Intelligent Design

In Fairness to the Materialists

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As a follow-up to my last post, I think it is only fair for me to highlight all of the Christian gangbangers who renounced their faith in Christ, converted to materialist atheism, and turned from a life of hate and violence to a life of love, mercy and sacrifice for their families.

Oh wait, no such person exists.  Never mind.  Carry on with what you were doing.

88 Replies to “In Fairness to the Materialists

  1. 1
    rvb8 says:

    The way you insult, and then you and your supporters deplore slurs from atheists is quite remarkable.

    I’m an atheist, I changed gradually from Catholic to agnostic, to the next logical position. With posts like this I may make the step to anti-theist, but I’m not quite there yet; it’s an evolution.

    This taunt, that we are miserable without God is silly, as most atheists have the ability to laugh at anything, including religion, and I regularly do. “Life of Brian” Heh:)

    I think that the thought of a group of people in the world living very happily indeed, without God upsets the faithful, I know it upsets Muslims who seek out and kill such transgressors. You know, like we used to do in the West, before we grew up.
    You say I will burn in hell? Well, the thought of spending eternity listening to Jack Chick, Ann Coulter, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ken Ham, etc etc, is my idea of what hell would look like. The atheist view is far more desirable, and true.

  2. 2
    Querius says:

    rvb8,

    Today, a good friend of mine stopped by with his fiancee. What a delight to see him! After asking Jesus into his heart and life during his 19 years in prison, he’s a completely changed man. He received mentoring, finished parole, and has held a steady job for two years now. I trust him completely.

    No, Christians don’t behead people or blow up malls as you might be implying in your message.

    Here’s how Jesus warned us:

    Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?
    – Matthew 7:15,16

    In his letter to the church in Galatia, here’s how Paul describes it:

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
    – Galatians 5:22,23

    Do you have anything against these listed manifestations of God’s love poured out in authentic followers of Jesus Christ?

    Is it possible that you’ve been mislead to reject something that isn’t authentic Christianity but the behavior of wolves among the sheep?

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if the very people you listed turned up in hell with you. Now THAT really should scare you!

    You might want to think about it.

    -Q

  3. 3
    rvb8 says:

    Q, your deep soul searching questions, and profoundly given head nodding wisdom, come across as patronizing twaddle.

    Seriously? You quote the Bible to an atheist? Try this; get out of your tiny hermetically sealed insular world and go to NASA to see pictures of the heavens that really do make my spine tingle and fill me with real awe. Not the manufactured awe of the Church, but real awe in the indescribable hugeness of the universe, and the incredible wastefulness of any God that could create such vastness, for such as we. That is your, and your co-religionist’s view, that we are so amazing that God created a gazillion light years of nothing so that we could stare at it.

    BTW, your slur against Catholicism as something that, ‘isn’t authentic Christianity’, just makes me realise how right I was to reject the story. Please feel free to tell me why your Christianity is better than any other Christianity; be careful with that shovel however, the hole is already pretty deep.

  4. 4
    groovamos says:

    rvb8: This taunt, that we are miserable without God is silly, as most atheists have the ability to laugh at anything, including religion, and I regularly do. “Life of Brian” Heh:)

    You can pump yourself up all you want about how happy and together you are and that’s fine. But you know what? Atheists have nightmares. And they have no clue as to where the bad dreams come from. And I’m not going to say theists and especially fundamentalist ones do not have their own nightmares, but I can say this: materialists have a further way to go to understand why they experience nightmares. You want to know why? (probably not) But I’ll say it anyway. Deep experiential work on oneself for years orients the individual to self understanding that naturally leads to a dualist outlook. Why can I confidently say this? There is a revolution in psychotherapy going on right now, involving millions of people and the U.S. Federal government which is licensing a Schedule 1 substance, psilocybin, for use in psychotherapy. If you are at all a curious person you would look into this, at the very least to refute what I’m saying.

    The movement is somewhat centered on The Integral Institute in California, which is the training center for psychiatrists for this approach to mental health, and they are receiving an average of 8 requests per day from interested persons in psychiatry.

    If you had studied the wider field of non-ordinary states of consciousness and their relationship to mental health, you would know that there are no materialists among the millions of people who are active in this approach to human evolution. Materialism is just a mental state like all others, created and maintained by the individual ego structure, and is temporary.

    Look at it this way. How can holding onto a belief in your complete and final obliteration be a source of your happiness? It cannot. Living as an atheist for two separate periods of my life gives me some cred here. I know what it is like to be a pleasure-seeking atheist, with an affinity for smoking dope. I remember being in what I thought was a pleasurable state, and then my belief in my ultimate oblivion would come crashing onto me at the most unwelcoming moments. A propensity for self examination eventually led me out of my last venture into materialism and you have no choice in the matter in the end yourself.

  5. 5
    bw says:

    The bible can be relevant to anyone, atheist or christian or otherwise.

    Never assume Christians or anyone for that matter are not in awe of the wonder in our universe.

    If anything one could imagine a greater awe at the possibility it was all created.

    Is it wastefull if it had that effect on you? I am glad it does by the way. I too love that about being alive and able to witness these things and wonder.

    “That is your, and your co-religionist’s view, that we are so amazing that God created a gazillion light years of nothing so that we could stare at it.”

    I doubt that is anyone’s view?
    Is it not that God is so amazing rather than the humans?

    Anyway I appreciate all the dialogue in here from both atheist and theist alike as long as it is civil.

    B

  6. 6
    soundburger says:

    rv writes, “get out of your tiny hermetically sealed insular world and go to NASA to see pictures of the heavens that really do make my spine tingle and fill me with real awe.”

    This is the typical fallacy of the materialist, trotted out again and again; that the universe is, because of its vastness ( I guess ), ‘awesome’. This is nonsense. If the standard materialist line of thinking is that the universe existed for sixteen billion years, perhaps, before it was even able to be contemplated by one species on one tiny planet, then there is nothing ‘awesome’ about it whatsoever. It just is. Dead, unconscious, utterly unaware of itself until humans came along. It is doubtful that rv imagines that whales, spending most of their lives underwater, have ever had a chance to take a good look at the stars and think, ‘my how awesome!’ Thus, for all rv knows, only humans have ever had that thought.
    What he finds awesome is nothing more than his own train of thought about the universe, not the universe itself. And that kind of awe is no less ‘manufactured’ (by, among other things, Carl Sagan books and NASA colorized photographs) than a religionist’s awe.

  7. 7
    tjguy says:

    As a follow-up to my last post, I think it is only fair for me to highlight all of the Christian gangbangers who renounced their faith in Christ, converted to materialist atheism, and turned from a life of hate and violence to a life of love, mercy and sacrifice for their families.

    This is actually a very very good point. You have a lot of examples of people converting to Christianity and turning from a life of sin and become better people.

    But I’ve never really heard of a Christian who was living a life of sin who through converting to atheism became a better person.

    I do know a number of Christians – kids of my friends – who turned their backs on their parents and their faith and messed up their lives. They are still nice kids, but their speech is littered with profanities and they have changed for the worse! IMHO

    Atheism has no power to change people, set them free from sin, and make them into a new and better human being.

  8. 8
    rvb8 says:

    I’m sorry groov. Are you actually suggesting that atheist nightmares are worse than religious people’s nightmares? They’re not! I should know I’ve been an atheist for thirty one years now, and apart from the usual swathe of ‘falling’ dreams, and dreams of being pursued and being too slow to escape, my nightmares are non-existant.

    However a person as fixated on spiritualism (I looked up the ‘Integral Institute’; No thanks, ‘holons’ and ‘quadrants’? One crack-pottery at a time please.), as you are probably think the spirit is talking to us, it is not.

    The ‘research’ done there involvess spirits and the soul, as in, “The living totality of matter, body, mind,soul, and spirit.”

    Bloody hell, and you wonder why science doesn’t take you seriously?

  9. 9
    Barry Arrington says:

    rvb8,

    You have missed the point of the post. None of your comments address that point, much less refute it. You’re a smart guy. Try harder.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, I have personally known and had to deal with (and know and deal with) many atheists and agnostics, as well as many who formerly advocated these schemes of thought. I can safely say on the strength of that, that the notion of the wonderfully happy utterly good, can- freely- trust- to- watch- your- six, champion of the free man thinking freely, intellectually fulfilled, atheistical bright new man, vanguard of the secular-scientific paradise ahead myth is just that, a myth of contemporary atheism. You will notice that, for cause, I have pointed to the incoherence of evolutionary materialistic scientism, its resulting necessary self-falsification, the utter want of a basis for responsible rational freedom (thus the self and the mind), resulting irrationality and amorality, as well as destructive impacts on the individual, family, community and civilisation. In recent weeks you and others of your ilk have underscored this well-known, longstanding pattern . . . Plato noted on it in The Laws Bk X 2350+ years ago . . . by how you have participated in thread after thread. So, while I do not particularly like sharp exchanges of words, I think it is advisable for you and for others of like atheistical ilk to seriously reconsider your views. Starting with worldviews and world roots. KF

  11. 11
    awstar says:

    rvb8 at #8

    BTW, your slur against Catholicism as something that, ‘isn’t authentic Christianity’, just makes me realise how right I was to reject the story. Please feel free to tell me why your Christianity is better than any other Christianity; be careful with that shovel however, the hole is already pretty deep.

    I didn’t make the slur you referred to, but I would like to tell you why “my Christianity” is better than any other Christianity or religion.

    I too was raised Catholic. But Catholicism is a religion, among many, many, many religions. Where as “my Christianity” is a relationship. It’s a relationship with the one who informed who so ever would read the Bible and believe that it was He who created that vast universe you are so awestruck by. He thought little of its wastefulness because He is a profligate creator. Just as He thought little of the shame of dying on a cross by the hands of His own creation, just so that He could save who so ever would believe that God raised Him from the dead.

    To those outside that relationship, it all sounds so far fetched and improbable. But it’s real to those who are experiencing that relationship. And even to outsiders, it’s much more believable than the stories atheists tell concerning the origins of all that we sense and measure — including the origins of truth, beauty and goodness. Hell will be the absence of those sensations. This world will be as close as they get to experiencing what is good. It’s the goodness of God that brings repentance — but many refuse the offer.

  12. 12

    rvb8 just can’t help himself:

    Not the manufactured awe of the Church, but real awe in the indescribable hugeness of the universe, and the incredible wastefulness of any God that could create such vastness, for such as we.

    Under rvb8’s ideological worldview, all sensations of “awe”, as well as all beliefs, are generated by exactly the same thing; blind, purposeless, mindless chemical interactions.

    Yet here he is, claiming that some chemical effects are more “real” than other chemical effects.

    rvb8, you worry and complain about insults or other comments as if there was something we could have done to prevent our physico-chemical states from producing whatever they happen to produce as our beliefs and thoughts.

    I mean, how are we supposed to change our behaviors? Surely you’re not suggesting we have any top-down oversight and control over our physical states?

    Are you ever going to actually act and write as if materialism is true?

  13. 13
    tjguy says:

    rvb8 @1

    “This taunt, that we are miserable without God is silly, as most atheists have the ability to laugh at anything, including religion, and I regularly do. “Life of Brian” Heh:)

    RVB, first of all, you didn’t even address the OP and secondly, no one ever said that all atheists are miserable without God. I do believe there are some atheists who are miserable because they are running from God, but that is certainly not true of all atheists. So, I’m not sure why you bring this up unless you are just seeking to deflect the conversation from the point of the OP, which is actually quite powerful I thought.

    I think that the thought of a group of people in the world living very happily indeed, without God upsets the faithful, I know it upsets Muslims who seek out and kill such transgressors. You know, like we used to do in the West, before we grew up.

    It’s easy to sit back and imagine why Muslims blow up Christians, Jews, and secularists, but it is simply your own opinion. Personally, I disagree with you as to why they do it. There are specific reasons given in the Koran for why they should do it and it has nothing to do with what you say. But you are free to believe whatever you want.

    You say I will burn in hell? Well, the thought of spending eternity listening to Jack Chick, Ann Coulter, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ken Ham, etc etc, is my idea of what hell would look like. The atheist view is far more desirable, and true.”

    Of course the atheist view is far more desirable – it allows us to live our lives however we want. We can run our own lives and do not have to worship or serve anyone. If I want to do something, I can do it. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t have to do it. There is no right and wrong so I am totally free. From the atheist perspective, this is more desirable than submitting to God, denying ourselves, and making Him, not us, number one in our lives.

    The atheist view is TRUE? Well, we’ll have to disagree on that one, but we get it – that’s what you believe.

    So perhaps you could answer the OP this time from your personal experience:

    How has your conversion to atheism made you a more loving, forgiving, and honest person? How has it impacted your finances and how you spend your money – outside of no longer giving to the Church? Has it motivated you to instead give to humanitarian projects to help others? How has it impacted how you use your time or how you look at other people? Tell us how atheism has made you into a better person and tell us what behavioral changes have taken place as a result?

    Can you give us an example of how converting to atheism has helped any criminal, drug addict, or alcoholic reform and change his life?

    There are countless examples of how believing in Jesus has radically changed the lives of people. But I just never hear those stories from atheists. They may exist. I just have never heard any.

  14. 14
    john_a_designer says:

    Rvb8:

    “The way you insult, and then you and your supporters deplore slurs from atheists is quite remarkable.”

    Indeed, as WJM has just pointed out, how is it possible to insult a heartless, soulless bag-of-chemicals?

