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AIL In Search of Reality Winter 2007 - R. E. Little 1 Colby - Sawyer College Adventures in Learning Winter 2007 In Search of Reality Leader - Dick Little.

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Presentation on theme: "AIL In Search of Reality Winter 2007 - R. E. Little 1 Colby - Sawyer College Adventures in Learning Winter 2007 In Search of Reality Leader - Dick Little."— Presentation transcript:

1 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 1 Colby - Sawyer College Adventures in Learning Winter 2007 In Search of Reality Leader - Dick Little

2 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 2 ADMINISTRIVIA Park at St. Andrews (From Gould Rd.) Restrooms Fire Exit Routes NO ELEVATOR Medical Emergency - Dial 911, AED on Premises Break at 10 of the Hour Name Tags -Leave Them Here AIL Rep., Evaluation Forms Snow Days - Call

3 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 3 CLASS INTRODUCTIONS In 30 Seconds or Less Introduce Yourself Tell Us About Your Interests.

4 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 4 GROUND RULES This Is a Discussion Group, but Time Is Limited. I Will Manage Time. Some of this Stuff is Over Our Heads, I Will Use Metaphor, (Over)Simplification, Even White Lies. I Will Keep Mathematics, Formal Logic, Physics and Other Exotica to a Minimum. Participate, Participate, Participate! Please Do Not Shoot the Messenger. A word about the Web.

5 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 5 DEFINITIONS & HANDOUTS “Words Mean Things.” Pass the Dictionary. My Pantheon Handout. Course Bibliography/Discography Handout.

6 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 6 “Everything That Is, Ever Was, Or Ever Will Be.” Everything We Know. REALITY VS. KNOWLEDGE Reality The Body Of Knowledge (BOK)

7 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 7 THERE ARE MANY REALITIES Social Reality Physical Reality Hyperreality Other Realities Virtual Reality

8 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 8 REALITIES DEFINED Physical R. = The universe and its elements: space, time, matter and energy. Social R. = The accepted rules of (a) society. Virtual R. = Simulations that cannot be distinguished from the thing they represent. Hyper R. = Believable fantasies.

9 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 9 REALITY - EXAMPLES Physical - A Rock, The night sky, Life, Distance. Social - Money is accepted in exchange for goods. Virtual - A Planetarium, An airplane cockpit simulator. Hyperreality - Disney World, Today’s consumerism.

10 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 10 SOCIAL REALITY, THE BUILDING BLOCKS 1.Physical Object Serves a Social Function. 2.A System of Rules Establishes Institutional “Fact.” 3.Collective Acceptance of (1) Physical Function and (2) Rules “Creates” Reality. As quoted in Baggott. From: Searle, John R. ( ) The Construction of Social Reality (1995)

11 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 11 “THE BIG QUESTIONS” What is it all about? How did it all begin? What is life? Why is there something rather than nothing? Philosophers call these, “Primordial Existential Questions” PEQ. And, the epistemological question: Can we trust what we (think we) know?

12 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 12 SOME REALITY-RELATED -ISMS  AGNOSTICISM  ANIMALISM  ANIMISM  ANTHROPOCENTRISM  ATHEISM  CREATIONISM  DARWINISM  DEISM  DETERMINISM  DUALISM  EMPIRICISM  IDEALISM  LAMARKISM  MATERIALISM  MONISM  NIHILISM  PANTHEISM  PLURALISM  REALISM  SKEPTICISM  SOLIPSISM  THEISM

13 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 13 The belief that there can be no proof either that God exists or that God does not exist. Strong Agnosticism: There is no way we can ever know. Weak Agnosticism: We can’t say if we will ever know. Agnosticism Atheism Strong Atheism: The doctrine that there is no God or gods. Weak Atheism: Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods. -ISM DEFINITIONS

