# Is the Galton Board evidence for intelligent design of the universe?

Ken Francis writes: “Proof that God placed order out of chaos in the universe. Each ball has a 50-50 chance of bouncing right or left off of each peg as it traverses the board, but every time the result is a bell curve. More proof of Intelligent Design.”

The comments are interesting.

Hat tip: Ken Francis, co-author with Theodore Dalrymple of The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd

## 311 Replies to “Is the Galton Board evidence for intelligent design of the universe?”

1. 1
Viola Lee says:

This is a physical illustration of Pascal’s Triangle, combinatorial numbers, and a binomial distribution. It’s mathematical foundation goes back to 2 + 2 = 4. I used to explain this to high school students.

2. 2
JVL says:

Random chance is a proof of intelligent design?

If you think that then there really is no point debating the science or mathematics involved at all.

3. 3
Fasteddious says:

I oddly have to agree with 1 & 2 here: the “bell curve” is merely an artefact of the probabilities involved at each step down. Given enough falling pieces, the results revert to the mean, allowing a precise “prediction” of the bell shape. You might even say that the bell curve “emerges” from the probability rule. This is similar to how the gas laws “emerge” from the random movement of molecules in a container: individual behaviour trends to statistical definiteness as N becomes large.
That doesn’t give creative powers to “emergence”, so don’t assume this supports the, “consciousness emerges from the brain” meme, or the, “complex life emerges from randomness” magic.

4. 4
Viola Lee says:

to FastE at 3. I can’t see anything odd about agreeing with what I wrote in 1, as I just described the mathematical concepts being illustrated.

Also the link to wherever the quote came from doesn’t work. I’d be interested in seeing it.

5. 5
Viola Lee says:

re 2, to JVL. As Fast E says, “Given enough falling pieces, the results revert to the mean, allowing a precise “prediction” of the bell shape.”

Simpler example: throw a six-sided die 6 million times, and graph the results. You will have approximately one million of each number. In many situations probabilities express a pattern with enough repetitions.

I’m not sure how that has anything to do with ID, or “emergence.”

6. 6
Origenes says:

There are but a few pathways that end up in either of the side pockets, while many pathways lead to the middle pockets. If only the side pockets are filled up we would know that the system was rigged.

7. 7
Viola Lee says:

It’s more precise than that: the “many” are, mathematically, the combinatorial numbers as illustrated by Pascal’s triangle. If you look closely at the video, the expected numbers are printed under each peg, and the last row is the 11th. For the 11th row, the numbers are 1 11 55 165 330 462 462 330 165 55 11 1, which adds up to 2^11, or 2048. Therefore, for instance, the odds of being in one of the two middle columns is 462/2048 = 22.5 %.

8. 8
Querius says:

Is The Galton Board Evidence For Intelligent Design Of The Universe?

Actually, it disproves Einstein’s objection that God doesn’t play with dice. LOL

Apparently, God loves probability, butterflies in Brazil, permutations in genetics, and all sorts of fun stuff!

But seriously, no, I don’t think probabilities have anything to do with intelligent design.

Intelligent Design is simply approaching a poorly understood phenomenum as if it were intelligently designed rather than random junk, some of which just happens to work and most of it doesn’t.

-Q

9. 9
Origenes says:

VL@7 Those numbers do not indicate the possible pathways, right?

10. 10
Viola Lee says:

Yes, they do. They is only one way to bounce left every time and fall in the far left column*. There are 11 ways to bounce left 10 times and right one and land in the second column. They are 462 ways (pathways) to land in one of the middle columns. That number is a combinatorial number, called 11 choose 6 (abbreviated 11C6).

I’d be glad to explain more if you like, but maybe you were just checking on that fact.

Combinatorial numbers show up all sorts of places , like computing the probability of poker hands, and also in the binomial theorem for (a + b) ^ n, such as (x + 2)^4.

*This device seems to have some extra columns because some of the balls can “escape” to the far left or right. The devices I’ve seen have forced the balls into one of the permissible columns.

11. 11
kairosfocus says:

Folks, the Quincunx shows by striking demonstration the depth to which logic of structure and quantity pervades our world and points onward to the utter, eerie universality of core mathematics in any possible world as a necessary being structure; the very same issue Eugene Wigner highlighted. The world is so mathematically pervaded, indeed possible being is so mathematically pervaded that it is manifestly akin to mind rather than to utterly non rational chaos; indeed, in many cases, randomness reveals an underlying ordered structure, as this very case demonstrates. Onward, lieth statistical thermodynamics, via the classic case of 500 or 1,000 coins and their distribution, thence the threshold search space challenge at the core of ID, how to get to FSCO/I expressive bit patterns by the blind chance and mechanical necessity the Galton Board illustrates. That context is remarkable, not trivial and readily dismissible. KF

12. 12
JVL says:

Kairosfocus: Folks, the Quincunx shows by striking demonstration the depth to which logic of structure and quantity pervades our world and points onward to the utter, eerie universality of core mathematics in any possible world as a necessary being structure;

A being that can violate the laws that point to its existence?

Why create a logical system of existence and then just break that system on a whim?

13. 13
Origenes says:

VL@

If you look closely at the video, the expected numbers are printed under each peg, and the last row is the 11th.

We must be looking at different videos then. I see 13 rows (the top of the 28 columns included of course) and I see no printed numbers.
– – – –
edit: I was mistaken about the printed numbers. Now I see them.

14. 14
kairosfocus says:

JVL, I take it you are trying to object to miracles, on the outdated view that they are more or less arbitrary — “whim” — violations of universal, somehow necessary (so, exceptionless) laws of the physical world. That fails, starting with, empirical investigation may show the usual pattern, but that such is claimed no-exception-universal is a philosophical assertion not an empirical inference. In short, Hume begged a few questions. The physicalist reductionism isn’t even capable of establishing a context for responsible rational freedom to think beyond GIGO limited computation, so such reasoning is automatically self discrediting. And once one sees the validity of rational agent freedom to be a first cause, then that shifts our thought drastically. Next, the actual theistic view is that in Him we live, move and have our being, where He upholds all things by his word of power. So, as the moulded clay pot answering back to the potter, why should we find fault with a physical world open to first cause mind, whether ourselves typing up arguments and objections, or the ultimate first cause? Then, observe what a miracle is, an extraordinary act and sign that points beyond the mundane order, so miracles REQUIRE that there be a highly predictable mundane order, BTW, as does morally responsible rationality. In a general chaos, nothing would be outstanding or a sign for anything happens any way without rhyme or reason. So, finding such a general order akin to mind is itself a sign of Reason Himself at work, and that for good reason He should draw our attention to a higher order with the higher ordered workings we call miracles, signs and wonders is in fact a reasonable view. One thing is for sure, miracles are not whimsical, chaotic magic. Think of the astonishment of a flatlander on experiencing a higher order 3 d object passing through his mundane planar world. A third dimension, impossible nonsense, everything is in our plane and nothing beyond! KF

15. 15
JVL says:

Kairosfocus: JVL, I take it you are trying to object to miracles, on the outdated view that they are more or less arbitrary — “whim” — violations of universal, somehow necessary (so, exceptionless) laws of the physical world.

Your hypothesised necessary being can violate the laws of science (which, it is claimed, point to that being’s existence) whenever that being wants to. That being may not find the moments arbitrary but they can make the choice whereas we cannot.

That fails, starting with, empirical investigation may show the usual pattern, but that such is claimed no-exception-universal is a philosophical assertion not an empirical inference. In short, Hume begged a few questions.

Do I take it that you don’t agree that the laws of the universe are not universal for non-necessary beings in that universe? If you mean something different then perhaps you could spend some time writing in a less flowery manner.

The physicalist reductionism isn’t even capable of establishing a context for responsible rational freedom to think beyond GIGO limited computation, so such reasoning is automatically self discrediting.

Umm . . . hold on . . . because you think we are not limited to purely physical processes then we are also not limited to the physical laws of the universe? Again, you really need to work on your prose.

And once one sees the validity of rational agent freedom to be a first cause, then that shifts our thought drastically.

I don’t see you violating the laws of physics.

Next, the actual theistic view is that in Him we live, move and have our being, where He upholds all things by his word of power. So, as the moulded clay pot answering back to the potter, why should we find fault with a physical world open to first cause mind, whether ourselves typing up arguments and objections, or the ultimate first cause?

So . . . we shouldn’t question the point of our existence and the purpose of the creator ’cause we’re lesser beings even though we’ve been given free will and the ability to reason? Is that it? If some daft woman had resisted eating from the tree of knowledge we’d be better off being naked, dumb and happy? But . . . didn’t someone later say that all our sins were forgiven? I’m confused.

Then, observe what a miracle is, an extraordinary act and sign that points beyond the mundane order, so miracles REQUIRE that there be a highly predictable mundane order, BTW, as does morally responsible rationality

Are you saying that miracles can be predicted if you could understand some theoretical higher . . . no, you are saying that miracles can only be miracles if they have a predictable, law abiding order to push back against. But . . . wait . . . the creator came up with laws of the universe and created us as beings subject to those laws so . . . that we would recognise miracles when they occurred? Is that it? This creator being wants us to be in awe when they break the physical laws of the universe?

In a general chaos, nothing would be outstanding or a sign for anything happens any way without rhyme or reason. So, finding such a general order akin to mind is itself a sign of Reason Himself at work, and that for good reason He should draw our attention to a higher order with the higher ordered workings we call miracles, signs and wonders is in fact a reasonable view.

That sounds like a circular argument to me: we need laws so that when they are broken we know someone can break them. AND the whole bit of reasoning falls apart if there are no miracles. Doesn’t it?

One thing is for sure, miracles are not whimsical, chaotic magic. Think of the astonishment of a flatlander on experiencing a higher order 3 d object passing through his mundane planar world. A third dimension, impossible nonsense, everything is in our plane and nothing beyond!

A bad analogy. 3D space follows predictable laws and rules even if a 2D being is unaware of them. In other words, in that analogy, there are no miracles.

So, what if what you see as miracles are bleed-throughs from some higher dimension which we cannot perceive. They aren’t actually miracles but are following rules and laws we are unaware of because of our limited perspective. Then there is no need for a higher being that is breaking our rules, it’s just a being or object in a 4D or 5D space interacting with ours.

I can live with that. No miracles just higher dimensions.

16. 16
Viola Lee says:

So, Origenes, are you satisfied that 462 is the number of pathways to each of the middle columns? Was that ever in question in your mind, or were you just uncertain what numbers I was talked about? I know they are not easy to see..

And to KF: I at least didn’t say that the Galton Board and the mathematics behind were trivial or dismissable, and both FastE and I pointed out that it is common for probabilistic events to create a pattern when there are enough instances. No one is denying, or trivializing, the fact that math is full of neat and not obvious things, or that the physical world can instantiate that math in physical ways. We don’t all come to the same philosophical conclusions that you, or Ken Francis, reach, but that involves some leaps of faith. That shouldn’t stop people from being able to discuss the math.

It is inaccurate for you to claim I’m calling the situation trivial: possible even a strawman. 🙂

17. 17
Viola Lee says:

And how did this conversation come to be about miracles?

18. 18
JVL says:

Viola Lee: And how did this conversation come to be about miracles?

God works in wondrous and mysterious ways.

19. 19
kairosfocus says:

JVL, again, the point is that physical laws, unlike core logic of being, are not necessary constraints on being. KF

20. 20
JVL says:

Kairosfocus: the point is that physical laws, unlike core logic of being, are not necessary constraints on being.

Look, you speculated that a system of predictable laws were necessary for a being who can violated those laws to show off their abilities. Which is just huh?

Then you drew an analogy with Flatland and, maybe, miracles being like a 3D being or phenomena interacting with a 2D ‘universe’ which has no ‘physical’ explanation for what they are seeing. BUT we know that 3D world also obeys set rules and principles which means that what the 2D being observes are NOT miracles, no rules are being broken. Following that analogy it sounds like you’re suggesting that some of the ‘miracles’ we observe are simply misunderstood phenomena from higher dimensions so . . . no rule breaking involved.

And then you just, sort of, backed down from all that speculation and supposition and just offered a milquetoast statement implying that physical laws are not as important as human derived, human developed logic. Is that right?

So, can your necessary being violate laws of logic? Why or why not?

21. 21
kairosfocus says:

JVL, pretzel version of what I said and in this context violated is inappropriate phrasing, you are also projecting arbitrariness when there is a longstanding understanding that is not arbitrary. KF

22. 22
JVL says:

Kairosfocus: pretzel version of what I said and in this context violated is inappropriate phrasing.

Well, clear up what you said. Here’s a start: can your necessary being violate/break/ignore/sidestep/bypass laws of logic?

23. 23
kairosfocus says:

JVL, you were already given enough above. The understanding of empirically defined laws of nature is unable to warrant more than the usual course of the physical world, it is simply unable to bar that there may be higher laws or agencies at work. To infer such a bar is to impose an unwarranted philosophical imposition, one that starts to run into trouble with having enough freedom to be freely rational, which is already self defeating. Next, ethical theism with room for extraordinary signs and wonders requires that there be a generally predictable mundane order. Then, as in such theism the ordinary way is as much sustained by the divine will as what would be a sign or wonder, there is no breach of something that somehow forces a mundane order to be utterly necessary. Similarly, that signs are provided for good reason removes arbitrariness and whimsy. Finally, we must learn the lesson of Flatland about the gap between our expectations and what may be reality beyond our understanding. KF

24. 24
Viola Lee says:

to JVL: I think KF answered a different question than you asked. Yes, I think he says, the physical laws of nature can be overridden by some higher laws or agencies. Miracles can happen.

But your question is, I think, is whether the laws of logic can be overridden, which is a different question.

25. 25
EugeneS says:

JVL

I think your view is long-outdated. Post-Hume, there are no laws, rather regularities with the very important proviso that certain things will happen in the usual (predicted) way as long as the circumstances are not changed drastically.

Besides, no scientific model is capable of taking into account all factors in all possible cases. So a scientific model is just a model, more or less adequate. Whatever the model, a cognitive bias is inescapable. It is just the nature of scientific inquiry necessarily having to deal with the epistemic cut of the observed vs the observer.

Divine miracles are not magic and they have a moral meaning. They happen provided someone may benefit from them spiritually.

26. 26
JVL says:

Kairosfocus: you were already given enough above.
It’s really cute when you stomp your feet and pout.
The understanding of empirically defined laws of nature is unable to warrant more than the usual course of the physical world, it is simply unable to bar that there may be higher laws or agencies at work
Higher laws implies things that are universally true. True for who?
To infer such a bar is to impose an unwarranted philosophical imposition, one that starts to run into trouble with having enough freedom to be freely rational, which is already self defeating.
So . . . there is no bar . . . so there is some higher order of laws and principles or . . . not?
Next, ethical theism with room for extraordinary signs and wonders requires that there be a generally predictable mundane order.
Right, a set of laws and rules that the creator can break/violate/ignore/bypass to prove their divinity. Got that.
Then, as in such theism the ordinary way is as much sustained by the divine will as what would be a sign or wonder, there is no breach of something that somehow forces a mundane order to be utterly necessary.
What? What does that mean? A sign of wonder? Are you saying that no matter what level or realm or dimension the divine must always be able to break those rules/laws/precepts? How could such a being be part of a logical, scientific outlook?
Similarly, that signs are provided for good reason removes arbitrariness and whimsy.
Not if they go against basic laws of logic and physics.
Finally, we must learn the lesson of Flatland about the gap between our expectations and what may be reality beyond our understanding.
AGAIN, in Flatland, no laws or rules or precepts were broken. There were no miracles.
So . . .

27. 27
JVL says:

Viola Lee: But your question is, I think, is whether the laws of logic can be overridden, which is a different question.

And, I think he’s avoiding that question. What do you think?

28. 28
JVL says:

EugeneS: Divine miracles are not magic and they have a moral meaning. They happen provided someone may benefit from them spiritually.

So, can they be evaluated from a consistent, logical, set of laws and precepts? Can they be ‘tested’ for validity?

29. 29
Viola Lee says:

I think KF would say that the laws of logic and math are necessary in all possible worlds, and thus can’t be overridden. I don’t why he didn’t say that in response to your question.

30. 30
kairosfocus says:

JVL [attn VL], for record, the primary laws of logic are framework for any distinct possible world. Just to have such a world W distinct from W’ a near neighbour, distinct identity is present with its corollaries. These are entirely compatible with there being miracles, which definitely seems to be a problem. Meanwhile the analysis I outlined is hardly a personal idiosyncrasy, we start with the point that no empirical investigation can of its epistemic strength determine that physical laws are universal, necessary and thus final and complete. Were such physicality the limit of reality, that would rule out the responsible rational freedom to think, warrant and so know. GIGO limited computationalism is sub rational and untrustworthy if claimed as an ultimate. That is before even the well founded rule that no complex program of significance is wholly bug free, I have even seen it argued that that starts with hello world. KF

PS, what do you imagine I meant by contrasting physical laws and necessary conditions? You have been present over the span of years when I pointed out and published on universality of core logic and related matters such as NZQRCR* and tied relationships. So, sorry, I don’t buy the claims you are now making.

31. 31
JVL says:

Viola Lee: I think KF would say that the laws of logic and math are necessary in all possible worlds, and thus can’t be overridden. I don’t why he didn’t say that in response to your question.

Because then his necessary being is limited. And constrained. And then people like you and me would start picking at the limits . . . what are they? How far do they extend? Easier to just try and push the narrative that they don’t exist.

32. 32
kairosfocus says:

VL,

kindly observe, JVL:

A being that can violate the laws that point to its existence? Why create a logical system of existence and then just break that system on a whim?

Notice, too, what JVL objected to, in context:

[KF:] Folks, the Quincunx shows by striking demonstration the depth to which logic of structure and quantity pervades our world and points onward to the utter, eerie universality of core mathematics in any possible world as a necessary being structure

There is a distinction made between our world and the core of math etc that is necessary. Physical laws established on observed patterns do not have necessary being character. Their basis is even unable to establish them as utterly uniform in our world.

And obviously from the outset above I spoke to core logic of being including structure and quantity as of necessary character framework to any possible world. Such laws do not forbid miracles and miracles are non arbitrary, they are not whims or the like. Miracles are not magic.

KF

33. 33
Viola Lee says:

JVL, I don’t think in KF’s view the necessity of the laws of logic and math is a limitation on a necessary being, but rather a characteristic of a necessary being. A necessary being can override contingencies such as physical laws but it can’t override necessary aspects of necessity such as the laws of logic and math.

Just trying to help KF out here by saying what I think he is saying in simpler language.

In respect to Galton’s Board, for instance: suppose we had a huge board with a million balls and deep enough columns to hold them all. God could make 500,000 go down each of the far columns by overriding physical laws, but he could make the mathematical expected value for the center columns anything other than 22.5%. He can’t make 2 + 2 not equal 4, or e^(i•pi) not equal -1. Those are necessary parts of his own being that he can’t override.

That’s what I think KF would say.

