Intelligent Design Mathematics theism

An interview on God and mathematics

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Some of us think mathematics is the best argument for God available. Anyway, here’s Jerry Bowyer’s interview with philosopher Vern Poythress:

The standard modern culture-war revolves around God vs. the mathematical sciences. Take your choice: Faith or physics. Then there are the voices of mutual toleration, which attempt to leave room for science among the faithful and for faith among the scientific. Poythress, though, taps into a different tradition entirely, one which is seldom heard in modern debate: That God and science are neither enemies, nor partners, but rather that God is the necessary foundation for mathematics and therefore of every science which uses it.

The argument is that mathematical laws, in order to be properly relied upon, must have attributes which indicate an origin in God. They are true everywhere (omnipresent), true always (eternal), cannot be defied or defeated (omnipotent), and are rational and have language characteristics (which makes them personal). Omnipresent, omnipotent, eternal, personal… Sounds like God. Math is an expression of the mind of God. Sound strange? It isn’t. Modern natural science was created by people who said that they were trying to “think God’s thoughts after Him.”

Jerry Bowyer, “God In Mathematics” at Forbes

See also: Things exist that are unknowable: A tutorial on Chaitin’s number

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

177 Replies to “An interview on God and mathematics

  1. 1
    JVL says:

    Maybe there is no God, only mathematics?

    We know mathematics exists, do we know God exists?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL states that,

    Maybe there is no God, only mathematics?
    We know mathematics exists, do we know God exists?

    So it appears that JVL is willing to believe in the “Platonic realm’ of mathematics just so long as he does not have to believe in God???

    But alas for JVL’s atheistic druthers, the existence of Mathematics itself is simply devastating to any materialistic and/or naturalistic explanation of Darwinian evolution since mathematics itself exists in a immaterial, beyond space and time, realm. A eternal “Platonic Realm” that simply is not reducible to any possible materialistic explanation.

    Platonic mathematical world – image
    http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/i.....ysical.gif

    Hey, you don’t have to take my word for it. In 2014, a group of Darwinists, who are leading experts in this area of research, authored a paper in which they honestly admitted that they have, “essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.”

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    You don’t have to have a PhD to understand why the materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution cannot ever possibly explain man’s unique ability to ‘do mathematics’. Mathematics itself simply does not need the physical world in order for it to exist.

    As Dr. Michael Egnor put it, “Mathematics is entirely about concepts, which have no precise instantiation in nature,,,”

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: Mathematics is certainly something we do. Is mathematics “included in the space-time continuum [with] basic elements … described by physics”?,,, What is the physics behind the Pythagorean theorem? After all, no actual triangle is perfect, and thus no actual triangle in nature has sides such that the Pythagorean theorem holds. There is no real triangle in which the sum of the squares of the sides exactly equals the square of the hypotenuse. That holds true for all of geometry. Geometry is about concepts, not about anything in the natural world or about anything that can be described by physics. What is the “physics” of the fact that the area of a circle is pi multiplied by the square of the radius? And of course what is natural and physical about imaginary numbers, infinite series, irrational numbers, and the mathematics of more than three spatial dimensions? Mathematics is entirely about concepts, which have no precise instantiation in nature,,,
    Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
    The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

    That is to say that mathematics, in its foundational nature, is immaterial, i.e. transcendent of space, time, matter and energy.

    This creates an insurmountable difficultly for Darwinian materialists who, via their theory, try to reduce everything to purely materialistic explanations. As M. Anthony Mills explains, “And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract (mathematical) objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.”

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    Now if a Darwinist were to try to be consistent in his arguments, (which would be a miracle in its own right), then he could try to argue that mathematics is merely a abstract invention of man that does not really have an objective existence in the ‘real’ world of material and/or physical objects.

    Yet, as George Ellis pointed out, non-material entities are shown to be objectively real in that they bring about ‘real’ effects in the physical world. This simply would not be possible If mathematics, (and logic), were merely abstract inventions of man that had no ‘real’ and objective existence:

    As George Ellis himself states, “Definition 2: Existence
    If Y is a physical entity made up of ordinary matter, and X is some kind of entity that has a demonstrable causal effect on Y as per Definition 1, then we must acknowledge that X also exists (even if it is not made up of such matter).
    This is clearly a sensible and testable criterion; in the example above, it leads to the conclusion that both the data and the relevant software exist. If we do not adopt this definition, we will have instances of uncaused changes in the world; I presume we wish to avoid that situation.,,, Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists.”

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    Excerpt: Causation: The nature of causation is highly contested territory, and I will take a pragmatic view:
    Definition 1: Causal Effect
    If making a change in a quantity X results in a reliable demonstrable change in a quantity Y in a given context, then X has a causal effect on Y.?Example: I press the key labelled “A” on my computer keyboard; the letter “A” appears on my computer screen.,,,
    Definition 2: Existence
    If Y is a physical entity made up of ordinary matter, and X is some kind of entity that has a demonstrable causal effect on Y as per Definition 1, then we must acknowledge that X also exists (even if it is not made up of such matter).
    This is clearly a sensible and testable criterion; in the example above, it leads to the conclusion that both the data and the relevant software exist. If we do not adopt this definition, we will have instances of uncaused changes in the world; I presume we wish to avoid that situation.,,,
    ,,,However there are many topics that one cannot understand by assuming this one-way flow of causation. The flourishing subject of social neuroscience makes clear how social influences act down on individual brain structure[2]; studies in physiology demonstrate that downward causation is necessary in understanding the heart, where this form of causation can be represented as the influences of initial and boundary conditions on the solutions of the differential equations used to represent the lower level processes[3]; epigenetic studies demonstrate that biological development is crucially shaped by the environment[4]
    What about physics? In this essay I will make the case that top-down causation is also prevalent in physics, even though this is not often recognised as such. This does not occur by violating physical laws; on the contrary, it occurs through the laws of physics, by setting constraints on lower level interactions.
    Excerpt: page 5: A:
    Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities:
    Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.
    The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.,,,,
    Life and the brain: living systems are highly structured modular hierarchical systems, and there are many similarities to the digital computer case, even though they are not digital computers. The lower level interactions are constrained by network connections, thereby creating possibilities of truly complex behaviour. Top-down causation is prevalent at all levels in the brain: for example it is crucial to vision [24,25] as well as the relation of the individual brain to society [2]. The hardware (the brain) can do nothing without the excitations that animate it: indeed this is the difference between life and death. The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.
    http://fqxi.org/data/essay-con.....s_2012.pdf

    Indeed, our most stunning, almost ‘miraculous’, modern technological innovations would not even be possible were it not for the ability of ‘immaterial’ mathematics to objectively bring about ‘real’ effects in the material/physical world.

    Describing Nature With Math By Peter Tyson – Nov. 2011
    Excerpt: Mathematics underlies virtually all of our technology today. James Maxwell’s four equations summarizing electromagnetism led directly to radio and all other forms of telecommunication. E = mc2 led directly to nuclear power and nuclear weapons. The equations of quantum mechanics made possible everything from transistors and semiconductors to electron microscopy and magnetic resonance imaging.
    Indeed, many of the technologies you and I enjoy every day simply would not work without mathematics. When you do a Google search, you’re relying on 19th-century algebra, on which the search engine’s algorithms are based. When you watch a movie, you may well be seeing mountains and other natural features that, while appearing as real as rock, arise entirely from mathematical models. When you play your iPod, you’re hearing a mathematical recreation of music that is stored digitally; your cell phone does the same in real time.
    “When you listen to a mobile phone, you’re not actually hearing the voice of the person speaking,” Devlin told me. “You’re hearing a mathematical recreation of that voice. That voice is reduced to mathematics.”
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/p.....-math.html

    Moreover, the fact that man himself has access to, and can use, this transcendent, beyond space and time, immaterial world of mathematics, to bring about ‘real’ effects’ in the material world, offers compelling evidence, in and of itself, that man in not a purely material being but that man must also possess a transcendent, beyond space and time, immaterial mind and/or soul.

    We simply could never discover, or use, these ‘eternal’ truths about mathematics unless we ourselves first possessed a transcendent, and ‘eternal’, component to our being,, i.e. a immaterial soul and/or mind that is not reducible to the material constituents of our material bodies, (as Darwinists presuppose).

    As Charles Darwin’s contemporary, Alfred Russel Wallace himself stated, “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”

    “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    Alfred Russel Wallace – 1910

    And again, Darwinists simply have no clue why we should have access to the immaterial realm of mathematics. As Dr. Michael Egnor pointed out, because of our unique ability to think abstractly among all creature on earth, “We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm.”

    The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals
    Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015
    Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals.
    Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.,,,
    We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/11/the_fundamental_2/

    Moreover, since our own immaterial minds came into being and are therefore contingent, and are not eternally existent, and yet we can discover these eternal mathematical truths with our immaterial minds, then it necessarily follows that “there must exist an eternal mind in which these eternal (mathematical) truths reside.”

    11. The Argument from Truth
    This argument is closely related to the argument from consciousness. It comes mainly from Augustine.
    1. Our limited minds can discover eternal truths about being.
    2. Truth properly resides in a mind.
    3. But the human mind is not eternal.
    4. Therefore there must exist an eternal mind in which these truths reside.
    https://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm#11

    And please note that this argument for our immaterial minds, and for God, from the existence of mathematics is perfectly consistent with what we now know to be true about mathematics from Godel’s incompleteness theorem. Namely, that mathematics itself has a contingent existence and does not have a necessary existence,

    Kurt Gödel 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”. Thus, based on the position that an equation cannot prove itself, the constructs are based on assumptions some of which will be unprovable.”
    – Stephen Hawking & Leonard Miodinow, The Grand Design (2010)

    Thus, mathematics itself offers us compelling proof that we ourselves must possess immaterial minds and/or souls, and also offers us compelling proof that God must exist.

    And despite to how badly atheists may want God, (and our eternal souls), to not exist (for whatever severely misguided reason), the fact the matter is that, since we are all destined to die here on this earth, the undeniable fact that we must have eternal minds/souls in order to even ‘do mathematics’ in the first place, minds/souls that are not reducible to the material constituents of our temporal bodies, i.e. transcendent souls that can live beyond the death of our temporal bodies, is extremely good news for us the hear personally,,, I know that I myself am personally very happy to know it to be undeniably true, and that death does not have the final say in regards to my own life, and in regards to the lives of loved ones, and that I, and my loved ones, i.e. our eternal souls and minds, will continue to live, even though our material, temporal, bodies will perish,,

    Verses:

    1 Corinthians 15:54-55
    When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come to pass: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
    “Where, O Death, is your victory?
    Where, O Death, is your sting?”

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

    John 3:16
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

  3. 3
    Viola Lee says:

    At 1, JVL said: “Maybe there is no God, only mathematics? We know mathematics exists, do we know God exists?”

    BA replied,

    But alas for JVL’s atheistic druthers, the existence of Mathematics itself is simply devastating to any materialistic and/or naturalistic explanation of Darwinian evolution since mathematics itself exists in a immaterial, beyond space and time, realm. A eternal “Platonic Realm” that simply is not reducible to any possible materialistic explanation.

    BA’s reply doesn’t follow. Not believing in God does not necessarily mean that one believes in a materialistic explanation for math: those are not the only two possibilities.

    For instance, there are Platonists who nevertheless do not believe in a personal God. They do believe a world of Platonic mathematical forms imprints themselves on the physical world without a personal divine diety being involved. I know BA has many thousands of words prepared to support his belief in God, which I am not interested in. I just think he should be aware of, and acknowledge, that his theism/materialism dichotomy doesn’t cover all the ground.

  4. 4
    polistra says:

    These parallel attributes are interesting but they miss the ONLY important and scientifically verifiable attribute of God.

    God MADE everything.

    Math doesn’t make things. Math only describes things, in a way that can sometimes inspire people to make more things. (Useful formulas = useful parables). If you’re going to ‘personalize’ math, it would be more like a prophet than a god, more like Moses or Jesus or Mohammed.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    VL, as I stated, my argument follows only “if a Darwinist were to try to be consistent in his arguments, (which would be a miracle in its own right), ”

    🙂

    As I’ve learned over the years, logical consistency is certainly not a top priority for Darwinists in their arguments.

    For instance, there is this self-refuting beauty from Coyne

    THE ILLUSION OF FREE WILL – Sam Harris – 2012
    Excerpt: “Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.”
    – Jerry Coyne
    https://samharris.org/the-illusion-of-free-will/

  6. 6
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: But alas for JVL’s atheistic druthers, the existence of Mathematics itself is simply devastating to any materialistic and/or naturalistic explanation of Darwinian evolution since mathematics itself exists in a immaterial, beyond space and time, realm. A eternal “Platonic Realm” that simply is not reducible to any possible materialistic explanation.

    Well, where is it then? If you can’t see it or point to it or visit it how do you know it exists?

    The fact that there is a structure to the universe which can be fairly well described by mathematics may just be due to the very basic building blocks of the universe. No undetectable Platonic realm, just a bunch of marginally intelligent creatures noticing and remembering patterns, learning to write them down, come up with generalised versions of them and extrapolating.

    You don’t have to have a PhD to understand why the materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution cannot ever possibly explain man’s unique ability to ‘do mathematics’. Mathematics itself simply does not need the physical world in order for it to exist.

    No, but I proposed that man’s journey of mathematical discovery first came from observing physical phenomena.

    Oh, by the way, some animals seem to be able to do some basic, crude mathematics. And I expect if there are intelligent aliens they will be able to ‘do’ mathematics as well. So maybe we’re not so unique in that sense.

  7. 7
    JVL says:

    Viola Lee: BA’s reply doesn’t follow. Not believing in God does not necessarily mean that one believes in a materialistic explanation for math: those are not the only two possibilities.

    Maybe he’s just following one of mathematics’ basic techniques: when you come across a problem you don’t know how to solve see if you can transform it into one you do know how to solve. A kind of substitution technique. But then you have to do the reverse substitution afterwards.

  8. 8
    JVL says:

    Polistra: God MADE everything.

    References?

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, it is well known that it is part of the inherent nature of God that he is source and creator of everything that has been made. The issue would be whether God is, and as God is a necessary being at least as a serious candidate, to argue that he is not, is tantamount to arguing that God is impossible of being. The notion that one needs particular reference to some authority or other on such commonplace facts of the case, speaks. KF

  10. 10
    Viola Lee says:

    🙂

  11. 11
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: The notion that one needs particular reference to some authority or other on such commonplace facts of the case, speaks.

    It could be I was just making a joke . . . or, it could be I was making a point. Or both.

  12. 12
    ET says:

    Mathematics came from somewhere. An we only know of one source- intelligent agencies.

  13. 13
    JVL says:

    ET: Mathematics came from somewhere. An we only know of one source- intelligent agencies.

    Why couldn’t it exist before there were intelligent agents? After all, the intelligent agents had to come from somewhere too . . . didn’t they?

  14. 14
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Why couldn’t it exist before there were intelligent agents?

    How?

    After all, the intelligent agents had to come from somewhere too . . . didn’t they?

    You don’t know that.

  15. 15
    JVL says:

    ET: How?

    Who knows? How could intelligent agents arise before mathematics? You don’t know.

    You don’t know that.

    How could intelligent agents just be around without coming from somewhere? Or does cause and effect end some time going backwards?

  16. 16
    Seversky says:

    JVL/1

    Maybe there is no God, only mathematics?

    We know mathematics exists, do we know God exists?

    That may explain why I have become agnostic/atheist.

    I recognize the power and value of mathematics but, after my traumatic experiences of being taught it in school, I came to loathe the subject.

    If God is anything like the math teachers I encountered it would explain a lot about the world. 🙂

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL asks “Why couldn’t it (mathematics) exist before there were intelligent agents?”

    So I guess JVL’s argument, (in so far as you can even call it an argument), boils down to, “Never mind that I have absolutely no clue how the materialistic processes of Darwinian evolution can possibly create intelligent creatures with a unique capacity to understand and use this immaterial ‘platonic’ realm of mathematics, I still hold that mathematics itself has a necessary existence and that mathematics itself is not contingent upon anything else, especially the Mind of God, for it’s existence.

    There are a couple of problems with JVL’s desperate attempt to exclude God as the necessary Being upon which all contingent reality, including mathematics, exists.

    First problem, Godel’s incompleteness theorem(s)

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    Godel, with his incompleteness theorem(s) dropped a bomb on the foundation of mathematics and proved that mathematics could not provide a foundation for its own existence. i.e. Godel’s incompleteness proves that mathematics is contingent in its existence, not necessary!

    As Ron Tagliapietra succinctly put it, “Kurt Gödel had dropped a bomb on the foundations of mathematics. Math could not play the role of God as infinite and autonomous.”

    Taking God Out of the Equation – Biblical Worldview – by Ron Tagliapietra – January 1, 2012
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) proved that no logical systems (if they include the counting numbers) can have all three of the following properties.
    1. Validity … all conclusions are reached by valid reasoning.
    2. Consistency … no conclusions contradict any other conclusions.
    3. Completeness … all statements made in the system are either true or false.
    The details filled a book, but the basic concept was simple and elegant. He (Godel) summed it up this way: “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.” For this reason, his proof is also called the Incompleteness Theorem.
    Kurt Gödel had dropped a bomb on the foundations of mathematics. Math could not play the role of God as infinite and autonomous. It was shocking, though, that logic could prove that mathematics could not be its own ultimate foundation.
    Christians should not have been surprised. The first two conditions are true about math: it is valid and consistent. But only God fulfills the third condition. Only He is complete and therefore self-dependent (autonomous). God alone is “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28), “the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13). God is the ultimate authority (Hebrews 6:13), and in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).
    http://www.answersingenesis.or...../equation#

    Just how ‘shocking’, and humbling, Godel’s incompleteness theorem actually was, and is, to atheistic mathematicians is nicely summarized in the following video and article:

    Cantor, Gödel, & Turing: Incompleteness of Mathematics – video (excerpted from BBC’s ‘Dangerous Knowledge’ documentary)
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1119397401406525/?type=2&theater

    Mathematicians Bridge Finite-Infinite Divide – May 24, 2016
    A surprising new proof is helping to connect the mathematics of infinity to the physical world.
    Excerpt: Hilbert tasked mathematicians with proving that set theory and all of infinitistic mathematics is finitistically reducible, and therefore trustworthy. “We must know; we will know!” he said in a 1930 address in Königsberg — words later etched on his tomb.
    However, the Austrian-American mathematician Kurt Gödel showed in 1931 that, in fact, we won’t. In a shocking result, Gödel proved that no system of logical axioms (or starting assumptions) can ever prove its own consistency; to prove that a system of logic is consistent, you always need another axiom outside of the system. This means there is no ultimate set of axioms — no theory of everything — in mathematics. When looking for a set of axioms that yield all true mathematical statements and never contradict themselves, you always need another axiom. Gödel’s theorem meant that Hilbert’s program was doomed: The axioms of finitistic mathematics cannot even prove their own consistency, let alone the consistency of set theory and the mathematics of the infinite.
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160524-mathematicians-bridge-finite-infinite-divide/

    Second problem for JVL, the ‘necessitarian’ view of mathematics that he champions actually prevented the rise of modern science. It was only by overcoming the necessitarian view of mathematics of the Ancient Greek philosophers, and viewing mathematics, especially any mathematics that might describe this universe, as being the product of the Mind of God, that modern science was finally able to sprout, take root, and eventually blossom in medieval Christian Europe:

    The War against the War Between Science and Faith Revisited – July 2010
    Excerpt: If science suffered only stillbirths in ancient cultures, how did it come to its unique viable birth? The beginning of science as a fully fledged enterprise took place in relation to two important definitions of the Magisterium of the Church. The first was the definition at the Fourth Lateran Council in the year 1215, that the universe was created out of nothing at the beginning of time. The second magisterial statement was at the local level, enunciated by Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris who, on March 7, 1277, condemned 219 Aristotelian propositions, so outlawing the deterministic and necessitarian views of creation.
    These statements of the teaching authority of the Church expressed an atmosphere in which faith in God had penetrated the medieval culture and given rise to philosophical consequences. The cosmos was seen as contingent in its existence and thus dependent on a divine choice which called it into being; the universe is also contingent in its nature and so God was free to create this particular form of world among an infinity of other possibilities. Thus the cosmos cannot be a necessary form of existence; and so it has to be approached by a posteriori investigation. The universe is also rational and so a coherent discourse can be made about it. Indeed the contingency and rationality of the cosmos are like two pillars supporting the Christian vision of the cosmos.
    http://www.scifiwright.com/201.....revisited/

    As Edward Fesser notes in the following article, for Christian scholastic philosophers of the medieval period “Mathematical truths exhibit infinity, necessity, eternity, immutability, perfection, and immateriality because they are God’s thoughts,” whereas for ancient Greek philosophers, “mathematical objects such as numbers and geometrical figures exist not only independently of the material world, but also independently of any mind,”

    KEEP IT SIMPLE – by Edward Feser – April 2020
    Excerpt: Mathematics appears to describe a realm of entities with quasi-divine attributes. The series of natural numbers is infinite. That one and one equal two and two and two equal four could not have been otherwise. Such mathematical truths never begin being true or cease being true; they hold eternally and immutably. The lines, planes, and figures studied by the geometer have a kind of perfection that the objects of our experience lack. Mathematical objects seem immaterial and known by pure reason rather than through the senses. Given the centrality of mathematics to scientific explanation, it seems in some way to be a cause of the natural world and its order.
    How can the mathematical realm be so apparently godlike? The traditional answer, originating in Neoplatonic philosophy and Augustinian theology, is that our knowledge of the mathematical realm is precisely knowledge, albeit inchoate, of the divine mind. Mathematical truths exhibit infinity, necessity, eternity, immutability, perfection, and immateriality because they are God’s thoughts, and they have such explanatory power in scientific theorizing because they are part of the blueprint implemented by God in creating the world. For some thinkers in this tradition, mathematics thus provides the starting point for an argument for the existence of God qua supreme intellect.
    There is also a very different answer, in which the mathematical realm is a rival to God rather than a path to him. According to this view, mathematical objects such as numbers and geometrical figures exist not only independently of the material world, but also independently of any mind, including the divine mind. They occupy a “third realm” of their own, the realm famously described in Plato’s Theory of Forms. God used this third realm as a blueprint when creating the physical world, but he did not create the realm itself and it exists outside of him. This position is usually called Platonism since it is commonly thought to have been Plato’s own view, as distinct from that of his Neoplatonic followers who relocated mathematical objects and other Forms into the divine mind. (I put to one side for present purposes the question of how historically accurate this standard narrative is.)
    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2020/04/keep-it-simple

    In the minds of the Christian founders of modern science, mathematics, especially any mathematics that might describe the universe, were certainly not held to be necessary, but were instead held to be contingent upon God’s thoughts.

