

Almost all domesticated elephants in Sri Lanka and Thailand were reported to have been tearing at their chains in panic in the night before the tsunami came so that many of their "mahouts" let them run free, watching stunned how the elephants were running up to the nearest hills and mountains, obviously knowing that something would be arriving of which you can only be safer on a higher point in landscape.

Maybe, human beings could more often save their lives if they would have a closer look to their animals and dreams.

But maybe, there are some even stranger kinds of warnings you would not really expect.

For example, on 26th of December, almost all German radio stations were ordered not to play some pop songs or some music which might be regarded as irreverent or impious, for example Spanish, English or German songs about the beauty of holidays on a beach, etc.

But one of them was really one of the most unusual German „surfer songs“ I have ever heard – did you ever hear a German „surfer song“ before (?) - and although I liked it very much before Christmas 2004 and again today, it made and still makes me a bit shiver in my memories because of the rather sad tune, the sound effect like being under water and especially because of the text could partly really be (mis-?)understood as a request for a review on your life short before or in the moment of your death.

Although the music group said later, this song „Die perfekte Welle“ (= The perfect wave) was just made by them for entertainment, it was even for them a strange coincidence that they made it – as far as I know - in the summer of the year 2004 – and I still wonder if this was only and really a strange coincidence or more ... and during the last weeks and months, this song has partly a strange revival because some Germans are still listening to it and thinking about another coincidence because we are also talking in German about the „waves“ of the pandemic.


Text:

Die perfekte Welle – The perfect Wave

Mit jeder Welle kam ein Traum- With every wave came a dream
Träume gehen vorüber - Dreams are passing
Dein Brett ist verstaubt - Your board is dusty
Deine Zweifel schäumen über - Your doubts are overflowing

Hast dein Leben lang gewartet - (You) have waited your whole life
Hast gehofft, dass es sie gibt – (You) hoped it was there
Hast den Glauben fast verloren - Almost lost your faith
Hast dich nicht vom Fleck bewegt - Didn't move from the spot

Jetzt kommt sie langsam auf dich zu - Now she's (= the wave) slowly coming towards you
Das Wasser schlägt dir ins Gesicht - The water hits you in the face
Siehst dein Leben wie ein Film - See your life like in a movie
Du kannst nicht glauben, dass sie bricht - You cannot believe that she (= the wave) is breaking

Das ist die perfekte Welle – This is the perfect wave
Das ist der perfekte Tag - This is the perfect day

Lass dich einfach von ihr tragen - Just let her carry you
Denk am besten gar nicht nach - It's the best not to think about it

Das ist die perfekte Welle
Das ist der perfekte Tag

Es gibt mehr als du weißt - There is more than you will ever know
Es gibt mehr als du sagst - There is more than you (can) say

Stellst dich in den Sturm und schreist: - Standing in the storm and crying:
Ich bin hier, ich bin frei - I am here, I am free
Alles was ich will ist Zeit - all I want is time
Ich bin hier, ich bin frei - I am here, I am free

Deine Hände sind schon taub - Your hands are already numb
Hast Salz in deinen Augen – (You) got salt in your eyes

Zwischen Tränen und Staub - Between tears and dust
Fällt es schwer noch dran zu glauben - It's hard to believe (in anything?)

Hast dein Leben lang gewartet – (You) have waited your life
Hast die Wellen nie gezählt - Never counted the waves

Das ist die perfekte Welle – This is the perfect wave
Das ist der perfekte Tag dafür - This is the perfect day for this
 
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Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the most famous German writer and poet of his time, was so influenced by the descriptions of this catastrophe he heard in his childhood that he wrote in his autobiography 50 years later he was sad because he could not find any plausible explanatory connection for his childhood’s belief in God and this catastrophe.
Interesting to mention Goethe in this context. Goethe was not only a writer and poet, but also a scientist. He was well known for his contributions to geology, during his lifetime. However, he was an adept of the Neptunist theory, claiming that all rocks (including basalt and granite) have been formed by crystallisation or deposition in the oceans. This theory had been abandoned by earth science early in the 19th century. Neverthless, Goethe has been honoured by a mineral named Goethite, an Iron (3) oxyhydroxide, very common in weathered rocks and giving them their brown stain.

