Sunday, July 22, 2018

Thankfulness in the Midst of So Much Torrential Darkness


Of late, with so many destructive, intolerant, oppressive movements, leaders, events--and the lying nature of it all--humans are reacting (understandably, but wrongly).

We as humans need to stand up in the torrential storm of now--and ACT, not react.

BEGIN WITH THANKFULNESS

1. Begin this new journey through hell, in the midst of torrential hurricanes, by starting with choosing despite all that is horrific.

Choose to find the little positives even in the midst of so much bad.

Choose thankfulness, not negativity.

Various others ways of rising up, include:

2. Act in nonviolence in thought and speech, as well as behavior.

3. Care by active, compassionate listening to others, especially our enemies, trying to see and understand their views and feelings.

4. Be meticulously honest in all that we say and do.

5. Give to those who suffer, who are oppressed, who feel hopeless.

6.

BUT HOW IN THE WORLD CAN ONE BECOME THANKFUL WHEN SUFFERING SO?!

By remembering what the famous psychologist Victor Frankyl (neurologist and psychiatrist, a Holocaust survivor) said:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning


Focus on CHOOSING in the midst of trauma.

And by seeking to help others who are suffering even worse.

To paraphrase the famous poet, Maya Angelou:
Act as a caring rainbow--a guiding light--in the midst of others' torrential storms.



Create through hope. Start by sharing thankfulness.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Faves of One Shrimpatarian


Introductory Note: As mentioned before, this is my second movement toward vegetarianism. The first one occurred in 1967, but then I jumped from an American diet to veganism, lost 45 pounds, and became malnourished. This time I am taking the very slow, balanced approach. First, about 20 years ago, I stopped eating all beef. Then, 10 years ago, pork.


Since pigs are smarter than dogs and cats, it’s unclear to me why I didn’t stop eating ham, etc. long ago. Seeking the truth, living the truth is very difficult. But it seems obvious that no humans ought to eat conscious, aware, intelligent animals such as pigs.
At present, I seldom have fish, though for years, salmon, cod, catfish, and halibut were favorites.
I’m working my way down the food chain until, I will stop eating anything that has a face, certainly not sentient creatures.

FAVES of Food

Vegetables:
1. Potatoes--French fries, fried potatoes, baked, hashbrowns
2. Celery
3. Cucumbers
4. Mushrooms
5. European blend salad
6. Jalapeno peppers
7. Broccoli
--

Fruits:
1. Bananas
2. Blackberries
3. Oranges
4. Kiwis
5. Tomatoes
6. Figs
7. Dates
--

Meals:
1. Cajun shrimp, especially large shrimp
2. Baseball-sized Hushpuppy with its insides of crab and in the center with sauce, a large shrimp, at Cajun Tex restaurant in Marshall, Texas

3. Delicious Shrimp and Grits, The Conch House in St. Augustine, Florida




4. Crab chowder, best at The Conch House










5. Gourmet Shrimp Taco at Rubios, Huntington Beach, California
5. Jalapeno string cheese, such as Great Value brand
5. Cheese and potato Chalupa at Taco Bell
6. Quesadilla, especially Del Taco’s Spicy Jack Quesadilla
7. Cheese Enchilada
8. 10-grain bread
9. Millet
10.Clam Chowder


Drinks:
1. Mountain Dew Types: LiveWire, Ice (Lennon-Lime), Regular, PitchBlack, Code Red
2. Hurricanes at Joe's Crab Shack
3. Margaritas at Flanigans, Pompano Beach, Florida
4. Siesta Key Spiced Rum, Sarasota, Florida
5. Eggnog
6. Milk and shakes

Favorite Restaurants and Cafes:
1. The Conch House, St. Augustine Florida
2. Flanigan's Seafood Bar & Grill, Pompano Beach Florida
3. Cajun Tex, Marshall Texas
4. Jonahs Fish & Grits, Thomasville Georgia
5. Rubio's Coastal Grill, Huntington Beach California


Enjoy the gusto and deliciousness of good non-meat food and drink in moderation,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Now If That Isn't an Irony!