    As Ian H. Hutchinson notes in the following article on Faraday and Maxwell, “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.”

    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

    Perhaps the best example that I can give for the fact that the Christian founders of modern science held mathematics, especially any mathematics that might describe the universe, to be God’s thoughts is the following quote by Kepler, (which he made shortly after discovering the laws of planetary motion),,

    “O, Almighty God, I am thinking Thy thoughts after Thee!”
    – Johannes Kepler, 1619, The Harmonies of the World.

    Thus for modern day theoretical physicists. i.e. string theorists and the like, to take a necessatarian view of mathematics, instead of taking a contingent view of mathematics, in which mathematics is dependent upon the Mind of God for its existence, is for them to take a gigantic step backwards into ancient Greek philosophy. A philosophy that impeded modern science from having a viable birth in the first place. As I stated previously, the birth of modern science was only possible with the ‘outlawing’ of that ‘necessatarian’ view of mathematics that the ancient Greeks had championed.

    But alas for JVL, being the dogmatic anti-Theist that he is, I guess regressing back into the stagnation that the necessitarian view of mathematics, that the ancient Greeks held, is far better for him than for him to ever honestly admit that God exists.

    It is a crying shame!

    Of supplemental note, the rejection of the Greeks necessitarian view of mathematics, (and the universe), besides giving birth to modern science, represented nothing less than a brand new form of ‘inductive’ reasoning over and above the deductive reasoning of the ancient Greeks

    June 2020 – This new form of inductive reasoning, which led to the birth of the scientific method itself, apparently took a while to take hold in Medieval Christian Europe but this new form of reasoning was eventually, and famously, elucidated and championed by Francis Bacon in 1620 in his book that was entitled Novum Organum. Which is translated as ‘New Method’. In the title of that book, Bacon is specifically referencing Aristotle’s work Organon, which was Aristotle’s treatise on logic and syllogism. In other words, Organum was basically Aristotle’s treatise on deductive reasoning.
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/asked-at-areo-magazine-did-the-catholic-church-give-birth-to-science/#comment-703354

  18. 18
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: So I guess JVL’s argument, (in so far as you can even call it an argument), boils down to, “Never mind that I have absolutely no clue how the materialistic processes of Darwinian evolution can possibly create intelligent creatures with a unique capacity to understand and use this immaterial ‘platonic’ realm of mathematics, I still hold that mathematics itself has a necessary existence and that mathematics itself is not contingent upon anything else, especially the Mind of God, for it’s existence.

    First of all, I am not making an argument, just asking a question. That question is: if mathematics is universal and invariant then why should it not have existed before any intelligent agents? AND: are all intelligent agents subject to the laws of mathematics? Why or why not?

    There are many other points in your reply I’d like to address but you’ll have to wait as it’s make-dinner-time in my household. But I shall return to answer more points.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL gets his questioned answered and refuses to acknowledge it.

    Argue with someone else JVL, I have better things to do. Like arguing with a brick wall.

  20. 20
    Viola Lee says:

    Sev writes, “I recognize the power and value of mathematics but, after my traumatic experiences of being taught it in school, I came to loathe the subject. If God is anything like the math teachers I encountered it would explain a lot about the world. ?”

    As a math teacher, I’m sorry to hear that! 🙁

    I think I’ve made it fun, interesting, and/or satisfying for a lot of students. Sorry you had such bad experiences.

  21. 21
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Who knows?

    In a mechanistic scenario “who knows?” is death.

    How could intelligent agents arise before mathematics?

    Question begging.

    How could intelligent agents just be around without coming from somewhere?

    Who knows?

    Or does cause and effect end some time going backwards?

    Cause only pertains to things that had a beginning

  22. 22
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: JVL gets his questioned answered and refuses to acknowledge it.

    You didn’t answer my question actually. You repeated and misinterpreted a lot of statements about Godel’s incompleteness theorem but you didn’t actually say whether or not mathematics could have existed before intelligent agents. Perhaps you think you answered the question because you think Godel’s theorems imply some God-like being. But they don’t. They are merely a statement about what is logically possible given a set of axioms. There’s no God there.

    Argue with someone else JVL, I have better things to do. Like arguing with a brick wall.

    At least a brick wall won’t disagree with you eh? You seem to get very annoyed when anyone disagrees with you.

    Godel, with his incompleteness theorem(s) dropped a bomb on the foundation of mathematics and proved that mathematics could not provide a foundation for its own existence. i.e. Godel’s incompleteness proves that mathematics is contingent in its existence, not necessary!

    That is not correct. From Wikipedia:

    Gödel published his incompleteness theorems in Über formal unentscheidbare Sätze der Principia Mathematica und verwandter Systeme (called in English “On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems”). In that article, he proved for any computable axiomatic system that is powerful enough to describe the arithmetic of the natural numbers (e.g., the Peano axioms or Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory with the axiom of choice), that:

    If a (logical or axiomatic formal) system is consistent, it cannot be complete.
    The consistency of axioms cannot be proved within their own system.

    That is not saying a system is contingent at all. You and others always misinterpret the theorems. Axioms are what you ASSUME to be true. They are not contingent on anything.

    AND, not being able to ‘prove’ a foundation does not give you a God-like being. It just doesn’t. That’s your interpretation.

    As Ron Tagliapietra succinctly put it, “Kurt Gödel had dropped a bomb on the foundations of mathematics. Math could not play the role of God as infinite and autonomous.”

    No one says math is playing the role of God. Honestly, theologians should not talk about mathematics unless they are trained in it. You don’t hear . . . famous apologist, English, trained mathematician . . . can’t remember his name! Anyway, you don’t hear him make arguments like that. All I asked was: could it have been around before any intelligent beings? If it’s invariant then it’s true always and forever . . .

    Just how ‘shocking’, and humbling, Godel’s incompleteness theorem actually was, and is, to atheistic mathematicians is nicely summarized in the following video and article:

    Nothing about God in there because it has nothing to do with theology!

    Second problem for JVL, the ‘necessitarian’ view of mathematics that he champions actually prevented the rise of modern science. It was only by overcoming the necessitarian view of mathematics of the Ancient Greek philosophers, and viewing mathematics, especially any mathematics that might describe this universe, as being the product of the Mind of God, that modern science was finally able to sprout, take root, and eventually blossom in medieval Christian Europe:

    Sigh. During the Dark Ages some people were still producing new mathematics. It has NOTHING to do with a view on God. It’s not based on any kind of theology whatsoever. It just takes some curiosity, good pattern recognition and the ability to think a bit abstractly. What did happen was that, for a long time, being educated was not valued or even practical. For a vast majority of Europeans it was not an option. THAT’S why science and math faltered in Europe. Not so in Baghdad or Beijing, non-Christian cultures. Remember too that Greek and Egyptians helped get the ball rolling in the first place.

    Every proven mathematical theorem from 2000 years ago is still true. Math does not retreat or back away. You don’t need to start over as you do with physics and chemistry. It doesn’t work that way.

    As Edward Fesser notes in the following article, for Christian scholastic philosophers of the medieval period “Mathematical truths exhibit infinity, necessity, eternity, immutability, perfection, and immateriality because they are God’s thoughts,” whereas for ancient Greek philosophers, “mathematical objects such as numbers and geometrical figures exist not only independently of the material world, but also independently of any mind,”

    The Christian scholars put that spin on it because they were fascinated by questions like: how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. C’mon! The Greeks discovered irrational numbers! They may have even been edging towards Calculus. The notion that math stopped because of the Greek view is just rubbish. The math stopped because the culture of learning stopped and there were no more classes and lectures on mathematics.

    In the minds of the Christian founders of modern science, mathematics, especially any mathematics that might describe the universe, were certainly not held to be necessary, but were instead held to be contingent upon God’s thoughts.

    A theological veneer of rationalisation doesn’t make it so. Almost all people with a philosophical bent during the medieval period thought they saw God in everything.

    Again, just because some people thought math represented God’s thoughts doesn’t make it so. AND, for centuries, the only people who could read or write or had the time to do anything other than survive and fight wars were monks and nuns. And you think their religious bias means it was only by viewing God in every equation and leaf and creature that science progressed? Really? I guess you haven’t ever even considered or looked up what other cultures have contributed to science and mathematics.

    Perhaps the best example that I can give for the fact that the Christian founders of modern science held mathematics, especially any mathematics that might describe the universe, to be God’s thoughts is the following quote by Kepler, (which he made shortly after discovering the laws of planetary motion),,

    Again, that doesn’t make it so. Nor does it say that Kepler WOULDN’T have done what he did if he thought he wasn’t chasing God. He was trying to solve a problem, an empirical, famous problems. AND, guess what, he came to a conclusion different from what most theologians thought at the time. So, you’re saying Christian thought created modern science even though science contradicted a lot of Christian philosophy. Really?

    Thus for modern day theoretical physicists. i.e. string theorists and the like, to take a necessatarian view of mathematics, instead of taking a contingent view of mathematics, in which mathematics is dependent upon the Mind of God for its existence, is for them to take a gigantic step backwards into ancient Greek philosophy.

    Uh huh. What about Quantum Mechanics? What about Relativity? What about Cantor’s work? And Euler? And Gauss? And Newton himself who figured out that orbits are ellipses. Where in theology does that come from? It doesn’t.

    I guess regressing back into the stagnation that the necessitarian view of mathematics, that the ancient Greeks held, is far better for him than for him to ever honestly admit that God exists.

    It’s not holding back math and science at all. Because most mathematicians and scientists don’t even think about such things. They just do the work and find stuff.

    You think because almost everyone who was alive in Europe during the Middle Ages (especially all those who could read or write) were Christians and claimed to be trying to find God’s thoughts in the world that that made a difference in what they chose to work on or what they found? I don’t think it made a blind bit of difference except that the Church had the money and the time to teach at least some of its followers to read and write. They gave them access to Greek and Roman texts so those scholars started out with the Greek and Roman mind-sets. Which they then laid a God-interpretation onto. But that didn’t make any difference to the work. The Fibonacci numbers were not ‘discovered’ because someone was trying to find the hand of God.

  23. 23
    Viola Lee says:

    Head, meet brick wall. Good luck, JVL.

  24. 24
    Seversky says:

    Viola Lee/20

    As a math teacher, I’m sorry to hear that! ?

    I think I’ve made it fun, interesting, and/or satisfying for a lot of students. Sorry you had such bad experiences.

    I don’t blame you or other math teachers. I know I was just unlucky.

    I’m sure you work very hard to make your lessons fun and interesting. My mother was a teacher of 5-7 year-olds and I know she also worked very hard to make the lessons fun and interesting for her students. She told me that one of her most satisfying experiences as a teacher was to suddenly see the light of understanding dawn in the eyes of a child who had struggled to grasp something for so long

  25. 25
    JVL says:

    ET: In a mechanistic scenario “who knows?” is death.

    No, it just means we haven’t figure it out yet.

    Question begging.

    It’s not question begging unless you have predetermined assumptions. I’m asking: could intelligent agents have existed before mathematics? AND, are they subject to the laws of mathematics?

    Who knows?

    What do you think?

    Cause only pertains to things that had a beginning

    Does math have a beginning? If you think that math was created by some designer then your answer would be yes. The ultimate designer ’caused’ math. Is that ultimate designer constrained by the laws of mathematics? If no then the laws of mathematics are not universal and invariant. If yes, the designer is constrained by the laws of mathematics, then wouldn’t it have had to come into existence AFTER the laws of mathematics were already in existence?

  26. 26
    JVL says:

    Viola Lee: Good luck, JVL.

    Thanks! Yeah though I walk through the valley of innumeracy, I shall fear no fallacies. My theorems and axioms comfort me.

  27. 27
    Bob O'H says:

    Thanks! Yeah though I walk through the valley of innumeracy, I shall fear no fallacies. My theorems and axioms comfort me.

    I shall tighten my Gödel and…

    Oh ****

  28. 28
    AaronS1978 says:

    @16
    LOL
    ALL but one of my math teachers were horrible!

    I had one good math teacher

    People thought it was bizarre that I could do advanced math in chemistry

    But if you put a geometrical proof in front of me I would just die

    I know how you feel like quite literally every one of my teachers was just some Murphy’s Law joke except for one

  29. 29
    JVL says:

    AaronS1978: ALL but one of my math teachers were horrible! I had one good math teacher

    Sadly a very common experience.

    People thought it was bizarre that I could do advanced math in chemistry

    Higher level chemistry in particular is full of mathematics.

  30. 30
    ET says:

    JVL:

    No, it just means we haven’t figure it out yet.

    It didn’t happen.

    I’m asking: could intelligent agents have existed before mathematics?

    It could be possible. We would just have to figure it out one way or the other.

    Could mathematics exist absent a mind?

    What do you think?

    I don’t think about that.

    Does math have a beginning?

    Again, can math exist absent a mind?

    s that ultimate designer constrained by the laws of mathematics?

    Probably not. That’s pretty much what supernatural means, JVL

    If no then the laws of mathematics are not universal and invariant.

    Or we just don’t fully understand them- we just haven’t figured them out.

    If yes, the designer is constrained by the laws of mathematics, then wouldn’t it have had to come into existence AFTER the laws of mathematics were already in existence?

    Look up the word “abstract”.

  31. 31
    EDTA says:

    Viola Lee @ 3,
    > They do believe a world of Platonic mathematical forms imprints themselves on the physical world without a personal divine diety being involved.

    How? What is the method or the sequence of cause/effect relationships that goes from a mathematical form to a physical result? (A variation on the question _we_ always get from ID skeptics.)

  32. 32
    Viola Lee says:

    I have no idea. First of all, I’m not a Platonist, but the idea has been around since Plato. Second, the same kind of “why” question can be asked, I think, about the nature of the interaction between the metaphysical and the physical of all sorts: positing a personal divine deity doesn’t remove the mystery.

  33. 33
    JVL says:

    ET: It didn’t happen.

    References?

    It could be possible. We would just have to figure it out one way or the other. Could mathematics exist absent a mind?

    If it’s universal and invariant then yes. Why should 2 + 2 not equal 4 just because there is no one around to see it?

    I don’t think about that.

    Why not? Aren’t you curious?

    Probably not. That’s pretty much what supernatural means, JVL

    So, if the designer(s) is not constrains by mathematical laws then the laws of mathematics are not universal and invariant, i.e. they change from situation to situation. So, maybe, for some beings 2 + 2 does not equal 4?

    Or we just don’t fully understand them- we just haven’t figured them out.

    So, it is okay to say ‘we don’t know’.

    Look up the word “abstract”.

    I know what abstract means, what’s your point?

  34. 34
    ET says:

    JVL:

    References?

    References for something that didn’t happen? Thank you for continuing to prove that you are ignorant of science.

    If it’s universal and invariant then yes. Why should 2 + 2 not equal 4 just because there is no one around to see it?

    That depends on how 2 and 4 are defined, duh. And definitions require a mind.

    Why not? Aren’t you curious?

    It has NO meaning to my life.

    So, if the designer(s) is not constrains by mathematical laws then the laws of mathematics are not universal and invariant, i.e. they change from situation to situation.

    That doesn’t follow.

    I know what abstract means, what’s your point?

    It is clear that you don’t know what abstract means.

  35. 35
    JVL says:

    ET: References for something that didn’t happen? Thank you for continuing to prove that you are ignorant of science.

    How do you know it didn’t happen? That math existed before any intelligent agents.

    That depends on how 2 and 4 are defined, duh. And definitions require a mind.

    ‘2’ stands for two things of some kind, how else can you define it? If there are no other ways to define it then does it require a mind to be true?

    It has NO meaning to my life.

    Okay. I thought you liked asking questions and drilling down on accepted truths. My mistake.

    That doesn’t follow.

    IF the laws of mathematics are universal and invariant then they apply always to everyone, all life forms. IF the designer is not constrained by the laws of mathematics then the laws are not universal and invariant because it’s possible to by-pass them. It’s really simple.

    It is clear that you don’t know what abstract means.

    Why don’t you explain how it pertains to the conversation instead of just dancing around as fast as you can and not answering some questions?

  36. 36
    ET says:

    JVL:

    That math existed before any intelligent agents

    There isn’t any evidence for it so it can be dismissed.

    ‘2’ stands for two things of some kind, how else can you define it?

    It can be defined as anyone wants. Definitions are arbitrary constructs.

    I thought you liked asking questions and drilling down on accepted truths.

    Can’t drill down on something we cannot study, duh. As I said, you are ignorant of science and apparently proud of it.

    IF the laws of mathematics are universal and invariant then they apply always to everyone, all life forms.

    YOU said they would change from situation to situation. That doesn’t follow.

    Abstract is something formed in the mind. As I said, get a dictionary and learn how to read and use it.

  37. 37
    JVL says:

    ET: YOU said they would change from situation to situation. That doesn’t follow.

    I said they could change if they didn’t apply to all beings. Pay attention.

    Abstract is something formed in the mind. As I said, get a dictionary and learn how to read and use it.

    There are other meanings. How does it pertain to the conversation?

  38. 38
    ET says:

    JVL:

    I said they could change if they didn’t apply to all beings.

    That is a strawman as I never said anything about that.

    And there aren’t any other meanings of the word abstract in the context of this discussion. Or do you think nature can write openings to articles?

  39. 39
    JVL says:

    ET: That is a strawman as I never said anything about that.

    You said something which was not an accurate reflection of what I said and I clarified things. How is that a straw man? Are you even paying attention?

    And there aren’t any other meanings of the word abstract in the context of this discussion. Or do you think nature can write openings to articles?

    I don’t understand why you can’t specify how ‘abstract’ is pertinent to the above discussion. You’re the one who brought it up; try and state clearly and concisely how it applies.

  40. 40
    ET says:

    LoL! @ JVL- I made it clear that I was talking about a supernatural designer when I said that math doesn’t apply. YOU changed that so it is a strawman.

    Mathematics is an abstract concept. THAT is how it applies. I thought you understand mathematics? How did you not know this?

  41. 41
    JVL says:

    ET: I made it clear that I was talking about a supernatural designer when I said that math doesn’t apply. YOU changed that so it is a strawman.

    Why should mathematics not apply to a supernatural designer which you don’t even know exists?

    Mathematics is an abstract concept. THAT is how it applies. I thought you understand mathematics? How did you not know this?

    What does math being abstract have to do with whether or not the rules apply to all beings? If being abstract means they don’t apply to some beings then why do they apply to you since you think you have a soul which exists outside of space and time?

    It seems to me you do not think mathematics is universal and invariant as it seems to not apply to some hypothesised beings. If mathematics is not universal and invariant then isn’t it just a story, a metaphor, that applies sometimes but not others?

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL vs ET: >>That math existed before any intelligent agents>>

    On what grounds is anyone sure that reality’s root is not a necessary, maximally great and highly intelligent being?

    Where, given that God is a serious candidate, worlds-framework necessary being, he is either impossible of being (just as a square circle cannot be instantiated in any possible world) or else he is actual.

    Any takers on God is impossible of being, post the collapse of the deductive form of the problem of evil under impact of Plantinga’s free will defence?

    KF

  43. 43
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: On what grounds is anyone sure that reality’s root is not a necessary, maximally great and highly intelligent being?

    Because of the lack of evidence for such a being.

    Where, given that God is a serious candidate, worlds-framework necessary being, he is either impossible of being (just as a square circle cannot be instantiated in any possible world) or else he is actual.

    I don’t think you can argue for a necessary being based on mathematics.

    Regardless, that doesn’t answer the query: is mathematics universal and invariant? If it is then all beings are subject to its rules. Which means all beings are limited to the rules of mathematics. If mathematics is NOT universal and invariant then it doesn’t apply in all situations or to all beings. Which means it can’t be used as the basis for any theological argument.

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, there is none so blind as s/he who refuses to see. The implicit moral government behind your arguments implies that in the root of reality there is a unity of is and ought, which points to the only being capable of fulfilling that bill. And there is much beside, but evidence and reason can always be rejected, that is the nature of freedom. The no evidence gambit is a fallacy. KF

    PS: We must notice the pervasive presence of selective hyperskepticism as an embedded facet of radical secularist ideologies, and that this stance is inherently self referentially incoherent and agenda serving, a civilisation-destructive fallacy.

  45. 45
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: The implicit moral government behind your arguments implies that in the root of reality there is a unity of is and ought, which points to the only being capable of fulfilling that bill.

    Mathematics has nothing to do with morals.

    And there is much beside, but evidence and reason can always be rejected, that is the nature of freedom. The no evidence gambit is a fallacy.

    No good hard empirical evidence. A lot of supposition and wishful thinking, yes.

    PS: We must notice the pervasive presence of selective hyperskepticism as an embedded facet of radical secularist ideologies, and that this stance is inherently self referentially incoherent and agenda serving, a civilisation-destructive fallacy.

    Again, nothing to do with mathematics which is NOT incoherent or an ideology. And it has nothing to say about morals or theology.

  46. 46
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Why should mathematics not apply to a supernatural designer which you don’t even know exists?

    The definition of supernatural, duh.

    What does math being abstract have to do with whether or not the rules apply to all beings?

    Oh my. You are too stupid to even follow along. Good luck with that.

  47. 47
    ET says:

    Mathematics is an abstract concept.

    Abstract is something formed in the mind.

    Therefore mathematics could not have existed prior to intelligent agencies.

  48. 48
    Viola Lee says:

    I appreciate KF’s arguments about the necessary role of mathematics in the structure of the world (even if I don’t entirely subscribe to them), but I don’t agree at all about the jump he makes to the necessary existence of a “maximally great and highly intelligent being”. I agree with JVL that math is about “is” but not about “ought”, and that there is no logical reason why is and ought are fused at the root of reality.

  49. 49
    JVL says:

    ET: Mathematics is an abstract concept. Abstract is something formed in the mind. Therefore mathematics could not have existed prior to intelligent agencies.

    Hmm . . . So, you’re on the side that says mathematics is invented as opposed to those that think mathematics is discovered. I lean to the discovered side and I think that means that mathematics is universal and invariant which means that it exists independent of any beings which means it was true before any beings came along to discover it.

    Let’s say, for the purpose of discussion, that you’re correct that mathematics is invented and you think by some supernatural being . . . are humans continuing the invention or are they discovered that which was already invented by your being who is not subject to the laws of physics and chemistry? If some being created mathematics and humans are just slowly uncovering and discovering that which was already laid down would not the supernatural originator be able to answer mathematical questions which we can’t? Like the Goldbach Conjecture? Or the Continuum Hypothesis?