. People who managed to get to the big free places at the harbor were hit about half an hour later by a tsunami of about 3 metres height.
Something similar happened in the Messina earthquake of 1908.
 

malins

Stumbling Seeker
a few comments ...
Almost all domesticated elephants in Sri Lanka and Thailand were reported to have been tearing at their chains in panic in the night before the tsunami came so that many of their "mahouts" let them run free,
Elephants in nature use infrasound for long distance communication and can pick up ground vibrations.
So it's entirely plausible that they pick something up that humans can't hear, and react to it ... there need not be anything metaphysical to it.
Low frequency waves can travel very far through the ocean ... even 'normal' sounds of the right frequency can travel and be detected over thousands of km. (submarine surveillance has used this effect).

It's not unimaginable that low frequency waves caused by an undersea earthquake would travel and then cause vibrations in the ground that elephants could pick up. These infrasound waves will of course travel much faster than the tsunami wave itself.
German news reported from Sri Lanka that many old people, especially women told their families before they had bad dreams in the night before in which their family members were in danger.
Similar to reports from the war that exist in many families.

The problem here is ... some number of people will have bad dreams on any given night and mumble something about them the next morning.

Usually everyone forgets about that, it was just a dream.

However if something catastrophic happens during that day or the next ... we'll remember that breakfast mumbling as prophecy...
This kind of sampling/recall bias is very common.

Again however, if there were unconsciously noticed differences in animal behavior patterns, that may have induced some 'uncanny' feelings.

...

On all of the theodicy questions.

It's natural for humans to perceive their world according to assumptions that exist in their mind, which isn't in fact an analytical engine.
Assumptions of causality are pretty hardwired and so are probably (although some people will rail against the notion) assumptions of the existence of social hierarchy and authority.

That a 'big event' might be something done by 'big people' is an easily reached conclusion.

This shows up in different grades ... like the popular notion of attributing the success or failure of some policy exclusively to the president/chancellor/king, blaming things on 'big actors behind the curtains', all the way up to spirits and gods.
(Despite the fact that they are often 'easy choices' of course nevertheless sometimes these assumptions can still be true)

Simpler religious beliefs, in less formally structured societies (say shamanic spirit beliefs) don't trouble themselves much with theoretic considerations about contradictions of omnipotence vs benevolence. Probably the first disciples of Christ didn't either.

If one goes through a formalization and finally scientification of religious beliefs, wanting them to stand up to rigid logical reasoning, or turning vague concepts such as omnipotency into absolutes in the mathematical sense, all these issues arise, and in the end they are more of an opportunity to learn about your own cultural concepts in an introspective manner, than find anything out with certainty about 'God' ...

A lot of people in the West don't consider themselves religious anymore, but often that just means they've detached from a religion that has pretty much formalized itself to death, but the very same patterns of perception are still there, they are just looking for other ways to apply themselves. (Just watch an Extinction Rebellion event and tell me this isn't a religious movement ...)
 

Silent_Water

Governor
a few comments ...

Elephants in nature use infrasound for long distance communication and can pick up ground vibrations.
So it's entirely plausible that they pick something up that humans can't hear, and react to it ... there need not be anything metaphysical to it.
Low frequency waves can travel very far through the ocean ... even 'normal' sounds of the right frequency can travel and be detected over thousands of km. (submarine surveillance has used this effect).

It's not unimaginable that low frequency waves caused by an undersea earthquake would travel and then cause vibrations in the ground that elephants could pick up. These infrasound waves will of course travel much faster than the tsunami wave itself.

Similar to reports from the war that exist in many families.

The problem here is ... some number of people will have bad dreams on any given night and mumble something about them the next morning.

Usually everyone forgets about that, it was just a dream.

However if something catastrophic happens during that day or the next ... we'll remember that breakfast mumbling as prophecy...
This kind of sampling/recall bias is very common.