34. 34
EugeneS says:

JVL

The answer is yes, but it is a ‘yes’ based on the criteria of a genuine historical account of some single extraordinary event in the past rather than the physics of a repeatable pattern. Since such an event transcends the physical, the usual conditions of a physical test may not be met entirely. Our conclusion as to the validity of this event is based on an account of trustworthy sources (witnesses whose testimony is beyond reasonable doubt), and is subject to verification via personal experience. People with similar experience of a geniune meeting with the divine will attest to it. Here there is always an element of doubt or a choice not to accept it for the mind, because God does not want to force us into belief but expects our free decision based on the disposition of our heart, in each such case. ‘Son, give me your heart’, Proverbs 23:26.

35. 35
Viola Lee says:

Man, we went from Galton’s Board to Jesus Christ. Seems like all roads lead to Rome.

36. 36
Ford Prefect says:

JVL and VL, do you know what KF means by “ethical theism”? Doesn’t every variation of theism claim to be ethical? Or am I missing something?

37. 37
Viola Lee says:

Great question. I’m off for a while, but I’d like to try to describe what I think KF believes, succinctly. Oddly enough, if you google “ethical theism” you won’t find much. I think KF’s beliefs lie in some tradition in which he was schooled, but I don’t know what one.

38. 38
vividbleau says:

“But your question is, I think, is whether the laws of logic can be overridden, which is a different question.”

Even though I have not been asked I will butt in anyway, currently I am in the no camp.

Vivid.

39. 39
Fasteddious says:

Since this set of comments has morphed into miracles, here is a piece about that subject:
https://thopid.blogspot.com/2018/12/some-models-of-miracles.html

40. 40
Viola Lee says:

I agree with Vivid, and as I wrote in 33, I think KF would agree: the necessary being could not override the laws of logic or math as they are necessary also. I think within the system of thought we are discussing, this is clear.

41. 41
Viola Lee says:

to Ford. Here is what I understand of KF’s ethical theism (ET)philosophy.

By a chain of philosophical reasoning, including the self-evident nature of the three main laws of logic, ET concludes that there most be a necessary being, and being necessary it must be omni-everything: present, potent, and knowing. Furthermore, ET concludes that this necessary being must be all-good, and therefore the source of ethics also, which includes some self-evident moral beliefs analogous to the self-evident beliefs of logic and math.

That’s my brief summary.

42. 42
vividbleau says:

JVL
“Because then his necessary being is limited. And constrained. And then people like you and me would start picking at the limits

By all means please start picking

Vivid

43. 43
Ford Prefect says:

VL@41, thanks for the response. But what has me confused is that logic suggests that if there is “ethical theism”, there must also be “unethical theism”. Which, if the necessary being is all good, is contradictory.

44. 44
Viola Lee says:

KF wouldn’t think this, but I agree with you, with a disclaimer. I think that one could argue for a “necessary being” that manifested logic, math, and a finely-tuned universe but had no concern with the lives of human beings. Such a necessary being could be called an a-ethical being, not unethical. Such a universe would not be concerned with ethics one way or another.

A quote attributed to Einstein is “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind..” This would be such a conception.

I’ve discussed this several times with KF. My position is that he makes unjustified, faith-based leaps from the necessities that one might see in math and logic to the conclusion that there are also ethical necessities.

45. 45
kairosfocus says:

FP, descriptive emphasis. It is possible to think of God — or more broadly, the root of reality — without reference to the ethical, but once one recognises that the is-ought gap points to the source of this and other possible worlds, and that our own reality requires adequate grounding of our own moral government, the ethical ground is part of the problem of ultimate origins. In short, there is a coherence challenge, one further constrained by the implications of implying that moral government is delusional, ungrounded, merely emotive or cultural or otherwise a trivial matter: undermining and/or self defeatingly discrediting our rational responsible freedom; not to mention opening the door to nihilism and raw will to power. Notice, Provine’s nihilistic assertions. Recall, lawless oligarchy is, historically, the natural state of government and to challenge it justice must have adequate roots. Anselm’s formulation may be debatable but his instinct was right, matters of the logic of being thus of the root of reality are central to understanding ourselves and our ultimate origin. And, the Hebrew prophets from Moshe on were right to highlight the goodness, lovingkindness, holiness and uprightness of God as pivotal to understanding him and our own moral-rational constitution. KF

46. 46
kairosfocus says:

PS, I refocus, the issue in the OP, and thus the quincunx:

[KF, 11:] the Quincunx shows by striking demonstration the depth to which logic of structure and quantity pervades our world and points onward to the utter, eerie universality of core mathematics in any possible world as a necessary being structure; the very same issue Eugene Wigner highlighted. The world is so mathematically pervaded, indeed possible being is so mathematically pervaded that it is manifestly akin to mind rather than to utterly non rational chaos; indeed, in many cases, randomness reveals an underlying ordered structure, as this very case demonstrates. Onward, lieth statistical thermodynamics, via the classic case of 500 or 1,000 coins and their distribution, thence the threshold search space challenge at the core of ID, how to get to FSCO/I expressive bit patterns by the blind chance and mechanical necessity the Galton Board illustrates. That context is remarkable, not trivial and readily dismissible.

47. 47
kairosfocus says:

VL, yes, logic of structure and quantity, logic of being, distinct identity [notice, close connexion to being] and its close corollaries are fabric to any possible world, as I worked out here. This involves what we could call world zero, root reality from which this and any other possible world would spring. Where a PW is a sufficient description [cluster of propositions] to describe a way this or any other world is, could be or could become. W0, root of reality is a blank slate for where things come from. Before we explore in detail, it simply points to the causal-temporal thermodynamic order including ourselves and notices an arrow . . . a familiar example of a vector . . . points forward but that means we may look backwards too. So, looking back and bearing in mind causal and logic of being adequacy more generally, what do we find? For one, that there is no distinct possible world that does not involve N,Z,Q,R,C,R* etc, core math pervades all possible worlds. Including W0, thus can be seen as part of the baked in characteristics. Is w0 a quasi physical, quantum foam multiverse with sub cosmi bubbling up? A candidate, now that oscillating universes are off the table on thermodynamic grounds. Some sort of past infinite quasi-physical structure otherwise, as with the classic steady state universe? A more generic candidate. And so forth, where God, too is a serious candidate. However, the logical, structural challenge of an actually completed transfinite span of causally successive years [etc] leads to the conclusion this is an infeasible supertask. We need necessary being as were there ever utter non being such would forever obtain. Root of reality must be necessary being. And such must be causally adequate for responsibly rational, significantly free and morally governed creatures, us. More flows from this. KF

48. 48
kairosfocus says:

F/N: Notice, that a Euclidean plane square circle or the like would be impossible of being. In no possible world are these feasible. Of what is possible we have the contingent and necessary. Contingent beings such as a fire, need not be in every possible world, they are causally dependent. A necessary being by contrast is part of the fabric that makes any world possible. We live in a going concern world, so there are necessary entities. Such include core mathematics and that is the secret of its power. The quincunx illustrates a case of that. KF

49. 49
EugeneS says:

VL

The demarkation line between science and metaphysics does exist though. By the nature of this blog, we are really discussing questions in the area around the demarkation from both sides. Somebody mentioned miracles, so I see nothing surprising in this. Especially, given that this very word was used more than once by some prominent physicists.

50. 50
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@47

logic of structure and quantity, logic of being, distinct identity [notice, close connexion to being] and its close corollaries are fabric to any possible world

Just a small note: mathematics need not hold in every possible world. Imagine a world that was a sheer homogeneous plenum. In such a world it would be impossible to identify any objects, hence no identity conditions. It would be a world without structure, without quantity. The axioms of geometry and of arithmetic could not be used. Yet such a world is perfectly conceivable without contradiction.

This suggests that the set of all mathematically possible worlds is smaller than the set of all logically possible worlds but larger than the set of all physically possible worlds.

51. 51
kairosfocus says:

VL, the problem is causal sufficiency. To illustrate, the underlying appeals in arguments in this thread turn on first duties [which includes first principles] of reason. That is because of their branch on which we all sit character, which is why they are self evident: responsible reason is morally governed. Where, we cannot have such delusional or a mere convention or personal feeling, such moves are self defeating and reduce us to grand delusion. We need an adequate causal root for not only our world but for us in it, thus the root of reality — the only effective level to bridge is and ought on pain of ungrounded ought [including oughts of reason] — faces a bill of requisites to be adequate grounds for moral government. That is unpalatable in an age that has a quiet love affair with that most dangerous one, nihilism, but it is clearly there. Worse, on worldviews level best explanation, requiring comparative difficulties (no, it’s not just put up how you wish things were) there is just one serious candidate: the inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, one worthy of loyalty and the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good that accords with our evident nature. (BTW, this summarises God as envisioned on ethical theism.) Which of course is open to proposed alternatives, but they have to be coherent, adequate causally and more: ________ predictably, harder to fill in than imagined. For example, Q-foam multiverses do not account for mind or moral government of reason and are self referentially self defeating on credibility of reason. Pantheism or panentheism collapses ought into is in the end, it cannot ground a distinction, just vs unjust, hence the issue of karma or the like. Of course, there is a world of difference between worldview inadequacies and moral awareness, this is about adequacy of roots. While there is a literal infinity of necessary entities, from NZQRCR* etc for starters, none of these are causally adequate. Picking and choosing preferred NB attributes buffet style does not work with comparative difficulties, nor does putting the philosophical telescope to the blind eye. And so forth. KF

52. 52
Origenes says:

KF @
You convincingly argue that any possible world must necessarily be structured in accord with logic and math, therefore logic and math necessarily exist in any possible world. To be clear, the necessary existence for logic and math is derived from any possible world. Put differently, any possible world brings logic and math into existence. Inversely, if there were no worlds at all, then neither logic nor math would necessarily exist.

Here is the problem: unlike logic and math, the ‘necessary’ being that explains any possible world, cannot derive necessary existence from what it explains.

A being that explains a possible world is itself outside of a possible world. A being that explains any possible world, does not require a world to be in. It is in itself and that must suffice because not everything can be in a world. If any possible world itself requires a world to be in, then we have an infinite regress of worlds.
A being that explains a possible world, cannot derive necessary existence from what it explains. This means that the existence of such a being is in need of an explanation other than “it is a necessary being”

53. 53
kairosfocus says:

PM1, not all of mathematics, just the core. Once there is a distinct possible world W, marked apart from W’ a near neighbour, instantly 0,1,2 obtain thence NZQRCR*, etc. This is a general result on an abstract order for any PW descriptive set, it matters not if your world is “a world that was a sheer homogeneous plenum,” say P, once that is distinguishable from any neighbour that is not quite the same, there is an attribute in the set for P that is not in P’ say P’ is just shy of complete homogeneity or something like that, which makes your description mean P is pure homog, an attribute not in P’. The action of distinct identity is on the trans-world barrier, not as such within the world. From P vs P’, in P we have an attribute that can be constructed P = {P’|A}, and obviously there are PW’s distinct from P. Those that are not are simply alternative descriptions of P. 0–> |, 1 –> A, another 1 –> P’, so 0,1,2. BTW, there is simple unity, there is complex unity. Apply the von Neumann construction and extensions and voila, NZQRCR* etc with all of their abstract properties. Core mathematics is part of the fabric of any distinct possible world, giving it universal power. Of course all of this pivots on a going concern reality with something able to ponder such, but our world has that. We still need W0 and have to address us. KF

54. 54
kairosfocus says:

Origenes, the only assumption or rather observation is that we exist in a going concern world. That requires explanation, a world root. But this world is contingent, others are possible, that requires a reality root. Where, were there utter non being such would forever obtain, what utterly is not, non-being cannot cause what is. A world implies that something always was, the debate is of what nature. A quasi physical causal temporal system cannot be that root, too, as it would have to span infinitely many years an infeasible supertask, another problem for Q-foams. If a going concern world is, something always was that is beyond the quasi physical order. That is a necessary being causally adequate to cause worlds with creatures like us, responsibly rational and significantly free, so morally governed. If we are not these, we cannot reason credibly. And necessary being is ontologically primary, it is not derivative, it is part of the fabric for any world to be. What is derivative is our use of reason to recognise and warrant — come to know — that such a root of reality is. And, to further realise that such is causally adequate to explain us. That adequacy is a tall order indeed. KF

55. 55
Origenes says:

KF @
The existence of the being that creates any possible world is unexplained.

56. 56
Viola Lee says:

at 50, PM writes, “Just a small note: mathematics need not hold in every possible world. Imagine a world that was a sheer homogeneous plenum. In such a world it would be impossible to identify any objects, hence no identity conditions. It would be a world without structure, without quantity.”

I’ve read this point from other philosophers (can’t remember what famous one), and have mentioned it here in the past. The core laws of logic require distinct entities, but even in our world such sometimes do not exist. Therefore we creat abstract distinctions that are more certain that the fuzzy boundaries in the world. This can lead us to thinking we know things more certainly that we do because we confuse the abstract things we have created with the real world.

57. 57
JVL says:

Kairosfocus: not all of mathematics, just the core.

Huh? You think you can separate mathematics into parts, some of which are not core?

Just out of curiosity . . . what parts of mathematics would you consider ‘core’?

58. 58
Viola Lee says:

KF writes at 45,

“It is possible to think of God — or more broadly, the root of reality — without reference to the ethical, but once one recognises that the is-ought gap points to the source of this and other possible worlds, and that our own reality requires adequate grounding of our own moral government, the ethical ground is part of the problem of ultimate origins. In short, there is a coherence challenge, one further constrained by the implications of implying that moral government is delusional, ungrounded, merely emotive or cultural or otherwise a trivial matter: undermining and/or self defeatingly discrediting our rational responsible freedom; not to mention opening the door to nihilism and raw will to power.”

Notice that KF asserts that “that our own reality requires adequate grounding of our own moral government” and that “ethical ground is part of the problem of ultimate origins.” These are the leaps-of-faith to which I refer, and for which there is not a analogous argument to that made for logic and math.

Notice, rather, that argument is from consequences: KF’s own apocalyptic, slippery-slope worldview leads him to believe that not “recognising” what he thinks we should recognize “opens the door to nihilism and raw will to power.”

So the “ethics” part of his ethical theism is driven by his personal faith, and by his beliefs about human nature, and that to believe that if there is no ethical framework to the root of reality, the only alternative is moral nihilism.

Hope this helps explain KF to you.

59. 59
chuckdarwin says:

VL/41 & 44

60. 60
kairosfocus says:

Origenes, necessary being is an explanation, no world is possible without such. KF

61. 61
kairosfocus says:

JVL, yes, there is a lot of Math that sets up a special, arbitrary logic model world that has properties specific to that world or domain, and one could set up a similar domain another way. The core we address is present in any possible world. KF

62. 62
kairosfocus says:

VL, NZQRCR* etc are always present, once you have a distinct world, that includes in a fuzzy domain. Notice, a, i.e. one is already present as a specific quantity. And more. KF

63. 63
kairosfocus says:

VL, 58:

1: You imply, that I have made errors of reasoning and accuracy to reality, with the further implication of failure of duty. That is already a case of sitting on the branch of first duties of reason.

2: That ethical grounding goes back to roots of reality is an allusion to Hume’s guillotine. There is but one level of reality where the is-ought gap can be comprehensively bridged, root of reality. Otherwise, there will be ungrounded ought. This is just one particular form of the point that a going concern causal-temporal world requires ultimate and adequate causal grounding. Such are not non sequiturs.

3: I am not the one arguing or implying or inviting that moral government and objective moral claims fail at grounding. Provine is, others of similar persuasion are, cultural relativism is widespread, subjectivism and emotivism are significantly present. The invitation to nihilism is real. And

4: given that our sense of conscience is that we are duty-bound, worldviews that imply, invite or assert that such are ill founded impulses or psychosocial conditioning or operant conditioning or class conditioning directly lead to the import that our moral sense is delusional, is founded in myths, is psychologically explained [away] etc. Delusion may be a hard word but it is a plain one. Do you want me to quote Marx in extenso on the point, to add to, say, Crick, provine having already been highlighted? As in, say:

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

5: As, the first duties of reason are also first law, grounds for onward law, such nihilism etc do invite lawless ruthless factions that seize power. 100 million ghosts from C20 nod in agreement.

6: Just day before yesterday, I slipped on a mossy stairway, luckily, I caught myself. There are real slippery slopes and once started they tend to accelerate the process. This then becomes an apt, instructive metaphor for circumstances where a slip easily becomes a slide and typically ends in disaster. I put it to you, for cause, that the widespread dismissal of objective moral knowledge, rise of relativism, subjectivism, agit prop in support of ever more bizarre practices, rise of legal positivism as dominant philosophy of law and more point to lawlessness, nihilism and consequences. Do I need to remind of Machiavelli’s point on hectic fever and political disasters?

7: Ethical theism simply notes that there are longstanding traditions of thought and a broader philosophy that ground reality in God as a necessary, maximally great and thoroughly good being. The traditions are phenomena, the philosophical concept and view is generic and logically antecedent to such.

8: The ethical is there as a descriptive emphasis, theism across the history of our civilisation would not recognise a morally indifferent or evil entity as God. Which until five seconds ago has been commonplace, readily acknowledged understanding.

KF

64. 64
JVL says:

Kairosfocus: yes, there is a lot of Math that sets up a special, arbitrary logic model world that has properties specific to that world or domain, and one could set up a similar domain another way. The core we address is present in any possible world.

I just don’t think that is true. So I’d like to to come up with some examples . . . some math we know and use on Earth which might not apply/be the same elsewhere.

65. 65
Viola Lee says:

re 63, to KF

For illustrative purposes, i’ll respond to KF, although we have waded in this river many times (but it’s always a slightly different river.)

KF: “You imply, that I have made errors of reasoning and accuracy to reality, with the further implication of failure of duty.”

Yes, although my point is that your reasoning is mostly assertions without a logical chain of reasoning behind them, and I believe you are inaccurate about some key aspects of reality. So, guilty as charged.

As to failure of duty, I don’t subscribe to your “duty theory”, so I can’y imply that you’ve failed at it.

2. KF: “There is but one level of reality where the is-ought gap can be comprehensively bridged, root of reality. Otherwise, there will be ungrounded ought.” This is just one particular form of the point that a going concern causal-temporal world requires ultimate and adequate causal grounding. Such are not non sequiturs.

There is no bridge across the is-ought gap. “Is” is about reality. “Ought” is about judgments people make about how to behave. There is always a gap that is filled in by individual choice.

3: KF: “I am not the one arguing or implying or inviting that moral government and objective moral claims fail at grounding. Provine is, others of similar persuasion are, cultural relativism is widespread, subjectivism and emotivism are significantly present. The invitation to nihilism is real.”
Yes, there are such philosophers. But it also belief that they are correct, and you lean on them to support your own views. I think Provine et al are wrong, and I believe you are wrong.

4 is just quoting such people. There are lots of ways to think they are wrong and that you are wrong.

5 and 6. Is just going into your political views, focussing on the nihilism that drives your fears.

7: KF “Ethical theism simply notes that there are longstanding traditions of thought and a broader philosophy that ground reality in God as a necessary, maximally great and thoroughly good being. The traditions are phenomena, the philosophical concept and view is generic and logically antecedent to such.”

