Science and Being Moved
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01-03-2015, 04:22 PM
RE: Science and Being Moved
I know it might sound weird, but apart from sunsets and other natural events that I love, when I think about all that we have achieved as a species, I feel moved. When I see earthquake-resistant buildings swinging back and forth, huge machinery that can move giant telescopes, a plane. We take if for granted, but... we can fly. I am amazed that a piece of metal and plastic can take me up in the air, all thanks to our progress.

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Life is a flash of light between two eternities of darkness.
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01-03-2015, 04:34 PM
RE: Science and Being Moved
(01-03-2015 04:22 PM)The Polyglot Atheist Wrote:  I know it might sound weird, but apart from sunsets and other natural events that I love, when I think about all that we have achieved as a species, I feel moved. When I see earthquake-resistant buildings swinging back and forth, huge machinery that can move giant telescopes, a plane. We take if for granted, but... we can fly. I am amazed that a piece of metal and plastic can take me up in the air, all thanks to our progress.

Yeah, planes are pretty amazing.

Medical equipment like X-Ray machines and MRI machines and such are pretty amazing too. As well as artificial joints and limbs. Medicine holds some of the most fascinating things for me. Both the organic and the man made or manipulated.

Even the fact that we are a group of people from all over the planet who are able to converse, in real time, with just a few clicks is pretty cool.

Too many things to list...

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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01-03-2015, 04:50 PM
RE: Science and Being Moved
Yes! Good call. I had forgot about medical equipment too. I mean, we can transplant organs, or have artificial limbs like you said.

And while I do like natural beauties, I am always amazed about how we can do (or could do if we cooperated) as a species.

孤独 - The Out Crowd
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01-03-2015, 04:54 PM
RE: Science and Being Moved
[Image: Rainbow.jpg]

Rainbows are beautiful; doubles are doubly so. It is hard not to be moved by the sheer beauty and wonder.

But did you know that rainbows don't actually exist? There is no 'there' there.

When you look at a rainbow, you are not seeing an object. Not only that, you are not seeing the same rainbow moment to moment. The light from behind you enters the innumerable water drops in the air, is refracted at the surface of each one, and reflected from the back of each one. From moment to moment, you are receiving the light reflected from a whole new set of water drops because they are all in motion, typically falling.
Someone standing right beside you is seeing a different rainbow than you are. No two people ever see the same rainbow.

It is breathtaking that we have unwoven the rainbow, that we understand them so completely. If that doesn't take your breath away, read it again.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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01-03-2015, 05:58 PM
RE: Science and Being Moved
So... no pot of gold?

孤独 - The Out Crowd
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01-03-2015, 06:15 PM
RE: Science and Being Moved
(01-03-2015 01:38 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  In another thread, TheBeardedDude wrote of how he often gets “very emotional at the elegant story that science can tell us about our universe and how we fit in it”. That “the beauty of science leaves” him “in tears”. Richard Dawkins describes a similar sense of being moved, when looking up at the Milky Way, at the sheer number of stars, “being overwhelmed by the scale of the universe”, to the point of tears. He describes it as an “overwhelming feeling of being”.

While I can relate to the sensation, that deep sense of awe, as poignantly felt, to the point of rhapsody, a sense of beauty that is often felt to the level where we might tear up a bit, I don’t find myself being provoked to this by science, or by contemplating the scale of the universe.

My question is primarily directed at other unbelievers, who can relate to this deeper sense of awe and wonder at the cosmos, to understand what exactly is it about these things that provoke them in such a way?

What exactly does it provoke, what sort of thoughts accompany it? Is it a sense of belonging, that feeling of being a part of something so grand? Is it the beauty of some sense of isolation and insignificance? Is it a delight in how lucky we are, or in how abysmal we are? Does it have bearing and markers on one’s personal life? Associated with memories of others, and childhood? Or is at appreciation of something seemingly lonesome?

I’m just curious to understand what it is that provokes that sense of aching splendor. What is it about these things that hits so close to the home of one’s own being?

I thought you worded your question very well.

The natural world can give me jolts of excitement but I can’t recall being moved to tears because of it. I spend a lot of time under water and I have experienced some magical and awe-inspiring moments that made me glad I was alive like swimming with a pod of Sperm whales or being in the center of a school of feeding Manta rays.

On those occassions when I do stare at the stars I find a sense of calmness and peacefulness, even nostalgia.

You know what moves me to tears? People. Acts of kindness and unselfishness.

