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Clearing the air for cogent discussion of the design inference, by going back to basics (a response to RDF)

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Sometimes, an objector to design theory brings to the table a key remark that inadvertently focuses the debate back on the core basics.

In his comment at 339 in the ongoing nature/detection of intelligence thread here at UD, longtime objector RDFish does so in these initial remarks:

Intelligent Design Theory

1) No current theory of evolutionary biology can account for the complex form and function of living organisms.

2) This sort of complex form and function (let’s call it “CSI”) is, in our experience, produced only by human beings.

3) ID argues that the best explanation (let’s call it the “Designer”) for biological complexity can therefore be inferred to be similar to human beings in that both human beings and the Designer have “intelligence” . . .

We must thank him for bringing together in one place many of the key problems with objections to the design inference as a scientific project.

I responded at 341 following, as I will now also clip (and slightly adjust):

________________

>>Let me snip [RDF’s] summary post above, and comment on a few points amounting to a slice of the cake that has in it all the unfortunately fallacious ingredients that decisively undermine his frame of argument:

RDF, 339: >> No current theory of evolutionary biology can account for the complex form and function of living organisms.>>

1 –> Actually, the pivotal issue addressed is complexities involved in body plans that involve functionally specific complex organisation and associated information [FSCO/I] . . . including codes and algorithms. As Stephen Meyer noted in reply to an objector to Signature in the Cell:

. . . intelligent design—the activity of a conscious and rational deliberative agent—best explains the origin of the information necessary to produce the first living cell. I argue this because of two things that we know from our uniform and repeated experience, which following Charles Darwin I take to be the basis of all scientific reasoning about the past. First, intelligent agents have demonstrated the capacity to produce large amounts of functionally specified information (especially in a digital form).

[–> Note, this is substantially equivalent to terms often used here at UD, including digitally coded functionally specific, complex information [dFSCI] and functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information, [FSCO/I]; the latter bringing to bear the fact that a 3-D integrated functionally specific entity can be reduced to coded digital strings, such as with the aid of AutoCAD etc]

Second, no undirected chemical process has demonstrated this power. Hence, intelligent design provides the best—most causally adequate—explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life from simpler non-living chemicals. In other words, intelligent design is the only explanation that cites a cause known to have the capacity to produce the key effect in question [–> the vera causa test] . . . . In order to [scientifically refute this inductive conclusion] Falk would need to show that some undirected material cause has [empirically] demonstrated the power to produce functional biological information apart from the guidance or activity of a designing mind. Neither Falk, nor anyone working in origin-of-life biology, has succeeded in doing this . . . .

2 –> Also, the correct reference is to no school of a priori materialist, evolutionism that locks out the possibility that FSCO/I just might have its root in design. Let us remind ourselves of what the leading evolutionary thinker Lewontin said:

. . . the problem is to get [the ordinary people] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations [–> notice the loaded, prejudicial language and contempt towards those who dare differ with the lab coat clad atheistical elites . . . the attitude that underlies the slanders and strawman tactics I have objected to], 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 and inherently irrational]. . . .

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us 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. [ “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. In case you have swallowed the accusatory dismissal, that this is “quote-mined” please see the wider citation and notes here.]

3 –> I have here emphasised OOL, as this is the root of the tree of life and most clearly focuses the origin of FSCO/I as the usual out of pretending that “natural selection” has wonderful design powers is not present at OOL. But in fact for OOL we are looking at for genomes 100 – 1,000 kbits or so of genetic info, for novel body plans — here on earth not in the observed cosmos — we need 10 – 100+ mn bits of new DNA dozens of times over, and on the usual timeline within 10 MY or so for the Cambrian revo [not that 80 mn or even 10^17 y would make a dime’s worth of difference to the substantial point”].

4 –> Any blind mechanism dependent on chance to generate high contingency — the only serious alternative to design for generating contingency required for information to exist . . . mechanical necessity is the opposite of a contingency generating mechanism, it causes reliable lawlike predictable low contingency patterns such as dropping a heavy object near earth leads to initial acceleration at 9.8 N/kg — will then run into the problem of sampling the configuration space.

5 –> This I outlined in 99 above, which has of course been ducked consistently. Namely, for just 500 bits of FSCO/I, we see that the atomic resources of a solar system of 10^57 atoms, for 10^17 s, and giving each atom 500 coins to toss every 10^-14s, will be able to pull up a fraction of the 3.27 * 10^150 possibilities comparable to a single straw compared to a cubical haystack 1,000 LY across, about as thick as our galactic centre. So, if superposed on our neighbourhood and blindly searched tot hat degree of sampling, we have a confident, all but absolutely certain result: we will pick up a straw, as straw is the overwhelming bulk. This is the needle in haystack principle.

6 –> Extend to 1,000 bits, and we see that he atomic resources of the observed cosmos would be swamped to even greater degrees. The observable cosmos, all 90-odd bn LY of it, would be simply lost in the thought exercise haystack.

7 –> So, once we pass 500 – 1,000 bits, of FSCO/I (which will naturally come in deeply isolated islands of function), the only needle in haystack principle sampling challenge plausible causal source is design. Which is why it is unsurprising that in every case where we see such being caused, the source is a designer.

8 –> This then brings up the next side-tracking irrelevancy:

RDF, 339: >>This sort of complex form and function (let’s call it “CSI”) is, in our experience, produced only by human beings.>>

8b –> RDF, in the teeth of being informed otherwise, of course cannot resist redefining CSI to suit his rhetorical purposes. So, let us again pause and give Dembski’s longstanding definition on the record in No Free Lunch:

p. 148: “The great myth of contemporary evolutionary biology is that the information needed to explain complex biological structures can be purchased without intelligence. My aim throughout this book is to dispel that myth . . . . Eigen and his colleagues must have something else in mind besides information simpliciter when they describe the origin of information as the central problem of biology.

I submit that what they have in mind is specified complexity, or what equivalently we have been calling in this Chapter Complex Specified information or CSI . . . .

Biological specification always refers to function . . . In virtue of their function [a living organism’s subsystems] embody patterns that are objectively given and can be identified independently of the systems that embody them. Hence these systems are specified in the sense required by the complexity-specificity criterion . . . the specification can be cashed out in any number of ways [[through observing the requisites of functional organisation within the cell, or in organs and tissues or at the level of the organism as a whole] . . .”

p. 144: [Specified complexity can be defined:] “. . . since a universal probability bound of 1 [[chance] in 10^150 corresponds to a universal complexity bound of 500 bits of information, [the cluster] (T, E) constitutes CSI because T [ effectively the target hot zone in the field of possibilities] subsumes E [ effectively the observed event from that field], T is detachable from E, and and T measures at least 500 bits of information . . . ”

9 –> Likewise, despite repeated corrections on this point at UD for a long time now, RDF cannot resist trying to redefine intelligent agency as human agency.

10 –> But while human beings are intelligent agents, say beavers that build dams adapted to the circumstances of a stream, are also of limited intelligence. So, we have no good reason to confine intelligent agency to human agency.

11 –> Likewise, we deal with possible worlds as well: so long as there are possible states of affairs in which intelligence is exhibited by non-human agents, we have no good warrant to artificially confine our inference from observed agency to require an inference regarding HUMAN agency.

12 –> For that matter, we have no good grounds for locking out the possibility of mind without embodiment as agent. We may not understand how that is possible but it is a serious possibility that should not be locked out by begging questions.

13 –> Where, for instance, we see — as I just had occasion to note in a different thread:

Value of G [the subject of that thread] is not strongly tied to the sort of resonances that lead to H, He, O and C as most abundant elements in the observed cosmos, with N nearby (& IIRC, 5th for our galaxy).

That gives us, stars and galaxies, the gateway to the rest of the periodic table, water with its astonishing properties, organic chemistry’s connector-block element and proteins.

Sir Fred Hoyle was right to point to this pattern as a first pivotal manifestation of fine tuning. Even, though the values involved do not run to huge numbers of decimals.

This looks like a put-up job on the physics behind our cosmos, and points to there being no blind forces of consequence in physics, chemistry or biology.

In plain words — independent of whether we ever get to some prebiotic soup that is reasonable and does somehow throw up living cells, or whether we show that lucky noise driven variation can feed body plan level origination by successive survival based culling out — we have evidence that points to a cosmos set up to facilitate the existence of C-Chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life in terrestrial planets in galactic habitable zones orbiting the right sort of Pop I second generation stars with high metallicity.

And, in my view, that is where design theory should first point . . . it decisively undercuts the 150 years of indoctrination on the world of life.

Then, with that in hand, we are in a position to ask pointed and politely but firmly insist on sound and prudent answers to questions on the sampling of config spaces given planetary, solar system and observed cosmos scale resources, regarding the plausibility of the origin of codes, algorithms and supportive complex functional organisation by blind chance and mechanical necessity.

14 –> In other words, we have reason to at least be open tot he possibility of intelligent design by minded agent beyond the observed cosmos, indeed, an agent with the skill, power and intent to design and build a cosmos set up for C-Chemistry aqueous medium cell-based life.

15 –> This then raises the focal issue of intelligence, and we should observe the significance of the scare quotes immediately following, on the term INTELLIGENCE . . . as that normally means that the writer — here, RDF — dismisses the concept of intelligence as a dubious notion (not to mention, that of a designer):

RDF, 339: >>ID argues that the best explanation (let’s call it the “Designer”) for biological complexity can therefore be inferred to be similar to human beings in that both human beings and the Designer have “intelligence”. >>

16 –> Design theory argues that on the vera causa principle and inference to best, empirically and analytically grounded explanation the best explanation for FSCO/I is intelligent design. For reasons that have been outlined above, and which neither RDF not other objectors at UD have had a cogent on the merits answer to for years.

17 –> On Intelligence, let me clip 236 above, which was of course studiously ignored and/or brushed aside by RDF et al without cogently addressing the issues:

So, just what is intelligence, then? (Laying aside selective hyperskepticism.)

We may not currently be able to define it any better than we are to define life, or time, or energy etc, but these concepts are reasonable and useful. As a working definition, we may build on Wikipedia’s admission against interest cited in the UD glossary:

INTELLIGENCE: capacities [and so also, the underlying faculties and potentials that give abilities]

a: to reason,

b: to plan,

c: to solve problems [especially those requiring fresh creative or inventive insight and/or judgement in the face of uncertainties and weighing of subtle pros and cons],

d: to think abstractly,

e: to comprehend ideas,

f: to use language, and

g: to learn [i.e. acquire and use knowledge and skills to resolve challenges or attain goals or consciously held purposes,]

. . . [as may empirically indicated by appropriate behaviours that show purposeful creative conceptual activity, often resulting in thermodynamic counter-flow that creatively yields instances of functionally specific and purposeful, complex organisation and/or associated information in code or reducible to such code]

I would suggest that humans fit this and something like a beaver fits a good slice of it.

I further suggest that anything that is an actual or possible being — I here advert to possible worlds — fulfills these criteria would be instantly recognised as intelligent, and something that meets a substantial proportion would be seen as at least limitedly intelligent. Such as, a beaver.

18 –> On the meaning of design (we are after all dealing with definition derby games), let me clip from Wikipedia speaking against known ideological bent:

design has been defined as follows.

(noun) a specification of an object, manifested by an agent, intended to accomplish goals, in a particular environment, using a set of primitive components, satisfying a set of requirements, subject to constraints [–> which would include acting forces, materials and configurational requisites for function];

(verb, transitive) to create a design, in an environment (where the designer operates)[

19 –> Patently, an entity capable of creating a design and giving it effect would be a designer — notice the common-d (I am very aware of the loaded insinuation and hoped for invidious association in RDF’s scare-quotes capital-D “Designer) — and would meet the definition of being intelligent as was also just presented.

20 –> Where, in fact, it has been quite plain all along that intelligence, functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, design and designer have reasonable working understandings rooted in a vast body of experience in an information technology saturated high tech world.

21 –> And while we are at it, let us note from the UD glossary, in light of how William Dembski long since defined Intelligent Design as a scientific project, the basis for the view that is under discussion here at UD:

Intelligent design [ID] – Dr William A Dembski, a leading design theorist, has defined ID as “the science that studies signs of intelligence.” That is, as we ourselves instantiate [thus exemplify as opposed to “exhaust”], intelligent designers act into the world, and create artifacts. When such agents act, there are certain characteristics that commonly appear, and that – per massive experience — reliably mark such artifacts. It it therefore a reasonable and useful scientific project to study such signs and identify how we may credibly reliably infer from empirical sign to the signified causal factor: purposefully directed contingency or intelligent design.

