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Dilbert’s Scott Adams and the reproductively effective delusion evolutionary thesis

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Sometimes, popular debates and commenters can put their fingers on a key issue, almost in passing.

In this case, in addressing the cognitive dissonance issue triggering  many reactions to the rise of Donald Trump to US President-Elect (I confess, my own surprise* . . . ) Dilbert’s Scott Adams has dropped a real clanger of a wake-up call:

Here is a money-shot clip from his current blog article, “The Cognitive Dissonance Cluster Bomb”:

>>As I often tell you, we all live in our own movies inside our heads. Humans did not evolve with the capability to understand their reality because it was not important to survival. Any illusion that keeps us alive long enough to procreate is good enough.

That’s why the protestors live in a movie in which they are fighting against a monster called Trump and you live in a movie where you got the president you wanted for the changes you prefer. Same planet, different realities . . . >>

See the problem?

Yup, Scott Adams just inadvertently exposed the inherent self-referential incoherence of evolutionary materialism; and, he does not even exhibit awareness of the implied cognitive self-destruct, self-falsification button he pushed.

mush_cloudBOOM!

Cognitive dissonance, on steroids.

As DI’s Nancy Pearcey notes in her Finding Truth:

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

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

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

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

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

So, now, how can we find our way back to safer cognitive footing? END

*PS: While UD is not endorsing or opposing any given candidates, it is appropriate to note astonishment. And, to pause for a note on civics and history. The US’ Founders and Framers were, for cause, very suspicious of the inherent instability and too often suicidal nature of democratic polities, with Athens, Alcibiades, the Silician Expedition and the wider, utterly ruinous Peloponnesian War as exhibit no. 1.  Besides, they were very concerned to balance the various local and particular interests; as the Connecticut compromise on Representatives (popular balance) vs. Senators (two per state) shows. The Electoral College system also created a way for a far-flung electorate under C18 conditions to have multiple local elections that sent chosen delegates to the college of electors that would finally elect the President (who as originally envisioned had rather limited powers). The practical effect today, is to force 50 elections in parallel; so that no narrow cluster of cities and big population states can form an interest that dominates the system as a whole.  This forces checks, balances, and compromises so that on the whole a President must be widely acceptable to be elected. As a result, when there is a polarised era with concentrated urban interests, Presidents may be elected who do not hold the overall majority of counted ballots; this is similar to parliamentary systems with seat by seat, first past the post constituencies, where also proportional representation systems are clearly less stable and tend to coalition Cabinets, often with an implicit transfer of power to the permanent government — the electorally unaccountable senior civil servants. (I gather, but stand to be corrected regarding the US: if absentee and military ballots are too small in number to change the result for some states, while cast, they are not actually counted. (Or, is that just on the first pass, which grabs the early headlines?) Such ballots apparently . . . largely, due to the military factor . . .  trend strongly Republican, and so the balance on cast ballots may be different again from counted ones. [Note, summary of results.])

71 Replies to “Dilbert’s Scott Adams and the reproductively effective delusion evolutionary thesis

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Dilbert’s Scott Adams inadvertently exemplifies the own goal of evolutionary materialism.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    That Darwinists live in an imaginary world is revealed by the math of population genetics itself:

    In the following video and article, Donald Hoffman has, through numerous computer simulations of population genetics, proved that if Darwinian evolution were actually true then ALL of our perceptions of reality would be illusory.

    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/

    Although Hoffman tried to limit his results to just our visual perceptions, as Plantinga had pointed out before Hoffman came along, there is no reason why the results do not also extend to undermining our cognitive faculties as well:

    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/.....t-reality/

    Thus, in what should be needless to say, a worldview that undermines the scientific method itself by holding all our observations of reality, and cognitive faculties, are illusory is NOT a worldview that can be firmly grounded within the scientific method!

    Moreover, completely contrary to what Hoffman found for Darwinian theory, it turns out that accurate perception, i.e. conscious observation, far from being unreliable and illusory, is experimentally found to be far more integral to reality, i.e. far more reliable of reality, than the math of population genetics predicted. In the following experiment, it was found that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.

    New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It – June 3, 2015
    Excerpt: The results of the Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that this choice is determined by the way the object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release.,,,
    “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,” he said.
    Thus, this experiment adds to the validity of the quantum theory and provides new evidence to the idea that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.
    http://themindunleashed.org/20.....at-it.html

    Apparently science itself could care less if atheists are forced to believe, because of the mathematics of population genetics, that their observations of reality are illusory!

    Moreover, it is impossible for Darwinists, i.e. Atheistic Materialists, to consistently live as if their worldview were actually true:

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way.,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    – Evolution News and Views

    In what should be needless to say, if it is impossible for you to live as if your worldview were actually true then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but your worldview must instead be based on a delusion.

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    Of supplemental note, although, because of their materialistic premises, Darwinists are forced to believe that they themselves, as persons, are merely illusions, apparently some of these ‘illusory materialists’ felt confident enough in their ability to differentiate what is truly real and what is merely illusory, to devise a clever questionnaire that differentiate between illusory memories and real memories.

    In the following study, materialistic researchers who had a bias against Near Death Experiences (NDEs) being real, set out to prove that they were merely hallucinations by setting up a clever questionnaire that could differentiate which memories a person had were real and which memories a person had were merely imaginary.
    They did not expect the results they got:

    ‘Afterlife’ feels ‘even more real than real,’ researcher says – Wed April 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “If you use this questionnaire … if the memory is real, it’s richer, and if the memory is recent, it’s richer,” he said.
    The coma scientists weren’t expecting what the tests revealed.
    “To our surprise, NDEs were much richer than any imagined event or any real event of these coma survivors,” Laureys reported.
    The memories of these experiences beat all other memories, hands down, for their vivid sense of reality. “The difference was so vast,” he said with a sense of astonishment.
    Even if the patient had the experience a long time ago, its memory was as rich “as though it was yesterday,” Laureys said.
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/09/.....periences/

    Memories of Near Death Experiences (NDEs): More Real Than Reality? – Mar. 27, 2013
    Excerpt: University of Liège
    ,,,researchers,, have looked into the memories of NDE with the hypothesis that if the memories of NDE were pure products of the imagination, their phenomenological characteristics (e.g., sensorial, self referential, emotional, etc. details) should be closer to those of imagined memories. Conversely, if the NDE are experienced in a way similar to that of reality, their characteristics would be closer to the memories of real events.
    The researchers compared the responses provided by three groups of patients, each of which had survived (in a different manner) a coma, and a group of healthy volunteers. They studied the memories of NDE and the memories of real events and imagined events with the help of a questionnaire which evaluated the phenomenological characteristics of the memories. The results were surprising. From the perspective being studied, not only were the NDEs not similar to the memories of imagined events, but the phenomenological characteristics inherent to the memories of real events (e.g. memories of sensorial details) are even more numerous in the memories of NDE than in the memories of real events.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....190359.htm

    Whereas, because of their materialistic premises, the researchers were surprised that the memories of NDEs were ‘even more real than real’, to a Christian Theist this result is not surprising at all since we, as Christians, hold that the Mind of God created all of reality and therefore, on that presupposition, we hold that the closer one gets to God then the ‘more real’ our perceptions of what is ‘real’ will become.

    Of related note, to even be able to accurately define what is real and what is illusory, one must posit ‘mind’ as primary and everything else as derivative of that:

    “In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could not believe that mind is not primary in the first place.”
    – William J. Murray

    William J. Murray is in excellent company:

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the originator of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

    Of related note to the ‘reality’ of NDEs, Whereas Naturalists have no empirical evidence whatsoever that the epistemologically self defeating multiverse is real, Theists have very strong evidence for their belief in a higher heavenly dimension and in a hellish dimension. Moreover, this evidence comes from two of our strongest, most verified, theories in science. i.e. From Special and General Relativity respectively:

    Special and General Relativity compared to Heavenly and Hellish Near Death Experiences
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbKELVHcvSI&list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5

    further notes on the physical reality of the ‘soul’:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-620372

    Verse

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

  3. 3
    Dionisio says:

    “But where shall wisdom be found?
    And where is the place of understanding?
    Man does not know its worth,
    and it is not found in the land of the living.
    The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
    and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
    It cannot be bought for gold,
    and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
    Job 28:12-15

    “From where, then, does wisdom come?
    And where is the place of understanding?
    21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living
    and concealed from the birds of the air.
    Job 28:20-21

    “God understands the way to it,
    and he knows its place.
    For he looks to the ends of the earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.
    When he gave to the wind its weight
    and apportioned the waters by measure,
    when he made a decree for the rain
    and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
    then he saw it and declared it;
    he established it, and searched it out.
    And he said to man,
    ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
    and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”
    Job 28:23-28

    “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
    He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
    he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;
    he reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him.
    Daniel 2:20-22

    […] the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will.
    Daniel 5:21

  4. 4
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Hm. The guy who writes Dilbert, on evolution?

    Yup, Scott Adams just inadvertently exposed the inherent self-referential incoherence of evolutionary materialism; and, he does not even exhibit awareness of the implied cognitive self-destruct, self-falsification button he pushed.

    Are you sure he’s not aware? He’s not exactly an evolutionary-materialist, is he?

