Monday, April 24, 2023

On Abortion Rights, considering the fundamentals.

 


I want to start with the greatest truth humanity has achieved, we are born out of Earth’s processes.  It’s a truth born out of our increasing understanding of human history going back into the dimmest reaches of Earth’s deep time.  Beginning with geology, then biology, then complex biology, then living sensing creatures that created environments and ecology in an ever changing world.  Folds within folds of cumulative harmonic complexity flowing down the cascade of time, rushing into a future inhabited by humans.  


Birth and death is our lot.  It has always been part and parcel of our human condition.  It can’t be moralized out of existence by idealistic extremists who believe “God” is personally speaking with them.


Pregnancy is never a guarantee.  A fetus is a seed, a being, a human potentiality.    Spontaneous natural abortions, miscarriages happen.  A fetus may be a human, but it doesn’t take on the mantle of personhood until those first breaths of life-giving air are infusing its lungs and pumping through its arteries and veins.


It should be significant that the fact of practicing abortions is older than civilizations, with Jewish scripture going into details on the topic, explaining why within particular circumstance abortion is a sad inevitability and that it is okay in the eyes of their God.  (God never promised us a rose garden!)


Beyond that, in a free society, legally speaking, why doesn’t a woman deserve the Right to Self-Defense along with Sovereignty Over Her Own Body?


Pregnancy is a difficult gauntlet, always will be, there will be deaths.  Those deaths aren’t confined to unborn beings, all too often the mother is also at mortal risk.

  

When push comes to shove, a just law would clearly acknowledge that a woman’s life is more precious to her existing family and society than an unborn potentiality.


Another factor all too often forgotten is that facing an abortion situation is nothing any woman (or young girl & her family) ever wants, life thrusts the situation upon her, and it is foremost she, herself, who must continue carrying the consequences of her choices, as others lose interest with the passage of time.


Another unspoken matter is that most often she’s also acting with the best interest of the unborn life within her at heart.  The fetus inside of her will always matter more to herself, than to any moralizing bystanders.  Women should be entrusted above all others, with the responsibility of making their own best informed choices about their own pregnancies.



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Tuesday, April 18, 2023

“Do Religions Start Wars?” - FLC Philosophy Club - April 17, 2023

 For the past couple years I attended some of the Philosophy Club meetings at our local college when I can.  It's interesting and a nice break interacting with college students.  The last meeting provided me with some food for thought and an excuse to work on these ideas some more.  Any feedback would be appreciated.


“Do Religions Start Wars?”  


To me, it's an empty question because it defies resolution since everyone works with their own specific definitions.  


The conversation then drifted into the notion that Religion & Science are both simply faith systems of a different flavor.  The following discussion seemed surprisingly superficial to me, I stayed out of it since it was lively discussion, simply listening, keep my mouth shut for the most part.  Still it's been on my mind



Hello Professor,


May I ask you to consider some observations regarding  the Philosophy Club’s last discussion and to challenge a little.


I couldn’t help but feel that it’s a futile question that defies resolution because everyone works outward from their own specific definitions, and our discussions devolved into a parade of “sure, but …,” talk for talk, little that was constructive enough for anyone to do anything with.

Then the conversation drifted into the notion that Religion & Science are both simply faith systems of a different flavor.

That discussion remained surprisingly superficial while the core of the matter was avoided all together.

You may ask: What ‘core of the matter’?   Appreciating our human consciousness and its limits.


As I’ve been chewing on that meeting I got to thinking about an off hand comment one of your club officers made about me possibly actually leading one of the meeting discussions.

I’ve been thinking about it and would like to ask for your consider -  please invite me to speak at one of next year’s FLC Philosophy Club meetings.


I believe there’s plenty here to fill an hour and a half with challenging and constructive (timely and relevant) discussion.

Below I offer an outline of the substance of such a talk.


Thank you for your consideration,


Peter Miesler

970-769-9400


===========================================================================

Outline for a presentation to the FLC Philosophy Club meeting.



