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Blowing the whistle: But, Emperor Evolutionary Materialist Scientism (by being self-falsifying) is parading around naked . . .

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In recent days the issue of the want of rational coherence of evolutionary materialist scientism has become a major focus at UD. For cause.

In the most recent thread on it, BA says in the OP:

I had an epiphany today. I think, after all this time, I finally get it . . . .

Eigenstate intends for us to believe that intentional states do not exist.

Eigenstate desires for us to believe that desires do not exist.

Eigenstate believes (and asks us to believe) that beliefs do not exist.

Eigenstate wants us to know that the word “I” in the sentence he just wrote (i.e. “I encourage any and all . . .”) maps to an illusion – i.e., his illusory perception that he has subjective self-awareness.

All of this is, of course, monstrously idiotic and logically incoherent. If it were true it would undermine rationality itself, and no sane person believes any of it is true, including eigenstate himself. Yet he says it anyway.

WHY?

Here is where I had my epiphany. Eigenstate says it not because he believes it (it is not possible for a sane person to believe it). He says it because he must say it, because he is dedicated to eliminative materialism despite the patent absurdity of its entailments.

burning down the temple of reason itself (HT: re-purposed Burning Man 2013)
burning down the temple of reason itself (HT: re-purposed Burning Man 2013)

Before my epiphany I had always labored under a false assumption about human nature. I assumed that if anyone asserted a proposition they later learned was logically incoherent, they would choose logic and abandon the proposition. I was wrong. With true believers like eigenstate – fundamentalist materialist if you like – the materialism comes first. Reason and logic be damned. They are willing – even eager it seems – to drive a stake through the heart of rationality itself in order to cling to their religious beliefs (i.e., eliminative materialism). I won’t make that mistake anymore.

Here’s the irony of it all. I am all but certain that eigenstate has mocked irrational religious fundies . . .

What is the response?

Try, longtime objector G2:

G2, 12: Can I take it that this blog is no longer about ID ?

To this, I replied:

KF, 15: Reason is foundational to argument and intelligence; thence, to intelligently directed configuration, aka design. If we are dealing with an ideology that is perfectly willing to burn down the temple of reason itself rather than yield the point that it is manifestly self-referentially incoherent, self-falsifying and self-refuting on its own declarations [I think I am going to headline this] . . . see how hard I have to work to hammer home the point . . . them we need to show it. And so, your current talking point line on how UD is irrelevant to design issues collapses yet again. Not that — per long track record — that will make much of a difference to the rhetorical games afoot. KF

PS: If you are interested in a current technical thread, try this one, which parallels things elsewhere: http://www.uncommondescent.com…..obability/

So, now, let me proceed to headline and augment for record, the comment in question as linked:

__________________

KF, Hay thread 33: >> It is worth the while to ponder Tim H of Rational Thoughts on self-refuting arguments:

_____________________

Boomerang
Boomerang, self-falsifying logic spins back and hits the sender . . . [HT: Wikimedia & Pearson]

>>In his Introduction to Logic, Harry Gensler defines a self-refuting [= self-referentially incoherent, and so self-falsifying . . . ] statement as “[A] statement that makes negative claims so sweeping that it ends up denying itself.” [1] In other words, it results when an argument or position is undercut by its own criteria (An example of this would be saying, “I cannot speak a word of English” in English). Off the top of my head and in no particular order, here’s a grab-bag of several self-refuting positions which I’ve documented over the years:

1] Truth does not exist (Is that a true statement?)

2] Nothing is absolute (Is that absolutely true?)

3] I do not exist (You must exist to deny that you exist)

4] Science is the only way to know (Can you scientifically prove that?)

5] Only what can be perceived by the five senses exists (Can you prove that by the five senses?)

6] Nobody can know anything for sure (Do you know that for sure?)

7] Nobody can know anything about God (How do you know that?)

8] Talk about God is meaningless (Since it is a statement about God, this statement is meaningless too)

9] Reality is just your interpretation, objective reality does not exist (That’s just your interpretation)

10] “‘Everything we think and do is the function of our genes/nervous system’”: Is this belief itself just the result of genetic/neutral activity? If so, why trust it — or any belief we have? If your belief happens to be right, it’s just by accident” [2]

11] There are no beliefs (You expect me to believe that?) [3]

12] Everything is meaningless (So is that statement)

. . . .

