Aaron Padwa

Atlanta, GA, United States

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Aaron Padwa
Posted almost 3 years ago
The meaning of Life the universe and Existence.
What is your point exacty Fran? I'm not sure what you're getting at. I agree with you Mark. The use of god to explain what we dont yet know is an illogical leap. There is no reason to connect our ignorance of the nature of our existence with the existence of a supernatural creator and it makes no sense to use ignorance of a subject to point to somethings existence or nonexistence.
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Aaron Padwa
Posted almost 3 years ago
What do religions all have in common?
Ok so to get away from criticisms of particular religions, let's discuss the utility of a religious framework. Do religious people know more about right and wrong than do non-believers? No they do not, and this has been repeatedly proven throughout history. So one can conclude that religion is not a necessary or even reliable source of moral principles. So this raises the question why is it the case that people with divine inspiration do not actually exhibit any greater aptitude for moral decision making? This comes down to your point about selective consideration and subjective interpretation. People have proven themselves incapable of interpreting religious work in a consistently beneficial way. This again undermines the usefulness of religion as a moral framework. If people are often led in the opposite direction of morality when try to utilize a religious framework, then the framework isn't serving its purpose and should be discarded for one that is more consistent and more useful (humanist philosophies for instance, which I have mentioned in previous posts in this discussion. Thoughts?
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Aaron Padwa
Posted almost 3 years ago
What do religions all have in common?
If you truly believe in religion, and take everything it tells you to be true including the etiology of the Earth and human beings, you are severely limiting your imagination. Just by believing religious facts and not doubting them, you are hampering your ability to consider other alternative explanations of existence. Imagination is only unlimited when one dares to consider all things that could possibly be true, not just a single interpretation of reality. You may be imaginative in other ways, in non-religious matters(even to the point of limitless creative capacity) regardless of your religious beliefs, but your imagination on existence is severely limited by belief in religion.
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Aaron Padwa
Posted almost 3 years ago
a public database of research and information
Absolutely. This is a great idea. It would help eliminate the current need for translation between the scientific community and the general public. Complex scientific ideas and even less complex ones often get misinterpreted and misrepresented to the general public. The public's lack of access to scientific resources prevents them from being able to understand the true nature of most scientific discoveries. Science is not nearly as black and white as it is presented. By black and white I mean that many scientific discoveries are represented as evidence of certainties rather than evidence of possibilities. This is a very important distinction that would be more obvious if people could read (and understand) the scientific papers behind the conclusions that are presented to the public. There are many social issues that need to be addressed in addition to providing such a scientific database, such as improving access to the internet for people of low socioeconomic status (which would probably require some sort of economic investment) and improving the general population's ability to understand science through educational reform. Also check out my response to your comment in the similarities between religion thread. I am curious about your thoughts.
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Aaron Padwa
Posted almost 3 years ago
How do we reform education?
We need to change the form of education to the application of knowledge instead of just requring rehearsal of knowledge. This will require investment both in teachers, school administrations, and school facilities themselves. Unfortunately education is not really a priority for the elite of most countries; they would rather see a subservient undereducated working class proliferate than a well-educated population capable of understanding their circumstances and what lead to them. These circumstances being a low probability of seeing significant growth in personal wealth (to view it from an entirely economic standpoint). The elite would have to forfeit wealth if more people were educated and realized activism was necessary to change their current situation, the processes of the current economic and government systems being inefficient, insufficient affectors of change. If only people were not indoctrinated and distracted by the misleading promises of the political circus that serves only to distract people while critical, controversial decisions are being made on a level that excludes the majority opinion of the public and considers matters from an almost entirely economic standpoint (still leading to somewhat subjective opinions on what actions will lead to the highest economic growth, and even worse these subjective opinions are made by a small subset of the population who are being manipulated and influenced by corporate interests...and this corporate influence is much greater than the influence the general population has over major decisions...we have the choice between a few selfish, shitbag political candidates who have already sold out to even have the opportunity to be a political candidate, and then they make ridiculous, unrealistic promises that never come to fruition). To cut this story short and make my point, in a capitalist system activism is necessary to bring about change (such as education) that is beneficial but not clearly linked to economic growth
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Aaron Padwa
Posted almost 3 years ago
What do religions all have in common?
Care to rephrase your post Eduard Ghiur? I'm not sure I understand what you were trying to say. Are all of the 'truths' of religion bullshit or is everything that doesn't claim 'truth' bullshit? Mr. Savage I do not agree with your view of religion and its place in the world, but I would love to be convinced. Religion does not offer a useful moral framework; it is presented in a convoluted, contradictory set of metaphors from many different authors and editors (all human I might add) that are subjectively interpreted and selectively used to extrapolate values from (for an example of the contradictory nature most religions contain passages in their respective holy texts about loving everyone as well as killing and/or ostracizing non-believers...). Humanist principles are much more straightforward, and even better, they come naturally to all non-dysfunctional human beings (and are not subject to misinterpretation....people are instilled by societal values with a natural sense of right and wrong and this process often goes awry when religous idealogies are brought into the picture). There is no need for religious moral guidance; in fact religious ideology is a major source of well-intentioned yet completely atrocious behavior (mistreatment of gays, Jewish people, and women, mass murder, and the list goes on). Read a book by Peter Singer or any of the major moral philosophers and you'll be exposed to a much clearer picture of how to behave morally in the real world. Also, we have plenty of systems to maintain order without religion. Religion has always been a major source of social and political instability and remains that way even in the current day. Governments maintain social control; religion need not be involved. Faith without question is what causes people to commit wrongdoings, so it is not something to be glorified and touted as a benefit provided by religion.
