December 19, 2015

At the Winter Bird Café...

P1150017

... snuggle up. Talk about what you like. I know there's a debate on at 7 CT. I set the DVR and may get around to it. 3 hours! That's nuts. But settle in, nutty Americans. Feel the Bern. Climb the Hill.

And if you've got to shop, please use The Althouse Amazon Portal.

28 comments:

chillblaine said...

I know which Sole is my favorite!

David said...

That poor bird looks cold and worried.

grackle said...

There will probably never be any scientific proof of God. I certainly have none to offer. But I've worked out for myself that the odds are that God exists.

Assumption: God can be described as a "being of higher consciousness." Note that this is only a description, not a definition. I would never try to fully define God.

Assumption: All material objects can be arranged into hierarchies: Large to small – dark to light – heavy to light, etc. There exists a multitude of hierarchies.

Assumption: Just as matter can be arranged into hierarchies, so can consciousness. A worm is of a lower consciousness than a bird; a bird is of lower consciousness than a chimp.

Observation: Lower consciousness beings have only limited access to beings of higher consciousness. A beetle "knows" it is being poked by me but it can never know why it's being poked or who is doing the poking.

We can see that as a general rule beings of lower consciousness have limited access to beings of higher consciousness and that beings of higher consciousness have a relatively larger access(by no means complete) to beings of lower consciousness. This represents a one-way stream of comprehension from higher to lower levels of consciousness. A worm can comprehend little of me but I can comprehend relatively much, but not all, about the worm.

Thought experiment: Take 24 stones at random from a creek bed. You will find that they can be arranged into various hierarchies: Large to small, heavy to light, light in color to dark, etc.

Take those same stones and put them into a hat, then pull one out at random without seeing or feeling of the stones.

What's the chance that the stone will be the smallest? The darkest? The lightest?

The answer: Not much of a chance. The stone will probably fall somewhere in the middle range of the various hierarchies.

Then ask yourself where does man fall into the consciousness hierarchy. Ask yourself what are the chances that man is at the very end of the consciousness hierarchy. Refer back to the stone from the hat example. To my mind there is very little chance that man represents the summit of the consciousness hierarchy. To me it is obvious that higher consciousness probably exists independent of mankind. Refer back to the earlier observation pertaining to the limited comprehension of higher consciousness by lower consciousness.

I invite the readers to find flaws. Critique my thought experiment. Or not. I find this kind of thing to be fun but realize that some may find it boring, off-putting or heretical.

Tank said...

Debate at 8.

Jets Cowboys at 8.

Hmmmm.

Michael K said...

Somebody keeps drinking from my hummingbird feeder. The hummers should all be migrated but it keeps going down.

Jim said...

three hours?? going to be a long night for the 3 or 4 people who will actually watch. I can only watch sanders if I think of that guy on SNL who mimics him perfectly. Larry David? 8 years of talk of diversity, inclusion, blah blah blah. and we get a senile socialist, and HRC, possibly one of the most corrupt and dishonest politicians in American History.
Seems to be a 'gap' in the Democratic party way of doing things, vs what they say.

Will Cate said...

Surprised you haven't blogged last night's reunion of Ray and Dave Davies...

cf said...

I remain haunted that the American nation allowed this administration to dissappear an American because she initiated a "Draw Mohammed Day" in a Seattle Weekly back in 2009. I Mourn for Mollie Norris, if she is alive still or if she is now dead. What difference does it make?

There was no other option, apparently, The Unted states government would not protect her freedom, and could only shroud and bury her identity for all time.

None of us had any freedom since then. And on that next 9-11 night when the USEmbassy in Egypt was pleading on Twitter that it was a crazy video maker the mobs were mad at, and apologizing for him, and in Benghazi we were murdered, left defenseless, it was clear our freedoms are no longer protected by these SerenePoliceStatists, who will do anything to protect themselves and not us.

Godspeed, America

Laslo Spatula said...

Some thoughts on blog 'gardening'. The Bonsai Tree..

I am Laslo.

LYNNDH said...

There is a "debate" tonight?? What great news! Break out the Single Malt.

Humperdink said...