Yes, you present a particular philosophical tradition. Tradition is not a logical argument. Many people (other than the nihilists that are the foundation of your dissent) have offered criticisms of that tradition, and alternative viewpoints that that offer a positive, realistic view of the nature of reality, human and otherwise,

8: KF “The ethical is there as a descriptive emphasis, theism across the history of our civilisation would not recognise a morally indifferent or evil entity as God. Which until five seconds ago has been commonplace, readily acknowledged understanding.”

I have no idea what happened five seconds ago, but, again, there are solid perspectives (not nihilistic) that don’t include an entity that takes notice of human affairs. I know you totally reject such perspectives, which you have the right to do, and you have the right to make clear assertions about what you believe.

But your assertions about the “ethical” part of “ethical theism”, which is the point Ford brought up in the first place, are faith-based assertions, fueled by your monolithic contrast with no perspective other than nihilisms. Your assertions about a necessary bridge of a gap between is and ought and the root of reality are not supported by any argument other than without such as bridge, nihilism follows: argumentum ad consequentiam,

That’s it for me, unless you have anything new to say.

66. 66
Viola Lee says:

I agree with JVL. KF, You didn’t answer his question at 61: which part is core, and which is not. Where is the dividing line? Can you give an example of something that is not core, and that could exist in one world but not another: that is not a part of all possible worlds? Can you be more specific?

67. 67
kairosfocus says:

JVL, such variable cases are often set up as axiomatic systems where on changing certain axioms one gets a different frame that may be equally valid. The classic case in point is Euclidean geometry and its famous fifth postulate where across C19, there emerged various non Euclidean Geometries. I would think that standard and fuzzy sets are another case. The development of various non standard logic systems insofar as they are expressed as special algebras would count. There is also a finitist mathematics system, I believe. For such, one can construct an abstract, logic model world in which there are local results that do not extend to all possible frameworks or possible worlds; that is the border that seems relevant. The relevant general core is not like that, and the frame involving NZQRCR* would be my primary case in point. I think, in part, that is because its root is simple distinct identity thence N via say von Neumann’s construction, where onward classes of numbers [where from Z on up we are dealing with vectors] rooted in N, follow by logic and general demonstration, e.g. Z inserts that n’ + n = 0, n in N, Q uses p/q, both being in Z, R extends to limits of infinite chains of summed rationals [think, decimal representation and place value], C is two orthogonal real lines with rotations, R* is about infinitesimal and transfinite extensions to R that are now established in non standard analysis. KF

68. 68
Viola Lee says:

Why would non-Euclidean geometry be any less “core” than Euclidean geometry? How could there be a possible world where the mathematical logic of non-Euclidean geometry didn’t pertain, and what would that even mean? How could there be a “possible world” where one definition of parallel lines and the resulting geometry existed and the other two didn’t?

Explain.

69. 69
Origenes says:

Kairosfocus @

… necessary being is an explanation, no world is possible without such.

A simple world (universe) without life and just a few rocks flying around is possible. Are you saying that such a simple world also points to (is not possible without) the ‘necessary being’, who we both understand to be God?

70. 70
kairosfocus says:

VL, the parallel postulate and the angle sum of a triangle analogue are decisively different. They define flat, ellipsoidal [including spherical] and hyperboloidal spaces. So, this postulate is not consistent for all possible worlds. That marks a clear distinction, KF

PS, oh I forgot, the Euclidean abstract logic model geometric world is just as non core as the non Euclidean domains, it too does not always obtain in any possible world.

71. 71
kairosfocus says:

Origenes, I am saying, absent a necessary being reality root there would be just utter non being, no worlds of any sort at all, where world here enfolds a whole universe that might be or is, from a list of possible propositions to a computer simulation to a mathematical domain to our world 90 bn ly across or more. Utter non being has no causal powers and were such the case, that would always and only be the case, there would be no reality whatsoever, no time, no entities, no propositions, no minds, no matter, no spaces of any dimension, no locations, utter non being. As a world is, something always was of adequate causal capacity for our world to be and us in it. Responsible, rational, significantly free creatures. So, the issue is, of what character is that reality root, W0 as I tagged it. KF

72. 72
kairosfocus says:

VL, I also note that world schemes that do not have as core the good, holy, morally perfect God are not cases of ethical monotheism. They are other types of worldview, such as a dualism, a monism, a polytheism, a henotheism, a physicalism etc. KF

73. 73
JVL says:

Kairosfocus: such variable cases are often set up as axiomatic systems where on changing certain axioms one gets a different frame that may be equally valid. The classic case in point is Euclidean geometry and its famous fifth postulate where across C19, there emerged various non Euclidean Geometries. I would think that standard and fuzzy sets are another case. The development of various non standard logic systems insofar as they are expressed as special algebras would count.

But, but, but, why are those systems dependent on Earth life? You said something and we are just asking you to justify your statement. AND haven’t humans already shown their ability to consider and deal with those cases? How can you show that those cases could not be understood by another .. . realm? Domain?

For such, one can construct an abstract, logic model world in which there are local results that do not extend to all possible frameworks or possible worlds; that is the border that seems relevant.

Okay, spell that out please. No supposition or guessing, show us how that would work.

The relevant general core is not like that, and the frame involving NZQRCR* would be my primary case in point. I think, in part, that is because its root is simple distinct identity thence N via say von Neumann’s construction, where onward classes of numbers [where from Z on up we are dealing with vectors] rooted in N, follow by logic and general demonstration, e.g. Z inserts that n’ + n = 0, n in N, Q uses p/q, both being in Z, R extends to limits of infinite chains of summed rationals [think, decimal representation and place value], C is two orthogonal real lines with rotations, R* is about infinitesimal and transfinite extensions to R that are now established in non standard analysis.k

Just spouting off a lot of mathy sounding verbiage doesn’t help you. You’ve made some specific claims or assertions, we’d just like you to support them. Please.

Give us some specific examples of areas of mathematics that might be ‘regional’ly dependent or admit you can’t. You make lots and lots of vague statements when what we’d like you to do is state some specific, clear mathematical regions or areas which you think might be different in a different domain. Just do that. Please.

the parallel postulate and the angle sum of a triangle analogue are decisively different. They define flat, ellipsoidal [including spherical] and hyperboloidal spaces. So, this postulate is not consistent for all possible worlds. That marks a clear distinction,

But, guess what, human mathematicians have learned to deal with those cases because we can accommodate different axioms.. So those cases can both be considered true in the human derived system. Why wouldn’t aliens or others come to the same conclusions?

So, AGAIN, what is considered true in the math realm that you think would not be considered true or essential in a different realm.

74. 74
Origenes says:

Kairosfocus @71

I am saying, absent a necessary being reality root there would be just utter non being, no worlds of any sort at all, where world here enfolds a whole universe that might be or is, from a list of possible propositions to a computer simulation to a mathematical domain to our world 90 bn ly across or more.

I agree with you that something fundamental must exist.

Utter non being has no causal powers and were such the case, that would always and only be the case, there would be no reality whatsoever, no time, no entities, no propositions, no minds, no matter, no spaces of any dimension, no locations, utter non being.

Good and solid argument. Again, we both hold that something fundamental must exist.

As a world is, something always was of adequate causal capacity for our world to be and us in it. Responsible, rational, significantly free creatures. So, the issue is, of what character is that reality root, W0 as I tagged it.

I think we both agree that the cause of this world is an excessively intelligent being.

A few notes:

1. The cause of this world and the W0 (reality root/something fundamental that must exist) are not necessarily the same thing. It is conceivable that the intelligent being that caused our world sprang from the W0. Given that, it is conceivable that the W0 is a nonconscious being that is not directly involved in creating our world.
2. As an aside, it is conceivable that the intelligent being that caused our world went through a learning process and acquired his incredible powers over time.

75. 75
kairosfocus says:

JVL, where did you ever get a suggestion that I connected the axiomatic systems in question to earth life? KF

76. 76
kairosfocus says:

Origenes, as a matter of design inference, there is no equating of W0 with the immediate designers of cell based life on earth. As an initial abstraction, personality is not attributed to the root world W0. That may be built up later on evidence but that is not where this starts. KF

77. 77
Viola Lee says:

re 70. So geometry is not core mathematics?

And you writes, “VL, the parallel postulate and the angle sum of a triangle analogue are decisively different.” Different than what? Different than each other? The sum of the angles in a triangle is a direct consequence of which parallel postulate you are adopting.

78. 78
Viola Lee says:

re 70. So geometry is not core mathematics?

And you writes, “VL, the parallel postulate and the angle sum of a triangle analogue are decisively different.” Different from what? Different from each other? The sum of the angles in a triangle is a direct consequence of which parallel postulate you are adopting.

79. 79
Origenes says:

Kairosfocus @

as a matter of design inference, there is no equating of W0 with the immediate designers of cell based life on earth.

Again, I agree. And I would add that I also don’t see a metaphysical necessity of equating the two.

As an initial abstraction, personality is not attributed to the root world W0. That may be built up later on evidence but that is not where this starts.

Understood. I note again that evidence derived from this universe relates to the designer(s) of this universe who may be ontologically distinct from the W0.

80. 80
kairosfocus says:

VL, my operative word was analogue, e.g. the ellipsoidal case has the angles greater than 180 degrees for the analogue of a triangle and in other frames less than, it is the Euclidean case that has 180. So, yes, common school geometry is not part of the universal core as discussed though it is relevant to us. KF

81. 81
kairosfocus says:

VL, by for example citing Euclidean vs non Euclidean geometry I gave a well known clarifying case. That should be enough spelling out. KF

82. 82
Viola Lee says:

KF. Is trigonometry part of core mathematics? Exponents and logarithms? If the geometry of surfaces is not core, then would all math in coordinate systems, such as the graphs of functions not be core?

Can you explain what criteria is being used to answer the above questions.

83. 83
kairosfocus says:

VL, we are talking of the axiomatisation of geometry, that there are alternative axiomatisations that yield diverse results; as was stated and exemplified. Go through C and you will see all you need for geometry work, Trig functions and trig, likewise through power series. I note, Cartesian coords, are C in disguise in effect: j*x –> y. Extensions to 3-d space have similar vector approaches, try ijk, hinted at by the physicist’s j just now. The exponential function and its inverse are likewise. My point is not that the Euclidean world is not useful and relevant but that its framework per classical axiomatisation is not present in every possible world automatically. We know this directly through the creation of alternative worlds where the 5th postulate does not hold. The universal core I have pointed out, NZQRCR* etc, does hold in any possible world giving it universal power. We already know in a relativistic world that on the grand scale our spacetime domain is non euclidean, also making non euclidean geometry relevant. Though, navigation on the Earth’s surface gives cases also. Notice, two finitely separated lines of longitude intersect the equator locally at right angles but intersect at a non zero angle at the N pole, thus we see the triangle analogue in the surface of the Earth having the angle sum exceeding 180 degrees, something evident from the days of Eratosthenes. Likewise, projective geometry, including perspective is non Euclidean, parallel lines analogues converge at a vanishing point; this is the geometry of vision, manifest to us since our ancestors could reflect on vision. I gather pygmies from Central Africa taken out on the plains misunderstood remote animals as nearby bugs. I note that other examples have been set to one side for the moment but these also show the same pattern. The universal core I am speaking of is particular to the issue of being manifest in any possible world, each PW being a sufficient set of propositions feasible of instantiation, here as an abstract model framework. For related example, standard non naive set theory and fuzzy sets are both useful in diverse contexts but each is obviously a diverse axiomatisation, as are different algebraic logics. KF

PS, Notice how differing geometries with differing axiomatisations are practically relevant to us in diverse contexts.

84. 84
kairosfocus says:

PPS, you may wonder on universality. Lengths of lines are real values, as are angles at vertices, and of course trig function values, logs etc are reals, typically irrationals and it is suspected most of the time strictly transcendentals. But in curvilinear spaces world lines are curves so what does the angle of intersection mean, between curves, or the length of a curve? Clearly, we are dealing with close approximations to straight lines and planes etc (though surveyors beyond a certain scope do deal with curvature), and this points to what lurks, infinitesimal increments in the lines that are straight and do intersect at an angle. Curve lengths are in effect integrals of such increments, and more, that is, R* is relevant.

85. 85
Origenes says:

VL @, JVL @, KF@

KF argues that reality is such that any possible world is in accord with logic and math. Is anyone contesting his claim? It seems to me that there is only some disagreement about details.

Suppose we move on and ask: what explains the fact that any possible world is in accord with logic and math? KF suggests that the ‘root of reality’ must have put logic and math into reality and that this fact tells us something about the nature of the root of reality.
Is anyone contesting those claims? I am asking because that seems to be the bigger issue here.

86. 86
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@53

PM1, not all of mathematics, just the core. Once there is a distinct possible world W, marked apart from W’ a near neighbour, instantly 0,1,2 obtain thence NZQRCR*, etc. This is a general result on an abstract order for any PW descriptive set, it matters not if your world is “a world that was a sheer homogeneous plenum,” say P, once that is distinguishable from any neighbour that is not quite the same, there is an attribute in the set for P that is not in P’ say P’ is just shy of complete homogeneity or something like that, which makes your description mean P is pure homog, an attribute not in P’.

This is all fine, but let’s take stock of what this shows: if we’re doing possible world theory, then we’re using the tools of set theory to describe sets of possible worlds. So it’s just an presupposition of doing set theory that we can distinguish between elements in those sets: there are no sets if we can’t distinguish between elements (in this case, worlds).

My point was only that using the elementary mathematics of set theory to describe possible worlds doesn’t show that mathematics must be true of every possible world.

One of the basic truths of set theory is that sets can have different cardinality, and my point was that the set of mathematically possible worlds must have a smaller cardinality than the set of logically possible worlds.

This is because the only constraint on logically possible worlds is that they cannot violate the axioms of non-classical logics. (This is because the set of all classically logically possible world has a smaller cardinality than the set of all non-classically logically possible worlds, since classical logic has more restrictive axioms than non-classical logics.)

But the constraints on mathematically possible worlds are more restrictive than the constraints on logically possible worlds, because in addition to logical axioms, there are additional axioms — the axioms of geometry and the axioms of number theory.

It’s an intuitive result of possible world theory that as one adds axioms, the cardinality of the set of possible worlds decreases, since there will always be possible worlds in which the axioms do not hold.

For this reason, I believe it is mistaken to say

Core mathematics is part of the fabric of any distinct possible world, giving it universal power.

precisely because one can conceive of logically possible worlds in which the axioms of geometry and number theory cannot be used.

A sheer homogeneous plenum is a logically possible world in which it is impossible to do geometry, since one could not differentiate between points, lines, planes. A world of zero dimensionality would be a world in which only points are mathematically possible. A world that had no spatio-temporal structure at all would be a world in which no mathematics could be done.

Yet all these worlds are thinkable without contradiction, hence they are classically logically possible.

87. 87
kairosfocus says:

Origenes,

once you have a distinct possible [much less actual!] world, the law of distinct identity is already present. It carries with it its close corollaries, excluded middle and non contradiction. These are already clearly fabric to any possible world and so are necessary entities constitutive of any given world. Branch on which we all sit.

Next, there is a fourth principle that in some forms is quite controversial, sufficient reason. I short circuit the vexed debates . . . this one is so powerful it triggers hot objections . . . by using a weak, inquiry form: for any A that is, may be or is impossible of being we may freely ask why, and hope to find a reasonable answer. This cannot be successfully objected to, it is a declaration of freedom of inquiry.

It also leads us to see that some things are impossible of being [IoB] in any possible world [PW], similar to a Euclidean plane square circle. That is because, core proposed characteristics are irreconcilably contradictory. Where, to get all strict, picky and fussy, consider that plane to be a disguised form of the complex plane C.

Next, some things are possible and some are actual. Of these, some are in at least one PW but not all, these are contingent beings, CB. Others, are in every possible world, necessary beings, NB. If you doubt, try to imagine a particular world W where twoness does not exist, or begins, or ceases. Of course just from W is distinct from a near neighbour W’, so W = {W’|A}, A some distinguishing attribute, 2 is already present in the existence or possible existence of W. NB’s are framework for any PW, so they are always there. NB’s are of course aspects of the root world already discussed W0. They always existed, cannot cease, are thus . . . eternal.

The atheists are getting hot under the collar and sending out VT quake swarms, magma on the move heading for the surface. Never mind, we are just looking at what is now logic of being. Nope, not religion [the favourite dismissive rhetorical eruption], strictly, the branch of metaphysics termed ontology.

We also see, that contingent beings, like fires, are caused. This can be elaborated but simply consider a fire and its requisites, as Copi did in his famous introductory text. Obviously, what begins to exist and/or depends on something else to continue and/or can cease from existing and/or is composite (made from prior parts) is contingent and caused. Necessary beings are not caused but from W0, may be causes. Or, like 2, may be logical constraints on possible being. No, not everything has or needs a cause.

We are far enough along that we can modify my fav Austrian Prof, a certain HN (loved the dashikis!), and define math:

MATHEMATICS: [the study of] the logic of structure and quantity, i.e. an extension of a key aspect of logic of being to a foundational intellectual discipline

In that context, necessarily, any PW has logic and a certain core of math embedded in it as NB fabric to its existence, including NZQRCR* etc, the etc being royal, i.e. expandable into a realm. That’s my answer to Wigner’s wonder on the seemingly magical power of math. There is a universal core of math that is utterly pervasive, an aspect of requisites of being.

However, not all of math is like that. We set up abstract logic model worlds, LMW’s, at top level, axiomatic systems, at other levels mere models or even programmed abstract machines such as Turing machines.

Euclidean geometry is an axiomatic system and it was discovered ~ 200 years ago that its 5th postulate is limited in scope, i.e. there are non Euclidean geometries. We can go to C to get an abstract result as needed in any world, but we can also define curvilinear systems etc and in our own world navigation, perspective etc already go beyond Euclid.

As to creating that NB structure, no, it is already embedded in W0, we discover that core we do not invent it, and it is fabric to W0. Classically, on theism, these are eternal contemplations of God. On other proposed schemes they are part of the fabric of what is and always was. I argue separately that schemes that try to dismiss God are causally inadequate for us as responsible, rational, significantly free creatures. Also, they cannot find a way to have God impossible of being. Attempts to sever God from goodness and moral perfection are similarly wanting in cogency.

Those asides are there as there seems to be endless debate on such and need for clarity.

The quincunx, then is as I noted in 11:

the Quincunx shows by striking demonstration the depth to which logic of structure and quantity pervades our world and points onward to the utter, eerie universality of core mathematics in any possible world as a necessary being structure; the very same issue Eugene Wigner highlighted. The world is so mathematically pervaded, indeed possible being is so mathematically pervaded that it is manifestly akin to mind rather than to utterly non rational chaos; indeed, in many cases, randomness reveals an underlying ordered structure, as this very case demonstrates. Onward, lieth statistical thermodynamics, via the classic case of 500 or 1,000 coins and their distribution, thence the threshold search space challenge at the core of ID, how to get to FSCO/I expressive bit patterns by the blind chance and mechanical necessity the Galton Board illustrates. That context is remarkable, not trivial and readily dismissible.

