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Chains of warrant and of causation in Origins Science

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As has come up as pivotal in recent discussions here at UD, we must recognise that logic and first principles underlie any serious discussion, including origins science, and in sciences  — especially those addressing origins — the issue of chains of cause will be pivotal.

The two are connected, as can be seen by first examining chains of warrant:

A summary of why we end up with foundations for our worldviews, whether or not we would phrase the matter that way}
A summary of why we end up with foundations for our worldviews, whether or not we would phrase the matter that way}

Now, Peter D. Klein, in the Oxford Handbook of Skepticism, highlights:

The epistemic regress problem is considered the most crucial in the entire theory of knowledge and it is a major concern for many contemporary epistemologists. However, only two of the three alternative solutions have been developed in any detail, foundationalism and coherentism. Infinitism was not seriously considered as a solution because of the finite-mind objection. [article: “Contemporary Responses to Agrippa’s Trilemma,” OUP 2008.]

That is, once one looks at the logical structure of warrant — it naturally chains, one is led to infinite regress, or circularity at some level, or else one has to terminate in some finitely remote set of first plausibles, defining what I have come to call a faith-point.  Notice, it is often perceived as a central problem, and thus as a problem rather than a framework that defines how worldviews have to be structured, leading to the situation that the only viable option is finitely remote first plausibles held in light of comparative difficulties across factual adequacy (covers all material facts), coherence (logical and dynamical) and explanatory power (neither simplistic nor an ever growing ad hoc patchwork).

In effect, we are humbled by our circumstances as contingent, finite, fallible, morally struggling creatures who are far too often stubbornly irrational and ill-willed. So, we can only hope to have a reasonable faith as a worldview sustained on comparative difficulties analysis, not a frame of utterly certain start-point premises.

Similarly, origins science is concerned with causal roots of our cosmos, our world, the world of life, and our own roots. Therefore, we face the reality of chains of cause as well, and thus we see that the implications of successive chaining confront us again. For instance, let us note how the Smithsonian Institution presented a tree of life model a few years past:

Darwin-ToL-Smithsonian400

The concept here is a branching tree of causal chains, starting from a root, origin of life.

(BTW, this instantly highlights that the attempt to lock away the OOL challenge from attempts to provide a naturalistic account of the world of life fail the test of logic. So, when design thinkers connect the two and insist that both have to be adequately addressed on credible, actually observed capable mechanisms that adequately account for origin of the required functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information [FSCO/I], starting with copious quantities of coded DNA information, this is a matter of basic logic and prudent warrant for explanations. And the fact remains that the only actually observed capable causal source for FSCO/I is design, a point backed up by the reasoning that underlies the statistical reasoning that undergirds the second law of thermodynamics.)

In short, once we look at origins, we readily see that the logic involved means that causes also come in chains, leading to the simple topological issue, infinite regress vs circularity in the root vs finitely remote ultimate beginning.

Of these, a circular root involving origins is immediately problematic. For, patently, non-being — a true nothing — can have no causal power. So, proposed circular causation would involve action before existence, which is not credible.

Infinite regress in steps, implies the problem of descent from minus infinity to zero:

minus-infinity –> minus (infinity less one) –> minus (infinity less two) –> [and yes, I know this is absurd, that is precisely the point] . . .

– 2, – 1, 0 [origin of our world], +1, + 2, . . .

+ us here today [say at 0-point + 13.7 BY]  –> . . .

Though some may argue for it (as they find the alternative quite uncomfortable), it is not credible that anything can traverse the transfinite in successive distinct steps, so this, too is not a reasonable view.

If you differ, kindly give a reasonable and empirically, observationally warranted account: _______________

And  yes, I am applying Newton’s Vera Causa premise, that we should use only things observed to have relevant causal capacity to cause the like effect as traces we observe in explanations of things we cannot directly see for ourselves.

(Predictably, there will be none as no one has seen an infinite succession of distinct causal steps traversed.)

This all means that we need to take the cluster of observations that led to the conception of origin of our world through a big bang singularity seriously, e.g.:

The Big Bang timeline -- a world with a beginning
The Big Bang timeline — a world with a beginning

That is, on the best science we have available, per observations since the 1920’s, we face a finitely remote distinct origin of our cosmos. There are many multiverse speculative models, but such lack definitive observational warrant. Where, it is particularly to be recognised that a suggested — not actually observed — quantum foam bubbling up sub-cosmi such as ours per fluctuations is not a proper nothing, non-being:

Video (C Richard Dawkins vs Rowan Williams):

[youtube m9H2bxHIBfg]

Infographic based on clips:

nothing_3Where does all of this leave us?

We are looking at getting our logic straight in order to think in a logically, epistemologically and dynamically coherent fashion about origins issues, linked science and worldview implications.

Yes, this is about first principles of right reason.

Go amiss there, and all else thereafter will wander off into thickets of error.

The logic of chains of warrant and of causation (thus the triple alternatives) is patent and effectively undeniable on pain of absurdity.

This of course does not prevent the committed, determined objector from trying to divert attention or dismiss what he does not wish to face, or stop him from erecting and knocking over a suitably loaded strawman caricature. But it does highlight what such an objector will be forced to do: cling to absurdities, ill-founded speculations and divert attention by going on the rhetorical attack.

As is so sadly familiar from years of debates in and around UD.

What is the bottom-line?

I: Chains of warrant and those of cause are real and force us to face the three alternatives for roots: infinite regress, circularity, finitely remote start-point.

II: Of these, only the third is a serious option.

III: On warrant  this forces us to recognise that warrant for claimed knowledge inevitably embeds worldview foundational issues and sustaining of a reasonable faith on comparative difficulties analysis.

IV: On cause and origins, this points strongly to a finitely remote origin of our world, and to the need to reckon with causal adequacy undergirded by actual observed capability to cause relevant phenomena.

V: For the world of life, that means, we have to reckon with the only known, actually observed capable cause of FSCO/I, i.e. design — intelligently directed configuration. (Indeed, empirically, FSCO/I on a trillion member observational base, is a reliable sign of design, whether or not this sits well with currently favoured, institutionally dominant, evolutionary materialism based origins narratives.)

VI: For cosmological origin, we have clear signs of a finitely remote distinct origin of our observed cosmos, perhaps 13.7 BYA, and of fine-tuning and intricate configuration that supports C-Chemistry, aqueous medium, cell based life, which again puts design on the table as the causal explanation to beat.

In short, Intelligent Design is a logically, dynamically, scientifically and philosophically reasonable view.

Not what one would imagine, on the press it is often given.

But then, mere logic is usually not enough to decide public views on or policy regarding culturally important, ideologically loaded matters.

But, it may well be one of the warning signs that our business as usual path is unsound:

change_challFood for thought. END

96 Replies to “Chains of warrant and of causation in Origins Science

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    The issue of chains of warrant and of causation is a matter of first principles or reason, and is pivotal to straight thinking on origin science.

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    thanks kf!

  3. 3
    sean samis says:

    Regarding the OP:

    Now, Peter D. Klein, in the Oxford Handbook of Skepticism, highlights:

    The epistemic regress problem is considered the most crucial in the entire theory of knowledge and it is a major concern for many contemporary epistemologists. However, only two of the three alternative solutions have been developed in any detail, foundationalism and coherentism. Infinitism was not seriously considered as a solution because of the finite-mind objection. [article: “Contemporary Responses to Agrippa’s Trilemma,” OUP 2008.]

    The Grounding Problem (or the chain of warrants problem) might be important to some philosophers, but outside their Ivory Towers, this “problem” has little impact.

    Similarly, origins science is concerned with causal roots of or cosmos, our world, the world of life, and our own roots.

    For professional scientists engaged in research in their chosen disciplines, this “chain of warrants” thing amounts to nearly nothing. It does not change how they do their work or how they teach their students.

    Certainly, there must exist something that is eternal, something that’s always been there; something that is the embodiment of some first cause. This is not a new idea; scientists have reckoned with it since the beginning. At a philosophical level, this must be true.

    But for most scientists it is irrelevant; it does not affect what they are researching currently, and is unlikely to affect what they research in their entire lives.

    Whatever this eternal, fundamental thing is, it need not be any “person”. It does not need any attributes of “mind”. It can be a mindless “thing” unaware of its self, its surroundings, or its behavior.

    There are many multiverse speculative models, but such lack definitive observational warrant.

    Your comment is two words short of being true. The truth is that multiverse speculative models …lack definitive observational warrant SO FAR.

    Science is the discovery of what is not yet known. Theories properly go first: they speculate on what might be and then experiments test the properly speculative theory. Multiverse theories are relatively new, that they are yet unverified is no big deal.

    And BTW, theistic speculative explanations lack definitive observational warrant AND PROBABLY ALWAYS WILL.

    As a “finitely remote start-point” (to borrow the term from the OP) a multiverse theory is quite satisfactory.

    The rest of the OP is essentially just elaboration in error, or futility.

    sean s.

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    SS:

    For the moment, I note:

    For professional scientists engaged in research in their chosen disciplines, this “chain of warrants” thing amounts to nearly nothing. It does not change how they do their work or how they teach their students.

    And that is precisely a key part of the problem.

    Scientific warrant (especially for theories expressing dynamics and causal patterns) is about the logic of inference to best current explanation i/l/o empirical observation and empirical reliability . . . thus inevitably the provisionality that is implicit in theoretical claims. Where the chain of warrant and chain of cause issues are crucial. Also, there is need to reckon with the vera causa principle.

    Failing to adequately teach our students that and linked issues is part of what renders them vulnerable to evolutionary materialist scientism.

    As in, for key example, from Lewontin in 1997 in the NYRB:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads [==> as in, “we” have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge] we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

    [ –> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying “our” elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to “fix” the widespread mental disease]

    and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth

    [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]

    . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists [–> “we” are the dominant elites], it is self-evident

    [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]

    that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us [= the evo-mat establishment] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . . [–> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is “quote-mined” I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]

    It is time for us to address epistemic, logical and causal foundations.

    KF

    PS: I will respond later, others may have other things to say on the need to learn a few things about logic and warrant. That seems to be the first point of widespread error in today’s scientism.

  5. 5
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @4:

    And that is precisely a key part of the problem.

    There’s no problem here. If scientists investigating phenomena X theorize that and as-yet unverified cause Y explains X, then all scientists need to do is to verify (or falsify) Y. The question of Y’s cause or origin will eventually need to be investigated, but if Y can be empirically confirmed then that is enough.

    It is not necessary to trace a tree to its tap-root to determine that the tree is or is not an oak.

    Failing to adequately teach our students that and linked issues is part of what renders them vulnerable to evolutionary materialist scientism.

    Ah, here we go.

    Your purpose is not to make science better, it’s to undermine a particular theory. That may be (in some broad sense) a legitimate purpose, but it is not a logical, rational, nor scientific purpose.

    Apparently “the problem” is not unwarranted scientific theories; “the problem” is the success of a theory you really, REALLY don’t like.

    I’ve said this to you before and now you’ve confirmed it: your search for an ultimate warrant is nothing more than an effort to force your god into science.

    It is time for us to address epistemic, logical and causal foundations.

    To what purpose?