    I don’t engage these “people” anymore because they don’t give me any true reason to change my mind. To do so they would need to begin by demonstrating that they have a basis for truth and reason. I don’t not see how any atheistic world view (materialism, physicalism, naturalism) can or could provide a sufficient basis for truth and reason.

    In other words, to convince me or anyone that their world view is true the atheist has to establish an epistemological basis for truth itself. This they consistently fail to do.

    It appears to me that atheist interlocutors like Rvb8 have failed to come to terms with the implications of their atheistic beliefs. If they had they wouldn’t be here trying to engage others with their inane, empty and ultimately meaningless arguments.

  15. 15

    It seems to me to often be the case that self-described atheistic materialists here cannot understand the difference between what is argued would be the cause about everyone if atheistic materialism is true, and assertions about them and what they think and how they act.

    In my post “Miserable Creatures”, I’m not making a case that atheistic materialists are miserable creatures; my argument is that if we actually lived in such a world, we’d all be miserable creatures – miserable in the Merriam-Webster 2nd definition sense: “wretchedly inadequate or meager.”

    And indeed, how wretchedly inadequate and meager we would be in comparison to the divine purpose and self-determining authority we would have in a theistic universe. Under atheistic materialism, we (as individuals) would be phantom projections tossed about by insensate chemical forces doomed to imagine and experience things we cannot do anything about, in effect experiencing a material delusion of self-ness, free will and responsibility but being nothing more than biological, programmed automatons. I don’t know how you get any more “wretchedly inadequate and meager” than being nothing more than an illusion living in a delusion.

  16. 16
    Dr JDD says:

    @rvb8

    Seriously? You quote something from rvb8’s mind to a theist? The apparent result of a random coincidence of molecules producing thoughts that lead to typing words on a computer screen? Try to get out of your misperception that anything you say has meaning or logic and that you can even speak any truth as you are the random result of random collision of molecules and random chemistry producing random thoughts that have not been evolutionarily selected for truth.

    What is truth?

    The theist is just a theist. Most are just as “lost” as atheists. A lot of theists quote religious texts or make their own apparent “profound” statements. But what is truth?

    Until you remove your mind from the idea that there is no truth (this is where materialism ultimately always will lead us), you cannot begin to even assess why one religious text may hold truth and another may not. Querius does well to quote the Bible to you as anyone would. It has the greatest evidence of any text in the world of being real truth.

    What would you rather have spoken to you? Opinion or truth?

    You also misunderstand much of the Bible. The Bible does not say that the vast universe was created just for man. The primary purpose of the vastness of the universe, which is what you have entirely missed, is not for us to stare at it, but that it displays the unknown and vast glorious qualities and nature of the Creator. We can have a discussion about the implications of that, but this is the primary purpose.

    “When I look at the heavens, the works of your fingers, what is man, that you are mindful of him?”

    And here is the irony of it all. So many “Christians” want to limit God and even subscribe to the vastness of the universe and everything in it as an accident with the implication that God has so little control over any of it. Those who do that rob the Creator of glory due to Him.

    No one will stand before the Creator and say “Its not my fault, those “Christians” put me off, there were too many differing accounts, there were too many who mocked me, who didn’t show me love.”

    I don’t subscribe to the idea that those who reject God cannot be happy. Of course they can. But they will never know true joy – that is very different. Jesus Himself was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” But, “for the joy set before Him endured the cross of shame and suffering.” The Bible (the ONLY thing I can be sure of as truth, as God’s Word) is quite clear that man can sear his conscience with repetitive rejection of truth. God’s common grace of the goodness of life means you can sear your conscience and enjoy the pleasures of life and have a sense of happiness and fulfillment – just in ignorance. What is 70 or 80 years of happiness in this life to an eternity of despair and desperate unhappiness like you have never experienced before?

    “There will soon come a time when you seek Me but you will not find me.”

    But I really am left asking the question: if you are so happy and fulfilled and convinced of your decision to reject theism and embrace materialism/atheism as “truth”, what are you still doing here?

  17. 17
    john_a_designer says:

    Dr JDD to rvb8:

    I really am left asking the question: if you are so happy and fulfilled and convinced of your decision to reject theism and embrace materialism/atheism as “truth”, what are you still doing here?

    I have tried many times on many different occasions to put myself in the shoes of the atheist interlocutors who frequent this any other sites. I must confess that I am baffled. If I were an honest atheist the last thing I would want to do is argue for an atheistic world view.

    Why? Because atheism has nothing to offer to anyone else. The atheistic world view is intellectually, morally and spiritually bankrupt. The honest ones realize this. It takes a very self-centered and cynical person (or someone in complete denial) to try to impose a world view like that on others. I think that is what is going on with the internet. It is not the intellectually honest atheists who is showing up here and other places. It’s the cynical and angry ones. In other words, we are not exactly getting the cream of the crop here; rather we are getting the dregs– people who are incapable of being honest with themselves or others.

  18. 18
    ecs2 says:

    Does this man (or woman) protest to much?

    rvb8 – what in particular is so offensive about the original post here.

    It is flippantly sarcastic but in more of an observational way vs discourteous or insulting.

  19. 19
    ecs2 says:

    I only ask because it is an odd juxtaposition to claim that you are very balanced and satisfied in the atheist worldview and yet at the same time to fly off the handle at a relatively innocuous post. The claim and the action do not seem to match. Just an observation.

  20. 20
    Origenes says:

    The cream of the crop: Alex Rosenberg.

    Chapter 10 –
    YOU’VE GOT TO STOP TAKING YOURSELF SO SERIOUSLY

    Who must stop taking himself so seriously? Rosenberg keeps talking as if there are persons who do stuff. As if thoughts are about stuff. As if we need to understand stuff. As if there is free will.

    THE ILLUSION THAT THERE IS SOMEONE INSIDE that has thoughts about stuff is certainly as old as the illusion that there are thoughts about stuff. They almost certainly evolved together as a package deal. But if the physical facts fix all the facts, there can’t be a me or you inside our bodies with a special point of view. When it fixed the facts, physics ruled out the existence of selves, souls, persons, or nonphysical minds inhabiting our bodies. It’s easy to see how it ruled them out, much easier than it is to see the illusion of aboutness that fostered them. Seeing the illusion of self helps loosen the hold of the illusion of purpose, plan, and design. If there is no one to cook up and carry out plans, purposes, and designs, then they couldn’t be real, could they? As for free will, it’s also hard to see its point without a self to have free will.

    Ok, no persons and no free will … So? What do you want us to do Rosenberg?

    THE LAST FOUR CHAPTERS have given us a lot to think about. Perhaps too much to swallow?

    Well no, at least not according to your beloved materialism, because thoughts are not about anything and there is no one in existence to swallow anything. “A lot to think ABOUT” ??? What??

    Conscious introspection is wrong about the very things it is supposed to know best. … The meanings we think are carried by our thoughts, our words, and our actions are just sand castles we build in the air. The same goes for the plans, designs, hopes, fears, and expectations by which we delude ourselves into thinking we organize our lives. The last step, denying the self and free will, that’s not even hard compared to the first three things scientism makes us take on board.

    BTW Rosenberg forgets to mention two essential parts of the “last step”:
    denying that one is rational. That cannot be so hard, given that one already accepts that thoughts have no meaning and that consciousness is an illusion.
    denying that one is capable of doing science. Again, that cannot be so hard, since thoughts have no meaning and we cannot make and/or choose (scientific) plans.

    How could we have gotten things so wrong?

    That’s a stupid question Rosenberg. We didn’t get anything wrong or right. Thoughts are not about anything remember? Moreover, we don’t exist. Sheesh!

  21. 21
    HeKS says:

    john_a_designer @17

    The atheistic world view is intellectually, morally and spiritually bankrupt. The honest ones realize this. It takes a very self-centered and cynical person (or someone in complete denial) to try to impose a world view like that on others. I think that is what is going on with the internet. It is not the intellectually honest atheists who is showing up here and other places. It’s the cynical and angry ones. In other words, we are not exactly getting the cream of the crop here; rather we are getting the dregs– people who are incapable of being honest with themselves or others.

    While I’m sure this probably is true in some cases, I personally stand by my previous view stated in an earlier thread, which is that the majority of internet atheists are simply completely oblivious to the logical entailments of the atheistic materialist worldview. They are under the false impression that it allows one to rationally believe the world is essentially as it seems, and that humans are essentially what they seem, and that, in fact, theists and atheists can both have an essentially similar view of the reality outside their brains, but with atheists simply abstaining from also believing all of that additional God and immaterial minds twaddle because “there is no evidence for it” and atheism, as everyone knows, is the intellectual and rational viewpoint (insert eye-roll here).

    Based on the various discussions that have been taking place here recently (as well as others I’ve had elsewhere), it seems that when these internet atheists are actually introduced to the logical entailments of their worldview and shown that these entailments are not simply dreamed up by theists but are acknowledged even by academic atheists, it simply does not compute for them. They simply cannot accept that the worldview that they’ve been duped into believing went hand-in-hand with rationality and intellectualism and that made them feel part of the intellectually-elite minority utterly and necessarily denies the possibility of either rationality or intellect.

    It is, understandably, a hard pill to swallow, and so they simply refuse to swallow it. Instead they deny the entailments without any coherent counter-argument, and they falsely accuse theists of setting up strawmen (goodness knows why the academic atheists are setting up the very same strawmen), and they insist on the existence of realities for which their atheistic materialist worldview can provide no semblance of justification, asserting that these things just must be logically compatible with their atheism because, darn it, they believe both things at the same time, and who could argue with that logic?!

    At this point you might be asking yourself how my perspective differs from the one you stated, as it still involves atheists “who are incapable of being honest with themselves or others”. I would say that the main difference is that I don’t think they enter the discussion cynical and angry and with the premeditated intention of failing to be honest with themselves and others. Rather, I think that is simply what they are driven to once the realities of their position start coming into focus. They must kick and fight against them, because nobody wants to believe that the very foundation of their worldview, which they believe they have chosen rationally, devastatingly undermines rationality itself.

  22. 22
    soundburger says:

    #21, HeKS, that was excellently stated. You seem to have analyzed the situation perfectly, and it explains why, for example, commenters like rv simply ignore solid arguments, or defend their positions against them, and instead continue completely unmoved, trotting out the same, tired, ‘I’m so happy because I’m rational and have science on my side, while all you have is superstition and the enslavement of your mind.” It is almost fascinating to the same degree it is frustrating. No evidence that he, or others as well, have even taken the time to figure out what the challenges to his worldview ARE.

  23. 23
    bb says:

    @rvb8

    How did you change from Catholic to Atheist? Did your brain grow? Did it shrink? What was the physiological/chemical change? A change in average room temperature at home or work? A drug you started taking? A drug you quit? Was it a stale Eucharist or a particular wine vintage served at Communion? Wind speed? Humidity? Climate/global-warming?

    “Why?” isn’t the question for a materialist because that would result in a series of sentences that describe immaterial ideas weighed and debated by an illusory you. It would point to a choice made by a material unit only at the mercy of physics and physiology, which render free-will another illusion. It could possibly point to an offense perpetrated by another material unit, with its own moral system that is completely independent of any mythical objective moral standard, that you expected it to observe for some reason. And driven by genes to do whatever it can to survive and reproduce without it being necessary to take your illusory “feelings” of pride and self-worth into account.

    You’re welcome to explain why, but you have to understand that any attempt to do so undermines your current position which only allows for a mechanical “how”. The reason(s) you left Catholicism is/are most likely based on immaterial ideas, than any electro-chemical event. I challenge you to give a strictly material explanation for your change. If you can’t, your worldview is bankrupt and useless.

  24. 24
    rvb8 says:

    I am accused of not addressing the post. OK, I’ll address it.
    Barry says, ‘Christian gangbangers who renounced their faith in Christ…’
    Well, number one, as a former Catholic, my faith was always slack, most Catholics are like this, I mean look at Italy, 98% Catholic, and condom sales through the roof. (That’s funny by the way, you are allowed to smile, God really won’t mind, He told me, Heh:) So, my ‘determined’ starting point was ripe for atheism, thank God! Heh:)
    Number two, your ‘determined’ starting point was something I do not know, but would be ‘determined’ by your experiences, and are opposite to mine; bad luck, sorry.

    Then Barry says, ‘turned from a life of hate and violence, to a life of love etc’.
    No! Not really. My Catholic upbringing was weak, my mother was staunch, but my dad went to Church to sleep I think, and this became the ‘injoke’ of his off spring. I suppose it was beyond my control to become an atheist, as it was the environment that lead to it. Just as it is your various environments that cause you to be so dogmatic, narrowminded, and, I’m sorry to say, guilt ridden.

    There is hope however, perhaps my determanistic contributions can ‘wedge’ open an area within your ‘mind’ to let some rays of ‘unguilty’ thinking in. There really is no need to continue your servile existance; “Knowledge sets you free.” (My own quote.)

    I am not guilty of being patronising here, as Barry often is. I do genuinely hope that you can see the grandeur of life without recourse to human invention.

    UDEditors: Really? You think this addresses the OP? That is kind of sad.

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    So God interfered with your sexual desires thus you chose ‘sexual freedom’ over God?

    Nothing new there:

    “I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.”
    Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means

    Of related note:

    Secret Thoughts Of An Unlikely Convert | Rosaria Butterfield and Russell Moore
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc8wPOHksYs

    From Lesbian Professor to Pastor’s Wife
    Rosaria Champagne Butterfield on holy sexuality and how to love our (lesbian) neighbors as ourselves
    http://www.todayschristianwoma.....-wife.html

  26. 26
    bb says:

    rvb8 @24

    You offer no material explanation. Your worldview must be grossly inadequate.

