Karen Olsen

Myrtle Point, OR, United States

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Karen Olsen
Posted over 2 years ago
Do you think Genetically Modified food (GM) is morally justifiable? How about the "Industrialisation" of food production?
Gabo, You've given me something to think about with your reply. it doesn't address the legal, political, economic, and health issues or even fully address contamination but it does make me think more specifically about the effects of gene contamination. As a seed producer one has to avoid contamination from not just GM, but all potential cross breeders within a certain range. If you are growing beet seed and your neighbor is letting different beets or chard flower across the fence you have a problem. But your neighbor is not going to sue you for the free contamination they provided so at least you don't have that worry. And they probably aren't growing pharmaceuticals spliced into the chard,....... or are they? Well, you are right, there are plenty of other issues of concern. Thank you for your responses , I hope we can converse about this on some other related topic in the future.
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Karen Olsen
Posted over 2 years ago
Is it time to accept literal religious belief systems are intellectually bankrupt?
Hi Adriaan, I have resisted the impulse to post any links because I want this to be a conversation in which people find their own words. That has been an excellent exercise for me; it forces me to really think through what I am saying. I am not going to read your link but I am interested if you have something more direct to offer. I have explored some interpretations of the Bible but, to be honest, I have little interest in exploring it more. Perhaps it was a book meant for the priesthood filled with symbolic meaning that somehow made it into the hands of millions of uninformed lay people, I do not know. I've also read a bit on different takes on Jesus including did he even exist. The thing is, i just don't put so much emphasis on the Bible. To me it is a book written by men, translated by men, and it is an expression of their thought and beliefs and political agenda. For me Jesus is the Jesus in my head, an imaginary person who was a comfort to me when I was a child. A virtual port in the storm. For some reason I call his name when I an really frustrated. Perhaps some would call it swearing but maybe I'm just need some of that peace energy right away. I don't have much interest in the Jesus of the Bible. I don't think anybody died for my sins. That evil concept was probably one of the things that moved me away from the Bible. As I said, if you have something direct to share that would be welcome. I won't be able to respond any more as I will not be at a computer until next week. As they say, Adios
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Karen Olsen
Posted over 2 years ago
Is it time to accept literal religious belief systems are intellectually bankrupt?
Hi G M, I am fascinated by the human drive to create a story. I try to put myself in the place of someone who knows nothing of the information that inquiry and observation and new tools have reaped in the last 500, 1000, 5000 years. My Earth would be flat and magical lights would move around it. The weather would be a complete mystery (which reminds me that I turned on the computer to get the forecast) I would like to understand how it is that so many good and intelligent people embrace and cherish beliefs that seem to be diminished or negated by modern knowledge. That is, for me, another of life's many mysteries. I don't expect to find an answer but that doesn't lessen my curiosity. Thanks for the conversation.
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Karen Olsen
Posted over 2 years ago
Is it time to accept literal religious belief systems are intellectually bankrupt?
Hi Peter, Looking at you first paragraph I would agree but would change unbelievable to something like unknowable or unfathomable. One doesn't have to believe anything, only to observe that the the material world exists in our perception. As we have learned through ever more thorough observation, what we are seeing, what we are all part of is beyond comprehension. There are some human geniuses that delve into the complexity and try to sort things out but we have only grazed the surface of what is there. Look at the confusion around the effects of increased carbon in out atmosphere. Scientists began voicing concern decades ago but people with money at stake want to wait it out before making changes to significantly reduce carbon emissions. No human can precisely describe the workings of our climate with absolute certainty and those that oppose carbon reduction point to any shred of doubt or disagreement to disregard all evidence that says we should get right on it. The public is left trying to figure out who to listen to and the whole topic has turned into another ring in our political circus. In our idiotic polarization of every issue it becomes a matter of "belief" instead of inquiry. I don't "believe" we have a climate, I live in one. I don't "believe or not believe" that there is warming because of carbon in our atmosphere, I rely on those geniuses to figure it out for me. I guess some have the luxury of thinking that God is going to save them anyway so no worry. It doesn't matter what humans do because God is in charge of the weather. I know Pat Robertson definitively believes that. Anyway, I'm not a fan of the work "unbelievable" because some things really are and yet lots and lots of people still believe. Gosh I really regret that i have to stop here because the children topic is another one I'd like to discuss but I have to go and won't be back until after the end of this TED conversation.
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Karen Olsen
Posted over 2 years ago
Is it time to accept literal religious belief systems are intellectually bankrupt?