22 –> Where, again, we must note what Sir Fred Hoyle so boldly put on the table thirty and more years ago:

From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 MeV energy level in the nucleus of 12 C to the 7.12 MeV level in 16 O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? . . . I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has “monkeyed” with the physics as well as the chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. [F. Hoyle, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20 (1982): 16.]

23 –> And again, in his famous Caltech talk:

The big problem in biology, as I see it, is to understand the origin of the information carried by the explicit structures of biomolecules. The issue isn’t so much the rather crude fact that a protein consists of a chain of amino acids linked together in a certain way, but that the explicit ordering of the amino acids endows the chain with remarkable properties, which other orderings wouldn’t give. The case of the enzymes is well known . . . If amino acids were linked at random, there would be a vast number of arrange-ments that would be useless in serving the pur-poses of a living cell. When you consider that a typical enzyme has a chain of perhaps 200 links and that there are 20 possibilities for each link,it’s easy to see that the number of useless arrangements is enormous, more than the number of atoms in all the galaxies visible in the largest telescopes. [–> ~ 10^80] This is for one enzyme, and there are upwards of 2000 of them, mainly serving very different purposes. So how did the situation get to where we find it to be? This is, as I see it, the biological problem – the information problem . . . .

I was constantly plagued by the thought that the number of ways in which even a single enzyme could be wrongly constructed was greater than the number of all the atoms in the universe. So try as I would, I couldn’t convince myself that even the whole universe would be sufficient to find life by random processes – by what are called the blind forces of nature . . . . By far the simplest way to arrive at the correct sequences of amino acids in the enzymes would be by thought, not by random processes . . . .

Now imagine yourself as a superintellect [–> this shows a clear and widely understood concept of intelligence] working through possibilities in polymer chemistry. Would you not be astonished that polymers based on the carbon atom turned out in your calculations to have the remarkable properties of the enzymes and other biomolecules? Would you not be bowled over in surprise to find that a living cell was a feasible construct? Would you not say to yourself, in whatever language supercalculating intellects use: Some supercalculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule. Of course you would, and if you were a sensible superintellect you would conclude that the carbon atom is a fix.

24 –> Noting also:

I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars. [“The Universe: Past and Present Reflections.” Engineering and Science, November, 1981. pp. 8–12]

25 –> All of this has been on longstanding, easily accessible record. In the case of these three clips, from a lifelong agnostic astrophysicist and holder of a Nobel-equivalent prize.

26 –> I therefore, in light of such evidence — much of it long since adverted to in the course of the discussions at UD in recent days — find it very hard to escape the conclusion that we have been dealing with distractions form what is pivotal via red herrings, led away to strawmen duly soaked in ad hominems [the snide insinuations about ignoramus Creationists beg to be openly pointed out . . . ], and set alight with clever talking points in order to cloud, choke, confuse and poison the atmosphere of discussion.

27 –> the answer to such, is simple: go back to the pivotal basics, and clear the air, exposing the fallacies involved along the way.  >>

_________________

So, again, thank you RDF, for letting us understand through these remarks the ways in which despite repeated correction, you and many others have unfortunately misunderstood and therefore caricatured and dismissed the design inference as a scientific project. That is an important service to design thinking in science, as the exercise of correction by going back to roots and basics, will doubtless be of help to many now and onwards. END

87 Replies to “Clearing the air for cogent discussion of the design inference, by going back to basics (a response to RDF)

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I think RDF’s recent efforts to dismiss the design theory project deserve a headlined response, and also that the Wiki-based definition of intelligence in point 17 in reply should be noted on. Sir Fred Hoyle’s foundational remarks should also serve as a pivotal part of any onward honest discussion of the historical roots of design theory and its key issues, insights and claims. Not to mention, its intellectual roots. KF

  2. 2
    RDFish says:

    VJTorley posted a response to my arguments, summarized what I was saying very accurately, wrote several long, detailed responses, and debated the points. Stephen also came to understand my arguments and tried to deal with them.

    In contrast, you haven’t understood a single thing I’ve said. You haven’t addressed one single point I’ve made. You write these long, bizarre rants that have nothing to do with the topic being discussed. There is something wrong with you.

  3. 3
    Acartia_bogart says:

    RDFish, but he did give you a child-like tongue-lashing. Welcome to the ranks of a slanderer of the ID movement and all of the people in it.

    But I agree. I thought that the discussion between yourself, VJtorley and StephenA was extremely thorough and respectful even though there were disagreements. I don’t know what the point of this OP is other than to allow Kairofocus to rant on inanely.

  4. 4
    RDFish says:

    Hi Acartia_bogart,
    Thanks. I wish VJT or Stephen would continue the debate – I really think the ball is their court, and in the last summary I wrote in VJT’s thread I tried to make the main points as clearly as I could.
    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    I knew it could only end in tears before bed-time, once VJT started to take you guys’ posts seriously, RD. And so soon after sending Elizabeth Liddle into permanent exile…
    KF couldn’t resist the poisoned chalice either. Both running to form, I’m afraid. Beggars for punishment.

    And the other chap, Kantian Naturalist, whose endless sophistries and equivocations were right up there with hers. Though he may have just left. He did say something about wanting to concentrate on setting course studies for his students.

  6. 6
    groovamos says:

    How about a couple of comments, one with a nod to science, one not.

    1. I think it scientifically arguable that the stupendous features of our planet as a harbor for life make it unique in the universe in that regard. And so far there is zero evidence to the contrary, only speculation either way and one more likely to me for philosophical and probabilistic reasons.

    2. Materialists seem to believe (at least some) that the OOL was a singular event that got the dance of life rolling, separating history into two grand divisions. This would mean that in their view, there was a point in space and time which was the most significant 4 dimensional point in the history of the universe, a feature of their belief system which borders on religious belief. It’s a scenario which has long seemed very odd to me, as if the universe were likely structured around the significance of that event as much as devout Christians think of another 4 dimensional point, the crucifixion, or with Jews the Exodus. So with materialists and their 4 dimensional point, seems like we’re back to square one so far as religious belief goes.

  7. 7
    scordova says:

    I think we can argue only circumstantially for ID, we cannot argue formally that is absolutely true as we can the theorems of math. Circumstantial evidence works for me, I’d wager my soul on it.

    We can, imho, argue formally for Resemblance of Design. Arguing for resemblance is mathematical, scientific, and logical. See:

    Arguing for Resemblance of Design (RD) instead of Intelligent Design (ID).

    When I give talks on Christian apologetics, I make a distinction between what can be formally proven and what is a matter of reasonable faith.

    Resemblance of Design (RD) can be formally proven, ID is a matter of reasonable faith on circumstantial evidence.

    I don’t think religious apologists serve their cause well by insisting ID is absolutely true like the inferences of math. That’s overplaying the hand we’ve been dealt.

    Of course I believe ID is true, but I don’t go around insisting it’s as airtight a claim as the existence of the air we breathe, it is a reasonable inference.

    RDFish describes himself as an ignostic. I maybe somewhat an agnostic in terms of saying, “I don’t know absolutely”, but I’m most certainly a believer when I say I’d wager my soul on ID being true. Pascal’s wager is not only reasonable for souls, but is reasonable for the pursuit of scientific understanding.

    So what if the ID hypothesis is someday falsified by science? Has anyone stated what we might lose from a scientific standpoint relative to what we might gain? Example: junk DNA controversy, if we’re wrong about junk DNA not being junk, we lose some money, if we’re right, there might be much to gain for the sake of medicine.

    I’d be willing to say “ID science” is science, where I define “ID science” as “scientific arguments that circumstantially support the claims of the ID community”.

    I’d go so far as to say, ID is believable, it is worth wagering your soul over its truthfulness. Is it true in the ultimate sense? I believe it is, but I don’t think that can be formally demonstrated, only circumstantially so. And if the Christian God is the Designer, everyone reading this blog will one day know for sure, and the question of whether ID is science or not will be rather moot. I know where I’ve placed my wager…

    Though I often agree with RDFish in theory regarding his criticisms of ID, I disagree with him in practice because of Pascal’s wager both in the spiritual and physical technological realm. I respect his viewpoint intellectually, but I wish his heart were a little more friendly to ID.

  8. 8
    NetResearchGuy says:

    RDFish:

    He did acknowledge your points. He gave a definition of intelligence. He called you out on your equivocations (human agency versus intelligent agency, “Designer” versus designer), and admits that ID is considering “possible worlds” where identifiable artifacts of a non human intelligent agent are found. He calls out unsupported assertions you make. VJT and Stephen tried their best to play by the rules of your game, and accept your assertions, with all the self contradictions, question begging, and circularity they involve, but KF is not willing to play that game. That is the key difference I see, as an outside observer.

    I think you are unaware how much of your arguments are dependent on metaphysical assumptions (not scientific ones), and unfortunately you are a far more experienced debater than I, and in my attempts to point them out, you “won” the debate on points, tripping me up on inaccuracies in my wording rather than attacking my arguments. If you feel like this makes you “right”, you are certainly entitled to that opinion.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    NRG: Thanks. KF

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    RDF & A-B: All I will say at the moment is that it is obvious from tone and lack of substance, that you have nothing cogent to say. I think you would do well to note carefully what Wikipedia had to concede on the nature of intelligence and of design, given their known biases. Similarly, you would do well to carefully attend to what Sir Fred Hoyle pointed out 30 years standing. Moretime, KF

  11. 11
    Axel says:

    ‘Hi Acartia_bogart,
    Thanks. I wish VJT or Stephen would continue the debate – I really think the ball is their court, and in the last summary I wrote in VJT’s thread I tried to make the main points as clearly as I could.’

    VJT, Stephen and KF (chronoloy of your posts)(and now, WJM, I fear…):

    RDF did try to make his main points as clearly as he could. But don’t allow yourselves to become demoralised. Take the implicit criticism of your cognitive abilities with good grace, apply yourselves to your studies even more assiduously, and you will surely find that, eventually, it will pay dividends and, all of a sudden, you will find that you will be able to understand his arguments.

    Just try to remember Robert the Bruce and the spider.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I may have left one key term undefined, configuration space. KF

  13. 13
    Upright BiPed says:

    RDF,

    There was nothing whatsoever difficult to understand about any point you tried to convey in the previous thread. You were given a definition of “intelligent” (that reflects the proper use of the word in ID) which you could not logically argue with. So, you obfuscated its relevance, as if it didn’t exist. You were also given material evidence that eviscerates your objection to making the design inference, and you were put into the delimma of arguing an incoherent position. So, you simply ignored the force of that evidence on your argument, as if it didn’t exist.

    The fact that you continue on, as if those things didn’t exist, is hardly surprising.

  14. 14
    anthropic says:

    Kairosfocus, thanks for taking the time to elucidate some key points of ID. I think you answered the questions about the definition of intelligence, and how we cannot rule out non human intelligence, very well.

    Like you, I’ve noticed that materialists tend to resort to red herrings and ad hominem attacks when they are faced with functional CSI. The argument is compelling, so they prefer to dance around it. Fred Hoyle was exceptional in his willingness to address the evidence honestly.

    Groovamos, I would argue that the four dimensional point of Christianity is not the crucifixion. Rather, it is the resurrection.

  15. 15
    vjtorley says:

    Hi everyone,

    For those who are interested, I’ve put up a final response to RDFish on my thread on the nature and detection of intelligence, at http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-504611 .

    Thanks very much to kairosfocus, who has done an excellent job of handily summarizing the evidence of design within our cosmos, at both the biological and the physical levels.

    I would add that the very high degree of specificity that a multiverse would have to possess, in order to be able to churn out even one universe like our own (on this point see the online essay, “The Teleological Argument,” by Robin Collins), coupled with the mathematical elegance of the theory underlying physics, points to the multiverse being an intelligently designed object, should it turn out to actually exist.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N 2: My basic concern starts with just how far off the characterisation of ID by RDF — after a long time of engaging with design theory — is.

