Login/Sign up

World Association of International Studies

PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post God the Universe, Revisited
Created by John Eipper on 01/18/19 4:10 AM

Previous posts in this discussion:

Post

God the Universe, Revisited (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 01/18/19 4:10 am)

After a heavy dose of philosophy from some heavy hitters like Kafka, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and a bunch of atheists, I am seriously thinking about a second edition for my book God for Atheists and Scientists.

These are brilliant people with some important statements about life, humanity, and God, but their philosophical calls to action are logically or conceptually incomplete or inconclusive. They made me think that my "God is the Universe" concept provides a healthy and productive approach for followers. My new attempt at persuasion is, "If God is Truth, so any religion supposedly based on a true God, must be based on actual knowledge about the universe, not faith on manmade beliefs." No one can successfully argue against that.

While religious fanatics are obviously wrong since existing religions may help more like drugs and overall create more serious problems for mankind, the atheists have put up some arguments more difficult to surmount. However, some of our WAIS discussions about whether or not the Universe is a sentient God have helped me realize that atheists are being too narrow and closed-minded. They are not arguing against God as the Universe, they are attacking all the previous religious gods which have been proven useless because they are not based on factual knowledge, just manmade superstitions.

If the most knowledgeable scientists can not yet explain the "magic" that goes on in Quantum Physics, how can anyone not believe in miracles? We are too ignorant about the Universe to a priori deny that God cannot be the Universe, while having no alternative explanation how the Universe obviously exists. If they insist on this nonsense, the atheists, no matter how brilliant, are being just as pig-headed as the religious fanatics.

JE comments:  We've had several WAIS conversations on Tor Guimaraes's theology.  Still haven't read his book?  Here's the Amazon link:

https://www.amazon.com/God-Atheists-Scientists-Tor-Guimaraes-ebook/dp/B07964X2KD/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1547813234&sr=8-1&keywords=guimaraes+god+for+atheists

Tell me, Tor:  what has the reaction been from non-WAIS readers?  With such a potentially explosive subject, I imagine you've received feedback of all kinds.


SHARE:
Rate this post
Informational value 
Insight 
Fairness 
Reader Ratings (0)
0%
Informational value0%
Insight0%
Fairness0%

Visits: 209

Comments/Replies

Please login/register to reply or comment: Login/Sign up

  • Anthropic Principle vs the Great Engineer (Jordi Molins, Spain 01/19/19 3:58 AM)
    Tor Guimaraes wrote on January 18th: "We are too ignorant about the Universe to a priori deny that God cannot be the Universe, while having no alternative explanation how the Universe obviously exists."

    If we speak about "God, the creator of the Universe," leaving aside "God, the moralist," the anthropic principle is able to reasonably justify why we do exist. There are an infinite number of possibilities: no Universe exists, our Universe (governed by the Standard Model and General Relativity, at least at low energies) exists, another Universe with other physical laws (even time-dependent) exists ...


    The defenders of the "God, the creator of the Universe" idea seem to implicitly assume that without a God, the only logical possibility would be a "no Universe." But this is clearly not true: couldn't it be that all conceivable Universes (even the no Universe) "exist"? In fact, it would be surprising that some (but not others) Universes were forbidden to exist. If all Universes can potentially exist, then our Universe has nothing in particular: we exist in a Universe with our physical laws, because these are the physical laws consistent with our existence as humans. If the physical laws were different, we would not exist as we exist now, so we could not ask ourselves "Why is our Universe the way it is?"


    In my opinion, the anthropic principle is a "good enough" answer to the question of our existence. Of course, we cannot rule out that some day, somebody will be able to give a more precise answer, limiting in some way the potential number of Universes that "can exist." A dream would be that only one Universe (ours) can exist, while all the others are forbidden for some reason. But at least for my limited mind, it is hard to think how this could become true. So far, the anthropic principle is good enough for me, since a "thinking mind," the Great Engineer, is not necessary to create the Universe.


    JE comments:  Happy 2019 to you, Jordi!  You're a physicist by training.  Perhaps you could explain the Anthropic Principle in lay terms?  My understanding of it is tautological:  laws of the universe are such as to allow for humans to exist, so they in turn can observe the laws of the universe.  Yes, but couldn't the universe also exist (and quite happily) without humans at all?

    Please login/register to reply or comment:

    • Could the Universe Exist "Happily" without Humans? (David Duggan, USA 01/21/19 4:37 AM)
      In response to John E, how could a universe exist "happily" without humans? "Happy" is invariably a human concept.

      JE comments: David Duggan is referencing my comment on Jordi Molins' "Anthropic Principle" (January 18th).


      Humans may have given happy its name, but they don't have a monopoly on the sentiment. There's an overfed and underworked kitty sitting next to me as I write. He's very happy, knowing he has two squares each day and doesn't have to spend the night outside in the -9° F (-22° C) weather.