KF

88. 88
kairosfocus says:

PM1, actually, as just outlined, we are dealing with ontology and thus foundations of math. This is prior to set theory. When we discuss, a world is already implied for us to exist and be discussing, branch on which we sit. PW discussion is about this and other ways things might be, described as sets of assertions, propositions. Again, antecedent to proper revised set theory, the naive forms ran into paradoxes. So, we start from getting to N then extending NZQRCR* etc. The rest follows. KF

89. 89
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@85

KF argues that reality is such that any possible world is in accord with logic and math. Is anyone contesting his claim? It seems to me that there is only some disagreement about details.

I’m not contesting the claim about logic, only about mathematics (even “core mathematics”).

I have no complaints about the idea that logic constrains the set of all possible worlds. The question is, what follows from this?

Suppose we move on and ask: what explains the fact that any possible world is in accord with logic and math? KF suggests that the ‘root of reality’ must have put logic and math into reality and that this fact tells us something about the nature of the root of reality.
Is anyone contesting those claims? I am asking because that seems to be the bigger issue here.

One would need to consider whether possible worlds really exist in some sense or if all talk about possible worlds is just a way of articulating modal discourse about how the actual world could be. (This is sometimes construed as a debate between modal realism and modal actualism.)

I guess I’m just puzzled as to how this debate relates to whether God exists. Even if modal realism is true (which seems bonkers to me, but whatever), it wouldn’t show that God exists, and even if modal actualism is true (which is my personal inclination), it wouldn’t show that God doesn’t exist.

Put otherwise, even if modal actualism were true, and possible worlds is just a convenient device for representing our modal commitments about how the actual world could be, one might still feel the urge to ask such questions as:

(1) Why is it the case that this universe has the requisite spatio-temporal structure for beings such as ourselves to conceive of both Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometries?

(2) Why is it the case that this universe has the requisite spatio-temporal structure for beings such as ourselves to empirically determine that the actual geometry of the universe is roughly non-Euclidean (in the presence of mass)?

(3) Why it is the case that this universe has the requisite spatio-temporal structure for beings such as ourselves to construct mathematical tools such as set theory and category theory?

(4) Why it is the case that this universe has the requisite spatio-temporal structure for beings such as ourselves to sense, imagine, and think of empirically detectable objects as countable, such that arithmetic operations can be applied to empirically detectable objects?

It would nevertheless also be a question as to whether “because it was willed as such by a transcendent personal God” is an intellectually satisfying answer to any or all of those questions.

90. 90
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@88

PM1, actually, as just outlined, we are dealing with ontology and thus foundations of math. This is prior to set theory. When we discuss, a world is already implied for us to exist and be discussing, branch on which we sit. PW discussion is about this and other ways things might be, described as sets of assertions, propositions. Again, antecedent to proper revised set theory, the naive forms ran into paradoxes. So, we start from getting to N then extending NZQRCR* etc. The rest follows

First of all, possible worlds is not prior to set theory: what we are discussing in possible world semantics is sets of worlds. Possible world semantics just is the use of set theory to make explicit the ontological commitments of modal discourse. (It’s been a while since I’ve read David Lewis, but I’m pretty sure this is how he develops his version of extensional possible world semantics.)

Secondly, there’s still a difference between what is true about sets of worlds and what is true of any particular world.

My point is that the cardinality of mathematically possible worlds must be smaller than the cardinality of logically possible worlds. It cannot be the case that elementary mathematics is true of all logically possible worlds, precisely because we can conceive of logically possible worlds in which the axioms of elementary mathematics cannot hold.

91. 91
Viola Lee says:

PM clearly lays out some interesting issues, and then asks, “It would nevertheless also be a question as to whether “because it was willed as such by a transcendent personal God” is an intellectually satisfying answer to any or all of those questions.”

I’d say no. My point (way back when Ford asked about the “ethical” in “ethical theism”) is that all. these interesting and messy questions about the relationship between logic, math, and the root of reality do not imply or logically lead to a belief that the root of reality has a personal concern about human beings, or any other attributes of being “personal” in respect to the world.

92. 92
kairosfocus says:

PM1, again, to discuss sets and collections, there first has to be a we, in a world. This is branch on which we sit territory; a we BTW who need to be responsibly, rationally, significantly free. We then proceed to describe our world and find a set of propositions, then realise that other worlds are possible, other actual or conceivable states of affairs for this or other worlds. This is before we debate semantics or realise that such descriptions are or translate to sufficient systems of propositions to specify how a world is or might be. In discussing a distinct possible world W we find that distinct identity etc are present. These are prior to axiomatisation of set theory, e.g. ZFC, and to the relevant sets NZQRCR* etc. That elucidation starts from being. As was already sufficiently shown. KF

PS: I address this here:

the cardinality of mathematically possible worlds must be smaller than the cardinality of logically possible worlds. It cannot be the case that elementary mathematics is true of all logically possible worlds, precisely because we can conceive of logically possible worlds in which the axioms of elementary mathematics cannot hold

Nope, so soon as a distinct PW, W is identified, dichotomy is present, as was already discussed. So, we see 2, 1, 0. By von Neumann, thence N, necessarily. What you are trying to suggest is worlds in which 2ness does not exist as a property, or one ness [a world . . . ] or 0 [empty of content] etc. On the contrary, as was shown long since, once N, ZQRCR*. So the difference of cardinality you suggest is an error.

93. 93
kairosfocus says:

VL, no one has asserted that worldviews are deductive conclusions. What has been on the table is grand explanatory inferences and comparative difficulties. We need adequate causal ground for a world with morally governed creatures, us. That requires bridging is-ought, where post Hume that can only credibly be done at necessary being reality root level. That adequacy requirement points to a bill of requisites: inherent goodness and utter wisdom (we are not dealing with a demiurge). The “candidate to beat” is the inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being. Your alternative is _________ and it is able to ground and bridge IS-OUGHT as _________, also it is better on comparative difficulties due to ________ . KF

PS, as God is clearly a serious candidate NB, God as characterised is either impossible of being [incoherent core characteristics] or is actual.

94. 94
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@92

PM1, again, to discuss sets and collections, there first has to be a we, in a world. This is branch on which we sit territory; a we BTW who need to be responsibly, rationally, significantly free. We then proceed to describe our world and find a set of propositions, then realise that other worlds are possible, other actual or conceivable states of affairs for this or other worlds. This is before we debate semantics or realise that such descriptions are or translate to sufficient systems of propositions to specify how a world is or might be.

OK, if I’m understanding you correctly, then nothing in the passage just quoted above requires anything in possible world semantics or set theory.

If that’s what you’re saying, I’m completely fine with that. I’d happily take what’s quoted above as a starting point for any philosophical reflection.

Given my background and training, I’d call that “transcendental reflection”, which I’d describe as a systematic inquiry into the cognitive capacities and incapacities, the actualization of which is disclosed in the kinds of experiences we manifestly take ourselves to have (including our experience of ourselves as norm-governed beings).

Disclosure of the experiences in which these capacities and incapacities are reliably manifested, and description of those capacities and incapacities based on second-order reflection on those experiences, is not wholly separable from the ontological question of what the world must be like such that

(1) beings such as ourselves can be amongst its beings
and
(2) it is possible for beings with our cognitive capacities and incapacities can (as it were) “mesh” with empirically detectable regularities and irregularities grounded in the world’s causal and modal structures.

In discussing a distinct possible world W we find that distinct identity etc are present. These are prior to axiomatisation of set theory, e.g. ZFC, and to the relevant sets NZQRCR* etc. That elucidation starts from being.

I’m just baffled at the idea that it is possible to talk about possible worlds prior to set theory, since possible world semantics relies on set theory. This was how Kripke and Lewis more or less defined the metaphysics of possible worlds: the use of set theory to make explicit the ontological commitments of modal discourse. The idea of talking about possible worlds without relying on set theory doesn’t make sense to me.

But, if I’m understanding the first part correctly, then you don’t really need any logic or mathematics at all — just transcendental reflection (as I call it) is sufficient to clarify the starting-point of philosophizing.

95. 95
Viola Lee says:

KF writes, “Your alternative is _________ and it is able to ground and bridge IS-OUGHT as _________,

As I said above, “There is no bridge across the is-ought gap. “Is” is about reality. “Ought” is about judgments people make about how to behave. There is always a gap that is filled in by individual choice.”

Your belief that there must be such a bridge at the root of reality is a faith-based belief, but as I have repeatedly said, the only arguments for such that you seem to offer is one of consequences: that if such does not exist and is not believed in, then nihilism follows. That is not an valid argument for your assertion.

96. 96
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@93

no one has asserted that worldviews are deductive conclusions. What has been on the table is grand explanatory inferences and comparative difficulties. We need adequate causal ground for a world with morally governed creatures, us.

I completely agree with all of that.

That requires bridging is-ought, where post Hume that can only credibly be done at necessary being reality root level.

and that is where I get off the bus.

You’re claiming that we ought to response to Hume by positing ought-ness at the level of fundamental reality. As I’ve argued before, I don’t think that makes sense.

All Hume is saying is that there’s no deductively valid argument that has only descriptive statements in the premises and a prescriptive statement in the conclusion. (To put the same point in terms of symbolic logic, one cannot introduce a deontic logic operator in the conclusion if there are no deontic operators in the premises.)

Hume’s argument does not say that we can’t have a causal explanation for the evolution of norm-governed behavior amongst large-brained social animals. In other words, one can “bridge” the “gap” between “is” and “ought” by way of science — his point is only that one cannot do so by way of logic alone.

97. 97
Viola Lee says:

KF writes, “We need adequate causal ground for a world with morally governed creatures, us.”

I object to the “governed” part of KF’s need, as to him it inserts his conclusion into the need: that there needs to be a basis for morality at the root level to “govern” us. Humans are moral creatures (more broadly, they are normative creatures), but the grounding of that moral nature is in the complexities of our biological, cultural, social, psychological, cognitive nature, which includes our rational abilities. But ultimately we make moral choices: we take lots of things into consideration, and we are subject to lots of forces and influences, but ultimately we govern ourself. This is a very long way from any “need’ for the root of reality to have anything to do this.

98. 98
kairosfocus says:

PM1,

possible worlds discussions were conceived before Kripke et al [think Leibniz, or even Anselm or Aristotle et al, but more to the point those who conceived world systems/views or just wrote novels, fantasies, fairy stories and other fictional genres — before we get to things like the Euclidean axiomatisation and its cousins, or scientific theories]. Yes, my view is that such schemes are ancient, we are dealing with formalisations not proper origins. Then, of course, these latterday worthies were inhabitants of a going concern, credibly contingent cosmos, which has come down to our own day.

In case you think my approach a strange and dubiously idiosyncratic one, ponder:

Which, begins:

Anne is working at her desk. While she is directly aware only of her immediate situation — her being seated in front of her computer, the music playing in the background, the sound of her husband’s voice on the phone in the next room, and so on — she is quite certain that this situation is only part of a series of increasingly more inclusive, albeit less immediate, situations: the situation in her house as a whole, the one in her neighborhood, the city she lives in, the state, the North American continent, the Earth, the solar system, the galaxy, and so on. On the face of it, anyway, it seems quite reasonable to believe that this series has a limit, that is, that there is a maximally inclusive situation encompassing all others: things, as a whole or, more succinctly, the actual world.

Most of us also believe that things, as a whole, needn’t have been just as they are. Rather, things might have been different in countless ways, both trivial and profound. History, from the very beginning, could have unfolded quite other than it did in fact: the matter constituting a distant star might never have organized well enough to give light; species that survived might just as well have died off; battles won might have been lost; children born might never have been conceived and children never conceived might otherwise have been born. In any case, no matter how things had gone they would still have been part of a single, maximally inclusive, all-encompassing situation, a single world. Intuitively, then, the actual world of which Anne’s immediate situation is a part is only one among many possible worlds . . .

Now of course SEP goes on:

Although ‘possible world’ has been part of the philosophical lexicon at least since Leibniz, the notion became firmly entrenched in contemporary philosophy with the development of possible world semantics for the languages of propositional and first-order modal logic. In addition to the usual sentence operators of classical logic such as ‘and’ (‘?’), ‘or’ (‘?’), ‘not’ (‘¬’), ‘if…then’ (‘?’), and, in the first-order case, the quantifiers ‘all’ (‘?’) and ‘some’ (‘?’), these languages contain operators intended to represent the modal adverbs ‘necessarily’ (‘?’) and ‘possibly’ (‘?’). Although a prominent aspect of logic in both Aristotle’s work and the work of many medieval philosophers, modal logic was largely ignored from the modern period to the mid-20th century . . . .

Specifically, in possible world semantics, the modal operators are interpreted as quantifiers over possible worlds, as expressed informally in the following two general principles:

Nec A sentence of the form ?Necessarily, ?? (????) is true if and only if ? is true in every possible world.[3]
Poss A sentence of the form ?Possibly, ?? (????) is true if and only if ? is true in some possible world.

Given this, the failures of the classical substitutivity principles can be traced to the fact that modal operators, so interpreted, introduce contexts that require subtler notions of meaning for sentences and their component parts than are provided in classical logic

Where, a PW can be taken as a way this or another world is, may be etc. This opens up using PWs to include the sorts of entities already pointed to. Thence, a candidate c is impossible of being IFF there is no W in which it would be actual were W actualised. Possible beings exist in at least one W, and necessary ones in every W. Contingent ones are in at least one PW but not all.

Going back to sets, because of the paradoxes of naive set theory, modern set theories sought to construct a hierarchy of sets not vulnerable to such. Thus we come to things like the von Neumann construction of N and the like, from {} –> 0. From which, we go, N, so ZQRCR* etc. Modern ZFC set theory is not as colourful as it used to be in the naive days, but it is more reliable. In this context, I think you will see why I suggest ZFC is a particular axiomatisation that sets up a logic-model world, not the root of such world-describing, modelling, simulating and building.

The rest follows directly.

KF

99. 99
kairosfocus says:

VL:

I object to the “governed” part of KF’s need, as to him it inserts his conclusion into the need: that there needs to be a basis for morality at the root level to “govern” us.

Ahem, do you not see that you just appealed to my known duty to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, with hints of to sound conscience, thus neighbour and justice? My point is and has been that Cicero and his antecedents saw something profound, and that it is of branch on which we sit character, objectors are hope;essly caught in self referentiality.

PM1:

Hume’s argument does not say that we can’t have a causal explanation for the evolution of norm-governed behavior amongst large-brained social animals. In other words, one can “bridge” the “gap” between “is” and “ought” by way of science — his point is only that one cannot do so by way of logic alone.

Scientism, anyone?

The problem is, accidental collocations of atoms without due end have no obligations, no responsible rational freedom, so no ought. You have proposed no is adequate to ground ought. At most you are at the level of the delusion that gets us to cooperate better. Wide open for nihilistic dismissal.

KF

And of course, you too are sitting on the same branch with VL, the undersigned and the rest of us.

100. 100
Viola Lee says:

I will continue to respond a bit for the sake, perhaps, of some new participants who haven’t been around the block with KF on this subject before.

KF makes his usual dismissive and condescending response when he writes, “Ahem, do you not see that you just appealed to my known duty to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, with hints of to sound conscience, thus neighbour and justice?”

No, KF, I don’t “see” that: I understand what you are saying and disagree with you about it. One can believe that human beings have the ability to reason and seek truth without believing that they have a “duty” to reason that flows from the root of reality, just as one can believe humans have a moral nature without believing they are “governed” by a morality that flows from the root of reality.

It’s a cheap out to dismiss arguments against your philosophy by dismissing the possibility that reason flows from other sources than the root of reality. That makes it impossible to have your philosophy challenged because you automatically declare victory and refuse to address those challenges.

My claim is that the only arguments that you provide for there being moral duties flowing from the root of reality are arguments from consequences: your mistaken belief that only by your position can one escape nihilism.

Address the issues: don’t shoo me away by condescendingly saying, “Hey, you’re using reason, so you must agree with me about “duties” and the root of reality.

See 44 and 95 and 97 for more.

101. 101
Ford Prefect says:

VL@100, very well said.

And as far as I can see the same applies to his is-ought gap argument. He insists that the only way to ground ought is if the “is” is derived from his mysterious root of reality. He further insists that the only alternative is might and manipulation make right. Completely ignoring things like cooperation, logic, desire, goals, etc, none of which need be linked to his root of reality.

102. 102
vividbleau says:

VL
“Address the issues: don’t shoo me away by condescendingly saying,…”

Why not? Does KF have a duty to not be condescending? Does he have any duty to address the issues? I’m confused as to why you are objecting as if he should not be doing what you personally don’t want him to do. Does he have some kind of duty to you? That’s the only way I can make sense of your objection.

Vivid

103. 103
JVL says:

Vividbleau: Does he have any duty to address the issues?

Don’t you think the point is that Kairosfocus asks us to use logic and reason but when we do he tells us we’re doing it wrong? That he will always object to any point made if it disagrees with his pre-held beliefs and biases? That he’s not really carrying on a dialogue at all? He’s just pushing his agenda which he clearly states is an attempt to ‘correct’ our invalid views.

104. 104
Origenes says:

JVL@

Kairosfocus asks us to use logic and reason but when we do he tells us we’re doing it wrong?

Here you are simply whining about the fact that Kairosfocus does not agree with you. **Newsflash**: that won’t happen any time soon.

105. 105
kairosfocus says:

VL:

I respond in steps of thought:

>>As I said above, “There is no bridge across the is-ought gap. “Is” is about reality. “Ought” is about judgments people make about how to behave. There is always a gap that is filled in by individual choice.”>>

1: Naked denial of a case on the table that does bridge the gap and at root level of reality.

2: Our sense of oughtness is a fact, indeed, your argument turns on the binding nature of first duties to truth, right reason etc that you think I am in breach of.

3: Arthur Holmes is on point:

However we may define the good, however well we may calculate consequences, to whatever extent we may or may not desire certain consequences, none of this of itself implies any obligation of command. That something is or will be does not imply that we ought to seek it. We can never derive an “ought” from a premised “is” unless the ought is somehow already contained in the premise . . . .

R. M. Hare . . . raises the same point. Most theories, he argues, simply fail to account for the ought that commands us: subjectivism reduces imperatives to statements about subjective states, egoism and utilitarianism reduce them to statements about consequences, emotivism simply rejects them because they are not empirically verifiable, and determinism reduces them to causes rather than commands . . . .

Elizabeth Anscombe’s point is well made. We have a problem introducing the ought into ethics unless, as she argues, we are morally obligated by law – not a socially imposed law, ultimately, but divine law . . . . This is precisely the problem with modern ethical theory in the West . . . it has lost the binding force of divine commandments . . . .

[For instance,] If we admit that we all equally have the right to be treated as persons, then it follows that we have the duty to respect one another accordingly. Rights bring correlative duties: my rights . . . imply that you ought to respect these rights. [Arthur F. Holmes, Ethics, (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1984), p. 81.]

