Short answer, stick a logic hook in his mouth and yank. Long answer below:
In a prior post RDFish asserted:
The point is important because nobody believes that “matter in motion” can lead to complex form and function, the way ID folks pretend.
The obvious implication of RDFish’s assertion is that a monist such as himself can take comfort in the fact that there is something out there other than particles moving through space-time to account for the dizzying diversity and complexity of nature, including, space stations, Iphones and, not least, living things. I believe that RDFish is bluffing. Take any brand of monism you like, materialism, naturalism, physicalism; it does not matter. RDFish knows that monist reductionism has failed to account for the observations. Yet he does not want to abandon monism. So what is a monist to do? Why conjure up out of whole cloth a tertium quid – i.e., assert that there is a third physical (by which I mean “non-spiritual”) thing out there that is not space-time or matter/energy that explains it all. Perhaps we do not yet understand how RDFish’s tertium quid explains it all, but we can appeal to its mere existence as a possible, indeed probable, explanation.
The problem, of course, is that asserting a tertium quid is meaningless speculation until you actually plausibly identify it. Until you do plausibility identify it, it is no better, scientifically speaking, than an appeal to “gremlins.” Such an appeal is nothing but obscurantism employed to disguise the failure of monist reductionism.
So I responded to RDFish with the following simple challenge:
Tell us what else there is besides space, time, matter and energy.
RDFish responded to my challenge here.
In this post, I shall fisk RDFish’s reply.
First, you should realize that time and space are not distinct; they are entwined as dimensions of a 4D spacetime manifold.
I do realize this.
Second, you should realize that matter and energy are not distinct; they are both manifestations of the same underlying “stuff”, and that we cannot conceive of what this “stuff” actually is because none of our classical conceptions fit:
I do realize this. So far you’ve gotten exactly nowhere except to condense “space, time, matter and energy” to “space-time and matter-energy.”
The fundamental “particles” of reality are not “things” that exist at one place at one time, or that obey locality and causality as we understand them.
It is well known that fundamental particles do not fit the classical “billiard ball” conception. But whatever they may be, they are still “particles.” So, you still have not identified anything other than space- time and matter-energy.
Third, there are lots of things described by modern physics that are not spacetime or mass-energy,
OK, now we’re getting somewhere:
such as the fundamental forces;
Wrong. The fundamental forces are not “things” apart from space-time and mass-energy. Mass-energy behaves in space-time in particular ways which we describe with mathematical models. I challenge you to tell us what there is other than space-time and matter-energy and your answer is to reify abstract mathematical models. Sigh.
properties like electric charge, color charge, or quantum spin;
Good grief. The “property” of a something does not exist independently and in addition to that something.
phenomena that have no underlying conceptual explanation at all such as entanglement; and so on.
If it has no conceptual explanation then, by definition, you are not free to conceptualize it as something in addition to space-time and mass-energy. It may well be, but you have no right to say that it is. That would be pure speculation. Your speculations do not count as evidence.
BA77 is right that these aspects of reality are fundamental and need to be comprehended in order to derive an accurate picture of the most important questions of existence, starting with ontology.
BA77 is right about a great many things, and yes this is one of them. But until we do understand them, appealing to them as something other than properties of space-time or mass-energy is pure speculation. Again, your evidence-free speculations do not meet the challenge. They are the epistemic equivalent of appeals to quantum woo.
BA77 is completely wrong about what the implications of these things are, of course. To move forward we need to move the discussion past this ridiculous cartoon of people believing that “matter in motion” jostles around and results in planets, stars, snowflakes, and people.
To move forward based on your assertion that there is something other than space-time and mass-energy capable of resulting in planets, stars, snowflakes, and people, you need to actually identity something other than space-time and mass-energy capable of resulting in planets, stars, snowflakes, and people. And you have not.