What is wonderism?

Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
What is wonderism?

I've got a new post, What is wonderism?, summarizing and describing wonderism as I see it. Here's an excerpt:

I've gotten at least a few comments from people along the lines of, "I'm still not sure what to make of wonderism." In my attempts to explain it, I find myself writing longer and longer articles, with more and more detail. Sometimes it's harder to express an idea in just a few words, than in many words! Pascal's famous quote comes to mind: "I am sorry for the length of my letter, but I had not the time to write a short one."

So, in the meantime, I'm going to try to answer one simple question, "What is wonderism?" Unfortunately, there is no one simple answer. Instead, there are many answers. The following answers are boiled-down, short, simple, summary answers. They are necessarily incomplete descriptions; for each one, I could write pages and pages more. They represent my own personal variation of wonderism, i.e. how I personally conceive of what wonderism is. Others who agree with the basics of wonderism will have different opinions on specific points. No worry! I imagine that, over time, we will collectively be able to distill a much simpler, foundational wonderism that a wider variety of people can agree on together, with each person holding their own variation and elaboration upon the foundation. Consider the following answers as coming from the perspective of, "I've made my own explorations of wonderism, and here is what it looks like from where I've come to." Ideas, questions, comments, and criticism are welcome.

What is wonderism?

In my view, wonderism is ...

A Philosophy

  • An attempt to identify core ideas shared by many of the greatest defenders of science and reason. E.g. Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Feynman, Richard Dawkins, and countless others.
  • An intuitive, conceptual framework. The concept of 'wonder' brings together many useful ideas into a strong, coherent whole.
  • An informal philosophy supporting rational, evidence-based thinking. Though not a formal, academic philosophy, it is a philosophy in the sense that something like existentialism is a philosophy. Its central concepts and themes lend support to more rigourous formal philosophies such as pragmatism, naturalism, philosophy of science, and physicalism.
  • A philosophy of intuition. Intuition is the brain's natural ability to make pretty-good guesses. Themes related to intuition include: Exploring, hypothesizing, speculating, imagining, creativity, visualization, communication, et al.
  • An aesthetic/value philosophy. We seek to bring about greater wonder in the world, and appreciation of the natural universe, including humanity's accomplishments.
  • A communication philosophy. Using intuition and wonder for effective communication: Metaphor, rhetoric, pragmatics, word-smithing, etc.
  • An inter-personal philosophy. A set of concepts for understanding, relating to, and communicating with people.
  • A personal 'way of life' philosophy. Addressing personal experiences and practical ways of dealing with daily life. A comprehensive worldview.
  • A philosophy for popular media and creative arts. Use of art and media to express ideas related to science and reason, a message of wonder.
  • A philosophy for science fiction in particular. Represent possible futures according to mainstream, consensus science, with only a small number of speculative ideas added. Use of metaphor and other techniques to express ideas in support of reason and science. Bringing science back to science fiction.


A Worldview

  • A recognition that we do, in fact, experience awe and wonder at the universe. We do not experience it as cold and empty. This self-recognition can open up further self-reflection on our human nature.
  • A foundational choice. As described in Taking a Step Beyond Awe, when faced with the unknown, we experience the awe of both terror and wonder, and then make a conscious choice to reject terror in favour of seeking wonder.
  • An attitude towards life, of fearlessly seeking knowledge in order to overcome adversity.
  • A naturalistic worldview, embracing the natural universe. Wonder is a natural emotion that all humans can experience. No non-natural explanation is needed for it.
  • An embracing of a scientific 'way of thinking'. Understanding how science works sheds light on how our own minds work. Adopting a science-based mindset can trigger profound changes in one's worldview.
  • An embracing of the reality of shocking scientific truths. We really are related to all other life on Earth, via evolution. We really are all one human race. We really are 'star stuff'. We really do live precariously on a pale blue dot. And so many more!
  • A rejection of dogma, oppression, bigotry, violent conflict, and other forms of terror.
  • A self-descriptive identifier for how one views the world. Describes a worldview in which natural wonder is highly valued. Useful in conversation and as a way to bring many science-minded people with similar philosophies together to share ideas.
  • A movement with the goal of popularizing science and reason. Dogma and ignorance are too popular in our culture today.


A Communication Strategy

  • An answer to many common objections to atheism, such as, "Well, what do you believe in?" or "Without god, my life would be empty."
  • A counter-argument to the last refuge of religious apologetics, the Argument from Wonder aka the Argument from Religious Experience. Atheists can experience wonder, too. And the wonders discovered by science are greater and more numerous than the wonders derived from religious myth.
  • A general strategy for engaging in discussions with believers of all kinds. Intuition plus reason makes a powerful combination.
  • An articulation of the principles of science and reason in an intuitive way. E.g. explaining fallacies as systematic flaws in natural human intuition.
  • An approach to communicating a greater appeal of reason and science to other people. Science is not cold, hard, dark, evil, oppressive, empty, or any of the other stereotypes that permeate our culture. On the contrary, science opens up vast and vivid experiences of wonder at our universe. More so, I would claim, than the narrow and shallow myths of our religions and other dogmas.
  • An approach to education. Tap into the natural wonder of children. Keep wonder alive in adolescents. Bring wonder back to jaded adults.
  • A foundation for inter-cultural communication, understanding, and non-violent conflict resolution. We are all humans, and recognizing that fact has certain implications for peace in society.