  50. 50
    JVL says:

    Viola Lee: I appreciate KF’s arguments about the necessary role of mathematics in the structure of the world (even if I don’t entirely subscribe to them), but I don’t agree at all about the jump he makes to the necessary existence of a “maximally great and highly intelligent being”.

    I think Kairosfocus sees ‘the hand of God’ in all of reality so, for him, the wondrous and beautiful mathematics we all enjoy has a source, a creator. It’s like the Rainbow and Eclipse arguments for the existence of God. They’re all fine-tuning arguments. One of Kairosfocus‘s favourite mathematical results is Euler’s equation which I admit is pretty cool. But for him it’s like the system has been fine tuned to create that kind of beauty. Clearly he’s never taken a higher-level statistics course; that stuff is so messy and bleh.

  51. 51
    Viola Lee says:

    Small point: e^(i*pi) = -1 is an identity, not an equation. It is a fact about numbers, like 2 + 2 = 4, but it has no variable in it and is not an equation. e^(ix) = cos (x) + i sin (x) is the equation, and Euler’s identity is the expression of the equation for x = pi.

  52. 52
    JVL says:

    Viola Lee: Small point: e^(i*pi) = -1 is an identity, not an equation.

    Viola Lee: Two points.

    Interestingly: Wikipedia says . . . oh, wait, never mind. I was being dumb. It happens.

  53. 53

    Viola Lee said:

    Not believing in God does not necessarily mean that one believes in a materialistic explanation for math: those are not the only two possibilities.

    True. One of the problems in debates here is that materialists (or semi-materialists) and Christians are very comfortable arguing with each other. Not so much with anyone representing other perspectives.

    As BA and KF point out, mathematics represents a mental reality we all share. 2+2=4 is an undeniable truth that lies in the mind of any sentient being in any universe. Nobody can even imagine it not being true. This means we are all accessing the same something that actually exists in a nonmaterial state, something that is directly accessed and not subject even to personal interpretation. When you or I look at a physical object, or experience some event, we can come away with widely varied interpretations. Not so when we access 2+2=4.

    There are other thoughts that have the same quality, such as “I exist.” Now try to imagine “not existing.” It’s literally impossible. IMO, this represents another mental, universal fact as profound and as essential as “I exist.” There’s no such thing as “not existing.”

    As far as “did mathematics come into being with the advent of intelligent agents,” this is IMO a bad question. Nothing “comes into existence.” That would imply that at some point it “did not exist.” Everything that exists is eternal and can’t “not exist” or “be created” or “end.” Such things, IMO, are rooted in a materialist perspective that experiences sequences of things coming into and out of their view, so to speak, like walking along a road thinking that the landscape that changes around them as they walk coming into existence and the going out of existence as they amble along.

  54. 54
    Viola Lee says:

    I see that Wikipedia does say e^(i*pi) = -1 can also be called Euler’s equation, which as I explained I think is wrong. It also calls e^(ix) = cos (x) + i sin (x) Euler’s formula, which is maybe better than calling it Euler’s equation because it is used to find the value for a particular x as opposed to solving for x. It also points out that it can be written as e^(i*pi) + 1 = 0. I like the expression I offered best because it is what follows from the formula, but some like the other way because of the way it includes both 1 and 0. Obviously they say the same thing.

  55. 55
    Viola Lee says:

    More philosophically, Wikipedia also says “And Benjamin Peirce, a 19th-century American philosopher, mathematician, and professor at Harvard University, after proving Euler’s identity during a lecture, stated that the identity “is absolutely paradoxical; we cannot understand it, and we don’t know what it means, but we have proved it, and therefore we know it must be the truth”

    I disagree with the first part of that. There is nothing paradoxical about it, we do understand it and know what it means in the sense that we know how it relates to various other mathematical understandings, including all the concepts upon which it is built.

  56. 56

    KF said:

    Where, given that God is a serious candidate, worlds-framework necessary being, he is either impossible of being (just as a square circle cannot be instantiated in any possible world) or else he is actual.

    That argument applies to anything that is possible. If it is possible, it exists.

  57. 57
    JVL says:

    Viola Lee: I like the expression I offered best because it is what follows from the formula, but some like the other way because of the way it includes both 1 and 0.

    I like your way best.

    I disagree with the first part of that. There is nothing paradoxical about it, we do understand it and know what it means in the sense that we know how it relates to various other mathematical understandings, including all the concepts upon which it is built.

    Yes, perhaps Mr Peirce was trying to take the side of someone who had less knowledge of the underlying structures and wanted to sympathise that it all looks a bit fantastical. Or maybe, being a philosopher, he didn’t understand it either.

    I think the real puzzle is how e^(ix) = cosx + isinx . . . unless you know power series. 🙂

  58. 58
    mike1962 says:

    WJM: That argument applies to anything that is possible. If it is possible, it exists.

    Do you mean to equate the latter with the “Platonic realm?” It seems to my intuition that anything possible has at least the same “Platonic” reality as anything that can be expressed with mathematics. And that consciousness “explores” that “space.” (For humans, while living, that is, while “incarnated”, consciousness is limited to, and informed by, brain states, but not so before incarnation (attachment to brain) and after death/detachment.) Is this what you were trying to express on the other threads?

  59. 59
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes, but then you have to know where the power series comes from. I like building them from polynomials using the idea of having the derivatives of the polynomials match the derivatives of the function in question, but then of course you have to know why the derivatives of sine, cosine, and e are what they are! What is neat is how it all flows backwards to more fundamental ideas.

    This is relevant to the thread where there is a video of five guys discussing whether math is discovered or invented. One of them (or perhaps it is Wigner) points out that the development of math depends on us creating new and fruitful concepts so we can build past what has come before.

  60. 60

    Mike1962,

    There are rules in the Platonic realm. Perhaps they are all ways of expressing the same thing. Mathematics, geometry, logic, language. Those rules govern “what can be imagined, or located, in the platonic realm, such as forms and relationships (meaning, the relationship of one thing to another.) It is like a unified algorithm that cascades into the potential for every possible thing.

    In my other threads I argue that this is where we actually exist; in the Platonic realm, or mental reality. Our “physical world” existence is a manifest, internal experience, the translation of Platonic values and forms into what we call “reality.” We all still have access to every possible thing, but unfortunately, via external-world theory and conditioning, our access to that essential nature of our existence, and so our capacity to interact fully with it, has been marginalized.

  61. 61
    ET says:

    JVL:

    So, you’re on the side that says mathematics is invented as opposed to those that think mathematics is discovered.

    No, I am not saying that. Clearly you have an inability to think.

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    VL & JVL, mathematics, insofar as it is a study, is a rational practice. Rationality, through and through, inescapably, is governed by first duties of reason as even your objections manifest. That is, rationality — including mathematical rationality — is morally governed. Insofar as we address the substance of logic, structure and quantity tied to being and to possible worlds, a core of mathematics is framework to any world that is possible of existence. That core is about necessary (and so, eternal) being. Further to the moral government of mathematical reason and other foci for reason through first duties, those are moral premises, oughts. Hume long ago showed that is and ought only can find unification in the root of reality, and so we face the is-ought gap as an issue of world coherence. The only serious candidates to fill such a bill must be utterly wise and inherently good, on pain of euthyphro type incoherence. I note too, that computational substrates are inherently about mechanical necessity or chance, they are incapable of grounding responsible rational freedom; a requisite of mathematics and other domains of reason. We can sketch the outline, necessary, eternal being capable of being source-sustainer of worlds, inherently good and utterly wise. A familiar figure looms. KF

  63. 63
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, I have repeatedly acknowledged our duties to reason. As I have said, though, I don’t accept your jump from there is “utterly wise” and especially an “inherently good” being. You say further to our duties to reason there are moral premises, but I don’t see that as necessarily true.

    I can tell you that it is not necessary for you to respond, as I have read thousands of (mostly repetitive) words from you on this subject. I just want to register a dissent from your worldview.

  64. 64
    JVL says:

    ET: No, I am not saying that. Clearly you have an inability to think.

    Why don’t you state clearly, succinctly and unambiguously what your position is then?

  65. 65
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: That is, rationality — including mathematical rationality — is morally governed.

    That is not correct. Mathematics has nothing to do with morality.

    Insofar as we address the substance of logic, structure and quantity tied to being and to possible worlds, a core of mathematics is framework to any world that is possible of existence.

    Mathematics is not an indication of possible worlds. Mathematics tells you, based on the models you pick, how possible worlds might interact or behave but it doesn’t give you them.

    That core is about necessary (and so, eternal) being. Further to the moral government of mathematical reason and other foci for reason through first duties, those are moral premises, oughts. Hume long ago showed that is and ought only can find unification in the root of reality, and so we face the is-ought gap as an issue of world coherence. The only serious candidates to fill such a bill must be utterly wise and inherently good, on pain of euthyphro type incoherence.

    Math has nothing to do with morality and your doubling and tripling down on the idea that it does just makes you look like someone exhibiting motivated reasoning. Math has nothing to do with theology.

    I note too, that computational substrates are inherently about mechanical necessity or chance, they are incapable of grounding responsible rational freedom; a requisite of mathematics and other domains of reason.

    That’s all just rubbish. Math has nothing to do with freedom or any human considerations. You need to stop trying to twist everything to your world view.

    We can sketch the outline, necessary, eternal being capable of being source-sustainer of worlds, inherently good and utterly wise. A familiar figure looms.

    Nothing to do with mathematics. No thing.

  66. 66
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Why don’t you state clearly, succinctly and unambiguously what your position is then?

    I have. That you cannot understand it is on you.

  67. 67
    ET says:

    How does JVL know that mathematics doesn’t have nothing to do with morality?

  68. 68
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, it is not a jump, the reference to Hume’s so-called guillotine argument on reasoning is-is then suddenly OUGHT . . . shows the issue of coherence and the only locus of that bridge. Only if is and ought are fused at root is there coherence. Where, the issue is that freedom, a requisite of reason [as opposed to blind computation] inevitably leads to the gap between is and ought. Once that is on the table, it implies mathematics as a rational activity is morally governed. The worldview level options for a reality root capable of sustaining morally governed rationality then point to characterising the root: an IS that is necessary (so, eternal), capable of being source-sustainer of worlds [root], inherently good in itself which also entails utterly wise as a major component of effective goodness — no demiurges doing a half-baked job need apply. Such goodness is also inherently rational and in key parts intelligible to us. More can be said but I do not want to try writing a thesis bit by bit. KF

  69. 69
    Viola Lee says:

    We’ve been over all that, and I bet I’ve read more or less the same a couple dozen times. However, you gaveled discussing an example (divorce is what was suggested) of this theory put to use as off-topic in the thread.

    But your philosophical thesis doesn’t address the central question: can two people fully committed to the duties of right reason reach different conclusions on a moral issue (for instance, whether it is OK for two people to get divorced because they don’t want to be married to each other any more) without one position being right and all the other positions wrong?

    What say you to that general question? Do all moral issues, taking a full implementation of the duties of right reason into account, have a right position, and all others wrong?

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL,

    Let’s pick up:

    Kairosfocus: That is, rationality — including mathematical rationality — is morally governed.

    [JVL:] That is not correct [–> appeal to duty to truth, right reason and warrant, so to prudence]. Mathematics has nothing to do with morality [–> appeal to truth etc].

    I highlighted the way in which your objections themselves show how the first duties of reason are inescapable. Observe my comment: mathematics, insofar as it is a study, is a rational practice. Rationality, through and through, inescapably, is governed by first duties of reason as even your objections manifest. That is, rationality — including mathematical rationality — is morally governed.

    Disregard for such would reduce any rational endeavour to chaos, deception, manipulation. Mathematics, not excepted. The case of lying with statistics and that of creative accounting should at least help us to see how.

    As to a core of mathematics being part of the framework of any possible world, I explored that here, which you have been referred to previously. It turns out to be key to the universality, general applicability and analytical power of mathematics.

    Further to this, despite your sharp dismissiveness rationality requires freedom, e.g. the power to freely choose to accept a logical chain and to judge when a conclusion is or is not warranted. Otherwise, we are locked into some deep level of programming, organisation of computational substrates and/or chance. This would utterly undermine credibility of reasoning claims and knowledge claims. Perhaps, you may recall Haldane:

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

    That is not trying to twist things to fit my particular worldview — yet another rather sharpish accusation without good warrant — it is pointing out that to be free to be rational, including on mathematics, we must be free by nature. Such freedom of course brings with it the issue of morally freighted choice so too duty. Especially, first duties of reason.

    Which, as was just pointed out, even in objecting, you were unable to escape.

    And more, but I think this is enough for a reasonable evaluation on merits in a blog context.

    KF

  71. 71
    JVL says:

    ET: I have. That you cannot understand it is on you.

    If you’re happy that your position is ambiguous I guess I can live with that.

    How does JVL know that mathematics doesn’t have nothing to do with morality?

    “doesn’t have nothing” . . . Well, why don’t you show me how math and morality affect each other then?

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    The topic then on the table had enough polarised loading all to itself.

    Unfortunately, as I said in 1976 as a 15 year old 5th former, I smell a Reichstag burning.

    Again.

    45+ years later that homeland has not recovered, I am an exile for cause and many are still in denial. Younger generations seem to be hardly aware of what a popular PM did in Parliament that June, and where it led, both over the next four years and ever since. I hope you appreciate some of why I am concerned when I see much the same dynamics playing out in the leading maritime power that stabilises the world.

    As for divorce, it is far afield from Mathematics, but I suppose News will allow me to indulge a bit of natural law reasoning, through a Dominical example. Where, natural law is about core matters coeval with our humanity and as such will have universal jurisdiction. You can set up things under colour of law contrary to such, but they will only lead to needless chaos:

    Matt 19:19 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

    3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him [–> hoping to discredit] by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” [–> a current debate, with she burns my dinner as a test example]

    4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, [–> coeval with humanity in two complementary sexes] 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?[–> unity, respecting naturally evident creation order] 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” [–> Mal 2:16, I hate divorce.]

    7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command [–> note, word choice, for clever casuistry] one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?”

    8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart [–> moral government diagnosis, defective conscience, but noting that there are compromises to be made with society at a given stage, with amelioration, but this is nowhere near a good option. Many other cases are parallel down to today] Moses allowed you [–> notice word focus] to divorce your wives [–> and provided for some protection, e.g. a duly made certificate, likely after some hearing] , but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”[a] [–> not in letter of law sense but moral sense, the changing for a newer shinier trophy model game is objected to. So much for the mid-life itch]

    10 The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” [–> they too were tainted] 11 But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. [–> he acknowledges that virtue goes beyond what can be written in civil law]

    More can be raised but the basic outline is clear enough. Neighbour love, fairness and justice informed by the nature of marriage lead to a policy that has to reckon with where society is, so ameliorative regulation of evils looking to their minimisation is there. But an evil is an evil.

    Coming back to Mathematics and its connexion to logic of being and possible worlds, let me clip from my OP on first duties, bearing in mind the paper I linked to in my response to JVL:

    The case of Mathematics is central.

    Mathematics, being best understood as [The study of] the logic of structure and quantity, where certain core intelligible mathematical facts are framework to any possible world (= a sufficiently complete chain of propositions describing a possible state of affairs), and lead to a programme of analysis and elaboration of logic-model worlds that may then apply to relevant situations of interest. For example, per von Neumann:

    {} –> 0
    {0} –> 1
    {0,1} –> 2
    . . . .
    {0,1,2 . . .) –> w, omega

    From reflecting on the principle of distinct identity, we see that for a world W to be distinct from some arbitrarily close neighbour W’, we have some A in W that is not in W’, so

    W = {A|~A} and also W = {A|W’}, thence,

    we see the partition | is empty, manifesting nullity.

    A is a simple and ~A = W’ is a complex, unity.

    With distinct unities, we find duality, and already we see that von Neumann’s framework applies to any distinct world.

    It is truly universal, i.e. we find the natural counting numbers, N as an abstract structure necessarily present in and framework to any possible world.

    From N, we can define additive inverses so for n in N, -n is such that n + (-n) = 0, i.e. we have that vector set where elements have both size and direction in an abstract space, the integers Z. Taking ratios, we have the rationals, Q. Reals bring in transfinite converging sums of rationals without repeating cycles when displayed in place value form, R. From that we go in a second orthogonal spatial direction, to C, using the j* rotating operator: j*x for all x in R defines the imaginary axis by anticlockwise rotation through one right angle and j*j* x is – x so we see j is sqrt – 1.

    Beyond we define the hyperreals R* on the reals R being mileposted by N. H = 1/h, where h is smaller than 1/n for any finite n in N, where for any k in N the von Neumann succession continues k+1, k+2 etc, i.e. we cannot exhaust N stepwise. From this h is an infinitesimal hyperreal near 0; H is a transfinite integer hyperreal and we see a connected domain from zero and N,Z,Q,R to the hyper-domain R* such that any r in R may be surrounded by an infinitesimally altered cloud of form r + h, *r*, in effect vector shifting and adding the cloud *0* to r. (This allows us to use Robinson’s tamed infinitesimals and Model Theory etc to view Calculus as an extension of algebra.)

    Notice, we have nowhere specified a particular individual world, this holds for any distinct world, for all possible worlds. It is reality-universal and possibility-universal. That is, a core domain of numbers, associated relationships and operations is a body of abstracta framework for any possible world, physical or imaginary. Hence, immediately, some of the universal power of both mathematics and logic. Hence too, we can recognise a category of beings, necessary, world framework entities; abstracta that constrain what is possible, by laying out constraints on possible being.

    I believe that should make the basic point on math clear enough.

    Other things stem from pondering, what sort of source can adequately explain a world in which there are creatures with enough rational freedom to do mathematics. Given where freedom points: the power of choice and the resulting is-ought gap.

    KF

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, morality governs mathematics because mathematics is a rational activity. The first duties of reason govern rational behaviour. Duties to truth, right reason and to prudence expressed in sound warrant are particularly manifest. The academic crime of plagiarism is about stealing. And much more. KF

  74. 74
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: Observe my comment: mathematics, insofar as it is a study, is a rational practice. Rationality, through and through, inescapably, is governed by first duties of reason as even your objections manifest. That is, rationality — including mathematical rationality — is morally governed.

    Mathematics is a rational activity, of course. But it does not ground morals which are not universal or invariant. They change, mathematics does not.

    Disregard for such would reduce any rational endeavour to chaos, deception, manipulation. Mathematics, not excepted. The case of lying with statistics and that of creative accounting should at least help us to see how.

    Only people who are unaware of the subtleties of statistic get taken in by half-truths and shading. Statistics, in and of themselves, don’t lie if they are mathematically correct. People lie, math does not.

    That is not trying to twist things to fit my particular worldview — yet another rather sharpish accusation without good warrant — it is pointing out that to be free to be rational, including on mathematics, we must be free by nature. Such freedom of course brings with it the issue of morally freighted choice so too duty. Especially, first duties of reason.

    Mathematics isn’t true or false depending on your morality or cause or warrant or any such thing. You are trying too hard to bend everything to your world view and it’s not working.

    And there is a bigger issue, most easily seen with mathematics: truth is truth. You can’t bend it to your stance. Gravity works no matter what your creed or view. The Laws of Thermodynamics are true regardless of how you vote or your moral standard. Quantum Mechanics works and is not dependent on your theology. None of those things care about your interpretation or your agendas.

    If you want to believe in an ultimate supreme loving being that’s fine with me. But trying to bend scientific and mathematical truths to be in support of your desires is not valid. It denigrates the science and your faith. Why can’t you just accept that you believe because it’s part of your personal experience and leave science and mathematics out of the discussion? God does not exist because e^(I*pi) = -1. And I find it hard to believe that God designed mathematics so that that particular identity would come up so some people would then say: wow, clearly someone designed that. You cherry pick one particularly lovely mathematical truth and claim the whole system was designed. What about Zorn’s lemma? What about the Prime Number Theorem? What about the Mean Value Theorem? What about Zeno’s Paradox? Or the Goldbach Conjecture? Or Fermat’s Last Theorem? Or The Four Colour Problem? Or the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic? Do they all point to some benevolent and loving God who somehow managed to design a system of mathematics which most people don’t understand and many dread learning to prove he exists? Really?

    Rainbows are lovely. Eclipses are sublime. Euler’s identity is beautiful. But most of the world and science and math is dirty, messy, complicated and hard to understand. Just like you would expect if there was no direction and no purpose. Most scientists and mathematicians do what they do because they try really, really hard to find that unifying principle, that underlying structure, that simple summation which explains some seemingly chaotic situation. And those are hard to find because the systems are NOT designed to be discernible. They are what they are. They don’t care about us. If we disappeared they would continue to be true.

    Other things stem from pondering, what sort of source can adequately explain a world in which there are creatures with enough rational freedom to do mathematics. Given where freedom points: the power of choice and the resulting is-ought gap.

    How about an environment where being able to do basic calculations and mathematical estimates gives a survival advantage?

    morality governs mathematics because mathematics is a rational activity.

    Nope. Maths is not related to morality at all. Get over it. The most hated and dangerous dictator can be morally bankrupt but if they have a valid mathematical proof then it stands.

  75. 75
    Viola Lee says:

    Re 72: what a non-answer. Why oh why do I try to have such conversations! 🙁

  76. 76
    JVL says:

    Viola Lee: Re 72: what a non-answer. Why oh why do I try to have such conversations!

    The funny thing is: no one here who supports his views understands his answers either! They just agree because they should. It’s all just magic and hand-waving. But it must be true because someone who also believes in God says it’s so.

  77. 77
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL,

    I pick up for now:

    >>Mathematics is a rational activity, of course.>>

    Therefore, inescapably, it is governed by first duties of reason. As already explained.

    >>But it does not ground morals>>

    Strawman.

    >> which are not universal or invariant.>>

    First duties of reason are self-evident, inescapable and antecedent to argument. They are universal and invariant.

    >> They change, mathematics does not.>>

    Again, false. And the reason Mathematical core realities do not change is that they are framework to all possible worlds.

    Once reasoning creatures exist, the first duties of reason obtain.

    KF

  78. 78
    Steve Alten2 says:

    I’m confused. Is Pi evil? Is the square root of three morally acceptable? Should calculus repent of its sins? And what about the perverse abomination of algebra? I am beginning to think that mathematics is a moral quagmire. 🙂

  79. 79
    kairosfocus says:

    SA2, as you full well know, the thinking and reasoning that studies the logic of structure and quantity — mathematics — is an exercise in rationality. Rationality inevitably, inescapably involves first duties. Duties to truth, to right reason and to prudence (so, to warrant) are particularly relevant in this case. Do not omit due weights and measures as directly connected. There is a saying of notorious relevance in statistics and accounting, that figures don’t lie but liars can figure. KF

  80. 80
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: Strawman.

