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Old 03-24-2005, 05:22 AM   #1
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Ask the Taoist Christian who believes in string-theory

...it's my turn to feel important...ask away....I'm also a philosophy student at UCLA
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Old 03-24-2005, 05:27 AM   #2
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Do you think the elegant universe is a good book for the lay person?
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Old 03-24-2005, 05:58 AM   #3
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Is Michio Kaku worth reading? Is he respected in his field?
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Old 03-24-2005, 07:56 AM   #4
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From what I've learned about Taoism...

When under attack, a stereotypical Taoist will fight, but a stereotypical Christian will pray.

Which one are you?
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Old 03-24-2005, 08:00 AM   #5
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What is the lay explaination of string theory?



How do you use Taoism to modify Christianity?
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Old 03-24-2005, 11:06 AM   #6
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do you have any suggestions in general for books about space/physics/evolution etc. that would be good for the layperson?
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Old 03-24-2005, 02:44 PM   #7
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You believe in a theory ~ is your belief in string theory just that, a belief, since it is at the moment untestable.
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Old 03-24-2005, 04:05 PM   #8
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"...ask away....I'm also a philosophy student at UCLA"


What do you believe?

What is your faith?
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Old 03-25-2005, 12:54 AM   #9
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Q: Do you think the elegant universe is a good book for the lay person?

A: Yes...if you're really "lay" rent the PBS documentary on DVD. The author explains his book in very easy to understand terms. Plus, it has great special effects.
Of course the book is more informative, and a bit more difficult to follow. One of the great things about Brian Greene is he is at the cutting edge of physics, and yet he can explain it to the common man so easily. That's true genius.

Q:Is Michio Kaku worth reading? Is he respected in his field?
A: Yes Kaku is worth reading...Hyperspace is an intriguing book. Yes Kaku is respected by other string-theorists, but physicists who fall in line with the likes of Hawking, don't.

Q: From what I've learned about Taoism...

When under attack, a stereotypical Taoist will fight, but a stereotypical Christian will pray.

Which one are you?

A: The Taoist scriptures, which read much more like poetry, do not have a lot to offer specifically on war and peace. I find it hard to believe though that a Taoist would rush into war. The tao is the spiritual force that moves us and within us. Taoists are not likely to rush into anything. Especially since there is this idea that the best results come from acting without acting.
Anyways, like Jesus I do not believe in violence. Well, that is to say I do not believe violence solves anything. An eye for an eye is no way to live.

Q:
What is the lay explaination of string theory?
Basically, behind every single object there are sub-atomic particles..eh, nevermind. Essentially, everything in this universe (including the fabric of this universe) is comprised of vibrating strings. the vibration of any sort of collection of strings is what gives objects different characteristics. i like to think that each material object (even immaterial perhaps) is like a different orchasteral piece.



How do you use Taoism to modify Christianity?
I don't modify Christ's teachings, nor do I modify taoist teachings. they supplement each other. jesus said that in order to gain the kingdom of heaven we must become child-like. lao tzu writes that we must return back to the child state (the uncarved block) to become at peace with the tao. this is just one example of many bits of teachings that go hand in hand. often times i understand the Tao Te Ching better because of a piece of bibical scipture, and vica versa.
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Old 03-25-2005, 12:59 AM   #10
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Q: do you have any suggestions in general for books about space/physics/evolution etc. that would be good for the layperson?
The two books mentioned here are fantastic. Anything by Greene is going to be mind-blowing. To gain further perspective about the deep problems in physics i'd suggest reading commentary about quantum mechanics and general relativity...both views clash. The Tao of Physics is another great book!

Q:
You believe in a theory ~ is your belief in string theory just that, a belief, since it is at the moment untestable.

A: you son-of-a-bitch!!! how dare you question my beliefs and call them just a theory...

I think my answer to the next question will shed light on this.
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Old 03-25-2005, 01:14 AM   #11
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I will chuck my two bits in and suggest a physics textbook ~ it may sound boring and tedious but there is often some really great and practical stuff in there that can harden your understanding and makes the more popular books a lot more interesting.
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Old 03-25-2005, 01:20 AM   #12
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Q's:What do you believe?

What is your faith?

A:
I read philosophers all the time who are convinced they have discovered the answer to some age-old question (ie. moral responsibility versus determinism, the existance of a perfect being) and yet what is funny is, I really haven't got a clue as to which philosopher I should be inclined to agree with. I haven't got a clue! I recently told one of my more conservative christian friends, "I don't really know anything!"
Last night however, sitting at Mimi's Cafe with my best friend, I attempted to articuate some formulation of my beliefs. Please note though, that I really don't know how realistic my views are. I understand that I truly don't have the answers. Basically, studying philosophy has really been a humble experience.
So, here it is:
Everything in this universe - the universe itself - is contained within a much larger "universe." This "universe" I shall refer to as a 'brane (short of membrane). The 'brane contains everything, and is timeless - it has always existed and always will. Our universe is but a slice of bread within a large loaf.
All the objects (material and "immaterial") are variations of tiny string like particles.
There is some correlation between this everlasting 'brane and our feeble notions of God.
At some point our universe began as a very tiny slice of bread, but then suddenly (for reasons not known to me, or any other reasonable person) it began to rapidly expand. Eventually, humans developed. Orignally, humanity had a very strong connection with "God" or the very essence of nature. Christians and Jews alike refer to this time as the Garden of Eden. Somehow, pride and greed took hold within the souls of these early humans. This created a rift between that spirit (or 'brane, or God). Nevertheless, as this spirit of perfection and divinity is benevolent, the true ways of this spirit have been taught to us by several amazing physical reconstructions of this divinity. Perhaps none more powerful and effective as jesus. When we choose to give up our rights, give in to the spirit, let go of our chains, we truly can reconnect back to this spirit. If this happens, once our bodies reach their capacity and we commit the act that we refer to as death, the strongest strings (our soul) can leave the limiting body behind and rejoin the 'brane. If our soul isn't at peace enough, then perhaps it isn't strong enough to leave behind the body, or maybe it just dies.
Gravity is much like this version of the soul. In relation to other forces (ie electrical magnetism) gravity seems to be a very weak force. However, string theorists have recently discovered that gravity isn't weak. The strings that comprise gravity are enclosed circles that can float outside of this universe's body....um, this is a very broad stroke.
Three great books with similar views, and a more elegant way of describing this position are, "The Story we Find ourselves in" by Pastor Brian McLaren (a sequel to his "A New Kind of Christian"), The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet. It might sound foolish to read about the taoist philosophy within the framework of a cartoon character, but this really is at the very heart of Taoism...being an uncarved block..or child-like.
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Old 03-25-2005, 01:24 AM   #13
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i completely agree with you a_wanderer...i'm glad you respond to yourself as a wanderer...i often think i'm just a vagabond
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Old 03-25-2005, 06:11 AM   #14
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Hyperspace is a good book, but since that is the only book I have read on the subject I had no idea whether or not the ideas were reputable.
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
I will chuck my two bits in and suggest a physics textbook ~ it may sound boring and tedious but there is often some really great and practical stuff in there that can harden your understanding and makes the more popular books a lot more interesting.
i've had high school physics, two semester of college physics, and a semester of electronics. i don't think i'm THAT much of a layperson.

a good suggestion nonetheless.
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