    Your reasons why are immaterial. What I do see is a crutch that allows you to fault others for the very real, as opposed to illusory, decision you, not your physiology, made.

    My Catholic upbringing was weak, my mother was staunch, but my dad went to Church to sleep I think, and this became the ‘injoke’ of his off spring. I suppose it was beyond my control to become an atheist, as it was the environment that lead to it.

    What you describe appears to be almost identical to my experience growing up in a protestant family. Yet the result wasn’t beyond my control because I had the free-will to make the opposite choice based on immaterial ideas.

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    rvb8, On the off chance you do watch any of Rosaria Butterfield’s testimony, this one is a more engaging testimony that you may more readily identify with.

    My Train Wreck Conversion – Rosaria Butterfield
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVTTsD9o1IM

  28. 28
    EDTA says:

    rvb8,

    Can you tell me anything more about the awe you feel about the universe and nature in general? I’ve heard many speak of it, but beyond a few statements about it, I never hear any more details or deeper discussion. Yes the universe is big, and living things are more complex than I can fully grasp, but facts such as those still leave me cold.

  29. 29
    Seversky says:

    As a follow-up to my last post, I think it is only fair for me to highlight all of the Christian gangbangers who renounced their faith in Christ, converted to materialist atheism, and turned from a life of hate and violence to a life of love, mercy and sacrifice for their families.

    Neither of us think that is likely to happen and for good reasons. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in God or gods. That’s all. It cannot offer hope to the despairing, it cannot comfort the afflicted and it cannot offer the prospect of eternal life after this earthly one. It might be true but, as WJM has attested, it doesn’t make people happy. Religion offers all the benefits that atheism can’t and that’s why I don’t expect it to be supplanted by atheism in the foreseeable future.

  30. 30
    john_a_designer says:

    HeKS @ 21,

    Very well stated. Indeed, I should have qualified what I said since I don’t think or believe that all internet atheists are cynical and angry. It’s just that recently I have run across a lot who are. However, I do think there is also lot of denial and self-deception. Unfortunately that has made it increasingly difficult to wade through all their rhetorical crap and have a simple and civil logical discussion.

  31. 31
    HeKS says:

    soundburger @22

    #21, HeKS, that was excellently stated. You seem to have analyzed the situation perfectly, and it explains why, for example, commenters like rv simply ignore solid arguments, or defend their positions against them, and instead continue completely unmoved, trotting out the same, tired, ‘I’m so happy because I’m rational and have science on my side, while all you have is superstition and the enslavement of your mind.” It is almost fascinating to the same degree it is frustrating. No evidence that he, or others as well, have even taken the time to figure out what the challenges to his worldview ARE.

    rvb8 is kind of an interesting case. On some level I feel bad for him, because he seems to be taking comments here very personally, calling them hateful and taunting and seemingly feeling quite offended by them. Were his characterizations correct then I would say that such a method of argumentation on the part of the theists is inappropriate (at least from a Christian perspective), and I do admit the tone of some comments and posts here are a little more harsh in their terms than I think they ought to be. However, for the most part, I find that rvb8’s characterization of what the theists here are presenting describes a situation that exists only in his head, brought on largely by what seems to be a consistent pattern of failing to carefully read what he responds to.

    WJM’s recent OP here is a good example of this, because anyone reading it with any care at all could see that he was essentially describing a hypothetical situation that would be true if atheism were true. But WJM isn’t saying that atheism is true. He’s saying the opposite. And so his description there of the hypothetical ‘miserable creatures’ is not a description of how he (or other theists here) see atheists, but rather a description of what all humans would necessarily be were atheism true. The only reason for an atheist to get upset by this is if he doesn’t like the necessary implications of his own worldview, but simply describing what those implications are is not mean or hateful.

  32. 32
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Leaving religion improves your sex life a lot.

    Sex and Secularism: What Happens When You Leave Religion? (2011) Darrel Ray, Ed.D. and Amanda Brown, IPCpress.com

    The less religious a country is, the better off they are economically.

    See chart

    The less religious a country is, the higher the average IQ.

    See chart

    The less religious a country is, the more egalitarian it tends to be with regard to income inequality.

    Christianity Today 2011

  33. 33
    Querius says:

    bb @ 23,

    Absolutely brilliant! 🙂

    The problem with both determinism and materialism is that they have both been falsified by rigorous scientific investigation.

    – Determinism has been falsified by the Butterfly Effect, which has been observed in many scientific disciplines and even in mathematics. Initial conditions cannot be repeated except in mathematics and even mathematically, the initial result is often unpredictable.

    – Materialism has been falsified my Quantum Mechanics since the fundamental reality in which we exist has been conclusively demonstrated to be information—the interaction of conscious observation and the wave function, Psi.

    -Q

  34. 34
    HeKS says:

    Soundburger,

    rvb8 @3: Try this; get out of your tiny hermetically sealed insular world and go to NASA to see pictures of the heavens that really do make my spine tingle and fill me with real awe. Not the manufactured awe of the Church, but real awe in the indescribable hugeness of the universe, and the incredible wastefulness of any God that could create such vastness, for such as we. That is your, and your co-religionist’s view, that we are so amazing that God created a gazillion light years of nothing so that we could stare at it.

    soundburger @6: This is the typical fallacy of the materialist, trotted out again and again; that the universe is, because of its vastness ( I guess ), ‘awesome’. This is nonsense. If the standard materialist line of thinking is that the universe existed for sixteen billion years, perhaps, before it was even able to be contemplated by one species on one tiny planet, then there is nothing ‘awesome’ about it whatsoever. It just is. Dead, unconscious, utterly unaware of itself until humans came along. . . . What he finds awesome is nothing more than his own train of thought about the universe, not the universe itself. And that kind of awe is no less ‘manufactured’ (by, among other things, Carl Sagan books and NASA colorized photographs) than a religionist’s awe.

    And then there’s the other side of this coin. I’ve always found the argument against God’s existence based on the size of the universe to be very silly. I’ve addressed it in comments here a few times. Here’s one example:

    In addition to the fine-tuning, one of the strongest arguments for the existence of such a designer (whom I believe to be God) is the origin of the universe itself. In order for us to know it had an origin we need evidence. The evidence is the expansion of the universe, which is what led us to the Big Bang Theory.

    As such, the very evidence that points us to the origin and creation of a well-ordered and law-governed universe such as ours requires that the universe eventually be very large even if the entire purpose of the physical universe existing was to have a single planet populated by embodied, intelligent, moral beings. It would also almost certainly require certain features of the universe to be over-tuned with respect to life itself in order to ensure the scientific discoverability of the evidence pointing to its origin and fine-tuning, including things like the ability to get a good look at the CMB to confirm the Big Bang.

    The vastness of the universe is a necessary corollary of the ability to have scientific evidence pointing to God’s existence and creation of the universe.

  35. 35
    Barry Arrington says:

    Seversky @ 29.

    [Atheism] cannot offer hope . . .

    True as far as it goes but incomplete. As HeKS and WJM have been patiently explaining, not only does atheism not offer hope, if taken seriously it must lead to despair. That is why while a lot of people (Rvb8 in this thread is a classic example) give it lip service, absolutely no sane person lives even for a moment as if it is true.

  36. 36
    rvb8 says:

    EDTA, the awe of atheists is more wonderful in that it is grounded upon curiosity, and the possibility of solving a riddle.

    We don’t know something, and it seems counter intuitive to assume nature, and nature’s natural laws could possibly have produced something as wonderful as the human brain, and yet we also know the alternative is absurd.

    The wonder of atheists is that we are greatful to nature that we exist at all.

    Now, your wonder is based upon your devotion to the glory of God. Fine. Keep it, and its utter lack of question producing hypotheses. The accusation frequently levelled at theists, (and I believe sometimes nastily) is that you go slack jawed at what you don’t understand, and reflexively fall back upon the ‘Goddidit’ answer. Not true? The theists here constantly try to produce proofs, although their reliance on youtube, and referances from supporting sites is a little disconcerting.

    I am frequently accused of being angry. Far from it. In fact in my extensive experience with Christians,(I’ve lived with them, and am constantly in contact with them) and other religions, I find that when you flatly reject their unevidenced positions, it is they that become angry, and quickly. Thankfully, at least in the west, that anger is directed to internet sites; imagine if you had the power to convict atheism as a felony? You know as General Peckham wanted to do in ‘Catch 22’? A book BTW which beat Richard Dawkins to the punch when Yossarian pillories God in a monologue that is truly timeless, and bust your gut funny; one of the few books that always makes me laugh, as it laughs at the all too sacred; God, the Airforce, Army life, his own country, and Hiarchies, ooh, and sex and the toilet.

    As to Christian humour? Well Christian comedians (I’ve seen a few on youtube)are to put it mildly, restricted. No jokes about sex, and humans have been laughing at that since we could talk. No jokes about the toilet, and as every schoolboy in every country knows, nothing beats a good fart joke. And no jokes about God, the greatest source of humour ever invented; ‘Life of Brian’Heh:) And very often they also refuse to joke about the president, because you should, ‘render unto Caeser’ etc. No, Christian humour is reduced to anecdotes about the silly things their kids do, and whether toilet paper should be over, or under,(a toilet joke?)

    As to Barry above. I don’t give atheism ‘lip service’, my atheism only ever comes up on the web. Very rarely do Christians challenge it, and then they are usually angered by my, ‘I am an atheist because I am curious’, response. The angst and anger people detect in my posts is not there, psychologists call this ‘projection’.

  37. 37
    hgp says:

    rvb8@36:

    could you explain how the following statements work together for you?

    rvb8: The wonder of atheists is that we are greatful(sp!) to nature that we exist at all.

    R. Dawkins: The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

    Obviously both points don’t sit well together.

    How (and why) would anyone feel grateful to “blind, pitiless indifference”?
    Or alternatively: Why was Dawkins wrong in his description of the universe?

  38. 38
    rvb8 says:

    hgp, they are logically inconsistant, but only if you think I am talking about ‘nature’ as an active player; I am not, it is used as a figure of speech; you couldn’t grasp that?
    All I can say is that I fully agree with Dawkins and that his statement is correct.
    When an atheist says he is ‘grateful’ (thanks, heh:) to nature it is a figure of speech. Much as when Einstein talks about the wonder of creation. Dawkins himself frequently uses this language as he correctly notes, it’s become part of our descriptive convention.
    Do I think nature is a thing that actively does things to, and for me, no! Dont be absurd, you have the position of the meddlesome tinkerer who never gets things right.

  39. 39
    soundburger says:

    rvb8, please, try to understand this:

    As has been pointed out, you did NOT ‘address’ the OP. Barry asked you to address his contention that although there are numerous cases of people transforming their lives away from criminality via religious conversion, there are no examples that he ( or I, for that matter) is aware of of a former Christian leaving a life of crime behind upon dropping his beliefs.
    There MAY BE such examples that you could provide, and there MIGHT BE some other, equally effective way that you could refute his point. We are all willing to listen.
    But instead, you simply chose to tell us about…yourself.
    This is similar to how you chose to take the ‘Miserable Creatures’ post as a personal insult, when it has been pointed out to you by numerous commenters ( a fact you choose not to acknowledge) that you misread the intention behind that title.

    You come on here and continually brag about being an atheist (how original…) instead of addressing actual points people make with an intent to refute them.

    You’re ‘more curious’ than the rest of us here; is that how you would have it? Then answer some damn questions (the ones you were actually asked, not the ones you imagine), fercryinoutloud!

  40. 40
    Querius says:

    rvb8 @ 38 asserted without any support

    Now, your wonder is based upon your devotion to the glory of God. Fine. Keep it, and its utter lack of question producing hypotheses.

    Haha. Complete baloney!

    Did you know that the first scientific experiment ever recorded is in the Bible. Hint: it includes every aspect of the scientific method (except the part about applying for grants) and it’s found in the book of Daniel–it’s near the beginning, way before the prophecy about the Messiah arriving and being killed before the destruction of the Second Temple, which actually occurred in 70 CE, about 40 years after Jesus died on the cross for you.

    I feel sheer delight of discovering how God engineered something in the universe. There’s much to be admired in biological design, and as any engineer knows, engineering always involves trade-offs. Ecosystems also need to be designed as anyone who’s ever tried to simulate one in software knows only too well.

    -Q

  41. 41
    rvb8 says:

    Ok sound,
    which religion produces this great benefit. I think we’ll stick with Cgristianity as I’m sure most posters here would say conversion to Islam cannot produce this result, although if you visited many Americans in prison they would say otherwise. BTW, there are millions of former religious people who are now atheists, who believe the love they show their wives and families is more pure now that they know it is not demanded on high.
    Then of course are all those examples of fine Evangelical leaders who are in prison after a cocaine, meth and alcohol induced hooker ?male and female) spree. Those then go to prison to reafirm their faith while remaining gay and not really understanding why; I believe this pernicious group deserve ther suffering through their denial.
    Your last example is simply weird, is this the group you are talking about?
    ‘there is no example that he is aware of of a former Christian leaving a life of crime upon dropping his beliefs.’
    I hope you see how complicated and just plain tortuous that language is. Firstly; there are Christian criminals? I thought that was an oxymoronic as a statement, you know, ‘I’m John the Chrisitian hitman.’ Unless of course, you say the Mafia is a Christian organization. They do act remarkably like the Catholic church in the fact that they have incredibly shady book keeping practices.