      Happiness doesn't apply to rocks or trees, yet they would probably be better off without human mischief.


      Please login/register to reply or comment:


    • Anthropic Principle and Multiple Universes (Tor Guimaraes, USA 01/22/19 3:55 AM)
      I enjoyed reading Jordi Molins's post about the Anthropic Principle (19 January), even though I interpret things differently.

      To me humans are normally too ignorant to be trusted with extremely complex subjects like God and the Universe, which after many thousands of years we know very little about. Our human inventions of God have been a dismal failure, with one invention being replaced by another and creating more problems than benefits. We need to be more careful, our new inventions of God should be more based on actual knowledge than blind faith in man-made beliefs.


      I agree with Jordi that the evidence is clear against "God, the moralist." If there is a "God, creator of the Universe," then the automatic question is the endless question of who created God, opening the door to human imagination and man-made superstitions existing on faith alone. We can never solve this riddle and it is not important. If God is the Universe, there is no question that God exists, we just need to learn about it.


      Jordi thinks the anthropic principle is able to reasonably justify why we do exist. But that is never a question to me, I know I exist and the Universe (however defined) exists. The important questions are what are we supposed to do in and with the Universe? Scientists think we should learn about the Universe and they have made significant progress in the last few centuries. The acquired scientific knowledge has produced wonderful benefits for humanity, even though, similar to religious efforts, we have not tried to or made much progress reducing evil behavior in our world.


      Jordi asks why can't the Universe exist without a God:  "Couldn't it be that all conceivable Universes... exist? ... it would be surprising that some (but not others) Universes were forbidden to exist. If all Universes can potentially exist, then our Universe has nothing in particular: we exist in a Universe with our physical laws, because these are the physical laws consistent with our existence as humans. If the physical laws were different, we would not exist as we exist now, so we could not ask ourselves ‘Why is our Universe the way it is?' In my opinion, the anthropic principle is a 'good enough' answer to the question of our existence. Of course, we cannot rule out that some day, somebody will be able to give a more precise answer, limiting in some way the potential number of Universes that 'can exist.' A dream would be that only one Universe (ours) can exist, while all the others are forbidden for some reason. So far, the anthropic principle is good enough for me, since a 'thinking mind,' the Great Engineer, is not necessary to create the Universe."


      Anything is possible, and people are free to make up and have faith in whatever they want, just like any religion. Based on existing evidence I must disagree with Jodi that "there are an infinite number of possibilities: no Universe exists, our Universe exists, another Universe with other physical laws (even time-dependent) exists..."


      We have no evidence of these other possibilities, just pure supposition with no support. So far we only have clear evidence that the our Universe exists and It was created according to by far (many tests by many observers using rigorous validated measures) our best theory: the Big Bang. Defining its components and how It does work is clearly a work in progress and will be forever be in such state.


      Maybe someday in the future (if ever) the Anthropic Principle may be proven valid, but today, why think it is? After a huge amount of inspiration and work by many people, the great Newton's laws were partially true and we benefited from them, ditto for Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (GTR), ditto for Quantum Mechanics (QM). However, historically most people like to get ahead of themselves with their beliefs ahead of their evidence. Even today after we should have learned about the power of scientific methods, we like to talk about multiple universes, alternative laws of physics, as if they exist. This while we have a big problem right now with much stronger theories: we have failed to integrate GTR and QM and we don't know why?


      GTR is at least partially incorrect, and we need a new way to understand gravity without having to make up constructs like dark matter and dark energy which we don't know even exist. QM has spawned several industry sectors but we don't fully comprehend its "magic." This is not religion or idle talk; this is hard work and we can have faith only in things that exist (can be observed by many, measured, and hopefully predictable).


      JE comments:  What a difference a day makes!  Yesterday morning I was talking about my cat, and mulling over whether to post a photo.  (He's very cute.)  But WAIS is about loftier matters, as Tor Guimaraes proves here.


      I'm still grappling with the Anthropic Principle.  Doesn't it at least partially suggest the presence of an acting divinity?  The universe has laws that allow humans to exist, yes, but this is a tautology that begs the question "why"?  The Anthropic Principle was first proposed in 1973 in Krakow, Poland, at a conference marking the 500th anniversary of Copernicus's birth.  The time and place may or may not be significant.  Krakow is arguably the city where religion (Wojtyla/John Paul II) brought down Communist atheism.