Again however, if there were unconsciously noticed differences in animal behavior patterns, that may have induced some 'uncanny' feelings.

...
...

Simpler religious beliefs, in less formally structured societies (say shamanic spirit beliefs) don't trouble themselves much with theoretic considerations about contradictions of omnipotence vs benevolence. Probably the first disciples of Christ didn't either.

If one goes through a formalization and finally scientification of religious beliefs, wanting them to stand up to rigid logical reasoning, or turning vague concepts such as omnipotency into absolutes in the mathematical sense, all these issues arise, and in the end they are more of an opportunity to learn about your own cultural concepts in an introspective manner, than find anything out with certainty about 'God' ...

A lot of people in the West don't consider themselves religious anymore, but often that just means they've detached from a religion that has pretty much formalized itself to death, but the very same patterns of perception are still there, they are just looking for other ways to apply themselves. (Just watch an Extinction Rebellion event and tell me this isn't a religious movement ...)

In any case, I think that elephants are one of the most intelligent life forms on Earth - not only because they belong to the "high five" beings which or better "who" recognize themselves easily in a mirror so they obviously must have a self-knowledge and probably a self-consciousness - but simply try to imagine their collective intellectual performance in the night of the 26th of December 2004 hours before the tsunami hit their coasts:
They were hearing an infrasound they most probably never heard before during their life-time in this kind or at least as a sound of this volume. Then they probably must have thought within minutes:
"OK, this sound is very unusual ... but also probably bad, very bad - maybe an earthquake far away, but there is more ... the sound of water ... like the incoming arrival of densed water may sound ... very, very much water ... there must come very very much water from the sea soon ... how can we escape from so much water? We must get out of here as quick as possible ... and then up the hills or into the mountains! Fast! Let us try to tear away or break our chains! Fast!"

When you compare this to the humans on the same day standing at the beaches of Thailand's Phuket or elsewhere, the elephants were obviously faster in thinking about their special perceptions and realizing the danger than all the humans, because the tourists and most of the inhabitants there saw the waves coming back - for the first time in their lifes in such a height and usually did not react until they saw the first ships or vessels capsize some hundred meters away and many of them stll did not believe that this could be a danger for their own lifes.
Compared to the elephants, the most human beings would already have failed from the step 1 "hearing coming water" to step 2 "get away from here to the hills", because they would have doubted this sound to be dangerous enough for their lifes - maybe because of their typical "human" believe in being superior to nature. The elephants had not such intellectual doubts to nature's danger at all.

Concerning precognitive dreams or dreams with synchroneous perceptions of distant events ...
There was a British airplane constructeur who was convinced that he sometimes dreamed parts of the future in advance and he really convinced many of his friends because of his correct predictions. He even wrote some books about that and he even was mentioned by many other famous witers and psychologists of his time, e.g. Jorge Luis Borges, who were especially impressed by his almost scientific attempt of explanations in his book "An Experiment with Time":


Being German and having similar reports from my own family, I do not have any doubts that these kinds of dreams really exist but similar to J.W. Dunne, I am not able at all to explain how the information could have been transmitted.

I remember a German documentation about "Nine-Eleven", when a retired German mother told a German reporter, her son was as a businessman working in one of the Twin Towers and she told her husband in their house in Germany before any news in Germany reported anything from New York: "I just had a flash before my eyes and I saw for a moment our son crying. Our son just died in New York! I feel it! I know it! I have no doubt that something terrible just happened!"
Her husband confirmed to the German TV team, she really said exactly this but he did not believe it until they switched on their TV.

The most famous German example of such dreams is also the reason why the EEG's have been invented and developped.
The German doctor and psychiatrist Hans Berger developped this electroencephalogram because he believed that electricity might be the possibility how the information of his almost deadly accident in 1892 had been transmitted to his sister many kilometers away.


