Stupid Design

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History and Visiting Research Scientist and Lecturer at Princeton University.

Here he responds to the standard assertion of the Teleological Argument that 'some phenomena within nature exhibit such exquisiteness of structure, function or interconnectedness that many people have found it natural - if not inescapable - to see a deliberative and directive mind behind those phenomena.'

166 comments:

MiSaNtHrOpE said...

Yay! Are we done with Unintelligent Design yet? I think Dr Tyson has done the intelligent 46% of Americans a great service. Can all of the farmers who stupidly reject evolution, though their LIVELIHOODS DEPEND ON IT, the schizoid tyrant parents, and the charlatans/demagogues please go away?

Nabokov and Ayn Rand particularly wrote about the resistance offered by "mediocre minds" against the betterment and advancement of humanity (part of a quote by Albert Einstein on the subject). We no longer need to be afraid of technology. The literary Romantic period is over.

The more I examine religion, the more I come to find that it is nothing more than artificial, schizophrenic comfort, maintained and vehemently fought for by the most terrified and evil* human beings on the planet. Stop focusing on death, it's not as important as the here-and-now. Our time on Earth is short, and we need to make it better. Religion can't do that.

Their god is held to a standard human beings cannot afford to emulate. Why this standard is attributed to anything or even exist is a question I'd love to know, but I do know that we cannot afford to have it. By god's standard of good, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, and Khomeini were saints. Why hold up this standard, when, for humans, who are the most important, it causes unsurmountable human destruction? We can't afford god.

Note: This is Eric. I got my own blog.

MiSaNtHrOpE said...

*Evil: That what they want is tyranny, their ignorance and fear of reality makes them evil in my eyes (see final paragraph)

exapologist said...

Thanks for that Youtube link. It will be a good conversation-starter in my Phil. of Religion class next week.

Anonymous said...

WOW! The universe is winding down. It must have had a beginning and therefore a beginner. If we are here for no purpose what is the point of this videon. Engineers design? I guess there is intelligent design in the universe. To see about paradoxical doctrines such as evil and suffering in the context of God's love and power and how they can be resolved via extra-dimensionality see Beyond The Cosmos by Hugh Ross

Troy Waller said...

I'm an Agnostic, so I don't have a philosophical problem with, or a necessary bias against, Theistic arguments. Let's clear that up first.

You have called on the Cosmologial Argument, or the Prime Mover/ First Cause Argument. The problem with your thought here is that there is no reason to think that the creator of our universe is a 'supreme being' or deserving of our worship or even uncreated itself. Even if you can theoretically prove the universe has a prime mover (which you can't), you must then prove that this prime mover is a supreme, uncreated being deserving of our worship. Then you have to prove it is the Christian god.

It' not enough to just throw the Cosmological Argument at us as if we haven't ever thought about it and then walk away.

To say the universe has no designer is not to say that life has no purpose either. No 'heavenly purpose' does not necessarily mean no 'earthly purpose'. I have lot's of meaning and purpose in my life, inspite of a lack of belief in your god.

Anonymous said...

God transcends our four dimensions of space and time. Science has opened the door to extra-dimensional realities besides our own. Paradoxical doctrines such as God's love and power in the face of human suffering and evil become resolvable given God moves and operates in extra-dimensions of space and time. God's nature is paradoxical. He is the paradox Deity. It's hard for humans to comprehend dimensions besides the ones we experience. God's ways are not our ways. Those who argue that the existence of evil and suffering proves the non-existence of God have no idea that it proves the opposite. Naturalism cannot account for the evil and cruelty we see among humans. Survival of the fittest doesn't result in the behavior humans exibit all over the world. The quantity of evil on earth exeeds by far what atheistic evolutionary explanation can account for. Paradoxically to say there is good and bad pressuposes a moral law and moral law pressuposes a moral law giver. Again the nature of God is paradoxical. My ways are not your warys and my thoughts are not your thoughts. God works all things together for good. Everything serves a purpose even if we are not sure at the present moment what that purpose may be.

David B. Ellis said...


Paradoxical doctrines such as God's love and power in the face of human suffering and evil become resolvable given God moves and operates in extra-dimensions of space and time.


And why would having extra dimensions of space and time solve the problem of evil? An actual argument would be nice.


God's nature is paradoxical. He is the paradox Deity. It's hard for humans to comprehend dimensions besides the ones we experience. God's ways are not our ways. Those who argue that the existence of evil and suffering proves the non-existence of God have no idea that it proves the opposite.


You do realize, don't you, that a culture whose religions says that God orders human sacrifices can make the same argument:

"Yes, it seems a contradiction of God's love for him to order human sacrifices but his Holy Will is beyond our mere human understanding. He has a morally valid reason for his command and who are we to pass judgment on the Will of God."


Naturalism cannot account for the evil and cruelty we see among humans.


Absurd. There is no reason to expect there to be no suffering or cruelty if naturalism is true.


survival of the fittest doesn't result in the behavior humans exibit all over the world.


Learn a bit more about evolution. Selection pressures can produce a vast range of behaviors.


Paradoxically to say there is good and bad pressuposes a moral law and moral law pressuposes a moral law giver.


Two points:

1. The problem of evil concerns suffering and whether it is inconsistent to claim a caring being would allow extreme suffering he could prevent. It can be consistently used by moral subjectivists.

2. The concept of right and wrong does not require moral laws and moral lawgivers. That's the divine command meta-ethical theory (and its full of problems, the well-known Euthyphro Dilemma, for example). To say that right and wrong require a lawgiver you must show divine command theory to be superior to all other metaethical theory (I favor Ideal Observer Theory myself). You have yet to do this. Good luck trying.

CALVIN said...
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david ellis said...

He wanted to demonstrate his wrath and power so he designed vessels for that purpose?

He created the universe.....so I think the power thing is already covered.

As to wrath, why the blazes who he WANT to have someone to exhibit wrath upon?

Such comments are a perfect demonstration of the bizarro-world logic religion can so easily induce.

Calvin said...

David

That made no sense at all

He does it to display his glory
Notice the word responsible creatures

HeIsSailing said...

Regarding the unintelligent design of the universe:
Most old-earth creationist would argue that the earth is a fine-tuned oasis in a chaotic universe to support the human species. We are at a unique location and time for us to be here, and God's plan to be accomplished.

I can understand that arguement - that at least has some logic to it if you are a believer.

As to birth defects, natural disasters and other evils, most Christians would say that is a result of our fallen and sinful nature.

That truly makes no sense to me, but a video like this will sadly have little or no effect on a believer.

Kiwi Dave said...

Has Calvin just claimed that evil exists so God can show off, or have I misunderstood something?

Calvin said...
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david ellis said...

Calvin, I'll just let your comment speak for itself. Nothing I could post would do a better job of showing how twisted christian theology can be than your own words.

calvin said...

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

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Kyle said...

Canard. Straw man. Worthless.

Have Intelligent Design proponents ever said that everything in the world is perfect? No. Surely sin and its ubiquitous effects are a factor to understand why there are birth defects. The whole universe is not a Garden of Eden? Gee really? Um, only the earth BEFORE the fall was the Garden of Eden and the Bible does not speak of the habitability of other terrestrial bodies. Afterwards the ground and all mankind was cursed because of Adam's sin. I mean if you don't believe, that is one thing, but to throw out laughable arguments for disbelieving is just silly and bizarre. This man is a mocker who disbelieves for emotional reasons, not scientific ones.

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Kiwi Dave said...

Thanks Calvin and Anon for stating your viewpoints with great clarity.

I'll try to state my atheist viewpoint as clearly.

A god who requires suffering in order to show his glory is deficient in mercy, justice, righteousness.

By combining Kyle's comments with yours, perhaps wrongly since you may not agree or I have misunderstood, I infer that it was/is not possible for God to show his glory etc in the Garden of Eden or heaven. Is this a reasonable inference?

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David B. Ellis said...


There is no evidence for atheism.



There is no evidence for afairyism.

Troy Waller said...

Hi Kyle, I almost missed your comment there amid the 'Sea of Calvin' ;P

Have Intelligent Design proponents ever said that everything in the world is perfect? No.

Well some have, but obviously those theodicies don't hold much weight in your opinion, but yes, there have been some who have proposed a perfect creation.

Surely sin and its ubiquitous effects are a factor to understand why there are birth defects. The whole universe is not a Garden of Eden? Gee really? Um, only the earth BEFORE the fall was the Garden of Eden and the Bible does not speak of the habitability of other terrestrial bodies.

But if you are to say that the Fall brought imperfection to a once perfect world then the effects of the Fall MUST effect the entire universe. As the laws of various sciences that govern our world also govern the entire universe in spite of habitability or not. If a human goes into space she would die. Would this be the case prior to the Fall? Asteroids on a colision course with Earth that kill animals and plants (and we know they have) are extra-terestrial in origin no? And your argument might explain the evils of humankind, but what of the evils that befall our planet and its inhabitants such as natural disasters and the like? God changed the entire makeup of our planet to allow earthquakes, floods, etc.? This is a huge stretch of even the most vivid of imaginations. This all happened in one day? The Earth became unstable in an unstable universe in an instant? How did the moon, which is responsible for tides and therefore some floods, become effected if the curse was only on the earth itself? And what of the sun and solar radiation? No, it seems that the entire universe became unstable the day of the Fall.

Have you ever stopped to consider that prior to the Fall there was no such thing as a carnivore? This would mean that at the instant of the Fall, all (now) carnivores and omnivores would have had their entire physiological makeup changed to be able to cope with eating meat. I wonder what a shark would have looked like prior to the Fall. Would it have looked silly with a mouth full of molars instead of razor sharp teeth?

And the idea that God uses the sufferings of mankind to demonstrate his ow nature may be nice and believable on paper, but when you get down to it and see the effects of disease and famine (naturally caused) upon infants, it is much harder to see how a loving god would use this to demonstarte anything at all.

Please take the time to look at these images and then tell THEM God has a plan:

http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2005/07/20/child128.jpg

http://www.chinadaily.cn/english/doc/2005-09/11/xin_1709021118099582809138.jpg

http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0Je5mYvCdtFVgkA00GjzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTA4NDgyNWN0BHNlYwNwcm9m/SIG=138gnn9n3/EXP=1172069039/**http%3A//www.rifpd.org/Family_Planning/Reproductive_Health/Infant-dying-starvation.jpg

http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0Je5mglCttFQQoBTU.jzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTA4NDgyNWN0BHNlYwNwcm9m/SIG=12llicggc/EXP=1172069285/**http%3A//www.chw.edu.au/parents/factsheets/img_kawasaki_disease.jpg

Calvin said...
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Lory Jean-Baptiste said...

Anonymous,

I've never read the rationale behind theism expressed so clearly and eloquently. When you peel back the paint you see that atheism is basically the irrational belief that things happen for no reason at all. Universes that come into existence out of nothing, random accidental events that unintentionally create rational thinking beings and laws of physics that are the way they are for no reason. At its heart atheism is irrational but atheists are often too busy criticizing other belief systems to recognize how problematic their beliefs really are.

Why does an atheist choose not to believe in God? Well, according to the atheist's worldview, it's ultimately the same reason my eyes are brown--physics. We are all just a bunch of particles arguing about the existence of God. The problem with atheism is that things are not explained in terms of beings, they are explained in terms of matter. So, there is no I, we, or God--those are mere illusions--there are just particles and physics.

david ellis said...


You can't completely comprehend the Paradox Deity.


If ones beliefs lead to a maze of paradoxes it might be wise to consider that they may, in fact, be false.

Just a suggestion.

Calvin said...

Let me give you an example. Through billions of years of death and decay God provided the human species with topsoil,oil, gas, limestone, and other natural resourses. God can show love through His wrath and His Grace. Death and disease show Gods Judgements but they also show His love. There are different degrees of torment in Hell. In Hell God shows His Judgement and love at the same time. God is a God of love, Justice, Mercy, and Grace. The God of nature is holy. It's paradoxical but not contradictory

Calvin said...

What about the proposition that there are only particles and physics. That idea isn't particles and physics. But you believe it's true. Self-Condradiction.

paradox - An apparent contradiction; something that seems like a contadiction but has the possibility of resolution when examined in all possible space, time, and contextual frames of reference. Example: A man aging only thirty years as he makes a round trip at relativistiv velocity to the andromeda galaxy
While back home the earth would experience the passing of four million years.

God ordained the cross before the foundation of the world, but He did it through responsible creatures. At the cross we see God's Judgement, His mercy, His grace, His sovereignty, His love, and His holiness. The cross is the blazing center of God's glory.

Calvin said...
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Shygetz said...

I've never read the rationale behind theism expressed so clearly and eloquently.

Well, when you start with unsupported premises (like the one that all events must be caused), you can come up with impressive conclusions. For example, using unsupported premises in another thread, this same "anonymous" (at least, same arguments and writing style) demonstrated that my spoon is rational, and that causes and effects can occur simultaneously. Until "anonymous" can point out his patented "Law of Cause and Effect" in the literature (or better yet, in a physics textbook--for the life of me, I can't seem to find this law...), I will have to reluctantly hold off on the theistic conversion.

What about the proposition that there are only particles and physics. That idea isn't particles and physics.

First of all, that proposition is false; there are forces and particles (although the nature of particles is still fuzzy). Second, what makes you think that the idea isn't "particles and physics"? Can you have the idea without having the particles and physics? Can you alter the idea by altering the particles and physics? Are the effects of ideas measurable on the particles and physics? The answers are "no", "yes", and "often yes, but it's hard". There is not yet any evidence that ideas are NOT particles and physics.

Through billions of years of death and decay God provided the human species with topsoil,oil, gas, limestone, and other natural resourses. God can show love through His wrath and His Grace.

Or, he could have avoided being a dick about it by just giving us that stuff to begin with. Or maybe, just maybe, that stuff got here through purely natural processes that he had no real involvement with.

When you peel back the paint you see that atheism is basically the irrational belief that things happen for no reason at all.

Stupid quantum mechanics...so irrational.

The problem with atheism is that things are not explained in terms of beings, they are explained in terms of matter. So, there is no I, we, or God--those are mere illusions--there are just particles and physics.

That's stupid. That's like saying there is no forest, it's just all trees. Atheists are not saying that at all. While everything is made of particles and forces, these things come in interesting patterns with fantastic properties. It's sad that you have to invoke a fairy in order to appreciate this.

The God revealed in nature is a God of mercy, grace, power, and jestice.

Which is why he smites young and old, innocent and guilty alike without prejudice--fair is fair, after all.

Mathemeticians can easily show that in four dimensions of space a baketball can be turned inside out without making a cut in the surface.

Can you say "non-sequiter"?

All causes of things are beginnings; that we have scientific knowledge when we know the cause; to know a things existence is to know the reason why it is. Aristotle

Aristotle also thought that objects with different masses were accelerated by gravity at different rates. We've moved on somewhat.

Anonymous said...

You deny cause and effect. You are rediculus.
You contadict yourself over and over again.
I never said your spoon was rational - figment of the imagination
Your interpretation of quantum mechanics has been debunked several times.

The proposition that all there is is patticles and physics is no made of particles and physics. It's a philisophical statement and therefore self-contradictory.

The paradox holds whether the are extra - dimensions or not. Which I believe there are.

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Calvin said...
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david ellis said...


What about the proposition that there are only particles and physics. That idea isn't particles and physics. But you believe it's true. Self-Condradiction.


One does not have to believe there are only particles and physics to be an atheist. In fact, I know very few atheists who would assent to that proposition.

david ellis said...


There is no evidence for atheism

I don't have enough faith to be an atheist.