      Please login/register to reply or comment:

      • Religion, Atheism, Communism...and Krakow (Tor Guimaraes, USA 01/23/19 3:29 AM)
        Commenting on my last post, JE stated: "The Anthropic Principle was first proposed in 1973 in Krakow, Poland, at a conference marking the 500th anniversary of Copernicus's birth. The time and place may or may not be significant. Krakow is arguably the city where religion (Wojtyla/John Paul II) brought down Communist atheism. "

        Those are very interesting words but I see a totally different lesson. Krakow is indeed an amazing city.  It is one of the many places where science debunked religion: a place where Copernicus, a member of the Church, despite his fear of getting in big trouble, was too honest not to share evidence that the Earth was not the center of the universe.


        On the other hand, it takes a huge stretch to say that Krakow is where "religion (Wojtyla/John Paul II) brought down Communist atheism. " Atheism, Communist or otherwise, has nor been brought down.  It is alive and well all over the world. Communism has suffered a deadly blow because the Soviet leadership were socially, politically, and economically incompetent. They were not democratic enough, did not allow for free competitive markets, did not promote entrepreneurship and even the healthiest manifestations of Capitalism.


        JE comments:  Poles consider Krakow to be the nation's most conservative major city.  My thinking was that John Paul II (together with Reagan) delivered the death blows to the Soviet Bloc.  If not Krakow, where did the Cold War end?  Gdansk?  Berlin?  Kabul?  Washington?  Moscow itself?  Any claim to this title is ultimately a metaphor, but the discussion could be interesting.

        Please login/register to reply or comment:

        • "Alternative Facts" and Morality (Tor Guimaraes, USA 02/27/19 3:08 AM)
          Based on the number of readers, let alone converts, my book God for Atheists and Scientists, the fruit of close to 60 years from my personal search for a god that is logical and constructive, must presently be viewed as a huge failure. Yet I am far from disappointed and continue to learn about the essence of issues like why do people have no respect for the truth, ignore obvious evidence, and more often choose wrong over right out of ignorance or wickedness.

          By watching the process of adoption/avoidance/rejection of my book, I learned that most people actually find superstition more fun than search for the truth. Once they believe something, no matter how unrealistic, they seek to reinforce their beliefs, not improve on them toward the truth based on facts and logic.


          Having to address the subject of Ethics which is a problem in business practice, I learned that the real problem is not a lack of ethics (dictated by the group) but morals (dictated by the individual's conscience). That is the source of most of our social problems.


          It is obvious to any thoughtful person what a fact is (versus an opinion or belief). When facts and opinions are all considered to be truth, the result will be total chaos due to a complete lack of communication and understanding. That is why we have had the worst human atrocities; where ignorance and lies provided the source, the wrong facts prevailed, and people acted badly based on them.


          We now live in a world of openly "fake news" and "alternative facts." The next step toward total chaos is making important decisions based on deliberately falsified data for religious or political reasons. The scientific methods ultimately provide the truth about a research question because nothing is trusted until checked and rechecked competitively by different people against established reality. Beliefs and opinions may or may not be true and can lead to horrible disasters. Take for example racism; the Genetics scientific evidence is absolutely clear that through the Law of Evolution mankind evolved from single-cell organisms, and that all mankind originated in Africa. How can there be racism except in very ignorant minds? Just as there are laws not allowing people to vote below a certain age, there should be a law whereby adults must learn the facts before expressing their beliefs and opinions. Otherwise we will be in the chaos where we are now.


          That is the connection between gods, religions, ethics, and morals. As I stated before, perhaps because most people have not deliberately chosen their gods and accept them on faith, their beliefs seem to be relatively weak and vulnerable to the large variety of god-alternatives, various types of emotional pressure, circumstantial necessities and hypocrisy. On the other extreme we have religious fundamentalism where the chosen religion becomes unrealistically orthodox with no respect for other religions, for scientific truth, and in extreme cases leading to the many absolutely horrendous criminal acts and massive destructive behavior we've seen throughout history.


          JE comments:  Tor, I don't know how many copies you've sold, but I certainly do not consider your God for Atheists a failure among the WAISitudes.  You've generated much discussion and feedback.  Even criticism is an essential part of the scientific process.


          Kellyanne Conway's "alternative facts" quietly turned two on January 22nd.  Will historians someday be studying the Era of Alternative Facts, like we now talk speak of the Gilded Age or the Greatest Generation?

          Please login/register to reply or comment:





  • Prophecy, Logic, and the Platonic Demiurge (Massoud Malek, USA 01/23/19 3:06 AM)
    Prophets are messengers of one or millions of entities that try to explain the purpose and meaning of human life and its afterlife.

    Logic is a conclusion to some hypothesis, therefore not a unique concept.


    On January 18, Tor Guimaraes wrote:


    "After a heavy dose of philosophy from some heavy hitters like Kafka, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and a bunch of atheists, I am seriously thinking about a second edition for my book God for Atheists and Scientists.


    "These are brilliant people with some important statements about life, humanity, and God, but their philosophical calls to action are logically or conceptually incomplete or inconclusive. They made me think that my 'God is the Universe' concept provides a healthy and productive approach for followers."