>>Your belief that there must be such a bridge at the root of reality is a faith-based belief,>>

4: Them’s fighting words, given the widespread subtext of contempt towards “faith” and “religion,” which by writing in this way, you invite in the door.

5: In fact, I showed a serious candidate, well known in the history of ideas and discussed on worldviews level abductive inference to the best explanation, informed by logic of necessary being.

6: Further, I highlighted something we can warrant to self evident certainty, we all sit on the branch together where even the objector must appeal to known first duties of reason, i.e. we can know and should acknowledge that our responsible rational freedom is morally governed. Branch on which we all sit inevitability of reason, so, pervasive, self evident first principles and duties that govern reason, indeed also our first built in law the root of just and prudent government and governance more broadly. To wit, following Cicero:

1st – to truth,
2nd – to right reason,
3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
4th – to sound conscience,
5th – to neighbour; so also,
6th – to fairness and
7th – to justice
[ . . .]
xth – etc.

7: But, that is obviously, a bitter pill to swallow and so objectors repeatedly, predictably demonstrate further cases of how it governs argument and reason.

>> but as I have repeatedly said, the only arguments for such that you seem to offer is one of consequences:>>

8: Why do you keep acting as if the above line of worldviews level inference to best explanation i/l/o self evident first duties and law does not exist? You may disagree, with due reason . . . oops! . . . but there it is, has been for some time now.

9: That denial is so striking it calls for explanation and invites cognitive dissonance by projection to the other analysis. This is the key and main argument, ponder closely why you have repeatedly acted as though it were not there, the better to pounce on what you imagine is a weak argument.

>> that if such does not exist and is not believed in, then nihilism follows.>>

10: Actually, a strawman. My actual argument on this point is first, objectors sit on the same branch with the rest of us and so we find a cluster of self evident truths on first duties, first principles and first law of responsible rational freedom.

11: This is epistemological, an argument drawing out self evidence, building on say this from Epictetus:

DISCOURSES
CHAPTER XXV

When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [ –> Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. We here see the first principles of right reason in action. Cf J. C. Wright]

12: The attempt to deny and dismiss such self evident truth is hopelessly self referentially incoherent as one is trying to saw off the branch on which one is sitting on. Further, denial of such first logical, moral and epistemological principles undermines rationality, prudence and knowledge, which does by its nature invite nihilism, denial and dismissal of knowledge, principle, reason etc.

13: Which is a manifest fact on recent centuries of history, too, with terrible consequences.

14: In this context, logic of being issues obtain. They point to the root of reality and highlight the need for an adequate cause for such an objective state of knowledge and duty.

15: There is a serious candidate, the inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being. God as candidate would be one unified entity so uniting inextricably goodness and being, in the very root of all worlds. That bridges is and ought.

16: Further, utter wisdom and power to create worlds gives ability to effect domains in which responsible, rational creatures with freedom can know and live by sound principles and duties of self evident character.

17: Maximal greatness implies that such a candidate — notice, CANDIDATE, not assumption or naked assertion — would have good attributes to maximal compossible degree.

18: Serious candidate NECESSARY being, implies either impossible of being [as a Euclidean plane square circle is, incoherent core characteristics], or actual as possible and framework to worlds.

19: To dismiss, perhaps not serious, but the history of ideas of our civilisation is undeniable, not a promising approach. Likewise, the argument from evil self defeats and is dead post Plantinga. So, there is no good reason to hold impossible of being, either.

KF

106. 106
kairosfocus says:

VL, pointing out a frequently side stepped fact, which you just put on the table again by sitting on the branch you are trying to saw off, is not “condescending,” which by now is just a way to poison the well. I have already answered substantially and FP et al can answer for themselves. KF

107. 107
Viola Lee says:

KJ writes, “1: Naked denial of a case on the table that does bridge the gap and at root level of reality.”

Explain. Be more specific. What case are you talking about?

KF writes, “2: Our sense of oughtness is a fact, indeed.

Yes, it is a fact. That doesn’t mean it comes from the root of reality.

Explain how you know our sense of oughtness from the root of reality.

This is the crux of the matter. I don’t think the root of reality cares at all how humans behave. A sense of oughtness is a contingent fact about human beings, as are many other qualities, but that doesn’t mean they come from the root of reality.

That’s the key issue.

108. 108
Viola Lee says:

KK, it is condescending to start a sentence with, “Ahem, do you not see …” Just say what you want to say, but don’t imply some level of blindness on the part of the person you are addressing.

109. 109
JVL says:

Origenes: Here you are simply whining about the fact that Kairosfocus does not agree with you.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

110. 110
doubter says:

Kairosfocus@11

I think this post is the quintessence of the most comprehensive answer to the OP question, “Is The Galton Board Evidence For Intelligent Design Of The Universe?”, which is a positive and certain Yes. The Galton Board and its statistics are merely one of countless examples of the intricate intelligent mathematical organization of the Universe and our reality. I had a similar thought , but couldn’t immediately come up with a good formulation.

111. 111
vividbleau says:

JVL
“Don’t you think the point is that Kairosfocus asks us to use logic and reason but when we do he tells us we’re doing it wrong?”

A couple of thoughts.Tell me where I am missing the boat. I think both you and VL get frustrated with KF for a number of reasons.

1) No one likes to be lectured too and as much as I love the guy he can come off as a lecturer not a hearer. I don’t think that is true but I can see why one could feel that way

2) Although I don’t know what you or VL ‘s metaphysical positional starting points are ( I wish I did) they definitely are not KF’s starting point. So until that disagreement gets resolved it is understandable by both you and VL that he is not listening to what you have to say. You are talking past each other..

3) Although I don’t know either of you personally from your writings I think the both of you are very much concerned about morality, in short you are moral people. You both are very much concerned about truth and it can be irksome if you get the sense from KF that you are not concerned about them. Or because you don’t agree with his metaphysics you are neither moral or concerned about truth. I think you are misreading him. I think he is talking about “grounding” issues not the former.

Anyway may I have change for my two cents?

Vivid

112. 112
kairosfocus says:

VB (& attn others above),

what could be clearer than that the first duties and principles of reason are a branch on which we all sit, so that when we see attempts to object to their self evident character [it seems, therefore placing them in a relativist or subjectivist context etc . . . ], we consistently see appeals to the same duties and principles?

As in, sawing off the branch on which we all sit.

The point here, is there is an epistemic warrant that it is self evidently the case that our reasoning is morally governed: inescapable, so pervasive binding first principles and duties.

And if one does mean, one is NOT appealing to duties to truth, right reason or warrant, on what basis do they expect us to respond? Whatever arguments move people emotively? Habits? Social conventions that happen to say that valid arguments are important and so is cooperation? Why?

No, I think the problem I see is that there is abundant evidence of the branch on which we sit first principles and duties, but that evidence is pointing in directions that the dominant worldviews and cultural agendas do not want to go. Towards the roots of reality and the is ought gap thence the bridging challenge that would unify our reasoning.

Further, from the beginning I pointed to the inescapability of such moral government of reason. Time after time, objecting arguments imply the very appeals and so provide evidence of their branch on which we sit nature. Epictetus’ approach on first principles of logic applies:

DISCOURSES
CHAPTER XXV

When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [ –> Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. We here see the first principles of right reason in action. Cf J. C. Wright]

How do you think the man who challenged him felt?

I must point out, then, that my arguments TURN ON highlighting the fact of our sense of duty to truth, right reason, right conduct etc. They do not imply that we lack such concerns, but go on to how do we ground them, post Hume and his guillotine.

How, then could I imply or invite that objectors are not concerned regarding duty to truth or to do the right etc? When, I am arguing by pointing to how their objections appeal to these very principles, just as predicted? No, again, the issue is grounding at source of reality level, given that there is an is-ought gap, that there are worldviews that assert there is no grounding for morality, or even for objective knowledge or responsible rational freedom. Crick, Provine and many more show that, Dawkins too.

Provine, for reference:

Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent

[==> key theses of nihilism. Citing the just linked IEP: “Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history.” As without rational, responsible freedom, rationality collapses, Provine implies self referential incoherence. Similarly, ethical foundations include our self evident, pervasive first duties of reason: to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, fairness and justice etc. Provine has given a recipe for gross (and all too common) intellectual irresponsibility.]

. . . . The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

That, I point out that such expresses or invites nihilism is simple fair comment. Wikipedia’s confession:

Nihilism (/?na?(h)?l?z?m, ?ni?-/; from Latin nihil ‘nothing’) is a philosophy, or family of views within philosophy, that rejects generally accepted or fundamental aspects of human existence,[1][2] such as objective truth, knowledge, morality, values, or meaning.[3][4] The term was popularized by Ivan Turgenev, and more specifically by his character Bazarov in the novel Fathers and Sons.

There have been different nihilist positions, including that human values are baseless, that life is meaningless, that knowledge is impossible, or that some set of entities do not exist or are meaningless or pointless.[5][6]

I think I am seeing attempts to dismiss that self evidence rooted in repeatedly shown branch on which we sit pervasive first principle status, multiplied by distractive polarising projections: condescending etc. (What could be more “condescending” than asserting away a whole class of arguments made for a long time, as though they don’t exist then setting up and knocking over a strawman as I had to point out earlier today?)

Next, what could be clearer that I am focussing on ontological roots, than speaking to the roots of reality?

Further, I have put on the table a candidate for that root, noting that that candidate would both exist and would exist as inherently good and utterly wise. Thus, the is-ought gap, on this worldview option would be bridged from the root, securing a clean framework in which everything stemming from the root can freely access that bridge.

Going on, that candidate is a serious candidate necessary being. That entails, either impossible of being as described, or actual. One could call an entity God and suggest no relevance to goodness etc, but that would be a massively question begging redefinition. One that would rightly be rejected.

So, if one is serious about truth, right, good, virtue, duty, etc, why, why fundamentally.

KF

113. 113
Viola Lee says:

I really appreciate your post, Vivid, trying to mediate some understanding between two different points of view and different people. Although addressed to JVL, I think I’m referenced enough that I can respond for myself.

First, yes, I am quite concerned with truth and morality, and think I have some good, valid views on those subjects. You write, “ It can be irksome if you get the sense from KF that you are not concerned about them. Or because you don’t agree with his metaphysics you are neither moral or concerned about truth. I think you are misreading him. I think he is talking about “grounding” issues not the former.”

I think it is clear that KF does think that because I don’t agree with his metaphysics I have no grounding to talk about morals or truth, and that is irksome. I don’t think I’m misreading him on that. And I’m not sure what you mean by grounding issues, but I think the key difference is that he thinks his metaphysics concerning these topics are self-evidently true, and thus dismisses those of us who disagree.

I think it’s obvious that we are not going to resolve our differences by coming to fundamental agreement, and for that reason perhaps (or maybe more than perhaps) I should quit getting in this recurring discussion.

And yes, he does come across as “lecturing” those of us who are wrong, and that is also irksome. I will admit that I may be driven more by being irked by a number of things about KF than by more positive feelings about the value of the discussions. There is no sense in my continuing to respond to things he says again and again when I know my response will have no effect. I will try to learn my lesson.

114. 114
vividbleau says:

KF
Yes I understand you must get frustrated as well. You gotta know by now that I agree with your views wholeheartedly. I am just trying to bridge the gap. I want to thank you for being the warrior you are.

Vivid

115. 115
vividbleau says:

VL
“I really appreciate your post, Vivid,”

You and I are never going to agree on many things but over the years I have grown to appreciate you. You are an extremely intelligent individual and a whiz at math, an area I suck at. God bless

PS: KF has some legitimate beefs as well.

Vivid

116. 116
Origenes says:

Kairosfocus @

… what could be clearer than that the first duties and principles of reason are a branch on which we all sit, so that when we see attempts to object to their self evident character [it seems, therefore placing them in a relativist or subjectivist context etc . . . ], we consistently see appeals to the same duties and principles?

As in, sawing off the branch on which we all sit.

KF, is the following a correct breakdown of your argument in premises and conclusion?

1.) There are moral & logical rules for all of us.
2.) We humans are all subjective and very different from each other.

From (2.)

3.) We, on our own, would never arrive at shared moral & logical rules.

Therefore, from (1.) and (3.)

4.) Shared moral & logical rules must come from an external source.

117. 117
kairosfocus says:

Origenes, that is a significant argument, but it is significantly different. I will lay out my actual argument regarding first duties, as a F/N. I think it is highly unfair to project to me that I am arguing religion, or am saying others are unconcerned about truth, duty, good, right etc [as I noted overnight, my point pivots on the branch on which we sit character of first duties, even when we try to object]. My point is that Cicero put his finger on something when he summarised the classical deposit, that there are certain built-in first duties of lawful character. I noticed, that the attempt to object to them or to their binding nature itself appeals to them, revealing branch on which we sit, pervasive first principle, self evident character. Our responsible, rational freedom is morally governed through these first duties. Which, are knowable and coeval with our nature. That undermines radical relativism, subjectivism, emotivism etc and it is plain from many such as Provine, Crick and Rosenberg etc, that evolutionary materialistic scientism does open the door to nihilism thus lawlessness. That is underscored by the history of C20. Going beyond, as we operate on both sides of is-ought, it is reasonable to seek a bridge. That points to root reality and there is a serious candidate necessary being root of reality that does bridge the gap, the inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being. That is a significant feature of ethical theism, which it is only fair to have on the table. It is also fair comment to note that such a serious candidate NB either is impossible of being or is actual, which points a way back to the proper focus for the thread. KF

118. 118
kairosfocus says:

F/N: The core argument I made these many moons ago now, starting with the better known of the two key texts from Cicero:

, On the Republic, Bk 3: {22.} [33] L . . . True law is right reason in agreement with [–> our morally governed] nature , it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it [–> as universally binding core of law], and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people [–> as binding, universal, coeval with our humanity], and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. [–> sound conscience- guided reason will point out the core] And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment. . . . – Marcus Tullius Cicero, c. 55 – 54 BC

Notice, he is here grounding the natural law perspective. That brings John Finnis’ remark on legal positivism as a defective version of natural law thought to the fore:

[John Finnis on Natural Law Theories, in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:] Natural law theory accepts that law can be considered and spoken of both as a sheer social fact of power and practice, and as a set of reasons for action that can be and often are sound as reasons and therefore normative for reasonable people addressed by them. This dual character of positive law is presupposed by the well-known slogan “Unjust laws are not laws.”

[–> that is, legal rules and rulings as issued are not merely social, observable facts of what has been issued under colour and ceremonies of “law”; cf. SEP on the now dominant Legal Positivism:

“Legal positivism is the thesis that the existence and content of law depends on social facts and not on its merits . . . [as] John Austin (1790–1859) formulated it . . . ‘[t]he existence of law is one thing; its merit and demerit another’ . . . “

Instead, what is issued under colour and ceremonies of law is inherently, inextricably entangled with and accountable to prior canons of justice, which brings in the Ciceronian framework of first, built in duties and law of responsible reason;

1st – to truth,
2nd – to right reason,
3rd – to prudence [so, warrant],
4th – to sound conscience,
5th – to neighbour, thus (as corollaries)
6th – to fairness and
7th – to justice,
[ . . . ]
xth – etc.

Where, the civil peace of justice is the due balance of rights, freedoms and duties.]

Properly understood, that slogan indicates why—unless based upon some skeptical denial that there are any sound reasons for action (a denial which can be set aside because defending it is self-refuting) [sic] —positivist opposition to natural law theories is pointless, that is redundant: what positivists characteristically see as realities to be affirmed are already affirmed by natural law theory, and what they characteristically see as illusions to be dispelled are no [proper] part of [sound] natural law theory . . . .

The point . . . is made in another way by Orrego (Orrego 2007). When the accounts of adjudication and judicial reasoning proposed by contemporary mainstream legal theories are added to those theories’ accounts of (the concept of) law, it becomes clear that, at the level of propositions (as distinct from names, words and formulations), those theories share (though not always without self-contradiction) the principal theses about law which are proposed by classic natural law theorists such as Aquinas:

(i) that law establishes reasons for action [–> echoing Cicero’s “highest reason”],
(ii) that its rules can and presumptively (defeasibly) do create moral obligations that did not as such exist prior to the positing of the rules,
(iii) that that kind of legal-moral obligation is defeated by a posited rule’s serious immorality (injustice), and
(iv) that judicial and other paradigmatically legal deliberation, reasoning and judgment includes, concurrently, both natural (moral) law and (purely) positive law.

Contemporary “positivist” theories are, it seems, [–> inadvertently!] natural law theories, distinguished from the [historic] main body of natural law theory

(a) by their denial that the theory of law (as distinct from the theory or theories of adjudication, judicial duty, citizens’ allegiance, etc.) necessarily or most appropriately tackles the related matters just listed [as i to iv], and accordingly

(b) by the incompleteness of their theories of law, that is, the absence from them (and usually, though not always, from their accounts of those related matters) of systematic critical attention to the foundations of the moral and other normative claims that they make or presuppose.

In short: a natural law theory of (the nature of) law seeks both to give an account of the facticity of law and to answer questions that remain central to understanding law. As listed by Green 2019 (having observed that “No legal philosopher can be only a legal positivist”), these further questions (which “legal positivism does not aspire to answer”) are:

What kinds of things could possibly count as the merits of law?
What role should law play in adjudication?
What claim has law on our obedience?
What laws should we have? And
should we have law at all?

This brings out that the Ciceronian first duties of reason are also first law, law being understood, per Intro to De Legibus:

—Marcus [in de Legibus, introductory remarks,. C1 BC, being Cicero himself]: . . . we shall have to explain the true nature of moral justice, which is congenial and correspondent [36]with the true nature of man [–> we are seeing the root vision of natural law, coeval with our humanity] . . . . With respect to the true principle of justice, many learned men have maintained that it springs from Law. I hardly know if their opinion be not correct, at least, according to their own definition; for . “Law (say they) is the highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary” . . . .

They therefore conceive that the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law [–> a key remark] , whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones . . . . According to the Greeks, therefore, the name of law implies an equitable distribution of goods: according to the Romans [–> esp. Cicero, speaking as a leading statesman], an equitable discrimination between good and evil.

The true definition of law should, however, include both these characteristics. And this being granted as an almost self–evident proposition, the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

[–> this points to the wellsprings of reality, the only place where is and ought can be bridged; bridged, through the inherently good utterly wise, maximally great necessary being, the creator God, which adequately answers the Euthyphro dilemma and Hume’s guillotine argument surprise on seeing reasoning is-is then suddenly a leap to ought-ought. IS and OUGHT are fused from the root]

This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

Notice, “Law (say they) is the highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary.”

So, the is-ought gap must be addressed, which raises ontological, root reality questions.

119. 119
kairosfocus says:

F.N2: My own argument:

We may readily identify at least seven branch- on- which- we- all- sit (so, inescapable, pervasive), readily knowable first principle . . .

first duties of reason and so too first universally binding laws written into our rational, responsible nature and forming morally driven governing principles of reason, high and low alike:

“Inescapable,” as they are so antecedent to and pervasive in our reasoning that even the objector implicitly appeals to their legitimate authority; inescapable, so first truths of reason, i.e. they are self-evidently true and binding.

