Atheism Darwinist rhetorical tactics Science, worldview issues/foundations and society

CLAVDIVS: “Design as a cause is compatible with materialism” — is that so?

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While I am busy locally, I think it is important to discuss the issue as just headlined here at UD. Let me clip from the “Materialism makes you stupid” thread:

>>27 CLAVDIVS

Design as a cause is compatible with materialism.

Where’s the beef?>>

and

>>28 kairosfocus

C, design is compatible with embodied designers — we are embodied designers. Evolutionary materialism is inescapably self referentially incoherent and irretrievably self-falsifying as a worldview. Whether or no it is dressed up in a lab coat . . . threatening to take the credibility of science down with it in the ruins of its inevitable collapse. And that is some serious beef. KF>>

So, who is right, why? END

270 Replies to “CLAVDIVS: “Design as a cause is compatible with materialism” — is that so?

  1. 1
    REW says:

    Clav-clav-clav Clavdivs is right and Plantiga’s argument about materialism being self defeating is one of those logic traps that philosophers delight in finding. So much so that they sometimes see them where they dont exist. This one just fails outright.

  2. 2
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Kairosfocus – So what if materialism is false? ID is compatible with it, so arguing about the truth or falsity of materialism doesn’t advance ID one bit.

    And: What is “evolutionary materialism”? How is it different from just “materialism”?

  3. 3
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Hi REW – Correct! My nick comes from the cover art of Robert Graves’ “I, Claudius”.

  4. 4
    REW says:

    Clav-clav…yes! And at the beginning of the TV show. I hope you’ve seen it, its one of the best things thats ever been on TV.
    BTW did you know that the unusual spelling is because the Romans couldnt make the letter U in mosaic, so they replaced it with V

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    C,

    evolutionary materialism — the form generally trotted around dressed up in a lab coat — is self-refuting by way of self-referential incoherence. That is important to note in its own right.

    No one has a proper right to expect us to genuflect to self falsifying schemes of thought.

    Mix in scientism, and you see a toxic, domineering brew that demands kowtowing in the name of being the Voice of genuine knowledge.

    This is a major breakdown of the life of the mind in our time.

    In its own right, that breakdown needs to be exposed and faced.

    Then, we need to confront the problem inadvertently highlighted by Lewontin which seeks to impose the self-refuting system as gatekeeper of science and intelligent views:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads [==> as in, “we” have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge] we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

    [ –> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying “our” elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to “fix” the widespread mental disease]

    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 [–> “we” are the dominant elites], 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 . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]

    that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], 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 [= the evo-mat establishment] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we 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 . . . [–> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is “quote-mined” I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]

    Those become serious problems and imposed roadblocks on the actual evidence being allowed to speak for itself.

    Until such is faced, regardless of merits evidence pointing to design will continue to be locked out a priori.

    We need to pause and do major rethinking.

    KF

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Nancy Pearcey adds, underscoring the self-falsification:

    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.

    [–> that is, responsible, rational freedom is undermined. Cf here William Provine in his 1998 U Tenn Darwin Day keynote:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

    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.” [ENV excerpt, Finding Truth (David C. Cook, 2015) by Nancy Pearcey.]

  7. 7
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Design as a cause is compatible with materialism.”

    I agree with this. There is nothing stopping the designer from realizing his designs in a materialistic way. It is the designer (God) that is incompatible with materialism.

  8. 8
    Origenes says:

    CLAVDIVS: “Design as a cause is compatible with materialism.”

    Is design as a cause for the fine-tuning of the universe compatible with materialism?
    Is design as a cause for the first life in the universe compatible with materialism?

  9. 9

    Intelligent design is not really consistent with materialism. Even we can see human beings designing things, the agency of their decisions is the immaterial spirit or soul according to creationist philosophy.

    The most intelligent design theory can hope for is to find out how things are decided, how the decision making is organized, what the available options are, the way the decisions turn out.

  10. 10
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Origenes

    Yes and yes.

  11. 11
    CLAVDIVS says:

    mohammadnursyamsu

    ID is compatible with materialism if design is conceived as the result of an impersonal, non-conscious yet-to-be-discovered natural telic force.

  12. 12
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Clavdivs: “Yes and yes.”

    Agreed. I really don’t see what the controversy is. If there is a god that is not bound by “materialist” laws, he can obviously do whatever he wants. Therefore, design is compatible with materialism. Logic 101. That logic probably pisses off some people.

  13. 13
    Origenes says:

    CLAVDIVS: ID is compatible with materialism if design is conceived as the result of an impersonal, non-conscious yet-to-be-discovered natural telic force.

    So, you are saying that ID is compatible with some neoteric materialism which assumes the existence of an undiscovered force. That’s not exactly the same as saying that ID is compatible with materialism, now is it?
    – – – –

    Indiana Effigy: I really don’t see what the controversy is. If there is a god that is not bound by “materialist” laws, he can obviously do whatever he wants. Therefore, design is compatible with materialism. Logic 101.

    Something must have gone wrong in your post, because, as it stands now, I can’t make head nor tail of it. You do understand that a God, who is not bound by physical law, is incompatible with materialism, right?

  14. 14
    goodusername says:

    An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology

    IMO, evolutionary epistemology is indeed a strange idea. But I’ve never come across anyone who was actually a proponent of it. 

    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.”

    I don’t know John Gray, but in looking him up I find him criticizing evolutionary epistemology in much the same way as Nancy. ( Here )

    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.

    So in her mind “serves evolutionary success, not truth” is the equivalent of “serves evolutionary success, therefore it’s false”?

    Anyone stating logical blunders like this is the last person who should be trying to point out the logical blunders in others’ ideas.

    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.

    The same blunder again.

  15. 15
    CLAVDIVS says:

    kairosfocus

    Telling us why you think materialism is false is beside the point. My argument is:
    – ID is compatible with materialism
    – Therefore attacking materialism does not support ID

    Roughly half the number of scientists and professional philosophers are theists and non-materialists. This means two things:

    1. By attacking materialism you are sabotaging ID, because you are needlessly driving away huge numbers of potential supporters.

    2. Since roughly half of ID’s academic audience is already open to non-materialistic explanations, your argument that there are roadblocks to the evidence being allowed to speak for itself is exposed as bogus.

  16. 16
    CLAVDIVS says:

    origenes

    So, you are saying that ID is compatible with some neoteric materialism which assumes the existence of an undiscovered force. That’s not exactly the same as saying that ID is compatible with materialism, now is it?

    Of course ID is compatible with materialism.

    Philosophical materialism does not entail that there is nothing left to discover.

  17. 17
    rhampton7 says:

    ID theory makes no claim as to who or what a designer or designers may be:

    The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.

    Furthermore, ID theory makes no claims as to the nature of intelligence itself – natural or supernatural, or perhaps both (.i.e. animal intelligence is natural but human intelligence is supernatural)

    To date, such questions can not be answered by any known method of scientific investigation.

  18. 18
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Origenes: “Something must have gone wrong in your post, because, as it stands now, I can’t make head nor tail of it. You do understand that a God, who is not bound by physical law, is incompatible with materialism, right?”

    Agreed. But that wasn’t the question. The question was whether design was incompatible with materialism. Not whether the designer was. And, clearly, a magical designer could realize his design through materialist mechanisms.

    And, I might add, I am happy that KF has opened the discussion to the nature of the designer and the mechanisms available to it. This is something that ID has studiously avoided.

  19. 19
    CLAVDIVS says:

    rhampton7

    ID theory makes no claim as to who or what a designer or designers may be …

    Furthermore, ID theory makes no claims as to the nature of intelligence itself – natural or supernatural, or perhaps both …

    Therefore, ID is compatible with materialism.

  20. 20
    JDH says:

    @CLAVDIVS

    How can you persist in such blindness. It is truly amazing. Do you not see that materialism is self-contradictory?????

    Let me put it this way.

    Take two propositions.

    1. There is a God.
    2. There is not a God.

    On the surface it appears that neither is provable. i.e. we can not determine which one is true.

    But let’s examine a statement that is intrinsically not true because it defeats itself.

    “I have correctly decided that materialism is true.”

    1. If materialism is false – then the statement is false because your decision is not correct.
    2. If materialism is true – then “I” does not really exist, and there is really no person to make a decision. After all, under the strictures of materialism, a decision is not the conclusion of a free moral agent, but the end result of unguided natural events.

    There are no other cases. Therefore the statement is false.

    As to whether ID is compatible with materialism you are wrong. Materialism precisely means that there is no design. Not from a a God, not from any source. It depends on it being random all the way. Any allowance for an entity that designed, means that you have at least some form of deism.

    Please note that any form of Deism is not materialism.

  21. 21
    JDH says:

    @Indiana Effigy

    Agreed. But that wasn’t the question. The question was whether design was incompatible with materialism. Not whether the designer was. And, clearly, a magical designer could realize his design through materialist mechanisms.

    The very idea that you don’t understand that materialism does not allow for a magical designer shows me you have not really thought this through. There is a name for the concept that a magical designer used materialistic methods to design the universe. It is Deism. Deism is not materialism. Know your definitions and keep track of what the assumptions are in each. It will keep you from bad errors like this one.

  22. 22
    CLAVDIVS says:

    JDH

    I am not a materialist nor do I defend materialism. How can you be so blind as to miss this?

    My argument is:
    – ID is compatible with materialism
    – Therefore, attacking materialism does not support ID; in fact, it sabotages ID by needlessly alienating a large group of potential supporters.

    Materialism precisely means that there is no design. Not from a a God, not from any source. It depends on it being random all the way. Any allowance for an entity that designed, means that you have at least some form of deism.

    Then you disagree with William Dembski and the owner of this blog, who have argued that a ‘natural telic force’ could be responsible for design and also be compatible with materialism.

    ETA: Apparently Stephen Meyer has also accepted, in principle, that ID science can be reconciled with a non-personal, teleological principle.

    ETA2: Atheist Thomas Nagel also supports the concept of a ‘natural teleology’ as explaining design.

  23. 23
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername,

    I agree with your criticism of Nancy Pearcey.

    Goodusername: So in her mind “serves evolutionary success, not truth” is the equivalent of “serves evolutionary success, therefore it’s false”?

    You are correct. It does not follow. Notice that Plantinga doesn’t commit the same mistake. He uses the term “unreliable” instead of “false” or “not true”.
    Plantinga’s evolutionary argument labours under the assumption that evolution selects for behavior — not truth. He points out that innumerable belief-desire pairs could account for a given behaviour; for example, that of a prehistoric hominid fleeing a tiger:

    Perhaps Paul very much likes the idea of being eaten, but when he sees a tiger, always runs off looking for a better prospect, because he thinks it unlikely the tiger he sees will eat him. This will get his body parts in the right place so far as survival is concerned, without involving much by way of true belief. … Or perhaps he thinks the tiger is a large, friendly, cuddly pussycat and wants to pet it; but he also believes that the best way to pet it is to run away from it. … Clearly there are any number of belief-cum-desire systems that equally fit a given bit of behaviour.

    Thus, Plantinga argued, the probability that our minds are reliable under a conjunction of philosophical naturalism and naturalistic evolution is low or inscrutable.
    So, is a belief that human beings have evolved in conformity with current evolutionary theory necessarily “not true”, as Nancy claims? No, it just might be true, but it is “unreliable”.
    Plantinga offers a thermometer stuck at 72 °F placed in an environment which happened to be at 72 °F as an example of something that is not “reliable” in this sense.

  24. 24
    Origenes says:

    CLAVDIVS: ID is compatible with materialism if design is conceived as the result of an impersonal, non-conscious yet-to-be-discovered natural telic force.

    Why do you hold that materialism is restricted to a telic “force” that is “impersonal” and “non-conscious”? What stops the materialist from assuming that e.g. a certain combination of entangled dark matter and photons produces a personal conscious designer of life?

    I’m asking because I would like to get to a definition of materialism that we can agree on.

  25. 25
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 24

    certain combination of entangled dark matter and photons produces a personal conscious designer of life

    Hmm..Dark Matter does not interact with photons and electromagnetic radiation, which is why it is ‘dark’. It’s presence has been inferred from its gravitational effect on visible matter.

  26. 26
    Origenes says:

    Me_Think: Dark Matter does not interact with photons

    Miss the point much, Me_Think?
    BTW entanglement is not interaction in the classical sense.

  27. 27
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 26

    Miss the point much, Me_Think?
    BTW entanglement is not interaction in the classical sense.

    Of course entanglement is interaction in classical sense ! What is not classical is the communication of quantum state between the Entangled Particles ! Thus if I measure spin up in one particle, the other entangled particle will show spin down instantly.

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Quick points as busy elsewhere:

    Let us note Lewontin, for one:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads [==> as in, “we” have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge] we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

    [ –> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying “our” elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to “fix” the widespread mental disease]

    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 [–> “we” are the dominant elites], 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 . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]

    that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], 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 [= the evo-mat establishment] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we 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 . . . [–> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is “quote-mined” I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]

    Then Crick for two:

    . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing. [The Astonishing Hypothesis, 1994]

    Also Rosenberg for three:

    Ever since Newton physics has ruled out purposes in the physical realm. If the physical facts fix all the facts, however, then in doing so, it rules out purposes altogether, in biology, in human affairs, and in human thought-processes. Showing how it could do so was a tall order. Until Darwin came along things looked pretty good for Kant’s pithy observation that there never would be a Newton for the blade of grass—that physics could not explain living things, human or otherwise, because it couldn’t invoke purpose. But the process that Darwin discovered–random, or rather blind variation, and natural selection, or rather passive environmental filtration–does all the work of explaining the means/ends economy of biological nature that shouts out ‘purpose’ or ‘design’ at us. What Darwin showed was that all of the beautiful suitability of living things to their environment, every case of fit between organism and niche, and all of the intricate meshing of parts into wholes, is just the result of blind causal processes. It’s all just the foresightless play of fermions and bosons producing, in us conspiracy-theorists, the illusion of purpose. Of course, that is no surprise to scientism; if physics fixes all the facts, it could not have turned out any other way. In fact, the mechanism Darwin discovered for building adaptations is the only game in town. [from: “The Disenchanted Naturalist’s Guide to Reality”
    by Alex Rosenberg here at Wayback Machine. For responses at length cf Feser here on ]

    Not to mention Dawkins for four:

    . . . we are jumped-up apes, and our brains were only designed [–> by forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity, per blind watchmaker thesis!] to understand the mundane details of how to survive in the stone-age African Savannah.{A Devil’s Chaplain, p. 46]

    For five, notice how Ruse and Wilson treat ethics, unaware of the lurking incoherence:

    The time has come to take seriously the fact [[–> This is a gross error at the outset, as macro-evolution is a theory (an explanation) about the unobserved past of origins and so cannot be a fact on the level of the observed roundness of the earth or the orbiting of planets around the sun etc.] that we humans are modified monkeys, not the favored Creation of a Benevolent God on the Sixth Day . . . We must think again especially about our so-called ‘ethical principles.’ The question is not whether biology—specifically, our evolution—is connected with ethics, but how. As evolutionists, we see that no justification of the traditional kind is possible. Morality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will … In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external grounding… Ethics is illusory inasmuch as it persuades us that it has an objective reference. This is the crux of the biological position. Once it is grasped, everything falls into place.

    [[Michael Ruse & E. O. Wilson, “The Evolution of Ethics,” Religion and the Natural Sciences: The Range of Engagement, , ed. J. E. Hutchingson, Orlando, Fl.:Harcourt and Brace, 1991.]

    For six, of course, the much despised Plantinga cites Patricia Churchland thusly:

    Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in . . . feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing. The principal chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive . . . . Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism’s way of life and enhances the organism’s chances of survival [Churchland’s emphasis]. Truth, whatever that is [ –> let’s try, from Aristotle in Metaphysics, 1011b: “that which says of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not” . . . ], definitely takes the hindmost.

    And there are many others. Not to mention, this epistemology is the direct implication of evolutionary materialist scientism and its reduction of mind to matter in motion under the cumulative effect of blind chance and mechanical necessity through cosmological, chemical, biological and cultural evolution.

    No, this is NOT a strawman being set up and knocked over.

    KF

  29. 29
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Origenes

    Why do you hold that materialism is restricted to a telic “force” that is “impersonal” and “non-conscious”? What stops the materialist from assuming that e.g. a certain combination of entangled dark matter and photons produces a personal conscious designer of life?

    Many ID proponents deny that materialism is compatible with personhood, consciousness or telos.

    Accordingly, I am restricting my argument to a design cause that has been accepted by at least some ID proponents as compatible with materialism – namely, an ‘impersonal, telic force’.

    For my part I would be quite happy if more ID proponents accepted that materialism is compatible with design, personhood, consciousness and telos – that buttresses my argument that attacking materialism is not just pointless but counterproductive for ID proponents.

    I’m asking because I would like to get to a definition of materialism that we can agree on.

    Monist physicalism.

  30. 30
    Origenes says:

    Me_Think: Of course entanglement is interaction in classical sense ! What is not classical is the communication of quantum state between the Entangled Particles !

    The distinction you make between “interaction” and “communication” is nonsensical, since the communication of quantum state you refer to is obviously a form of interaction. Even Wiki agrees with me:

    Wiki: In physics, action at a distance is the concept that an object can be moved, changed, or otherwise affected without being physically touched (as in mechanical contact) by another object. That is, it is the nonlocal interaction of objects that are separated in space.

    However Me_Think, this all very much off-topic. I asked a relevant question to CLAVDIVS in post #24 and now I find myself arguing about irrelevancies.
    You can have the last word.

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    C, evolutionary materialism (i.e. grand narrative of hydrogen to humans by blind chance and mechanical necessity with the quasi-physical exhausting reality) is incompatible with there being a responsibly free rational, conscious self able to think independently, follow logic and warrant claims, thus know. It is further incompatible with design in any reasonable sense as a direct result. Though some may pause and point to the empirical fact of embodied designers then shrug and say how such got there does not matter they are there, we need to face a bigger issue than that. KF

  32. 32
    CLAVDIVS says:

    kairosfocus

    1300 words of “quick points” yet not a single point is on-topic for your own OP “Design as a cause is compatible with materialism”.

    I repeat —

    Telling us why you think materialism is false is beside the point. My argument is:
    – ID is compatible with materialism
    – Therefore attacking materialism does not support ID

    Roughly half the number of scientists and professional philosophers are theists and non-materialists. This means two things:

    1. By attacking materialism you are sabotaging ID, because you are needlessly driving away huge numbers of potential supporters.

    2. Since roughly half of ID’s academic audience is already open to non-materialistic explanations, your argument that there are roadblocks to the evidence being allowed to speak for itself is exposed as bogus.

    Posting lengthy diatribes that don’t address my points will simply be perceived as conceding those points. This is just common sense.

  33. 33
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 30

    The distinction you make between “interaction” and “communication” is nonsensical, since the communication of quantum state you refer to is obviously a form of interaction. Even Wiki agrees with me:

    You asked about entanglement. Entanglement is not equivalent to measuring quantum state. Two particles can be entangled by quantum dots ,fiber coupler,parametric down-conversion etc.

    However Me_Think, this all very much off-topic. I asked a relevant question to CLAVDIVS in post #24 and now I find myself arguing about irrelevancies.

    You asked the wrong question! As I pointed out, Dark Matter does not interact with photons and electromagnetic radiation, which is why Dark Matter is ‘dark’

  34. 34
    CLAVDIVS says:

    kairosfocus

    Ok, so you dispute that ID is compatible with materialism.

    Accordingly you disagree with William Dembski, the owner of this blog, Stephen Meyer and Thomas Nagel. And probably other atheist ID supporters like Steve Fuller and David Berlinski.

    The weight of ID scholarship is on my side.

  35. 35
    Andre says:

    I will gladly assist CLAVDIVS here clearly he is confused about what Meyer, Dembski, Fuller and Berlinkski has to say;

    Here goes; Materialism is NOT compatible with science, ID IS compatible with science. Fixed it for you.

  36. 36
    Origenes says:

    CLAVDIVS: For my part I would be quite happy if more ID proponents accepted that materialism is compatible with design, personhood, consciousness and telos – that buttresses my argument that attacking materialism is not just pointless but counterproductive for ID proponents.

    Let’s, for a moment, forget about ID proponents. Is an all-powerful personal conscious designer of life — resulting from dark matter entanglement near galaxy MACS0647-JD —, compatible with materialism? And if not, why not?
    I’m asking because I would like to know how plastic your definition of materialism is.

  37. 37
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Origenes

    Is an all-powerful personal conscious designer of life — resulting from dark matter entanglement near galaxy MACS0647-JD —, compatible with materialism? And if not, why not?

    I don’t think so. Because I am a dualist.

  38. 38
    Andre says:

    CLAVDIVS

    ETA: Apparently Stephen Meyer has also accepted, in principle, that ID science can be reconciled with a non-personal, teleological principle.

    ETA2: Atheist Thomas Nagel also supports the concept of a ‘natural teleology’ as explaining design.

    That is not materialism, that is deism………

    what is materialism?

    I asked the oracle, it spewed out many answers…..

    Here is 1:

    “the theory or belief that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications.”

    Wiki…. (I dislike wiki for the record)

    Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are results of material interactions.

    Materialism is closely related to physicalism, the view that all that exists is ultimately physical. Philosophical physicalism has evolved from materialism with the discoveries of the physical sciences to incorporate more sophisticated notions of physicality than mere ordinary matter, such as: spacetime, physical energies and forces, dark matter, and so on. Thus the term “physicalism” is preferred over “materialism” by some, while others use the terms as if they are synonymous.

    Philosophies contradictory to materialism or physicalism include idealism, pluralism, dualism, and other forms of monism.

    I am 100% certain that neither Meyer, Berlinski, Dembski or fuller support what you imply they do, why don’t you ask them yourself?

  39. 39
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 36

    Let’s, for a moment, forget about ID proponents. Is an all-powerful personal conscious designer of life — resulting from dark matter entanglement near galaxy MACS0647-JD —, compatible with materialism? And if not, why not?

    Oh Personal conscious designer! Dark matter can’t even clump together like ordinary matter, let alone entangle!

  40. 40
    Andre says:

    Dark matter is dark…….. Wow that is an amazing insight Einstein…. Now where is this dark matter that is dark you speak of?

  41. 41
    Andre says:

    CLAVDIVS

    This is Really really really important! Please take note so you may save yourself from ignorant rants next time…. I implore that you study read and understand this.

    Where ID and Materialism are Compatible Materialists admit life looks designed – eyes are much more sophisticated than human designed digital cameras. But the materialist claims the appearance of design is just an illusion, much like the illusion of a rising sun in the morning. He claims the appearance of design can be explained by material causes without any intervening intelligence. The Design Theorist simply disagrees. At its core, Intelligent Design is simply a scientific disagreement with Materialists who claim the apparent design of life is an illusion.

    Materialists make a powerful case for natural causes for micro-evolution. They can show how random mutations in replicating populations can produce many novel effects, like different varieties of dogs and cats and a variety of species of finches having different sizes of beaks. Disease causing bacteria become resistant to antibiotics due to random mutation and natural selection. No one has observed any outside intelligence intervening to cause these changes, so they argue that the mechanisms of random mutation and natural selection that operate at the micro level can also explain all macro-evolutionary changes beginning with the most primitive form of life. Just as we can trace our origin back to a series of human ancestors, all of life can be traced back to an original common ancestor in an unbroken chain of “descent with modification.” The materialist shows an array of evidence consistent with his claim. All of life runs with the same kind of biological software that uses a common genetic code, the fossil record shows complexity increasing over time, and vertebrates have similar body plans.

    Design Theorists argue that all of this evidence is also consistent with an intelligent cause. Antibiotic resistance appears to result from a system having an extraordinarily high mutation rate, perhaps that is a design feature of the system. Although the fossil record shows increasing complexity it also shows long periods of stasis, very sudden increases in complexity, the absence of many transitional forms, and many instances of novel systems arising repeatedly without any apparent common ancestor. All of these clues as well as common bio-software, implicate common design rather than unguided evolutionary change. Because the clues the materialist is using are consistent with both design and materialism, they prove neither. To show a material explanation as the “best” of the two, he must show positive evidence for his claim and show evidence that tends to rule out the evidence of design. In many respects his evidence does neither.

    http://www.intelligentdesignne.....cience.pdf

  42. 42
    Me_Think says:

    Andre @ 40

    Dark matter is dark…….. Wow that is an amazing insight Einstein…. Now where is this dark matter that is dark you speak of?

    That is not an insight, dear Andre, it was named so because it doesn’t interact with any electromagnetic radiation (including of course photons). It is spread throughout the universe- and we don’t know what it is, because it doesn’t interact!!! .To get more info all you have to do is Google it

  43. 43
    Origenes says:

    Me_Think: Dark matter can’t even clump together like ordinary matter, let alone entangle!

    Irrelevant to the discussion, however, let me google that for you.

  44. 44
    Andre says:

    Me_Think

    Firstly I’m not your dear, and dark matter, black holes and most of the chicken voodoo physics that exist is simply nonsense in people’s minds….. Hawking invented Black holes in the 70’s… a lot of people have made money on this and yet…. where are they? Black holes are not capable to exist in Einstein’s theory of relativity, On this one I’m backing Einstein……

    My favorite website in the world……

    http://www.noblackholes.com/

    Here is Einsteins paper written in 1939, that kills voodoo physics.

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/19.....b_contents

  45. 45
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    Because the clues the materialist is using are consistent with both design and materialism, they prove neither.

    Exactly what I’ve been saying all along – design is compatible with materialism.

  46. 46
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 43
    You see Mr.Origenes, we don’t even know what Dark Matter is!, let alone if it can entangle. The arXiv article postulates entanglement if the dark matter particles turns out to be a Bose-Einstein condensation of ultra-light scalar particles of the order of 10^-23 eV

  47. 47
    Me_Think says:

    Andre @ 44

    Firstly I’m not your dear, and dark matter, black holes and most of the chicken voodoo physics that exist is simply nonsense in people’s minds….. Hawking invented Black holes in the 70’s… a lot of people have made money on this and yet…. where are they? Black holes are not capable to exist in Einstein’s theory of relativity, On this one I’m backing Einstein……

    My dear Mr.Andre, We just discovered direct evidence of Black Holes clashing when LIGO detected the chirp of GW. Let me remind you :

    It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong

    and Yes this applies to ID and Evolution too.

  48. 48
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    From this site’s current owner:

    1. If monist physicalism is true and a natural telic force exists, it is nevertheless possible objectively to infer design.
    2. Therefore, design may be inferred under monist physicalism using the explanatory filter.
    3. Therefore, ID does not depend on dualist metaphysical assumptions.

    And from William Demsbki:

    ID’s metaphysical openness about the nature of nature entails a parallel openness about the nature of the designer. Is the designer an intelligent alien, a computional simulator (a la THE MATRIX), a Platonic demiurge, a Stoic seminal reason, an impersonal telic process, …, or the infinite personal transcendent creator God of Christianity? The empirical data of nature simply can’t decide.

    On Nagel, here:

    In his book Nagel argued that Neo-Darwinism has failed to account for the data and is therefore almost certainly false. But Nagel is an inveterate atheist and he is unwilling to give up on atheistic monism. For Nagel, rejecting Neo-Darwinism does not entail embracing a dualist conception of ID. Instead, he has posited what can be called a monist conception of ID by proposing the existence of natural telic laws.