    If RDF cannot be seen to get the core meaning of ID right (a simple matter of accurate description where abundant and accessible materials would help), his remarks beyond that point almost become moot.

    I note, a useful summary of what ID is, from New World encyclopedia . . . Wikipedia’s article on the same subject is little more than a hatchet job based on pivotal misrepresentations:

    Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection” [1] Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns that in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. According to adherents, intelligent design can be detected in the natural laws and structure of the cosmos; it also can be detected in at least some features of living things.

    Greater clarity on the topic may be gained from a discussion of what ID is not considered to be by its leading theorists. Intelligent design generally is not defined the same as creationism, with proponents maintaining that ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines. ID makes no claims about biblical chronology, and technically a person does not have to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature. As a theory, ID also does not specify the identity or nature of the designer, so it is not the same as natural theology, which reasons from nature to the existence and attributes of God. ID does not claim that all species of living things were created in their present forms, and it does not claim to provide a complete account of the history of the universe or of living things.

    ID also is not considered by its theorists to be an “argument from ignorance”; that is, intelligent design is not to be inferred simply on the basis that the cause of something is unknown (any more than a person accused of willful intent can be convicted without evidence). According to various adherents, ID does not claim that design must be optimal; something may be intelligently designed even if it is flawed (as are many objects made by humans).

    ID may be considered to consist only of the minimal assertion that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent agent. It conflicts with views claiming that there is no real design in the cosmos (e.g., materialistic philosophy) or in living things (e.g., Darwinian evolution) or that design, though real, is undetectable (e.g., some forms of theistic evolution) . . .

    If this summary does not dovetail neatly with your understanding of what the design inference on empirical signs is in essence, that likely means you have unfortunately accepted a strawman caricature such as those often put up by objectors who should know better. Where, as there are often many false accusations of fraud along the lines of “creationism in a cheap tuxedo” in such, the misunderstandings may well help to block an accurate and fair view from being formed. (For just one instance, as a graduate trained physicist who has taught physical sciences and linked technology in secondary and tertiary level institutions, for cause, I find it outright out of order for someone to make blanket statements that imply that I don’t know or understand what scientific, inductive reasoning based methods are. {I suggest that those who make such claims may find the 101 here on a relevant point of reference.)

    I gently suggest, that if that perception that the NWE summary is inaccurate or misleading is the case for any reader of this comment, then there is a need to adjust your understanding.

    And, that . . . though dated in part, Hoyle’s thoughts on the matter are a good start point for that re-think.

    On the matter of what intelligence is, I cannot find it a reasonable argument that its basic, relevant sense is any grand mystery. As for design, that is even worse. And the joining of the two in “intelligent design” is, frankly straightforward.

    Those are essentially empirical fact, we are and routinely observe other intelligent designers. We see creatures such as beavers doing limited designs also. We have no good reason to imagine that intelligent agency is confined to humans . . . and it is an abuse of inductive reasoning to try to pretend that our experience grounds such a claim.

    We do not even have good reason, once we consider the fine tuning of the cosmos, to confine intelligence to embodiment. As long as there is a possible world [cosmos-order] in which such would be so, we ought not to relabel question-begging a priori materialist lock-outs or the like as inductive reasoning.

    Sound induction is that intelligent design and designers are actual, thus possible. There is no good reason to limit that possibility to humans, and if we see another entity or traces that point to another type of designer, then let us follow the evidence.

    In particular FSCO/I is a well established reliable sign of design. Cell based life forms trace to the origin of such life. Cells are chock full of FSCO/I. Including codes and algorithms. This points to designers antecedent to humans.

    Beyond this, we see the fine tuning of the cosmos, which points to design as the causal root of the cosmos.

    And yes,that re-opens big questions that many in our day would prefer to be shut. To which I say, how does the shoe pinch now it is on the other foot?

    It is time for a serious rethink.

    KF

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N 3: It would be particularly helpful also to see a clear acknowledgement that the correction in the original post of the misrepresentation of complex Specified Information (CSI) that has been provided via a citation from Wm A D in NFL, has been acknowledged. KF

  18. 18
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    VJTorley posted a response to my arguments, summarized what I was saying very accurately, wrote several long, detailed responses, and debated the points. Stephen also came to understand my arguments and tried to deal with them.

    VJTorley summarized a few, by no means all, of your original arguments, but he has not been involved with you long enough to witness your moving goalposts. Indeed, you no longer identify with many of your most important claims after having had them refuted. The most prominent among them is the idea that ID’s design inference presupposes contra-causality. It took me a month to get you off that perch, and when you finally came around, you didn’t retract your error, you simply morphed it into something less controversial and continued on as if you had been misunderstood all along. I could provide other examples, but it isn’t worth the trouble.

    RDF to Kairosfocus:

    In contrast, you haven’t understood a single thing I’ve said. You haven’t addressed one single point I’ve made. You write these long, bizarre rants that have nothing to do with the topic being discussed. There is something wrong with you.

    On the contrary, unlike VJ and SA, kairosfocus, Axel, William J. Murry and others have a long history with you and understand that you do not argue in good faith. You and I both know my favorite example of your sophistry and nothing illustrates it better:

    RDF

    To say “something coming from nothing” is called creation ex nihilo

    Go ahead and try to defend that statement in the presence of a larger audience.

  19. 19
    StephenB says:

    RDF

    To say “something from nothing” is called creation ex nihilo.

    Go ahead and try to defend that statement in the presence of a larger audience.

  20. 20
    StephenB says:

    “To say something [coming] from nothing’ is called creation ex nihilo.”

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    SB: If RDF tried to equate Creation ex nihilo by God with something coming from non-being [what nothing properly is] it was a gross error. Creation ex nihilo captures the theological point that the God of the Bible did not merely reshape pre-existing materials [a common ANE frame of thought, usually the body of a defeated god], but instead called our space-time, matter energy continuum into existence by his power whilst there was no previous material entity. KF

    PS: The ad hominem projections, I ignore. What I did in the promoted comment, is to take RDF’s characterisation of design theory and point by point highlight its fallacious nature . . . as I announced I would do. The want of a cogent reply speaks for itself, and if RDF so plainly distorts and strawmannises design theory after all of this time, that does not speak well of anything further he may try to say in respect of ID. And besides, long since, the UD Glossary provided adequate explanations of key terms such as intelligence and intelligent design etc. In the OP, I simply expanded the definition of intelligence, RDF’s most recent hobby-horse. Yes, it may be interesting to explore philosophical nuances, but that is immaterial to the substantial point that it is an empirically evident, recognisable and even in some respects measurable phenomenon. It is time to stop straining at gnats while swallowing camels whole in one gulp.

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: I still identify, that rocks for good reason have no dreams. Second, that when such are refined and organised to form Thomson mechanical integrators, or digital computers or neural networks, they are still blindly processing on cause-effect chains, not making chains of rational inference based on Q being seen to follow logically on P, etc. That is, computation is a blind, GIGO-limited mechanical process, and is utterly distinct from self-aware, rational contemplation . . . which last happens to include reasoned inference. In that context, I think the tendency to try to reduce self-aware mindedness to complex computation is mis-directed, and the suggestion (more common these days in sci fi rather than genuine sci work) that poof, contemplative consciousness can emerge from computation beyond a threshold of complexity, is indeed a case of imagining something as coming from nothing. By contrast with what Creation Ex Nihilo properly denotes.

  23. 23
    groovamos says:

    So back to my 4 dimensional point theme regarding the three religions, the central event for the Jews was the escape from the underworld by a whole people, for the Christians the central event signifies the escape from man’ sinful nature, for materialists, the central event represents the believer’s escape from his Divine nature, and from the Creator.

  24. 24

    KF:

    I still identify, that rocks for good reason have no dreams.

    Given the fact that you entertain the notion that brains aren’t necessary for dreaming, why can’t that which dreams without a brain be a rock?

  25. 25
    Mung says:

    RB:

    Given the fact that you entertain the notion that brains aren’t necessary for dreaming, why can’t that which dreams without a brain be a rock?

    Why can’t a brain be a rock?

  26. 26
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    In contrast, you [KF] haven’t understood a single thing I’ve said. You haven’t addressed one single point I’ve made. You write these long, bizarre rants that have nothing to do with the topic being discussed.

    Not that you would know.

    RDFish:

    There are only a very few ID folks here who are interested in actually discussing the issues. KF, Joe, and Mung are quite clearly not among them. They will say anything to get your attention, and they get increasingly hysterical if you ignore them… but then again they get pretty hysterical if you mention them too (just wait to see what they say about this post!)

    I’ve found it’s best to not even read their posts, which is my policy.

    That’s certainly one way to avoid dealing with valid rational criticisms of your arguments. Just avoid reading them. But that makes it difficult to believe anything you have to say about their actual content (or alleged lack thereof).

    RDFish:

    …but then again they get pretty hysterical if you mention them too (just wait to see what they say about this post!)

    Right. I take your own words and use them to contradict you, which is what I’ve been doing all along. Call it hysteria if it makes you feel batter.

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    Mung, RDF of course has yet to cogently address the observed difference between rock’s blind passivity under the impact of forces and circumstances, and the self-aware active responsiveness that something like the Glasgow coma test captures. Where the verbal component pivots on production of contextually responsive FSCO/I. The point I went to pains to show, as to how a refined and organised rock such as in a Thomson mechanical integrator, or a digital computer or a neural network [which includes brain tissue] are STILL blindly mechanical cause-effect chain computational devices limited by GIGO, as opposed to self aware rationally contemplative meaning and relationship perceiving infer-ers of conclusions seems to have simply escaped him. Sad, sadly revealing . . . KF

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    RDF, have you seriously considered WHY I have pointed out on evidence that even when rocks are refined and processed into computational devices (including neural networks) they STILL have no dreams? As in blind cause-effect chains driven by GIGO? Has it registered with you why I therefore point to our own undeniable self-aware, purposive contemplativeness and draw out that this is of a different order? And why it is relevant that the fine tuned physics of the cosmos — highlighted by Sir Fred Hoyle, an agnostic Nobel equivalent prize=holding astrophysicist — points to mind literally antecedent ontologically to matter? Do you realise how silly ad hominems targetting me are when quite explicitly it is Sir Fred Hoyle et al you need to be taking on? (But then if you are just continuing to spout talking points regardless of corrective information, that is to be expected.) KF

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: A reminder on Reppert’s astute observation:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [[But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [[so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as [C S] Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

    I get the feeling that a whole lot of the modern tendency to speak as though machines that are wholly driven by blind cause-effect chains and GIGO-limited computational processes, boils down to little more than ill advised anthropomorphising. For instance I see talk about training neural nets that are said to learn etc. The nets are not reasoning, they are not learning and they are not being trained in response to training efforts. They are being programmed. KF

  30. 30
    RDFish says:

    Hi Stephen,

    I have to say I’m disappointed. You and I had agreed to be generous in our exchanges, and had made significant progress in coming to understand each other (see @230 in VJT’s previous thread).

    But now, incredibly, you say:

    The most prominent among them is the idea that ID’s design inference presupposes contra-causality. It took me a month to get you off that perch, and when you finally came around, you didn’t retract your error, you simply morphed it into something less controversial and continued on as if you had been misunderstood all along.

    This is utter nonsense, which should be especially clear to you since you just recently said:

    ID claims that design is distinct from law and chance. Yet ID also claims to be compatible with materialism (at least for biology). There is a clear disconnect here.

    What is wrong with you?

    It occurs to me that perhaps I’ve made a terrible mistake: Are StephenA and StephenB two different people? 🙂

    Anyway, you did manage to keep your personal attacks and disingenuous arguments in check for a few posts, but obviously you’ve given up on earnest debate yet again, and resort to silly wordplay rather than actually engaging the concepts (really, you want to argue about the meaning of ex nihilo – a term that has nothing to do with our debate – rather than just saying what you think it means and moving on?)

    After I convinced you that there is in fact a problem with your definition of intelligence, you attempted a new definition (@301 in VJT’s previous thread). I criticised your arguments there, and you simply gave up without conceding… again.

    I suggest you pick up our debate where we left off – you were trying to put together a new definition for the word “intelligent”. It was:

    Intelligence is the collection of attributes held in common with the ability to produce CSI…and there are no valid counter examples or arguments

    I had pointed out that you had committed the fallacy of hasty generalization, and you also undermined your definition immediately with your exceptions.

