God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby sayak » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:25 am

I do not think that my life is a destination to somewhere. The experiences and activities in life are the ends themselves, and they are not for some other purpose geared at some mythical destination beyond it. So if its a ship, its not a ferry ship but a river cruise.
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby mitchellmckain » Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:55 am

sayak wrote:I do not think that my life is a destination to somewhere. The experiences and activities in life are the ends themselves, and they are not for some other purpose geared at some mythical destination beyond it. So if its a ship, its not a ferry ship but a river cruise.

That was part of what I was thinking when I asked about the size of the ship. I too reject the idea that our individual lives are mapped out. And the destination of a ship for everyone may just be to get to the other side where a vast continent awaits.
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby Aaron » Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:08 pm

sayak wrote:I do not think that my life is a destination to somewhere. The experiences and activities in life are the ends themselves, and they are not for some other purpose geared at some mythical destination beyond it. So if its a ship, its not a ferry ship but a river cruise.

If nothing else we're probably destined to have sorrow, probably destined to have pain, and highly likely we're destined to die.
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby sayak » Sun Dec 06, 2015 2:26 pm

Aaron wrote:
sayak wrote:I do not think that my life is a destination to somewhere. The experiences and activities in life are the ends themselves, and they are not for some other purpose geared at some mythical destination beyond it. So if its a ship, its not a ferry ship but a river cruise.

If nothing else we're probably destined to have sorrow, probably destined to have pain, and highly likely we're destined to die.


The word destination means that that place is more significant than others. Death is simply the end point of experience, it does not have any added significance over other moments of experience. Similarly some experiential moments contain sorrow and pain, other happiness and bliss etc. The differing qualia infusing the various moments are insufficient to make one moment more significant than another.
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby Aaron » Sun Dec 06, 2015 2:48 pm

sayak wrote:The word destination means that that place is more significant than others. Death is simply the end point of experience, it does not have any added significance over other moments of experience. Similarly some experiential moments contain sorrow and pain, other happiness and bliss etc. The differing qualia infusing the various moments are insufficient to make one moment more significant than another.

I had it we are destined for the grave instead of destined to die, but I changed it for the alliterary quality and because I do think there is value in acknowledging our limited time here on earth, it is not our destiny to live here forever.
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby mitchellmckain » Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:22 pm

sayak wrote:I do not think that my life is a destination to somewhere. The experiences and activities in life are the ends themselves, and they are not for some other purpose geared at some mythical destination beyond it. So if its a ship, its not a ferry ship but a river cruise.


I read this a second time and what I got out of it was completely different... So I think I must try again.

I can well imagine that some people are like animals and life without any kind of goals or consciousness of the future. But this is certainly not true of mankind in general. If as I suggested, we living things are capable of determining our own purpose in life then nothing at all is certainly one of the possibilities. But I think what is particularly unique of humans more than any other living thing is that we are, at least potentially, creators. Certainly many never realize this potential but for those who do create, they cannot imagine the point of living without it. Creators of sorts -- artists, writers, builder, teachers, scientists, etc. -- do not just live in the moment for its own sake -- it is always part of creative process which certainly is not just for its own sake but for what they create.

Ok, so you may concede the teleological nature of the creative life but encapsulate it within birth and the grave to say the whole is for its own sake and nothing else. Except that creators are also generally innovators. Why? Why not just create the same damn things people have created before? Perhaps we would if it really was for its own sake and nothing else. But it is not. Creators usually see themselves and one step in a creative process which transcends just themselves building toward greater creations in the future. And in that case it is NOT just for its own sake and it certainly IS going somewhere!

So I am afraid, I am just not buying what your are suggesting. Ok, so you are an atheist and you believe at the end of your life nothing of you survives except perhaps in what you have created or contributed to. You are welcome to such an opinion. But even in you are right about that, and of course I don't think so, life still goes on and the analogy of the ship still applies to mankind as a whole. Of course, if people continue to treat their life as nothing but an end in itself with no thought of the future then it is quite possible the ship of mankind isn't going to make it very far at all let alone to a destination.
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby mitchellmckain » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:05 pm

I HATE the removal of the ability to edit!!! To edit the above I have re-post it

sayak wrote:I do not think that my life is a destination to somewhere. The experiences and activities in life are the ends themselves, and they are not for some other purpose geared at some mythical destination beyond it. So if its a ship, its not a ferry ship but a river cruise.


I read this a second time and what I got out of it was completely different... So I think I must try again.

I can well imagine that some people are like animals and live without any kind of goals or consciousness of the future. But this is certainly not true of mankind in general. If as I suggested, we living things are capable of determining our own purpose in life then nothing-at-all is certainly one of the possible choices. But I think what is particularly unique of humans among the living thing of this planet is that we are, at least potentially, creators. Certainly many never realize this potential but for those who do create, they cannot imagine the point of living without it. Creators of all sorts -- artists, writers, builder, teachers, scientists, etc. -- do not just live in the moment for its own sake -- but as part of a creative process not just for its own sake but for what they create.