    One reason I didn’t address the post is the absurd belief you and yours cling to, that religion generally, but Christianity specifically is needed to fulfill a life. Nonsense.

  42. 42
    soundburger says:

    There is nothing ‘tortuous’ about the statement. OF COURSE there are, and have been Christians who have committed crimes. There are also, – in literature, such as ‘Crime and Punishment’ as well as nonfiction books such as ‘The Cross and the Switchblade’ – examples of people giving up criminality after converting to Christianity. As you point out, and I do not challenge, ‘The Autobiography of Malcom X’ is but one example of conversion to Islam altering a former criminal’s behavior.
    So, if you were to direct us to an atheist, such as on Youtube or a blog (there are scads of them, so it wouldn’t surprise me), who details how he was raised as a Christian, became an atheist and thereby stopped criminal behavior, I (and I am sure others ) would be very interested to see it. That is the challenge that Barry has laid out, simple enough to effectively respond to if you are able. Calling it ‘absurd’ just comes across as evasion.
    As for me, personally, I have no such conviction that religion generally or Christianity specifically are needed to fulfill a life. I do not see, nor feel I have any right to view, your life as unfulfilled. It may well be as fulfilled as mine; I would have no way of knowing in the first place, and would furthermore be quite happy for you if so.
    I would just like to see you argue better 😉

  43. 43
    hgp says:

    rvb @ 38
    Thanks for your clarification. Since English is my second language, I don’t always get figures of speech.

    Your answer leaves open more questions for me:

    We don’t know something, and it seems counter intuitive to assume nature, and nature’s natural laws could possibly have produced something as wonderful as the human brain, and yet we also know the alternative is absurd.

    The wonder of atheists is that we are greatful to nature that we exist at all.

    If I get you right, you say, that your gratitude and/or awe springs from the fact, that the world around you (and your brain in it) is much more complex than your worldview leads you to expect. Correct me, if I got that wrong.

    By “the (absurd) alternative” you presumably mean God as a creator, right?

    So this implies several questions: Why do you think a creator God is absurd?
    Is this for some a priori reasons?
    Or could you enumerate some facts, that lead to this conclusion?
    When you say “we know” this, are you talking about atheists or are you implying, that a creator God should be absurd for theists also? If yes, why?

  44. 44
    bornagain77 says:

    Absurdity, thy name is Atheistic Materialism!

    Dr. Craig finds that Metaphysical Naturalism is reducto ad absurdum on (at least) these eight following points: (Of note: Dr. Craig used Dr. Rosenburg’s own 8 conclusions about atheism, which Dr Rosenburg had reasoned out himself in his book “The Atheist’s Guide to Reality”, against him in the debate:

    1.) Argument from intentionality
    1. If naturalism is true, I cannot think about anything.
    2. I am thinking about naturalism.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    2.) The argument from meaning
    1. If naturalism is true, no sentence has any meaning.
    2. Premise (1) has meaning.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    3.) The argument from truth
    1. If naturalism is true, there are no true sentences.
    2. Premise (1) is true.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    4.) The argument from moral blame and praise
    1. If naturalism is true, I am not morally praiseworthy or blameworthy for any of my actions.
    2. I am morally praiseworthy or blameworthy for some of my actions.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    5.) Argument from freedom
    1. If naturalism is true, I do not do anything freely.
    2. I am free to agree or disagree with premise (1).
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    6.) The argument from purpose
    1. If naturalism is true, I do not plan to do anything.
    2. I (Dr. Craig) planned to come to tonight’s debate.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    7.) The argument from enduring
    1. If naturalism is true, I do not endure for two moments of time.
    2. I have been sitting here for more than a minute.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    8.) The argument from personal existence
    1. If naturalism is true, I do not exist.
    2. I do exist!
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    I strongly suggest watching Dr. Craig’s following presentation of the 8 points to get a full feel for just how absurdly insane the metaphysical naturalist’s (atheist’s) position actually is.

    Is Metaphysical Naturalism Viable? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzS_CQnmoLQ

    Moreover, in science itself, it is not as if Atheistic Materialism is right on some points and only misses the mark at the edges of science, it is the fact that Atheistic Materialism has been completely wrong on every major prediction is has made about what would be found by modern science.

    Theism compared to Materialism/Naturalism – a comparative overview of the major predictions of each philosophy – video
    https://youtu.be/QQ9iyCmPmz8

    Moreover, assuming Atheistic Materialism as true drives the entire enterprise of science into catastrophic epistemological failure.

    Darwinian evolution, and atheism/naturalism in general, are built entirely upon a framework of illusions and fantasy – August 2016
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q94y-QgZZGF0Q7HdcE-qdFcVGErhWxsVKP7GOmpKD6o/edit

    As far as modern science is concerned, atheistic materialism is worse than useless as to providing a firm foundation for the practice of science.

  45. 45
    ScuzzaMan says:

    Materialists, arguing that:

    A) Every living thing is a result of evolution working purposelessly but ceaselessly to produce and select the fittest variant

    B) The most numerous variant of humans, during all of recorded history, i.e. theists, are “wrong”.

    Oy vey.

  46. 46

    rvb8 said:

    BTW, there are millions of former religious people who are now atheists, who believe the love they show their wives and families is more pure now that they know it is not demanded on high.

    You do realize you’re just making stuff up now to support your narrative, right? Or, can you in any way support this claim?

    Then of course are all those examples of fine Evangelical leaders who are in prison after a cocaine, meth and alcohol induced hooker ?male and female) spree. Those then go to prison to reafirm their faith while remaining gay and not really understanding why; I believe this pernicious group deserve ther suffering through their denial.

    Why would you believe that anyone “deserves” anything, when what they do is entirely dictated by physics and chemistry? You are acting here as if we should expect them to act some other way than what physics and chemistry dictated.

    One reason I didn’t address the post is the absurd belief you and yours cling to, that religion generally, but Christianity specifically is needed to fulfill a life. Nonsense.

    How absurd is it to say that someone “clings to a belief” when all they can do wrt beliefs is exactly what you do – believe whatever chemistry and physics dictates in your delusion of self-hood?

    Are you ever going to write posts as if materialism and atheism are true? When are you going to stop implying that any of us have some supernatural way to control or change what chemistry and physics produces as our actions, thoughts and beliefs?

  47. 47

    rvb8 continues acting as if atheistic materialism is false:

    As to Barry above. I don’t give atheism ‘lip service’, my atheism only ever comes up on the web. Very rarely do Christians challenge it, and then they are usually angered by my, ‘I am an atheist because I am curious’, response. The angst and anger people detect in my posts is not there, psychologists call this ‘projection’.

    No, rvb8. In a materialist, atheistic world, you would be an atheist due to exactly the same kind of physical cause that made them Christians: chemistry and physics made you that way. Period.

    You see, under materialism/atheism, “reasons” are part of the delusion of self-determination. “Reasons” do not dictate the ongoing cause-and-effect sequences of chemistry and physics; rather, it is chemistry and physics that produce the illusion that a “reason” is why one believes a thing or does a thing. Under the A/M view, there is no reason “why”; there is only a physical how (cause).

    When are you going stop implying that we have some sort of supernatural capacity to change the cause and effect sequences of chemistry and physics in our brain and body? When are you going to start acting and writing as if atheistic materialism is actually true?

  48. 48
    john_a_designer says:

    I think rvb8 is a classic example of an incorrigible cynic. I don’t see there is any way that you can deal honestly with such a person except keep pointing out his (her?) cynicism. The question is what is behind the cynicism? Is it anger, arrogance or something else? Over the past couple years I have intentionally tried to avoid engaging interlocutors like rvb8. Their so-called arguments are not really arguments but unsubstantiated canards and complaints. The sole purpose appears to be like quicksand: to suck you in and suck you down to their level.

    BTW I think WJM is doing a very good job staying above the fray. if Rvb8 were an honest interlocutor he would try to engage WJM’s arguments.

  49. 49
    groovamos says:

    rvb8: I’m sorry groov. Are you actually suggesting that atheist nightmares are worse than religious people’s nightmares? They’re not! I should know I’ve been an atheist for thirty one years now, and apart from the usual swathe of ‘falling’ dreams, and dreams of being pursued and being too slow to escape, my nightmares are non-existant.

    And the truth is you have no idea why you are experienced with these types of dreams. As I said. Your “bright” rational mind is helpless here. Materialist science is worthless when it comes to the human mind, otherwise you would be cured.

    BTW one of the hallmarks of deep experiential work, with psychedelics or otherwise, is an uncovering of recurrent nightmares over a lifetime that are so awful that they are blocked from waking awareness. Again, materialistic science is useless here. The paradox is that when these nightmares are remembered because of a deep psychic probing, they recur so that they are remembered upon waking, and gradually disappear, concurrently a particular cluster of personality symptoms disappears.

    So I wouldn’t be so sure that you have a waking compendium of your sleeping travails

    I can give you a couple of these that I uncovered. One was of a one-floor hospital halfway buried below street level, with quite subdued eerie lighting and filled with torture instruments disguised as medical instruments. Further detail I’ll leave out, but I found that I had been having the dream for my entire life. And I had it a few more times, consciously remembering, as I connected it with my birth experience, until it dissipated along with some personal anxieties.

    Dude, materialist science is helpless in this endeavor. I’ll maybe relate another recurring one in another post.

    However a person as fixated on spiritualism

    Do you know the term “spiritualism” and to what it refers? Obviously not, it has nothing to do with yours truly. You might try becoming informed on the “terminology” you employ in your polemics

    (I looked up the ‘Integral Institute’;

    No thanks, ‘holons’ and ‘quadrants’? One crack-pottery at a time please.), as you are probably think the spirit is talking to us, it is not.
    The ‘research’ done there involvess spirits and the soul, as in, “The living totality of matter, body, mind,soul, and spirit.”

    Deal with it. Deal with the fact that their training there, supervised by Stan Grof and others, qualifies the trainees for conducting psychedelic therapy, as determined by the U.S. federal government. Really what you are dealing with is the historical spectacular failure of materialist science having anything to say on the human mind. You will have to deal with this for the remainder of your time as a materialist.

    Bloody hell, and you wonder why science doesn’t take you seriously?

    Now this is interesting, that “science” has a mind that can take someone seriously or not. Were you sober when writing that?

    Seriously, get used to reality here, because everyone else is: materialist science offers nothing in the thousands of years of searching by humanity for evolutionary progress. People like you think that to advance the person, one must become better at rationality. That’s it. It’s really quite remarkable. A joke, really.

  50. 50
    Vy says:

    j_a_d #17:

    I have tried many times on many different occasions to put myself in the shoes of the atheist interlocutors who frequent this any other sites. I must confess that I am baffled. If I were an honest atheist the last thing I would want to do is argue for an atheistic world view.

    True but you’re talking about individuals who believe in a self-contradictory religion (yup, Atheism).

    Every now and then though an honest puppet pops up:

    [To] all my Atheist friends.

    Let us stop sugar coating it. I know, it’s hard to come out and be blunt with the friendly Theists who frequent sites like this. However in your efforts to “play nice” and “be civil” you actually do them a great disservice.

    We are Atheists. We believe that the Universe is a great uncaused, random accident. All life in the Universe past and future are the results of random chance acting on itself. While we acknowledge concepts like morality, politeness, civility seem to exist, we know they do not. Our highly evolved brains imagine that these things have a cause or a use, and they have in the past, they’ve allowed life to continue on this planet for a short blip of time. But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination. They are fleeting electrical signals that fire across our synapses for a moment in time. They served some purpose in the past. They got us here. That’s it. All human achievement and plans for the future are the result of some ancient, evolved brain and accompanying chemical reactions that once served a survival purpose. Ex: I’ll marry and nurture children because my genes demand reproduction, I’ll create because creativity served a survival advantage to my ancient ape ancestors, I’ll build cities and laws because this allowed my ape grandfather time and peace to reproduce and protect his genes. My only directive is to obey my genes. Eat, sleep, reproduce, die. That is our bible.

    We deride the Theists for having created myths and holy books. We imagine ourselves superior. But we too imagine there are reasons to obey laws, be polite, protect the weak etc. Rubbish. We are nurturing a new religion, one where we imagine that such conventions have any basis in reality. Have they allowed life to exist? Absolutely. But who cares? Outside of my greedy little gene’s need to reproduce, there is nothing in my world that stops me from killing you and reproducing with your wife. Only the fear that I might be incarcerated and thus be deprived of the opportunity to do the same with the next guy’s wife stops me. Some of my Atheist friends have fooled themselves into acting like the general population. They live in suburban homes, drive Toyota Camrys, attend school plays. But underneath they know the truth. They are a bag of DNA whose only purpose is to make more of themselves. So be nice if you want. Be involved, have polite conversations, be a model citizen. Just be aware that while technically an Atheist, you are an inferior one. You’re just a little bit less evolved, that’s all. When you are ready to join me, let me know, I’ll be reproducing with your wife.

    I know it’s not PC to speak so bluntly about the ramifications of our beliefs, but in our discussions with Theists we sometimes tip toe around what we really know to be factual. Maybe it’s time we Atheists were a little more truthful and let the chips fall where they may. At least that’s what my genes are telling me to say.

    Preach!