Let's compare that comment to another nonbelief:

"There is no evidence for afairyism. I don't have enough faith to be an afairyist."

Does that give you some idea of how silly your comment sounds.

Troy Waller said...

Calvin

You seem to post with little regard for what others say and then you post the same thing over and over again. You sound like Rainman. I bet you're an excellent driver! How about some coherence and some dialogue rather than just these mini Scriptural monologues of yours?

Anonymous said...

Somebody did assert it thats why I commented on it

Anonymous said...

I agree there is no evidence for afairyst. I never said there eas.

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Steve said...

I just wanna know how the F*** that anonymous can figure God shows his love through predestination, unless he is talking about those who are predestined to heaven. But then what about those who are predestined for wrath? I thought God didn't want to have anyone perish.

Anonymous said...

In a sense he doesn't want anyone to perrish. But the bible also teaches that in another sense He delights in His holy Justice. As for the the question about innocent people suffering. There are no innocent people. Because Adam and eve sinned man has inherited a corrupt nature. Since God is holy he has the right to display His justice. People in hell get God's justice. And not everyone in hell gets the same punishment. So we see God's love in hell as well. Again there is a paradox between human responsibility and divine predestination. The God of the bible is paradoxical. That's where your problem is.

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david ellis said...

That response is typical of people who hold nonsensical beliefs. I hear it a great deal from New Agers and "psychics" as well.

Let me ask a simple question. If someone claims that God orders human sacrifice and that his reasons are a divine mystery beyond your feeble mind so how can you claim that you know he wouldn't order it because it would be immoral for him to, what would your response be.

It seems to me that your position makes it impossible to reason that ANYTHING is immoral because one always has the out: "god ordered it and his reasons are beyond our comprehension".

Anonymous said...

I don't think God would order someone today to perform a human sacrifice. He did in Issacs case but God told Him not to. This was to forshadow Christ. Christ was the one sacrifice for sins. He was the God man. Again you must make a distinction between God's hidden will and His revealed will.

Anonymous said...

You meant it for evil. But God meant it for good.

When Christ was crucified God held those people responsible for murdering the messiah. Yet at the same time God did it for the propitiation of the sin of His people. Paradox. We are to obey God's revealed will. Once again you are blind to the truth with your twisting tactics.

Heather said...

'Perish' means to become ruined or destroyed, or cease to exist. You cannot perish if you're also being eternally punished. And if God doesn't want anyone to perish and all to be saved, then God isn't getting what He wants, under your belief system. So then how is God the victor?

**Because Adam and eve sinned man has inherited a corrupt nature.** In which case, we are at the mercy of forces not under our control. In effect, people are trapped in sin, due to Adam and Eve's transgression. Although, if you read the Garden of Eden story, God comes across as kicking them out due to fear of them.

**Since God is holy he has the right to display His justice. **
Which is more just: to eternally punish someone trapped in their sin nature, and thus not having complete control over how the sin comes across? Or to restore the right balance, and completely eradicate sin? One of the definitions of justice is "conformity to truth, fact or reason." In the Old Testament, many of the prophets were furious with the elite for failing to enforce God's justice: care for the widow, the marginalized, the oppressed and so on. If we have in fact inherited a corrupt nature not of our choosing, then we are all oppressed -- and God's justice must reverse that oppression. Justice and mercy don't have to be opposites. Justice determines the appropriate punishment in order to fix the wrong, and mercy ensures that justice doesn't go beyond what is warranted. Mercy also makes it so the justice is done for the person's own good.

And if God is a paradox, then He cannot be completely known. In order to freely choose, you must know what you're choosing between -- which is impossible, if God is that unknown. You're not rejecting who God really is.

Anonymous said...

Like I said in one sense God doesn't want anyone to perish but in another sense He takes delight in His holy justice in eradicating sin. Your feeble mind cannot penetrate the paradox of the Triune Deity. God Has made Himself known. You don't understand God's Holy nature. You don't understand mercy, grace, truth, or God's wrath.

Anonymous said...

We cannot FULLY comprehend God. That doesn't mean we can't know Him at all. Some things about God are mysterious.

Heather said...

Anon,

You're repeating yourself, and not addressing any of the positions I brought up, such as God's concern for justice in the Old Testament or being trapped in a sinful nature not by choice. Even Jesus had a huge sense of that justice, as given by the Sermon on the Mount. You haven't even recoinciled the fact that perishing means destruction, and the hell your presenting is eternal punishment. In fact, you said God delights in eradicating sin -- but then that means the sinner no longer exists. Which then means that the sin itself is the same as the sinner, in which case once God eradicates the sin, is there even a person left?

Or the fact that mercy and justice can be balanced. You're arguing under a sense of retributive justice. But nowhere in the New Testament does it say that the ultimate facts about God are vindictivness and wrath -- which is what you're presenting.

**You don't understand God's Holy nature. You don't understand mercy, grace, truth, or God's wrath.** Clearly, I have to understand something about those words in order to recognize them when God displays them to me. I need groundwork for each of those words, which I have. So I'd have to understand them based on my already-in place understanding.

**That doesn't mean we can't know Him at all** How much do we know him by: 5%? 15%? If we feel that the facts against your version of Christianity are known by 75% and God is only known by 15%, then how can we be punished for rejecting God? If choosing God holds that much eternal importance, then why would He remain that mysterious.

Lory Jean-Baptiste said...

I notice that atheists like to change the subject when they realize that their materialistic worldview doesn't make any sense. I guess it's much easier to attack the idea of hell than the idea of God.

The idea that everything is just particles and physics doesn't make any sense because if it were true then a scientist is just a bunch of particles and physics "studying" particles and physics. Moreover, ultimately the reason you're an atheist is the same as the reason you are tall or short--particles and physics.

"One does not have to believe there are only particles and physics to be an atheist. In fact, I know very few atheists who would assent to that proposition."

So, what is the unidentified substance X? Spirit particles? Mystical waves? The Force? Please explain.

And while you're at it please explain where the laws of physics come from? Why is there any regularity in nature? Why not just total chaos?

Anonymous said...

The facts are beyond reasonable doubt. The problem is that you use Bayes Theorem to calculate probabilities. There is no evidence for atheism. To say the bible means anialation when it talks about death in Hell is rediculas and you know that. God makes free decisions but it's impossible for Him to sin. He acts according to His nature. I'll go into more detail later.

Anonymous said...

The reason why I keep repeating myself is because I'm delusional.

david ellis said...


I notice that atheists like to change the subject when they realize that their materialistic worldview doesn't make any sense.


Sorry, but I am an atheist and not a materialist. Idealism and panpsychism and even dualism are also possible positions for an atheist. I'm an agnostic with regard to metaphysical theories about the ultimate stuff of reality. There is simply no way to confirm or disconfirm any of them since all are consistent with the same observations. I actually tend to find panpsychism and Spinoza's neutral monism more likely to be true than materialism. I think they deal better with the question of why mind emerges from the complex arrangements of matter that are our brains.


The idea that everything is just particles and physics doesn't make any sense because if it were true then a scientist is just a bunch of particles and physics "studying" particles and physics.]


To clarify for you, most atheists are materialists ONLY in the sense of thinking that mind results from and requires a physical basis. That there can be no mind with no brain.


"One does not have to believe there are only particles and physics to be an atheist. In fact, I know very few atheists who would assent to that proposition."

So, what is the unidentified substance X? Spirit particles? Mystical waves? The Force? Please explain.


Some things which exist (in one sense or another) but are not particles or physics:

minds
numbers
words
colors
ideas
emotions


And while you're at it please explain where the laws of physics come from? Why is there any regularity in nature? Why not just total chaos?



Something must ultimately, simply be.

One can as easily ask:

Why is there a God rather than no God?

Why is God good rather than evil?

There must be some things which are basic facts. Things that just happen to be the way they are. We cannot have an endless regress of reasons why. That is a fact as much for theism as for atheism (or polytheism or pantheism or animism for that matter). And no more a problem for atheism than for supernaturalist worldviews.

Shygetz said...

You deny cause and effect. You are rediculus.

I deny that cause and effect are all that exists. Yep, me and Neils Bohr are two wild and crazy guys. You should be sure to always keep us away from Stern–Gerlach devices; no telling what sort of mischief guys like us could cause.

You contadict yourself over and over again.

And yet, you don't name a single example. Strange...

I never said your spoon was rational - figment of the imagination

You mean I imagined it when you said that "To be rational means to function properly"? Are you sure I'm the one imagining things here?

Your interpretation of quantum mechanics has been debunked several times.

And yet you can't point to one time that the many various indeterministic or multi-worlds interpretations of QM (which I cannot claim credit for) have been debunked. I'm starting to sense a pattern here...

The proposition that all there is is patticles and physics is no made of particles and physics. It's a philisophical statement and therefore self-contradictory.

Um, so you are saying that all philosophical statements are self-contradictory, or just this one? If just this one, where is your evidence (you know, something beyond bald assertion)? I provided evidence that ideas are based in "particles and physics". I want to hear your counterexamples. Name some ideas that cannot be altered or destroyed by alteration or destruction of the "particles and physics" that house them.

The paradox holds whether the are extra - dimensions or not.

Which "paradox"? All I've seen are naked assertions, and no true paradoxes.

There is no evidence for atheism

I shall name you...Occam's Beard

There is no evidence for atheism

I don't have enough faith to be an atheist.

I agree there is no evidence for afairyst. I never said there eas.


So you don't have enough faith to be an afairyist, right? Bring on the fairies!

You have a misconception of the God of the bible. That's why He makes no sense to you. The God you attack is a false God.

Whereas Occam's Beard brings word of the One True God, whom has been revealed unto him through the workings of the mysterious Law of Cause and Effect. Praise him!

There are no innocent people. Because Adam and eve sinned man has inherited a corrupt nature.

So I can shoot you because your grandfather was an asshole, and I would be "just"? Also, last I heard, the theology was that man is born with sin...so infants killed in the womb are still sinless. Where's their justice and mercy?

The God of the bible is paradoxical. That's where your problem is.

So, maybe he does get it...

You cannot penetrate the mystery of God with your feeble mind.

And yet you seem to have a pretty good handle on what he's like, even going so far as to tell us about how he's in multiple dimensions of time. How'd you manage that? Oh yeah, you have prophet super-powers. I forgot.

Once again you are blind to the truth with your twisting tactics.

Says the contortionist...

You don't understand mercy, grace, truth, or God's wrath.

Actually, I have a pretty good grasp of 3 out of 4...

The idea that everything is just particles and physics doesn't make any sense because if it were true then a scientist is just a bunch of particles and physics "studying" particles and physics.

Kind of like a biologist being a living thing "studying" living things. Preposterous!

Moreover, ultimately the reason you're an atheist is the same as the reason you are tall or short--particles and physics.

Not necessarily. As I tried to point out to anonymous previously, cause and effect seem not to be ubiquitous (and even if it is ubiquitous, it will always seem not to be so). At some level, either the universe is indeterminate or it is permanently and irrevocably set up to seem indeterminate. So, saying that physics is the "reason" for atheism may be true in a sense (in that atheism relies upon particles and physics to exist), but misleading (in that there may not be a deterministic "cause" for atheism).

So, what is the unidentified substance X?

I'm afraid I agree with you there. If something is not natural, then it must be supernatural. If it is not supernatural, then it must be subject to physical laws, even if we don't understand them. I would argue that ideas are manifestations of "particles and physics" which we only partially understand. By saying this, I am saying that "particles and physics" are both necessary and sufficient to form ideas (which include ideas such as numbers, words, colors, emotions, etc.)

And while you're at it please explain where the laws of physics come from? Why is there any regularity in nature? Why not just total chaos?

That I CAN explain, although you may not like the answer. The trivial answer is, if there were not regularity in nature, observers would not exist for any period of time to observe nature. Unfortunately, given our current knowledge, we cannot make any post hoc predictions about the liklihood that observers would exist at all.

The facts are beyond reasonable doubt. The problem is that you use Bayes Theorem to calculate probabilities.

Really? I have never in my life used Bayes' theorem to calculate anything. Therefore, your assertion is demonstrably false. And what facts being beyond reasonable doubt are you referring to?

God makes free decisions but it's impossible for Him to sin. He acts according to His nature.

Might makes right, eh? And people like you have the gall to complain of moral relativism...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The multiple universe theory is broad enough that any event can be explained away by it. If we ask, Why did the planes hit the world trade center? we don't need to blame the terrorists: the theory lets us say that we just happen to be in the universe where those planes - though they appeared to be flown deliberately into the buildings - actually hit the buildings by accident. The multiple universe theory is so broad that it can even be used to excuse the atheists who made it up. Perhaps we just happen to be in the universe where people are irrational enough to suggest that such nonsense is the truth. Extreme evidence calls for extreme theories to explain it away.

I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that something could arise without a cause. David Hume.
If you destroy the law of causality you destroy science itself. The uncertainty principle does not prove that the movement of electrons is uncaused. It only describes our inability to predict their location and speed at any given time. The fact that we cant predict something doesn't mean that it does't have a cause. Quantum theorists acknowledge that we might not be able to predict the simultaneous speed and location of electrons because our very attempts at observing them are the CAUSE of their unpredictable movements!
Again, science operates on cause and effect. Science discovered quantum mechanics. If quantum mechanics invalidates cause and effect then quantum mechanics becomes unreliable because cause and effect was used to descover quantum mechanics. This is so clearly self-defeating. You have the wrong interpretation of quantum mechanics. How you cannot see that is a mystery. Science is the search for causes.

Anonymous said...

Quantum mechanics invalidates cause and effect.
What caused you to come to that conclusion?
Self-defeating nonsense
People will do anything to avoid God.

Lory Jean-Baptiste said...

Shygetz,

"Not necessarily. As I tried to point out to anonymous previously, cause and effect seem not to be ubiquitous (and even if it is ubiquitous, it will always seem not to be so). At some level, either the universe is indeterminate or it is permanently and irrevocably set up to seem indeterminate. So, saying that physics is the "reason" for atheism may be true in a sense (in that atheism relies upon particles and physics to exist), but misleading (in that there may not be a deterministic "cause" for atheism)."

So, ultimately the reason you're an atheist is because some random number generator? Maybe tomorrow the random number generator will make you a Christian.

Non-determinism doesn't help with fundamental problem of your worldview. The problem is you have no distinction between subject and object because you have only one kind of stuff--matter.

If a scientist's mind and ideas are governed by natural laws then how can he genuinely investigate natural laws when he is controlled by them?

If an atheist's mind (you) is governed by natural law and a theist's mind (me) is governed by natural law then how can we debate "truth" when the reason you believe what you believe is identical to the reason I believe what I believe--natural law.

Oh, and why is natural law such that it produces beings who seek truth? Well, it just happens to be that way.

I find it hard to believe that you don't recognize how problematic this all is.

Anonymous said...

The many universes is guilty of of what probability therorist call multiplying one's probabilistic resourses without warrent - arbitrarily assuming that one has more chances than it appears just to increase the odds of getting some result. If we do that anything can be explained away. Another example, a card player who gets four aces every time he deals could explain this away by saying that there are an infinite number of universes with poker games going on in them, and therefore, in some of them someone always by chance gets four aces every time he deals, and lucky me! - we just happen to be in one of those universes. This makes rational conduct impossible. Therefore, the many worlds hypotheses collapses.
The many universe Hypothesis also violates ockham's razor. We should not multiply causes beyond what is necessary to explain the EFFECT. The evidence is strong for an intelligent designer.

Since we can establish that there is a cause, we can also establish that he is intelligent and personal because he crafted the universe for human beings.
Also
See Michael Denton Nature's Destiny How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in The Universe
Michael Denton is an agnostic

Lory Jean-Baptiste said...