A Goal

  • A desire to bring about a future of greater wonder. To create a great work, to influence the world in positive ways, to reduce suffering and conflict, to take positive action. A rejection of apathy and unquestioned complacency.
  • A set of related values. Examples: Openness, honesty, clarity, reality, self-reflection, humility, appreciation, curiosity, vividness, attraction, et al.
  • A vision for the future. Actually, many visions for the future -- some to avoid, some to strive for -- based on the best scientific understanding of today.
  • A call to activism and public criticism of dangerous ideas. While respecting people as people, we do not grant undue respect to ideas as ideas. Many different approaches to this are needed, from gentle to unapologetic, provided we act legally and ethically.
  • A call to produce popular media supporting science and reason. Fiction and non-fiction books, music & poetry, movies & TV, film & literature, visual art, dramatic art, magazines, blogs, videos, games, toys, etc.
  • A call to advance the scientific study of conscious experience as a natural phenomenon.
  • A call to advance the scientific study of intelligence, intuition, and reasoning as natural phenomena.
  • A call to advance the scientific study of religion and other cultural phenomena as natural phenomena.


I hope this helps to give a more concrete idea of what wonderism is. Of course, many details are missing, and many differences of opinion are bound to arise. This is intended to be a starting point for further discussion and collaboration. Feel free to comment.

 

I would appreciate any feedback. Let me know what you think, whatever that may be. Good, bad, ugly, whatever.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3706
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
I love it.

I love it.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Yay! Thanks! << closest I

Yay! Thanks! << closest I could get to a dancing smiley. This one is just too freaky >> (like he's on acid or something)

 

Time for bed....

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Peppermint42
atheistSuperfan
Peppermint42's picture
Posts: 170
Joined: 2009-11-15
User is offlineOffline
Oooh very nice.  It makes

Oooh very nice.  It makes me feel all...  full of wonder.  Laughing out loud

 


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Thanks!  Honest question:

Thanks!  Honest question: What does it make you wonder about?


Deadly Fingergun
atheist
Deadly Fingergun's picture
Posts: 237
Joined: 2009-11-19
User is offlineOffline
All the bits make sense.But

All the bits make sense.

But the reason for compiling it all together and makeing an -ism out of it still eludes me.

Big E wrote:
Clown
Why, yes, I am!


Sapient
High Level DonorRRS CO-FOUNDERRRS Core MemberWebsite Admin
Sapient's picture
Posts: 7522
Joined: 2006-04-18
User is offlineOffline
 I have posted this thread

 I have posted this thread in the atheism forum on facebook.  I'm surprised that the wonderism discussion didn't go further here.  Now that the site has more activity, I would like to remain an observer and humbly request that you read the first post on wonderism and tell me anything you have to say about it.  I'd like to know what you think.  I'm sure Natural would be glad to answer any questions.

Here are the early reactions on facebook:

"Brian this is way to deep for me!"

"You had me at 'An attempt to identify core ideas shared by many of the greatest defenders of science and reason E.g. Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Feynman, Richard Dawkins, and countless others.'   Hear, hear."

"before reading it I'm going to guess it has something to do with amazon princesses and golden lassos."

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


Heathensrule
Superfan
Heathensrule's picture
Posts: 24
Joined: 2008-10-09
User is offlineOffline
Hey!

 Nice work!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
One person on FB asked if

One person on FB asked if it's like pantheism or Taoism. Pantheism, definitely not. It's entirely naturalistic in worldview. I would also shy away from connecting it too much with Taoism, as I find Taoism to be quite an apathetic and/or complacent philosophy. However, there is something similar in the use of dualistic yin/yang-ish intuitive language, which might also be considered similar to more modern concepts of 'dialectic'.

However, if there is a 'dialectic' that wonderism is most similar to, it would be the Socratic dialectic, aka the technique of Socratic dialogue.

One quote I've taken a shine to:

Socrates wrote:
I see, my dear Theaetetus, that Theodorus had a true insight into your nature when he said that you were a philosopher, for wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder. He was not a bad genealogist who said that Iris (the messenger of heaven*) is the child of Thaumas (wonder). ~ Socrates

* 'heaven' here is from the translator's interpretation. More accurately, the goddess Iris (literally, the rainbow) was a messenger of the Greek Gods. I would invoke metaphor here, like the metaphor of Prometheus, and in the manner that Socrates is using Iris as a metaphor, and interpret Iris as being something more akin to the imagination, or thought, or concept, or understanding.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5486
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
IMO, intuition and "awe and

IMO, intuition and "awe and wonder" are over-rated. When I over estimated those things, I was a Deist and sounded not unlike a Liberal Arts grad student who went through their supply of pot.