    If the purpose is to undermine a particular scientific theory, then you need more than this to make it a worthy and important endeavor.

    Science and reason follow the truth wherever they lead; you dislike where it’s going so you want to obstruct the search for truth. That is unworthy of you or your efforts.

    sean s.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    SS, as I said, later. You have effectively volunteered to be exhibit A on the problem. Well, so be it. KF

  7. 7
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus;

    The problem” is nothing more that my temerity (and that of others) to disagree with you.

    Your response is Exhibit A in my defense against your illegitimate purposes.

    sean s.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    SS, again, the pivotal issue is the logic of chains of warrant and of cause. KF

  9. 9
    sean samis says:

    For philosophers and theologians, perhaps. For scientists and science, no, it is not.

    Doing science is like peeling an onion; it goes one layer at a time. There’s no need to know what’s at the very bottom to investigate what is right in front of you.

    sean s.

  10. 10
    Aleta says:

    I agree with Sean. There will always be an unanswered (and perhaps eventually unanswerable) question aboout the next layer of causes no matter how much valid, verified chains of causation we uncover. Positing “God” (or some associated set of “root” principles) as the solution to this problem is a non-answer.

  11. 11
    Axel says:

    Aleta:

    ‘There will always be an unanswered (and perhaps eventually unanswerable) question aboout the next layer of causes no matter how much valid, verified chains of causation we uncover.’

    It will only remain unanswered by empirical science, because it merges in the spiritual realm – hence the ever proliferating paradoxes of QM, of physics.

    You only see deism as an impediment through your lens of scientism. However there is no physics without metaphysics; and via QM, metaphysics has clearly led to mysteries, such as entanglement, involving factors beyond our space-time universe.

    Christian belief, however, even deistic belief, far from being an impediment to prospecting for further knowledge, would seem to have been key to the major paradigm shifts, so where you folk get this idea that God is a necessary no-no is the real mystery.

    Sean:

    ‘Multiverse theories are relatively new, that they are yet unverified is no big deal.’

    Children’s song on UK TV in the fifties:

    Billy Bean built a machine to see what it would do.
    He built it up of sticks and stones
    and nuts and bolts and glue’

    Alas, Billy suffered a similar hyperskepticism. It seems to be the mark of the great pioneers that they are so far ahead of the game that they are persecuted; at best, sneered at. BUT WE DON’T KNOW…

    But, seriously, you speak of God as if introducing Him were entirely gratuitous, in the sense of being completely pie-in-the-sky, totally bereft of evidence. Bizarrely, to the atheist, that is patently obvious. However, it is a farcical, grotesque, mind-numbingly vacuous error that no amount of evidence to the contrary could be adequate to rebut.

    You folk already exist in an alternative universe, in which appraisal of empirical evidence is highly subjective in very principle. Ask Richard Lewontin; possibly the one where marriages are single-sex.

  12. 12
    sean samis says:

    Axel @11:

    Christian belief, however, even deistic belief, far from being an impediment to prospecting for further knowledge, would seem to have been key to the major paradigm shifts, so where you folk get this idea that God is a necessary no-no is the real mystery.

    God is an unscientific idea because gods and claims about gods cannot be verified or falsified. If you can provide a verifiable (or falsifiable) theory based on your religious beliefs, by all means do share.

    Deistic belief is only an impediment to science when, as KF tries, it is used to challenge science or its established methods. Otherwise deistic belief is not an impediment; it’s just useless.

    BUT WE DON’T KNOW…

    Unfortunately, that is how science has always worked. The difference between religion and science is both have things they DON’T KNOW, but only science has a method of learning. Religion merely confirms its prior beliefs.

    sean s.

  13. 13
    Aleta says:

    Excellent post, Sean.

    {/cheerleading}

  14. 14

    Obviously (to me at least), the pivotal issue in science about origins is choosing. Choosing is the mechanism of creation.

    The 2 big elements of reason are fact and opinion (again obviously). Facts are models / copies (also obvious), and opinions are the result of choosing about what it is that made a decision turn out the way it did (obvious when you study the structure of common subjective statements like “the painting is beautiful”). Facts apply to creation, opinion applies to the creator.

    And what about acknowledging MY emotions, in a properly subjective way? I am in it for me, against all those who will not properly subjectively acknowledge the existence of my soul. Who I am as being the owner of my decisions, who I really am.

    You can only reach a conclusion about it by choosing the answer, that is how subjectivity works. It means you have at least 2 answers available, either of which you can choose, and when you have chosen that is then the reality of who I really am, in your opinion.

    That is what creationism vs evolution is all about, and the science about how things are chosen, well that is just secondary to the basic civilization of acknowledging each others emotions.

    All those who regard it as a matter of fact what somebody feels, such as materialists, atheists, physicalists and what have you. I find it highly insulting for my spirit to be ignored and in stead only some factual issues about my body, brain or mind are addressed.

    And my advice on making an opinion on who I really am is, apply much mercy, forgiveness, in forming your opinion about me.

  15. 15
    Axel says:

    You still don’t get it do you? Empirical science is not the ‘bees’ knees’ you think it. It’s scientism, naive realism. It can only cope with the basic matter, not even the most basic, as that has been found to be immaterial.

    QM is now metaphysics; that it continues to discover paradoxes is simply a divine indulgence, and no gift of ‘intuition’, never mind the analytical intelligence, reason, logic, will ever, ever explain them.

  16. 16
    Aleta says:

    Axel writes,

    It will only remain unanswered by empirical science, because it merges in the spiritual realm – hence the ever proliferating paradoxes of QM, of physics.

    You only see deism as an impediment through your lens of scientism. However there is no physics without metaphysics; and via QM, metaphysics has clearly led to mysteries, such as entanglement, involving factors beyond our space-time universe.

    “… because it merges into the spiritual realm …” My point is that “the spiritual realm” is a made-up non-answer – it’s just a placeholder for “we don’t know.”

    QM doesn’t change this. The mysteries of QM are a deeper layer of the onion – they don’t fit the classical worldview of time, space, causation, and Aristotelian logic, but that doesn’t mean they have entered into the “spiritual realm.” They have just expanded our knowledge (and therefore added the next layer of questions) about how the material world works. The current inner-most layer of the onion will always present the question, “but why is it like that?” Answering that question with “God” is always a non-answer.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Note the rhetorical game above, of dragging distractive red herrings across the focal issue, then leading them off to loaded strawmen, to be set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the situation. That issue starts with, that there is a strict, straight-thinking cold clear-cut, almost geometry proof logical issue that structures worldviews and therefore frames of thought on all sorts of issues including origins, science, education and what is influenced by such, on the table. If one resists or is hostile to or wants to brush aside, dismiss and ignore such a basic point of logic — actually of simply being rational, that speaks inadvertent volumes about underlying incoherence, improper motivation on politically tinged polarisation, and then in the end how we have got to a point where the institutionally dominant evolutionary materialist scientism of our day is blatantly self-refuting and necessarily false thus a wellspring of errors and follies now inundating just about anything you care to name. But notice — when that is duly exposed to the cold light of day, it has very little effect on evo mat adherents [or is that, talking point zombies or knowing agenda enablers or outright agitprop activists], as can already be seen above. All of these are sobering warning signs on where business as usual these days is headed in our civilisation. KF

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Note the analysis and prediction in the OP:

    We are looking at getting our logic straight in order to think in a logically, epistemologically and dynamically coherent fashion about origins issues, linked science and worldview implications.

    Yes, this is about first principles of right reason.

    Go amiss there, and all else thereafter will wander off into thickets of error.

    The logic of chains of warrant and of causation (thus the triple alternatives) is patent and effectively undeniable on pain of absurdity.

    This of course does not prevent the committed, determined objector from trying to divert attention or dismiss what he does not wish to face, or stop him from erecting and knocking over a suitably loaded strawman caricature. But it does highlight what such an objector will be forced to do: cling to absurdities, ill-founded speculations and divert attention by going on the rhetorical attack.

    As is so sadly familiar from years of debates in and around UD.

    It is no accident that this thread has been hauled and pulled as predicted: when you are over a strategic target, expect heavy flak.

    That speaks volumes on what is going on.

    Again, later.

  19. 19
    Aleta says:

    Your prose is mind-boggling, kf, but the central point is that you are not correct that the only reasonable belief is that all chains of explanation have to be grounded in a set of first principles that we, as human beings, can know.

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta, you are simply asserting. Talking points make no cases, kindly substantiate; and do so on the actual case made e.g. sets of first plausibles are much broader than self-evident truths. When you do so, explain why the issue on the table is a or even the central question in epistemology. KF

    PS: On mind-boggling, please start with the infographic if that is the case, it lays out the core logic. Why A, B. Why B, C. So, chaining. Then, what happens in the end. Infinite regress, a circle or finitely remote first plausibles. What is wrong with the first two? Where does that leave us finite fallible thinkers in the end? And on various alternatives, how does comparative difficulties address question-begging?

  21. 21
    sean samis says:

    Axel @15:

    You still don’t get it do you? Empirical science is not the ‘bees’ knees’ you think it. It’s scientism, naive realism. It can only cope with the basic matter, not even the most basic, as that has been found to be immaterial.

    Truly, this could not be much wronger.

    QM is now metaphysics; that it continues to discover paradoxes is simply a divine indulgence, and no gift of ‘intuition’, never mind the analytical intelligence, reason, logic, will ever, ever explain them.

    As Aleta wrote (@16), the mysteries of QM are just the next layer of the onion.

    sean s.

  22. 22
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus:

    @17:

    Note the rhetorical game above, of dragging distractive red herrings across the focal issue, then leading them off to loaded strawmen, to be set alight to cloud, confuse …

    … blah blah blah. Really, kairosfocus, just because you’ve lost control of the conversation that doesn’t mean the rest of us are breaking any rules of debate. We are commenting on your OP, on topic. You just have no words to say, so you claim we are cheating.

    @18:

    …when you are over a strategic target, expect heavy flak.

    The flak is all yours kairosfocus. You raised the question and some of us have responded. It didn’t go as you hoped. That happens. You can raise the topic but you don’t control our responses.

    @20:

    Aleta, you are simply asserting.

    Simply asserting is your technique too, kairosfocus. The question on this thread is not just about epistemology, but whether science must submit to the demands of the epistemologist. I and Aleta have given reasons to show that the answer is ‘no’. All you do is complain. If you have a reason that science should submit to the epistemologist, please tell us what it is. Respond to our arguments.

    sean s.

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    SS, you continue the distract, distort denigrate, polarise and dismiss rhetoric game. It is clear that you are not addressing the logic. Later. KF

  24. 24
    Barry Arrington says:

    Aleta,

    the central point is that you are not correct that the only reasonable belief is that all chains of explanation have to be grounded in a set of first principles that we, as human beings, can know

    .

    I suppose Aleta is happy with it being turtles all the way down.

  25. 25
    sean samis says:

    I have addressed your logic. Your logic may be impeccable from the epistemologist’s stand point; but it is irrelevant from the scientist’s stand point. Nothing about your logic changes what the scientist SHOULD DO. If I am wrong about that, please tell us how, and please be specific.

    sean s.

  26. 26
    jerry says:

    Science and reason follow the truth wherever they lead; you dislike where it’s going so you want to obstruct the search for truth. That is unworthy of you or your efforts.

