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Darwin’s philosopher really hates philosopher Thomas Nagel

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From Jonathan Witt at Evolution News & Views:

If you’re driving along and notice that a bright philosopher has just mangled beyond recognition the argument of another bright philosopher, a tap on the brakes and a bit of careful rubbernecking is in order.

If you then notice that the one who has done the mangling is Darwinist Michael Ruse, and what he mangled is an argument by eminent philosopher Thomas Nagel against Darwinism, then it’s worth pulling over and taking an even closer look. More.

I remember Ruse from the days when he taught in Canada, a cheery old Darwinist (I once interviewed him) who – to his credit – never disguised his genial contempt for the rubes, boobs, hicks, and bubbas who think that Darwinism is not the compelling new approved view.

The theistic evolutionists have rarely been so honest. So I kind of miss him.

I doubt any theistic evolutionist would “get” Nagel’s argument. Prove me wrong. O’Leary for News

See also: Darwinian philosopher Michael Ruse on Darwin’s rottweiler Richard Dawkins

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Good for you, Thomas Nagel. It is indeed an honor to be hated by the well-known charlatan, Michael Ruse, that blind-faith follower of Darwinian evolution. Truth Will Set You Free
Moreover, Nagel can also appeal directly to the science of quantum mechanics to argue that consciousness has a subjective element to it that is irreducible to materialistic explanation.
Does Quantum Physics Make it Easier to Believe in God? Stephen M. Barr - July 10, 2012 Excerpt: Couldn’t an inanimate physical device (say, a Geiger counter) carry out a “measurement” (minus the 'observer' in quantum mechanics)? That would run into the very problem pointed out by von Neumann: If the “observer” were just a purely physical entity, such as a Geiger counter, one could in principle write down a bigger wavefunction that described not only the thing being measured but also the observer. And, when calculated with the Schrödinger equation, that bigger wave function would not jump! Again: as long as only purely physical entities are involved, they are governed by an equation that says that the probabilities don’t jump. That’s why, when Peierls was asked whether a machine could be an “observer,” he said no, explaining that “the quantum mechanical description is in terms of knowledge, and knowledge requires somebody who knows.” Not a purely physical thing, but a mind. https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/content/does-quantum-physics-make-it-easier-believe-god On The Comparison Of Quantum and Relativity Theories - Sachs - 1986 Excerpt: quantum theory entails an irreducible subjective element in its conceptual basis. In contrast, the theory of relativity when fully exploited, is based on a totally objective view. http://books.google.com/books?id=8qaYGFuXvMkC&pg=PA11#v=onepage&q&f=false "We wish to measure a temperature.,,, But in any case, no matter how far we calculate -- to the mercury vessel, to the scale of the thermometer, to the retina, or into the brain, at some time we must say: and this is perceived by the observer. That is, we must always divide the world into two parts, the one being the observed system, the other the observer.” John von Neumann - 1903-1957 - The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, pp.418-21 - 1955
Moreover, in direct contradiction to the atheistic claim that our thoughts are merely the result of whatever state our material brain happens to be in, 'Brain Plasticity', i.e. the ability to alter the structure of the brain from a person's focused intention, has now been established by Jeffrey Schwartz, as well as among other researchers.
The Case for the Soul - InspiringPhilosophy - (4:03 minute mark, Brain Plasticity including Schwartz's work) - Oct. 2014 - video The Mind is able to modify the brain (brain plasticity). Moreover, Idealism explains all anomalous evidence of personality changes due to brain injury, whereas physicalism cannot explain mind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBsI_ay8K70
Moreover, mind has now also been shown to be able to reach all the way down and have pronounced, ‘epigenetic’, effects on the gene expression of our bodies:
Scientists Finally Show How Your Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes, - December 10, 2013 Excerpt: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.,,, the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways. http://www.tunedbody.com/scientists-finally-show-thoughts-can-cause-specific-molecular-changes-genes/
Then there is also the well documented placebo effect in which a person’s beliefs have pronounced effects on their body
placebo effect; plural noun: placebo effects a beneficial effect, produced by a placebo drug or treatment, that cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself, and must therefore be due to the patient's belief in that treatment. Placebos can produce some objective physiological changes, such as changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and chemical activity in the brain, in cases involving pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo
That mind is causally effective is also proven by the computer sitting right in front of you:
Recognising Top-Down Causation - George Ellis Excerpt: page 5: A: Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities:,,, The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities. http://fqxi.org/data/essay-contest-files/Ellis_FQXI_Essay_Ellis_2012.pdf
Of supplemental note: If the mind of a person were merely the brain, as materialists hold, then if half of a brain were removed then a ‘person’ should only be ‘half the person’, or at least somewhat less of a ‘person’, as they were before. But that is not the case, the ‘whole person’ stays intact even though the brain suffers severe impairment:
“Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications.” Strange but True: When Half a Brain Is Better than a Whole One – May 2007 Excerpt: Most Hopkins hemispherectomy patients are five to 10 years old. Neurosurgeons have performed the operation on children as young as three months old. Astonishingly, memory and personality develop normally. ,,, Another study found that children that underwent hemispherectomies often improved academically once their seizures stopped. “One was champion bowler of her class, one was chess champion of his state, and others are in college doing very nicely,” Freeman says. Of course, the operation has its downside: “You can walk, run—some dance or skip—but you lose use of the hand opposite of the hemisphere that was removed. You have little function in that arm and vision on that side is lost,” Freeman says. Remarkably, few other impacts are seen. ,,, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=strange-but-true-when-half-brain-better-than-whole How Removing Half of Someone’s Brain Can Improve Their Life – Oct. 2015 Excerpt: Next spring, del Peral (who has only half a brain) will graduate from Curry College, where she has made the dean’s list every semester since freshman year.
Thus, contrary to Ruse's claim, Nagel's claim that consciousness is incompatible with materialism is very much in tune with the science, whereas Ruse himself is stuck with only (bad) religious arguments to support his materialistic claims. bornagain77
as to this false claim about Nagel from Ruse:
"Nagel's worry is less about the science and more about its supposed religious-cum-metaphysical implications, namely that Darwin plunges us into a hateful world without value and meaning."
Actually Nagel's main 'worry' in 'Mind and Cosmos', the 'worry' that consciousness is incompatible with the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution,,
Mind and Cosmos - Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False - Thomas Nagel Excerpt: If materialism cannot accommodate consciousness and other mind-related aspects of reality, then we must abandon a purely materialist understanding of nature in general, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology. Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history. http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199919758.do
Actually Nagel's 'worry' that materialism is incompatible with mind, contrary to what Ruse claimed, is very much in tune with the science. Whereas Ruse in his new book, self admittedly, relies not on the science but relies instead on religious arguments from, of all people, writers of fiction.
Darwinism as Religion: What Literature Tells Us about Evolution By Michael RuseOctober 9th 2016 Although I have been writing now for over forty years on Darwin and the revolution that he brought about, in Darwinism as Religion I use a strategy entirely new to me,,, I turn to British and American literature for insights, working from the great novelists and poets of the nineteenth century–George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Emily Dickinson, and others–down to the writers of today– http://blog.oup.com/2016/10/darwinism-as-religion/
That Ruse, in his new book, would make a religious argument for Darwinism, from writers of fiction no less, instead of a scientific argument from the evidence, is not a 'new' argument for Ruse to be making. Darwinists have been making evidence free religious arguments all along. They do this, number 1, since all of science is dependent on basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and of our minds to comprehend that rational intelligibility, and number 2, they do this since they never have had any real scientific evidence to support their claims. Darwin made evidence free religious arguments in his book "Origin" and Darwinists continue to use evidence free religious arguments to this day:
Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin's Use of Theology in the Origin of Species - May 2011 Excerpt: The Origin supplies abundant evidence of theology in action; as Dilley observes: I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation): 1. Human beings are not justified in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind. 2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern. 3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the 'simplest mode' to accomplish the functions of these structures. 4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part's function. 5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms. 6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter. 7. God directly created the first 'primordial' life. 8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life. 9. A 'distant' God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering. 10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/05/charles_darwin_theologian_majo046391.html Charles Darwin's use of theology in the Origin of Species - STEPHEN DILLEY Abstract This essay examines Darwin's positiva (or positive) use of theology in the first edition of the Origin of Species in three steps. First, the essay analyses the Origin's theological language about God's accessibility, honesty, methods of creating, relationship to natural laws and lack of responsibility for natural suffering; the essay contends that Darwin utilized positiva theology in order to help justify (and inform) descent with modification and to attack special creation. Second, the essay offers critical analysis of this theology, drawing in part on Darwin's mature ruminations to suggest that, from an epistemic point of view, the Origin's positiva theology manifests several internal tensions. Finally, the essay reflects on the relative epistemic importance of positiva theology in the Origin's overall case for evolution. The essay concludes that this theology served as a handmaiden and accomplice to Darwin's science. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=376799F09F9D3CC8C2E7500BACBFC75F.journals?aid=8499239&fileId=S000708741100032X Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys - Paul Nelson - September 22, 2014 Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise's Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous "God-wouldn't-have-done-it-that-way" arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,, ,,,with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky's essay "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" (1973). Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky's essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes: "Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky's arguments hinge upon claims about God's nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist's arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky's arguments.",, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/09/methodological_1089971.html Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of theology? - Dilley S. - 2013 Abstract This essay analyzes Theodosius Dobzhansky's famous article, "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution," in which he presents some of his best arguments for evolution. I contend that all of Dobzhansky's arguments hinge upon sectarian claims about God's nature, actions, purposes, or duties. Moreover, Dobzhansky's theology manifests several tensions, both in the epistemic justification of his theological claims and in their collective coherence. I note that other prominent biologists--such as Mayr, Dawkins, Eldredge, Ayala, de Beer, Futuyma, and Gould--also use theology-laden arguments. I recommend increased analysis of the justification, complexity, and coherence of this theology. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23890740
And whereas Darwinists, since they have no real scientific evidence to support their claims, and are forced to make (bad) religious arguments to try to support their claims, on the other hand Nagel's 'worry' is very much in tune with the science. For example, using the mathematics of population genetics, Hoffman and Plantinga have shown that our perceptions and beliefs about reality would be illusory if the materialistic premises of Darwinian evolution were true.
Donald Hoffman: Do we see reality as it is? – Video – 9:59 minute mark Quote: “,,,evolution is a mathematically precise theory. We can use the equations of evolution to check this out. We can have various organisms in artificial worlds compete and see which survive and which thrive, which sensory systems or more fit. A key notion in those equations is fitness.,,, fitness does depend on reality as it is, yes.,,, Fitness is not the same thing as reality as it is, and it is fitness, and not reality as it is, that figures centrally in the equations of evolution. So, in my lab, we have run hundreds of thousands of evolutionary game simulations with lots of different randomly chosen worlds and organisms that compete for resources in those worlds. Some of the organisms see all of the reality. Others see just part of the reality. And some see none of the reality. Only fitness. Who wins? Well I hate to break it to you but perception of reality goes extinct. In almost every simulation, organisms that see none of reality, but are just tuned to fitness, drive to extinction that perceive reality as it is. So the bottom line is, evolution does not favor veridical, or accurate perceptions. Those (accurate) perceptions of reality go extinct. Now this is a bit stunning. How can it be that not seeing the world accurately gives us a survival advantage?” https://youtu.be/oYp5XuGYqqY?t=601 The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality - April 2016 The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions. Excerpt: “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.” https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160421-the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality/ The Case Against Reality - May 13, 2016 Excerpt: Hoffman seems to come to a conclusion similar to the one Alvin Plantinga argues in ch. 10 of Where the Conflict Really Lies: we should not expect — in the absence of further argument — that creatures formed by a naturalistic evolutionary process would have veridical perceptions.,,, First, even if Hoffman’s argument were restricted to visual perception, and not to our cognitive faculties more generally (e.g., memory, introspection, a priori rational insight, testimonial belief, inferential reasoning, etc.), the conclusion that our visual perceptions would be wholly unreliable given natural selection would be sufficient for Plantinga’s conclusion of self-defeat. After all, reliance upon the veridicality of our visual perceptions was and always will be crucial for any scientific argument for the truth of evolution. So if these perceptions cannot be trusted, we have little reason to think evolutionary theory is true. Second, it’s not clear that Hoffman’s application of evolutionary game theory is only specially applicable to visual perception, rather than being relevant for our cognitive faculties generally. If “we find that veridical perceptions can be driven to extinction by non-veridical strategies that are tuned to utility rather than objective reality” (2010, p. 504, my emphasis), then why wouldn’t veridical cognitive faculties (more generally) be driven to extinction by non-veridical strategies that are tuned to utility rather than objective reality? After all, evolutionary theory purports to be the true account of the formation of all of our cognitive faculties, not just our faculty of visual perception. If evolutionary game theory proves that “true perception generally goes extinct” when “animals that perceive the truth compete with others that sacrifice truth for speed and energy-efficiency” (2008), why wouldn’t there be a similar sacrifice with respect to other cognitive faculties? In fact, Hoffman regards the following theorem as now proven: “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” (Atlantic interview). But then wouldn’t it also be the case that an organism that cognizes reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that cognizes none of reality but is just tuned to fitness? On the evolutionary story, every cognitive faculty we have was produced by a process that was tuned to fitness (rather than tuned to some other value, such as truth). http://www.gregwelty.com/2016/05/the-case-against-reality/

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