All through my Christian life—for 55 years—so many Christians emphasized that the only way for all humans to have peace is for humans to accept Jesus as their Savior, to become a Christian.

Then they will change, peace will come in their lives, and they will act in peace, and eventually—at least by the time Jesus returns—peace will come to all of the world.

Here’s one famous phrase—“The Prince of Peace is the only one who can change it [stop war, stop hatred, stop injustice, etc.] by changing one heart at a time.”

BUT the EXACT opposite has happened. For generations.

In every generation, the vast majority of those ‘changed-one-heart-at-a-time,’ born-again-devout Christians are the very humans who are most pro-war, even strongly supporting the slaughter of civilians, and often emphasizing nationalism!

They even now are claiming that everyone ought to put “America First”!

Arrest a 12-year-old disabled girl at the hospital where she just had surgery because she isn't a native citizen, even though she has lived in the U.S. since she was 3 months old.

Send her to a border station internment place by herself.

Forcibly separate thousands of children, including over 100 under 5, from their refugee parents, and move them to facilities far away from their parents in other states!

Utter selfishness, injustice, and no peace.

Now if that isn’t an irony.




Instead,

Seek the Light of justice, reconciliation, compassion, human rights, equality, and so much more.

Act today for those who are impoverished, those who are suffering, those who are oppressed.

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Write for Amal Fathy, an Egyptian Woman Arrested for Writing Against Sexual Harassment


FROM AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL:
"On 21 June, Egyptian authorities upheld the decision to release woman human rights defender Amal Fathy on bail in one of the two cases against her. However, she remains detained in the second case for 15 more days. The prosecutor has two weeks to decide whether to renew Amal’s detention on the second case or release her.

"1) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

"Immediately and unconditionally release Amal Fathy as she is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for peacefully expressing her opinions;
Recognize the legitimacy of the work of human rights defenders, like Amal Fathy, and in particular the right to carry out their activities without any restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
Contact these two officials by 7 August, 2018:

President
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax +202 2391 1441
Email: p.spokesman@op.gov.eg
Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial
Salutation: Dear President

Ambassador Yasser Reda, Embassy of Egypt
3521 International Ct NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 895 5400
Fax: 202 244 4319 -OR- 202 244 5131
Email: embassy@egyptembassy.net
Contact Form: http://www.egyptembassy.net/the-embassy/ambassadors-corner/
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
https://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent-actions/urgent-action-amal-fathy-remains-in-jail-for-charges-in-one-case-egypt-ua-98-18/
--


In the Light of the Enlightenment, stand up for the oppressed, the suffering, the impoverished,

Daniel Wilcox

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Look at Facts versus Truth, AGAIN


From an Introduction to Literature book [with my own responding commentary and reflections in brackets]:
"Water boils at 212° F." True or false? It depends. In Denver, a mile high, the statement is false; at sea level, it is true, provided we all agree what F stands for, what the superscript means, and what the rest of the words in the statement denote.

“But facts - a kind of truth-are slippery. The fact that water flows downhill can be verified to most people's satisfaction by pouring water down a number of hills, but what practical test is there to verify that the square root of nine is three?
--

[Or that induction is to be trusted?
The philosopher David Hume stated that there is no proof for induction.

Or perception is real?

Or that all of existence is real, not illusion as Asian religions and some philosophers claim?]
--

“All this is by way of suggesting that fact and truth are not always identical. Nor should we assume that the only kind of truth we can rely on is the truth embodied in cold, hard fact. Consider the following for a moment.

“It is a truth about human life -has been and no doubt always will be - that a young man [or young woman] of great gifts must sooner or later make a choice, and in doing so he [she] closes the door on alternative choices.

“He may devote all his talent to becoming, say, a great soldier, and with diligence he may enjoy success. Or he may devote his talent to becoming a politician, and assuming he is willing to make the necessary sacrifices of time and energy, he may very well succeed there.