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    C:

    so you dispute that ID is compatible with materialism

    Nope, I first and foremost dispute that evolutionary materialism is compatible with itself. (I add, I have done so for cause for thirty years; long before I ever heard of an ID movement.)

    It is essentially self-refuting and so strictly needs not be considered as to whether or no it is compatible with anything else.

    Let me add a clip of my remark in the OP, in turn from previous thread:

    C, design is compatible with embodied designers — we are embodied designers. Evolutionary materialism is inescapably self referentially incoherent and irretrievably self-falsifying as a worldview. [–> link in OP] Whether or no it is dressed up in a lab coat . . . threatening to take the credibility of science down with it in the ruins of its inevitable collapse. And that is some serious beef.

    Now as there are entrenched, institutionalised and even domineering proponents who hold power centres of thought, education and policy, that first means our civilisation is on a march of folly. Which in its own right needs to be reversed.

    Second, as a matter of fact we see embodied designers in action and can use that to detect empirically reliable signs of design. From which, we may point to various cases reflecting such signs:

    A fine tuned cosmos.

    A very privileged home planet.

    cells based on digital code using nanotechnology as the heart of embodied life.

    Complex body plans chock full of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information.

    Our own body plan.

    More.

    From this we can argue to design at relevant levels, using an in common undeniable fact: design and its designers exist.

    Is the design inference dependent on whether or not it is compatible with something not compatible with itself?

    No.

    But adherents of that self refuting theory have to be addressed.

    KF

    PS: I do not understand why you want to accuse me of 1300 irrelevant words when I pointed out this was a response to an accusation of strawman argument. As Pearcey was accused of to try to deflect the force of her point which exposes one way in which evolutionary materialism is self refuting. As in the claim was but nobody argues like that. Indeed, let me now clip Internet Enc Phil on the point:

    Evolutionary Epistemology (EE) is a naturalistic approach to epistemology and so is part of philosophy of science. Other naturalistic approaches include sociological, historical and anthropological explanations of knowledge. What makes EE specific is that it subscribes to the idea that cognition is to be understood primarily as a product of biological evolution. What does this mean exactly? Biological evolution is regarded as the precondition of the variety of cognitive, cultural, and social behavior that an organism, group or species can portray. In other words, biological evolution precedes (socio-)cultural (co-)evolution. Conversely, (socio-)cultural (co-)evolution originates as a result of biological evolution. Therefore:

    1] EE studies the origin, evolution and current mechanisms of all cognitive capacities of all biological organisms from within biological (evolutionary) theory. Here cognition is broadly conceived, ranging from the echolocation of bats, to human-specific symbolic thinking;

    2] Besides studying the cognitive capacities themselves, EE investigates the ways in which biological evolutionary models can be used to study the products of these cognitive capacities. The cognitive products studied include, for example, the typical spatiotemporal perception of objects of all mammals, or more human-specific cognitive products such as science, culture and language. These evolutionary models are at minimum applied on a descriptive level, but can also be used as explanations for the behavior under study. In other words, the cognitive mechanisms and their products are understood to be either comparative with, or the result of, biological evolution.

    3] Within EE it is sometimes assumed that biological evolution itself is a cognitive process.

    In short, we see a grand narrative that asserts production and control of mind on blind watchmaker chance and necessity, which is exactly what sets up the self-falsification by irretrievable self contradiction.

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: My longstanding argument on the incoherence of evolutionary materialism:

    ________

    >>13 –> Some materialists go further and suggest that mind is more or less a delusion. For instance, Sir Francis Crick is on record, in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:

    . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    14 –> Philip Johnson has replied that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Johnson then acidly commented: “[[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [[Reason in the Balance, 1995.]

    15 –> In short, it is at least arguable that self-referential absurdity is the dagger pointing to the heart of evolutionary materialistic models of mind and its origin . . .

    . . . This issue can be addressed at a more sophisticated level [[cf. Hasker in The Emergent Self (Cornell University Press, 2001), from p 64 on, e.g. here as well as Reppert here and Plantinga here (briefer) & here (noting updates in the 2011 book, The Nature of Nature)], but without losing its general force, it can also be drawn out a bit in a fairly simple way:

    a: Evolutionary materialism argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature; from hydrogen to humans by undirected chance and necessity.

    b: Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws of chance and/or mechanical necessity acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of happenstance initial circumstances.

    (This is physicalism. This view covers both the forms where (a) the mind and the brain are seen as one and the same thing, and those where (b) somehow mind emerges from and/or “supervenes” on brain, perhaps as a result of sophisticated and complex software looping. The key point, though is as already noted: physical causal closure — the phenomena that play out across time, without residue, are in principle deducible or at least explainable up to various random statistical distributions and/or mechanical laws, from prior physical states. Such physical causal closure, clearly, implicitly discounts or even dismisses the causal effect of concept formation and reasoning then responsibly deciding, in favour of specifically physical interactions in the brain-body control loop; indeed, some mock the idea of — in their view — an “obviously” imaginary “ghost” in the meat-machine. [[There is also some evidence from simulation exercises, that accuracy of even sensory perceptions may lose out to utilitarian but inaccurate ones in an evolutionary competition. “It works” does not warrant the inference to “it is true.”] )

    c: But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this meat-machine picture. So, we rapidly arrive at Crick’s claim in his The Astonishing Hypothesis (1994): what we subjectively experience as “thoughts,” “reasoning” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as the unintended by-products of the blind natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains that (as the Smith Model illustrates) serve as cybernetic controllers for our bodies.

    d: These underlying driving forces are viewed as being ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance shaped by forces of selection [[“nature”] and psycho-social conditioning [[“nurture”], within the framework of human culture [[i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism]. And, remember, the focal issue to such minds — notice, this is a conceptual analysis made and believed by the materialists! — is the physical causal chains in a control loop, not the internalised “mouth-noises” that may somehow sit on them and come along for the ride.

    (Save, insofar as such “mouth noises” somehow associate with or become embedded as physically instantiated signals or maybe codes in such a loop. [[How signals, languages and codes originate and function in systems in our observation of such origin — i.e by design — tends to be pushed to the back-burner and conveniently forgotten. So does the point that a signal or code takes its significance precisely from being an intelligently focused on, observed or chosen and significant alternative from a range of possibilities that then can guide decisive action.])

    e: For instance, Marxists commonly derided opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismissed qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? Should we not ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is little more than yet another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze? And — as we saw above — would the writings of a Crick be any more than the firing of neurons in networks in his own brain?

    f: For further instance, we may take the favourite whipping-boy of materialists: religion. Notoriously, they often hold that belief in God is not merely cognitive, conceptual error, but delusion. Borderline lunacy, in short. But, if such a patent “delusion” is so utterly widespread, even among the highly educated, then it “must” — by the principles of evolution — somehow be adaptive to survival, whether in nature or in society. And so, this would be a major illustration of the unreliability of our conceptual reasoning ability, on the assumption of evolutionary materialism.

    g: Turning the materialist dismissal of theism around, evolutionary materialism itself would be in the same leaky boat. For, the sauce for the goose is notoriously just as good a sauce for the gander, too.

    h: That is, on its own premises [[and following Dawkins in A Devil’s Chaplain, 2004, p. 46], the cause of the belief system of evolutionary materialism, “must” also be reducible to forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity that are sufficiently adaptive to spread this “meme” in populations of jumped- up apes from the savannahs of East Africa scrambling for survival in a Malthusian world of struggle for existence. Reppert brings the underlying point sharply home, in commenting on the “internalised mouth-noise signals riding on the physical cause-effect chain in a cybernetic loop” view:

    . . . 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. [[Emphases added. Also cf. Reppert’s summary of Barefoot’s argument here.]

    i: The famous geneticist and evolutionary biologist (as well as Socialist) J. B. S. Haldane made much the same point in a famous 1932 remark:

    “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. (Highlight and emphases added.)] . . .

    j: Therefore, though materialists will often try to pointedly ignore or angrily brush aside the issue, we may freely argue: if such evolutionary materialism is true, then (i) our consciousness, (ii) the “thoughts” we have, (iii) the conceptualised beliefs we hold, (iv) the reasonings we attempt based on such and (v) the “conclusions” and “choices” (a.k.a. “decisions”) we reach — without residue — must be produced and controlled by blind forces of chance happenstance and mechanical necessity that are irrelevant to “mere” ill-defined abstractions such as: purpose or truth, or even logical validity.

    (NB: The conclusions of such “arguments” may still happen to be true, by astonishingly lucky coincidence — but we have no rational grounds for relying on the “reasoning” that has led us to feel that we have “proved” or “warranted” them. It seems that rationality itself has thus been undermined fatally on evolutionary materialistic premises. Including that of Crick et al. Through, self-reference leading to incoherence and utter inability to provide a cogent explanation of our commonplace, first-person experience of reasoning and rational warrant for beliefs, conclusions and chosen paths of action. Reduction to absurdity and explanatory failure in short.)

    k: And, if materialists then object: “But, we can always apply scientific tests, through observation, experiment and measurement,” then we must immediately note that — as the fate of Newtonian Dynamics between 1880 and 1930 shows — empirical support is not equivalent to establishing the truth of a scientific theory. For, at any time, one newly discovered countering fact can in principle overturn the hitherto most reliable of theories. (And as well, we must not lose sight of this: in science, one is relying on the legitimacy of the reasoning process to make the case that scientific evidence provides reasonable albeit provisional warrant for one’s beliefs etc. Scientific reasoning is not independent of reasoning.)

    l: Worse, in the case of origins science theories, we simply were not there to directly observe the facts of the remote past, so origins sciences are even more strongly controlled by assumptions and inferences than are operational scientific theories. So, we contrast the way that direct observations of falling apples and orbiting planets allow us to test our theories of gravity . . .

    n: Such a priori assumptions of materialism are patently question-begging, mind-closing and fallacious.

    o: More important, to demonstrate that empirical tests provide empirical support to the materialists’ theories would require the use of the very process of reasoning and inference which they have discredited.

    p: Thus, evolutionary materialism arguably reduces reason itself to the status of illusion. But, as we have seen: immediately, that must include “Materialism.”

    q: In the end, it is thus quite hard to escape the conclusion that materialism is based on self-defeating, question-begging logic.

    r: So, while materialists — just like the rest of us — in practice routinely rely on the credibility of reasoning and despite all the confidence they may project, they at best struggle to warrant such a tacitly accepted credibility of mind and of concepts and reasoned out conclusions relative to the core claims of their worldview. (And, sadly: too often, they tend to pointedly ignore or rhetorically brush aside the issue.)>>
    ________

    KF

  51. 51
    Andre says:

    Clavdivs

    Something not depending on another has noting to do with compatibility…..

  52. 52
    Andre says:

    Me_Think

    They did not detect a black hole
    In this universe they can not exist. If true Einstein is wrong…. and Einstein is not wrong. You are one seriously easy to convince gan being… scientist said so must be so. Let me say it again…

    There are no black holes

  53. 53
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    Something not depending on another has noting to do with compatibility

    I don’t follow. Please explain.

  54. 54
    Andre says:

    Read what the site owner said…..

    Even if the universe is the product of some relic laws where did the laws come from? Every law has a law giver

  55. 55
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    “1. If monist physicalism is true and a natural telic force exists, it is nevertheless possible objectively to infer design.
    2. Therefore, design may be inferred under monist physicalism using the explanatory filter.”

    Seems crystal clear the site owner accepts that ID and monist physicalism (i.e. materialism) are compatible.

    Even if the universe is the product of some relic laws where did the laws come from? Every law has a law giver

    This has nothing to do with ID which is about detecting design not identifying the origin or features of the designer.

  56. 56
    Andre says:

    If it is true of course. You still have the issue… where did the laws come from? And it has everything to do with laws. We have evidence of these laws in biological systems. It still tells us nothing of the designer and there we agree.

  57. 57
    rhampton7 says:

    Andre 56,

    By design, the scientific theory of Intelligent Design has a very narrow application. It does not make any claims as to who or what are the source of the physical laws of the Universe. All that ID theory can do is make a positive claim that a given artifact has been designed by an intelligence. Both natural and supernatural intelligences are possible originators and ID theory provides no test of any kind to make a determination.

    Given the limited scope of CLAVDIVS’s statement, it is true.

  58. 58
    CLAVDIVS says:

    kairosfocus

    If you post such long, poorly written arguments again I won’t read them. Life is too short.

    Nowhere in your diatribe do you spell out where the logical contradiction is in materialism, leading to its conceptual incoherence. I am not defending materialism here so frankly I don’t care, but if you wish to make such strong statements you should back them up clearly and *concisely*. You should also publish it and show half of all the professional philosophers, not to mention various senior ID proponents, what fools they are for not realising materialism is incoherent.

    *But* even if we grant your position that materialism is incoherent my point still stands. Why attack materialism if it is incoherent, and thus meaningless and neither compatible nor incompatible with ID? All you achieve is the alienation of roughly half the potential academic supporters of ID, without advancing the ID cause one inch. For an ID proponent that is a self-defeating strategy.

  59. 59
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Contrary to KF’s religious beliefs, ID does not rule out a material designer. As such, design cannot be incompatible with materialism. The concept is simple. I don’t see why it is so controversial.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    C, you have set up and knocked over a stylistic strawman while failing to deal with the merits. But, as this very argument has been discussed over the years (including here at UD) I have good reason to know it is not the no argument you rhetorically make it out to be. Details and specific cases such as Crick, Freud, Marx and Skinner etc do count but the core issue is that if mind is wholly produced and controlled by forces that are rooted in non-foresighted blind chance and mechanical necessity, then this decisively undermines reason and knowledge. Crick’s you are nothing but electrochemistry of a pack of neurons — the illusory self — or Skinners operantly conditioned rat in a cosmic maze or the like simply express different ways in which responsible rational freedom is undercut through self-referential incoherence acting through genes, biochemistry and psycho social forces etc. As Johnson put it in reply to Crick, “[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist” — and tossing random factors into the mix does not change the force of such undermining. When you have to make an implicit argument serving “exception” like that you have a serious problem with self-referential incoherence. KF

    PS: Observe the opening points:

    13 –> Some materialists go further and suggest that mind is more or less a delusion. For instance, Sir Francis Crick is on record, in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:

    . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    14 –> Philip Johnson has replied that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Johnson then acidly commented: “[[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [[Reason in the Balance, 1995.]

    15 –> In short, it is at least arguable that self-referential absurdity is the dagger pointing to the heart of evolutionary materialistic models of mind and its origin . . .

    Yup, at this stage, the argument is not even mine, it is Crick vs Johnson. And, the point of self-referential incoherence is explicitly identified. My voice appears at 15, in summary, and explicitly highlights that the incoherence issue is there already in Crick’s words. Crick’s words, not mine so stylistic objections targetting me are a red herring led off to a strawman soaked in distractive argument against the man and rhetorically lighted up, clouding and confusing the issue. I think we can do a bit better than this.

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, there you go again rhetorically converting a worldviews and empirical-logical analysis to the rhetorically dismissible strawman target, “religion.” KF

  62. 62
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF: “IE, there you go again rhetorically converting a worldviews and empirical-logical analysis to the rhetorically dismissible strawman target, “religion.” KF

    KF, get over yourself. All I said was that you believe that your God is the “designer”, and that ID does not require this. Both are facts, very easily confirmed. You can call it a strawman all you want, but that is patently BS. Please start addressing the actual points raised rather that getting your knickers in a knot and taking it personally

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    RH7, this discussion is not about the design inference, it is about a major worldviews problem with evolutionary materialism. Which is not compatible with itself. So debates on whether ID is compatible, strictly are moot. Indeed, once the self-falsification is seen, it becomes evident that institutional establishment is propping up a fatally cracked system, KF

  64. 64
    rhampton7 says:

    KF,

    The detection of design, if we use Stonehenge as an example, does not identify the nature of the intelligence that carved and positioned the stones.

    Casey Luskin addressed this point recently:

    In other words, the empirical data — such as the information-rich, integrated complexity of the flagellar machine — may indicate that the flagellum arose by intelligent design. But that same empirical data does not inform us whether the intelligence that designed the flagellum was Yahweh, Allah, Buddha, Yoda, or some other source of intelligent agency. There is no known way to use such empirical data to determine the nature or identity of the designer, and since ID is based solely upon empirical data, the scientific theory of ID must remain silent on such questions.

    Design, taken to mean the design of Intelligent Design Theory, is silent on the nature of intelligence.

    The point of all this is that ID’s non-identification of the designer isn’t a “policy” or a “strategy,” but rather it’s something that just flows out of ID’s choice to take a scientific approach, rather than a theological one. None of this is new for the ID movement. In fact a review of early ID literature shows that this has been ID’s approach from the very beginning. Some people see ID’s scientific approach that doesn’t address religious questions as a weakness, but I see it as a strength.

    KF, The only way you can make your argument is to say name a specific philosophical or theological theory that is not compatible – design itself is just too broad a concept to restrict it thusly.

  65. 65
    kairosfocus says:

    IE,

    go look back at your loaded language, which does exactly what I pointed out, rhetorically change subject from philosophy and reasoned argument to dismissal of religion.

    That detracts from reasonable discussion.

    Further, in discussing the design inference I NEVER infer per signs of design to any designer, that is a strawman caricature. Design is a process that often leaves empirically reliable signs, which when present indicate this process as a causal factor. Designs do come from designers, but the identification of a list of suspects and the ranking of more/less credible is a further question.

    I have repeatedly corrected the mischaracterisation such as you made by pointing out that since the first ID technical book by Thaxton et al, inferred design on the world of cell based life has never been equated to inference to a designer beyond the cosmos. Indeed 2350 years ago in The Laws Bk X, Plato makes the specific contrast natural [= chance and/or necessity] vs the ART-ifical.

    That is, the rhetorically imposed contrast natural vs supernatural is a strawman caricature that the NCSE etc should long since have retracted and apologised for.

    In the case of cosmological fine tuning, we are looking at signs pointing to design of the observed cosmos. That does make God a serious candidate to be designer and one may argue onwards that as the fine tuning sets up a world for C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life, unity of purpose would make God a reasonable candidate. However this is part of a much broader worldviews argument, not an empirical inference on signs to design as a material causal factor.

    Strictly on the evidence of cell based life on earth, a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter et al would be sufficient. As, I have said in pretty much those words any number of times.

    Where, coming back to the focal matters for this thread, there is evidence of embodied designers, e.g. comments in this thread. That does not imply materialism is true, nor does this narrow inductive conclusion imply it is false.

    The self-falsification of evolutionary materialism lies in its attempt to reduce responsible, rational freedom and its products to blind watchmaker mechanisms acting on matter and energy in space and time from hydrogen to humans.

    It falls of its own weight and has no right to demand that any claim or argument be compatible with it.

    It is not even compatible with itself.

    And, I had better get back to the local issues.

    Good evening.

    KF

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    RH7, yes design inference is not to designer but to design, and I actually use Stonehenge too elsewhere. Cf my just above, the design inference is about design as process that may leave characteristic signs. That is not the focus of this thread, which is that evolutionary materialism is not even consistent with itself and has no right to demand that any scheme of thought line up with its fatally flawed claims. Gotta go. KF

  67. 67
    rhampton7 says:

    KF,

    I understand this thread to be about the truth of this statement as it stands by itself:

    Design as a cause is compatible with materialism

    Since this i first and foremost a blog about Intelligent Design theory, I understand the “Design” in question to be the one referenced by ID.
    So yes, the design that can be detected using the theory of Intelligent Design is compatible with a materialist explanation. For example, the theorized design of Stonehenge by human beings is as compatible with a materialist explanation as with other, non-materialist explanations.

  68. 68
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF: “go look back at your loaded language, which does exactly what I pointed out, rhetorically change subject from philosophy and reasoned argument to dismissal of religion.

    That detracts from reasonable discussion.”

    Let’s examine this completely unsubstantiated claim.

    I said: “Contrary to KF’s religious beliefs, ID does not rule out a material designer.”

    A factual statement. You have never hidden the fact that you believe that your God is the designer postulated by ID. And ID is very clear that a deity is not required and that the designer can be a material being. Another verifiable fact.

    I also said: “As such, design cannot be incompatible with materialism.”

    Again, a verifiable fact. It is definitely incompatible with your concept of design, but you don’t own ID.

    And then after much blah, blah you state: “The self-falsification of evolutionary materialism lies in its attempt to reduce responsible, rational freedom and its products to blind watchmaker mechanisms acting on matter and energy in space and time from hydrogen to humans.”

    At best, this is an unsubstantiated assertion. At worst, it is a rhetorical talking point.

    You are the one taking my disagreements with you as personal insults. As I have said before, that says more about you than it does about me. And what it says is not very flattering.

  69. 69
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    Plantinga’s evolutionary argument labours under the assumption that evolution selects for behavior — not truth.

    hmm, I would say that’s it probably correct to say that selection is based on a behavior. Run from the tiger and you may live; walk up to pet the tiger and you probably won’t. Selection in action. However, such behavior (except in cases of very basic instincts) aren’t themselves heritable, although some of the things that lead to the behavior may be.

    What, most likely, would lead to an appropriate response to the sight of a tiger? Even someone who has never seen a tiger may recognize features of a dangerous predator, and may reason that the best chance of survival is to run and/or hide. This response requires an adequate sense of vision, a certain level of intelligence, a sense of self-preservation, etc. These features are (to one extent or another) heritable.

    Plantinga’s argument seems to be that one can do the right action – for the wrong reason. Well, yes. All of us, at probably one time or another, got very lucky by doing the right action for the wrong reason, and thereby avoided injury or worse. It’s called luck. Luck isn’t heritable. Luck also typically doesn’t last.

    Suppose Peter comes along and sees a tiger and runs away because he recognizes that a large creature with big teeth is probably a predator who may see him as prey. Yes, it is actions that matters. Both Paul and Peter survived because they performed the right action. Peter survived because he accurately recognized the situation and thought out a reasonable course of action in response.
    Paul survived because of astonishing unbelievable luck.

    For that single particular moment, yes, Peter and Paul were equal. But how often is that going to happen? How about 5 min later when another danger presents itself?

    Who do you suppose is more likely to survive the next dangerous encounter?

    If Paul’s action was a one-off thing – again, a “duh” that probably happens to us all – than he may still, in general, have a decent grasp of reality. But what if the tiger-encounter was typical of Paul? What are the odds of continually doing actions – that have nothing to do with reality – that just happen to be an appropriate action, time after time? If that’s the case, than Plantinga is envisioning a real-life Mr. Bean/Mr. Magoo/Inspector Clouseau type character. While it may be humorous to imagine – it’s also incredibly unrealistic.

    But let’s say that, against all odds, Paul survives long enough to breed (the equivalent of hitting the lottery multiple times a day – every day – year after year). But, again, unfortunately for his children, luck isn’t heritable.

    Thus, Plantinga argued, the probability that our minds are reliable under a conjunction of philosophical naturalism and naturalistic evolution is low or inscrutable.?So, is a belief that human beings have evolved in conformity with current evolutionary theory necessarily “not true”, as Nancy claims? No, it just might be true, but it is “unreliable”.

    I agree with this in principle.  Our brains are “unreliable” if by that one means “fallible”.  But if one means that ideas about reality produced by the brain are no better than random chance at matching reality, than I disagree.  I believe that there should be some correlation between brains that can discern reality and odds of surviving.  (After all, what good are brains unless they have at least some capability of telling us something about reality? How would they otherwise aid survival?)?

    Of course, any argument I can think of for why I think an idea is reasonable may itself just seem reasonable because of an unreliable brain.?

    The idea that – at least in principle – any beliefs we have are fallible as a result of our fallibility is actually an idea that is regularly mocked on this site (it was referenced the beginning of the “Materialism makes you stupid” OP).

    (But Believing that we were created by God isn’t an escape from that problem.  It could be a mistaken idea of an unreliable brain that God exists. And you’re relying on your own power of reason to reason that we have a good reason to believe we’re reasonable – and around we go.)

  70. 70
    goodusername says:

    KF #28,

    I’m not sure if that post was a reply to mine, but that isn’t a list of people espousing evolutionary epistemology, at least not the version Nancy is criticizing: That all of our ideas are selected for their survival value just like genes. That idea does indeed run self-referential problems – but the people she and you are quoting aren’t espousing that idea.

  71. 71
    Andre says:

    With the resent discovery of the Architecture of the symmetric core of the nuclear pore, can we in anyway reasonably still entertain the idea that some material process or processes are responsible?

    You see this architecture is evolutionary conserved so it is very reasonable to accept that any material process or procesess are wholly incapable of ever producing this type of complexity.

    http://authors.library.caltech.edu/66192/

    I’m going to hinge my bet that whoever this designer is or was, he/she is a master engineer.

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN,

    au contraire, the issue of differential survival of populations based on behavioural performance on the ground is at the heart of the chance variation plus differential reproductive success dynamic at the foundation of the evolutionary metanarrative.

    That is not in serious doubt.

    As a result, the appeal to evolution is inherently an appeal to differential survival based on behaviour conditioned by genetic factors. Thus,

    a: those who appeal to blind watchmaker evolution and its materialistic context (hence Lewontin as cite no 1 above in a list) as the basis for our cognitive capacities

    b: are in fact appealing to survival value

    c: rather than putting up a mechanism that targets or credibly delivers on ability to be responsibly free and rational, thus able to perceive and understand accurately, warrant and ground beliefs as credibly true

    d: rather than useful or in-stamped by forces irrelevant to requisites of such rationality etc.

    This comes out in many ways, Freud’s potty training and resulting psychologising of attempted reasoning, Skinner’s operant conditioning of jumped up rats in a cosmic maze, Marx’s dismissal of class conditioning, Darwin’s distrust of the thoughts of a jumped up monkey brain (when it doubts Darwinism!), Crick’s you are nothing but a pack of neurons running electrochemistry interactions etc etc etc. In each and every case the problem Johnson highlights comes to the fore: the theorist implicitly excepts himself from the problems he uses to discredit others. But the spider is here caught up in his own web.

    In addition, the materialistic side runs into the reduction of mind to matter, to brains and neural networks programmed by blind chance and mechanical necessity. The quantum of required functionally specific complex organisation and associated information is already well beyond the reasonable blind search capacity of the observed cosmos working on chance and necessity. But that is not the only problem, as Haldane and C S Lewis long ago spotted, and before them Leibniz. Signal processing on hardware is inherently a blindly mechanical process driven by GIGO. What may be mechanically or chemically feasible is simply irrelevant to what is sound or rational or true or coherent or insightful.

    Mechanical cause-effect chains are just that, mechanical — matters of brute force. Ground and consequent inferences depend crucially on insight into meaning and the responsible rational freedom to follow such a process without undue interference. The attempt to impose the first on the second leads to exactly such interference and breakdown.

    So the whole project of evolutionary epistemology (which tries to build an explanation of cognition on evolutionary mechanisms) is fatally self-referentially incoherent from the foundation.