Notes:

[1] – Harry J. Gensler, Introduction to Logic (New York, NY: Routledge 2002)p:396
[2] – Paul Copan, Loving Wisdom: Christian Philosophy of Religion (Danvers, MA: Chalice 2007) p.62
[3] – Victor Reppert, C. S. Lewis’s Dangerous Idea (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity 2003)p.75>>
_____________________

Lewontin-Sagan style (and Marxist style, and Freudian style and Skinner-style and village/new atheist style . . . ) a priori evolutionary materialist scientism falls into this category by implying an account of reality from hydrogen to humans by blind chance and mechanical necessity that leads to humans in ways that implicitly reduce mindedness to an unintended effect of forces and factors irrelevant to purpose, truth, validity, right/wrong etc. That is it is a case of inadequate cause. As a direct result, Darwin’s musings on whether one should trust the deliverances of a monkey’s mind come back around and boomerang on it.

Thus we see the force — again — of Haldane:

“It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [[“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

. . . and Reppert:

. . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [[But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [[so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

But of course, such will predictably fall on deaf ears, i.e. we see the fallacy of the ideologised, closed mind at work.

Feser explains why:

A reader writes to inform me of Alex Rosenberg’s very interesting essay “The Disenchanted Naturalist’s Guide to Reality.” Rosenberg’s thesis? That naturalism entails nihilism; in particular, that it entails denying the existence of objective moral value, of beliefs and desires, of the self, of linguistic meaning, and indeed of meaning or purpose of any sort. All attempts to evade this conclusion, to reconcile naturalism with our common sense understanding of human life, inevitably fail. Naturalism, when consistently worked out, leads to a radical eliminativism. Says my informant: “Why, it sounds shockingly similar to some things you once wrote in a book that was all about sperm, does it not?” Indeed, except that when I said it I was a “religiously inspired bigot,” whereas when Rosenberg says it he gets a respectful link, complete with a fanboyish exclamation point. Odd, no?

Not really. Because in The Last Superstition I argue that the implications in question constitute a reductio ad absurdum of naturalism, whereas Rosenberg (who is himself a naturalist) regards them instead as a set of depressing truths we must learn to live with. As you’ll see from Rosenberg’s combox, not all naturalists agree with him. But naturalist religionists are an ecumenical bunch. They’ll allow you to draw any absurd conclusion you wish from naturalist premises, as long as (naturally enough) you never under any circumstances question the premises themselves.

As TLS argues at length, the position Rosenberg rightly takes to follow from naturalism is not only depressing; it is incoherent. Therefore, naturalism is false. Furthermore (and as I also argue at length in TLS) there are no non-question-begging arguments for naturalism in the first place. Its hegemony over contemporary intellectual life owes entirely to a mixture of philosophical muddleheadedness, ignorance of philosophical history, and anti-religious animus . . . .

Suppose (as I argue in TLS) that Rosenberg is right about what naturalism implies. In that case there are no beliefs or desires, nor is there any such thing as the “original intentionality” or meaning that common sense says thoughts have, and which it takes to be the source of the derived intentionality exhibited by language. But then, Rosenberg rightly concludes, there’s no such thing as “the” real or actual meaning of a work of art, a human action, or indeed of anything else. There is simply no fact of the matter about what anything means. So far so good, and so far what Rosenberg is doing is simply noting that Quine’s famous thesis of the indeterminacy of meaning is not some eccentricity on Quine’s part, but follows from the naturalistic assumptions Quine shares with most contemporary academic philosophers.

The trouble is that if this is correct, then there is in particular no fact of the matter about what Rosenberg or any other naturalist means when he puts forward a naturalistic thesis. Objectively speaking there is no more reason to think that their utterances express a naturalistic position than that they express a Cartesian one or an Islamic one, or indeed that they are anything more than empty verbiage. The choice is purely pragmatic, or determined by social or economic forces or toilet training, or by Darwinian selection pressures, or by whatever it is this year’s clever young naturalistic philosophers are saying determines it.

Now this is absurd enough, but naturalists have already long inured themselves to accepting such nonsense. Writers like John Searle have been pointing out the paradox for years, to no effect. It doesn’t phase the average naturalist, any more than the hardened criminal feels even a twinge of guilt upon committing his 345th felony. The mental calluses are too thick. You see, if naturalism leads to absurdity, then it must not really be absurdity; because, kids, naturalism just can’t be wrong. Only those dogmatic religious types think otherwise. [–> notice, the implication, reasoning in a closed minded, self-falsifying circle of a priori evolutionary materialistic scientism . . . . i.e. a closed mind can be closed to the exposure of glaring fallacies, to the point where questions of systematically indoctrinated Plato’s Cave style shadow shows confused for unquestionable realities have to be raised.]

