Comment Archives: stories: Life + Outdoors

Re: “Sharktober Part 1

Right. You have NO idea yet speak like you do.

Posted by glen folkard on 10/19/2017 at 1:54 PM

Re: “Sharktober Part Three

The shark cage divers in your part of the world use surfboards to attract sharks to make money from dumb tourists. Us surfers and swimmers are "plucked" from the surface here in Oz every day and listed as NOTHING. Just gone.

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Posted by glen folkard on 10/19/2017 at 1:36 PM

Re: “Myth of the Invisible Ships

I am not really satisfied by the writer`s explanation. The problem is that those ships were FOREIGN enough to activate the Anxiety System in our brain. And that triggers orientation reactions. So, the ships must have triggered some reactions, most of them unvoluntary, and yes, orientation reactions include turning the head and focusing attention on the foreign enough object.

On the other side i am not completely taken by the "it is so foreign it was invisible" explanation either. It smells of Paul Feyerabends studies in cultural relativism.

What we have here is a classic clash of psychology (orientation responses) with philosophy (cultural relativism)

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Posted by Marco Jajac on 09/28/2017 at 7:56 AM

Re: “Shots, Shots, Shots

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Re: “Shots, Shots, Shots

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Re: “Shots, Shots, Shots

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Posted by CARLYBETH7 on 09/14/2017 at 8:32 PM

Re: “How Did Our Agates Form?

An agate is a regular rock, until after time it is turned into a beautiful rock called an agate.
Thank you for this reading.

Posted by Auburn Wooten on 09/13/2017 at 7:31 AM

Re: “Unwrapping the Past

These kinds of discoveries are great for verifying that the messages in the bible have not been corrupted through the process being re-written or translated. The earlier the better.

The tech is rather cool too...

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Posted by Robert Lockett on 09/09/2017 at 8:33 PM

Re: “Science. It Works, etc.

Without question, science works for 'some' things. The things it does NOT work for are the more interesting questions for those not satisfied with spending our years only 'masticating' the empirical. If you play with science too long you might go blind Barry.

Robert Jastrow was ALSO once worked for NASA (as if it matters). In fact, according to Wiki, "He was the first chairman of NASAs Lunar Exploration Committee, which established the scientific goals for the exploration of the moon during the Apollo lunar landings. At the same time he was also the Chief of the Theoretical Division at NASA (195861). He became the founding director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in 1961, and served until his retirement from NASA in 1981."

He said some interesting things regarding science...

"There is a strange ring of feeling and emotion in these reactions [of scientists to evidence that the universe had a sudden beginning]. They come from the heart whereas you would expect the judgments to come from the brain. Why? I think part of the answer is that scientists cannot bear the thought of a natural phenomenon which cannot be explained, even with unlimited time and money. There is a kind of religion in science; it is the religion of a person who believes there is order and harmony in the Universe. Every event can be explained in a rational way as the product of some previous event; every effect must have its cause, there is no First Cause. This religious faith of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has lost control. If he really examined the implications, he would be traumatized."

"Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact."

"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."

Posted by Robert Lockett on 09/09/2017 at 8:27 PM

Re: “Bright Lights, Small Town

What a fabulous, beautifully written, poetic and truthful story Peri Escarda. Thank you. I have many similar feelings and memories of the Fair....Jeff DeMark

Posted by jeffdemark on 09/07/2017 at 11:21 PM

Re: “Westworld vs. Realworld

"I became acquainted with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment; or as the Nazi liked to say, of Blood and Soil."

It's comforting to think that the mass exterminations of the Nazi regime are some uniquely horrible destination on a wrongful path from which we can turn back. Yet what I understand about early human societies and those of our nearest relations, chimpanzees, is that they are prone to make war on their neighbors and wipe them out where possible. Genocidal regimes are acting out the nastiest and most violent of human norms with the efficiency offered by modern technology. While their reach and power may be greater, their homicidal desires and their justifications are as old as 'Cain'. I don't think turning away from materialism and back to the bible will reduce violence, quite the contrary.

Posted by Esme Pendergast on 09/07/2017 at 11:19 AM

Re: “Unwrapping the Past

Clarification: the scrolls are papyrus (from the plant), not vellum (animal skin).