“Religion & Science, are both simply Faith Systems of a Different Flavor?”


I would suggest that the most constructive way to come at this challenge is from an Evolutionary perspective, one that begins with a better appreciation our own minds, the wellspring of all our thoughts.



“Who Are You?”


If you asked me that, I’d respond: “Most fundamentally I am an evolved biological sensing creature.  My mind is the product of my body, and my body is a product of this Earth’s Evolution.  A self-aware filament in Earth’s ongoing Evolution.”  


Why is that important?


Because only from an Evolutionary Perspective can we fully appreciate human consciousness in a way that truly helps us recognize the contrast between the pursuit of Science and faith in Religion.


The key insight is a deep time appreciation for the Human Mind ~ Physical Reality divide.


Physical Reality is the physical world of atoms, molecules, universal laws of physics, biology and Earth’s laws of nature.  It is Earth’s dance between geology and biology and time and Earth's evolving creatures. 

Human “Mindscape" is all that goes on inside of our minds.  The landscape of our thoughts and desires and impulses along with those various voices and personalities who inhabit our thoughts and Being.  The ineffable notions that our hands can turn into physical reality that changes our planet.  

The me, myself and I, and all that unfolds within the thoughts just beyond the biological sparks and chemical cascades unfolding within our physical bodies and brains as they navigate their environments.


Once we have a visceral appreciation for the fact that my physical body creates my mind, it becomes clear that both science and religion are products of our minds dealing with the physical reality each of us is imbedded within.  Two projects with two very different natures.


Science seeks to objectively learn about our physical world, but we ought to still recognize all our understanding is embedded within and constrained by our mindscape and the bubble our personal ego creates. 

Religion is all about the human mindscape itself, with its wonderful struggles, fears, spiritual undercurrents, needs and stories we create to give our live’s meaning and make it worth living, or at least bearable. 

What’s the point? 

Religions, science, same as political beliefs, heaven, hell, mathematics, art, music, even God, they are all products of the human mindscape, generations of imaginings built upon previous generations of imaginings, all the way down.

That's not to say they are the same thing, they are not!  Though I think they're both valid human endeavors, still fundamentally, qualitatively different.


Religion deals with the inside of our minds, passion and souls, Science does its best to objectively understand the physical world beyond all that, doing its best to eliminate ego and bias from its deliberations.

From this starting point a much more constructive conversation about the many substantive contrasts between religion and science becomes possible.


__________________________________________


From there I’d move onto tackling the Faith question with an invitation for critique that would go something like the following copy of a flier I’ve offered up at a couple Philosophy Club meetings already.

With a half year or more to think on it, it will be more refined and I’d happily share my notes ahead of time.



I’m looking for serious critique and feedback.  This past December I finally had a teaser, but it begged a question that still hasn’t received a response, despite my further inquiries.  

So, I’m hoping someone might be willing to step up and give it a shot.


I was told:

“Your essays consistently make conceptual confusions; the ego-God piece is a good example of this confusion.  

In that piece, you waffle back and forth between having the word ‘God’ refer to a heavenly creator and having it refer to the CONCEPT of such a creator.  

Example: frogs are amphibians, but the concept of ‘frog’ is not an amphibian.  It’s a concept that we use to think about the world.” *


I responded: 

Now you confuse me.

Where specifically do you see this waffling?

I started out with “God” in scare quotes, the first sentence reads:

Who is “God” but a creation of our unique complex human minds dealing with our day to days? 

Later I write:

Humans are the product of our Earth, God is the product of our human mind.  

It’s why our conceptions of God always wind up being driven by our own Egos, not by any outside force.  

Nothing wrong with that, if only we could bring ourselves to explicitly recognize it for what it is, our mind striving to reconcile itself with the unknowable.


The critique continued:

“It’s obvious that humans created the CONCEPT of God, 

and equally obvious that humans couldn’t create the BEING God.   But your essay confuses the two.”