    This is one of the more absurd statements ever uttered on this site.

    Nothing about your logic changes what the scientist SHOULD DO.

    Scientist should say we haven’t a clue much more often, especially about several origins where science has essentially failed to provide anything close to a coherent/plausible theory/explanation.

  27. 27
    sean samis says:

    Barry,

    No scientist needs to think they know what’s “all the way down”; they only need to work on the next layer. The same applies to us laypersons.

    sean s.

  28. 28
    Mung says:

    Aleta: I agree with Sean.

    I agree with kf.

    {/cheerleading}

  29. 29
    Virgil Cain says:

    sean samis:

    God is an unscientific idea because gods and claims about gods cannot be verified or falsified.

    ID is a scientific idea because ID and claims about ID can be verified or falsified.

    If the purpose is to undermine a particular scientific theory,…

    Evolutionism isn’t a scientific theory.

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    Preparatory:

    Definition of Science in the Webster’s 1913 Dictionary, giving us a way to rethink in light of what was so clear only a century past:

    ______________

    >>Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913 + 1828)
    ARTFL > Webster’s Dictionary > Searching for science:
    Displaying 2 result(s) from the 1913 edition: Science (Page: 1287)

    Sci”ence (?), n. [F., fr. L. scientia, fr. sciens, -entis, p.pr. of scire to know. Cf. Conscience, Conscious, Nice.]

    1. Knowledge; knowledge of principles and causes; ascertained truth of facts. . . .

    2. Accumulated and established knowledge, which has been systematized and formulated with reference to the discovery of general truths or the operation of general laws; knowledge classified and made available in work, life, or the search for truth; comprehensive, profound, or philosophical knowledge . . .

    3. Especially, such knowledge when it relates to the physical world and its phenomena, the nature, constitution, and forces of matter, the qualities and function of living tissues, etc.; — called also natural science, and physical science . . .

    4. Any branch or departament of systematized knowledge considered as a distinct field of investigation or object of study; as, the science of astronomy, of chemistry, or of mind. The ancients reckoned seven sciences, namely, grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy; — the first three being included in the Trivium, the remaining four in the Quadrivium . . .

    5. Art, skill, or expertness, regarded as the result of knowledge of laws and principles . . .

    Science is applied or pure. Applied science is a knowledge of facts, events, or phenomena, as explained, accounted for, or produced, by means of powers, causes, or laws. Pure science is the knowledge of these powers, causes, or laws, considered apart, or as pure from all applications. Both these terms have a similar and special signification when applied to the science of quantity; as, the applied and pure mathematics. Exact science is knowledge so systematized that prediction and verification, by measurement, experiment, observation, etc., are possible. The mathematical and physical sciences are called the exact sciences. Comparative sciences, Inductive sciences. See under Comparative, and Inductive. Syn. — Literature; art; knowledge. — Science, Literature, Art. Science is literally knowledge, but more usually denotes a systematic and orderly arrangement of knowledge. In a more distinctive sense, science embraces those branches of knowledge of which the subject-matter is either ultimate principles, or facts as explained by principles or laws thus arranged in natural order. The term literature sometimes denotes all compositions not embraced under science, but usually confined to the belles-lettres. [See Literature.] Art is that which depends on practice and skill in performance. In science, scimus ut sciamus; in art, scimus ut producamus. And, therefore, science and art may be said to be investigations of truth; but one, science, inquires for the sake of knowledge; the other, art, for the sake of production; and hence science is more concerned with the higher truths, art with the lower; and science never is engaged, as art is, in productive application. And the most perfect state of science, therefore, will be the most high and accurate inquiry; the perfection of art will be the most apt and efficient system of rules; art always throwing itself into the form of rules.” Karslake.>>
    _____________

    Notice the prominence of knowledge, systematic reasoned study etc?

    We need to realise just how much we are facing a new irrationalism in our day. Ironically, given the prestige of science, it likes to dress up in the lab coat.

    If we are to begin to think straight, we have to go right back to the roots.

    That is what the OP does, and it is why there is such hostility or distraction, distortion and dismissiveness towards that cold logic.

    KF

  31. 31
    Aleta says:

    Thanks for bring up the turtle metaphor, Barry – it’s a fun one to consider. We don’t/can’t know if it’s turtles all the way down, or if there is some fundamental turtle that just is – all we can do is investigate the next turtle. (I know we’re changing metaphors here, from onions to turtles, but it’s the same idea.) It may very well be that at some point the whole idea of “chains of causation” breaks down, so that the whole idea of a “next turtle” isn’t relevant. Or, it could be that levels of causation are fractal, so that, like zooming in on Mandlebrot’s set, it really is turtles all the way down.

    This is all beyond the ability of humans to know.

    I repeat my point. Making up explanations about “God” or the “spiritual realm” or whatever kf is calling it these days (finitely remote first plausibles) is an unwarranted leap over the limits of our understanding. It doesn’t make any difference if our limited tools for understanding can’t comprehend anything but the three possibilities in kf’s chart in the OP, the most plausible first plausible is that at some point we don’t/can’t know. No matter how much investigation of this world we do, our views, and our tools for knowing, are embedded in our being in this world, and we don’t have a window into any other world.

  32. 32
    Aleta says:

    kf writes,

    Aleta, you are simply asserting. Talking points make no cases, kindly substantiate; and do so on the actual case made e.g. sets of first plausibles are much broader than self-evident truths. When you do so, explain why the issue on the table is a or even the central question in epistemology. KF

    I’m not sure how my assertions are any different than yours. I’m claiming there is a fourth possibility in our chart – that there will always be a “we don’t know” at the start of the chain.

    The issue on the table is a central question of epistemology. Your solution of finitely remote first plausibles is one of the philosophical solutions to the problem. There are others solutions in the field of philosophy. Even a quick look at the Wikipedia article on epistemology shows that there are a variety of positions on this issue.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta,

    what is a cause, and how is it connected to the origin, continued existence and cessation of a contingent being?

    Why do causes come in chains, and what does that chaining topology imply about root causes of our species, of the world of life, of our solar system, of our cosmos?

    How does this relate to: turtles all the way down in infinite regress, turtles in a circle, or that the last turtle needs somewhere to stand.

    Which last is a root cause.

    KF

  34. 34
    Axel says:

    Sean and Aleta

    ‘As Aleta wrote (@16), the mysteries of QM are just the next layer of the onion.’

    What sort of a rebuttal is that: Just the next layer of the onion. I’m sure culinary metaphors have their place in literature, maybe even in the sphere of science, but that is simply a non-answer.

    You are perfectly content with mysteries just so long as they do not purport to lead to the ultimate mystery (of a god that creates and sustains everything, the daddy of all mysteries.

    ‘God is an unscientific idea because gods and claims about gods cannot be verified or falsified. If you can provide a verifiable (or falsifiable) theory based on your religious beliefs, by all means do share.’

    Absolute piffle:

    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=J21MECNU

    Further, you contend:

    ‘QM doesn’t change this. The mysteries of QM are a deeper layer of the onion – they don’t fit the classical worldview of time, space, causation, and Aristotelian logic, but that doesn’t mean they have entered into the “spiritual realm.” They have just expanded our knowledge (and therefore added the next layer of questions) about how the material world works.’

    Again, absolute piffle. QM has proved that, as Max Planck put it, there is no matter as such:

    ‘As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.’

    With the ‘naive realist’ mindset you share, 80 years after QM surfaced, you both find yourselves, like everyone else, swimming in a sea of mystery, but in your case, such that there is no possible way QM, could, in very principle, have been discovered by either of you, or, indeed, any other atheist/materialist.

    You start off from your basic atheist hypothesis, which you are nevertheless certain about, in the teeth of vast mountain ranges of evidence, and bizarrely argue from that entirely specious, because simply false assumption.

    The current inner-most layer of the onion will always present the question, “but why is it like that?” Answering that question with “God” is always a non-answer.

    Why is it a non-answer? Can you tell us on what grounds God cannot be the answer? Given that your contention of there being no evidence for his existence is utterly fantasmagorical.

    We are surrounded by evidence of a creator from the moment we open or eyes in the morning. Given the design of a single E-Coli cell, it would take an omniscient intelligence to design the world around us. Nor have naive realists who fancy they are at the leading edge of science found the first clue as to the origin of life.

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: A, pardon but your anti-theistic, anti-Christian bias is showing and polarising your remarls. I am making a strictly logical argument on the general topology of worldviews as logical/epistemological networks of chained warrant in a way that is analogous to geometry going back to Euclid. Likewise on the closely similar issue of causal chains. That that sort of cold logic excites resistance, should give you and others pause.

  36. 36
    Aleta says:

    kf writes,

    … what does that chaining topology imply about root causes of our species, of the world of life, of our solar system, of our cosmos?

    How does this relate to: turtles all the way down in infinite regress, turtles in a circle, or that the last turtle needs somewhere to stand. Which last is a root cause.

    We have found that as we investigate this world we find deeper and deeper causal explanations for why things are as they are in respect to more fundamental “things” (which at this point are not really things in the macroscopic sense.) However, that is about this world – this cosmos – not what is/may be beyond the cosmos. That is where we run into the limits of our understanding. Why is the universe such that it appears now, at its most basic level, to consist of probabilistic interactions between “things” which do not fit into our classical pictures of space, time, matter and energy? We don’t know. And if we discover some additional causal explanation about why the world is like that, we will just have moved “down one turtle” – will still have the question, “well, why is the world like that?

    Maybe there is a root cause that is beyond our understanding. Maybe the universe just is – its unified existence is the root cause. Or maybe, as I said before, in respect to what is beyond this world the idea of cause breaks down and our linear “chain of causality” ideas based on our experience of his world don’t apply any more. Or maybe the nature of reality is fractal, and there is always a deeper level. Or maybe there is a coherent whole in which all the related parts are causes for all the other parts, but no outside beginning cause is necessary.

    But these are all metaphysical speculations, beyond our ability to investigate. I offer them only to illustrate my point that we can only know what is inside our world, not what is outside our world.

    The topic here is epistemology. My position is that we are limited as to what we can know. Even if one wants to believe that causal explanations must begin with some uncaused cause (which is an unjustified conclusion if one wants to extrapolate to beyond our universe), then the proper conclusion is that we can only travel a ways down the chain of explanations. We could never reach the end of the chain (or even know if we had reached the end of the chain) because we don’t have the epistemological power to go beyond the universe we live in and are a part of.

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Is your onion of infinite radius with infinitely many layers, or does it have a hollow core so you end up going in circles at some level, or is there a finitely remote centre from which the whole came?

  38. 38
    Aleta says:

    KF’s P.S., “PS: A, pardon but your anti-theistic, anti-Christian bias is showing and polarising your remarls.”

    I am not a theist. You are a theist. I don’t see how my remarks are any more biased and polarizing than yours? We are discussing an issue upon which we disagree, so of course we are making remarks which counter those of the other person.

  39. 39
    Aleta says:

    I realize the problem with the onion metaphor. It’s a common metaphor for there being deeper and deeper levels, but like most metaphors, it’s inappropriate in some ways.

    I think I’ve tried to make my points non-metaphorically in the posts above also.