    No, it’s not. You have not shown how the practice of mathematics is a moral endeavour except to assert it because of rationality and ‘right reason’. You can’t come up with any other argument than that and you keep repeating the same thing over and over and over again.

    We all agree that ‘doing’ mathematics takes thought and a rational, logical frame of mind. But that does not lead to any kind of moral stance or statement because mathematics has nothing to do with that.

    As you said: figures don’t lie but liars can figure which just point out that the moral issues have nothing to do with the mathematics.

    Anyway, since you clearly think you HAVE to be correct and everyone else is wrong I’ll stop talking about it. But I would like to point out that this is another case of you being elitist in your opinion, i.e. you won’t even consider someone else’s point of view because you’re right and they’re wrong according to you by definition.

  81. 81
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL,

    refusal to acknowledge on your part that all rational activities (so, mathematical ones too) inescapably fall under and appeal to first duties of reason does not constitute want of warrant on my part.

    Nor, does it shift the already shown balance on merits.

    Let me clip your opening remarks, to again illustrate the point that you are trying to dismiss. This illustrates how even the act of attempted objection cannot escape the appeal/acknowledgement:

    No, it’s not.

    [–> failed appeal to duty to truth and to warrant per principles of right reason (so, to duty to prudence as well as to right reason)]

    You have not shown

    [–> failed appeal to duties of warrant (so, prudence) and right reason]

    how the practice of mathematics is a moral endeavour except to assert it

    [–> failed appeal to warrant (so, prudence) and first duties of reason, claim of question begging i.e. appeal to right reason, when the warrant is in precisely the inescapability]

    because of rationality and ‘right reason’.

    [–> strawman fallacy, ducking the issue of inescapability, a failed appeal to right reason]

    You can’t come up with any other argument than that

    [–> strawman fallacy again]

    and you keep repeating the same thing over and over and over again

    [–> strawman fallacy again, also projection of question-begging . . . unacknowledged appeals by you to known duty of warrant [so, duty to prudence], thus duty to right reason and duty to truth].

    See the point?

    Your objections are utterly unable to set the first duties of reason aside and having set such aside, achieve traction as arguments. You yet again illustrate that arguments and reasoning are inescapably governed by first duties of reason. Thus, instead, you need to acknowledge the inescapability and what that brings out.

    I have pointed out that even in attempting to object, dismiss, deny or sidestep, the objector is forced to appeal to the first duties of reason. That sort of inescapability is precisely the mark of a self-evident first truth.

    If you insist on repeating a false claim of want of warrant — which appeals to duties to truth, to right reason and to prudence in the form of warrant — then I cannot but point out the same reason why these fail. And from step one it has been pointed out that the issue is inescapability so inescapable first truth which is self evident.

    Refusal to acknowledge simply shows that you are unwilling to accept what you cannot escape. As I just showed again.

    On self-evidence, the immediate absurdity of unavoidably appealing to what you would deny should be clear.

    Mathematics is a rational activity. All — all — rational activities inescapably appeal to first duties of reason. So, mathematical activities appeal to first duties of reason.

    Especially, to truth, to right reason [core logic] and to prudence [to warrant]. The fact that liars can figure shows the moral choice involved in mathematically grounded acts and the duty of just weights and measures surely is a manifestation of duty to fairnes and justice, applicable to core structures and quantities themselves.

    I remind of a classic sub-case, Epictetus on logic:

    DISCOURSES
    CHAPTER XXV

    How is logic necessary?

    When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. Cf J. C. Wright]

    KF

  82. 82
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: No, I do not have to be correct, but on this I happen to be so. I have pointed out what should be an uncontroversial readily confirmed observation, which does turn out to have powerful import. Ponder textbooks on logic or on mathematics proof techniques and foundations of math. Such are inert, they have no power to compel attention or motivate diligence. And yet, responsible thinkers and practitioners of the study of the logic of structure and quantity do exert diligence and do feel it important to get things right, logically and factually, with reliable means of verifying that such is so. This is in the end because we find ourselves inescapably under the power of the first duties of reason. When we appeal to one another, this is the implicit premise in our discussion. Even as your attempted objections show again and again.

  83. 83
    kairosfocus says:

    SA2,

    As a further exercise in showing the implicit appeals to first duties of reason — to truth, to right reason [core logic etc], to prudence [so, warrant etc], to sound conscience, to neighbour, to fairness and justice, etc:

    >>I’m confused.>>

    – implicit appeal to principle of distinct identity and correlates, i.e. to right reason

    >> Is Pi evil? Is the square root of three morally acceptable?>>

    – same, again

    – pi and root-3 of course should be justly obtained and reported, which is also duty to truth and prudence as well as right reason

    – the loaded question begs the main question, that mathematics is a rational activity and so is bound by first duties of reason

    >> Should calculus repent of its sins?>>

    – the founders needed to, if you know the quarrel; the locus of responsibility to duty is the reasoners

    >>And what about the perverse abomination of algebra?>>

    – I am tempted to suggest that authors of most algebra textbooks need to spend extra time in purgatory for sins against sound education [on Catholic views], but I will be charitable

    – again, the developers of algebra, its authors, teachers and practitioners are the ones bearing the duties. A page from an Algebra text is inert, it is the rational agent who has sufficient freedom to chose who then finds a duty to choose aright.

    >>I am beginning to think that mathematics is a moral quagmire.>>

    – have you sat in a typical faculty lounge recently?

    KF

  84. 84
    ET says:

    JVL:

    If you’re happy that your position is ambiguous …

    It makes me happy that you think my position is ambiguous. It proves that you don’t have a clue and are incapable of follow along.

  85. 85
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Well, why don’t you show me how math and morality affect each other then?

    YOU made a claim. It is up to YOU to support it. Duh.

  86. 86
    JVL says:

    ET: YOU made a claim. It is up to YOU to support it. Duh.

    Really? What claim was that? Kairosfocus is the one who thinks mathematics and morality are linked and I was asking him to elucidate that.

  87. 87
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, no, you made several claims, and indeed the norm you just appealed to is another appeal to first duties, that claims should be warranted. Again, truth, right reason, prudence. A further example of the inescapability of the first duties of reason. KF

  88. 88
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: no, you made several claims, and indeed the norm you just appealed to is another appeal to first duties, that claims should be warranted. Again, truth, right reason, prudence. A further example of the inescapability of the first duties of reason.

    Sigh. If I claim to have a proof for a mathematical conjecture (thereby turning it into a theorem) I have to exhibit correcting reasoning to establish the truth. Nothing to do with morals at all. Why you keep insisting it does is bizarre and clearly unfounded based on a multitude of examples, i.e. any theorem you can think of. Not a single theorem has anything to say about morals, is not dependent on morals to be true, does not affect or influence moral behaviour, etc.

    You’ll just repeat the same thing you’ve been saying for weeks and weeks. You can’t actually address the question of how EXACTLY mathematics and morals are connected. ‘Right’ reasoning is not the answer because you are already lacing that statement with a moral stance. You have to go back to the beginnings of mathematics and show that learning how to add 2 + 2 was a moral exercise. No ‘first duties’, no prudence, no claims; just draw the link between arithmetic and morals.

  89. 89
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL,

    I will again highlight how, yet again, your intended objection — as is true of any reasoning — inescapably depends for its force on first duties to reason:

    >> If I claim to have a proof>>

    – why a proof, a particular type of warrant? Ans, because we are prone to error so we seek reliable confirmation of accuracy and derivation from axiomatic start points taken as true.

    – this appeals to duties to right reason, truth and prudence. Unsurprising as mathematical reasoning is reasoning.

    – the root claim is not on mathematics but on reasoning, which then embraces mathematics as a form of reasoning.

    – ask yourself, why should anyone pay slightest heed to a supposed proof? Ans, because of said duties.

    >> for a mathematical conjecture (thereby turning it into a theorem) I have to>>

    – Do you see, have to language? That’s a clue.

    – why is it important for conjectures to be confirmed? Ans, the same duties.

    >> exhibit correcting reasoning to establish the truth.>>

    – do you notice the duties poking through here: “establish the truth” “correcting reasoning”

    >>Nothing to do with morals at all. >>

    – err, nope, the duties are there

    – even this failed conclusion is an appeal to right reason, truth and warrant thus prudence.

    – and BTW, that is the point of my observation and recognition all along: even attempts to deny, object, dismiss etc end up inescapably appealing to said first duties of reason.

    >>Why you keep insisting it does is bizarre>>

    – attempted dismissal, but it only manages to be a failed appeal to said duties. You are actually projecting the absurdity to the other.

    >> and clearly unfounded>>

    – why does something need to be founded, but that per duties of prudence in a world of error we find ourselves duty-bound to warrant claims as reliable via appeal to duty to right reason and to truth?

    >>based on>>

    – appeal to right reason, to warrant (so prudence) and truth

    >> a multitude of examples>>

    – failed, attempted disproof by counter-example, tracing to the implication logic, a principle of right reason

    The point is, yet again, shown.

    A self-evident truth is not proved but recognised.

    First, based on sufficient experience and maturity, we understand it, and see that it is so, is necessarily so and is such on pain of immediate patent absurdity on attempted denial.

    Not, that we go through a chain of warrant to conclude but that the absurdity is instant.

    That is why such are start points.

    We saw that with Epictetus in Discourses, when someone challenged the validity of logic. That is a subset. Further to all of this on reflection we will see how we do feel an inner witness drawing us to truth, right reason, prudence [including warrant and much more], all reflecting duty to sound conscience. Of course, such could be delusional, after all that error exists is patent fact and is in fact self evident. We find the urge to avoid error, to accurately describe reality and to show good grounds that we are so doing, the duties are calling out to us in the song of the heart. But moreso, were we to deny these, we would be in absurdity.

    This is the context of the observation that the objector finds her-/him-self inextricably entangled in these duties. Why object, why not you do your thing, I do mine it does not matter. Because, the said duties are at work in the very fabric of the objection. It is not a mere trick of language and if one were clever enough one could phrase an objection to the truth claim that does not appeal to duties to truth, right reason etc.

    That is, we see inescapable duties, inescapable truths, self-evident truths.

    Not, proved from axioms but prior to even axioms. We construct axioms and we state principles of reason using a fabric pervaded with these duties. To try to prove them, we must use them. To try to deny them, again, we cannot escape using them. They are primitives of rationality antecedent to warranting exercises.

    This points to the underlying issue, it seems bizarre because it is on the other side of a paradigm shift.

    The link is not directly Arithmetic to morals, though just arithmetic and a just system of quantities is part of just weights and measures. No, it is that arithmetical reasoning is a sub-species of reasoning. It is reasoning, in general, in toto, that is governed by first duties of reason.

    Which has been the argument of invitation to recognise what we so easily overlook, from the beginning.

    Strange, yes, seemingly bizarre yes, absurd no. It is the attempted denial that will inevitably show the absurdity.

    KF

  90. 90
    Viola Lee says:

    Hi JVL. KF seems incapable of understanding that no one is questioning the use of right reason. He is very much a Don Quixote, tilting at imaginary enemies and not seeing the reality of the issues that he is not addressing.

  91. 91
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, sorry, I am not suggesting that someone here questions use of right reason. I am pointing out that we find ourselves duty-bound to right reason and linked duties. So much so, that the attempt to deny that duty boundedness is itself an implicit appeal to said duties. Thus, the duties are inescapable, inescapably true and self-evident. KF

  92. 92
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, we accept that! You don’t need to repeat it again.

  93. 93
    Viola Lee says:

    What you don’t address is how human beings ares to use those to reach various judgments about real-world situations, and how people who are equally committed to those duties can reach different conclusions, and how we are to live well in a world where people do reach conclusions.

  94. 94
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, that we can and do use canons of logic and warrant routinely is not at issue [see Copi’s textbook for a good first reference), what this is about is where they take force from, and recognition of the nature of such first duties; they are oughts, they are self-evident, they are pervasive, they call us to training and development of sound judgement etc. Insofar as on another focus, they shape the core of lawful government, they are guidestars for much needed reform of current praxis of law and government to restore sounder approaches that for example will check the Jacobins. KF

    PS: Judging by some of the above, not everyone recognises that first duties apply to all rational action, including how we compose and respond to mathematical arguments.

  95. 95
    Viola Lee says:

    Forget it, I say to myself.

  96. 96
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: why a proof, a particular type of warrant? Ans, because we are prone to error so we seek reliable confirmation of accuracy and derivation from axiomatic start points taken as true.

    That is not correct. Theorems are true because they have been proven to be true and unless you can find fault with the proof then they stay true forever and always. It’s not a matter of warrant or point of view. I don’t think you really understand how mathematicians think.

    the root claim is not on mathematics but on reasoning, which then embraces mathematics as a form of reasoning.

    No, the root claim is on mathematics. For example: a common method of proof in mathematics is proof by contradiction. I doubt there are many real-world situations where that method is even applicable. I can’t think of one time in my life I reasoned my way through a situation based on that process. The style of reasoning is partly based on the subject at hand, mathematics.

    ask yourself, why should anyone pay slightest heed to a supposed proof? Ans, because of said duties.

    You really don’t understand how mathematics works. I took several courses taught by a modified Moore method: the professor would give us a series of statements which we had to either prove or find a contradiction for. The propositions were cumulative over a year meaning that something we proved in September was still true, still applicable and still useable in May. The whole point of the course was to consider possible proofs, figure out if they were true or not and then establish our decisions. No morals, no dictated behaviour, any and all approaches and methods were allowed and anything we did that did not pass muster could be shot down by other members of the course or our instructor. No where, never, did anything outside of the pure mathematics matter at all. The only time I can remember anyone saying anything about morals or behaviour was when we were told we had to have a kind of killer instinct for things; go for the kill, take your best shot.

    Do you see, have to language? That’s a clue. why is it important for conjectures to be confirmed? Ans, the same duties.

    No, no, no! That’s how mathematics works! You throw out an idea, you try and show it true, other people look at your work, see if there are any obvious faults or flaws, etc. No morals, no social issues, just the math.

    do you notice the duties poking through here: “establish the truth” “correcting reasoning”

    In a Mathematical sense! Not in a moral or societal or any other sense.

    and BTW, that is the point of my observation and recognition all along: even attempts to deny, object, dismiss etc end up inescapably appealing to said first duties of reason.

    No, either your math is correct or it isn’t. That’s the only criteria. You clearly have never actually taken higher level math courses, had to take a shot at proving an unknown conjecture in a room full of peers, lived with the times when you got it wrong, enjoyed getting it right. No morals, no philosophy, no societal standards or mores, none of that. That’s the beauty of mathematics. It’s free from all of that.

    why does something need to be founded, but that per duties of prudence in a world of error we find ourselves duty-bound to warrant claims as reliable via appeal to duty to right reason and to truth?

    Again, clearly you haven’t taken a ‘proof’ class where you learn to speak mathematics.

    A self-evident truth is not proved but recognised.

    There are no self-evident truths in mathematics. Only axioms, conjectures, lemmas, corollaries and theorems.

    First, based on sufficient experience and maturity, we understand it, and see that it is so, is necessarily so and is such on pain of immediate patent absurdity on attempted denial.

    This is the crux of the matter: nothing in mathematics is given or accepted without scrutiny. That’s the part I think you don’t understand and why mathematics is different. And besides, some of your necessary truths are not universally accepted and we’ve been trying to get you to address that issue for weeks but you refuse to consider that your most deeply held beliefs are just that, beliefs. That other intelligent and rational and reasonable people can and do disagree with you.

    The link is not directly Arithmetic to morals, though just arithmetic and a just system of quantities is part of just weights and measures. No, it is that arithmetical reasoning is a sub-species of reasoning. It is reasoning, in general, in toto, that is governed by first duties of reason.

    That’s just you trying to shoe-horn math into your moral world view. It doesn’t work that way, it never has. Euclid’s work stands above his social and moral and historical situation. It’s independent of those things. They have no hold on the math.

    Strange, yes, seemingly bizarre yes, absurd no. It is the attempted denial that will inevitably show the absurdity.

    Your continued attempts to harness mathematics for your own ends is absurd.

    I do not understand why some folks who are clearly much less experienced in a very specialise field try to insist their interpretation of the work in that field serves some purpose that they are interested in promoting. You cannot, you must not, impose your view on something which you have much less experience of than others who are telling you that you are mistaken. What kind of hubris, what kind of elitism drives someone to do that? The utter and complete conviction that they are right? In which case they stop listening to what others have to say and just keep insisting that they are correct and those with years of academic and other experience don’t understand.

    Why don’t you start listening for once instead of dictating and dismissing? Because you cannot possibly accept that you might be incorrect?

    You are not going to change. You are not going to give an inch. You’ve already decided and the theatre of a conversation or discussion or debate is just theatre, a comedy, maybe a tragedy. But nothing you will ever take seriously. And you wonder why people find it hard to take you seriously about some of your beliefs? You don’t take them seriously, you dismiss them over and over and over again because, in your mind, you know you are right so they must be wrong. Must be.

  97. 97
    JVL says:

    Viola Lee: Forget it, I say to myself.

    If you keep repeating it you might believe it one day!

  98. 98
    Viola Lee says:

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  99. 99
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL,

    Let’s see, just your first sentence:

    >>That is not correct.>>

    – appeal to duty to truth, and also to warrant thus both prudence and right reason, right from your opening words

    – the objection pivots on what it objects to

    – I note on the way that these duties are coeval with creatures having sufficient freedom to be rational, posing the is-ought challenge.

    >>Theorems are true because they have been proven to be true>>

    – appeal to duty to truth and to warrant, again

    >>and unless you can find fault with the proof>>

    – appeal to duty to right reason

    >>then they stay true forever and always. >>

    – appeal to duty to truth and to right reason cumulative to sound warrant, thus prudence

    The inescapability shines through in the objection itself.

    KF

  100. 100
    JVL says:

    Viola Lee: Thanks for the encouragement.

    Love you really!!

    It’s an odd thing . . . I consider myself a skeptic in that I think all ideas should be scrutinised strongly, especially if they run counter to well understood and well established knowledge. And I do try and spend time listening to those whose views differ from mine. I’m interested in trying to find some common ground, some central place where conflicting views can be discussed and examined and compared. And I think that when it comes to making social and ethical decisions some compromise is essential; no one will get everything they want but if we try a bit we all might get enough to form a cohesive and strong centre.

    When I first came to Uncommon Descent I thought it would be good for me to try and understand what people who I disagreed with were saying and thinking so that we could work towards a workable consensus, an agreement to work on the problems we all recognise in a way that we could all support. I know I’m probably sounding a lot like President Biden in his confirmation speech but, like him, I guess I’m a child of the 60s: let’s talk things out, let’s be honest and straight, let’s work together.

    Sadly, after quite a long time trying to get to that point it seems that, for some, it’s just not going to happen. Some people are so sure they are right, are so convinced they know ‘the truth’ that there’s no discussion or debate possible. I didn’t want to believe that because it’s such an irrational call IF one is really interested in working together to solve problems. This forum is not the place for compromise or giving ground.

    I should forget it as well. I don’t know why I continue to try and gain even minor concessions. It never happens. No one in charge here wants it to happen. They know they are right and the rest of us can pound sand.

    Thank you for being a dissenting voice whose posts have been insightful, intelligent, smart and ones I very much look forward to. You done good. Very good. I’m sorry it didn’t make any difference. Except to me.

  101. 101
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus:

    I have nothing more to say to you about mathematics and morals. Clearly you have not experienced higher level mathematical education because if you had you would not say the things you do. The fact that you still want to tell those of us who have had that experience what we should and should not think speaks volumes about your preconceived notions and biases.

    Math is not a spectator sport. Sitting on the sidelines or watching the game on the telly is not really understanding what is going on. Until you can put on the cletes and the pads and take your place on the field you are just a pretender, a spectator. And spectators never get to determine the score. Players do. When you’re ready and able to get on the field and play the game then you get to influence the outcome. Until then . . .

    If you want to test your mettle then tell us what steps you would take when approaching something like the Goldbach Conjecture. What is step one when dealing with that topic?

  102. 102
    Viola Lee says:

    Thank, JVL. I think letting these folks talk among themselves as much as possible is probably for the best. I get addicted, so it’s my own problem if I can’t quit. We’ll see – sometimes math topics come up that are interesting to me, but I they haven’t really led to good discussions, either.

  103. 103
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL (& attn VL), you are now projecting and personalising distractively. The difference is not in the Math, it is in what mathematical reasoning as a case of reasoning is governed by. An obvious thing is that we should believe things as true for good reason, i.e. on warrant, especially as we are prone to error. But, should already points to duties, here to truth, then to warrant so to both right reason and prudence. Right reason, of course, is a longstanding term for the body of knowledge and best practice on reasoning, involving logic, sound judgement, and pointing to discernment, judicious temperament etc. Where, these duties of reason are not shifting matters of preferences or emotions or social consensus, apparently a key part of a common, flawed conception of morality — such reductionism has long been shown to be incoherent (and yes, I am pointing to key duties of reason to dismiss a particular flawed theory on morals). We are here drawing out duties of reason coeval with there being rational creatures. Those duties are permanent, inescapable, inescapably true, self-evident. They pervade any rational context,. specifically including the practice of Mathematics. KF

    PS: A reminder — I have pointed this out before in your presence — on certain failed theories of morality:

    Excerpted chapter summary, on Subjectivism, Relativism, and Emotivism, in Doing Ethics 3rd Edn, by Lewis Vaughn, W W Norton, 2012. [Also see here and here.] Clipping:

    . . . Subjective relativism is the view that an action is morally right if one approves of it. A person’s approval makes the action right. This doctrine (as well as cultural relativism) is in stark contrast to moral objectivism, the view that some moral principles are valid for everyone.. Subjective relativism, though, has some troubling implications. It implies that each person is morally infallible and that individuals can never have a genuine moral disagreement

    Cultural relativism is the view that an action is morally right if one’s culture approves of it. The argument for this doctrine is based on the diversity of moral judgments among cultures: because people’s judgments about right and wrong differ from culture to culture, right and wrong must be relative to culture, and there are no objective moral principles. This argument is defective, however, because the diversity of moral views does not imply that morality is relative to cultures. In addition, the alleged diversity of basic moral standards among cultures may be only apparent, not real. Societies whose moral judgments conflict may be differing not over moral principles but over nonmoral facts.

    Some think that tolerance is entailed by cultural relativism. But there is no necessary connection between tolerance and the doctrine. Indeed, the cultural relativist cannot consistently advocate tolerance while maintaining his relativist standpoint. To advocate tolerance is to advocate an objective moral value. But if tolerance is an objective moral value, then cultural relativism must be false, because it says that there are no objective moral values.