“Or he may concentrate all his gifts on becoming a playboy and bon vivant, and no doubt he will have success there too, always of course at the cost of realizing his potential in other areas of endeavor. Most of us can do only so much in one lifetime, and to do anything extremely well takes something close to total commitment.

“Insight into this truth is expressed in one of the great myths of classical antiquity. At a feast of the gods on Mount Olympus, the uninvited goddess of discord, Eris, mischievously threw onto the table an apple labeled "For the Fairest."

“Three feminine hands reached for it...To decide, the handsomest of mortals, Paris, was brought to the feast, where each of the three goddesses promised rewards to him if he would give the apple to her.

“...Paris...gave the apple to Aphrodite, and from that choice reaped the reward of Helen, most beautiful of women, with all the consequences-including the fall of Troy and the destruction of his family...

“Whether or not there was ever a man named Paris, there is truth in the myth that is as valid as fact, and more affecting.

“Myth, then, collects the diverse experience of the race of man and fashions it into memorable and enduring form.
--

[But is the literature textbook correct, that non-factual stories are as valid as facts?

Since the term, myth, has come to almost always mean falsehood, delusion, etc., a better word would be “life-stance story.” In such stories, there may be ethical truth, philosophical observation, even a lucid understanding of one aspect of Life or the Cosmos.

BUT on the other hand, there may be only illusion and dysfunction.

Consider for instance President Abraham Lincoln’s belief in fate—he was raised Calvinist but rejected the Christian religion yet kept its fixated belief in determinism!

Because of his deep sense of fate, and his belief in the belief of an inseparable Union, Lincoln caused the death of almost 1 million humans, untold wounding of millions more, the destruction of cities and farms, and an ambivalent legacy that is still with us, etc.]
--

“...Is it not true that men often do evil with the best of intentions?”
--

[For Lincoln’s nemesis—strangely the very military leader who before Lincoln’s war attack into the Confederacy, he had asked to lead all Union troops!--
Robert E. Lee, also, had life-changing beliefs, a strong Christian belief in predestination (not significantly different from Lincoln’s belief in fate), but which led to a completely opposite response in life—which also was involved in causing much of the death and destruction that President Lincoln instituted.

Strangely, Lee as a dedicated Christian said that we ought to love our enemies, but that didn't stop him from causing the death of hundreds of thousands of humans, some of whom he used to work with! Lee killed them in duty, honor, and justice:-(

Indeed, most of the 20th century, and now the 21st century has seen political and religious leaders, with the “best of intentions”
cause more untold evil—the slaughter of millions of civilians, hundreds of millions of humans--beginning with the Great War down to the current slaughters in the Middle East and invasion by the United States who currently fights in at least 7 separate wars among the many on-going Islamic fratricides.]
--

Or consider the famous life-stance story of Jews, Christians, and Muslims:
“the Garden of Eden and the events we are told took place there...

“Some people read the account in Genesis as factual truth, but it is hardly necessary to insist on literal accuracy to appreciate the profound…truths of the story told simply in Genesis…

“The temptation to rise above one's place in the universe…is a universal human experience...their effort to convince themselves that what they have done is right despite all evidence to the contrary. We can recognize these and other truths in the story, although we have never known a world literally like that of Adam and Eve.

“Perhaps the most profound aspect of the story lies in God's commandment that man not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge and man's breaking of that commandment. We assume the value of knowledge, but many of the most able observers of man's progress wonder, as they ponder the future, whether what lies before us is ultimately good or evil.”
--

[The famous psychologist and professor Steven Pinker has written 2 lucid, heavily fact-based books, Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now, showing that despite nearly constant gloomy media news, tremendous moral and flourishing life progress has actually been made by humans in the last 50 years.]
--

Contrarily,
“Has our knowledge outgrown our ability to use it wisely? As we learn how to destroy the inhabitants of the earth, and as we hover on the brink of discovering how to create life itself, we might find more significance in the ancient story of the fall of man than we had realized.”
--

[Many nations, currently, are turning to ‘strongmen’ to lead their nations. The U.S.—which already has many thousands of nuclear bombs, enough to destroy the world many times—is committed to building new ones and the current president, too, now wants to militarize Space!

