6 Replies to “Heretic Redux

  1. 1
    Box says:

    No this is not a joke! Check out the Weekly Standard website.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Box, that was a very good article to read,, well written with a touch of wit.

    The Heretic -Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt: Neo-Darwinism insists that every phenomenon, every species, every trait of every species, is the consequence of random chance, as natural selection requires. And yet, Nagel says, “certain things are so remarkable that they have to be explained as non-accidental if we are to pretend to a real understanding of the world.” (The italics are mine.)
    Among these remarkable, nonaccidental things are many of the features of the manifest image. Consciousness itself, for example: You can’t explain consciousness in evolutionary terms, Nagel says, without undermining the explanation itself. Evolution easily accounts for rudimentary kinds of awareness. Hundreds of thousands of years ago on the African savannah, where the earliest humans evolved the unique characteristics of our species, the ability to sense danger or to read signals from a potential mate would clearly help an organism survive.
    So far, so good. But the human brain can do much more than this. It can perform calculus, hypothesize metaphysics, compose music—even develop a theory of evolution. None of these higher capacities has any evident survival value, certainly not hundreds of thousands of years ago when the chief aim of mental life was to avoid getting eaten. Could our brain have developed and sustained such nonadaptive abilities by the trial and error of natural selection, as neo-Darwinism insists? It’s possible, but the odds, Nagel says, are “vanishingly small.” If Nagel is right, the materialist is in a pickle. The conscious brain that is able to come up with neo-Darwinism as a universal explanation simultaneously makes neo-Darwinism, as a universal explanation, exceedingly unlikely.
    A similar argument holds for our other cognitive capacities. “The evolution story leaves the authority of reason in a much weaker position,” he writes. Neo-Darwinism tells us that we have the power of reason because reason was adaptive; it must have helped us survive, back in the day. Yet reason often conflicts with our intuition or our emotion—capacities that must also have been adaptive and essential for survival. Why should we “privilege” one capacity over another when reason and intuition conflict? On its own terms, the scheme of neo-Darwinism gives us no standard by which we should choose one adaptive capacity over the other. And yet neo-Darwinists insist we embrace neo-Darwinism because it conforms to our reason, even though it runs against our intuition. Their defense of reason is unreasonable.
    So too our moral sense. We all of us have confidence, to one degree or another, that “our moral judgments are objectively valid”—that is, while our individual judgments might be right or wrong, what makes them right or wrong is real, not simply fantasy or opinion. Two and two really do make four. Why is this confidence inherent in our species? How was it adaptive? Neo-Darwinian materialists tell us that morality evolved as a survival mechanism (like everything else): We developed an instinct for behavior that would help us survive, and we called this behavior good as a means of reinforcing it. We did the reverse for behavior that would hurt our chances for survival: We called it bad. Neither type of behavior was good or bad in reality; such moral judgments are just useful tricks human beings have learned to play on ourselves.
    Yet Nagel points out that our moral sense, even at the most basic level, developed a complexity far beyond anything needed for survival, even on the savannah—even in Manhattan. We are, as Nagel writes, “beings capable of thinking successfully about good and bad, right and wrong, and discovering moral and evaluative truths that do not depend on [our] own beliefs.” And we behave accordingly, or try to. The odds that such a multilayered but nonadaptive capacity should become a characteristic of the species through natural selection are, again, implausibly long. ,,,
    ,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

  3. 3
    Kantian Naturalist says:

    To hear Ferguson’s version, one would never guess that “Emergence and Reduction” was one of the themes at Moving Naturalism Forward, or that at least two of the program participants (Deacon and Flanagan) are eloquent proponents of emergentism.

    Nor would one guess that the very question naturalists are talking about is the question as to whether the scientific image overtakes the manifest image or whether the scientific and manifest images can be reconciled. And that’s exactly what was being discussed at the workshop, with a range of views being represented that range from “the manifest image should be replaced as much as possible by the scientific image” (Rosenberg) to “the manifest image should be salvaged as much as possible” (Flanagan), with Dennett and others taking various intermediary positions.

    But to point that would require knowing what one was talking about. Ferguson doesn’t.

  4. 4
    Box says:

    KN: The question at the workshop should haven been: why does the scientific image mimic the manifest image? Why don’t things 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? 🙂

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    as to KN’s snide remark

    But to point that would require knowing what one was talking about. Ferguson doesn’t.

    Seeing as you never produce empirical evidence for your position, but only dress up empty philosophy in sophistry, I would say that Ferguson has a much more firm grasp on the actual state of the matter than you do in your self-constructed dreamland,,, Particularly,,

    The Heretic -Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? Andrew Ferguson – March 25, 2013
    A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

    There are actually studies that show that people who do not believe in a soul are a little bit more anti-social than majority of people who do believe in a soul:

    Anthony Jack, Why Don’t Psychopaths Believe in Dualism? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?l.....zOk#t=862s

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    To broaden the scope of the studies that Anthony Jack mentioned in the preceding video, which showed a slight tendency towards anti-social behavior for people who do not believe in a soul, the following studies looked at the dramatic long term negative impact on the entire American culture when prayer was removed from the public classroom in 1963:

    The following video shows that the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores for students showed a steady decline, for seventeen years from the top spot or near the top spot in the world, after the removal of prayer from the public classroom by the Supreme Court, not by public decree, in 1963. Whereas the SAT scores for private Christian schools have consistently remained at the top, or near the top, spot in the world:

    The Real Reason American Education Has Slipped – David Barton – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318930

    United States Crime Rates 1960 – 2010 (Please note the skyrocketing crime rate from 1963, the year prayer was removed from school, thru 1980, the year the steep climb in crime rate finally leveled off.) of note: The slight decline in crime rate from the mid 90s until now is attributed in large part to tougher enforcement on minor crimes. (a nip it in the bud policy)
    http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

    AMERICA: To Pray Or Not To Pray – David Barton – graphs corrected for population growth
    http://www.whatyouknowmightnotbeso.com/graphs.html

    What Lies Behind Growing Secularism by William Lane Craig – May 2012 – podcast (steep decline in altruism of young people since early 1960’s)
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....secularism

Leave a Reply