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Posted by barryevans on 09/07/2017 at 8:19 AM

Re: “Shots, Shots, Shots

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Posted by Jaxon Cash on 09/01/2017 at 6:53 PM

Re: “Reunion

Perfectly said!

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Posted by Jennifer Justus Johnston on 08/24/2017 at 1:00 PM

Re: “Reunion

Nicely done. Thank you.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Maureen Chase on 08/24/2017 at 8:39 AM

Re: “Ötzi the Iceman

Nothing quite as frightening as being totally determined by fate.…

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Robert Lockett on 08/10/2017 at 7:16 AM

Re: “Shots, Shots, Shots

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Posted by Brenda Juliet on 08/02/2017 at 12:52 PM

Re: “Westworld vs. Realworld

Such a great topic. My mind is still -freely- following the trail of bread crumbs logic leaves those of us not burdened with the weight of trying to manufacture reality. discovery is where the magic is, not invention. The discovered things are always more complex than our imagination.

There is ONE way that we can produce sentient life. But I do not mean artificial intelligence. We have already invented computers and no matter how sophisticated they have become, their intelligence remains TRULY artificial.

If we want to produce conscious living entities, we need only procreate. But in the surest sense it is not US doing so. We do not even understand our OWN consciousness let alone how we pass it on to our children. We only know that in some way it is built in.

Of course there is that problem of the carbon footprint. So before we get all excited about the possibility of AI, we should make up our minds if we WANT to produce sentient conscious beings, or not.

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Posted by Robert Lockett on 07/31/2017 at 9:49 PM

Re: “Westworld vs. Realworld

Barry writes: "...the accelerating quest for artificial intelligence has given the controversy new meaning and bite.

As we rapidly approach the era when the likes of Hal of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lieutenant Commander Data of Star Trek: the Next Generation become actual possibilities"

I am continually amazed how eager people are to BELIEVE in artificial intelligence. But hold on just a moment. You ARE a scientist aren't you (an engineer at least)? How do we build something that we do not understand?

Before we can program artificial intelligence we will have to know what it is. The only alternative is to BELIEVE (and many do) that consciousness is some kind of cosmic accident that simply emerges when enough complexity is reached. As you said yourself once, "Life just happens. It can't help it!"

So the BELIEF (the religion) that when the right critical mass of complexity is reached via an evolutionary process, life, and even more to the point- consciousness will emerge when the conditions are right, is an absolute? Obviously not.

If free thought (consciousness) is another way of describing free will, then how do we program that? Christopher raised this question and it is superb. How does one IMPOSE freedom by command prompt?

I do not understand consciousness any better than anyone else. But once again, Genesis reveals its depth and 'non-primitive' insight into these questions, leaving it just outside our desperate grasp. To say that God created man in his image is not an insignificant concept. He did not program consciousness. He breathed it into us.

Good luck with the fantasy and religion that we can do that. We are very clever, but we are not gods. And our determination to rebel against that limitation is very telling. At the very least our WISH for it shows that even materialists are reaching for something supernatural, they just don't realize it. Perhaps they don't know that we don't have to figure it out or TAKE it. We can simply RECEIVE.

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Posted by Robert Lockett on 07/29/2017 at 8:41 AM

Re: “Westworld vs. Realworld

This is why I appreciate the ability to edit posts in other formats. I would like to develop a couple of ideas in my first comment above. I will do so here...

Barry writes: "And in a sense the free will vs. determinism debate is a lost cause, an apples and oranges argument. My free will whatever rational analysis tells me is a feeling..."

I think it quite the opposite. Our 'feelings', our desires, are based in our bias, fears, or ambitions. That motive and will of ours looks desperately for ways to be free of, and NOT accountable to logic. It wants to have its way, often in SPITE of reason. Those DESIRES are based in determinism. They are our 'natural bent' toward whatever that happens to be in each individual. They are thoroughly subjective. They are the EASY program to follow. We need not think about it at all, it just follows naturally and seems intuitive to us. "If it feels good do it."