I found this shocking.  After getting my bearing I asked:

I know of Beings and I know of Things and both can be observed in one way or another.  If they can’t, I'm told they are figments of my imagination.

How can something that’s never been observed on any level (beyond the human heart & mind) be categorized as a BEING of physical reality?  Even the super mystery of “Dark Matter” has evidence pointing at its existence.

How do philosophers justify referring to something as a BEING if it can’t be demonstrated in any way beyond imaginative intellectual arguments and human desire?

How does an Assumption get transubstantiated into a BEING?

* As for that analogy, it brings this discussion back to my essays which strive to highlight the need to explicitly appreciate the “Human Mindscape ~ Physical Reality divide.”  (Though that’s a different discussion I’m hoping to have with the curious.)

I’m hoping for someone who's willing to explain what they think I’m missing here?

============================================

===========================================================

===================================================

My response reads:

“Thanks for this offer.  The Philosophy Club is student-run, and, as such, the students select all of the topics and speakers.  I’ll be sure to raise your offer with them when we gather in the fall to set the schedule for the academic year.


Best, …”


__________________________________________________________________


The Lane ©citizenschallenge

posted the above at CenterForInquiry an online forum I'm a regular participant at.  I'm sharing the following comment since it gave me a chance to further explore these ideas.

write4u:

citizenschallengev4:

“From this starting point, a much more constructive conversation about the differences between religion and science becomes possible.”

I doubt that.
Religions are exclusive belief systems, each claiming divine truth.

Therefore there can never be consensus
and if religions exist side by side it is due to “tolerance” not consensus.
Differences are bound to create problems of “tolerant acceptance”.


__________________________________________________________________


Okay, sure, religions are “exclusive belief systems.” but that’s beside the point here.
Sure religions simply tolerate other religions and conversions are rare, but that’s irrelevant to the point I’m trying to make.

Where did I bring up consensus?
Consensus on what specifically?


citizenschallengev4:

Religion deals with the inside of our minds, hearts and souls,
Science does its best to objectively understand the physical world beyond all that, doing its best to eliminate ego and bias from of its deliberations…


Humans participate in both endeavors, scientific, religious, that’s simply how it is.

The challenge is to understand on a human level what makes science so uniquely different from religion and other human endeavors arts, music, etc.
Tackling that requires understanding that science is a set of rules dedicated to understanding the physical world around us, the world we can measure, record and study as objectively (that is, honestly) as possible.

From there, it’s time to consider the so-called Brain/Mind Problem and the self evident fact that our human mind is qualitatively unique. Our minds are the product of physical biological processes, yet they are one step beyond. Which is why the problem of where our internal voices come from, and who they “really are”, is important.

“Who am I?” It has teased the human intellect since we became self aware. It was our human mind that invented Gods, to answer those nagging questions and placate fears.

It’s teased me all my days. After decades of chewing on it, a few years back I had a little epiphany, (that is a thought that makes a physical and lasting impact on my being and awareness.) An awareness that my thoughts are the product of my body and brain, interacting with this physical world that surrounds me, yet that was all separate from my mind. As for my mind my consciousness, that was a mere fleeting spark.

From there it was easy to formulate: “Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide” and I believe the insight is a first base prerequisite for better understanding human consciousness and why we behave as we do.

All this matters because fact is, all we think and know gets processed through our individual body/brain and mind. Ergo even God is a product of our mind, driven by our body and soul.

As is science. That’s important to come to grips with. Now we’re in a better position to think about the difference between science and religion, which is all I’m commenting on. Religion is dedicated to people and our dreams and stories, that’s why I say religion is all about our human mindscape.

Whereas, what makes science different is that science is a universal set of rule for objectively studying physical reality as objectively and honestly as possible. These rules and the language of science is so clear that anyone who takes the time and effort to learn the rules and methods and language of science can contribute from anywhere in the world.


__________________________________________________________________


Center for Inquiry


I could see that, still the dam breaking change that needs to be realized is that our Gods came from within the human creature!  God does not come down from Out There, where ever that might be.  God is a byproduct of our own human evolution.