{Insert: The Parable of Plato’s Cave:}

embedded by Embedded Video

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But it’s worse than all that. For it won’t do for the naturalist to say: “OK, so we’ve got to swallow some bizarre stuff. But we’re just following the argument where it leads!” What argument? There’s no fact of the matter here either – no fact of the matter about which argument one is presenting, and in particular no fact of the matter about whether one’s arguments conform to valid patterns of inference. In the case at hand, there is simply no fact of the matter about whether Rosenberg’s own arguments (or those of any other naturalist) are sound or entirely fallacious. So why should we accept them? I suppose Rosenberg could always do what any serious philosopher would when dealing with those who stubbornly disagree with him – start a petition to pressure the APA to settle the question in his favor. But until that happens, we’ll just have to wait on pins and needles.

So, that’s one fatal problem . . . . There are other incoherencies too. For example, Rosenberg keeps telling us that this or that commonsense feature of human nature is an “illusion” – despite the fact that illusions themselves are intentional phenomena, and thus the sort of thing which, on Rosenberg’s account, naturalism entails doesn’t exist. Rosenberg also seems to think that blindsight phenomena give us a reason to be eliminativists about phenomenal consciousness. But this is incoherent too, because the only reason we judge something to be a case of blindsight in the first place is that we have phenomenally conscious experiences to compare it to. Furthermore, Rosenberg assures us that the mind is merely the product of a long process of selection which favored those who were skilled at detecting other people’s motives. But since “motives” are themselves intentional mental phenomena, they can hardly coherently be appealed to in an account of how the mind originated. (Nor will it do to suggest that Rosenberg means only that our more complex minds evolved in order to detect other people’s motives; for it is the existence of any intentionality at all which poses a uniquely difficult problem for naturalism, not merely the existence of complex minds like ours.)

Of course, these are very old and very well-known problem with eliminative materialism, and eliminative materialists typically pooh-pooh them or (more commonly) simply ignore them. Even non-eliminativist naturalists do the same. What none of them do is actually answer such objections, except with “solutions” which also presuppose intentionality and/or consciousness and thus simply raise the same difficulty at a higher level. The problem is obvious, and obviously fatal, and yet amazingly, it is rarely addressed (Rosenberg’s essay completely ignores it). Victor Reppert and William Hasker have put forward what I think is the correct explanation of this bizarre state of denial: Even naturalists who are not eliminative materialists suspect that their position may inevitably lead them in an eliminativist direction, and they want to keep the option open. Precisely because the obviously fatal objection to eliminative materialism is so obvious and so fatal, the typical naturalist pays it little or no heed, lest he be forced by it to give up naturalism itself – a position which is, as Hasker puts it, something like “a theological dogma” for those philosophers committed to it. Like children, they hope the problem will just go away if they pay it no attention . . . [there’s a lot more!]

Sobering.

But, food for thought — at least for those not content to chase their tails in a closed, self-falsifying loop of thought on a view that undermines even the possibility of rational thought.

The-Emperor-has-no-clothes-illustration-8x61There comes a point where someone needs to point out that The Emperor is parading around stark naked and everyone around him is pretending otherwise, to protect the system of mutually supportive interests. (Remember, in the old story, the tailors said that their magic cloth was an incompetence detector, i.e. if you were incompetent you could not see it. And so, from the Emperor himself down, they swallowed and institutionalised foolishness rather than first demand demonstration of the power to make such a detector. Thus, proving . . . their incompetence . . . )

Again, sobering.  >>

__________________

 

 

The question now on the table, then, is the fallacy of the closed, ideologised mind:

Stubbornly irrational, question-begging resistance to correction and/or alternative views. (Cf. a typical turnabout accusation on this, here.)

This fallacy manifests itself in a habitual pattern of thought, feelings and argument that is:

(a) question-beggingly committed to and/or

(b) indoctrinated into thinking in the circle of a particular view or position and/or

(c) blindly adherent to “the consensus” or vision and school of thought or paradigm of a particular set of authorities. [NB*: This last includes today’s new Magisterium: “Science.”]

As a result,

(d) the victim of closed-mindedness becomes unwarrantedly (i.e. fallaciously and often abusively) resistant to new or alternative ideas, information or correction.