    Would you care to provide a counter-argument?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  31. 31

    KF, you forgot to answer:

    Given the fact that you entertain the notion that brains aren’t necessary for dreaming, why can’t that which dreams without a brain be a rock?

    Survey says: If brains aren’t necessary for dreaming, then that which dreams without a brain can be a rock.

    So you’ve got to start somewhere else if you want to maintain that mind isn’t contingent in some way upon physical/functional organization. If mind isn’t contingent upon physical/functional organization, then rocks can dream.

  32. 32
    Mung says:

    RDFish, I have to say I’m not disappointed. You have lived up to expectations in all respects.

    RDFish:

    Would you care to provide a counter-argument?

    You’ve ignored previous counter-arguments, so what would be the point?

  33. 33
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    It occurs to me that perhaps I’ve made a terrible mistake: Are StephenA and StephenB two different people?

    Perhaps you should just ignore them both, then the question becomes moot!

  34. 34
    StephenB says:

    SB: The most prominent among them is the (your) idea that ID’s design inference presupposes contra-causality. It took me a month to get you off that perch, and when you finally came around, you didn’t retract your error, you simply morphed it into something less controversial and continued on as if you had been misunderstood all along.

    RDF

    This is utter nonsense,

    It is a fact.

    which should be especially clear to you since you just recently said:

    “ID claims that design is distinct from law and chance. Yet ID also claims to be compatible with materialism (at least for biology). There is a clear disconnect here.”

    Yes, there is a disconnect inasmuch as I didn’t say that. Obviously, you have confused me with StephenA, so I will not take advantage of what appears to be an honest mistake.

    RDFish

    (really, you want to argue about the meaning of ex nihilo – a term that has nothing to do with our debate – rather than just saying what you think it means and moving on?)

    I just wanted to show that you will say (and keep saying) anything, no matter how illogical, if it offers you the hope of escaping a refutation.

    The following statement of yours is illogical in the extreme and it speaks to your unwillingness to acknowledge and confront causes that you do not approve of.

    To say something coming from nothing’ is called creation ex nihilo.</blockquote.

  35. 35
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    Obviously, you have confused me with StephenA, so I will not take advantage of what appears to be an honest mistake.

    Ah, thank you for the clarification. I really did believe you had two logins for some reason. In that case, I have been discussing these issues with StephenA and not you. My apologies for attributing StephenA’s posts to you.

    StephenA had indeed come to the conclusion, based on my arguments, that ID claims to be compatible with determinism, but also claims that “design” is distinct from law and chance, which formed a “clear disconnect”.

    You, StephenB, have not yet come to that realization. But the other difference between the two Stephens here is that StephenA agreed to argue in good faith and stick to the topic (and like VJTorley and SCordova does as well), while you constantly avoid the topic at hand and prefer to play word games and toss insults.

    I’ll be continuing my discussion with those who are interested in discussing Intelligent Design Theory.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    R-B:

    It is quite evidently a fact that raw, in-nature rocks are passive in the face of forces of chance and mechanical necessity.

    That raw rocks have no dreams SHOULD be obvious as a matter of basic fact . . . save to those with a talking point agenda. Failure to acknowledge evident fact as a start point for all else, is not a healthy sign.

    Second, I looked at processed, refined rocks that are made into devices that process information. Lo, behold, just as Leibniz pointed out, they too are passive, blindly interacting in cause-effect chains. That is, the functional organisation that effects computation has not changed the basic pattern, that is why GIGO rules in Thomson mechanical integrators, digital computers and neural networks alike.

    Maybe, you are old enough to recall how the first Pentiums, after being triumphantly announced, had to undergo a major recall because an error was discovered in the floating point math coprocessor embedded in the devices. That is illustrative on how blind cause-effect chains fail to attain to actual reasoning in which inference is a process of insight based meaningful inference. As Reppert summarised (cited at 29 above):

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as [C S] Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

    This means that, even with computational functional organisation, we have not been able to make rocks dream . . . nor can we.

    Computational processing in various architectures — INCLUDING neural networks, artificial or natural (= brains) — is patently qualitatively, categorically distinct from the self aware, insightful, rational and creative contemplation we experience and observe in one another.

    Where also, the notion that such dreams may emerge beyond a magical threshold is tantamount to trying to draw out something from nothing — from non-being. Until you identify and demonstrate a sufficient causal pattern or an observed fact, we can set this notion to one side as science fiction fantasy.

    There is a fundamental distinction between blind, signal processing based computation and insightful, self aware rational reasoning.

    So, the fact that self-aware mindedness exists is pointing to something that an a priori materialism influenced age has great difficulty acknowledging. Namely, that it is at least possible that the material world we experience as self aware conscious persons may not be the only world we experience.

    In a world dominated by evolutionary materialism dressed up in a lab coat, that may be very hard to recognise or allow in the door.

    But, surely, at minimum we should keep an open mind on the subject, given that we can see that computation and contemplation are fundamentally distinct phenomena.

    By now, it should be plain that blind, mechanical, programmed cause effect chain computation is simply not a process of rational insight. Which carries with it the point that we should be willing to recognise that neural network or digital computer or mechanical integrator based signal processing is not even on the right path to be self-aware, conscious reasoning and meaningful contemplation.

    So, rocks not only have no dreams in the raw states as a matter of observed fact, but we can show why refined and organised rocks that form computational entities, by virtuet of the radical difference between cause-effect links and ground-consequent inferences, are not even on the right road to dreaming.

    Which is not just the musings of one of those suspect “IDiots” and “Creationists in cheap tuxedos” — yes, we are very aware of the prejudices and contempt-laced accusatory attitudes that are ever so common — out on a silly blog that objectors to design theory come to to try to see if they can convince the unwashed heathen to give up their backward ways.

    Nope, it is a direct implication of the so-called hard problem of consciousness, as stated by Chalmers, e.g. in his original paper as just linked:

    The really hard problem of consciousness is the problem of experience. When we think and perceive, there is a whir of information-processing, but there is also a subjective aspect. As Nagel (1974) has put it, there is something it is like to be a conscious organism. This subjective aspect is experience. When we see, for example, we experience visual sensations: the felt quality of redness, the experience of dark and light, the quality of depth in a visual field. Other experiences go along with perception in different modalities: the sound of a clarinet, the smell of mothballs. Then there are bodily sensations, from pains to orgasms; mental images that are conjured up internally; the felt quality of emotion, and the experience of a stream of conscious thought. What unites all of these states is that there is something it is like to be in them. All of them are states of experience.

    It is undeniable that some organisms are subjects of experience. But the question of how it is that these systems are subjects of experience is perplexing. Why is it that when our cognitive systems engage in visual and auditory information-processing, we have visual or auditory experience: the quality of deep blue, the sensation of middle C? How can we explain why there is something it is like to entertain a mental image, or to experience an emotion? It is widely agreed that experience arises from a physical basis, but we have no good explanation of why and how it so arises. Why should physical processing give rise to a rich inner life at all? It seems objectively unreasonable that it should, and yet it does.

    Notice, Chalmers’ confession: “It seems objectively unreasonable . . . ” and his contrasting creedal confession that follows, that somehow it has to be that the conscious emerges from the inherently non-conscious; per, the a priori materialism thesis that prevails as a dominant school of thought in our time, and which do often demands our genuflection.

    But, sometimes, when you have come to what you regard as a puzzling paradox to be resolved by pushing forward ever more diligently, what you have actually arrived at is a reduction to absurdity that your paradigm makes it all but impossible to acknowledge.

    You are not ever going to go North by going due West, in effect. (On a round planet such as ours, you can go West to get East . . . as Columbus proposed, but you will not ever get North by going West; as, the two directions are orthogonal.)

    Let us call this, for onward reference, The get North by going West fallacy.

    A manifestation of sheer wrong-headedness. Which, if insisted upon in the teeth of correction, becomes absurdity.

    No wonder, Searle’s Chinese Room thought exercise then has so much bite, as it exposes the orthogonal difference between blind mechanical processing and genuine self-aware, language using understanding . . . a pivotal component of general — as opposed to limited — intelligence and rational mindedness:

    Imagine that a person—me, for example—knows no Chinese and is locked in a room with boxes full of Chinese symbols and an instruction book written in English for manipulating the symbols. Unknown to me, the boxes are called “the database” and the instruction book is called “the program.” I am called “the computer.”

    People outside the room pass in bunches of Chinese symbols that, unknown to me, are questions. I look up in the instruction book what I am supposed to do and I give back answers in Chinese symbols.

    Suppose I get so good at shuffling the symbols and passing out the answers that my answers are indistinguishable from a native Chinese speaker’s. I give every indication of understanding the language despite the fact that I actually don’t understand a word of Chinese.

    And if I do not, neither does any digital computer, because no computer, qua computer, has anything I do not have. It has stocks of symbols, rules for manipulating symbols, a system that allows it to rapidly transition from zeros to ones, and the ability to process inputs and outputs. That is it. There is nothing else. [Cf. Jay Richards here.]

    The problem for evolutionary materialism is even deeper than that, as J B S Haldane long ago highlighted, in a profoundly linked observation:

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

    Reppert caps off:

    It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as [C S] Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it.

    In short, you patently cannot get north by going west.

    Just so, to demand why couldn’t a rock — raw or refined — be a basis for contemplation, is to try to go North by going West instead.

    It is also to profoundly misunderstand the point that has been made, which has taken in not only raw rocks that are simply passive in the face of forces, but also rocks that have been processed to form signal processing computational entities.

    As Searle has decisively shown, you inherently are not going in the right direction when you try to reduce insight to blind algorithmic or similar signal processing.

    As Haldane has shown, blind processing — even in a neural network — is not even linked to self-aware rational insight.

    And as Reppert has highlighted from Lewis [with Leibniz lurking in the background], until you acknowledge that the ground-consequent relationship is not equal to or transmutable into the cause-effect one you can get nowhere.

    It is high time to see that one cannot ever get North by insisting on Going West, no mind how determined one is.

    KF

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    RDF:

    I’ll be continuing my discussion with those who are interested in discussing Intelligent Design Theory.

    The matter actually on the table is that per the original post — FYI you are a guest here you do not own this thread, you have demonstrably shown a profound misunderstanding of ID and have consequently put up a strawman caricature misrepresentation of design theory. As a reasonable person, you have a duty of care to correct that misunderstanding, before proceeding to anything else.

    It is a reasonable expectation that, before setting out to discuss the ramifications of ID, you — an obviously highly educated person — need to first show cause for us to accept that you are discussing in good faith based on an accurate basic understanding of what ID is.

    And tossing off accusations and snide dismissals against those who stand by that common sense premise, is not going to help you one whit.

    Indeed, you compound the problem in this:

    StephenA had indeed come to the conclusion, based on my arguments, that ID claims to be compatible with determinism, but also claims that “design” is distinct from law and chance, which formed a “clear disconnect”.

    You, StephenB, have not yet come to that realization. [I leave off the personalities]

    There is no disconnect as has been repeatedly pointed out, but may sometimes be lost in the fog of rhetorical side tracks and smoke from burning strawmen.

    For, the recognition that we see blind chance, blind mechanical necessity and insightful design in action and that these are normally distinct as causal factors affecting aspects of a situation or object is an EMPIRICAL, common sense rooted observation with broad generality.

    To wit, for simple example [one that is linked to points made as long ago as Thaxton et al, in TMLO, 1984] we easily and routinely see the difference between:

    (a) random text:fietehguwforhfyrwgf . . .

    (b) what happens when one has a stuck key problem DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD . . .

    (c) intelligently typed, contextually responsive FSCO/I rich text in a recognisable language — such as this.

    Using another familiar example,

    (d) near earth a dropped heavy object experiences initial acceleration 9.8 N/kg, per mechanical necessity

    (e) if that object is a fair common die, thanks to eight corners and twelve edges, plus sensitive dependence on initial conditions, it will tumble and come to rest reading a value from the set {1, 2, . . . 6} effectively at random [a case of clashing uncorrelated mechanical necessity chains leading to chance outcomes, and at more sophisticated levels, as can be seen here on the case of how we can get the Maxwell Boltzmann gas distribution with classical particles in a box] we have quantum patterns and the like giving rise to the same randomness],

    (f) dice can be intelligently loaded or simply set to read desired values . . . indeed, one may set up a six-valued code system and use dice in information processing and textual communication etc.