 

Intuition and wonder have their uses, however it's likely that they're what led to theism in the first place.

 

My intuition is often wrong, so I'm slowly training myself to not rely on it so I don't get in trouble.

 

Sometimes I like to let my mind wonder [sometimes all too often], but Intuition and wonder are indeed human feelings and they should be treated as such.

 

 

 


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
I wonder if intuition and

I wonder if intuition and wonder truly are just human feelings... hmmm... oh, I see what you did there... you got me... damn you natural!

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


Tapey
atheist
Tapey's picture
Posts: 1474
Joined: 2009-01-23
User is offlineOffline
Isn't this just one of those

Isn't this just one of those spiritual but not religous things? Sounds like a religion  without the god, Well I guess science and reason are your god and "Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Feynman, Richard Dawkins, and countless others." are your prophets. The world must be this way and any other way is unacceptable.

 

P.S. I am saying science and reason are your gods in the most metaphorical of ways.

P.P.S. I am mostly messing with you but I do think it is something you have to answer. Are you just building an atheist religion?

Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.


Kapkao
atheistSuperfanBronze Member
Kapkao's picture
Posts: 4121
Joined: 2010-01-12
User is offlineOffline
Cpt_pineapple wrote:IMO,

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

IMO, intuition and "awe and wonder" are over-rated. When I over estimated those things, I was a Deist and sounded not unlike a Liberal Arts grad student who went through their supply of pot.

 

Intuition and wonder have their uses, however it's likely that they're what led to theism in the first place.

 

My intuition is often wrong, so I'm slowly training myself to not rely on it so I don't get in trouble.

Not if you think or are internally 'wired' like I am.

To me, godlessness and being happy with that alone is intuitive. If I am wrong, I refine whatever sense of intuition I have until I increase my rate of successful comprehension, simply by practicing my sense of intuition. Praying for miracles that never come, believing something intelligent is behind the formation of the universe or universes, believing said intelligence "works in mysterious ways" to somehow explain all the inconsistencies between what actually happens on Earth and what some religious leader or philosopher wants everyone to believe, writing a giant scroll or book full of inane and ineffectual rules of daily living and starting an organization with the intent of acting on some supposed supreme being's will, are all counterintuitive to me (and always have been to some extent.) It simply amounts to doing what your parents and grandparents want you to do.

Being atheist, imo... requires understanding that other people will not tell the truth 100% of the time. Instead, most people I know (including the really smart and intellectually gifted individuals) or know about to some degree will simply tell me what they want me to hear or read. As near as I can understand, everyone else is in this same position I often find myself in, meaning that they have to decipher fact from fiction (or fact from personal bias) in what other people communicate to them.

On the other hand, using "mathematics as my window to the universe" never made a great deal of sense to me, but is highly effective in theoretical physics nonetheless. It is the 'correct' mindset to have before becoming a physicist.

So intuition certainly does have some problems because it tends to rely on the sum of one's life experiences and one may not have the correct life experiences to be intuitive in a highly effective manner. Albert Einstein, I believe, was a highly intuitive thinker in addition to being a prodigal mind. Then again, he also had trouble finding his way home and tying his shoes well into adulthood.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5810
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
The emotions/feelings of awe

The emotions/feelings of awe and wonder are essential drivers of the quest for new experiences and greater understanding of Everything.

Without emotional drives, we really lose everything that makes life worth living.

So "awe" and "wonder" are generally vastly under-rated. They are indeed probably part of the drive to religion, but that is a generally dysfunctional response, and we should strive to keep the 'pure' feelings, as people like Carl Sagan so beautifully brought forth.

I remember a recent study of a guy who lost functionality in the part of the brain which seems to generate emotional responses, and he was losing the feeling of emotional attachment to his family. He could intellectually appreciate them, but there was no feeling.

Even reasoning seemed to suffer, it seems to require an emotional drive to actively seek answers to things

Intuition is an essential tool for going about our lives, so that we don't have to reason out every little thing we do. It is in a separate category from 'awe' and 'wonder'. We should recognize both its utility and its limitations, especially when confronting truly novel situations and experiences.

 

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Cpt_pineapple wrote:IMO,

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

IMO, intuition and "awe and wonder" are over-rated. When I over estimated those things, I was a Deist and sounded not unlike a Liberal Arts grad student who went through their supply of pot.

I'm not advocating over-estimating those things (or anything, actually). In fact, I've made several attempts to distinguish when and why they are appropriate or not in different circumstances.

One of my motivations with collecting ideas related to wonder is to avoid under-estimating them, in response to my initial urge to reject over-estimating them in the first place.

Think of it this way: When you want to avoid over-rating those things, what is your underlying motivation for doing that? It's because you don't want to fool yourself, right? You want a more accurate picture of reality. You're not willing to settle for what simply 'feels good' to believe, if those beliefs end up being illusionary.

In other words, you wonder whether "intuition and "awe and wonder" are over-rated", and so you cautiously approach them. Good for you, that's a wonderist impetus.