    From his blog this April:

    But fast-forward to today, and now we have two competing hypotheses to replace the standard theory of evolution. One is David Hoffman’s vision of a world that is mostly imagined and beyond our ability to understand. The other is my oft-described idea that we are one of perhaps billions of software simulations created by some original species. (I didn’t invent that idea.) But in both worldviews, zebras and horses are not real. So evolution makes no sense in those models.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, I am pointing out how the evolutionary materialist thesis has penetrated popular culture to the point where people are thoughtlessly stating self-refuting, self-referentially incoherent things. The cognitive dissonance being suppressed by projecting the problem to the other should be quite obvious, I forget the Freudian term for that defense mechanism, is it reaction formation or something of that order? And that stands regardless of whether Adams thinks we live in a the matrix, computer simulation world. KF

    PS: as a multiverse consequence, it has an interesting rhetorical value that sims would be overwhelmingly more probable, i.e. computational tech gets to the point in such a multiverse that sims vastly outnumber physically instantiated worlds. Then, there is the good ole Boltzmann Brain world problem. Anything that reduces reality or our ability to experience and objectively know it to grand delusion or overwhelmingly likely grand delusion is an absurdly self-undercutting view.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Dogbert Evolution
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjhbtCWHj1g

    Scott Adams Is A Brilliant Philosopher:
    Excerpt: PZ Myers is a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Unfortunately he is also a self-important, humorless, autofellating, ass hat, or at least that is one theory which Scott Adams has put forward.
    http://adhd-librarian.blogspot.....opher.html

  7. 7
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, I am pointing out how the evolutionary materialist thesis has penetrated popular culture to the point where people are thoughtlessly stating self-refuting, self-referentially incoherent things.

    Is there something self-refuting in the specific Adams quote you posted?

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    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.

    Fairly obviously, the fundamental flaw with that argument lies in the assumption that survival-tracking and truth-tracking are necessarily two different things. But a few moments reflection should reveal the problem.

    To use an previous illustration, suppose two early humans were confronted by a hungry tiger intent on eating them. One human thinks that this is just a big, friendly kitty who wants to play. The other thinks the tiger’s approach is decidedly suspicious and chooses to run for it. Who is more likely to survive?

    Yes, we can all think of fictional stories or ‘movies in our heads’ which do not initially put us in conflict with reality. The problem is that sooner or later they might. A child running around in his costume and cape playing at being Superman might actually believe at the time that he is a superhero. That’s not a problem – unless he tries to jump off a tall building thinking he can fly.

    The problem is that stories or beliefs that are untrue in the sense that they do not correspond with reality will ultimately come into conflict with that reality, sometimes with fatal consequences for the believers. The good side is that, over time, evolution will tend to filter out the false beliefs, leaving us with the true – or at least the truer – ones.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    DS,

    Please look at the red highlighted part of the clip in the OP.

    Ponder that it is self-referential and has general implications.

    Sev,

    Truth, rationality and survival are categorically different.

    That is not open to debate.

    The import of a self-referential claim as cited is it utterly undermines rationality and knowledge.

    It points to grand, general delusion.

    Which is self-referential, incoherent and self-falsifying. For instance, it renders the judgement required to evaluate evidence or the usual evolutionary just so stories suspect.

    Intellectual suicide.

    BTW, BA77 in 2 above has some relevant evidence.

    KF

  10. 10
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS,

    Please look at the red highlighted part of the clip in the OP.

    Ponder that it is self-referential and has general implications.

    How, explicitly if you don’t mind, does it refute itself?

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, by undermining even Adams’ line of reasoning as it is self referential and undermines reasoning and knowing. KF

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: For reference:

    >>As I often tell you, we all live in our own movies inside our heads.>>

    1 –> Appeal to personal, Plato’s cave world

    2 –> Note, “we all” . . . this is not subtly self referential.

    >> Humans did not evolve with the capability to understand their reality because it was not important to survival.>>

    3 –> Self referential again.

    4 –> denies understanding, implying denial of accuracy, logical insight, warrant, knowledge.

    5 –> the spider is already well and truly entangled and stuck in its own web.

    >> Any illusion that keeps us alive long enough to procreate is good enough.>>

    6 –> Appeal to evolutionary survival by reproduction.

    7 –> has already denied that the result is conducive to responsible rational freedom, accuracy, sound insight, warrant, knowledge.

    8 –> Presumed, universal.

    >>That’s why the protestors live in a movie in which they are fighting against a monster called Trump>>

    9 –> Exhibit A, current rioters.

    >> and you live in a movie where you got the president you wanted for the changes you prefer.>>

    10 –> Exhibit B, you dear reader.

    11 –> Conspicuous by absence, me who sees the six blind men of hindustan groping blindly, while I see with an all knowing eye.

    12 –> Thus, incoherent.

    >> Same planet, different realities . . . >>

    13 –> radical reduction of reality to perception, the kantian ugly gulch on steroids.

    14 –> F H Bradley long since exposed this blunder as self referentially incoherent. to imagine one knows objective reality is unknowable beyond perceptions, that is a claim to know reality.

    KF

  13. 13
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I believe you are not, therefore, claiming that Adams’ statements “we all live in our own movies inside our heads” and “Humans did not evolve with the capability to understand their reality because it was not important to survival” are necessarily false. Is that correct?

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, in context, the claims are absurd and part of a self-referentially incoherent argument that falls flat. Movie in the head directly implies UNIVERSAL fantasy, not actual reality. The notion that we evolved as mere survival machines is directly self-refuting by way of undermining rational, responsible freedom, the basis on which evidence can be assessed as supporting or overturning evolution or any other major claim advanced as science, mathematics, etc. KF

    PS: J B S Haldane put the matter plainly long since:

    “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. ]

  15. 15
    rvb8 says:

    ‘if Darwin’s theory is true (it is!), then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.”‘

    Well done! You’re starting to catch up.

    As to ‘red highlighted’ bit. Try this; ‘Do you imagine this blog is important, and that it will effect change in scientific discourse?’ It won’t! But that is the illusion your mind has created so that your life can have meaning. Fine! All power to you.

    However, it is an illusion which allows you to go from day to day, it gives you purpose and helps you to survive; good for you!

    It remains an illusion, although I am sure, a somewhat satisfying one, good. Without it, you would truly have no reason to struggle on.

  16. 16
    john_a_designer says:

    KF,

    by undermining even Adams’ line of reasoning as it is self referential and undermines reasoning and knowing.

    Indeed, the claim that there is no truth is a truth claim about truth which is obviously self-refuting. (IOW if there is no truth, or you cannot know the truth, how can you know the truth about truth?) The mystery is why people who believe this can’t see the absurdity. Is Adams really that daft? Epistemologically subjectivism provides no basis for any kind of knowledge. Abject nihilism is the only possibility. Any further discussion by the nihilist is foolish nonsense.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD, or rhetorical manipulation — which is just what he has presented himself as a master analyst of. KF

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8,

    do you not see yourself falling into a self-referentially incoherent projection?

    Thus, reflecting your own cognitive dissonance?

    In simple terms, is it not then easily seen that you come here as part of your own subjective self-importance creating delusion?

    We are in a hall of contradictory mirrors here, and it only leads to confused chaos.

    Let us beware implicitly self-referential, finger-pointing arguments.

    Or, perhaps better, we need to ask ourselves, what are the three fingers pointing back at me telling me about the state of my own mind and conscience? (Thence, what is “the candle of the Lord” within trying to tell us?)

    Then, we need to recognise the underlying incoherence of the evolutionary materialistic view and walk away from it; starting afresh with the obvious, that to have a reasoned discussion that tends to the truth and the right, we must premise that we are responsibly and rationally sufficiently free to do so.

    And yes, that has momentous consequences, but it has the advantage over alternative start points that it comports with one of the characteristic behaviours of humans: we find ourselves governed by law, the law of rationality and the law of responsibility towards the truth and the right. Law, vouchsafed to us by conscience-guided reason.

    Then, we need to ask ourselves, why it is that we find ourselves inescapably under such fundamentally moral government?

    What does that tell us about the roots of reality?

    KF

    PS: I need not worry about being in a small corner, as I serve one who tells me not to despise the day of small things. Where the true worth of just one soul is more than the material resources of a planet. Where we live in a day of the worst holocaust in history, in the which we add a million unborn children a week to a generational toll of 800+ millions, blinding and benumbing ourselves with the broadest, deepest blood guilt on record. To that end, medicine (sworn to uphold life), law and courts and police (sworn to uphold justice), governments (ditto), educators and media (sworn to truth and right) have become systematically perverted to the point of reprobation in many cases. So, we must start by plucking a few brands from the bonfire of our civilisation. And just maybe one of these will be today’s Wilberforce.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    rvb8, since you imagine yourself to be above the devastating failings of your own worldview, I suggest you throw off the shackles of the ‘illusory meaningfulness’ you see others practising and embrace the inherent nihilism of your own worldview full force.

    Perhaps Ecclesiastes can give you some pointers in your now, self admitted, irrelevant endeavour to achieve true meaninglessness? 🙂

    Ecclesiastes 12-8
    “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
    “Everything is meaningless!”

  20. 20
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, in context, the claims are absurd and part of a self-referentially incoherent argument that falls flat. Movie in the head directly implies UNIVERSAL fantasy, not actual reality. The notion that we evolved as mere survival machines is directly self-refuting by way of undermining rational, responsible freedom, the basis on which evidence can be assessed as supporting or overturning evolution or any other major claim advanced as science, mathematics, etc. KF

    Well, I’m guessing that your answer to my #13 would be “yes”.

    If Adams is right in that we all live in our own private illusory worlds, it would seem impossible for him to know this. I take it this is your primary complaint, which I would share.

    On the other hand, he could be right—we could all live in our own private illusory worlds, and this raises no logical problems in itself.

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    of related note, although atheists, such as rvb8, always try to claim that their, of everyone’s, life is completely pointless and meaningless, modern science itself points us towards a completely different conclusion than his.

    In what I consider an absolutely fascinating discovery, 4-dimensional (4D) space-time was created in the Big Bang and continues to ‘expand equally in all places’:

    Where is the centre of the universe?:
    Excerpt: There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a “Big Bang” about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell.
    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/.....entre.html

    Thus from a 3-dimensional (3D) perspective, any particular 3D spot in the universe is to be considered just as ‘center of the universe’ as any other particular spot in the universe is to be considered ‘center of the universe’. This centrality found for any 3D place in the universe is because the universe is a 4D expanding hypersphere, analogous in 3D to the surface of an expanding balloon. All points on the surface are moving away from each other, and every point can be considered central to the expansion, if that’s where you live.