    In TMLO ch 8, we see how Thaxton et al reason along these lines, on the record since 1984 . . . note the use of empirical examples to illustrate the empirical basis for the classification, EIGHT altogether:

    1. [Class 1:] An ordered (periodic) and therefore specified arrangement:

    THE END THE END THE END THE END

    Example: Nylon, or a crystal . . . .

    2. [Class 2:] A complex (aperiodic) unspecified arrangement:

    AGDCBFE GBCAFED ACEDFBG

    Example: Random polymers (polypeptides).

    3. [Class 3:] A complex (aperiodic) specified arrangement:

    THIS SEQUENCE OF LETTERS CONTAINS A MESSAGE!

    Example: DNA, protein.

    In each of these cases, where we are able to see the actual causal process, we know empirically that FSCO/I is the product of intelligent design. We further see that mechanical necessity produces low contingency natural regularities studied in scientific exercises seeking to identify natural laws of necessity such as F = m*a. We also see that by various mechanisms, effective randomness or chance is also a causal factor, and can account for ways it arises. So it is a reasonable and in fact commonplace process in science and other fields of responsible inquiry to recognise these empirically grounded causal factors: was it chance-based accident, was it e.g. a failure of the materials limited by its inherent nature and circumstances, was it deliberate action? And so forth.

    I therefore, for cause, fail to see how this embeds any question-begging a priori commitments to the ultimate nature of these three factors. At this stage, we may find out on further inquiry that design is driven and controlled by underlying blind chance and mechanical necessity. That is to be further studied, not assumed one way or another.

    So, the empirical categorisation may lead us to inquire and infer on their roots, and then to hold on inference to best explanation that design reflects a fundamental property or entity in the cosmos, namely: self-aware mindedness. As, may be seen in my comment to R-B at 36 just above.

    That is utterly not the same, as the sort of conclusion-jumping question-begging a priori injection and imposition that say Richard Lewontin admits candidly in the clip cited in the original post.

    It is therefore a strawman caricature of such an empirical experience anchored view, to twist that about into an accusation of embedding a question-begging a priori. Indeed, given the problems of Lewontinian a priori materialism the question arises as to whether this is a case of turnabout accusatory projection that clouds the issue in the main.

    And, sir, with all due respect, that is demonstrably just what you have done.

    FYI, a fundamentally abductive inference to best explanation rooted in comparative difficulties across competing alternatives, that addresses factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory balance on elegant simplicity as opposed to both simplistic-ness and creating an ad hoc patchwork, is NOT question-begging.

    I suggest, that you need to re-examine your whole approach.

    KF

  38. 38

    KF

    That raw rocks have no dreams SHOULD be obvious as a matter of basic fact . . . save to those with a talking point agenda. Failure to acknowledge evident fact as a start point for all else, is not a healthy sign.

    Amazing.

    KF: “Starting with the principle that rocks have no dreams”

    RB: “I absolutely agree.”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-503635

    RB: “I don’t suggest that rocks compute, much less dream…Why would you think I do? I said above that I absolutely agree with you that rocks don’t dream.”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-503701

    KF: “Raw rocks can’t contemplate…”

    RB: “I know why I believe that…but that can’t be your reasoning.”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-503738

    RB: “The first words I uttered on this thread were that I “absolutely agree” that rocks have no dreams (contemplation, consciousness, etc.).”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-503916

    RB: “Given that I stated from the outset that rocks don’t dream (aren’t conscious, don’t contemplate, etc.), why do you think that results of administration of the Glasgow to a rock would present the least challenge to me?” [also repeatedly asked, but unanswered]

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-504297

    There are more. Indeed, the point of my posts on that thread is that while I have a rationale for concluding that rocks don’t dream, you don’t:

    RB: “If the physical states exhibited by brains, but absent in rocks, don’t account for human dreams (contemplation, etc.) then you’ve no basis for claiming rocks are devoid of dreams – at least not on the basis of the physical states present in brains and absent in rocks. Given that, on what basis do you claim that rocks don’t dream?”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-503644

    RB: Given that neither physical nor computational states account for contemplation, on what basis do you claim that rocks don’t dream?

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-503676

    RB: “So, on what basis do you claim that rocks don’t dream, and that with the certainty of ‘principle?’”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-503712

    RB: “What I have asked you is how you justify your belief that rocks don’t dream. I know how I justify it, but you don’t have access to that justification…”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-503738

    RB: “It can’t be your reasoning that the physical and/or computational insufficiency of rocks justifies your belief that they are devoid of dreams – that reasoning isn’t available to you, as argued above. You haven’t stated otherwise. Then what does?”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-503742

    RB: “Given that you are willing to entertain the notion that brains are not necessary for dreaming (contemplation, subjectivity, etc.), what DO you think is necessary? Are bodies necessary at all? If dreaming may be possible absent brains (and therefore absent the physical and computational complexity brains entail), on what basis do you claim that brainless rocks can’t dream? Why can’t that which dreams without a brain be a rock?”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-503916

    RB: “As you entertain decoupling dreaming and brains (and the notion that brains aren’t necessary for dreaming) that argument isn’t available to you. You think dreaming may be present absent a brain. Why can’t that which dreams without a brain be a rock?”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-504012

    RB: “My question to you is: given your non-physicalist framework – one within which dreaming may occur independent of brains – on what basis do claim as a first principle that rocks don’t dream?”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-504297

    RB: “You entertain the notion that specific physical structures – brains and nervous systems – are not required for dreaming, so that reasoning is not available to you. So I ask again: why can’t that which dreams without a brain be a rock?”

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-504430

    You’ve written thousands of words. But the question stands. Why not clear the air and give a straight answer?

    Given the fact that you entertain the notion that brains aren’t necessary for dreaming, why can’t that which dreams without a brain be a rock?

  39. 39

    KF

    That raw rocks have no dreams SHOULD be obvious as a matter of basic fact . . . save to those with a talking point agenda. Failure to acknowledge evident fact as a start point for all else, is not a healthy sign.

    Amazing.

    KF: “Starting with the principle that rocks have no dreams”
    RB: “I absolutely agree.”

    RB: “I don’t suggest that rocks compute, much less dream…Why would you think I do? I said above that I absolutely agree with you that rocks don’t dream.”

    KF: “Raw rocks can’t contemplate…”

    RB: “I know why I believe that…but that can’t be your reasoning.”

    RB: “The first words I uttered on this thread were that I “absolutely agree” that rocks have no dreams (contemplation, consciousness, etc.).”

    RB: “Given that I stated from the outset that rocks don’t dream (aren’t conscious, don’t contemplate, etc.), why do you think that results of administration of the Glasgow to a rock would present the least challenge to me?” [also repeatedly asked, but unanswered]

    There are more. Indeed, the point of my posts on that thread is that while I have a rationale for concluding that rocks don’t dream, you don’t:

    RB: “If the physical states exhibited by brains, but absent in rocks, don’t account for human dreams (contemplation, etc.) then you’ve no basis for claiming rocks are devoid of dreams – at least not on the basis of the physical states present in brains and absent in rocks. Given that, on what basis do you claim that rocks don’t dream?”

    RB: “Given that neither physical nor computational states account for contemplation, on what basis do you claim that rocks don’t dream?”

    RB: “So, on what basis do you claim that rocks don’t dream, and that with the certainty of ‘principle?’”

    RB: “What I have asked you is how you justify your belief that rocks don’t dream. I know how I justify it, but you don’t have access to that justification…”

    RB: “It can’t be your reasoning that the physical and/or computational insufficiency of rocks justifies your belief that they are devoid of dreams – that reasoning isn’t available to you, as argued above. You haven’t stated otherwise. Then what does?”

    RB: “Given that you are willing to entertain the notion that brains are not necessary for dreaming (contemplation, subjectivity, etc.), what DO you think is necessary? Are bodies necessary at all? If dreaming may be possible absent brains (and therefore absent the physical and computational complexity brains entail), on what basis do you claim that brainless rocks can’t dream? Why can’t that which dreams without a brain be a rock?”

    RB: “As you entertain decoupling dreaming and brains (and the notion that brains aren’t necessary for dreaming) that argument isn’t available to you. You think dreaming may be present absent a brain. Why can’t that which dreams without a brain be a rock?”

    RB: “My question to you is: given your non-physicalist framework – one within which dreaming may occur independent of brains – on what basis do claim as a first principle that rocks don’t dream?”

    RB: “You entertain the notion that specific physical structures – brains and nervous systems – are not required for dreaming, so that reasoning is not available to you. So I ask again: why can’t that which dreams without a brain be a rock?”

    You’ve written thousands of words, but the question stands. Why not clear the air and give a straight answer?

    Given the fact that you entertain the notion that brains aren’t necessary for dreaming, why can’t that which dreams without a brain be a rock?

    (I earlier attempted to post this comment, but it got caught in moderation, I am assuming because it included multiple links to the previous thread.)

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    R-B:

    It seems you have not noticed my rationale, which has been put in various ways:

    1 –> We recognise self-aware conscious behaviour by its self-moved activity. (This goes back at least to Plato.)

    2 –> Raw in-nature rocks do not exhibit such, they are passively impacted by forces of chance and necessity, as observing a rock slide will easily exemplify.

    3 –> By contrast we and beavers show such self-moved activity in design leading to FSCO/I. That’s why eg we have the Glasgow coma test.

    4 –> Indeed Aristotle used common sense to say that nothing is that which rocks dream of, the allusion behind my remarks.

    5 –> But you apparently want to reduce contemplation to computation.

    6 –> That is why I have taken pains to show that refined, organised rock that carries out computation is ALSO acting blindly under mechanical cause-effect, not insightful rational inference.

    7 –> So, rational inference is categorically distinct.

    KF

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: You have also missed the case on which I have pointed to mind before matter, namely that the physics of the observed material universe shows fine tuning in many ways, pointing to mind in action beyond itself. Mind, ontologically before matter, at least as a reasonable possibility that should not be locked out a priori. This reflects the same basic point, that if we see evidence of the self-moved and rational, we should respect it, no matter if it points in ways that may seem strange to us.

    PPS: Where also the thousands of words you complain of have to do with taking pains to repeatedly lay out what you seem to struggle to see as even possible. For instance, why is it that I have kept on drawing and putting up diagrams with annotations on things like Integrators, Digital processors and neural networks? [Could it just possibly have something to do with showing how computation on refined organised rocks is indeed STILL a blind cause-effect process dependent on designers to solve the many GIGO problems, rather than any rational insight based process of actual reasoning . . . ?] Which struggle, is often a sign of the blinding effect of a prior paradigm that too often makes it hard to perceive and respond to the evidence and reasoning that comes from a different perspective.

  42. 42

    RBill:

    Neither rocks nor human brains dream. Only the mind/soul dreams. The human body is a diving suit, specifically designed to be operational by conscious/subconscious intent – meaning, an individualized consciousness (mind/soul) can use it to functionally operate in the physical world. A rock has no such capacity for service.

  43. 43
    Joe says:

    RDF:

    I’ll be continuing my discussion with those who are interested in discussing Intelligent Design Theory.

    LoL! RDFish isn’t interested in discussing ID. RDFish is only interseted in advancing hos agenda of obfuscation.

  44. 44
    Joe says:

    RB:

    Given the fact that you entertain the notion that brains aren’t necessary for dreaming, why can’t that which dreams without a brain be a rock?

    That has been answered so why are you still acting like a little child? Perhaps it isn’t an act…

  45. 45
    groovamos says:

    So referring to my 4 dimensional point theme regarding the three religions(Judaism, Christianity, materialism) the central event for the Jews was the escape from the underworld (slavery) by a whole people, for the Christians the central event signifies the escape from man’s sinful nature, for materialists, the central event represents the believer’s escape from his Divine nature, and ultimately from his Source.

  46. 46
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    StephenA had indeed come to the conclusion, based on my arguments, that ID claims to be compatible with determinism, but also claims that “design” is distinct from law and chance, which formed a “clear disconnect”.

