Tag Archives: the ontological mystery

To Boldly Go Where No Person Has Gone Before (from Your Computer)

Recently, an astronomer, using 3000 detailed photographs, reconstructed a panoramic meta-image of the Milky Way. You can now zoom upon and navigate the Milky Way in a fashion akin to using Google Earth. See the Milky Way meta-image here.

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Is Faith Ever a Virtue?

It might be, especially if you think of acts of faith as akin to fantasy. Faith, like fantasy, may function to do real work in the psyche. I think this observation of Ethel Spector Person, from a book of essays titled Imagination and Its … Continue reading

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An Atheist Writes a Poem to the Dark Ontological Mystery: Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” (1816)

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem, “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” (1816), is an extraordinary instance of an atheist addressing—or speaking to—the shadowy side of the ontological mystery (the mystery of being) as if it possessed a human persona, or was even a god. The poem … Continue reading

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Daniel Dennett: the Vanquisher of “Deepity” Religion—and Poetry?

The Daniel Dennett deepity slide that Jerry Coyne took a picture of here is one that I wrote into my notebook (I was at the same conference). A deepity, according to Dennett, “is a proposition that seems to be profound … Continue reading

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Mental Health Break

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Reductionism, the Ontological Mystery, and Joni Mitchell

What do we really know about clouds and rainbows, let alone love and free will? To speak of them, scientifically or otherwise (including poetically), is like using chopsticks to drink the ocean. Our instruments seem inadequate to the scale of our task, and somehow … Continue reading

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Paul Davies Intellectually Jacob-Wrestles with the Ontological Mystery (the Mystery of Being)

Physicist Paul Davies, from the conclusion of his book, The Goldilock’s Enigma: So, how come existence? At the end of the day, all the approaches I have discussed are likely to prove unsatisfactory. In fact, in reviewing them they all seem … Continue reading

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Quote of the Day

Physicist Paul Davies: If almost any of the basic features of the universe, from the properties of atoms to the distribution of the galaxies, were different, life would very probably be impossible. Now, it happens that to meet these various … Continue reading

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Notes from Underground

Who will speak from the insistent vantage of the ontological mystery? Against the best efforts of our contemporary advocates of scientism, positivism, and reductionism, below is a succinct explanation for why religion, poetry, Dostoevsky’s “underground man,” and Camus’s “Sisyphian hero” cannot just cede the … Continue reading

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Why Science Will Never Be a Hegemonic Language That Causes Religion and Poetry to Go Extinct

Even if we arrive at a complete scientific language that accounts for the existence of everything in the universe in a functional fashion, we will still be up against an ontological mystery (the mystery of being itself), and we will … Continue reading

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Why I’m an Agnostic: Believers, Nonbelievers, and the Waving of Intellectual Garlic

The existence of the universe is a mystery. And we are, all of us, embedded in that mystery, and so we need to keep talking about it, like Jacob wrestling the angel, and not drive it away as if it … Continue reading

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The Ontological Mystery (Mystery of Being) in a Creedence Clearwater Revival Song

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“God may not exist, but the ontological mystery does”: Is It OKAY for an Agnostic to Point Out the Obvious? Or Does That Make One a MYSTIC, and No Longer an Agnostic?

As an agnostic, I am happy to allow some things to function as mysteries, and not reduce them (prematurely) to a ready-made, mechanistic explanation. Why matter should evoke mind when it reaches a certain degree of complexity is a mystery, … Continue reading

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