Once we, collectively process that, all sorts of constructive changes would be possible.



Tuesday, April 11, 2023

“Unless we are changing minds we are losing.”

Over at CenterForInquire discussion forum I've found myself using the line, “Unless we are changing minds we are losing,” often enough that it's received a little push back.  Since it's a nice summary of where I'm at currently I want to repost my thoughts over here. 


"Unless We Are Changing Minds We Are Losing"

What does that even mean?

Basically, it’s an observation of the obvious.

Unless we are enticing people to reevaluate their own assumptions, we are going to continue propagating the same escalating mistakes, leading to yet more of the destruction humans are so famous for.

For the most part people haven’t a clue what’s going on in the greater world around them, it simply doesn’t matter to them. That state of mind needs to change before any constructive changes are possible.

A desire for fact based understanding that’s rational enough to accept new data, recognize and own mistakes, and to learn from those mistakes.


My personal litany would look something like this, of course others have their own perspective, and theoretically in the end we balance each other out, at least in a healthy pluralistic society it would look like that.

A deeper appreciation for the seasons and flow of Earth’s deep time and our evolutionary roots.

The need for a deep down profound appreciation for the Human Mindscape ~ Physical Reality divide, and its cascading implications.

A deeper appreciation of the fact that we are evolved biological animals, kin to all other creatures that ever lived upon this planet.

The fact that it’s Earth that created us,
and we who create our gods.

Challenge Jesus the “Savior” with the appreciation for Jesus the prophet (and life coach).

Enrich our imaginations with the appreciation that the Bible is a creation of our own human drama, processed through our own hearts, minds, & souls.

Enunciate a woman’s Right to Self Defense, and sovereignty over her own body.

Acknowledge that sad truth that, when push comes to shove, a woman’s life is more important than the unborn Potential Person forming within her.

A living fetus, that is a human potentiality, takes on the mantel of personhood during its first breaths of life.

Abortion and earlier infanticide are sad but unavoidable facts of human history.

Seriously confronting our climate & resources problems requires an internal appreciation that we must learn to accept doing with less.

We can’t fool mother nature.  

But that’s me, what about others? Here’s where my suggestion for a
Democratic Party Online Discussion Forum. comes into play.  :wink:

Unfortunately seems like less and less people are into discussing ideas, so there’s that.

I did notice today that some poll finally showed trump’s 35% diehards has cracked, and slipped to 25% - that’s big & promising, if true, that’s why it’s double important for Democrats to try doubly hard to engage with right wing citizens who’ve been fed way too much KoolAid.

Their state of mind literally is the product of strategic brainwashing and we ought to try confronting that with a certain degree of compassion. Even as some of their ideas are absolutely reprehensible and objectionable and destructive.

=================================

Democratic Party Online Discussion Forum

==================================

Comment to the above

L.:

I think the lists of beliefs are out there.


It’s not about the lists, it’s about people actually discussing them.

L.:

I don’t like political platforms for the reason that it can appear I support the whole platform because I voted for one person. That’s why I emphasize getting to know people who think differently, and growing some mutual respect, then listening can begin, and change can happen.


We can’t ignore that the political system rules our lives on many levels, because it isn’t perfect or neat enough for polite company is a poor excuse to abandon and ignore it.

I’m all for all the nice discussion groups you can form, nothing wrong with that, except that it simply isn’t enough.

Heck the formula is as simple and straight forward as making compost*, nothing has changed in ages: A healthy democracy demands an informed and engaged electorate.

The Democratic Party needs to grow cohesion within the Democratic Party, every bit as much as it needs to figure out how to reach out and better explain themselves.  That's why I think a Democratic Party Discussion Forum would be a great place to inform, network, build ideas, reengage the grassroots roots and so on.  


Democratic Party Discussion Forum - think about it.

=======================================================================

(~40%green, ~40%brown, ~20%food stuff - keep moist, aerate)


Says the proud owner of a beautiful compost harvest.




