Scum of the earth
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24-10-2012, 09:57 AM
Scum of the earth
Stephen Hawking said that humans are "just a chemical scum on the surface of a typical planet that's in orbit around a typical star on the outskirts of a typical galaxy".

Actually, this applies to all of the life on Earth. Our existence is vastly contingent. Had a large object not struck the Yucatan peninsula 65,000,000 years ago, the age of the dinosaurs would not have ended, or at least not then. We would not have come into existence, or at least not yet. Or when, as it is conjectured, homo sapiens numbered only a few thousand in southern Africa due to climate change they might easily have gone extinct. Then where would we be? Nowhere. We wouldn't be here.

If the tape of evolution were rewound any significant distance, what we see today would not recur - it would be different. Evolution doesn't have direction or goals, it is contingent on events and environments and chance mutation. Those mutations would not happen the same way.

Fellow scum, I care deeply about you all because I am scum, too. Scum is important to me.
But scum is not important to the universe; the universe doesn't care about scum. The universe doesn't care about anything.

We care about meaning, about answers to questions of why. Our brains and minds evolved to care about why because that works. Looking for patterns, causes, and reasons has enormous survival value. But our minds look for reasons even where there aren't any. There isn't a purpose to our existence, there isn't a purpose to the universe. We evolved from other life which evolved from other life, ... Life evolved in a universe that has the properties that allow this to happen. There is no fine-tuning of physics. That is just scum looking for an answer to a question that is meaningless. Our evolved consciousness does not create reality, it doesn't even affect it. No biocentrism, no Copenhagen, no psi, no qi.

Religions and woo are attempts to answer the very human questions of why. But the questions are flagrantly narrow, parochial, and anthropocentric.
Get over yourselves.
You are not the crown of creation, the epitome of evolution, the special children of the universe.
You are the scum of the earth.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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24-10-2012, 10:10 AM (This post was last modified: 24-10-2012 10:28 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Scum of the earth
(24-10-2012 09:57 AM)Chas Wrote:  Stephen Hawking said that humans are "just a chemical scum on the surface of a typical planet that's in orbit around a typical star on the outskirts of a typical galaxy".

Actually, this applies to all of the life on Earth. Our existence is vastly contingent. Had a large object not struck the Yucatan peninsula 65,000,000 years ago, the age of the dinosaurs would not have ended, or at least not then. We would not have come into existence, or at least not yet. Or when, as it is conjectured, homo sapiens numbered only a few thousand in southern Africa due to climate change they might easily have gone extinct. Then where would we be? Nowhere. We wouldn't be here.

If the tape of evolution were rewound any significant distance, what we see today would not recur - it would be different. Evolution doesn't have direction or goals, it is contingent on events and environments and chance mutation. Those mutations would not happen the same way.

Fellow scum, I care deeply about you all because I am scum, too. Scum is important to me.
But scum is not important to the universe; the universe doesn't care about scum. The universe doesn't care about anything.

We care about meaning, about answers to questions of why. Our brains and minds evolved to care about why because that works. Looking for patterns, causes, and reasons has enormous survival value. But our minds look for reasons even where there aren't any. There isn't a purpose to our existence, there isn't a purpose to the universe. We evolved from other life which evolved from other life, ... Life evolved in a universe that has the properties that allow this to happen. There is no fine-tuning of physics. That is just scum looking for an answer to a question that is meaningless. Our evolved consciousness does not create reality, it doesn't even affect it. No biocentrism, no Copenhagen, no psi, no qi.

Religions and woo are attempts to answer the very human questions of why. But the questions are flagrantly narrow, parochial, and anthropocentric.
Get over yourselves.
You are not the crown of creation, the epitome of evolution, the special children of the universe.
You are the scum of the earth.

Also another part of our misconception is that meaning is conferred to and about individual "scums". which is par of the the woo woo, and is manifest as "sin and evil". This is based on the fallacious notion that meaning is conferred to, and about individuals. Once that mistaken notion is dropped, we see the universe works perfectly, the way it works. If Evolution confers a benefit, then mutation is necessary and beneficial. Occasionally that goes in a way that is seen as unfortunate for individuals. but the universe is not about individuals. For example, cancers occur. But it's really Evolution, and mutation working EXACTLY the way that is beneficial for the larger picture. Bad for individuals, not for the overall picture. We also would NOT want the universe to be randomly capricious, (as it would be if gods intervened). It is ironic indeed, that today we have multiple systems which developed from an ancient culture that "got" this. There was NO "individual immortality" in ancient Hebrew culture. Immortality was obtained by male heirs to families, NOT to individual "souls". That idea developed later when the family systems were disrupted after the Assyrian conquests, and the Exile period. All of Western religion is founded on a series of "goofs". Individualism/individual immortality is one of them.

