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Bruce Gordon and Michael Egnor: Why idealism is actually a practical philosophy

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George Berkeley (1685–1753)

Not what you heard? Philosopher of science — and pianist — Bruce Gordon, think again.

Michael Egnor: Is reality fundamentally more like a mind than a physical object?

Many are sure of the answer without understanding the question.

News, “Why idealism is actually a practical philosophy” at Mind Matters News

Basically, it’s the idea that material substances, as substantial entities, do not exist and are not the cause of our perceptions. They do not mediate our experience of the world. Rather, what constitutes what we would call the physical realm are ideas that exist solely in the mind of God, who, as an unlimited and uncreated immaterial being, is the ultimate cause of the sensations and ideas that we, as finite spiritual beings, experience intersubjectively and subjectively as the material universe.

Note: Philosopher George Berkeley (1685–1753) was a Church of England bishop in Ireland. Among his other accomplishments were his studies of human vision: “Berkeley’s empirical theory of vision challenged the then-standard account of distance vision, an account which requires tacit geometrical calculations. His alternative account focuses on visual and tactual objects. Berkeley argues that the visual perception of distance is explained by the correlation of ideas of sight and touch. This associative approach does away with appeals to geometrical calculation while explaining monocular vision and the moon illusion, anomalies that had plagued the geometric account.” – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

About his idealism: “Berkeley’s system, while it strikes many as counter-intuitive, is strong and flexible enough to counter most objections.” – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

“All the choir of heaven and furniture of earth — in a word, all those bodies which compose the frame of the world — have not any subsistence without a mind.” ~ George Berkeley

Bruce Gordon: So we are, in effect, living our lives in the mind of God. And he is a mediator of our experience and of our inner subjectivity, rather than some sort of neutral material realm that serves as a third thing between us and the mind of God, so to speak.


Gordon thinks idealism (= reality is first and foremost a mental phenomenon) is defensible, reasonable, and too easily discarded.

(We enjoy setting the cat among the pigeons. But remember, the cat is serious. )

See also: Bill Dembski on how a new book expertly dissects AI doomsday scenarios

42 Replies to “Bruce Gordon and Michael Egnor: Why idealism is actually a practical philosophy

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Isn’t this view pretty much what WJM has been assiduously promoting here for a while now?

  2. 2
    Eugene says:

    reality = math + consciousness.
    Math is most certainly immaterial, and unfortunately we have no idea what consciousness is.

  3. 3
    William J Murray says:

    Seversky said:

    Isn’t this view pretty much what WJM has been assiduously promoting here for a while now?

    More or less.

    I note that there is still a trace of materialist metaphysics involved – the idea that there is some “thing” that is the real “thing,” even in universal mind, that our consciousness is translating into an experiential approximation thereof. I think the problem in a lot of these arguments is that there is no well-formed theory of mind. I don’t know if my MRT is “well-formed,” but it’s far less vague than anything else I’ve come across. My MRT actually makes testable predictions and identifies different categories of mind.

    It’s almost like nobody has given idealism serious thought other than as a comparative philosophical argument against other ontologies. Perhaps nobody thought it was testable? Did nobody else think to create a testable model? Did anyone else even attempt to categorize these different aspects of mind and describe how they function? Perhaps I’m just unfamiliar with the literature.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    WHY IDEALISM IS ACTUALLY A PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY
    Excerpt: Dr. Gordon. What is idealism?
    Bruce Gordon: “There are a lot of different varieties of idealism, and rather than go through a laundry list of its variations, let me just start with the kind of idealism that I would be an advocate of, which is an ontic theistic idealism, essentially a form of idealism that is probably most closely identified with the Anglican Bishop, George Berkeley [pictured in 1727].
    Basically, it’s the idea that material substances, as substantial entities, do not exist and are not the cause of our perceptions. They do not mediate our experience of the world. Rather, what constitutes what we would call the physical realm are ideas that exist solely in the mind of God, who, as an unlimited and uncreated immaterial being, is the ultimate cause of the sensations and ideas that we, as finite spiritual beings, experience intersubjectively and subjectively as the material universe.”
    Note: Philosopher George Berkeley (1685–1753) was a Church of England bishop in Ireland. Among his other accomplishments were his studies of human vision: “Berkeley’s empirical theory of vision challenged the then-standard account of distance vision, an account which requires tacit geometrical calculations. His alternative account focuses on visual and tactual objects. Berkeley argues that the visual perception of distance is explained by the correlation of ideas of sight and touch. This associative approach does away with appeals to geometrical calculation while explaining monocular vision and the moon illusion, anomalies that had plagued the geometric account.” – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    – per linked article in OP

    I didn’t know that Berkley’s Idealism was empirically developed to the point that it explained “monocular vision and the moon illusion, anomalies that had plagued the geometric account.”

    It is very interesting that Berkley, in the early 1700s no less, had a ’empirical theory of vision’ that he used to explain why we perceive the world as we do, and not as would be expected under the “standard account of distance vision, an account which requires tacit geometrical calculations.”

    This disagreement between Berkley and the “standard account of distance vision’ reminds me very much of the disagreement that Dr. Egnor had with Dr. Torley over perception.

    Dr. Michael Egnor, via Aristotle, contended that “Perception at a distance is no more inconceivable than action at a distance.”

    Perception and the Cartesian Theater – Michael Egnor – December 8, 2015
    Excerpt: Perception at a distance is no more inconceivable than action at a distance. The notion that a perception of the moon occurs at the moon is “bizarre” (Torley’s word) only if one presumes that perception is constrained by distance and local conditions — perhaps perception would get tired if it had to go to the moon or it wouldn’t be able to go because it’s too cold there. Yet surely the view that the perception of a rose held up to my eye was located at the rose wouldn’t be deemed nearly as bizarre. At what distance does perception of an object at the object become inconceivable?
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....01471.html

    Dr. Torley strenuously objected to Dr. Egnor’s contention.

    Dr. Torley strenuously objected that perception cannot possibly occur ‘at a distance’ since a Supernova that we might be observing “ceased to exist nearly 200 millennia ago, long before the dawn of human history.”

    The Squid and the Supernova: A Reply to Professor Egnor – December 9, 2015 – vjtorley
    Excerpt: In February 1987, a supernova appeared in the Southern skies, and remained visible for several months. ,,, The problem is that the object itself ceased to exist nearly 200 millennia ago, long before the dawn of human history. Even if the squid that witnessed the explosion were capable of having perceptions which are located in intergalactic space, as Egnor contends, they are surely incapable of having perceptions which go back in time.
    ,,,perception is a bodily event, and that an event involving my body cannot take place at a point which is separate from my body. An event involving my body may occur inside my body, or at the surface of my body, but never separately from it. Thus it simply makes no sense to assert that I am here, at point X, but that my perceptions – or for that matter, my actions – are located at an external point Y.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-squid-and-the-supernova-a-reply-to-professor-egnor/

    At first glance, that sounds like a very reasonable objection to me.

    Yet, much like Berkley’s empirically supported Idealism, quantum mechanics, (which is considered our best scientific theory in terms of accuracy and descriptive power), has recently empirically supported Dr. Egnor’s contention and rendered Dr. Torley’s objection to Dr. Egnor to be irrelevant as far as quantum mechanics itself is concerned.

    Specifically, (despite Dr. Torley’s strenuous objection against Dr. Egnor’s claim that “Perception at a distance is no more inconceivable than action at a distance”), experiments in quantum mechanics have now confirmed what is termed ‘quantum entanglement in time’ which “implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than 9 billion years old.”

    You thought quantum mechanics was weird: check out entangled time – Feb. 2018
    Excerpt: Just when you thought quantum mechanics couldn’t get any weirder, a team of physicists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem reported in 2013 that they had successfully entangled photons that never coexisted. Previous experiments involving a technique called ‘entanglement swapping’ had already showed quantum correlations across time, by delaying the measurement of one of the coexisting entangled particles; but Eli Megidish and his collaborators were the first to show entanglement between photons whose lifespans did not overlap at all.,,,
    Up to today, most experiments have tested entanglement over spatial gaps. The assumption is that the ‘nonlocal’ part of quantum nonlocality refers to the entanglement of properties across space. But what if entanglement also occurs across time? Is there such a thing as temporal nonlocality?,,,
    The data revealed the existence of quantum correlations between ‘temporally nonlocal’ photons 1 and 4. That is, entanglement can occur across two quantum systems that never coexisted.
    What on Earth can this mean? Prima facie, it seems as troubling as saying that the polarity of starlight in the far-distant past – say, greater than twice Earth’s lifetime – nevertheless influenced the polarity of starlight falling through your amateur telescope this winter. Even more bizarrely: maybe it implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than 9 billion years old.
    https://aeon.co/ideas/you-thought-quantum-mechanics-was-weird-check-out-entangled-time

    It is also interesting to note that this disagreement between Dr. Torley and Dr. Egnor, (where Dr. Torley stressed the objective existence of a physical reality over and above our conscious perception of it), also played out Einstein’s disagreement with philosopher’s of his day over what the proper definition of time should be.

    But before we get into that specific disagreement between Einstein and philosophers of his day, over what the proper definition of time should be, it is first necessary to lay some groundwork.

    There are several defining attributes, and/or properties, of the immaterial mind which are irreconcilable with the ‘standard belief’ in science today that consciousness is a product of material/physical world, rather than the material/physical world being derivative from consciousness, (as is held in the Theistic view of reality. Indeed, as was held by Max Planck himself).

