08-17-12, 06:40 AM #21Suppose we didn't die?
08-17-12, 08:18 AM #22
Even if we don't think about it, there is a meaning to life. For example, finding the meaning to life is a meaning to life. Sometimes we take for granted the meaning to life because we can't always find the connection between the Big Question and our daily lives. Simply denying the existence of a meaning to life pretty much means you failed the goal of the Big Question.
08-17-12, 09:30 AM #23
08-17-12, 09:35 AM #24
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08-17-12, 10:33 AM #27
Immortal Worms Defy Aging
Researchers from The University of Nottingham have demonstrated how a species of flatworm overcomes the ageing process to be potentially immortal.
The discovery, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is part of a project funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Medical Research Council (MRC) and may shed light on the possibilities of alleviating ageing and age-related characteristics in human cells.
Planarian worms have amazed scientists with their apparently limitless ability to regenerate. Researchers have been studying their ability to replace aged or damaged tissues and cells in a bid to understand the mechanisms underlying their longevity.
Dr Aziz Aboobaker from the University's School of Biology, said: "We've been studying two types of planarian worms; those that reproduce sexually, like us, and those that reproduce asexually, simply dividing in two. Both appear to regenerate indefinitely by growing new muscles, skin, guts and even entire brains over and over again.
"Usually when stem cells divide — to heal wounds, or during reproduction or for growth — they start to show signs of ageing. This means that the stem cells are no longer able to divide and so become less able to replace exhausted specialised cells in the tissues of our bodies. Our ageing skin is perhaps the most visible example of this effect. Planarian worms and their stem cells are somehow able to avoid the ageing process and to keep their cells dividing."
One of the events associated with ageing cells is related to telomere length. In order to grow and function normally, cells in our bodies must keep dividing to replace cells that are worn out or damaged. During this division process, copies of the genetic material must pass on to the next generation of cells. The genetic information inside cells is arranged in twisted strands of DNA called chromosomes. At the end of these strands is a protective 'cap' called a telomere. Telomeres have been likened to the protective end of a shoelace which stops strands from fraying or sticking to other strands.
Each time a cell divides the protective telomere 'cap' gets shorter. When they get too short, the cell loses its ability to renew and divide. In an immortal animal we would therefore expect cells to be able to maintain telomere length indefinitely so that they can continue to replicate. Dr Aboobaker predicted that planarian worms actively maintain the ends of their chromosomes in adult stem cells, leading to theoretical immortality.
Dr Thomas Tan made some exciting discoveries for this paper as part of his PhD. He performed a series of challenging experiments to explain the worm's immortality. In collaboration with the rest of the team, he also went some way to understanding the clever molecular trick that enabled cells to go on dividing indefinitely without suffering from shortened chromosome ends.
08-17-12, 11:17 AM #28
08-17-12, 11:40 AM #29
Consciousness in the Universe: Neuroscience, Quantum Space-Time Geometry and Orch OR Theory [Penrose, Hameroff])?
Penrose also offers the following thought:
"I think I would say that the universe has a purpose, it's not somehow just there by chance ... some people, I think, take the view that the universe is just there and it runs along – it's a bit like it just sort of computes, and we happen somehow by accident to find ourselves in this thing. But I don't think that's a very fruitful or helpful way of looking at the universe, I think that there is something much deeper about it."
Penrose identifies as an atheist. He's not invoking a creator. Rather, he's just expressing a suspicion that there is much more depth to the picture that science might paint in the future, as compared to the one it paints now. To me, that actually goes without saying anyway.
My point here is that it needn't come down to a choice between a meaningful created universe and an inherently meaningless uncreated one. There is something of a continuum between the two.
08-17-12, 11:59 AM #30
08-17-12, 12:07 PM #31
Q: "How are you and I really here"?
A: Our parents reproduced.
Q: "How are humans really here"?
Q: "What is the intent of you and I or humans in general being here?"
A: Intent requires a sapient life form's actions. To date, there is no evidence that a sapient life form took any action that resulted in humans "being here".
Q: "How do humans die"?
A: Or bodies can no longer acquire energy or process the energy required to sustain our bodily functions.
Q: "What is the intent of death being applicable to humans?"
A: Intent requires a sapient life form's actions. To date, there is no evidence that a sapient life form took any action that resulted in death being applciable to humans.
08-17-12, 12:17 PM #32
08-17-12, 12:22 PM #33
08-17-12, 12:41 PM #34
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08-17-12, 01:39 PM #36
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08-17-12, 02:33 PM #38
It seems quite possible (even probable, perhaps) that the most fundamental component of the dimension of experience itself is a part of what matter actually is. So although there might be no cognitive capacity present in most configurations of matter, the seeds are always there, everywhere, as an inherent potential. Kinda of like how an unconscious brain, while not generating cognition and conscious awareness in that state, has the potential to produce it once it properly puts the necessary electro-chemical architecture into gear again. Perhaps what is going on there is that it takes the fundamental seeds of experience and assembles them into a higher, harmonious, collective expression of matter, that we call self-awareness.
Further, Penrose proposed the possibility that there may be other configurations of matter that produce what is essentially the equivalent of the dimension of experience, albeit one that might seem distinctly alien to the average human being. After all, why we would assume that there is only one possible way in which matter can assemble itself to produce phenomena in that class?
If you can entertain all this for the sake of argument, I think the question of purpose then comes down to this: is such an entity (the universe) inherently meaningless just because it's agency is not always manifesting?
Once again I freely admit that this is all merely wild speculation. A hypothetical. (Actually, more like an interpretation, with considerable creative liberties taken.)
08-17-12, 02:45 PM #39
We are prone to miss out on the contentment of living because of the subliminal fear of death.
Death is totally unacceptable to God, it was never meant to be and in the future will never occur again.
Life can be enjoyed, like the child on its new bicycle, or like the adult who has discovered that doing something to improve the life of others is the essence of it.
Feeling suicidal is not necessarily a sign of selfishness, but of unresolved issues of relationships with those who are supposed to validate your existence by knowing who you are, but instead are expecting you to be somebody that they want you to be.
Authenticity is one of the most important values of living. Knowing who you are and being consistent with that, is the ongoing the lesson of life, and God will reward that journey with eternal life.
There is as much danger of losing your identity in a religious community as there is anywhere else. Atheists ought to be loved for their honesty and accountability, but their ignorance, equal to that of the religious, of what God is like, does not help.
Knowing yourself and knowing the real personality of God is life.
08-17-12, 03:02 PM #40
You are basically asking for a subjective measurement on an objective entity. It's like asking whether a cheese pizza is pro-abortion or anti-abortion. The answer as to whether or not the universe is inherently meaningful or meaningless is N/A.
Last edited by Crunchy Cat; 08-17-12 at 03:55 PM.
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