Now, if you took the additional stand, " and I'm not even willing to investigate those things anymore, because I know they are bullshit", then that would be pretending to know something you don't really know. That would be a failure of wonder, and would represent a fear of the unknown (the possibility that you could be wrong) to dominate your in-born curiosity at finding out what is the simple truth of the matter. That would be a terror response, not a wonder response.

So, I applaud you for being skeptical. Just don't let that initial skepticism define your final conclusions on the matter. It's a balance. There will always be a fear-ish response and a love-ish response. As I raise in Taking a Step Beyond Awe:

Wonderist wrote:
The question is, in your life, which of these will win out: The tremendum, or the fascinans? The terror, or the wonder?

I choose wonder. I base my philosophy on not just 'awe', but a certain kind of awe, the awe where the philos wins out over the phobos. I reject philosophies which are based on terror, where the phobos dominates the philos.


Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Intuition and wonder have their uses, however it's likely that they're what led to theism in the first place.

It is fairly certain that theism is based on intuition, and raw experiences of wonder. But that's not the same as wonderism. Wonder is just a starting point. You have to keep wondering. And when you do, you'll break out of theism. It's when you give up wondering, when you let the terrors of hell, or a jealous, vengeful god, or the fear of loss of salvation, or some such other fear-based religious dogma, to overcome your innate sense of wonder and curiosity, that you'll get stuck in theism.

Quote:
My intuition is often wrong, so I'm slowly training myself to not rely on it so I don't get in trouble.

Everyone's intuition is often wrong, mine included. However, you can't really 'not rely on it'. It's innate. It's how your brain functions. What you want to do is to train it so that that it works more rationally, so that you can intuitively question your own intuition, intuitively spot your own fallacious reasoning, and intuitively follow rational, logical reasoning. I don't think intuition (at least not the intuition I'm talking about: our brains' natural ability to make pretty good guesses) is something you can really avoid altogether.

Quote:
Sometimes I like to let my mind wonder [sometimes all too often], but Intuition and wonder are indeed human feelings and they should be treated as such.

Yes. Exactly. They are natural, human feelings, and should be treated as such. They are not 'divine revelation', or 'the Holy Spirit', or 'thetans', or whatever.

However, in the same way, they are not just metaphors or figures of speech, or imagined things like a disembodied 'soul'. They are real, natural, human characteristics which can and should be studied directly by science.

They are limited and imperfect, surely. But they are not necessarily useless, either. In fact they can be very very useful, if we are consciously aware of those important limitations and imperfections, and if we apply them responsibly and ethically.

That's what wonderism is all about. Trying to understand wonder itself, rationally, reasonably. And also trying to apply it responsibly and ethically, for good purposes. For a future of greater wonder. That's the whole point.

By the way: Thanks for the feedback, even if it is critical or negative. I wouldn't want to support any philosophy that can't handle negative criticism constructively. That way leads to dogma. Yuck!

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Tapey wrote:Isn't this just

Tapey wrote:
Isn't this just one of those spiritual but not religous things?

Define 'spiritual'. If your definition includes anything like disembodied spirits or souls, or an other-worldly 'spirit realm', or any of that woo woo stuff, then definitely no. Wonderism is inherently naturalistic (IMO).

In fact, I've been looking for a word to replace and/or undermine the word 'spiritual'. The closest thing I've got so far is the word 'inspiritual' (see here, and also here), where one of the meanings of 'inspiritual'--just like 'atheist' means 'a- theist', or 'not theist'--is to be 'in- spiritual', or 'not spiritual'.

Quote:
Sounds like a religion  without the god,

Well, I consider one of the most important characteristics of religion to be dogma. Wonderism is intended to be an anti-dogma philosophy, and it incorporates ideas which are intended to help prevent wonderism itself from becoming a dogma (e.g. its dependence on mainstream science; its openness to being questioned and criticized itself).

So, I would categorize wonderism more as a philosophy than a religion. However, some people have very broad definitions of religion, so I guess it depends on what definition you use. Personally, I don't find such broad definitions of religion to be useful.

Similar philosophy-ish things which are closer to what wonderism is: Existentialism, philosophy of science, humanism, etc.

Quote:
Well I guess science and reason are your god and "Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Feynman, Richard Dawkins, and countless others." are your prophets.

Except they are not gods, nor prophets. It's like the old 'god is love' thing. If 'god is love', then why call it 'god'? Why not just stick with the existing word 'love'?

I value science and reason, I don't worship them or anthropomorphize them (except perhaps in an explicitly fictional metaphor, such as the Prometheus metaphor used here: The Flame of Reason; such explicit metaphors have been used for years in modern fictional literature and film, and are demonstrably harmless tools of communication).

Scientists can actually predict the future, unlike religious prophets, who merely make vague statements and then re-interpret them when they fail to come to pass.

Wanna know when Halley's Comet will return? Ask Neil deGrasse Tyson, and I bet he'll be able to tell you to within a day. Now that's a prediction. Prophecy is bunk.

Quote:
The world must be this way and any other way is unacceptable.

1) The world is as it is. Let's find out how it really is. Not just how we wish it was.