    And there is a possibility that zooming in on a fractal is a better metaphor for how things might actually be.

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta, if it were not so sad it would be amusing. I have given a strictly logical analysis of chains of warrant and cause. Logic has a mathematics-like objective property, and in fact is at the heart of Mathematics. If my logic is wrong, where: warrant chains, check. Likewise you have grand and great grand parents check; causes chain too. Follow the chain to each link in succession. Does it go on forever? Can it, and if so can warrant get started [the minus infinity to zero problem]? Can it go in a circle? Or must it in fact end not least as we are finite and fallible, thus arriving at first plausibles to be addressed through comparative difficulties. That is what is on the table. Its importance is evident in its own right and precisely because something that patent is being stoutly resisted and in large part by trying to play the polarisation card. That is a red flag warning on where business as usual is headed, cf the dynamics on that in the last infographic in the OP. KF

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta, zooming in on seahorse valley in the Mandelbrot set is a case of infinite potential regress but in fact we cannot ever actually achieve the infinite by successive zooming and calculation to feed those pretty videos — indeed the images are based on truncations etc. The same logic emerges again, inexorably. KF

  42. 42
  43. 43
    Aleta says:

    You are not responding to my main point: even if there is a chain of causes that somehow ends in an uncaused cause, we can’t follow that chain beyond the limits of our universe-bound understanding. For us, we are always someplace along the chain, possibly finding the next link and then always investigating the link after that, but once that chain exits the universe, so to speak, we’re done. There are limits to how far down the chain our understanding can go.

  44. 44
    Aleta says:

    kf writes,

    Aleta, zooming in on seahorse valley in the Mandelbrot set is a case of infinite potential regress but in fact we cannot ever actually achieve the infinite by successive zooming and calculation to feed those pretty videos.

    Interesting, kf – your point actually supports my argument. Due to human limitations (both in terms of technology and time) we can’t “achieve the infinite” in respect to zooming in on a fractal, but the infinite depth is there!

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta, remember, I am just popping by and giving preliminaries to basically help onlookers. Kindly re-read the OP — you are now agreeing with one of my core points on regress of warrant, that we are finite and must stop and yet try to cast it against a distinct point on causal chains. Logic is relentless and can go in thought where we cannot go in direct experience. A power but a danger. Causal chains too face the descent from minus infinity to zero problem, and circular cause in context of origin is a non starter. Finitely remote causal root is what we face, and that is enormously challenging. Especially as given the issue that non-being can have no causal power, were there ever utter nothing, that would forever obtain. We are looking at finitely remote (in the sense of causal “generations”) necessary being root of reality . . and such is eternal in character; the serious discussion is of what nature. But before we run, we must creep by facing cold hard logic for what it is. KF

  46. 46
    Mung says:

    Axel: What sort of a rebuttal is that: Just the next layer of the onion.

    I’m thinking it means something like engaging in science brings tears to her eyes.

  47. 47
    Aleta says:

    Well thanks for popping by, kf, and I hope an onlooker or two is interested in what I have to say.

    You say,

    Logic is relentless and can go in thought where we cannot go in direct experience.

    Here’s the point you haven’t addressed: We do not know if the logic we use, and powerfully so, inside this physical world actually applies outside this universe, in respect to metaphysics. I disagree that logic is so “relentless” that we can apply it to places where we cannot even in principle investigate.

  48. 48
    Mung says:

    Aleta: I am not a theist. You are a theist. I don’t see how my remarks are any more biased and polarizing than yours?

    Also known as the tu quoque fallacy. A fallacy.

  49. 49
    Aleta says:

    Are my comments biased and polarizing, and kf’s are not? That’s a factual question.

  50. 50
    Box says:

    Aleta: I disagree that logic is so “relentless” that we can apply it to places where we cannot even in principle investigate.

    Sometimes logic is all we got. Therefor those who demand understanding — those who seek the truth — are extremely reluctant to part with logic.
    It boils down to a choice: do you demand understanding or not? Are you willing to do your utmost to find truth and ponder about ultimate questions?
    It’s up to you and it’s an important decision.

  51. 51
    Aleta says:

    Box says,

    Sometimes logic is all we got. Therefor those who demand understanding — those who seek the truth — are extremely reluctant to part with logic. So you must choose: do you demand understanding or not? Are you willing to do your utmost to find truth and ponder about ultimate questions?

    It is not relevant to “demand understanding” if in fact we don’t have the tools to achieve it – that is, among other things, what leads to making up answers that really aren’t supportable. I like pondering ultimate questions, but my main point is that ultimately the answers to the ultimate questions are in fact out of our reach. I’m not saying we should part with logic, but I am saying that those things to which it is applicable are within this universe – we can’t use pure logic without any validating experience to tell us what is outside of this world.

  52. 52
    StephenB says:

    Kairosfocus

    Logic is so relentless that we can apply it to places where we cannot even in principle investigate

    Aleta

    I disagree that logic is so “relentless” that we can apply it to places where we cannot even in principle investigate.

    If you disagree, then you are confessing that you know nothing about logic.

  53. 53
    Aleta says:

    We disagree about that, Stephen. I’ve made a number of points about why I believe that logic has limitations if we try to apply it the possibility of a metaphysical world beyond our universe. You disagree, but our disagreements follow from different foundational beliefs that, in my view, can’t be resolved.

  54. 54
    Mung says:

    Aleta: Are my comments biased and polarizing, and kf’s are not? That’s a factual question.

    I’m assuming you’re an intelligent person and that you are capable of looking up the tu quoque fallacy and reading up on it and understanding how it is applicable to what you wrote.

    I’m going to go yet further and assume that you also understand what it means to say “that’s a factual question.”

    And now we’ve come full circle back to the subject of the OP.

  55. 55
    Mung says:

    Aleta: I’ve made a number of points about why I believe that logic has limitations if we try to apply it the possibility of a metaphysical world beyond our universe.

    Please explain what you mean by “a metaphysical world beyond our universe.”

    Thank you

  56. 56
    Aleta says:

    Here’s another metaphor: let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

    I’m not a theist. Others here are. I don’t believe our knowledge can reach outside of this universe, and I believe logic is a tool that we use inside this universe to investigate the world we can experience. I believe it is true to say that KF, StephenB, Box and others, as theists, believe they do have access to knowledge outside the universe, through God, both, I imagine, through faith and the belief that their reason is founded on logic with arises from the mind of God. (I’m not sure they’d phrase it quite like that.)

  57. 57
    Aleta says:

    Mung writes,

    Please explain what you mean by “a metaphysical world beyond our universe.”

    We live in universe that we can experience empirically – a physical world. We wonder where our universe came from, and why it has the properties it does – is there anything before/beyond/behind the physical world that has caused it, upholds it, or somehow is embedded in it (or rather, that it is embedded in)? Those are metaphysical questions about a metaphysical world beyond our universe.

    That’s what I mean.

  58. 58
    bornagain77 says:

    The Formalism > Physicality (F > P) Principle – * David L. Abel – 2011
    ABSTRACT:
    The F > P Principle states that “Formalism not only describes, but preceded, prescribed, organized, and continues to govern and predict Physicality.” The F > P Principle is an axiom that defines the ontological primacy of formalism in a presumed objective reality that transcends both human epistemology, our sensation of physicality, and physicality itself. The F > P Principle works hand in hand with the Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness, which states that physicochemical interactions are inadequate to explain the mathematical and formal nature of physical law relationships. Physicodynamics cannot generate formal processes and procedures leading to nontrivial function. Chance, necessity and mere constraints cannot steer, program or optimize algorithmic/computational success to provide desired nontrivial utility. As a major corollary, physicodynamics cannot explain or generate life. Life is invariably cybernetic. The F > P Principle denies the notion of unity of Prescriptive Information (PI) with mass/energy. The F > P Principle distinguishes instantiation of formal choices into physicality from physicality itself. The arbitrary setting of configurable switches and the selection of symbols in any Material Symbol System (MSS) is physicodynamically indeterminate—decoupled from physicochemical determinism.
    https://www.academia.edu/12952944/The_F_P_Principle_The_Formalism_Physicality_Principle_

    “Nonphysical formalism not only describes, but preceded physicality and the Big Bang
    Formalism prescribed, organized and continues to govern physicodynamics.”
    http://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/2/1/106/ag

    Is Life Unique? David L. Abel – January 2012
    Concluding Statement: The scientific method itself cannot be reduced to mass and energy. Neither can language, translation, coding and decoding, mathematics, logic theory, programming, symbol systems, the integration of circuits, computation, categorizations, results tabulation, the drawing and discussion of conclusions. The prevailing Kuhnian paradigm rut of philosophic physicalism is obstructing scientific progress, biology in particular. There is more to life than chemistry. All known life is cybernetic. Control is choice-contingent and formal, not physicodynamic.
    http://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/2/1/106/

  59. 59
    kairosfocus says:

    SB & Aleta:

    The nature and power of logic lies at the core of the capability of mind.

    Mathematics is probably the — or at least a — shining example of that power. Which, of course is not a science in the sense that sciences are about empirical investigations, but is the logical study of structure and quantity, i.e. utterly conceptual and abstract.

    And, it is at the heart of the practice of the sciences, especially the physical ones.

    Which, is something to be reckoned with.

    And, it is just perhaps a hint at (or a shadow of) the nature of reality’s roots: utterly logical, utterly rational mind. Reason Himself.

    But then, that is the point that is in part acknowledged to be motivating resistance, isn’t it: how dare you even think that logic could point beyond physicality.

    To which, my first reply is, it shows every sign of being inherently mental from the outset. Which is not to be confused with the computational. Logic rises well above garbage in, garbage out and computability; indeed it shows the humbling limits of the computable or algorithmic.

    Indeed, in Mathematics, logic is so powerful that it has already, per Godel, shown us the limits of axiomatisable systems. Humbling us.

    But secondly, I spoke to something quite simple.

    Logic allows us to have indirect knowledge or understanding, by drawing out implications on the deductive side.

    On the inductive and/or abductive side, it shows us that we are surrendering utter certainty, but allows us to add to what we can reliably know. Including on remote reaches of space and/or time that we have no hope of visiting.

    Which is directly relevant to origins studies.

    And of course in such studies Newton’s vera causa principle curbs unbridled speculation, by requiring that we need to restrict the explanatory causal factors we apply to those actually shown to be capable of causing effects materially similar to the traces from the remote past or reaches of space we examine.

    Something that is quite relevant to for instance the origin of functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information (FSCO/I) in the world of life.

    Logic is powerful, relentless and often surprising.

    And so, we need to start with the first principles of right reason, here including the topology of chained warrant and the linked topology of chained cause (and that of explanatory investigations of cause).

    Which then presents us with one of those features of such explorations: a simple, almost trivially demonstrable result has shocking power.

    Here, the Agrippa Trilemma, and the plausibility of the finite nature of both our structures of warrant and — much more profoundly — the causal chain behind our world.

    (And yes, we are looking at a comparative difficulties exercise; especially, at the significance of logical and dynamical coherence.)

    KF

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Notice this prediction on infinite chains of cause from the OP:

    Though some may argue for it (as they find the alternative quite uncomfortable), it is not credible that anything can traverse the transfinite in successive distinct steps, so this, too is not a reasonable view.