  51. 51
    Vy says:

    We don’t know something, and it seems counter intuitive to assume nature, and nature’s natural laws could possibly have produced something as wonderful as the human brain, and yet we also know the alternative is absurd.

    So in essence the ruse that is “materialistic pseudoscience science” is just probablymaybecouldness-of-the-gaps because to say “the alternative” was involved…it makes “we” feel uncomfortable? :/

    And yet so many Atheopaths still have the audacity to claim this is a quote-mine:

    Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
    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 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, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that Miracles may happen.

    Apparently, “stuff happens” because probablymaybecouldnessdidit is not miraculous.

  52. 52
    Vy says:

    Try this; get out of your tiny hermetically sealed insular world …

    Lol! What a delusion.

    … and go to NASA to see pictures of the heavens that really do make my spine tingle and fill me with real awe. Not the manufactured awe of the Church, but real awe in the indescribable hugeness of the universe …

    Like this:


    Bag-o-chems X: OOOoooo, look at that! A spiral galaxy!

    Bag-o-chems Y: WOOooow, it’s jaw-droppingly beautiful! It fills me with real awe bu…buh…but it shouldn’t exist. It doesn’t fit with the BB.

    Bag-o-chems X: Say what? Don’t worry about that Y, the dark legion, gravity, probablymaybecouldness and stuff-happens did it. Don’t mind those faithful “spiritualists” and their Goddidit myths. We have SCIENCE!!!

    Bag-o-chems Y: Yeah! Keep staring …

    ?

    incredible wastefulness of any God that could create such vastness, for such as we.

    Awwww, inferiority complex much? 🙂

  53. 53
    Vy says:

    Leaving religion improves your sex life a lot.

    Sex and Secularism: What Happens When You Leave Religion? (2011) Darrel Ray, Ed.D. and Amanda Brown, IPCpress.com

    Shocka!!!

    The less religious a country is, the better off they are economically.

    See chart

    The less religious a country is, the higher the average IQ.

    See chart

    Lovely Wikipedia references. Really.

    In other news, Does religious beliefs affect economic growth? Evidence from provincial-level panel data in China [PDF]:

    Second, religion affects education, health and human capital accumulation. Becker and Woessmann (2009) argue that religion was important for economic success in the sense that without intention it resulted in an uneven accumulation of human capital. Protestant economies prospered because instruction in reading the Bible generated the human capital crucial to economic prosperity. Using county-level data from late-nineteenth-century Prussia, they found that Protestantism indeed led to higher economic prosperity, but also to better education. Some evidences about the relationship between education and religion have been found, including
    America (Chiswick, 1983; Steen, 2005), Canada (Tomes, 1985), British (Brown & Taylor, 2007; Sawkins, Seaman, & Williams, 1997) and Australia (Kortt & Dollery, 2012) etc. For example, Chiswick (1983) find that Jewish men had 16% higher earnings and a 20% higher rate of return on investment in schooling. Tomes (1985), using data from the 1971 Canadian Census, estimates the relationship between earnings and religious affiliation for white males aged between 25 and 64 years. He reports that Jews receive a 46% higher rate to schooling (compared to the weighted average of returns to schooling) and that Protestants received a 9% higher rate of return. Steen (2005) uses the data from National Longitudinal Survey Youth (NLYS) and observes that both men and women aged between 35 and 43 years who were raised as Catholics benefited from an earnings premium than their Protestant counterparts. Using individual level data from the British National Child Development Study (NCDS), Brown and Taylor (2007) support a positive association between education and church attendance, and they find that current participation in religious activities is positively associated with past religious behavior. Kortt and Dollery (2012) suggest that Catholic men benefit from a wage premium of 6.7% using the data from the Household Income Labor Dynamics Survey of Australia. Using national data from the Child Development Supplement Q. Wang, X. Lin / China Economic Review 31 (2014) 277–287 279to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, Chiswick and Mirtcheva (2013) reveal a generally positive and statistically significant association between religion and health, especially for the psychological health of children ages 12–15.

    5. Conclusions
    Religion, a complex objective existence, is a kind of informal institutional factor and a part of the social capital and cultural capital. No matter how we categorize it, it has a significant impact on the subjective and objective world. Religious factors help to solve the problems of model misspecification and endogenous problem. As Deneulin and Rakodi (2011) say, “religion needs to be brought back in to development research so that our understanding of challenging development issues can be improved.” The paper is a tentative research about the case of China with very limited data resources. According to the extended Cobb–Douglas production function, we estimate a panel model with time invariant variables. The results of GLS, Hausman Taylor, Amemiya MaCurdy, and fixed effect vector decomposition estimation show that religion has a significant positive influence on economic growth overall. This is consistent with most empirical studies. This means that religious beliefs and religious institutions can become a driving force in determining national economic results. Among the different religions, Christianity has the most significant effect on economic growth. This conclusion is consistent among different estimators and robust with stability over time. However, no consistent or robust conclusions can be drawn for other religions. Different estimation methods give different signs or significance. From the point of model specification, it is necessary to introduce religion into the models when we do the research and analysis of influence factors of economic growth. From the point of policy making, as McCleary said, the lesson of the research results isn’t that governments should boost religion, but that they should recognize it has some value, and avoid regulating it too heavily. The bigger application of research into religion isn’t to foster religious imperialism but to build a better-informed economics, and in the long run, better policy. There won’t be manna from heaven. But there might less poverty over time since it seems to take a long time for religious shifts to catalyze economies. And since religion is a very long-term historical factor of current development, the policy should focus on overcoming long term constraints.

    And you guys should really stop beating the “Atheists have higher IQs” horse. It’s dead.

    Oh never mind, it’s all you guys got. “Bow to us you faithful “spiritualist” peasants. Feel the awesomeness of our IQs!” 🙂

    The less religious a country is, the more egalitarian it tends to be with regard to income inequality.

    Christianity Today 2011

    Oh my! 😀

  54. 54
    Pindi says:

    HeKS,

    One thing I find interesting is that you care so deeply about this thing of understanding and accepting the logical consequences of materialism. Most of your posts reflect a deep frustration that materialists like me don’t get what you are saying. I’ve been wondering why that is. Why does it bother you so much that other people don’t accept your conclusions (and the conclusions of the atheist academics you reference). I find it interesting that you think the way you do about theism vs atheism, and the respective entailments, but I don’t care on an emotional level that we see things differently. I am not interested in trying to make you change your position or see things my way, I just enjoy discussing things. It doesn’t bother me that you think the way you do and so I have been wondering why you have such an emotional commitment to making me see it your way. That’s the first thing I want to say.

    Now, looking at your argument. I hear things like “clumps of matter can’t be about clumps of matter”. Or “atoms can’t think”. Or “bags of chemicals can’t have minds”. (I am paraphrasing, I don’t have the time to go back and look for exact quotes).

    Phrases like “clumps of matter” are used pejoratively, so let’s exchange “clumps of matter” with “human being”. “Human beings can’t think” doesn’t have quite the same ring does it.

    Now, as I understand it, the argument is that matter is made of atoms and atoms clearly don’t think or have feelings etc. But the reality is, matter is deeply mysterious. We have no idea about many fundamental aspects of it. Take hydrogen and oxygen atoms and make water. Where does the wateriness come from? There’s nothing watery about either hydrogen or oxygen. Is there an immaterial thing that provides wateriness to water, because its sure as hell not to be found in the atoms themselves? And why does the element of gold have goldiness? Why does adding protons to the nucleus of the next element down from it on the periodic table (if I remember my high school chemistry well enough) make that element go all goldy? All protons are the same right? There’s no goldiness in protons. So where does the goldiness come from when we add protons to the nucleus of the element below gold?

    All atoms are made of the same stuff. So why do the atoms that make up spaghetti bolognese taste so delicious? The atoms in spaghetti bolognese are made of the same stuff as the atoms in sulphuric acid (nucleus, protons, electrons) but they exhibit very different properties. Where do those properties come from? They are not in the protons, nuclei, and electrons. And there’s nothing else there.

    What I am getting at I guess is that you are engaging in the fallacy of composition.

    But, you will say, “thoughts, mind, intelligence etc are completely different things to goldiness and wetness. You are not comparing apples with apples”. Well, that’s just an assertion. That’s the hard problem of consciousness (as I understand it). Whether there is anything intrinsically different about consciousness and thoughts compared to any other properties that arise out of matter is one of the big unanswered questions. As I understand it, philosophers are divided on this. In fact, I believe that only a minority of philosophers adopt libertarian free will as the answer to the quandary.

    So I don’t see that the logical entailements of materialism are that I can’t think about the world, or that me and everyone else are absurd. I think that “matter” can think, just like it can be wet. I don’t know how. It’s an open question. Maybe we will never know. But I just don’t see how adding an immaterial soul helps. It just puts off the problem, because we are still left with the problem of, ok, if matter can’t think, how can an immaterial soul think?

    Ps, (and this is not to you) jeers, taunts and insults, won’t be read by me, so don’t bother.

  55. 55
    HeKS says:

    Pindi @54

    One thing I find interesting is that you care so deeply about this thing of understanding and accepting the logical consequences of materialism. Most of your posts reflect a deep frustration that materialists like me don’t get what you are saying. I’ve been wondering why that is. Why does it bother you so much that other people don’t accept your conclusions (and the conclusions of the atheist academics you reference). I find it interesting that you think the way you do about theism vs atheism, and the respective entailments, but I don’t care on an emotional level that we see things differently. I am not interested in trying to make you change your position or see things my way, I just enjoy discussing things. It doesn’t bother me that you think the way you do and so I have been wondering why you have such an emotional commitment to making me see it your way. That’s the first thing I want to say.

    Pindi, on the whole you have deeply misunderstood me. Of the statements I’ve bolded in the above quote, only the first even approaches something resembling truth, in that it is, indeed, frustrating to spend your time trying to clearly explain ideas to people only to have them seemingly completely misunderstand what you’ve said. One doesn’t typically enjoy wasting large amounts of one’s time. If the person I’m writing to is not going to bother reading me carefully, what is the point of writing to them in the first place?

    The other two bolded statements that attribute to me some kind of emotional investment in having you (or anybody else) agree with my conclusions literally couldn’t be any further from the truth. What you happen to conclude does not make me feel one way or another, and I certainly don’t care if you agree with me. But like I said above, it does get rather annoying if someone decides to “disagree” by either responding to things you never said or pretending they have answered problems that they have utterly failed to address. I care to try to help people make informed and rational decisions on this issue because I think it is an important one and I think truth matters, and hence the reason I keep writing and trying to make sure that the issues are clear (even if I expect it is only the 3rd-party observers who may truly benefit), but I don’t have any kind of emotional investment in the matter. In fact, there’s an irony in you attributing this kind of emotionalism to me that you simply couldn’t appreciate unless you knew me in real life. Anyone who knows me and heard that said about me would laugh, because people tend to joke that I’m a robot and call me ‘dead inside’ because I simply don’t respond to things emotionally (even when I probably should). The only thing that tends to ever get a rise out of me is people using bad arguments … even if those arguments are offered in support of a conclusion I agree with … and even then it’s a matter of intellectual indignation rather some kind of emotive response.

    The thing about reading someone’s words rather than hearing them is that you supply your own voice. I suspect when you read my posts you are reading them in a voice that is very different from the one I “speak” with when I’m writing them.

    I’ll try to get around to responding to the rest of your comments later tonight.

    Take care,
    HeKS

  56. 56
    Pindi says:

    HeKS, I apologise for attributing feelings to you that you don’t have.

  57. 57
    HeKS says:

    Pindi,

    I just realized you should have already known everything I just said about myself above. After all, I pointed you right to a post where I said virtually the same thing to someone who claimed that religious people believe in God because of an emotional need.

    For some reason, atheists very often seem to feel the need to attribute theistic belief to emotion because they can’t seem to cope with the notion of people believing in God simply because they find it to be logically necessary. For some reason they can’t seem to allow themselves to accept that people who are utterly unmoved and unmotivated by emotional considerations (like myself) are theists for intellectual reasons and reject atheism because they find it to be rationally unsupportable and lacking in any compelling positive arguments.

    That atheists seem to want to attribute belief in God to emotionalism is really rather ironic, since the most widely cited argument in favor of atheism (variations on the Problem of Evil) relies entirely on emotionalism for it’s rhetorical force, because it has no logical force whatsoever.

  58. 58
    HeKS says:

    Pindi,

    HeKS, I apologise for attributing feelings to you that you don’t have.

    Apology accepted.

    Also, I realize you may not have had a chance to read the other posts I linked to, so don’t read too much personally in my post at #57. Take it more as a general observation on my part.

    Take care,
    HeKS

  59. 59
    Origenes says:

    Pindi @54,

    Pindi: Now, looking at your argument. I hear things like “clumps of matter can’t be about clumps of matter”. …
    Phrases like “clumps of matter” are used pejoratively, so let’s exchange “clumps of matter” with “human being”. “Human beings can’t think” doesn’t have quite the same ring does it.

    How about “the neurons in your brain”? Does that help?

    There is nothing in the whole universe—including, of course, all the neurons in your brain—that just by its nature or composition can do this job of being about some other clump of matter.
    [Rosenberg]

    Pindi: Now, as I understand it, the argument is that matter is made of atoms and atoms clearly don’t think or have feelings etc. But the reality is, matter is deeply mysterious.

    Sure, but not to the extent that we must leave open the possibility that atoms are conscious beings who think.