2) Then find out where that is leading us, and if it's leading us somewhere dangerous (like climate change, economic collapse, etc.), then let's apply our best knowledge and efforts to avoid the nasty possible futures, and steer us toward a future of greater wonder.

I can advocate for 2) without sacrificing accuracy in 1).

Quote:
P.S. I am saying science and reason are your gods in the most metaphorical of ways.

Well, if people insist on saying these are my gods, at least I can provide evidence that they exist!

Quote:
P.P.S. I am mostly messing with you but I do think it is something you have to answer. Are you just building an atheist religion?

Again, depends on how broad your definition of religion is. By my definition, no it does not fit. It's certainly a philosophy, but any dogma attached to it would be against my intentions (and I'm trying to build in anti-dogma correctives, such as relying on mainstream science), so it would cease to be my version of wonderism. My version of wonderism will never fit my definition of religion, as long as I'm mentally coherent enough to prevent it. I hope no one else tries to hijack it and turn it into a religion. I expressed this concern earlier: Can an anti-dogma philosophy prevent becoming a dogma itself? And I would appreciate any additional ideas to help prevent this kind of hijacking.

Thanks for the feedback and challenges and questions. I agree that I must have good answers to these questions. They have been a major focus of my thoughts on wonderism over the years, and it was only after I felt sufficiently comfortable with my answers that I started to talk about it more publicly.

(I want to emphasize, as I've done elsewhere, that wonderism is not 'mine' in any real sense except that I happen to have chosen it for my own personal philosophy, and thus I have my own conception of it. But it contains very few actually new ideas. It's more a collection of good ideas from many others, brought together and given a name.)

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Tapey
atheist
Tapey's picture
Posts: 1474
Joined: 2009-01-23
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:Can an

Personally I think it is unavoidable, but a dogma doesn't have to be a negative thing

some wiki

Quote:
Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization[1]. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers. Although it generally refers to religious beliefs that are accepted without reason or evidence, they can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, or issued decisions of political authorities.[2] The term derives from Greek δόγμα "that which seems to one, opinion or belief"[3] and that from δοκέω (dokeo), "to think, to suppose, to imagine".[4] Dogma came to signify laws or ordinances adjudged and imposed upon others by the First Century. The plural is either dogmas or dogmata , from Greek δόγματα. Today, It is sometimes used as a synonym for systematic theology.

It can just be a dogma that fights the bolded type of dogma.

 

Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Tapey wrote:Personally I

Tapey wrote:

Personally I think it is unavoidable, but a dogma doesn't have to be a negative thing

some wiki

Quote:
Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization[1]. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers. Although it generally refers to religious beliefs that are accepted without reason or evidence, they can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, or issued decisions of political authorities.[2]

Interesting, you bolded the third sentence, whereas I would have bolded the second sentence:

Quote:
Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization[1]. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers. Although it generally refers to religious beliefs that are accepted without reason or evidence, they can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, or issued decisions of political authorities.[2]

Questioning and doubt are primary expressions of wonder. Everything in wonderism, like everything in science, should be questioned and not taken as 'authoritative' simply because it is an 'established belief or doctrine'.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Tapey
atheist
Tapey's picture
Posts: 1474
Joined: 2009-01-23
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:Tapey

natural wrote:

Tapey wrote:

Personally I think it is unavoidable, but a dogma doesn't have to be a negative thing

some wiki

Quote:
Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization[1]. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers. Although it generally refers to religious beliefs that are accepted without reason or evidence, they can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, or issued decisions of political authorities.[2]

Interesting, you bolded the third sentence, whereas I would have bolded the second sentence:

Quote:
Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization[1]. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers. Although it generally refers to religious beliefs that are accepted without reason or evidence, they can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, or issued decisions of political authorities.[2]

Questioning and doubt are primary expressions of wonder. Everything in wonderism, like everything in science, should be questioned and not taken as 'authoritative' simply because it is an 'established belief or doctrine'.

But by its very nature it must be. By defining what it is you have made it authoritative, other people cannot change it without changing what it is. You have dictated to others what it is. If they diverge from it they cannot be following the same philosophy, by defination a believer cannot diverge from it because they will no longer be a believer. If you dispute it you cannot be a believer for the same reasons. Could I disputed god existing and still be a christian? Doubt yeah I can see, that should be bolded, people should doubt what they believe.

Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Tapey wrote:natural

Tapey wrote:

natural wrote:

Questioning and doubt are primary expressions of wonder. Everything in wonderism, like everything in science, should be questioned and not taken as 'authoritative' simply because it is an 'established belief or doctrine'.

But by its very nature it must be. By defining what it is you have made it authoritative, other people cannot change it without changing what it is. You have dictated to others what it is.

Interesting interpretation of what I said. I think actually we are here exposing a 'dogma' of your own (or rather, not a dogma per se, but an unexamined assumption).