    If you differ, kindly give a reasonable and empirically, observationally warranted account: _______________

    And yes, I am applying Newton’s Vera Causa premise, that we should use only things observed to have relevant causal capacity to cause the like effect as traces we observe in explanations of things we cannot directly see for ourselves.

    (Predictably, there will be none as no one has seen an infinite succession of distinct causal steps traversed.)

    No prize for guessing that if a handy counter example were to hand, it would have been triumphantly trumpeted.

    Instead, we see hints and hopes that one is there, joined to hoped for analogies. Of course a Mandelbrot zoom or the like is a very finite computational exercise. It explores a potential infinite but cannot actually plumb it. And, the set of non-solutions of different degrees to the function — how those pretty colour patterns are generated — is of course a case of a transfinite defined in principle and given all at once. But to try to lay it out step by step in a computational mechanical (thus causal) process immediately brings us up against the implications of finitude.

    But of course, such also shows us how right there in elementary school where we were playing with numbers, we were playing right next door to infinities.

    Likewise, when we say take up the set of 3.27*19^150 possibilities for 500-bit strings, that is strictly finite. We can then chain such strings to compose messages but as the chains are potentially unlimited the number of abstractly possible messages is transfinite. But then our finitude brings us up short, we cannot plumb that. Indeed, just to get to a level-2 string, 1,000 bits we already are at 1.07*10^301 possibilities.

    The entire 10^80 atoms of the observable cosmos, working at fast chem rxn rates, say 10^13 – 15/s for 10^17s, would not be able to explore as much as 1 in 10^190 of the set.

    In short, the project of trying to get to meaningful configs by blind search faces an overwhelming haystack such that there is no plausibility for that much serendipity.

    That is a key part of what leads to the realisation that intelligently directed configuration or contrivance is utterly qualitatively different from blind mechanisms and chance.

    Underscoring the vast gap between abstract logical possibility and reasonable plausibility relevant to inference to best explanation.

    Hence the ideological lockout by way of imposing an ideologically tainted rule, methodological naturalism, on origins science. Which in this light becomes little more than censoring out the vera causa challenge in the end largely because the proposed materialist causal dynamics cannot plausibly meet the test. (And the all too common tendency to polarisingly talk of natural vs supernatural when the real contrast since Plato in The Laws Bk X has been natural vs ART-ificial, is diagnostic.)

    But again, that is a little ahead of ourselves.

    The issue of infinity has to be faced first, crawl before run.

    KF

  61. 61
    bornagain77 says:

    kf succinctly states:

    The nature and power of logic lies at the core of the capability of mind.
    Mathematics is probably the — or at least a — shining example of that power. Which, of course is not a science in the sense that sciences are about empirical investigations, but is the logical study of structure and quantity, i.e. utterly conceptual and abstract.
    And, it is at the heart of the practice of the sciences, especially the physical ones.,,,
    Indeed, in Mathematics, logic is so powerful that it has already, per Godel, shown us the limits of axiomatisable systems. Humbling us.,,,
    The issue of infinity has to be faced first, crawl before run.

    In support of kf’s beautifully stated premise, it is interesting to note that the contention that the Mind Of God (Logos) must lie directly behind mathematics, (and indeed of physicality itself), and that our minds are made in God’s image, is most dramatically illustrated by the math, and experiments, of present day Quantum Mechanics.

    “quantum theory entails an irreducible subjective element in its conceptual basis. In contrast, the theory of relativity when fully exploited, is based on a totally objective view.”
    Sachs – On The Comparison Of Quantum and Relativity Theories – 1986

    Does Quantum Physics Make it Easier to Believe in God? Stephen M. Barr – July 10, 2012
    Excerpt: The master equation that governs how wavefunctions change with time (the “Schrödinger equation”) does not yield probabilities that suddenly jump to 0 or 100%, but rather ones that vary smoothly and that generally remain greater than 0 and less than 100%. Radioactive nuclei are a good example. The Schrödinger equation says that the “survival probability” of a nucleus (i.e. the probability of its not having decayed) starts off at 100%, and then falls continuously, reaching 50% after one half-life, 25% after two half-lives, and so on — but never reaching zero. In other words, the Schrödinger equation only gives probabilities of decaying, never an actual decay! (If there were an actual decay, the survival probability should jump to 0 at that point.)
    To recap: (a) Probabilities in quantum mechanics must be the probabilities of definite events. (b) When definite events happen, some probabilities should jump to 0 or 100%. However, (c) the mathematics that describes all physical processes (the Schrödinger equation) does not describe such jumps. One begins to see how one might reach the conclusion that not everything that happens is a physical process describable by the equations of physics.
    So how do minds enter the picture? The traditional understanding is that the “definite events” whose probabilities one calculates in quantum mechanics are the outcomes of “measurements” or “observations” (the words are used interchangeably). If someone (traditionally called “the observer”) checks to see if, say, a nucleus has decayed (perhaps using a Geiger counter), he or she must get a definite answer: yes or no. Obviously, at that point the probability of the nucleus having decayed (or survived) should jump to 0 or 100%, because the observer then knows the result with certainty. This is just common sense. The probabilities assigned to events refer to someone’s state of knowledge: before I know the outcome of Jane’s exam I can only say that she has a 70% chance of passing; whereas after I know I must say either 0 or 100%.
    Thus, the traditional view is that the probabilities in quantum mechanics — and hence the “wavefunction” that encodes them — refer to the state of knowledge of some “observer”. (In the words of the famous physicist Sir James Jeans, wavefunctions are “knowledge waves.”) An observer’s knowledge — and hence the wavefunction that encodes it — makes a discontinuous jump when he/she comes to know the outcome of a measurement (the famous “quantum jump”, traditionally called the “collapse of the wave function”). But the Schrödinger equations that describe any physical process do not give such jumps! So something must be involved when knowledge changes besides physical processes.
    An obvious question is why one needs to talk about knowledge and minds at all. Couldn’t an inanimate physical device (say, a Geiger counter) carry out a “measurement” (minus the ‘observer’ in quantum mechanics)? That would run into the very problem pointed out by von Neumann: If the “observer” were just a purely physical entity, such as a Geiger counter, one could in principle write down a bigger wavefunction that described not only the thing being measured but also the observer. And, when calculated with the Schrödinger equation, that bigger wave function would not jump! Again: as long as only purely physical entities are involved, they are governed by an equation that says that the probabilities don’t jump.
    That’s why, when Peierls was asked whether a machine could be an “observer,” he said no, explaining that “the quantum mechanical description is in terms of knowledge, and knowledge requires somebody who knows.” Not a purely physical thing, but a mind.
    https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/content/does-quantum-physics-make-it-easier-believe-god

    The Measurement Problem in quantum mechanics – (Inspiring Philosophy) – 2014 video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB7d5V71vUE

    Reality doesn’t exist until we measure it, (Delayed Choice) quantum experiment confirms –
    Mind = blown. – FIONA MACDONALD – 1 JUN 2015
    Excerpt: “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” lead researcher and physicist Andrew Truscott said in a press release.
    http://www.sciencealert.com/re.....t-confirms

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

    “I’m going to talk about the Bell inequality, and more importantly a new inequality that you might not have heard of called the Leggett inequality, that was recently measured. It was actually formulated almost 30 years ago by Professor Leggett, who is a Nobel Prize winner, but it wasn’t tested until about a year and a half ago (in 2007), when an article appeared in Nature, that the measurement was made by this prominent quantum group in Vienna led by Anton Zeilinger, which they measured the Leggett inequality, which actually goes a step deeper than the Bell inequality and rules out any possible interpretation other than consciousness creates reality when the measurement is made.”
    – Bernard Haisch, Ph.D., Calphysics Institute, is an astrophysicist and author of over 130 scientific publications.

    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

    Experimental non-classicality of an indivisible quantum system – Zeilinger 2011
    Excerpt: Page 491: “This represents a violation of (Leggett’s) inequality (3) by more than 120 standard deviations, demonstrating that no joint probability distribution is capable of describing our results.” The violation also excludes any non-contextual hidden-variable model. The result does, however, agree well with quantum mechanical predictions, as we will show now.,,,
    https://vcq.quantum.at/fileadmin/Publications/Experimental%20non-classicality%20of%20an%20indivisible.pdf

    Interestingly, Quantum waveform collapse was anticipated by Aristotle and Aquinas:

    Stephen Hawking: “Philosophy Is Dead” – Michael Egnor – August 3, 2015
    Excerpt: The metaphysics of Aristotle and Aquinas is far and away the most successful framework on which to understand modern science, especially quantum mechanics. Heisenberg knew this (Link on site). Aristotle 2,300 years ago described the basics of collapse of the quantum waveform (reduction of potency to act),,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....98261.html

    More interesting still, infinite regress was addressed in the logic of Aristotle’s & Aquinas’s ‘unmoved mover’ argument that had anticipated Quantum Waveform collapse.

    Aquinas’ First Way – (The First Mover – Unmoved Mover) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmpw0_w27As

    Aquinas’ First Way
    1) Change in nature is elevation of potency to act.
    2) Potency cannot actualize itself, because it does not exist actually.
    3) Potency must be actualized by another, which is itself in act.
    4) Essentially ordered series of causes (elevations of potency to act) exist in nature.
    5) An essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act cannot be in infinite regress, because the series must be actualized by something that is itself in act without the need for elevation from potency.
    6) The ground of an essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act must be pure act with respect to the casual series.
    7) This Pure Act– Prime Mover– is what we call God.
    http://egnorance.blogspot.com/.....t-way.html

    Or to put it much more simply:

    “The ‘First Mover’ is necessary for change occurring at each moment.”
    Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way

  62. 62

    I think we could all do well with not discussing about God the designer, and simply describe exhaustively, mathematically, how people design things. Satan can also design things. There are issues being mixed about how design works, how origins works, and belief in God.

    A creationist should have some skill to describe how creation works in general, people creating as well as God creating.

  63. 63
    bornagain77 says:

    mohammadnursyamsu, the problem with NOMA…

    Non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA)
    excerpt: the view advocated by Stephen Jay Gould that science and religion each represent different areas of inquiry,,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-overlapping_magisteria

    … the problem with NOMA is that science is impossible without Theistic presuppositions. i.e. no matter how much you try to keep God and science separated, you still keep getting your chocolate science into my peanut butter religion. 🙂

    Hey You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate High Quality VHS rip 1981
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7oD_oX-Gio

    A few notes to that effect:

    The Great Debate: Does God Exist? – Justin Holcomb – audio of the 1985 Greg Bahnsen debate available at the bottom of the site
    Excerpt: The transcendental proof for God’s existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist worldview cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes. In that sense the atheist worldview cannot account for our debate tonight.,,,
    http://justinholcomb.com/2012/.....god-exist/

    Exactly how is logic and reasoning to be grounded in a worldview that insists everything arose without any rhyme or reason? To presuppose that the universe can be understood through logic and reason is to presuppose that there is logic and reasoning behind the universe to be understood in the first place. The atheistic/materialistic worldview is incoherent as to providing a rational foundation for practicing science in that it presupposes no logic or reason behind the universe.