In this Wikipedia-entry, it is said that his sister only had the strong "impression" that something bad had happened to him but in the most German sources it is said that she was having a midday's nap in which she dreamed also several details of his almost deadly accident and she made their father send a telegram to Hans Berger in order to find out if this accident really happened. It really did and Hans Berger tried all his life to find a scientific explanation for the information of his sister who always had a very close relation to her brother for all their lifes.

Therefore, I do not have any doubts that such dreams exist and my personal belief is similar to the explanation attempt of J.W. Dunne.
Time itself is not really a "linear phenomenon" but possibly rather like water in a river and when there is suddenly an obstacle (or a human accident or a human's death?) in the river like a big rock, the water can be stopped for seconds or even flow backwards for a few centimeters until it flows around the rock into the "right" direction again.

Maybe, it is the same case with time and human lifes.
 

Eulalia

Poet Laureate
Staff member
The problem seems to me to lie in the assumption that God is something like a human being. It isn't. I avoid the G-word, but accept the ultimate Reality/ Truth of which the universe is an expression. That Reality isn't identical with the universe, but all I can know of It is the Universe. Our brains have evolved to think in terms of cause and effect, plan and purpose, and very helpful that is to our species. But It has no plan or purpose, It has no need of any plan or purpose, It simply is.

Likewise, our brains have evolved to think in terms of 'good' and 'bad', and very helpful that is to our species, in getting on with each other and with our experience of being human. But 'It' is not 'good', nor is It 'bad', It simply is. From It's point of view, the welfare of any living organism - yes, even a coronavirus cell - is no more nor less significant than the welfare of any human.

And, of course, we know that species come and go, including our own - I hope we don't wipe ourselves out unnecessarily soon, but we won't last for ever. And when we do become extinct, it won't be the end of the world, life will as near as certain go on. But it won't go on for ever, life on Earth will end, the Earth will die, the Sun will die, the galaxy will collapse into a black hole, the universe will (it seems) go on for ever, getting colder and colder but never reaching absolute zero.

The claim the God is love is, I'm sorry to say, the cruellest falsehood ever uttered by a religious leader. Love is a bundle of human emotions and motives, a powerful - but dangerous- mixture. There's no love in the universe, no hatred either, they're just in our human minds - it's up to us to do the loving and try to stop hating.
 

Darkprincess69

High Priestess of Slaanesh
I think that one of the problems that arises from an oversimplification of the nature of "good" vs "evil" is that in many instances, the definitions can be somewhat subjective. As humans, we tend to use the term "good" to mean something that has a net positive benefit to ourselves, whereas "evil" generally denotes that which we don't agree with or that works against our best interests in whatever way that may be.

Nature itself of course is far more ambiguous. The cat is not evil because it kills small rodents - it's just a cat doing what a cat does. Likewise the shark that attacks a swimmer is just following its own instinctive behaviour. I think that our intellectual advancements relative to the beasts of the field has somehow persuaded us that we are different to all other animals whereas in fact the differences are far less that we are often prepared to admit.

So perhaps Pinhead was right after all when he said that "There is no Good. There is no Evil. There is only Flesh"
 

Silent_Water

Governor
So perhaps Pinhead was right after all when he said that "There is no Good. There is no Evil. There is only Flesh"

As usual, I have a - a bit different - different opinion.

1. In German language, there is no real difference between flesh and meat, so I would not like to live having always meals with "only meat = flesh" but without something like bread, vegetables and fruits.
;)

2. In my opinion, there is usually always a sooner or later remarkable difference between good and bad, because no one loves to be beaten up, which is usually regarded as "bad" because this hurts a lot, causes pain and pain ist also regarded as "bad". Such "bad experiences" can simply and additionnally shorten one's life.
OK, here in this forum, we might find some persons with some other personal preferences but even here, these persons who like to be beaten up are probably a minority.
:rolleyes::eek:

3. Finally for today, my problem with my doubts is that I am already doubting my doubts because there are some "mechanisms" in nature, which are not really to be explained by science until today. When Frances Crick & James Watson deduced this double helix structure of the DNA in 1953, one of these both scientists said later several times that he simply cannot imagine how the parts of this elegant-looking double helix could have found together in this combination by pure chance or coincidence because the combination possibilities are more improbable than in any imaginable human lottery, more unlikely than everything he could imagine - but as far as we know until now, only one of these myriads of combinations led to the life as we know it.
He compared it to an explosion after which all parts of the explosion are assembling in correct order to form a new Boeing 747 "Jumbo Jet" and said: "Something like this cannot happen because it is simply and statistically impossible but as we see in life on our planet, it obviously happened although it is absolutely impossible in my opinion!"