    Pindi: We have no idea about many fundamental aspects of it. Take hydrogen and oxygen atoms and make water. Where does the wateriness come from?

    Simply the effect of water molecules interacting in a certain way.

    Pindi: There’s nothing watery about either hydrogen or oxygen.

    You have been misinformed. Have you never heard of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen? Also here, simply moleculse interacting.

    Pindi: What I am getting at I guess is that you are engaging in the fallacy of composition.
    But, you will say, “thoughts, mind, intelligence etc are completely different things to goldiness and wetness. You are not comparing apples with apples”. Well, that’s just an assertion. That’s the hard problem of consciousness (as I understand it). Whether there is anything intrinsically different about consciousness and thoughts compared to any other properties that arise out of matter is one of the big unanswered questions. As I understand it, philosophers are divided on this.

    As I understand it, philosophers generally accept the distinction between objective and subjective. Physical properties, such as wetness, are objective in the sense that anyone has access to them. Mental properties, such as thoughts, pain and awareness, are subjective in the sense that they are only available to a person. Searle prefers the terms ‘third-person ontology’ and ‘first-person ontology’.

    Pindi: In fact, I believe that only a minority of philosophers adopt libertarian free will as the answer to the quandary.

    Free will has little to do with the distinction objective subjective.

    Pindi: So I don’t see that the logical entailements of materialism are that I can’t think about the world, or that me and everyone else are absurd. I think that “matter” can think, just like it can be wet.

    Water can be wet, so matter can think. Is that your argument?

    Pindi: I don’t know how. It’s an open question. Maybe we will never know.

    You have not even begun to make your case. What you have to address is that physical stuff acts according to physical laws. Physical stuff does not concern itself with meaning, context, overview, logic and so forth. Wetness and goldiness has little to do with that.
    Moreover, things are caused bottom-up according to materialism. Causation stems from (utterly blind, unaware, unthinking) fermions and bosons to higher levels.
    So, there is actually no reason whatsoever to think that matter can think.

  60. 60
    Pindi says:

    Origines, the case you have to make is that consciousness and thinking are not caused by, or a property of, physical stuff acting according to physical laws. You haven’t made that case, you’ve just asserted it.

    Regarding your last sentence, there is every reason to think that matter can think. Human beings are matter. Human beings can think.

    It’s you who has the onus to make the case that there is something more beyond what we observe.

  61. 61
    Vy says:

    You haven’t made that case, you’ve just asserted it.

    Look in the mirror.

    Regarding your last sentence, there is every reason to think that matter can think. Human beings are matter. Human beings can think.

    OK.
    When was the last time you had a conversation with the grains of sand at a beach? Do you think they think that being stepped on is hurtful?

  62. 62
    Querius says:

    Hi Pindi,

    Origines, the case you have to make is that consciousness and thinking are not caused by, or a property of, physical stuff acting according to physical laws. You haven’t made that case, you’ve just asserted it.

    Physics is the most heavily tested and verified of the sciences and Quantum Mechanics is the most heavily tested and verified area of Physics.

    According to QM, matter and energy as you’re describing don’t actually exist. According to QM, what exists is observation and the collapse of probability waves (termed Phi). They are the result of or involve information.

    For example, did you know about as long as you continuously observe an unstable particle such as a radioisotope, it will never decay? This is called the Quantum Zeno Effect and it has been experimentally demonstrated several times in the past 25 years. You can read about it here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_Zeno_effect#Experiments_and_discussion

    Do you believe that this is true?

    -Q

  63. 63
    rvb8 says:

    Hmmm, the ‘adding a proton’ alters the characteristics of the material, is a damn good argument for materialism, don’t you think?

    I never thought about that, and I am certain Pindi is honest enough (being an atheist, and having no God to satisfy), to admit s/he is not the first to think about this.

    Look at the Periodic Table! Why does the change in atomic number or weight, change an elements’s fundamental properties from something conducive to life, to something trajic to life?

    Good question. What do the faithful believe God was thinking with such arbitrariness? Surely, all the really heavy stuff kills, and all the light stuff is good, but then how do you explain Lithium (3) etc?

  64. 64
    Pindi says:

    Vy, that is the fallacy of composition.

  65. 65
    Pindi says:

    Querius, yes, as I said, matter is deeply mysterious.

  66. 66
    bornagain77 says:

    The periodic table, far from being haphazard, also gives compelling evidence for intelligent design.

    Michael Denton’s Privileged Species Premieres in Seattle to a Packed House – November 14, 2014
    Excerpt: If life exists elsewhere (in the universe), its home would remind us of Earth and the aliens would reminds us of ourselves. The periodic table, so wonderfully concise, is a recipe for us. Oh, and for our way of life too. While focusing on the unique properties of water, carbon, and oxygen, Denton shows that the chemical elements appear beautifully structured to allow the development of technology, from our use of fire to the rise of computers.
    He emphasizes that this “stunning series of coincidences” is not a matter of scientific controversy, and in fact represents the great scientific discovery of the past century. It’s a matter of fact, not interpretation.
    Denton observed that properties of nature uniquely fit for life continue to be discovered regularly and he offered the prediction that in the upcoming century scientists will uncover more and more.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91241.html

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    Summary (page 11)
    Many of the properties of the key members of Henderson’s vital ensemble —water, oxygen, CO2, HCO3 —are in several instances fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves. These include the thermal properties of water, its low viscosity, the gaseous nature of oxygen and CO2 at ambient temperatures, the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, and the bicarbonate buffer, with its anomalous pKa value and the elegant means of acid-base regulation it provides for air-breathing organisms. Some of their properties are irrelevant to other classes of organisms or even maladaptive.
    It is very hard to believe there could be a similar suite of fitness for advanced carbon-based life forms. If carbon-based life is all there is, as seems likely, then the design of any active complex terrestrial being would have to closely resemble our own. Indeed the suite of properties of water, oxygen, and CO2 together impose such severe constraints on the design and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems that their design, even down to the details of capillary and alveolar structure can be inferred from first principles. For complex beings of high metabolic rate, the designs actualized in complex Terran forms are all that can be. There are no alternative physiological designs in the domain of carbon-based life that can achieve the high metabolic activity manifest in man and other higher organisms.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.1

    Privileged Species – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoI2ms5UHWg

    Dr. Michael Denton Interview
    Excerpt Question 14: 14. Q: ,,,you also detail that nature isn’t fine-tuned for just any kind of life, but life specifically like human life. Would you expound on this for our readers?
    A: there are certain elements of the fine-tuning which are clearly for advanced being like ourselves.
    We are warm-blooded, terrestrial aerobes; we use oxidation to get energy, we’re warm-blooded and we breathe air. We get our oxygen from the air. First of all, a warm-blooded organism needs to maintain a constant temperature. To do that we are massively assisted by the high specific heat of water, which buffers our body against rapid changes in temperature. In getting rid of excess heat, we utilize the evaporative cooling of water. That’s why dog’s pant, we sweat, etc. Warm-blooded organisms have to get rid of excess heat, and the evaporative cooling of water is the only way you’ve really got to get rid of heat when the temperature reaches close to body temperature. When it’s hot you can’t radiate off body heat to the environment.
    These critical thermal properties are obviously of great utility to air breathing, warm-blooded organisms like our self. But what relevance do they have to an extremophile living in the deep ocean, or a cold-blooded fish living in the sea? It’s obvious that these are elements of fitness in nature which seem to be of great and specific utility to beings like us, and very little utility to a lot of other organisms. Of course it is the case that they are playing a role in maintaining the constancy of global climate, the physical and chemical constancy of the hydrosphere and so forth. No doubt the evaporative cooling of water plays a big role in climatic amelioration; it transfers heat from the tropics to the higher latitudes and this is of utility for all life on earth. But definitely water’s thermal properties seem particularly fit for advanced organisms of biology close to our own.
    And even the freezing of water from the top down rather than the bottom up, which conserves large bodies of fresh water on the earth, is again relevant to large organisms. Bacterial cells can withstand quite well periodically freezing. And for unicellular organisms living in the hot sub surface rocks its pretty well irrelevant. In other words the top down freezing and the consequent preservation of liquid water is of much more utility for a large organism, but of far less relevance for microbial life.
    Or consider the generation and utilization of oxygen. We use oxygen, but many organisms don’t use oxygen; for a lot of organisms it’s a poison. So how do we get our oxygen? When we look at the conditions in the universe for photosynthesis, we find a magical collusion between of all sorts of different elements of fitness. First of all the atmospheric gases let through visual light which has got the right energy for biochemistry, for photosynthesis. And what are the gases in the atmosphere that let through the light? Well, carbon dioxide, water vapor, oxygen, and nitrogen. And what are the basic reactants which are involved in photosynthesis? Well, oxygen, water, and CO2. The same compounds that let through the light are also the main ‘players’ in photosynthesis.
    And then you might wonder what about the harmful radiations? UV, Gamma rays, microwaves? Well to begin with the sun only puts out most of its electromagnetic radian energy in the visual region (light) and near infrared (heat) and puts out very little in the dangerous regions (UV’s, gamma rays, X-rays etc.). And wonder on wonder, the atmospheric gases absorb all these harmful radiations. And so on and on and on, one anthropocentric biofriendly coincidence after another. And what provides the necessary warmth for photosynthesis, indeed for all life on earth. What keeps the average temperature of the earth above freezing? Well water vapor and carbon dioxide. If it wasn’t for water vapor and CO2 in the atmosphere the temperature of the earth would be -33 centigrade.
    Now when you consider all these factors necessary for the generation of oxygen via photosynthesis knowing that not all organisms use oxygen implying that all these coincidences are irrelevant to the vast majority of all species (most of the biomass on the planet may well be anaerobic unicellular life occupying the hot deep biosphere in the sub surface rocks) never use oxygen, its clear that the special fitness of nature for oxygen utilization is for us.
    http://successfulstudent.org/d.....interview/

    “Dr. Michael Denton on Evidence of Fine-Tuning in the Universe” (Remarkable balance of various key elements for life) – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_59-07_00

    Moreover, every class of elements that exists on the periodic table of elements is necessary for complex carbon-based life to exist on earth. The three most abundant elements in the human body, Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen, ‘just so happen’ to be the most abundant elements in the universe, save for helium which is inert. A truly amazing coincidence that strongly implies ‘the universe had us in mind all along’. Even uranium the last naturally occurring ‘stable’ element on the period table of elements is necessary for life. The heat generated by the decay of uranium is necessary to keep a molten core in the earth for an extended period of time, which is necessary for the magnetic field surrounding the earth, which in turn protects organic life from the harmful charged particles of the sun. As well, uranium decay provides the heat for tectonic activity and the turnover of the earth’s crustal rocks, which is necessary to keep a proper mixture of minerals and nutrients available on the surface of the earth, which is necessary for long term life on earth. (Denton; Nature’s Destiny).

    “Without Plate Tectonics Life on Earth Might Never Have Gained a Foothold” – May 7, 2014
    Excerpt: Plate tectonics -the movement of huge chunks, or plates, of a planet’s surface- are crucial to a planet’s habitability because they enable complex chemistry and recycle substances like carbon dioxide, which acts as a thermostat and keeps Earth balmy. Carbon dioxide that was locked into rocks is released when those rocks melt, returning to the atmosphere from volcanoes and oceanic ridges. “Recycling is important even on a planetary scale,”
    http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_.....nter-.html

    Plate tectonics is much rarer than was previously thought:

    We may be overlooking a critical factor in our quest to find alien life – August 2016
    Excerpt: Many scientists assume that plate tectonics is a given on rocky, Earth-like worlds, but this may be rarer than anyone imagined.
    A new study in the journal Science Advances questions the idea that rocky worlds “self regulate” their heat after forming.
    The implications could be enormous, says study author Jun Korenaga, a geophysicist at Yale University. Essentially, we could be overlooking another “Goldilocks” factor in our searches for worlds habitable to aliens: a planet’s initial temperature.
    If you’re a planet and you start out too hot, the thick layer of rock below the crust called the mantle doesn’t give you plate tectonics. If you’re too cold, you also don’t get plate tectonics. The mantle is not as forgiving as scientists once assumed: you have to have the right internal temperature to begin with.
    “Though it’s difficult to be specific about how much, it surely does reduce the number of habitable worlds,” Korenaga wrote in an email to Business Insider. “Most … Earth-like planets (in terms of size) probably wouldn’t evolve like Earth and wouldn’t have an Earth-like atmosphere.”
    That would mean that many planets in the “Goldilocks” zone may not be habitable after all.,,,
    ,,, Mars and Venus weren’t so lucky. Those planets have a “stagnant lid” of relatively unbroken crust, and in Venus’ case, the consequences are clear: Without the ability to bury carbon in the atmosphere, the surface turned into an 860-degree-Fahrenheit hell.
    The new models suggest that rocky planets which can regulate their temperature, and thus develop all the geologic support systems life needs to emerge and thrive, are much rarer than we might hope.,,,
    he wrote. “[A] planet like Earth could well be the one of a kind in the universe.”
    http://www.businessinsider.com.....eat-2016-8

    The Role of Elements in Life Processes – Periodic Table – Interactive web page for each element
    http://www.mii.org/periodic/MiiPeriodicChart.htm

    Quotes:

    The vastness, beauty, orderliness, of the heavenly bodies, the excellent structure of animals and plants; and the other phenomena of nature justly induce an intelligent and unprejudiced observer to conclude a supremely powerful, just, and good author.
    — Robert Boyle (1627 – 1691), father of experimental chemistry

    Peering Into the Unseen—What Is Revealed?
    Excerpt: Mendeleyev left blank spaces (on the Periodic Table) for 16 new elements. When asked for proof for his predictions, he replied: “I have no need of proof. The laws of nature, unlike the laws of grammar, admit of no exception.” He added: “I suppose when my unknown elements are found, more people will pay us attention.”
    That is exactly what occurred!
    Clearly, as research chemist Elmer W. Maurer noted, “this beautiful arrangement (of the Periodic Table) is hardly a matter of chance.” Of the possibility that the harmonious order of the elements is a matter of chance, professor of chemistry John Cleveland Cothran observed: “The post-prediction discovery of all of the elements whose existence [Mendeleyev] predicted, and their possession of almost exactly the properties he predicted for them, effectively removed any such possibility. His great generalization is never called ‘The Periodic Chance.’ Instead, it is ‘The Periodic Law.’”
    http://m.wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102000602

  67. 67
    Vy says:

    Vy, that is the fallacy of composition.