Roy, I am not conversant in Biblical symbolism though I am a fan of Joseph Campbell’s work. I’m not sure how what you have written explains Exodus 32: 18-35. What I read in the passage is that God is communicating with Moses and no one else in the group. The people are a worried and restless bunch and seem to lack confidence in Moses. Moses leaves for a period to be with God and get the tablets. The people think Moses will not return and they are fearful, like children, so they ask Aaron to make a god to help them and he fashions a calf from their gold. They feel better when they have something to pray and sacrifice to. God knows this is going on and expresses his ire to Moses who asks God's forbearance to which God agrees. Moses goes down to join the people and, even though God gave him the scoop, he seems to have forgotten all about forbearance and goes ballistic. He has a “hissy fit’ and throws the tablets down and breaks them. He burns the gold, grinds it up, combines it with water and makes the people drink it. Then he gets on Aaron who does not want to take any personal responsibility for his actions and even lies by saying the calf made itself in the fire. Moses has a kind of “what will the neighbors think?” moment and decides to take punitive action. He calls out for all those that are for the Lord to come to his side. The Levites come and apparently that is all. I wonder why Moses and God were not more appealing to the group as a whole. So the Levites follow his command to take a sword and kill his brother, friend and neighbors. What happened to “Thou shall not kill”. They kill about 3000 of their (unarmed) family, friends and neighbors and Moses blesses them for their service to God. To the still living he says they are bad sinners but he will try to atone for them. He goes to God and again asks for mercy for these sinners and even steps up to say what sounds like “the buck stops here, I’ll take the punishment.”
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Karen Olsen
Posted over 2 years ago
Is it time to accept literal religious belief systems are intellectually bankrupt?
Peter, I think most people don't want to dig too deep to find meaning in a text so, before trying to make sense out of something more obscure, it seems right to look at the obvious meaning and ask why this story was used to illustrate either an obvious or symbolic message. On the surface this seems to say that the "soldiers of God" a doing well to kill men, women and children en mass who are "not on the Lord's side." Do you think that is the message? It seems to be a message that some Muslims find in their own scripture inspired by, if I'm correct, the same historical God, and those Muslims (the literalists) take it quite seriously as we all know. So please, go on. What do you make of this as it applies to our lives today?
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Karen Olsen
Posted over 2 years ago
Is it time to accept literal religious belief systems are intellectually bankrupt?
You are speaking of Jesus I assume. I’ve heard that he never claimed to be God so can you help me with a quote. Of course, for me, a quote will not seal the deal because, knowing the limits of language and human ability, I would consider the chance of a misquote a high probability. And of course it follows that I would question anything in the Bible so would not use it as a reliable single source to base my understanding on. By the way, I think there have been quite a few men who claimed to be God and mostly folks think they are delusional. So where are we? Well I’m still at “what am I” but I don’t see it as the start. I say, “I don’t know” and move on from there. I’m guessing that you want the answer first so you are starting with a hypothesis, “I am a child of a human like God” and go from there. I’ve tried that hypothesis and some others over time but have found them unsatisfactory for my logical mind. The bottom keeps falling out when it rests on conjecture. If it works for you then you will keep embracing it. I am not so much bothered that people believe they were made in God’s image as that they make God in their own image and then put their own words in his mouth. The first seems like hubris, the second is blasphemy in my book of ethics. I would very much like to hear/read your response to my thoughts. I appreciate your willingness to engage.
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Karen Olsen
Posted over 2 years ago
Is it time to accept literal religious belief systems are intellectually bankrupt?
Peter, thank you for responding. Here is what I am thinking and I have more questions. To arrive at the “who” in Psalms, you are making assumptions that I have not made in arriving at a spiritual understanding. I confess to having a logical mind, math oriented type, so it rebels at leaps of logic and building constructs on possibly faulty assumptions. Right off, I don’t know what “I” am because there is more than one possibility and I don’t have enough information to draw a conclusion. Do you include only humans as CoG? You assume a family resemblance. That seems very unlikely to me so I wonder how you so easily make that assumption. The power of this world and the universe, stars, galaxies, infinite space, black holes, the source of all knowledge great and small……looks like me? I would say “In your dreams” and you seem to readily accept this idea as given. I am really curious what it is about you and me that brings us to such different views of this probability. That is a segue to the next assumption, that we as humans would share God’s logic. I need to ask which one of us is sharing that logic because it seems like we two do not have the same kind? : ) My weak little brain is no match for minds of many humans so I would feel excessively prideful to make any comparison between myself and the intelligence contained in universe. Yes, I am a bit of that universe and contain some of that intelligence, but the enormity of the whole makes the comparison to me meaningless as I see it. Judging by history I’m not ready to say we have a fair grasp on how things work. It seems like we have learned a great deal in the realm of the hard sciences but I have no concept of what we still do not know so I would hesitate to make any measure of our success. You seem much more optimistic in your assessment. Can you tell me why? Oh space is up. I have more.