(NB: Cf. discussions on belief, knowledge, warrant and justification here, here [an excellent introductory lecture note], here, here, here, here and here [technical].)

That is, it is not a matter of mere disagreement that is at stake here, but of

(e) stubborn and objectively unjustified refusal to be corrected or to entertain or fairly discuss on the merits ideas or points of view outside of a favoured circle of thought.

In extreme cases,

(f) the closed minded person who has access to power or influence may engage in the willfully deceptive (and even demonic) practice of actively suppressing the inconvenient truth that s/he knows or should know.

By contrast, a properly educated person is open-minded but critically aware: s/he is aware of the possibility and prevalence of error, and so (i) habitually investigates and then (ii) accurately, objectively and fairly describes major alternative views, fact claims and lines of argument on a topic, (iii) comparing them on congruence to his/her real-world experience and that of others s/he knows and respects, general factual correctness, logical coherence and degree of explanatory power; thus (iv) holds a personal view that results from such a process of comparative difficulties, while (v) recognising and respecting that on major matters of debate or controversy, different people will hold different views.)

That is, per Lewontin in his notorious 1997 NYRB article:

demon_haunted
Carl Sagan’s book, The Demon-Haunted World, which Lewontin was reviewing in his Jan 1997 NYRB article

. . .   the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world [–> notice the loaded, implied “equivalence”], the demons that exist only in their imaginations [–> loaded language], and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test  [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .   

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, thatwe are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute[–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

[From: “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Bold emphasis and notes added. If you have been led to imagine this is “quote mined,” kindly cf. the fuller annotated quote as linked.]

Philip Johnson’s retort, in First Things, the following November, was well deserved:

For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
. . . .   The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [Emphasis added.] [The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

The issue now is, is there — at long last — an openness to squarely face and deal with this issue? Doubtless, we shall see. END

22 Replies to “Blowing the whistle: But, Emperor Evolutionary Materialist Scientism (by being self-falsifying) is parading around naked . . .

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Snippet:

    >> There comes a point where someone needs to point out that The Emperor is parading around stark naked and everyone around him is pretending otherwise, to protect the system of mutually supportive interests. (Remember, in the old story, the tailors said that their magic cloth was an incompetence detector, i.e. if you were incompetent you could not see it. And so, from the Emperor himself down, they swallowed and institutionalised foolishness rather than first demand demonstration of the power to make such a detector. Thus, proving . . . their incompetence . . . )

    Again, sobering.>>

    Let’s see why I note this about evolutionary materialist scientism . . . KF

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    Snippet 2, from Feser:

    >> A reader writes to inform me of Alex Rosenberg’s very interesting essay “The Disenchanted Naturalist’s Guide to Reality.” Rosenberg’s thesis? That naturalism entails nihilism; in particular, that it entails denying the existence of objective moral value, of beliefs and desires, of the self, of linguistic meaning, and indeed of meaning or purpose of any sort. All attempts to evade this conclusion, to reconcile naturalism with our common sense understanding of human life, inevitably fail. Naturalism, when consistently worked out, leads to a radical eliminativism. Says my informant: “Why, it sounds shockingly similar to some things you once wrote in a book that was all about sperm, does it not?” Indeed, except that when I said it I was a “religiously inspired bigot,” whereas when Rosenberg says it he gets a respectful link, complete with a fanboyish exclamation point. Odd, no?

    Not really. Because in The Last Superstition I argue that the implications in question constitute a reductio ad absurdum of naturalism, whereas Rosenberg (who is himself a naturalist) regards them instead as a set of depressing truths we must learn to live with. As you’ll see from Rosenberg’s combox, not all naturalists agree with him. But naturalist religionists are an ecumenical bunch. They’ll allow you to draw any absurd conclusion you wish from naturalist premises, as long as (naturally enough) you never under any circumstances question the premises themselves.

    As TLS argues at length, the position Rosenberg rightly takes to follow from naturalism is not only depressing; it is incoherent. Therefore, naturalism is false. Furthermore (and as I also argue at length in TLS) there are no non-question-begging arguments for naturalism in the first place. Its hegemony over contemporary intellectual life owes entirely to a mixture of philosophical muddleheadedness, ignorance of philosophical history, and anti-religious animus . . . . >>

    Do the a priori evolutionary materialist scientism advocates have any cogent reply to this and its context?