    Note, Stanford Enc of Phil:

    Evolutionary Epistemology is a naturalistic approach to epistemology, which emphasizes the importance of natural selection in two primary roles. In the first role, selection is the generator and maintainer of the reliability of our senses and cognitive mechanisms, as well as the “fit” between those mechanisms and the world. In the second role, trial and error learning and the evolution of scientific theories are construed as selection processes . . . . There are two interrelated but distinct programs which go by the name “evolutionary epistemology.” One focuses on the development of cognitive mechanisms in animals and humans. This involves a straightforward extension of the biological theory of evolution to those aspects or traits of animals which are the biological substrates of cognitive activity, e.g., their brains, sensory systems, motor systems, etc. The other program attempts to account for the evolution of ideas, scientific theories, epistemic norms and culture in general by using models and metaphors drawn from evolutionary biology. Both programs have their roots in 19th century biology and social philosophy, in the work of Darwin, Spencer, James and others.

    In that context of the thrust of a research programme and line of thought, Pearcey is credibly accurately summarising the general framework and gives relevant examples, with the underlying problem. Let me note how she speaks again:

    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 . . . .

    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.”

    Houston, we have a problem.

    KF

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: An interview article by Laurie Taylor with John Gray:

    I decided to raise the stakes by asking if everyone in the audience knew exactly what Gray was asserting? What, for example, did they make of this passage? “To believe in progress is to believe that, by using the new powers given to us by growing scientific knowledge, humans can free themselves from the limits that frame the lives of other animals. This is the hope of nearly everybody today, but it is groundless.” Or perhaps this passage: “Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth – and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.”

    In short, Pearcey is precisely correct to highlight this remark and to note its recognised significance as self-referential and self-undermining.

    The subtle ways in which that self-referentiality pervades this discussion of Freud in the interview proper practically beg us to tease them out:

    But what was the mechanism by which liberal humanists came to adopt the Christian notion of progress and make it central to their own beliefs? Were they so strongly influenced by their childhood religiosity that they necessarily imported ideas of progress and betterment into their secular and humanist visions? Or was the mechanism more unconscious? A Freudian return of the repressed?

    “Absolutely. Freud says if you suppress sex it doesn’t just go away. It’s part of us, so if you repress it, it comes out in more bizarre and morbid and ridiculous forms. And I think that is true of religion. Liberal humanism now has all the mood-enhancing, meaning-conferring functions that Christianity had in the past.”

    Wasn’t this playing rather fast and loose with Freud? The founder of psychoanalysis may have spent his life demoting the centrality of consciousness and promoting the power of the irrational, but surely his work did not provide any license for Gray’s suggestion that liberal humanism could be seen as the return of repressed religion. Secularism for Freud represented an advance on religious thinking. It was recognition of the illusory nature of religion.

    “Sort of. But when Freud talks about illusion he doesn’t mean an error. Illusions aren’t errors that can be corrected by an increase in intellectual ability or understanding. Illusions are beliefs we have because we need to have them in some way. And he says that we cannot imagine a world where the mass of humankind – I would say ‘anybody’ – can manage without illusion. Freud didn’t go along with the classical freethinkers of the Enlightenment who worked on the assumption that human life could be exorcised of superstition, fantasy, and illusion. He cannot conceive of humanity without illusions. So this leads me to the conclusion, which I don’t think Freud would have made, that if we are going to have fantasies and illusions in one way or another, we should seek ones which are dignified, aesthetic, attractive, tolerant. In other words our criteria for judging religions shouldn’t be truth or falsehood, it should be like judging poetry or art. We should adopt ones which are the most beautiful.”

    Things fall apart. The centre cannot hold. Stark chaos is let slip and already we can hear the absurdly over-confident baying of the dogs of nihilistic despair and ruin.

    (And yes, in case you do not know it: I am openly very pessimistic about the prospects of our civilisation in coming decades on its current track. Lemmings insistently headed for and over the cliff is the image that keeps on coming to mind. And the local issues I must return to underscore this pattern of a mass march of insistent folly in the teeth of all that is sensible, if anything. 36 years ago, I saw such folly come to murderous, economically ruinous political myth induced disaster and mini civil war. To this day, many in my native land cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that truth as the explanation for why we find ourselves with a shattered, broken-backed economy and society at the foot of a high cliff, with little hope for short term progress. By 1977, insightful minds saw that we had destroyed ourselves and faced two full 40-year generations in the wilderness. And last I checked those minds, we have yet to begin the serious recovery that is needed, we are in the confusion where darkness seems light and light darkness, so impaired and confused are we. The lessons of sound history are written in blood and tears, those who refuse to seek and heed them doom themselves to pay the same price over and over again. In short, have seen this path before and it heads nowhere any sane community wants to go. But it seems sanity as a collective is too often the precise issue at stake, per Canetti’s The Madness of Crowds. But then, by c AD 62, Luke had already spotlighted that challenge for democracy in what is literally the world’s all-time bestselling book.)

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, you persist in substituting a loaded religious strawman for a case that is about philosophical and empirical themes. Apparently, in this you are sadly stubbornly insistent to the point of incorrigibility, especially as you also play the oh snippet then blah blah defiant I- will- neither- read- nor- listen- to- a- corrective card. That speaks saddening volumes, indeed maybe even in Freudian tones. KF

    PS: I address the phil framework issues here and here, for those who are willing to rise above rhetoric and for those willing to understand why there is such a thing as a serious broad cumulative inference to best explanation worldviews case for ethical theism that is not merely circular or dependent on outdated deductive theistic skeletal proofs. (Let me add that modern deductive proofs that are demonstrably valid exist and serve a very useful cumulative argument function: to reject such a proof, one must reject assumptions, so the cumulative load of commitments needed to reject a cluster of such arguments then opens up serious questions on the comparative difficulties of the core worldview commitments that are now unearthed. I find the force of modal-ontological factors, necessary vs possible vs impossible beings, the issue of bridging IS and OUGHT, the challenge of THE ONE and THE MANY, and the cumulative force of millions of current and historic experiences of life transforming encounter with God, joined to the strong signs of design of both cosmos and cell based life to be strongly constraining on the credibility of the worldview commitments of those who wish to be serious minded atheists in today’s world.)

  75. 75
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername #69: Plantinga’s argument seems to be that one can do the right action – for the wrong reason. Well, yes. All of us, at probably one time or another, got very lucky by doing the right action for the wrong reason, and thereby avoided injury or worse. It’s called luck. Luck isn’t heritable. Luck also typically doesn’t last.

    Not sure what you mean here, the whole idea of evolutionary theory is that, in a sense, luck is heritable. In this case heritable “luck” is adaptive behavior coupled with a wrong belief. Behavior and beliefs [convictions] are heritable, according to an evolutionary explanation of cognition.

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”
    Darwin

    Goodusername: Suppose Peter comes along and sees a tiger and runs away because he recognizes that a large creature with big teeth is probably a predator who may see him as prey. Yes, it is actions that matters. Both Paul and Peter survived because they performed the right action. Peter survived because he accurately recognized the situation and thought out a reasonable course of action in response. Paul survived because of astonishing unbelievable luck.
    For that single particular moment, yes, Peter and Paul were equal. But how often is that going to happen? How about 5 min later when another danger presents itself?

    Also here, I’m not sure what your argument is. Obviously, Peter’s correct set of beliefs that lead to adaptive behavior, is in need of an evolutionary explanation. However there is a problem with that, as Plantinga’s argument points out.
    One cannot assume Peter’s correct set of beliefs and intelligence, as you seem to do.

  76. 76
    Origenes says:

    Materialism: an attempt at defining it.

    Materialism holds that all of reality consists of impersonal indivisible fundamental elements — fermions and bosons.
    At macro-level a rock may present itself to us as one indivisible thing, however its oneness is an illusion; in fact it is nothing over and beyond fundamental elements. The fundamental elements that make a rock don’t have the rock in mind. They don’t care if they are part of a rock or any other conglomerate.

    Similarly a robot, made from Lego blocks, which cleans the porch, may present itself to us as one indivisible thing which wants a clean porch, but in fact there is nothing over and beyond Lego blocks which care about neither robots nor porches. The illusion of a sympathetic personal robot is produced by unsympathetic impersonal Lego blocks. To be clear, wrt the robot, there is no person and there is no sympathy.

    Similarly a human being, made from fermions and bosons, may present itself to us as one indivisible thing with its own intentions, but in fact there is nothing over and beyond fermions and bosons which care about neither human beings nor their intentions. The illusion of an intentional personal human being is produced by unintentional impersonal fermions and bosons. To be clear, there is no person and there are no intentions.

  77. 77
    Indiana Effigy says:

    IE, you persist in substituting a loaded religious strawman blah, blah, blah. KF”

    There is obviously no point in trying to communicate with you. You accuse me of personal attacks and then launch into personal attacks. I have tried several corrections but you refuse to accept them. In one thing you are correct. Your actions” speaks saddening volumes, indeed maybe even in Freudian tones”.

    G’day.

  78. 78
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, in fact, it is evident that

    1: you have refused to address the common problem with objectors to design thought, of

    2: dragging a red herring [here, religion not philosophy and logic and empirical evidence — where in such circles “religion” is not in good odour] across the track of discussion, then

    3: leading this out to a strawman caricature, [presenting a worldviews and evidence analysis discussion as if it were a presentation of religious dogma asserted by authority of some tradition] that is

    4: laced with ad hominems [in this case the implication is that I am falsely portraying dogma as reasoned philosphical and/or empirical inquiry]

    5: which is then set alight [by using repetitions and elaborations] to create a spectacle and cloud of confusing, polarising smoke [the subject is now changed to loaded insinuations and implications attacking the man], thus

    6: removing discussion from the focal issues.

    In addition, yesterday you falsely accused me of censorship in a thread I had not even been a part of hitherto. Something that I just happened to see by chance as Mung replied to you.

    Morover, the refusal to recognise philosophical, linked logical and empirical analysis as a category of discussion that is material, and to twist what speaks to that into accusations and/or loaded insinuations about “religion’ thus polarising and frustrating serious and civil discussion.

    Enough has been said on this side track, to show the problems for those who are serious about substance.

    Meanwhile, the issue remains that it is clear that evolutionary materialism is self referentially incoherent in many ways, and thus it cannot be a reasonable expectation that any scheme of thought align with it.

    KF

  79. 79
    kairosfocus says:

    Origines, interesting perspectives, care to elaborate? KF

  80. 80
    ellazimm says:

    KF #5

    evolutionary materialism — the form generally trotted around dressed up in a lab coat — is self-refuting by way of self-referential incoherence. That is important to note in its own right.

    No one has a proper right to expect us to genuflect to self falsifying schemes of thought.

    Mix in scientism, and you see a toxic, domineering brew that demands kowtowing in the name of being the Voice of genuine knowledge.

    This is a major breakdown of the life of the mind in our time.

    In its own right, that breakdown needs to be exposed and faced.

    #49

    Now as there are entrenched, institutionalised and even domineering proponents who hold power centres of thought, education and policy, that first means our civilisation is on a march of folly. Which in its own right needs to be reversed.

    #72

    This comes out in many ways, Freud’s potty training and resulting psychologising of attempted reasoning, Skinner’s operant conditioning of jumped up rats in a cosmic maze, Marx’s dismissal of class conditioning, Darwin’s distrust of the thoughts of a jumped up monkey brain (when it doubts Darwinism!), Crick’s you are nothing but a pack of neurons running electrochemistry interactions etc etc etc. In each and every case the problem Johnson highlights comes to the fore: the theorist implicitly excepts himself from the problems he uses to discredit others. But the spider is here caught up in his own web.

    The quantum of required functionally specific complex organisation and associated information is already well beyond the reasonable blind search capacity of the observed cosmos working on chance and necessity.

    #73

    Things fall apart. The centre cannot hold. Stark chaos is let slip and already we can hear the absurdly over-confident baying of the dogs of nihilistic despair and ruin.

    (And yes, in case you do not know it: I am openly very pessimistic about the prospects of our civilisation in coming decades on its current track. Lemmings insistently headed for and over the cliff is the image that keeps on coming to mind. And the local issues I must return to underscore this pattern of a mass march of insistent folly in the teeth of all that is sensible, if anything. 36 years ago, I saw such folly come to murderous, economically ruinous political myth induced disaster and mini civil war. To this day, many in my native land cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that truth as the explanation for why we find ourselves with a shattered, broken-backed economy and society at the foot of a high cliff, with little hope for short term progress. By 1977, insightful minds saw that we had destroyed ourselves and faced two full 40-year generations in the wilderness. And last I checked those minds, we have yet to begin the serious recovery that is needed, we are in the confusion where darkness seems light and light darkness, so impaired and confused are we. The lessons of sound history are written in blood and tears, those who refuse to seek and heed them doom themselves to pay the same price over and over again. In short, have seen this path before and it heads nowhere any sane community wants to go. But it seems sanity as a collective is too often the precise issue at stake, per Canetti’s The Madness of Crowds. But then, by c AD 62, Luke had already spotlighted that challenge for democracy in what is literally the world’s all-time bestselling book.

    I read quite a few red herrings and strawman caricatures and ad hominems set alight in the lines quoted above.

    #78

    Meanwhile, the issue remains that it is clear that evolutionary materialism is self referentially incoherent in many ways, and thus it cannot be a reasonable expectation that any scheme of thought align with it.

    And yet we still disagree with you.

  81. 81
    Andre says:

    Ellazim

    And thus you also disagree with Darwin. He was clear you can’t trust the convictions of a monkey’s mind or was he wrong about that?

  82. 82
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    Behavior and beliefs [convictions] are heritable, according to an evolutionary explanation of cognition.

    Apparently there is (surprisingly enough) “an” evolutionary explanation of cognition that indeed does claim that beliefs are heritable – the idea that the idea that “a tiger is a friendly, cuddly pussycat and the best way to pet it is to run away from it” is heritable like blue eyes. As Nancy said, and I agreed, such ideas run into self-referential problems (since the idea that the idea of the tiger is itself just a heritable trait, etc).

    If that was Plantinga’s target, than I misunderstood and I actually agree with him for the same reason I agree with Nancy.

    But if the target was evolution/Darwinism in general than it misses the mark, as hardly anyone (and no one I know of) believes that a particular behavior (except at a very basic level, such as instincts) and beliefs are heritable.

    Paul’s children (if by some miracle he manages to breed) may inherit his eye color, but they aren’t going to inherit “tigers are cuddly pussycat and the best way to pet it is to run away from it”. Paul’s children may, however, inherit some of the cognitive traits that led him to believe that “tigers are cuddly pussycat and the best way to pet it is to run away from it” (that’s assuming that his beliefs aren’t the result of advanced syphilis or a heavy blow to the head). In that case, good luck to his kids.

  83. 83
    JDH says:

    @CLAVDIUS –

    I am very sorry that I thought you were a materialist. I confused some of your statements with those if Indiana Effigy.

    I think we are getting into a semantic battle here.

    I am using materialism as meaning that all processes involve particles and forces that are completely UNGUIDED.
    I am using design as meaning having INTENTION.

    I don’t care who supports this idea at all, those two concepts are not compatible.

  84. 84
    Phinehas says:

    Design as a cause is compatible with alchemy too. And so?

  85. 85
    ellazimm says:

    Andre #81

    And thus you also disagree with Darwin. He was clear you can’t trust the convictions of a monkey’s mind or was he wrong about that?

    I don’t have a monkey’s mind (I’m a primate) and I’m not an expert on such matters. But I think the preponderance of the evidence is pretty clear that we are the result off universal common descent through variation.

    Perhaps you’d like to refine your argument somewhat. Try something a bit more cogent perhaps.

    Shall we start with your clear and concise and definitive alternate explanation? Make sure to include how and when please. If there was design then when was it implemented and how.

  86. 86
    Phinehas says:

    ellazimm:

    Perhaps you’d like to refine your argument somewhat. Try something a bit more cogent perhaps.

    What convinces you that the mere result of universal common descent through variation ought to be able to distinguish cogency from any old false, but effective survival mechanism?

  87. 87
    Origenes says:

    Kairosfocus #79, thank you for the encouragement.

    Here are some further notes:

    The three pillars of materialism:
    1. Oneness (indivisibility) equals true eternal existence — N.B. “atom” means “uncuttable” and “indivisible”.
    2. This oneness is only to be found at the micro-level — fermions and bosons (F&B).
    3. At this level of true existence there is no personhood, no intentionality, no reason and no consciousness.

    Materialism is an attempt to unmask the world we are familiar with. It informs us that things are not what they seem to be, that is, there is no intrinsic unity — and as such no reality — to the macro-level of things we know from daily life.

    Postulate 1 may seem obsolete for several reasons (e.g. Big Bang, wave particle duality, string theory and the continued search for ever smaller ‘particles’), however most materialists probably assume that fundamental indivisible particles do exist.
    Postulate 2 would be refuted by the observation of unity (coherence) at macro-level that cannot be explained bottom-up by F&B. Some likely candidates for such unity are: consciousness, reason, fine-tuned universe, irreducible complexity, complex specified information, embryonal development and homeostasis.
    Postulate 3 would be severely disrupted by the introduction of a Nagelian “telic force”. It just doesn’t seem to fit.

  88. 88
    CLAVDIVS says:

    JDH

    I am very sorry that I thought you were a materialist.

    No problem, it really doesn’t bother me at all.

    I am using materialism as meaning that all processes involve particles and forces that are completely UNGUIDED.
    I am using design as meaning having INTENTION.
    I don’t care who supports this idea at all, those two concepts are not compatible.

    Of course those concepts are not compatible.

    But that is not what people generally mean by ‘materialism’ and ‘design’.

    For example, very few (if any) modern materialist philosophers deny that intention exists; they accept non-reductive materialism on empirical grounds.

    And in the context of ID which makes no claim about the nature of the designer, you cannot say “design” means having intention – that would be a claim about the nature of the designer.

  89. 89
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername,
    We may be talking past each other. Let’s go back a bit. Earlier you wrote:

    Plantinga’s argument seems to be that one can do the right action – for the wrong reason. Well, yes. All of us, at probably one time or another, got very lucky by doing the right action for the wrong reason, (…)

    Plantinga’s argument rests partly on the observation that it is much more likely that one does the right action for the wrong reason than the right reason. As Plantinga points out there are innumerable belief-desire pairs which could account for a given behaviour and the vast majority of them are wrong. Since evolution selects for adaptive behavior and not for true beliefs, our beliefs are unreliable.

    Are you with me, so far?

  90. 90
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ,

    the attempted turnabouts would be amusing if they were not so sad — remember, you are here talking with someone who has seen ideological conflict triggered chaos and mini civil war including murder of an aunt at agit-prop instigation of a pressure group leader who then publicly disclaimed responsibility for intemperate, destructive words in an explosive situation.

    In my homeland a saying is, young bird don’t know hurricane. Another, fire deh pon mus mus [- mouse] tail, but him think seh ah cool breeze deh deh.

    For just one example, our civilisation is already in demographic collapse. Confusion about worldview foundations has led to the rise of might and manipulation make ‘right’ and ‘truth’ etc. That points to either a fall towards anarchy then a snap back into oligarchic domination or else a direct decline into oligarchic domination.

    When it comes to the central theme for the thread, let me cite John Gray, as just one case in point on the inherent self-referential incoherence of evolutionary materialism:

    if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true . . . The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.

    Including your mind, Mr Gray?

    Or again, note the exchange between Crick and Johnson I cited to introduce a longstanding argument:

    13 –> Some materialists go further and suggest that mind is more or less a delusion. For instance, Sir Francis Crick is on record, in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:

    . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    14 –> Philip Johnson has replied that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Johnson then acidly commented: “[[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [[Reason in the Balance, 1995.]

    15 –> In short, it is at least arguable that self-referential absurdity is the dagger pointing to the heart of evolutionary materialistic models of mind and its origin . . .

    Long ago, J B S Haldane put the matter in these terms:

    “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.]

    I find it highly significant that in this thread supporters of evolutionary materialism have been everywhere except on the direct issue.

    My conclusion remains, evolutionary materialism is patently self referentially incoherent and self falsifying; it has no right to demand that anything else be compatible with it, it is not compatible with itself.

    KF

  91. 91
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The heart of my own reckoning on this matter is:

    a: Evolutionary materialism argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature; from hydrogen to humans by undirected chance and necessity.

    b: Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws of chance and/or mechanical necessity acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of happenstance initial circumstances.

    (This is physicalism. This view covers both the forms where (a) the mind and the brain are seen as one and the same thing, and those where (b) somehow mind emerges from and/or “supervenes” on brain, perhaps as a result of sophisticated and complex software looping. The key point, though is as already noted: physical causal closure — the phenomena that play out across time, without residue, are in principle deducible or at least explainable up to various random statistical distributions and/or mechanical laws, from prior physical states. Such physical causal closure, clearly, implicitly discounts or even dismisses the causal effect of concept formation and reasoning then responsibly deciding, in favour of specifically physical interactions in the brain-body control loop; indeed, some mock the idea of — in their view — an “obviously” imaginary “ghost” in the meat-machine.)

    c: But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this meat-machine picture. So, we rapidly arrive at Crick’s claim in his The Astonishing Hypothesis (1994): what we subjectively experience as “thoughts,” “reasoning” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as the unintended by-products of the blind natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains that (as the Smith Model illustrates) serve as cybernetic controllers for our bodies.

    d: These underlying driving forces are viewed as being ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance shaped by forces of selection [[“nature”] and psycho-social conditioning [[“nurture”], within the framework of human culture [[i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism]. And, remember, the focal issue to such minds — notice, this is a conceptual analysis made and believed by the materialists! — is the physical causal chains in a control loop, not the internalised “mouth-noises” that may somehow sit on them and come along for the ride.

    (Save, insofar as such “mouth noises” somehow associate with or become embedded as physically instantiated signals or maybe codes in such a loop. [[How signals, languages and codes originate and function in systems in our observation of such origin — i.e by design — tends to be pushed to the back-burner and conveniently forgotten. So does the point that a signal or code takes its significance precisely from being an intelligently focused on, observed or chosen and significant alternative from a range of possibilities that then can guide decisive action.])

    e: For instance, Marxists commonly derided opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismissed qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? Should we not ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is little more than yet another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze? And — as we saw above — would the writings of a Crick be any more than the firing of neurons in networks in his own brain?

    f: For further instance, we may take the favourite whipping-boy of materialists: religion. Notoriously, they often hold that belief in God is not merely cognitive, conceptual error, but delusion. Borderline lunacy, in short. But, if such a patent “delusion” is so utterly widespread, even among the highly educated, then it “must” — by the principles of evolution — somehow be adaptive to survival, whether in nature or in society. And so, this would be a major illustration of the unreliability of our conceptual reasoning ability, on the assumption of evolutionary materialism.

    g: Turning the materialist dismissal of theism around, evolutionary materialism itself would be in the same leaky boat. For, the sauce for the goose is notoriously just as good a sauce for the gander, too.

    h: That is, on its own premises [[and following Dawkins in A Devil’s Chaplain, 2004, p. 46], the cause of the belief system of evolutionary materialism, “must” also be reducible to forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity that are sufficiently adaptive to spread this “meme” in populations of jumped- up apes from the savannahs of East Africa scrambling for survival in a Malthusian world of struggle for existence. Reppert brings the underlying point sharply home, in commenting on the “internalised mouth-noise signals riding on the physical cause-effect chain in a cybernetic loop” view:

    . . . 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.

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    Origines, more please. KF

  93. 93
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF: “EZ,

    the attempted turnabouts would be amusing if they were not so sad — blah blah blah.”

    Again with defending your viewpoint by accusing someone else rather than addressing the subject.

    …remember, you are here talking with someone who has seen ideological conflict triggered chaos and mini civil war including murder of an aunt at agit-prop instigation of a pressure group leader who then publicly disclaimed responsibility for intemperate, destructive words in an explosive situation.”

    Hmmm. What does that have to do with anything. I had a bout of hemeroids last month. Does that make me an expert on the words coming from your mouth?

    I find it highly significant that in this thread supporters of evolutionary materialism have been everywhere except on the direct issue.”

    Is it possible that this is because you have been so poor at expressing what “the direct issue” is?

    My conclusion remains, evolutionary materialism is patently self referentially incoherent and self falsifying;”

    An opinion that you have failed to provide supporting evidence for. Don’t blame us for your failings.

  94. 94
    rhampton7 says:

    What a timely article. KF, you might want to read this and post your take:

    The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality

    “Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be.”

  95. 95
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, the contrast between the actual arguments . . . including statements by materialists up to and including Crick . . . and the caricatures set up for rhetorical pummelling and personalities is enough to show that the balance on merits is that evolutionary materialism is plainly self referentially incoherent in many ways, but its supporters are having a hard time facing the unwelcome point. Some, are lashing out as though they imagine that rhetorically lashing out at the messenger answers to the logical, substantial problem. KF

    PS: John Gray again:

    if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true . . . The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.

    Including your mind, Mr Gray? And yours, IE et al?

  96. 96
    Phinehas says:

    “What’s more, [Donald Hoffman] says, we have evolution itself to thank for this magnificent illusion, as it maximizes evolutionary fitness by driving truth to extinction.”

    Once again, one supposes that Professor Hoffman must be the exception.

  97. 97
    Indiana Effigy says:

    The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.

    KF: “Including your mind, Mr Gray? And yours, IE et al?”

    I accept that. Unfortunately, for you, this also applies to your mind. As is evident in your flogging a dead horse.

  98. 98
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Darwin’s blunder on much the same point in his July 3, 1881 letter to William Graham . . . and yes we know he used this to dismiss doubts about his theory (and to subtly deride abstract reasoning) but this argument is patently self-referential:

    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-13230.xml

    . . . with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”

  99. 99
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, do you not see that if minds serve survival not truth, that brings serious self referential incoherence issues to the fore? KF

  100. 100
    Phinehas says:

    From the article RH7 linked:

    The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.

    Fascinating. This looks an awful lot like scientific support for what some philosophical arguments have already been saying.

  101. 101
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF: “IE, do you not see that if minds serve survival not truth, that brings serious self referential incoherence issues to the fore? KF”

    Absolutely. So, how are you reconciling this fact with your worldview?

  102. 102
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    Plantinga’s argument rests partly on the observation that it is much more likely that one does the right action for the wrong reason than the right reason.

    I’m not so sure that that’s true – but let’s assume that it is. There are other things to consider: The vast majority of actions one may take when one encounters a tiger are going to lead to death. The number of wrong choices is astronomically greater than the number of right choices – without a brain that can discern reality at least to some degree, the next action is essentially going to be completely random – what are the odds of picking one of the right choices at random?
    Now multiply that times of the number of dangerous encounters that day. I guess Paul would start approaching a cliff but then walk away from the cliff because he decides that cliffs are shy.

    Paul also needs to eat, so he also needs to somehow find food. Maybe he’ll start eating an apple because he decides that apples like warm wet places.

    But this doesn’t just go on for one day, but every day, year after year, he avoids numerous dangers; every day, year after year, he manages to eat enough food to survive day after day; he even finds a mate and produces offspring.

    I don’t know how anyone could see any of that as remotely possible. To think that anyone is going to long survive while continually doing actions for reasons that are utterly detached from reality is far too much to ask.

    I compared Paul to a real-life Mr Magoo or Mr Bean earlier, but actually Plantinga’s Paul puts Mr Magoo or Mr. Bean’s luck to shame.

    The next action after seeing an approaching tiger can’t be chosen from random. There must be something to help improve the odds of doing the right action. A brain – even one that’s far from perfect – that has at least some capability of discerning reality, would dramatically help improve the odds of doing the right action.

    Since evolution selects for adaptive behavior and not for true beliefs, our beliefs are likely unreliable.

