Sunday School

Sunday School October 20th 2019

This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Reg the Fronkey Farmer 11 months, 1 week ago.

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    In the U.S. the decline of Christianity continues at a rapid pace so if applicable please take part in this secular survey of non-religious Americans. It is time to be counted and time to counteract attempts to rollback housing protections of the non-religious or to deny them access to healthcare.

    William Barr is a paranoid right-wing Catholic ideologue. In Ireland followers of the Cuddly One are eager to become better Liars for Jesus by indoctrinating school children with their myths.

    In New Zealand another Catholic bishop hangs up his pink hat. Melbourne has new laws on child safety that their Archbishop is not happy with.

    It takes a man with big bells to be an exorcist.

    Insight into the Evangelical persecution complex.

    LGBTQ activists shut down Britain’s only Chick-fil-A just 9 days after it opened.

    This weeks’ Woo: Publish the study or be damned and Big Pharma shills.

    Climate Crisis: Promises from the UN climate action summit.

    On the Hard Problem of consciousness.

    The BERT neural network has led to a revolution in how machines understand human language.

    Would you be in favor of CRISPR babies if mutations preventing deafness could be overcome?

    Evolution tells us we might be the only intelligent life in the Universe except for the two women in outer space who remained calm when contacted by an alien.

    My theory on the falsifiability of an oxymoron has the potential to be proven wrong!

    The beauty of Soviet anti-religious propaganda.

    Long Read: Saving Aru: The epic battle to save the islands that inspired the theory of evolution.

    This week I am reading this book: Six Impossible Things (in Quantum Mechanics).

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil…..

    Coffee Break Video:  TED: The Universe is waking up. When Antarctica was green. Some Darwin Award winners.


    Have a great week everyone!!


    Jody Lee

    Survey taken!

    Barr and Trump make a scary combination.

    Not sure how I feel about the whole CRISPR baby experiment.

    Will watch TED Talk episode with second cup of coffee.

    Thank you, Reg, for the Sunday morning reading. It’s raining and cold here this a.m. Nothing else to do but read and ponder.

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by  Jody Lee.


    except for the two women in outer space who remained calm when contacted by an alien.

    I can cut President Rump some slack on this. I mean its not like it was the first time three women did a spacewalk. To move ahead we have to actually start not caring about gender at all.



    Thanks, Reg!


    Very true Robert and they explained that to him. I could not resist wording it like that.


    Thanks Jody. If you add Mike Pompeo into the mix with Trump and Barr then you got yourself the triumvirate that has Mike Pence in rapture.

    Nothing else to do but read and ponder….

    Lucky you 🙂


    Cheers Strega!



    That article on consciousness was interesting though, predictably, it ultimately didn’t solve the problem. There’s no way to prove that others are not “philosophical zombies” behaving in a humanlike way but totally lacking the inner life we call “consciousness.” At the end , he invokes a kind of spirit or soul…

    From the article:

    Currently, when I talk about this unique, particularly first-person domain, I use the language of the soul and spirit. (Click here for the educational philosopher and “metapsychologist” Zak Stein using similar terminology.) In using these terms, I don’t mean a supernatural sense of an entity that will leave my body after death. Rather, I use them to talk about our unique selves from the first-person point of view. In this language system, my soul is my unique lifeworld and everyday trials and triumphs, whereas my spirit refers more to transcendental ethical concerns and how I might connect my life quest to them. My point here is that the soul/spirit defined this way plays by a different set of rules than the language game of science. I believe the differences between the language games or domains of science/behavior and of soul/spirit and morality/ethics are crucial for us to keep in mind as we hunt for a more consilient scientific humanistic philosophy that can guide humanity in the 21st century.   

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by  Unseen.

    No, it does not solve the problem (hmm..would I want it solved?). Whether we are “philosophical zombies” or even part of the “Borg”, we still have no real understanding of how the “self” of others work. Even “TOM” only goes as far as understanding basic emotions that help us to empathize but there are no fixed rules there. Even the succeeding article above on BERT raises the problem of how machines might eventually construct their own realities.

    Like most (if not all) philosophical debates it is down to the words used to convey an explanation. Do the speaker and the audience agree on their meaning or are the words nuanced to lead to confusion?

    This is the case with using words like “spirit” or “soul” in the first place. We are so used to using them (as a recent debate about their meaning showed) that it is actually difficult to use replacements for them. Even for those BERT reading machines, the term “Deus Ex” won the race in my head to be used and I don’t know what word was second.

    I have no trouble when I argue through such debates in my own mind and it is not possible to have another vantage point, is it? I am reminded of a couple whose row in a hotel was overheard:

    “I don’t know what it is that you don’t understand about what I am saying”.

    Time for a single malt and some southern blues… favorite mix of spirit and soul….


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