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

    Dr. Michael Egnor, (who is a neurosurgeon as well as professor of neurosurgery at the State University of New York, Stony Brook), states six properties of immaterial mind that are irreconcilable to the view that consciousness is a product of the material physical world. Those six properties are, “Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,”

    The Mind and Materialist Superstition – Michael Egnor – 2008
    Six “conditions of mind” that are irreconcilable with materialism: –
    Excerpt: Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....13961.html

    And in regards to the specific mental attribute of “Persistence of Self-Identity” through time, it is also important to note that “Persistence of Self-Identity” through time can also be defined as being ‘the experience of ‘the now’.

    And in regards to ‘the experience of ‘the now’ in particular, it is also important to note that we each have a unique perspective of being outside of time. In fact we each seemingly watch from some mysterious outside perspective of time as time seemingly passes us by. Simply put, metaphorically we very much seem to be standing on our own little “islands of now’ as the ‘river of time’ continually flows by us.

    The ‘experience of ‘the now’ is simply inexplicable for anyone who wishes to explain consciousness as somehow being a product of the material/physical world.

    As Stanley Jaki explained, “There can be no active mind without its sensing its existence in the moment called now.,,, ,,,There is no physical parallel to the mind’s ability to extend from its position in the momentary present to its past moments, or in its ability to imagine its future. The mind remains identical with itself while it lives through its momentary nows.”

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

    And this inexplicable ‘experience of ‘the now” also happens to be exactly where Albert Einstein got into trouble with leading philosophers of his day, (and also happens to be exactly where Einstein eventually got into trouble with quantum mechanics itself).

    Around 1935, Einstein was asked by Rudolf Carnap (who was a philosopher):

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

    Einstein’s answer to Carnap was ‘categorical’, he said:

    “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.”
    Einstein
    Quote taken from the last few minutes of this following video.
    Stanley L. Jaki: “The Mind and Its Now”
    https://vimeo.com/10588094

    And here is an article that goes into a bit more detail of that specific encounter between Einstein and Rudolf Carnap:

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

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Prior to that encounter with Carnap, Einstein also had another “heated” disagreement with another famous philosopher, Henri Bergson, over what the proper definition of time should be (Bergson, a very famous philosopher of his time, was also very well versed in the specific mental attribute of the ‘experience of the now’). In fact, that disagreement with Henri Bergson over what the proper definition of time should be was one of the primary reasons that Einstein failed to ever receive a Nobel prize for his work on relativity:

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

    Here is an article, (via Harvard educated historian of science Jimena Canales), that goes into a bit more detail about the particular confrontation between Einstein and Henri Bergson:

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

    The specific statement that Einstein made to Carnap on the train, “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.” was a very interesting statement for Einstein, (one of the greatest theoretical Physicists to ever live), to make to the philosopher since “The experience of ‘the now’ has, from many recent experiments in quantum mechanics, established itself as very much being a defining part of our physical measurements in quantum mechanics.

    For instance, the following delayed choice experiment with atoms, via 2015, demonstrated that, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”

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

    Likewise, the following violation of Leggett’s inequality stressed the “quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it.”

    Quantum physics says goodbye to reality – Apr 20, 2007
    Excerpt: They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell’s thought experiment, Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it. “Our study shows that ‘just’ giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics,” Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. “You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism.”
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/27640

    The Mind First and/or Theistic implications of quantum experiments such as the preceding are fairly obvious. As Professor Scott Aaronson of MIT once quipped, “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists,,, But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”

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

    As well, ‘the experience of ‘the now’ is also confirmed to be a defining feature of reality in quantum mechanics in that, via the Quantum Zeno effect, atoms appear to be frozen in time from a quantum mechanical perspective.

    Specifically, as the following article states, “One of the oddest predictions of quantum theory – that a system can’t change while you’re watching it – has been confirmed in an experiment by Cornell physicists.,,,”

    ‘Zeno effect’ verified: Atoms won’t move while you watch
    By Bill Steele | October 22, 2015
    Excerpt: One of the oddest predictions of quantum theory – that a system can’t change while you’re watching it – has been confirmed in an experiment by Cornell physicists.,,,
    “We now have the unique ability to control quantum dynamics purely by observation.”
    https://news.cornell.edu/stories/2015/10/zeno-effect-verified-atoms-wont-move-while-you-watch

    And here are a few more experiments that further drive this point home that ‘the experience of ‘the now” takes precedence over events that occur in space time.

    The following experiment found that “Not only can two events be correlated, linking the earlier one to the later one, but two events can become correlated such that it becomes impossible to say which is earlier and which is later.,,,”

    Quantum Weirdness Now a Matter of Time – 2016
    Bizarre quantum bonds connect distinct moments in time, suggesting that quantum links — not space-time — constitute the fundamental structure of the universe.
    Excerpt: Not only can two events be correlated, linking the earlier one to the later one, but two events can become correlated such that it becomes impossible to say which is earlier and which is later.,,,
    “If you have space-time, you have a well-defined causal order,” said Caslav Brukner, a physicist at the University of Vienna who studies quantum information. But “if you don’t have a well-defined causal order,” he said — as is the case in experiments he has proposed — then “you don’t have space-time.”,,,
    Quantum correlations come first, space-time later. Exactly how does space-time emerge out of the quantum world? Bruner said he is still unsure.
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160119-time-entanglement/

    Entangled Quantum Particles Can “Communicate” Through Time – 2019
    This (spooky action at a distance) entanglement, it turns out, extends to time as well — “spooky action at a delay,” as George Musser put it in Quanta Magazine. In 2013, a team of researchers at the University of Jerusalem actually demonstrated this weird phenomenon in the lab.
    https://www.discovery.com/science/Entangled-Quantum-Particles-Communicate

    The following experiment by Anton Zeilinger, circa 2012, demonstrated that “quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    And as the following 2017 article states, “a decision made in the present can influence something in the past.”

    Physicists provide support for retrocausal quantum theory, in which the future influences the past
    July 5, 2017 by Lisa Zyga
    Excerpt: retrocausality means that, when an experimenter chooses the measurement setting with which to measure a particle, that decision can influence the properties of that particle (or another particle) in the past, even before the experimenter made their choice. In other words, a decision made in the present can influence something in the past.
    – per physorg

    Thus in conclusion, despite how reasonable Dr. Torley’s objection to Dr. Egnor may seem at first glance, (i.e. perception cannot possibly occur ‘at a distance’ since a Supernova that we might be observing “ceased to exist nearly 200 millennia ago, long before the dawn of human history”), no matter how reasonable that objection may seem, the fact of the matter is that Dr. Egnor’s contention that “Perception at a distance is no more inconceivable than action at a distance” finds strong experimental support from quantum mechanics and Dr. Torley’s objection, (as far as experimental evidence from quantum mechanics itself is concerned), is found to be severely wanting.

    To repeat Professor Crull’s provocative statement which he made in 2018 “entanglement can occur across two quantum systems that never coexisted,,, it implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than 9 billion years old.”

    You thought quantum mechanics was weird: check out entangled time – 2018
    Excerpt: it implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than 9 billion years old.
    – ibid

    Quote and Verse

    “the future is a concept—it doesn’t exist-There is no such thing as tomorrow There never will be because time is always now. That’s one of the things we discover when we stop talking to ourselves and stop thinking. We find there is only present, only an eternal now.”
    – Alan Watts

    Psalm 46:10
    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;,,,”

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    Such idealism runs into the grand delusion problem. Our civilisation is haunted by radical doubt and a thirst for general certainty that retreats each time we approach it. Wisdom is to recognise what can be known with certainty, e.g. that error exists, what can be known with responsible confidence short of incorrigible certainty and what is uncertain but may confront us existentially in the moment of decision.

  7. 7
    Silver Asiatic says:

    So we are, in effect, living our lives in the mind of God. And he is a mediator of our experience and of our inner subjectivity, rather than some sort of neutral material realm that serves as a third thing between us and the mind of God, so to speak.

    That is not much different than classical theology. The only real difference is speaking of “the mind of God” as if that is a separate part of God.
    St. Paul explains:

    “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else … ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’

    It’s not “God’s mind” but God Himself – His unity being. His nature is the same as His attributes (He is wisdom, He is justice).

    I’d think an analysis of this view would require a lot of knowledge about God.

  8. 8
    capalas says:

    “Basically, it’s the idea that material substances, as substantial entities, do not exist and are not the cause of our perceptions. They do not mediate our experience of the world. Rather, what constitutes what we would call the physical realm are ideas that exist solely in the mind of God..”

    Does this mean there really are no stars, and no big bang 13 billions years ago? If so, how can he claim that YEC has been scientifically falsified (http://www.godandscience.org/y.....onism.html)?
    But then, I suppose Bruce Gordon believes that the Bible – which speaks of both matter and mind – doesn’t really exist either.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Capalas, although I take it you are a Young Earth Creationist (YEC), I still want to thank you for citing Bruce Gordon’s critique of YEC.