    In his post, Tor told us that the philosophical calls to action of Kafka, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche were logically incomplete or inconclusive. Without pointing out their shortcomings, he immediately told us that "God is the Universe" concept provides a healthy and productive approach for followers."


    How does Tor define logic? Does he use the same logic to contradict Kafka, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche?


    According to Plato, the universe, or Cosmos, is a living being endowed with a soul that was fashioned from pre-existing chaos by a divine craftsman, the Demiurge. The Platonic universe contrasts with the account in Genesis, which is a creation out of nothing.


    Given the fact that Tor believes in miracles and rejects the fanaticism of atheists, is it safe to say that he is not a messenger of Demiurge, but another higher entity?


    JE comments:  This is Massoud Malek's first WAIS post of the new year.  A healthy and happy 2019 to Massoud!


    So...the gauntlet has been thrown for Tor Guimaraes.  How are Kafka, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche illogical?

    Please login/register to reply or comment:

    • Kafka, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche: Illogical? (Tor Guimaraes, USA 01/25/19 3:41 AM)

      Wow, Massoud Malek (January 23rd) poses some tough questions. I confess to being intimidated by JE's comment, "The gauntlet has been thrown for Tor Guimaraes. How are Kafka, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche illogical?"


      Well, I'd better try to explain myself to Massoud and other WAISers.


      Massoud wrote: "In his post, Tor told us that the philosophical calls to action of Kafka, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche were logically incomplete or inconclusive. Without pointing out their shortcomings, he immediately told us that his God is the Universe concept provides a healthy and productive approach for followers."


      My working definition of logic is "compared to what I have perceived and experienced in reality, does the call to action from Mr. or Ms. X produce desirable results I would like to recommend and/or follow myself?" Each of these great thinkers preached what they did because of their background and the social/political context in which they lived. Each wrote several books about various topics. A discussion of their lives and their philosophies would in turn require several books, so what I mention here will be at best a superficial note which might require further elaboration.


      To me Kafka in summary makes little sense to follow because he is so negative about life.  He blames his miserable life on his father who was extremely strong and domineering to the verge of psychological brutality. This fellow was such a loser that he left instructions that even his work should not be published after his death. In contrast, my God is the Universe philosophy is based on "all living things are lucky to exist, learn about the Universe and work as much as you can; and be grateful for the results. You can always work harder to change your life for the better. Don't blame anyone else."


      Schopenhauer is a great philosopher to read right after you got in a fight with your wife. He preaches that no one should fall in love and get married because the universe has programmed people to follow instincts which are designed to balance the lovers' imbalances. It is possible he is right, but falling in love is an irresistible force. His philosophy preached women as inferior (good luck with that) and failed to explain the many possible side effects for using other motivations besides love for getting married. My philosophy is, if you fall in love, think carefully about the social economic implications of marriage, and have some kids. They are the greatest gifts God the Universe can give you.


      By far Nietzsche is the most interesting of these three philosophers, and he has had a profound impact on the world. Born to a religious family, turned against Christianity to the desperation of his mother and sister who took care of him after his father/pastor died of a horrible brain disease. A gifted student of languages, at 24 he received a professorship at Basel University. His entire life he was a sick individual and his last marriage proposal traumatized him profoundly. His philosophy was totally anti-democratic, with a fervent belief in aristocracy and the superiority of the ruling elite. Bertrand Russell correctly called him a sycophant for the aristocracy of the time. His concept of the superman (a man who could reinvent himself to survive, grow, and rule in a chaotic world) is an interesting one. His power to the elite philosophy and rabid anti-socialism, as well as his sister's Nazi tendencies, led to the strong admiration from the Nazi Party. I disagree with his thinking, to me democracy, advised by scientific knowledge broadly defined, is the only way for mankind in the long run.


      Last, Massoud stabbed me with: "Given the fact that Tor believes in miracles and rejects the fanaticism of atheists, is it safe to say that he is not a messenger of Demiurge, but another higher entity?" Yes, I am a messenger preaching that God as the Universe makes a lot of sense (it is logical) to promote scientific knowledge which historically has greatly benefited humanity, instead of manmade religions and other superstitions.


      JE comments:  Tor Guimaraes raises a question in my mind.  These philosophers are depressing, but does that make them illogical?  Religions on the other hand may defy logic, but they offer hope.  Can we define Tor's God the Universe concept as an attempt to offer both logic and hope?


      But please, Tor, don't call Kafka a loser!  Few thinkers were more skilled at describing the modern condition.