Sunday, October 23, 2022

Earth Centrism - A Student's Bibliographic Resource - (2/2)

Appreciating Earth’s Evolutionary Pageant and Our Animal Nature

Students Resource Bibliography

©2022 Citizenschallenge

The previous post is my summary of an “Earth Centrist” outlook on life and our human condition, a perspective that acknowledges Earth as our fundamental touchstone with reality.  

This Earth Centrist's perspective can’t be attained by reading a description of it - unless it already resonates within you thanks to your own previous inquiry and inclination.  That's because each of us must engage in our own learning effort.  

That is, living your moment and doing the homework and drawing your own conclusions from the evidence you’ve been able to gather.  Your deeper understanding emerges out of your own efforts. 

Since I’m no scholar, I’ve done my learning by way of some wonderful science communicators, mostly real scientists giving lectures via YouTube along with writing articles and books, with a few talented writers and science documentarians in the mix.   

I’ve put together a bibliographic list of my favorites, and of course, it's geared to the intelligent high schooler or early college student, and for other informed enthusiasts such as myself.  It follows a natural progression from matter forming followed by mineral evolution & our planet evolving a "global heat and moisture distribution engine," to geology and biology combining forces, on to the mysteries of complex dynamic living creatures.  Then on to the greatest show on Earth with life's collective consciousness spectrum.  

Since my bandwidth is limited by my crowded day to days filled with other obligations, I'm sure I’m missing many awesome gems.  So please do share should you believe you know of some presentations worth adding to this collection.

Featuring:  Sean Carrol, NOVA/NASA, Robert Hazen, Robert RohdeRichard AlleyNick Lane, David QualmenCarl Woese, Lynn Margulis, Tsutomu Wantanabe, Angela Hessler, Svante Pääbo, Mark Solms, Antonio Damasio, Susan Greenfield, Jim Al-Khalili.  Finishing with introductions to David Attenborough’s incomparable tour of the evolution of Earth’s living creatures: "Life on Earth", and James L. Sadd’s wonderful introduction to the fundamentals of geology: "Earth Revealed."

I've found my first addition to this list in an amazing lecture by Mike Levin"Non-neural, developmental bio-electricity as a precursor for cognition" it adds a new dimension of insights into the evolution of consciousness and mind, that fits right into my overall theme of Earth's pageant of evolution. 
Another must addition to this list, was written by professor and historian of science and technology James Poskett: "Horizons: The Origins of Modern Science.  In it Poskett "recasts the history of science, uncovering the vital contributions of scientists the world over to what is truly a global story."  The first couple chapters are down right thrilling, with the book then settling into an enthralling exposition of facts and enlightening surprises.  A must read, if the history of human curiosity and development of science is your thing.

© 2022 Citizenschallenge

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Introducing A New Philosophical Perspective: Earth Centrism (1/2)

 Inviting Intelligent Critique & Constructive Challenges:

Introducing a New Philosophical Perspective.

Peter Miesler, September 2022

Founded on a life time of learning through the findings of scientists.

Earth Centrism

Because Earth is our ultimate touchstone with reality and ourselves.


This insight leads to a realization that, for this complex living Earth that we experience, to exist at all, is proof positive that our Earth evolved down one particular pathway, no matter what we people imagine one way or the other. 

Ours is to figure it out and appreciate - not to presume to define it!

We appreciate that we are evolved biological creatures born of Earth’s processes, as expressed through its singular Evolutionary Pageant.

We appreciate the profound divide between physical reality, that is matter, biology, laws of nature, on the one hand, and on the other, our thoughts unfolding within our amazing minds, (or more descriptively, within the realm of our “human mindscape").  

We appreciate that fundamentally, awareness and life’s “consciousness spectrum” started over a couple billion years ago with the invention, then prospering, of the unbelievably complex organization of Eukaryote cells (some suggest guided by microtubules).  