    From your post:

    Regarding your last sentence, there is every reason to think that matter can think. Human beings are matter. Human beings can think.

    – Matter can think
    – Sand is matter
    – Therefore sand can think

    It’s your argument. Now, when was the last time you had a conversation with the grains of sand at a beach? Do you think they think that being stepped on is hurtful?

  68. 68
    Pindi says:

    Hi Vy,

    matter can taste like chocolate
    dog shit is matter
    Therefore dog shit tastes like chocolate

  69. 69

    Hello Pindi,

    The only reason you exist at all is because of contingent organization, (i.e. not the dynamic properties of matter). The interactions of matter are dependent on the exchange, and rates of exchange, of energy. They are indeed rate-dependent, as described by the generalizations of physical law.

    However, what is causing the organization inside the cell is dependent on a set of coordinated physical constraints. These are what physicists describe as “non-integrable” constraints. In other words, such systems require two complimentary descriptions; one for the physical operation of the system and another for the selection of these non-integrable constraints. How these constraints came to be selected and coordinated is the great mystery, but they had to come into being in order for the system to complete its primeval function (i.e. open-ended self-replication), and the selection of these non-integrable constraints had to be formalized in the arrangement of rate-independent physical memory. This is the “threshold of complexity” (Turing, von Neumann, Crick, Pattee, Polanyi, etc) required to begin the life-cycle of the cell. And all of this is required prior to onset of Darwinian natural selection. Without these things, life would simply not exist.

    I am telling you this because the commenters on this site already see that you don’t have a particularly firm grasp of the philosophical faults of your position, and with several of the comments you make, you demonstrate that you have less than a full grasp of the empirical faults as well.

    You believe the dynamic properties of matter can get you to a point where you can perceive the world around you and make judgements from where you came. But the dynamic properties of matter do nothing of the sort. Instead, you have the products of a rate-independent memory being determined by a set of non-integrable constraints — and Life on this planet depends on the successful cross-coordination of both of these things prior to the existence of the first living cell. In short, you are not the product of physico-dynamics; but the product of a specific type of contingent (and very well understood) organization — one that was presented in theory and confirmed by experiment. This is not a misunderstanding fronted by mystics, Pindi, it’s the result of decades of specific scientific research.

    And in case you are not already aware, the system described above is uniquely identifiable among all other physical systems known to science. Other than being found inside the cell, it can be identified in only one other place in the cosmos, and that place is in recorded language and mathematics — two universal correlates of intelligence. Hence, the empirical inference to design.

  70. 70
    HeKS says:

    Pindi @54,

    I only have time for a few quick comments right now:

    Now, looking at your argument. I hear things like “clumps of matter can’t be about clumps of matter”. Or “atoms can’t think”. Or “bags of chemicals can’t have minds”. (I am paraphrasing, I don’t have the time to go back and look for exact quotes).

    Of those three, I only recall making a statement similar to the first, which is that one clump of matter cannot be about another clump of matter. I don’t believe I said (or would say) either of the other two. The second is true but not especially relevant. The third is too imprecise and susceptible to equivocation to be useful, and I wouldn’t really even say it’s true that a ‘bag of chemicals’ can’t have (i.e. possess) a mind. It would be more appropriate to say that a bag of chemicals can’t be a mind … but even this will depend on what we mean by ‘mind’.

    Phrases like “clumps of matter” are used pejoratively, so let’s exchange “clumps of matter” with “human being”. “Human beings can’t think” doesn’t have quite the same ring does it.

    I’m not sure why you think “clump of matter” is being used pejoratively. It is being used descriptively so as to avoid attempts to skirt the issue by employing terms that are understood differently by different people. Do you think ardent atheist Alex Rosenberg is using “clump of matter” pejoratively in order to make atheistic materialism seem distasteful?

    In any case, you are really mischaracterizing the argument when you translate it to the claim that atheistic materialism means “Human beings can’t think”. I certainly didn’t make that claim. Left like that the claim is really useless. After all, what does it mean to “think”? If “thinking” is merely defined as some mechanical function whereby chemical reactions in the brain are triggered by stimuli in the environment which produce something we call ‘thoughts’ as a by-product and these ‘thoughts’ cause our bodies to move in certain ways then I don’t see any reason why, on atheistic materialism, that couldn’t happen in the human brain (allowing for the sake of argument that getting to the human brain is feasible on A/M). That an atom on its own can’t have this mechanical function called “thinking” is really irrelevant, as complex systems made from atoms can carry out all kinds of mechanical functions that individual atoms cannot.

    The actual problem here is not how some sufficient number of atoms, when properly arranged, can fulfill some mechanical function that single atoms cannot, but about how any arrangement of atoms to any degree of complexity could be about some other arrangement of atoms, or about abstract concepts. Nothing that we know about matter or physics or chemistry lends any support at all to the notion that this could be possible, even in principle. I’m not aware of any chemists who go around saying that it is simply inexplicable how water could result from the bonding of hydrogen and oxygen atoms, but nobody has the slightest clue how one clump of matter could be about another clump of of matter regardless of how it is arranged. We have no experience with this phenomena at all. Nothing that we see or make is inherently about anything else except within the confines of our own minds. Were all conscious observers to suddenly disappear from existence and all of our inanimate products and constructions were to be left behind, nothing on this planet would be about anything else. There would likely still be machines that would run on for a while carrying out mechanical functions, but nothing would be about anything.

    If you grasp the depth of this problem and why it seems completely unsolvable in principle then I don’t need to say anything further, and you will understand why people like Alex Rosenberg have spoken at length about this issue and stated in no uncertain terms that aboutness is impossible on atheistic materialism and that it is therefore impossible for humans to have thoughts about anything in spite of the fact that he himself is an atheist materialist. If you don’t see why the problem is so intractable then I’d be happy to explain a little further when I have a bit more time (this already went quite a bit longer than I intended).

    Take care,
    HeKS

  71. 71
    Pindi says:

    Hi HeKS,

    I agree with this sentence:

    “That an atom on its own can’t have this mechanical function called “thinking” is really irrelevant, as complex systems made from atoms can carry out all kinds of mechanical functions that individual atoms cannot”.

    And I wouldn’t totally discount the description of “thinking” you give in that paragraph. Certainly, those experiments that show people taking actions before they have consciously decided to suggest our intuitive notions of thinking and consciousness may not be correct.

    I don’t know much about “aboutness” (that’s intentionality right?) so will do a bit of reading before responding further.

    cheers

  72. 72
    soundburger says:

    #54, Pindi writes

    “But I just don’t see how adding an immaterial soul helps.”

    Actually, it can ‘help’ more than insisting stubbornly upon materialism.
    Imagine a group of figures in a Seurat painting. Seurat was a pointilist, so all of his people, and everything else depicted, is constructed as small dots of color. Using only a few colors, but layering and varying amounts, Seurat was able to achieve many varieties of tones, shades, hues, etc.
    If these figures were to look only at themselves, they might insist that small dots of color is all that there is. They would assume that outside the painting as well, if such a world were to exist, it would also necessarily be made up of small dots of color. They would be fixated on small dots of color as the answer to everything! It’s all we are! Small dots of color that just happened to configure us into shapes of people!
    If one of them were to suggest that they must be more than just that, and further they must have come about through a plan of some kind, and that whatever created them must have had abilities (foremost of which would be the ability to move a paintbrush through space) that they couldn’t fully comprehend, that figure would be right, not ‘deluded’ or ‘superstitious’.
    That is essentially what it feels like to argue with materialists who refuse to take seriously the possibility that they could be wrong about their devotion to pure materialism as an explanation for everything, to be that figure in the painting. He is right, but because he can’t produce a full accounting of Seurat, his ideas are not merely rejected, but derided and scoffed at.

  73. 73
    Pindi says:

    Soundburger, it’s funny because I feel the same way. That is, I feel like I’m the one who is open to possibilities but is constantly derided.

    To use your analogy, I don’t think describing humans as atoms or lumps of matter gets close to what we really are, which are complex evolved animals with a staggeringly complex brain. I just don’t think there’s a Seurat out there who created us.

  74. 74
    soundburger says:

    Pindi, fair enough. But why do you think it is unreasonable to believe that there IS a ‘Seurat’ out there, particularly given the fact that so many of your human brothers and sisters throughout history have had very powerful experiences and insights that have convinced them ‘he’ is there?
    Would you say Rumi’s profound poetry is mere delusional thinking? Or some of the psalms or certain portions of the Bhagavad Gita?

    All of that should be discounted as just the human brain playing tricks on itself?

  75. 75
    Querius says:

    Pindi,

    Querius, yes, as I said, matter is deeply mysterious.

    But matter can’t be mysterious. Why not?

    Because matter doesn’t actually exist apart from someone or something observing a probability wave, which causes it to collapse.

    The fundamental nature of existence is not atoms. It’s observation and probability waves, all of which involves information and none of which is material!

    This has been verified by scientists.

    So if everything is actually the result of the act of observation and probability waves (actually, the wave function, Phi, if you want to look it up), who caused the stars to exist by observing them before humans came on the scene?

    Was it Seurat? Or was it something else?

    -Q

  76. 76
    steveO says:

    UP

    “In short, you are not the product of physico-dynamics; but the product of a specific type of contingent (and very well understood) organization — one that was presented in theory and confirmed by experiment. This is not a misunderstanding fronted by mystics, Pindi, it’s the result of decades of specific scientific research.”

    I don’t mean to nitpick but would you agree to one minor change:

    “”In short, you are not the product of physico-dynamics alone: but …… ”

    Just like my friend producing a high quality craft beer. The beer is the result of physico dynamical processes under the control and within the parameters of a specification.

    The intelligent specification is of course the key but the beer is also the product of physico-dynamical processes.

    Again a minor change but I try to parse your posts carefully to be sure my understanding is correct.

    Cheers
    Steve

  77. 77
    Origenes says:

    Pindi @60,

    Pindi: Origines, the case you have to make is that consciousness and thinking are not caused by, or a property of, physical stuff acting according to physical laws. You haven’t made that case, you’ve just asserted it.

    I have provided several arguments. For instance:

    1. Physical stuff acts according to physical laws and does not concern itself with meaning, intention, morality, logical laws, context and oversight.
    2. Thinking is based on meaning, intention, morality, logical laws, context and oversight.

    Therefore

    3. Physical stuff does not think.

    Pindi: Regarding your last sentence, there is every reason to think that matter can think. Human beings are matter. Human beings can think.

    In the context of this discussion, “human beings are matter” is what you have to argue — not what you are allowed to assume.

    Pindi: It’s you who has the onus to make the case that there is something more beyond what we observe.

    I did just that. It’s on you to provide us with any reason to believe that matter thinks. I have countered each of your arguments in post #59.

    //edit: it is not the case that one doesn’t observe mental phenomena. However they (consciousness, thoughts, feelings and so forth) often lack “third-person ontology” (see #59).
    To be clear: it doesn’t make sense, as Pindi does, to conflate “what we observe” with observations of the external world, since internal observation is foundational.

  78. 78
    Vy says:

    Hi Vy,

    matter can taste like chocolate
    dog shit is matter
    Therefore dog shit tastes like chocolate

    You said it 😉 Glad to see you acknowledge the absurdity of your argument.

    Do you have anything against sand thinking?