14 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 14 Belief in the literal interpretation of the account of the creation of the universe and of all living things related in the Bible. Creationism Darwinism A theory of biological evolution developed by Charles Darwin, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual's ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. MORE -ISM DEFINITIONS

15 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 15 The belief that God created a law-abiding world and left it to run on its own. [The Watchmaker argument.] Deism Pantheism The view that God is identical with the totality of nature and its laws and in no way transcending it. Theism Belief in the existence, immanence and transcendence of a God or gods, especially belief in a personal God as creator and ruler of the world. STILL MORE -ISM DEFINITIONS

16 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 16 DUALISM AND REALITY The term ‘dualism’ has a variety of uses in the history of thought. In general, the idea is that, for some particular domain, there are two fundamental kinds or categories of things or principles. In theology, for example a ‘dualist’ is someone who believes that Good and Evil — or God and the Devil — are independent and more or less equal forces in the world. In the philosophy of mind, dualism is the theory that the mental and the physical — or mind and body or mind and brain — are, in some sense, radically different kinds of thing. Discussion about dualism, therefore, tends to start from the assumption of the reality of the physical world, and then to consider arguments for why the mind cannot be treated as simply part of that world. From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

17 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 17 DUALISM AND REALITY (CONTD.) Plato, Aristotle - Body/Soul Descartes - Mind/Body Kant - Noumena/Phenomena (Thing-in-itself/Thing-in-the-mind) Computer Age - Hardware/Software

18 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 18 DEVELOPMENT OF HOMO SAPIENS & THE BOK Earth Formed ~4BYA Earliest Life (Single Cell Micro Organisms) ~3.5BYA Earliest Primates (Gatherers) ~60MYA Homo Erectus (Hunters, Tools, Fire, Shelter) ~2MYA Homo Sapiens (Reasoning, Language) ~150KYA

19 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 19 EARLY ENTRIES IN THE BOK Marks on bone ~3 inches long ~1.3MYA Bulgaria Bird carving ~2 inches long 30 KYA Germany

20 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 20 THE EARLIEST SCIENTIFIC ENTRY IN THE BOK ? The Ishango Bone ~20KYA Wolf Bone about 5” Long, Chunk of Quartz in End, Marks in Groups Found Zaire 1950, Now in Brussels

21 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 21 THE LASCAUX CAVE PAINTINGS ~15KYA A Rectangle & 13 Dots 29 Dots Lascaux, SW France, Discovered 1940 A Lunar Calendar?

22 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 22 COURSE SCHEDULE (FLEXIBLE) Week 1 - Reality & Knowledge Week 2 - Science & Religion Week 3 - The Big Questions Week 4 - Continuation of Week 3 Week 5 - Prof. Willem deVries The Possibilities Of Idealism: How Mind Colors Reality Week 6 - Open Forum, Wrapup

23 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 23 PROGRESSION OF RELIGIOUS THOUGHT 1.IGNORANCE & UNCONSCIOUSNESS 2.OBJECTS HAVE MAGICAL POWERS 3.SUPERIOR DEITIES EXIST 4.GODS ARE LIKE US AND SUBJECT TO PERSUASION 5.GOD AS “AUTHOR OF NATURE” 6.GOD DEMANDS MORALITY Adapted From Pre-historic Times Sir John Lubbock ( ) TIME

24 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 24 PROGRESSION OF SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT 1.Spiritualism  Anatomy  Medicine 2.Astrology  Astronomy  Cosmology 3.Mysticism  Philosophy 4.Numerology  Mathematics & Logic 5.Supernatural(ism)*  Physics 6.Alchemy  Chemistry *Invented word (R.E.L). Is there a real one?