    Like subjective relativism, cultural relativism has some disturbing consequences. It implies that cultures are morally infallible, that social reformers can never be morally right, that moral disagreements between individuals in the same culture amount to arguments over whether they disagree with their culture, that other cultures cannot be legitimately criticized, and that moral progress is impossible.

    Emotivism is the view that moral utterances are neither true nor false but are expressions of emotions or attitudes. It leads to the conclusion that people can disagree only in attitude, not in beliefs. People cannot disagree over the moral facts, because there are no moral facts. Emotivism also implies that presenting reasons in support of a moral utterance is a matter of offering nonmoral facts that can influence someone’s attitude. It seems that any nonmoral facts will do, as long as they affect attitudes. Perhaps the most far-reaching implication of emotivism is that nothing is actually good or bad. There simply are no properties of goodness and badness. There is only the expression of favorable or unfavorable emotions or attitudes toward something.

  104. 104
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: It is probably worth noting a classification by Clarke & Rakestraw, which will help us to clarify ethics and morality, two strongly overlapping terms, the second introduced in Latin by Cicero to render the first, a Greek term, but which now have subtle distinctions:

    Principles are broad general guidelines that all [responsible] persons ought to follow. Morality is the dimension of life related to right conduct. It includes virtuous character and honorable intentions as well as the decisions and actions that grow out of them. Ethics on the other hand, is the [philosophical and theological] study of morality . . . [that is,] a higher order discipline that examines moral living in all its facets . . . . on three levels. The first level, descriptive ethics, simply portrays moral actions or virtues. A second level, normative ethics (also called prescriptive ethics), examines the first level, evaluating actions or virtues as morally right or wrong. A third level, metaethics, analyses the second . . . It clarifies the meaning of ethical terms and assesses the principles of ethical argument . . . . Some think, without reflecting on it, that . . . what people actually do is the standard of what is morally right . . . [But, what] actually happens and what ought to happen are quite different . . . . A half century ago, defenders of positivism routinely argued that descriptive statements are meaningful, but prescriptive statements (including all moral claims) are meaningless . . . In other words, ethical claims give no information about the world; they only reveal something about the emotions of the speaker . . . . Yet ethical statements do seem to say something about the realities to which they point. “That’s unfair!” encourages us to attend to circumstances, events, actions, or relationships in the world. We look for a certain quality in the world (not just the speaker’s mind) that we could properly call unfair. [Readings in Christian Ethics, Vol. 1: Theory and Method. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2002), pp. 18 – 19.]

    Such of course leads into the IS-OUGHT gap, which as Hume highlighted can only be bridged at root of worlds. I take a further plunge:

    However we may define the good, however well we may calculate consequences, to whatever extent we may or may not desire certain consequences, none of this of itself implies any obligation of command. That something is or will be does not imply that we ought to seek it. We can never derive an “ought” from a premised “is” unless the ought is somehow already contained in the premise . . . . R. M. Hare . . . raises the same point. Most theories, he argues, simply fail to account for the ought that commands us: subjectivism reduces imperatives to statements about subjective states, egoism and utilitarianism reduce them to statements about consequences, emotivism simply rejects them because they are not empirically verifiable, and determinism reduces them to causes rather than commands . . . .

    Elizabeth Anscombe’s point is well made. We have a problem introducing the ought into ethics unless, as she argues, we are morally obligated by law – not a socially imposed law, ultimately, but divine law . . . . This is precisely the problem with modern ethical theory in the West . . . it has lost the binding force of [truly rational, intelligible] divine commandments [–> rooted in a reality-source that is inherently good and utterly wise, a maximally great necessary being] . . . . If we admit that we all equally have the right to be treated as persons, then it follows that we have the duty to respect one another accordingly. Rights bring correlative duties: my rights . . . imply that you ought to respect these rights [–> 2/3 way towards seeing justice as due balance of rights, freedoms and duties]. [Ethics: Approaching Moral Decisions (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1984), pp. 70 – 72, 81.]

    This distantly reflects, Cicero on core of law:

    , On the Republic, Bk 3: {22.} [33] L . . . True law is right reason in agreement with nature , it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. [–> where, as already noted, the concept of God here involves the inherently good and utterly wise so that the principles are intelligible and rational, not arbitrary; notice, the first duties as repeatedly listed pervade reasoned argument inescapably, once we incline ourselves to look: to truth, to right reason, to prudence, to sound conscience, to neighbour, to fairness and justice [= due balance . . . ] etc ] Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment [–> coeval with rational, ensouled creaturehood] . . . . – Marcus Tullius Cicero

    These are broad, drawing out a richer understanding of morality and helping us to see how first duties can rise above one’s subjectivity or shifting sands of a place and time, as we here see root level principles coeval with our human nature as rational, responsible creatures. In which context, despite obvious discomfort, first duties of reason clearly extend to reason applied to [the study of] the logic of structure and quantity. A definition of Mathematics that clearly emphasises right reason as core to the subject. That underlies say an exploration of Wigner’s amazement on the pervasive utility of Mathematics and much more, including explorations on axiomatisations and limits of axiomatisation post Godel. Recognising due limits is of course part of the judicious use of reason.

    Recall, the pivot of my point is about self-evident first duties of reason, which apply to Mathematics, as a province of reason in action. Reason, is duty-bound, inherently, it is an aspect of the government of freedom, freedom implies choice and choice ought to be towards the good. But it cannot be forced, or it is no longer choice.

    What that points to at root of reality is an onward matter, it is not primary.

  105. 105

    JVL & VL,

    I have an analogy that I think may give you a better understanding of what KF has been saying and arguing in this and prior threads (like the one about civilization, moral duties, right reason. I think it will also be enlightening in terms of how what KF is saying relates to specific social and moral cases.

    Let’s say you’re an engineering firm contracted to design a skyscraper. The building must be designed using sound engineering principles translated into a design incorporating the proper materials that can withstand all of the physical stresses and tensions, such as gravity, wind, bearing the load of people. The engineering firm works with building management in order to provide the infrastructure necessary to sustain the community.

    Both teams – the engineers and the founding community planners – must work together to create not only a building that can stand the test of time, but also the infrastructure that can provide for a successful, thriving community. The engineers rely on their knowledge of math, materials, and physics to make sure the building can stand the test of time; but the community planners must rely on something as fundamental as the engineers knowledge to build a strong, successful community that endures the stresses, challenges and issues that are certain to arise.

    The engineers rely on physics/math. The community planners rely on morality and ethics. What lies behind all of that is: right reason. If either team doesn’t have the principle of right reason governing their design and planning, the project will most assuredly fail. The building and/or the community will fail.

    After the project is finished, people move in and the community begins. Let’s say that the people on the 3rd floor want to make structural changes to the building. The don’t like the high grade steel of the support beams; they want to cut them out and replace them with wood. Let’s say some other people, a group on the 15th floor, doesn’t like the community rules about marriage, gender, family and sex, and want to live by their own rules and preferences.

    Would you feel comfortable with allowing non-engineers and non-mathematicians negotiate for changes in the design, materials and structure of the building? Probably not. You might think that the physical building and the community housing it are two entirely different things, but they are not. Remember the building and infrastructure was designed to serve the needs of a particular kind of community, not any and every community.

    In #100 above you said you’re interested in negotiating compromises with people in terms of the rules and expectations and future of the community. A successful community requires moral, ethical and behavioral expectations and rules, a fundamental common goal, a social contract, laws, etc. What KF is arguing is that unless people begin with right reason, they cannot hope to find successful moral and ethical principles that can create and maintain a successful community.

    You wouldn’t begin to argue with mathematicians and engineers about what it takes to support the building, yet you somehow think you’re qualified to argue about what can be put into or taken away from the rules of the community successfully. Why is that? Are you educated in moral philosophy, history, ethics, human behavior, logic and psychology? What are the foundational moral and ethical principles that guide your negotiations?

    Let’s take this to specific instances: marriage, family and steel support beams. Would you be okay with a group of people in a certain location in the building cutting out their section of a steel support beam and replacing it with wood? Of course not; you get enough people doing that and the building will collapse. It cannot be allowed. Let’s look at marriage and family. These concepts are rooted in something as real as engineering: biology. Can a change be allowed, here and there in the community of the building, that ignores biology? KF’s argument, I think, would be that you’re letting people do the social/community equivalent of cutting out sections of support beams here and there and replacing the biologically-required (engineering-required) material with something else.

    What makes you or anyone think that will work in terms of the sustainability of the community? What is that idea based on, rooted in? What principle of morality, social psychology or ethics does it logically flow from? Is there a historical precedent? What are the potential ramifications from this fundamental change? Have you thought that through?

    I’m not saying I share anyone else’s perspective on these subjects, I’m just pointing out that if you can’t do the (i)moral math on this,(/i) you’re just saying stuff that isn’t rooted in anything meaningful or significant. You two are like laymen challenging an engineer to explain why wood wouldn’t be acceptable as a replacement for the steel beam running through your apartment and rolling your eyes when the engineer starts talking about the physics of load-bearing materials, stress factors, the principles involved.

    Would you accept it if he said: wood isn’t strong enough to support the building? No, you’d ask … why not? Then KF goes into an explanation about engineering principles as it relates to load bearing materials and structures, and you roll your eyes and say he’s not talking about the specifics. What would his attention to the specifics about wood vs steel mean unless you understand what he’s saying and why he’s saying it?

    I apologize if I didn’t represent well, KF.

  106. 106
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, that is in fact highly relevant — and worrying. My context on ethics actually comes through sustainability, and things that raise questions of what is enduring or chaotically destructive. I have been led to recognise just how important it is to align what we say with reality, and to see that the principle of distinct identity is truly central, a thing is what it is, i/l/o its distinct characteristics, i.e. there is such a thing as what it is to be a given thing; to have a nature. Which, we have a duty to recognise and respect, playing ill-advisedly with I beams in a building framework is analogous. In that context, I came to recognise that in our debates, decisions, reflections we implicitly pivot on certain first duties that give our thought traction, duties that we simply cannot evade and which, thus — as stated — are statements of truth and are also self-evident. They literally come before debates or arguments or logical demonstrations etc as when we do these things we implicitly pivot on them. Duties to truth, to right reason, to prudence and to that inner witness, sound conscience are relevant to more academic and technical reasoning. The duty to neighbour who is as self bridges to community, law and government, as it brings up fairness and justice etc. What I find interesting is the lack of traction in pointing to how even the objector cannot evade, which puts him/her in an immediately absurd position, showing self-evidence. I am inclined to think there is a paradigm shift involved, requiring recognising that morality rises above subjectivity, emotion and shifting balances of community opinion, on grounds of the utter incoherence of such views. Paradigms, notoriously, are incommensurate and until one recognises that there can be enduring, universal moral principles, one will not see the point coeval with our rational ensouled freedom and linked responsibility. KF

  107. 107

    In another thread I said we don’t have the right to life. I also don’t think we have their “right” to liberty or the pursuit of happiness. Let me explain.

    I consider the term “right,” in this context, to be entirely misleading. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not external things we have rights to; these are innate, essential qualities of our being. We are fundamentally, essentially living, free and in pursuit of our happiness. These aspects of us are not confined to physical bodies, worldly laws or social constructs. I live, am free, and pursue my happiness regardless. Killing me or imprisoning me does not change these aspects of what I am. The physical world cannot extinguish my life, only my presence in this world. Chains can only imprison my body; they cannot imprison my mind. My mind is free, and it is free to pursue happiness even while the body is in chains. I am not my body; this world is not my home.

    The Constitution does not grant these things, it recognizes them as inherent truths about all humans. The term “unalienable Right” is not the same kind of thing as a mere “right,” because it’s referring to a truth about all humans. When people say they have a “right” to healthcare, housing, not being offended or equal outcomes/pay, and think it is “the same as” an unalienable Right, they have no idea what they are talking about.

    The DoI was recognizing innate truths about our existence, and declaring these truths to be the necessary foundation for a proper society. A society not built on those truths will be corrupt and fail because it would ignore the true reality of what a person is. The Constitution is a “best attempt” at an essential codification of basic structure of law based on the recognition of these fundamental truths. IOW, “these are truths about our nature, this document recognizes those truths and calls them Rights.” But, we don’t have a “right” to them (small “r”,) we are those qualities.

  108. 108
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Webster’s 1828 is helpful on freedom:

    LIB’ERTY, noun [Latin libertas, from liber, free.]

    1. Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions.

    2. Natural liberty consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is abridged by the establishment of government.

    3. Civil liberty is the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty.

    The liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the liberty of others.

    In this sentence, the latter word liberty denotes natural liberty.

    4. Political liberty is sometimes used as synonymous with civil liberty But it more properly designates the liberty of a nation, the freedom of a nation or state from all unjust abridgment of its rights and independence by another nation. Hence we often speak of the political liberties of Europe, or the nations of Europe.

    5. Religious liberty is the free right of adopting and enjoying opinions on religious subjects, and of worshiping the Supreme Being according to the dictates of conscience, without external control.

    6. Liberty in metaphysics, as opposed to necessity, is the power of an agent to do or forbear any particular action, according to the determination or thought of the mind, by which either is preferred to the other.

    Freedom of the will; exemption from compulsion or restraint in willing or volition.

    7. Privilege; exemption; immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant; with a plural. Thus we speak of the liberties of the commercial cities of Europe.

    8. Leave; permission granted. The witness obtained liberty to leave the court.

    Note the natural freedom of the human person, as an agent, and that judicious balance in sound civil society.

    KF

  109. 109
    jerry says:

    I’m not sure how a discussion on God and mathematics got twisted. But I guess there are an infinite number of permutation of each so what is there to be expected. (Here infinite is used as an hyperbole because as we all know infinity does not exist in our universe.)

    A couple things

    The Great Courses has several courses on math. One that may be appropriate for this discussion is

    Power of Mathematical Thinking: From Newton’s Laws to Elections and the Economy

    My point has been is that math is a subset of logic and indicates certainties that are true given the premises and will thus show everywhere where there is a relationship.

    Second, from William Briggs today

    This doesn’t mean real science is entirely dead. It will drag along in quiet corners in areas which can’t easily be tied to politics or oligarchic interest.

    Could just as well be applied to math and the statement should read

    This doesn’t mean real science and mathematics is entirely dead. It will drag along in quiet corners in areas which can’t easily be tied to politics or oligarchic interest.

    Interesting that the interview that inspired OP is four years old.

  110. 110
    Seversky says:

    Kairosfocus/103

    Emotivism is the view that moral utterances are neither true nor false but are expressions of emotions or attitudes. It leads to the conclusion that people can disagree only in attitude, not in beliefs. People cannot disagree over the moral facts, because there are no moral facts. Emotivism also implies that presenting reasons in support of a moral utterance is a matter of offering nonmoral facts that can influence someone’s attitude. It seems that any nonmoral facts will do, as long as they affect attitudes. Perhaps the most far-reaching implication of emotivism is that nothing is actually good or bad. There simply are no properties of goodness and badness. There is only the expression of favorable or unfavorable emotions or attitudes toward something.

    … which is largely my position. Where reason is applied to morality it is usually in the form of post hoc rationalization of emotional postures.

  111. 111
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray/105

    The engineers rely on physics/math. The community planners rely on morality and ethics. What lies behind all of that is: right reason. If either team doesn’t have the principle of right reason governing their design and planning, the project will most assuredly fail. The building and/or the community will fail.

    Any evaluation of an analogy should take account of both the similarities and the differences. The observed regularities in the behavior of the material/physical Universe, which we call laws, appear to be invariant across time and space. They are the same for the Inuit as they are for the Zulu now and they were the same for Homo habilis 2 million years ago as they are for Homo sapiens today.

    The same cannot be said for so-called moral laws. They have evolved over a matter of centuries and differ to some degree from culture to culture. Most people would clearly like moral laws to be as invariant and certain as physical laws. The problem is that each person tends to believe that his or her morality is the right one while others believe that theirs is the true one. So is there a right one and, if so, how do we decide?

    After the project is finished, people move in and the community begins. Let’s say that the people on the 3rd floor want to make structural changes to the building. The don’t like the high grade steel of the support beams; they want to cut them out and replace them with wood. Let’s say some other people, a group on the 15th floor, doesn’t like the community rules about marriage, gender, family and sex, and want to live by their own rules and preferences.

    In the example of occupants of the building being foolish enough to replace steel support beams with wooden beams, they would eventually discover the error of their ways when the building collapsed on top of them.

    But supposing the occupants began replacing steel beams with lighter and stronger titanium, for example. The building would presumably become stronger and more durable than before.

    Are the different community rules adopted by the inhabitants on the 15th floor analogous to replacing steel beams with wood or titanium?

    How does appealing to “right reason” – or science or mathematics – help in deciding moral questions at all?

  112. 112
    Seversky says:

    I regard rights and freedoms as privileges extended by a society to its members, the key consideration here being “society”.

    An individual human being living alone has the freedom to anything he or she chooses within the constraints imposed by the material world. The cannot fly unaided, for example, and they will be killed by the fall if they jump off a tall cliff.

    John Stuart Mill held that, in a free society, individuals should be able to do whatever they choose up to the point at which their actions could harm to other members of society. As the old saying goes, “your freedom to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose”.

    Moral prescriptions are created by people not gods for the benefit of the societies in which they live.

    I don’t need a god or anyone else to tell me that I don’t want my nose flattened by your fist.

  113. 113
    jerry says:

    I don’t need a god or anyone else to tell me that I don’t want my nose flattened by your fist.

    But suppose someone else enjoyed that your nose was flattened. You may not like it but hundreds of others may enjoy it. So we may have 100 people enjoying it and one person not. So do you want to deprive others of enjoyment for your personal benefit?

    These can get pretty absurd. So maybe there is some ultimate determination of what is desirable and what is not. Should finding this ultimate determination be a necessity for each person?

    Suppose there was a God that created us and that God had an objective for our creation. Is frustrating that objective undesirable or of any consequence?

  114. 114

    Seversky,
    I was attempting to, via analogy, illuminate for VL and JVL the general structure of KF’s position so that it might be easier to understand why he kept going back to the fundamentals.

    Although I wasn’t arguing my perspective, I think I can make a couple of points from that perspective. First, you do not compare “strengths and weaknesses” of an analogy because analogies are not examples. They are used to illuminate a point, not to be taken as ways of arguing the point or the thing in question. An analogy is not an argument.

    Second, KF’s perspective may be that physics and morality are means of describing the territory of two different realms. It doesn’t matter if people in various cultures before, because of a lack of understanding of physics, could not build that which we can build now; the physics were still there, but the comprehension of them was (or is) inadequate.

    I believe KF would make the same argument, that the Bible (or, the DoI or COTUS based on Judeo-Christian morality stemming from the Bible) are analogous to a breakthrough in the understanding of physics, which allowed the building of a civilization/nation unlike any the world has seen before.

  115. 115
    jerry says:

    I believe KF would make the same argument, that the Bible (or, the DoI or COTUS based on Judeo-Christian morality stemming from the Bible) are analogous to a breakthrough in the understanding of physics, which allowed the building of a civilization/nation unlike any the world has seen before.

    I am going to disagree somewhat. While I believe Judeo/Christian principles improve civilization, there were definitely civilizations before each. Greece and Rome depended on neither. So in what way have they led to anything different from that preceding?

    Also the modern world did not start till the 1800’s. What happened in that time era to lead to the incredible advances in material prosperity that also led to large increases in health (age expectancy) and education? The answer is freedom for the common person, first to a limited degree in England and then to the English colonies in North America, especially the United States where there were no such restrictions for immigrants.

    The reason the United States took off and eventually left Britain far behind is that there was no class restriction in the United States while in England there was a large expansion of rights for individuals but a class system that made it much harder for the common man.

    Aside: We are a far way from God and mathematics.

  116. 116
    Viola Lee says:

    WJM writes, “I was attempting to, via analogy, illuminate for VL and JVL the general structure of KF’s position so that it might be easier to understand why he kept going back to the fundamentals.”

    I understand the general structure of KF’s position: that is not a problem. He keeps “going back to fundamentals” because he can’t, in fact, explain the leap from math to morals as it applies to real people in the real world.

  117. 117

    Viola Lee:

    Do you find the following statement to be absolutely morally true in all possible imagined worlds worlds?

    “It is wrong to be cruel to others for your own pleasure.”

  118. 118
    Viola Lee says:

    Instead of arguing about what I don’t accept about what others think, I’ll offer some thoughts about what I do think. As I have said several times, I am not an adherent of any particular religion: I think all are, to varying degrees “different paths up the mountain” towards some common human intuitions about our nature. However, I have a number of Hindu friends, and other friends interested in these matters from a Hindu and Buddhist perspective, and I like the following key idea from those traditions.

    Metaphorically, our deepest nature is a balance between the head (rationality) and the heart (compassion). Compassion is the key moral principle. Rationality and compassion are the compasses that help guide us through life.

    However (and this is not a Hindu idea): I believe that that we have existential freedom, and it is our responsibility – a responsibility that we cannot avoid – to make moral choices based on rational compassion. The duties to exercise our mind and our compassion are part of our ultimate nature, but it is up to us to decide how to apply them to the complexities of human life. The world presents us with moral questions, and it is our fate, for better or for worse, to have to answer them as we best see fit, guided by our commitment to head and heart, rationality and compassion.

    As to your question, WJM, the qualifiers to the question carry way too many metaphysical assumptions. We are not absolute creatures, and we only live in this one world, so I have no knowledge about whether something is “absolutely morally true in all possible imagined worlds worlds”, and nor does anyone else.

    With that said, you ask, ““It is wrong to be cruel to others for your own pleasure.”

    Well, first, I think it is wrong to be cruel to others, period. Finding pleasure in doing so would be doubly wrong.

    But this is not because there is some rule out there someplace that tells us this is wrong, but rather that to do so would be a severe act of lack of compassion, and would be a violation of what I consider key aspects of human beings’ spiritual nature.

  119. 119

    Creationists are sitting on the truth, without comprehending it.

    Terms like “good”, “beauty”, “truth”, “justice”, etc. are exlusively creationist terms.

    It is very obvious that the two fundamental categories of creator and creation, correspond perfectly with the categories of all what is subjective, and all what is objective.

    The logic of subjectivity, is that an opinion is formed by choice, and expresses what it is that makes a choice. All subjective statements have that same underlying logic.

    For example, to say a painting is beautiful, the opinion is formed by spontaneous expression of emotion with free will, thus chosen, and the opinion expresses a love for the way the painting looks.