How have I made it authoritative? I've already said that there are very few (if any) really new ideas in my description. I've already given up authorship. The only authority I have is over what I believe, and that's the only authority I will claim. Yes, I have my own conception of wonderism. No, you (or anyone else) don't have to agree with it. You can base your own philosophy on the concept of wonder, and see what comes of it. You could call that wonderism if you so chose. I may or may not pick up your ideas, as I so choose. If there was an important, fundamental difference between your version and my version, such that they were incompatible, I would come up with some different name or word to help illustrate that difference; you might come up with a different word. Nobody has a monopoly on ideas or words.

Did you know there is already a word 'wonderism' to describe an ancient Chinese philosophy that bears very little resemblance to what I mean by 'wonderism'?

Did you know that someone on the internet has already used the word 'wonderism' to represent the philosophy (of music, I suppose) of Stevie Wonder?

Do I care about that? No. I'm describing what I mean when I talk about my personal philosophy, which I happen to also call 'wonderism'. You could call it whatever you want. As long as you're clear on what you mean by it, who cares?

Counter examples to the idea that the first person to name something is automatically the 'authority' on that thing:

  • The music of Chuck Berry is very different than the music of Elvis Presley, and likewise the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and so on with Led Zeppelin, but they are all considered rock and roll music.
  • In open source software, since the source is open, anyone can take it, tweak it, and run with it. In many cases, they can even use the same name, provided there's no trademark. How many versions of Unix/GNU/Linux can you think of? Which one is the 'authoritative' version?
  • Each humanist has their own individual interpretation of the principles and tenets of humanism. Although there are several humanist organizations, as well as at least two humanist manifestos, there is no real authoritative version of humanism. It is simply that self-declared humanists tend to agree on certain core principles and beliefs. That's all that's required.

Quote:
If they diverge from it they cannot be following the same philosophy, by defination a believer cannot diverge from it because they will no longer be a believer.

If they don't believe exactly as I do, then they'll still believe in something, right? And if that something is a philosophy that is primarily based in wonder, then it seems fair to call it wonderism, wouldn't you say? It may not be my version of wonderism, but again, I'm in no position to claim ownership of these ideas anyway (and I wouldn't want to if I was), so what's the big deal?

Quote:
If you dispute it you cannot be a believer for the same reasons. Could I disputed god existing and still be a christian?

There are, indeed, people who do not believe in a god who call themselves Christian. Some even call themselves Catholic. Who am I to tell them they are wrong?

I chose the root word 'wonder' because it simply comes up over and over again, when you investigate the different folks who've been the strongest defenders of reason and science.

I was initially reluctant to use the word, because it just seems kind of hokey to me, like an over-used cliche word. But it just kept popping its head up here and there and everywhere, that I finally gave in and said, "If you can't beat em, join em." Since that decision, it has grown on me, and I really cannot think of a better foundational principle to base my own philosophy on.

If someone disagrees with that, more power to them. I'll still call my own personal philosophy wonderism, cuz that's the word that simply works the best for me.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Tapey
atheist
Tapey's picture
Posts: 1474
Joined: 2009-01-23
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:Tapey

natural wrote:

Tapey wrote:

natural wrote:

Questioning and doubt are primary expressions of wonder. Everything in wonderism, like everything in science, should be questioned and not taken as 'authoritative' simply because it is an 'established belief or doctrine'.

But by its very nature it must be. By defining what it is you have made it authoritative, other people cannot change it without changing what it is. You have dictated to others what it is.

Interesting interpretation of what I said. I think actually we are here exposing a 'dogma' of your own (or rather, not a dogma per se, but an unexamined assumption).

How have I made it authoritative? I've already said that there are very few (if any) really new ideas in my description. I've already given up authorship. The only authority I have is over what I believe, and that's the only authority I will claim. Yes, I have my own conception of wonderism. No, you (or anyone else) don't have to agree with it. You can base your own philosophy on the concept of wonder, and see what comes of it. You could call that wonderism if you so chose. I may or may not pick up your ideas, as I so choose. If there was an important, fundamental difference between your version and my version, such that they were incompatible, I would come up with some different name or word to help illustrate that difference; you might come up with a different word. Nobody has a monopoly on ideas or words.

Did you know there is already a word 'wonderism' to describe an ancient Chinese philosophy that bears very little resemblance to what I mean by 'wonderism'?

Did you know that someone on the internet has already used the word 'wonderism' to represent the philosophy (of music, I suppose) of Stevie Wonder?

Do I care about that? No. I'm describing what I mean when I talk about my personal philosophy, which I happen to also call 'wonderism'. You could call it whatever you want. As long as you're clear on what you mean by it, who cares?

Counter examples to the idea that the first person to name something is automatically the 'authority' on that thing:

  • The music of Chuck Berry is very different than the music of Elvis Presley, and likewise the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and so on with Led Zeppelin, but they are all considered rock and roll music.
  • In open source software, since the source is open, anyone can take it, tweak it, and run with it. In many cases, they can even use the same name, provided there's no trademark. How many versions of Unix/GNU/Linux can you think of? Which one is the 'authoritative' version?
  • Each humanist has their own individual interpretation of the principles and tenets of humanism. Although there are several humanist organizations, as well as at least two humanist manifestos, there is no real authoritative version of humanism. It is simply that self-declared humanists tend to agree on certain core principles and beliefs. That's all that's required.

