Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, July 16, 2018

A response to "Why We Should Require All Students to Take 2 Philosophy Courses"

A Response to “Why We Should Require All Students to Take 2 Philosophy Courses”
            I have thought about this article for several days and wish to give my thoughts on this subject. I am inclined to agree with this article but only up to a certain point. Let me start by saying I am an older non-traditional student. My way of thinking has already been shaped by life and the types of jobs I have held. Free thinking was not needed or encouraged.  Upon entering college, I decided on Anthropology as a major. Most of what we read or report on deals with research and facts. I have had very few instances where I was required to think out of the box, so to speak. That is why I am in agreement that college students should be required to take at least one Philosophy class as a requirement. But I would recommend that instead of it being required as a lower division class, it be required as an upper division level class. This gives the student a couple of years to develop their own life experiences to help them understand and answer the philosophy questions posed to them. I also agree it would be beneficial to students if professors from other disciplines would add to their classes a little freer thinking along with what is taught. I know I would have enjoyed and benefitted from being able to think for myself while also dealing with facts.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Evolution theory or fact

The theory of evolution is a theory, so I thought before I took a class on Evolution in America and started seeing claims from Darwinist that it is more than a theory, but a fact as well.

By definition, a scientific fact is generally recognized as a critical observation of some object or event by many independent critical observers, and their observations are virtually the same. While a Scientific theory is a deeply established explanation for a broad feature of the natural world that is well supported by an abundance of critical investigations and resulting evidence

According to a paper by Larry Flammer at Indiana University titled, Evolution as Fact AND Theory, he tells us “examples of evolution have actually been directly observed by many critical observers (both in the lab and in the field), making those examples facts. Furthermore, there's an overwhelming collection of observations of fossils over time clearly showing major changes in major groups of organisms, e.g., new groups arising, earlier groups going extinct. All critical efforts by biologists to test evolution have failed, thereby consistently supporting the process we call "biological evolution" as the only viable explanation that fits all the evidence. And, there is no material evidence against evolution. That satisfies the requirements for a scientific theory.”

At the National Academy of Science, they use the term "fact" as a scientific explanation that has been tested and confirmed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing it or looking for additional examples. For this reason, they label the occurrence of evolution as a scientific fact. This flies in the face of the definition from above that states deeply established explanations are considered theory.

The researchers at Answers in Genesis tell us there are no disputing changes have occurred through the ages because they are indeed observable, but what was not observed was life coming from non-life and new genetics being added to existing genetic code. This has not been observed. They further tell us there are two kinds of observation, operation observation which is based on the scientific method and historical origins science which interprets evidence from past events based on a philosophical point of view. An example they use is when a claim of a missing link is reported those claims are not based on the scientific method, but on assumptions of the past that natural selection and mutations led to changes from one species to another.

The discussion of evolution as fact, theory or weather creation science is the answer will not go away anytime soon in the discussion of where did we come from. In the meantime, let’s respect each other’s opinions and continue to seek an answer.

Consciousness Chapters 4 and 5

I’m going to tackle chapters 4 and 5 together in this one since I found them to build off of each other. Chapter 4 introduces the idea of 'is consciousness an illusion?’ Are we really seeing everything that is goin on around us, or are we in someway manipulating the world around us? Blackmore gives several examples on what is meant by this: on page 56-57 we discover our blind spot. At the top of the page, on the right side it shows a large black dot. on the left a drawing of a cat. When held at arms length, with the right eye covered and the left eye staring at the black dot, the viewer can make the cat disappear by slow moving the page side to side. Eventually you will find your blind spot, all the while looking at the dot, the cat on the page seems to vanish. Does this mean we see a hole in our vision? No, our brain is able to fill it in so we don’t notice it. Well, if that’s the case, how does it know to do that? There has to be some level of conscious awareness that ‘we’ need to be able to see and make a coherent picture without a hole in our vision from our blind spot. Another example given is on page 59-60. Blindness to change. Experimenter’s showed test subjects a picture on a screen and where told to look at it. When it was detected the subjects eyes moves, the picture was quickly changed to another picture, with one slight change somewhere on the image. Did test subjects realize they were looking at a different picture? Most did not. So if things are happening and changing right in front of us without us noticing, what does that mean? Enter sensorimotor theory. This states, you exploit the way your own actions affect the information you get back from the world, interacting with the visual input as it changes with eye movements, body movements, blinks, and other actions. In other words, vision is action: so seeing (p.65).