    “Choice” is also the mechanism of creation, it is how a creation originates. So it means, a subjective opinion expresses what the identity of a creator is.

    The love for the way the painting looks expresses the identity of that person as being a decisionmaking agency, a creator.

    So the concept of subjective opinion is validated in the creator category of creationism, and the concept of fact is validated in the creation category.

    1. Creator
    2. Creates by making choices
    3. The substance of which is called spiritual
    4. Is identified with a chosen opinion

    1. Creation
    2. Was created by choice
    3. The substance of which is called material
    4. Is identified with a fact forced by evidence.

    Materialism does validate the concept of fact, but materialism does not validate subjective terms at all. Terms like “good”, “beauty”, “justice”, “God”, these terms are just random noise in materialism.

  120. 120
    Viola Lee says:

    Here are some ideas I like from Hinduism. First there are three “gods”, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, which represents the three forces of creation, preservation, and destruction that pervade reality. The three are different faces of the unmanifested One, brahman, that underlies reality. (As you might guess, Hinduism is full of doctrinal differences about these things much like the Judeo-Christian tradition is, but I am not interested in those, as I think all such metaphysical embellishments are just part of our story-telling about the big ideas.)

    What I like (and this is related to post 119), is that human beings partake of all three principles, including that of the creator who chooses to bring reality into the form it takes. Our moral choices help make the world what it is. We choose from the creative freedom within us, and are thus responsible for the world to the extent that our choices contribute to it.

  121. 121
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    At this point I am disappointed in your continued mischaracterisation despite repeated correction:

    I understand the general structure of KF’s position: that is not a problem. He keeps “going back to fundamentals” because he can’t, in fact, explain the leap from math to morals as it applies to real people in the real world.

    1: My position is that rationality, which includes reasoning on the logic of structure and quantity AKA Mathematics, faces some inescapable first duties. These include: to truth, to right reason [core logic and linked themes], to prudence, to sound conscience, to neighbour, so also to fairness and to justice, etc. By inspection of how we think and argue it will rapidly be seen that such is an observation that should be unexceptional. Further to such, it will be noted that an attempt to disregard or dismiss or object, will inevitably appeal to the same principles. E.g. your objection makes certain fact . . . truth . . . claims, expecting to be acknowledged. The claims happen to be false.

    2: Thus, there is no inexplicable leap from Mathematics to morals. The rather simple structure is, Math exemplifies rationality. That rationality, in general, is governed by first duties as outlined. The inescapability reveals inescapable truth and the absurdity of implicitly relying on what one would overthrow shows self-evidence.

    3: This is a universal and utterly pervasive principle of rationality.

    4: It should not be heavy weather, that it seems so for some points to lock in of a failed paradigm in current dominant patterns of secularist thought. Likely, subjectivism, emotivism and relativism, which tend to reject objectivity on truth, and particularly on the issue of duties, i.e. morality. Actually, the claim “there are no objective moral truths,” is a self-referential truth claim regarding morality and it is thus self-refuting and incoherent. It is necessarily false.

    6: From a related angle, rationality requires freedom thus responsible choice, thence the duty to choose soundly and aright, but due to said freedom, necessarily the ability to ill-advisedly choose what is unsound and/or wrongful. The seven duties are an elaboration at first level of the duty to soundness and the right.

    7: Where, it is patent that the disciplines of the academy and professions pivot on duty to be truthful, logical and well warranted, with implications for sound society and for justice. A very simple example is the auditor’s statement that a set of financial statements do or do not give a true and fair view of the financial affairs of an entity. Obviously, in founding and developing a discipline or profession or art, using logic, experience, prudence [including warrant] etc, reliable bodies of knowledge and best practices are built up, obviously influenced by these duties.

    8: This particularly extends to law and government, though of course the trickiness of too much of politics shows that many hope to succeed by deceit: misleading people to believe they are acting aright and soundly when they are not. In fact, say, an inspection of the bUS founding and framing will show these patterns in action, for good and for bad.

    9: In previous threads there were repeated attempts to drag off track into yet another wading in the tainted waters of various currently fashionable pathologies and the like. These have been previously discussed at UD and there is no need to go back into such, much less to allow every thread to be distracted by the obviously obsessed.

    10: Above, you repeated claims regarding divorce, e.g. at 69 above, as a less tainted test case that I allegedly have been unable to specifically address. I took time in 70 following to again — done before and in your presence — speak to it using a well known piece of Dominical reasoning that happens to be a natural law argument that shows that there are social evils that given hardness of our hearts have to be regulated and ameliorated but which are against our original manifest order as humans coming in two complementary sexes. There is a call to higher living as a counter-culture. This, you seem to have overlooked. Where, of course, a pattern of rights, duties and freedoms pivoting on and coeval with our humanity — our built in nature — is manifestly of universal jurisdiction. And even were there other creatures that are rational and non-reproducing or reproduce by budding, it would still obtain for human rational creatures.

    11: This actually is pregnant with import for civil order, and speaks to a lot of history. Not to mention after the fact perfectionism used as a key fallacy of cancel culture red guard tactics.

    12: On the case of mathematics, the point about how disciplines and professions are built up should be enough. A famous and widely relevant case on the power of logic to show a stunning truth that then led the Mathematical profession to change its path is the incompleteness proofs of Godel. A similar case, less well known, is the Robinson taming of the infinitesimal. And many more.

    In short, your objection fails and is in fact strawmannish. The relevance of first duties to this case is obvious, I trust it will be heeded going forward.

    KF

  122. 122
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, FYI I have just responded to a claim you made, through a step by step corrective argument. KF

  123. 123
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM & Jerry, my argument has been that movable type printing was revolutionary, working with vernacular rendering of the Bible and with the associated rise of widespread literacy, bills, newspapers, tracts, coffee houses etc to open the door to a broad based comparatively informed public. The ferment of the Protestant Reformation set a context in which many fundamental issues were widely discussed and the double covenant theology of nationhood and government under God gained traction. Through this we see an era from about 1650 to 1787-9 in which for the first time, we could have representational, constitutional, small-d democratic self government. The glorious revolution and bill of rights 1688 – 9 and the US Revolution 1775 – 89 marked the breakthroughs. It is no accident that these two polities pioneered modern liberty and the industrial revolution. Protection of intellectual property through patents and copyrights were also important. And yes this opened up unprecedented positive developments for our civilisation, for all its troubles and sins. It is from these loci that industrialisation and linked agricultural revolutions then eventually democratisation in a rule of law driven constitutional frame spread globally. The latter, only going globbal within living memory. However both are now threatening to fade and a return of lawless oligarchy seems to be being enabled by the cancel culture surveillance state. KF

  124. 124
  125. 125

    VL,

    First, I want to applaud you for taking a leap and expressing your views. There is nothing I respect more than people willing to open their views up to examination and criticism.

    Second, a couple of questions from your comments. You said:

    But this is not because there is some rule out there someplace that tells us this is wrong, but rather that to do so would be a severe act of lack of compassion, and would be a violation of what I consider key aspects of human beings’ spirituall nature.

    1. What do you mean by “spiritual”?
    2. Apparently you don’t believe there are any necessary or unavoidable ramifications to that behavior – IOW, no metaphysical “rule” is being interacted with by wrong behavior (sin, karma, etc.) that carries with it necessary corrective or punitive ramifications. If I am not compassionate, or behave cruelly, so what? What difference does it make to me, as long as I enjoy my life?
    3. Really just a note. You said:

    ..we only live in this one world,…”

    You’re making an assumption there. There are tens of thousands of people, perhaps millions who live in more worlds than just this one, some of which I personally know, of which I am one. I don’t mean that symbolically, or metaphorically, or in any strained sense of those words. I mean it literally, with “world” having the meaning of “realm” or “dimension.”

  126. 126

    BTW, just to be open here, I don’t personally believe in “First duties to right reason” or “objective, absolute morality.” I’ve made arguments and contributed on the behalf of those perspectives, and extending from those perspectives, because I’ve enjoyed doing so, but I never actually said I believe in those things. My “first duty” is to my own enjoyment.

    KF might argue that my pursuit of enjoyment is still based on “right reason” in how I go about acquiring the most enjoyable existence I can, and that is to some degree true, but I use reason like a tool in the service of building my enjoyable life. My “duty” isn’t to the tool; it’s to the building of my enjoyment. I’m perfectly fine believing and doing unreasonable things in service to my enjoyment. Enjoyment guides my thoughts and behavior. If I can build a rational argument for what I believe, it’s fun to make that case. If not, so what?

  127. 127

    Also, just to throw this out there and skip all the in-between stuff, all arguments about morality, either subjective or objective, logically and inexorably lead to the same equation: “might(in whatever form) = right.” It is the inescapable conclusion to all logically pursued arguments about morality.

  128. 128
    jerry says:

    The modern world arose in England to some of the reasons Kf described but the origin of the printing press was probably a necessary condition but not a sufficient one. Other countries whether Protestant or Catholic did not advance in the same way as England. It was because of religious wars that England granted freedom to a substantial minority and writers. Then to its colonies in North America where the major changes took place and led to the modern world.

    Few in England and its colonies dreamed of any country that wasn’t governed by Judeo Christian principles. So it was the combination of that and freedom that led to the modern world. Jonah Goldberg said it only happened once and there’s no reason it cannot disappear. It’s a choice.

    We are seeing both an assault on freedom and Judeo Christian morality. There’s no asuridity modern civilization can exist without either.

  129. 129
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, the movable type printing revolution was the gateway. The ferment over the Reformation opened up the new thinking and new interest that created a reasonably informed public. These drove democratising forces in contexts where people were willing to take the gamble of trying. That led to breakthrough. But constitutional democracy without key cultural buttresses will fail. Recognising and respecting first duties of reason, as just that, is a part of looking at what has broken down on said buttresses. KF

  130. 130
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM:

    Pardon a markup on opening sentence, illustrating inescapability of said first duties:

    >> just to be open here,>>

    – appeal to duty to truth, where persuasive effect is an appeal to others being aware of said duties.

    >> I don’t personally believe in “First duties to right reason”>>

    – appeal to duty to truth, implicit challenge to show warrant on right reason

    – our feelings or perceptions or beliefs as stated are not capable of creating an escape hatch

    – inescapability shows antecedence to particular acts of reason, so inescapable and self-evident truth.

    >> or “objective, absolute morality.”>>

    – objectivity of course pivots on warrant, an objective truth claim is sufficiently warranted independent of a particular error-prone individual’s consciousness that it is an in common well supported view; though such warrant is in principle open to amendment.

    – objective moral truths are truths claimed about morality that is oughtness, with warrant. Negatively, there are no objective moral truths is self-referential and self-defeating. Such undermines subjectivism, emotivism and relativism as incoherent and self-falsifying.

    – yes, there is diversity of views with disagreement; that simply means that we have differences and need to look to warrant.

    – Positively, the first duties as listed are inescapable, inescapably true and self-evident.

    – absolute truths are sufficiently complete, without admixture of error and so are 100% complete and 100% pure on a given matter. We can only assert incorrigible knowledge of absolute truths on particularly narrow points, perhaps 2 + 3 = 5.

    >> I’ve made arguments and contributed on the behalf of those perspectives, and extending from those perspectives, because I’ve enjoyed doing so,>>

    – gratitude is due

    >>but I never actually said I believe in those things. My “first duty” is to my own enjoyment.>>

    – sounds somewhat hedonistic or epicurean, not particularly viable as systems. However, enjoyment is a significant and — tempered by other due considerations of rights, freedoms and duties — valid motive. (Some may enjoy kidnapping, torturing, sexually assaulting and murdering young children on the way home from school. Regrettably, this is a real world case.)

    KF

  131. 131
    Viola Lee says:

    to WJM at 125:

    You wrote, “1. What do you mean by “spiritual”?

    I didn’t (and don’t) intend to write an essay on the full extent of my thoughts on the nature of humankind. I offered the idea that the key moral component of our nature in relationship to others is compassion. (Other religions say it is love.) Issues that relate back to that part of us are spiritual. That is how I used the term.

    You wrote, “2. Apparently you don’t believe there are any necessary or unavoidable ramifications to that behavior”.

    I didn’t address that issue at all, which is much different than not believing something about it.

    3. You wrote, “There are tens of thousands of people, perhaps millions who live in more worlds than just this one, some of which I personally know, of which I am one.”

    I have read your theories on this, and don’t believe they are correct.

  132. 132

    KF,

    I understand that’s how all that looks from your perspective, but like your “delusion” challenge against mental reality theory, it’s only valid from the conceptual framework you are in. Your inability to understand a different perspective isn’t my problem.

    BTW, the only way to properly, logically pursue this disagreement from your perspective is if you ask questions about, and at least try to understand my perspective, not repeating rote declarations of logic stemming from your perspective. All you are doing when you do that is telling other people how your perspective is interpreting what they say.

    But, I think that’s exactly what you’ll do now, and what you will continue doing. Good lord I’ve been watching you do it for months now. It’s no longer enjoyable.

    So, I thought I’d change it up this morning. We’ll see. I have other things I can do that I find enjoyable.

  133. 133

    Viola Lee,

    Well, that’s one of the great things about being me. Others are free to believe whatever they want, and have no obligations whatsoever, certainly not to me.

    I just enjoy interesting conversation and take it where I can get it.

  134. 134

    Viola Lee,
    BTW, perhaps you missed it. My views on other worlds and MRT are not just theoretical, they are first-hand empirical, experiential.

    But, you probably don’t believe that. That’s okay, I understand. It’s a bit much for most people.

  135. 135
    Viola Lee says:

    re 132: I agree.

  136. 136
    jerry says:

    the movable type printing revolution was the gateway. The ferment over the Reformation opened up the new thinking and new interest that created a reasonably informed public.

    Only in England. And a little in Holland. Where there was a monarchy in place, Protestant or Catholic, and the great chain of being philosophy, freedom did not take hold. So it was not the Reformation per se that led to the modern world but the fighting between different Protestant religions that diluted the authority of the monarch and led to the rapid increase in power of Parliament.

    The divine right of kings originated in Ur and flowed right into the 20th century in many places. We have a form of the great chain of being developing in the US at this moment as the elites believe they are the ones to rule here and everywhere and the now constant disparaging of the Trump voter as inferior.

    Plato’s Republic was an advocation of the great chain of being. The elites are adopting it.

  137. 137
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, it was actually quite broad, and it was more than mere conflicts, there was considerable theologically based reflection and general thinking. A key chain ran France to Holland to Scotland and England, then of course the American colonies. But, again, we are far afield from topic. You are showing how if a summary is given, expect pointing to details thought to be left out, if details are given, expect to suffer dismissal as too long. KF

  138. 138
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, kindly cf 121. KF

  139. 139
    jerry says:

    it was actually quite broad

    It happened only in England and then their North American colonies. The best example is Pennsylvania.

    Freedom was an outcome of the conflicts and the stalemate that ensued. Either one of the opposing sides would have gladly established their orthodoxy as absolute if they won and it would not have included freedom.

  140. 140

    There are some things that are self-evidently aspects of existence, such as A=A, 2+2=4, free will, life, etc. That is not the same as saying that we have a “right” to life and liberty, or a “duty” to right reasoning. That’s an attempt to moralize or externally instantiate conditions that reflect existential properties.

    I’ve explained my position on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that those, in my views, are not rights; they are inviolable, existential properties. I can shoot you and end your life here; where the heck is your so-called “right” to life? The idea of “rights” is meaningless under the ERT (external reality theory). You only have the rights that which is more powerful than you allow.

    Now, reason. What exactly is my “duty” to “right reason?” Under ERT, I can win any argument with a gun. I don’t have to explain anything. I don’t have to even convince you of anything. I don’t have to justify anything.

    People are irrational. Sorry if that’s news to you. They don’t make rational choices, virtually ever. I mean, how boring would that be. Are wanting to be more like Vulcans or machines? Oh, many believe they are being rational, many think their choices and arguments are perfectly rational. They might even make perfect, rational sense under the assumptions of their paradigm/worldview. Good lord, they might even be internally consistent and actually compatible with their behavior.

    But that’s the problem with logic, isn’t it? It’s only as good as your assumptions, and only matter to the degree that the rest of the world cooperates (under ERT) with your rational decision-making. What does making all the well-reasoned choices and arguments gain you when a drunk hits your child and kills him or her, or when people can make a completely irrational choice and enjoy an immense number of benefits, liking buying a winning lottery ticket?

    Now, go ahead, KF, break down what I said and interpret it from your perspective where I’m exhibiting a “duty” to right reason even as I argue that I do not. I understand your perspective, KF. You don’t understand mine.

  141. 141
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, Duplessis-Mornay, 1579, France. Dutch Declaration of Independence, 1581. Rutherford, author of Lex Rex, was Scottish. The Glorious Revolution brought a Dutch prince to the UK, married to Mary. The 1688-9 Bill of Rights was in that context. The Dutch DoI seems also to have directly influenced the US one. The Wesphpalia settlement also had influences. KF

    PS: Wikipedia on Grotius:

    Hugo Grotius (/??ro??i?s/; 10 April 1583 – 28 August 1645), also known as Huig de Groot (Dutch: [??œy? d? ?ro?t]) and in Dutch as Hugo de Groot (Dutch: [??y?o? d? ?ro?t]), was a Dutch humanist, diplomat, lawyer, theologian, jurist, poet and playwright.

    A teenage intellectual prodigy, he was born in Delft and studied at Leiden University. He was imprisoned for his involvement in the intra-Calvinist disputes of the Dutch Republic, but escaped hidden in a chest of books. Grotius wrote most of his major works in exile in France.

    Hugo Grotius was a major figure in the fields of philosophy, political theory and law during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Along with the earlier works of Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili, he laid the foundations for international law, based on natural law in its Protestant side. Two of his books have had a lasting impact in the field of international law: De jure belli ac pacis [On the Law of War and Peace] dedicated to Louis XIII of France and the Mare Liberum [The Free Seas]. Grotius has also contributed significantly to the evolution of the notion of rights. Before him, rights were above all perceived as attached to objects; after him, they are seen as belonging to persons, as the expression of an ability to act or as a means of realizing something.

    It is thought that Hugo Grotius was not the first to formulate the international society doctrine, but he was one of the first to define expressly the idea of one society of states, governed not by force or warfare but by actual laws and mutual agreement to enforce those laws. As Hedley Bull declared in 1990: “The idea of international society which Grotius propounded was given concrete expression in the Peace of Westphalia, and Grotius may be considered the intellectual father of this first general peace settlement of modern times.”[2] Additionally, his contributions to Arminian theology helped provide the seeds for later Arminian-based movements, such as Methodism and Pentecostalism; Grotius is acknowledged as a significant figure in the Arminian-Calvinist debate. Because of his theological underpinning of free trade, he is also considered an “economic theologist”.[3]

  142. 142
    jerry says:

    The Glorious Revolution brought a Dutch prince to the UK

    By the time of the Glorious Revolution, the die was cast. James was the second Stuart King deposed in 40 years.

    Pennsylvania was already established and freedom was progressing in the colonies. People were breaking away from Plymouth Bay and its authoritarian rule. All the Glorious Revolution did was eliminate Catholics as a factor in England for a second time.

    What brought freedom to England was the diminution of the monarchy and the rise of parliament that allowed a religious conflict. It was not some document/treatise or the power of a new thinking.

  143. 143
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM,

    There are some things that are self-evidently aspects of existence, such as A=A, 2+2=4, free will, life, etc. That is not the same as saying that we have a “right” to life and liberty, or a “duty” to right reasoning. That’s an attempt to moralize or externally instantiate conditions that reflect existential properties.

    Logic, mere facts and the like have no traction absent a more or less intuitive acknowledgement of the first duties of reason. A computer will blindly process, it does not choose to acknowledge force of logical sufficiency, or sense a need to be truthful. Where, precisely, the attempt to object inevitably appeals to the relevant duties. As happens with your clip.

    It is agents with power of choice who do such.

    Further, it is agents who find their integrity violated when subjected to arbitrary force, precisely as it treats them as less than agents.

    KF

  144. 144
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, freedom in the relevant sense was in doubt at the time of that revolution in Britain (the imperial centre) much less its much weaker colonies. KF

  145. 145
    jerry says:

    freedom in the relevant sense was in doubt at the time of that revolution in Britain

    In a sense yes because it was not understood that was what was happening. But it was inevitable because of the rise of parliament and the religious conflict.

    It was not planned. It happened. No uprising engendered it in England.

  146. 146
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: 1688/89 Bill of Rights, https://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/WillandMarSess2/1/2/introduction

    Bill of Rights [1688]
    1688 CHAPTER 2 1 Will and Mar Sess 2

    An Act declareing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Setleing the Succession of the Crowne [–> note the first focus] . . . .

    Recital that the late King James II. had abdicated the Government, and that the Throne was vacant, and that the Prince of Orange had written Letters to the Lords and Commons for the choosing Representatives in Parliament.

    And whereas the said late King James the Second haveing Abdicated the Government and the Throne being thereby Vacant His [X2Hignesse] the Prince of Orange (whome it hath pleased Almighty God to make the glorious Instrument of Delivering this Kingdome from Popery and Arbitrary Power) did (by the Advice of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and diverse principall Persons of the Commons) cause Letters to be written to the Lords Spirituall and Temporall being Protestants and other Letters to the severall Countyes Cityes Universities Burroughs and Cinque Ports for the Choosing of such Persons to represent them as were of right to be sent to Parlyament to meete and sitt at Westminster upon the two and twentyeth day of January in this Yeare one thousand six hundred eighty and eight in order to such an Establishment as that their Religion Lawes and Liberties might not againe be in danger of being Subverted, Upon which Letters Elections haveing beene accordingly made.

    The Subject’s Rights.

    And thereupon the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons pursuant to their respective Letters and Elections being now assembled in a full and free Representative of this Nation takeing into their most serious Consideration the best meanes for attaining the Ends aforesaid Doe in the first place (as their Auncestors in like Case have usually done) for the Vindicating and Asserting their auntient Rights and Liberties, Declare

    Dispensing Power.

    That the pretended Power of Suspending of Laws or the Execution of Laws by Regall Authority without Consent of Parlyament is illegall.

    Late dispensing Power.

    That the pretended Power of Dispensing with Laws or the Execution of Laws by Regall Authoritie as it hath beene assumed and exercised of late is illegall.

    Ecclesiastical Courts illegal.

    That the Commission for erecting the late Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiasticall Causes and all other Commissions and Courts of like nature are Illegall and Pernicious.

    Levying Money.

    That levying Money for or to the Use of the Crowne by pretence of Prerogative without Grant of Parlyament for longer time or in other manner then the same is or shall be granted is Illegall.