Received our first lake effect snow today. Eight inches. Will be 58 Wednesday, so no white Christmas.

LYNNDH said...

Prof, how come no comment on the "John Doe" searches or what ever, that your Gov. has now addressed?
Anything on the Mall shooting in Madison?

Laslo Spatula said...

Just checked, and Jaltcoh is not live-blogging this debate.

Sad: I enjoyed reading his comments, but do realize that meant the poor guy had to watch it in the first place.

Sometimes you just can't take one more for the team.

I am Laslo.

Ann Althouse said...

He probably is doing something. It is Saturday night.

tim in vermont said...

If I am going to break out the single malt, I am not going to risk having it curdle by letting that crone appear on my TV around it. Jets vs Cowboys it is.

garage mahal said...

Caught a Red-tailed Hawk eating lunch on the east side. See here and here.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


Eastowne Mall shooting makes Fox News, but not Althouse blog?

Deb said...

Fantastic photos, Garage.

Sal said...

Eastowne Mall shooting makes Fox News, but not Althouse blog?

Rather than point out that the mall is a gun-free zone, I'll pass on that a UW-Madison faculty friend of mine, who is anti-gun herself, told me that the faculty senate voted in favor of concealed carry in university buildings. Progress.

Terry said...

It's hard to believe, but if they hadn't gone to college, every Democrat on that stage would be in prison. Not for misdemeanors, either. Felony theft, murder, stuff like that.

Fernandinande said...

Michael K said...
Somebody keeps drinking from my hummingbird feeder. The hummers should all be migrated but it keeps going down.


Yellow birds, perhaps.

grackle said...
There will probably never be any scientific proof of God.


If Jesus looks like an average middle-eastern guy, does his brother Santa Claus look like an Eskimo?

Terry said...

I suppose if the debate gets too boring, they can always entertain the crowd by bringing out an American worker and beating him or her to death on live TV. Call it a preview. Bernie was in the Young Socialists League in college, some of his commie masters could have shown him how it was done. Remember the horse named Boxer in "Animal Farm"? His commie pig bosses worked him to death and then sold his carcass to a rendering plant. Nobody knows how to screw workers over like socialists!

Big Mike said...

I invite the readers to find flaws. Critique my thought experiment. Or not. I find this kind of thing to be fun but realize that some may find it boring, off-putting or heretical.

I hate to break it to you, grackle, but I disagree with all of your assumptions. Every. One. Of. Them. If God exists, then the chances that you or I or anyone else would understand that being in any way, shape, or form is essentially zero. Does an ant understand a human? If there is a God who can form an entire universe just because he (she? it?) feels like it, then we are further away in consciousness -- or anything else -- from that being than an ant is from us.

After meeting and dealing with Indian (meaning the Asian subcontinent) mathematicians I came to see that hierarchies is a very Western mode of thought. Take all of the hierarchies, lets suppose there are N of them, and think of them as dimensions in N-space. N-space is like the Euclidean three-dimensional space we are used to, except instead of three dimensions (front to back, left to right, down to up) there are N, one for each of your hierarchies. Now rid your mind of the possibility that you can even establish a partial ordering (point A is left of B and B is left of C but in some non-Euclidean spaces this does not imply that A is left of C) so there are some points that you cannot rank relative to others.

And finally, if you dealt with many varieties of animals, you'd realize that they have forms of consciousness that are neither greater than nor lesser than humans. Merely different. When a squirrel leaps from branch to branch it is solving a partial differential equation! But don't ask it to prove the Banach fixed-point theorem (these days, don't ask me to, either!). A crow can outsmart a dog (or a human, for that matter), but it can't read or write. We're not better than any of the animals in my back yard, we're different.

I'm an atheist because to me the universe makes no sense if there is a personal God who chooses to influence things to reward or punish the good or the bad. At the same time I recognize that an omnipotent God might arrange things so that I didn't realize he (she? it?) was manipulating them. But it seems to me that an omnipotent God would have better things to do than that.

Terry said...