David Ellis,

"There must be some things which are basic facts. Things that just happen to be the way they are. We cannot have an endless regress of reasons why. That is a fact as much for theism as for atheism (or polytheism or pantheism or animism for that matter). And no more a problem for atheism than for supernaturalist worldviews."

In both our views we have a universe that behaves regularly and predictably.

In your view there is no explanation for this regulariy--it is the way it is. In my view the regularity of nature is explained as the will of God.

Why is my explanation better than yours? Yours is not an explanation but a basic irreducible fact. My explanation explains the regulariy we observe in terms of a being and his will. I'm a being you're a being, I have a will, you have a will so I'm explaining something using terms and entities we both understand. That's how explanations work.

So, if you want an explanation as to why the universe is the way it is then God is the only available explanation but if you just want to throw up your hands and say, "things are the way they are" then atheism is for you.

But here is a question: Why are there human beings?

Your worldview can't answer that. However, if there is a God then God creating human beings seems consistent while the idea of an unconscious unintentional universe creating intentional conscious beings seem inconsistent.

Anonymous said...

By the way Francis Bacon the father of modern science said true knowledge is a knoeledge of causes. Science is a search for causes. That is what scientists do. They try to discover what caused what. To deny causality is to deny rationality. The very process of rational thinking requires us to put together thoughts (the causes) that result in conclusions (the effects). If anyone ever tells you he doesn't believe in the law of causality simply ask him "What caused you to come to that conclusion?"

Anonymous said...

Whatever had a beginning had a cause
The universe had a beginning (beyond reasonable doubt)
Therefore, the universe had a cause.
Nobel Laureate Arno Penzias-Astronomy leads ud to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. The observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, supernatural plan.

An infinite number of days has no end.
But today is the end day of history(history being a collection of all days)
Therefore, there were not an infinite number of days before today (Time had a beginning)

If there were an infinite number of days before today, then today never would have arrived.

The Bible clearly says that God's judgements and the existence of hell are good things that bring glory to God. People in heaven will give praise and thanks to God for hell. The powerful forces of God's judgement are good in two ways. Theese powerful forces are not chaotic but under God's control in a perfect and beautiful balance. In the fossil record we see death and decay. This death and decay provided coal, oil, topsoil, and other natural resources for man. We see God providing and fine tuning the planet earth with his powerful judgements. We see God's care.

At the cross we see God's judgement, His Grace, His sovereignty, and his mercy all working together to express His love. The cross is the blazing center of the glory of God.

What can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly percieved, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. No one can fathom all the reasons for what God does. But we can say that He is dangerous, powerful, and loving. Nature tells us that God is capable of severe wrath and pain. Things such as parasites are good designs. they could not have arisen by chance. We must marvel at the shark even while fearing it. Again the main reason why people want Dawinism to be true is because they cannot see how God can be Glorified by violence.

Shygetz said...

OK, you are rapidly moving into the realm of the willfully ignorant (well, anonymous was there already, and Lory is headed that way). Quantum indeterminacy is not encapsulated in the Uncertainty Principle. It is best demonstrated in Bell's theorem (probably best proven by Aspect's experiments) which states:

No physical theory of local hidden variables can ever reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics.

What this means is that deterministic models all fail to replicate the observed results of quantum mechanics. That leaves us with indeterminacy; or, at least, the irrevocable appearance of indeterminacy due to non-local "spooky action at a distance" that violates relativity.

If you have troubles with the meanings of quantum mechanics, I recommend a book for the layman that I linked to earlier titled "Where Does the Weirdness Go?" by David Lindley. You will find that fundamental aspects of the universe MUST either be indeterminate, or unretrievably seem indeterminate. The 18th century notion of the "clockwork universe" is dead.

Your sharpshooter analogy is awful. Tell me, what represents the hundred sharpshooters? Do you claim to know the probability of even one of the fundamental constants to be what they are? If so, please show your work. If not, quit making crap up.

The multiple universe theory is so broad that it can even be used to excuse the atheists who made it up.

But the "God exists in multiple dimensions of time" theory is scientifically rigorous. Right...

And the multiple dimensions idea is an interpretation (a speculation based on fact) and not a theory. If I called it a theory previously, my apologies.

I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that something could arise without a cause. David Hume

Wow, getting an 18th century philosopher to comment on the ramifications of quantum mechanics. Nice. Maybe you can quote George Washington on stem cell research next.

If you destroy the law of causality you destroy science itself.

I recommend you look up quantum mechanics on SciFinder (or your favorite physical sciences database). You'll find that science is chugging along quite nicely without it. Probabilistic models work GREAT for science; determinism is not needed.

So, ultimately the reason you're an atheist is because some random number generator?

The underlying "reason" may be due to indeterminacy. There are many other proximate reasons as to my deconversion to agnosticism (I am not what most people consider an atheist), but the ultimate reason that I am free from the predestination of a clockwork universe could well be quantum indeterminacy.

The problem is you have no distinction between subject and object because you have only one kind of stuff--matter.

Which comes in many different patterns and forms--see "emergent properties"

Anonymous, your grasp of probability theory is almost as bad as your analogies. And yes, the multiverse interpretation does violate Occam's Razor--the Copenhagen Interpretation is by far the simplest (which is why it is preferred).

Since we can establish that there is a cause...

You can't, except by fiat, which no one accepts.

But here is a question: Why are there human beings?

Might as well deal a poker hand and ask "why do I have a queen of spades" Human existence is not a foregone conclusion.

By the way Francis Bacon the father of modern science said true knowledge is a knoeledge of causes.

I believe that was Plato. If you hold to 18th century science (much less ancient Greek science), you will come up with an 18th century worldview--big surprise there. Anonymous, start quoting 20-21st century scientists if you want to argue the ramifications of quantum mechanics.

If a scientist's mind and ideas are governed by natural laws then how can he genuinely investigate natural laws when he is controlled by them?

The same way an anthropologist can study anthropology, a sociologist can study sociology, a psychologist can study psychology, a biologist can study biology, etc.

If an atheist's mind (you) is governed by natural law and a theist's mind (me) is governed by natural law then how can we debate "truth" when the reason you believe what you believe is identical to the reason I believe what I believe--natural law.

Because our minds are different. We KNOW that, even if you make two electrons form the same source in the same way, they have different properties. Since our minds are MUCH different than two electrons, we would expect them to have different properties.

Quantum mechanics invalidates cause and effect.

Science invalidates cause and effect in some instances, not all, just like it invalidates electromagnetic theory in only some cases, not all.

I would love to continue this, but I have to go. I'll try to check in later.

Calvin said...

See A Biblical Case for an Old Earth David Snoke (Ph.D. Associate professor in physics)

I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

Anonymous said...

I don't need multiple dimensions of space or time for paradoxical teachings in the Bible.

10 Different interpretations of quauntum mechanics have been developed because of the flaws in the copenhagen interpretation.

Also, Quantum mechanics is founded on the concept that quantum events occur according to finite probabilities within finite time interavals. The larger the time interval, the greater the probability of quantum events occuring. This means that if the time interaval is zero, the probability for that quantum event is zero. Non-Theistic scientists want to speculate about what happened at 10 to the minus 43 seconds after the bang. Non-Theistic scientists want to rely on gaps in our knowledge. In this case a very minute one. What we are seeing is a no God of the gaps to get arround the scientific facts. The philosophical argument for time's beginning holds firm. The tide has turned. It is beyond reasonable doubt that a personal transcendent creator exists.
A solution to the problem of evil has been given.

One more time

I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH TO BE AN ATHEIST!

Anonymous said...

The cosmological and teleological arguments leads to a personal infinite being. To say there are two infinite beings is to say there are two alls. It's like claiming there are two supremes when it's obvious that only one can be supreme. If something is the best then it superceeds all others. If something were equal to it then it would no longer be the best. If there is a supreme being there can only be one. Also to say that there are two causes violates ockhams razor. We should not multiply causes beyond what is necessary to explain the effect. Our time line run's in one direcion only. An infinite number of days has no end. Today is the end point of history. If there were an infinite number of days before today then today would never have arrived. Therefore, there could not be an infinte number of days before today. Time really does have a beginning. Since the causal agent transcends our time dimension It has no beginning and it has no end. Since we have established beyond reasonable doubt the miricle of creation then we have established that a miricle has happened in the past. Miricles are not only possible they are actual.

Shygetz said...

I don't need multiple dimensions of space or time for paradoxical teachings in the Bible.

And yet you rely upon them heavily. Why is that?

10 Different interpretations of quauntum mechanics have been developed because of the flaws in the copenhagen interpretation.

Of these 10 different interpretations of quantum mechanics, only one (the Bohm interpretation) both does not invoke multiple worlds, and is deterministic. In order to do this, Bohm must invalidate relativity by allowing particles to interact across distances at speeds faster than light (called nonlocality, a feature which any deterministic model of QM MUST have), and must fundamentally invalidate quantum field theory, which is a highly successful theory of quantum mechanics.

So, if you want any QM interpretation that is deterministic and does not invoke mutliple worlds, you must violate relativity. Since your argument (such as it is) relies upon both relativity and a deterministic universe, and the two are mutually exclusive, then your argument is not just unsupported, but unsupportable. I happen to like relativity (it is pretty darn successful, after all) and I find the idea of a multiverse unuseful, so I discard the idea of a clockwork, deterministic universe.

Pick your poison. Choose any of the QM interpretations you like, and I will point out how it invalidates your argument.

Quantum mechanics is founded on the concept that quantum events occur according to finite probabilities within finite time interavals. The larger the time interval, the greater the probability of quantum events occuring. This means that if the time interaval is zero, the probability for that quantum event is zero.

When have we talked about a time interval that is zero? I thought we were talking about the universe here...

Non-Theistic scientists want to speculate about what happened at 10 to the minus 43 seconds after the bang.

No, we want to determine what happened then (and what happens near black holes, which are contemporary singularities). As you have demonstrated, any idiot can speculate; we want to test our hypotheses.

Non-Theistic scientists want to rely on gaps in our knowledge. In this case a very minute one.

You're right; not having a working theory about the entire universe is a minute gap.

See, if a theory is wrong at any time (which relativity is), then it cannot be considered complete. It can be considered an excellent, useful theory, but not a complete theory. We would like a complete theory. Your bible also doesn't contain a complete theory. If it did, I would take it MUCH more seriously.

What we are seeing is a no God of the gaps to get arround the scientific facts.

Half right; what you are seeing is a refusal to invoke gods to mask ignorance. Scientists have the courage to confront ignorance and attempt to remedy it.

The philosophical argument for time's beginning holds firm.

No, it really doesn't. Your argument can be boiled down to "Everything has a cause because I said so", which is not a "philosophical" argument; it's a temper tantrum. It has been pointed out that not everything in nature has a cause (the lay definition of indeterminism); or, if you wish to split hairs, it has yet to be demonstrated that everything in nature has a cause, and we have excellent evidence that things in nature exist which probably do NOT have a cause. Even in a non-quantum universe, relativity indicates that future events can cause past events under certain shapes of spacetime (oddly enough, those which may be present at a singularity). So, your argument is still-born. Advance your learning beyond the 19th century.

The cosmological and teleological arguments leads to a personal infinite being.

No, they really don't. Teleological arguments all rely upon AWFUL statistics (usually by violation of the Copernican principle in stating that somehow humans are special observers that were a necessary outcome) or simply theological declarations. Cosmological arguments are currently silent on the proposition of an infinite being, and have progressed quite nicely thus far without invoking one. Indeed, shrugging off the shackles of theology is what allowed cosmology to get to where it is today; why should willingly replace those chains? Neither even imply a personal being, and they never could.

To say there are two infinite beings is to say there are two alls.

There are an infinite number of configurations that this piece of paper can take when I crumple it up. There are infinite trajectories that the spitball can take when I launch it at you. By taking a well-deserved (though juvenile) action, I have just demonstrated that multiple infinite concepts can coexist simultaneously. Infinite does not equal supreme. Quit making stuff up.

Our time line run's in one direcion only.

We don't have a time line, we (at least seem to) have a spacetime, where time is affected by space.

If there were an infinite number of days before today then today would never have arrived.

You actually stumbled across an interesting field of observation. There are many schools of thought regarding this (and it is independent of cosmology, so even if the universe is finite, the problem exists). Just to stick to cosmology, we could explain this away by saying that "time" had no meaning at the singularity, so "time" was not infinite; what we may have instead is an infinite series of cosmological oscillations. These oscillations could not be correlated in time, as time does not exist between them (note, I did not say time stood still, I said it didn't exist). So, progressing through an infinite series when time does not exist is not a problem, although it is hard to think about.

Since the causal agent transcends our time dimension It has no beginning and it has no end.

You really should learn more about time. Even if it transcends our time dimension, you could expand beyond that to transcend its time dimension to work in three time dimensions, etc., etc. ad nauseum. You're just making crap up, and it shows.

Since we have established beyond reasonable doubt the miricle of creation then we have established that a miricle has happened in the past. Miricles are not only possible they are actual.

Saying it doesn't make it so. "We" have established no such thing. In fact, "we" have good reason to believe that gods would be superfluous to the Big Bang. Not to say they don't exist, but we have good reason to think that they are not needed.

You want to convert me, show me a miracle. Don't try to weasel your way into explaining a natural phenomenon as a miracle, or do some post hoc bad statistics to proclaim a miracle. Get your God to do something unprecedented, spectacular, and unmistakable. Have him send some winged angels to all of the major cities to proclaim his glory. That would work for me.

Unless you come up with original arguments, I will not be addressing the same old debunked crap again. I will merely refer you and others to previous posts. I don't want to be hogging the thread (and my time) repeating myself, I just don't want uninformed people to read your tripe and think it contains any truth outside your fevered imagination.

Mijk V said...

I’m sorry Shygetz, but if I understand your clear and articulate argument, wouldn’t fevered imagination be as valid a source of “truth” as your superior reasoning and posting-in-a-thread abilities?

Nowhere in this thread has anyone answered Lory’s objection that we cannot have a reasonable discussion if our reason is the product of random chance. What’s the point? I might as well look into my armpit for answers—both your mental faculties and my armpit arose from the same Yahtzee dice cup and no one has given me grounds to believe that the discussion in this thread has more validity than my armpit!

Secondly, if a miracle has to be shoved under your nose for you to believe then chances are you won’t believe even if it is (someone may have slipped you LSD, etc.). You need something “unprecedented, spectacular, and unmistakable?” How about God appearing on earth in the form of a human being and then proving he was God by raising himself from the dead? Check the evidence and believe it or don’t believe it, but that’s about as good as it gets. Someone might want to debunk that one in a separate thread, because there's a lot of unanswered questions and mental contortionism for the skeptic with that one.

Lory Jean-Baptiste said...

Shygetz,

I don't think you see the problem with a scientist claiming everything is particles and physics including himself and his realization that everything is particles and physics.

Imagine you come to me and say, "Lory, I've discovered something! All my thoughts, ideas and actions are controlled by a technologically sophisticated alien using a remote control on Pluto."

My response would be, "Well, if it's true then even your realization that you are being controlled is controlled by the alien."

Maybe you wouldn't understand my point and ask, "So, what is your point?"

I would explain, "My point is that if what you are saying is true then you have no way of knowing that anything is true. Your claim undermines your credibility."

When you claim that your thoughts and ideas are just physical process or "emergent phenomena" one has to wonder how you came to that realization.

This materialistic worldview of yours makes no sense.