      Please login/register to reply or comment:

      • Bismarck's Ambivalence to German Colonialism (Patrick Mears, Germany 01/26/19 6:41 AM)
        When I read John E's comment on Bismarck and his attitude towards German colonialism, I recalled reading in A.J.P. Taylor's biography of the Iron Chancellor and perhaps in other sources that Bismarck's attitude toward colonization was ambivalent. True, his government hosted the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 and he acted as the meeting's chairperson, but he also quoted as saying as saying that he was not a "colonies man" (with apologies to our President). Here is a relevant quote from the Wikipedia entry on German colonies:

        In essence, Bismarck's colonial motives were obscure as he had said repeatedly "I am no man for colonies" and "remained as contemptuous of all colonial dreams as ever."  However, in 1884 he consented to the acquisition of colonies by the German Empire, in order to protect trade, to safeguard raw materials and export markets and to take opportunities for capital investment, among other reasons.  In the very next year Bismarck shed personal involvement when "he abandoned his colonial drive as suddenly and casually as he had started it," as if he had committed an error in judgment that could confuse the substance of his more significant policies.  "Indeed, in 1889, [Bismarck] tried to give German South-West Africa away to the British. It was, he said, a burden and an expense, and he would like to saddle someone else with it."


        JE comments:  In times like these I especially miss the input of our long-silent colleague Eugen Solf, whose grandfather Wilhelm (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Solf ) was Germany's governor of Samoa and later Foreign Minister.  Eugen, are you out there...?

        Please login/register to reply or comment:


      • Was Nietzsche Depressing? (Nigel Jones, UK 01/26/19 3:57 PM)
        John Eipper is wrong when he brackets Nietzsche with Schopenhauer and Kafka as "depressing."

        Schopenhauer certainly was the uber-pessimist and so was Kafka (who was of course a novelist rather than a philosopher). Nietzsche, however, was a life-affirmer, however sad the conditions of his own life may have been.


        Schopenhauer was close to a Buddhist philosophy of renunciation. Since life is suffering, and our pursuit of happiness often brings disappointment, our best bet is pacific quietism and acceptance of our insignificance in the universe.


        Nietzsche is almost the polar opposite. His work is a call for Man--or rather some supermen--to replace a dead God as masters of the universe and make our own lives according to our own rules. That is probably why Nietzsche appeals strongly to young people. (Myself included when I was a kid.)


        His reputation as a proto-Nazi is unjust, and as Tor Guimaraes rightly says, was down to his sister Elisabeth who posthumously edited her dead brother's works to fit them in with her racist views. In fact Nietzsche was an enemy of German nationalism and anti-Semitism: One reason for his famous quarrel with his friend Wagner.


        The real Nazi philosopher was of course Martin Heidegger, but that's another story...


        JE comments:  Absolutely, but many acts committed in Nietzsche's name were depressing.  Killing off God is also a downer for many.


        Nigel, tell us about your youthful encounters with Nietzsche.  In the American heartland, we didn't do much philosophy (if you can call it that) beyond Catcher in the Rye.


        Please login/register to reply or comment:

        • A Philosophers' Riddle; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 01/27/19 7:39 AM)

          Gary Moore writes:



          WAISworld's philosopher discussion brings up a side-riddle, unphilosophical as it might sound:


          Who are the disparate famous people in history who died sitting straight up?
          In other words, the landlady sees the guy sitting as usual at the breakfast table,
          but not moving, and so finally she gives him a poke. His act would seem to involve
          a singular act of will. Does the suddenly afflicted brain, recognizing the heart attack,
          say to itself: "Okay, this is it. But I'm not going to fall. I'm not going to gasp. Why should I?
          Dignity to the last."


          An iconic fictional example was in the Billy Crystal movie City Slickers,
          where the hero figure, an aging but still-gigantic Jack Palance, takes precisely the pivotal
          moment to take leave of his clumsy and naive acolytes, providing the crisis for them
          to grow up. The hero, named Curly in the script, is found sitting as usual at the
          breakfast campfire of a cattle drive. But he's not moving. Unconquerable to the end.


          A similar such figure in real life has been named in the discussion by Nigel Jones and Tor Guimaraes.
          I used to have a list of others. Any takers on this riddle?


          JE comments:  Sorry Gary, I cheated, but will keep mum.  Anyone in WAISworld know the answer sans Googling?


          A related riddle:  why the cowboy stigma of dying with your boots on?

          Please login/register to reply or comment:

          • Sit Down and Die: One More for the List (Enrique Torner, USA 01/28/19 3:42 AM)
            Ha! Gary Moore's riddle (January 27th) is an easy one, and I bet nobody knows, but I'll be giving away the end to an upcoming story of mine.

            Not only did he die sitting up (well, just about), but he passed away with his glasses on, holding onto some papers that had a list of people he was planning to fire. That's why somebody probably murdered him. He died with his pants on, though it's disputed whether he actually died that way, or somebody put them on him after he died. He was probably poisoned. He was, however, sitting (technically, reclining high up, with pillows behind him), with his eyes open, and smiling. Who was he? Pope John Paul I!