Well if vision is seeing, who’s seeing it? Me, I, the self? On to chapter 5.

There are many theories on what the self is, or should I say could be. No one really has it figured out yet. Most of us can agree that on some level we can’t help but feel we exist.
There seems to be two main branches of thought, Bundle theory and Ego theory(s). David Hume (1711-76) argued in favor of the bundle theory by “staring into his own experiences looking for the experiencing self, all he ever found were the experiences. He concluded that the self is not an entity but more like a ‘bundle of sensations’”(p. 68) or that the experiences of the self must be explained in some other way other than there being a continuing self. Ego theory, and there are more than one, stem from the premise that we are indeed continuing selves. Most religions are ego theories: Christians, Jews, Muslims as explained on page 69 in Blackmore’s book.

By mid chapter I had no idea which one I was, luckily on page 74-75, Blackmore provides a short test to which your answer will tell you if you’re more of an ego theory believer or bundle theory believer. “Imagine a machine that you can step inside and travel anywhere you wish to go. When you press the button every cell of your body is scanned, destroyed, and recreated at your chosen destination. Since the is a through experiment we must assume that the procedure is 100 per cent safe and reversible. So you can have no legitimate fears about getting lost on the way. The question is- would you go? Bundle theorists would say yes because since we are just illusionary selfs, the process won’t change anything. Ego theories would say no, because the thought of being destroyed and recreated makes them believe it might not really be them that gets put back together, but a different version, or copy but not the original.

Personally I would have no pressed the button which means I must believe in some inner self. While I can admit that is true, I really don’t know what that means yet. More to come I hope.

Compare this idea with the literal view of the creation period

Dr. Hugh Ross and old earth.....


Thursday, July 12, 2018

How to Change Your Mind

I mentioned Michael Pollan's new book in class last night. Here he is talking about it, and here's some of Maria Popova's newest post:

...This renaissance of psychedelics, with its broad implications for understanding consciousness and the connection between brain and mind, treating mental illness, and recalibrating our relationship with the finitude of our existence, is what Michael Pollan explores in the revelatory How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence (public library). With an eye to this renaissance and the scientists using brain-imaging technology to investigate how psychedelics may illuminate consciousness, Pollan writes:
One good way to understand a complex system is to disturb it and then see what happens. By smashing atoms, a particle accelerator forces them to yield their secrets. By administering psychedelics in carefully calibrated doses, neuroscientists can profoundly disturb the normal waking consciousness of volunteers, dissolving the structures of the self and occasioning what can be described as a mystical experience. While this is happening, imaging tools can observe the changes in the brain’s activity and patterns of connection. Already this work is yielding surprising insights into the “neural correlates” of the sense of self and spiritual experience.
Pollan reflects on the psilocybin studies of cancer patients, which reignited scientific interest in psychedelics, and the profound results of subsequent studies exploring the use of psychedelics in treating mental illness, including addiction, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder:
What was most remarkable about the results… is that participants ranked their psilocybin experience as one of the most meaningful in their lives, comparable “to the birth of a first child or death of a parent.” Two-thirds of the participants rated the session among the top five “most spiritually significant experiences” of their lives; one-third ranked it the most significant such experience in their lives. Fourteen months later, these ratings had slipped only slightly. The volunteers reported significant improvements in their “personal well-being, life satisfaction and positive behavior change,” changes that were confirmed by their family members and friends.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Quiz questions for July 11

SG 7-8

1) Scopes, Haggard and Bryan Jr. went swimming in a local mountain pound during recess to try and escape the heat. They lost track of time enjoying the cool water.

2) “the greatest debate on science and religion in recent years.”

3) “I made up my mind to show the world what an ignoramus he was and I succeeded.”

4) “I have been searching for proof of this all my life, with the same desire to find it that is incident to every living thing, and I have never found any evidence on the subject.”