Namely, Ciceronian first duties,

1st – to truth,
2nd – to right reason,
3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
4th – to sound conscience,
5th – to neighbour; so also,
6th – to fairness and
7th – to justice
[ . . .]
xth – etc
.

Likewise, we observe again, that the objector to such duties cannot but appeal to them to give their objections rhetorical traction (i.e. s/he must imply or acknowledge what we are, morally governed, duty-bound creatures to gain any persuasive effect). While also those who try to prove such cannot but appeal to the said principles too. So, these principles are a branch on which we all must sit, including objectors and those who imagine they are to be proved and try. That is, these are manifestly first principles of rational, responsible, honest, conscience guided liberty and so too a built-in framework of law; yes, core natural law of human nature. Reason, inescapably, is morally governed.

Of course, there is a linked but not equivalent pattern: bounded, error-prone rationality often tied to ill will and stubbornness or even closed mindedness; that’s why the study of right reason has a sub-study on fallacies and errors. That we sometimes seek to evade duties or may make inadvertent errors does not overthrow such first duties of reason, which instead help us to detect and correct errors, as well as to expose our follies.

Perhaps, a negative form will help to clarify, for cause we find to be at best hopelessly error-riddled, those who are habitually untruthful, fallacious and/or irrational, imprudent, fail to soundly warrant claims, show a benumbed or dead conscience [i.e. sociopathy and/or highly machiavellian tendencies], dehumanise and abuse others, are unfair and unjust. At worst, such are utterly dangerous, destructive,or even ruthlessly, demonically lawless.

Such built-in . . . thus, universal . . . law, then, is not invented by parliaments, kings or courts, nor can these principles and duties be abolished by such; they are recognised, often implicitly as an indelible part of our evident nature. Hence, “natural law,” coeval with our humanity, famously phrased in terms of “self-evident . . . rights . . . endowed by our Creator” in the US Declaration of Independence, 1776. (Cf. Cicero in De Legibus, c. 50 BC.) Indeed, it is on this framework that we can set out to soundly understand and duly balance rights, freedoms and duties; which is justice, the pivot of law. The legitimate main task of government, then, is to uphold and defend the civil peace of justice through sound community order reflecting the built in, intelligible law of our nature.

Where, as my right implies your duty a true right is a binding moral claim to be respected in life, liberty, honestly aquired property, innocent reputation etc. To so justly claim a right, one must therefore demonstrably be in the right.

Likewise, Aristotle long since anticipated Pilate’s cynical “what is truth?”: truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. [Metaphysics, 1011b, C4 BC.] Simple in concept, but hard to establish on the ground; hence — in key part — the duties to right reason, prudence, fairness etc.

Thus, too, we may compose sound civil law informed by that built-in law of our responsibly, rationally free morally governed nature; from such, we may identify what is unsound or false thus to be reformed or replaced even though enacted under the colour and solemn ceremonies of law.

The first duties, also, are a framework for understanding and articulating the corpus of built-in law of our morally governed nature, antecedent to civil laws and manifest our roots in the Supreme Law-giver, the inherently good, utterly wise and just creator-God, the necessary (so, eternal), maximally great being at the root of reality.

This does not require or imply that those who think the gap cannot be bridged are amoral or care nothing about truth and right. It points out that trying to deny the branch on which we sit pervasive nature of such first principles is as futile as trying to prove them — for one and the same reason. As, so soon as we argue and appeal, we are already calling on these principles and duties. They are self evident and knowable. Pointing out that this happens in case after case of objections is merely highlighting facts open to inspection.

What has happened is that we have turned away from and forgotten this frame of thought. For cause, that is an error.

KF

120. 120
kairosfocus says:

PM1,

do you agree, per 98, that possible worlds can be conceived antecedent to set theory, now generally axiomatised per ZFC in answer to the Russell paradoxes? Where, the idea of sets as collections opened up issues on ill defined, contradictory claims illustrated by the village barber paradox.

I presume so, and again highlight 11:

the Quincunx shows by striking demonstration the depth to which logic of structure and quantity pervades our world and points onward to the utter, eerie universality of core mathematics in any possible world as a necessary being structure; the very same issue Eugene Wigner highlighted. The world is so mathematically pervaded, indeed possible being is so mathematically pervaded that it is manifestly akin to mind rather than to utterly non rational chaos; indeed, in many cases, randomness reveals an underlying ordered structure, as this very case demonstrates. Onward, lieth statistical thermodynamics, via the classic case of 500 or 1,000 coins and their distribution, thence the threshold search space challenge at the core of ID, how to get to FSCO/I expressive bit patterns by the blind chance and mechanical necessity the Galton Board illustrates. That context is remarkable, not trivial and readily dismissible.

KF

PS, do you further agre that we can use PW concepts to analyse being on what is impossible vs possible, then what is contingent vs necessary? Thus, to see that the contingent are caused [even, were they sustained forever in a given world] and the necessary are part of the fabric for any possible world? Can we agree that as Euclidean Geometry’s 5th postulate can be varied to form other geometries, that axiomatisation is not as central as what we may explore on seeing that once we have a definably distinct W, dichotomy and 0,1,2 are already present opening up von Neumann’s construction thence NZQRCR* etc as universal core math?

121. 121
Origenes says:

KF @

How exactly is the argument made that the moral law must come from a realm external to us? I have read your text and I cannot find it.

For instance, I cannot find it in Cicero. Let’s read:

True law is right reason in agreement with nature,

The law is in agreement with our nature, so, perhaps it can be explained by our nature.

… it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting

Arguably, our nature is also unchanging and everlasting, so it can be true that the law can be explained by our nature.

… it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions.

Well, arguably our nature works that way.

And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked.

Ok, it works that way in good men only.

It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it.

We must act in accord with who we are, our nature. Ok.

And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times,

People are essentially the same everywhere. Ok.

… and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge.

Where does this come from? Where was the argument made that moral laws cannot be explained by human nature?

So, I am asking you to elaborate on that particular part of the argument.

122. 122
kairosfocus says:

PPS, I find this from Wikipedia gives a point to start from:

A possible world is a complete and consistent way the world is or could have been. Possible worlds are widely used as a formal device in logic, philosophy, and linguistics in order to provide a semantics for intensional and modal logic. Their metaphysical status has been a subject of controversy in philosophy, with modal realists such as David Lewis arguing that they are literally existing alternate realities, and others such as Robert Stalnaker arguing that they are not . . . .

Possible worlds are often regarded with suspicion, which is why their proponents have struggled to find arguments in their favor.[2] An often-cited argument is called the argument from ways. It defines possible worlds as “ways things could have been” and relies for its premises and inferences on assumptions from natural language . . . .

The ontological status of possible worlds has provoked intense debate. David Lewis famously advocated for a position known as modal realism, which holds that possible worlds are real, concrete places which exist in the exact same sense that the actual world exists. On Lewis’s account, the actual world is special only in that we live there. This doctrine is called the indexicality of actuality since it can be understood as claiming that the term “actual” is an indexical, like “now” and “here”. Lewis gave a variety of arguments for this position. He argued that just as the reality of atoms is demonstrated by their explanatory power in physics, so too are possible worlds justified by their explanatory power in philosophy. He also argued that possible worlds must be real because they are simply “ways things could have been” and nobody doubts that such things exist. Finally, he argued that they could not be reduced to more “ontologically respectable” entities such as maximally consistent sets of propositions without rendering theories of modality circular. (He referred to these theories as “ersatz modal realism” which try to get the benefits of possible worlds semantics “on the cheap”.)[8][9]

Modal realism is controversial. W.V. Quine rejected it as “metaphysically extravagant”.[10] Stalnaker responded to Lewis’s arguments by pointing out that a way things could have been is not itself a world, but rather a property that such a world can have. Since properties can exist without them applying to any existing objects, there’s no reason to conclude that other worlds like ours exist. Another of Stalnaker’s arguments attacks Lewis’s indexicality theory of actuality. Stalnaker argues that even if the English word “actual” is an indexical, that doesn’t mean that other worlds exist. For comparison, one can use the indexical “I” without believing that other people actually exist.[11] Some philosophers instead endorse the view of possible worlds as maximally consistent sets of propositions or descriptions, while others such as Saul Kripke treat them as purely formal (i.e. mathematical) devices.

I think, a PW is a sufficiently complete description or scenario or model of how this world or another is or was or might have been or might be, is sufficient to be fruitful. Particularly, when joined to NBs. For we can construct a fairly minimal logic model world and then identify in it NB entities which then apply transworld. For other things we may abstract key aspects of our world and construct an empirically reliable enough model. Simulations then give us exploratory power.

This extends to the fine tuning debate in cosmology, as in effect we take mathematical physical models and twiddle the knobs. Boom, our world is at a deeply isolated operating point in the configuration space.

123. 123
kairosfocus says:

Origenes, my argument has been first that there are pervasive, branch on which we sit, first principles and duties which are therefore self evident and generally knowable, objective. That is an epistemological case, not an ontological one. It then means our reason is governed by ought, duty, objective principles of moral character. Principles that are NOT alien, arbitrary, imposed and external to us but instead are built into and pervade our nature, pointing to the need for a causally adequate source of such nature: responsible, rational freedom. Without which, we have no credibility to argue, warrant or know — a major challenge to worldviews that cannot ground that nature. Where too, we are contingent so not self explanatory. That points onward to the is ought gap and to how it can be bridged. That is addressed not as a deductive proof but as a comparative difficulties worldviews case that turns on the popular view the gap is unbridgeable. It turns out, this is because we have set aside or forgotten a major worldview frame that does bridge it, through the reality root candidate, the inherently good, utterly wise [so, just, loving and gracious] creator God, a necessary and maximally great being. As my Haitian brothers and sisters invariably refer, Le Bon Dieu. A serious candidate NB. Thus, our alternatives are to acknowledge this option or to refuse it, the latter fails as it is there, freely stated. Then, we may address comparative difficulties, is this feasible . . . is such a conception of God and summary of a PW coherent? Yes, as Plantinga showed. So, the real challenge is that those who reject this need to show the God of such generic ethical theism is impossible of being as a Euclidean Square circle is. They have not and post Plantinga likely cannot. KF

124. 124
kairosfocus says:

F.N: More from Wikipedia, as outlining onward issues:

At least since Aristotle, philosophers have been greatly concerned with the logical statuses of propositions, e.g. necessity, contingency, and impossibility. In the twentieth century, possible worlds have been used to explicate these notions. In modal logic, a proposition is understood in terms of the worlds in which it is true and worlds in which it is false. Thus, equivalences like the following have been proposed:

True propositions are those that are true in the [–> our?] actual [–> accessible] world (for example: “Richard Nixon became president in 1969”).
False propositions are those that are false in the [–> our] actual world (for example: “Ronald Reagan became president in 1969”).

[–> expanding the concepts]

Possible propositions are those that are true in at least one possible world (for example: “Hubert Humphrey became president in 1969”). (Humphrey did run for president in 1968, and thus could have been elected.) This includes propositions which are necessarily true, in the sense below.
Impossible propositions (or necessarily false propositions) are those that are true in no possible world (for example: “Melissa and Toby are taller than each other at the same time”).
Necessarily true propositions (often simply called necessary propositions) are those that are true in all possible worlds (for example: “2 + 2 = 4”; “all bachelors are unmarried”).[13]
Contingent propositions are those that are true in some possible worlds and false in others (for example: “Richard Nixon became president in 1969” is contingently true and “Hubert Humphrey became president in 1969” is contingently false).

Of course, propositions assert what is claimed true or false, i.e. the state of affairs. So, we can ponder states of affairs, contingency and necessity of being.

KF

125. 125
Origenes says:

Kairosfocus@

my argument has been first that there are pervasive, branch on which we sit, first principles and duties which are therefore self evident and generally knowable, objective.
That is an epistemological case, not an ontological one.

There are first principles and moral rules. Let’s agree on that and go from there.

It then means our reason is governed by ought, duty, objective principles of moral character.

In my view, the person is his own master. So, I would say that a person can choose to apply the golden rule—treat others how you want to be treated. A lot of moral rules flow from the application: do not kill, do not abuse, do not impose restrictions on freedom of speech, do not make vaccination mandatory and so on.

Principles that are NOT alien, arbitrary, imposed, and external to us but instead are built into and pervade our nature, pointing to the need for a causally adequate source of such nature: responsible, rational freedom.

You say principles/moral laws are “built into” our nature. An alternative view is that principles/moral laws stem from human nature & the application of the golden rule. What precisely is the killer argument against the latter view? Or is there no specific argument?

Where too, we are contingent so not self explanatory.

That is a very general argument. We are contingent, so we are created, so, everything about us comes from an outside source. Why single out moral laws when you argue that everything comes from an external source?

126. 126
kairosfocus says:

Origenes, it’s not opinions to agree/disagree, we are dealing with self evident truths that are knowable objectively. Unfortunately, this is part of what our civilisation has largely lost, the ability to recognise that just as for any other reasonably definable field, there is — actually, undeniably — objective moral knowledge. We are free, not blindly programmed, so each of us is a first cause, a self moved agent. That is WHY we are morally governed rather than simply dynamic-stochastic mindless machines. Next, given ever so many agendas, ideas and attitudes out there we need to emphasise that the first duties are reasonable, intelligible, manifestly proper to our nature and its evident ends. We have minds directed to soundness and truth, so we have duties towards those ends; we have neighbours as we are, we must respect them too, including fairness and justice. The duties in question are built into our nature so they are natural to us, though as we are contingent creatures within a world their root does not come from us but from the root of reality. However, they are not arbitrary or oppressive impositions, again unlike the perceptions that too many have been led to. KF

127. 127
Ford Prefect says:

Kairosfocus writes:

Origenes, it’s not opinions to agree/disagree, we are dealing with self evident truths that are knowable objectively.

You full well know that there are many who have a different opinion as to many of your “self-evident truths”.

128. 128
Ford Prefect says:

Kairosfocus writes:

We have minds directed to soundness and truth,

Then why do we have to reinforce to our children the need to tell the truth? Something we have to do repeatedly, over several years, and impose punishments for not telling the truth. The propensity for most adults to tell the truth certainly acts like any number of our common learned/indoctrinated behaviours.

so we have duties towards those ends;

Self-imposed duties, not duties originating from your “root of reality”. And as we impose these “duties” on ourselves, we expect others to behave in a similar fashion.

we have neighbours as we are, we must respect them too, including fairness and justice.

Yes, we are a gregarious/communal species. As such, there are certain behaviours that enhance our experience in society and others that hinder it. We are taught these behaviours from the day we are born. The fact that some of these “expected” behaviours change over time and from culture to culture is strong evidence that they are not derived from your “root of reality” but rather from the vagaries and variations of societies.

The duties in question are built into our nature so they are natural to us,

You are entitled to your opinion, in spite of the mountains of evidence counter to it.

though as we are contingent creatures within a world their root does not come from us but from the root of reality.

Evidence suggests otherwise.

129. 129
vividbleau says:

Ford
“Then why do we have to reinforce to our children the need to tell the truth?”

The very fact that you do reinforce to your children the need to tell the truth is evidence that you think they have a duty to tell the truth. Sheesh

Vivid

130. 130
Ford Prefect says:

VB writes:

The very fact that you do reinforce to your children the need to tell the truth is evidence that you think they have a duty to tell the truth. Sheesh

Just because I believe that it is ultimately in their best interest to tell the truth does not mean, as KF claims, that they have a duty to do so that is derived from him “root of reality”.

131. 131
vividbleau says:

Ford
“Just because I believe that it is ultimately in their best interest to tell the truth”

Unless you believe they will ultimately be judged by an ultimate judge the above is false.

Vivid

132. 132
kairosfocus says:

FP, it is always possible to reject a self evident truth; the problem is not the truth or its self evident state but that for another reason one rejects it. In this case you are implicitly appealing to duties to truth, right reason and warrant; yet again underscoring the point that we see here branch on which we all sit pervasive first principles and duties. Inescapable, the attempt to object keeps on exemplifying inadvertent appeals to said duties, this just shows the branch on which we sit first principle character. Of course, precisely because lying can parasite off truth and confer a short term advantage [getting away with the indefensible], one is tempted to violate the principles. As Kant long ago pointed out, that is like passing counterfeit money, once enough is in circulation it will be ruinous, revealing the true character of deceit — categorical imperative. But more basically, moral government regulates freedom, these principles are oughts not musts. We may freely breach them, just as we breach, do not shed innocent blood; does that mean there is no natural duty to respect the life of others? No, just that we can do evil, lying, slandering, defrauding, character assassination, physical assassination. . Politicians, ad men and propagandists regularly exploit simple and subtle fallacies to gain power. Ask the ghost of Dr Goebbels where that ends up. This is not appeal to consequences, it is pointing to the ruinous nature of evil. And again, notice the actual issue not the strawman you are knocking over: your objection is implicitly appealing to the duties you try to object to. And, the natural end of a mind is to apprehend truth through right reason. Evil perverts what is a good capability out of alignment with its due end and is chaotic as a result. And more. KF

PS, as for the notion that on evidence — again appealing to first duties — we make up duties, such relativism, subjectivism and emotivism is self defeating. We cannot by majority vote or whatever make murder right or fraud or racism, or any number of things. It also opens the door to nihilistic will to power as we have seen. Again, notice what you refuse to see, you are appealing to the principles you try to object to.

133. 133
kairosfocus says:

PPS, we notice your dismissiveness on the root of ought, but can also notice that you have evaded addressing the substance on the point. Meanwhile, yet again you appeal to the duties you object to. Let me pause and give an outline on where relativism and/or subjectivism and/or emotivism . . . they are tangled together . . . goes wrong:

Excerpted chapter summary, on Subjectivism, Relativism, and Emotivism, in Doing Ethics 3rd Edn, by Lewis Vaughn, W W Norton, 2012. [Also see here and here.] Clipping:

. . . Subjective relativism is the view that an action is morally right if one approves of it. A person’s approval makes the action right. This doctrine (as well as cultural relativism) is in stark contrast to moral objectivism, the view that some moral principles are valid for everyone.. Subjective relativism, though, has some troubling implications. It implies that each person is morally infallible and that individuals can never have a genuine moral disagreement

Cultural relativism is the view that an action is morally right if one’s culture approves of it. The argument for this doctrine is based on the diversity of moral judgments among cultures: because people’s judgments about right and wrong differ from culture to culture, right and wrong must be relative to culture, and there are no objective moral principles. This argument is defective, however, because the diversity of moral views does not imply that morality is relative to cultures. In addition, the alleged diversity of basic moral standards among cultures may be only apparent, not real. Societies whose moral judgments conflict may be differing not over moral principles but over nonmoral facts.

Some think that tolerance is entailed by cultural relativism. But there is no necessary connection between tolerance and the doctrine. Indeed, the cultural relativist cannot consistently advocate tolerance while maintaining his relativist standpoint. To advocate tolerance is to advocate an objective moral value. But if tolerance is an objective moral value, then cultural relativism must be false, because it says that there are no objective moral values.