    In his critique Dr. Gordon states, “unfortunately, young-earth literalism about the early chapters of Genesis fails to employ a sound grammatical-historical approach to the text. Classical Hebrew literary devices and the ancient Near Eastern context of biblical revelation are virtually ignored by young-earth interpreters. Instead, a naively literal modern reading driven by linguistic conventions embedded in a contemporary understanding of the world and what it means to write history is embraced.”,,,,

    Scandal of the Evangelical Mind: A Biblical and Scientific Critique of Young-Earth Creationism PDF File
    by Bruce L. Gordon – 2014
    Excerpt: Evangelicals share the belief that all of Scripture is inspired by God and, when properly interpreted, completely trustworthy and authoritative in everything it teaches. The key question, of course, is one of proper interpretation, which is one reason there are so many doctrinal differences among Christians today. These differences can arise even when sound principles of interpretation are followed,,,, but unfortunately, young-earth literalism about the early chapters of Genesis fails to employ a sound grammatical-historical approach to the text. Classical Hebrew literary devices and the ancient Near Eastern context of biblical revelation are virtually ignored by young-earth interpreters. Instead, a naively literal modern reading driven by linguistic conventions embedded in a contemporary understanding of the world and what it means to write history is embraced. The result is a bad reading of the text that pays very little attention to the ways in which Hebrew vocabulary and literary devices structure and affect interpretation, and no attention at all to the facts that: (1) the language of Scripture is never that of anachronistic scientific description, but rather a report of what human observers directly see (i.e., the language is phenomenological) and it is broadly reflective of an ancient Near Eastern cosmology; and (2) the opening chapters of Genesis are a theological polemic, that is, an argument against the mythology and polytheism of the cultur es surrounding ancient Israel.
    http://www.godandscience.org/y.....onism.html

    That pretty much hits the nail on the head. Thanks again for citing the link.

    The main conflict in interpretation seems to center on the Hebrew word “Yom”. And I hold that old Earth Creationists are correct to point out that, to be consistent in your interpretation of the Bible, YEC cannot maintain that “Yom” must always and only refer to 24 hour periods.

    Old Earth Creation Science
    Word Study: Yom
    Conclusion
    With such a wide usage of the word Yom for many different time periods, it cannot be claimed that Yom in the Old Testament only represents a 24-hour period. During the creation account alone, Yom represents four different time periods. Rules of Hebrew, created by young earth Hebrew scholars, are invalid. Because of their biased position, they are trying to prove their own agenda.
    Since humans did not witness creation, our own concept of a 24-hour day does not apply. The only thing that matters is God’s concept of time. Thus, the only evidence we have to accurately assess the age of creation is the creation itself. Since the rocks and stars say we are billions of years old, that must be the truth. This fits perfectly with a literal interpretation of Genesis, and an inerrant Bible, and does not impact any other Biblical doctrines.
    1 Television Show and Transcript, “Are the Genesis Creation Days 24 Hours or Long Periods of Time,” The John Ankerberg Show, 2005.
    http://www.oldearth.org/word_study_yom.htm

    Why I Reject A Young Earth View: A Biblical Defense of an Old Earth – Jonathan M. – 2011
    Excerpt: If, therefore, it may be considered legitimate to take the seventh day as representative of a much longer period of time, then whence the mandate for supposing a commitment to interpreting the other six days as representative of 24-hour periods?
    Fourth, there is the multiple-usage of the word “day” in Genesis 1. Let’s take a look at the manner in which the word “day” is used in the Genesis 1 (up to 2:4) narrative alone:
    1. Genesis 1:5a: “God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.” Here, “day” is contrasted with “night”: Thus, a 24-hour day is not in view, but rather “day” in the sense of “daytime” (i.e. 12 hours).
    2. Genesis 1:5b: “And there was evening and there was morning — the first day.” Here, the word does indeed mean a 24-hour day.
    3. Genesis 2:3: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” To this, I have already alluded — the key point here is the absence of “evening” and “morning”, which denotes all of the previous six days.
    4. The correct rendering of the Hebrew with respect to Genesis 2:4 is “This is the account of the heavens and the earth in the day they were created, when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.”
    http://crossexamined.org/why-i.....old-earth/

    It is also interesting to note that, historically speaking, the roots for YEC are not that deep, and that YEC is a fairly recent invention.

    In the following reference, a YEC himself states that, “Creation Science (YEC) is a new movement of the twentieth century.”

    History of Creationism – March 23, 2013 – The Creationists – By Ray Lakeman
    Excerpt: Creation Science (YEC) is a new movement of the twentieth century. It arose as a movement composed of trained scientists and lay Christian supporters from a wide range of Christian churches, and it has grown despite almost universal opposition from both mainstream scientists and the mainstream leaders in churches.
    In the early years of the twentieth century the self-described geologist George McCready Price stood virtually alone in insisting on the recent appearance of life and on a global flood catastrophe that massively rearranged the earth’s crust. Price was well-received by creationists, but made few converts beyond his Seventh Day Adventist Church.
    In 1932 the Evolution Protest Movement was formed in London, and is now called the Creation Science Movement, the oldest creationist society on Earth.,,,
    https://reasonablefaithadelaide.org.au/history-of-creationism/

    It is also interesting to note that Augustine himself, one of the early church fathers, writing in the fifth century, stated that “What kind of days these were it is extremely difficult, or perhaps impossible, to determine”,,,

    BIBLICAL REASONS TO DOUBT THE CREATION DAYS WERE 24-HOUR PERIODS – January 28, 2015
    Excerpt: it may come as a surprise to some contemporary conservatives that some of the great stalwarts of the faith were not convinced of this (strict 24 hour period) interpretation.
    Augustine, writing in the early fifth century, noted, ”What kind of days these were it is extremely difficult, or perhaps impossible, to determine” (City of God 11.7).
    https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2015/01/28/biblical-reasons-to-doubt-the-creation-days-were-24-hour-periods/

    Thus holding to a strict YEC interpretation of the Bible was certainly not required in Augustine’s view of scriptures and in Augustine view of being a Christian. And I certainly don’t think that YECs want to go down the road of calling Augustine himself a heretic of the Christian faith for failing to hold to a strict YEC view of scripture.

    Likewise, many prominent biblical scholars of the modern era, who hold to the inerrancy of scriptures, also hold that the word “Yom” does not imply a literal 24 hour day.

    BIBLICAL REASONS TO DOUBT THE CREATION DAYS WERE 24-HOUR PERIODS – January 28, 2015
    Excerpt: J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), author of the 20th century’s best critique of theological liberalism, wrote, “It is certainly not necessary to think that the six days spoken of in that first chapter of the Bible are intended to be six days of twenty four hours each.”
    Old Testament scholar Edward J. Young (1907-1968), an eloquent defender of inerrancy, said that regarding the length of the creation days, “That is a question which is difficult to answer. Indications are not lacking that they may have been longer than the days we now know, but the Scripture itself does not speak as clearly as one might like.”
    Theologian Carl F. H. Henry (1913-2003), one of the most important theologians in the second half of the twentieth century and a defender of Scriptural clarity and authority, argued that “Faith in an inerrant Bible does not rest on the recency or antiquity of the earth. . . . The Bible does not require belief in six literal 24-hour creation days on the basis of Genesis 1-2. . . . it is gratuitous to insist that twenty-four hour days are involved or intended.”
    Old Testament scholar and Hebrew linguist Gleason Archer (1916-2004), a strong advocate for inerrancy, wrote ”On the basis of internal evidence, it is this writer’s conviction that yôm in Genesis could not have been intended by the Hebrew author to mean a literal twenty-four hour day.”
    I want to suggest there are some good, textual reasons—in the creation account itself—for questioning the exegesis that insists on the days as strict 24 hour periods,,,.
    – ibid

    Moreover, In my honest opinion, it is a crying shame that YEC have, scientifically, chosen to die on this particular hill.

    Modern science, out of all the possible worldviews it could have been born out of, (and directly contrary to what atheists try to claim today), was uniquely born out of the Christian worldview, and the Christian worldview alone.

    Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
    Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature (that enabled the rise of modern science).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47431.html

    The Christian Origins of Science – Jack Kerwick – Apr 15, 2017
    Excerpt: Though it will doubtless come as an enormous shock to such Christophobic atheists as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and their ilk, it is nonetheless true that one especially significant contribution that Christianity made to the world is that of science.,,,
    Stark is blunt: “Real science arose only once: in Europe”—in Christian Europe. “China, Islam, India, and ancient Greece and Rome each had a highly developed alchemy. But only in Europe did alchemy develop into chemistry. By the same token, many societies developed elaborate systems of astrology, but only in Europe did astrology develop into astronomy.”,,,
    In summation, Stark writes: “The rise of science was not an extension of classical learning. It was the natural outgrowth of Christian doctrine: nature exists because it was created by God. In order to love and honor God, it is necessary to fully appreciate the wonders of his handiwork. Because God is perfect, his handiwork functions in accord with immutable principles. By the full use of our God-given powers of reason and observation, it ought to be possible to discover these principles.”
    He concludes: “These were the crucial ideas that explain why science arose in Christian Europe and nowhere else.”
    https://townhall.com/columnists/jackkerwick/2017/04/15/the-christian-origins-of-science-n2313593

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Via Stephen Meyer’s new book, “Return of the God Hypothesis”, here are the three necessary presuppositions that lay at the founding of modern science in Medieval Christian Europe.