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life (Jesus Christ) – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=9FCEMJNU

    Quantum Mechanics goes even further than General Relativity does and shows us that reality does not even exist is we are not looking at it

    New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It – June 3, 2015
    Excerpt: The results of the Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that this choice is determined by the way the object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release.,,,
    “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,” he said.
    Thus, this experiment adds to the validity of the quantum theory and provides new evidence to the idea that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.
    http://themindunleashed.org/20.....at-it.html

    “Reality is in the observations, not in the electron.”
    – Paul Davies

    I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics (QM) tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4D space-time cosmology (General Relativity, GR) tells us each 3D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism, Christian Theism in particular, offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe.

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    Moreover, from a slightly different angle, ‘Life’, with a capital L, is also found to be central to the universe in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides a very credible reconciliation to the most profound enigma in modern science. Namely the unification of General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics/Special Relativity (Quantum Electrodynamics) into a ‘Theory of Everything’:

    (Centrality Concerns) The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from Death as the “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uHST2uFPQY&list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5&index=4

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram
    https://youtu.be/F-TL4QOCiis

    Thus, contrary to what rvb8 would prefer to believe to be true, i.e. to believe that his life does not have any real meaning or significance, (which is most likely driven by his desire to not be accountable for any of his sin), the two strongest theories in modern science, QM and GR, gives us every indication that out lives actually do have ‘unexpected’ meaning and significance and even, when including the Shroud of Turin in our analysis, gives us evidence that Jesus Christ is central to that meaning and significance for our life.

    Supplemental Note:

    At the 17:45 minute mark of the following Near Death Experience documentary, the Life Review portion of the Near Death Experience is highlighted, with several testimonies relating how every word, deed, and action, of a person’s life (all the ‘information’ of a person’s life) is gone over in the presence of God:

    Near Death Experience Documentary – commonalities of the experience – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2958DDp4WM

    Matthew 12:36-37
    “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

  22. 22
    asauber says:

    we could all live in our own private illusory worlds, and this raises no logical problems in itself.

    Yes it does. To invoke ‘illusory’ there must be ‘non-illusory’ to reference, or ‘illusory’ has no meaning. If everything is ‘illusory’, there is no such thing as ‘illusory’. The meaning is gone.

    Andrew

  23. 23
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    Yes it does. To invoke ‘illusory’ there must be ‘non-illusory’ to reference, or ‘illusory’ has no meaning. If everything is ‘illusory’, there is no such thing as ‘illusory’. The meaning is gone.

    I don’t think the scenario I described precludes the existence of a “non-illusory” world. Rather, we humans just don’t have reliable access to it. E.g., each human really is a brain in a vat plugged into the Matrix.

  24. 24
    asauber says:

    I don’t think the scenario I described precludes the existence of a “non-illusory” world.

    daveS,

    Illusory *requires* non-illusory.

    Andrew

  25. 25
    asauber says:

    daveS,

    So what I think you should do is now is seek out the non-illusory. I am also.

    Andrew

  26. 26
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    Illusory *requires* non-illusory.

    Yes, I understand. In the example I cited:

    Illusory: I am currently experiencing drinking a cup of coffee.

    Non-illusory: In reality, there is no coffee. I am a brain in a vat or some other being plugged into the Matrix, watching “movies”, in Adams’ terms.

  27. 27
    asauber says:

    non-illusory: daveS is stuck clinging to obvious nonsense.

    Andrew

  28. 28
    daveS says:

    A correction to my statement:

    we could all live in our own private illusory worlds, and this raises no logical problems in itself.

    I should say I suspect there are no such logical problems, not that I’m certain there aren’t any.

  29. 29

    KF @ 18: Well said. Especially the following, which deserves reposting:

    “PS: I need not worry about being in a small corner, as I serve one who tells me not to despise the day of small things. Where the true worth of just one soul is more than the material resources of a planet. Where we live in a day of the worst holocaust in history, in the which we add a million unborn children a week to a generational toll of 800+ millions, blinding and benumbing ourselves with the broadest, deepest blood guilt on record. To that end, medicine (sworn to uphold life), law and courts and police (sworn to uphold justice), governments (ditto), educators and media (sworn to truth and right) have become systematically perverted to the point of reprobation in many cases. So, we must start by plucking a few brands from the bonfire of our civilisation. And just maybe one of these will be today’s Wilberforce.”

  30. 30
    asauber says:

    A correction to my statement:

    What statement?

    I think you may have made a statement, but I can’t be sure.

    Andrew

  31. 31
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    What statement?

    I think you may have made a statement, but I can’t be sure.

    Well, maybe that wasn’t in the “movie” you’re watching. 😛

    Seriously though, I don’t agree with Adams. I do believe we have fairly reliable access to the actual non-illusory world, or at least some aspects of it. I do believe I did make a statement, and that you read it and likely understood it.

  32. 32
    john_a_designer says:

    Dave @ 23 wrote:

    I don’t think the scenario I described precludes the existence of a “non-illusory” world. Rather, we humans just don’t have reliable access to it. E.g., each human really is a brain in a vat plugged into the Matrix.

    Notice that Dave is making a truth claim about truth yet doesn’t appear to realize that his position is self-refuting. (See my comment above @ #16.)

    Notice also the disingenuous pseudo-humility: ‘we humans just don’t have reliable access to… the existence of a “non-illusory” world.’ But how can he possibly make such universal truth claim– which he is applying to everyone not just himself– unless he somehow knows the truth about truth? Obviously he can’t.

  33. 33
    daveS says:

    JAD,

    Notice that Dave is making a truth claim about truth yet doesn’t appear to realize that his position is self-refuting. (See my comment above @ #16.)

    Looking back at your #16:

    Indeed, the claim that there is no truth is a truth claim about truth which is obviously self-refuting.

    Eh? Nowhere did I say “there is no truth”.

    Notice also the disingenuous pseudo-humility: ‘we humans just don’t have reliable access to… the existence of a “non-illusory” world.’ But how can he possibly make such universal truth claim– which he is applying to everyone not just himself– unless he somehow knows the truth about truth? Obviously he can’t.

    In my hypothetical example, humans don’t have reliable access to the non-illusory world. I’m not claiming that’s how things really are.

  34. 34
    Origenes says:

    daveS: If Adams is right in that we all live in our own private illusory worlds, it would seem impossible for him to know this. I take it this is your primary complaint, which I would share.

    On the other hand, he could be right—we could all live in our own private illusory worlds, and this raises no logical problems in itself.

    Every illusion is necessarily limited. No illusory world comes between a person and the unquestionable truth of his existence:

    Even if I have illusions about the world … in order to have illusions about the world I must exist.
    Even if I question my existence … in order to question my existence I must exist.

    Evolutionary materialism’s assault on the “I” speaks volumes.

  35. 35
    daveS says:

    Origenes,

    Every illusion is necessarily limited. No illusory world comes between a person and the unquestionable truth of his existence:

    Even if I have illusions about the world … in order to have illusions about the world I must exist.
    Even if I question my existence … in order to question my existence I must exist.

    Yes, I agree with this.

  36. 36
    john_a_designer says:

    In his OP, kairosfocus, who I believe is neither a U.S. citizen nor resides here, mentioned being surprised by the outcome of our recent presidential elections. So was I. I am a U.S. citizen and registered voter. (For the record, I supported neither of the major candidates during the primaries or general election.) I did not expect Donald Trump to win nor did I expect the Republican Party to maintain its majority in the U.S. Senate. Both of my beliefs turned out not to be true. My assessment, along with a lot of other people, was wrong. Again it was not true. However it is also true that it was not an illusion. It is reality that on Jan. 20, 2017 Donald J. Trump will become the 45th President of the United States. If you believe it was an illusion, explain to me why.

    What I said above is a simple every day, common sense, trivial example of what we mean by truth. Please notice that truth is not what I believe it is. Truth lies out there, beyond me. It transcends my personal preferences, prejudices and opinions. Beginning in childhood this is we how develop our ideas about truth is it not?

    It appears to me that people like Adams are denying this simple commonsense approach to truth.

  37. 37
    ppolish says:

    It used to be so simple – everybody had their own ID, Ego, and Super-Ego. Nowadays we are just code in a Simulation sigh.

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD, Aristotle said it best long ago in Metaphysics 1011b. In sum, truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. KF

  39. 39
    rvb8 says:

    Kairos,

    “truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not.”

    I don’t know much about the ancient thinkers, but I admire their thought, including Aquinas, and Beckett, and Luther etc. They were working within the limited framework of their understanding of the world they lived in. They came up with sophisticated, if ultimately flawed, descriptions of the world they lived in; I admire their efforts at understanding.

    However, the above quote, is to put it mildly, absurd. Let me paraphrase; “I know what I know, and I know why I know it.”

    As a basis for scientific investigation it’s right up there with; “I am that I am.” An utterly meaningless tautology on a momentus scale, with the power of seeking answers equal to that of a child saying, ‘it’s my ball and I’m going home!’

    Unfortunately for ID profundity has changed. It no longer exists within the noble, though dead, manuscripts of prophets and philosophers. Profundity now exists in the discoveies about the natural universe, and our realisation of its immensity, and our insignificance.

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8,

    There is a very good reason to distinguish truth from knowledge, and so the attempt to personalise to knowledge falls flat.

    Truth accurately describes reality in what it says affirmatively and negatively. It says of what is, that it is [accords with Law of Identity], and of what is not that it is not [accords with Law of Non-Contradiction and Law of Excluded Middle]. It is therefore highly reliable as accurately describing reality, what is.

