Introducing SpareHeadOne

Continuing the discussion from Swamidass and Gauger: A Debate in California:

Welcome. Tell us about yourself and your spare head?

Welcome, @SpareHeadOne

I’m an agnostic, watching from the sidelines. But if you are going to be a theist, then something like pantheism seems reasonable to me. However, many Christians will see it as heresy.

Well God is light. It’s written in the New Testament. So it shouldn’t be too much of a heresy. Also the New Testament says that God will bring all things together into Christ at the end of the eons, and it hints that that was how things were to begin with. That sounds a bit pantheistic too.

What does pantheism meant to you? What do you personally believe to be true?

We are all manifestations of The Spirit, The Consciousness.
The ultimate manifestation is the One that many call YHWH and He was always The Manifestation. He is the One that we blame for everything because he knows everything.
All things are predetermined, predestined and planned.
If we can focus on YHWH and have faith that evil is part of his good plan. And if we can stop judging Him when we ourselves are worse morally than He is. Then we can move past the snare of morality, the knowledge of good and evil and become like Jesus.

Do you know the difference between pantheism and panentheism? I think you might be mistaking the two, and are actually a panentheist.

The distinction, as I understand it, is that the deities between different entities are different in pantheism, and often at war with one another. In panentheism, you see God as indistinguishable from creation, and linked together in oneness without conflict.

Do I understand you correctly?

There are other options too. But you do not sound like a pantheist.

Without reading your links. I say God is All. I believe panentheism says God is in All and upholds all but is not all.

I quite like the implications of The Third Way of Evolution. The idea that nature or the whole universe is intrinsically “intelligent” in its workings appeals to me greatly. No bottom up materialism, no top down creationism, just learning and realising what we have before us and what we are.

That’s about how I look at it.

Well, not quite. I see the biosphere as inherently intelligent, with that intelligence being played out in evolutionary processes. But, of course, I do not take “intelligent” to imply conscious thought. As for whether the universe itself can be said to be intelligent – I’m leaving that as an open question for now.

However, I’m not appealing to any “third way of evolution.” I’m not suggesting anything that would disagree with how biologists describe things. It’s just that I prefer to describe them a little differently – with more emphasis on “trial and error testing within the biosphere” for example.

I’ve never been able to work out what that’s even supposed to mean. I’m often accused of being a materialist (due to my support of science). But it doesn’t fit.

Po-tay-to, po-tah-to?
From a practical standpoint, I see those differences as boundaries of a continuum. Well, from a truly practical standpoint, you’ll never detect the difference.

There is a point where the materialistic thought necessary to do science moves into philosophical materialism. I want to avoid that. I think the bottom up materialistic approach to biology is no more valid than other approaches.

From a practical standpoint, I think it seems to work better than a number of alternative approaches. For example, I’m not sure how non-materialistic approaches inform us of cellular metabolism.

Yeah you’re right about practical science, I agree whole heartedly. I’m referring to the philosophical approach in that quote rather than the practical approach.
Believing in random materialism is not going to help you learn about cellular metabolism any more than believing in Thor.

I should have mentioned that I’m a mathematician, not a biologist. And material/immaterial is not particularly relevant to mathematics.

I tend to think of biology as mostly about behavior (of organisms), with the material being merely an implementation detail (implementation by organisms).

Yeah behaviour is a good practical focus.
Whereas attributing that behaviour to a narrative that is based in a philosophy is actually wasting good learning time.

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Okay you can call me a panentheist. But only because some versions of it acknowledge that God is All. I didn’t realise that.
Many Christians are also panentheist but they don’t believe that satan is a manifestation of God, whereas I do. So panentheism is really quite broad.

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The issue is that pantheism does NOT teach that God is All. You do not sound like a pantheist. Panentheism is held by some Christians, but most consider it to be incorrect. You might enjoy Thomas Oord:

Just keep in mind that most Christians totally reject this view. There are atheists here, and we welcome them. We can certainly welcome you.


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Yes. I agree about practical vs. philosophical distinctions. As long as practical and philosophical / religious approaches align, it doesn’t matter. However, if someone believes in faith healing, one will see a difference in approaches.

A difference in approach to healing a person, yes, because belief about healing is directly related to the attempt to heal. But a scientist who believes in faith healing will study cellular metabolism just the same as a Hindu would