Hope that helps.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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01-03-2015, 09:37 PM
RE: Science and Being Moved
I kind of consider myself to be a "Pagan Atheist"... As in a deep wonder at nature and the universe, a feeling of being connected to everything around us.

I don't think atheists should shy away from using the word "spiritual"... It doesn't necessarily refer to anything supernatural. Knowing that a spiritual experience is the result of neurons in the brain, and is entirely explainable, does not take anything away from the experience. Its still wonderful and awesome... In fact it enhances the experience.

It is natural for us to try to find some kind of beauty, majesty and poetry in the universe... And its there, in spades. I don't need an anthropomorphic deity to make it special.

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02-03-2015, 03:25 PM
RE: Science and Being Moved
(01-03-2015 01:38 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  In another thread, TheBeardedDude wrote of how he often gets “very emotional at the elegant story that science can tell us about our universe and how we fit in it”. That “the beauty of science leaves” him “in tears”. Richard Dawkins describes a similar sense of being moved, when looking up at the Milky Way, at the sheer number of stars, “being overwhelmed by the scale of the universe”, to the point of tears. He describes it as an “overwhelming feeling of being”.

While I can relate to the sensation, that deep sense of awe, as poignantly felt, to the point of rhapsody, a sense of beauty that is often felt to the level where we might tear up a bit, I don’t find myself being provoked to this by science, or by contemplating the scale of the universe.

My question is primarily directed at other unbelievers, who can relate to this deeper sense of awe and wonder at the cosmos, to understand what exactly is it about these things that provoke them in such a way?

What exactly does it provoke, what sort of thoughts accompany it? Is it a sense of belonging, that feeling of being a part of something so grand? Is it the beauty of some sense of isolation and insignificance? Is it a delight in how lucky we are, or in how abysmal we are? Does it have bearing and markers on one’s personal life? Associated with memories of others, and childhood? Or is at appreciation of something seemingly lonesome?

I’m just curious to understand what it is that provokes that sense of aching splendor. What is it about these things that hits so close to the home of one’s own being?

A realization that one does not know everything, and that is okay. An understanding that what we do know tells us that we are insignificantly significant. That we are the universe trying to understand itself. That the petty squabbles of ignorant humans who are desperately scrambling for ideas and beliefs that make themselves feel better or important, are doing so because they are scared.

A realization at the shear size and power of the universe. And a realization that the vast and incomprehensible distances are what keep us safe from the torrent of power exhibited by the stars and black holes.

A realization that life is not all that different from non-life, and that we aren't only connected with other lifeforms, but with the chemistry that allows life to function and iron to oxidize. And that chemistry is physics at the atomic scale, such that we are physics in motion.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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04-03-2015, 12:24 AM
RE: Science and Being Moved
Yosemite Valley fills me with awe at its tall grandeur every visit, even knowing it's nothing more than ice hewn granite. One day years ago I took some friends flying and headed for Yosemite, thinking that the spectacle would be more amazing seen from above. Navigation back then was basic IFR - I Follow Roads - and I followed 140 out of Merced east into the Sierras. As 140 wound into steeper terrain alongside the Merced River, I was perplexed I couldn't find Half Dome, a promontory of such famous and unmistakable shape I should have seen it from above Merced, yet all that towered before us was the vast granite mass of the Sierra range, tumbing majestic to distant horizons out the side windows.

And then finally I recognized Half Dome. What a shock. It was a small unremarkable knob in a vast landscape that I realized I'd been using as a rough reference point but hadn't recognized against the infinitely larger backdrop of the Sierra range.

As soon as I recognized it the entire Valley snapped into recognition, and there was El Capitan, an ordinary cliff of no jaw dropping dimension, and Yosemite Falls a thread of water as ordinary as a stream from a faucet.

I was right, the view WAS amazing, but amazing for how unamazing it was with the entire mountain range shrinking its apparent scale.

As we loitered above the Valley, its grandeur gradually reclaimed itself, as we took in its scale against the buildings and vehicles below, but the full sense of awe I only experience from the Valley floor, looking up. Which still moves me today, after many subsequent trips both by airplane and by car, and hiking its tall trails.
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04-03-2015, 05:46 PM
RE: Science and Being Moved
I live about 25 minutes from this.

[Image: Crown-Point.jpg]

And about 35 minutes from this.

[Image: Multnomah-Falls-1.jpg]

This is the Columbia River and Multnomah Falls. Whenever any family comes to visit we pack everyone up and go out to see the sights. What makes it so amazing is that it took many millions of years to get this way. If some deity had come along and made it, it wouldn't be such a natural wonder, it would be disappointingly manipulated.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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