    “Science in its modern form arose in the Western civilization alone, among all the cultures of the world”, because only the Christian West possessed the necessary “intellectual presuppositions”.
    – Ian Barbour

    Presupposition 1: The contingency of nature
    “In 1277, the Etienne Tempier, the bishop of Paris, writing with support of Pope John XXI, condemned
    “necessarian theology” and 219 separate theses influenced by Greek philosophy about what God could and couldn’t do.”,,
    “The order in nature could have been otherwise (therefore) the job of the natural philosopher, (i.e. scientist), was not to ask what God must have done but (to ask) what God actually did.”
    Presupposition 2: The intelligibility of nature
    “Modern science was inspired by the conviction that the universe is the product of a rational mind who designed it to be understood and who (also) designed the human mind to understand it.” (i.e. human exceptionalism),
    “God created us in his own image so that we could share in his own thoughts”
    – Johannes Kepler
    Presupposition 3: Human Fallibility
    “Humans are vulnerable to self-deception, flights of fancy, and jumping to conclusions.”, (i.e. original sin), Scientists must therefore employ “systematic experimental methods.”
    – Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and The Return of the God Hypothesis – Hoover Institution
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_8PPO-cAlA

    And here is a short defense of all 3 presuppositions

    1
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/brian-keating-on-the-problem-with-follow-the-science/#comment-727893
    2
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/brian-keating-on-the-problem-with-follow-the-science/#comment-727959
    3
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/brian-keating-on-the-problem-with-follow-the-science/#comment-727980

    Moreover, none of the Christian founders of modern science that I am aware of, (Newton, Galileo, Kepler, Kelvin, etc.. etc..), held to a strict 6000 year YEC view of creation.

    Thus, in my honest opinion, since modern science owes its very origins to Christianity, it is a crying shame that YECs would portray to the general public that Christianity entails a certain animosity towards science.

    If anyone has a direct conflict with science, it certainly is not Christians, but it is Darwinists.

    In fact, Darwinists, and naturalists in general, with their insistence on ‘methodological naturalism’ as a guiding principle in science, actually drive science into catastrophic epistemological failure.

    I recently defended that claim here
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/michael-egnor-heres-why-an-argument-for-gods-existence-is-a-scientific-argument/#comment-728164

    Thus Capalas, in conclusion, I share much of Dr. Gordon’s deep frustration with the YEC movement, in that well meaning Christians should willingly, and needlessly, portray themselves to the general public as being somewhat unscientific. Especially when Christianity itself provides the correct conceptual foundation for us to even ‘do science’ in the first place.

    YEC is simply not warranted biblically, nor, (in my honest opinion), is it scientifically defensible in any robustly consistent manner.

  11. 11
    capalas says:

    Hi, Bornagain77
    Looks like mentioning YEC struck a raw nerve. My intent was not to defend YEC (although all your arguments are rebutted by, for example, J. Sarfati’s “The Genesis Account”).

    Rather, my point is that in judging YEC to be scientifically disproven Gordon assumes a scientific realism, where stars and big bangs exist objectively. But his idealism is better suited to a non-realist, instrumentalist view of science. In that case the 13 billion year history of the universe before man has no real existence.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    Capalas in response to this statement by Dr. Gordon,

    “Basically, it’s the idea that material substances, as substantial entities, do not exist and are not the cause of our perceptions. They do not mediate our experience of the world. Rather, what constitutes what we would call the physical realm are ideas that exist solely in the mind of God..”

    In response to that statement, you asked,

    Does this mean there really are no stars, and no big bang 13 billions years ago?

    No it doesn’t mean that in the least, it simply means that besides God creating the universe and stars, (and our conscious selves), that God also sustains the universe and stars (and our conscious selves) in their continual existence.

    i.e. God did not create the universe as a self-existent entity, and then walk away to let the universe unfold along its own merry course, (as Deists, and Theistic evolutionists, hold), but God not only created the universe but upholds the universe (and our conscious selves) in their continual existence.

    And this view where God created and also sustains the universe, (and our conscious selves) in their continual, moment by moment, existence is in fact the correct Christian view to hold.

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

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

    i.e. God is not some distance clock maker, nor is He aloof from his creation, (as some people are prone to think), but God is intimately involved in sustaining every aspect of His creation in its continual existence. i.e. Our very ‘being’ depends on God!

    And as the scripture also says, a sparrow “shall not fall on the ground without your Father.”

    Matthew 10:29
    “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.”

    Even Dr. Jason Lisle, who is a YEC, holds that the correct Christian view to hold is that God sustains the universe in its continual existence.

    Why does the universe continue to exist?
    by Dr. Jason Lisle on June 26, 2007
    God is not simply a passive observer, the Bible tells us that He sustains His creation—something that is evident from scientific research.
    Excerpt: Many Christians have the view that God created the universe, and then “let it go.” That is, they assume that the universe runs by itself, mechanically obeying impersonal laws that the Lord created at the beginning. The Lord is viewed as a passive observer, only occasionally “intervening” in the natural order by performing a supernatural miracle.
    But such a view is unbiblical. The God of Scripture is the sovereign King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15). He upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). And in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). God is personally involved in all aspects of the created world. The laws of nature are not impersonal, mechanical creations of God; rather, they are descriptions of the logical, orderly way God normally upholds His universe.,,,
    https://answersingenesis.org/who-is-god/god-is-good/why-does-the-universe-continue-to-exist/

    My question to you is this, what other worldview, other than Idealism, would explain the infinite Mind of God upholding the universe in its continual existence.

    That is to say, if God really does uphold the universe in its continual existence, (as is held in Christianity) then some form of idealism must necessarily be true.

    So exactly what other worldview are you putting forth other than Idealism to explain the infinite Mind of God sustaining the universe (and our conscious selves) in their continual existence.?

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Capalas states, “Looks like mentioning YEC struck a raw nerve.”

    No not really. I deal with people who are incorrect in their presuppositions all the time. I learned to quit being overly upset at people being wrong a long time ago. It still bothers me a little bit, but not nearly as much as it use to.

    You then state,

    “My intent was not to defend YEC (although all your arguments are rebutted by, for example, J. Sarfati’s “The Genesis Account”).”

    Oh goody, a refutation of ‘all my arguments’.

    Well, not to be nit-picky, but, (for one example of my arguments), could you cite exactly where it has been refuted that Augustine said what I cited him as saying?

    If you can’t do that one simple thing, of proving that what I cited Augustine as saying was wrong, then clearly you have not refuted ‘all my arguments’ as you claimed, but instead you are just bluffing that ‘all my arguments’ have been refuted.

    Not a good start for you if you are trying to have an honest discussion instead of engaging in meaningless rhetoric,

    You then state,

    Rather, my point is that in judging YEC to be scientifically disproven Gordon assumes a scientific realism, where stars and big bangs exist objectively. But his idealism is better suited to a non-realist, instrumentalist view of science. In that case the 13 billion year history of the universe before man has no real existence.

    So Capalas, let me get this straight, are you saying that holding to a mind-first view of reality makes science less real?

    But how exactly is that suppose to work?

    If we ourselves were not first conscious, then their could be no reality for us to be aware of! Period!

    So apparently, contrary to what you seem to be claiming, consciousness and reality have a deep and inseparable bond that can’t be so easily broken

    But hey, don’t take my word for it,

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

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

    “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists.”
    – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177.

    Further quote by Max Planck,,,:

    “That God existed before there were human beings on Earth, that He holds the entire world, believers and non-believers, in His omnipotent hand for eternity, and that He will remain enthroned on a level inaccessible to human comprehension long after the Earth and everything that is on it has gone to ruins; those who profess this faith and who, inspired by it, in veneration and complete confidence, feel secure from the dangers of life under protection of the Almighty, only those may number themselves among the truly religious.”
    Max Planck – As quoted in God’s Laughter (1992) by Gerhard Staguhn, p. 152

  14. 14
    capalas says:

    Hi Bornagain77

    You claim that God upholding the universe in its existence necessarily entails idealism.

    That matter (e.g. stars) must rely on God for its continued existence is not the issue. I have no problem with that. The issue is that Gordon says matter (e.g. stars) doesn’t really exist at all.

    And why should God upholding the universe entail idealism? Why can’t God (Mind or spirit) create a material universe, and then providentially continue to uphold it? First mind, then matter.

    It seems to me that the biblical position is that both mind and matter exist. Substance dualism; we are embodied souls.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Caprias states,

    You claim that God upholding the universe in its existence necessarily entails idealism.

    That matter (e.g. stars) must rely on God for its continued existence is not the issue. I have no problem with that. The issue is that Gordon says matter (e.g. stars) doesn’t really exist at all.

    There is a nuance that you are missing that is the source of your confusion.

    In answer to the question “What is Idealism?’, Dr. Gordon nuances his answer that ‘material substances do not exist’ with the qualifier of “as substantial entities’. And further nuances his statement with “what constitutes what we would call the physical realm are ideas that exist solely in the mind of God”

    Specifically he states,

    Michael Egnor: What is idealism?
    Bruce Gordon: There are a lot of different varieties of idealism, and rather than go through a laundry list of its variations, let me just start with the kind of idealism that I would be an advocate of, which is an ontic theistic idealism, essentially a form of idealism that is probably most closely identified with the Anglican Bishop, George Berkeley [pictured in 1727].
    Basically, it’s the idea that material substances, as substantial entities, do not exist and are not the cause of our perceptions. They do not mediate our experience of the world. Rather, what constitutes what we would call the physical realm are ideas that exist solely in the mind of God, who, as an unlimited and uncreated immaterial being, is the ultimate cause of the sensations and ideas that we, as finite spiritual beings, experience intersubjectively and subjectively as the material universe.
    – Ibid

    Gordon is NOT denying the outright existence of matter, (and stars), he is denying their existence as ‘substantial entities’ that can exist independently of the Mind of God.