And you keep talking about patterns but patterns don't exist without beings to recognize them. Does the orion constellation exist? If I have a sin wave, I can call one part a "hill" and the other part a "valley" but do they exist? Patterns are not real entities. The Gulf of Mexico follows the pattern of a gulf but its not an entity.

I'm not a physicist and I don't pretend to be but I did major in the subject and have taken graduate level quantum mechanics courses. I've forgotten most of the equations but I know enough to know that quantum mechanics does not help your argument. You're just going from causality to probabilities. You're right that anonymous is talking abou classical physics but you're just moving from a causal chain or clock-like universe to probability patterns where there are no causes. And so you do have an "irrational" universe and an irrational belief system. In your belief system things just happen for no reason.

Shygetz said...

Nowhere in this thread has anyone answered Lory’s objection that we cannot have a reasonable discussion if our reason is the product of random chance.

The trivial answer is simple; reason works. We can debate theory as to why or how it works, but the theory must fit the facts. This kind of reasoning is why Einstein and many others had difficulties with indeterminacy when it was first proposed, and people (especially students) still do when first learning QM today.

Quantum decoherence has done an excellent job of beginning to explain the boundaries between the ultimate indeterminate quantum universe and the apparent classical world that we usually observe. Random chance spread out over enough events results in a discernible pattern, with series of unlikely events amplifying into near-impossibility (and thus the game of craps was born). The difference between my brain and your armpit is that my brain is conscious. The configuration of the matter that makes up my brain causes its probability of posessing consciousness to be much higher than my armpit. The fact that, at its core, it is made up of particles that are non-deterministic does not change its bulk properties. While it is true that, in a probabilistic universe it is technically possible that my armpit could occupy a state that would be compatible with consciousness, this is so unlikely as to be near-impossible. Another key to quantum decoherence is the idea that the state of matter changes as it interacts with its environemnt. So, every time my armpit interacts with the environment (which occurs EXTREMELY often), it resamples probability space. So, if it were by random chance to assume the highly unlikely state of consciousness, this would only last until my armpit interacted with the environment again; then it would be forced to resample probability space, and would assume another (non-conscious) state.

How about God appearing on earth in the form of a human being and then proving he was God by raising himself from the dead? Check the evidence and believe it or don’t believe it, but that’s about as good as it gets.

But I haven't got any "evidence" to check. All I have is an ancient story of dubious origin. The best evidence suggests that the stories were written decades after the purported event. They are filled with inconsistencies, and were collated by known human agents with human agendas. The original documents are lost to time, and the copies are known to have multiple errors. They are contradicted by other ancient stories of miracles done by other gods, all with similar documentation (some better) of their authenticity. You can't tell me a fairy tale with zero evidence and expect me to believe it's a miracle.

Look, Paul got his visit from Jesus. Where's mine? Moses got his burning bush. Where's mine? Mary Magdalene saw Jesus work some of his miracles, and even she got visits from angels to tell her he rose from the dead. Where's mine? Why should I believe without the evidence when they didn't? So I can be more blessed? I'm willing to settle for being certain and only moderately blessed.

if a miracle has to be shoved under your nose for you to believe then chances are you won’t believe even if it is (someone may have slipped you LSD, etc.).

Are you saying that it is impossible for your limitless, infinite, omnipotent God to give me evidence that I would believe? Doesn't that belie the word "omnipotent"? Actually, I probably would believe if it was a convincing, god-like miracle. I wouldn't expect others to believe me, but I would believe. If God sent his winged angels everywhere, though, then I would have to believe that everyone got slipped LSD; he could win over the entire planet (or a HUGE portion thereof) without violating our free will simply by not insulting our intelligence, which is what he is doing now if he does exist and expects us to believe his story with just some old stories to back it up.

Shygetz said...

I don't think you see the problem with a scientist claiming everything is particles and physics including himself and his realization that everything is particles and physics.

No, I don't, any more that I see a problem with formal mathemetics, where math is used to say things about math using only math. Your analogy is irrelavent and wrong; there is no controller (thus the word "random"); even in your analogy, my statement would not be wrong solely because I made it.

I would explain, "My point is that if what you are saying is true then you have no way of knowing that anything is true. Your claim undermines your credibility."

And I would explain that probability is not meaningless, but is useful for prediction (which, after all, is the goal of science). Just because something can only be described as a probability rather than a classical deterministic model does not mean that the results are less valid. And your objection, if true, would hold true if the world was particles, physics, and something else. Even to mention the "something else" would violate your principle.

When you claim that your thoughts and ideas are just physical process or "emergent phenomena" one has to wonder how you came to that realization.

That is my belief (I do not claim it to be a fact), and it is based on several factors. You can alter or create "ideas" solely by altering "particles and physics" (e.g. brain damage, mechanical neurological manipulation, mind-altering drugs, starvation-induced hallucinations, etc.); you can destroy the capacity to generate ideas by destroying the "particles and physics" associated with them (e.g. brain damage); you cannot point to a "particles and physics"-independent idea. These observations, combined with Occam's Razor, suggest that the simplest explanation is that ideas are emergent properties of the "particles and physics" that house them.

Where do you get your idea that there is something else? If all you are is "particles, physics, and Mystic Force #9", then doesn't your objection to commenting on particles, physics, and Mystic Force #9 still hold? Or are you going to use a Special Pleading to exempt your Mystic Force #9?

And you keep talking about patterns but patterns don't exist without beings to recognize them.

Fine, do you prefer the word "configuration"? You can insert whatever word for "a particular arrangement of particles and physics" you care for in its place. I meant to use pattern in the non-subjective sense; I apologize if I was unclear.

Does the orion constellation exist? If I have a sin wave, I can call one part a "hill" and the other part a "valley" but do they exist? Patterns are not real entities. The Gulf of Mexico follows the pattern of a gulf but its not an entity.

You're starting to lose me here. Are you promoting solipsism? Patterns (or, if you prefer, configurations) exist independent of the observer. The interpretation of the pattern will change based on the subjective conditions of the observer. For example, the stars in the Orion constellation exist, regardless of my thoughts on the subject. They may only appear to take the shape of a hunter from my point of view, but the objective configurations that causes them to be stars exist (at least from all viewpoints that are currently of interest to us).

I've forgotten most of the equations but I know enough to know that quantum mechanics does not help your argument.

You are wrong. What I have been telling you is contrary to what I would like to believe. As an experimental scientist, I love the clockwork universe paradigm. But, it's wrong. I'm sorry if this upsets some of your sensibilities, but it is just wrong. Bell's inequalities and the subsequent Bell test experiments put this question to rest. Either the universe is indeterminate (at least from the viewpoint of a single world), or locality is wrong (meaning that all particles in the universe can instantly exchange information, and therefore relativity and almost certainly the idea of causality is false). Either way, the clockwork universe is dead. Quantum decoherence is starting to explain why things look classical, but at its core they are not. QM and indeterminism has been used to do neat pracical applications, as well, so it's not just some fuzzy headed theory with no use. It's as real as gravity.

And so you do have an "irrational" universe and an irrational belief system. In your belief system things just happen for no reason.

I don't "believe" in it any more that I "believe" in my keyboard. I have seen the evidence, and it is overwhelming. Some things happen for no reason. Sorry. If you don't believe it, do the experiments yourself. If you can prove QM wrong, you have a guaranteed Nobel waiting for you.

Shygetz said...

Sorry for bogarting the thread, but I just realized that part of the objections to what I'm saying may be because I am not being sufficiently clear about indeterminism. Let me try to clear it up, then I'll shut up (at least for a little while).

The whole conversation about indeterminacy came about due to anonymous' proclamation that the universe had a beginning, therefore it had a beginner. I want to emphasize that the appearance of quantum indeterminism is only true at the quantum level (which essentially means for particles that are not interacting much with anything else). When you have something that interacts with lots of other stuff all the time (like you, me, the Moon, your armpit, whatever), a phenomenon called quantum decoherence occurs, which essentially results in observations that match the classical universe you and I are used to. What that means is, on a macroscopic scale (and in flat spacetime, which is another issue altogether), the causality that you and I rely upon does at least appear to occur, and is reliable a HUGE majority of the time. It is when we get to quantum issues (such as a singularity that has NO environment whatsoever, or photons traveling through a double slit experiment) that quantum decoherence does not collapse quantum effects into classical-seeming effects. It's really confusing, I know (and quantum decoherence is a super-hot area of research in QM right now), but there you have it.

Another problem with the argument, as I mentioned earlier, is relativistic; in closed spacetime (such as probably exists at a singularity), effects can precede their causes. So, even if you discount indeterminacy, the Big Bang could have been caused by something after the Big Bang.

I'm sorry if I was making it sound like the macroscopic classical universe did not seem to follow cause and effect. It does; it's only when you get to the nitty-gritty details that causality breaks down.

Calvin said...
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Heather said...

**Paul got his visit from Jesus where is mine?** It's a logical question. Jesus backed up his claim to Messiah-ship by tons of miracles. When John the Baptist sent people to ask Jesus if he was really the Messiah, Jesus said to look at all the work he was doing. Peter, Paul and the other disciples back up their claim of Jesus being the Messiah by tons of miracles. They backed up their claims with proof. The ressurection itself was proof by God to Jesus's claim.

**Trinity, Predestination and Human Responsibility, The Atonement, Evil and suffering in the context of God's power and love heaven and hell** The Trinity is something inferred in the Bible, if you choose to read it that way. It's not stated outright. Predestination is only something you can argue if you're willing to overlook half of the New Testament verses. Same with Original Sin -- that only works with a New Testament reading of the Garden of Eden.

**Attacks by physicists and other scientists on the God of the bible are not new. The bible seems an affront to their intellectual prowess** This is the same Bible that contains only four Gospals because a leader of the church said, "Just as there are four corners of the Earth, so there are four gospals." The Bible was written by people who believed that Sheol was directly under them and Heaven was directly above. Yes, scientists are going to have difficulty taking it literally.

Eve said...

Shygetz, my hat goes off to you; I certainly don’t have the patience to go round in circles with increasingly-manic commenters. The more rationally and logically you address their points, the more frantic and desperate their arguments become. If their concept of god is talking to me through them, I’m not impressed; surely an all-powerful, -present, -knowing, -good, perfect being would be a better writer and debater?

Aye, for myself, there’s the rub: most of xianity’s idea of god just doesn’t convince me. I’m supposed to grovel at the feet of a cruel, capricious megalomaniac (all-male, of course!) just so that he doesn’t prove his alleged love for me by subjecting me to horrific torture for eternity? That would make him not only an abusive dictator, but a terrorist, and if such a being existed, I would deem him unworthy of my worship. Of course, there’s no evidence for this particular concept of the divine, so although in general I’m an agnostic, I’m definitely an atheist regarding the abrahamic god.

Anon: I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH TO BE AN ATHEIST!

Actually, you do; you're an atheist in regards to the Hindu gods, for example. You don't believe in Kali-Durga, the goddess of death, do you? No, which makes you an atheist when it comes to Hinduism.

Calvin: YOU CAN"T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

What does it say about you that you would quote an immoral, unethical, inhumane, power-hungry, murdering movie character to try to attack skeptics?

Calvin: Your [sic] starting to sound insane

Psychologists call this defense “projection;” you’re attributing a characteristic of your own to someone else rather than admit to its being yours.

I hereby decamp from the tourney lists.

Battle on, Shygetz!

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Eve said...

^ But before arriving at those 12 "facts," you have to presuppose that the character Jesus existed as an actual historical figure as described in the gospels - and that point continues to be the subject of highly charged debate. I for one have no longer any intention of assuming that the gospels are describing anything more than a fictional character as long as far more trained and expert scholars than I cannot agree on that point.

Until the actual historicity of the gospels' Jesus is definitively established to the general satisfaction of the most widely-acknowledged experts in most related fields, not just that of xian apologetics and theology, those 12 "facts" simply describe a character in a story.

Heather said...

**those 12 "facts" simply describe a character in a story.** She's right. I do believe that God rose Jesus from the dead, but the only support I have for that statement is from the New Testament: and we can't say that it's an unbiased source (if there is such a thing).

The problem is that the resurrection is not stated in any other document from that time -- that someone who didn't follow . Jesus saw him after the resurrection. You can't argue that the resurrection is a historical fact when the only support for that statement is from the New Testament. We know that the New Testament writers believed what they saw/exerpeinced. But that doesn't make it accurate.

**If most scholars agree with the twelve facts then we know beyond reasonable doubt that the New Testament writers accurately recorded what they saw** The problem here is that who wrote most of the New Testament? Most scholars say that the gospals weren't written by actual eye-witnesses -- after all, Jesus appearing to people in the end of Mark isn't even in the oldest manuscripts. And most scholars say that Paul didn't write about 40% of the letters attributed to his name.

Calvin said...

Original Sin

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother concieve me. Psalms 51:5

The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth. Psalms 58:3

The Trinity

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. John 1:1-3

This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because not only was He breaking the sabbath, but He was even calling God His own father, making HIMSELF EQUAL WITH GOD.

Predestination

For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servent Jesus, whom you annointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan predestined to take place.

And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation...everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life. Rev. 13:7-8

Predestination and Human responsibillity is not a contradiction it's a paradox.

Mijk V said...

Seriously, someone please start a separate thread to ‘debunk’ the historicity of the gospels. I apologize for bringing it up in the first place. It’s just that Shygetz asked for a miracle, and that’s the one the entire Christian faith hinges on—I’d prefer to argue it elsewhere as we’re letting our dear Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson off the hook.

What I really want to get is a straight answer from someone concerning the philosophical grounds for the reliability of our ability to reason. ‘We know our reasoning is reliable because it works.’ So you know reason works because your reason told you so—whose going around in circles? Is it not profound or even miraculous that random chance produced something that would seemingly transcend its ancestral chaos (by virtue of our commenting on it)? Maybe my question has been answered and I’m just missing it, but discernable patterns within chaos do not change the fact that the greater field is still chaos. How can human reason transcend this when it is within it/created by it?

Heather said...

**Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother concieve me.**

The Psalmist also says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made -- and that's right after he says that God fashioned him in the womb. In Psalms 58, the Psalmist clearly isn't speaking about every single person, but only those who he perceives as wicked. He's not saying that he's wicked, as well.

**In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. John 1:1-3** Look up the original Greek for this section. 'the Word was God' can just as easily be tranlsated 'What God was, the Word was.' All proper names in Greek have a definite article in front of them. In 'the word was God', 'theos' does not, thus saying what the 'Logos' was like.

In making himself equal to God -- Jesus references Psalm 82:6, where it says that God has sayd, 'You people are 'Elohim.' So Jesus is asking that if God calls the people 'elohim,' why is he committing blasphemy by saying he's the son of God? He also later says that he wants all of us to be one, just as he and his Father are one.

Revelations was written specifically for the persecution the churches were undergoing against the Romans -- and it's incredibly allegorical.

And, if you're going to argue for predestination, then you are arguing that God does play favorites, which the Bible says He doesn't, and that He does not want everyone to be saved -- and the Bible says that He doesn't want anyone to perish.

**Predestination and Human responsibillity is not a contradiction it's a paradox.* And you can keep arguing that. But if so much of your faith is a paradox and thus can't be understood by human terms, you can't really understand who you're serving. Another meaning for the word 'Logos' is 'reason,' as in Jesus manifested God's reason: why then, would He leave so much in a paradox?

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Heather said...

Do you know which sources, and when those sources were written? Because other than Josephus, I don't think there was a mention until the second century.

**. He was crucified on the Eve of the Jewish Passover.** I think the Gospal of John says he was crucified the day after the Passover meal, while the synoptics say the day before.