    Are you with me, so far?

    No, because evolution doesn’t select for behavior or beliefs, it selects for some of the things that lead to certain actions or beliefs.

  103. 103
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, I do not have the problem, you do. I am not an evolutionary materialist forced to try to get to mind from blind chance and necessity acting on matter and energy. The turnabout fails, my point is you do trust your mind to work but are locked into an origins narrative that would undermine what you have to rely on to reason and know. The real solution is, evolutionary materialism is self falsifying and should be abandoned lest it injects falsehood into evaluative criteria, imposing ex falso quodlibet, breakdown of ability to discern truth from falsity in reasoning. The simple solution is that mindedness comes first as means to access reality so it is more trustworthy in principle than a self contradictory theory. Mind and mind-brain interface and bodily cybernetic loop are credibly designed, being chock full of FSCO/I. The Smith model is a useful approach: http://iose-gen.blogspot.com/2.....l#smth_mod KF

  104. 104
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF: “IE, I do not have the problem, you do.”

    Why not? Believing in a God is not a get out of jail free card. Only one of us can be right.

    But, I must commend you on actually partaking in a discussion rather than dismissing everything I say because I am an atheist. If you agree to continue this adult behaviour, so will I.

  105. 105
    Origenes says:

    Phinehas #96,

    I too see a well known pattern here. And I’m starting to wonder what the explanation is — if not stupidity.

  106. 106
    ellazimm says:

    Phinehas #86

    What convinces you that the mere result of universal common descent through variation ought to be able to distinguish cogency from any old false, but effective survival mechanism?

    Does that mean you don’t have another explanation to offer? You’re just attacking what you perceive to be my position?

    I believe that knowledge arises through repeated trial and error, hypothesis and revision, performed by groups of people looking for repeatable, non-observer dependent results.

  107. 107
    ellazimm says:

    KF #90

    the attempted turnabouts would be amusing if they were not so sad — remember, you are here talking with someone who has seen ideological conflict triggered chaos and mini civil war including murder of an aunt at agit-prop instigation of a pressure group leader who then publicly disclaimed responsibility for intemperate, destructive words in an explosive situation.

    I don’t understand how your experience does or should affect our discussion. Are you asking for us to excuse you for some of your reactions?

    For just one example, our civilisation is already in demographic collapse. Confusion about worldview foundations has led to the rise of might and manipulation make ‘right’ and ‘truth’ etc. That points to either a fall towards anarchy then a snap back into oligarchic domination or else a direct decline into oligarchic domination.

    You have a very eschatological outlook. You see millions and millions of people who disagree with the way you would choose to structure our world and when your view is being disregarding you declare the end is nigh. With the exception of some religious extremists, I see a world that is generally moving towards a less violent baseline with more talking than killing. I live in Europe which has been drenched in blood for centuries and up to living memory. But now, at least in the Western half, I don’t think those days will ever return.

    As far as the ability of the human mind to detect truth vs survival . . . I believe in truth and knowledge based on non-observer dependent results developed by groups of people which provide a system of checks and balances on the proposals of each other. It doesn’t matter if you or I individually can ‘detect’ truth. In the end, it’s the consensus that works, that delivers the goods, that counts.

    It’s not just about contemplating the world and drawing conclusions. It’s about proposing explanations and smoke testing them. When you have an idea hand it to your greatest adversary and see if they can cut it down. If they can then you have more work to do.

  108. 108
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ, too much of the tendency of this thread has been for design objectors to pull towards personalities then when that is pointed out, wrench things into turnabout dismissive projections — and in particular disdain of religion tainted ones. Perhaps, it has not registered that life experience of a community headed over the cliff then crashing hard and losing a generation of development — actually twice over, this one due to natural disaster [with a lot of denial and failure to adapt in good time due to business as usual tendencies], the last one, ideologically induced march of folly in my homeland — can be instructive on types of trends that head in that direction. BTW, part of my technical background is study of sustainability on trends and factors in socio-cultural, economic and biophysical environment domains, which pivot on the contrast between the expected future on business as usual and where a more sustainable alternative credibly heads. BAU is sustained by dominant coalitions and their collective worldview-policy agendas, often in denial of the significance of warning signs. Indeed, a full generation after my homeland crashed and broke its back, many are still in deep denial of reality. Such is the power of might and manipulation make “right” etc. I am seeing strong signs of the same march of folly, BAU pattern with our civilisation at large, and I find it utterly irresponsible but saddeningly unsurprising to see how a key flaw in a dominant ideology is being dodged repeatedly above. The tactics above echo all too uncomfortably those of the Marxists I knew all too well from the 1970’s – 90’s when communism crashed. And as one of the key Marxists, Alinski, is deeply influential today, that is not exactly a surprise given the devastating impact of cultural marxism aka critical theories. KF

  109. 109
    ellazimm says:

    KF #108

    The tactics above echo all too uncomfortably those of the marxists I knew all too well from the 1970’s – 90’s when communism crashed.

    The Marxists didn’t have data behind their stance AND most of those in charge didn’t really believe it anyway. I don’t find your parallels compelling.

    Also, The Communist Manifesto was published a year before The Origin of Species. The biggest Communist experiments (with the possible exception of China) have all ended. I would say China is a far cry from what Marx and Engels proposed anyway. On the other hand, Darwin’s ideas are garnering more and more support every day.

    Follow the data, not the ideology.

  110. 110
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: It seems I need to put back on the table a warning on the history of Athens by Plato, c. 360 BC in The Laws, Bk X:

    Ath. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them.

    This warning cannot be attributed dismissively to eschatological thinking.

    I will say this, that my very first intellectual love has been history, which these days tends to be given short shrift as little more than victory propaganda. In reply, I say this: the lessons of sound history were bought with blood and tears; those who dismiss, neglect or refuse to learn them doom themselves to pay the same price over and over again.

  111. 111
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ, if you imagine Marxists did not have a lot — huge volumes — of data and theory that could be very plausible, you do not understand the power and appeal of classic scientific socialism type marxism and its current cultural forms. Today’s dominant trends of thought and policy in our civilisation have a lot of data filtered through grand schemes of thought that are often fatally flawed in the foundation but precisely because they dominate the commanding heights of influence and governance and are inherently amoral [that is one of the flaws] and are strangely irrational through mixed messages tied to self-referential incoherence [evolutionary materialism being a capital case in point], they push hard to keep going on BAU. And BTW, one lesson of history I take very seriously is that of the fall of France, driven by divisions within and imagining Hitler was part of the system rather than an irreconcilable enemy who could only be stopped, in the further context of recoiling in understandable horror from their losses in the Great War — not realising they were setting the stage for that to become known as the FIRST World War, with the SECOND one creeping ever closer. Then, it was May 10, 1940 and it was forever too late. Machiavelli often has key insights. One of them is that political disorders are like hectic fever, at the first easy to cure but hard to diagnose; when at length the course of the disease is manifest to all, it is far too late to cure. KF

    BTW: The Manifesto was 1848.

    PS: There is a reason the study of fallacies is a bigger part of logic than we like to think: http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/ .

    PPS: My fundamental concern is:

    Evo Mat => x AND ~x [is self contradictory, cf above and elsewhere] => F

    [x AND ~x] => F => {T AND F} . . . principle of explosion.

    PPPS: Soundness and prudence are not decided by majority vote of either the general public or dominant elites. Such are hard bought through careful thought, and too often systems fail by their weakest point. Typically the point no one noticed or which was dismissed. Until the funeral. Rubber O Rings in the Challenger are a classic in point; with Feynman’s glass of ice water exercise a good example of an easy test overlooked by the power brokers.

  112. 112
    ellazimm says:

    KF #110

    Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”

    I don’t find that to be true at all. I find most people who ‘believe’ in evolutionary theory are more tolerant, more understanding, etc. Some internet trolls aside of course; don’t take the exceptions as the rule.

    You have a particular view of how things should be. You see your view becoming less and less influential. You think that is a harbinger of some kind of end time or, at the very least, a major crisis of readjustment.

    And yet there are no signs anything of the sort is imminent.

    they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice,

    I find modern society to be much better under all those criteria than any other previous era. Plus we have modern medicine and some amazing technological tools to hand. I’d much rather live now than any other time in Earth’s past. Human life expectancy (in the West at least) is at an all time high. Levels of violence have been dropping for decades.

    Again, your world view is becoming a minority but that doesn’t mean that we’re heading for a fall.

  113. 113
    ellazimm says:

    KF #111

    And BTW, one lesson of history I take very seriously is that of the fall of France, driven by divisions within and imagining Hitler was part of the system rather than an irreconcilable enemy who could only be stopped, in the further context of recoiling in understandable horror from their losses in the Great War — not realising they were setting the stage for that to become known as the FIRST World War, with the SECOND one creeping ever closer. Then, it was May 10, 1940 and it was forever too late.

    And now Germany and France are participating in a great multi-state experiment of cooperation and open borders. I think many, many lessons have been learned and, in my opinion, Western Europe will never again be consumed by waves of politically motivated killing.

    The Manifesto was 1848.

    Yeah, I was off by a decade, not enough tea yet I guess.

  114. 114
    ellazimm says:

    KF #111

    Evo Mat => x AND ~x [is self contradictory, cf above and elsewhere] => F

    In your opinion. Follow ALL the data and wait and see. Scientific knowledge is provisional, always.

    [x AND ~x] => F => {T AND F} . . . principle of explosion.

    Again, YOU think others’ views are self-contradictory. But what if you’re wrong?

    How can light be a particle and a wave at the same time? Is that not contradictory?

    Quantum coupling and tunnelling are deeply contrary to my human level, Earth-bound ways of thinking.

    Reality is stranger than you can imagine. It’s a great time to be alive when we are just starting to peel back the layers of the universe. We may have to give up a lot of outdated notions. That is exciting.

  115. 115
    ellazimm says:

    KF #111

    Soundness and prudence are not decided by majority vote of either the general public or dominant elites. Such are hard bought through careful thought, and too often systems fail by their weakest point. Typically the point no one noticed or which was dismissed. Until the funeral. Rubber O Rings in the Challenger are a classic in point; with Feynman’s glass of ice water exercise a good example of an easy test overlooked by the power brokers.

    Which is why I don’t get all excited every time a single bit of research points to some, apparently, paradigm-shifting results. I wait and see if the result can be duplicated, if it’s solid and dependable. If it helps predict other observed behaviour. It’s not a matter of majority vote or dominant elites. It depends on what works, reliably and dependably.

    Mistakes are made, things take time to percolate through and get properly implemented. But I believe we are progressing. Slowly in some cases but still moving forward.

    Some outdated ideas and notions will have to be left behind. As they should be if they don’t ‘work’. I think that applies to social rules and mores as well. We are experimenting and finding what works.

  116. 116
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ,

    kindly stop personalising the issue of self-referential incoherence.

    It is not what you or I think or do not think, it is pivotally that the dynamics involved lead to the result. Dynamical AND logical incoherence. Again, as one case among several cited, Gray:

    if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true . . . The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.

    And of course Gray’s mind/brain on his premises is subject to the very same flaw.

    Darwin’s earlier statement — which he tried to use to dismiss doubts on his scheme of thought — is just as stark and shows how dangerous it is to imagine that we are just like “other animals” and that to recognise the significance of responsible rational freedom to think, decide and act can be dismissed as an error:

    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-13230.xml

    . . . with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”

    There are ever so many other cases and ways the problem comes up.

    This one is foundational and it is not going away.

    Neither are the trend lines on our civilisation’s BAU path.

    KF

    PS: On the common appeal to Q-mech to cling to denial of LNC (somebody should tag this a fallacy and give it a handy name), kindly see the weak argument correctives, here: http://www.uncommondescent.com/faq/#LNC

    PPS: I suggest on Guttmacher institute’s figures, the ongoing abortion holocaust maintained under false colour of law and the denial of the manifest humanity of unborn children indicts our civilisation to the tune of so many hundreds of millions of the innocent slaughtered for questionable reasons that appeals to how just and civil our civilisation is increasingly becoming are little short of bizarre. A manifestation of exactly the pattern of root fallacies, mixed messages and might and manipulation make “right” that I have pointed to. Where this particular crime against unborn humanity is a material factor in the ongoing demographic collapse of our civilisation.

  117. 117
    ellazimm says:

    KF #116

    And of course Gray’s mind/brain on his premises is subject to the very same flaw.

    Which is why I follow ALL the data and results because any person or single study might be wrong or too narrow. Science is collaborative, especially now as we’re getting to the harder stuff.

    with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”

    Again, that is why you DON’T trust your instincts or your gut-level reactions. You hypothesise and experiment and try to reproduce. You don’t think: I know this better than anyone else. You do think: this seems right to me; I’ll test it and discuss it with some of my colleagues and see what happens.

    I suggest on Guttmacher institute’s figures, the ongoing abortion holocaust maintained under false colour of law and the denial of the manifest humanity of unborn children indicts our civilisation to the tune of so many hundreds of millions of the innocent slaughtered for questionable reasons that appeals to how just and civil our civilisation is increasingly becoming are little short of bizarre.

    A lot of people disagree with you. Work to change the laws if you don’t like them. Law too is a collaborative effort.

    Abortion has been legal in one form or another in various places for several decades now at least. I’m not up on the history. And yet there has been no great lurch towards oblivion because of it. If you don’t like the situation then work to change it as is your right.

  118. 118
    EugeneS says:

    I think that far-fetching ID to suit religious purposes is naive. I think faith must remain faith, not a theorem (which it isn’t thankfully because it is both a gift and a result of one’s personal moral efforts)! While ID has non-trivial scientific agenda (nanotechnology, bionics etc.), it should not be treated as a ‘one size fits all’. ID is also a form of scientism inherently (as is evolutionism). The downside of ID is that it also purports to explain in rational terms the miracle of Creation. This usual disclaimer for science must be kept in mind.

    Faith is a different matter. It is just ontologically different. Arguments in support of theism have their own right to exist and their value, of course, but they are no proof in ‘mathematical’ terms. They are philosophical. We can see evidence of that in the fact that knowledgeable people exist who choose to be either atheists or agnostics. That is an empirical fact. Otherwise we must conclude that they are stupid and/or that there is a conspiracy among them 🙂 …

    Faith is (should be at least) about the heart, not the mind. Faith that was once given to the saints is a gift and a virtue which should be carefully worked upon, defended from falsehood and lived by.

  119. 119
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ, this is not a one result point. The core dynamic of evolution on materialist terms is to explain from hydrogent to humans on blind watchmaker chance and necessity acting on matter and energy. The problem of accounting for mind in a way that leaves intact the responsible freedom and rationality that are foundational to reasoning and knowing is well known. Just for one, there is talk of the hard problem of consciousness. But the problem I have pointed to for 30 years and others on public record since Haldane in the 30s or even Darwin in 1881, is that this is a self-referential area. Whatever mind is, however it comes about, it is what we are using here. Then, addressing knowledge on evo mat becomes self referential, brooking risks with circularity and incoherence. The problem of FSCO/I to organise and program brains and give linguistic-conceptual abilities is already instantly a red flag given that FSCO/I sits on deeply isolated islands of function in config spaces dominated by seas of non function that are beyond search capacity of the observed cosmos . . . combinatorial explosion. But the sunday punch is the issue that processing in processors is not a rational process, it is a matter of organised cause effect chains limited by GIGO. Materialists are trying to argue for blind watchmaker programming and processor organisation that somehow inexplicably gets us to rational conscious mind. Cannot be done, especially on the premise of a process that targets immediate survival not truth. Plantinga gives a deliberately ludicrous example to underscore the point but the point does not depend on any particular example. On evolutionary materialism, rational responsibly free animality is dead. But the theorist is also one of those whose rational, responsibly free mind has just been undercut by this premise. Self referential incoherence, thence necessary falsity, thence principle of explosion and utterly unreliable thought that is likely to be increasingly confused — truth and falsity cheek by jowl in a mental chaos — with a controlling paradigm that is necessarily false by self contradiction. On the strength of this alone I reject evo mat as false. kf

  120. 120
    ellazimm says:

    KF #119

    I don’t think we’re getting anywhere with this discussion: you’re repeating yourself for the nth time and resorting to some strawman points which are not a valid distillation of the evolutionary theory statements (‘given that FSCO/I sits on deeply isolated islands of function in config spaces dominated by seas of non function that are beyond search capacity of the observed cosmos’).

    I agree that development favours survival over ‘truth’ which is why it’s so hard at times to discern or discover ‘the truth’. Which is why I said earlier that I do not trust a single person or experience or report or study. I wait ’til the effect is solidly repeatable and predictable given the appropriate conditions. I disagree with your analysis and your conclusion that ‘evo mat’ is self-contradictory. IF there is no designer then everything we see and experience did arise by unguided processes. You start out with a different premise (as I see it) and so come to a different destination. I don’t see you or me changing our views so it’s probably time to quit.

    But, again . . . what if there is no designer . . . what then? How sure are you?

    And, if you grant that that has even the smallest chance of being true then what does that say about your reasoning? If changing the initial assumption invalidates the conclusion then . . .

  121. 121
    Aleta says:

    Good work, EZ.

  122. 122
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ, light is what it is, our wave-particle maps are models. All models are false, some are more or less useful. That requires validation, which requires rational thought and responsible freedom. That is where evolutionary materialism is demonstrably in deep trouble. Self-referential incoherence trouble as has been shown from various sources and from the dynamics involved in its models of how mind comes to be. KF

  123. 123
    Andre says:

    EZ

    On the other hand, Darwin’s ideas are garnering more and more support every day.

    Whahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! only a disillusioned fool would utter such drivel!

    Let me help you!

    https://evolution-institute.org/article/empowering-the-extended-evolutionary-synthesis/

    If what you said was true why are we seeing a move in the opposite direction? Yep you are shaped for fitness not fro truth so Darwinian evolution must be true!

    Aleta

    Good work, EZ.

    The blind leading the blind good work!

  124. 124
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ, the summary concerns or admissions cited are not strawman statements. The implied or explicit evolutionary epistemology is deeply challenged through its inherent self-referentiality which instantly means it can fall into circularity if consistent or can become self contradictory. Where, disproof of an alternative by reductio is a standard proof and argument approach. In this case the issue is that evo mat tries to build mind on an inherently blind and non rational process that works on mechanical chains of chance and necessity. FSCO/I comes up because functionally specific organisation is generally a fine tuned phenomenon in the abstract space of arbitrary possibilities; “organisation” implying high contingency. Then, the GIGO principle kicks in with say the math coprocessor flaw in the original pentium as a case that was in the news so it should be commonly known. The units [in a processor] are not concerned about accuracy or meaning or validity or cogency etc, they are just interacting physically. It is the designer who has to sweat the details to get it right, not to mention the programmer. Then, on mind the dynamic: forces of chance non foresighted variation and differential reproductive success leading to varied populations is simply irrelevant to truth, validity or cogency, it is about survival not truth. That is what Gray said. Haldane, chemical vs rational soundness. Darwin, can you trust a jumped up monkey brain, more or less. The issue is real, it is as significant as the hard problem of consciousness (which is a component), it is as central as grounding responsible freedom and rationality. And it consistently comes up, evo mat is self referentially incoherent intrinsically and so self-falsifying. Never mind the lab coats, never mind the entrenching in halls of power. KF

  125. 125
    Aleta says:

    I will point out some of the things that are good about EZ’s posts.

    1. He calmly responds to specific points with clear statements.

    2. He doesn’t employ excessive hyperbolic rhetoric about the incoherence of other’s views.

    3. He uses paragraphs.

  126. 126
    ellazimm says:

    Aleta #121

    Good work, EZ.

    Thanks!

    Andre #123

    only a disillusioned fool would utter such drivel!

    You’re too kind.

    From your link:

    . . . the mistaken perception that the EES was a rejection of neo-Darwinism.

    We had no sympathy with the argument that evolutionary biology was undergoing a ‘paradigm shift’ – to my mind paradigm shifts are an outdated notion (sciences change more through gradual evolution than dramatic revolution).

    Likewise, a central claim of the EES is that developmental processes should be recognized as evolutionary processes.

    We will be investigating key questions highlighted by the EES. For instance, one critical issue is whether developmental plasticity can play a central directing role in evolution, as envisaged by Mary Jane West-Eberhard (2003). This question will be addressed in experimental studies of sticklebacks, lizards and butterflies, by teams led by Susan Foster, Tobias Uller and Paul Brakefield. We also set out to evaluate when and how extra-genetic inheritance arises, how multiple inheritance systems interact, and how their evolution differs from systems solely reliant on genetic inheritance. These issues will be explored experimentally, for instance, through Armin Moczek’s studies of horned beetles, as well as through novel theoretical work by Mike Wade, Marc Feldman, Rufus Johnstone and Michael Lachmann. Devising novel theory is actually a big part of the grant, including new approaches to modeling complex genotype-to-phenotype relations, and the emergence of biological complexity. Other central issues include investigations of the circumstances under which developmental bias and niche construction impose direction on evolution, generate convergences, or help account for taxonomic diversity and adaptation. These are all effectively ‘big unanswered questions’ for evolutionary biology, and we hope that by addressing them in this comprehensive manner the research program will have a major impact.

    Nevertheless, in the EES, all processes central to contemporary evolutionary theory, and all empirical and theoretical findings, remain important. That is why I am more comfortable speaking of ‘extension’ or ‘revision’.

    I don’t think the interview says what you think it says.

    The blind leading the blind good work!

    Always nice to be treated with respect.

  127. 127
    ellazimm says:

    Aleta #125

    He uses paragraphs.

    hahahahahahahahahha That generated a real smile!!

  128. 128
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Wiki on Principle of Explosion:

    >>The metamathematical value of the principle of explosion is that for any logical system where this principle holds, any derived theory which proves [CONTRADICTION] (or an equivalent form, phi AND NOT-phi) is worthless because all its statements would become theorems, making it impossible to distinguish truth from falsehood. That is to say, the principle of explosion is an argument for the law of non-contradiction in classical logic, because without it all truth statements become meaningless.>>

    Reduction to global confusion and meaninglessness in short.

    KF

  129. 129
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Provine on a linked manifestation:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

    See the problems multiplying?

    KF

  130. 130
    Aleta says:

    kf, the link to Provine’s talk is down. Can you find that paper?

    Also, I’m not sure why Provine is the authority that offers the definitive statement on all these issues. I, and really no one else, is beholden to agreeing with everything Provine says.

    With that said, you quote him as saying

    I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will …

    and then you insert your own typical hyperbolic reaction. I would be interested in seeing what Provine says about our ability to make choices, so if you can find the 1998 talk I would appreciate it.

  131. 131
  132. 132
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta, calling exaggeration (by whatever term) is not a cogent answer to the issue of self referential incoherence. KF

  133. 133
    ellazimm says:

    Hmm . . . Provine seems to have gotten the progression of the Sun’s life incorrect.

    In less that one billion more years our sun will turn into a red giant.

    Most estimates are closer to 5 billion years from now.

  134. 134
    ellazimm says:

    Here’s an extended ‘quote’ from Provine (2007) on his views.

    http://bevets.com/equotesp5.htm

  135. 135
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ, yup, midlife G2 on main sequence. KF

    PS: One clip that fits his DD clip, 10 years before: >>Modern Science directly implies that the world is organized strictly in accordance with deterministic principles or chance. There are no purposive principles whatsoever in nature. There are no gods and no designing forces that are rationally detectable. The frequently made assertion that modern biology and the assumptions of the Judaeo-Christian tradition are fully compatible is false. Evolutionary Progress (1988) p. 65 †>>

  136. 136
    Aleta says:

    Thanks. I didn’t particularly think much of Provine’s further thoughts on free will in the first link, and I’m generally not interested in trying to argue for or against authors who are actually in the discussion, so I think I don’t have any further interest in Provine.

  137. 137
    Aleta says:

    Oops – I meant “I’m generally not interested in trying to argue for or against authors who are not actually in the discussion.” This is a bad typing habit of mine – leaving out the negatives. So is just not proofreading carefully. 🙁

  138. 138
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF@108: “EZ, too much of the tendency of this thread has been for design objectors to pull towards personalities then when that is pointed out, wrench things into turnabout dismissive projections — and in particular disdain of religion tainted ones.”

    The fact that you are the only one on this thread who is seeing this tendency may suggest that the problem is with your perception of what is being said, not with what is actually being said.

    KF@110:[ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]”

    We have been over this. You believe that there are objective morals that are dictated by your God. Myself and others believe that morality is subjective (excluding instinct) and derived from society. The main difference between my concept and yours is that mine is supported by tons of evidence. I realize that the idea of this scares you, but some of us prefer to accept concepts that are supported by evidence rather than support ideas that simply make us sleep better at night.

    KF@116:if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true . . . The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.”

    I don’t have a problem with this. There is little doubt that our ability to think and use abstract thought serves evolutionary success. But it does not always serve truth. You only have to look at the numerous different religions that exist. They cannot all be true.

    KF@116:I suggest on Guttmacher institute’s figures, the ongoing abortion holocaust maintained under false colour of law and the denial of the manifest humanity of unborn children indicts our civilisation to the tune of so many hundreds of millions of the innocent slaughtered for questionable reasons that appeals to how just and civil our civilisation is increasingly becoming are little short of bizarre.”

    I mirror EZ’s response to this. I don’t want to get into the abortion debate, but the idea that a fertilized egg, or an undifferentiated mass of cells is “human”, has a soul, is a religious opinion that is not supported by the science. Nobody likes the idea of abortion being used as a form of birth control, but anyone who thinks a woman uses this as their first choice for birth control is insulting the intelligence of half of humanity.

    KF@119:The problem of FSCO/I to organise and program brains and give linguistic-conceptual abilities is already instantly a red flag given that FSCO/I sits on deeply isolated islands of function in config spaces dominated by seas of non function that are beyond search capacity of the observed cosmos . . . combinatorial explosion.”

    The combinatorial explosion is a fallacy that has been laid bare repeatedly, but IDists continue to propagate it. Using the same flawed logic, I can prove that the unique person who is KF is so improbable as to be impossible. The fallacy is in assuming that the unique person who is KF is the goal, which it isn’t (no insult intended).

    KF@124: “EZ, the summary concerns or admissions cited are not strawman statements. The implied or explicit evolutionary epistemology is deeply challenged through its inherent self-referentiality which instantly means it can fall into circularity if consistent or can become self contradictory.”

    Repeatedly making this claim does not make it true.

    EZ@ 80, 102, 109, 112, 113, 114, 115, 117 and 120:, your comments mirror my thoughts, but are presented in a much more cogent fashion than I ever could. Good work.

  139. 139
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, I just take up for a moment combinatorial explosion. My particular existence is not a result of blind chance processes and blind mechanisms but the result of a functioning procreative system on the part of my parents. By sharp contrast in Darwin’s warm pond or the like there was no such organised, information rich system. That is where your view has to start from, and the still unmet challenge is testimony for years that there is no cogent darwinist answer. And for origin of body plans the relevance of protein fold domain deep isolation in AA acid sequence space suffices to show the challenge does not go away after OOL. This fail is but one slice of the cake, revealing the ingredients you used. KF

  140. 140
    Aleta says:

    kf, you write,

    The implied or explicit evolutionary epistemology is deeply challenged through its inherent self-referentiality which instantly means it can fall into circularity if consistent or can become self contradictory.”

    Could you please give a short explanation of this statement, without quoting others or copy and pasting previous statements.