    Knowledge, by contrast, speaks to well warranted, credibly true belief. Where, the degree of strength of warrant and of credibility as true depend on specifics of a given case.

    In general scientific contexts, warrant is inherently provisional and empirically grounded, seldom rising to moral certainty for its grander theoretical frameworks. For instance, Newtonian Dynamics ruled the roost for 200 years, but then has been superseded by frameworks based on quantum and relativity investigations. It is still empirically reliable within a domain of validity but it is known not to be the whole truth or absolutely reliable under all circumstances.

    As for your attempt to dismiss I am that I am, which is BTW a NAME, it is in fact anything but a tautology. It is quite meaningful, being an assertion of necessity of being (thus, eternal character and being integral to the framework of any possible world’s existence). This contrasts with contingency of being, which we experience, i.e. we are possible but are by no means foundational to/ frameworking of any given world existing.

    (To help you, try to contemplate a world in which two-ness, thus distinction into A and ~A, is not the case. You will rapidly see that such is impossible, and thus two-ness is a necessity for a world existing and did not begin nor can it end, once reality exists in any form whatsoever. And yes, this points to the requirement that the root of reality be of necessary being character. Once a world is, something always was, as non-being has no causal powers so that if there ever were utter nothing such would forever obtain. the issue is what sort of being is that root of reality, not whether there is such. Logic of being forces that there was and is such. And, the Great Jehovah — in effect a rendering of I Am That I am — is a serious candidate.)

    Your dismissal of profundity and attempt to use it to denigrate design thought fall flat.

    Last, but not least, your appeal to insignificance is in fact simply a reflection of the incoherence and self-undermining character of evolutionary materialistic thought. Our significance lieth not in our size or raw physical power, but in the fact that we contemplate the world as responsibly and rationally free, morally governed creatures; and not the reverse. Contemplate, as opposed to being reducible to blindly mechanical computational substrates.

    It is time for fresh thinking.

    KF

    PS: Famed evolutionary thinker, J B S Haldane; on that collapse into incoherence:

    “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. ]

  41. 41
    john_a_designer says:

    For those of you who just arrived from another planet, here is a summary of what happened on our planet one week ago today:

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/521.....show-clips

    Please notice how so many people, including myself, got it so wrong.

    The bottom line is this: Truth is what really happens or has happened in history. Denial, rationalization, personal incredulity or abject nihilism doesn’t change that fact.

  42. 42
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Would you agree that the Haldane passage itself doesn’t demonstrate that the proposition “mind is a mere by-product of matter” is false?

  43. 43
    Silver Asiatic says:

    rvb8

    As a basis for scientific investigation it’s right up there with; “I am that I am.” An utterly meaningless tautology on a momentus scale, with the power of seeking answers equal to that of a child saying, ‘it’s my ball and I’m going home!’

    You’re missing the importance of the statement. It’s making a distinction between what is true and what is false.
    So, the question for you is “where and when did this distinction arise in nature”? Why are some things true and others false? Why not just everything be true? Or, on the other hand, if everything is an illusion – why not just accept that everything is false?

    Truth places a higher value on reality over illusion or lies. Why should that be? Which chemical compounds and reactions created the concept of truth?

  44. 44
    Silver Asiatic says:

    daveS

    Would you agree that the Haldane passage itself doesn’t demonstrate that the proposition “mind is a mere by-product of matter” is false?

    I would say that it does. As with any demonstration, it starts with an assumption. In this case, if that assumption is accepted, then what follows is logically correct.

    I would say that Haldane understates the problem and doesn’t fully expand the argument that gives the demonstration you’re looking for. But the root of the argument is summarized there.

    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.

    The assumption “if my mental processes are determined” by molecular actions comes first.

    What is not fully explained is that “supposing my beliefs to be true” is a process that cannot be reduced to a physically determined output. But the point is inherent in the argument.

    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.

    Here again, I think this is stated in a more clumsy and imprecise manner (it’s not just “supposing” but rather “logically concluding”) but it is correct.

    The rational/reasoning process requires analysis, validation and ultimately choice about what is true and false. A physically determined process, as with a ball rolling down a slope, requires and permits none of this.

    What is unstated in this demonstration is the question: “If all human thought is determined by matter, why has no human mind that has ever existed in the history of earth, ever had the lived-experience of that — including the minds that claim to believe their thoughts are determined by molecular movements”?

    If we said, “all human minds are deluded to believe they are free from physical determination”, then whoever said that would also be deluded and would be in no position to argue any point whatsoever.

    The process of arguing to convince people and the rational discussion that follows and applies logic to arrive a correct understandings, refutes the idea that minds are determined.

    So, to take time in discussion to learn and convince and argue would, itself, be irrational if one believed that molecular movements determined thought.

    The very minds used to judge the correctness of Haldane’s statement must be free from physical determination in order to arrive at a correct conclusion about it.

    The fact that we trust our minds to understand the demonstration that Haldane gives, is proof of the validity of the argument.

    Anyone who wants to argue to convince someone of something is demonstrating a belief that the mind is not determined by matter.

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, it is time for you to address the quite patent self-referential incoherence of evolutionary materialist scientism. Which, was aptly summarised in brief by J B S Haldane as long ago as 1927. Trying to reverse the burden of proof and implicitly adopting as default a position that is self-refuting is not helping you. KF

  46. 46
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I’m not trying to reverse any burden of proof. At the moment, I’m attempting to understand whether we actually do agree on the meaning of the Haldane quote.

    Based on your response to my #42, I’m guessing that we actually do agree that Haldane is not trying to show that the proposition “mind is a mere by-product of matter” is false. Rather, if we accept his premises, he is arguing that if we do suppose that mind is a by-product of matter, then we are also supposing that human reason is (perhaps) compromised, therefore it’s useless to continue our intellectual investigations.

    Regarding “evolutionary scientism”, I don’t know. Could you give a concise numbered list of the tenets of “evolutionary scientism”? If you are saying that one can make a Haldane-style argument with “mind is a product of matter” replaced by “evolutionary scientism is true”, then I don’t doubt that is correct. If you are saying that this argument shows that evolutionary scientism must be false, then I do have doubts.

  47. 47
    daveS says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    I would say that it does. As with any demonstration, it starts with an assumption. In this case, if that assumption is accepted, then what follows is logically correct.

    Yes, in fact, I’m assuming for the sake of argument that Haldane’s argument is sound. More briefly, if mind is a product of matter, then we have no reason to expect our beliefs to be true, and human reason is completely unreliable.

    Therefore if I do suppose that “mind is a product of matter” is actually true, then I have to immediately give up. Who knows if my thoughts have anything to do with the actual world. This does not entail that mind is not a product of matter, however.

  48. 48
    Silver Asiatic says:

    DS

    Therefore if I do suppose that “mind is a product of matter” is actually true, then I have to immediately give up. Who knows if my thoughts have anything to do with the actual world. This does not entail that mind is not a product of matter, however.

    It’s not only that your thoughts may not have anything to do with the actual world, but that you would be incapable of decision-making, reasoning, arguing, moral choices or learning.

    So, even the decision to give up would be proof that mind is not a product of matter. If you’re freely deciding, then you’re implicitly stating that mind is not a product of matter.

  49. 49
    john_a_designer says:

    Modern naturalists believe that the human mind with its knowledge and beliefs is the result of a mindless evolutionary process. But how can a mindless process give us reliable knowledge and beliefs?

    Charles Darwin appears to have been disturbed by this question. He wrote in a letter to a friend:

    “With me,” says Darwin, “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 anyone trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”

    Patricia Churchland, a philosopher who specializes in issues raised by cognitive science, has argued that the way our nervous system and brain evolved they cannot be expected to give reliable knowledge and beliefs.

    “Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in the four F’s: feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing. The principle 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. Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost.”

    According to retired University of Notre Dame philosopher Alvin Plantinga, “Darwin and Churchland seem to believe that (naturalistic) evolution gives one a reason to doubt that human cognitive faculties are reliable (produce mostly true beliefs): call this ‘Darwin’s Doubt’.”

    Plantinga, on the other hand, argues that:

    “The traditional theist… has no corresponding reason for doubting that it is a purpose of our cognitive systems to produce true beliefs, nor any reason for thinking the probability of a belief’s being true, given that it is a product of her cognitive faculties, is low or inscrutable. She may indeed endorse some form of evolution; but if she does, it will be a form of evolution guided and orchestrated by God. And qua traditional theist — qua Jewish, Moslem, or Christian theist – she believes that God is the premier knower and has created us human beings in his image, an important part of which involves his giving them what is needed to have knowledge, just as he does.”

    In other words, theism provides a sufficient foundation for truth and knowledge.

  50. 50
    daveS says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    It’s not only that your thoughts may not have anything to do with the actual world, but that you would be incapable of decision-making, reasoning, arguing, moral choices or learning.

    So, even the decision to give up would be proof that mind is not a product of matter. If you’re freely deciding, then you’re implicitly stating that mind is not a product of matter.

    This is a good response. I do agree that if someone supposes that their thoughts may have nothing to do with the real world, then that person also supposes that they may be incapable of making decisions, etc.

    I referred to that person “having to give up”, which suggests that they are making some sort of decision. But I really meant that from my point of view, in which I actually do suppose my thoughts are connected to the real world, it may be useless for this person to attempt to use his/her mind to understand the world. His/her thoughts could be pure nonsense, or at least totally disconnected to the actual world.

  51. 51
    Silver Asiatic says:

    DS

    Yes, true. It would be useless in that case.

    One materialist response to that is the idea that even if our minds are generating nonsense about the world, there’s the pragmatic view that “it still works anyway”. So, whatever way our minds are determined by matter to view things, we still survive and communicate and seem to ourselves to be making decisions and we think we understand reality — even though we may be totally wrong.