    ID studies only the proximate cause of design and does not presume to draw conclusions about the ultimate metaphysical reality that informs the process. The question is this: Does ID’s unwillingness to pass judgment on whether or not the universe is ultimately deterministic amount to the same thing as saying that ID is compatible with determinism? If the answer is yes, then ID is compatible with determinism; if the answer is no, then ID is not compatible with determinism. It is a question of interpretation, not definition or fact.

    However, if we move away from ultimate causes and discuss only the immediate cause of design, then I would argue that ID is totally incompatible with determinism for the simple reason that ID, in that context, means not law/chance. It’s either intelligence separate from law/chance or intelligence subsumed into law/chance and the latter is ruled out by definition. I realize that you will ignore all my earlier qualifications and misrepresent my comments, but that is your burden, not mine.

    Either way, it has no consequence for ID theory, which does not have the capacity to probe the question in the first place. ID cannot be held accountable for claims that it doesn’t make, however much you might like to make it so.

    My position is that ID makes contra-causality plausible and ultimate determinism implausible, and I think every ID proponent would agree with that minimalist position. I explained this to you one other time, but you took the opportunity to misrepresent my comment and say that I claimed that ID “proves” contra-causality. Heaven only knows if you will resort to that desperate tactic again.

    With respect to your other claims, such as the notion that ID presupposes contra-causality or that something coming from nothing means the as ex nihilo creation, I will just assume that you realize your errors and simply cannot bring yourself to make the honorable concession.

    That doesn’t mean that I will never raise the issue again. The fact that you do not argue in good faith is not a non-issue.

  47. 47
    Mung says:

    kf:

    Maybe, you are old enough to recall how the first Pentiums…

    Ouch! It wasn’t that long ago, was it?

    I still have a dual 90Mhz Pentium box running OS/2 for SMP, lol.

    Maybe it’s time for me to upgrade?

  48. 48
    StephenA says:

    StephenA had indeed come to the conclusion, based on my arguments, that ID claims to be compatible with determinism, but also claims that “design” is distinct from law and chance, which formed a “clear disconnect”.

    I would like to get back into this, but I have already spent more time than I should on this admittedly interesting debate. I will say that I have reconsidered my agreement with your claim that ID is not compatible with determinism after I took a closer look at what ID means when it distinguishes between law, chance and design.

  49. 49
    Mung says:

    StephenA, even so, it wrong of RDFish to disregard the disagreement of StephenB based upon your agreement.

    RDFish:

    StephenA had indeed come to the conclusion, based on my arguments, that ID claims to be compatible with determinism, but also claims that “design” is distinct from law and chance, which formed a “clear disconnect”.

    You, StephenB, have not yet come to that realization. But the other difference between the two Stephens here is that StephenA agreed to argue in good faith and stick to the topic (and like VJTorley and SCordova does as well), while you constantly avoid the topic at hand and prefer to play word games and toss insults.

    Yes, stating the obvious can be perceived as an insult. It doesn’t follow that the obvious is false.

    Let’s call this the fallacy of the irrelevant insult.

    If it can be perceived as insulting, it’s not relevant.

    RDFish:

    I’ll be continuing my discussion with those who are interested in discussing Intelligent Design Theory.

    L I A R

  50. 50
    RDFish says:

    Hi StephenB,

    ID studies only the proximate cause of design and does not presume to draw conclusions about the ultimate metaphysical reality that informs the process. The question is this: Does ID’s unwillingness to pass judgment on whether or not the universe is ultimately deterministic amount to the same thing as saying that ID is compatible with determinism? If the answer is yes, then ID is compatible with determinism; if the answer is no, then ID is not compatible with determinism. It is a question of interpretation, not definition or fact.

    It has nothing to do with proximate vs. ultimate cause. Rather, it is about how ID distinguishes “intelligent cause” from all other cause. If one assumes that “intelligent causes” can do things that causes which obey physical laws cannot do, then one is making a metaphysical assumption of libertarian free will.

    However, if we move away from ultimate causes and discuss only the immediate cause of design, then I would argue that ID is totally incompatible with determinism for the simple reason that ID, in that context, means not law/chance. It’s either intelligence separate from law/chance or intelligence subsumed into law/chance and the latter is ruled out by definition.

    We agree that ID rules out determinism by definition. The problem is that you cannot solve the mind/body problem by making up a definition. Instead, you have to make philosophical arguments – which is exactly what you and others here often do. What you fail to understand is that these arguments cannot be tested empirically, and so ID’s conclusion that human intelligence transcends physical cause is not scientific.

    My position is that ID makes contra-causality plausible and ultimate determinism implausible, and I think every ID proponent would agree with that minimalist position. I explained this to you one other time, but you took the opportunity to misrepresent my comment and say that I claimed that ID “proves” contra-causality. Heaven only knows if you will resort to that desperate tactic again.

    Tone down your rhetoric, StephenB. VJTorley for example disagrees with me strongly but doesn’t have to resort to belligerence to make his points.

    Anyway, here’s the point: Either you claim that ID empirically supports libertarianism or you don’t. Saying that it makes it seem “plausible” is quite irrelevant, because I am only (as you know) interested in talking about ID’s pretension to scientific status, not what ID followers tend to find plausible.

    So, if you are saying that ID empirically supports libertarianism, then we can agree to disagree on that point. And if you are saying that ID does not claim to empirically support libertarianism, then we’re back to the beginning: On what grounds does ID distinguish intelligent from unintelligent cause?

    With respect to your other claims, such as the notion that ID presupposes contra-causality or that something coming from nothing means the as ex nihilo creation, I will just assume that you realize your errors and simply cannot bring yourself to make the honorable concession.

    You are still unclear about ID’s commitment to libertarianism (this time you’ve claimed that ID makes it “plausible”?). And I have no idea or interest in some misunderstanding we’ve had in the past regarding ex nihilo creation; apparently you would rather rehash old misunderstandings rather than deal with my arguments.

    Let me repeat here what I said to StephenA in the previous thread (when I thought I was addressing you):

    RDF to SA: Of course I will misinterpret you sometimes, just as you will misinterpret me sometimes. I don’t do it on purpose, and neither do you. These topics are difficult, and rife with semantic issues (that’s pretty much my whole point here, if you think about it), and we write our posts off the cuff without an editor. Sometimes the writer isn’t clear, sometimes the reader’s interpretation is biased by expectation, and sometimes (usually) both things are true.

    All we can do is grant the most generous interpretation possible to the other’s arguments, and when we’re misrepresented, refrain from accusing the other of intentional distortion. I’m always, always ready to debate with exactly that sort of generosity as soon as it is reciprocated.

    Anyway, let’s redouble our efforts to communicate clearly and give each other the benefit of the doubt when they get something we said wrong.

    To his credit, StephenA accepted this overture and from that point on we debated with mutual respect and civility. I’m hoping you will do the same.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  51. 51
    RDFish says:

    Hi William J Murray,

    The human body is a diving suit, specifically designed to be operational by conscious/subconscious intent – meaning, an individualized consciousness (mind/soul) can use it to functionally operate in the physical world.

    I’ve asked dualists this question a hundred times, and nobody ever answers it. If you believe that conscious awareness exists independently of the body, what do you think happens to our consciousness when we lose consciousness? When something happens to our brain (a dose of anesthetic, perhaps, or even a knock on the head) we lose consciousness. Our consciousness doesn’t leave our body, or enter some other body, it just goes away for awhile. What happens to it?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks:

    Let us pause for a moment to clip the onward linked from the OP on mindedness (did objectors take time to read there before commenting adversely? . . . ), where it cites The Laws, Bk X on the dialogue in progress:

    __________________

    >> the well known genetics pioneer and Evolutionist, J B S Haldane, at the turn of the 1930’s, astutely observed:

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

    In short, we are undeniably conscious, and are also evidently self-aware, self-moved, embodied beings. Where, the mechanics of embodiment or mechanical processing or computation simply do not suffice to explain that first fact of our existence; conscious self-awareness.

    Where, the term, “self-moved” comes from Plato’s insightful discussion in The Laws, Bk X. In so doing, he also makes perhaps the first cosmological design inference on record, to a Good Soul at the root of reality, and especially the material – mechanical order of creation:

    Athenian Stranger. . . . when one thing changes another, and that another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change? Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change of the self-moving principle? . . . . self-motion being the origin of all motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is second.

    [ . . . .]

    Ath. If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or fiery substance, simple or compound-how should we describe it?

    Cleinias of Crete. You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power life?

    Ath. I do.

    Cle. Certainly we should.

    Ath. And when we see soul [–> inter alia active mind] in anything, must we not do the same-must we not admit that this is life?

    [ . . . . ]

    Cle. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul?

    Ath. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change and motion in all things?

    Cle. Certainly not; the soul as being the source of motion, has been most satisfactorily shown to be the oldest of all things.

    Ath. And is not that motion which is produced in another, by reason of another, but never has any self-moving power at all, being in truth the change of an inanimate body, to be reckoned second, or by any lower number which you may prefer?

    Cle. Exactly.

    Ath. Then we are right, and speak the most perfect and absolute truth, when we say that the soul is prior to the body, and that the body is second and comes afterwards, and is born to obey the soul, which is the ruler?

    [ . . . . ]

    Ath. If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred laws, then, as is plain, we must say that the best soul takes care of the world and guides it along the good path. [ –> Plato here explicitly sets up an inference to design (by a good soul) from the intelligible order of the cosmos.]

    Let us remember, too, this was in the background of the exchanges on Mars Hill [c. AD 50 between Paul of Tarsus — the earliest Western Tradition philosophical Christian thinker — and the Stoics and Epicureans of Athens] recorded in Acts 17.

    Yes, we have brains which obviously carry out materially connected patterns of information processing using the often surprising properties of neural networks . . . in which neurons serve as gates for information flows in complex networks that use summed, weighted connexions to trigger stage by stage responses:

    [neural network diagram in OP of mindedness thread appears]

    But also, that sort of wired up, adaptable network does not suffice to explain — or, to explain away — either the effective complex and functionally specific organisation of the brain as a complex functionally specific information processing entity, or — even more importantly — the characteristic capacities of that self-aware, self-moved entity or faculty that is our Experienced Fact No. 1 and which we sometimes speak of in terms of the mind. Or even . . . the soul.

    Though, many are prone to imagine or assert that it does.

    (If someone does such to you, ask him or her to explain just how it was shown, by whom, when — and with what prize awarded — that conscious, self aware, self-reflective mindedness “emerges from” or “reduces to” complex software and hardware. Predictably, such claims and views will trace to the question-begging influence of controlling evolutionary materialist ideas.) . . . >>
    ________________

    It seems to me that we need to reckon witht he wider context of these issues.

    Second, we need to realise that we do not merely infer to self-aware self-moved mindedness as a vague counter to blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. In fact such is our individual self-experience and the first fact of our intellectual being. We access all other facts through our self-aware self-moved consciousness. Or at least what appears to be our self-moved consciousness. Which view on reflexivity, feedback and an implicit progressive spiral process in mindedness is itself significant.

    And if we deny that consciousness is self moved, often in light of rational contemplations and a sense of duty to seek and follow the truth as we see it, then we have a problem of mindedness reducing to being driven and controlled by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity; especially in a context of the blind force electrochemistry of our brains. That is GIGO limited computation on steroids, and that computation is blind and non-rational. Cause-effect is simply not equivalent to ground-consequent inference.

    Moreover, we are right back at the self-referential incoherence pointed out by Haldane. And notoriously exemplified by Crick in his 1994 The astonishing hypothesis:

    . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    The self-referential absurdity in this should be patent. As in, is this statement claiming to be fact and accurate to reality in effect “no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules” that happen to be in the bio-molecular entity known as Sir Francis Crick? As in, blind, GIGO limited cause effect computation, not genuine rational contemplation . . . save as a reflection of a general delusion we have labelled mind due to silly folk beliefs?

    Evolutionary materialism, as C S Lewis pointed out, cuts its own logical throat.

    So, on pain of reductio ad absurdum through letting general delusion in the door, we are left with accepting that our sense of mindedness and freedom to think for ourselves is real. Further, that such intelligent thought leads to designing and production of entities rich in FSCO/I, starting with speech and text.