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24-10-2012, 10:52 AM
RE: Scum of the earth
Crap! I saw the thread's title and I though this was a discussion about Mitt Romney. I'm out...

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24-10-2012, 11:03 AM
RE: Scum of the earth
(24-10-2012 09:57 AM)Chas Wrote:  You are the scum of the earth.

oo0OO0ooo! Geeeeet him!

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24-10-2012, 11:25 AM
RE: Scum of the earth
Love this!

I found this TED talk so enlightening when I first saw it.





It's amazing how Jill Bolte Taylor explains her experience about the awareness of experience while experiencing it (ha ha). How the part of her brain that was shutting down was this problem solving part that we relate with and she was left with the experiential part- which is actually really quite enjoyable if we're not in immediate pain.

Amazing that we've evolved to the point where our brains are constantly working, even as we sleep, because that is its function. This is the reason I've come to love meditation because it isolates and 'shuts down' this problem solving part, giving it a break, which gives me perspective actually.

However yes, that's just it. Nothing more than a function with no goal.

I love this:

Quote:Fellow scum, I care deeply about you all because I am scum, too. Scum is important to me.
But scum is not important to the universe; the universe doesn't care about scum. The universe doesn't care about anything.
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24-10-2012, 11:46 AM
RE: Scum of the earth
(24-10-2012 09:57 AM)Chas Wrote:  Looking for patterns, causes, and reasons has enormous survival value. But our minds look for reasons even where there aren't any.

This is for instance the reason why gambling is big business.

People are forever trying to find "systems" that allow you to win in blackjack or roulette. The concept of randomness is harder for us to understand than it is to invent some convoluted pattern.

People get hooked on slots trying to figure out a winning pattern - What if I increase or decrease the bet in such and such a fashion... it always seems to hit a win after 2 cherries appear, whatever pattern they invent to fit, they will sit there and test it...

And this goes all the way to using only a certain marker when playing bingo, putting lucky coins in one's pockets and wiping the bingo sheet with a doll - people saw a pattern. Everytime they did this, they were more likely to win.

Coincidences, randomness, they can trigger people's brains to frantically seek for patterns, to see patterns where there are none and to become superstitious.

And that likely plays into the need for a god, too. God is the reason for all, there is no randomness.

So the very same trait that allows us to progress and further ourselves can trigger us to act very foolishly.

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25-10-2012, 09:54 AM
RE: Scum of the earth
I ain't no scum of earth, I am scum of water. Chas spouting pseudoscience over here... Dodgy

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25-10-2012, 10:04 AM
Scum of the earth
(25-10-2012 09:54 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  I ain't no scum of earth, I am scum of water. Chas spouting pseudoscience over here... Dodgy

Look at Johnny being all terse and deadly!

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25-10-2012, 11:43 AM
RE: Scum of the earth
(25-10-2012 10:04 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  
(25-10-2012 09:54 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  I ain't no scum of earth, I am scum of water. Chas spouting pseudoscience over here... Dodgy

Look at Johnny being all terse and deadly!

No, terse and ineffective. Drinking Beverage


On another note, it is interesting that no theists or wooists have posted. Consider

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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25-10-2012, 11:46 AM (This post was last modified: 25-10-2012 01:47 PM by Superluminal.)
RE: Scum of the earth
Indeed, and this lack of purpose remains true no matter what. Even if there were some "perfect" all powerful being that created us, the only "purpose" we could have is still one that was invented for us. It's still artificial.

And lets say there were a God, and they did assign us a meaning. What would it be? To be happy, to help create happiness, to end suffering, to live forever? All of these are things that we could invent because we can comprehend them. If he assigned us a meaning we couldn't comprehend, then it would again be meaningless because we can't find fulfillment in something we can't functionally understand exists.
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