    What exactly is the “inherent self-referentiality” of which you speak?

  141. 141
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF@139: “My particular existence is not a result of blind chance processes and blind mechanisms…”

    Your unsubstantiated assertion is duly noted.

    …but the result of a functioning procreative system on the part of my parents.”

    True. But my claim was about the unique individual that is you, not that your parents could procreate.

    Your father produced 500 billion sperm cells throughout his life. Your mother had a couple hundred thousand eggs. The unique you is the result of one specific sperm cell from your father and one specific egg cell from your mother. Any other sperm or egg would not result in the you that we all know and love. The result is that the probability of you existing, given the existence of your parents, is in the order of one in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (please double check my math, I could be in error).

    Now, to really scare you, try extending these probability calculations back a few generations. It will not take too many generations to arrive at a probability that is so astronomically small that it is effectively zero. Therefore, you can’t exist.

    Obviously, this conclusion is rediculous because the initial assumption, that the unique person that is you was the targeted goal, is wrong. But this is the same assumption that ID uses when it talks about the combinatorial explosion.

  142. 142
    Phinehas says:

    ellazimm:

    Phin: What convinces you that the mere result of universal common descent through variation ought to be able to distinguish cogency from any old false, but effective survival mechanism?

    Ella: Does that mean you don’t have another explanation to offer? You’re just attacking what you perceive to be my position?

    Attacking? I just asked a question about what you find convincing. Feel free to say you have no idea what convinces you if that’s the case. Some readers will have begun to suspect that anyway.

    I believe that knowledge arises through repeated trial and error, hypothesis and revision, performed by groups of people looking for repeatable, non-observer dependent results.

    I don’t really know if this is supposed to be a response to my question or not. It is your belief that convinces you? OK.

    What convinces you that the mere result of universal common descent through variation ought to be able to distinguish between cogent or true beliefs and any old false, but effective survival mechanism?

    From the article RH7 linked above:

    QUANTA MAGAZINE: People often use Darwinian evolution as an argument that our perceptions accurately reflect reality. They say, “Obviously we must be latching onto reality in some way because otherwise we would have been wiped out a long time ago. If I think I’m seeing a palm tree but it’s really a tiger, I’m in trouble.”

    DONALD HOFFMAN: Right. The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.

    Interesting. This is what Plantinga’s philosophical thought experiments suggest as well. But Plantinga recognizes what Hoffman appears to miss: that naturalism saws the logical branch right out from underneath the naturalist.

    The writer of the article seems to miss this too.

    QUANTA MAGAZINE: As we go about our daily lives, we tend to assume that our perceptions — sights, sounds, textures, tastes — are an accurate portrayal of the real world. Sure, when we stop and think about it — or when we find ourselves fooled by a perceptual illusion — we realize with a jolt that what we perceive is never the world directly, but rather our brain’s best guess at what that world is like, a kind of internal simulation of an external reality. Still, we bank on the fact that our simulation is a reasonably decent one. If it wasn’t, wouldn’t evolution have weeded us out by now? The true reality might be forever beyond our reach, but surely our senses give us at least an inkling of what it’s really like.

    Not so, says Donald D. Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. Hoffman has spent the past three decades studying perception, artificial intelligence, evolutionary game theory and the brain, and his conclusion is a dramatic one: The world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality. What’s more, he says, we have evolution itself to thank for this magnificent illusion, as it maximizes evolutionary fitness by driving truth to extinction.

    Driving truth to extinction? As Dr Johnson put it so well, this obviously “requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.”

  143. 143
    ellazimm says:

    Phinehas #142

    Attacking? I just asked a question about what you find convincing. Feel free to say you have no idea what convinces you if that’s the case. Some readers will have begun to suspect that anyway.

    You ‘interrupted a question I had asked another commenter; I asked Andre if he’d like to refine his statement. I gave an example. When you stepped in I assumed you were taking up the challenge to clarify. But you followed up with a question instead of a clarification. So, I’m trying to figure out what you’re really after. There’s no reason to be snide.

    I don’t really know if this is supposed to be a response to my question or not. It is your belief that convinces you? OK.

    I was taking a good-faith guess at what you were asking. And I answered sincerely. Again, there is no reason to be snide.

    What convinces you that the mere result of universal common descent through variation ought to be able to distinguish between cogent or true beliefs and any old false, but effective survival mechanism?

    I have made an attempt to answer that question several times in this thread. I will restate it once again: I do not believe that any one person or study or experiment or experience is a safe and sound cause to determine an aspect of ‘truth’. I trust in explanations that have passed the tests of repeatability, observer independence, predictability and parsimony. I also assume answers to be temporary and up for change given new data.

    I do not expect myself or any other human being to always be able to distinguish between ‘truth’ and something else alone. Which is why I prefer results arrived at by groups of people working at a problem, criticising each other’s results, checking to see if it can be reproduced, etc.

    The research is clear: in many ways our intuitions and gut-level reactions are geared towards survival first. And so should be suspect. Evolution is not geared for ‘truth’ and so we must be vigilant and careful. By working together and re-examining conclusions I think we can overcome our survivalist tendencies. We arrive at the ‘truth’ not because of our background but in spite of it.

  144. 144
    Phinehas says:

    ellazimm:

    Interrupted? I’m pretty sure you had finished typing and pressed the send button, else I wouldn’t have seen it posted here yet. If not, then I apologize for the interruption.

    I was responding to this:

    Andre: And thus you also disagree with Darwin. He was clear you can’t trust the convictions of a monkey’s mind or was he wrong about that?

    ella: I don’t have a monkey’s mind (I’m a primate) and I’m not an expert on such matters. But I think the preponderance of the evidence is pretty clear that we are the result off universal common descent through variation.

    Perhaps you’d like to refine your argument somewhat. Try something a bit more cogent perhaps.

    You dodged the monkey’s mind point on a technicality, but then basically admitted the point anyway by acknowledging your mind is the result of universal common descent through variation.

    I found it interesting that you followed up this admission with an appeal for more cogency from another. So I questioned what could possibly convince you that the product of blind, pitiless indifference was capable of cogency in the first place.

    You responded by talking about your beliefs.

    I followed up by questioning what could possibly convince you that the product of blind, pitiless indifference (otherwise know as UCD with RV) was capable of producing something that had true beliefs.

    You talked more about things you don’t believe and things you do believe.

    You also talked about expectations and clarity and what you think.

    You appear to maintain confidence that the forces of blind, pitiless indifference are capable of producing in you not only thoughts, beliefs, and expectations, but clear, cogent, and truthful ones at that.

    What does that confidence rest on? The very same thoughts, beliefs, and expectations that require the confidence, of course.

  145. 145
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta, as we are both fully aware, evolutionary epistemology as discussed by a human being necessarily refers to the person putting forth the view also as s/he is a human being. This entails self referentiality; a term that means just what it says. Instantly, this means the assertions can become circular and question begging, or if they are contradictory they will be self referentially incoherent. As is clearly the case with evolutionary materialism and evolutionary epistemology as an aspect of it. Statements from Darwin to Haldane to Crick, Provine and Gray and the problems encountered by Marxists, Freudians and Behaviourists alike — already cited but brushed aside — show typical cases in point. This is not rocket science nor is it some strange idiosyncratic notion. Indeed the hard problem of consciousness is also bound up in it. KF

  146. 146
    Phinehas says:

    ellazimm:

    I’ve offered a couple of things that might tend to undermine the confidence of the open-minded in the ability of UCD through RV to produce clear and cogent thoughts.

    One is Plantinga’s philosophical thought experiment, which others have referenced as well. The other is Professor Hoffman’s research, leading to this conclusion:

    DONALD HOFFMAN: Right. The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.

    But beliefs propped up by confidence propped up by beliefs needn’t trouble themselves with such I suppose.

  147. 147
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, sidetrack. The issue is that functionally specific complex organisation and associated information beyond 500 – 1000 bits is only observed to be created by intelligent, purposeful action. On a trillion cases. An examination of a simple case such as a text string of length n with s-state possibilities per location — which includes DNA and proteins — shows that there is a large space of possibilities, s^n. This is of exponential order. Strings are also WLOG as 3-d structures can be informationally reduced to strings in some language. The case of the soup of chemicals in a Darwin’s pond or the like claimed prebiotic environment shows the challenge to get to initial islands of function in the config space, a problem never cogently answered. Likewise just the deep isolation of protein fold domains in AA sequence space and the need for proteins to compose the elements of novel body plans runs into the same problem for onward origin of body plans. Also, never cogently answered. Dismissive rhetoric, confident manner assertions or willful obtuseness to the contrary notwithstanding. KF

    PS: As the emergence of any human being would be a like result, the issue is not the individual case but the relevant class. And that is also the problem with many on the point on islands of function, any one case is highly improbable, but with vast seas of non function in the pond etc, a non functional result is all but absolutely certain given difficulty of search for states in islands of function relative to resources available. A longstanding point that is too often ignored by objectors to the design inference regardless of how often they are corrected. Such clinging to corrected and patent errors speaks and not in the favour of the objectors.

  148. 148
    kairosfocus says:

    Phinehas, thanks. KF

  149. 149
    ellazimm says:

    Phinehas #144

    I am not a monkey nor do I have a monkey’s brain. Monkeys and humans share a common ancestor as do humans and wombats, humans and camels, humans and aspidistras. You pick a particular level of comparison which is not only incorrect but arbitrary. Why not say I have a lion’s brain? Or a fish brain? Or a stoat’s brain? You pick monkey because you find it demeaning and silly. And you think it’s close enough via evolutionary theory. You get a lot wrong.

    You appear to maintain confidence that the forces of blind, pitiless indifference are capable of producing in you not only thoughts, beliefs, and expectations, but clear, cogent, and truthful ones at that.

    I shall try once again to explain my view:

    I do not believe that individuals are generally capable of discerning ‘truth’ based sheerly on their instincts or basic reactions. I agree that we are ‘wired’ for survival and not higher level detection. I extend my doubt to myself and my own perceptions and conclusions.

    But I do assert that it is true that human beings, working together, trying hard to catch each other’s biases and inclinations, can, given time and effort, find repeatable, non-observer dependent truths about how the universe functions and operates.

    I also admit that all such knowledge is based on current data and experimentation. We must, continually, be open to new data and re-evaluate our statements accordingly.

    My confidence lies in a procedure for checking and rechecking any and all statements about reality. In being openly skeptical about any conclusions not firmly rooted in data and empirical evidence. In no one person or report or experience being granted a pass.

    As individuals, we are eminently fallible. The research and the evidence is clear. But together we can account for that as long as we’re open and honest and clear.

    We discover the truth despite our evolutionary shortcomings, not because of them. And we have to work at it. Always.

  150. 150
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF@147:IE, sidetrack.”

    You bring up combinatorial explosion and I am accused of sidetrack when I point out its fallacy? That seems strange to me.

    The issue is that functionally specific complex organisation and associated information is only observed to be created by intelligent, purposeful action. “

    Let me correct that. The issue is that functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, where we know the cause, is only observed to be created by humans. In statistics that has zero degrees of freedom. In other words, useless in predictive power. And you were the one talking about self-referential and circular.

  151. 151
    ellazimm says:

    Phinehas #146

    I’ve offered a couple of things that might tend to undermine the confidence of the open-minded in the ability of UCD through RV to produce clear and cogent thoughts.

    And yet I have continually in this thread expressed my non-confidence in the ability of individuals to discern ‘the truth’, to figure things out on their own.

  152. 152
    ellazimm says:

    KF #147

    The issue is that functionally specific complex organisation and associated information beyond 500 – 1000 bits is only observed to be created by intelligent, purposeful action.

    And only by human beings. What other intelligent beings are there available to carry out the design you detect?

  153. 153
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ, not so, we see FSCO/I rich designs by beavers for example as was discussed here some years ago. Furthermore, the material point is that we have no basis for constricting the class of possible designers to human beings. We are contingent and we exemplify what is possible, we do not exhaust what is possible. It is an abuse of inductive reasoning to try that constriction. And this issue can go on and on and on, but the points will remain the same, so the point is that I have sufficiently answered a side track issue for the onlooker open to hear this side to return focus on the primary topic, never mind that local developments demand my main attention and constrain what I can do here. However, even this side track shows the patterns of long persistent error in reasoning we are dealing with. KF

  154. 154
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ (attn P), remember, Darwin was the one using “monkey” in the 1881 letter, and it is reasonable from his treating monkeys as ancestral, that he had in mind the general, loose sense of the word. KF

  155. 155
    Phinehas says:

    ellazimm:

    You pick monkey because you find it demeaning and silly. And you think it’s close enough via evolutionary theory. You get a lot wrong.

    I didn’t pick monkey. Darwin did. Andre quoted Darwin. I’m fine talking about the UCD + RV brain since I suspect the product of such could never reach the reliability of a monkey’s brain let alone yours, and that is my real point.

    I do not believe that individuals are generally capable of discerning ‘truth’ based sheerly on their instincts or basic reactions. I agree that we are ‘wired’ for survival and not higher level detection. I extend my doubt to myself and my own perceptions and conclusions.

    You mean except the following conclusions, right?

    Like this one:

    But I do assert that it is true that human beings, working together, trying hard to catch each other’s biases and inclinations, can, given time and effort, find repeatable, non-observer dependent truths about how the universe functions and operates.

    But maybe this isn’t really a conclusion. Maybe your assertion is simply one of faith.

    You know, it is interesting that you put your confidence in the collective mind, but not the individual one. It is interesting because Hoffman had some interesting things to say about that as well.

    HOFFMAN: Objective reality is just conscious agents, just points of view. Interestingly, I can take two conscious agents and have them interact, and the mathematical structure of that interaction also satisfies the definition of a conscious agent. This mathematics is telling me something. I can take two minds, and they can generate a new, unified single mind. Here’s a concrete example. We have two hemispheres in our brain. But when you do a split-brain operation, a complete transection of the corpus callosum, you get clear evidence of two separate consciousnesses. Before that slicing happened, it seemed there was a single unified consciousness. So it’s not implausible that there is a single conscious agent. And yet it’s also the case that there are two conscious agents there, and you can see that when they’re split. I didn’t expect that, the mathematics forced me to recognize this. It suggests that I can take separate observers, put them together and create new observers, and keep doing this ad infinitum. It’s conscious agents all the way down.

    This is in the very same article where he talks about the math leading to the conclusion that evolution doesn’t select for reality.

  156. 156
    Aleta says:

    kf, you write.

    Aleta, as we are both fully aware, evolutionary epistemology as discussed by a human being necessarily refers to the person putting forth the view also as s/he is a human being. This entails self referentiality; a term that means just what it says. Instantly, this means the assertions can become circular and question begging, or if they are contradictory they will be self referentially incoherent.

    1. How is this any different for you than it is for me? You are putting forth views as a human being, just as I am. Why does a theist not have the same problem?

    2. And saying “self referentiality [is] a term that means just what it says” doesn’t say much. Give me an example of an assertion I might make about human beings that is somehow self referential in a way that is problematic. Obviously, If I say “I see a tree” that refers to myself, but you must mean something other than that.

    What is the problem with human beings making statements about human beings?

    3. Also, you say “assertions can become circular and question begging.” I assume this means some assertions wouldn’t be circular, then. Can you give examples of circular assertions vs non-circular assertions?

  157. 157
    Mung says:

    Charles Darwin was not a monkey!

  158. 158
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Charles Darwin was not a monkey.”

    But he played one on TV.

  159. 159
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF@153: “EZ, not so, we see FSCO/I rich designs by beavers for example as was discussed here some years ago.”

    Really? How rich? What is the scale used to calculate FSCO/I? Is it ordinal? Scalar? Logarithmic? What are the units? Or is it just “well, golly, that looks complex”.

    There is not a known designed structure for which we did not understand the nature and limitation of the designer. For which we did not have an understanding of the tools and materials available to the designer. And you think that you can extrapolate from this to infer design for a biological structure for which we have no knowledge of the designer? No understanding of the limitations of the designer? No idea of the tools and mechanisms used by the designer?

    Forgive me if I find this type of inference nothing more than an attempt to shroud a religious belief in something that you think is science.

  160. 160
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF@147: “The issue is that functionally specific complex organisation and associated information is only observed to be created by intelligent, purposeful action.”

    And, more accurately, that it is only observed to be created by biological intelligence that is bound by all of the current physical laws. Using your own logic, we can then infer that all FSCO/I is designed by biological intelligence that is bound by all current physical laws.

    Using your own logic, a biological intelligence bound by current physical laws is a better explanation for FSCO/I than God. But I don’t see you arguing for this. Is it possible that this is because you are basing your views on a religious belief rather than the evidence?

  161. 161
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, to measure specify a string of y/n q’s to describe the configuration, as autocad etc do. This goes all the way back to Orgel in his discussion in 1973. As has been pointed out repeatedly. To see threshold, simply subtract 500 bits for something of sol system scale, 1000 for observed cosmos. Those scales will exhaust resources such that a search with that much atomic resources . . . 10^57 or 80 atoms or so . . . across 13.7 BY and working at fast atomic reaction rates ~ 10^ – 14 to 15 /s will only be able to sample a negligible fraction of the space of possible configs. Again, have you attended to what has been explained over and over, to know what you are objecting to? That turns your repeated dismissive cry, fallacy — itself already a turnabout rhetorical tactic designed to distract from the core self-referential incoherence fallacies of evolutionary materialism — into a very hollow assertion. KF

    PS: Trying to lock down intelligence to humans fails, beavers are just one illustration. And we all grew up on Sci Fi so we know the possibility of other intelligences is reasonable. Beyond, cosmolofical finetuning manifest in the physics that sets up our cosmos for cell based, C-chem, aqueous medium life, points to design antecedent to and capable of causing our physical world — indeed of causing its physics. That moves us to needing to be open to the abstract possibility of designers that go beyond biology, chemistry and physics. That is, there is a whole other side to signs of design. Which, objectors too often neglect or try to brush aside.

  162. 162
    Aleta says:

    Kf, don’t forget to answer some of my questions about those “core fallacies of evolutionary materialism.” See 156.

  163. 163
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta, you are implicitly imposing a view that assumes that from hydrogen to humans, phenomena came about by blind watchmaker mechanisms. It is this view that ends in self referential incoherence. I have no need to point further than the PCs we are using to see that systems can be designed to accurately sense, take in, process and apply information; though the Pentium error points out how this can go wrong too, and systems need sanity checks and convergent confirming of proper function. Through the work of designers who are anything but blind and non-foresighted. That my senses and reasoning are in reasonable order and act in contexts they were designed for would give us reason to expect that they can and often do work properly. Though sometimes things go wrong. In short, we are not locked up to evolutionary materialism and blind watchmaker chance and necessity, there are more seats at the table of comparative difficulties than that. KF

    PS: Please recognise that I am dealing with a pretty intense situation here right now, indeed I just came back from a meeting connected to what is going on just now.

  164. 164
    Aleta says:

    Thanks, kf, and I certainly don’t expect you to neglect important work to discuss things with me. I’m patient.

    But here’s a response that you could reply to sometime if you wish.

    You write,

    Aleta, you are implicitly imposing a view that assumes that from hydrogen to humans, phenomena came about by blind watchmaker mechanisms. It is this view that ends in self referential incoherence.

    I know you don’t believe that purely natural processes could have brought about life in general, and humans in particular.

    What I’m interested in understanding is what you mean when you say that position “ends in self referential incoherence.”

    In 156 I wrote,

    kf, you write, “Evolutionary epistemology as discussed by a human being necessarily refers to the person putting forth the view also as s/he is a human being. This entails self referentiality; a term that means just what it says. Instantly, this means the assertions can become circular and question begging, or if they are contradictory they will be self referentially incoherent.”

    1. How is this any different for you than it is for me? You are putting forth views as a human being, just as I am. Why does a theist not have the same problem?

    2. And saying “self referentiality [is] a term that means just what it says” doesn’t say much. Give me an example of an assertion I might make about human beings that is somehow self referential in a way that is problematic. Obviously, If I say “I see a tree” that refers to myself, but you must mean something other than that.

    What is the problem with human beings making statements about human beings?

    3. Also, you say “assertions can become circular and question begging.” I assume this means some assertions wouldn’t be circular, then. Can you give examples of circular assertions vs non-circular assertions?

    So, please explain more about why the naturalist position is “self referentially incoherent.”

  165. 165
    daveS says:

    KF,

    OT, but is there some emergency occurring? (if you are able to share).

    I’ve skimmed several articles I believe were written by you, but didn’t run across anything extraordinary.

  166. 166
    Andre says:

    Phineas

    I think you can safely let this go… for the materialist agreeing with Darwin only to disagree is a clear sign that truth holds no value. Secondly beliefs orginate from intentional states which themselves do not consist of matter. Thus the avarage materialist uses that which he denies to affirm what he denies.

    I don’t think it a fault of their logic just a willful deviousness on their part.

  167. 167
    ellazimm says:

    Phinehas #155

    You know, it is interesting that you put your confidence in the collective mind, but not the individual one. It is interesting because Hoffman had some interesting things to say about that as well.

    It’s not so much a collective mind as a collective endeavour. Lots of people working towards a common goal, checking each other’s work via competition and cooperation. I believe in that process, as slow and as frustrating as it can be at times.

    I didn’t find the quote you reproduced very enlightening. There was no math presented. I’m not sure he is correct about the ramifications of that kind of surgery. It sounds like a lot of idle speculation. But I’m not up on that stuff to be honest. I’ll defer to the neuroscientists.

    This is in the very same article where he talks about the math leading to the conclusion that evolution doesn’t select for reality.

    You keep bringing up the same point which I think I have addressed several times now. I agree that we are programmed to survive and reproduce. There are lots of examples of human predilections for seeing patterns when none are there but which may be a survivalist tool. We have an adrenaline system for helping us deal with crisis without thinking too much.

    But when we work together, not as a collective mind but in a collective effort, we can begin to discern the truth behind the curtain. We’re not like ants or bees, our individuality subsumed into a have-mind. We can be cranky, rude, insightful, caring, combative, petty, jealous, emotive, supportive and sometimes completely stupid. Occasionally a single individual does see just that bit further and discovers something wondrous on their own. But mostly it takes an accumulation of lots of bits and pieces found by lots of individuals struggling along searching for that flake of gold in the bottom of the pan.

    And even then all knowledge is provisional. You never know when some new data or result will force a re-evaluation. And then we go back and look over everything again. We try tweaking the old results a bit to see if we can make the box just a little bit bigger. And sometimes we have to throw everything out.

  168. 168
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, Follytricks is in a surge situation, requiring my focus. KF

  169. 169
    Andre says:

    And Ellazim refutes materialism in his post #167. Good job!

  170. 170
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta,

    the matter has been explained multiple times above, including with a range of citations against interest from Darwin to Haldane to Crick, Provine, Lewontin and Gray et al.

    Consistently, the way the darwinists and evolutionary materialists and their own reasoning falls under the force of the blind watchmaker chance and necessity forces that they believe shape and control our thought has been laid out. This is already both self referential (reflexive impact of argument on both one’s person and one’s thought process/products thereof) and imposing of the non rational as being in the driver seat. This becomes self-referential and incoherent.

    I again note from the exchange between Crick and Johnson, as one case:

    13 –> Some materialists go further and suggest that mind is more or less a delusion. For instance, Sir Francis Crick is on record, in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:

    . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    14 –> Philip Johnson has replied that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Johnson then acidly commented: “[[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [[Reason in the Balance, 1995.]

    15 –> In short, it is at least arguable that self-referential absurdity is the dagger pointing to the heart of evolutionary materialistic models of mind and its origin . . .

    Gray outright states but misses the significance as it affects his own thought, making him a spider caught in the sticky part of his own web:

    “Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth – and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.”

    My summary on the dynamics at work in such reasoning is:

    a: Evolutionary materialism argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature; from hydrogen to humans by undirected chance and necessity.

    b: Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws of chance and/or mechanical necessity acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of happenstance initial circumstances.

    c: But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this meat-machine picture. So, we rapidly arrive at Crick’s claim in his The Astonishing Hypothesis (1994): what we subjectively experience as “thoughts,” “reasoning” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as the unintended by-products of the blind natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains that (as the Smith Model illustrates) serve as cybernetic controllers for our bodies.

    d: These underlying driving forces are viewed as being ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance shaped by forces of selection [[“nature”] and psycho-social conditioning [[“nurture”], within the framework of human culture [[i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism]. And, remember, the focal issue to such minds — notice, this is a conceptual analysis made and believed by the materialists! — is the physical causal chains in a control loop, not the internalised “mouth-noises” that may somehow sit on them and come along for the ride.

    (Save, insofar as such “mouth noises” somehow associate with or become embedded as physically instantiated signals or maybe codes in such a loop. [[How signals, languages and codes originate and function in systems in our observation of such origin — i.e by design — tends to be pushed to the back-burner and conveniently forgotten. So does the point that a signal or code takes its significance precisely from being an intelligently focused on, observed or chosen and significant alternative from a range of possibilities that then can guide decisive action.])

    e: For instance, Marxists commonly derided opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismissed qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? Should we not ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is little more than yet another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze? And — as we saw above — would the writings of a Crick be any more than the firing of neurons in networks in his own brain?

    f: For further instance, we may take the favourite whipping-boy of materialists: religion. Notoriously, they often hold that belief in God is not merely cognitive, conceptual error, but delusion. Borderline lunacy, in short. But, if such a patent “delusion” is so utterly widespread, even among the highly educated, then it “must” — by the principles of evolution — somehow be adaptive to survival, whether in nature or in society. And so, this would be a major illustration of the unreliability of our conceptual reasoning ability, on the assumption of evolutionary materialism.

    g: Turning the materialist dismissal of theism around, evolutionary materialism itself would be in the same leaky boat. For, the sauce for the goose is notoriously just as good a sauce for the gander, too.

    h: That is, on its own premises [[and following Dawkins in A Devil’s Chaplain, 2004, p. 46], the cause of the belief system of evolutionary materialism, “must” also be reducible to forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity that are sufficiently adaptive to spread this “meme” in populations of jumped- up apes from the savannahs of East Africa scrambling for survival in a Malthusian world of struggle for existence. Reppert brings the underlying point sharply home, in commenting on the “internalised mouth-noise signals riding on the physical cause-effect chain in a cybernetic loop” view:

    . . . 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.

    When one undermines the credibility of human thought and results of thought, one is caught in one’s own web.

    KF

    PS: For example I would like to go back to the thread on an infinite past but I do have to put primary focus on other things.

  171. 171
    ellazimm says:

    Andre #169

    And Ellazim refutes materialism in his post #167. Good job!

    I’m glad you appreciated the effort.

  172. 172
    Andre says:

    Ellazim

    I am serious you just refuted your own worldview by acknowledging that chemical reactions don’t just obey the laws of nature but search for truth. Good job mate.

  173. 173
    ellazimm says:

    Andre #172

    I am serious you just refuted your own worldview by acknowledging that chemical reactions don’t just obey the laws of nature but search for truth. Good job mate.

    Like I said, it’s always nice to have one’s efforts appreciated.

  174. 174
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, Follytricks is in a surge situation, requiring my focus. KF

    Roger that. Thanks.