            More details coming soon, hopefully within a month, God willing! (Sorry, Tor, not the Universe willing!)


            And I apologize for my long absence from WAIS: many things have prevented me from participating.


            JE comments:  Happy New Year, Enrique!  And welcome back.  I hope the things keeping you away from WAIS have all been joyful and productive.


            This is a bizarre topic, but I must add another twist.  In ancient Peru, you were buried in a sitting position.  This better prepared you to spring into the afterlife.


            Any guessers for Gary Moore's original riddle?  And finally, do popes wear pants?

            Please login/register to reply or comment:

            • More on Sitting and Dying; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 01/29/19 6:05 AM)

              Gary Moore writes:



              Congratulations to Enrique Torner (January 28) for his addition to the pantheon
              of died-sitting-straight-up.


              I confess, however, that Pope John Paul I was not the
              example I was cryptically citing (that example was perhaps also the one JE found
              independently, without giving away the name). Wow, I never knew the phenomenon
              could extend, as Enrique described, to eyes open and smiling.


              So now we know of two. How many others?


              JE comments: I Googled "people who died while sitting" and came up with this scatological result--those who expired on the toilet.  We all know about Elvis, but add Judy Garland, Evelyn Waugh, Lenny Bruce, and at least two monarchs.  I squeamishly offer the following:


              https://www.ranker.com/list/famous-people-who-died-on-the-toilet/carly-silver


              Please login/register to reply or comment:

              • When Google Comes Up Empty: The Dying-While-Sitting Riddle (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA 01/31/19 4:35 AM)

                Gary Moore writes:



                John E finds that Google, when asked the Who-Died-Sitting-Straight-Up riddle,
                can offer only an unseemly asterisk, in what might be called the Elvis direction,
                arguably the opposite of what I was talking about, since the sitting-straight-up
                phenomenon implies an act of will to preserve dignity.


                As another corollary,
                Houdini was said to use an act of will to choose his death date, prolonging the
                burst appendix until Halloween. An example from fiction goes the other way:
                the wise old Cheyenne chief in Little Big Man says, "It is a good day to die,"
                then lays himself down in a magnificent mountain setting, only to open his eyes
                quizzically a few minutes later, having found he couldn't command himself to
                pass away.


                Still, JE's journey with Google-Charon on the cyber-Styx reveals something else:
                The Sitting-Straight-Up riddle may be one of those rare historical gems that can't
                be teased out by Googling. There are individual historians who know the cases that
                could be added to the list, but where or how would such knowledge be indexed?
                Is this a tiny preserve of folkloric mystery, surrounded by the roar of the Information
                Superhighway?


                (...aber, Herr Schopenhauer, wollen Sie nicht frühstücken?)


                JE comments:  So ol' Arthur will skip breakfast today.  But Gary, you've let the cat out of the bag.  My inquisitive Assistant Editor (a cat) asks, what kind of sick mind would put a cat in a bag?


                Dying in a seated position is an interesting topic, but how about dying in Detroit?  Harry Houdini (October 31st, 1926) belongs to that elite club.


                Please login/register to reply or comment:






      • Religion and Atheism: Major Questions (Tor Guimaraes, USA 01/27/19 2:26 PM)
        JE commented on my latest: "[Kafka, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche] are depressing, but does that make them illogical? Religions on the other hand may defy logic, but they offer hope. Can we define Tor's God the Universe concept as an attempt to offer both logic and hope?"

        Two important characteristics of these philosophers: First, as I said earlier, they were great thinkers and described many truths about the world. Second, they all were outstanding writers. What makes their conclusions illogical is their narrow-minded views which lead to conclusions or actions which are generally not healthy or constructive for mankind.


        Yes, I would love to produce a philosophy which offers "both logic and hope."


        Last, JE's comment motivated this answer to Atheism:


        Why should I believe there is no God when all I see are idealists frustrated at the many past human attempts to create a god which only produces imaginary individual solace, but major conflict and destruction among nations?



        Why should I believe there is no God, only a spiritually dead universe, which would have produced nothing, when the evidence is so contrary?



        Why should I believe there is no God when the Universe seems so marvelous and mysterious, with so much order even amidst chaos, and so many precise rules to be discovered by science?



        Do not be beguiled by the possibility of many universes, the possibility of other laws of physics. All that would represent a Universe even more marvelous and mysterious.



        I show you the Universe as God Itself, show me that there is no God or that the Universe can be without It.


        JE comments:  A question for this Seventh Day:  
        "Why should I believe there is no God when all I see are idealists
        frustrated at the many past human attempts to create a god which only
        produces imaginary individual solace, but major conflict and destruction
        among nations?"