Plus, President Trump has taken thousands of children away from refugee parents and claims that Americans ought to be “first” yet at the same time is strongly supported by over 81% of conservative Christians who claim he is “pro-life"!]
--

"I only have time for facts," the innocent often say. "No time for make-believe." But fiction-the best of it-isn't make-believe.

It is often the more enduring reality, and because it contains truth, it goes beyond personal and national boundaries. Thus, one need not be a Greek to recognize truth in Oedipus the King, or a Roman Catholic to be astonished by the accuracy of vision in The Divine Comedy.

“Nor does one have to insist on a literal interpretation of Christian doctrine in order to find profound truths about man and his fate in, Paradise Lost.

“1. Although facts are not the only form of truth, they are extremely important.

What is a fact?

What is the importance of facts in your everyday life?

What is the relationship between facts and ideas?

Between facts and opinions?

"2. Is man essentially good?

“Or is he essentially evil?
--from a literature textbook
--

[OR is the human primate not capable of good or evil?

IS the human species ONLY--
“You, your joys and your sorrow, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”
-Francis Crick, the famous Scientist and Atheistic Naturalist

OR HOW can any of the life-stance stories possibly be true in the sense that the literary author means (ethically and philosophically, not factually)
since so many contradict each other.

To be continued—


In the Light,

Daniel Eugene Wilcox

LIFE Needs to be Like a Camera


Monday, June 18, 2018

Why I Am a Process-theist, Not an Atheist or Creedal Christian


#1 The existence of Life, that marvelous creative structure of DNA.

I’m not given to anthropomorphizing nature and strongly dislike writing that does that. HOWEVER, despite the fact that non-sentient matter doesn’t have any will or awareness, there does appear to be some sort incredible drive within the natural process of Life itself.

One of Life’s astounding,staggering facts is that while once--more than 2 billion years ago--there was only inert matter and energy, at some point, somehow LIFE came into existence (biogenesis), Life from non-life.

No doubt this extraordinary, stunning change—nonlife to LIFE--came about via the structural creativity and intelligence inherent in reality of which so many brilliant scientists speak of; they sometimes use the word, emergent, to describe this amazing development. And, of course, the 51% of scientists in the United States who aren’t atheists, attribute this spectacular transformation to ultimate reality.

BUT even all of that—LIFE from non-life--isn’t the most staggering fact:
it’s that despite over-whelming odds,
despite the extinction of over 99% of all life forms in deep time;
despite huge natural disasters including large meteors hitting the Earth,
despite the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, etc.
LIFE on planet earth, a couple billion years later
continues to develop,
to expand,
to evolve,
to strongly continue to exist.

Despite the popularity of apocalyptic destruction media and novels, it appears that life will continue to exist and thrive in this universe for at least one more billion years!

After that according to cosmologists, our sun will get hotter and hotter, and boil away Earth’s oceans. Probably the end of life.
But until then...

Life is very stubborn:-)

I see this especially almost daily when my wife and I take hikes and our daily walks. Various plants grow out of places that wouldn’t seem possible. Their stems manage to squeak through narrow cracks in sidewalks, blacktop, masonry, rock faces. Tree roots break thick concrete driveways, uplift heavy slabs.

Heck, there is a series of long twining weeds that have squeezed through one door jam in our garage. They trail up the vertical side of the door and over onto the wall. I absolutely know that they have no sentience, that plants have no awareness, no will, no drive,
YET somehow Life ‘urges’ to exist
and overcomes very difficult circumstances.

Some of plants are so life-driven that they drive me and my wife crazy;-)

We have over-and-over, for the umpteen time, killed all unwanted life-plant forms in our front rock and rose garden;
we’ve laid down thick layers of plastic;
repeatedly I've used weed killer;
my wife constantly pulls weeds, etc.

YET there they are again,
driven up through poison,
up through heavy plastic, up past my wife’s persistent fingers,
more ‘determined’ to live than most anything.