    Where, as has been repeatedly shown — but also repeatedly ignored or twisted into strawman caricatures and dismissed improperly — the existence of FSCO/I is a reliable sign of intelligent design. Where intelligence is more than sufficiently defined for our purposes, long since.

    So, we have every good reason to take mindedness seriously.

    KF

    PS: When we sleep, we often dream. That tells us that in sleep our consciousness goes to a resting, standby state and can also go to altered alert states of consciousness — dreaming, which can surface concerns and deep insights, similar to so-called daydreams. Some of these night and day dreams seem to have played significant roles in scientific breakthroughs including most famously Einstein’s day dream – trip on a beam of light ad Kekule’s snake-ring dream that led to the Benzine ring solution on molecular structure. Tesla’s ability to build and run machines in his mind, then disassemble and inspect for wear patterns should not be overlooked. We are often aware of dreams and can remember them vividly.

  53. 53
    Joe says:

    RDF:

    It has nothing to do with proximate vs. ultimate cause. Rather, it is about how ID distinguishes “intelligent cause” from all other cause. If one assumes that “intelligent causes” can do things that causes which obey physical laws cannot do, then one is making a metaphysical assumption of libertarian free will.

    Strange that RDF keeps repeating himself ass opposed to actually making a case to support his trope.

    RDFish has already admitted that I have refuted his “argument”. There isn’t any reason for anyone to engage RDFish on these points any longer. That you do keep engaging them says that you have an ego that needs satisfying so that you can feel some sense of pride.

    And what is that all about?

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    Joe, remember the onlookers. KF

  55. 55
    Axel says:

    RDF #50:

    ‘Our consciousness doesn’t leave our body, or enter some other body, it just goes away for awhile. What happens to it?

    Two contradictory statements, followed by a question on the same subject!!!!

  56. 56

    RDF said:

    I’ve asked dualists this question a hundred times, and nobody ever answers it. If you believe that conscious awareness exists independently of the body, what do you think happens to our consciousness when we lose consciousness? When something happens to our brain (a dose of anesthetic, perhaps, or even a knock on the head) we lose consciousness. Our consciousness doesn’t leave our body, or enter some other body, it just goes away for awhile. What happens to it?

    You’re thinking of consciousness as if it is limited to the physical body and is governed by physical regularities, like sequences of spatial or temporal movement. My body may move sequentially through hundreds of miles and several hours of time from one point of conscious experience to the next; that doesn’t mean my consciousness must be accounted for in all of those vectors of time/space because it is not bound to experience physical time/space sequence the same way the physical body is.

    I also want to add the caveat here that my view of spirituality and its connection to the physical is likely not representational of others here at UD, although there does appear to be some areas of agreement.

  57. 57
    Axel says:

    Surely, Pim Van Lommel’s hypothesis that the brain is merely a receiver of the radiant ‘brain waves’ of a person’s non-local mind, akin to radio and TV waves, etc., fits such facts as we know.

    RDF’s contradictory claims, followed by their framing as a question, clearly show that he is confused, for no other reason than that he starts off from the reductionist position of the incorrigible materialist, and makes it clear that he has no intention of considering any other metaphysical position.

    So he starts off with zero explanatory thesis, then invites others to join him in his ignorance – extending to them a spurious invitation to conjecture with him – although on the basis of an offer they can’t refuse: a materialist perspective which is ‘de rigueur’.

  58. 58
    RDFish says:

    Hi William J Murray,

    My body may move sequentially through hundreds of miles and several hours of time from one point of conscious experience to the next; that doesn’t mean my consciousness must be accounted for in all of those vectors of time/space because it is not bound to experience physical time/space sequence the same way the physical body is.

    Do you actually mean that you can, say, drive 100 miles with no conscious awareness of what you are doing? This certainly doesn’t fit with my experience – I experience a continuous stream of conscious awareness as long as I am awake. I suspect the same is true of you; it would be rather alarming otherwise.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  59. 59
    RDFish says:

    Hi Axel,

    Surely, Pim Van Lommel’s hypothesis that the brain is merely a receiver of the radiant ‘brain waves’ of a person’s non-local mind, akin to radio and TV waves, etc., fits such facts as we know.

    Well, that’s just the point: This view (often called “transmission theory”) doesn’t fit the facts at all. When something happens to a radio (it’s turned off, or unplugged, or broken, etc), the radio waves are not affected. But when something happens to our brain (via drugs, injury, etc) our consciousness disappears.

    RDF’s contradictory claims, followed by their framing as a question, clearly show that he is confused, for no other reason than that he starts off from the reductionist position of the incorrigible materialist, and makes it clear that he has no intention of considering any other metaphysical position.

    Actually what I am doing here is exactly that: I am considering the metaphysical position of dualism, in particular “transmission theory”. I don’t understand why people think this is consistent with the evidence, and I would like to hear from people who do.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  60. 60

    RDFish said:

    Do you actually mean that you can, say, drive 100 miles with no conscious awareness of what you are doing? This certainly doesn’t fit with my experience – I experience a continuous stream of conscious awareness as long as I am awake. I suspect the same is true of you; it would be rather alarming otherwise.

    You asked me to explain “where consciousness goes” when you are not conscious – at least according to my worldview. I did so. I did so. It appears to me now that you are just trolling.

  61. 61
    gpuccio says:

    RDFish:

    In our human condition, our consciousness is strongly linked to the brain and to its activities. Alterations in the brain strongly affect what the consciousness perceives, because we are almost “bound” to perceive the brain states primarily.

    Our consciousness never disappears. Why do you say that? Our consciousness undergoes different states. The waking state, which we usually identify with what we are, is only one of them. The dreaming state, the deep sleep state, are other states of consciousness that we regularly experience. And there are other states which are not experienced often, but which still exist and are important, including altered states due to chemicals, contemplative states, mystic states, NDEs and so on.

    Our waking memory is mainly limited to experiences in the waking state. That does not mean that all our other experiences are not conscious, and that they don’t belong to us. It’s the same subject which experiences them all.

  62. 62

    As Axel pointed out, RDFIsh and many others argue with assumptions and question phrasing that assumes a materialist’s world. For instance, the idea that the consciousness is “off” or “goes somewhere” is a materialist perspective of a certain kind of space-time continuity that all things must experience in some kind of shared sequential order.

    Consciousness has no such restriction. I need not follow the linear time/space path as the body. It might be said that if an unconscious body is traveling from A to B over hundreds of miles and several hours, the consciousness experiences no discontinuity. If a person falls asleep on a train or in a car or an airplane, the consciousness experiences no “gap” of a few hours; the consciousness changes through different states – perhaps dream states or semi-conscious states – but it never experiences “non-consciousness”.

    I have in fact drive over a hundred miles only to realize at some point I had no conscious recollection of the time or space in between, my body apparently acting entirely programming, habit & instinct.

    Perhaps the problem isn’t that RDFish doesn’t get answers to his/her questions, but rather gets answers that do not fit the framework RDFish requires them to fit, and then RDFish feels comfortable claiming that the question has not been answered when, in fact, it has.

  63. 63
    Joe says:

    kairosfocus, I am thinking about the onlookers. What are they to think seeing you grapple with an argument that has already been refuted?

  64. 64
    RDFish says:

    Hi William J Murray,

    You asked me to explain “where consciousness goes” when you are not conscious – at least according to my worldview. I did so. I did so.

    What you said was that while your body might move hundreds of miles over several hours, you may have only one or two points of conscious experience. This (1) doesn’t comport with my experience of a continuous stream of consciousness, and (2) doesn’t explain why we lose consciousness when something happens to our brain.

    It appears to me now that you are just trolling.

    No, I’m asking questions that I believe are interesting an important. It appears to me that you are just evading.

    As Axel pointed out, RDFIsh and many others argue with assumptions and question phrasing that assumes a materialist’s world. For instance, the idea that the consciousness is “off” or “goes somewhere” is a materialist perspective of a certain kind of space-time continuity that all things must experience in some kind of shared sequential order.

    It is a very common idiom to say that we “lose consciousness” and “regain consciousness” in the various situations that I’ve described. I did not invent these ways to describe our experience; they simply reflect what we actually experience.

    Have you ever been anesthetized, or fallen into a dreamless sleep, or had a severe concussion, or drank too much alcohol? Would you not say that under these conditions you “lose consciousness”? If not, how you do describe it?

    I have in fact drive over a hundred miles only to realize at some point I had no conscious recollection of the time or space in between, my body apparently acting entirely programming, habit & instinct.

    When this happens, I am consciously thinking about something other than my driving of course. I am not asleep at the wheel, which would be a very different state.

    Perhaps the problem isn’t that RDFish doesn’t get answers to his/her questions, but rather gets answers that do not fit the framework RDFish requires them to fit, and then RDFish feels comfortable claiming that the question has not been answered when, in fact, it has.

    It seems to me that you are uncomfortable confronting the evidence of our experience, because it conflicts with your religious beliefs. But I’d rather discuss the issues rather than perform amateur psychoanalysis of others.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  65. 65
    RDFish says:

    Hi gpuccio,

    In our human condition, our consciousness is strongly linked to the brain and to its activities. Alterations in the brain strongly affect what the consciousness perceives.

    Yes, I think this is obvious.

    Our consciousness never disappears. Why do you say that?

    It is very common for people (including doctors) to talk about “losing consciousness”, and virtually everyone knows what that means. When we fall into a dreamless sleep, or when are anesthetized, or when we receive a blow to head, and so on, we say that we “lose consciousness” because our conscious awareness ceases. When we awaken, we say that we “regain consciousness”. The second question that emergency medical personnel often ask (after “is he breathing?”) is usually “is he conscious”?

    Our consciousness undergoes different states.

    Yes, I agree.

    Our waking memory is mainly limited to experiences in the waking state. That does not mean that all our other experiences are not conscious, and that they don’t belong to us. It’s the same subject which experiences them all.

    Apparently you are hypothesizing here that while we are anesthetized, or in a dreamless sleep, or have been “knocked unconscious”, and so on, we actually are still experiencing conscious awareness, but when we regain consciousness, we for some reason forget all that happened while we were unconscious (but still, in your view, having conscious experiences). Is that what you mean?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  66. 66
    gpuccio says:

    RDFish:

    Yes.

  67. 67
    RDFish says:

    Hi gpuccio,

    Thanks for that clear answer.

    So according to you, we still have conscious experiences while we are unconscious, and so the word “unconscious” doesn’t really mean that we are unconscious, but rather it means “still conscious”.

    Does everyone else here believe this?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  68. 68

    RDF to Gpuccio:

    Apparently you are hypothesizing here that while we are anesthetized, or in a dreamless sleep, or have been “knocked unconscious”, and so on, we actually are still experiencing conscious awareness, but when we regain consciousness, we for some reason forget all that happened while we were unconscious (but still, in your view, having conscious experiences). Is that what you mean?

    Gpuccio to RDF:

    Yes.

    This has relevance to other discussions ongoing here. It follows from the above that the the Glasgow coma scale doesn’t really measure consciousness at all (a person in a deep, wholly unresponsive coma as indicated by the Glasgow is still conscious, according to this view), and measures such as “self-directed activity” also fail to indicate consciousness that persists in this way (there is no self-directed behavior while one is “knocked out,” anesthetized, etc.

  69. 69

    RDFish,

    I answered your question. I’ll try to add to it in some way so you can understand it is an answer to your question:

    You’re thinking of consciousness as if it is limited to the physical body and is governed by physical regularities, like sequences of spatial or temporal movement. My body may move sequentially through hundreds of miles and several hours of time from one point of conscious experience to the next [add: while the body is apparently in the state we call “unconscious”]; that doesn’t mean my consciousness must be accounted for in all of those vectors of time/space because it is not bound to experience physical time/space sequence the same way the physical body is.

    You are conceiving of consciousness as “attached to” or “the same as” the body, something that moves through space-time sequences with the body in some kind of parallel existence with 1:1 mapping with physical space-time vectors.

    The body might go through hundreds of miles of space and hours of time from one conscious point to another; that doesn’t mean that the consciousness was “somewhere else” at the time. Consciousness might move from A to Z in one step, while the body moves from A to Z in 25 steps. Consciousness may not be present in 24 of those steps, but that doesn’t mean it was “somewhere else”.

  70. 70
    RDFish says:

    Hi William J Murray,

    You’re thinking of consciousness as if it is limited to the physical body and is governed by physical regularities, like sequences of spatial or temporal movement.