Like subjective relativism, cultural relativism has some disturbing consequences. It implies that cultures are morally infallible, that social reformers can never be morally right, that moral disagreements between individuals in the same culture amount to arguments over whether they disagree with their culture, that other cultures cannot be legitimately criticized, and that moral progress is impossible.

Emotivism is the view that moral utterances are neither true nor false but are expressions of emotions or attitudes. It leads to the conclusion that people can disagree only in attitude, not in beliefs. People cannot disagree over the moral facts, because there are no moral facts. Emotivism also implies that presenting reasons in support of a moral utterance is a matter of offering nonmoral facts that can influence someone’s attitude. It seems that any nonmoral facts will do, as long as they affect attitudes. Perhaps the most far-reaching implication of emotivism is that nothing is actually good or bad. There simply are no properties of goodness and badness. There is only the expression of favorable or unfavorable emotions or attitudes toward something.

134. 134
Origenes says:

KF @

it is always possible to reject a self evident truth; the problem is not the truth or its self evident state but that for another reason one rejects it.

To be clear, are you saying that the existence of moral laws is self-evident, that the source of the moral laws is self-evident, or both?

135. 135
kairosfocus says:

PPPS, I should also note that kids have to be taught it is a fallacy when used to try to dismiss a SET. Do kids have to be taught that 2 + 3 = 5? Does that mean that such is not self evident and even independent of us and our views? Which, does not mean, it is obvious. It means that, for one of adequate experience, such a truth is seen as so, and as necessarily so on pain of immediate, patent absurdity. By contrast 3^2 + 4^2 = 5^2 is necessarily true as is the wider theorem and the onward Apollonius’ theorem, but the why of it is not of self evident character. Similarly, the denial of objective moral truth is self evidently false for one aware that such is by implication a claimed objective truth about duty, ought, virtue, honour, justice etc. So, it is instantly self defeating by exemplifying what it denies.

136. 136
Ford Prefect says:

VB writes:

Unless you believe they will ultimately be judged by an ultimate judge the above [telling the truth is ultimately in their best interest] is false.

I’m confused. Is the only reason you tell the truth the fear of God’s judgment? Personally, I have found that being truthful has benefited me far more than it has caused me harm. Why wouldn’t I want to pass this experience on to my kids?

137. 137
kairosfocus says:

Origenes, I am saying, with explanation given and repeated illustration from attempted objection, that certain first duties and principles of reason — and first law [the highest reason . . . ] — put on the table by Cicero in summarising the classical deposit, are self evident and knowable. They are branch on which we all sit, pervasive first principles. They are so pervasive that we cannot but appeal to them, first, if one attempts to prove them, one already appeals to them at the outset. If one tries to object, one is claiming or implying failed duty to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, etc, thus defeating the attempted defeater. In short, these are part of the antecedent frame in which we address facts, evidence, argument, proof decisions, etc. However, it is clear that these cut across the paradigms we have been taught in and it will take a struggle to see them for what they are. KF

PS, as for God as self evidently real, that may be so for some of sufficient purity, reflection and experience to see more clearly than we do today; we are not in such a state of grace, perhaps the angels are. But for us, what is self evident is the systematic and manifestly indefensible, civilisation wide power backed suppression of whatever might just invite in him who so many clearly resent and even despise. That raises questions of less than innocent ignorance and tainted skepticism.

138. 138
kairosfocus says:

FP, do you not see many who gain much by lies and fraud, and die in full benefit of ill gotten gains? Is that not a commonplace? In short, VB is right to highlight that without the eternal reckoning, it is simply not the case that truth telling is to one’s advantage, short or long term. More to the point, kids have to be taught is a fallacy in this context, as was noted. KF

139. 139
vividbleau says:

Ford

“I’m confused.”

What else is new?

“Is the only reason you tell the truth the fear of God’s judgment?”

Irrelevant
.
“Personally, I have found that being truthful has benefited me far more than it has caused me harm. “

Irrelevant

“Why wouldn’t I want to pass this experience on to my kids?”

Irrelevant, try again with something that is not irrelevant

Unless you believe they will ultimately be judged by an ultimate judge the above ,telling the truth is ultimately in their best interest , is false.

Vivid

140. 140
Ford Prefect says:

VB, if your entire argument is over my sloppy use of the word “ultimate”, I think our discussion is over. I am not interested in wasting my time with someone who plays word games.

141. 141
Ford Prefect says:

Kairosfocus writes:

FP, do you not see many who gain much by lies and fraud, and die in full benefit of ill gotten gains?

And what do they gain? Money? Possessions? Power over others? Sure. But what about love, respect, friendship, trust, true happiness, self respect, etc? You don’t gain those by lying to others.

In short, VB is right to highlight that without the eternal reckoning, it is simply not the case that truth telling is to one’s advantage, short or long term.

If you need the threat of an eternal reconning to be truthful then I pity you.

142. 142
vividbleau says:

FB

“VB, if your entire argument is over my sloppy use of the word “ultimate”, I think our discussion is over.”

You’re blaming me for addressing what you wrote? This is pathetic.

Regardless I am happy to eliminate the words you wrote ( ultimately)

FB “Just because I believe that it is xxxxx in their best interest to tell the truth”

Now not only is your response to me pathetic but in 141 you double down on stupid and affirm what I said originally that the above is false! Hint, you agreed that I am correct in my assessment. Let’s see if you can identify where you did so?

Vivid

143. 143
vividbleau says:

KF re 141

Don’t get goaded into responding to FB’ irrelevant comments, the questions posed to you have nothing to do with the topic on the table. The word that comes to mind is “chaff”

Vivid

144. 144
vividbleau says:

FB
BTW what you believe is in one’s self interest is irrelevant. People lie all the time because it is in their self interest to do so.

Vivid

145. 145
kairosfocus says:

FP, all I note is, many of those I have seen directly or note from history etc have all the love, respect etc they want; I recall one whose wife even encouraged him in bedding and impregnating other women, IIRC he was an SS commandant of a concentration camp, the idea was there was need for more and more of suitable aryan stock. The claim is irrelevant to the focal point as VB has raised. And, notice, again the underlying appeals to branch on which we sit principles. Meanwhile, of course the focal matter I answered from 11 is still on the table. KF

146. 146
kairosfocus says:

F/N (attn PM1, VL, JVL etc): I find these remarks by Alexander Pruss, interesting:

M odal assertions involving possibility and necessity are not only a part of our
ordinary languages, but also a part of our philosophical patrimony. There
are many things we could not say if we confined ourselves to non-modal
language. We could not mark the difference between a unicorn,1 which could
exist, and a square circle, which could not. M odality is a natural way of
marking the difference between, on the one hand, the relation of Smith being
a bachelor to Smith being unmarried, and, on the other hand, the relation of
Smith being 50 feet tall to Smith not being a mammal. Someone could not
fail to be unmarried if he is a bachelor, but he could be a mam m al even if he
were 50 feet tall — though in fact no mammal is that tall.
It is important for ethical purposes to say what could have been done
but was left undone, and what would have happened had it been done. It is
plausible that a human being can only be held responsible for an act if it was
at least logically possible that he avoid it . . . .

Each world corresponds to or represents a way the cosmos could have
been. In what way this representation works is one of the central questions
for our investigation. One of the worlds shall be distinguished as “ the
actual world,” i.e. the world that represents the way our cosmos in fact, or
actually, is. An individual “exists in ” a world w if, were that world actual,
that individual w ould exist, or, equivalently, if w represents the cosmos as
containing that individual. A proposition is “true at” a world w if, were that
world actual, that proposition would be true, or, equivalently, if «/represents
the cosmos as described by that proposition. [Actuality, Possibility and Worlds,
(Continuum) 2011.]

This of course fits well with my remarks above on possible worlds, save he emphasises this world. As I noted, I view a mathematical axiomatisation or model or linked simulation as laying out an abstract, logic model world. Then, there are scenarios used in say decision theory and related games [often, war games, and IIRC, war game orders in 1940 were transferred to the real world after the May 10, 1940 attack].

Then, there is the literary side, where a literary world can act as a simulation.

Similarly, actual history can lay out relevant patterns, serving as a sort of microcosm, a very useful one being the ill fated voyage and shipwreck in Ac 27.

This too shows that adequacy for relevant purposes can involve something far less elaborate than the sort of comprehensive cosmological discussion hinted at. Models seek to capture the material essence of a situation, and can be plugged into a wider environment taken as a given.

Where, too, with abstract mathematical worlds, identification of necessary elements then allows confident transfers to any actual or possible world. I identify NZQRCR* as key to that core, broader even than ZFC which is an axiomatisation in that context. Also, of course, broader than the Euclidean axiomatisation. Where I again note that we actually use Euclidean AND non Euclidean frames for different things in our day to day world, sometimes simultaneously, e.g. spherical geometry for navigation and projective geometry for perspective or even for map making and use. Mercator is a Cylindrical, highly distorting projection but it makes lines of longitude and latitude into a rectangular grid.

And more.

KF

PS, The quincunx or Galton Board, then comes back into focus as a mechanical simulation of a probability distribution. As I noted in 11 above, which still stands:

the Quincunx shows by striking demonstration the depth to which logic of structure and quantity pervades our world and points onward to the utter, eerie universality of core mathematics in any possible world as a necessary being structure; the very same issue Eugene Wigner highlighted. The world is so mathematically pervaded, indeed possible being is so mathematically pervaded that it is manifestly akin to mind rather than to utterly non rational chaos; indeed, in many cases, randomness reveals an underlying ordered structure, as this very case demonstrates. Onward, lieth statistical thermodynamics, via the classic case of 500 or 1,000 coins and their distribution, thence the threshold search space challenge at the core of ID, how to get to FSCO/I expressive bit patterns by the blind chance and mechanical necessity the Galton Board illustrates. That context is remarkable, not trivial and readily dismissible.

147. 147
Origenes says:

KF@

If one tries to object, one is claiming or implying failed duty to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, etc, thus defeating the attempted defeater.

There are principles of reason that no one can coherently reason without. I agree.
You speak of “duty” to right reason. Perhaps I should ask you this: are you saying that it is self-evident that we are dealing with a “duty”? For instance, do we all have a duty to hold coherent beliefs? Do we have a duty to make sense?
A friend of mine holds the belief that God determines our every move, that everything is set in stone from the outset, but that, nonetheless, each human being bears full responsibility for his own actions. His long-held belief is based on his interpretation of the writings of Martin Luther. He told me that he is long aware of the contradiction, but accepts it anyway because it “captures the enigmatic nature of reality.” To him, it makes sense somehow.
I told him that he is , of course, free to believe anything he wants, but I also informed him that his belief doesn’t make any sense to me. Would you disagree with me and say that my friend is neglecting his “duty” to right reason?

148. 148
Origenes says:

KF@

… as for God as self evidently real, that may be so for some of sufficient purity, reflection and experience to see more clearly than we do today; we are not in such a state of grace, perhaps the angels are.

When I reflect on the undeniable presence of FSCO/I in life and the fabric of the universe, the existence of an intelligent designer is as self-evident as it is in the case of Paley’s watch.

149. 149
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@146

I have no objection at all to Pruss’s point that modal discourse is ineliminable from our conceptual framework, and that a purely non-modal discourse could not be used by beings with minds like ours. (This is one way of understanding the significance of Kant’s response to Hume.)

But, I don’t see how it bears on the question of ontology. Modal discourse is necessary for us to cope with the world, regardless of whether we are committed to modal realism (all possible worlds are real in the exact same sense that the actual world is real) or modal actualism (modal discourse represents different ways that the actual world could be).

And I don’t see how that debate, interesting as it is, has any bearing on whether or not God exists.

Likewise, I still don’t understand the argument that we need to posit moral oughtness at the very foundation of our ontology in order to circumvent Hume’s “guillotine”. It seems pretty clear to me that accounts of the evolution of cooperation* (e.g. recent work by Tomasello or Pettit) are not endangered by Hume’s guillotine, yet it would seem that you think that such accounts are somehow insufficient. I’d be curious to know why you think that.

* I’m very excited about this new book by Hamilton, Natural Citizens: Ethical Formation as Biological Development!

150. 150
kairosfocus says:

Origenes,

I would suggest that FSCO/I, whether in Paley’s watch of Ch 1 or the self replicating one in Ch 2, or the even more evident case of the self replicating, metabolising, code using cell, is adequate and even compelling evidence that warrants the inference, best explained as designed, with no serious alternative.

So much so, that arguments of resistance and dismissal of inference to design on such signs are manifestly strained and weak.

It is a second level of inference, to observe that design comes from intelligent agents, with adequate capability.

In the case of cell based life, that evidence can be accounted for on a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter, Tour et al. The latter suggests, we are 500 years behind the curve, I am a little more optimistic and suggest, across this century or a little beyond.

Turning to the cosmos, the fine tuning evidence points to intelligent design, raising pretty serious questions of a designer of that level of capability, especially as a causal temporal, thermodynamic order is inherently past finite. We need a necessary being world root capable of designing and effecting a universe.

The resistance to that one is even weaker on the merits.

KF

151. 151
kairosfocus says:

PM1, our perceptions, opinions, doubts, skepticism, etc are worth less than the change in our pockets at the end of the day. The question, always, ever, is warrant. Pruss is responding to various debates and I find his thoughts give useful side lights. He has shown that modal issues are inextricably intertwined with our thinking, are therefore part of the fabric of reasoned thoughts. In that context, we may freely ponder how this world and items in it or that may be in it or that cannot be in it, may be or not be, logic of being. Where, we can ponder worlds or models or frameworks equally freely, as ways other worlds might be etc, and we can identify what is impossible vs possible of being and of the latter, contingent [and caused] vs necessary as fabric to any possible world. We are here already addressing on reason ways of being and non being, thus logic of being or more technically ontology. We are contingent and not self explanatory, as are fires. Two-ness as already discussed is inherent in there being any distinct possible world, and directly connected, NZQRCR* etc, with linked relationships properties and transworld power that answers to Wigner’s wonder on the power of mathematics. It turns out that mathematical systems turning on axioms specify logic model worlds, which can be possible worlds, an irretrievable contradiction in a system would make that an impossible world. As to God, as was already outlined, we know a transfinite span of finite stages [years for convenience] cannot be traversed in steps, so our world and quasi-physical antecedents that are causal-temporal and thermodynamic are inherently finite in the past. We need a finitely remote necessary being world — and wider reality — root. That root must be capable of a fine tuned cosmos as we inhabit, and will also need to be adequate to ground rational, responsible, morally governed creatures such as we are. God is highly relevant to such, as was already outlined. KF

PS, enough has been said to show why God would bridge the is-ought gap and would ground oughtness at reality root. That should be acknowledged. As God is at minimum a serious candidate NB, then God is either impossible of being or actual. I suggest, there are no good reasons to believe God is impossible of being and it is manifest that goodness and wisdom as well as world creating power are key attributes of God, so a demiurge or the like not at that level is not God.

152. 152
kairosfocus says:

Origenes,

in steps of thought:

>>There are principles of reason that no one can coherently reason without. I agree.>>

1: Yes, for example absent distinct identity, language would fail. Distinct identity has as close corollaries non contradiction and the excluded middle.

>>You speak of “duty” to right reason. Perhaps I should ask you this: are you saying that it is self-evident that we are dealing with a “duty”?>>

2: Yes, and your questions echo the force of that duty. You sense truth is pivotal and that failing to attain it (especially through taking wrong turns in thought) is less than we ought to be.

>> For instance, do we all have a duty to hold coherent beliefs? Do we have a duty to make sense?>>

3: Yes, often failed. We must be aware that a key contradiction breaks a system through turning it into meaninglessness, and that we must be willing to give it up if we detect such.

4: This becomes especially tricky as on big questions, there is normally a lot of self referentiality so we need to avoid incoherence and other errors of thought. Their name is legion, there are big books on just fallacies.

>>A friend of mine holds the belief that God determines our every move, that everything is set in stone from the outset, but that, nonetheless, each human being bears full responsibility for his own actions.>>

5: We live in a day where our education has been sadly negligent on sound reasoning and have been taught to doubt and dismiss the need for coherence.

6: The theology here seems defective. This is not a theology forum, but it does seem that he is in self referential incoherence. If we are not sufficiently free to be rational, we are not free enough to be responsible. We do not blame a tiger for what it does.

>> His long-held belief is based on his interpretation of the writings of Martin Luther. He told me that he is long aware of the contradiction, but accepts it anyway because it “captures the enigmatic nature of reality.” To him, it makes sense somehow.>>

7: Ex falso, quodlibet. Principle of explosion, incoherence undermines our ability to discern truth and falsity.

>>I told him that he is , of course, free to believe anything he wants, but I also informed him that his belief doesn’t make any sense to me.>>

8: And, responsible for it too.

>> Would you disagree with me and say that my friend is neglecting his “duty” to right reason?>>

9: Would he treat instructions on a medical prescription or the terms of a contract or his annual income tax returns in the same way?

KF

153. 153
Origenes says:

KF @

… absent distinct identity, language would fail. Distinct identity has as close corollaries non contradiction and the excluded middle.

I agree wholeheartedly. As an aside, as you noted elsewhere, logic is about being. I would like to add the following idea: it points to self-aware being, to consciousness. I would argue that only a conscious being can produce the laws of identity, distinct identity, and so on. I believe these laws must be abstractions based on the notions “I” and “not-I.”

Ori: You speak of “duty” to right reason. Perhaps I should ask you this: are you saying that it is self-evident that we are dealing with a “duty”?

2: Yes, and your questions echo the force of that duty. You sense truth is pivotal and that failing to attain it (especially through taking wrong turns in thought) is less than we ought to be.

Perhaps a duty can only be sensed when one has a tendency to do otherwise. When “I ought to do” differs from “I want to do.” But when there is no light between them, the ought is not drawing attention.
This disharmony between “I want” and “I ought” can be explained, as you do, by a moral law imposed on the person. You draw a circle around the person and his want, and say (paraphrasing): “that is the whole person, the ought must come from elsewhere.” However, we often experience disharmony in ourselves, sometimes we want to stay and go home at the same time.
For the sake of harmonious existence, I want to apply the golden rule to (most) people. The implicit agreement between them and me is: I treat you well, and you treat me well. For one thing, the application of the golden rule explains my behavioral rule: allow people to finish their sentences and listen to them attentively. Again, this I do because that is how I want them to treat me and also because I want to be liked. However, sometimes the impulse to interrupt what I perceive as nonsense or untruth is very strong. That brings me into conflict with myself: I want to apply the golden rule by allowing others to finish their sentences and listen attentively to what they say (which can be interpreted as an ‘ought’) and I ‘want’ (strong impulse) to interrupt. Both at the same time.
So, like you I have the experience of disharmony between ‘ought’ and ‘want’, but, unlike you, I explain both of them as originating from myself. I draw the circle of identity around me, my want and my ought.

154. 154
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@151

why God would bridge the is-ought gap and would ground oughtness at reality root. That should be acknowledged. As God is at minimum a serious candidate NB, then God is either impossible of being or actual. I suggest, there are no good reasons to believe God is impossible of being and it is manifest that goodness and wisdom as well as world creating power are key attributes of God, so a demiurge or the like not at that level is not God.