**8. Darkness and an earthquake occurred when he died.** Do the sources specifically say that? Because I believe the only mention is in the Gospals themselves. Or are you saying that can be concluded since the non-Christian sources mention Jesus?

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Anonymous said...

For a list of sources and what they say see Gary Habbermas
The Historical Jesus

Heather said...

Anon --

You didn't answer my question on the darkness and earthquake, or when the Gospel of John said was Jesus's crucifixion.

For the Trinity -- I touched on John 1: 1-4 and John 10: 17-18.
I'm not going to touch on all the rest, because I don't want to take up a lot of space.

Acts 2: 30-36 -- that pulls from Psalms 110, which says "Adonai said to my Lord.' The problem is that the second 'my Lord' is 'Adoni,' which was never used to describe God.

John 5 -- the disicples are later given the authority to forgive sins as well.

I could go on, and point out an explanation. The reason why those verses speak for themselves to you is b/c you approach it with a Trinitiarian viewpoint. I don't, and the more I study the languages and culture, the less I see of the Trinity. That, and I could pull out verses that go against a Trinitarian viewpoint, but then we'd just be going back and forth forever.

**Saying God is one in essence and three in persons is a Paradox.** Okay. But that's resolved in words only, not in any way that we can comprehend. But does that mean they have seperate wills? Or want seperare things? If so, how can they be the same? And if they all want the same thing, how can they be distinct? You can again say that it's a paradox, but given how fundamentally important this is to eternal salvation, why would it be so vague?

Eve said...

Anonymous, if you're only reading and choosing to believe Habermas, then you're deliberately ignoring the debate as a whole and the scholars endorsing and supporting differing takes on the subject. This is faulty research; if I'd submitted a paper or thesis in grad school citing only one source and that a secondary one to boot, I would never have heard the end of it and probably flunked out.

Pronouncing the debate on Jesus' historicity resolved in any direction is hugely simplistic - and should come as a big surprise to those authorities still engaged in the debate! Believe whichever side you choose, but please consider following Heather's example and be honest enough to recognize that there is as of yet no definitive answer.

Calvin said...

I agree that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Well read John Dominic Crossen of the Jesus Seminar.

I think there is only one person left that doesn't believe Jesus existed.

Heather said...

**Pronouncing the debate on Jesus' historicity resolved in any direction is hugely simplistic ** If it were truly resolved, there wouldn't be so many books about Jesus. I should know -- I have a whole bookshelf full of books on Christianity and historical Christianity.

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Anonymous said...

Well the consensus at the present moment is that those are reliable facts. I think we are justified in believing them. You might want to get you some different books.

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Shygetz said...

So you know reason works because your reason told you so—whose going around in circles?

No, I know reason works because I can use it to get real, practical things done. It's really the same as the justification for cleaving to a scientific worldview. In the end, it's not because of superior internal consistency, or other philosophical metrics. It's because reason tells me how to move rocks, get food, cure illnesses, and split the atom. If religion gave methods for accomplishing real, verifyable things that cannot be accomplished through reason, then it would have a huge feather in its cap.

There are ten non-christian historical sources that mention Jesus.

There are more than that; many non-christian historical sources mention Jesus. Almost all of them mention him as the diety that Christians worship. Of those that speak of Jesus the man, I know of three; two by Josephus (one of which is in at least partial dispute), and one by Tacitus (which does not mention him by name, but seems to refer to earlier accounts of him), all at least second-hand accounts written in the late first to early second centuries CE. All other accounts that I know of that mention Jesus do so solely in the context of "The Christians, who worship a man called Jesus, did so and so..." If there are other texts that directly mention Jesus independent of the Christian tradition, please let me know, as this is something I would be interested in reading.

And your list is far too ambitious. Even when scholars admit that the reference is probably real (e.g. Tacitus), they argue over the historicity of his sources (e.g. in Tacitus, many believe that, since he referred to the executed man as Christus instead of his name Jesus, he got the information from Christians and not imperial records). And you do realize that the majority of secular scholars believe that the passage in the Testimonium Flavianum is at least partially inauthentic, although there is no consensus as to exactly which parts. While I do believe that a historical Jewish man named Jesus (brother of James) led an apocalyptic cult and was executed under the reign of Pilate, I would not call these settled historical fact. And I think that pretty much everyone would agree with you that many of his followers (but certainly not all, as attested to by surviving unorthodox writings) believed in his resurrection, that the religion spread quickly for the time, that they would often refuse to worship other gods, etc. That, in and of itself, does not testify to much other than the appeal of the religion (especially to the underclasses of the Empire) and the charisma of its leaders.

Well the consensus at the present moment is that those are reliable facts.

Maybe the consensus in your church is that those are reliable facts, but it is not the consensus in the secular biblical scholars' community. Maybe you should read some academic books instead of apologetics, and quit lying (which is a sin, last I heard) about knowing the nature of the scholarly opinion.

Anonymous, do you EVER get your information from non-apologist sources?

The Four Principles of Knowledge

Boy, you just love making up laws and principles, don't you? You should form your own micronation.

heather said: You didn't answer my question on the darkness and earthquake, or when the Gospel of John said was Jesus's crucifixion.

Get used to it. He is a practicioner of the Gish gallop--baffle 'em with so much bullshit that they can't refute all of your points without writing a book, and quickly abandon anything that is debunked (only to bring it out again later as if it were new material).

Antony Flew is a philosopher, not a religious historian. I would not count his opinion on the matter as authoritative, any more than you should count me an authority on geology.

I think there is only one person left that doesn't believe Jesus existed.

I have talked to more people than that who think Jesus never existed.

Anonymous, not all paradoxes are resolvable (e.g. "This sentence is false.")

And stop using Bays Theorem to try and figure out whether or not Jesus was ressurected.

No one here has invoked Bayes' theorem; stop trying to confuse the issue by bringing up buzzwords that you read in an apologetics text but do not understand.

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Mijk V said...

I'm sorry Shygetz, but that won't cut it. You tell me that, "I know reason works because I can use it to get real, practical things done." How do you know that? You reasoned it!

A good part of my career has been spent working with the mentally disabled and mentally ill, so I have seen some pretty interesting worldviews. For some people, eating broken glass seems really reasonable and gets things done, because they're reason told them so. They have no reason to believe otherwise. I know those worldviews are exceptions and not the norm, but in the larger scheme of things human reason is the exception and not the norm.

Shygetz, you have to be honest and admit that our perceived practical results of our reason could all be a figment of our imagination, like the man who eats glass because it helps the birds sing in the daytime.

"If religion gave methods for accomplishing real, verifyable things that cannot be accomplished through reason, then it would have a huge feather in its cap." Religion will do you one better: it will give you real (not circular) grounds for believing that our perception of the universe actually reflects the way things really are.

Heather said...

**Get used to it. He is a practicioner of the Gish gallop--baffle 'em with so much bullshit that they can't refute all of your points without writing a book, and quickly abandon anything that is debunked (only to bring it out again later as if it were new material).**

Oh, I know. :) And that's what is so fascinating to watch: how so many of my comments are not answered, even when I say they aren't answered. Even in his/her last comment: the earthquake mention isn't solved, because it's only mentioned in the Gospels. Simply because a historical text says that there was a man named Jesus crucified does not make all the New Testament true -- and, as you say, some of the earliset sources are in doubt. Nor were the discrepencies bewtween the cruicifixion accounts dealt with, either. The Synoptics have it on the first day of Passover, and John has it on Passover Eve, to better play up the 'Sacrifical Lamb' angle (I may have mixed the two when mentioning this earlier)

My point of the Bible saying God is the father of all (mentioned twice, including Acts when Paul was informing the Greeks who they ignorantly worshiped. And the Christian argument is that God can only become your Father when you confess your sins and accept Jesus as a Savior won't work here, because the ignorantly-worshiping Greeks hadn't done that), and has no favorites, wasn't even addressed, either.

Lory Jean-Baptiste said...

Shygetz,

You are here trying to convince me that the idea of God is irrational. I'm here trying to prove to you that materialism is inchorerent and self-refuting. We're both debating this subject. But you believe that both you and I are really just particles and physics. Our ideas are particles and physics. The course of debate is just particles and physics. Yet, you see no problem with this view. You deny that this view is even slightly problematic.

I guess if you are indeed right then there is finite probability that you will spontaneously change your mind and become a Christian. Isn't that what QM says. Your mind is just matter behaving indeterminately according to QM. The pattern of your ideas--which are matter--can change state for absolutely no reason at any time.

So, do you see what I mean when I say your materialism is self-refuting and QM doesn't help this problem at all?

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Kim said...

Anonymous,

Stop preaching to us. We have all heard the message before. We all know about the Jesus story and how he was suppose to die for our sins yada yada yada!!! Some here know it better than you do, so stop it. No one is impressed by your sermonizing.

Benny said...

Mijk V,

I *think* what Shygetz was saying is that reason, or more specifically, the empirical method, works because it gets results. It allows us to make predictions about what will happen and how they might happen, and allows us to predict the results of our actions. In your example of the mentally disabled/ill, reason was working insofar as it allowed the patients to predict that willing their hands to pick up glass and place it in their mouths will result in glass in their mouths. But when they believe that eating glass helps the birds sing in the daytime, that's not reason at work. That's what Shygetz might call "fevered imagination." Because there's no causation or correlation between eating glass and birds singing. Reason had nothing to do with that particular association.

"Shygetz, you have to be honest and admit that our perceived practical results of our reason could all be a figment of our imagination, like the man who eats glass because it helps the birds sing in the daytime."

And Christianity, too, could be a figment of your imagination. If you accept its claims, then you have already assumed the reliability of our senses, since isn't that how you leared Christian teachings, through your senses? So invoking solipsism doesn't win you any ground.

"Religion will do you one better: it will give you real (not circular) grounds for believing that our perception of the universe actually reflects the way things really are."

Does it really? How can we know that the bible is real? How do you know that it's not a fictitious work placed in the world to deceive us by an evil God? In other words, I don't see how Christianity (or religions in general) is more self-validating than reason. I'm entirely ok with believing in reason because it works, and not claiming to have an explanation for everything, rather than invoking God to try to do away with my doubts.

Benny said...

Lory,

As best as I can tell, your objection to the theory that all we are are particles, waves, and physics is that it doesn't make sense to you. I didn't see any mathematics, any logical arguments, or anything of that sort. If you did make such an argument, and I missed it, please feel free to point me to the relevant passages. But as best as I can tell your objection just boils down to that what Shygetz proposes just doesn't make sense to you. That does not an argument make.

Shygetz said...

How do you know that? You reasoned it!

No, I know that because of the evidence of my senses. I argue that I can trust the evidence of my senses because they agree with the evidence of the senses of others. Reason gives me a metaphysical framework upon which I can interpret and manipulate the evidence of my senses to generate results. Various forms of non-rational thought give the same framework, but do not yield results as evidenced by my and others' senses. Ergo, I choose reason.

Shygetz, you have to be honest and admit that our perceived practical results of our reason could all be a figment of our imagination, like the man who eats glass because it helps the birds sing in the daytime.

Oh, I will fully admit that I cannot prove reality. It was long ago settled that no one can disprove solipsism, which is the ultimate form of irrational egoism in my opinion. However, it works for me and others, which is why I (and others) stick to it.

Religion will do you one better: it will give you real (not circular) grounds for believing that our perception of the universe actually reflects the way things really are.

Even though we know in at least some cases it doesn't? But that's beside the point--your religion merely adds a bunch of fluff and kicks the question down the road. How do we know our perception of reality is real? God says so! How do we know our perception of God is real? Errr....God says so? Might as well just believe in reality and cut out the unnecessary middle man.

You are here trying to convince me that the idea of God is irrational.

I am? I thought I was just fighting a holding action, where I was trying to prove that the idea of God is unnecessary. Convincing you that it is irrational is related, but not the same.

The course of debate is just particles and physics. Yet, you see no problem with this view. You deny that this view is even slightly problematic.

Answer my questions, and you answer your own. I will ennumerate my questions; please answer and ennumerate your answers for my easy reference.

1.)Why is it ok for psychologists to use the human mind to study the human mind? If you think this is a bad analogy, please still answer the question, and then explain why it is a bad analogy.

Let me put the argument another way: Your argument seems to be that, if the arguers and the arguments are all particles and physics, then they can draw no conclusions regarding particles and physics as they are trying to gain information regarding the set they belong to.

2) Is this a correct summation of your argument? If not, please give me a simple summation of your argument in a similar form so I can see if I can address it. And saying "Do you not see the problem" doesn't work. Pretend I'm stupid and spell it out for me.

The pattern of your ideas--which are matter--can change state for absolutely no reason at any time.

Can, and does. However, it can also change for classical reasons; QM does not rule out causality. In fact, for macroscopic systems (like my brain, which houses my mind), classical-seeming events strongly dominate QM events due to decoherence.

I guess if you are indeed right then there is finite probability that you will spontaneously change your mind and become a Christian.

Well, I was a Christian before, so I know my mind can assume that state. But yes, there is a finite probability that this will happen. It is almost certainly an incredibly tiny probability that this would happen due to QM effects, and if it did happen, it would last somewhere in the neighborhood of 10^-14 seconds before it sampled a new (and almost certainly much more probable) configuration. If you really took QM, you know this to be true. If your teachers did their job, you know the seminal experiments that demonstrated that this was true. Expressing your outrage over the idea changes nothing.

So, do you see what I mean when I say your materialism is self-refuting and QM doesn't help this problem at all?

Again, QM was brought up to debunk the notion that all events have causes. Materialism is another cat altogether. QM can explain why materialism can be true without compromising the idea of "free will". Unless you answer my ennumerated questions (especially number 2) I cannot understand your objection clearly.

Others get what they don't deserve
(Grace)


So anonymous is on record as saying that the slow, painful death of infants and as-yet unborn fetuses to disease and natural disasters are examples of his god's grace. IF that is true, then your god can shove it. If he wants to try to justify his torture of infants and unborn children by saying "Well, his great-great-great-etc. grandparents were bad a long time ago", he can similarly shove it. IF I believed in such a god (and I don't, and never did), I would willingly and energetically rebel against his evil nature. Might doesn't make right in my moral code (which supposedly came from your god in the grandfather of all contradictions).

Shygetz said...

benny, sorry to step on your toes. Your post came up as I was writing mine, and I didn't see it.

Mijk V said...

Benny, I think you’ve missed my point. I strongly believe in the empirical method, but I feel that I have more epistemological grounds to believe that the empirical method can reveal the true nature of the universe. Causation is something that humans perceive—whether it exists outside of our experience or not cannot be proved. We would need someone/something outside human experience to verify whether our perceptions indeed reflect the external reality of the cosmos. Pragmatism does not offer this, as pragmatism is ultimately interpreted by human beings.
This is my point about the glass. Someone might live their entire life throwing a few shards on their cereal every morning because it causes the birds to sing, and the causation/correlation would be confirmed each day when the birds did indeed sing. If that person only looked to pragmatism to confirm their perception of reality, they would probably see more success than some of our current scientific endeavours. The glass eater’s post hoc ergo propter hoc logic is flawed, obviously, but I’m not attacking Shygetz’s empirical method, only the certainty of its reliability.

Simply put, my epistemological grounds to believe that our perceptions of the universe accurately reflect the true nature of the universe have nothing to do with the Bible, Christianity, or any other specific religion. It has to do with the properly basic assumption that human beings were created to understand the universe, I see no other way we can be certain that what we are perceiving accurately reflects reality.

Mijk V said...