    That is a very important nuance to take note of.

    You then state,

    And why should God upholding the universe entail idealism? Why can’t God (Mind or spirit) create a material universe, and then providentially continue to uphold it? First mind, then matter.

    And exactly how is the infinite Mind of God ‘providentially’ upholding the universe suppose to entail anything less than Idealism?

    providentially
    prov·i·den·tial
    adj.
    1. Of or resulting from divine providence.
    2. Happening as if through divine intervention;

    You then state,

    It seems to me that the biblical position is that both mind and matter exist. Substance dualism; we are embodied souls.

    Again, the question is not whether they exist or not, the question is whether they can exist apart from the infinite Mind of God upholding them in their continual existence. i.e. Can they exist as ‘substantial entities’ apart from the Mind of God.

    Both common sense and science say that they can’t exist as ‘substantial entities’ apart from God upholding them in their continual existence.

    Perhaps, to further clear this matter up, it would be good to look at what science has to say about all of this.

    Science, specifically quantum mechanics, definitely supports Idealism.

    For example, in the following Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment that was done with atoms, (instead of photons as it is normally done), it proved that, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”

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

    Moreover, as if that was not bad enough, and as Anton Zeilinger himself states in the following interview, “it is not just us (we ourselves) that don’t know where the particle is, the particle itself does not know where it is). This “nonexistence” is an objective feature of reality.,,,”

    Anton Zeilinger interviewed about Quantum Mechanics – video – 2018
    (The essence of Quantum Physics for a general audience)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z82XCvgnpmA
    40 sec: Every object has to be in a definite place is not true anymore.,,,
    The thought that a particle can be at two places at the same time is (also) not good language.
    The good language it that there are situations where it is completely undefined where the particle is. (and it is not just us (we ourselves) that don’t know where the particle is, the particle itself does not know where it is). This “nonexistence” is an objective feature of reality.,,,
    5:10 min:,,, superposition is not limited to small systems,,,
    17:30:,,, In quantum mechanics we have the measurement paradox (i.e. measurement problem),,, I think it (the measurement paradox) tells us something about the role of observation in the world. And the role of information.,, Maybe there are situations where we have to reconsider the “Cartesian cut”*,,,
    Note: *Cartesian Cut
    The Cartesian cut is a metaphorical notion alluding to Decartes’ distinction of res cogitans (thinking substance) and res extensa (extended substance). It plays a crucial role in the long history of the problem of the relationship between mind and matter and is constitutive for the natural sciences of today. While the elements of res cogitans are mental (non-material) entities like ideas, models, or concepts, the elements of res extensa are material facts, events, or data. The conventional referents of all natural sciences belong to the latter regime.

    So exactly where does the atom exist prior to measurement if it is not existing in the physical realm?

    Well science helps to shed light on that question to.

    Prior to measurement, and thus prior to the collapse of the quantum wave, the particle, in its quantum wave state, is defined as being in a infinite dimensional state that takes an infinite amount of information to describe properly.

    Why do we need infinite-dimensional Hilbert spaces in physics?
    You need an infinite dimensional Hilbert space to represent a wavefunction of any continuous observable (like position for example).
    https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/149786/why-do-we-need-infinite-dimensional-hilbert-spaces-in-physics

    Wave function
    Excerpt “wave functions form an abstract vector space”,,, This vector space is infinite-dimensional, because there is no finite set of functions which can be added together in various combinations to create every possible function.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....ctor_space

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (quantum) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1)
    http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf
    Of note to Qubit – in a classical system, a bit would have to be in one state or the other. However, quantum mechanics allows the qubit to be in a coherent superposition of both states simultaneously, a property which is fundamental to quantum mechanics and quantum computing.

    Now, saying that a atom does not exist in the physical realm prior to measurement, but that it exists in a ‘infinite dimensional’ realm and that it takes an infinite amount of information to describe it properly prior to measurement, certainly sounds very much to me, as a Christian Theist, that the atom is existing in the infinite Mind of God prior to measurement.

    In short, quantum mechanics itself supports the contention that Idealism is true.

    Of related note, in the following video, Richard Feynman (of quantum electrodynamic fame) asks “Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do?”

    “It always bothers me that in spite of all this local business, what goes on in a tiny, no matter how tiny, region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time, according to laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out. Now how can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do?”
    – Richard Feynman – one of the founding fathers of QED (Quantum Electrodynamics)
    Quote taken from the 6:45 minute mark of the following video:
    Feynman: Mathematicians versus Physicists – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obCjODeoLVw

    I don’t know about Richard Feynman, but as for myself, being a Christian Theist, I find it rather comforting to know that it takes an ‘infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do’:

    The reason why I find it rather comforting is because of John 1:1, which says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” ‘The Word’ in John 1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos also happens to be the root word from which we derive our modern word logic.

    So that it would take an infinite amount of logic to know what tiny bit of spacetime is going to do is pretty much exactly what one should expect to see under Christian presuppositions.

    John1:1
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    of note: ‘the Word’ in John 1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos is also the root word from which we derive our modern word logic
    http://etymonline.com/?term=logic

    What is the Logos?
    Logos is a Greek word literally translated as “word, speech, or utterance.” However, in Greek philosophy, Logos refers to divine reason or the power that puts sense into the world making order instead of chaos.,,,
    In the Gospel of John, John writes “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John appealed to his readers by saying in essence, “You’ve been thinking, talking, and writing about the Word (divine reason) for centuries and now I will tell you who He is.”
    https://www.compellingtruth.org/what-is-the-Logos.html

  16. 16
    capalas says:

    Bornagain77 states:

    “Gordon is NOT denying the outright existence of matter, (and stars), he is denying their existence as ‘substantial entities’ that can exist independently of the Mind of God.”

    Really?? If so, how Gordon’s idealism differ from, say, Descartes’ dualism, which also insists that created substances (body and mind) depend on God for their continued existence?

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Capalas

    Off hand, I would say that it doesn’t,

    But then again, according to Dr. Egnor, Descartes distinction has been abused by materialists, and their abuse is the source of much confusion today in science.

    Neurosurgeon Dr. Egnor (who interviewed Dr. Gordon) holds to Aristotelian hylomorphism rather than holding to Cartesian dualism

    Michael Egnor: I think that, first of all, if you want to understand the mind and the brain, you need to start with a solid metaphysical foundation. And I think hylomorphism is a solid metaphysical foundation. I don’t think Cartesian dualism is a good metaphysical foundation and I certainly don’t think materialism is a good metaphysical foundation.
    I think the best explanation of the relationship of the mind to the brain is Aristotelian hylomorphism which is the viewpoint that the soul is the form of the body and that certain powers of the soul, particularly the intellect and will, are not generated by matter but are immaterial things—what Thomas Aquinas would call the “spirit.” But other properties of the mind, like perception and memory and imagination are physical. They are directly related to brain matter and they are generated by brain matter. I think that’s the best explanation philosophically for what we find in neuroscience.
    Here’s a brief introduction to hylomorphism:
    Form and matter considered on their own are merely concepts in the mind; in things they are two distinct principles that make the one unified individual thing. The substantial form makes a thing what it is and the accidental forms (e.g. quantity and quality) modify it to have the types of quantity and qualities it has. So a substantial form makes a cat a cat, but an accidental form makes it a “black cat.”…
    What differentiates Seabiscuit from Secretariat is not horse-ness, since they are both horses; matter makes Seabiscuit this particular horse and Secretariat that particular horse.
    JT BRIDGES, “HYLOMORPHISM AS A METAPHYSIC FOR INTELLIGENT DESIGN SCIENCE” AT EVOLUTION NEWS AND SCIENCE TODAY
    https://mindmatters.ai/2020/02/the-minds-reality-is-consistent-with-neuroscience/

    Egnor: This mechanical philosophy is the result of two steps. It began with Rene Descartes, who argued that the mind and the brain were separate substances, immaterial and material. Somehow (how, neither Descartes nor anyone else can say) the mind is linked to the brain – it’s the ghost in the machine.
    But as Francis Bacon’s approach to understanding the world gained ascendency during the scientific Enlightenment, it became fashionable to limit inquiry about the world to physical substances: to study the machine and ignore the ghost. Matter was tractable, and we studied it to obsession. The ghost was ignored, and then denied. This was what the logic of materialism demanded.
    https://www.plough.com/en/topics/justice/reconciliation/science-and-the-soul