  175. 175
    Origenes says:

    Kairosfocus #92,

    Oneness in its absolute form is something rooted in itself (‘causa sui’), and I hold that this property of self-reference is key to the explanation of personhood, consciousness, and freedom. Oneness can cast shadows of itself into the world and by this present itself, “differentiate” if you will, in many forms.

    The many representations of oneness at all levels of life mock materialism’s claim that true oneness can only be found at the level of fermions and bosons (F&B).

    So, why isn’t life simply off limits to materialism? How did materialism become anything more than something pertaining to physics?

    In order to jump-start the blind watchmaker evolution narrative of natural selection, in order to get started at all, materialists were forced to make an assumption. It never ceases to amaze me that they got away with it and still do.

    Why was 19th century materialism allowed the assumption that homeostasis (HS) of an organism is compatible with materialism? Why is any materialism allowed to make that assumption?

    When we ponder HS we quickly realize that:
    —-
    1. HS implies orchestrated/coordinated directionality of all parts of the organism.

    2. There is no conceivable bottom-up explanation for the orchestration of this directionality.

    Therefore (from 1 & 2)

    3. An explanation for HS must stem from oneness at the level of the whole organism or beyond — which is in direct contradiction to the claims of materialism.

    Conclusion: HS is not compatible with materialism.

    Ad (1). If all cells follow their own trajectory there can be no overall coherence and hence no HS. So all the parts of an organism must be coherently aimed at performing HS.
    N.B. the organism is in a dynamic equilibrium, even a single cell can be said to be never the same during its life cycle, and therefore we witness a constant reshifting and refocusing wrt HS. Also note, during HS, the parts of the organism behave subordinate to the whole, which is obviously suggestive of an hierarchal relationship between whole and the parts.
    Ad (2). There is no “master-regulator-molecule” in the cell — DNA included — which can even in principle be a cause for a multicellular organism’s HS; any molecule simply operates at the wrong level to do so.
    Communication between cells is obviously helpful, but a “democracy of cells” cannot produce the dynamic decision-power combined with overview that is required wrt HS.
    —-
    HS constitutes a magnificent display of dynamic (living) unity at the macro-level for which there is zero explanation from the level of F&B. Even without the simple logic, if an organism is a bag of chemicals, what on Earth keeps the dynamic unity/coherence in place? Moreover, each unpredictable interaction with the environment (and sequence of interactions) is a threat to HS.

    Only after this preposterous “naturalization” of HS, Darwin could go on positing the potential existence of an endless variety of viable organisms for natural selection [read: elimination] to act on; meanwhile making the further assumption that HS is endlessly malleable.

    Again, the assumption that HS is compatible with materialism ignores basic logic, ignores chemistry, ignores the tendency of the second law and is the sole reason that we have a debate on life with materialism at all. Perhaps the subject never came up because there are so many other obvious problems with the theory.

  176. 176
    Aleta says:

    Andre writes,

    I am serious you just refuted your own worldview by acknowledging that chemical reactions don’t just obey the laws of nature but search for truth. Good job mate.

    I don’t see the refutation. Biological organisms, of whatever complexity, search for truths relevant to their level of complexity in respect to perception, cognition, and behavior. A bird knows that flying head first into a tree is not the thing to do because trees are hard and would damage the bird, and that’s a truth, as far as the bird is concerned.

  177. 177
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF@161:And we all grew up on Sci Fi so we know the possibility of other intelligences is reasonable.”

    And now you are using science fiction to defend your arguments. Let’s address some facts:

    1) the combinatorial explosion is based on a false assumption, as explained above. Evolution does not have a target in mind but the combinatorial explosion is based on working back from the end product with the assumption that it was the target.

    2) FSCO/I is also based on more than one assumption. The 500-1000 threshold is, supposedly, based on the observation of known designed structures. And, I admit that it may be easy to quantify FSCO/I in a human sentence, but that is only true if we understand the language. For example, what is the FSCO/I of the following:

    Fqy o horf jjeji hndgo. Ftatoyb joircnugyj grj byjocvhhrhvvghcbb itrj. Th. Budgibvvtvntfko. Bug Fyinv hubcg

    Now, what is the FSCO/I of a beaver dam? I would argue that a river delta has just as much FSCO/I. Or the sorting by particle size on a beach.

    It further fails because it tries to infer design in biological structures, for which we have no understanding of the nature and limitations of the designer or the mechanisms used to realize the design, from the observation of known design in which we have very good knowledge of all of this. And to top it off, you are using the observation of design by biological organisms that are bound by all of the current physical laws to infer design by a non-biological being that is not bound by these physical laws.

    3) your islands of functionality argument was discredited long ago. Your island of functionality argument assumes that each function is independent of all other functions within an organism, which is known not to be true. It also assumes that these islands are immutable. Another failed assumption. Islands of function, if they really existed as you describe them (which they don’t) are built on shifting sand. They would change with changing environment.

  178. 178
    kairosfocus says:

    IE,

    Passing by in a brief break after far more serious stuff.

    Yes, I am defending [hardish . . . ] Sci Fi as a now traditional exploration of logically possible worlds. Indeed, it is the genre that inspires approaches to scenario based planning. (I also think war games and there extensions to business and reform movements have a use; indeed I have developed such an exercise for my own use.)

    This, from John C Wright, caught my eye to the point I want to come back to it when the surge passes:

    http://dappledthings.org/4641/.....-c-wright/

    sci-fi is uniquely suited for cultural discourse, because modern issues can be (1) disguised as the issues of another decade or another planet, so that the implications can be examined without the connotations clouding the picture—such as by making Christ a great lion in a magical land of talking animals. This is Aesop’s method, used by George Orwell in Animal Farm. And (2) the modern issue can be examined once magnified to large size, that is, from the point of view of a future where the trends to be examined “if this goes on” have been played out to their logical (or absurd) extreme. This is Plato’s method in The Republic, used by George Orwell in 1984. The role of science fiction is unique, because it is the only genre with the freedom to place plots in a realistic yet unreal setting. Such tales are always set in the lands off the edges of our maps. In the old days, the genre of sailor’s tales would serve to carry the reader to the land of speculation. These days, you cannot realistically set a story on the island of Utopia, or Lilliput, or Atlantis, because our maps show those places do not exist: and so Thomas Moore, or Jonathon Swift, or Plato, in order to write up the sober or satirical implications of their social commentary would have to find a bigger map, a star map, or perhaps a calendar, and set their satires on other worlds, or in the land of tomorrow, or in other parallel universes altogether, as writers like G.K. Chesterton, Aldous Huxley, Ayn Rand, or Phillip Pullman did when they wanted to visit their brave new worlds of Utopia, or Lilliput, or Atlantis, or, at least, their brave new suburb of Notting Hill.

    Food for thought.

    KF

    PS: You have fallen into the classic trap of being selectively hypercritical in looking at what those you disagree with speak of. Go look up the exploded view diagram for a 6500 C3 round reel, it’s actually discussed here at UD. Use AutoCAD as description language generator and do a drawing file, which will be a collection of bit strings describing a 3-d functionally specific config. Ponder what happens when you play around with the bits and pieces at random, they soon become non functional. For convenience, focus on the gear train and drag system. (Where gears are specified per nodes-arcs wireframe and have to meet a lot of interesting constraints to work; cf. something like the ribosome or ATP synthase in the cell.) Same for text strings in posts here and in code. Punch in a bit of noise and see how fast function is lost. DNA and proteins are based on monomers in highly specific strings, and protein fold domains come as deeply isolated islands in AA sequence space. Islands of function are real, and are relevant to cell based life. Just, the message that sends about search challenge on sol system or observed cosmos scope given combinatorial explosion of possibilities per s^n, is obviously very unwelcome. 300 AA, use just the 20 typical ones for proteins, ignore chirality for now, and 20^300 ~2.04*10^390 possibilities, By far and away most being utterly non functional relevant to cell based life — fold-fit etc challenges.

  179. 179
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF@178: “PS: You have fallen into the classic trap of being selectively hypercritical in looking at what those you disagree with speak of.”

    You mean the classic trap of claiming that your arguments are based on false assumptions and supporting my claims? Yes, I can see why you would rather criticize my motive than my argument.

    Go look up the exploded view diagram for a 6500 C3 round reel,”

    I have seen you repeat this many times and all you have proven is that a fishing reel designed by humans is a good evidence for a fishing reel designed by humans.

    . Use AutoCAD as description language generator and do a drawing file, which will be a collection of bit strings describing a 3-d functionally specific config. Ponder what happens when you play around with the bits and pieces at random, they soon become non functional.”

    OK, I get it. Human designed things are prone to losing function upon variation.

    Same for text strings in posts here and in code. Punch in a bit of noise and see how fast function is lost.”

    Actually, this is not true. You can leave out a significant number of matters, and even rearrange them, and the message can still be deciphered. But, again, human design.

    Islands of function are real, and are relevant to cell based life.”

    Repeating this will not make it true. I explained why. Argue against my reasons if you can, but please stop making unsubstantiated assertions. Your argument is that loss of function means death. Which is not the case. You can’t produce vitamin C due to loss of function. Many adults cannot digest lactose due to lack of function. Neither are resulting in mass deaths.

  180. 180
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, the same, again. I suggest you start with code corruption and the deep isolation of protein fold domains in AA sequence space. The issue for instance is not, can a one or few base pair mutation make steps to break say vit C synthesis, but getting to vit c synthesis in the first place. Especially, noting the threshold of complexity issue for Hamming distance (or more broadly number of edits distance): 500 – 1,000 bits. And I am sure you are aware that in some cases single point mutations can be fatal . . . though that is not in focus. Last, start from recognising that the island of function effect is real and readily seen, as is what is descriptively termed functionally specific complex organisation and associated information. The need to dismiss something so patently real, and relevant to cell based life, speaks volumes about what is at stake here. Lastly, it is to be noted that this is tangential to the thread’s focus, where it is becoming obvious that the self falsification of evolutionary materialism through self referential incoherence is a significant issue. KF

    PS: This on singletons should be of interest: http://vixra.org/pdf/1105.0025v1.pdf

  181. 181
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF@180:The issue for instance is not, can a one or few base pair mutation make steps to break say vit C synthesis, but getting to vit c synthesis in the first place.”

    Again with the false assumptions that the combinatorial explosion relies on. Why to you think that vitamin C is the goal?

    And I am sure you are aware that in some cases single point mutations can be fatal . . . “

    Of course. And these may be the cause of a significant percentage of spontaneous abortions. But there are very many that are not fatal. We each carry many of them. Even some that affect the function of normal proteins. I myself have Marfans which is a connective tissue disorder that has many symptoms that I have (myopia, spontaneous pneumothorax, and scoliosis), and others that I don’t yet have, but could (mitral valve damage and aneurism). I think you would agree that this is s serious genetic disorder that has resulted in a significant reduction in function. Yet, I am still here poking holes in your sacred cows.

  182. 182
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let us recall the issue brought out by Gray as an example:

    “Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth – and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.”

    Where of course the sauce for the goose must be good sauce for the Gander too, so self referentiality has instant, logically and epistemologically lethal consequences.

    And as has been repeatedly pointed out, this is by no means a singular case of admission against interest.

    KF

  183. 183
    Indiana Effigy says:

    FF@182: “The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.”

    We have been over this before. Yes, the human brain serves evolutionary success, as do our opposable thumbs and upright stature. That does not preclude the ability to discern truth. Unless you think that truth is somehow not compatible with reproductive success.

  184. 184
    Andre says:

    Aleta

    Of course you don’t see it…. Your worldview is based on fitness not truth.

  185. 185
    Andre says:

    IE

    If Darwinian evolutionary theory is true then fitness trumps truth. I always ask the following question to people you are welcome to have a go…

    Do chemical reactions concern themselves with truth or do they obey the laws of nature?

  186. 186
    Aleta says:

    And why are fitness and truth incompatible, Andre.

    At 176, I wrote,

    Biological organisms, of whatever complexity, search for truths relevant to their level of complexity in respect to perception, cognition, and behavior. A bird knows that flying head first into a tree is not the thing to do because trees are hard and would damage the bird, and that’s a truth, as far as the bird is concerned.

    Human beings, as well as other organisms to different degrees (e.g, the bird), have perceptual and cognitive abilities that allow us to know many truths about the physical world. The general ability do to so has survival value — that is true — but vast amounts of what we have been able to learn is not directly tied to survival.

    So what is incompatible about a material being that has abilities related to successfully knowing how the world works and knowing truth?

  187. 187
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, loaded language again. I point to our ability to readily distinguish:

    DSDSDSDSDSDSDS . . .

    gffayid6ifudiyg97rdu[w

    this is a string in English text

    to make a basic point.

    Likewise, the 6500 C3 reel sits there.

    FSCO/I is real, is observable and readily distinguishable and at the relevant threshold 500 – 1000 bits on a trillion observations is a reliable sign of design as cause. Precisely because of the island of function effect.

    And just so, you persist in a tangent distractive from the force of what Gray overlooked:

    “Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth – and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.”

    KF

    PS: The measurement or quantification of FSCO/I is not a universal puzzle solver or code breaker process. Show function, show such based on specific configuration among a great many others up to a cluster constituting an island of function. Functional specificity. Then blend in information metric to quantify and compare with threshold. Again, the selective hyperskepticism is patent, as all of this has been explained over and over and over, just dismissed, in the end because the message is utterly unwelcome. And you forget, I was there when dozens of attempts were made to suggest cases of FSCO/I by blind chance and mechanism only to consistently fail. I was there to see when the line of objections was switched to denying that there is a substantial concept or reality there to be addressed. And, I point to that humble fishing reel, to text and to DNA and molecular nanomachines again and again. The tangent fails and the self referential incoherence of evo mat is clear from the example of Gray and others.

  188. 188
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta, the isue is, what becomes self-referentially incoherent in evolutionary materialist accounts of mind, such as this example from Gray illustrates:

    Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth – and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.”

    Where of course as Gray is one of us, his argument cuts its own throat and undermines the credibility of his own mind relative to his own premises. Including, when he argues as just cited.

    Self referential, and decisively self undermining by way of incoherence.

    And of course this is just one case among many.

    KF

  189. 189
    Origenes says:

    Aleta: So what is incompatible about a material being that has abilities related to successfully knowing how the world works and knowing truth?

    Not much, besides the fact that a material being cannot be a person, cannot maintain homeostasis and can neither reason nor understand.

  190. 190
    daveS says:

    Aleta,

    What do you think of the Gray quote generally? I don’t know the full context (and know nothing of Gray), but to me it seems quite obviously logically fallacious.

  191. 191
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF@187: FSCO/I is real, is observable and readily distinguishable and at the relevant threshold 500 – 1000 bits on a trillion observations is a reliable sign of design as cause.

    It is only a reliable sign of human design. You really are starting to sound like a broken record.

    gffayid6ifudiyg97rdu[w.
    this is a string in English text.
    to make a basic point.”

    OK, but what about this?
    ????
    inanite k’oshashawi mulu lemulu yetemola newi

    Or this?

    jy is heeltemal vol kak

    Do they have FSCO/I or not?

    Again, the selective hyperskepticism is patent, as all of this has been explained over and over and over, just dismissed, in the end because the message is utterly unwelcome.”

    Again, attacking the messenger rather than addressing the message.

    And you forget, I was there when dozens of attempts were made to suggest cases of FSCO/I by blind chance and mechanism only to consistently fail.”

    And you forget, I was present at an unexplained undersea mass sponge migration:)

  192. 192
    Aleta says:

    To Origenes: so is an amoeba not a material organism? They exhibit homeostasis in some simple ways. Or do you believe that all of life requires a non-material component in order to exist?

  193. 193
    Aleta says:

    to Dave: I have told kf that I am not interested in discussing quoted material with people who aren’t here to discuss back, and I also don’t know who Gray is.

    But I certainly am not impressed with the quoted statement.

    But, again, I want to hear what kf thinks, or others here, not quotes from other people.

  194. 194
    Origenes says:

    Aleta,

    We all know that in an organism, be it an amoeba, a dandelion, an earthworm, or a giraffe, all parts and functions are interconnected and work together within the context of the whole creature. When some part of an organism functions in isolation or out of context, we know something is wrong (such as when we have a nervous twitch, or when a beaver in a zoo gnaws repetitiously on the metal barrier of its enclosure). In a healthy organism, the parts always stand in meaningful relation to the whole. Or we could also say, the whole lives in and through the parts (cf. Bortoft 1996)
    [Craig Holdrege]

    Aleta: so is an amoeba not a material organism?

    Of course not! How could it be? Which molecule could possibly coordinate all the parts and functions into a dynamic equilibrium (homeostasis)? Which molecule could hold that power and overview? The idea that an organism is just a bag of chemicals should never have been seriously considered.

    Aleta: They exhibit homeostasis in some simple ways.

    “Simple” is rather inaccurate, since there is not even one conceivable bottom-up explanation for homeostasis. Not one.

    Aleta: Or do you believe that all of life requires a non-material component in order to exist?

    Presactly.

  195. 195
    Aleta says:

    I see that above Origenes wrote to kf,

    HS implies orchestrated/coordinated directionality of all parts of the organism.

    2. There is no conceivable bottom-up explanation for the orchestration of this directionality.

    I presume this applies to an amoeba. (And I see that Origenes answered this while I was writing my post.)

    Also, Origenes wrote,

    Oneness in its absolute form is something rooted in itself (‘causa sui’), and I hold that this property of self-reference is key to the explanation of personhood, consciousness, and freedom. Oneness can cast shadows of itself into the world and by this present itself, “differentiate” if you will, in many forms.

    That’s interesting. I see Origenes has a mystical, Platonic metaphysics, so of course he considers the material world secondary to, and dependent on, the non-material.

    As I have said a number of times,

    a) I am a strong agnostic about metaphyical speculations like this: I don’t think there is any way anyone can really know, but

    b) my preferred metaphysical speculation is a form of Taoism where the One manifests itself in the material world through the complementary interplay of Yang and the Yin.

    In my view, even if I include this metaphysics rather then remaining agnostic, the world is a material world. The Tao doesn’t add any non-material aspect to the world.

    I don’t think there is any way to test these differing perspectives, so i think Origenes and me will just have to remain with irreconciliable differences.

    But, I do think it is interesting to think about the two perspectives. Our two perspectives reflect the perennial dichotomous issue that goes back to the Greeks: which is primary, mind or matter.

    Origenes view (which is well-stated, by the way) sees the non-material imposing itself, casting shadows, upon a material world that without that stimulus would not develop, or at least not develop life.

    My view is that the material world is all there is. The Tao is not “something other”, because the Tao is beyond duality and distinction. In this view, the Tao manifests itself from underneath, so to speak, rather than from the top down. Every particle partakes of the Tao, and from those particles, being as they are and being capable of interacting with each other as they are, things emerge, including life.

    An amoebe is an integrated organism. It has evolved so that it’s various parts work together in a coordinated fashion so that the amoeba goes about its business in a coordinated fashion.

    I know most of you here deride the “blind chance and necessity” that you believe can’t possible lead to life and its evolution into today’s myriad creatures, and that’s a discussion I have no interest in getting involved in.

    And I am very skeptical of woo-ey attempts to bring in the mysteries of quantum mechanics as a metaphysical device. However I will point out that at the very basis of the world lies probablistic events, not determined. For the most part, the regularities of the world come out in the wash, so to speak, as the various probability distributions over large numbers of events even out. But, as chaos theory shows us, a very small change in initial conditions, at the right time, can lead to radically different effects. Therefore an underlying metaphysical force operating at the level of quantum mechanics could “push” the world in certain directions without having specific intentions as to how exactly the world should go.

    Enough rambling for now. I seriously doubt there will be much profit in my trying to discuss the view that materialism can’t lead to thought, reason, and truth, but I have a different perspective, and I disagree.

  196. 196
    Me_Think says:

    I don’t see how spirits explain life. What is there in spirits to give life? If spirits shrink wrap around rocks, will rocks become alive?

  197. 197
    Origenes says:

    Me_Think: I don’t see how spirits explain life. What is there in spirits to give life? If spirits shrink wrap around rocks, will rocks become alive?

    A spirit is oneness.

    To be ‘one’ refers to the unique activity of self-reference; a being having a relationship with itself. Self-reference is nowhere to be found in the physical world.

    Three clear examples of the many forms of self-reference:
    – self-organization (e.g. embryonal development)
    – self-sustainment (e.g. homeostasis)
    – self-awareness (consciousness).

    To be is to be one. A being that is one is real. A “spirit” does not give live but is alive.

    All that is is oneness.

    God is the ultimate oneness.

  198. 198
    kairosfocus says:

    IE,

    did you see that your attempted objection by call for universal decoder and problem solving was already answered?

    Note, PS to 187:

    The measurement or quantification of FSCO/I is not a universal puzzle solver or code breaker process. Show function, show such based on specific configuration among a great many others up to a cluster constituting an island of function. Functional specificity. Then blend in information metric to quantify and compare with threshold. Again, the selective hyperskepticism is patent, as all of this has been explained over and over and over, just dismissed, in the end because the message is utterly unwelcome. And you forget, I was there when dozens of attempts were made to suggest cases of FSCO/I by blind chance and mechanism only to consistently fail. I was there to see when the line of objections was switched to denying that there is a substantial concept or reality there to be addressed. And, I point to that humble fishing reel, to text and to DNA and molecular nanomachines again and again. The tangent fails and the self referential incoherence of evo mat is clear from the example of Gray and others.

    And again, this from Gray brings to a focus the central, on-topic issue in this thread:

    Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth – and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.”

    This is self-referential (as Gray is one of us too) and incoherent . . . note that doubly emphasised word, IMPOSSIBLE. So, is it not then true on his terms that Gray — a member of “humankind” — faces the claimed impossibility as “[t]he human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth”?

    Including, the implied truth of the claims and conclusions Gray is putting on the table?

    Thus ending in self-falsification.

    And there are many, many other cases like that showing the same incoherence.

    KF

    PS: Given our contingent nature, I must repeat as you keep asserting error as though it would transmute it into truth, we cannot exhaust the range of possible designers, Things like Beavers show this. Likewise signs of design as opposed to blind chance and necessity in the fine tuning of the cosmos we observe, point to design beyond our cosmos.

    PPS: I add a sample string from an Autocad dwg file: >>%‹ž³û
    !!Ä^0Å1ˆ
    |_k¥C“Ð1¹>>

    And another: >>ïââïâïââïââââââïââïââïïïâââââââ>>

  199. 199
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let us give a little context to that clip from Gray’s 2002 Straw Dogs, p. 26. Here, from –. 26 – 27:

    . . . only someone miraculousy ignorant of history could believe that competition among ideas could result in the triumph of truth. Certainly ideas compete with one another but the winners are normally those with power and human folly on their side. Truth has no systematic evolutionary advantage over error.

    In short, he recognises the problem for others, but somehow falls into Johnson’s implicit exception for the present speaker. Yet, patently, he saws off the branch on which he too is sitting.

    The self referential incoherence peeks out from every corner and crack.

    KF

  200. 200
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta,

    if your suggested criterion were generally applied, it would mean we could not build on or use responsible citation in discussion; including that we could not use what we learned from others.

    Instead, I suggest to you that substantial citation including of telling admissions against interest are an important part of serious discussion. Further to this, the proper focus is the substantial facts that are material to conclusions, and reasonable inferences tied to such.

    I contend that it is readily shown that the dynamics of evolutionary materialism (and of evolutionary epistemology as a part of that) lead necessarily to multiple forms of self referentiality through including the speaker and his/her thought processes under the force of the claims being advanced.

    It is a standard point that when arguments are self-referential, they are prone to circularity and/or incoherence. Standard to the point of there being warnings on the matter, to be extra cautious.

    I have long noticed that the self referentiality does end in incoherence, and have cited cases from Darwin’s monkey mind to Haldane on sound chemistry vs sound reasoning, to Crick’s astonishing hypothesis, to Marx’s class conditioning, to Freudian psychodynamics of neurosis and psychosis, to Skinner’s operant conditioning and being also a jumped up rat in the cosmic maze [these three were very relevant 30 years ago] to Provine’s undermining of responsible rational freedom at U Tenn in a famous Darwin Day address in a very significant location given the Scopes Monkey Trial in Tennessee [his home state, too], to Lewontin’s a priorism on evolutionary materialism. I have added John Gray given Pearcey’s cite and the attempts to disqualify it, also as it is very apt. Then, there is Carter’s hard problem of consciousness.

    The point is, this is not just some random IDiot off on a soap box making out of context clips, it is a major concern. One that is being remarked on elsewhere, e.g. cf this interview/discussion with Gray: https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/939/going-nowhere-laurie-taylor-interviews-john-gray

    The issue needs to be faced.

    KF

    F/N: Wiki on Gray: >>John Nicholas Gray (born 17 April 1948) is an English political philosopher with interests in analytic philosophy and the history of ideas.[1] He retired in 2008 as School Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Gray contributes regularly to The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement and the New Statesman, where he is the lead book reviewer. Gray has stated that he considers himself an atheist.[2]

    Gray has written several influential books, including False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism (1998), which argues that free market globalization is an unstable Enlightenment project currently in the process of disintegration, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals (2003) [–> the clips are from pp 26 – 27 of this], which attacks philosophical humanism, a worldview which Gray sees as originating in religions, and Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia (2007), a critique of utopian thinking in the modern world. Gray sees volition, and hence morality, as an illusion [–> cf Provine, also absent responsible rational freedom, reasoning, warranting and so also knowing are decisively undermined, yet another self-referential incoherence], and portrays humanity as a ravenous species engaged in wiping out other forms of life. Gray writes that “humans … cannot destroy the Earth, but they can easily wreck the environment that sustains them.”[3]>>

  201. 201
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Raymond Tallis on Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos:

    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-to-matter

    Nagel’s latest book is yet another critique of the claim of objective science to give a satisfactory account of consciousness and the place of mind in the universe. But Mind and Cosmos is much more ambitious than Nagel’s previous books, and more radically critical of the assumptions of modern science. The target of his critique, he says,

    is a comprehensive, speculative world picture that is reached by extrapolation from some of the discoveries of biology, chemistry, and physics — a particular naturalistic Weltanschauung that postulates a hierarchical relation among the subjects of those sciences, and the completeness in principle of an explanation of everything in the universe through their unification.

    But none of the main features of minds — which Nagel identifies as consciousness, cognition, and value — can be accommodated by this worldview’s identification of the mind with physical events in the brain, or by its assumption that human beings are no more than animal organisms whose behavior is fully explicable by evolutionary processes.

    Because these gaps are found in the very starting principles of physical science, Nagel argues that the traditional mind-body problem “is not just a local problem, having to do with the relation between mind, brain, and behavior in living animal organisms, but … it invades our understanding of the entire cosmos and its history.” It is not, in other words, a problem simply of how to account for the presence of minds within bodies, but of minds within the fabric of inert physical existence itself: the mind-body problem must be recast as the mind-universe problem.

    It is hardly surprising that the mind seems to elude physical explanation because, as Nagel points out, “the great advances in the physical and biological sciences were made possible by excluding the mind from the physical world.” Anyone who still imagines that there is life to the theory that the mind can be understood in purely physical terms will be cured of this delusion by reading the philosophical literature. While there are some who stick stubbornly to the assumption that consciousness is identical with neural events in certain parts of the brain, their views do not withstand close examination by even the most open-minded philosophers, like Australian professor David Chalmers . . . .