My hat is off to you Shygetz, with each post you remind me of Neo in the Matrix II when he was fighting all the agent Smiths in the playground. If I lose this argument I assure you I won’t try to thrust my hand in your chest to convert you.

“How do we know our perception of reality is real? God says so! How do we know our perception of God is real? Errr....God says so?”
That’s actually not what I’m getting at. I do not believe that God exists because God told me so. I hold a properly basic assumption about the prime reality of the universe, and you hold yours. My assumption is that there is intelligence behind reality, which is why humans can perceive it. You believe that, although we are living in an age of matter arranged in a way to allow life and reason, ultimately chaos is behind reality (please correct me if I’m wrong).
If chaos is behind everything, how can you be sure that human reasoning (along with its air-tight pragmatism) is not simply the universe producing another deformed fetus? There would be no way to know.

Benny said...

Shygetz,

No worries, this sort of cross-posting is inevitable on a medium like this. Besides, those posts were addressed to you. I hope you don't mind me sticking my nose in.

Mijk V,

Sorry about mis-reading your point, and thank you for the clarification.

"It has to do with the properly basic assumption that human beings were created to understand the universe, I see no other way we can be certain that what we are perceiving accurately reflects reality."

Why do we need this assumption? How does shoring up one assumption with another assumption make the epistemological ground any firmer? If we're going to simply assume something, why not simply assume the validity of our experiences and perceptions, and do away with the unnecessary extra assumption?

Calvin said...

Heather,
The discrepancy between the crucifixion accounts is resolvable.

Normally Friday was the Preparation Day for the Sabbath.

When John refers to the Day of Preparation of the Passover he is refering to the Day of Preparation before the Sabbath DURING Passover week. Which falls on Friday. Not Thursday.
It was the Day of Preparation of the Passover week.

Lory Jean-Baptiste said...

"1.)Why is it ok for psychologists to use the human mind to study the human mind? If you think this is a bad analogy, please still answer the question, and then explain why it is a bad analogy."

Why is it a bad anology?
1. A psychologist is a scientist so your argument begs the question.
2. Psychology is the stufy of mental processes and behavior not the human mind.

But I don't have to dismiss it as a bad anology because your anology strengthens my point. No, a psychologist cannot study the human mind. He never observes a human mind directly. He only observes behavior.

However the psychologist has access to his own mind. Lets see how well the psychologist can use his own mind to study the human mind. Let's ask the psychologist some basic questions:

What is a thought?
What is an idea?
What is consciousness?

Now, if you're going to claim that his response would be, "thoughts, ideas, and consciousness are all matter" then you will have to admit your objection is circular.


"2) Is this a correct summation of your argument? If not, please give me a simple summation of your argument in a similar form so I can see if I can address it. And saying "Do you not see the problem" doesn't work. Pretend I'm stupid and spell it out for me."

If I say, "There are unicorns in the forest." I'm making a factual claim about the forest.
However, if I say, "All people are liars" I am making a factual claim about people but I am also making a claim about my claim. Because if it is true that all people are liars then I am a liar and my claim cannot be trusted.

When someone says, everything is physics and particles, they are also claiming that their belief that "everything is physics and particles" is also physics and particles. And my belief that everything is NOT physics and particles is also physics and particles. And so the source of his belief (matter) is unrealiable when it comes to truth.



"Well, I was a Christian before, so I know my mind can assume that state."

Why did you believe in Christianity in the first place? Quantum mechanics.
Why did you stop believing that Christianity was true? Quantum mechanics.

In stands to reason that quantum mechanics may make you a Christian once again, right?

One more point:

Your idea that "patterns" or "configurations" of matter exist on their own is vague and confused. But lets assume that everything is matter and sometimes matter forms patterns or configurations and consciousness is just a pattern or configuration of matter. The question arises: what makes one configuration or pattern conscious and another not conscious? What makes certain patterns and configurations special?

Obviously, your idea is incomplete because you say matter and physics and "configurations" are all that exists but if that's the case you have no way of making certain configurations special and others not.

Mijk V said...

Benny,

I'm not sure if my properly basic assumptions are shored up on one another as much as they’re working in cooperation with one another.

My belief in an external, knowable reality is not deduced from my properly basic assumption that prime reality is intelligent. My plain experience is that external reality is knowable and orderly and I assume that my experience is indeed the case, as many others have suggested in this thread. I find that particular properly basic assumption works well with my assumption that prime reality is intelligent and not chaotic.
Admittedly, the harmony of those two assumptions is challenged by the apparent presence of chaos (or evil) in the cosmos, which Shygetz was addressing earlier (although not to me).

Shygetz also holds two similar assumptions; those about the external world and prime reality. Shygetz and I (and probably most people) share the same basic assumption that external reality is knowable. Where we differ is that Shygetz (again, please correct me if I’m wrong) believes that prime reality is unintelligent, like the title of the video ‘Stupid Design.’ The heart of reality is impersonal and chaotic forces. I feel that whatever harmony exists between these two assumptions is also challenged by order we perceive. Religious people explain away the existence of chaos, and materialists explain away the existence of order.
Stale mate? I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think so.

I think that my two basic assumptions work better together than the alternative two basic assumptions, in that I cannot understand how an ultimately chaotic universe could allow a transcendent human reason to arise from chance. Think back to Lory’s illustration of the remote control on Pluto. I can understand how reason would arise from chance, but not transcendent reason, which tends to be what we experience.

Heather said...

Calvin,

That doesn't resolve the discrepency. John says Jesus ate with his disicples before the feast of the Passover. The Synoptics say that Jesus and the disicples ate the Passover feast together. The Synoptics have Jesus crucified on the first day of the Passover. John has Jesus crucified on the eve of the Passover, making him the Passover lamb.

Benny said...

Mijk V,

This is the core of your argument, as I understand it:

"I can understand how reason would arise from chance, but not transcendent reason, which tends to be what we experience."

With all due respect, is that it? You postulate the existence of a Creator for the universe only because you don't see how reason could arise otherwise? Invoking a greater being to explain something we don't yet understand is not an explanation at all. True understanding only comes when we move away from that practice. Materialists don't "assume" that human reason arose from chance. It's a working hypothesis built on top of everything we've observed and deduced thus far. It might be right, it might be wrong. But I'm willing to wait and allow science and reason to investigate further to try to find the answer rather than throw up my hands in surrender and invoke the great invisible being in the sky.

Calvin said...

Heather,

Give me scripture references

Mijk V said...

Benny,

The last line of my last post was a pithy personal sign off; the core of my argument was all that stuff that preceded it. So to answer your question: no, that’s not it.

I don’t think I said that materialists ‘assume’ that human reason came from chance, it’s a deduction based on the properly basic assumption that impersonal chaos is prime reality. So ‘deduction’—yes, but observation? I have to call you on that one. I’ll admit that I’m out of the cutting-edge-of-science loop, but I am not aware of any instances of anyone observing patterns emerging from chaos that even come close to the complexity that we experience in our reflection of the universe.

What I have been driving at, more or less, is not an aspect about human reasoning that will someday be explained with scientific advancement but I would rather attribute to an intelligent creator; it’s that your logic is self-referential. If the universe is indeterminate and there is no true meaning behind the patterns that emerge from the chaos, then the emergent pattern of our reasoning also falls into that category—ultimately meaningless.

What you’re arguing against is when theists of any sort attribute unexplained phenomena to (the) god(s). I agree. That type of blind superstition stands in the way of the human search for truth and understanding.
I was comparing two different properly basic assumptions: prime reality is intelligent; prime reality is chaos. Science and discovery will never prove either, but it will at times either confirm or deny details about our assumption about reality.

Benny said...

Mijk V,

"I don’t think I said that materialists ‘assume’ that human reason came from chance, it’s a deduction based on the properly basic assumption that impersonal chaos is prime reality."

My apology for the mis-wording; it's this statement of a "basic assumption that impersonal chaos is prime reality" that I meant to challenge. Materialists didn't *start* by assuming that chaos is all that underlies the universe. Materialists *arrived* at that conclusion because we have never observed a creator behind the universe.

"I’ll admit that I’m out of the cutting-edge-of-science loop, but I am not aware of any instances of anyone observing patterns emerging from chaos that even come close to the complexity that we experience in our reflection of the universe."

Which is why I included both "deduction" and "observation" in my statement. We observe the universe. We observe the human mind. Hence, it seems more rational to hypothesize that the human mind arose from the universe itself, even though we don't know yet how this can happen, because we at least have evidence of both of these things.

Unlike, say, your intelligent creator. I suppose you could argue that things you alleged that your intelligent creator has created, like the human mind, is evidence for its existence. But by its very nature, this theory is untestable, unfalsifiable, and has zero predictive value. In other words, completely useless except as a comforting idea. And you still have the original problem you were trying to solve: how does something like intelligence come into existence? Did it just poof into existence? Has it somehow always existed? So what have you really gained with this unfounded assumption?

"If the universe is indeterminate and there is no true meaning behind the patterns that emerge from the chaos, then the emergent pattern of our reasoning also falls into that category—ultimately meaningless."

Yes, I would agree that "meaning" is a construct of our reasoning, not an objective reality. If this is unsatisfactory or disappointing for you, I am sorry. But your need for something to give greater meaning to the universe by no means proves the existence of a creator, merely the existence of your desire for one.

Calvin said...

Heather,

In John 19:14 the verse is refering to the "the Day of Preparation of Passover Week". In John 19:31, it is made clear that Jesus' crucifixion took place on "The Day of Preparation", with the very next day being a special Sabbath. (The Sabbath of Passover Week). So in John the crucifixion takes place on Friday, with "The Day of Preparation" in John, as in Mark and Luke referring to the preparation of the Sabbath.

Mark 15:42 And when evening had come, since it was "The Day of Preparation," that is, the day before the Sabbath.

Luke 23:54 It was "The Day of Preparation", and the Sabbath was beginning.

Moreover, since Passover lasted a week (In conjunction with the associated Feast of Unleavened Bread "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. Luke 22:1), It was appropriate to speak of the day of preparation for the Sabbath as "the day of Preparation of Passover Week", and not of the Passover in a more narrow sense. Therefore, all four Gospels are in agreement.

The reference in John 18:28 may be a reference to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover; in particular to the feast offering that was brought on the morning of the first day of the festival. Eat the passover probably means celebrate the feast.

John Gill shows this as being an accurate analysis of the ancient
Hebrew understanding, writing hundreds of years ago.

John 18:28
"that they might eat the passover"

pure and undefiled; not the passover lamb, for that they had eaten the night before; but the "Chagigah, or feast on the fifteenth day of the month

by the passover here is meant, the "Chagigah, or feast kept on the fifteenth day of the month, as it is sometimes called in De 16:2 "thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the heard: Now the passover of the heards can never mean the passover lamb, but the passover "Chagigah";
other places confirm this as well. So besides the passover lamb, we read of sacrifices slain in the name of the passover, or on account of it. In particular of the calf and the young bullock, slain for the sake of the passover.

And now this is the passover which theese men were to eat that day.

http://www.freegrace.net/gill/john/john_18.htm

So what we have here is a solution for the discrepancy.

Calvin said...

Also,

There is no such day as preparation of passover in Old Teestament or Jewish Liturature.
Passover was a week long festival, not a single day. A Jewish tradition expects Israels messianic deliverence to be 15th Nisan, the day after passover, the preparation of the sabbath.

Heather said...

Calvin,

I appreciate the research you did, and the link you provided. THis may resolve the discrepency for you, but it doesn't for a lot of people.

However, Jesus was supposed to be the sacrificial lamb, which is why he was crucified on noon, on Friday, which is when the passover lamb was prepared. Therefore, he died on a Friday. That, and Jesus's bones were never broken, just like the passover lamb.

Mark in 14: 12-18. "On the first for day unleavened bread, when they slaughtered [past tense, while John has Jesus cruicified *when* they are slaughtering the lamb for Passover], Jesus''disicples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and prepare your Seder?" He sent two of his disicples with these instructions: "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him: and whichever house he enters, tell him that the Rabbi says, "Where is the guest room for me, where I am to eat the Passover meal with my disicples?' He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make the preparations there." The disicples went off, came to the city and found things just as he had told them would be; and they prepared the Seder." The lamb was sacrified before the meal. Whereas the passover meal in the Synoptics implies that just as the disicples are remembering how God delivered Israel using Moses, so will God deliver them now through Jesus.

Calvin said...

Heather,

I agree with what you said about Mark. What I'm refering to is the passage in John 19:14. Again John Gill on John 19:14

So the Jews say, that Jesus suffered on the eve of the passover, and the author of the blasphemous, account of his life says, it was the eve both of the passover and the sabbath; but then this preparation of the passover was not of the passover lamb, FOR THAT HAD BEEN PREPARED AND EATEN THE NIGHT BEFORE. Nor do I find that there was any particular day which was called the preparation of the passover in such sense, and much less that this day was the day before the eating of the passover. According to the Law in(Exodus 12:3-6) the lamb for the passover was to be separated from the rest of the flock on the tenth day of the month, and to be kept up till the fourteenth; but this is never called the preparation day of the passover: and on the night of the fourteenth month they sought diligently, in every hole and corner of their houses, for leavened bread, in order to remove it, but this also never went went by any such name: wherefore, if any respect is had to the preparation for the passover. The preparation of the "Chagigah," which was a grand festival, commonly kept on the fifteenth day, and which was sometimes called the passover, or else the preparation of the whole feast all the remaining days of it; but it seems best of all to understand it only of the preparation for the sabbath, which, because it was in the passover week, is called the passover preparation day: and it may be observed, that it is sometimes only called "The Day of Preparation", and "the preparation. Matt. 27:62, Luke 23:54, John 19:31, John 19:42. It was the preparation, that is the day before the Sabbath, and food to eat on that day; and this being the time of the passover likewise, the preparation was the greater.

John Gill wrote this hundreds of years ago.

Yes the desciples in the synoptics made preparations in the room for the meal. But we are talking about a "Preparation Day" which the bible Identifies as the day before the sabbath. The passover was a week long. Not just one day. The "passover" of the lamb was eaten the night before the crucifixion. The Preparation Day in the bible refers to the preparation of the Sabbath. Which fell on the passover week.

Mijk V said...

Heather & Calvin! Please!
Scroll up and watch the video that started this thread and ask yourselves how you're addressing the issue. Take your debate to a Christian forum, this is a Christian debate.

Benny,

You brought up two important points in your last post, which I think we should address separately.

I think we need to clarify a few things about assumptions. Assumptions about the ultimate reality of the universe are, by their nature, properly basic. We cannot ‘conclude’ properly basic assumptions; we only adopt them based on what we perceive. I perceive that other people exist, so I adopt the assumption that other people do exist and I am not simply a pig fetus floating somewhere inside the matrix. You perceive that the chaotic material universe is all that exists, and so you adopt the assumption that this is the whole enchilada. I don’t think you’re weak-minded or stupid for adopting this assumption, it seems very reasonable.

My properly basic assumption that the universe is intelligent and not chaotic is also based on my perceptions, not a retreat from reason. I perceive the universe to have both order and chaos, but the quality of order over chaos is so overwhelming that I have to adopt the assumption that the universe is intelligent (whether that helps me sleep better at night or not is a separate issue, otherwise we should discuss how gravol and red wine factor into this).

Even more important than the quality of order in the universe is the fact that (I believe) we are, indeed, perceiving the universe as it really is—our reasoning is transcendent. This is what I’ve been harping on ad nauseam, which is the second point from your last post.

“Yes, I would agree that "meaning" is a construct of our reasoning, not an objective reality.”