Ok, so you may concede the teleological nature of the creative life but encapsulate it within birth and the grave to say the whole is for its own sake and nothing else. Except that creators are also generally innovators. Why? Why not just create the same damn things people have created before? Perhaps we would if it really was for its own sake and nothing else. But it is not. Creators usually see themselves as one step in a creative process which transcends just themselves. In finding new heights beyond what has been done so far they contribute toward greater creations in the future. And in that case it is NOT just for its own sake and it certainly IS going somewhere!

So I am afraid, I am just not buying what your are suggesting. Ok, so you are an atheist and you believe at the end of your life nothing of you survives except perhaps in what you have created or contributed to. You are welcome to such an opinion. But even in you are right about that, and of course I don't think you are, life still goes on, and the analogy of the ship still applies to mankind as a whole. Of course, if people continue to treat their life as nothing but an end in itself with no thought of the future then it is quite possible the ship of mankind isn't going to make it very far from where they are right now.
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby Aaron » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:58 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:I HATE the removal of the ability to edit!!! To edit the above I have re-post it

I liked it better the way it was too.
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby sayak » Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:43 am

Ok now I have got 3 editions of responses! So I will simply quote my own response and add clarifications. Mitchell, you can tell me what you are agreeing or disagreeing with.

I do not think that my life is a destination to somewhere.


This would be an obvious point for a person who does not believe in existence after death. It does not mean that various activities in life do not have internally built purposes. I may working very hard to get a promotion or finish a research project or painting my house. The work pays off by the improvements in my and my families life through the money, recognition and the better looking house that becomes the end product. In the overall scheme looking after the interests of my families and children and friends because they are kin and because they also look after mine is certainly a significant part of meaningful activity. In an even broader scheme, since the society (i.e. other people who are strangers) provide me with valuable services (like they provide me with nice food at the local market instead of having to grow my own), I do my part of the contract by selling off part of my skills and hours for the service of others. I see nothing here that requires a transcendent destination beyond life.

The experiences and activities in life are the ends themselves, and they are not for some other purpose geared at some mythical destination beyond it.


Again note that I am negating that the experiences and activities of my life are geared towards some mythical destination beyond life. Nothing within the creative work of people negate this. Firstly creative activity is also an activity and may function quite effectively as a valuable end in and of itself for the creator. But when they are also geared towards other people, its because other people are paying the creator in some way either in honor (name recognition) or quite often in terms of money. Newton (and Darwin) was famously private with their work and clearly did not consider their investigations as some noble self-sacrificing service to mankind, and when Newton figured that his works were highly valued, he made damn sure that that name recognition was well cashed out. Creative people are downright notorious for their jealous thirst for the celebrity status. You should know the academic world well enough and the artistic world is even worse I hear. The current dynamic of history prizes creativity and hence thrusts the most gifted people towards that profession by the demand-supply dynamic. And human civilization has no goal apart from making its denizens lives better (including me) through cooperative give-take, that is the very reason for its existence. Its all very practical and the results are very quantifiable. 7 billion people, double the life expectancy etc. The pathway to that goal has created technology, complexity and expansion, but those are the means to getting at the goal of increasing the quality of the lived life.
So if its a ship, its not a ferry ship but a river cruise.

I agree to this as well. The task of a vacation cruise is to make the lived experience as good and fulfilling as possible, and that is what society is for.

Finally some questions you asked:-
. Why? Why not just create the same damn things people have created before? Perhaps we would if it really was for its own sake and nothing else.

We do this all the time. Sing other people's made songs. Make food our of chef's menu. Most of the activities are associated with consumerism, that is consuming other people's efforts, ideas, products and goods. The problem is nobody is going to pay me for repeating others (like they did in the times of Homer), so we are strongly encouraged to "publish or perish". Finding something out new is a great adventure and has its own thrills, but usually in old days the pace was quite stately (people may create one book like Salinger, or Darwin would think about evolution for 25 years etc.) Those days are gone sadly. Now creativity is also as much enforced by the market as anything else.
And in that case it is NOT just for its own sake and it certainly IS going somewhere!

Yes that somewhere is called tenure :P.
But even in you are right about that, and of course I don't think you are, life still goes on, and the analogy of the ship still applies to mankind as a whole. Of course, if people continue to treat their life as nothing but an end in itself with no thought of the future then it is quite possible the ship of mankind isn't going to make it very far from where they are right now.