So even small ‘persistent’ survival-persistent weeds astound me.

At 71 years of age, I have almost no energy compared to those thick weeds, skinny small vines, ugly intruders:-).

Here's bit of scientific data on DNA:

“The structure of DNA, an abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, illustrates a basic principle common to all biomolecules: the intimate relation between structure and function. The remarkable properties of this chemical substance allow it to function as a very efficient and robust vehicle for storing information.”

“A major role for many sequences of DNA is to encode the sequences of proteins, the workhorses within cells, participating in essentially all processes. Some proteins are key structural components, whereas others are specific catalysts (termed enzymes) that promote chemical reactions. Like DNA and RNA, proteins are linear polymers. However, proteins are more complicated in that they are formed from a selection of 20 building blocks, called amino acids, rather than 4.”

“The functional properties of proteins, like those of other biomolecules, are determined by their three-dimensional structures. Proteins possess an extremely important property: a protein spontaneously folds into a welldefined and elaborate three-dimensional structure that is dictated entirely by the sequence of amino acids along its chain (Figure 1.6). The self-folding nature of proteins constitutes the transition from the one-dimensional world of sequence information to the three-dimensional world of biological function. This marvelous ability of proteins to self assemble into complex structures is responsible for their dominant role in biochemistry."

"Folding of a Protein. The three-dimensional structure of a protein, a linear polymer of amino acids, is dictated by its amino acid sequence.
How is the sequence of bases along DNA translated into a sequence of amino acids along a protein chain? We will consider the details of this process in later chapters, but the important finding is that three bases along a DNA chain encode a single amino acid. The specific correspondence between a set of three bases and 1 of the 20 amino acids is called the genetic code. Like the use of DNA as the genetic material, the genetic code is essentially universal; the same sequences of three bases encode the same amino acids in all life forms from simple microorganisms to complex, multicellular organisms such as human beings.”
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22415/
Copyright © 2002, W. H. Freeman and Company.

There “...is enough information capacity in a single human cell to store the Encyclopaedia Britannica, all 30 volumes of it, three or four times over."
Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, W.W. Norton, New York, p. 115, 1986

#2 The amazing and intellectually beautiful regularities of the Cosmos (often called the Laws of Physics or Cosmology); Time-Space’s wonder; quantum physics;

The physicist Steven Wineburg wrote that for him the cosmos seems “pointless.”
“The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”
Dreams of a Final Theory: The Search for the Fundamental Laws of Nature (1993), ISBN 0-09-922391-0

But some other professional scientists, (and me, an average literature and writing teacher who has an amateur fascination with studying science on my own) have come to the extreme opposite conclusion:

The more we discover and learn about the cosmos, the more it seems meaningful and pointfull.

This whole area of astrophysics, cosmology, and astronomy often brings in the G-word, for good or ill, often by anti-religious thinkers who castigate all theists as fundamentalists.

The G-word is problematic because it is so ambiguous, so contradictory, so empty-bucket when it comes to its denotative meaning.

Give a hear to the thoughts of the famous astronomer Carl Sagan:

"The word “god” is used to cover a vast multitude of mutually exclusive ideas. And the distinctions are, I believe in some cases, intentionally fuzzed so that no one will be offended that people are not talking about their god.

"But let me give a sense of two poles of the definition of God. One is the view of, say, Spinoza or Einstein, which is more or less God as the sum total of the laws of physics. Now, it would be foolish to deny that there are laws of physics. If that’s what we mean by God, then surely God exists. All we have to do is watch the apples drop."

"Newtonian gravitation works throughout the entire universe. We could have imagined a universe in which the laws of nature were restricted to only a small portion of space or time. That does not seem to be the case....So that is itself a deep and extraordinary fact: that the laws of nature exist and that they are the same everywhere. So if that is what you mean by God, then I would say that we already have excellent evidence that God exists."