    Egnor: The fallacy stems from 17th-century philosopher John Locke’s flawed theory of mind.1 Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) was the first explicit modern exposition of what has been called the “Cartesian theatre”: the metaphysical fallacy that our senses project a representation of reality in our brains, and that we watch these representations, much as an audience watches a movie in a theatre. Picture yourself as a little “man” (a homunculus) snacking on popcorn. This childish concept marks the beginning of the modern Western conception of the self.
    The Cartesian theatre is bad neuroscience and catastrophically bad metaphysics because it cuts us off from reality. If we understand it and accept it (Novella obviously doesn’t really grasp his own point), we deny any real knowledge of the world and implicitly any real knowledge of ourselves. This is the end to which materialist gibberish leads.
    The truth is that the reality we perceive is real, and it must be real if we are to make any sense of the world. The things we perceive are not “constructed representations.” We perceive reality itself, and we know reality itself. We, of course, perceive and know it imperfectly, which is what Novella is really trying to say, muddled as he is.
    So how does perception work? When we see something, what is it that we see? If we only see the perception of (say) a tree—a perception generated by our eyes and our brain—then we don’t really see the tree itself. We thus have no direct mental contact with the tree.
    The correct understanding of perception was formulated by Aristotle and elaborated by St. Thomas Aquinas.2 It is essential to any coherent understanding of the mind. When we perceive a real object, we grasp the actual form of the object with our mind, which is itself a form. Aristotle said it beautifully: “The mind is, in a way, all things.”
    He observed that our perceptions are not that which we perceive; perceptions are that by which we perceive. We perceive the objects in our environment by our faculty of perception. He emphatically distinguishes between that which we perceive (the real object) from that by which we perceive (our faculty of perception).
    The world we perceive is not a “compelling and persistent illusion”. We perceive the real world, by grasping its forms in our [immaterial] mind. This is why materialism is such a catastrophe for the philosophy and science of the mind—it leads to self-refuting gibberish and cuts us off from genuine contact with reality.
    Now one point that Novella makes is true: the process by which we grasp those forms—the process of perception—can lead us astray. Our perceptual faculties, of which we are not consciously aware, are tainted in various ways, by brain chemistry and by our past experiences and implicit biases, etc.
    But the object of our perceptions and knowledge is reality itself, and we do have access to it. There is great value in the scientific understanding of our perception and the neurobiology on which it is based. But this genuine scientific insight must be based on coherent metaphysics, not solipsistic materialist gibberish that our knowledge is “a persistent illusion.”
    If we know nothing of reality, we can say nothing meaningful at all. Materialism is an intellectual trap, out of which neuroscience needs to climb.
    https://mindmatters.ai/2019/07/tales-of-the-mind-a-neurologist-encounters-the-house-of-mirrors/

  18. 18
    William J Murray says:

    Sorry, BA77. Bruce Gordon IS saying there is no material world.

    From: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/04/Transcript-Mind-Matters-130-Bruce-Gordon.pdf Page 5:

    There is no physical substrate, but the property has to inhere in something, so it’s inhering in the mind
    that perceives it. There is no, ultimately, there is no physical substrate that undergirds that property.
    Got it? So in a way you could look at the properties, the quantum mechanical properties as kind of
    abstract particular properties, tropes even. But the tropes have to inhere in something. What they
    inhere in is a mental substance, not a physical one.

  19. 19
    William J Murray says:

    Capalas said:

    But then, I suppose Bruce Gordon believes that the Bible – which speaks of both matter and mind – doesn’t really exist either.

    That things exist entirely in mind does not mean they don’t “really” exist. It just means they “really” exist in a different way than the way you think “really” should imply.

  20. 20
    William J Murray says:

    It makes zero sense for God to create a whole domain of existence (matter) to accomplish the same thing that can be done without it. Does God need matter to instantiate information in? To keep track of it? To distribute it properly? To ensure it is transmitted and translated properly?

    No? Then what’s the point?

  21. 21
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM

    It makes zero sense for God to create a whole domain of existence (matter) to accomplish the same thing that can be done without it. Does God need matter to instantiate information in? To keep track of it? To distribute it properly? To ensure it is transmitted and translated properly?

    No? Then what’s the point?

    These are essential questions that get at the heart of the problem.
    The idea that all of “created reality” is sustained by God from moment-to-moment goes back a long way in Western theological tradition.
    Quoting Aquinas, who quotes Augustine:

    Therefore, as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. iv, 12): “If the ruling power of God were withdrawn from His creatures, their nature would at once cease, and all nature would collapse.” In the same work (Gen. ad lit. viii, 12) he says: “As the air becomes light by the presence of the sun, so is man enlightened by the presence of God, and in His absence returns at once to darkness.”

    So the idea that all material creation is in the Mind of God (its Being is sustained by God) is compatible with the idea that “everything comes from universal mind”.
    But note, I mention a “material creation”. So, matter does exist in that view. Its origin is from God, but it is a “domain” of its own. Not “independent” (as Augustine above), but distinct. That’s the common human experience. We know the difference between an imagination and reality. Between a thought and a material object.
    Your first point proposes “what sense does it make for God to create a material domain”?
    I think we have to start with “what sense does it make for God to create anything”?
    So, we have to know why there is a created world. Is that creation distinct from God, or is it the same as God. Some believe that “we are God” – so there’s no real creation there.
    I hold the classical Christian view – God created a distinct reality “the world” and all life in it.

  22. 22
    William J Murray says:

    SA:
    That’s not really the point. What baffles me is why so-called “non-materialists” (semi-materialists, actually) defend (against the overwhelming scientific evidence) the existence of a material world. Science has proved (inasmuch as science proves anything) there is no such thing as “matter.” Why are people even talking about a “material world” as if this never happened? Is it just sloppy language? What are you people even talking about>

    What’s the point? Is it necessary to your theology?

    Does “a distinct reality” require that world be material in nature?

    When you dream you are in a solid physical world, is that gravity keeping you on the ground? Is the ground material in nature? Do you experience it as any less physical?

  23. 23
    William J Murray says:

    We know the difference between an imagination and reality.

    We know how to distinguish between different categories of mental experience. Do you have trouble with this? What difference does it make if “the physical world” is one category of mental experience, with it’s own specific qualities, and imagination is another? And memories are another? And logic is another? Are we going to suddenly not be able to tell the difference if we drop the notion that some material world external of mind exists?

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    William J Murray states,

    “Sorry, BA77. Bruce Gordon IS saying there is no material world.”

    But I didn’t claim that Bruce Gordon claimed that there was a material world. I pointed out that, In answer to the question “What is Idealism?’, Dr. Gordon nuances his answer that ‘material substances do not exist’ with the qualifier of “as substantial entities’. And further nuances his statement with “what constitutes what we would call the physical realm are ideas that exist solely in the mind of God”

    i.e. “Gordon is NOT denying the outright existence of matter, (and stars), he is denying their existence as ‘substantial entities’ that can exist independently of the Mind of God.

    Nothing is your reference contradicts what I have stated.

    In your reference Dr. Gordon just further confirms, via the “Cheshire cat” experiment, that what we perceive as physical reality is not a self existent entity, but what we perceive as physical reality must ‘inhere’ in a immaterial mind. (i.e. Dr. Gordon is just further delineating the fact that “what constitutes what we would call the physical realm are ideas that exist solely in the mind of God”)

    Bruce Gordon:
    Here’s another one that’s absolutely fascinating. It’s been dubbed the quantum Cheshire cat phenomenon. You may recall from the story of Alice in Wonderland, that Alice observes this grinning Cheshire cat that then disappears leaving only its grin. Alice remarks that she’s “Often seen a cat without a grin, but never a grin without a cat.” In essence, that’s what’s going on here because certain experiments – in particular, one using a neutron interferometer – have separated the properties of neutrons from any sort of substrate. So micro physical properties don’t necessarily require a substrate.
    What did the experiment do? Well, it sent the position of neutrons along one path and their spins along a separate path.
    Bruce Gordon:
    So that’d be kind of like sending a top along one path, and the fact that it was spinning along a separate path. Or the redness of an object along one path and the location of that object along another path. Micro physical properties then can be separated from any idea of a substrate. They can be abstract properties moving through space. So what do you get then? It would seem that under appropriate experimental conditions, quantum systems are decomposable into disembodied properties. Kind of a collection of Cheshire cat grins, if you will. So how is it that an abstract property could exist without any sort of substrate? Well, it can’t. Of course being a good kind of Neo-Aristotelian yourself, you would see properties as kind of mental abstractions from particulars.
    Michael Egnor: Right.
    Bruce Gordon:
    … Not existing in and of themselves, but only in the objects-
    Michael Egnor:
    But the property could exist in a mind.
    Bruce Gordon:
    Yes, that’s exactly where I’m headed.
    Michael Egnor: Right. Okay, yes. Yes.
    Bruce Gordon:
    There is no physical substrate, but the property has to inhere in something, so it’s inhering in the mind that perceives it. There is no, ultimately, there is no physical substrate that undergirds that property. Got it? So in a way you could look at the properties, the quantum mechanical properties as kind of abstract particular properties, tropes even. But the tropes have to inhere in something. What they inhere in is a mental substance, not a physical one.
    https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/04/Transcript-Mind-Matters-130-Bruce-Gordon.pdf

    None of that contradicts what I have stated.

    i.e. “Gordon is NOT denying the outright existence of matter, (and stars), he is denying their existence as ‘substantial entities’ that can exist independently of the Mind of God.

    Highlighting the primacy of immaterial mind over and above what we perceive as a physical reality was the entire point of him referencing the “Cheshire cat” experiment.

    Of note: I’ve referenced the same exact experiment myself to drive the point home that what we perceive as physical reality must be ‘information theoretic” in its foundational basis. and cannot be ‘materialistic’ in its foundational basis.

    49:28 mark: “This is now my personal opinion OK. Because we cannot operationally separate the two. Whenever we talk about reality, we think about reality, we are really handling information. The two are not separable. So maybe now, this is speculative here, maybe the two are the same? Or maybe information constitutive to the universe. This reminds me of the beginning the bible of St. John which starts with “In the Beginning was the Word”.,,,
    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT – video
    https://youtu.be/s3ZPWW5NOrw?t=2969

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: “In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum mechanics
    http://www.metanexus.net/archi.....linger.pdf

  25. 25
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM

    When you dream you are in a solid physical world, is that gravity keeping you on the ground? Is the ground material in nature? Do you experience it as any less physical?