Consider that in due time these cells created colonies of cells that demonstrated a sense of place and order and purpose or the organism would have dissolved into a chaotic blob.  Increasingly complex creatures depended, at every step, on increasing awareness, sensing, data processing, physical systems growth & maintenance, internal communication along with improving and refining manipulatory abilities.   

By and by, along came one particular clade the eutherians, small nocturnal insect eaters who gave birth to the class of mammalian animals, which begat the primates, which begat hominids, which begat our modern humankind species. 

Every stage required new refinements and developments within the complex sensing/body/brain system and the mind they collectively produce - refinements that are dependent on previous refinements and lessons.  Your Being is the sum total of all the days of Evolution that went into producing the human form you possess and live through, while your mind reflects the sum total of all the days you’ve lived and experienced.

I believe a genuine understanding of oneself starts with the realization that we are an evolved biological sensing creature, and that our consciousness is fundamentally the inside reflection of your body/brain dealing with itself and the environment/circumstance it is embedded within.  

This understanding leads to another inevitable realization, namely that our “Gods” are in truth creations of our minds, tailored by our self-serving egos. Which is okay, if one doesn’t take their God, or themselves, too seriously. 

 

“I Am, therefore I Think”

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Dear Democratic Party (callers) . . .

 I'm frustrated by the vapidness of the many political phone calls, texts and emails I receive everyday.  One after another, basic boilerplate donation pitch, too often with a shrill attention grabbing headline. Precious little interest in anyone's interests, beyond what can you donate, envelop licking, being sent door to door with Pollyannaish literature.  Can't do that stuff anymore, but I do have something to offer.  

Democrats need to get better informed and engaged - that means using every resource available, and that should include starting a Online Democratic Party Discussion Forum where people can share their ideas and network, educate, nurture enthusiasm, engage your grassroots.  If we aren't changing minds we are losing.  

I'm writing this post so that I have a URL to share with future texts and such.

FEBRUARY 10, 2022

Democratic Party Online Discussion Forum


Googling, “Why are Democrats losing voters?” reveals that voters who care are feeling so disenfranchised by the Democratic Party that they are turning off in droves. 


This, during a year that should have every Democracy loving American energized and looking for how they can best participate in the coming election, it’s frightening.

After all, more than anything this election will be about the future of open and fair elections in the USA. Beyond that, it’s going to be a national referendum between the importance of honesty and truth in America’s public dialogue vs. a descent into anger driven anarchy. No exaggeration, simply pay attention to how the Republican Party has been engaging in every imaginable dirty trick to stymie future election participation and voting legitimacy.

Successful politicians require strong, informed, proactive support at their backs if they are to lead, yet the DNC seems to be doing little to nurture that sort of buy-in from their grassroots. Why?

Monday, April 11, 2022

Meaningful Insights Along the Way

Nearing my 67th birthday, I decided to collect some of the fundamental concepts of Earth and living that I've picked up along the way, and I'd like to share.  Here goes.

©citizenschallenge, 2021
    • Appreciating the Human Mindscape ~ Physical Reality divide
    • I am a self-aware introspective element in the Pageant of Evolution
    • We create our Gods from within ourselves
    • We cannot understand an organism, or system for that matter, without understanding its environment
    • Consciousness is the inside reflection of our body, interacting with itself, along with the environment and circumstance it's embedded within
    • An appreciation for Deep Time, billions of years worth, and Earth, the dance of geology & biology unfolding one day at a time, and that it produced me, along with many other wonders
    • There is no Body-Mind Problem, it is in actuality an Ego-God Problem
    • My body has taken better care of me, than I have of it
    • Consciousness is the product of Earth's biology, of interacting, of living, when we die, consciousness ceases, all that awaits us is the deep dark eternal sleep from which none awake, and it is good
    • Yes, it is good, live your blessed moment while you have it to live
    • Our after-life unfolds within the hearts and minds of others, and it is good
    • We need each other to keep ourselves honest.
©citizenschallenge

What am I missing, any suggestions?

Who am I you may ask.

©citizenschallenge

An Earth Centrist

Best Wishes, Cc