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dshanin's picture

The geometry of metaphorical examples

I am still a little bit obsessed with the idea that a skyhook can only "hang" things from it while a crane can be built on top of.  Building things on top of the crane is easy enough to understand but the hanging part needs a little clarification.  Beliefs that are based on skyhooks are top-down beliefs.  In the physical sense this is because they are mounted in the sky and gravity naturally pulls all that are attached to them towards earth; in the metaphorical sense they are also top-down beliefs.  Skyhooks such as religion are based on an incorruptible ideal (the hook) on which many more worldly beliefs have been hung.  We discussed the issues of attempting to build cranes on top of skyhooks but it is also interesting to think what would happen if you tried to build a crane to a skyhook.  At a certain point the crane would reach the beliefs hanging from the skyhook and the whole structure might appear solid.  The issue occurs when one tries to build on top of the skyhook, assuming the whole structure has the support of the crane.  Instead there is hidden fundamental jump that must occur from crane to skyhook.  I believe that this is what Dennet is against.  He does not seem to attack religion itself. but rather those followers who are standing on top of a skyhook and calling it a crane.   

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