  79. 79
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    Seurat was a pointilist, so all of his people, and everything else depicted, is constructed as small dots of color. Using only a few colors, but layering and varying amounts, Seurat was able to achieve many varieties of tones, shades, hues, etc.,,,

    i.e. Materialism can’t do context! Pastor Joe Boot puts the insurmountable problem of ‘context’, in regards to any materialistic explanations, like this:

    “If you have no God, then you have no design plan for the universe. You have no preexisting structure to the universe.,, As the ancient Greeks held, like Democritus and others, the universe is flux. It’s just matter in motion. Now on that basis all you are confronted with is innumerable brute facts that are unrelated pieces of data. They have no meaningful connection to each other because there is no overall structure. There’s no design plan. It’s like my kids do ‘join the dots’ puzzles. It’s just dots, but when you join the dots there is a structure, and a picture emerges. Well, the atheists is without that (final picture). There is no pre-established pattern (to connect the facts given atheism).”
    Pastor Joe Boot – 13:20 minute mark of the following video
    Defending the Christian Faith – Pastor Joe Boot – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqE5_ZOAnKo

    The insurmountable problem of ‘context’ shows up very early in materialistic explanations. Materialistic inflationary models try to account for the “flatness problem” and the “horizon problem”:

    Inflation theory was proposed to solve two fine-tuning problems of the initial conditions of the early universe known as the “flatness problem”[1] and the “horizon problem”[2].
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizon_problem

    The Cosmic Background Radiation
    Excerpt: These fluctuations are extremely small, representing deviations from the average of only about 1/100,000 of the average temperature of the observed background radiation. The highly isotropic nature of the cosmic background radiation indicates that the early stages of the Universe were almost completely uniform. This raises two problems for (a naturalistic understanding of) the big bang theory.
    First, when we look at the microwave background coming from widely separated parts of the sky it can be shown that these regions are too separated to have been able to communicate with each other even with signals traveling at light velocity. Thus, how did they know to have almost exactly the same temperature? This general problem is called the horizon problem.
    Second, the present Universe is homogenous and isotropic, but only on very large scales. For scales the size of superclusters and smaller the luminous matter in the universe is quite lumpy, as illustrated in the following figure. ,,, Thus, the discovery of small deviations from smoothness (anisotopies) in the cosmic microwave background is welcome, for it provides at least the possibility for the seeds around which structure formed in the later Universe. However, as we shall see, we are still far from a quantitative understanding of how this came to be.
    http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/ast.....y/cbr.html

    As hinted at in the previous paper, materialistic inflationary models have failed, spectacularly, to give an account for the ‘context’ of why the entire universe is flat and homogenous:

    Cosmic inflation is dead, long live cosmic inflation – 25 September 2014
    Excerpt: (Inflation) theory, the most widely held of cosmological ideas about the growth of our universe after the big bang, explains a number of mysteries, including why the universe is surprisingly flat and so smoothly distributed, or homogeneous.,,,
    Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University, who helped develop inflationary theory but is now scathing of it, says this is potentially a blow for the theory, but that it pales in significance with inflation’s other problems.
    Meet the multiverse
    Steinhardt says the idea that inflationary theory produces any observable predictions at all – even those potentially tested by BICEP2 – is based on a simplification of the theory that simply does not hold true.
    “The deeper problem is that once inflation starts, it doesn’t end the way these simplistic calculations suggest,” he says. “Instead, due to quantum physics it leads to a multiverse where the universe breaks up into an infinite number of patches. The patches explore all conceivable properties as you go from patch to patch. So that means it doesn’t make any sense to say what inflation predicts, except to say it predicts everything. If it’s physically possible, then it happens in the multiverse someplace
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....CajrGl0y00

    That materialistic mathematical models such as inflation, that eschew God, should fail so spectacularly as to providing the proper ‘context’ for why the entire universe would be flat and homogenous should not be that surprising. Godel, who proved that mathematics was incomplete, stated the ‘missing ingredient’ of materialistic explanations as such:

    “In materialism all elements behave the same. It is mysterious to think of them as spread out and automatically united. For something to be a whole, it has to have an additional object, say, a soul or a mind. “Matter” refers to one way of perceiving things, and elementary particles are a lower form of mind. Mind is separate from matter.”
    Kurt Gödel – Hao Wang’s supplemental biography of Gödel, A Logical Journey, MIT Press, 1996. [9.4.12]

    Godel’s incompleteness is also succinctly stated as such:

    “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle – something you have to assume to be true but cannot prove “mathematically” to be true.”

    Kurt Gödel (ref. on cite), halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything in his theorem that: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”. Thus, based on the position that an equation cannot prove itself, the constructs are based on assumptions some of which will be unprovable.”
    Cf., Stephen Hawking & Leonard Miodinow, The Grand Design (2010) @ 15-6

    The entire universe is not the only place where materialistic explanations completely fail to give an reasonable account for ‘context’. The insurmountable problem of ‘context’ also shows up in biology. There simply are no coherent materialistic explanations as to why any particular organism will have any particular ‘form’ (much less how one ‘form’ can possibly achieve transmutation into another form). Stephen Meyer puts the insurmountable problem of ‘form’ for materialistic, i.e. Darwinian, explanations like this:

    ‘Now one more problem as far as the generation of information. It turns out that you don’t only need information to build genes and proteins, it turns out to build Body-Plans you need higher levels of information; Higher order assembly instructions. DNA codes for the building of proteins, but proteins must be arranged into distinctive circuitry to form distinctive cell types. Cell types have to be arranged into tissues. Tissues have to be arranged into organs. Organs and tissues must be specifically arranged to generate whole new Body-Plans, distinctive arrangements of those body parts. We now know that DNA alone is not responsible for those higher orders of organization. DNA codes for proteins, but by itself it does not insure that proteins, cell types, tissues, organs, will all be arranged in the body-plan. And what that means is that the Body-Plan morphogenesis, as it is called, depends upon information that is not encoded on DNA. Which means you can mutate DNA indefinitely. 80 million years, 100 million years, til the cows come home. It doesn’t matter, because in the best case you are just going to find a new protein some place out there in that vast combinatorial sequence space. You are not, by mutating DNA alone, going to generate higher order structures that are necessary to building a body plan. So what we can conclude from that is that the neo-Darwinian mechanism is grossly inadequate to explain the origin of information necessary to build new genes and proteins, and it is also grossly inadequate to explain the origination of novel biological form.’
    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins and Information for Body Plans – video
    https://youtu.be/hs4y4XLGQ-Y

    Stephen Talbott puts the insurmountable problem of ‘form’ for materialistic explanations like this:

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Stephen L. Talbott – 2010
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    ,,, the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?
    Despite the countless processes going on in the cell, and despite the fact that each process might be expected to “go its own way” according to the myriad factors impinging on it from all directions, the actual result is quite different. Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

    Here is an elaboration on Talbott’s question “What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?”

    Scientific evidence that we do indeed have an eternal soul – video 2016
    https://youtu.be/h2P45Obl4lQ

    Of related note, I highly recommend Wiker & Witt’s book “A Meaningful World” in which they show, using the “Methinks it is like a weasel” phrase, (that Dawkins’ used from the Shakespeare’s play Hamlet to try to illustrate the feasibility of Evolutionary Algorithms), that the ‘information problem’ is much worse for Darwinists than just finding the “Methinks it is like a weasel” phrase by a unguided search.
    Basically this ‘brick wall’ problem for unguided material processes is because the “Methinks it is like a weasel” phrase doesn’t make any sense at all unless the entire context of the play of Hamlet is taken into consideration.
    Moreover the context in which the weasel phrase finds its meaning is derived from several different levels of the play. i.e. The ENTIRE play, who said it, why was it said, where was it said, and even nuances of the Elizabethan culture, etc… are taken into consideration to provide proper context to the phrase.
    The Weasel phrase simply does not make sense without taking its proper context into consideration

    A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature – Book Review
    Excerpt: They focus instead on what “Methinks it is like a weasel” really means. In isolation, in fact, it means almost nothing. Who said it? Why? What does the “it” refer to? What does it reveal about the characters? How does it advance the plot? In the context of the entire play, and of Elizabethan culture, this brief line takes on significance of surprising depth. The whole is required to give meaning to the part.
    http://www.thinkingchristian.n.....821202417/

    In fact, it is interesting to note what the specific context is for the “Methinks it is like a weasel” phrase actually is.
    The context in which the weasel phrase is used is to illustrate the spineless nature of one of the characters of the play. i.e. To illustrate just how easily the spineless character in the play can be led around by the nose to say anything that Hamlet wants him to say:

    Ham. Do you see yonder cloud that ’s almost in shape of a camel?
    Pol. By the mass, and ’t is like a camel, indeed.
    Ham. Methinks it is like a weasel.
    Pol. It is backed like a weasel.
    Ham. Or like a whale?
    Pol. Very like a whale.
    http://www.bartleby.com/100/138.32.147.html

    After realizing what the actual context of the ‘Methinks it is like a weasel’ phrase was, I remember thinking to myself that it was perhaps the worse possible phrase that Dawkins could possibly have chosen to try to illustrate his point.
    i.e. The phrase, when taken into proper context, reveals deliberate, nuanced, deception and manipulation of another person. I’m sure purposeful deception is hardly the overall ‘contextual’ point that Dawkins was trying to convey with his ‘Weasel’ program.

  80. 80

    steveO, #76, well done. 🙂

  81. 81
    Querius says:

    Hmmm, I think we lost Pindi.

    Was it the rock-solid logic? The unsettling quantum mechanics? Or was it due to his untenable position involving a collective of mythical thinking atoms?

    Not at all!

    Rather it’s his unwavering faith in materialism that’s perpetually resurrected like an ancient phoenix from the smoking ashes of his arguments.

    It’s indeed a pity.

    -Q

  82. 82
    Pindi says:

    Hi Querius, I’m still here. Just haven’t seen anything that inspired me to comment. Regarding your comment, quantum mechanics is a materialistic theory in physics. I’m not sure why you think it has something to do with immaterial souls and God.

  83. 83
    Querius says:

    Pindi wrote . . .

    Regarding your comment, quantum mechanics is a materialistic theory in physics.

    Then you don’t understand Quantum mechanics. It is precisely not material! And I didn’t mention “immaterial souls and God.” You did. But let’s let the physicists speak for themselves:

    The results of this Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that reality is determined by the way an object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts.

    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release dated June 3, 2015.

    Reality does not exist if you are not looking at it?

    Remember, Dr. Truscott is a scientist, and you believe in science, don’t you?

    Here are some more quotes on the subject:

    “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it”. – Niels Bohr

    “Reality is in the observations, not in the electron.” – Paul Davies

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” – Eugene Wigner

    “We have become participators in the existence of the universe. We have no right to say that the past exists independent of the act of observation.” – John Wheeler

    “There must exist some reality outside of space-time.” – Nicolas Gisin

    I can easily find more quotes like this because quantum physicists disagree with your contention that Quantum Mechanics is materialistic. It’s not.

    Do you think you could convince these scientists that they’re wrong about Quantum Mechanics and that you’re right?

    -Q

  84. 84
    Querius says:

    Hmm. Pindi seems to be gone again, but I think I can synthesize his answer:

    I’m still here. Just haven’t seen anything convincing.

    His ideological poisoning, in this case Dimethylmaterialism, is severe enough to cause logical blindness.

    Too bad. It eventually makes the victim really sick of life.

    -Q

  85. 85
    Origenes says:

    The one thing we can all agree on is that Pindi is a terrific debater — always willing to defend his (opposing) views with reason, logic and evidence.
    This site would be an echo chamber without him.

  86. 86
    Seversky says:

    Querius @ 83

    Pindi wrote . . .

    Regarding your comment, quantum mechanics is a materialistic theory in physics

    Then you don’t understand Quantum mechanics. It is precisely not material! And I didn’t mention “immaterial souls and God.” You did. But let’s let the physicists speak for themselves:

    Pindi is correct. Quantum mechanics describes the nature of matter at the sub-atomic level. What we perceive matter to be at the macroscopic is exactly as it was before. You can still perform Dr Johnson’s test and kick a rock and it will still hurt your toe. Quantum mechanics has changed our understanding of what matter is at that level just as relativity theory changed our understanding of how the universe behaves at our level and above. The big problem seems to be finding a way of reconciling the two.

    There are obvious problems with the simplistic notion of reality not existing unless we are looking at it. If nothing exists until we look at it then what are we looking at in the first place? If the nature of reality is entirely dependent on the individual consciousness perceiving it then why do we all apparently see the same thing? Why aren’t there as many different subjective universes as there are observers?

  87. 87
    Origenes says:

    Seversky @86,

    Seversky: There are obvious problems with the simplistic notion of reality not existing unless we are looking at it. If nothing exists until we look at it then what are we looking at in the first place? If the nature of reality is entirely dependent on the individual consciousness perceiving it then why do we all apparently see the same thing? Why aren’t there as many different subjective universes as there are observers?

    Excellent questions.

    I would like to offer a comparison:

    We all see meaning in written language. You and I see meaning in these very words and sentences. However, surely, meaning is subjective and is not part of the physical world. Meaning is not “in” these written sentences, so to speak. Meaning is obviously not a physical substance.
    Nonetheless, also here we “apparently see the same thing”, as you said wrt physical reality. Indeed, how is that possible?
    And we can ask a similar question: “when no one is looking, does the meaning ‘in’ these words exist?”. The same answer applies: “no, only when someone is looking”.

  88. 88
    Querius says:

    Seversky,

    Pindi is correct. Quantum mechanics describes the nature of matter at the sub-atomic level.

    No, Pindi is not correct.

    It turns out that there is no separation between the scale of classical dynamics and that of quantum systems as many people once thought.

    Beginning in 2010, several experiments were performed that demonstrated that quantum effects were present in our macro experience.

    http://www.yalescientific.org/.....acroscale/

    http://arstechnica.com/science.....um-device/

    It is now believed that the quantum interactions play a role in the operation of lasers, how the sun works, photosynthesis, and possibly even consciousness. Large molecules, even viruses demonstrate the same double-slit behavior as photons and electrons!

    Since then additional experiments include one that created quantum states visible to the human eye.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130721161710.htm

    There are obvious problems with the simplistic notion of reality not existing unless we are looking at it.

    Yes, but his is an ideological problem, not a scientific one. Called the measurement problem, it seems that conscious human observation does indeed affect reality.

    Quantum mechanics has been repeatedly verified in various experiments to a precision as high as 10 parts per billion.

    But, as you know, when scientific data conflicts with your ideology, it’s easiest just to jettison science, right?

    -Q

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