    Yes, I do experience a dream in a significantly different way than an experience in conscious reality. In the same way, I can think of a solid thing, but my mental idea of it is much different than my actual experience of it in material reality. That’s one way I distinguish the two. An imagination is a mental experience and an encounter with a physical object is different than that.

    We know how to distinguish between different categories of mental experience. Do you have trouble with this?

    Yes, of course I do. “I thought I saw a dog in the backyard”. That thought can be mistaken. I validate the thought by looking at material reality and validating it. When I realize the initial thought was incorrect, I realize that the mental thought was not equivalent with reality, even though I thought it was. The very same mind that gave me the incorrect thought of the appearance of the dog, had to use external reality to correct that. So, information in our mind alone (imagination) is not adequate to understand the truth about things. We validate truths by referring to external, material reality.

    What difference does it make if “the physical world” is one category of mental experience, with it’s own specific qualities, and imagination is another?

    If someone says that the value of their imaginary thought is equivalent to the value of physical experience since they’re both mental states – then this would make quite a big difference in life. That’s why we want to validate thoughts against external reality, to the extent that we can do so. If everything is just mental, then the categories we create for various mental experiences are arbitrary. Why should an imagination be considered any more or less true than a physical experience? They’re both only expressions of the mind – all from the same cause. We can assign one as one thing and the other as another, but again, there’s no reason for this.

    And memories are another?

    Certainly, memories can be more or less accurate. This is the struggle that historians have. We look to the external, material world to learn how accurate the memory is.

    And logic is another?

    Some forms of logic can be validated by external reality, such as some simple math. But logic is more generally a method for reasoning and rationality, and logic would not work in a monist system where everything is one, since the first principle of reason holds that things actually exist and there are distinctions between being and non-being. The thought of a unicorn is an existing thing. But the unicorn is not existing.

    Are we going to suddenly not be able to tell the difference if we drop the notion that some material world external of mind exists?

    How would we tell the difference? I believe you are operating under the external world template and it’s hard to shake that off, but if that could happen, then there is no logical necessity to categorize thoughts in a certain way. They’re all thoughts. They’re all real. Any comparison with anything else would be illusory, since comparisons would be impossible.
    Thus, reason itself would break down.

  26. 26
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM

    That’s not really the point. What baffles me is why so-called “non-materialists” (semi-materialists, actually) defend (against the overwhelming scientific evidence) the existence of a material world.

    I’m sure you realize that it is the common human experience since the beginning of recorded history that people experience a material reality as different from thoughts. The idea that the physical world does not really exist is relatively new and held by a tiny minority of the human population. So it can’t be that strange that many people still hold that view – the entire world of Western philosophy up to the 19th century held that view. So, to start expecting that everyone is going to readily agree that there is no material world seems to misunderstand the common human experience, as I see it.
    But you offered an important distinction in the above.
    You speak of materialists and non-materialists – then splitting them with semi-materialists. But it seems to me like a reaction against materialism — opposing that, means one is a “non-materialist” or perhaps “immaterialist”. Thus, that view should oppose the existence of a material world. But the idea that a material world exists, just as people experience it in day to day life, is not a concession to the philosophy of materialism. It just recognizes a distinction between physical reality and mental states. How that distinction was created by God is a different matter. But we experience material aspects through sensation. That’s the classic formula for knowledge. “Anything in the mind was first in the senses”. That can be questioned regarding rational propositions that build on mental concepts alone, but basically that’s the rule. We sense something, then process it in the mind. To sense it means to apprehend an external reality with our senses.
    Can it be said that we sense things without the use of our mind?
    I think we can and do. We certainly can and do without our conscious mind. We do not need to be consciously aware to sense (feel) something. Is our mind still active? I think that can be debatable. I think it is beyond science to determine that clearly, but perhaps not I don’t know for sure. In my view at this moment, yes we can have multiple sensory experiences (even simultaneously) without the mind involved. If so, then this would mean that there is an external reality that we experience. I am open to the contrary view, but that’s the way I see it.

    Science has proved (inasmuch as science proves anything) there is no such thing as “matter.” Why are people even talking about a “material world” as if this never happened? Is it just sloppy language? What are you people even talking about>

    Science has proved that matter is not some chunks of stuff filling up space. But we still experience physical reality in ordinary life. That’s what we can consider “the material world”. The fact that this is not “matter” as it is traditionally known, does not mean that a material world does not exist. It is that instead of having been generated by observable, material subatomic particles, it is generated by immaterial energy.
    Could we say that “since God is pure spirit, totally immaterial, He could not create anything material”? I don’t think so. In the same way, the immaterial essences at the foundation of physical reality create what we know as the material world – that which we experience outside of ourselves.

    What’s the point? Is it necessary to your theology?

    Well, it correlates with lived experience. Yes, it’s given as part of theological wisdom. But I think most importantly, I do not see any evidence that human beings can speak and act and live consistently in the idea that there is no physical world. I don’t think we have the vocabulary or the mental framework for that.

    Does “a distinct reality” require that world be material in nature?

    As for the nature of the world, I think that does require that it is categorized as material. As for the origin of the world, that could be (and I believe is) an immaterial source. God created a material universe. At the foundation of this material world could be immaterial essences that create what we know of as physical.

  27. 27
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Gordon’s view:

    Micro physical properties … have to inhere in something. What they inhere in is a mental substance, not a physical one.

    So he is saying that matter and physical properties exist, they just inhere in a mind not in a physical substrate.

  28. 28
    Karen McMannus says:

    Silver Asiatic: So he is saying that matter and physical properties exist, they just inhere in a mind not in a physical substrate.

    What does “physical” substrate mean?

    You guys are not listening very closely. Tighten it up.

  29. 29
    William J Murray says:

    So he is saying that matter and physical properties exist, they just inhere in a mind not in a physical substrate.

    This statement (also the response by BA77) crystallizes the inherent problem I’m having in these conversations, and why your position and that of others is so baffling to me.

    Gordon is unambiguously stating that there is no material world. This is explicit. The science is explicit. It seems ambiguous to you and others for the simple reason that you don’t fully understand what Gordon – or I – are talking about. You don’t understand the language or the concepts of mental reality theory. This is evident when you casually conflate “material” with “physical” and “real.”

    It’s like what happens when Upright Biped tries to explain the components and processes required to achieve a functioning semiotic system. I had to have several private exchanges with UB just to understand what he was saying, to be able to conceptualize it successfully.

    You and others here have spent little time (if any) trying to understand the concepts and terminology undergirding MRT; you can’t even get out of the habit of conflating “material” with “physical.” You think they necessarily mean the same thing. When someone explicitly says there is no material world, you cannot take that literally. When science demonstrates there is no such thing as a material word, you start using ambiguous phrases that have no contextual meaning, like “some sort” of material world. OR “some sort” of world external of mind.

    Science and Gordon are clear; there is no “real world” outside of our experience; it is in our experience, and in our experience alone, that “real” qualities and commodities occur.

    What this branch of quantum physics has been doing explicitly for decades is test the the ERT theory; this is the theory that there is a domain things that exist independent of our experience; that these things contain specific, inherent information that is imported into our experience, causing those experiences – or, at least, specific qualities of those experiences.

    As the resulting factual information came in, physicists made many attempts to salvage ERT by figuring out loopholes in the data – meaning, some way to salvage “local reality,” or the existence of independent (of experience, observation, measurement) and specific states or qualities. All those loopholes were experimentally closed. Every relevant experiment showed, unambiguously, that there was no material world, no “reality,” no objective, independent state somewhere “out there” independent of the experience (experience meaning the mental qualia.)

    ERT has been, as much as it is scientifically possible at this point, conclusively disproved. No such independent states or qualities – much less “matter” – has been found or indicated. The opposite has been found to be the case: there are no non-qualia, or independent-of-mind states or characteristics to be found.

    Logically, that they would find this to be the case is a no-brainer. Even if there were such a world, we would not be able to locate it, because all experience occurs in mind. The only thing we can possibly be experimenting on or with is mental phenomena.

    But, all that said, I understand this is a very difficult reconceptualization that can take years to comprehend, much less work out what to do with it and how to organize a rational model of reality and existence under such a paradigm. The terminology itself is hard to deal with appropriately. It requires a sophisticated model of categories of mental experience and qualities and how they interact. Under a very rudimentary and vague model (if any) of “mind,” MRT is impossible to even remotely comprehend.

    This problem is exacerbated when one is ideologically committed to ERT of some sort.

  30. 30
    Karen McMannus says:

    WJM, the bottom line is that “materialists” seem to believe that atoms and quarks, etc., have an independent existence, where they exist “on their own.” QM demolished that idea. Consciousness is primary and everything else flows from that. For any given person, you’ll be wasting your time until the person comes to see that consciousness is primary. The good news is that the scientific evidence is in complete agreement with this.

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM we are participators in what we may choose to perceive, but we are still not the ultimate cause of what our mind perceives. God is !

    i.e. There is always the inside world of perceiver, and an ‘outside’ world of that which is perceived.

    The ‘outside’ world of that which is perceived, and which we call ‘physical’ reality, is not ‘material’.

    And in that we are in full agreement.