    Right to petition.

    That it is the Right of the Subjects to petition the King and all Commitments and Prosecutions for such Petitioning are Illegall.

    Standing Army.

    That the raising or keeping a standing Army within the Kingdome in time of Peace unlesse it be with Consent of Parlyament is against Law.

    Subjects’ Arms.

    That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.

    Freedom of Election.

    That Election of Members of Parlyament ought to be free.

    Freedom of Speech.

    That the Freedome of Speech and Debates or Proceedings in Parlyament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any Court or Place out of Parlyament.

    Excessive Bail.

    That excessive Baile ought not to be required nor excessive Fines imposed nor cruell and unusuall Punishments inflicted.

    Juries.

    That Jurors ought to be duely impannelled and returned . . . F1

    Grants of Forfeitures.

    That all Grants and Promises of Fines and Forfeitures of particular persons before Conviction are illegall and void.

    Frequent Parliaments.

    And that for Redresse of all Grievances and for the amending strengthening and preserveing of the Lawes Parlyaments ought to be held frequently.

    The said Rights claimed. Tender of the Crown. Regal Power exercised. Limitation of the Crown.

    And they doe Claime Demand and Insist upon all and singular the Premises as their undoubted Rights and Liberties and that noe Declarations Judgements Doeings or Proceedings to the Prejudice of the People in any of the said Premisses ought in any wise to be drawne hereafter into Consequence or Example. To which Demand of their Rights they are particularly encouraged by the Declaration of this Highnesse the Prince of Orange as being the onely meanes for obtaining a full Redresse and Remedy therein. Haveing therefore an intire Confidence That his said Highnesse the Prince of Orange will perfect the Deliverance soe farr advanced by him and will still preserve them from the Violation of their Rights which they have here asserted and from all other Attempts upon their Religion Rights and Liberties. The said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons assembled at Westminster doe Resolve That William and Mary Prince and Princesse of Orange be and be declared King and Queene of England France and Ireland and the Dominions thereunto belonging to hold the Crowne and Royall Dignity of the said Kingdomes and Dominions to them the said Prince and Princesse dureing their Lives and the Life of the Survivour of them And that the sole and full Exercise of the Regall Power be onely in and executed by the said Prince of Orange in the Names of the said Prince and Princesse dureing their joynt Lives And after their Deceases the said Crowne and Royall Dignitie of the said Kingdoms and Dominions to be to the Heires of the Body of the said Princesse And for default of such Issue to the Princesse Anne of Denmarke and the Heires of her Body And for default of such Issue to the Heires of the Body of the said Prince of Orange. And the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons doe pray the said Prince and (X3) Princesse to accept the same accordingly.

    This is considerably more than just a settlement of Catholic issues, and this Bill is in fact still in key parts active. For that matter so are parts of Magna Carta.

  147. 147
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, the Revolution was just that, see https://www.history.com/topics/british-history/glorious-revolution That it was bloodless in the end was a contingent outcome, as many supporters defected from James II. KF

  148. 148

    In discussing about free will, some evolutionist defines the verb choose as to select, and defines select as to choose. So then I complain that it is an error of circular logic, where you don’t get to the meaning of choice.

    Then all 3 of the evolutionists involved say, words don’t have to be defined in a logical way. They just don’t care if the definition is logical or not.

    So in the end, you have to still subjectively appreciate logic. And be disgusted by illogic, and reject it. In the end the subjective spirit rules.

  149. 149
    kairosfocus says:

    MNY, the voice of conscience is subjectively perceived but testifies to an objective duty. KF

  150. 150
    jerry says:

    There is nothing in your link I did not know.

    That it was bloodless in the end was a contingent outcome, as many supporters defected from James II.

    It was mainly bloodless. Many of James family defected. James was an oaf and scared a lot of people with his ideas. What triggered the invitation to William and Mary was the birth of a son.

    But the process that led to freedom was a happenstance and had been progressing since the death of Henry VIII. There was no philosophical movement, no documents nor any inevitable set of circumstances. There wasn’t anything like “Common Sense” which really did precipitate the US revolution.

    It was a once in a history happenstance that took place in England over a period of 200 years. As I said it wasn’t inevitable but it did change the world like nothing else before it except maybe religion.

    An aside. Few ever think where the modern world came from and why. I was one of those people who had heard of the industrial revolution but never under why it happened. Then I read Jonah Goldberg’s book, the Suicide of the West. He said the modern world was due to a once in a history event that happened mainly in England. Then I watched a Great Courses lecture series on the Tudors and Stuart’s. This documented the rise of Parliament and decline of the monarchy in England and the concurrent religious conflicts leading to more freedom to most. This freedom led to the industrial revolution. It happened no where else except in the English colonies.

  151. 151

    @Kairosfocus
    Duty may be to the love in marriage, happiness, so subjective things.

    1. The proper way to investigate these kinds of philosophical arguments, is solely to critically evaluate the definition of words. See that there are no logic errors, like errors of contradiction.
    2. Your definitions of subjective and objective are wrong, my definitions are right. Essentially you use a materialist idea of subjectivity, in complaining about it.
    3. It is important, on a par with basic reading and writing, basic math, to know the difference between fact and opinion. To make an error about it, leads to errors in all what is built on it, which is much.

    Definitions:
    choice : to make one of alternative futures the present

    spiritual : the substance of what makes a choice

    material : the substance of what is chosen

    creator : what makes a creation come to be, by choosing it

    creation : what is chosen to be, by a creator

    opinion : a statement that is formed by choice, and expresses what it is that makes a choice

    fact : statement that is obtained by evidence of a creation forcing to produce a 1 to 1 corresponding model of it in the mind

    subjective : statements of opinion

    objective : statements of fact

    Which establishes the creationist conceptual scheme:
    1. Creator / chooses / spiritual / opinion
    2. Creation / chosen / material / fact

    So choice is the mechanism of creation, how a creation originates.

    Demonstrating the logic of opinion.
    To say a painting is beautiful. The opinion is formed by spontaneous expression of emotion with free will, thus chosen, and the opinion expresses a love for the way the painting looks. So it identifies a love for the way the painting looks as what made the choice to say the painting is beautiful.

    To say someone is a loving person. One feels what emotions are in the heart of that person, and then expresses the feelings by spontaneous expression of emotion with free will, thereby choosing an opinion on it. In this case the opinion “loving” is chosen.

    Evidence may be used for subjective issues, but only in the form of supporting opinions. Not in the form of evidence forcing to a conclusion.

    I saw him help a stranger, that was very nice. The opinion it is nice to help the stranger, is in support of the opinion he is a loving person. But one could also have chosen the opinion that it was inappropriate to help the stranger. So it is not evidence forcing to a conclusion, but just freely choosen opinions in support of other freely chosen opinions.

    Demonstrating the logic of fact:
    To measue the circumference of the moon, it’s mass, what it consists of, the craters on it’s surface, all these facts together provide a 1 to 1 corresponding model of the moon, in the mind.

  152. 152
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, the glorious revolution was triggered by the birth of a son for a king posing a threat. The incident was a case study in the clash between freedom and order, where the issue of rights turned out to be a pivot. Hence, Bill of Rights. Notice how careful the drafters were to highlight them as ancient, there for a long time. Without saying so explicitly, innate. Further to this, lurked the concept of the two covenants, nationhood under God and government under God with consent of the governed. Here, the succession was decided against adherents of the school of theology most — as opposed to solely — associated with absolutism and supremacy of a foreign power [the pope], Catholicism. Ideologies and policy agendas were intertwined with schools of thought within an overarching worldview and ideologies could not be settled by simple discussion, so power balances were in play. All of this led to the recognition (again) that justice must balance duties, freedoms and rights. Where as noted, it was on the table that individuals had built-in rights rooted in what they are as persons. The duty to justice lurks. As to, oh, it’s all an accident vs it’s an inevitable chain of iron forces in action, both are wrong: we are agents with choices, we face opportunities and trends, deep principles lurk and will guide the prudent. Over all, the 2,000 years long comment by Paul at Mars Hill lurks: God uses the hinges of history to stir our hearts and minds to grope for him and his voice of truth and right. In our exchange, the governing duties to truth, to right reason, to warrant [a key aspect of prudence given our error-prone limitations as cognitive agents], and to neighbour lurk just beneath the surface. Indeed, these duties are what give the cold words and principles of logic etc real-world traction; often through the voice or sense of leading of conscience. Which needs to be sound. KF

  153. 153
    kairosfocus says:

    MNY,

    On subjectivity, I am aware that we are all subjects [so, agents with in-built freedom to choose], with bounded, error-prone rationality. This is further limited by our tendency to irrationality in various ways. The challenge of objectivity then arises, to clarify what may be perceived or believed as so (or even what may have been overlooked or doubted or previously rejected) that has good reason to be taken as credibly so.

    That challenge is an active one, it is not passively decided.

    The property of error or delusion is that it is conditioned by the inner and outer circumstances of a given subject. It is in the end perceived or believed but without due warrant. I here contrast ignorance of what may be yet discovered that would force us to revise the state of our knowledge base or pattern of reasoning. I am using knowledge in the weak sense, warranted, credible [so, so-far reliable] belief. Taken as credibly true enough to be responsibly acted on, but open to clarification, amendment or correction. To err is human, even in what we generally take as knowledge.

    Where, to withhold consent from what is well warranted is itself a choice and likely an error. Well warranted, here, can be one person against the world.

    That is how powerful it can be, the many can be wrong and the one right, hence part of why freedom of opinion and discussion are key. Compounding, the most persuasive argument, appeal to emotion, is particularly error-prone. 99% of arguments of more serious nature appeal to authority but such are no better than their facts, logic [and so, underlying assumptions and axioms]. So, to the merits of fact and logic we must ever go.

    In context, yes opinions are key [and are often perceptual and emotion-laced]. They may or may not guide aright, hence duties of prudence and fairness, so too the duty to neighbour. We must be aware of the potential gaps between emotion, opinion, warrant and truth. On love, romantic sense, we contrast true deep love with superficial infatuation. The latter is usually taken as triggered by immaturity and reaction to surface attractiveness. It is proverbial that women hold that generally, men can see a lot better than they can think. Seduction, triggers emotions and in-built reactions out of control. Infatuation can deepen, but is not a sound guide.

    The world of advertising and marketing pivots on extensions of such themes, well aware of how superficial and information overloaded we are in today’s world; hence, how to break through the filters. Agit prop takes this further.

    Dangerously further.

    Hence, my call to core first duties of reason that are inescapable. Inspect your thoughts and arguments and those of others. Why should we give them credit, or what moves us to be responsive, beyond emotion and blind loyalty to our favoured authorities? The answer comes back, first duties of reason.

    Duties to truth, to right reason, to prudence, to sound conscience, to neighbour, so too to fairness and justice etc.

    These breathe fire into cold words and equations. These drive us to examine and assess, or even just to listen or read (especially those we are disinclined to hear out). They drive us to ponder, and maybe even to change our inclinations. They give traction in the real world in ways that manipulation or sheer imposition of power cannot.

    Further to this, they are inescapable, the very act of trying to object or sideline is inevitably riddled with lurking appeals to these duties. Attempts to prove them, likewise. Since Epictetus, we have been familiar with this, it is the signature of a first truth, a self-evident first truth. And indeed, Epictetus was speaking to item two on the list:

    DISCOURSES
    CHAPTER XXV

    How is logic necessary?

    When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. Cf J. C. Wright]

    We are here at root level, hence, first duties. Duties that are therefore law, coeval with our rationality. Duties, that are moral, that morally govern the very act of reasoned thought, much less voiced or written argument. Reason is inextricably intertwined with moral government, something that gradually burned its way into my consciousness as I pondered Cicero in De Legibus on root law, especially as he cited and responded to received authority:

    . . . we shall have to explain the true nature of moral justice, which is congenial and correspondent [36]with the true nature of man [–> we are seeing the root vision of natural law, coeval with our humanity] . . . . . With respect to the true principle of justice, many learned men have maintained that it springs from Law. I hardly know if their opinion be not correct, at least, according to their own definition; for “Law (say they) is the highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary” . . . .

    They therefore conceive that the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones . . . [T]he origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

    Those words resonated in my mind, forcing me to ponder and with some augmentation and amendment, I was led to see the power of recognising first duties.

    KF

  154. 154
    jerry says:

    Kf,

    You keep on missing the point. What happened in England was not inevitable, was not planned, was not part of a movement and definitely was not the result of some ideology written and discussed over time using a set of basic principles. Whatever basic principles appeared evolved not drove what happened. It was not the result of a particular religion, but the result of accommodating conflicting religions. Why you keep on fighting the obvious when it supports your overall thesis is beyond me.

    It happened. It was unique in human history . It led to some amazing things. Somehow humanity found a better system by happenstance. And now we want to throw that system away and return to a potential chaotic future.

    The class system in England lasted a long time and still persists to some extent. But the breakdown of the strictness of it led to the Industrial Revolution. In the colonies the class system never took hold and innovation accelerated even more.

  155. 155

    @Kairosfocus

    You are arguing higher level understanding, of how people should live, I am just arguing fundamental understanding of what the logic of fact is, and what the logic of opinion is.

    Socialism is caused by people not understanding what emotion / choice / opinion is. It is clear enough when you look at socialist writings, that these are fact obsessed people clueless about emotions, choice, and opinion.

    Therefore to get rid of socialism, it is not the point to teach people higher level understanding that they should not murder and oppress, the point is to teach the difference between fact and opinion.

    The oppression and murder is a natural consequence of fact obsessed people throwing out emotions.

    If the rule is to throw out everything for which there is no objective evidence, and materialists actually say to live by this rule, then by this rule all subjective things are thrown out.

    And I notice that you did not actually do the job of systematically defining terms in a logical way, like I did. If you would play by the rules, critically evaluate definitions of terms, then creationism wins.

    Because there is no doubt about it that the fundamental categories of creator and creation, perfectly correpond with the categories of all what is subjective, and all what is objective.

    Then creationism would be taught in school, because teaching the diference between fact and opinion is already an accepted education goal, and solely creationism explains the difference.

    Then creationism wins everything. Academics in it’s entirety, both science and humanities, would be founded on creationism. They would be founded on the concepts of fact and opinion, validated in the creationist conceptual scheme. Total victory for creationism.

  156. 156
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry,

    I think there is a difference that needs clarification. I had hoped to return to a focus on the Mathematics and worldviews issues but I clearly need to document for record.

    I clip from your opening words and comment:

    >>What happened in England [c. 1688-9]was not inevitable, >>

    – I never have said it was. Agency is the opposite of inevitability, and contingent circumstances at kairos force choices.

    – I have pointed out that the rise of printing opened a gateway that fed into the ferment triggered by the Reformation, which was theologically rooted but engaged the full spectrum of cultural agenda across what say the seven mountains model as adapted maps.

    – through that ferment, we had rising literacy, circulation of scripture, texts, books, pamphlets, tracts and bills then eventually newspapers and the rise of coffee shops etc as centres for discussion. Such allowed the emergence of a reasonably informed public, which is the mainspring of democratisation.

    – that is why I pointed to the window from 1650 to 1787 – 9 (building on 1775 – 6] as the period in which modern constitutional democracy could and did emerge in the anglophone Atlantic world.

    >>was not planned,>>

    – no one has pointed to a human planner, save emergently and contingently.

    >>was not part of a movement>>

    – actually, there was a broad movement which has not been given sufficient credit, tied in the first instance to the theology of a double covenant of nationhood and government under God, drawing on scriptural historical patterns and direct statements in esp Ac 17 and Rom 13. Duplessis-Mornay’s widely banned — and widely read — Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos 1579, was pivotal. I excerpt a key summary:

    “Now we read [especially in the OT] of two sorts of covenants at the inaugurating of kings, the first between God, the king, and the people, that the people might be the people of God. The second, between the king and the people, that the people shall obey faithfully, and the king command justly.” [English Trans., A Defence of Liberty Against Tyrants. Ed. Harold Laski. Gloucester, Mass: Peter Smith, 1963, p. 71

    Let me cite Bamberg on the significance:

    [b]y means of the first covenant, the people form a religious covenant community. By means of the second, the political state arises. This political covenant assures that people will obey the ruler’s commands as long as they are just. If the ruler does not fulfill his obligation then the people are absolved from their vows of allegiance. The fact that God includes the people in the parties of the compacts demonstrates that ‘the people have a right to make, hold and accomplish their promises and contracts.’ [–> this answers absolutism] The people are not slaves without rights but are responsible to fulfill certain obligations as well as enjoy certain privileges . . . .

    The concepts of compact, tyranny and resistance are popularly attributed solely to the Enlightenment figures of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. To be sure, this was one means through which these ideas were disseminated, yet, they are actually much older. The language and arguments Adams employs [and this of course includes that collaborative work, the US DOI of 1776] bear striking similarities to the Vindiciae contra tyrannos. . . . [which] does not argue for anarchy. It recommends resistance to tyranny based upon the authority of lower officers of the state [i.e. through their interposition as equally God’s agents to do good and protect the community and its members from evildoers, including tyrants by usurpation, corruption or invasion]. As such, it should be considered an argument for a conservative revolution. At the same time, it brought the contract theory into play against the claims of divine right absolutism. In this way it contributed to later contract theory . . . .

    Any revolt must proceed along orderly lines through the lower magistrates . . . . In America, the elected representatives of the people, town councils, Continental Congress or the lower houses of the colonial legislatures were responsible to oppose the tyrant king and Parliament as well as the loyalist lower magistrates, i.e. Massachusetts Governor Hutchinson. Adams felt that the American Revolution met these qualifications. On the other hand, he had nothing but animosity for the rabble revolution in France which claimed the American Revolution as its model. Adams, appalled by the mob rule in Paris, denounced the tyranny of the majority in that revolution . . . .

    The social contract theory of civil government [in this context] was an amiable theory to men raised on the covenant theology of New England as Adams had been. The influence of Locke seems evident, but he was welcomed by the New Englanders precisely because he had reformulated the familiar ideas of the Calvinists . . . . Adams, like other American Whigs, derived his theory from the English Civil War tradition which was itself informed by Vindiciae.

    Within three years, this bore fruit in the first modern Declaration of Independence on charge of tyranny, the Dutch DoI under William the Silent of Orange, 1581 — a document and context admitted as studied and directly ancestral to the US DoI and indeed to the 1688 Bill of Rights under the second noteworthy William of Orange, husband of Mary daughter of James II:

    . . . a prince is constituted by God to be ruler of a people, to defend them from oppression and violence as the shepherd his sheep; and whereas God did not create the people slaves to their prince, to obey his commands, whether right or wrong, but rather the prince for the sake of the subjects (without which he could be no prince), to govern them according to equity, to love and support them as a father his children or a shepherd his flock, and even at the hazard of life to defend and preserve them. And when he does not behave thus, but, on the contrary, oppresses them, seeking opportunities to infringe their ancient customs and privileges . . . then he is no longer a prince, but a tyrant, and the subjects are to consider him in no other view . . . This is the only method left for subjects whose humble petitions and remonstrances could never soften their prince or dissuade him from his tyrannical proceedings; and this is what the law of nature dictates for the defense of liberty, which we ought to transmit to posterity, even at the hazard of our lives. . . . . So, having no hope of reconciliation, and finding no other remedy, we have, agreeable to the law of nature in our own defense, and for maintaining the rights, privileges, and liberties of our countrymen, wives, and children, and latest posterity from being enslaved by the Spaniards, been constrained to renounce allegiance to the King of Spain, and pursue such methods as appear to us most likely to secure our ancient liberties and privileges.

    – so, no, there was a theological and ideological framework coming from the Calvinist and Arminian world of theological analysis, answering to Absolutism and framing how transparency, rights, mutual duties and justice frame sound, lawful liberty.

    >>and definitely was not the result of some ideology written and discussed over time using a set of basic principles.>>

    – I have sketched out a slice of relevant ideology, considered here as worldviews rooted, cultural and policy agenda framed expression of a theology. A theology rooted in sacred history.

    – the basic principles are the double covenant view of nationhood and government under God further set in context of duties of justice and sound law, with the underlying theme that though fallen, we are all made of one blood in God’s image, with accountable agency.

    >>Whatever basic principles appeared evolved>>

    – basic principles coeval with our humanity are recognised, they do not evolve. Recognition is obviously partial and subject to further development in our understanding.

    – in the case of the first duties of reason, I point to recognition in Cicero, with significant partial endorsement in Paul in Rom 2 and 13. Cicero points to a summary of received thought already ancient in his day, as I just excerpted to MNY:

    —Marcus [in de Legibus, introductory remarks,. C1 BC, being Cicero himself]: . . . we shall have to explain the true nature of moral justice, which is congenial and correspondent [36]with the true nature of man [–> we are seeing the root vision of natural law, coeval with our humanity] . . . . With respect to the true principle of justice, many learned men have maintained that it springs from Law. I hardly know if their opinion be not correct, at least, according to their own definition; for . “Law (say they) is the highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary” . . . .

    They therefore conceive that the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones . . . [T]he origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality.

    [–> this points to the wellsprings of reality, the only place where is and ought can be bridged; bridged through the inherently good utterly wise, maximally great necessary being, the creator God, which answers the Euthyphro dilemma and Hume’s guillotine argument surprise on seeing reasoning is-is then suddenly a leap to ought-ought. IS and OUGHT are fused from the root]

    This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

    – Paul writes:

    Rom 2:14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them . . . .

    13:9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]

    – Neighbour love is the pivot of justice. That’s how we come to Locke in his reflections on/justification of the principles drawn out in the Glorious Revolution, in a key cite from Hooker, which I extend:

    [2nd Treatise on Civil Gov’t, Ch 2 sec. 5:] . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [This directly echoes St. Paul in Rom 2: “14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them . . . “ and 13: “9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law . . . “ Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity ,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.] [Augmented citation, Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government, Ch 2 Sect. 5. ]

    – such principles are longstanding but were then in a position to enable motion beyond oligarchy with ever immediate danger of lawless tyranny.

    – ties to the first duties are obvious.

    >>not drove what happened. >>

    – principles are inert, it is agents sensing duties who breathe fire into them.

    >>It was not the result of a particular religion, but the result of accommodating conflicting religions.>>

    – Both Catholicism and Protestantism are legitimate expressions of the Christian Faith, as is Orthodoxy. They have their warts and all, and the history of Christendom is a mixed blessing, but this is a debate in the main across competing theological perspectives with broader principles associated.

    – The clash of diverse views leading to some sort of settlement is a common theme of history. Often the hardness of hearts means the settlement is far from ideal.