    But that view still leaves a lot of problems. The most important of which is that if all knowledge is illusion or if it’s just nonsense, then we’re wasting our time to try to figure things out. It’s as you said, we would just give up. We’d be like other non-reasoning mammals who don’t have a worldview and don’t care either way. They just move by instinct. Or we’d even be just like any non-living molecular movements – combining, binding, producing determined effects.

    I think Haldane missed part of this in his argument, that the proof comes down to the fact that 100% of humanity has always admitted the free choices of truth versus falsehood and good versus evil as non-deterministic. Some may claim that “evolution made me do it” or something like that, but on the day-to-day basis of life, nobody lives that way, and nobody expects any other humans to actually live as if they are just controlled by molecular movements.

  52. 52
    Origenes says:

    DaveS: Therefore if I do suppose that “mind is a product of matter” is actually true, then I have to immediately give up. Who knows if my thoughts have anything to do with the actual world.

    I would rather say that the supposition “mind is a product of matter” immediately breaks down upon reflection. When we consider that, in order to exist, our thoughts require understanding, (enduring) consciousness, top-down causation, laws of logic, overview, control and so forth, we must immediately reject a supposition, which utterly fails to ground any of these requirements.

    IOWs there is no “my thoughts may be unreliable”, there is just “this cannot possibly be the case”.

  53. 53
    Phinehas says:

    Sev:

    The problem is that stories or beliefs that are untrue in the sense that they do not correspond with reality will ultimately come into conflict with that reality, sometimes with fatal consequences for the believers. The good side is that, over time, evolution will tend to filter out the false beliefs, leaving us with the true – or at least the truer – ones.

    If you really believe this, though, then why argue with others concerning what is true? Why not just let evolution do its thing?

    Additionally, if evolution tends to filter out the false beliefs, hasn’t it tended to filter out atheism more than theism? Doesn’t that indicate that either theism is truer or that evolution isn’t as great at getting us to truth as you suppose?

  54. 54
    Origenes says:

    Haldane’s and Lewis’ arguments point out the divide between physical and logical/mental laws. I would like to add that in order to have an understanding of a line of reasoning we need an enduring (diachronic) consciousness. It’s not enough for materialism to claim, by way of emergentism, that isolated conscious states emerge from particular physical states.

    Bill Vallicella puts it this way:

    For what we have in the reasoning process is not merely a succession of conscious states, but also a consciousness of their succession in one and the same conscious subject. Without the consciousness of succession, without the retention of the earlier states in the present state, no conclusion could be arrived at.
    All reasoning presupposes the diachronic unity of consciousness. Or do you think that the task of thinking through a syllogism could be divided up? Suppose Manny says, All men are mortal! Moe then pipes up, Socrates is a man! Could Jack conclude that Socrates is mortal? No. He could say it but not conclude it. (This assumes that Jack does not hear what the other two Pep Boys say. Imagine each in a separate room.)
    The hearing of a melody supplies a second example. …
    [ Bill Vallicella ]

    Seemingly unaware of this requirement for rationality Rosenberg happily proclaims, again and again, that “science shows” (I presume that he bases his claim on phenomena like neuroplasticity, the constant flux of neurotransmitters and cell replacement) that there are no enduring selves.

  55. 55
    John S says:

    for the common man (aka me):

    a) Darwinism only leads to survival instincts and purposes in organisms. Therefore truth, even if there is such a thing, can’t be apprehended by organisms because they ‘don’t have that capability’.

    b) Scott Adams is a product of Darwinism.

    c) Scott Adams cannot apprehend truth, even if there is such a thing.

    d) Anything Scott Adams says is not true (or at least no organism is capable of knowing if it’s true or not including Scott Adams).

    bonus round:
    e) truth is futile. (Even if there is truth there is no way to be certain you are able to trust your senses or reasoning to correctly apprehend it). So confusing -but doesn’t nee to be- just survive at all costs baby.

    It’s impossible to reason with someone who has a worldview like this. There is nothing to reason toward. Eat, drink, and be merry (or lie, cheat, steal, slander opponents – whatever is right in your own eyes) for tomorrow we die.

    Jesus Christ is the Truth, and he reveals truth to whom he sees fit. Coherent worldview.

  56. 56
    tjguy says:

    DaveS @26

    Yes, I understand. In the example I cited:

    Illusory: I am currently experiencing drinking a cup of coffee.

    Non-illusory: In reality, there is no coffee. I am a brain in a vat or some other being plugged into the Matrix, watching “movies”, in Adams’ terms.

    They refuse to consider any possibility of true intelligence and purpose but: isn’t it amazing what these guys ARE willing to consider as potentially true without blinking an eye?!

    I mean you might as well just believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster! At least, according to legend, the FSM is living and intelligent! Makes more sense than their creation stories IMO!

    Philosophy and logic may not be their strong point, but I will give them an A for creativity!

  57. 57
    bornagain77 says:

    Phinehas at 53, in response to Sev, states:

    if evolution tends to filter out the false beliefs, hasn’t it tended to filter out atheism more than theism? Doesn’t that indicate that either theism is truer or that evolution isn’t as great at getting us to truth as you suppose?

    Here are a few notes to that effect:

    Infants ‘have natural belief in God’ – July 26, 2008
    Excerpt: INFANTS are hard-wired to believe in God, and atheism has to be learned, according to an Oxford University psychologist.
    Dr Olivera Petrovich told a University of Western Sydney conference on the psychology of religion that even preschool children constructed theological concepts as part of their understanding of the physical world.
    Pyschologists have debated whether belief in God or atheism was the natural human state. According to Dr Petrovich, an expert in psychology of religion, belief in God is not taught but develops naturally.
    She told The Age yesterday that belief in God emerged as a result of other psychological development connected with understanding causation.
    It was hard-wired into the human psyche, but it was important not to build too much into the concept of God. “It’s the concept of God as creator, primarily,” she said. Dr Petrovich said her findings were based on several studies, particularly one of Japanese children aged four to six, and another of 400 British children aged five to seven from seven different faiths.
    “Atheism is definitely an acquired position,” she said.
    http://www.theage.com.au/natio.....-3l3b.html

    Children are born believers in God, academic claims – Telegraph – November 2008
    Excerpt: “The preponderance of scientific evidence for the past 10 years or so has shown that a lot more seems to be built into the natural development of children’s minds than we once thought, including a predisposition to see the natural world as designed and purposeful and that some kind of intelligent being is behind that purpose,”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new.....laims.html

    More Studies Show Children Are Wired for Religious Belief: A Brief Literature Review – Casey Luskin August 7, 2014
    Excerpt: We see, then, multiple studies converging on a single conclusion: the innate predisposition of the human mind to believe that there is some kind of an intelligent creator God. Perhaps as we get older we may override this programming, but our fundamental constitution appears oriented to religious belief.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....88551.html

    ‘Believers’ gene’ will spread religion , says academic – January 2011
    Excerpt: The World Values Survey, which covered 82 nations from 1981 to 2004, found that adults who attended religious services more than once a week had 2.5 children on average; while those who went once a month had two; and those who never attended had 1.67.
    Prof Rowthorn wrote: “The more devout people are, the more children they are likely to have.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sci.....demic.html

    Atheism and health
    A meta-analysis of all studies, both published and unpublished, relating to religious involvement and longevity was carried out in 2000. Forty-two studies were included, involving some 126,000 subjects. Active religious involvement increased the chance of living longer by some 29%, and participation in public religious practices, such as church attendance, increased the chance of living longer by 43%.[4][5]
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_health   

    Why do atheists have such a low retention rate? – July 2012
    Excerpt: Only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults. This “retention rate” was the lowest among the 20 separate categories in the study.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....tion-rate/

    The Facts: Atheism is Dying Out – April 8, 2015
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/s.....g-out.html

    Moreover, the idea that Evolution can produce true beliefs is patently fallacious. Beliefs are a property of mind. Beliefs are not a property of matter. i.e. Atoms do not ‘believe’ anything! Minds believe! Materialism simply does not do ‘mind’ period, and, by default, cannot possibly account for any beliefs, or ‘intentionality’, of a ‘mind’. Here are some properties of mind that simply are irreducible to matter:

    The Mind and Materialist Superstition – Michael Egnor – 2008
    Six “conditions of mind” that are irreconcilable with materialism: –
    Excerpt: Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....13961.html
    1. Intentionality is the “aboutness” or meaning of a mental state, the ability of a mental state to refer to something outside of itself. Ink on paper has no meaning unless it is conferred by a mind, which wrote it or read it. Matter may have intentionality only secondarily (“derived intentionality”). The problem of intentionality is believed by many philosophers of the mind to be the most serious challenge to materialism. “Meaning” is imparted to matter by a mind; matter isn’t the source of meaning. Therefore matter (brain tissue) can’t be the entire cause of the mind.

    Moreover, the claim that natural selection can ‘fix’ true beliefs in a population of humans is a claim that is directly at odds with populations genetics itself. Natural Selection hits a brick wall for ‘fixing’ just a few mutations in a population. Thus, much less can natural selection account for the many nuanced beliefs in a population of humans, (as if beliefs of ‘mind’ could ever possibly be reduced to states of matter).

    The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
    John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
    Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
    Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
    While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
    It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4573302/

    So the question is not whether or not evolution can account for true and false beliefs, since evolution is a non-starter in that regards, but the question is instead why does Seversky so desperately want to believe that which is so patently false. His desire to be an atheist simply has nothing whatsoever to so with the science at hand. In fact his desire runs directly contrary to the science. Thus, his ‘anti-theistic’ desire must instead be derived from somewhere else. Perhaps it is an emotionally derived desire against God because he felt unjustly hurt as Charles Darwin did when he lost his daughter early in childhood? I don’t know for sure. But what I do know for sure is that Seversky desire to distance himself from God is NOT rationally based in science.