25 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 25 THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD 1.Observe some aspect of the universe. 2.Invent a tentative description (a hypothesis) that is consistent with what you have observed. 3.Use the hypothesis to make predictions. 4.Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results. 5.Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation. A THEORY IS SCIENTIFIC IFF IT IS FALSIFIABLE!FALSIFIABLE

26 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 26 Physicist Physician Head, Human Genome Project Author, The Language Of God From American University Radio The Diane Rehm Show July 25, 2006 Edited by REL (15:36) Photo: AN INTERVIEW WITH FRANCIS COLLINS Self Description: “DEVOUT CHRISTIAN”

27 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 27 Oxford Professor Public Understanding of Science Zoologist Author Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature From Wisconsin Public Radio The Best Of Our Knowledge October 15, 2006 Edited by REL (11:35) Photo: AN INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD DAWKINS Self Description: “AGNOSTIC”

28 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 28 THE COLLINS - DAWKINS DEBATE TIME MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 13, 2006

29 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 29 Prof. of Entomology, Harvard Philosopher Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Described as: “Darwin’s Natural Heir” From Wisconsin Public Radio The Best Of Our Knowledge March 26, 2006 Edited by REL (13:00) Photo: WIKIPEDIA AN INTERVIEW WITH EDWARD O. WILSON Self Description: “DEIST”

30 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 30 SUMMING UP, QUOTES FROM THE THREE COLLINS - “I’d like to know what the purpose is for my life. Science isn’t helping me with that, but my faith is.” DAWKINS (from TIME Mag.) - “If there is a God, it's going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed.” WILSON - “This planet can be a paradise if we use our intelligence to make it so.... And I think it will be reached not by traditional religious faith, but it will be reached by knowledge and human self-understanding.”

31 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 31 “Mathematics is a more powerful instrument of knowledge than any other that has been bequeathed to us by human agency.” Rene Descartes ( ) “To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature.” Richard Feynman, Physicist, Nobel Laureate ( ) “All life is Biology. All Biology is Physiology. All Physiology is Chemistry. All Chemistry is Physics. All Physics is Mathematics.” Dr. Stephen Marquardt “In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them.” John von Neumann ( ) “Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater.” Albert Einstein ( )

32 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 32 MATHEMATICS AND NATURE

33 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 33 ZERO & INFINITY STRANGE BEDFELLOWS An example of beauty in mathematics. Notice the symmetry in these definitions of zero and infinity. Each one is the other with the symbols 0 and interchanged.

34 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 34 SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW REALITY?

35 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 35 TRUST YOUR VISION?

36 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 36 HUMAN THOUGHT ABOUT REALITY Religious Thought (Supernatural Basis) Scientific Thought (Natural Basis) The Common Ingredient? THOUGHT

37 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 37 TWO “POLES” OF THOUGHT Nature Is What It Is. We Don’t Know All About It Yet, But We Will. There Is More to It All Than We Can Ever Know.

38 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 38 MODES OF NORMAL HUMAN BEHAVIOR Abstract Thinking (Defining Concepts) Planning (Steps to Achieve Goals) Innovation (New Solutions) Symbolic Behavior (Images, Rituals) Source: WIKIPEDIA

39 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 39 MODES OF EXTRA-NORMAL BEHAVIOR Hypnosis Spells Hallucinations Trances Dreams Genius With Or Without Chemical Assist

40 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 40 MAJOR RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD

41 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 41 WHAT IS SPACE? If It Weren’t for Space, Everything Would Be in the Same Place.

42 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 42 WHAT IS TIME? If It Weren’t for Time Everything That Has Happened, Is Happening or Will Happen Would Have Happened at Once.

43 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 43 The Ishango Bone (20,000 BCE)

44 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 44 CAVE PAINTINGS OF LASCAUX

45 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little dots and an empty square. The dots may represent a lunar cycle, up until the 14th day when the moon disappears from view, represented by the empty square. A horse, and a series of 29 dots. The dots may represent the 29 days of the lunar cycle. The Lascaux Cave Paintings (13,500 BCE) Lunar Calendars?

46 AIL In Search of Reality Winter R. E. Little 46 Stonehenge Megalith ca. 3,000 BCE


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