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Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic? 
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 Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?

Please use this thread to discuss the above chapter.



Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:01 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
Hey, what's the time period for this discussion?


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Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:19 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
May, June, July



Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:37 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
For future reference it says the time for all book discussions in 3 different places:

1. Home page - in the "Current Book Discussions" block at the top of the page. http://www.BookTalk.org
2. On the BOOKS page under each book - books.html
3. On the main FORUMS page in the forum description for each book - forum.html

For this book...

Book #120: May, June & July 2013



Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:42 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
I don't mean to intrude, but these questions got me thinking:

If the "scientific" hypothesis (cause we ARE talking SCIENCE here) The Multiverse" turns out to be true (there's no way known as of yet, to prove this hypotesis)
the question "what is reality" would actually be impossible to answer because:

1) There would be an infinite amount of universes.

2) with an infinite amount of Me's and you's existing in those universes.

3) Making an infinite amount of decisions that are different than the ones you made in this universe

4) And one of those universes, God would indeed exist. Who knows, it may be this universe he exists in.


What is "Magic"

Look at Clarks 3 Laws, in particular, the last one:

Quote:
Clarke's Three Laws are three "laws" of prediction formulated by the British writer Arthur C. Clarke. They are:

1) When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

2) The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

3) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.


If a supreme being exists in this universe (one among countless others) said Being's technology would be so freaking advanced, advanced in ways we couldn't possibly imagine, it would be indistinguishable from "magic."

Realizing this, maybe we AREN'T so wrong when we refer to some aspects of nature as Magic. I mean, we wouldn't be able to tell, right?
We don't want to say "it's impossible."
Maybe one day what we thought impossible actually was/is in fact possible and or highly probable!



Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:58 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
Reminds me of Arthur C. Clarke's famous statement, to the effect that any sufficiently advanced technology is the equivalent of magic. Certainly true in my case, since if humanity had to rely on the level of ability I have to innovate technology, well, I'd be scratching this in the dirt. In any event, Dawkins uses the popular sense of "magic" in his title, just as he used the popular, non-technical sense of "delusion." As for "reality," he hopes to get this by also, I'm sure, without having to debate epistemology.



Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:24 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
Should be an interesting read. I will say that Dawkins haters should sit this one out unless they actually want to read the book and participate in the discussion. Just saying.


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Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:38 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
geo wrote:
Should be an interesting read. I will say that Dawkins haters should sit this one out unless they actually want to read the book and participate in the discussion. Just saying.

I agree, geo. At one point, you might recall, I thought that welcoming all comers to a discussion would show a spirit of openness to divergent ideas. It does that, but when the participants are poles apart or someone has a lot of animus against the subject or author right off the bat, the discussion isn't satisfying for anyone.



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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
DWill wrote:
geo wrote:
Should be an interesting read. I will say that Dawkins haters should sit this one out unless they actually want to read the book and participate in the discussion. Just saying.

I agree, geo. At one point, you might recall, I thought that welcoming all comers to a discussion would show a spirit of openness to divergent ideas. It does that, but when the participants are poles apart or someone has a lot of animus against the subject or author right off the bat, the discussion isn't satisfying for anyone.


Actually, it should be interesting to see if Dawkins has an obvious agenda in this book which was written for a younger audience. Is he trying to indoctrinate children into a scientific worldview? (And by the way, I think it's perfectly okay if he is.) But I think he's probably very careful in his approach not to show an anti-religion slant. For example, "God" isn't in the index at all. Dawkins wisely steers clear of that topic.

If memory serves, we had an anti-Dawkins contingent when we discussed THE SELFISH GENE. I don't mind people chiming in even if they're not reading along unless they're just ranting about Dawkins. This should be a discussion about the book. I don't want to see the conversation degenerate because someone has a Dawkins-sized chip on his shoulder.


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Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:53 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
I'll respond here because these comments are obviously being directed at me.
I'll hold back no punches in my response. Don't read on if you're not going to be able to take it.

I think it's stupid and childish of BT's core science and religion group to respond to criticism of some of what Richard Dawkins writes and says in the manner they are.
It's a myopic dullard that makes the error of identifying criticism with total disagreement.
It's also stupid to not accept the fact that a person can suspend judgement about things or ideas that await further research, data, discussion, or anything else that will shed more light on a matter.

There's a difference between knowledge and mere personal opinion. Although I do agree with Dawkins explanations of biological evolution and am not an enemy of the theory of evolution OR the teaching of evolution in our schools, I am able to distinguish between statements of fact, sharing of knowledge, and expressions of opinion.
Dawkins is a fine zoologist. (perhaps there's nothing particularly brilliant about his practice of science). But he's unquestionably a superior rhetorician than a pure practicing scientist. His primary work is the dissemination of his philosophical views about the nature of science. His books are chalk-full of OPINIONS. Atheists, particularly militant new atheists either have a huge blind spot that keeps them from seeing this or they're just not very bright.
I'd say it's a combination of the two.

I'm not a "fan" of Richard Dawkins. If anyone has been convinced of that, they're correct.
I admire his work as a scientist and actually enjoy his writing style. He's without question one of the best that has ever put a pen to paper (in my opinion) with the layman in mind. If it weren't for talented authors like him a lot of us non technical people wouldn't have the opportunity to appreciate the wonderful practice of science.
But am I a "fan" that cheers Dawkins on whenever he says something or writes a book?
Do I use anything he's said or wrote to "spike the ball" in a believers face or to put some points on the board for my team? Then no, I'm not a fan in this idiotic, hooligan sense.