I disagree. I think the desire to have a happiness filled life will continue to motivate people to solve problems that jeopardize or detract from this and thereby cause global macro-societal change. But the end remains improving the conditions of ones own private house-life. That drives all else. It is when people get confused by ideologues (see me repeating your trademark!) and run after some public utopia that all hell breaks loose.
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby mitchellmckain » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:47 am

I am not even sure a response is required. Like I said before I can well imagine there are plodders who are motivated by nothing more than food on the table and socio-economic forces. But they seem like cattle to me and I cannot really see to the point of their lives at all. But their are others who create an innovate because they want to be more than that -- because they want to be on a ship which is going somewhere.
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby sayak » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:48 pm

So you do not believe in the adage that "necessity is the mother of invention"?
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby mitchellmckain » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:30 pm

sayak wrote:So you do not believe in the adage that "necessity is the mother of invention"?


No.

This is rarely the case. In fact, I would say that necessity doesn't even win out over the stubborn hidebound this-is-the-way-we-have-always-done-things approach or against simple short-sighted ignorance. You see that is one of the biggest flaws in the adage -- it places too much faith in our ability to see what is necessary.

Most of time, the innovator is simply fascinated with his own personal idea/vision and creative endeavors. That is much more the unstoppable force required to push through stubbornness and ignorance. I suppose sometime you could say the innovator or reformer sometimes has a sense of the necessity of a thing and thus acquires the additional force of righteous indignation to push through the barriers.
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby sayak » Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:29 am

mitchellmckain wrote:
sayak wrote:So you do not believe in the adage that "necessity is the mother of invention"?


No.

This is rarely the case. In fact, I would say that necessity doesn't even win out over the stubborn hidebound this-is-the-way-we-have-always-done-things approach or against simple short-sighted ignorance. You see that is one of the biggest flaws in the adage -- it places too much faith in our ability to see what is necessary.

Most of time, the innovator is simply fascinated with his own personal idea/vision and creative endeavors. That is much more the unstoppable force required to push through stubbornness and ignorance. I suppose sometime you could say the innovator or reformer sometimes has a sense of the necessity of a thing and thus acquires the additional force of righteous indignation to push through the barriers.


I would have to disagree. I would say that forces of history create crises that induce people to invent or perish. The entire cold war arms race is responsible for spectacular progress in space technology, computers and internet for instance. 1st and 2nd world war produced massive drives to industrialization while the sheer desire to cut the prosperous Venetian and Muslim middlemen drove Spain, France and England to invest in maritime technology (clocks, ships, telescopes) to sail their way to china (hitting US by accident and the rest is history). If you go back further, a series of environmental catastrophies forced people of the fertile crescent to innovate farming to survive in an increasingly arid and wildlife poor landscape. The list goes on and on and on. The term resource curse is a familiar parlance since its often the case that a resource poor country is more liberal and innovate while a resource rich country is often highly tyrannical and hidebound.
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby mitchellmckain » Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:47 am

sayak wrote:I would have to disagree. I would say that forces of history create crises that induce people to invent or perish. The entire cold war arms race is responsible for spectacular progress in space technology, computers and internet for instance. 1st and 2nd world war produced massive drives to industrialization while the sheer desire to cut the prosperous Venetian and Muslim middlemen drove Spain, France and England to invest in maritime technology (clocks, ships, telescopes) to sail their way to china (hitting US by accident and the rest is history). If you go back further, a series of environmental catastrophies forced people of the fertile crescent to innovate farming to survive in an increasingly arid and wildlife poor landscape. The list goes on and on and on. The term resource curse is a familiar parlance since its often the case that a resource poor country is more liberal and innovate while a resource rich country is often highly tyrannical and hidebound.


This sounds good, but I think the same mistake is being made here that is often made with evolution to say that natural selection drives evolution. But this wrong. Natural selection is simply a filter -- choosing a preferred direction for evolution. What drives evolution is variation. I think the same principle is operating in this case. War introduces a preference in the direction human creative efforts. But it does not drive human creativity and necessity does not drive invention.

However, it is true there is no evolution without death (ie. crises and challenges). In the same way you can say there is no human progress without crises and challenges in human endeavors. This derives from the idea of a direction in evolution and human progress. It is well known this is a rather subjective idea. We think of multi-cellular organisms as an advance over single-celled organisms and intelligence as an advance forward in evolution. But these subjective ideas of advance are not inherent in the principles of the process. The same subjectivity is found in the idea of human progress. It is only your subjective idea that space technology, computers and internet is an advance in human development. Others might see these as the opposite and they may well be the things which lead to our extinction.

Anyway the point is that however much you may see war playing a role in choosing the particular direction that human invention has gone. This does not prove your point that necessity actually drives invention. I would still maintain that it does not.
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Re: God as a Watchmaker or a Shepherd

Postby Stacie Cook » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:51 am

As a mother of four young children, I have to say that necessity has definitely been the mother of many of my inventions in the last 5yrs...
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