    The Universal Determinism Dichotomy (UDD) – David L. Abel – 2015
    Excerpt: In recent years, physicalistic philosophy has come under increasing scrutiny, even from within the scientific community.(1-8,14-43) Incorporation of metaphysical materialism into the very definition of science has been called into question, especially since the scientific method itself is non-physical. Other problems with philosophic physicalism include:
    1) Physicality seems to have had a beginning in time, along with time itself. This raises questions of what caused the effect of physicality, including the time dimension.
    2) The laws of physics themselves are mathematical (abstract, conceptual and formal rather than physical).
    3) Life is formally organized within even the simplest cell, not just self-ordered as we see in Prigogine’s “dissipative structures” of chaos theory.
    4) All known life is cybernetic. Subcellular processes are all meticulously programmed and processed by very sophisticated mechanisms, never observed to arise from Chance and/or Necessity.
    5) Representationalism, a purely formal phenomenon, is employed within living cells. Various Material Symbol Systems are used to communicate messages, program complex computations, and to regulate homeostasis.
    Prescription and its Processing are products of Decision Theory, not Stochastic (random) Theory. Stochastic Theory is merely descriptive. Only Decision Theory is known to be able to prescribe sophisticated function, and process it.
    https://www.academia.edu/12267097/The_Universal_Determinism_Dichotomy_UDD_

  64. 64
    Axel says:

    ‘Axel: What sort of a rebuttal is that: Just the next layer of the onion.

    I’m thinking it means something like engaging in science brings tears to her eyes.’

    Very witty, esteemed Mung. I perceive you have lost none of your edge

  65. 65

    @bornagain77

    Gould was on the right track with Noma, but he didn’t really make explicit exactly what the difference between religion and science is. So then we can just arbitrarily call natural selection a religion, and the Quran science.

    The difference between science and religion is obviously the difference between fact and opinion, between objectivity and subjectivity.

    A fact is a model of something, a 1 to 1 copy to a different form. The actual moon and a book about the moon containing the facts about it in the form of words, pictures and mathematics.

    An opinion is an expression of emotion by free will about what the agency of a decision is. The painting is beautiful. The conclusion is chosen that there exists a love for the way the painting looks, which love chooses the word “beautiful” in expression.

    Those are the non-overlapping domains, the domain of the creator and the creation, the domain of opinion, and the domain of fact.

  66. 66
    bornagain77 says:

    HUH?

    Everybody in Almost Every Language Says “Huh”? HUH?!
    Dingemanse’s team analyzed recordings of people speaking ten different languages, including Spanish, Chinese and Icelandic, as well as indigenous languages from Ecuador, Australia and Ghana.,,, The utterance (HUH), they argue, isn’t a mere grunt of stupefaction but a remarkable linguistic invention.
    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/.....22/?no-ist

  67. 67

    If you were a policeman you would want a witness to know that the word “fact” means to make a copy. With that understanding the witness can focus to make an accurate 1 to 1 representation of what happened. That’s simple and practical, and that’s all science is essentially, just mindless copying from nature, and with mathematics exhaustive models can be made.

    The chains of warrant, it’s some kind of more sophisticated idea, that is certainly not fundamental.

    It’s also a good idea for the witness to understand that opinions are arrived at by choosing, which means you create the information yourself. So facts you copy the information, opinion you create the information yourself. And a policeman would mostly want the facts only, or at least he would want the facts neatly separated from the opinions as much as possible.

    Choosing is the mechanism of creation (he explained to the creationists)

  68. 68
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus:

    @37

    PPS: Is your onion of…

    It’s a metaphor. You shouldn’t get hung up on it.

    @40

    I have given a strictly logical analysis of chains of warrant and cause.

    Even the most rigorous logic in explanation of an irrelevance is irrelevant. Your chains of warrant don’t matter much to scientists because they are divorced from the reality of what scientists are supposed to be doing. Your chains of warrant might be important to philosophers, but most of us are not philosophers, and most philosophers are not working scientific investigators.

    @41

    …indeed the [fractal] images are based on truncations etc.

    True enough, and yet even if truncated, these sets are useful. As Aleta is saying (I think) in comment #44. That is what scientific activity is about: usefulness. You are on about philosophy which is not relevant to what most humans do on a day-to-day basis.

    @45:

    …you are now agreeing with one of my core points on regress of warrant, that we are finite and must stop and yet try to cast it against a distinct point on causal chains.

    And if that’s where you stopped (as you should have) then we’d be in agreement. But you didn’t, so we’re not.

    Finitely remote causal root is what we face, and that is enormously challenging.

    This all may be very challenging—to philosophers. The rest of humanity can pretty much ignore this in their daily work; which includes practicing scientists.

    @60:

    The issue of infinity has to be faced first, crawl before run.

    For philosophers, perhaps. For the rest of us, the issue of infinity is just an inconsequential bauble.

    sean s.

  69. 69
    sean samis says:

    Box @50:

    Sometimes logic is all we got.

    When logic is “all we got” then we have nothing because logic is just a set of rules and a process for evaluating information. Logic in an information vacuum goes nowhere.

    No logic ever demands that we cannot can focus on what is in front of us until we know what is beneath it. Logic does not forbid the practical limits of what we can do.

    Like Aleta said @51:

    It is not relevant to “demand understanding” if in fact we don’t have the tools to achieve it – that is, among other things, what leads to making up answers that really aren’t supportable.

    sean s.

  70. 70
    tjguy says:

    OK, a little bit OT. I apologize, but it does relate to how we can know anything.

    It has to do with mathematics and the unity found in it that demands an explanation.

    For those interested in a bit heavy reading, here is a free on line book entitled: [Truth and the Transcendent] by Larry L. Zimmerman.

    The Origin, Nature, & Purpose of Mathematics”
    This thoroughly documented book is the result of Larry Zimmerman’s years of personal study on the question: “How do you know that God created mathematics?”

    This is what Zimmerman argues for in the book – giving God the credit for mathematics. He shows this is the only logical way to explain what we find in mathematics. It is listed as a semi-technical book, so not everyone will be interested or even able to keep up, but for those who are interested, go for it!


    https://answersingenesis.org/answers/books/truth-transcendent/

  71. 71
    Aleta says:

    Sean writes,

    When logic is “all we got” then we have nothing because logic is just a set of rules and a process for evaluating information. Logic in an information vacuum goes nowhere.

    Yep. I’ll repeat my main point of several posts.

    Logic, and math, are self-consistent, axiomatic formal systems that in and of themselves tell us nothing about the physical (or metaphysical) world. To apply content to such a system you have to set up a model where the abstract entities of the system (such as A or 2) correspond to to some aspect of the world that can be experienced. Then as you work out the logical consequences of the model you have to continually test your results against the model to see if they are correct.

    You may find at some point that the model doesn’t work any more. Assuming you haven’t made actual logical or mathematical mistakes, that means that there is something wrong about your model, so you start revising and then retesting. That is how we use logic and math as a tool to understand the world.

    That is also why we can’t apply logic to purely metaphysical speculations (such as that God exists, and that there must be a first cause) – we have no way to gather the information to test the model.

    So I like Sean’s line: “Logic in an information vacuum goes nowhere”

  72. 72
    Aleta says:

    So let me address the infamous law of logic A = A. In the world of logic, it is undoubtedly, and may I say, self-evidently, true. In respect to using that law in respect to the world (as opposed to just an axiom in logic as a formal system), it is a rule that we agree will always be considered true – a rule we agree to use whenever we set up any model of the world.

    Note that the first thing this assumes is that there are things in the world distinct enough to stand out from the rest of the world so that we can clearly say “this is A.” An obvious example is a stone, for instance. Other things are not so clearcut. Is a rainbow a thing? Is a photon a thing? Is an aspen forest in which many trees are part of the same underground root system one thing or many things? To even talk about A, these are questions we have to answer within our model.

    Things also change over time. An onion A is, from most practical points of view, the same as the onion one minute later, so A = A over that short amount of time. However, the onion has lost molecules during that minute (the smell of the onion), so at a more precise molecular level A now does not equal A a minute ago. Would we then say, “Aha, here is an example where A does not equal A”? No, we would say that the second onion is a new object B. We would adjust our model – we would not abandon the rule of logic because it is a part of our reasoning apparatus.

    So, in summary, A = A is an inviolable rule of reasoning, but as soon as we want to apply it to learning about the world we have to deal with questions about the model we are setting up: what does A actually represent in this particular case.

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: It seems we have now arrived at trying to put question marks against the law of identity, evidently not fully recognising that simply in order to think and communicate, we are forced to intuitively apply it on pain of absurdities of confusion.

    I find the Apostle Paul on this an absolute classic:

    1 Cor 14: 7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. [ESV]

    So, we can directly see how to question this law while using language is self-defeating.

    But, how does the law come to be?

    Take some distinct thing A (and if just one such distinct thing, e.g. the number 2 exists this applies . . . here, in all possible worlds) and recognise how that distinction partitions the world, W:

    W = {A | ~A}

    From this by inspection, the distinction dichotomises W, and A is itself, LOI.

    Likewise, the bar shows how A is not ~A and nothing x is such that x = A AND ~A, i.e. LNC.

    Thirdly, equally immediately, any x is such that x is in A or in ~ A but not both or neither; i.e. LEM.

    Where borders are fuzzy, that simply means clarity of where a distinct identity exists is required. Once such obtains, instantly LOI, LNC and LEM apply.

    Even, in a day where some wish to demand that to suit themselves we reckon the tail of a sheep the fifth leg. But, a tail simply hath not what it takes to be a leg and the exercise rapidly descends into folly and absurdity.

    The core three first principles of right reason are indeed self-evident and even just to write out or speak an objection implicitly relies on what it objects to.

    Still prelims, busy with urgent items coming in on the plate.

    Later, DV.

    KF

  74. 74

    @Aleta
    The law of identity does not apply to subjective issues.

    Both the conclusions “the painting is beautiful”, and “the painting is ugly”, are valid conclusions.

    The logical validity of an opinion depends on that the conclusion is chosen, and that the conclusion refers to what makes a decision turn out the way it did. That means the opinion “the painting is beautiful”, for it to be valid it must have been chosen from other options like that “the painting is ugly” or something.

    The beauty is a love of the way the painting looks. The love is what chose the word beauty. Chosen in expression of emotion with free will. That is the second criteria for valid opinions demonstrated. An opinion must refer to what makes a decision turn out the way it did. In this case “love” is referred to with the word “beautiful”.

    That means the existence of the love is a matter of opinion, that is the root of how the beauty of the painting is an opinion. The conclusion that the love is real is just as valid as the conclusion that the love is not real, same as that the conclusion the painting is beautiful is equally valid to the conclusion the painting is ugly.

    Which means there is a general category of a spiritual domain, and all in this domain chooses which way the material domain turns out. The existence of all in the spiritual domain is a matter of opinion, and the existence of all in the material domain is a matter of fact.