Yes Benny, that is unsatisfactory, not because of my needs, like wanting to believe that Santa Claus exists, but because my brain wants things to be logical. Using human reason to determine that human reason is a subjective construct is self-referential. Self-referential arguments do not work for me; that’s why I do not believe the Bible to be true based on its claim that it is true.
If, somehow, finding in my beliefs foundational assumptions that are self-referential will negate the glaring one within materialism, then fire away. In simple terms, materialistic epistemology runs into the same problem as the phrase, “everything I say is a lie.”

If I’m not brave enough to accept self-referential reasoning or if my need for comfort somehow guides my rational, I guess that’s my problem. Defending a view that inevitably defeats its credibility through an irresolvable contradiction—that’s your problem.

Benny said...

Mijk V,

I see now what you're saying about assumptions. Sorry for the previous mis-understanding. Now, on to the meat of things :)

"Defending a view that inevitably defeats its credibility through an irresolvable contradiction—that’s your problem."

No, I guess my problem is that I simply don't see this irresolvable contradiction you're talking about. You say the flaw in materialism is that using human reason to determine things about human reason is self-referential, like the phrase "everything I say is a lie", which is self-contradicting, therefore using human reason to determine things about human reason is also self-contradicting. But as I've said before, assuming an intelligent creator doesn't make this problem (or others) go away. As soon as the intelligent creator tries to reason about itself, we hit self-referential reasoning once again, which means your view would be no less self-contradicting than materialism.

In any case, self-referential does not actually imply self-contradiction. Here's a simple example: "everything I say is true." Self-referential but not self-contradictory.

So, please explain to me where you see an irresolvable contradiction in materialism, because I'm just not getting it.

Mijk V said...

Benny,

Intelligent creator is slightly different than intelligent prime reality. Intelligent creator leaves room for the creator to be an actor in a context larger than itself, which may open doors to logical problems. I'm keeping it simple to a basic intelligent prime reality vs. chaotic prime reality.

You're right about self-reference not necessarily being contradictory. The reason why the self-reference in materialism is contradictory has to do with its assumption of a chaotic prime reality.

To assert that human reason emerged from chaos fails to remove human reason from that chaos. There’s the contradiction. Chaos is not logical.

We’ve used the logic of our human reasoning to adopt the assumption that universe is ultimately chaotic, which in turn includes our own reasoning.

I don’t think I’m throwing out a false dichotomy here, but I think the only way to resolve this would be that either our idea of logic and reason is an elaborate illusion, or the universe is not chaotic.

It sounds like you’ve opted for the first option, “Yes, I would agree that "meaning" is a construct of our reasoning, not an objective reality.”

I will opt for the second.

Calvin said...

Heather,

Also keep in mind that there was a difference among the Jews in the way they recond the beginning and ending of days. The northern Jews calculated from sunrise to sunrise. The southern Jews calculated from sunset to sunset. During Passover time this would allow for the feast to be celebrated legitimately on two adjoining days, permitting the temple sacrifices to be made over a period of four hours rather than two.

Benny said...

Mijk V,

Chaos is not logical, no. But as Shygetz has said, scientists observe that chaos is dominant only at the most fundamental levels of the universe. At higher levels, such as the macroscopic level where you and I typically operate, order dominates.

Consider the property of colors. Almost everything we see has colors. We also know that these same colorful objects are composed of elementary particles. But elementary particles have no colors to speak of. But there's no contradiction here, is there? We understand that colors are made possible by configurations of elementary particles emitting or absorbing light. We accept that color is a property that's possible only at a sufficiently high level of complexity, that it simply does not exist once you dig deeper down.

This is how I view human reasoning. I believe it is an emergent property that only exists on a sufficiently high level, and does not exist at the fundamental levels of the universe, where chaos dominates. Strictly speaking, yes, you can say that human reasoning emerged from chaos. Does this mean logic and reason are illusions? No, the same way colors are not illusions despite emerging from color-less configurations of elementary particles.

Calvin said...

So, I think what John Gill is saying is that the JEWS were celebrating the "Chagigah", which was the passover of the flock and the herd on the Friday of Preparation Day - the day before the Sabbath when Crist was crucified. The Jews celebrated the Passover of the Lamb the day before the crucifixion and the passover of the "Chagigah", after the crucifixion. The "Chagigah" was commonly kept on the fifteenth day - the day after the passover of the lamb.

Calvin said...

At the time of the crucfixion the Jews should have been at the daily sacrifice, and preparing for the solemnity of that day particularly, which was their "Chagigah," or grand feast, but instead of this they were prosecuting his crucifixion.

Calvin said...

Since it was The Day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, the Jews asked Pilate that their leggs might be broken. John 19:31

Notice that their leggs were broken because it was Preparaton Day and they didn't want their bodies to remain on the cross on the Sabbath.

Thursday is the day before the Passover meal of the lamb not Friday. Jews slaughtered the passover lambs on Thursday not Friday. Christ was crucified on Friday the day of the "Chagigah".
Passover lasted a week.
The Jews celebrated the Passover of the lamb on Thursday before the crucifiction on Friday.

Calvin said...

Passover proper was on Thursday night (the lords supper)
Christ's crucifixion was on Frday.

Calvin said...

Why were all the religious leaders tied up at the crucifixion? Notice they werent killing lambs for the passover. They had done it the night before. The passover of the lambs(flock) always occured on the 14th. The Passover of the Herd(Chagigah) occured on the 15th.

Deu. 16:2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the Passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place where Yahweh shall choose to place his name there. When have you seen a cow sacrificed for "passover?" Only the flock were used for that purpose. In John 18:28 the eating of the meat from the sacrifices is the animals from the herd that the priests would eat during the Days Unleavened.(Used interchangably with passover.) Herd animals are boiled and eaten by the priesthood on the 15th.

Mijk V said...

Benny,

You lost me. I’ve followed your analogy thus far: colorless elements eventually come together to create color which illustrates how illogical elements eventually come together to create logic. Do I have that right?

Benny said...

Mijk V,

No, my previous post was about human reasoning, not logic. I notice that you keep jumping between terms like "pattern", "meaning", "human reasoning", and "logic". My previous post was addressing your comment at 4:09 pm, Feb 24th, where you seem to be objecting that human reasoning cannot arise from chaos. Now you wish to speak about logic instead, which I don't believe to be exactly the same as human reasoning. Please specify exactly what you are objecting to.

Anonymous said...

Logic is the study of patterns found in reasoning. The task of the logician is to set down rules between valid and fallacious inference. Between rational and flawed arguments.
Reason operates in accordance with rationality and logic.

You people baffle me me with your nonsense.

Mijk V said...

Anon, surely you could make your point without the ad hominem.

Benny,
I believe you know exactly what I am objecting to. On Feb. 24, 4:09pm I referred to the "logic of our reasoning," and then "logic and reason." Granted you replied with an analogy about human reasoning, so I guess you failed to respond to the logic part. Please do so.

Anonymous said...

If something is nonsense then it's not ad hominem to say so. If you speak nonsense or act irrationally I will say so. If you make nonsense claims.....
If you are irrational you are irrational.
Amazingly you don't understand logic and reason either.

Sometimes the truth hurts

Benny said...

Mijk V,

My apologies if it seemed like I was trying to dodge the question; I truly was not. When someone says "logic", there are two things I think they might be referring to. The logic or order present in the the external reality, versus the logic of human reasoning, which is our best approximation at capturing that external order. In your post on Feb. 24th, 4:09 pm I read the word "logic" as referring to the human logic, and therefore felt that my response at 5:06 pm had already addressed that particular point. But in your post at 7:06 pm, I thought you were somehow switching gears to talk about the external logic, hence my request for you to clarify which you're talking about. Unfortunately I'm still not clear which you are now asking me about. If you're asking me about human logic, I see that as as as part and parcel of human reasoning, which I've already talked about, at 5:06 pm (talk about self-referential :)).

Concerning the "external" logic: I see this as just another way of referring to order present in the external reality. If this is what you're asking about, then I'm guessing you're essentially asking "how can chaos give birth to order?", is that right? I think this question comes up only because of some confusion on the meaning of "chaos" as applied to the quantum level of the universe. When we say "chaos", we typically think of something with no rules whatsoever. But when scientists say that things at the quantum level are chaotic, it just means there is indeterminacy, which is not the same as saying things follow no rules whatsoever. In fact, things at that level do follow certain rules. That's what quantum mechanics is all about, discovering the rules that govern that level of existence.

You might ask, "well, how can indeterminate things follow rules?" Please bear with me as I ask you to consider yet another analogy. Given a fair coin toss, we cannot predict which side it'll land on. But given enough coin tosses, we can predict with great confidence things like "50% of the tosses will be heads, and 50% of the tosses will be tails." Even though the individual coin tosses have great indeterminacy, in the aggregate the behavior follows certain rules. Ditto for the universe. The lowest levels are indeterminate, but nonetheless there are rules governing aggregate behavior.

Again, please point out to me where the irresolvable conflict lies in materialism.

Mijk V said...

Anon,

I wasn't referring to your comment about the baffling nonsense. I was talking about the reference to Benny as 'you people.' If we were posting with more than one guy, that might be appropriate. 'You people' takes aim at what you perceive to be Benny's camp, not the argument (or lack thereof) he is presenting. Sorry if you felt like I was getting picky with you, it’s just that these kinds of discussions get into Ad Hominem really quickly, and its best to not even go there slightly.

Benny,

There is no proof of ‘external logic;’ it is purely theoretical. All we have to go by is how well the logic of our human reason works at every corner of the cosmos. When I refer to ‘logic,’ ultimately it can only refer to that which is in the human realm, whether it be ‘human logic’ or ‘external logic.’

In the materialist paradigm, we live in a universe where random chance has ordered the cosmos so that 2+2=4, correct? From that orderly cosmos, through random chance, beings of higher complexity emerged that had the ability to perceive the reality that 2+2=4.

Question: could the random chance that gave rise to our perception that 2+2=4 have had the possibility to give rise to the (albeit false) perception that 2+2=5?

I understand that the false perception I just mentioned would not work with the external reality that 2+2=4, but that external reality is also, ultimately, in our heads because WE are the ones who discern it.

Let me rephrase my objection of the contradiction:

We’ve used the logic of our human reasoning to adopt the assumption that the universe is ultimately the product of random chance, which in turn includes our own reasoning. If this is the case, whether we are right or wrong is really a roll of the dice and ultimately unverifiable.
You cannot appeal to external reality/logic to verify, because WE are the ones who ultimately interpret external logic.

Is this contradiction THAT hard to understand?

Benny said...

Mijk V said:

"Question: could the random chance that gave rise to our perception that 2+2=4 have had the possibility to give rise to the (albeit false) perception that 2+2=5?

I understand that the false perception I just mentioned would not work with the external reality that 2+2=4, but that external reality is also, ultimately, in our heads because WE are the ones who discern it."

As I said time and time again, it's order, not random chance, that dominates the levels where we operate. Random chance had nothing to do with our perception of the external reality that 2 + 2 = 4. I had thought we had already rejected solipsism by assuming that A) there is an external reality and B) our perception of it is reasonably accurate. If we accept those two assumptions, then verifying the logic of human reasoning becomes trivially simple; all we have to do is see how well our logic fits our perception of the external reality. If you wish to reject one or both of those assumptions, well, I shall bid you a sincere fare-thee-well as you head back to solipsism.

As I see it, your "contradiction" is only the result of your insistence that if the indeterminance dominates the lowest levels of the universe, then sheer chaos must reign in all levels of the universe. Except we see that it is order that dominates all but the lowest levels. With the coin flip example, I had hoped to demonstrate how something that is indeterminate can still give rise to predictability and thus, order, in the aggregate. And isn't that exactly what the macroscopic levels of the universe are, the aggregation of behavior from the quantum level? Once you see that indeterminance at the lowest levels does not necessarily mean order-less-ness at all levels, your "contradiction" just doesn't seem to exist.

Mijk V said...

Benny,

I have no problem with the assumption that external reality exists. You’re argument, however, fails to account for the verifiable existence of external reality beyond human perception (the test of practice is still discerned by our reason). Call me a solipsist and bid me farewell, but you still have a gaping hole in your argument.

And now you want to claim that random chance had nothing to do with the emergence of human reason because order dominates the field from which it emerged? If not random chance, then what was it? Destiny? Purpose? Determinism?

If our immanent universe is orderly and thus determinate, then it was for causes beyond your control that cause you to reason the way you do. You’re trapped in a closed system of cause-and-effect and my proposed contradiction still stands (i.e. Lory’s analogy of the alien on Pluto).

You have yet to directly address my points in a reasonable/logical manner. You’ve ducked them so many times now that I’m starting to consider this discussion a TKO.

Benny said...

Mijk V,

"I have no problem with the assumption that external reality exists. You’re argument, however, fails to account for the verifiable existence of external reality beyond human perception (the test of practice is still discerned by our reason). Call me a solipsist and bid me farewell, but you still have a gaping hole in your argument."

You have an interesting definition of a gaping hole :) You asked how we can verify the logic of human reasoning, I answered that we can measure it against our perception of the external reality, if we assume the existence of an external reality and reasonable accuracy for our perception of it. Where is my need to account for the verifiable existence of external reality *beyond* human perception?

"And now you want to claim that random chance had nothing to do with the emergence of human reason because order dominates the field from which it emerged?"

I claimed no such thing. I said that the *functioning* of human reason is not dominated by random chance, even if its emergence came about from random chance. I'm actually quite happy with your summarization on Feb. 26, 10:50 am that "From that orderly cosmos, through random chance, beings of higher complexity emerged that had the ability to perceive the reality that 2 + 2 = 4." What I'm challenging is your claim that something arising from random chance must necessarily be dominated by random chance. This appears to be the core of your argument/"contradiction", which you simply assert without proving. Since we observe things such as snowflakes that arise from randomness yet exhibit remarkable order, I see no reason to accept your claim.

"If our immanent universe is orderly and thus determinate, then it was for causes beyond your control that cause you to reason the way you do."

Actually, what I believe is that the interplay between randomness at the lowest levels of existence and order at the macroscopic level allows for minds that are self-determining without being completely chaotic. The funny thing is, your view ends up with a self-determining intelligence as well in your "intelligent prime reality." Or is there something else that determines the thoughts of your prime reality, and if so, would you care to share what that might be? Yet another instance of your view merely pushing a question back one level without answering it.

"You have yet to directly address my points in a reasonable/logical manner. You’ve ducked them so many times now that I’m starting to consider this discussion a TKO."

Well, I'm sorry that you feel that way. I thought I was making a reasonable effort at answering your points. You're free to declare whatever you wish, but the way things have been going, methinks you have been swinging at empty air.

Mijk V said...

Benny,

I think I finally understand why my objections that materialism is self-referential and contradictory do not really exist.

We verify our human reasoning with our own perception of external reality. Got it. I don’t know why I ever thought that might be self-referential.

“Random chance had nothing to do with our perception of the external reality that 2 + 2 = 4.”
You used the past tense, so I presumed that we were on the same page in discussing the origins of human reason. So when I paraphrased you by stating, “And now you want to claim that random chance had nothing to do with the emergence of human reason,” I erroneously presumed that our perception of external reality is in essence human reason.
My mistake.

Finally, I apparently have been unfoundedly asserting in all my posts that because something orderly had random origins, it must be immanently dominated by randomness. The snowflake illustration aptly defeats that assertion, which sucks for me because that was the core of my argument.

So what about determinism? Wait! Don’t throw out that chaos yet! We still need it for some interplay!

I’m getting to feel like chaos is the ugly relative that no one wants around their fancy dinner parties, until they need some muscle to help throw out unruly guests.