    We shall see . . . KF

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Snippet 3, from Lewontin:

    >> It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, thatwe are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute[–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. >>

    Is there any reasonable justification for such an attitude? We shall see . . . KF

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    Snippet 4, also Lewontin:

    >> . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world [–> notice the loaded, implied “equivalence”], the demons that exist only in their imaginations [–> loaded language], and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . . >>

    Can such be reasonably justified? We shall see . . . KF

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    Then, there is Nancy Pearcey, in her Finding Truth:

    >>A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself . . . .

    An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

    Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?

    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

    Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.

    Another example comes from Francis Crick. In The Astonishing Hypothesis, he writes, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But that means Crick’s own theory is not a “scientific truth.” Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide.

    Of course, the sheer pressure to survive is likely to produce some correct ideas. A zebra that thinks lions are friendly will not live long. But false ideas may be useful for survival. Evolutionists admit as much: Eric Baum says, “Sometimes you are more likely to survive and propagate if you believe a falsehood than if you believe the truth.” Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.

    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.
    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.

    A few thinkers, to their credit, recognize the problem. Literary critic Leon Wieseltier writes, “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? … Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”

    On a similar note, philosopher Thomas Nagel asks, “Is the [evolutionary] hypothesis really compatible with the continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge?” His answer is no: “I have to be able to believe … that I follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so.” Hence, “insofar as the evolutionary hypothesis itself depends on reason, it would be self-undermining.”>>

    What do the evolutionary materialism, hydrogen to humans by blind chance and mechanical necessity advocates have to say? We shall see . . . KF

  6. 6
    harry says:

    kairofocus @5

    What do the evolutionary materialism, hydrogen to humans by blind chance and mechanical necessity advocates have to say?

    Whatever it is they have to say, it won’t be the criterion for configuring matter and energy in order for consciousness to emerge.

    It won’t be an answer to the implications of Roger Penrose’s calculation that the odds of the Big Bang mindlessly and accidentally producing a Universe low enough in entropy for life to become a possibility are 1 in 10^10^123. That number is so large it gives “law of physics” type certainty to the assertion that the results of the Big Bang were intended by an intellect rather than being a mindless accident. So, unless one worries that gravity might suddenly stop working, one can assume that the production of the Universe was not a mindless accident. Those unwilling to accept that have been reduced to a blind, irrational faith in the existence of countless other “not so lucky” universes for which there is no evidence whatsoever, in order to explain ours turning out the way it did. They can at least then attempt to make the lame claim that, “There was a winner in the universe lottery; it was ours,” sound convincing. Multiverse theory will eventually be seen for what it is: atheistic religion requiring a huge, irrational, blind faith in the existence of countless undetectable universes. Theism requires only a very small, exceedingly reasonable faith in the existence of just one God.

    It won’t be an answer to the problem created for atheistic naturalism by the fact that space, time and matter are now known to have had a beginning. If the natural Universe had a beginning, its cause had to be “other-than-natural,” or “supernatural.”

    It won’t be an explanation of how the ultra-sophisticated, digital-information-based nanotechnology of life, the functional complexity of which is light years beyond anything modern science knows how to build from scratch, came about mindlessly and accidentally. Since it is a “no-brainer” to conclude that the Universe allowing for the possibility of life was certainly no accident, it is only reasonable to consider the possibility that the nanotechnology of life itself was no accident, either — unless one is a devout atheist possessing the huge, irrational blind faith that atheism requires.

    To sum up, what they will have to say will amount to more of the same: sophistry.

    Planck was right about a mind being the matrix of all matter. What could be more interesting than considering the possibility that that Mind became one of us and walked the Earth among us, explaining to us His purposes in bringing us into being? It turns out that that is far more than just an interesting possibility. It is a fact that each of us will have to contend with eventually. Pascal’s wager explains why the safe bet is to assume that is a fact even if one isn’t convinced that it is. If you do that and live accordingly, you will soon find that Augustine was right: Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.

  7. 7
    tjguy says:

    Harry @6

    It won’t be an answer to the implications of Roger Penrose’s calculation that the odds of the Big Bang mindlessly and accidentally producing a Universe low enough in entropy for life to become a possibility are 1 in 10^10^123. That number is so large it gives “law of physics” type certainty to the assertion that the results of the Big Bang were intended by an intellect rather than being a mindless accident.

    If the odds against the Big Bang are accurately calculated, I can see two ways to interpret that data.

    1) It could not have happened accidentally. This is the position most IDers take.