        Remember, history, religion and economics are the Three Pillars of WAIS, all filtered through an international lens.  Or at least they're supposed to be.  Anyone care to respond to Tor?

        Please login/register to reply or comment:

        • Atheists under Bombardment (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 01/29/19 8:32 AM)
          I always appreciate the engaging, rational and logical posts from our friend Tor Guimaraes, even if I will stick to Catholicism in spite of the Bishop of Rome Bergoglio.

          What I want to talk about is genuine atheism, which strikes me as the most difficult creed in the world. A comment from my friend Luciano Dondero would be most welcome here.


          During the bombing of WWII by the so-called Liberators, who certainly did not liberate me, prior to the arrival of the planes the alarm sirens would give a few minutes to run for shelter in the nearby galleries. Once, however, the planes managed to arrive without prior notice and started their terrorist bombing on civilian targets. Several residents of the apartment house where I lived remained blocked in the entrance hall, as it was already a hell of fire and explosions outside. I was among those trapped, and there was also a die-hard communist young lady. She was an atheist and a declared enemy of the Church and the clergy, who according to her should have been liquidated. But when the explosions came closer, this lady threw herself on her knees and started loudly invoking God, the Virgin Mary and so on.  I never in all my life saw such overflowing faith.


          According to Battaglia's Law, let me recall the young socialist Mussolini, who in a crowded rally took a watch in his hands and shouted: "If God exists, I give Him three minutes to strike me down." The three minutes passed Mussolini, thank God, remained alive and the people acclaimed him.



          Mussolini nevertheless later married in Church, created the Vatican as it is now, favoured the Catholic Church in many ways, and sought confession in his last few days when he had a clear idea he was finished, stating, "I was born Catholic and I want to die Catholic."


          JE comments:  The adage about no atheists in foxholes certainly applies to civilians during a bombing raid.  Few experiences could be more terrifying.  The title of this post (Atheists under Bombardment) was my idea.  At first glance you read it figuratively, but Eugenio Battaglia's example couldn't be more literal.


          Eugenio, this is the first time I've heard you comment on the Francis papacy.  What are your objections?

          Please login/register to reply or comment:

          • There ARE Atheists in Foxholes (Luciano Dondero, Italy 01/30/19 3:19 AM)
            Good morning and Happy New Year from not-so-sunny Fuerteventura!

            In response to Eugenio Battaglia (January 29th), I actually don't think atheism is a particularly hard stance (not "creed," though) to adopt. It is in fact the default with which any child is born. Religion in one aspect is like language: you follow the one your parents follow; once you grow up you might change religion, or abandon any supernatural belief.


            I was lucky enough that in my family I was under no pressure.  They were atheists, but when I was 12 and wanted to become a Catholic, they accommodated me.



            Honestly my motivation was strictly opportunistic: I wanted to get all the presents I would get from various relatives at Confirmation...


            Anyhow, I don't get the point about "No atheists in foxholes."


            Clearly anybody who is serious about their beliefs should do like the American Indian tribe who would defy bullets because their god would protect them.


            If you hide underground you simply show that you believe in practical materialism, whenever it's a matter of actual life and death. Believing in god is OK on Sundays (or Saturdays or Fridays), but not for real. Or so it does appear to me.


            Personally I have been under fire only once, in Afghanistan, when Mujahedins armed with Stingers were shooting at the helicopter I was in. Not probably close enough for a real test, but the idea of praying did not enter my mind


            Regarding the hard-line CP lady my friend Eugenio mentions, I would imagine she must have had a religious upbringing, and under pressure reverted to her roots.



            As I had none in any serious way, I doubt very much I would resort to that. But frankly I have not been tested.


            JE comments:  Happy (frigid) New Year to you, Luciano!  Fuerteventura may be chilly today, but I'll trade places.  I can hear the Polar Vortex outside WAIS HQ, doing its gusty, devilish best to deliver frostbite.  At present we have a wind chill of -33 F, the coldest I've ever had to face.  Ever.  Most schools and universities are closed today (including the state's flagship institution, the U of Michigan).  Adrian College (plucky, as I said before) is open for business.  I'll no doubt "get religion" as I walk to my car.


            Luciano, you must tell us about your experience in Afghanistan.  Were you "embedded" with the Soviets as a journalist?


            Please login/register to reply or comment:





    • Aristotle and Science (Tor Guimaraes, USA 02/12/19 12:05 PM)
      The choice of one's God is the most important factor determining who we are and the moral compass we use for our lives. Over the centuries, mankind has invented thousands of gods which have been assigned omniscience and omnipotence based on the blind faith of their respective followers.  This has resulted in numerous religious conflicts and devastation. Unfortunately, right or wrong, the choice of one's god is most often made by our culture through our elders, by our governments, or by default where our gods become power, money, drugs, etc. In a relatively small percentage of cases, individuals deliberately choose their own god or choose Atheism.