5) “When Clarence Darrow is put forth as the champion of the forces of enlightenment to fight the battle for scientific knowledge, one feels almost persuaded to become a Fundamentalist.”

6) “Whereas in Dayton the Scopes defense found little sympathy for their arguments among the town’s citizens and less still from the members of the bar, here the people are indifferent while the local attorneys express convictions that the law is invalid.”

My questions:
What did Malone do in order to get the audiences attention? (p.178)
Who posted Darrow’s bond? (p. 185)
What were Darrow’s remarks on the case on page 193?
Where did Scopes attend graduate school and what did he study? (p.201)
When told to ‘step aside’ by Bailey in reference to arguing the case at the United States Supreme Court, what was Darrow’s response? (p.219-220)

TM 17-23

1) Eleanor Darwin

2) Quixotic

3) “The least our generation can do, your honor. is to give the next generation all the facts, all the available data, all the theories, all the information that learning, that study, that observation has produced- give it to the children in the hope of heaven that they will make a better world than we have been able to.”

4) The redneck asks why out of all the monkeys in the world, we’ve never seen a human come out of one… thus proving evolution is ‘bull-sheeit’.

5) TULIP are the five points of Calvinism

6) The point in the trial where Malone calls Mr. Bryan as a witness. This was unexpected.

7) A cop is the physical manifestation of a writer’s art.

8) Drugs are a symptom of an aspiration according to Chapman.

My questions:
What did Chapman discover Thomas was using to deceive Denise and Diogo by watching the tapes? (p.205)
Bryan has stated to the press that this was to be a what between evolution and revealed religion?
What horrible realization does Chapmen come to on page 218-219?
Where does Chapman take the moonshine? (etiquette of moonshine consumption apparently) (p.225)
What did Chapman believe was Carlo’s true purpose in his ‘intellectual exercise’? (p.233-234)
What percentage of Dayton kids go to college according to Joe Wilkie? (p. 242)
Darrow says, “We have the purpose of preventing (what) and (what) from controlling the education of the United States…” (p.251)

"Why We Should Require All Students to Take 2 Philosophy Courses"

JULY 09, 2018
If I were the czar of higher education that is not explicitly vocational, I would require every undergraduate to study philosophy. And if I were both czar and czarina, I would require all students to take two philosophy courses — one in their first year and another just before graduation.
At first blush, that requirement may seem bizarre, especially coming from me. I am a psychologist and, more broadly, a social scientist — not a philosopher or a humanist. Even more deplorably, I have never taken a philosophy course myself.
But I’ve been thinking about philosophy in recent months because of two developments. A year ago, Mills College eliminated its philosophy major and merged the department into an interdisciplinary unit — just one example of a growing number of institutions that have eliminated majors in certain humanities fields. On a more positive note, in January, the Johns Hopkins University won a $75-million donation to bolster its philosophy department. It occurred to me that a good use of that money would be to design new required courses in philosophy for the benefit of both philosophy departments and undergraduates in general.
The goal: to equip graduates with a philosophical armamentarium they could draw from -- and contribute to -- for the rest of their lives.
The kinds of courses I would require probably wouldn’t even have "philosophy" in the name, although they would all be taught by academics trained in that field. Indeed, except in certain explicitly liberal-arts contexts, I might well avoid the word entirely, since it would frighten some students (and, even more, their parents) and confuse others ("Is this about my personal philosophy?").
Instead, I would call the requirement something like "Big Questions of Life." Every student in their first year of college would choose one course from a list with titles like:
  • "Questions of Identity" (Who am I? Who are we?).
  • "Questions of Purpose" (Why are we here? What’s it all for?).
  • "Questions of Virtues and Vices" (What is truth? What is beauty? What is morality?).
  • "Questions of Existence" (What does it mean to be alive, to die, indeed, to be? Or not to be?).
Those are the questions!
Moreover, I would start with the students’ own individual and collective answers to the Big Questions of Life. But — and here is the crucial move — I would not end there...