    But a separate and just as valid conclusion would be this:

    2) The Big Bang has been falsified.

    This is every bit as valid a conclusion as number one!

    How the universe came into being is really still a mystery. The current Big Bang model depends on various assumptions about the universe that cannot be proven and so must be taken by faith.

    A recent article showing that one of the main assumptions on which the idea of cosmic expansion has been built has recently been called into question, as noted on this website. This study showed that “Type 1a supernovae, vital to estimates of the size and expansion of the universe, are not uniform.” What that means for our current theories about the size and expansion of the universe is yet to be determined, but it could have huge implications!http://crev.info/2015/04/cosmic-ruler-flawed/

    It’s a good example of the problem that origins science faces because so many guesses and assumptions underlie many of our “models” and theories and we are unable to validate them.

    Along the way various theory saving rescue devices had to be imagined to keep the Big Bang tenable. For instance, inflation had to be invented to rescue the Big Bang from falsification, but it has not been verified.

    Then dark matter had to be assumed and then dark energy was called on to save the “theory”.

    I think there are enough problems/questions with the Big Bang that even IDers should view it with an open mind at least. It seems to me that it is a favorite of the ID crowd simply because it is easy to imagine a role for God in creation. That would definitely solve some of these problems, but it does not mean it is true. The opposite could equally be true. Also IDers seem to be enamored with this hypothesis because it implies that the universe had a beginning and that fits with the Bible.

    Great. IF the Big Bang is true, then yes, it clearly points to the necessity of intelligence, wisdom, Mind, supernatural power etc. Logic alone tells us that the universe did indeed have a beginning, but let’s not forget that there could be other explanations for the origin of the universe that also fit the data.

    It could even be a supernatural origin [horror of all horrors] that science is unable to adequately explain. That is a distinct possibility, right?

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    TJ, Now you know part of why I find a discussion of what is implied in water and organic chem linked to the top four most abundant elements (H, He, O, C . . . with N close by) as a telling focus on cosmological fine tuning. It does not embroil in debates that run off on tangents. KF

    BTW, the basic BB inference is quite strong, use distance candles and other metrics in a ladder (way back, my first science presentation ever was on stellar distance metrics . . . ), correlate to spectral Doppler shift of absorption lines, observe a rough at minimum proportionality. Project back ways and we get to a singularity 14 BYA. This generally does not depend critically on Type Ia supernovae, though supernovae are one of the standard candles — for a few weeks one star is as bright as a galaxy and the scale seems to be roughly a given, tied to mass requisites of supernovae and linked to energy release on detonation. Type Ia’s are generally tied to White Dwarfs (old stars that have basically burned out and are slowly cooling off, on the typical analysis) and accretion until a critical threshold is hit, rather than stellar core fuel successive exhaustion as heavier and heavier elements form, until an Iron core forms at the binding energy per nucleon curve peak . . . leading to gravity collapse and rebound, blowing away the outer part of the star. So, even if there is a problem there per recent observations, the impact will likely be limited relative to the range of possibilities and what other types do.

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    Barry Arrington says:

    KF, I note in passing this sentence from eigenstate:

    Just so it’s clear, I encourage any and all to accept the illusory nature of what a scientifically-informed materialism would identify as illusions.

    What in the world does the phrase “scientifically-informed materialism” even mean?

    Science is incapable of “informing” metaphysical theories that it does not address. If eigenstate disagrees with this statement, perhaps he can point us to the falsifiable hypothesis that has been empirically tested through experiment that “informs” materialism.

    Or perhaps, to quote KF, he is merely attempting to don the “holy labcoat.”

  10. 10
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF @ 8, let us not forget my favorite, cepheid variables.

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, That was in fact the main focus of that presentation, once parallax was out of the way, only back then we called them Delta Cepheid variables. And of course recent sats have vastly expanded baselines for parallax. KF

    PS: I doubt ES understands the number of layers of self reference in what he said, or how many are thus incoherent and self-falsifying. He has no basis to speak of I, much less, illusions etc. Feser is really great on this one.

  12. 12
    Jim Smith says:

    KF @ 8: “Now you know part of why I find a discussion of what is implied in water and organic chem linked to the top four most abundant elements (H, He, O, C . . . with N close by) as a telling focus on cosmological fine tuning.”

    Is there a link where that is explained?

    Thanks

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    JS: Try here, and you will find onward info there too:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....inference/

    KF

    PS: That’s part of a series . . .