    Under a true materialist view of biology and the universe, “consciousness would have to be regarded as a tremendous and inexplicable extra brute fact about the world.” The most radical way of coping with this brute fact — which, by the way, involves “not just the lacing of organic life with a tincture of qualia” but the formation and existence of multiple first-person selves to experience those qualia — is to argue that, far from failing to fit into the material world, consciousness, or some proto- form of it, has been present from the beginning. By this theory, we human beings are instances of “something both objectively physical from outside and subjectively mental from inside.” Nagel muses, “Perhaps the basis for this identity pervades the world.”

    Nagel seems headed for a pan psychism, but that is not at all the only serious option. For, there stands this, spoken to the Stoics and Epicureans of Athens 50 AD: in Him we live and move and have our being.

  202. 202
    Aleta says:

    kf, you continue to just repeat yourself:

    I contend that it is readily shown that the dynamics of evolutionary materialism (and of evolutionary epistemology as a part of that) lead necessarily to multiple forms of self referentiality through including the speaker and his/her thought processes under the force of the claims being advanced.

    It is a standard point that when arguments are self-referential, they are prone to circularity and/or incoherence.

    But you don’t explain anything about how it is “readily shown.” If so, why don’t you just show it?

    My guess is that you are referring to the idea others have advanced here that if we are “merely” material beings, and our perception/knowledge systems have evolved in order to be fit for survival, we don’t really know whether our knowledge is “true” or not.

    However, you may be thinking of some other argument.

    I disagree with this, and agree with IE and EZ that we can get lots of truth by testing our assertions, and by working for common consensus with others.

    My guess is that you and others are talking in part about “greater truths” – metaphysical truths – that we can only know if we have some non-material aspect to ourselves. But I don’t believe in either a non-material aspect to humans nor in such transcendental truths anyway, so this is not an issue for me.

    It seems that the objection to materialism is circular: materialism can’t produce the results that the non-materialist thinks are possible and essential, therefore materialism is wrong. Well, duh: judging materialism by the fact that it isn’t non-materialistic doesn’t say much.

    But I think I’ve seen enough to know this won’t be a productive conversation. I had some enthusiasm about perhaps engaging in a conversation about these issues, but I think my enthusiasm has waned.

  203. 203
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta,

    I actually did that several times in this thread, also by citing from various sources and by linking a longstanding summary.

    Let me clip again, from 170 above etc:

    >> a: Evolutionary materialism argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature; from hydrogen to humans by undirected chance and necessity. [–> generally conceded]

    b: Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws of chance and/or mechanical necessity acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of happenstance initial circumstances. [–> direct implication and import]

    c: But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this meat-machine picture. [–> all means all] So, we rapidly arrive at Crick’s claim in his The Astonishing Hypothesis (1994): what we subjectively experience as “thoughts,” “reasoning” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as the unintended by-products of the blind natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains that (as the Smith Model illustrates) serve as cybernetic controllers for our bodies. [–> references to sources, for the argument and a biocybernetic model]

    d: These underlying driving forces are viewed as being ultimately physical [–> physicalism], but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance shaped by forces of selection [[“nature”] and psycho-social conditioning [[“nurture”], within the framework of human culture [[i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism]. And, remember, the focal issue to such minds — notice, this is a conceptual analysis made and believed by the materialists! — is the physical causal chains in a control loop, not the internalised “mouth-noises” that may somehow sit on them and come along for the ride.

    (Save, insofar as such “mouth noises” somehow associate with or become embedded as physically instantiated signals or maybe codes in such a loop. [[How signals, languages and codes originate and function in systems in our observation of such origin — i.e by design — tends to be pushed to the back-burner and conveniently forgotten. So does the point that a signal or code takes its significance precisely from being an intelligently focused on, observed or chosen and significant alternative from a range of possibilities that then can guide decisive action.])

    e: For instance, Marxists commonly derided opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” [–> a commonplace c 1985-6] — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismissed qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? Should we not ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is little more than yet another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze? And — as we saw above — would the writings of a Crick be any more than the firing of neurons in networks in his own brain?

    f: For further instance, we may take the favourite whipping-boy of materialists: religion. [–> cf the New Atheists] Notoriously, they often hold that belief in God is not merely cognitive, conceptual error, but delusion. Borderline lunacy, in short. But, if such a patent “delusion” is so utterly widespread, even among the highly educated, then it “must” — by the principles of evolution — somehow be adaptive to survival, whether in nature or in society. [–> consequence of the evolutionary materialist picture] And so, this would be a major illustration of the unreliability of our conceptual reasoning ability, on the assumption of evolutionary materialism. [–> grand, nigh universal “delusion” would cast a pall over our mindedness]

    g: Turning the materialist dismissal of theism around [–> self referentiality], evolutionary materialism itself would be in the same leaky boat. For, the sauce for the goose is notoriously just as good a sauce for the gander, too.

    h: That is, on its own premises [[and following Dawkins in A Devil’s Chaplain, 2004, p. 46], the cause of the belief system of evolutionary materialism, “must” also be reducible to forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity that are sufficiently adaptive to spread this “meme” in populations of jumped- up apes from the savannahs of East Africa scrambling for survival in a Malthusian world of struggle for existence. [–> the incoherence drawn out by way of Dawkins] Reppert brings the underlying point sharply home, in commenting on the “internalised mouth-noise signals riding on the physical cause-effect chain in a cybernetic loop” view:

    . . . 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. [–> breakdown of rationality as a consequence]

    When one undermines the credibility of human thought and results of thought, one is caught in one’s own web.>>

    I have added some brief comments.

    Now, this is a summary, skeletal argument, whether or not you accept it. It is there, has been there since a link in the OP. So, it can hardly be said that I have not argued for myself or shown why per facts and logic — not stubborn fundy closed mindedness, I concluded as I have for 30 years now. I was dealing with communists then and such is directly relevant to their thinking.

    Now, if you think me wrong please do not play dismissive stunts and suggestions that I am an unworthy person to try to discuss with. There is more than enough of it in the thread.

    Simply show, clip or link cogent discussion on the merits that answers this issue.

    For, the question is by no means unique to me.

    Were there a well founded evolutionary materialist answer it surely would be ready to hand in the usual advocacy sites.

    So, let us see how mind is grounded on blind chance and mechanical necessity working from hydrogen to humans and leading to grounding responsible, rational freedom (instead of undermining or dismissing it).

    KF

  204. 204
    daveS says:

    KF,

    If I may jump in and reply to your post addressed to Aleta:

    And again, this from Gray brings to a focus the central, on-topic issue in this thread:

    “Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth – and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.”

    This is self-referential (as Gray is one of us too) and incoherent . . . note that doubly emphasised word, IMPOSSIBLE. So, is it not then true on his terms that Gray — a member of “humankind” — faces the claimed impossibility as “[t]he human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth”?

    Including, the implied truth of the claims and conclusions Gray is putting on the table?

    Thus ending in self-falsification.

    And there are many, many other cases like that showing the same incoherence.

    My interpretation of the Gray quote (with no further context) is that it is simply an invalid argument. My paraphrase:

    It is not the case that the human mind was selected for the function of discerning truth, therefore the human mind cannot discern truth.

    Even if we grant the premise, the conclusion does not follow. If I were an “evolutionary materialist”, then I wouldn’t endorse the Gray quote.

  205. 205
    Aleta says:

    This is obvious: organisms have to have accurate, aka truthful, knowledge of the physical world in order to survive. There are lots of things about the physical world that are not obvious (science has helped with that), but there is a base level of truthful knowledge that is entirely compatible with the need for survival.

  206. 206
    kairosfocus says:

    DS,

    There is further context given above, and in the context of his career.

    The points made are not diverse from his patterns of thought that are known (indeed the interview I am pointing to is a case where he was cited this live by a friendly interviewer apparently before a live audience — the reaction is not he hotly denied meaning what is evident), nor are the other cites from others.

    In addition, the points as summarised from Gray, from Haldane (who actually is objecting . . . he seems to have gone on to be at least sympathetic to Hinduism), from Crick, from Darwin, from Provine, etc stand on their own merits and the dynamics that drive them are plain.

    Non rational blindly mechanical cause-effect forces that — if they are able to deliver body plans at all — are not purposeful and targetted to deliver truth or accuracy or abstract analytical capability on canons of logic, they are matters of chance variation and differential reproductive success leading to descent with modification said to account for the tree of life without foresight or intent.

    Such forces would work towards survival, not truth.

    Which is exactly what Gray says in the onward cited from Straw Dog as p 26 goes into p 27:

    . . . only someone miraculously ignorant of history could believe that competition among ideas could result in the triumph of truth. Certainly ideas compete with one another but the winners are normally those with power and human folly on their side. Truth has no systematic evolutionary advantage over error.

    Ironically, I actually largely agree with this cite, far too often the march of folly backed by manipulative or overbearing power prevails in history, to ultimate ruin of societies. Though, yes, there are highly significant exceptions where soundness and good sense do prevail at least for a time, cases that let us strain every nerve and sinew to learn from.

    I want to suggest that the current cluster of issues is a case in point of trying to say, let us move towards the sound and let us start by recognising what is irretrievably unsound.

    KF

  207. 207
    Aleta says:

    kf writes,

    Such forces would work towards survival, not truth.

    I have pointed out ways in which those two are not incompatible. My knowledge that brick walls are hard and can hurt if I bang my head against them is true, and has survival value.

  208. 208
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta,

    in fact survival does NOT depend on truthful or accurate perception or modelling of the environment for there to be success within limits and for a time.

    A truism of modelling theory is that all models are false, some are more useful than others, but beware the boundaries of validity of a model’s results. Empirical success or even reliability is NOT a criterion of ultimate truth, pace pragmatism.

    Similarly, animal vision is often not accurate as to colour etc, and our own vision is in fact by no means a flat spectral response, e.g. our sensitivity peaks in the y-green zone, and of curse many are colour lind in many ways and do well. One of my physics profs was one of these, we used to marvel on how he could handle resistor colour codes.

    Targetting survival is not at all targetting truth, especially as the issue at stake becomes significantly more abstract.

    And, as we know from the GIGO principle and cases, neither hardware nor software is guaranteed. Where of course the claimed means of generating the hardware and software in question runs into serious difficulties accounting for the FSCO/I involved, never mind bland or aggressive declarations to the contrary. Processors, algorithms and programs to effect such, cybernetic loops etc (and we can include homeostasis in this) are very difficult challenges for design, and cobbling toghether by accumulated lucky accidents to achieve the sort of complex integrated precise functionality we see is a highly dubious argument.

    So dubious, in my view it prevails not by strength of argument but by having captured institutional power over several generations before the magnitude of the problem emerged over the past 70 years or so.

    And so forth.

    KF

  209. 209
    Aleta says:

    Of course, we may be wrong, and I agree 100% that we work with models of reality the accuracy of which must be tested. However, I don’t think there is any doubt that the brick wall is hard.

    But you write, “Empirical success or even reliability is NOT a criterion of ultimate truth.”

    True, but given that I don’t believe we have any access to anything you could call ultimate truth, the kind of truth we get by testing our knowledge against reality is the best we are going to get.

  210. 210
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Wiki clip on Gray:

    >> In the 1990s Gray became an advocate for environmentalism and New Labour. Gray considers the conventional (left-wing/right-wing) political spectrum of conservatism and social democracy as no longer viable.[8]

    More recently, he has criticised neoliberalism, the global free market and some of the central currents in Western thinking, such as humanism, while moving towards aspects of green thought, drawing on the Gaia theory of James Lovelock. It is perhaps for this critique of humanism that Gray is best known.[9]

    Central to the doctrine of humanism, in Gray’s view, is the inherently utopian belief in meliorism; that is, that humans are not limited by their biological natures and that advances in ethics and politics are cumulative and that they can alter or improve the human condition, in the same way that advances in science and technology have altered or improved living standards.[9]

    Gray contends, in opposition to this view, that history is not progressive, but cyclical. Human nature, he argues, is an inherent obstacle to cumulative ethical or political progress.[9] Seeming improvements, if there are any, can very easily be reversed: one example he has cited has been the use of torture by the United States against terrorist suspects.[10][11] “What’s interesting,” Gray said in an interview in 032c magazine, “is that torture not only came back, but was embraced by liberals, and defended by liberals. Now there are a lot of people, both liberal and conservative, who say, ‘Well, it’s a very complicated issue.’ But it wasn’t complicated until recently. They didn’t say that five or ten years ago.”[12]

    Furthermore, he argues that this belief in progress, commonly imagined to be secular and liberal, is in fact derived from an erroneous Christian notion of humans as morally autonomous beings categorically different from other animals. This belief, and the corresponding idea that history makes sense, or is progressing towards something, is in Gray’s view merely a Christian prejudice.[9]

    In Straw Dogs he argues that the idea that humans are self-determining agents does not pass the acid test of experience. Those Darwinist thinkers who believe humans can take charge of their own destiny to prevent environmental degradation are, in this view, not naturalists, but apostles of humanism.[9]

    He identifies the Enlightenment as the point at which the Christian doctrine of salvation was taken over by secular idealism and became a political religion with universal emancipation as its aim.[9] Communism, fascism and “global democratic capitalism” are characterised by Gray as Enlightenment ‘projects’ which have led to needless suffering, in Gray’s view, as a result of their ideological allegiance to this religion.[13]>>

    In short the clips given are very representative of his views.

    KF

  211. 211
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Non rational blindly mechanical cause-effect forces that — if they are able to deliver body plans at all — are not purposeful and targetted to deliver truth or accuracy or abstract analytical capability on canons of logic, they are matters of chance variation and differential reproductive success leading to descent with modification said to account for the tree of life without foresight or intent.

    Such forces would work towards survival, not truth.

    This does not address the point I’m making. That is, the argument

    It is not the case that the human mind was selected for the function of discerning truth, therefore the human mind cannot discern truth.

    is invalid.

    Do you believe it is logically valid?

  212. 212
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF@198:did you see that your attempted objection by call for universal decoder and problem solving was already answered?”

    No, but I did note your attempt at equivocation. You have repeatedly used language, as represented by its visual representation, as an example of the ease with which FSCO/I can be identified and measured. I have said that this only applies to languages that you are familiar with. I then asked you to identify whether the following two strings of letters have FSCO/I. I didn’t ask you to explain how you know this, but I will now.

    inanite k’oshashawi mulu lemulu yetemola newi

    Or this?

    “jy is heeltemal vol kak

    Given our contingent nature, I must repeat as you keep asserting error as though it would transmute it into truth, we cannot exhaust the range of possible designers, Things like Beavers show this.”

    All this shows is that earthbound biological animals, using 100% natural and understood processes, obeying all laws of physics, are capable of design and that humans, in many cases, are able to detect this design. But you have studiously ignored the fact that we are able to do this because we understand the nature and limitations of the designers, and the mechanisms available to them. I would be willing to bet that the first European who saw a beaver dam or a beaver house, didn’t jump to the conclusion that they were designed. Very similar structures are routinely produced through natural processes.

    You can certainly infer from everything we know about known design (ie. DNA based, earthbound, animal life forms caused every single design that we have seen), that biological structures are designed by an unknown designer that includes a non biological, non material, transcendent being that is omnipotent and does not have to obey the laws of physics, but that will not get you high marks in any critical thinking or logic course. It is simply an attempt to shroud s religious belief in a semblance of (pseudo)science.

    You keep harping on this Gray quote as if his words have any more meaning than anyone else’s words. They don’t. I happen to agree with him that the primary “purpose” of the human brain is to service fitness, not truth. But to jump from this to claim that if this were true that the human brain is incapable of discerning truth, or that attempting to do so is self referentialy incoherent is just a load of unsubstantiated nonsense that fits into your world view, but is not supported by the evidence.

    The human perception that the sun and stars circle the earth was held for most of our existence. Even though it is not true, it did not negatively affect our perception and allowed us to develop calendars that were used for centuries to optimize agriculture. Obviously a benefit to our fitness. But the fact that our brains also allow for critical thinking and abstract reasoning have allowed us to discern the truth about earth’s place in our solar system and Galaxy. And our ability for critical thinking and abstract reasoning is unarguably a benefit to our fitness. As such, the ability to discern truth is not self referentialy incoherent.

  213. 213
    ellazimm says:

    Aleta #209

    I don’t believe we have any access to anything you could call ultimate truth, the kind of truth we get by testing our knowledge against reality is the best we are going to get.

    I think this is the case and that recent research upholds this view.

    I spent a lot of time studying mathematics. I just LOVE those moments when a real-world, physical phenomenon can be modelled with a simple, clean mathematical formula. Bliss. But, the more we discover the more we find out that things are much, much more complicated that we hoped. Newtonian physics got supplanted with systems messier and harder to grasp intuitively. It seems pretty clear to me that we are going to have to keep guessing and testing and co-operating to continue to discern the ‘truth’ about the universe.

    I don’t find that depressing or cold at all. I think we live in very interesting and exciting times. We are really beginning to pull back the curtain and see what’s behind the set. We are so lucky to be alive now. Now when our knowledge and technological advancement is giving us the opportunity to fly higher and further than anyone had ever dreamed of before. It’s wonderful.

    And . . . we know how to keep progressing. We come up with new hypothesises and ideas, we talk about them, we devise experiments and equipment (some of it very expensive like the LHC) and we check things out and share the data. How cool is that?

  214. 214
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Was: “We are so lucky to be alive now.”

    I agree. But I do sympathize, to a certain level, with those who thought that they knew what the ultimate truths were.

  215. 215
    kairosfocus says:

    The above thread shows why the concern that self referential incoherence lies at the heart of evolutionary materialism is a serious point, and why those enmeshed in it have a hard time facing the issue.

  216. 216
    Aleta says:

    I don’t think we are having a hard time facing the issue. We just don’t agree with you.

    We think humans are quite capable of several kinds of knowledge and truth, but that it is never pure, absolute, or certain. We’re aware that our knowledge-gaining abilities are imperfect, and thus that we always, to various degrees, needs to be careful about believing too certainly.

    We are facing that issue. It is those who believe that they are certain, and that they somehow have a special ability to know absolute truth, that are the ones who are not facing the true issue, which is our limited, materially-grounded being.

  217. 217
    daveS says:

    KF,

    The above thread shows why the concern that self referential incoherence lies at the heart of evolutionary materialism is a serious point, and why those enmeshed in it have a hard time facing the issue.

    Or it could be some of us (even us non-evomats) believe we are correct, wrt to the Gray quote anyway. Any chance you will weigh in on my #211, btw?

  218. 218
    kairosfocus says:

    BTW, a skeletal argument is not by that fact an invalid argument. Especially when context of the ideas is accessible. KF

  219. 219
  220. 220
    daveS says:

    KF,

    BTW, a skeletal argument is not by that fact an invalid argument. Especially when context of the ideas is accessible. KF

    Certainly not. I’m sure we all know the definitions of valid and invalid arguments.

  221. 221
    kairosfocus says:

    DS,

    The wider argument:

    Gray: “Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth – and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.”

    This is self-referential (as Gray is one of us too) and incoherent . . . note that doubly emphasised word, IMPOSSIBLE. So, is it not then true on his terms that Gray — a member of “humankind” — faces the claimed impossibility as “[t]he human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth”?

    Including, the implied truth of the claims and conclusions Gray is putting on the table?

    Thus ending in self-falsification.

    and

    . . . only someone miraculously ignorant of history could believe that competition among ideas could result in the triumph of truth. Certainly ideas compete with one another but the winners are normally those with power and human folly on their side. Truth has no systematic evolutionary advantage over error.

    Are valid, though the latter is an even more compressed summary.

    One could even argue for soundness.

    KF

    PS: That in some cases (esp concrete perceptions) one has reasonably accurate responses — though the Weber-Fechner log scaling implied in sensitivity to fractional difference raises issues on what a more or less log response means as with sight and sound — does not undermine the wider force of the point, that the frame of a processor shaped by blind chance and mechanical necessity is a matter of blind cause effect mechanisms not ground consequent insight and ends in self-undermining when what is projected to others points back to oneself. Crick, Haldane, Provine et all give clear cases as does Gray. If one is not responsibly and rationally free but is driven and controlled by blind mechanisms and chance processes, one would then lack the foundation for rationality. This includes implications of things like we have no free will, and brain processes target survival not truth.

  222. 222
    Aleta says:

    In my opinion, many of the statements from this Gray guy are wrong. Why is he important, and why are we to give credence to these arguments just because he said them?

  223. 223
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I agree that the Gray quote is self-falsifying.

    But I believe his argument is invalid, so if I were an evomat, I would disavow it; I would simply say that he’s wrong and he doesn’t represent my views.

    Regarding:

    . . . only someone miraculously ignorant of history could believe that competition among ideas could result in the triumph of truth. Certainly ideas compete with one another but the winners are normally those with power and human folly on their side. Truth has no systematic evolutionary advantage over error.

    I don’t know if I would call that a valid argument. It appears to be merely a series of assertions.

    In any case, I would prefer to stick with the Gray quote which claims that if Darwin’s theory is true, then the human mind is incapable of discerning truth. I believe Gray’s argument is invalid. That doesn’t mean I believe that “the truth wins” regularly or even very often in the course of human history.

  224. 224
    daveS says:

    Aleta,

    In my opinion, many of the statements from this Gray guy are wrong. Why is he important, and why are we to give credence to these arguments just because he said them?

    That’s exactly how I feel about him as well.

  225. 225
    kairosfocus says:

    DS and Aleta:

    Gray came up as he was challenged above.

    He is only one of a list by Pearcey and others that includes Nobel Prize holding Crick, modern synthesis co founder Haldane (who writes to reject), well known spokesman Provine and all the way back to Darwin himself. Along the way I include my own direct responses to the Marxists, Behaviourists and Freudians of 30 years ago and to the new atheists with their ethically theistic religion is borderline lunacy rhetoric.

    Gray’s significance in his own right is as a major academic and public policy intellectual in the UK with a weighty international reputation, where his Straw Dogs is his best selling work. His point is not so much merely personal opinion but that the force of the evolutionary materialist view of origins leads to the conclusion that our capacities are shaped by survival issues, not truth finding. He backs it up with sobering observations on the common success of marches of folly and wickedness backed by power. [My mind reflects on the very large reproductive impact of Genghis Khan as one instance (it seems when he was not fighting he was raping or imposing himself sexually under circumstances tantamount to rape).]

    As a result it is not good enough to simply repudiate Gray et al, it has to be shown that evolutionary materialism (which, let us bear in mind is the dominant institutionalised view today) is dynamically — I think here, getting to a sound architecture, algorithms or equivalent and “software” — and logically coherent. But, by way of self referentiality and dependence on inherently non rational forces of chance and necessity multiplied by GIGO, that is highly dubious.

    Leibniz in Monadology 17, used the analogy of the mill to bring out the underlying categorical gap. In context:

    1. The monad [ –> a term for atomic — un-cuttable — base components of composite reality], of which we will speak here, is nothing else than a simple substance, which goes to make up compounds; by simple, we mean without parts.

    2. There must be simple substances because there are compound substances; for the compound is nothing else than a collection or aggregatum of simple substances. [–> notice our atomic molecular particles picture]

    3. Now, where there are no constituent parts there is possible neither extension, nor form, nor divisibility. These monads are the true atoms [i.e. “indivisibles,” the original meaning of a-tomos] of nature, and, in a word, the elements of things . . . .

    6. We may say then, that the existence of monads can begin or end only all at once, that is to say, the monad can begin only through creation and end only through annihilation. Compounds, however, begin or end by parts [–> points to the way ultimates and compounds must address being] . . . .

    14. The passing condition which involves and represents a multiplicity in the unity, or in the simple substance, is nothing else than what is called perception. This should be carefully distinguished from apperception or consciousness . . . .

    16. We, ourselves, experience a multiplicity in a simple substance, when we find that the most trifling thought of which we are conscious involves a variety in the object. Therefore all those who acknowledge that the soul is a simple substance ought to grant this multiplicity in the monad . . . .

    17. It must be confessed, however, that perception, and that which depends upon it [–> includes reasoning etc], are inexplicable by mechanical causes, that is to say, by figures and motions. Supposing that there were a machine whose structure produced thought, sensation, and perception, we could conceive of it as increased in size with the same proportions until one was able to enter into its interior, as he would into a mill. Now, on going into it he would find only pieces working upon one another, but never would he find anything to explain perception. It is accordingly in the simple substance, and not in the compound nor in a machine that the perception is to be sought. Furthermore, there is nothing besides perceptions and their changes to be found in the simple substance. And it is in these alone that all the internal activities of the simple substance can consist.

    Ponder how an analogue mechanical or electronic computer or a digital computer’s gates, flip flops, registers and buses [and BTW the breaking of Dennard scaling puts Moore’s law in doubt pointing to introduction of analogue elements in microprocessor cores to postpone the physical speed limits, cf: http://kairosfocus.blogspot.co.....logue.html ], or a neural network functions as a system of mechanically interacting parts. The ball-disk analogue computer used in Kelvin’s tide predicting differential eqn solving machines, and/or in naval and aircraft gunlaying or bombing computers is a close comparative to the mill. The wheels grinding on disks are blind mechanical systems, it is the designer and very precisely controlled island of function configurations relative to the abstract space of possibilities that explains the utility.

    The notion that such could come about by grand trial and error tied to a von Neumann kinematic self replicator (itself FSCO/I riddled) in the gamut of space, time and materials of the sol system or observed cosmos is on its face absurd.

    That such accounts for rational, responsible freedom becomes even more absurd. And, as such is the premise of reason-driven discussion, schemes of thought that move from Darwin’s pond or the like to us by blind chance and mechanical necessity come up seriously short.

    Anyway, BAICO and CLICO are on my plate on top of the follytricks, for today.

    KF

  226. 226
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF@215: “The above thread shows why the concern that self referential incoherence lies at the heart of evolutionary materialism is a serious point, …”

    Which disappears if a brain that can perform critical thinking and is good at abstract reasoning can be shown to be a benefit to survival. Are you going to argue that our ability at critical thinking and abstract reasoning do not benefit survival? Good luck with that.

    “…and why those enmeshed in it have a hard time facing the issue.”

    It is hard to face an issue that does not exist anywhere but ion your mind.

  227. 227
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, Alex Rosenberg should go on the list of unconscious self-refutation:

    FOR SOLID EVOLUTIONARY REASONS, WE’VE BEEN tricked into looking at life from the inside. Without scientism, we look at life from the inside, from the first-person POV (OMG, you don’t know what a POV is?—a “point of view”). The first person is the subject, the audience, the viewer of subjective experience, the self in the mind.

    Scientism shows that the first-person POV is an illusion. [–> fallacy of grand Plato’s cave delusion without even hope of one getting free to spot the cheat, and so immediately is all of this not then just figments of the cave shadow show inside our skulls thence it too is dubious; responsible rationality is the first step and implicit premise of reasoning] Even after scientism convinces us, we’ll continue to stick with the first person. But at least we’ll know that it’s another illusion of introspection and we’ll stop taking it seriously. We’ll give up all the answers to the persistent questions about free will, the self, the soul, and the meaning of life that the illusion generates. [–> more self referential incoherence]

    The physical facts fix all the facts. The mind is the brain. It has to be physical and it can’t be anything else, since thinking, feeling, and perceiving are physical process—in particular, input/output processes—going on in the brain. [–> evo mat creedal declaration/shahada, he only left out who is the rasul/prophet/apostle] We can be sure of a great deal about how the brain works because the physical facts fix all the facts about the brain. The fact that the mind is the brain guarantees that there is no free will [–> thus, per evo mat, no responsible, reasonable rationality!] . It rules out any purposes or designs organizing our actions or our lives. It excludes the very possibility of enduring persons, selves, or souls that exist after death or for that matter while we live. [Atheists’ Guide to Reality, (W W Norton, 2011) Ch 9]

  228. 228
    daveS says:

    KF,

    His point is not so much merely personal opinion but that the force of the evolutionary materialist view of origins leads to the conclusion that our capacities are shaped by survival issues, not truth finding.