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Quiz Jy 18

SG 9-10 [approx. every 7 pages], TM 24-30 [...every 10]

1. What two works shaped how later generations would think of the Scopes trial? 225

2. With what was fundamentalism increasingly associated, due to Scopes? 232

3. What happened in the 50s to revive interest in Scopes as emblematic of a decline in critical intelligence in the US? 239

4. What did the actor Tony Randall wonder? 246

5. Warren Court rulings did what to antievolution statutes in the 60s? 247

6. Who was the jurist from Memphis with a special interest in Scopes? 254

7. What famed evangelist endorsed the interpretation of Genesis as a pictorial depiction of progressive creationism spanning aeons? 261
8. Who was Chapman's Freudian analyst? 276

9. What makes it hard for Chapman to distinguish one young Christian spelunker from another? 286

10. Into what rationalistic trap have creationists been seduced? 295

11. Where does Chapman think "all this prejudice and violence" against gays comes from? 304 

12. Who are the lead actors in Consenting Adults? 314

13. What should church be, in Chapman's opinion? 325

14. What are the three circles of responsibility? 335

15. What & who does Chapman think might in fact have killed Bryan? 345

16. What metaphorical object does the vicar produce, to characterize Chapman's mother's posthumouis condition? 355

17. Chapman came back from Dayton changed in what way? 365

Please add yours...

Discussion Questions:
  • Have you read Only Yesterday? What do you think of it? Does pop history have a place and a value, or is it "fake history"?
  • Have you seen Inherit the Wind? Is it badly misleading, or just Hollywood-ish in a way we should not deplore?
  • Has the Old Time religion of Bryan (et al) been consigned to the scrap-heap of history, or is it due for a revival?
  • History doesn't repeat, said Mark Twain, but it rhymes. What does the Scopes episode rhyme with? What present or near-future events do you imagine might rhyme with it?
  • Is Young Earth creationism an intellectually respectable view?
  • Is it a mistake for conventionally religious people to assert and defend the rationality of belief in miracles?
  • Have religious people, in your experience, become more accepting of homosexuality and other "alternative lifestyles"?
  • What do you like and dislike about organized religion and its attendant cultures?
  • If you had "more time to study," what elements do you imagine you'd pick and choose for your religion? 326
  • Have you ever been incensed by words spoken at a memorial service or funeral? How, why?
  • Is conviction of any sort inherently arrogant?
  • Please add yours...

The road to Dayton (leave M'boro at 9, for the 1 pm reenactment - we lose an hour to the time zone)-

2 h 2 min (106 miles)

via US-70S E and TN-8 S

Fastest route, the usual traffic

  • Your destination is in a different time zone.

James E. Walker Library

1611 Alumni Dr, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Take Womack LnE Main St and Apollo Dr to US-70S E/Mercury Blvd
3 min (0.6 mi)

Turn left at the 1st cross street onto US-70S E/Mercury Blvd

Continue to follow US-70S E

Pass by Sonic Drive-In (on the left in 16.7 mi)
41 min (36.0 mi)

Continue to Sequatchie County
28 min (23.4 mi)

Follow TN-111 S and US-27 N to 3rd Ave in Dayton
49 min (46.0 mi)

Continue on 3rd Ave. Drive to Market St/Tennessee State Rte 378
2 min (0.3 mi)

Rhea County Court House

1475 Market St, Dayton, TN 37321

Young New Englander Comes To Little Dixie Area in 1901 "In May of 1901, after I had completed all the requirements except my oral examination, for my doctor's degree at the Johns Hopkins, I received a Jetter from Professor George Lefevre, of the University of Missouri. We had taught together at the Marine Biological Laboratory before he went to Missouri in the fall of '99, and now he was writing me about an instructor being added to his staff. He invited me to visit Columbia at the University's expense, so that I might be looked over and look the place over for m yself. With my Van Dyke bea rd and pince-nez, I thought I .i;hould make a good impression and hoped that I should like the University of Missouri as much as 1· liked Lefevre..." (continues, A Damned-Yankee Professor in Little Dixie: abstract from the autobiographical notes of Winterton C. Curtis:Winterton C. Curtis (1957)...

A Defense Expert's Impressions of the Scopes Trial 
from D-Days at Dayton: Fundamentalism vs Evolution at Dayton, Tennessee 
by Winterton C. Curtis (1956)