"But now take the opposite pole: the concept of God as an outsize male with a long white beard, sitting in a throne in the sky and tallying the fall of every sparrow. Now, for that kind of god I maintain there is no evidence. And while I’m open to suggestions of evidence for that kind of god, I personally am dubious that there will be powerful evidence for such a god not only in the near future but even in the distant future. And the two examples I’ve given you are hardly the full range of ideas that people mean when they use the word “god.”
https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/12/20/carl-sagan-varieties-of-scientific-experience/
--

I do strongly agree with Sagan that the "concept of God as an outsize male" isn't real, that there is no evidence for such an anthropomorphic god. Indeed, as a small child, I NEVER thought that God was a superhuman man up in the sky, in heaven. On the contrary, I looked at life, existence, and the night sky with awed wonder. My image of God was like of oxygen or some other gas!:-)

God was invisible, everywhere, and necessary for life to exist.

And my own view of the nature of Reality—often called ‘God’ even by famous scientists—is somewhat related to Sagan’s definition: “the sum total” of natural laws.

Only, I think, that Life, reason, ethics, etc. exist inherent within the nature of Reality.

And from Astrophysicist and theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin:

“If I were to ever lean towards spiritual thinking or religious thinking, it would be in that way. It would be, why is it that there is this abstract mathematics that guides the universe? The universe is remarkable because we can understand it. That’s what’s remarkable. All the other things are remarkable, too. It’s really, really astounding that these little creatures on this little planet that seem totally insignificant in the middle of nowhere can look back over the fourteen-billion-year history of the universe and understand so much and in such a short time."

"So that is where I would get a sense, again, of meaning and of purpose and of beauty and of being integrated with the universe so that it doesn’t feel hopeless and meaningless. Now, I don’t personally invoke a God to do that, but I can’t say that mathematics would disprove the existence of God either. It’s just one of those things where over and over again, you come to that point where some people will make that leap and say, “I believe that God initiated this and then stepped away, and the rest was this beautiful mathematical unfolding.” And others will say, “Well, as far back as it goes, there seem to be these mathematical structures. And I don’t feel the need to conjure up any other entity.” And I fall into that camp, and without feeling despair or dissatisfaction.”

--
Here, Levin seems to be disbelieving in the same god that Sagan and many of us non-scientists emphasize there is no evidence for. This is the god of popular superstition and creedal religion.

Many scientists, on the other hand, use the term, god, to refer to ultimate or essential reality, as Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary's first definition: "1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality:"

For example Albert Einstein: “My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit [‘spirit’ meaning the nature of, not meant in the organized religion sense] that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality."

#3 Related to those staggering realities, is the remarkable fact that in this vast, seemingly infinite expanding Time-Space reality, there is on a minor planet in a middling galaxy a finite primate (us), who in historic time only recently became consciously aware, rational, with mental capabilities able to discover these astronomical, cosmological, astrophysical complex theories and facts!

It is humbling true that it appears we human primates have only begun to tap into the whole of Reality; and there may even be a multiverse, beyond the billions of galaxies within our own universe. Like Einstein emphasized we as a species are like a small child who has discovered a vast library far beyond his/her little capabilities. There are billions, trillions of volumes.

Yet, it is so extraordinary that we as a species, with our basic brain, can understand even the barest minimum of Existence.
Various cosmologists, astrophysicists, astronomers, and mathematicians are enthralled by the wonder of it all.

#4 Math; how some mathematicians think that the ultimate nature of Reality is actually mathematical!

I’m a math-light-weight;-) I did make it through algebra, geometry, college math, did fairly well, (mostly B’s) BUT realized that I wasn’t given the brainpower to do heavy lifting when it comes to higher math, so had to give up my childhood dream of becoming a space engineer. However, I still have deep appreciation of math’s amazing complexity in relationship to the cosmos.

Consider the view of math from the perspective of Astrophysicist and theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin:

“I would absolutely say I am also besotted with mathematics. I don’t worry about what’s real and not real in the way that maybe Gödel did. I think what Turing did, which was so beautiful, was to have a very practical approach. He believed that life was, in a way, simple. You could relate to mathematics in a concrete and practical way. It wasn’t about surreal, abstract theories. And that’s why Turing is the one who invents the computer, because he thinks so practically. He can imagine a machine that adds and subtracts, a machine that performs the mathematical operations that the mind performs."