Quote:
If they diverge from it they cannot be following the same philosophy, by defination a believer cannot diverge from it because they will no longer be a believer.

If they don't believe exactly as I do, then they'll still believe in something, right? And if that something is a philosophy that is primarily based in wonder, then it seems fair to call it wonderism, wouldn't you say? It may not be my version of wonderism, but again, I'm in no position to claim ownership of these ideas anyway (and I wouldn't want to if I was), so what's the big deal?

Quote:
If you dispute it you cannot be a believer for the same reasons. Could I disputed god existing and still be a christian?

There are, indeed, people who do not believe in a god who call themselves Christian. Some even call themselves Catholic. Who am I to tell them they are wrong?

I chose the root word 'wonder' because it simply comes up over and over again, when you investigate the different folks who've been the strongest defenders of reason and science.

I was initially reluctant to use the word, because it just seems kind of hokey to me, like an over-used cliche word. But it just kept popping its head up here and there and everywhere, that I finally gave in and said, "If you can't beat em, join em." Since that decision, it has grown on me, and I really cannot think of a better foundational principle to base my own philosophy on.

If someone disagrees with that, more power to them. I'll still call my own personal philosophy wonderism, cuz that's the word that simply works the best for me.

All good answers. If I am honest I don't like the term wonderism either it automatically sets the woowoo alarm in my head off. Not that I am sayng that is what it is. I do think you were right to want to bold the second sentence however I do think there is the danger of it becoming the type of thing it fights though assuming it ever goes further than a personal philosophy and becomes something a group of people follow. However you do have good answers to what I have said, whether or not it works like that in practice is a different matter.

Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Tapey wrote:All good

Tapey wrote:

All good answers. If I am honest I don't like the term wonderism either it automatically sets the woowoo alarm in my head off. Not that I am sayng that is what it is. I do think you were right to want to bold the second sentence however I do think there is the danger of it becoming the type of thing it fights though assuming it ever goes further than a personal philosophy and becomes something a group of people follow. However you do have good answers to what I have said, whether or not it works like that in practice is a different matter.

Thanks for the feedback. I agree with all your cautions and warnings. They are things I think about a lot.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Kapkao
atheistSuperfanBronze Member
Kapkao's picture
Posts: 4121
Joined: 2010-01-12
User is offlineOffline
Wonderist wrote:1) The world

Wonderist wrote:

1) The world is as it is. Let's find out how it really is. Not just how we wish it was.

What are the difficulties or challenges in "(finding) out how (the world) really is, not just how we wish it was", in your opinion? Is this a "visionary" or recently pioneered step within wonderism? Is discovering the workings of our homeworld and ourselves a question of philosophy or science? Is it a question of both at the same time?

Am I taking the wrong approach to asking about Wonderism?

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


Squady
Theist
Posts: 28
Joined: 2011-11-12
User is offlineOffline
I thought it was

 I just thought Wanderism is equivalent to awesomeness for some reason. 


EXC
atheist
EXC's picture
Posts: 3139
Joined: 2008-01-17
User is offlineOffline
To paraphrase Fenynman,If

To paraphrase Fenynman,

If you think you understand Wonderism, you don't.

Wonderism: A complete system of philosophy consistent with Godel's theorems.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


Philosophicus
Philosophicus's picture
Posts: 362
Joined: 2009-12-16
User is offlineOffline
...

I like this "wonderism."  It's very comprehensive. 

 

 


A Man Teaches and He Invented It Like a Weirdo (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Being your own Jesus

You make your philosophy sound orthodox, and you compare it with "followers" of your philosophy, they didn't follow it, you invented your own philosophy, believing that something's orthodox is blind. You're starting an asexual philosophy of mountains and you expect me to follow it. Well I won't, you're just converting people for attention!


A_Nony_Mouse
A_Nony_Mouse's picture
Posts: 2880
Joined: 2008-04-23
User is offlineOffline
Ismism is on the march!

Long live Ismism!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Kapkao wrote:Wonderist

Kapkao wrote:

Wonderist wrote:

1) The world is as it is. Let's find out how it really is. Not just how we wish it was.

What are the difficulties or challenges in "(finding) out how (the world) really is, not just how we wish it was", in your opinion? Is this a "visionary" or recently pioneered step within wonderism? Is discovering the workings of our homeworld and ourselves a question of philosophy or science? Is it a question of both at the same time?

Am I taking the wrong approach to asking about Wonderism?

Sorry for the long delay.

There are indeed challenges to 'knowing' the real world. I would not say that wonderism has pioneered anything here. Science has been the pioneer, and we follow along for the ride. What I personally hope to do with wonderism is to package up all the best tools of science, mathematics, and philosophy together and wrap it together with intuitively understandable descriptions, metaphors, and presentations. Much like how Carl Sagan did in his work as a popularizer of science and scientific thinking.

One of the things I'm currently doing is tutoring students in math and science, and as part of this work, I have been trying to improve the way I explain and demonstrate things so that they are more interesting and fun to learn for the students.