Free will is really just consciousness, the ability to logically reason and think [freely] outside of the box of emotion that materialism leaves us trapped in. With logic/consciousness we are able to observe ourselves from a truly objective point of view.

There is no logically coherent way to deny this or state the opposite because to attempt a logical argument to DENY logic, is to AFFIRM logic. It will always result in fatal and systemic contradiction. Our only alternative is to declare subjectively and ILLOGICALLY that we are not free, which defeats the purpose. What good is a truth claim that is subjective by definition? But it is interesting (isn't it?) how desperate we can be to AVOID what logic would tell us if we allowed it a fair hearing.

We instead play all these word games with logic as if logic and words were separable. We strangle ourselves into intellectual nothingness in the process, all because our subjective biases ARE so thoroughly determined by genetics. We assure ourselves we can't help it. But logic, by its very nature, says we CAN escape the determinism of nature via consistent logical reasoning.

Furthermore, you mentioned 'process'. Logical reasoning is not simply mechanical but moral. It is not just an abstract 'process' because honesty is an integral component. This is where we find out just how depraved we actually are, for we will often LIE by denying that we know these things or that we CAN know them by trying to explain away logic as being determined as well. It is more than absurd. It will lead to insanity if we continue the charade for too long.

Barry continues: "...Determinism, on the other hand, is a process. Meaning I'll blithely carry on in this life acting as if I'm free, even while logic assures me I'm essentially an 86-billion neuron machine and a prisoner of my genes."

I find that very confused. Nature boy and Christopher used to call that a 'word salad' over at LoCo.

I think you are half right. Determinism IS a process, indeed. It is the chemical and mechanical part that drives the emotions that our free logical faculties must keep in proper alignment with reason. Our emotions and desires are only legitimate when they are in consistent alignment WITH logic and kept in proper check. Logic tells us we should rule OVER our nature, not be its slave. But as God said to Cain, "... It desires to have you, but you must master it." If we can't, then we may need the programmers help. He already knows that, but wants to see if we will admit it. I finally did.

Our emotions and desires are NOT something we are to eliminate. They have a proper function and great value so that we do not just see logically and intellectually that a thing is right or wrong, but actually FEEL it too. In fact, the freedom of logical objectivity and a realignment of the will produces a comprehensive emotional response that is not a 'high' per se, but a sustainable joy, a peace that puts to rest much of the deterministic desperation that we experience when our emotions are NOT in proper alignment with logic. But there is no overnight success in that regard. It is a genuine and 'almost' impossible battle. And in any case, it isn't LOGIC assuring you that we are neuron machines, but the philosophy of materialism. The philosophy that is ITSELF logically invalidated by its own prison. Logic says and advises otherwise.

Materialism is not entirely wrong. There IS a mechanical part of the equation, but to attempt to make it the whole story is an absurdity. We DO have mechanical bodies. And those bodies have a mind of their own. But materialism goes much further. Its says, "We ARE bodies" and defeats itself in contradiction by reaching to make an objective truth claim.

Those are my thoughts on the subject. I won't call it my opinion because logic led me there in SPITE of my opinions. I hope it is helpful. But I am open to challenge because I understand the resistance and difficulty. I can't tell you how much I myself did NOT want this to be true at one time. I desperately sought an easier way. You might say that I was 'determined', and it was a grueling and gut wrenching conversion for me to confess and let go.

Once I admitted all that to myself (even long before I could articulate it) and recognized logic for WHO he IS, all the weight of maintaining the illusions left me. But to be very blunt, getting there sucked very badly. It feels like its going to crush us, so its easy to run. But as Gandalf said to Saruman, "It didn't kill me. It won't kill him."

Being born is quite uncomfortable. We are squeezed painfully from a once comfortable existence where we are fed automatically into a strange and terrifying world of want. But what would happen if we tried to stay in the womb?

We don't have to know everything. But we do have to cooperate with reality. Fighting it is futile and insane. This song captures it rather well as I watched all my determined fantasies collapse under the weight of logic's innocent but roaring voice. I shared it with Christopher too. Not sure if he understood why. I always assume people will understand more than they do. Certainly more than they WANT to.…

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Posted by Robert Lockett on 07/28/2017 at 5:42 PM

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