    Accepting that as fact, it still does not follow that the human mind is incapable of discerning truth.

  229. 229
    kairosfocus says:

    IE (attn DS), the unmet challenge is to show such claims without self-referential absurdity. Rosenberg as just cited shows yet again the fallacies that are intrinsic to evolutionary materialism and its in-built reliance on blind watchmaker — a misnomer the creation of FSCO/I by such is (despite rhetoric to the contrary) dubious — chance and necessity. Dynamical and logical incoherence, self referentiality and reductio ad absurdum thence self falsification result. Ponder and contrast Leibniz and Rosenberg to see some of the force of this, if nothing else so far has got through. KF

  230. 230
    daveS says:

    KF,

    The fact that the mind is the brain guarantees that there is no free will [–> thus, per evo mat, no responsible, reasonable rationality!]

    I think many evomats would disagree with Rosenberg, so I doubt this statement has made it into the evomat manifesto yet.

    If I posted a string of Byers quotes in an attempt to show that your own position was incoherent, I think you would have some mild objections 🙂

  231. 231
    Indiana Effigy says:

    DaveS@228:Accepting that as fact, it still does not follow that the human mind is incapable of discerning truth.”

    I agree. I have explained repeatedly why this is not true but KF has studiously ignored me. I will repeat it again in other words. Maybe my wording was not clear.

    If evo-mat is reality, then our brain is shaped to maximize survival, not truth.

    This is a loaded statement because it suggests that the two are mutually exclusive, which they are not. But even if we accept it as completely accurate, this does not mean that that the brain is incapable of discerning “truth”. The logic is as follows:

    1) Our brain is capable of critical thinking and abstract reasoning.
    I assume that everyone accepts this as being accurate.

    2) Critical thinking and abstract reasoning are a requirement for discerning “truth”.
    Again, I don’t think that this is controvercial.

    3) Critical thinking and abstract reasoning is extremely beneficial for survival.

    Another no-brainer that no rational individual could dispute (hopefully).

    4) Therefore, discerning “truth” is not incompatible with evo-mat.

    KF, feel free to pick apart this logic. It OUGHT to be amusing to see you try.

  232. 232
    Phinehas says:

    IE:

    1) Our brain is capable of critical thinking and abstract reasoning.
    I assume that everyone accepts this as being accurate.

    2) Critical thinking and abstract reasoning are a requirement for discerning “truth”.
    Again, I don’t think that this is controvercial.

    3) Critical thinking and abstract reasoning is extremely beneficial for survival.

    Another no-brainer that no rational individual could dispute (hopefully).

    4) Therefore, discerning “truth” is not incompatible with evo-mat.

    But the question is how our brain came to be capable of critical thinking and abstract reasoning in the first place, isn’t it?

    Your argument (or at least the first part of it) sounds like this to me:

    1) Assume evo-mat created our brain.

    2) Our brain is capable of critical thinking and abstract reasoning.

    3) Therefore, evo-mat is capable of creating a brain that can think critically and engage in abstract reasoning.

    But the whole question is whether evo-mat is up to the task of creating a brain that can think critically, that can engage in abstract reasoning, that can discern truth, etc. If we appeal to incomprehensible dumb luck (yet again!), I suppose its possible that we might end up with such a brain, but it doesn’t look like natural selection, with its fitness functions tuned for survival and not truth, is any help getting us there. No one is arguing that we are where we are with regard to critical thinking, abstract reasoning, and discerning truth. Only how we got here. Ellazimm appeals to faith assertions, which is fair enough.

  233. 233
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Phineas@232: “But the question is how our brain came to be capable of critical thinking and abstract reasoning in the first place, isn’t it?”

    That is not the question that KF has raised.

    Gray: Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth – and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. To think otherwise is to resurrect the pre-Darwinian error that humans are different from all other animals.”
    KF:This is self-referential (as Gray is one of us too) and incoherent . . . note that doubly emphasised word, IMPOSSIBLE. So, is it not then true on his terms that Gray — a member of “humankind” — faces the claimed impossibility as “[t]he human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth”?

    My scenario at 231 clearly shows that KF is wrong with respect to self-referential incoherence. An evo-mat brain can serve both survival and “truth” because the tools necessary to do this (critical thinking and abstract reasoning) are unarguably beneficial to survival.

    KF has been corrected and, given that he is always correcting others, I am sure that he will take this correction and acknowledge his error 🙂 (I almost made it through that last sentence without laughing out loud).

  234. 234
    Phinehas says:

    IE:

    I don’t see the impossibility (not logically anyway). But I could be missing something. It merely seems highly improbable to me, especially without any selective pressure to help it along.

  235. 235
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Phinehas, but we are starting from the assumption that our brain is the result of evo-mat (KF’s assumption, not mine).

    Given KF’s initial assumption that our brain is the result of evo-mat, our ability for critical thinking and abstract reasoning, which benefits survival, must also be the result of evo-mat. And this ability has demonstrated time and time again that it works pretty well at discerning “truth”.

    Based on this, KF’s initial conclusion that our ability to discern “truth” with our evo-mat brain is self-referentially incoherent is simply wrong. His recent attempts to extrapolate this to probability and FSCO/I is just a case of shifting goal posts. That he is incapable of defending his initial claim is nothing to be ashamed of. We all make errors on occasion. Refusing to admit your errors, however, is something that one should be ashamed of.

  236. 236
    Phinehas says:

    IE:

    I haven’t been paying close attention to KF’s argument, but what you are claiming certainly doesn’t make sense. I would suspect that either KF misspoke or you are not giving his words a very generous interpretation.

    Rather: Our brains have the ability for critical thinking and abstract reasoning, but what is there in naturalism that should be expected to give us this result?

    If you assume evo-mat, you never get to critical thinking and abstract reasoning other than by sheer, dumb luck.

    If you assume evo-mat gave us critical thinking, then what exactly is there to argue about? That just doesn’t make sense.

  237. 237
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Phinehas@236:I haven’t been paying close attention to KF’s argument…”

    Don’t feel bad. Very few pay close attention to him. 🙂

    If his conclusion about self referential incoherence of an evo-mat brain is based on the assumption of an evo-mat brain (which must be the pre-condition) he must also accept that our current brain and its capabilities was the result of evo-mat. To do otherwise is to automatically invalidate his conclusion.

    Therefore, given his own stated assumptions, the ability of our evo-mat brain to discern “truth” is not self referentially incoherent because our evo-mat brain can think critically.

  238. 238
    kairosfocus says:

    P,

    my point is that evolutionary materialism as a worldview is incoherent as its advocates must rely on responsible rational freedom to put up an argument that consistently and in many ways undermines such. That is, the system is self referentially incoherent and self falsifying.

    The very fact of participating in a reasoned discussion shows the fact of responsible rational freedom.

    Evolutionary materialism is not compatible with such — it has no dynamical basis in its resources to get there, it is false and should be abandoned.

    We are in this mess because a false and self refuting scheme got dressed up in the lab coat and became institutionally dominant before the magnitude of the challenge became apparent. And unfortunately many are convinced it is and must be true and in effect demand that other things conform to this as the establishment.

    Ex falso quodlibet then takes over and the quality of thinking is increasingly undermined as falsity entails true and false consequences whilst from truth only truth will be properly implied.

    As to empirical tests, no one has shown that blind chance and mechanical necessity acting on equally blind matter can create FSCO/I which is copiously required for processor hard and software, with live brain neural networks being even moreso than analogue and digital machines made over the past 150 years. Every one of the trillion or so observed cases of FSCO/I comes from design as posts in this thread exemplify.

    Further, we do not seem to understand that processing and rational inference lie on two sides of a gulch betweem blind gigo limited mechanical cause-effect and insightful, free rational inference on ground-consequent. I suspect we are losing sight of the latter reality for what it is because of the imposition of evo mat as a demanded criterion of being viewed as true or knowledge.

    Reppert has a good core summary:

    . . . 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.

    Gone again, the follytricks are surging locally.

    KF

    KF

  239. 239
    Aleta says:

    What are follytricks?

  240. 240
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF@238:my point is that evolutionary materialism as a worldview is incoherent as its advocates must rely on responsible rational freedom to put up an argument that consistently and in many ways undermines such. That is, the system is self referentially incoherent and self falsifying.”

    Let’s compare this shifted goal post to what you said 232 comments earlier:

    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.

    Now that your initial argument has been blown out of the water, you are moving the goal posts to a different city. Not unexpected, but still disappointing. Why don’t you just [snip — vulgar reference] and admit that your initial argument was flawed?

    Not holding my breath waiting for you to do something that you are incapable of doing. IE.

  241. 241
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Aleta: “What are follytricks?”

    A Montserrat [SNIP: language must not be vulgar]. 🙂

  242. 242
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, you were already warned that you have a problem with language. You will need to either fix language or leave this thread. KF

    PS: It seems you have not noticed that Nancy Pearcey is the person who put Gray on the table as an example of evolutionary epistemology and its incoherence; and this was attacked early in the thread. I showed in response that she was right, and indeed that is manifest. The quotes show that directly, for those willing to simply take them seriously in the context of Gray’s wider work. It is also to be noted that Gray simply takes his place alongside a much longer list going back to Darwin that shows the consistent problems of self referential incoherence attaching to evolutionary materialism. Notice, I have always pointed out that there are multiple ways the incoherence emerges, and multiple illustrative cases. Notice how I spoke to Marxism, Behaviourism and Freudianism 30 years past as relevant illustrative cases — this was noticed empirically before it was laid out as a component of an analysis. The attempt to brush aside and dismiss such cases above (and on rather flimsy grounds), is inadvertently telling on their actual force. Okay, podcast of local issues is now finished, so end of split focus.

  243. 243
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Given the multiple cases cited from the words of significant evolutionary thinkers starting with Darwin, the wishful thinking in saying the issue only exists in my mind [and that of Haldane, C S Lewis, Plantinga, Craig and Pearcey or Reppert etc] inadvertently reveals the desperation not to face it.

    PPPS: For those unfamiliar with Caribbean style word puns, follytricks is politics, as is polytricks. The theological significance of Jamaica is Jah mek ya, etc. De I, I-tal, I-man etc have an echo of eye in them, denoting the claim to see clearly beyond the fog of the folk equivalent of Plato’s cave. And much more.

  244. 244
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF censoring@241:A Montserrat [SNIP: language must not be vulgar]. 🙂

    My response to Aleta’s question of KF: “ What are follytricks” was “A Monserrat [snip — vulgar] I might add that I added a big happy face.

    KF@243:PPPS: For those unfamiliar with Caribbean style word puns, follytricks is politics, as is polytricks.

    For those completely naive with Caribbean style puns, follytricks is a combination of “folly”, “politics” and “tricks”. [snip]. Hence my comment about a Monserrat [snip]. {–> And in the Caribbean your north american slang does not apply, tricks as in tricksters does}

    If KF is going to censor me for vulgarity, he should examine the vulgar etimology of the terms he uses. The pot should really refrain from calling the kettle black. [This is a classic example of projection]

  245. 245
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF, with regard to your equivocation and back peddling at 242 and 243, I will let the readers decide who is telling the truth and who is lying. All I know is that I will not lose any sleep over it.

  246. 246
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, you will now apologise for insistence on vulgarity or else leave this discussion. And it is not “censorship” to remove vulgarities having warned thot they will not be tolerated. Censorship is prior restraint on publication, thus suppression of reasonable and responsible expression. Addressing willful, insistent trollish misconduct in interests of preventing disruption that prevents serious discussion is not censorship. It is maintaining an atmosphere in which reasonable discussion is possible. You are responsible for the consequences of your behaviour onward. KF

  247. 247
    kairosfocus says:

    IE,

    you know or have reason to know that I do not have the time I would prefer to give to this discussion and others, due to local events. In a few hours for instance I have a likely contentious sitting to deal with.

    I will not waste time on silly accusations of lying and equivocation where it is obvious that from 30 years ago I was aware of the multiple ways in which incoherence occurs in evolutionary materialist thought. Through, having to deal with cases and noticing the self referentiality and its consequences if dismissive projections on others were applied to Marxists, Freudians and the like. In terms of Gray (who came up in Pearcey’s list), it is quite clear as to what he has said and how it leads to several forms of self referential incoherence.

    It is also clear — despite denials and attempts at distancing — that his thought is organically connected to the evolutionary materialist scheme of thought, as are those of several other examples in this thread.

    Starting with Darwin himself and his 1881 monkey brain/mind remarks.

    With Crick a classic example in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis.

    The underlying dynamics are quite clear and lead to undermining of thought on such premises through undermining responsible freedom, through undermining processing ability per gigo, through failing to account for even the FSCO/I involved in processors and software for them to reliably compute, through confusing the difference between cause-effect binds and ground-consequence insights, through the discrediting of the thinker through finding ways to attribute his thought to brain, psychological, social, etc causal factors irrelevant to logic, truth and validity, and more.

    KF

  248. 248
    kairosfocus says:

    DS,

    My comments are not organically connected to or rooted in those of RB.

    The clips cited from various sources are inextricably rooted in the frame of thought of evolutionary materialism in the scientific forms advanced over the past 160 or so years.

    Please mark that distinction.

    It is not merely oh, I disagree with Darwin, Haldane, Marx, Freud, Skinner et al, Crick, Provine etc including Gray and Rosenberg.

    The pointhey makeis tht the modern scientific view (in evo mat form) leads to the conclusions they make and the dynamics involved point to that being so, in multiple ways.

    That is what has to be faced.

    And as I just noted, I did not simply sit in some corner of a library and dream up some notions, I had to deal with live Marxists, Freudians and the like. Including the implications of agit prop that led to mass confrontations of students with riot police for protests blocking the main axis through which reinforcements would have to come into Kingston, Ja in case of disturbances. And not to mention cultic programming at about the same time.

    The implied views of human beings pointed to serious and deep concerns.

    Are we responsibly free and rational, or are we more like computers that can be flushed and reprogrammed almost at will under the skilled hands of practitioners of the dark arts of manipulation.

    One key lesson I learned was, if we surrender our responsible, rational freedom or do not learn how to exercise it, we are in fact readily and frighteningly manipulable through media and figures we look to for leadership and/or the circumstances imposed on us. Cf here for sobering thoughts from Schein building on Lewin and reflecting on the Chinese Communist takeover: http://wayback.archive.org/web.....10006.html

    Manipulated marches of folly are real, all too real and all too common, Gray got that part right; though the wider context is wrong, fatally wrong.

    Where also the views in question lead to the spreading concepts that undermine the moral constraints on such ruthless resorts, even among those who do not formally adhere to the underlying schemes of thought.

    Please ponder the matches we are here playing with.

    KF

  249. 249
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The dynamics I have pointed to:

    >> a: Evolutionary materialism argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature; from hydrogen to humans by undirected chance and necessity. [–> generally conceded]

    b: Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws of chance and/or mechanical necessity acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of happenstance initial circumstances. [–> direct implication and import]

    c: But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this meat-machine picture. [–> all means all] So, we rapidly arrive at Crick’s claim in his The Astonishing Hypothesis (1994): what we subjectively experience as “thoughts,” “reasoning” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as the unintended by-products of the blind natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains that (as the Smith Model illustrates) serve as cybernetic controllers for our bodies. [–> references to sources, for the argument and a biocybernetic model]

    d: These underlying driving forces are viewed as being ultimately physical [–> physicalism], but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance shaped by forces of selection [[“nature”] and psycho-social conditioning [[“nurture”], within the framework of human culture [[i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism]. And, remember, the focal issue to such minds — notice, this is a conceptual analysis made and believed by the materialists! — is the physical causal chains in a control loop, not the internalised “mouth-noises” that may somehow sit on them and come along for the ride.

    (Save, insofar as such “mouth noises” somehow associate with or become embedded as physically instantiated signals or maybe codes in such a loop. [[How signals, languages and codes originate and function in systems in our observation of such origin — i.e by design — tends to be pushed to the back-burner and conveniently forgotten. So does the point that a signal or code takes its significance precisely from being an intelligently focused on, observed or chosen and significant alternative from a range of possibilities that then can guide decisive action.])

    e: For instance, Marxists commonly derided opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” [–> a commonplace c 1985-6] — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismissed qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? Should we not ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is little more than yet another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze? And — as we saw above — would the writings of a Crick be any more than the firing of neurons in networks in his own brain?

    f: For further instance, we may take the favourite whipping-boy of materialists: religion. [–> cf the New Atheists] Notoriously, they often hold that belief in God is not merely cognitive, conceptual error, but delusion. Borderline lunacy, in short. But, if such a patent “delusion” is so utterly widespread, even among the highly educated, then it “must” — by the principles of evolution — somehow be adaptive to survival, whether in nature or in society. [–> consequence of the evolutionary materialist picture] And so, this would be a major illustration of the unreliability of our conceptual reasoning ability, on the assumption of evolutionary materialism. [–> grand, nigh universal “delusion” would cast a pall over our mindedness]

    g: Turning the materialist dismissal of theism around [–> self referentiality], evolutionary materialism itself would be in the same leaky boat. For, the sauce for the goose is notoriously just as good a sauce for the gander, too.

    h: That is, on its own premises [[and following Dawkins in A Devil’s Chaplain, 2004, p. 46], the cause of the belief system of evolutionary materialism, “must” also be reducible to forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity that are sufficiently adaptive to spread this “meme” in populations of jumped- up apes from the savannahs of East Africa scrambling for survival in a Malthusian world of struggle for existence. [–> the incoherence drawn out by way of Dawkins] Reppert brings the underlying point sharply home, in commenting on the “internalised mouth-noise signals riding on the physical cause-effect chain in a cybernetic loop” view:

    . . . 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. [–> breakdown of rationality as a consequence]

    When one undermines the credibility of human thought and results of thought, one is caught in one’s own web.>>

    I add the Smith model sees a two-tier controller in a cybernetic loop (MIMO loop]. The lower order one is an i/o entity that is in effect a front end processor. A higher order controller serves to interact with that and allows a higher order of action than just playing out the programming of the loop. This allows adaptability, learning, reflexivity with freedom [self-moved initiating causal factor with memory and a sense of identity, the self or soul] purpose etc to be discussed.

  250. 250
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Lest it be forgotten in the stream of comments, I again clip Pearcey in 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. [–> Note the logic here, this is an organic result not a tack-on that one may take up or discard at will .. . . oops, freedom to have a will is in the mix too.]

    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. [–> Ex falso quodlibet plus modelling theory, that all models are false but some are useful within a range of validity] 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. [–> ex falso quodlibet, and indeed when a falsity is taken as a criterion of truth the contrary truth will fail the test of that assumption, never mind its actual status of accuracy to reality.]

    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.”

    That is what needs to be faced.

    Contrast the above.

    KF

  251. 251
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: The remarks Pearcey made on Darwin’s horrid doubt are also significant:

    People are sometimes under the impression that Darwin himself recognized the problem. They typically cite Darwin’s famous “horrid doubt” passage where he questions whether the human mind can be trustworthy if it is a product of evolution: “With me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.”

    But, of course, Darwin’s theory itself was a “conviction of man’s mind.” So why should it be “at all trustworthy”?

    Surprisingly, however, Darwin never confronted this internal contradiction in this theory. Why not? Because he expressed his “horrid doubt” selectively — only when considering the case for a Creator.
    From time to time, Darwin admitted that he still found the idea of God persuasive. He once confessed his “inward conviction … that the Universe is not the result of chance.” It was in the next sentence that he expressed his “horrid doubt.” So the “conviction” he mistrusted was his lingering conviction that the universe is not the result of chance.

    In another passage Darwin admitted, “I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man.” Again, however, he immediately veered off into skepticism: “But then arises the doubt — can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”

    That is, can it be trusted when it draws “grand conclusions” about a First Cause? Perhaps the concept of God is merely an instinct programmed into us by natural selection, Darwin added, like a monkey’s “instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.”

    In short, it was on occasions when Darwin’s mind led him to a theistic conclusion that he dismissed the mind as untrustworthy. He failed to recognize that, to be logically consistent, he needed to apply the same skepticism to his own theory . . . .

    Applied consistently, Darwinism undercuts not only itself but also the entire scientific enterprise. Kenan Malik, a writer trained in neurobiology, writes, “If our cognitive capacities were simply evolved dispositions, there would be no way of knowing which of these capacities lead to true beliefs and which to false ones.” Thus “to view humans as little more than sophisticated animals …undermines confidence in the scientific method.”

    Just so. Science itself is at stake. John Lennox, professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, writes that according to atheism, “the mind that does science … is the end product of a mindless unguided process. Now, if you knew your computer was the product of a mindless unguided process, you wouldn’t trust it. So, to me atheism undermines the rationality I need to do science.”

    Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality

    KF

  252. 252
    Aleta says:

    kf concludes,

    Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality

    Wrong, I have both empirical and related philosophical reasons for trusting my rationality (within limits as I have mentioned above.)

    kf’s statement does succinctly state the theist position. However, if theism itself is wrong, then his assertion is not relevant.

  253. 253
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta, I am not Pearcey. KF

  254. 254
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS,

    My comments are not organically connected to or rooted in those of RB.

    Yes, thankfully not.

    The clips cited from various sources are inextricably rooted in the frame of thought of evolutionary materialism in the scientific forms advanced over the past 160 or so years.

    Any evomat who finds that Gray and Rosenberg are flatly wrong has the right to disavow those statements and to not be held responsible for them. If you want to show that that person’s views are incoherent, you have to deal with that particular person’s views, not those of someone else. I suspect that most evomats disagree with Gray, in particular; in that case, your arguments pertaining to him touch only a small subset of them.

  255. 255
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta, the self-referential incoherence of evolutionary materialism is distinct from the question of theism. Every view has to stand on its own merits. As there are other possible worldviews, that is necessarily so. In addition the self referential incoherence arises from its own proposed dynamics and the logic of that for arguments and for arguers. As has been pointed out with several advisors. KF

  256. 256
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, kindly cf the just above. Cases are cited as illustrative, not as decreeing something to be so on their raw authority. KF

  257. 257
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Every view has to stand on its own merits.

    I agree. To expand on this, every view has to stand on its own merits, and not the merits or faults of someone else’s view.

  258. 258
    Aleta says:

    re: 253. I see. Since I usually skim your long posts, I didn’t notice that the whole post was a quote.

  259. 259
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF@246:IE, you will now apologise for insistence on vulgarity or else leave this discussion.”

    Since I was only pointing out the etymology of the word “Follytricks” I have no intention of apologizing unless you also apologize to everyone for using that vulgar word. If you apologize, so will I.

    How come I get the feeling that this will not happen. As such, I will simply say good-bye at this point.

  260. 260
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, you are now asked to leave this thread. If you cannot keep a civil keyboard in a case where I have to be away much of the time, you have a problem. As it is I will now have to go back up-thread to clean up. KF

    PS: For those who do not know the Caribbean, IE has tried to project a culturally foreign reference into a Caribbean setting in order to twist a reference to political shenanigans and trickery into a vulgar reference. This to improperly try to insinuate that I am being hypocritical.

  261. 261
    Aleta says:

    This seems pretty minor to me. That follytricks meant politics is not obvious, and if I understand correctly, IE’s comment about it was not very serious. My 2 cents.

  262. 262
    Phinehas says:

    IE:

    If his conclusion about self referential incoherence of an evo-mat brain is based on the assumption of an evo-mat brain (which must be the pre-condition) he must also accept that our current brain and its capabilities was the result of evo-mat. To do otherwise is to automatically invalidate his conclusion.

    Uh. No.

    So, you seem curiously uninterested in any sort of level playing field for evaluating the issue (and it is a real issue) of whether we should expect evo-mat to create the kind of brain we recognize we have. Why is that?

  263. 263
    Phinehas says:

    Aleta:

    Of course you have empirical reasons for trusting your rationality! To suggest otherwise would be silly.

    You’ve just not got good reasons for trusting evo-mat to get you there, unless you count sheer, dumb luck as a good reason.

  264. 264
    Aleta says:

    Materialist don’t believe that things happened due to “sheer, dumb luck.”

  265. 265
    Phinehas says:

    Aleta:

    Which says nothing about “good reasons” whatsoever.

  266. 266
    Indiana Effigy says:

    IE, you were asked to leave this thread for serial vulgarity after warning. You will receive no further warnings. KF
    >>>>>>>>

    Aleta@261:This seems pretty minor to me. That follytricks meant politics is not obvious, and if I understand correctly, IE’s comment about it was not very serious.”

    Hence the big smiley face. Some people just don’t have a sense of humour.

  267. 267
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Phinehas@262:So, you seem curiously uninterested in any sort of level playing field for evaluating the issue (and it is a real issue) of whether we should expect evo-mat to create the kind of brain we recognize we have. Why is that?”

    This has nothing to do with a level playing field. It has to do with the assumptions KF uses to conclude his self-referential incoherence. The primary one being the starting point of an evo-mat brain. In short, he argues that if the brain is evo-mat, it must serve survival over “truth”. Therefore, any such brain attempting to discern “truth” is necessarliy self-self-referencial because the brain serves survival, not “truth”. Therefore, the brain cannot be evo-mat. But since the same brain of his initial assumption can think critically and use abstract reasoning (which obviously benefit survival so are consistent with this assumption) it has the ability to discern “truth”.

    Contrary to not wanting to play on a level playing field, I am trying my best to level it given the flames in KF’s logic.

    If you want to discuss the actual issue of whether our brain developed through evolutionary processes, we can certainly do that but it would be outside the scope of this OP.

  268. 268
    Phinehas says:

    IE:

    Evidently, being able to discern truth is no guarantee that one loves truth or feels particularly committed to pursuing truth.

    I suppose you can take whatever satisfaction there is in “winning” the argument with your evo-mat brain. But it still looks to me like you are avoiding the real issue.

  269. 269
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Phinehas: “I suppose you can take whatever satisfaction there is in “winning” the argument with your evo-mat brain. But it still looks to me like you are avoiding the real issue.”

    I am not avoiding anything. I am just trying to stay on topic and within the goal posts. If KF wants to post an OP on the evolution of the brain, I will gladly participate. Assuming he hasn’t turfed me for refusing to apologize for a non-offence.

  270. 270
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Over the course of days, IE has used vulgarities several times despite warning that UD is not a street-gutter. He tried to label snipping vulgarities as censorship, then refused to be shown the door. Finally he is pretending that his cluster of behaviours is a non-offense. Comment is a privilege on good behaviour not a right and as I noted I have had to have my attention elsewhere, due to local follytricks — which he promptly tried to twist into a turnabout, immoral equivalency accusation — oh you are being vulgar; by trying to impose US slang on a Caribbean term. The disrespect for civility and even the need to behave with a modicum of restraint in a situation where the thread owner is not able to play playground monitor speak volumes. So, game over, for the moment. KF

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