Finally, you'd have to be some kind of self deified intellectual know-it-all to make the claim that indoctrination of ANY KIND is a good thing. That's precisely the unspoken attitude of most of today's college professors. I can't tell you how many bright college kids I've known who tell me their professors will take any opportunity they have in class to turn a moment or two into a sermon of some kind or other. Most of it is anti religious bigotry. Only a fascist biped would do this to children.

Most of you here are really nothing but infants who are interested in nothing more than point scoring.
You aren't really bridge builders. You're more Exclusionists than you are knowledge loving individuals.
We need more bridge builders who reach out to the diversity that makes each person who they are.

Stop being infantile assholes.
If you really want an echo chamber just say so. I'd respect that cowardly request more than I would this childish nonsense.



Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:52 am
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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
ant wrote:
Stop being infantile assholes.
If you really want an echo chamber just say so. I'd respect that cowardly request more than I would this childish nonsense.


Yeah, it was addressed to you. Go back and read the thread about the Dawkins video where he discusses our concept of the "first" humans. That's the kind of bullshit I want to avoid if I'm going to participate in a discussion of this book. Simple as that. I've seen too many discussions go down in burning flames due to just that kind of bullcrap.

Actually, I would welcome anyone to the discussion as long as they're actually reading the book and addressing the ideas as presented in the book. That's all I ask. This was merely a preemptive shot across the bow.

Anyway, I probably overstated my case. THE MAGIC OF REALITY looks fairly tame.


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Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:24 am
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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
geo wrote:
ant wrote:
Stop being infantile assholes.
If you really want an echo chamber just say so. I'd respect that cowardly request more than I would this childish nonsense.


Yeah, it was addressed to you. Go back and read the thread about the Dawkins video where he discusses our concept of the "first" humans. That's the kind of bullshit I want to avoid if I'm going to participate in a discussion of this book. Simple as that. I've seen too many discussions go down in burning flames due to just that kind of bullcrap.

Actually, I would welcome anyone to the discussion as long as they're actually reading the book and addressing the ideas as presented in the book. That's all I ask. This was merely a preemptive shot across the bow.

Anyway, I probably overstated my case. THE MAGIC OF REALITY looks fairly tame.



Yeah, let's tamely indoctrinate someone.
That will be the goal for today.

Evolution is a historical interpretation based on evidence that leads to reasonable conclusions that are beyond a reasonable doubt.
No one said in the thread you mentioned that the first human was Adam, and after that, Eve.
What was mentioned was the incompleteness of the fossil record as it pertains to homo sapiens, and as a result, we do not have a clear and uncontested record of a homo sapien once being a fish. That's all that was stated.
It wasn't a religious assertion. It wasn't an attempt to blast Dawkins' ancestors out of salty waters.
It was a statement of fact that tied some people's underwear into knots.



Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:34 am
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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
As for the title of THE MAGIC OF REALITY . . .

I've read enough Dawkins to know how he's probably asserting that the world is awesome and magical as it really is. We don't have to resort to make believe supernatural explanations to see that. Indeed, the supernatural explanations are a poor substitute for the real thing. For example, look at the evidence for Pangaea, the recognition and later the scientific evidence for tectonic plates. Amazing story.

So when I say it's perfectly okay to indoctrinate children, I only mean it's okay to indoctrinate children into a more honest and truthful view of the world based on science. Indoctrinating children into the Pat Robertson or Billy Graham mode of ignorance is always morally wrong. Dawkins is convinced that through science is how we discover what's really true about the world. Thus, it's his moral imperative to share this view with children.


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Last edited by geo on Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:41 am
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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
ant wrote:
Yeah, let's tamely indoctrinate someone.
That will be the goal for today.

Evolution is a historical interpretation based on evidence that leads to reasonable conclusions that are beyond a reasonable doubt.
No one said in the thread you mentioned that the first human was Adam, and after that, Eve.
What was mentioned was the incompleteness of the fossil record as it pertains to homo sapiens, and as a result, we do not have a clear and uncontested record of a homo sapien once being a fish. That's all that was stated.
It wasn't a religious assertion. It wasn't an attempt to blast Dawkins' ancestors out of salty waters.
It was a statement of fact that tied some people's underwear into knots.


You state your position well here and I congratulate you for that. But in the previous thread, your position was anything but clear. In that thread, your tone was hostile and condescending without making a coherent argument. I would suggest you think about what you're trying to say before posting it. I believe part of the problem is that you post from your iPhone, so you you send off a sort of knee-jerk response without giving yourself time to think it through. We all do that to some extent, but posting from an iPhone is probably never going to be ideal in that respect.


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Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:52 am
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Post Re: Ch. 1: What is reality? What is magic?
Quote:
I only mean it's okay to indoctrinate children into a more honest and truthful view of the world based on science. Indoctrinating children into the Pat Robertson or Billy Graham mode of ignorance is always morally wrong. Dawkins is convinced that through science is how we discover what's really true about the world. Thus, it's his moral imperative to share this view with children.


You're talking about the extreme here.
Who here has made the claim that children in school should also be exposed to Pat Robertson or Billy Graham?
You aren't really being a champion against that type of indoctrination here.

What's really true about the natural world? Yes. We have many WORKING HYPOTHESIS in action about the natural world, don't we?
Would you like to define "working hypothesis" for us here before or after you speak of truth?
That would be intellectually honest of you and a teacher.

Would you also like to share with us that science exists within history, and if history is the best prognosticator we know of, history tells us that science too is an evolutionary process. It has changed much and is constantly experiencing change, up to and including the present. It is a difficult thing to establish Truth with a cap "T" in that context.
We just don't cheer science on against its enemies and orgasmically scream - "WE KNOW TRUTH AND YOU DON'T"



Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:56 am
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