    Verse:

    James 4:8
    Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

  58. 58
    daveS says:

    tjguy,

    They refuse to consider any possibility of true intelligence and purpose but: isn’t it amazing what these guys ARE willing to consider as potentially true without blinking an eye?!

    I certainly do not make such a refusal.

    Essentially I am saying that I believe the simulation scenario Adams describes is neither falsifiable nor logically impossible. That’s not to say I think it’s at all likely.

  59. 59
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Origenes

    It’s not enough for materialism to claim, by way of emergentism, that isolated conscious states emerge from particular physical states.

    Interesting. Yes, in order for physical states to generate isolated conscious states there would need to be physical configurations for every continuum of memory, as with a logical argument. It’s the enduring self that selects various incidents from memory in order to apply them to present-day arguments also. So, the selecting, decision-making self would also need to be a physical state, and every movement and choice from that self, reaching back into memory to compare and contrast ideas, would be individual isolated physical states.

  60. 60
    Origenes says:

    Silver Asiatic: It’s the enduring self that selects various incidents from memory in order to apply them to present-day arguments also.

    Indeed, and I often get the impression that philosophers discussing emergentism do not take into account that all reasoning presupposes such a diachronic unity of consciousness. For instance, Jaegwon Kim, who has argued that emergent properties are epiphenomenal. His reasoning involves depicting the situation like this: P1 realises M1, P1 causes P2, and P2 realises M2. (P1 and P2 are physical events and M1 and M2 are mental events).
    Kim raises an important point, but what startles me is the “isolatedness” of the mental events in these discussions. The point I would like to make is this:

    Suppose that M1 is “All men are mortal” and that M2 is “Socrates is a man”. In order for an M3 “Socrates is mortal” to exist as a conclusion, there must be an enduring “I” hoovering, if you will, above the level of emergent mental events M1 and M2. Moreover this enduring (diachronic) “I” must have top-down causal powers to bring about the conclusion.

    Again Bill Vallicella:

    The point, however, is that the reasoning, which plays out over a period of time, would not be possible at all if there were no one self — no one unity of consciousness and self-consciousness — that maintained its strict numerical identity over the period of time in question. For what we have in the reasoning process is not merely a succession of conscious states, but also a consciousness of their succession in one and the same conscious subject. Without the consciousness of succession, without the retention of the earlier states in the present state, no conclusion could be arrived at.
    [ Bill Vallicella]

  61. 61
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Origenes

    what startles me is the “isolatedness” of the mental events in these discussions

    Great point. It’s not only that there needs to be a unified self transcending over all the mental events, but there are levels of that self – a “higher self” if we will. That self actually judges the quality of the logic. “Did I conclude correctly”?

    Emergentism would have to posit individual, linear, present-day-only physical events to explain an awareness that the self has of long-past mental arguments an insights.

    I will agree with your term – I am ‘startled’ by that also.

  62. 62
    Origenes says:

    Silver Asiatic: It’s not only that there needs to be a unified self transcending over all the mental events, but there are levels of that self – a “higher self” if we will. That self actually judges the quality of the logic. “Did I conclude correctly”?

    Excellent point. And this “higher self” must be mysteriously unified with “lower” compartments, otherwise Fichte was right about an infinite regress problem when he wrote in 1790:

    You are conscious of yourself, you say; thus you necessarily distinguish your thinking I from the I which is thought in its thinking. But in order for you to do this, that which thinks in this thinking must be the object of a higher thinking, in order to be an object of consciousness; and you immediately obtain a new subject, which is once more conscious of that which was formerly self-consciousness. But I now argue again as before; and once we have begun to proceed in accordance with this law, you can nowhere show me a place where we should stop; we will continue to infinity’, needing for each consciousness a new consciousness, whose object the former is, and thus we will never be able to reach the point of assuming an actual consciousness.

  63. 63
    bornagain77 says:

    Silver Asiatic and Origenes, in regards to ‘ there must be an enduring “I”’ this may interest you guys.

    Einstein was once asked by Rudolf Carnap (a philosopher):

    “Can physics demonstrate the existence of ‘the now’ in order to make the notion of ‘now’ into a scientifically valid term?”

    Einstein’s answer was categorical, he said:

    “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.”

    Quote was taken from the last few minutes of this following video.

    Stanley L. Jaki: “The Mind and Its Now”
    https://vimeo.com/10588094

    And here is a bit more detail of the encounter:

    The Mind and Its Now – May 22, 2008 – By Stanley L. Jaki
    Excerpt: ,,, Rudolf Carnap, and the only one among them who was bothered with the mind’s experience of its now. His concern for this is noteworthy because he went about it in the wrong way. He thought that physics was the only sound way to know and to know anything. It was therefore only logical on his part that he should approach, we are around 1935, Albert Einstein, the greatest physicist of the day, with the question whether it was possible to turn the experience of the now into a scientific knowledge. Such knowledge must of course be verified with measurement. We do not have the exact record of Carnap’s conversation with Einstein whom he went to visit in Princeton, at eighteen hours by train at that time from Chicago. But from Einstein’s reply which Carnap jotted down later, it is safe to assume that Carnap reasoned with him as outlined above. Einstein’s answer was categorical: The experience of the now cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement. It can never be part of physics.
    http://metanexus.net/essay/mind-and-its-now

    The meaning of the question of ‘the Now’ can be read in full context in the following article:

    The Mind and Its Now – Stanley L. Jaki, May 2008
    Excerpts: There can be no active mind without its sensing its existence in the moment called now.,,,
    Three quarters of a century ago Charles Sherrington, the greatest modern student of the brain, spoke memorably on the mind’s baffling independence of the brain. The mind lives in a self-continued now or rather in the now continued in the self. This life involves the entire brain, some parts of which overlap, others do not.
    ,,,There is no physical parallel to the mind’s ability to extend from its position in the momentary present to its past moments, or in its ability to imagine its future. The mind remains identical with itself while it lives through its momentary nows.
    ,,, the now is immensely richer an experience than any marvelous set of numbers, even if science could give an account of the set of numbers, in terms of energy levels. The now is not a number. It is rather a word, the most decisive of all words. It is through experiencing that word that the mind comes alive and registers all existence around and well beyond.
    ,,, All our moments, all our nows, flow into a personal continuum, of which the supreme form is the NOW which is uncreated, because it simply IS.
    http://metanexus.net/essay/mind-and-its-now

    Prior to his encounter with Carnap, Einstein had another encounter with another famous philosopher, Henri Bergson, over the proper definition of time. In fact, that encounter with Bergson over the proper definition of time, and the heated disagreement that ensued between the two men over that proper definition, was one of the primary reasons that Einstein failed to receive a Nobel prize for relativity:

    Einstein, Bergson, and the Experiment that Failed: Intellectual Cooperation at the League of Nations! – Jimena Canales
    page 1177
    Excerpt: Bergson temporarily had the last word during their meeting at Société française de philosophie. His intervention negatively affected Einstein’s Nobel Prize, which was given “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect” and not for relativity. The reasons behind this decision, as stated in the prize’s presentation speech, were related to Bergson’s intervention: “Most discussion [of Einstein’s work] centers on his Theory of Relativity. This pertains to epistemology and has therefore been the subject of lively debate in philosophical circles. It will be no secret that the famous philosopher Bergson in Paris has challenged this theory, while other philosophers have acclaimed it wholeheartedly.”51 For a moment, their debate dragged matters of time out of the solid terrain of “matters of fact” and into the shaky ground of “matters of concern.”52
    https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3210598/canales-Einstein,%20Bergson%20and%20the%20Experiment%20that%20Failed%282%29.pdf?sequence=2

    Einstein vs Bergson, science vs philosophy and the meaning of time – Wednesday 24 June 2015
    Excerpt: The meeting of April 6 was supposed to be a cordial affair, though it ended up being anything but.
    ‘I have to say that day exploded and it was referenced over and over again in the 20th century,’ says Canales. ‘The key sentence was something that Einstein said: “The time of the philosophers did not exist.”’
    It’s hard to know whether Bergson was expecting such a sharp jab. In just one sentence, Bergson’s notion of duration—a major part of his thesis on time—was dealt a mortal blow.
    As Canales reads it, the line was carefully crafted for maximum impact.
    ‘What he meant was that philosophers frequently based their stories on a psychological approach and [new] physical knowledge showed that these philosophical approaches were nothing more than errors of the mind.’
    The night would only get worse.
    ‘This was extremely scandalous,’ says Canales. ‘Einstein had been invited by philosophers to speak at their society, and you had this physicist say very clearly that their time did not exist.’
    Bergson was outraged, but the philosopher did not take it lying down. A few months later Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the law of photoelectric effect, an area of science that Canales noted, ‘hardly jolted the public’s imagination’. In truth, Einstein coveted recognition for his work on relativity.
    Bergson inflicted some return humiliation of his own. By casting doubt on Einstein’s theoretical trajectory, Bergson dissuaded the committee from awarding the prize for relativity. In 1922, the jury was still out on the correct interpretation of time.
    So began a dispute that festered for years and played into the larger rift between physics and philosophy, science and the humanities.
    Bergson was fond of saying that time was the experience of waiting for a lump of sugar to dissolve in a glass of water. It was a declaration that one could not talk about time without reference to human consciousness and human perception. Einstein would say that time is what clocks measure. Bergson would no doubt ask why we build clocks in the first place.
    ‘He argued that if we didn’t have a prior sense of time we wouldn’t have been led to build clocks and we wouldn’t even use them … unless we wanted to go places and to events that mattered,’ says Canales. ‘You can see that their points of view were very different.’
    In a theoretical nutshell this expressed perfectly the division between lived time and spacetime: subjective experience versus objective reality.,,,
    Just when Einstein thought he had it worked out, along came the discovery of quantum theory and with it the possibility of a Bergsonian universe of indeterminacy and change. God did, it seems, play dice with the universe, contra to Einstein’s famous aphorism.
    Some supporters went as far as to say that Bergson’s earlier work anticipated the quantum revolution of Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg by four decades or more.
    Canales quotes the literary critic Andre Rousseaux, writing at the time of Bergson’s death.
    ‘The Bergson revolution will be doubled by a scientific revolution that, on its own, would have demanded the philosophical revolution that Bergson led, even if he had not done it.’
    Was Bergson right after all? Time will tell.
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionat.....me/6539568