  75. 75
    kairosfocus says:

    MNY, Pardon but, just simply to speak or think meaningfully, the LOI is already at work, cf 73 above. And as 73 also outlines, LNC and LEM are actually integral facets or immediate corollaries, so that once something has a distinct identity, all three are necessarily present. And so long as you are thinking coherently, they are present. If you are not, they point to why your thoughts will collapse in confusion and meaninglessness. In other words these three laws of thought are self-evident criteria of simply being rational. I suggest you ponder the force of Paul’s remarks to appreciate that. Then, think about a situation where communication in a community is compromised through spreading incoherence and confusion to see i/l/o Kant’s Categorical Imperative that humbling oneself before these laws of thought is also a moral imperative if we are to do good by our neighbours. KF

  76. 76
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Re SS at 3 above:

    >>[SS:] Regarding the OP:

    [KF:} Now, Peter D. Klein, in the Oxford Handbook of Skepticism, highlights:

    The epistemic regress problem is considered the most crucial in the entire theory of knowledge and it is a major concern for many contemporary epistemologists. However, only two of the three alternative solutions have been developed in any detail, foundationalism and coherentism. Infinitism was not seriously considered as a solution because of the finite-mind objection. [article: “Contemporary Responses to Agrippa’s Trilemma,” OUP 2008.]

    [SS:] The Grounding Problem (or the chain of warrants problem) might be important to some philosophers, but outside their Ivory Towers, this “problem” has little impact.>>

    1 –> On the contrary, it was shown that the chaining structure of warrant leads to a regress.

    2 –> In turn, this raises the issue of where/how it ends if ever, as a general issue necessarily relevant to any exercise of reasoned thought intended to warrant claims and ground knowledge.

    3 –> Which, patently, by direct implication holds for science, and becomes especially relevant in Kuhn’s times of paradigm crisis. Especially where worldview level ideologies such as evolutionary materialistic scientism are warping the course of scientific investigation.

    4 –> So, the dismissiveness above is little more than a demand to propagate the status quo of ideologically warped science, which renders the objective of science to seek and warrant truth about our world, impotent.

    5 –> In short, this response by SS is a symptom of the ideological captivity of science in our day.

    >> [KF:] Similarly, origins science is concerned with causal roots of or cosmos, our world, the world of life, and our own roots.

    [SS:] For professional scientists engaged in research in their chosen disciplines, this “chain of warrants” thing amounts to nearly nothing. It does not change how they do their work or how they teach their students.>>

    6 –> Au contraire, scientists routinely apply chains of warrant, which automatically entails the issue of the other end if any. By simple logic, as long since seen. Thus the issue of infinite regress, or circularity or finitely remote first plausibles or first commitments, is material. (And, stopping short at well accepted results, is a short hand, and appeal to authority of the cumulative state of the art and cumulative observations as summarised thereby — perhaps with some fresh addition in the case in view. All of which then points to how no authority is better than his or her facts and reasoning, i.e. the chain is still there unless there is a fallacy of appeal to modesty and blind trust in the face of august authority.)

    7 –> Let me cite the US NSTA Board, 2000, on science education to see how this issue becomes highly relevant to the ideological captivity of education today:

    The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts . . . .

    Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work . . . .

    Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge.

    8 –> In short, we see clear demonstration in an education policy context, of the ideological captivity of education in science to a priori evolutionary materialism, which is both question begging directly, and it is also irretrievably self-falsifying by way of self-referential incoherence regarding the roots of mind.

    9 –> As this is an education context, ethics is also relevant so it is appropriate to note that this ideological worldview imposition and straight-jacket of evolutionary materialism is also inescapably amoral, opening the door to nihilism and chaos, thence tyranny under the false front of restoring order. Arguably, this breakdown is already well in progress.

    >>Certainly, there must exist something that is eternal, something that’s always been there; something that is the embodiment of some first cause. This is not a new idea; scientists have reckoned with it since the beginning. At a philosophical level, this must be true.

    But for most scientists it is irrelevant; it does not affect what they are researching currently, and is unlikely to affect what they research in their entire lives.>>

    10 –> Relevance has already been shown, this is just a case of saying, we like to keep our present worldview in its position of dominance over minds and institutions, by locking out serious reflection.

    >>Whatever this eternal, fundamental thing is, it need not be any “person”. It does not need any attributes of “mind”. It can be a mindless “thing” unaware of its self, its surroundings, or its behavior.>>

    11 –> This simply ignored previous discussions on implications of this being a world in which we are there as morally governed beings, pointing to the issue of a world-root IS capable of grounding OUGHT. It also dismisses without serious consideration strong evidence pointing to design of the world of life (including ourselves) and of the fine tuned cosmos that supports such life.

    >> [KF:] There are many multiverse speculative models, but such lack definitive observational warrant.

    [SS:} Your comment is two words short of being true. The truth is that multiverse speculative models …lack definitive observational warrant SO FAR.>>

    12 –> Of course the issue is to produce such empirical basis, or the matter is not science at all, just speculative cosmological philosophy that is highly mathematical, done while wearing a lab coat.

    13 –> the need for empirical warrant for any significant scientific claims is patent, and here we are talking of a generation.

    >>Science is the discovery of what is not yet known. Theories properly go first: they speculate on what might be and then experiments test the properly speculative theory.>>

    14 –> Science is the empirically grounded open-ended investigation of our world, seeking to describe, explain, predict and influence or control phenomena. And, it starts with observations and patterns that seem to occur in those observations, not in speculation largely unconnected to empirical reality.

    15 –> We see here the smuggling in of un-announced philosphy dominated by evolutionary materialism dressed up in a lab coat and presented as though it wee the same sort of thing as what we have seen for centuries. This is the decay of science.

    >> Multiverse theories are relatively new, that they are yet unverified is no big deal.>>

    16 –> Not after a generation.

    >>And BTW, theistic speculative explanations lack definitive observational warrant AND PROBABLY ALWAYS WILL.>>

    17 –> Well and atmosphere-poisoning subject switch and projection of empty talking points.

    18 –> The pivotal issue of logic, chains of warrant and the structure of worldviews and their context of comparative difficulties is dodged.

    19 –> As for the dismissiveness, I suggest the interested onlooker will find here on in context helpful: http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....u2_bld_wvu and also: http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....l#u1_grnds

    20 –> It is also well worth noting that hyperskeptically dismissive fallacy of confident manner skeptics such as SS typically fail to adequately reckon wit the inconvenient fact of millions of people across the world and the ages as well as today, who have personally met and been transformed by God.

    >>As a “finitely remote start-point” (to borrow the term from the OP) a multiverse theory is quite satisfactory.>>

    21 –> It is a philosophical model, and as such it is indeed a case of a finitely remote start point, though in some cases we see the problem of infinite causal regress.

    >>The rest of the OP is essentially just elaboration in error, or futility.>>

    22 –> More selectively hyperskeptical dismissiveness that dodges a key case in which Dawkins tried to re-assign a quantum foam model to being nothing in the proper sense, following the error of Krauss.

    23 –> By their dismissiveness shall ye know them.
    _______________

    Okay, more later when I can snatch some time.

    But one slice of the failed cake has in it all the ingredients.

    As DV we shall see.

    KF

  77. 77

    @kairosfocus

    (obviously) love, goodness, mass and velocity do not mix as all of the same general category, to which all the same rules apply. The law of identity being a case in point, it applies to the one category but not to the other.

    There are 2 fundamental categories, the creator and the creation, 2 ways of reaching a conclusion releveant to each domain, opinion and fact, that is creationism.

  78. 78
    Aleta says:

    kf writes,

    F/N: It seems we have now arrived at trying to put question marks against the law of identity, evidently not fully recognising that simply in order to think and communicate, we are forced to intuitively apply it

    Uh, that’s what I said also. I wrote,

    So let me address the infamous law of logic A = A. In the world of logic, it is undoubtedly, and may I say, self-evidently, true. In respect to using that law in respect to the world (as opposed to just an axiom in logic as a formal system), it is a rule that we agree will always be considered true – a rule we agree to use whenever we set up any model of the world.

    which agrees with what kf wrote.

    I also note that kf and I agree that something must have a distinct identity to apply. He wrote, “Where borders are fuzzy, that simply means clarity of where a distinct identity exists is required.”

    I agreed with that, and pointed to some examples of where clarity might be required.

  79. 79
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta,

    you are evading.

    I refer you to what is already on the table, and notice what infamous means:

    AmHD: >>in·fa·mous (?n?f?-m?s)
    adj.
    1. Having an exceedingly bad reputation; notorious: an infamous outlaw.

    2. Causing or deserving severe public condemnation; heinous: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury” (US Constitution, Amendment 5).>>

    Terms of extreme distanciation are simply not appropriate to speaking of self-evident first principles of right reason.

    MNY,

    you are refusing to address what you must implicitly use just to comment.

    I have already addressed issues of axiological truth and its objectivity, both aesthetic and ethical.

    That is not in question, your behaviour about first principles of reasoning is, and the report card to date is not a happy one.

    KF

  80. 80
    Aleta says:

    kf, my use of “infamous” was just being light-hearted – the proposition has certainly been the subject of quite a bit of emotion here, and I was making a bit of fun about that.

    Other than that, do you agree with my post at 78 that you and I are agreeing with each other?

  81. 81

    @kairosfocus

    If you can demonstrate that the logic of laws of identity is inherent in common discourse about subjective issues, then I have not seen that.

    Common discourse operates as I say it does, that both the conclusions ugly and beautiful are valid, if the conclusion is chosen. I have no doubt about it. It is a matter of fact issue, not a matter of opinion.

  82. 82
    kairosfocus says:

    MNY:

    Let’s try:

    {I|~I} + {f|~f} . . .

    For starters. That is the very glyphs and sounds you use have distinct identities, and so LOI, LNC, LEM are already at work so soon as you hit the keyboard or begin to speak.

    In fact, long before that: {MNY|~MNY}.

    Necessarily true, pervasive self evident first principles of right reason are very hard to escape.

    In case that still is not enough, try to make an objecting comment without resorting to things that manifest a distinct identity. Including terms beauty and ugliness and perceptions as to what is one or the other. On which, I would suggest to you that here are in fact objective principles by which beauty or its absence can be rationally assessed.

    And for morality there is much the same.

    Knowledge, notoriously so.

    Such are not on trial, you are.

    KF

  83. 83
    Aleta says:

    Hi mny: You write,

    that both the conclusions ugly and beautiful are valid

    Here’s where I think the confusion is arising. The statement “The painting is beautiful (or ugly)” is not an example of the law of identity. The painting is equal to itself (P = P) is an example of A = A. Making a further statement about the painting, whether it be objective (the painting is square) or subjective (the painting is ugly) may be valid conclusions (objective or subjective), but they are not simple logical statements about the identity equivalence of the object with itself.

  84. 84

    @kairosfocus

    As far as I know you are saying that because we can see the word beauty therefore beauty is objective. I don’t think that’s an argument.

    It is granted that the word beauty is a created thing, and the word table, and an actual table, are created things as well. And all what is part of creation is objective, and the laws would apply, as I have already said, but that does not make any what is in the creator category objective.

    Subjectivity is radically different from objectivity, they are not together on a sliding scale of certainty, where fact is at the high end, and opinion at the low end. Facts are obtained by force, and opinions arrived at with freedom.

    Look at the plain logic about how choosing works. There are the alternatives, they are in the future. Or one could say there is the single possibility in the future. Then there is the decision, which means one of the alternatives becomes the present, or otherwise, the possibility becomes the present or not. That is the basic structure of decisionmaking.