A French chef hired to work at the Paris climate change talks has been fined for razing 7,000 sq metres (75,000 sq feet) of protected forest near his restaurant.
Marc Veyrat illegally destroyed the trees near the La Maison des Bois (House of the Trees) in the Alps.
The court in Annecy also heard Mr Veyrat ordered a large portion of protected wetlands to be dried up.
He was one of five chefs picked to cook for world leaders at the Paris talks.
He was ordered by the court to pay a fine of €100,000 (£73,000; $108,000) and to restore the wetlands within three months.
Mr Veyrat, who has twice obtained three Michelin stars, told the court he acted with the best of intentions, as he built an educational centre for children.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35133624
When you consider the number of future human lives that will be be cut short because of Mr. Veyrat's actions, I think that the death penalty should be considered for him, as well as his clients.

Terry said...

Big Mike wrote:
"I'm an atheist because to me the universe makes no sense if there is a personal God who chooses to influence things to reward or punish the good or the bad."
I don't think that this is the way it works, Big Mike. It sounds like some weird, "Sunday School" theology. "Reward" and "punish" are childish concepts. You damn or save yourself, as you choose to do.

grackle said...

Thanks, big Mike. I appreciate your insight and the time you took to comment. I'll mull this over. BTW, the way I read your first paragraph is that I think we actually agree on those first points you brought up. I'll give your critique a close reading when I have the time to devote - maybe by Tuesday.

Rusty said...

garage mahal said...
"Caught a Red-tailed Hawk eating lunch on the east side. See here and here."

Seriously. If you're an amateur you've got some serious talent for this. My wife is a semi pro travel writer / photographer. She's impressed with your photos. Post moe of this more often.

grackle said...

I hate to break it to you, grackle, but I disagree with all of your assumptions. Every. One. Of. Them.

My first assumption: God can be described as a "being of higher consciousness.”

If God is NOT a being of higher consciousness, then the logical implication is that God is a being of equal or lower consciousness than a human being. Why be a God at all if that is true?

Second assumption: All material objects can be arranged into hierarchies … There exists a multitude of hierarchies.

If this assumption is untrue then all stones in existence are exactly alike – an obviously nonsensical statement.

Third assumption: Just as matter can be arranged into hierarchies, so can consciousness.

I believe this to be my weakest assumption, yet I believe it to be true. To disagree implies that a worm has the same level of consciousness as a man – an implication I cannot accept.

If God exists, then the chances that you or I or anyone else would understand that being in any way, shape, or form is essentially zero.

But this agrees with my comment. No being of lower consciousness can know much about a being of higher consciousness. But a being of higher consciousness can know much, but not all, about a being of higher consciousness. God works in mysterious ways.

After meeting and dealing with Indian (meaning the Asian subcontinent) mathematicians I came to see that hierarchies is a very Western mode of thought.

To agree with the above I would have to see some proof that hierarchies do not exist in India.

And finally, if you dealt with many varieties of animals, you'd realize that they have forms of consciousness that are neither greater than nor lesser than humans. Merely different. Take all of the hierarchies, lets suppose there are N of them, and think of them as dimensions in N-space … Now rid your mind of the possibility that you can even establish a partial ordering … so there are some points that you cannot rank relative to others.

I’m afraid I’m not up for whatever branch of mathematics(geometry?) that the commentor is offering. Algebra, most of which I have forgotten, was as far as I got in my schooling.

When a squirrel leaps from branch to branch it is solving a partial differential equation! We're not better than any of the animals in my back yard, we're different.

Here I’m thinking the commentor is confusing consciousness with talent, as in: a human cannot leap around in trees as well as a squirrel can. The squirrel has more talent for this than a man. I’ll readily agree that the squirrel is superior in tree branch leaping but my agreement says nothing about the squirrel’s consciousness.

I'm an atheist because to me the universe makes no sense if there is a personal God who chooses to influence things to reward or punish the good or the bad.

Here I’m thinking that the commentor is strongly implying that the only type of God available to a believer in God is a God that sticks around, rewarding and punishing mankind based on the God’s values – as interpreted by mankind, of course. This is the human-centric view of God.

What about a God that creates and sets in motion the universe and then leaves it forever for other unfathomable tasks? What about an “indifferent” God? Other possibilities exist – a dead God, a trickster God, etc.