  14. 14
    eigenstate says:

    @Barry,

    This exception notwithstanding, I don’t post on threads KF owns. You have terrible track record of your own in terms of administrative abuse, but it’s crazy to post on a KF thread, even if it is one the few he opens for comments, beyond meta-comments like this.

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    ES, the distortions and misrepresentations just above speak for themselves — and not to your good, especially in light of the wider context of abusive behaviour by materialism advocates targetting UD. KF

  16. 16
    harry says:

    tjguy @7

    Take a look at this:

    http://magisgodwiki.org/index......try_Proofs

    I agree that scientific models must be adjusted or abandoned completely in accordance with new evidence. The Big Bang model has been adjusted and will continue to be adjusted, but the theory has been corroborated to the extent that it remains the prevailing cosmological model.

    Science, if it is to remain true science, must be relentlessly objective in its analysis of new evidence, being open to abandoning any model if the evidence requires that. Fallen human nature being what it is, science doesn’t always work that way. As Max Planck observed, “A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

    The implications of the discoveries of modern science (that the Universe had a beginning, that the Big Bang’s production of a Universe that allowed for the possibility of life couldn’t have been a mindless accident, that life itself is comprised of digital-information-based nanotechnology the astounding functional complexity of which is light years beyond our own) are a nightmare for atheistic materialism.

    The implications of these discoveries for atheism should eventually weaken its stranglehold on the institutions of society. If that happens only as Planck described, by one generation dying off and being replaced by another, then the existence of this site is very important. It is forming that “new generation.”

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    harry, quite interesting from Spitzer. KF

    PS: Notice, how the objectors are largely absent . . .

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let’s highlight a clip from OP:

    >> Lewontin-Sagan style (and Marxist style, and Freudian style and Skinner-style and village/new atheist style . . . ) a priori evolutionary materialist scientism falls into this category by implying an account of reality from hydrogen to humans by blind chance and mechanical necessity that leads to humans in ways that implicitly reduce mindedness to an unintended effect of forces and factors irrelevant to purpose, truth, validity, right/wrong etc. That is it is a case of inadequate cause. As a direct result, Darwin’s musings on whether one should trust the deliverances of a monkey’s mind come back around and boomerang on it. >>

    Zip, swerve, zoom, glide back, BANG!

    And, can materialists even get as far as “I . . . ” ?

    KF

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N 2: Feser, per clip in OP:

    >> it’s worse than all that. For it won’t do for the naturalist to say: “OK, so we’ve got to swallow some bizarre stuff. But we’re just following the argument where it leads!” What argument? There’s no fact of the matter here either – no fact of the matter about which argument one is presenting, and in particular no fact of the matter about whether one’s arguments conform to valid patterns of inference. In the case at hand, there is simply no fact of the matter about whether Rosenberg’s own arguments (or those of any other naturalist) are sound or entirely fallacious. So why should we accept them? >>

    Why, indeed.

    KF

  20. 20
    Jim Smith says:

    Off the top of my head and in no particular order, here’s a grab-bag of several self-refuting positions which I’ve documented over the years:

    Here’s another:

    Some smart people believe in God because smart people are better at rationalizing. (Is this a rationalization? Are you smart enough to rationalize well enough to fool yourself?)

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02941.html

    Michael Shermer thought he had an explanation which helped pacify those in the audience who were worried that some smart people believe in God:

    At the end of my book “Why People Believe Weird Things,” the last chapter is called “Why Smart People Believe Weird Things” which is the harder question to answer. And the short answer to that is because they’re better at rationalizing beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.

    Does Shermer apply this to himself? Is he smart enough? (For it to apply, and if so to apply it.)

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    JS: An interesting case, clearly self referential by implication. What it shows is that ability to rationalise is irrelevant to the soundness or otherwise of a worldview; the argument is definitely an ad hominem dismissal that begs the question of warrant while trying to skewer the target with loaded language and disrespect but on pondering I think that’s close but not quite the same as reducing one’s own view thereby to incoherence; somebody out there may well indeed have a worldview based on ill-founded rationalisation built on core error — better look in the mirror. Of course, far too many atheists seem to imagine they have cornered the market on smarts. I think you have raised a close kissing cousin fallacy, for convenience, better look in the mirror. JS, I think you have found a new Materialist Dodge! I think I will pass on to BA for his fast-growing list. (I would suggest, here on as a way to look at worldviews grounding, from a theistic perspective.) KF

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