    Moreover, the statement Einstein made to Carnap on the train, ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement’, was an interesting statement for Einstein to make to the philosopher since ‘the now of the mind’ has, from many recent experiments in quantum mechanics, established itself as central to quantum theory:

    New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It – June 3, 2015
    Excerpt: The results of the Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that this choice is determined by the way the object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release.,,,
    “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,” he said.
    Thus, this experiment adds to the validity of the quantum theory and provides new evidence to the idea that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.
    http://themindunleashed.org/20.....at-it.html

    “Reality is in the observations, not in the electron.”
    – Paul Davies

    “We have become participators in the existence of the universe. We have no right to say that the past exists independent of the act of observation.”
    – John Wheeler

    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?.....38;f=false

    “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”
    – Scott Aaronson – MIT associate Professor quantum computation – Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables

    i.e. ‘the Now’, as philosophers term it, and contrary to what Einstein, (and Jaki), thought possible for experimental physics, and according to advances in quantum mechanics, takes precedence over past events in time. Moreover, due to advances in quantum mechanics, it would now be much more appropriate to phrase Einstein’s answer to the philosopher in this way:

    “It is impossible for the experience of ‘the now of the mind’ to ever be divorced from physical measurement, it will always be a part of physics.”

    Verse:

    Romans 11:36
    For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

  64. 64
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BA77

    Fascinating and very useful – thanks!

    I would guess the only materialist response to this is the same old thing we hear … the experience of ‘now’ is an emergent property, and ultimately illusory. But again, nobody ever lives that way. We recognize the present as the moment when actions occur. There’s no reason or sense in doing science if everything is just an illusion and there is no reality.

  65. 65
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Origenes

    And this “higher self” must be mysteriously unified with “lower” compartments

    Exactly. This is where it gets absurd.

    First of all, there’s a supposed physical state or event that causes the emergence of conscious thought: “All men are mortal”. Two weeks later, another physical state causes the emergence of “Socrates is a man”. A month later, a physical state has to retrieve both statements and join them.

    But, for some reason, the conclusion, caused by a physical state was “Socrates is not mortal? Or is he?”

    So now, another physical state creates the emergence of a “logical corrective”: “No, I (my lower self) didn’t follow the syllogism correctly. It should be “Socrates is mortal”.

    So, it’s an interesting question: What drives or triggers the physical states which cause the emergence of conscious thoughts, which can only follow from other conscious thoughts?

  66. 66
    Origenes says:

    Bornagain77,

    Some thoughts relating to the “now”.

    Certain acts of the mind do not fit a time context — nor a space context.

    Consider self-awareness, here it doesn’t make sense to hold that observee and observer are separated by time intervals and it also doesn’t make sense to depict it as one person being externally looked at by another person (see Fichte #62).
    What we see during self-awareness is that we cannot make a coherent separation in cause and effect. And it this impossibility to separate in two — this confrontation with indivisible unity — that makes that the self-aware mind cannot be chopped up and be placed in separate time intervals.

  67. 67
    bornagain77 says:

    Origenes as to a ‘indivisible unity’, to reiterate, and add to, a post from October,,

    Although atheistic materialism is excellent at breaking a unified whole into a multitude of constituent parts, atheistic materialism is an abject failure at explaining how that multitude of constituent parts can possibly cohere as a single unified whole.

    Paster Joe Boot puts the insurmountable problem for atheistic materialism like this:

    “If you have no God, then you have no design plan for the universe. You have no preexisting structure to the universe.,, As the ancient Greeks held, like Democritus and others, the universe is flux. It’s just matter in motion. Now on that basis all you are confronted with is innumerable brute facts that are unrelated pieces of data. They have no meaningful connection to each other because there is no overall structure. There’s no design plan. It’s like my kids do ‘join the dots’ puzzles. It’s just dots, but when you join the dots there is a structure, and a picture emerges. Well, the atheists is without that (final picture). There is no preestablished pattern (to connect the facts given atheism).”
    Pastor Joe Boot – Defending the Christian Faith – video – 13:20 minute mark
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqE5_ZOAnKo

    In fact, modern physics was born out of the Theistic presupposition that the laws of the universe would be universal and constant rather than local and varying. The realization of that Theistic presupposition for universal laws has been called ‘the first major unification in physics’:

    The first major unification in physics was Sir Isaac Newton’s realization that the same force that caused an apple to fall at the Earth’s surface—gravity—was also responsible for holding the Moon in orbit about the Earth.
    https://www.learner.org/courses/physics/unit/text.html?unit=3&secNum=3

    A few more notes along that line:

    The God Particle: Not the God of the Gaps, But the Whole Show – Monday, Aug. 2012
    Excerpt: C. S. Lewis put it this way: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”
    http://www.christianpost.com/n.....how-80307/

    The Genius and Faith of Faraday and Maxwell – Ian H. Hutchinson – 2014
    Conclusion: Lawfulness was not, in their thinking, inert, abstract, logical necessity, or complete reducibility to Cartesian mechanism; rather, it was an expectation they attributed to the existence of a divine lawgiver. These men’s insights into physics were made possible by their religious commitments. For them, the coherence of nature resulted from its origin in the mind of its Creator.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....nd-maxwell

    “Our monotheistic traditions reinforce the assumption that the universe is at root a unity, that is not governed by different legislation in different places.”
    John D. Barrow

    “People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”
    —Paul Davies (cited in, The Historic Alliance of Christianity and Science)

    Kurt Gödel, of incompleteness fame, stated:

    “In materialism all elements behave the same. It is mysterious to think of them as spread out and automatically united. For something to be a whole, it has to have an additional object, say, a soul or a mind.”
    Kurt Gödel – Hao Wang’s supplemental biography of Gödel, A Logical Journey, MIT Press, 1996. [9.4.12]

    Moreover, Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorem for mathematics has succinctly been stated like this: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”.

    Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (1931), proves that there are limits to what can be ascertained by mathematics. Kurt Gödel (ref. on cite), halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything in his theorem that: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”.”
    Cf., Stephen Hawking & Leonard Miodinow, The Grand Design (2010) @ 15-6
    https://books.google.com/books?id=7MzOBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA536#v=onepage&q&f=false

    This “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself” even applies to the human body. That is to say, for the human body to be considered a unified whole, indeed for you to even be considered a person, “it has to have an additional object, say, a soul or a mind.”

    Dr. Dennis Bonnette puts materialism’s insurmountable problem with ‘personhood’ like this:

    “It turns out that if every part of you, down to sub-atomic parts, are still what they were when they weren’t in you, in other words every ion,,, every single atom that was in the universe,, that has now become part of your living body, is still what is was originally. It hasn’t undergone what metaphysicians call a ‘substantial change’. So you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You are just carbon and neon and sulfur and oxygen and all these individual atoms still.
    You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    Dr. Dennis Bonnette – Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video 37:51 minute mark
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    In fact one of the greatest unanswered questions in molecular biology is, “What is it exactly that is coordinating the billions of trillions of constituent parts of a human body to act as a single unified whole?”

    Stephen L. Talbott puts that unanswered question like this:

    HOW BIOLOGISTS LOST SIGHT OF THE MEANING OF LIFE — AND ARE NOW STARING IT IN THE FACE – Stephen L. Talbott – May 2012
    Excerpt: “If you think air traffic controllers have a tough job guiding planes into major airports or across a crowded continental airspace, consider the challenge facing a human cell trying to position its proteins”. A given cell, he notes, may make more than 10,000 different proteins, and typically contains more than a billion protein molecules at any one time. “Somehow a cell must get all its proteins to their correct destinations — and equally important, keep these molecules out of the wrong places”. And further: “It’s almost as if every mRNA [an intermediate between a gene and a corresponding protein] coming out of the nucleus knows where it’s going” (Travis 2011),,,
    Further, the billion protein molecules in a cell are virtually all capable of interacting with each other to one degree or another; they are subject to getting misfolded or “all balled up with one another”; they are critically modified through the attachment or detachment of molecular subunits, often in rapid order and with immediate implications for changing function; they can wind up inside large-capacity “transport vehicles” headed in any number of directions; they can be sidetracked by diverse processes of degradation and recycling… and so on without end. Yet the coherence of the whole is maintained.
    The question is indeed, then, “How does the organism meaningfully dispose of all its molecules, getting them to the right places and into the right interactions?”
    The same sort of question can be asked of cells, for example in the growing embryo, where literal streams of cells are flowing to their appointed places, differentiating themselves into different types as they go, and adjusting themselves to all sorts of unpredictable perturbations — even to the degree of responding appropriately when a lab technician excises a clump of them from one location in a young embryo and puts them in another, where they may proceed to adapt themselves in an entirely different and proper way to the new environment. It is hard to quibble with the immediate impression that form (which is more idea-like than thing-like) is primary, and the material particulars subsidiary.
    http://www.netfuture.org/2012/May1012_184.html#2

    In another article, Talbott goes on to put the question even more directly like this, “the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?”

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Stephen L. Talbott – 2010
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    ,,, the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?
    Despite the countless processes going on in the cell, and despite the fact that each process might be expected to “go its own way” according to the myriad factors impinging on it from all directions, the actual result is quite different. Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

  68. 68
    bornagain77 says:

    The answer to the question, ‘What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?’, (to be more specific than just saying ‘a soul is holding us together for precisely a lifetime)’, is Information. ,,,
    Information which is not reducible to matter or energy, and which is ‘conserved’, is the answer to the question of ‘what is holding our material bodies together as a single unified whole for precisely a lifetime and not a moment longer?’!
    Here is an elaboration on Talbott’s question “What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?”