    No, I’m thinking of those things at all. Rather, I am thinking of consciousness merely as I experience it phenomenologically. I am not considering its limitations, ontological status, or causal powers. I am not considering whether it exists in our spacetime or if it is “attached to” or “the same as” the body. Instead, I’m talking only about our conscious awareness as we experience it, and as people describe it: “I lost consciousness”, “I regained consciousness”, and so on.

    I really think that most people would agree that whatever is true metaphysically, our experience is that we experience a stream of consciousness that ceases under certain circumstances (drugs, injury, and so on) and then returns.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  71. 71
    gpuccio says:

    RDFish:

    So according to you, we still have conscious experiences while we are unconscious, and so the word “unconscious” doesn’t really mean that we are unconscious, but rather it means “still conscious”.

    Yes. Still conscious, in a different way.

  72. 72
    gpuccio says:

    Reciprocating Bill:

    This has relevance to other discussions ongoing here. It follows from the above that the the Glasgow coma scale doesn’t really measure consciousness at all (a person in a deep, wholly unresponsive coma as indicated by the Glasgow is still conscious, according to this view), and measures such as “self-directed activity” also fail to indicate consciousness that persists in this way (there is no self-directed behavior while one is “knocked out,” anesthetized, etc.

    The coma scale measures what it is meant to measure, that is how “distant” from normal body consciousness the patient is. Unfortunately, our clinical scales cannot solve deep philosophical problems.

    All measures which are directed to the normal functions in the waking state will not work for other kinds of states.

    A mystic in deep ecstasy may appear unconscious to all those who look at him.

    The waking state is only the tip of an iceberg. We are much more than that.

  73. 73

    GP:

    The coma scale measures what it is meant to measure, that is how “distant” from normal body consciousness the patient is. Unfortunately, our clinical scales cannot solve deep philosophical problems.

    Of course not. Kairosfocus, however, has advocated the Glasgow Coma Scale as a reliable and dispositive indicator of consciousness, and does so in the context of a more or less philosophical discussion, where it is completely misplaced.

  74. 74

    RDFish:

    I really think that most people would agree that whatever is true metaphysically, our experience is that we experience a stream of consciousness that ceases under certain circumstances (drugs, injury, and so on) and then returns.

    No, RDFish. You never experience a moment of ceased consciousness. To experience a thing requires consciousness of some sort, so you cannot experience your consciousness in a “ceased” state, so you cannot say you have experienced it “ceasing”.

    Which is why I’m pointing out that you are, instead, necessarily interpreting a sequences of experienced events as your consciousness”ceasing”, because in-between two points of some sort of conscious experience, time has elapsed and/or you have traveled a distance in space incongruent with your last known conscious space-time vector, which is why you interpret it as your consciousness “ceasing” for a time.

  75. 75
    RDFish says:

    Hi William J Murray,

    You never experience a moment of ceased consciousness. To experience a thing requires consciousness of some sort, so you cannot experience your consciousness in a “ceased” state, so you cannot say you have experienced it “ceasing”.

    Although we do experience losing consciousness and regaining consciousness, it is very true that we do not experience anything at all after we have lost consciousness and before it returns. I agree completely (although gpuccio apparently dissents regarding this point).

    Which is why I’m pointing out that you are, instead, necessarily interpreting a sequences of experienced events as your consciousness”ceasing”, because in-between two points of some sort of conscious experience, time has elapsed and/or you have traveled a distance in space incongruent with your last known conscious space-time vector, which is why you interpret it as your consciousness “ceasing” for a time.

    Ok, so we have this experience of losing consciousness, then we have no experience at all for some period of time, and then we have the experience of regaining consciousness. That is the data of our experience. You are hypothesizing that during the period where we experience nothing, our consciousness is the same as it always is, but outside of our (or in a different) spacetime continuum.

    A materialist would argue that consciousness is the same thing as brain function, or that consciousness reduces to or emerges from brain function. I wouldn’t argue any of these things. It does, however, seem that some brain function is required for consciousness, and here is why I say that:

    Compare three explanations for the fact that we lose consciousness when we get hit on the head:

    1) GPuccio’s explanation: We don’t actually ever lose consciousness, even though it feels like we do. The conscious experiences that occur while our body is unconscious are somehow forgotten when our body regains consciousness.

    2) Your explanation: Our consciousness exists outside of our spacetime continuum (or in a different one), and when our bodies are unconscious, time only passes for those in the same spacetime continuum as we are, while no time passes for our consciousness. When we regain consciousness, our consciousness again appears to remain synchronized with our bodies in “real time”. (I hope I’ve paraphrased your view accurately – I’m not trying to misrepresent what you’re saying).

    3) Consciousness somehow depends on certain functions of the brain, and when those functions are disrupted, we are no longer conscious. When they resume, so does our conscious experience.

    It certainly seems to me that (3) is the most plausible and parsimonious explanation.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  76. 76
    gpuccio says:

    RDFish:

    The uniting thread of our consciousness is not the memory of the states (which is often lost), but the continuity of the identity.

    We experience many dreams that we completely forget when we awaken. Some of them we remember, sometimes only for a few instants, some other we remember for long times. However, we have scarce doubt that it was us experiencing those dreams, even those we forget. We would never want to have very bad dreams, even if we forget them afterwards, because we intuitively know that it’s we who suffer in those dreams, whatever we may remember of them.

    We are not affected (not much, usually) if another person has a bad dream, because it’s another subject who experiences that bad state. But we dread our bad dreams, whatever the future memory of them, because it is “!our subject”, our I, who will have to experience them.

    If we knew in advance that we will suffer from amnesia tomorrow, and then for three years we will suffer from physical and mental pain, would we be indifferent to that perspective only because that would happen to a person who has no “conscious” memory of what we are today? I don’t think so.

    The intuitive certainty of the constancy of our identity, whatever the “conscious” external attributes of that identity, is the true source of all our hopes and fears. We know that we are and will continue to be “us”. The same subject, whatever its memories, attributes, and states of consciousness.

  77. 77
    gpuccio says:

    RDFish (#74):

    I definitely stick to explanation 1). When we “lose consciousness”, be it because we get hit on the head, or undergo anaesthesia, we simply go into a state which is probably similar to the state of deep sleep. We may experience some deep state of peace, with scarce formal contents, but there is no reason to believe that we experience nothing.

    Every day we access the sleep state, and we come out of it, and the experience is similar to “losing consciousness” or “regaining it”. And yet we know that we have experiences during thew sleep state, at least in the dream phases.

    Your phrase in explanation 3):

    “we are no longer conscious”

    is a good example of the difficulty in your view. If we are not conscious, there is no “we”. You should say: there is no “we”, and after sometime there is again a “we”. But, strangely, that “we” feels that it is the same “we” as before.

    And it is nbot a question of memory and conscious remembrance of identity. As I have said, there are dreams where our identity seems to be completely different from our waking identity, and yet we feel that it is always “we”, even if different. Sometimes the logic itself of a dream is so different from what we feel and understand in the waking state that we have huge difficulties even trying to go through it by the lingering memory of the dream. And yet, we have no doubt that it was “us” in that dream. We don’t attribute that experience, however strange, to some other, unknown person.

    There is no reason at all to believe that our identity as a conscious subject is in any way lost during the states of apparent “unconsciousness”, no more than there is reason to believe that it is lost during a dream, or that we were another person during the first 2-3 years of our lives, of which we usually have no conscious memory.

  78. 78
    Axel says:

    Bring back Elizabeth and Kantian…! All is forgiven!

  79. 79

    RDFsaid:

    Ok, so we have this experience of losing consciousness,

    We call it that because of the interpretaion. How can anyone say they are losing consciousness when they never experience a state of “lost” or “absent” conscoiusness?

    then we have no experience at all for some period of time,

    That’s not true at all. A conscious entity never experiences “having no experience for a period of time”. What others around the body experience is a body that has no apparent consciousness. The entity that normally operates that body never experiences “no experience for some period of time”.

    and then we have the experience of regaining consciousness.

    No. Once again, you have an experience interpreted as “regaining consciousnesss” because of the non-sequential nature of the surrounding context.

    That is the data of our experience.

    No, the actual data is, from the experience of the consciousness, an entirely uninterrupted stream of some state of consciousness. The labels you use – “losing consciousness” and “regaining consciousness” are interpretive characterizations of the data as it fits into a linear space/time model.

    You are hypothesizing that during the period where we experience nothing, our consciousness is the same as it always is, but outside of our (or in a different) spacetime continuum.

    No. That’s not what I said at all. In fact I specifically made a point about that not being the case:

    WJM said.

    You are conceiving of consciousness as “attached to” or “the same as” the body, something that moves through space-time sequences with the body in some kind of parallel existence with 1:1 mapping with physical space-time vectors.

    The body might go through hundreds of miles of space and hours of time from one conscious point to another; that doesn’t mean that the consciousness was “somewhere else” at the time. Consciousness might move from A to Z in one step, while the body moves from A to Z in 25 steps. Consciousness may not be present in 24 of those steps, but that doesn’t mean it was “somewhere else”.

    RDFish said:

    Compare three explanations for the fact that we lose consciousness when we get hit on the head:

    …………….

    It certainly seems to me that (3) is the most plausible and parsimonious explanation.

    What difference does it make which explanation seems more plausible to you? You asked for a dualistic explanation that accounts for what appears to be a loss of consciousness, complaining that you “never got one” before.

    Now you have 2 such explanations, whether or not they “seem” to be the “most plausible” to you.

  80. 80
    Axel says:

    You’re on a hiding to nothing, lads. A wild fish chase!

  81. 81
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    Does everyone else here believe this?

    Yes. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we all believe it.

  82. 82
    Mung says:

    gpuccio:

    However, we have scarce doubt that it was us experiencing those dreams, even those we forget.

    Sometimes I dream of flying, by which I mean unassisted flight. And it’s me who is flying, not someone else.

  83. 83
    gpuccio says:

    Mung:

    It’s a beautiful dream. I had it sometimes. 🙂

  84. 84
    Joe says:

    RDFish:

    No, I’m asking questions that I believe are interesting an important.

    Find someone who agrees with you- that your questions are important- and ask them. At UD we know your questions are impotent.

  85. 85
    RDFish says:

    Hi William J Murray,

    What difference does it make which explanation seems more plausible to you? You asked for a dualistic explanation that accounts for what appears to be a loss of consciousness, complaining that you “never got one” before.

    You are certainly entitled to your metaphysical beliefs and to be disinterested in other people’s opinions regarding them. I assumed you enjoyed, as I do, discussing these topics with those who might see things differently. Obviously I was mistaken.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  86. 86
    Joe says:

    RDFish- we have another agreement-

    RDFish:

    Rather, what the lightning analogy demonstrates is that it is unjustified to conclude that whatever we find to be improbable under natural law as we understand it must therefore be due to “intelligent agency”.

    Hey, we agree on that. The explanatory filter requires more than just eliminating necessity and chance before we can infer design. And we realize that not everything can be explained given our current knowledge.

    Sometimes the best we can do is say “yes it is highly improbable but yet we can’t rule out chance and we can’t yet justify a design inference”. That is when we go back to the beginning to find out why we are investigating this object/ structure/ event in the first place and go from there given all we have uncovered to get back there.

  87. 87
    PaV says:

    My two cents:

    I’ve had the experience—twice in my lifetime—of “losing consciousness” in the sense of no longer being connected to what we would call the “real world.” One time, I actually “saw”, while no longer connected to the “real” world, what was about to happen 30 seconds in the FUTURE.

    I agree with definition #2. We, as persons, have ‘consciousness.’ It is this which makes us like God, who is a Trinity of Persons in One Divine Nature.

    I’ve also had the experience of being drunk, and “losing consciousness,” though, I was told later, I was the “life of the party.”

    Let me tell you, our ‘conscious’ act of “seeing” has very little to do with our eyes. When WmJMurray talks about our consciousness being “outside” our spacetime continuum, I’m sure he has in mind the realm of the Spirit. And, he is correct.

    What a great sin it is to drink to excess, causing you to “lose consciousness,” and thus depriving yourself of this great gift of ‘consciousness’ God gives us, without which we would not have freedom.

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