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Aaron Padwa
Posted almost 3 years ago
What do religions all have in common?
Sorry I didn't mean to post that last comment in its incomplete form. I included that quote in my last post to point out that inquiry into the nature of the world is the source of science, not religion. Religion requires a stance of certainty about the nature of things that science is never arrogant enough to assert. Religions have come and gone based on whatever the current generations view of what the true nature of the world and existence is in a particular area. Science has continually updated its view on the world to reflect the current best estimation of the nature of the world. This is must different from saying, as most religions do, that the nature of the world is due to a divine creator and is too complex for humans to understand. These types of ideologies simplify the existence question because simplicity is appealing to most people. It is more comfortable to 'know' through religious faith than it is to admit ignorance and attempt to come up with the right answer. Another thing that I object to is forgiving religion when religious figures, who are supposed to be in contact with and under the influence of the divine, have committed serious crimes. From catholic priest molestation of children to islamic suicide bomers, religions can be very dangerous and detrimental to society. I won't list all of the atrocities caused by religion here but a divine figure, if he is truly divine, should act like one and not violated basic humanistic, moral principles (such as do no harm to others). If religion is to be taken seriously, religious people should be moral leaders(since they would clearly have better moral guidance from their one true god....) and this is not always, or even often, the case. When a religious ideology leads to the death and harm of innocents, it needs to be seriously reconsidered as a viable mode of thought.
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Aaron Padwa
Posted almost 3 years ago
What do religions all have in common?
@Al Smith "If there were no people looking towards the heavens and imagining what could possibly be, there would be no scientists, or theologians, or philosophers in general. You can't have one without the other, because it's all just the quest for knowledge in the metaphysical sense."
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Aaron Padwa
Posted almost 3 years ago
What do religions all have in common?
Haha Kareem. Thank you for that completely useless comment. Save your proselytizing for when it is requested. This discussion is about the relationship between religious philosophies, not the arrogation of the truth of our existence and the existence/function of a particular god. There is no god; I can say that with as much certainty as you can say that Allah exists...as Hitchens would say, you have not been privy to any source of information of which I am ignorant, so based on the evidence that exists you have no right to assert that. Anyway back to the point. I love the Huxley quotation that you provided on perrenial philosophy. I think that is a great summary of certain religious philosophies, certainly the more prominent ones. There are some religious philosophies that may not fall so neatly into that model of religious ideology, such as buddhism, but overall I think it is a very useful way to think of religion. One thing I will add is that most religions make unfounded assertions that require logical leaps (what some people call faith) to have validity. In this sense, religious philosophies undermine themselves by being unable to sufficiently support their claims. Empirical evidence, as it has been understood by us (and yes I admit that our ability to understand the universe is hampered by our limited perceptual abilities, and that we could observe something that seemed truly miraculous and inexplicable...but that wouldn't mean that it was supernatural or evidence of the divine), leads us to different conclusions, and I am more inclined to trust constantly updated modern theories and scientific philosophies that consider new scales of existence that we are now able to perceive (objects that are very, very small and very, very large), than a few outdated philosophies based on limited information that are resistant to change.
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Aaron Padwa
Posted almost 3 years ago
Even if we can create life, should we?
The word life has many connotations. From a biological standpoint, life refers to any object that has functioning, self sustaining processes (such as growth, the ability to utilize and store the energy of chemical reactions, the ability to respond to stimuli). From an anthropocentric viewpoint, one of self-awareness and consciousness and the ability to construct universals (in Bertrand Russell's sense of the word, where it is employed to describe the relationship between perceived objects), the term life takes on a different meaning; the complexity of a human being with all of its astounding emergent properties (from consciousness, to an immune system, and the list goes on) eclipses that of the simplest form of life, unicellular organisms, but it, by definition, is still a form of life. It is important to point out that life has been 'created' in the field of biology for many years now; the DNA (the bearer of instructions that specifies the characteristics of daughter cells) of bacterial cells is often tampered with in experiments to alter the characteristics of future generations of cells, essentially creating a new state of life for this organism; cloned organisms would not exist if we had not created them. Only organisms that are self-aware can even begin to contemplate the ethics of their actions. As Mr. Fergus points out above, life is a development that was driven by processes with no ability to consider right or wrong and occurred without the observance of an entity capable of questioning the morality of the creation of life. Similarly a phenomenon driven by evolution, speciation, created the diversity of life we see before us. There is nothing unethical about the creation of life. In fact the idea of morality as we know it can only arise from a progressive increase in complexity that eventually leads to human beings. So by all means create life, but it is important to make ethical choices regarding organisms that are capable of comprehending themselves.