      Perhaps because most people have not deliberately chosen their god and accept them on faith, their belief seems to be relatively weak and vulnerable to the large variety of alternatives, various types of emotional pressure, necessity and hypocrisy. On the other extreme we have religious fundamentalism, where the chosen religion becomes unrealistically orthodox with no respect for other religions, for scientific truth, and in extreme cases leading to criminal acts and destructive behavior.


      Last, in response to Massoud Malek (24 January), some comments and conclusions about the old philosophers.


      Socrates was a questioner of what is truth through the use of logic. As such he might be regarded as the grandfather of science. Plato was primarily a believer so should be viewed primarily as a religious man. Aristotle supposedly was a believer in the Greek gods, but his real God was knowledge. Right or wrong, the man became a walking encyclopedia for his time, so famous that king Philip of Macedonia hired him as a tutor for his son Alexander who eventually became Magnus at an early age for remaining invincible while conquering numerous nations in Africa and Asia. Unfortunately much of the knowledge espoused by Aristotle was made up and not tested scientifically. Nevertheless, such false knowledge was disseminated across the world and taken on faith for hundreds of years until debunked as just another religion by early scientists like Copernicus, Galileo, Leibnitz, Newton, and many others. While much of the Aristotelian knowledge was wrong and may have been an obstacle to the earlier development of real knowledge, his explanations for reality provided a defined target for the early scientists to debunk. Also undeniably much of Aristotle's knowledge was correct and provided the basis for early scientists to build on; thus perhaps he deserves to be considered as the father of the scientific approach which has greatly benefited mankind.


      JE comments:  I've always been curious whether a person who "chooses" a religion is more or less likely to move on to another.  Meaning, do voluntary converts show more conviction than those who are born into a religion?  Arguments could probably made for either case.


      Tor, if I may pry into personal matters, does the rest of your family embrace God the Universe?


      Please login/register to reply or comment:



Trending Now



All Forums with Published Content (41758 posts)

- Unassigned

Culture & Language

American Indians Art Awards Bestiary of Insults Books Conspiracy Theories Culture Ethics Film Food Futurology Gender Issues Humor Intellectuals Jews Language Literature Media Coverage Movies Music Newspapers Numismatics Philosophy Plagiarism Prisons Racial Issues Sports Tattoos Western Civilization World Communications

Economics

Capitalism Economics International Finance World Bank World Economy

Education

Education Hoover Institution Journal Publications Libraries Universities World Bibliography Series

History

Biographies Conspiracies Crime Decline of West German Holocaust Historical Figures History Holocausts Individuals Japanese Holocaust Leaders Learning Biographies Learning History Russian Holocaust Turkish Holocaust

Nations

Afghanistan Africa Albania Algeria Argentina Asia Australia Austria Bangladesh Belgium Belize Bolivia Brazil Canada Central America Chechnya Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark East Europe East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England Estonia Ethiopia Europe European Union Finland France French Guiana Germany Greece Guatemala Haiti Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran (Persia) Iraq Ireland Israel/Palestine Italy Japan Jordan Kenya Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latin America Liberia Libya Mali Mexico Middle East Mongolia Morocco Namibia Nations Compared Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North America Norway Pacific Islands Pakistan Palestine Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Polombia Portugal Romania Saudi Arabia Scandinavia Scotland Serbia Singapore Slovakia South Africa South America Southeast Asia Spain Sudan Sweden Switzerland Syria Thailand The Pacific Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan UK (United Kingdom) Ukraine USA (America) USSR/Russia Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam West Europe Yemen Yugoslavia Zaire

Politics

Balkanization Communism Constitutions Democracy Dictators Diplomacy Floism Global Issues Hegemony Homeland Security Human Rights Immigration International Events Law Nationalism NATO Organizations Peace Politics Terrorism United Nations US Elections 2008 US Elections 2012 US Elections 2016 Violence War War Crimes Within the US

Religion

Christianity Hinduism Islam Judaism Liberation Theology Religion

Science & Technology

Alcohol Anthropology Automotives Biological Weapons Design and Architecture Drugs Energy Environment Internet Landmines Mathematics Medicine Natural Disasters Psychology Recycling Research Science and Humanities Sexuality Space Technology World Wide Web (Internet)

Travel

Geography Maps Tourism Transportation

WAIS

1-TRIBUTES TO PROFESSOR HILTON 2001 Conference on Globalizations Academic WAR Forums Ask WAIS Experts Benefactors Chairman General News Member Information Member Nomination PAIS Research News Ronald Hilton Quotes Seasonal Messages Tributes to Prof. Hilton Varia Various Topics WAIS WAIS 2006 Conference WAIS Board Members WAIS History WAIS Interviews WAIS NEWS waisworld.org launch WAR Forums on Media & Research Who's Who