We still do not know how such a perfect-looking structure like a DNA double helix or any "natural order" can develop out of "chaos" and it is a contradiction to all of our human experiences in our life-times. In our experience, an explosion is not followed by order out of the explosion's chaos but exactly this seemed to have happened at the beginning of the universe and at the beginning of life.

But how is this possible? We simply do not know - yet !
 

montycrusto

Slave Trader
The first replicating molecules were almost certainly vastly simpler than DNA. In fact you can observe molecular structures replicating themselves all the time, in the formation of snowflakes or salt crystals, and nobody even mentions it. So the apparent complexity of DNA is not a problem to explain; it’s the end product of a very long and largely unseen process which is entirely explicable in natural terms; the “hurricane in a junkyard “ analogy is no good. :rolleyes:
 

Silent_Water

Governor
Aaargh, montycrusto, how could you do that? I just wanted to go to sleep in the awareness that God's angels might protect me in my sleep and now you tell me that my beautiful quotation of the "hurricane in a junkyard" analogy in favor of a possible existence of God "is no good"!

Where is a crying smilie with flying tears into all directions? Don't we have one here? I want it to be placed exactly here: .... !

In any case, I like the "contradictory explanation" of the "Ultimate Boeing 747 gambit" very much:


... but I will keep my doubting of my doubts! At least until tomorrow when I am awake again!
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
I think if you would look closely at DNA, you'll find a lot of useless trash in it. Any B747 designed according to DNA, would never fly, because it would be overweight, full of useless parts and inefficient systems that make it too heavy to take off.

The trick of DNA is that, if in all the trash, something works, it gets preserved. And finally, grouped in genes, these working stuff has created systems that build units in stead of parts. Nevertheless, any keen designer would shake his head when finding out how unsmart our bodily systems are.
 

Silent_Water

Governor
Aaargh again! You are keeping me somehow away from my sleeping at unusual times which I liked so much because I am usually getting up right now in order to start my night shift! (We really do not have a crying smilie in these threads here, correct?!?)

I am afraid, the trash in the DNA might be similar to some trash on our computers. I once deleted a program for video cutting and was surprised that some other programs for video editing suddenly did no more work because of the connections with the deleted program. We should not be so sure that trash is really always trash and some million of years ago, the appendix was really useful for ... hm ... I forgot it some thousand years ago.

There also have now been several incidents at German museums when the cleaning service threw away some pieces of art which were not recognized as "art", so there originated the German saying which is now almost a proverb on its own: "Ist das Kunst oder kann das weg?" (= "Is this art or can we throw it away?")
 

redzen

Assistant executioner
I don't think there is anything aleatory in evolution. Genes know exactly what they are doing. Mutation planed by the genes are called evolution, and the mutations not planed by the genes are called cancer and malformations . It's like you have the german abecedary and try to write a book of 3000 pages by joining letters one to another. The results will be an ininteligible amount of nonsense. To write a book in german you need to know german. With the dna aminoacids is the same.
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
I don't think there is anything aleatory in evolution. Genes know exactly what they are doing. Mutation planed by the genes are called evolution, and the mutations not planed by the genes are called cancer and malformations . It's like you have the german abecedary and try to write a book of 3000 pages by joining letters one to another. The results will be an ininteligible amount of nonsense. To write a book in german you need to know german. With the dna aminoacids is the same.
That's a hindsight viewpoint.
Evolution relies on 'domestication' of diseases, tumors, bodily invaders, external or body made natural poisons, anomalies, which all suddenly and inexpectedly created useful systems, giving their carriers higher survival chances.
 
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