    Scientific evidence that we do indeed have an eternal soul – video 2016
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1116313858381546/?type=2&theater

    Here are a few more insights into the abject failure of materialism to explain ‘the whole’ of the human body:

    Molecular Biology – 19th Century Materialism meets 21st Century Quantum Mechanics – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1141908409155424/?type=2&theater

    Verses and music:

    1 Corinthians 12:12
    One Body but Many Parts
    There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body.

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

    Michael Card & John Michael Talbot – One Faith
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgYguIi7fMI

    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:

    Miracle Of Mind-Brain Recovery Following Hemispherectomies – Dr. Ben Carson – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zBrY77mBNg

    Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics’ Lives: – 1997
    Excerpt: “We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor,” Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining,,
    Dr. John Freeman, the director of the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Epilepsy Center, said he was dumbfounded at the ability of children to regain speech after losing the half of the brain that is supposedly central to language processing.
    ”It’s fascinating,” Dr. Freeman said. ”The classic lore is that you can’t change language after the age of 2 or 3.”
    But Dr. Freeman’s group has now removed diseased left hemispheres in more than 20 patients, including three 13-year-olds whose ability to speak transferred to the right side of the brain in much the way that Alex’s did.,,,
    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08.....lives.html

    In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study:

    “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......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.
    http://www.mentalfloss.com/art.....their-life

  69. 69
    Origenes says:

    Bornagain77 @67 @68,

    Great posts. Two comments:

    Gödel’s incompleteness theorem … “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove.”

    Note how this theorem is intertwined with the principle of causality — determinism. There is one obvious exception: the First Cause. And, as I have argued elsewhere, there is at least one more: self-awareness within the context of the I. The I cannot explain his self-awareness by referring to something outside him. Here “cause” and “effect” are inseparable. It’s an act of freedom and freedom has no external reference (causation).
    As Aquinas wrote: “liber est causa sui” — “The free is the cause of itself.”

    Information which is not reducible to matter or energy, and which is ‘conserved’, is the answer to the question of ‘what is holding our material bodies together as a single unified whole for precisely a lifetime and not a moment longer?’!

    I would rather say that a spiritual entity, of which information is an aspect, is what holds our material bodies together as a single unified whole for precisely a lifetime and not a moment longer . IOWs “information” cannot be the final complete answer to Talbott’s profound question, but I don’t think that you are claiming that it is.

  70. 70
    bornagain77 says:

    Origenes as to:

    “information” cannot be the final complete answer to Talbott’s profound question,,,

    Did not think that I implied that it was the ‘complete’ answer for what is ‘holding us together’. To be clear, the ‘quantum information’ that is found in molecular biology, in every DNA and Protein molecule, is very much dependent on a non-local, beyond space and time, cause in order to explain its effect.

    A few notes in that regards:

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”
    http://www.quantumlah.org/high.....uences.php

    Experimental test of nonlocal causality – August 10, 2016
    DISCUSSION
    Previous work on causal explanations beyond local hidden-variable models focused on testing Leggett’s crypto-nonlocality (7, 42, 43), a class of models with a very specific choice of hidden variable that is unrelated to Bell’s local causality (44). In contrast, we make no assumptions on the form of the hidden variable and test all models ,,,
    Our results demonstrate that a causal influence from one measurement outcome to the other, which may be subluminal, superluminal, or even instantaneous, cannot explain the observed correlations.,,,
    http://advances.sciencemag.org.....00162.full

    Physicists find extreme violation of local realism in quantum hypergraph states – Lisa Zyga – March 4, 2016
    Excerpt: Many quantum technologies rely on quantum states that violate local realism, which means that they either violate locality (such as when entangled particles influence each other from far away) or realism (the assumption that quantum states have well-defined properties, independent of measurement), or possibly both. Violation of local realism is one of the many counterintuitive, yet experimentally supported, characteristics of the quantum world.
    Determining whether or not multiparticle quantum states violate local realism can be challenging. Now in a new paper, physicists have shown that a large family of multiparticle quantum states called hypergraph states violates local realism in many ways. The results suggest that these states may serve as useful resources for quantum technologies, such as quantum computers and detecting gravitational waves.,,,
    The physicists also showed that the greater the number of particles in a quantum hypergraph state, the more strongly it violates local realism, with the strength increasing exponentially with the number of particles. In addition, even if a quantum hypergraph state loses one of its particles, it continues to violate local realism. This robustness to particle loss is in stark contrast to other types of quantum states, which no longer violate local realism if they lose a particle. This property is particularly appealing for applications, since it might allow for more noise in experiments.
    http://phys.org/news/2016-03-p.....alism.html

    Quantum Entanglement and Information
    Quantum entanglement is a physical resource, like energy, associated with the peculiar nonclassical correlations that are possible between separated quantum systems. Entanglement can be measured, transformed, and purified. A pair of quantum systems in an entangled state can be used as a quantum information channel to perform computational and cryptographic tasks that are impossible for classical systems. The general study of the information-processing capabilities of quantum systems is the subject of quantum information theory.
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-entangle/

    “What happens is this classical information (of DNA) is embedded, sandwiched, into the quantum information (of DNA). And most likely this classical information is never accessed because it is inside all the quantum information. You can only access the quantum information or the electron clouds and the protons. So mathematically you can describe that as a quantum/classical state.”
    Elisabeth Rieper – Classical and Quantum Information in DNA – video (Longitudinal Quantum Information resides along the entire length of DNA discussed at the 19:30 minute mark; at 24:00 minute mark Dr Rieper remarks that practically the whole DNA molecule can be viewed as quantum information with classical information embedded within it)
    https://youtu.be/2nqHOnVTxJE?t=1176

    Classical and Quantum Information Channels in Protein Chain – Dj. Koruga, A. Tomi?, Z. Ratkaj, L. Matija – 2006
    Abstract: Investigation of the properties of peptide plane in protein chain from both classical and quantum approach is presented. We calculated interatomic force constants for peptide plane and hydrogen bonds between peptide planes in protein chain. On the basis of force constants, displacements of each atom in peptide plane, and time of action we found that the value of the peptide plane action is close to the Planck constant. This indicates that peptide plane from the energy viewpoint possesses synergetic classical/quantum properties. Consideration of peptide planes in protein chain from information viewpoint also shows that protein chain possesses classical and quantum properties. So, it appears that protein chain behaves as a triple dual system: (1) structural – amino acids and peptide planes, (2) energy – classical and quantum state, and (3) information – classical and quantum coding. Based on experimental facts of protein chain, we proposed from the structure-energy-information viewpoint its synergetic code system.
    http://www.scientific.net/MSF.518.491

    Quantum criticality in a wide range of important biomolecules
    Excerpt: “Most of the molecules taking part actively in biochemical processes are tuned exactly to the transition point and are critical conductors,” they say.
    That’s a discovery that is as important as it is unexpected. “These findings suggest an entirely new and universal mechanism of conductance in biology very different from the one used in electrical circuits.”
    The permutations of possible energy levels of biomolecules is huge so the possibility of finding even one that is in the quantum critical state by accident is mind-bogglingly small and, to all intents and purposes, impossible.,, of the order of 10^-50 of possible small biomolecules and even less for proteins,”,,,
    “what exactly is the advantage that criticality confers?”
    https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-origin-of-life-and-the-hidden-role-of-quantum-criticality-ca4707924552

    Verses:

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

    Acts 17:28
    For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

  71. 71
    Seversky says:

    Origenes @ 10

    Seversky:

    News: Our brains are shaped for truth, not fitness.

    There’s a difference?

    Yes, there is an obvious difference:

    You quote from Plantinga. Allow me to quote a previous post I made in response to a passage from Nancy Pearcey’s book Finding Truthwhich states much the same argument:

    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.

    Fairly obviously, the fundamental flaw with that argument lies in the assumption that survival-tracking and truth-tracking are necessarily two different things. But a few moments reflection should reveal the problem.

    To use an previous illustration, suppose two early humans were confronted by a hungry tiger intent on eating them. One human thinks that this is just a big, friendly kitty who wants to play. The other thinks the tiger’s approach is decidedly suspicious and chooses to run for it. Who is more likely to survive?

    Yes, we can all think of fictional stories or ‘movies in our heads’ which do not initially put us in conflict with reality. The problem is that sooner or later they might. A child running around in his costume and cape playing at being Superman might actually believe at the time that he is a superhero. That’s not a problem – unless he tries to jump off a tall building thinking he can fly.

    The problem is that stories or beliefs that are untrue in the sense that they do not correspond with reality will ultimately come into conflict with that reality, sometimes with fatal consequences for the believers. The good side is that, over time, evolution will tend to filter out the false beliefs, leaving us with the true – or at least the truer – ones.

    If we assume “truth” to refer to the correspondence between our descriptions, inferences and explanations of what we observe of an assumed objective but often dangerous reality then it is reasonable to believe that the closer our explanations correspond to what they purport to describe – in other words, the ‘truer’ they are – the greater our chances of escaping harm. That which improves the chances of survival is, by definition, an increase in fitness.

    No one is denying that it is possible to have false beliefs which can also, in some circumstances, improve the chances of survival but, sooner or later, they will come into conflict with reality with potentially detrimental effects for the unfortunate individual. This is less likely to happen for truer beliefs. Over time, the effect of selection will be to winnow out the less true beliefs leaving the truer. Moreover, not only will the truer beliefs tend to survive but so will the thought processes of the individuals who formed them. In other words, the processes or methodologies which promote truth-seeking will be favored and those capabilities may subsequently be applied to more abstract or metaphysical considerations of truth. In that way, evolution shapes our brains for truth as well as fitness.

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