Benny, whether chaos is imminent but not dominant, or immanent and dominant, or not immanent at all, naturalistic explanations for human reason are self-referential and thus cast doubt on the explanation itself. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is.
You continue to put assertions in my argument that are not there so that you can address what you know how to address. Have fun arguing with your strawman.

Benny said...

Mijk V,

"We verify our human reasoning with our own perception of external reality. Got it. I don’t know why I ever thought that might be self-referential."

If you'll scroll back up to my post at Feb. 24th, 3:00 pm, what I did do is point out that not all self-referencing is self-contradictory. I then went on to ask you to demonstrate what is self-contradictory about self-referentiality in the materialistic view of human reason. On Feb. 24th, 4:09 pm, you agreed that not all self-referencing is self-contradictory, but you have yet to show what is self-contradictory about the case of the materialistic view of human reason. I didn't deny the self-referentiality of using human perception to verify human reasoning. Who's putting words in the other person's mouth now?

My statement "“Random chance had nothing to do with our perception of the external reality that 2 + 2 = 4” is in response to your question "could the random chance that gave rise to our perception that 2+2=4 have had the possibility to give rise to the (albeit false) perception that 2+2=5?" Your question seems to imply that randomness influences the very act of perceiving 2+2=4. To clarify my statement, I was saying that while random chance gave rise to a long chain of events that eventually resulted in our ability to perceive, the actual act of perceiving had little randomness involved. Since you now *deny* that "because something orderly had random origins, it must be immanently dominated by randomness", we appear to be in agreement! That's fantastic.

"Finally, I apparently have been unfoundedly asserting in all my posts that because something orderly had random origins, it must be immanently dominated by randomness."

I would love to believe that you don't unfoundedly assert this (see above), but...

"Nowhere in this thread has anyone answered Lory’s objection that we cannot have a reasonable discussion if our reason is the product of random chance. What’s the point? I might as well look into my armpit for answers—both your mental faculties and my armpit arose from the same Yahtzee dice cup and no one has given me grounds to believe that the discussion in this thread has more validity than my armpit!" - you on Feb. 22nd, 12:35 pm

"Is it not profound or even miraculous that random chance produced something that would seemingly transcend its ancestral chaos (by virtue of our commenting on it)? Maybe my question has been answered and I’m just missing it, but discernable patterns within chaos do not change the fact that the greater field is still chaos. How can human reason transcend this when it is within it/created by it?" - you on Feb. 22nd, 8:35 pm

"If chaos is behind everything, how can you be sure that human reasoning (along with its air-tight pragmatism) is not simply the universe producing another deformed fetus?" - you on Feb. 23rd, 4:34 pm

"To assert that human reason emerged from chaos fails to remove human reason from that chaos. There’s the contradiction. Chaos is not logical." - you on Feb. 24th, 4:09 pm

"We’ve used the logic of our human reasoning to adopt the assumption that the universe is ultimately the product of random chance, which in turn includes our own reasoning. If this is the case, whether we are right or wrong is really a roll of the dice and ultimately unverifiable." - you on Feb 26, 10:50 am

That covers "asserting." As for "unfoundedly", you haven't given me any argument, proof, or evidence of this assertion yet, while I've given several counter-examples, like the snow-flakes illustration you seem to be fond of. So yes, I'm afraid you have been "unfoundedly asserting."

"So what about determinism? Wait! Don’t throw out that chaos yet! We still need it for some interplay!

I’m getting to feel like chaos is the ugly relative that no one wants around their fancy dinner parties, until they need some muscle to help throw out unruly guests."

Where did I try to throw out chaos? Do you mean the posts where I acknowledge its dominance at the lowest levels but acknowledge that order dominates at the higher levels? You have interesting, if unorthodox, definitions for "throwing out" along with "gaping hole" :)

"Benny, whether chaos is imminent but not dominant, or immanent and dominant, or not immanent at all, naturalistic explanations for human reason are self-referential and thus cast doubt on the explanation itself. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is."

As I noted above, you've already agreed (Feb. 24th, 4:09 pm) that not all self-referencing is self-contradictory. Much of our subsequent exchange has been about whether this is true for naturalistic explanations of human reasoning, which is still not settled. Simply declaring your view to be correct by fiat is, uh, unconvincing, as it suggests that you have no further argument, proof, or evidence to offer.

"You continue to put assertions in my argument that are not there so that you can address what you know how to address. Have fun arguing with your strawman."

Ouch. As noted above, I'm simply responding to what you've written. If I have mis-read it, please correct me.

I would still like to hear your response to the question from my last post: in your worldview, is there something that determines the thoughts of your intelligent prime reality?

Mijk V said...

Ok, this is probably going to be my last post as I’m going to be repeating myself for the second and third time with some of these things. We’ve had a good exchange, but now we’re heading into the realm of “yes it is,” “no it isn’t.” I do have to admit, to my fault, I’m a last-word type, so here’s my last word.

Although you didn’t concede that human reasoning was self-referential, I’m going to build on that point anyway, as you haven’t given an adequate response to it (sorry, the external test doesn’t cut it).

Because random forces are a part of the development of the human reasoning/logical process, those random forces then bring consequences (the possibility of 2+2=5).

Now you’ll respond that those random forces don’t dominate this level of complexity.
Ok, now you have determinism and the theory is a result of determinate forces.

Behind curtain no. 1, a contradiction. Behind curtain no. 2, a contradiction. Sorry Monty, there’s no third door unless you want to drop the idea of an unintelligent prime reality.

Oh yeah, although random forces do not dominate this reality, they’re still available for a little interplay to help us get out of sticky issues of human significance. Like a girlfriend you dump (or don’t want to be dominate) but then keep around for a little ‘interplay’ every now and then. What? Are you serious? We’re heading into the realm of religious belief here.

Now about intelligent prime reality, are you really interested in an alternative or do you want to argue something else to detract attention from the contradiction at hand?
In terms of determinism/free will, I will not pretend to have any easy answers. It’s still pretty hot as the nurture vs. nature debate is still going on all over the place.
All I really know is what I experience. I seem to perceive external reality with a great deal of success. I seem to exercise free will, although at times I do feel like the product of determinate forces, so I really don’t know. The fact that I perceive that I have intelligence (although my wife would ardently debate that fact), and the fact that I can intelligently perceive the cosmos with relative accuracy leads me to believe that prime reality itself is intelligent. Too simple? Maybe. I’m still sorting this stuff out.

Benny said...

Mijk V,

I'll repeat myself a bit too, in hopes of showing you why I don't see this contradiction you insist upon.

Assumptions:
1. There is an external reality
2. Our perception of it is reasonably accurate

As I said on Feb 26th, 11:59 am, I assume both of these to escape solipsism (which is unfalsifiable). I assume you do too, as I don't recall you having denied either of these. If you do deny one or both of these, please feel free to point me to the relevant post(s). And please also explain to me how one escapes solipsism without these or similar assumptions. Without getting away from solipsism, the rest is pointless.

Random origins != random form or behavior. Again, see snowflakes for counter-example. Randomly formed, yet exhibits remarkable order in form and conforms to rules like laws of physics in behavior. So please stop insisting that "Because random forces are a part of the development of the human reasoning/logical process, those random forces then bring consequences". To do so in the face of blatant counter-examples just makes you look silly.

Now, it is true that we can hypothesize that 2+2=5 as easily as we hypothesize that 2+2=4. But given the above 2 assumptions, it's trivially easy to verify which is true and which is false, simply by comparing them against what we perceive in reality. If you group human perception with human reasoning, then you can indeed say that this is self-referential. But where is the contradiction? We've already agreed that self-referentiality does not necessarily imply self-contradiction (me on Feb. 24th, 3:00 pm, you on Feb. 24th, 4:09 pm). You have *still* yet to show why this is the case for human reasoning.

"Oh yeah, although random forces do not dominate this reality, they’re still available for a little interplay to help us get out of sticky issues of human significance. Like a girlfriend you dump (or don’t want to be dominate) but then keep around for a little ‘interplay’ every now and then. What? Are you serious? We’re heading into the realm of religious belief here."

Gosh, how silly of me. I mean, even though we observe that both randomness and order exists, and that randomness dominates at the bottom, and order at the top. How foolish of me to hypothesize that the interaction between the two might give rise to minds that can function in an orderly fashion without being completely determined, even though no one has a complete understanding of how the mind works.

I asked you whether anything determines the thoughts of your intelligent prime reality because I wanted to know whether its thoughts are determined by another being (which would beg the question of: who/what determines the thoughts of this being?), by the stuff it's made of (i.e. all of reality), or by nothing, meaning your intelligent prime reality is self-determining. You didn't answer the question, so I don't know which answer you subscribe to, but all 3 seem problematic for your view. If it's the first, then you enter into an infinite regression of determiners. If it's the second, then your "intelligent" prime reality is no more than a wind-up toy, hardly intelligent in any meaningful sense of the word. If it's the third, then you posit the possibility of self-determining beings whose thoughts function independently of the stuff they're made of. In that case, it is equally valid to assume that we are those self-determining beings, and the assumption of an intelligent prime reality becomes superflous.

"All I really know is what I experience. I seem to perceive external reality with a great deal of success. I seem to exercise free will, although at times I do feel like the product of determinate forces, so I really don’t know. The fact that I perceive that I have intelligence (although my wife would ardently debate that fact), and the fact that I can intelligently perceive the cosmos with relative accuracy leads me to believe that prime reality itself is intelligent."

I am in complete agreement, except for the last step of invoking a greater intelligence. Like you, I don't have a complete theory of the mind, let alone a theory of everything. So we come to a decision with the same age-old choices: we don't know how something works, so we can either assume a greater intelligence that did all the work, or we can investigate whether there's a mechanism through which the things we perceive gave rise to the thing we're trying to explain. You rejected the former choice as blind superstition on Feb. 23rd, 11:29 pm. I whole-heartedly agree. That leaves us with the latter, investigating to see if and how the stuff of the universe, observed to be random at the bottom and orderly at the top, gave rise to us.

Shygetz said...

I apologize for my absence from the debate--professional and personal life conspired together to rob me of free time. I imagine my responses will miss their intended targets, but I will make the attempt.

Lory:

1. A psychologist is a scientist so your argument begs the question.

How does that beg the question?

2. Psychology is the stufy of mental processes and behavior not the human mind.

Wow, talk about splitting hairs. Ok, psychologists use mental processes to study mental processes. The question remains.

No, a psychologist cannot study the human mind. He never observes a human mind directly. He only observes behavior.

And a physicist never observes an electron directly, he only observes its consequences. For that matter, a painter never observes a painting directly, he only detects the changes in photons reflecting from that painting. If your argument requires "direct" observation, then it falls apart.

Let's ask the psychologist some basic questions...Now, if you're going to claim that his response would be, "thoughts, ideas, and consciousness are all matter" then you will have to admit your objection is circular.

Not all psychologists think that, and it is beside the point. They are using the mind to study the mind, something which is explicitly disallowed by your philosophy.

And so the source of his belief (matter) is unrealiable when it comes to truth.

Ah, there is the source of the problem; this is a completely unfounded assumption. You have no evidence to support the idea that particles and physics are unreliable when it comes to the truth. In fact, if I am correct, particles and physics are the truth.

But let us assume I am incorrect. In that case, reality is made up of particles, physics, and something else (we will call it foo). Foo is responsible for phenomena of the mind, as well as perhaps other unidentified phenomena that are unimportant for this discussion. Now, in such a case, according to your logic, we cannot say anything at all about foo. We cannot even say foo exists. Why? Because then we would be using foo (which is responsible for the mind making the assertion) to make a claim about foo. Which you disallow. Therefore, your claim that reality must include foo is, by your definition, untrustworthy.

Why did you believe in Christianity in the first place? Quantum mechanics. Why did you stop believing that Christianity was true? Quantum mechanics.

Nope, I believed in Christianity because of my upbringing, and I stopped believing in it because there is no evidence for it and it did nothing for me personally. I will say it slowly...de-co-her-ence. Look it up. Quantum effects do not dominate macroscopic behavior at macroscopic timescales.

Your idea that "patterns" or "configurations" of matter exist on their own is vague and confused.

No, it is merely the assertion that reality exists independent of the observer. As reality exists, the configuration of matter remains as it is, regardless of if we observe the configuration. If I take a dime and put it in my pocket, does it become a featureless lump of metal until I look at it again, or does it retain its configuration?

and consciousness is just a pattern or configuration of matter.

Actually, consciousness would be a subpopulation of configurations, not just one, as is evidenced by the fact that multiple brains with measurable differences all are compatible with consciousness, but other brains are not.

What makes certain patterns and configurations special?

There's nothing particularly "special" about them, any more than there is anything particularly "special" about blue. Why does some light fall within the wavelength normally identified as "blue" and some not? What makes "blue" special?

Are you angry at science because it doesn't say that you, Lory, are special? If so, is that a failing of science?

Mijk V:


I had written a detailed refutation of your points, but then I looked and saw that Benny had previously (and quite competently) beat me to it. So, I will pick and choose a few.

Now you’ll respond that those random forces don’t dominate this level of complexity.
Ok, now you have determinism and the theory is a result of determinate forces.


No, you have apparent classical behavior at the macroscopic level due to microscopic forces.

A trivial example. Take a normal 6-sided die. Roll it. There is a 1-in-6 chance that you will get any number, right?

Now, take two dice and roll them. What is the probability of getting any particular sum from the numbers? Are they even? No! You are much more likely to get 7 than any other number, and least likely to get 2 or 12. Is this due to God tinkering with the dice, or simple statistics? What do you know, the beginnings of order from a purely random process. You continue this kind of process from the quantum to the macroscopic scale, and you get a probability curve where lots of weird results are possible, but highly unlikely; what we are left with are a subset of likely results. When we multiply this by time (because every time something interacts with anything else, even a photon, it assumes a different state), you get a motion picture of a result that hovers right around the mean, never straying out of it for long, and leading to a predictable classical universe. At its base, it is indeterministic (because it is based on essentially an enormous number of coin flips), but added together it is highly predictable. That's why we had to develop the technology to look at a small number of particles just a few at a time before we could see the indeterminacy; it was always there.

What? Are you serious? We’re heading into the realm of religious belief here.

Yes, and our ritual is the Bell experiment. You should get serious; just because you don't understand the science doesn't make it religion. You may just not be all-knowing. Learn about it, and then deride it if you must.

All I really know is what I experience.

And therein lies your flaw. Because of your self-imposed philosophical handicap, you must perform every experiment yourself, which means you'll always be behind those of us who cooperate and are willing to use others verifiable experiences to determine reality.

The fact that I perceive that I have intelligence (although my wife would ardently debate that fact), and the fact that I can intelligently perceive the cosmos with relative accuracy leads me to believe that prime reality itself is intelligent.

Oh come on, the fact that you're intelligent means the universe is intelligent? That's rich.

The snowflake illustration aptly defeats that assertion, which sucks for me because that was the core of my argument.

Although I think you were trying to be snarky, the snowflake argument does defeat that assertion. Considerable order from highly random (and fairly simple) processes.

naturalistic explanations for human reason are self-referential and thus cast doubt on the explanation itself.

As I pointed out to Lory, it doesn't matter how far you kick this can down the road, it will be true of all arguments about the basic nature of the universe. Whether you say the universe is particles and physics; particles, physics, and mind; particles, physics, mind, and God; or whatever list you want to make, you will still end up using the universe to make a statement about the universe. Which leaves you not as a spiritualist, but as a strong agnostic who throws up his hands and says "We can't know anything about the universe because we have no outside reference point!" Which is news for mathematicians, who have been using math to study math for centuries.