    I trust, my concerns and citations noted for record will be enough to show why I think they need to be reckoned with.

    KF

  157. 157
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, Mathematics is pivotal as an example of a realm beyond the mundane that also pervades our experiences. In my reflections, I was led to infer that we start by recognising that as a discipline, Mathematics studies the logic of structure and quantity, which in turn is rooted in certain features of distinct being that show a core that is framework to any possible world. That starts with the natural numbers and extends across N,Z,Q,R,C,R* and onward into relationships and structures. We also see traffic the other way, day to day experiences or explorations suggest mathematical facts or structures that we can tease out. Latterly, computers allow powerful extensions of that. Beyond, axiomatic systems spin out logic model worlds that can be useful analogues to our world in certain aspects. However, they also can point to framework entities necessary to existence of any possible world which are universal across actuality and possibility. These two factors point to the power of math in our world. KF

  158. 158
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, are you around? I trust things are well with you. KF

  159. 159
    jerry says:

    Kf,

    I’m fine. Posted yesterday on C19 thread. On Monday my wife and I were driving all over northern New Hampshire. The White Mountains are very white this time of year and while not the Rockies or Sierras are splendid. I have my own small business so have the freedom to roam when I want.

    Relative to this thread you can read for free on Amazon the introduction to Dalrymple and Francis’s book on existence. It’s relevant to your thesis. The book is a series of essays that are often obtuse. But the short introductions are very clear.

    The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd

    https://www.amazon.com/Terror-Existence-Ecclesiastes-Theatre-Absurd-ebook/dp/B07JRGHCB3/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Dalrymple+Francis+existence&qid=1611750670&sr=8-1

    Denyse had recommended it on some thread recently.

  160. 160
    jerry says:

    Here is the UD page for the book by Dalrymple and Francis.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/theodore-dalrymple-and-ken-francis-on-the-terror-of-a-naturalists-existence/#google_vignette

    Generated little response 15 months ago.

  161. 161
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry,

    I found a key clip from the opening sample, from Mr Dalrymple’s Introduction:

    Though we are forced by our existential position, so to speak, to make judgments, the metaphysical basis on which we make them is for most of us uncertain. Moreover, the very [number?] of people who consider the question of the metaphysical basis of judgment has increased enormously with the spread of tertiary education. People who might once have accepted the moral and aesthetic judgments of others, or those that were handed down to them in religious teaching, and who had neither the time nor the leisure to examine them, now demand full and indubitable justifications for any and all judgments. If no such justifications can be found, if in fact there is no Cartesian point from which such judgments can be levered, moral and aesthetic cacophony is bound to follow: to quote the poem that is the subject of one of the following essays, the centre cannot hold and mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

    But we cannot live in anarchy; and we always need urgently an answer to the question of how to live. In my opinion, no purely naturalistic answer can answer questions such as What is the good? or What is beauty? or How should we live? The three great quasi-religious movements of our epoch, Marxism, Darwinism and Freudianism, tried to provide ‘scientific’ answers to these questions, and no doubt the neuroscientism will also soon make its attempt to answer them . . .

    Of course, we by now readily discern the first duties in play, at both the author’s level and that of those he remarks on. Indeed, we hear the echo of hyperskeptical professors and behind them the philosophers who spun up this drunk web like spiders, out of their own substance.

    The demand for absolute justification on pain of nihilism is a twisted form of duty to truth and right reason, with a perverted demand for warrant. The key diagnosis is failure of prudence, due to poor epistemology and lack of understanding of worldviews. The intent is of course selective, to undermine the received Judaeo-Christian legacy. One hardly ever sees the latest popular speculations on Science or on policies promulgated while wearing the lab coat challenged like that.

    The selectivity is at once fatal, as scientific explanations and policy rationales face the iron force of the pessimistic induction and can never amount to moral certainty. At best, the advocates of the latter struggle to build a critical mass of support and to often resort to agit prop and lawfare. As for science, the very existence of multiple revolutions, especially in Physics, speaks. Decisively. Scientific models in tested domains may make adequate predictions, but that just gets us to empirical reliability. And in too many worldview, culture agenda and policy shaping contexts, even that is not achieved.

    Back to Epictetus, who taught our civilisation a sharp lesson in a short exchange:

    DISCOURSES
    CHAPTER XXV

    How is logic necessary?

    When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. Cf J. C. Wright]

    Here we find something that is both inescapable and by how that inescapability arises, antecedent to inferential argument, “proof” or warrant. If such is regarded as dubious, nothing further has any basis. So, we see inescapably, certainly true, worthy of trust, indeed self evident. The silence of the man who raised the matter is proof enough of the recognised, patent absurdity of his view. Apparently, he hoped to champion it, for he resorted to silence not gratitude.

    This is precisely what we see today, sadly.

    However, we see here a paradigm of warrant: inescapable, inescapably true, self-evident.

    Now, refocus the “Ciceronian” seven first duties of reason: to truth, to right reason, to prudence [including warrant and recognition of our limits!], to sound conscience, to neighbour, so also to fairness and justice, etc.

    Inescapable, even in the speech or writing of objectors. The attempt to justify and that to object, alike, are inevitably inextricably entangled with these appeals to duty. That is, we literally cannot prove or disprove as such attempts already turn on them; a sure sign of a first truth. So too, “Epictetusian” self-evident. That’s easy enough, indeed right reason is the case Epictetus highlighted and it is a microcosm of the wider whole, a facet flashing from the contributions of the others and in turn contributing to them.

    That’s not hard to see, save to those determined on epistemic and axiological nihilism.

    Are they hopelessly abstract, too remote to be practically relevant?

    If that were so, why do we so readily detect them in concrete cases, even in objections? No, they are directly practical and highly instructive. Indeed, they help us reconstruct sound bodies of knowledge and best practice. Which seems to be the real problem, one man’s reformation is the next man’s threat or rebuke so he will resort to any culturally acceptable clubs, to strike back or ward off the threat.

    Let us now re-open our thinking and let us move to sound reformation.

    KF

  162. 162
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: On the pessimistic induction, PI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.ed.....lacies.pdf

    Wiki gives a bit of an overview:

    Scientific realists argue that we have good reasons to believe that our presently successful scientific theories are true or approximately true. The pessimistic meta-induction undermines the realist’s warrant for their epistemic optimism (the view that science tends to succeed in revealing what the world is like and that there are good reasons to take theories to be true or truthlike) via historical counterexample. Using meta-induction, Larry Laudan argues that if past scientific theories which were successful were found to be false, we have no reason to believe the realist’s claim that our currently successful theories are approximately true. The pessimistic meta-induction argument was first fully postulated by Laudan in 1981.

    However, there are some objections to Laudan’s theory. One might see shortcomings in the historic examples Laudan gives as proof of his hypothesis. Theories later refuted, like that of crystalline spheres in astronomy, or the phlogiston theory, do not represent the most successful theories at their time. A further objection tries to point out that in scientific progress we indeed approximate the truth. When we develop a new theory, the central ideas of the old one usually become refuted. Parts of the old theory, however, we carry over to the new one. In doing so, our theories become more and more well-founded on other principles, they become better in terms of predictive and descriptive power, so that, for example, aeroplanes, computers and DNA sequencing all establish technical, operational proof of the effectiveness of the theories. Therefore, we can hold the realist view that our theoretical terms refer to something in the world and our theories are approximately true.

    However, as articulated by Thomas S. Kuhn in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions, new scientific theories do not always build upon the older ones. In fact, they are created by an entirely new set of premises (a new “paradigm”), and reach vastly different conclusions. This gives greater weight to the proponents of anti-realism, and illustrates that no scientific theory (thus far) has proved infallible.

    The point is, we have a track record that grand scientific explanations have been successively replaced and run into sharp limits. The fate of classical modern physics 100 years past haunts us, after it overthrew the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic view.

    What is far more certain is observed empirical accuracy, though of course there is the issue of gamut shown by the rise of quantum and relativity. So, what we have is models that at best are reliable in a tested gamut. That, we can be morally certain of, without going beyond the modesty of a model to the far stronger claim of truth, near truth or fact. Models are useful fictions. That is good enough for government work and courts of law.

    For real certainty we must look to self evidence, core logic and the power of necessary being, as has been on the table about core math. Which, let us note, inveterate objectors have typically adroitly side-stepped.

    Aha, a sign of an Epicctetusian moment of truth, by way of a Wilson, Art of Rhetorique side-step. (Since c 180 ad, they learned how to move on beyond embarrassed silence.)

    A telling sign.

  163. 163
    kairosfocus says:

    TEST, getting inconsistencies. KF

  164. 164
    jerry says:

    Apparently, he hoped to champion it, for he resorted to silence not gratitude.

    This is what we see here constantly. Anti ID people lose their arguments based on logic and evidence constantly. What do the do? They slink off to divert, distract and nitpick somewhere else. Best argument for ID I know of.

    Aside: Kf, I will say this about your writing style which is unique. It is succinct and verbose at the same time. You talk in code interspersed in hundreds sometimes thousands of words. It is difficult to understand just what you are saying. Either it is so condensed or full of repetitious arguments.

    I have to read it several times to understand what you are trying to say so that I more often than not don’t read most of what you say. Case in point is your last two posts which are actually relatively short for you.

    The essence of the Dalrymple and Francis book is that if their is no God who created us for a reason, then the world is an absurd one.

    For this Christmas I ordered a hard cover of a book for my son that was recommended as one of the best books ever written and the author is alive and relatively young. A pdf version exists so I started to read parts of it to see why it was so highly recommended. In it this author said life was meaningless. He had a good philosophy of treatment of others but essentially was vapid on why. I never gave the book and actually got my money back from Amazon.

  165. 165
    jerry says:

    Example of dense statement

    The demand for absolute justification on pain of nihilism is a twisted form of duty to truth and right reason, with a perverted demand for warrant.

    Such a statement should be a discussion all in itself. But in less coded compactness.

    I maintain that the circumstances that lead to the sentiments in your comment are by design. If it was clear just what everyone was to do, it would be a meaningless world. We would be automatons all doing the same thing. But we are not certain nor can we be certain so we explore one option after the other.

    So the best reasoned arguments will have little effect on what you call the hyper skeptics. They are not hear to learn or understand. The hyper skeptics are driven by something else. One time a couple years ago I brought this up and your response was an extremely long reply trying to show why a God was logically correct. My reply was it was wasted on me because I already believe in such a God but it would have zero effect on any of the skeptics here.

    I’m a believer in Leibniz’s best of all possible worlds. So one has to understand why a world that appears hopelessly imperfect is perfect. Voltaire couldn’t fathom it so we got Candide to mock Leibniz. I like to call it the “perfect imperfect.” Maybe it should be called the “the perfect apparently imperfect.”

    Given that this is true, what are the implications for our world?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_of_all_possible_worlds

  166. 166
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry,

    I don’t really want to get into a secondary exchange but must note that seriously technical issues are on the table that cannot be skimmed in bits and pieces. Those issues, unfortunately are at the heart of how our civilisation is going wrong.

    Let me expand a little on your clipped, which in turn takes up a theme in the clip from Dalrymple:

    >>The demand for absolute justification on pain of nihilism>>

    – from Dalrymple, as highlighted:

    People who might once have accepted the moral and aesthetic judgments of others, or those that were handed down to them in religious teaching, and who had neither the time nor the leisure to examine them, now demand full and indubitable justifications for any and all judgments. If no such justifications can be found, if in fact there is no Cartesian point from which such judgments can be levered, moral and aesthetic cacophony is bound to follow: to quote the poem that is the subject of one of the following essays, the centre cannot hold and mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

    – the highlighted is key, and the reaction of nihilistic chaos is noted.

    >>is a twisted form of duty to truth and right reason>>

    – I have for years now been pointing to first duties of reason as pivotal and as coming before attempts to warrant claims . Even the objector is forced to rely on them to give his arguments persuasive traction. So instead we should reason inescapable, so inescapably true and self evident. Which is what the case with Epictetus illustrates

    – when such are used imprudently to undermine the foundation we must build on it is self defeating and chaotic. Unfortunately for many we deal with that is a desired outcome.

    – a couple of threads back, I devoted a whole OP to this and I am building on that now.

    >>, with a perverted demand for warrant. >>

    – I here point to what I long ago termed selective hyperskepticism, imposing double standards on warrant regarding what one wishes to accept vs what one wishes to reject. The result is to put a massive incoherence in the heart of one’s philosophical theory of knowledge [= epistemology]

    – incoherence points to confusion, chaos, self-falsification

    Now, yes, such is compressed, pointing from Mr Dalrymple’s summary to a world of related themes and consequences. Those themes raise technicalities that also speak to dynamics that can wreck our civilisation. The issue is pretty much as the situation of the navigator in Plato’s ship of state parable. (I have posted it here several times, but to do so would invite oh that’s too long, please use Google.)

    And no, explanation would run afoul of the demand to be short. Catch 22.

    KF

  167. 167
  168. 168
    jerry says:

    Kf,

    You are pointing out that the anti ID people who come here are at best disingenuous and probably a lot worse psychologically. They cannot accept any reasonable argument. So why debate them?

    The only reason to comment here if one is honest intellectually is to learn something from others. I found this is a good place to actually learn and understand science and technology. I have recently been commenting here after years of just an occasional sporadic comment because I was interested in learning about the virus. I learned essentially everything I needed to know about ID years ago.

    So I ask questions of which few are answered by any anti ID person. Their failure to provide an honest answer is telling whether it is about ID or the basics of human nature.

    But also to clarify my own thoughts and keep a record of them. So I sometimes go on just to provide a record for myself. That is what I am doing on the current virus site and to a little less on this and other sites you set up about politics.

    You have some very good ideas but they are hard to assimilate because trying to understand just what you are saying is difficult.

    By the way Dalrymple has written a treatise on how disingenuous Biden and the Democrats are about racial equality. I don’t have the link handy but will try and find it.

  169. 169
  170. 170
    jerry says:

    An Australian laments his country would last about 48 hours in a Biden world if it were attacked. They don’t know how to grow food any more.

    Every nation should learn Australia’s lessons

    https://www.bookwormroom.com/2021/01/27/every-nation-should-learn-australias-lessons/

    Will Trump’s new slogan resonate with Americans

    Save America

    Or better

    Make America Safe Again

  171. 171
    Seversky says:

    Jerry/170

    An Australian laments his country would last about 48 hours in a Biden world if it were attacked. They don’t know how to grow food any more

    Anyone who actually believes that Australia doesn’t know how to grow food any more just Google “Australia agriculture” and see if you think that is in any way an accurate statement.

    Will Trump’s new slogan resonate with Americans

    Anything Trump says that panders to the prejudices of his predominantly white nationalist base will resonate. Fortunately, in spite of what they might fantasize, they are not the whole of America, they are not even half of it.

    Save America

    We just did. We got rid of Trump.

  172. 172
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry,

    I see: why debate them?

    Nazism, Marxism and Communism were very bad ideas, but energised ideologies that came to dominate countries and set almost ruinous challenges to the world. We were lucky to get out of C20 with only two cities burned by nukes.

    There is need to address, expose and correct, per warrant, so that bad ideas and worse tactics will stand exposed. Once that has been done, we can then point to the corrective and duly note the irrationality of those who continue to attack attack attack.

    Unfortunately, Marxism is rearing its head again, and has very persuasive but ultimately ruinous counsels.

    KF

  173. 173
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I note, my comment on Ac 27 as a key case study and lesson, where someone needed to stand, lose an election, and wait to be the good man in a storm (but by then, needless, ruinous damage was inevitable . . . due to insistence on voyage of folly):

    [On Luke’s microcosm on the ship of state, Jan 1, 2013:] Entrenched highly ideological orthodoxies — and this includes successful revolutionaries, whether on institutional or community scale — that control resource flows to their benefit and which exert enormous power in institutions and society [I was speaking here about today’s evolutionary materialism dominated science], tend to be very resistant to what is new and unsettling to their comfort zones and interests. Where there has been indoctrination and polarisation, we can see this multiplied by the problem of lack of logical thinking ability and sheer lack of awareness of the true state of the balance of warrant on the merits of facts and evidence.

    The perceived heretic, then is a threat to be fought off, marginalised, discredited and if necessary destroyed. By any and all means, fair or foul.

    (I find the obsession with suggestions of a threat of religious subversion of [scientific, political, education, media and cultural] institutions long since subverted by radical secularists slightly amusing but quite sad in the end. The key threat is unaccountable, out of control power in the hands of elites prone to corruption, not that this once happened with religious elites. In the past 100 years, we saw major secularist movements and neopagan movements of political messianism that did much the same to horrific cost. And the welfare state of the past generation has not been a whole lot better. [Just ask the ghosts of the dozens of millions who have been aborted for convenience.])

    Where is there a solution?

    Frankly, at this stage, I think things are going to have to crash so badly and some elites are going to have to be so discredited by the associated spreading failure, that media propaganda tactics cannot cover it up anymore.

    My model for that comes from one of the red-flag sources that will give some of the objectors [to the design theory movement in science] the vapours.

    Acts 27.

    What, how dare you cite that, that . . . that . . . textbook for theocratic tyranny by the ignorant, insane, stupid and/or wicked followers of that bronze age misogynistic homophobic genocidal racist war god!

    (Do you hear how your agit-prop talking points are enmeshing you in the classic trap of believing your own propaganda?)

    Let’s start with, Paul of Tarsus, c. AD 59, was not in the Bronze Age but was an appellate prisoner in chains on early Imperial era grain ships having a hard time making way from the Levant and Asia Minor to Rome, in the second case ending up in a bay on Crete. What followed is a classic exercise in the follies of manipulated democracy, a case study that will well repay study in our time.

    It was late in the sailing season, and the merchant-owner was worried about his ship in an open bay at Fair Havens, given what winter storms can do.

    The passengers were not too impressed by the nearby settlements as a wintering place. (Sailing stopped in Autumn and opened back up in Spring. [–> EVERYONE knew why, the ships of that day could not bear up the storms of winter, and as time wore on in the fall, sailing became increasingly dangerous])

    The key technico, the kubernete — steersman, more or less like a pilot of an airliner — knew where his bread was buttered, and by whom.

    In the middle was a Centurion of the elite messenger corps.

    We are at ship’s council, and Paul, in chains, is suggesting that the suggestion to venture our with a favourable wind to try to make it to a more commodious port down-coast was excessively risky not only to boat but life.

    The financial and technical talking heads and the appeal of comfort allowed him to be easily marginalised and dismissed.

    Then we saw a gentle south breeze, that would have allowed a reach down the coast. (The technicos probably knew this could be a precursor to a storm, but were not going to cut across the dominant view.)

    They sailed out.

    Bang, an early winter noreaster hit them and sprang the boat’s timbers (why they tried to hold together with ropes [–> called frapping]) so the ship was in a sinking condition from the beginning.

    Worse, they were heading for sandbars off the coast of today’s Libya.

    For two weeks all they could do was use a sea anchor to control drift and try to steer vaguely WNW.

    Forget, eating.

    That is when Paul stood forth as a good man in a storm, and encouraged them with a vision from God. By this time, hope was to be shipwrecked on a coast. (Turned out, [probably] north coast of Malta [possibly, east end].)

    While the ship was at risk of being driven aground and set out four anchors by the stern from midnight on, the sailors tried to abandon the passengers on a ruse, spotted by Paul and/or Luke his travelling companion.

    By this time, the Centurion knew who to take seriously and the ship’s boat was cut away. He then took the decision to save Paul and refused the soldiers’ request to kill the prisoners to prevent escape (for which their lives would have been forfeit).

    So, they made it to a beach on Malta, having lost the ship in any case AND nearly their own lives.

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    jerry says:

    why debate them?

    There is need to address, expose and correct

    I’m not arguing against stating one’s position. I am arguing that one only respond to valid and sincere comments.

    I am arguing against responding to inane/disingenuous comments. That is who shouldn’t be addressed.

  175. 175
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, at some level such have to be reasonably shown invalid or they become a platform for building a perceived case for dismissing the original OP etc as somehow refuted. I add, we are in a day where apology is treated as confession of indelible guilt to be used as a perpetual club, and where retreat into dignified silence is treated as implicit concession of defeat to be swarmed down on then by drumbeat repetition twisted into perceived fact. That is agit prop not civil discourse but even that needs to be pointed out. We saw where attempts were made to drag a thread on something immediately shown inescapable so self evident, into toxic debates. When those were declined as side tracked there were attempts to treat the side tracks as rhetorical disproofs. We had to point out such were already addressed. Then when the least toxic was taken up cross thread, it was necessary to show a natural law argument. The way in which that was ducked then twisted into a strawman caricature then provided the basis for showing the objections to be without serious weight on merits and to be a gateway into ever more toxic side tracks. Recall, along the way the objectors tried the Wilson Art of Rhetorique stunt of side stepping and ignoring demonstrations of how their own objections could not but pivot on the first duties of reason. That having been shown on record, it can now be used to document the problem onward. It is almost amusing to see an objector string out accusations of creating echo chambers and using selective censorship . . . on a case of an update related bug several people struggled with . . . but then it is sad. KF

  176. 176
    jerry says:

    Some rather accurate quips by Senator Kennedy of Louisiana

    Comment about Cuomo lecturing us.
    “It is like a frog calling you ugly”

    This election in Ga will be the most important in history; you have nothing to worry about unless you are a tax payer, parent, gun owner, cop, person of faith, or an unborn baby!

    Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana describes Democrats as the “well intended arugula and tofu crowd.”

    You can only be young once, but you can always be immature.

    Americans are thinking, there are some good members of Congress but we can’t figure out what they are good for. Others are thinking, how did these morons make it through the birth canal.”

    Always follow your heart…..but take your brains with you

    The short answer is ‘No.’ The long answer is ‘Hell No.’

    It must suck to be that dumb

    When the Portland mayor’s IQ gets to 75, he oughta sell. 🙂

    I keep trying to see Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s point of view, but I can’t seem to get my head that far up my ***

    Go sell your crazy somewhere else…we are all stocked up here.

    She has a billy goat brain and a mockingbird mouth!

    he trusted Middle Eastern countries as much as gas station sushi, with the exception being Israel.

    You can get a goat to climb tree, but you’d be better off hiring a squirrel.

    This has been going on since Moby Dick was a minnow

    Don’t stand between a dog and a fire hydrant

    It appears that he might do the right thing, but only when supervised and cornered like a rat.

    This is why aliens won’t talk to us.

    Democrats are running around like they found a hair in their biscuit.

    Chuck Schumer just moo’s and follows Nancy Pelosi into the cow chute.

    Just because you CAN sing doesn’t mean you should.

    On Nancy Pelosi, “She can strut sitting down!”

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