    But that still does not negate the fact that there must be an ‘outside’ world that is being perceived by the perceiver.

    I hold that the ‘outside’ world, which is not material, but which is still being perceived by the mind, rather than being material, (and in order to stay consistent with what quantum mechanics has now revealed), must instead be information theoretic in its foundational essence.

    The ‘Cheshire cat’ experiment highlighted by Gordon directly supports this contention in that the most basic features, i.e. spin and position, of a particle can be separated from one another and received as separate bits of information by the mind.

    This ‘information theoretic’ view of ‘physical’ reality also plays out in solving the long standing paradoxes of the ‘uncertainty principle’ and wave-particle duality.

    Quantum physics just got less complicated – Dec. 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner,,, found that ‘wave-particle duality’ is simply the quantum ‘uncertainty principle’ in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one.,,,
    “The connection between uncertainty and wave-particle duality comes out very naturally when you consider them as questions about what information you can gain about a system. Our result highlights the power of thinking about physics from the perspective of information,”,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2014-12-q.....cated.html

    of related note;

    In the beginning was the bit – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Zeilinger’s principle leads to the intrinsic randomness found in the quantum world. Consider the spin of an electron. Say it is measured along a vertical axis (call it the z axis) and found to be pointing up. Because one bit of information has been used to make that statement, no more information can be carried by the electron’s spin. Consequently, no information is available to predict the amounts of spin in the two horizontal directions (x and y axes), so they are of necessity entirely random. If you then measure the spin in one of these directions, there is an equal chance of its pointing right or left, forward or back. This fundamental randomness is what we call Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_.....302101.php

    Zeilinger’s principle
    Zeilinger’s principle states that any elementary system carries just one bit of information. This principle was put forward by Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger in 1999 and subsequently developed by him to derive several aspects of quantum mechanics. Some have reasoned that this principle, in certain ways, links thermodynamics with information theory. [1]
    http://www.eoht.info/page/Zeilinger%27s+principle

    And this information theoretic view of what we call ‘physical’ reality, as mentioned previously, is also very friendly to the Idealism of Christian Theism.

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: “In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum mechanics

    49:28 mark: “This is now my personal opinion OK. Because we cannot operationally separate the two. Whenever we talk about reality, we think about reality, we are really handling information. The two are not separable. So maybe now, this is speculative here, maybe the two are the same? Or maybe information constitutive to the universe. This reminds me of the beginning the bible of St. John which starts with “In the Beginning was the Word”.,,,
    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT – video
    https://youtu.be/s3ZPWW5NOrw?t=2969

  32. 32
    William J Murray says:

    BA77:

    I agree with the “inside” and “outside,” but the inside and outside we are talking about under MRT is inside of the individual and outside of the individual, not inside of mind (universal mind) and outside of mind.

  33. 33
    William J Murray says:

    KM: exactly. Also, materialism has not only been demolished; so has dualism. Idealism has been scientifically proved inasmuch as science proves things.

  34. 34
    William J Murray says:

    BA77:

    The ‘outside’ world of that which is perceived, and which we call ‘physical’ reality, is not ‘material’.

    I realize you’re using scare quotes here, so I’m going to try to model this very accurately.

    The following will use “internal” and “external” in terms of the individual perceiver (not internal or eternal of mind. Under MRT, what is internal and external of the individual perceiver is all mental stuff happening in universal mind.)

    People think of things like thinking about logic, and imagining something, as an internal experience. However, logic is not internal to the observer, logic is a separate thing the observer is interacting with and using. When we imagine, we are not what we imagine; what we are imagining lies outside of our sense of self as the observer of what we are imagining. The ultimate aspect of the individual observer is that which is experiencing the thought just like we are the observer experiencing the physical world. It has just become our habit to think of one set of experiences as internal, and another set of experiences as external. Our physical bodies are outside of our sense of self. Our brain is outside of our essential sense of self Yes, we are controlling, to one degree or another, what we think; but ultimately it is the same as controlling our physical bodies and directing them.

    The essential, ineffable individual observer is not those experiences; it is that which is having those experiences.

    So, in that sense, every experience is, to some degree, “external” except that root sense of individual self as that which is having those experiences – even thoughts and imagination. I am not the thoughts I experiences; I am that which is experiencing and directing those thoughts like a mental body, comparable to our physical body.

    This is why I don’t call it “internal reality theory.” External Reality Theory = external of universal mind, or insisting that some kind of thing other than mind exists that determines or causes our experiences.

    As far as God (universal mind) causing all experiences, as ultimate cause, that is correct. God does not choose our experiences for us, we do that. I think you agree with that.

  35. 35
    William J Murray says:

    BA77 said:

    I hold that the ‘outside’ world, which is not material, but which is still being perceived by the mind, rather than being material, (and in order to stay consistent with what quantum mechanics has now revealed), must instead be information theoretic in its foundational essence.

    I agree. I mean, this has been scientifically demonstrated. I’m just hoping to clear up what may be misconceptions about what the E and M refer to in ERT and MRT. “External” is in relationship to universal mind, and refers to the proposed existence of something other than mind (mind being a diverse set of sub-categorically distinct phenomena and qualities.) “External” in the theory does not relate to the individual perceiver.

    The individual perceiver, the observational consciousness, should not be casually be said to be “mind.” It is a highly specific category of mental phenomena unlike other categories. It is ineffable. So, to say “…but which is still being perceived by the mind,” you might want to say “being perceived by the individual perceivers, or observers.” “By the mind” invites misunderstanding, IMO.

    As I laid out in #34, we are not our perceptions; we are that which is having those perceptions. What we call “the outside world” is a category of perceptions and experiences we are having in universal mind that have categorical qualities and distinctions from other experiences we are having.

  36. 36
    William J Murray says:

    Perhaps the discussion would be less inherently problematic if I changed the nomenclature from ERT and MRT to DRT and IRT; Dualism Reality Theory and Idealism Reality Theory.

  37. 37
    jerry says:

    The troll goes on abetted by those who answer the troll.

  38. 38

    Dualism is right, because there is a fundamental distinction between a matter of personal opinion, and a matter of fact.

    That some parameter of an object is decided upon “observation”, is irrellevant (besides it also not being true).

    It is still a true fact that the parameter consists of a set of possibilities, prior to it being decided. These possibilities are real things, which can be accurately described.

    So an object has some parameters which are in a decided state, and some parameters which are in an undecided state of possibilities.

    So what? Mathematics is able to handle it objectively.

    The logic of fact is, that a fact is obtained by evidence of a creation forcing to produce a 1 tot 1 corresponding model of it. And we can do that with objects, we can make a 1 to 1 corresponding model of them, accurately reflecting that some parameter of the object is in an undecided state of possibilities.

  39. 39
    capalas says:

    MJW says, “Also, materialism has not only been demolished; so has dualism. Idealism has been scientifically proved inasmuch as science proves things.”

    I grant that materialism is easily scientifically disproven by the perceived fact of my own consciousness. But there is no such sound scientific disproof of dualism. Given that science is grounded in our perceptions of the physical world, how could we possibly prove scientifically that these perceptions come directly from God rather than via a substantial material world?

  40. 40
    William J Murray says:

    Capalas,

    Given that science is grounded in our perceptions of the physical world, how could we possibly prove scientifically that these perceptions come directly from God rather than via a substantial material world?

    Because quantum physics experimentation has conclusively shown there is no such thing as “matter” – at least, none to be found anywhere we have looked. What they have found is information potential which is abstract in nature – not “instantiated” on matter or encoded in specified states of “energy.” Science has clearly proven ontological idealism to be true – inasmuch as science “proves” anything. We are conscious beings interacting with abstract information which generates experience. All of those things are mental in nature. Thus: there is no dualism.

  41. 41
    capalas says:

    WJM says “…quantum physics experimentation has conclusively shown there is no such thing as “matter” …What they have found is information potential… Science has clearly proven ontological idealism to be true.”

    Science has “clearly proven” no such thing. The experimental quantum facts can be interpreted in various ways. Deciding which interpretation is best must thus rely on metaphysical, rather than purely physical, considerations. To say that experiments find “information potential” rather than matter is to confuse an abstract mathematical model with the concrete reality it is trying to represent.

  42. 42
    William J Murray says:

    Capalas said:

    Science has “clearly proven” no such thing. The experimental quantum facts can be interpreted in various ways. Deciding which interpretation is best must thus rely on metaphysical, rather than purely physical, considerations. To say that experiments find “information potential” rather than matter is to confuse an abstract mathematical model with the concrete reality it is trying to represent.

    That’s not what is going on at all. What the different interpretations of the results of the physical experiments have been attempting to do is reconcile those results with the theory that concrete states exist independent of observation. These are not “abstract mathematical models;” these are experimental facts. The math is used to create a mathematical model that describes the results in terms of a conceptual model of what is occurring in the experiments.

    These experiments, for over 100 years, have been attempts to demonstrate that there is some kind of “concrete” reality “out there” that is providing the basis for our observations. These experiments were not conducted in the abstract as mathematical calculations; they were done physically with physical results.

    The result of over 100 years of physical experimentation, basically attempting to “prove” that some kind of “concrete reality” exists “out there” are in: there is no “concrete reality” out there – at least that we have been able to find. Current abstract models and interpretations are about this fact, which is why some physicists have begrudgingly switched over to consciousness-centric, informational, and various forms of Idealist models.

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