Another thing I've been working on is to develop a better understanding myself of math, especially as it relates to probability and statistics, which is one of the kinds of 'glue' that brings math and science together. This has been very helpful for me, since I've been able to develop a firmer understanding of a basis for philosophical pragmatism, which up to this point I've only been able to describe intuitively (e.g. see Wonerism, Pragmatism, and Prediction.

The other major difficulty with 'knowing' reality is that our minds come with built-in flaws which lead to automatic, difficult to notice, and difficult to correct, systemic biases in our thought processes, which lead to fallacious reasoning. Previously, I would have just referred people to lists of different kinds of fallacies, which is still a very useful tool to get people started on self-skeptical critical thinking. But recently, while working on tying in the mathematics of probability theory, I've come to realize that there is a much more complete and thorough way to tackle this issue, and it has to do with Bayesian reasoning. This is what I'm currently working on now: to develop a simple enough, clear enough, and easy enough description of Bayesian reasoning, and some easy-to-use mathematical tools to help teach people how to think in a Bayesian way. Currently, it is too hard to explain in a short and easy manner. But there's no reason we shouldn't be able to make it easier to learn and understand. The math involved is actually not that difficult at all. It's just not packaged up for people who aren't already at a level of taking advanced statistics or artificial intelligence courses.

As for having a 'visionary' aspect to it, yes, but with the explicit acknowledgement that 'visions' of things are really just 'imaginations' of things, or perhaps intuitive guesses, and definitely not supernatural in any way, as is sometimes claimed in many religions. In the same way that a science fiction author might imagine a complex and detailed vision of the future, but publishes it under science *fiction*, I think it is fair that we can (and do, regularly, I might add) imagine various visions of the future and decide from among them, "Yikes, wouldn't want to live in that world," vs. "Actually, that would be a worthy improvement worth working towards, as long as we can do so in an ethical manner, to bring about a future of greater wonder." In order for the last kind of vision to be successful, it has to be grounded in an accurate understanding of reality, and for that it needs to rest its foundations on mainstream science and evidence-based reasoning. Speculation is a fine and good thing, as long as it is measured with hefty doses of skepticism to go along with it. I still daydream on a regular basis. I just don't confuse my daydreams with reality.

As for 'philosophy or science', I consider science to be an outgrowth of philosophy, specifically natural philosophy, and itself grounded in the philosophies of empiricism and pragmatism. Lots of philosophy is hokum, though, so perhaps we are talking about 'science-based philosophy' and 'philosophy-based science', and perhaps both at the same time.

No, you're not taking the wrong approach, I don't think. Asking questions seems to be an excellent approach to wonderism. Wonderism is built upon the asking of questions.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
EXC wrote:To paraphrase

EXC wrote:

To paraphrase Fenynman,

If you think you understand Wonderism, you don't.

Wonderism: A complete system of philosophy consistent with Godel's theorems.

lol Nice!

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
A Man Teaches and He

A Man Teaches and He Invented It Like a Weirdo wrote:

You make your philosophy sound orthodox, and you compare it with "followers" of your philosophy, they didn't follow it, you invented your own philosophy, believing that something's orthodox is blind. You're starting an asexual philosophy of mountains and you expect me to follow it. Well I won't, you're just converting people for attention!

You must be talking about some phantom-Wonderist in your imagination, because you're describing the exact opposite of what I'm proposing. Orthodox? Questioning dogma is the opposite of orthodoxy. Followers? I explicitly expect that there will be people who agree in principle, but disagree with my interpretation, and acknowledge that that's actually a *good* thing. I don't expect anyone to follow it. I expect that if it's actually a good idea, then some people might try it for themselves, and decide for themselves if it suits them.

As for 'attention', first of all, how do you know what my motivations are? You haven't bothered to ask, only accuse. Secondly, if all I wanted was attention, it's awfully strange that I haven't gone whole-hog on an attention-gathering campaign. My promotion of this idea has been slow, steady, and measured. I don't add anything to it unless I'm pretty confident I can defend it against hard-core skeptics (like the folks here at the RRS, for instance). If I wanted attention, why do I explicitly deny authorship? Where's my vanity web-page? Why do I actively seek criticism, rather than just praise?

These are not rhetorical questions. They are questions I've asked myself repeatedly over the years, because I do *not* want my promotions of this idea to become an ego thing. I *don't want* it to be about me at all (to the extent it's possible to promote something without putting oneself 'out there'). It's just that I've looked and looked, and haven't found anyone else promoting the same thing I want to promote. There are some similar projects, but there are either core differences, or indeed some of them have succumbed to the temptations to make it about ego and cults-of-personality. I want no part of that.

So, if you have an actual criticism of anything I've said, please post a quote of it and explain what you think is wrong with it. If my ego is sneaking into my promotions, then I'd like to know so that I can remove it and fix the situation. Often it can be difficult to spot one's own biases, so getting critique from outside sources is invaluable. I welcome it. But please, address it to something I've actually said. Thanks.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!