    And from this structure the question naturally arises, what, or who, is it that made the decision turn out the way it did? How to answer that question?

  85. 85
    sean samis says:

    mohammadnursyamsu @74:

    The law of identity does not apply to subjective issues.

    Sure it does.

    the painting is beautiful” is A.
    the painting is ugly” is B.

    A = A
    B = B
    A =/= B

    The logical validity of an opinion depends on…

    This is a change of topic, the law of identity does not tell us about validity, only that something is itself.

    sean s.

  86. 86
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @76:

    [KF:} Now, Peter D. Klein, in the Oxford Handbook of Skepticism, highlights: …

    This is philosophy and opinion. Klein’s words have no authority over me or anyone else. They prove only what Klein’s opinion is.

    1 –> On the contrary, it was shown that the chaining structure of warrant leads to a regress.

    A “finitely remote start-point” interrupts the infinite regression, which is the only regression we need worry about here. Finite regressions are not a problem.

    2 –> In turn, this raises the issue of where/how it ends if ever, as a general issue necessarily relevant to any exercise of reasoned thought intended to warrant claims and ground knowledge.

    This is mooted by the fact (referenced above) that we all know how to avoid infinite regress.

    3 –> Which, patently, by direct implication holds for science, and becomes especially relevant in Kuhn’s times of paradigm crisis. Especially where worldview level ideologies such as evolutionary materialistic scientism are warping the course of scientific investigation.

    The implication is overplayed, as is Kuhn’s paradigm crisis. Your concern about “evolutionary materialistic scientism” is a red herring.

    4 –> So, the dismissiveness above is little more than a demand to propagate the status quo of ideologically warped science, which renders the objective of science to seek and warrant truth about our world, impotent.

    I support letting scientists follow the evidence wherever it leads. You want to put tight bounds on them. We disagree. So be it.

    5 –> In short, this response by SS is a symptom of the ideological captivity of science in our day.

    In short, you and I disagree.

    6 –> Au contraire, scientists routinely apply chains of warrant, which automatically entails the issue of the other end if any.

    Yes they do employ “chains of warrant”, but not down to the roots of reality. Just down to the “next layer of the onion”.

    8 –> In short, we see clear demonstration in an education policy context, of the ideological captivity of education in science to a priori evolutionary materialism, …

    Science is materialistic and naturalistic because that’s all science can work with. When you show us how to test and verify/falsify something outside of materialism or nature, you’ll get a Nobel Prize.

    9 –> As this is an education context, ethics is also relevant so it is appropriate to note that this ideological worldview imposition and straight-jacket of evolutionary materialism is also inescapably amoral, …

    On other threads I have already shown how this is false.

    10 –> Relevance has already been shown, …

    This is only relevant to the philosopher. The scientist is only looking at the next link in the chain of evidence (I totally borrowed that from Aleta.)

    11 –> This simply ignored previous discussions on implications of …

    This simply ignored my comments in those previous discussions.

    12 –> Of course the issue is to produce such empirical basis, or the matter is not science at all, just speculative cosmological philosophy that is highly mathematical, done while wearing a lab coat.

    Speculation is essential to science, when you face a new unknown, you have to speculate on what the explanation might be so you can design a program to explore this unknown.

    The empirical basis of any theory must wait until speculation leads to an idea of what to test or observe.

    14 –> Science is the empirically grounded open-ended investigation of our world, seeking to describe, explain, predict and influence or control phenomena. And, it starts with observations and patterns that seem to occur in those observations, not in speculation largely unconnected to empirical reality.

    As before: speculation is essential to science, when you face a new unknown, you have to speculate on what the explanation MIGHT BE so you can design a program to explore this unknown.

    16 –> Not after a generation.

    There is no time limit on how long we get to take testing and verifying/falsifying a theory. Heliocentrism took almost 300 YEARS to prove. That’s about 15 GENERATIONS.

    There is no logical reason to set a dead-line.

    18 –> The pivotal issue of logic, chains of warrant and the structure of worldviews and their context of comparative difficulties is dodged.

    I have responded to this here and on other threads. You just don’t know how to reply to my arguments.

    20 –> It is also well worth noting that hyperskeptically dismissive fallacy of confident manner skeptics such as SS typically fail to adequately reckon wit the inconvenient fact of millions of people across the world and the ages as well as today, who have personally met and been transformed by God.

    I believe there are BILLIONS of people across time who believe they personally met their god.

    Unfortunately, their testimonies about their gods are inconsistent to the point of violence against each other; their testimony is not reliable.

    And since I have never met any god, I am left to doubt this unreliable testimony and to seek my own way.

    If there are god(s) out there, I am confident that god/those gods don’t care if I believe in them or not. If they exist and decide to care, they will let me know.

    sean s.

  87. 87
    sean samis says:

    I tried to give this OP a fair reading, and I think I have.

    The problem I have is in the claim that

    But if we know of no process or set of processes whose likelihood or generating S exceeds Dembski’s Universal Probability Bound, then by default, we should opt for Intelligent Design as the most likely explanation.

    As you say,

    Of course, such an inference is provisional, insofar as it is based on what we currently know, but all science is like that.

    How do we get from such a “provisional” inference to greater certainty? In science, the method is called “empiricism”. No provisional inference is ever left standing, they are treated with great caution until they can be tested; and then they are tested until they break or prove themselves.

    How do we test the inference you say should be “default” in these situations? You wrote that this provisional inference is a “rational one”

    Even if we have absolutely no idea who the intelligent agent is or why the agent chose to generate S,…

    How do we test an inference to an unknown (perhaps unknowable) designer? There really is no way I can see. And there are too many ways to inaccurately guesstimate the probabilities you predicate your inference on.

    I think that there has to be a better way, and there is.

    Given some phenomena S (even some specified complex system S) the first (and most natural) question needs to be asked:

    Could humans have made S?

    If ‘yes’ then a provisional inference of being artificial makes sense even if S is a radio signal from the stars.
    If ‘no’ then the next question needs to be asked:

    Do we know of an Agent (intelligent or not) capable of making S?

    If ‘yes’ then a provisional inference of being artificial still makes sense.
    If ‘no’ then a provisional inference of being natural makes the most sense.

    A provisional inference of being artificial makes no sense unless that inference is testable. If it is not, then the provisional inference must be that S is natural NOT because it is or is not more probable but because that inference is the only one that is TESTABLE.

    In science, the probability of a particular inference must take a back-seat to its testability.

    If we mistakenly infer natural causes for something that was artificial, the worst is that we’ll learn some new things on the way to discovering that we can’t explain S, and the best is that we figure out how the designer did it. Win-win.

    sean s.

  88. 88
    Aleta says:

    Sean, I don’t know what your reading preferences are like, but you might like “Small Gods” by Terry Pratchett. Google him and it to see what I’m talking about.

    And I agree with what you wrote,

    I believe there are BILLIONS of people across time who believe they personally met their god.

    Unfortunately, their testimonies about their gods are inconsistent to the point of violence against each other; their testimony is not reliable.

    And since I have never met any god, I am left to doubt this unreliable testimony and to seek my own way.

    If there are god(s) out there, I am confident that god/those gods don’t care if I believe in them or not. If they exist and decide to care, they will let me know.

  89. 89

    @sean samis

    As was explained “beautiful” refers to a love of the way the painting looks. This love is what chooses the word beauty in expression of emotion with free will.

    Therefore the existence of this love is a matter of opinion, meaning that to say that the love is real is an equally valid answer to saying the love is not real.

    The law of identity cannot apply to what is real or not real as a matter of opinion, subjective issues.

  90. 90
    kairosfocus says:

    MNY, SS, Aleta et al,

    Remember, it is not the LOI, LNC and LEM that are on trial but us.

    Sadly, revealingly so.

    Next, I simply note that to post comments at all, you have had to use the principle of distinct identity thus the LOI, LNC and LEM are inherently involved.

    The existence of a world, beauty is an example of such a distinct entity to which the laws apply.

    As has been long since clear5 enough but the strawman tactic seems to be irresistible to today’s type of objector.

    Then, even were beauty utterly subjective it would not overthrow these laws.

    And, today’s sadly broken down mentality is no good yardstick to assess whether or no beauty is bereft of objective framework.

    And in fact the very fact that women know what to do with makeup and plastic surgeons with the knife should tell us better than that beauty is utterly subjective. Similarly, as I had occasion to already highlight, Nefertiti’s sculpted head speaks across time and civilisation to us on the subject of the stability of judgements of classical beauty. But we can see where much of the trouble is, as beauty is a value, closely connected to ethical values, as in justice, truth and beauty. Those who hate the valuable will ever seek to undermine its basis and roots.

    KF

  91. 91
    kairosfocus says:

    SS, in 87 you make a comment that has nothing to do with this thread. It is also refective of an utter failing on your part to understand the inductive logic of inference to best current explanation wen it does not suit your ideological agenda. KF

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    SS, as for the you don’t know how to reply rhetorical gambit [remember you are objecting to self evident truths], here is the real problem, per Robert L. Kocher:

    suppose that I say that the red pen I happen to have in my hand at this moment is a red pen. Further suppose that someone else says it is not a red pen, but is instead a flower pot, or a suitcase or a TV set. As a practical matter, I am unable to refute the assertion that what I am holding in my hand is not a flower pot. That does not mean that I’m incorrect when I say that it is a red pen. Nor does it mean that I am intellectually weaker than the other person who is arguing that it is not a red pen. Nor does it mean that his assertion that it is not a red pen is correct.

    It means that I have no stronger argument than the red pen being in my hand. There is no stronger argument possible than the simple fact of the red pen being in my hand. No stronger refutation of the other person’s arguments is possible. At some point there must be agreement on what constitutes basic reality . . . .

    It has become common for people who routinely engage in chronic psychotic levels of denial to consider themselves as being mental powerhouses, and to be considered by others as being mental powerhouses, because no one can break through their irrationality. This is often supported by a self-referencing congratulatory inner voice which says, “(guffaw) He REALLY didn’t have an answer for that one!” And they are correct. He didn’t have an answer.

    Other than of course to shake his head sadly at clinging to absurdity.

    The LOI, LNC and LEM are not on trial, SS, you are.

    And so far, failing.

    KF

  93. 93

    @kairosfocus

    You have not established the validity of any subjectivity, let alone utter subjectivity. The laws which you apply without limit, precludes the validation of subjectivity.

    Any trial which judges us in terms of being the owner of our decisions, I would be let go, whereas you…. How I would fare in a trial based on the facts about how classically beautiful my face is, I would probably be put in prison for contempt of court.

  94. 94
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @91:

    My #87 is a mispost. It belong on another thread. I requested its deletion on this thread but management at UD appears to have refused my request. Treat it as clutter.

    sean s.

  95. 95
    sean samis says:

    kairosfocus @92:

    The LOI, LNC and LEM are not on trial, SS, you are.

    Perhaps; perhaps we all are.

    But you are not my judge; you’re just an accuser. I am confident in the jury of reasonable people and the judgment of the future.

    sean s.

  96. 96
    sean samis says:

    … and for the record, I have never challenged “The LOI, LNC and LEM”. I do not doubt them.

    sean s.

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