"The modern computers that we have now are these very practical machines that are built on those ideas. So I would say that like Turing, I am absolutely struck with the power of mathematics, and that’s why I’m a theoretical physicist...I love that we can all share the mathematical answers. It’s not about me trying to convince you of what I believe or of my perspective or of my assumptions."

"We can all agree that one plus one is two, and we can all make calculations that come out to be the same, whether you’re from India or Pakistan or Oklahoma, we all have that in common. There’s something about that that’s deeply moving to me and that makes mathematics pure and special. And yet I’m able to have a more practical attitude about it, which is that, well, we can build machines this way. There is a physical reality that we can relate to using mathematics.”

"If I were to ever lean towards spiritual thinking or religious thinking, it would be in that way. It would be, why is it that there is this abstract mathematics that guides the universe? The universe is remarkable because we can understand it. That’s what’s remarkable. All the other things are remarkable, too. It’s really, really astounding that these little creatures on this little planet that seem totally insignificant in the middle of nowhere can look back over the fourteen-billion-year history of the universe and understand so much and in such a short time."

"So that is where I would get a sense, again, of meaning and of purpose and of beauty and of being integrated with the universe so that it doesn’t feel hopeless and meaningless. Now, I don’t personally invoke a God to do that, but I can’t say that mathematics would disprove the existence of God either. It’s just one of those things where over and over again, you come to that point where some people will make that leap and say, “I believe that God initiated this and then stepped away, and the rest was this beautiful mathematical unfolding.” And others will say, “Well, as far back as it goes, there seem to be these mathematical structures. And I don’t feel the need to conjure up any other entity.” And I fall into that camp, and without feeling despair or dissatisfaction."
Astrophysicist and theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin
Einstein's God, Interviews with Scientists by Krista Tippett

#5 Reason:

Think of the stunning results that humans’ rational abilities have achieved, especially when brilliant humans hypothesize in a number of different scientific, historical, and aesthetic fields.

#6 Ethics:

Moral realism!
In contrast, most Atheists and Creedal Christians aren’t moral realists.

It’s baffling that so many Atheists and Creedal Christians claim that morals and ethics, and human rights are subjective.

And many famous Atheist leaders take it one gigantic step further, claiming that human creative choice, moral responsibility, equality, liberty, justice, human rights, etc. are all “myths,” delusions!

And Creedal Christians claim that all humans, since we were foreordained from before the beginning of Time-Space, by their god to be sinful at conception/birth, we are incapable of any choice. Furthermore, God often changes what is moral or immoral. Whatever the Christian god decides—that becomes moral even if it is horrific such as genocide, the slaughter of children, rape, slavery, and so forth.

#7 Aesthetics

#8

#9

#10
--

In SUMMARY:
All reality is coming about by the everlasting but limited cosmic reality that is “becoming.” This is the view of thinkers such as philosopher and mathematician Alfred Lord Whitehead, philosopher Charles Hartshorne, etc.

This cosmic but limited ‘god-ultimate reality’--who is far beyond human understanding--works toward changing matter and energy and conscious life (such as homo sapiens) into increasing patterns and forms of beauty, meaning, and purpose.

This is also the view of some Reform Jews and extremely liberal non-creedal Christians and Muslims.

But where is the evidence for this?

Process thinkers explain that consciousness, reason, ethics, mathematics, natural law, creativity, aesthetics, life itself, etc. are the evidence.
This view is appealing, (though most of the technical philosophical explanations are beyond my understanding).
OR
All reality came about somehow by a temporary, finite, imperfect, even distorted, expression of the perfect eternal Ideal Forms of Platonism.
I already explained that I've been influenced by Platonism though I strongly reject certain portions and claims of the philosophical worldview of Plato.

To be continued--


In the Light of Reality,

Daniel Wilcox