Firstly: sure, maybe one could one get around the is-ought problem by stipulating that moral goodness is at the foundation of reality? Sure, maybe — though that would need serious scrutiny. But before getting to that, I’d like to know why you think that accounting the emergence of rationality and morality in evolutionary terms is insufficient. At any rate, Hume’s own arguments don’t allow us to rule out that family of views, so I’d like to know on what basis you do rule them out.

Secondly: whether or God is even possible depends on how one defines God. I would not want to rule out a priori that there are some definitions of God which do entail logical contradictions and hence are impossible.

Thirdly, it doesn’t follow that if it is not logically impossible for God to exist, then God actually does exist. If it’s not logically impossible for God to exist, then it’s possible for God to exist. One would still need a separate argument to show that God must exist.

In other words: supposing that there must be a necessary being sufficiently powerful to create a universe in which there are norm-governed beings such as ourselves*, and supposing that the God of classical theism is not a contradiction in terms**, one would still need some further argument as to why we ought to believe that the necessary being is the God of classical theism.

* Sean Carroll has a nice paper arguing that the supposition of a necessary being existing independently of the universe is not supported by contemporary cosmology.

** I”m on the fence about this — everything depends on the fine-grained details of what kind of being we imagine God to be. I do think that nothing could literally be an absolutely unlimited mind. Briefly: the concept of mind that we know how to use, the concept that makes sense to us, always involves limited beings — organisms — that need to sense and respond to features of their environments. To speak of an unlimited mind is to use the word “mind” in a context where the usual meaning can no longer apply. It is not a contradiction, but it may very well be nonsense.

155. 155
Viola Lee says:

All good points, PM. I’ll be interested to see which of them are addressed.

156. 156
kairosfocus says:

[moderated out, ouch]

157. 157
kairosfocus says:

F/N, I think I went over the link limit, retry:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

PM1:

For record, in steps:

>>Firstly: sure, maybe one could one get around the is-ought problem by stipulating that moral goodness is at the foundation of reality?>>

1: A half concession, about to be taken back rhetorically.

2: The actuality is, we have a longstanding worldview, ethical theism, in which both Hume’s Guillotine on ungrounded ought and the Euthyphro dilemma are answered by first showing that we inherently have a finite past order [the thermodynamic, temporal causal succession of years cannot traverse a transfinite span] so we must have a causally adequate necessary being world root at finite remove. Where of course there is also a point that the contingency also obtains for our world on other grounds such that were its past indefinitely large, contingency still obtains. (For simple starters, look at fine tuning etc.)

3: Secondly, we observe that what my Haitian brothers and sisters call Le Bon Dieu, just taken as a serious candidate NB, would unify in one being both goodness with wisdom and a necessary being adequate to cause worlds.

4: Where, it is a general result that serious candidate NB’s are either impossible of being (as a Euclidean space square circle is . . . incoherence of core characteristics), or is actual.

5: Given your stance on oh maybe but you must prove to arbitrarily skeptical satisfaction, another significant worldview alternative with that potential is distinctly scarce to absent. How do we know this? Were there such, it would be trumpeted far and wide, would be in million subscriber, million hit podcasts, would be all over this blog. That’s the ghostly elephant in the middle of the room.

>> Sure, maybe — though that would need serious scrutiny.>>

6: The hyperskeptical stance that doubt prevails over all and can be used to sideline is an inferior good substituting for duty to prudence.

>> But before getting to that,>>

7: The rhetorical sidelining.

>> I’d like to know why you think that accounting the emergence of rationality and morality in evolutionary terms is insufficient.>>

8: We all know that evolutionary materialist scientism is grossly inadequate to ground ought. Allow Provine’s summary [studiously sidelined] to speak for itself:

Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent

[==> key theses of nihilism. Citing the just linked IEP: “Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history.” As without rational, responsible freedom, rationality collapses, Provine implies self referential incoherence. Similarly, ethical foundations include our self evident, pervasive first duties of reason: to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, fairness and justice etc. Provine has given a recipe for gross (and all too common) intellectual irresponsibility.]

. . . . The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

>> At any rate, Hume’s own arguments don’t allow us to rule out that family of views,>>

9: Sez who, quoting Arthur Leff. We can review Provine and many others in excruciating detail, but the point is, this is a classic argument that runs is-is — gap [and without roots] — ought-ought. It reduces duty to delusion and manipulation, will to power crouching at the door.

[cont’d]

158. 158
kairosfocus says:

F.N: Okay, first part got through, it is the link limit:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

[continuing]

>> so I’d like to know on what basis you do rule them out.>>

10: I didn’t rule them out, personalisation and polarisation of a widely known challenge fails. Provine and others have said the quiet part out loud. The burden to ground oughtness and bridge the is-ought gap is unmet from your side, on balance of evidence.

11: It is relevant to further expose some underlying evolutionary materialistic thinking by highlighting Michael Ruse & E. O. Wilson in their notorious 1991 essay . . . readily available in the literature and presumably known to you, “The Evolution of Ethics” — on, the precise line you are taking:

The time has come to take seriously the fact

[–> This is a gross error at the outset, as macro-evolution is a theory (an explanation) about the unobserved past of origins and so cannot be a fact on the level of the observed roundness of the earth or the orbiting of planets around the sun etc. and as the ideology of evolutionary materialistic scientism, which undergirds the perception of “fact” is an imposed, question-begging, self-refuting necessarily false assertion, not a fact]

that we humans are modified monkeys, not the favored Creation of a Benevolent God on the Sixth Day . . . We must think again [–> why, isn’t that a disguised “OUGHT,” the very thing being trashed?] especially about our so-called ‘ethical principles.’ [–> this speculation improperly dressed up as fact directly affects ethics, with implications for the first duties of reason] The question is not whether biology—specifically, our evolution—is connected with ethics, but how.

As evolutionists, we see that no justification of the traditional kind is possible.

[–> as in, Provine, Crick, Rosenberg and a host of others are right.]

Morality, or more strictly our [–> by implication, delusional, ill founded] belief in morality, is merely [–> nothing but, nothing more than] an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will … In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external grounding [–> the grand delusion thesis] … Ethics is illusory inasmuch as it persuades us that it has an objective reference. This is the crux of the biological position. Once it is grasped, everything falls into place. [–> Yes, they are utterly unaware of how such undermines the credibility of reason thus their own rationality, by imposing grand delusion and undermining the moral government that drives how responsible rationality works]

[Michael Ruse & E. O. Wilson, “The Evolution of Ethics,” Religion and the Natural Sciences: The Range of Engagement, , ed. J. E. Hutchingson, Orlando, Fl.:Harcourt and Brace, 1991.]

Will Hawthorne, in reply to such ideological imposition, is deservedly withering, echoing the concerns Plato raised in The Laws, Bk X 2360+ years ago, and obviously longstanding in and foundational to the literature, concerns that reflect lessons hard-bought with blood and tears in living memory, there is no excuse:

Assume (per impossibile) that atheistic naturalism [= evolutionary materialism] is true. Assume, furthermore, that one can’t infer an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ [the ‘is’ being in this context physicalist: matter-energy, space- time, chance and mechanical forces]. (Richard Dawkins and many other atheists should grant both of these assumptions.)

Given our second assumption, there is no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer an ‘ought’. And given our first assumption, there is nothing that exists over and above the natural world; the natural world is all that there is. It follows logically that, for any action you care to pick, there’s no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer that one ought to refrain from performing that action.

Add a further uncontroversial assumption: an action is permissible if and only if it’s not the case that one ought to refrain from performing that action . . . [We see] therefore, for any action you care to pick, it’s permissible to perform that action. If you’d like, you can take this as the meat behind the slogan ‘if atheism is true, all things are permitted’.

For example if atheism is true, every action Hitler performed was permissible. Many atheists don’t like this [nihilistic, absurd] consequence of their worldview. But they cannot escape it and insist that they are being logical at the same time.

Now, we all know that at least some actions are really not permissible (for example, racist actions). Since the conclusion of the argument denies this, there must be a problem somewhere in the argument. Could the argument be invalid? No. The argument has not violated a single rule of logic and all inferences were made explicit.

Thus we are forced to deny the truth of one of the assumptions we started out with. That means we either deny atheistic naturalism or (the more intuitively appealing) principle that one can’t infer ‘ought’ from [a material] ‘is’.

12: Worse, this was known ahead of time, the same lesson was pointed out on the history of Athens’ failure that put democracy in the shade for 2,000 years as a dubious form of government. Yes, this is not a mere academic exercise. Plato, warns:

Ath[enian Stranger, in The Laws, Bk X 2,360 ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos — the natural order], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity; observe, too, the trichotomy: “nature” (here, mechanical, blind necessity), “chance” (similar to a tossed fair die), ART (the action of a mind, i.e. intelligently directed configuration)] . . . .

[Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all[–> notice the reduction to zero] in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

[ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics, so too justice, law and government: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

[ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”), opening the door to cynicism, hyperskepticism and nihilism . . . this is actually an infamous credo of nihilism . . . also, it reeks of cynically manipulative lawless oligarchy . . . ]

and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

13: We can presume, prior knowledge of such in the literature, so the you prove it stance collapses.

>>Secondly: whether or God is even possible depends on how one defines God.>>

14: Such is on the table, per logic of being requisites, as was laid out: we need a NB, finitely remote world root adequate to ground a cosmos and responsible, rational, significantly free creatures capable of credible reason in it. The explanatory alternative on the table multiple times above (and over the years) is the inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being.

>> I would not want to rule out a priori that there are some definitions of God which do entail logical contradictions and hence are impossible.>>

15: There is a specific understanding, why substitute a strawman by hints, especially in aftermath of Plantinga’s discussion of the failure and collapse of the problem of evil. That’s 50 years ago now.

>>Thirdly, it doesn’t follow that if it is not logically impossible for God to exist, then God actually does exist.>>

16: Notice, what you side stepped, setting up a strawman target: serious candidate necessary being. This is not specific to God, this is a general result on logic of being in a world manifesting contingent entities from a pencil to us to, credibly, our whole cosmos commonly said to have begun a bit under 14 BYA.

>> If it’s not logically impossible for God to exist, then it’s possible for God to exist. One would still need a separate argument to show that God must exist.>>

17: Strawman fallacy continues, studiously ignoring what is on the table. If you mean, God is not a serious candidate NB, in the face of thousands of years of thought, kindly give your reasons. Also, your half concession suggests that you cannot give a good argument that God as understood on ethical theism is an incoherent concept.

18: In short, Plantinga is the 800 lb gorilla standing next to the elephant in the middle of the room. His case has been made, the problem of evil is in forced semi retirement.

>>In other words: supposing that there must be a necessary being sufficiently powerful to create a universe in which there are norm-governed beings such as ourselves*, and supposing that the God of classical theism is not a contradiction in terms**, >>

19: Having beat up the strawmen, you now act as though no case has been made.

20: Assuming, a NB? Nope, over the course of three years, it was hammered out here why a causal-temporal, thermodynamic world cannot reasonably have spanned a transfinite succession of years to now, as that is an infeasible supertask. Past finite, even going to a q-foam subcosmos with bubbling up subcosmi, indeed, there are fairly serious results on the point in contemporary physics. Recall, thermodynamics here is about stochastic behaviour of multiple particles in a world of energy, so it is in the end a mathematical constraint backed by well established empirical findings.

21: Similarly, the true nothing — pace Krauss, Dawkins [populariser] et al — is non being, which can have no causal capability. Were there ever the case that utter non being prevails, such would forever obtain, therefore. Likewise, circular retrocausation in whatever guise, appeals to the not yet as root cause and falls under the same stricture.

22: In short, we may freely hold that, if a world now is, something always was, the necessary being reality root. Which is a bill of requisites, serious candidates are invited to apply. Neither flying spaghetti monsters nor quantum foams qualify.

>>one would still need some further argument as to why we ought to believe that the necessary being is the God of classical theism.>>

22: The no argument strawman continues. We can take it, that this stance implies there is no cogent answer to what is on the table. Where, “classical” implies knowledge of a longstanding framework for understanding God as serious candidate,

>>* Sean Carroll has a nice paper arguing that the supposition of a necessary being existing independently of the universe is not supported by contemporary cosmology.>>

23: Cosmology is after the fact of a cosmos, insofar as it is a science rather than metaphysics dressed up in a lab coat. There is every good reason to hold that our cosmos and a prior q-foam etc are contingent, being inherently past finite. Further, fine tuning etc point to the same result, even were these past transfinite. So, Carroll is wrong on basic thermodynamics and the logic of transfinite traverse for a thermodynamically constrained order.

>>** I”m on the fence about this — everything depends on the fine-grained details of what kind of being we imagine God to be.>>

24: There is a fairly specific and longstanding understanding on the table, one that say the ordinary Haitian so understands that it is explicit in his or her term for God: Le Bon Dieu. It would be reasonable for you to address this, especially on necessary and maximally great being.

>> I do think that nothing could literally be an absolutely unlimited mind. >>

25: Strawman caricature of maximal greatness, which explicitly involves compossibility of core attributes.

>>Briefly: the concept of mind that we know how to use, the concept that makes sense to us, always involves limited beings — organisms — that need to sense and respond to features of their environments.>>

26: Oh, we have limited, contingent, fallible minds so we doubt a maximal mind with compossible attributes. Doubt trumps all, we need not actually address a substantial case. Fail, strawman caricature.

>> To speak of an unlimited mind is to use the word “mind” in a context where the usual meaning can no longer apply.>>

27: The doubt-strawman dismissive tactic again. Actually, self moved rational agency, what mind is about, has plenty of room at the top for a maximally rational, maximally wise, maximally good intelligence. There is no inherently alien conception involved, just perfection of what we have in part and see in part, darkly yes, but we do see.

28: Where, to credibly reason, warrant and know we have to be such agents, this is in the end an issue that mind is real to do science but evolutionary materialistic scientism undermines mind. J B S Haldane knew better 90 years ago. We must not saw off the branch on which we must sit.

>> It is not a contradiction, >>

29: Quite the forced admission, given the history and Plantinga’s argument, not to mention the significance of serious candidate necessary being.

>>but>>

30: We are about to pull the hyperskeptical, dismissive rhetorical move.

>> it may very well>>

31: Weasel words, that evade duty of warranting a claim, behind a shield of hyperskepticism. A move that is tantamount to a backhanded admission of want of a substantial case.

>> be nonsense.>>

32: Meaningless, meaningless, they cry, triumphantly. However, stripped of the hyperskeptical tactic, we find a need to ask, why meaningless, given a longstanding established meaning and discussion at top level of our civilisation?

33: Is this a hint of the ghost of logical positivism that refuted itself by being self referentially incoherent in trying to stipulate that only the analytically presumed axiom or the empirically, operationally vindicated could be meaningful?

34: That points to, that this verifiability criterion failed its own test and died about 50 years ago, hence the ghost. Ontological discussion is meaningful.

35: Further, the discussion of mind, maximally great mind, goodness that is inherent and pure, utter wisdom and great making properties to maximal compossible degree are all meaningful and coherent; so, ethical theism is also meaningful as opposed to the dismissive, shielded gambit, “nonsense.”

36: Still missing in action, a suitably laid out alternative reality root level necessary being causally adequate for our cosmos, one with morally governed creatures in it. A significant missing factor.

KF

159. 159
Origenes says:

Those who enjoy coherent thinking ought to subscribe to philosopher W. F. Vallicella’s substack-page. I am pretty sure that Kairosfocus will like the following article:

The Ought-to-Be, the Ought-to-Do, and the Aporetics of “Be Ye Perfect”
Could one be under a moral obligation to perfect oneself? [William F. Vallicella, Apr 19, 2021]

Is there any justification for talk of the ought-to-be in cases where they are not cases of the ought-to-do?

Let’s begin by noting that if I ought to do X (pay my debts, feed my kids, keep my hands off my neighbor’s wife, etc.) then my doing X ought to be. For example, given that I ought to pay my debts, then my paying a certain debt on a certain date is a state of affairs that ought to be, ought to exist, ought to obtain. So it is not as if the ought-to-do and the ought-to-be form disjoint classes. For every act X that an agent A ought to do, there is a state of affairs, A’s doing X, that ought to be, and a state of affairs, A’s failing to do X, that ought not be. The ought-to-do, therefore, is a case of the ought-to-be.

My question, however, is whether there are states of affairs that ought to be even in situations in which there are no moral agents with power sufficient to bring them about, and states of affairs that ought not be even in situations in which there are no moral agents with power sufficient to prevent them. In other words, are there non-agential oughts? Does it make sense, and is it true, to say things like ‘There ought to be fewer diseases than there are’ or ‘There ought to be no natural disasters’ or ‘There ought to be morally perfect people’? Or consider

0. I ought to be a better man that I am, indeed, I ought to be morally perfect.

(0) expresses an axiological requirement but (arguably) not a moral obligation because it is simply not in my power to perfect myself, nor is it in any finite person’s power or any group of finite person’s power to perfect me. Now consider the following aporetic triad:

1. I ought to be morally perfect or at least better than I am in ways over which I have no control.

2. I lack the power to be what I ought to be, and this impotence is due to no specific fault of my own. (My impotence is ‘original,’ part and parcel of the ‘fallen’ human condition, not derived from any particular act or act-omission of mine.)

3. ‘Ought’ implies ‘Can’: one can be obliged to do X only if one is able to do X.

The triad is inconsistent in that (1) & (3) entails ~(2). Indeed, any two limbs, taken together, entail the negation of the remaining one. How can the inconsistency be removed?

A. One solution is simply to deny (1) by claiming that there is no sense of ‘ought’ in which one ought to be morally perfect or better than one is in ways over which one has no control. This strikes me as counterintuitive. For there does seems to me to be some sense in which I ought to be perfect. I feel the force of the New Testament verse, “Be ye perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) I have the strong intuition that I ought to be, if not perfect, at least better in respects where I simply lack the power to bring about the improvement.

B. A second solution is to distinguish between agential and non-agential oughts. We can then maintain (1) as true by maintaining that the ‘ought’ in (1) is non-agential and expresses an axiological requirement as opposed to a moral obligation. So interpreted, (1) is consistent with (2) and (3).

We can then transform the above triad into an argument:

4. (1)-(3) are all true.
5. (1)-(3) would not all be true if there were no distinction between agential and non-agential oughts.
Therefore
6. There is a distinction between agential and non-agential oughts.

C. A third solution is to maintain the truth of each of (1)-(3) while also maintaining that all oughts are agential. But then how avoid inconsistency? One might maintain that, when restricted to my own resources, I lack the power to do what I ought to do; yet I am morally obliged to perfect myself; and since ‘ought’ implies ‘can,’ the power that I need must be supplied in part from a Source external to myself. “And this all men call God.” So God exists!

In short, the inconsistency is avoided by bringing God into the picture as one who supplies individuals with the supplemental power to do what they are morally obliged to do when that power is insufficient from their own resources. This gives rise to an argument for the existence of an external source of moral assistance:

7. I am morally obliged (ought) to do things that I cannot do on my own.
8. ‘Ought’ implies ‘can’.
Therefore

9. I can do things that I cannot do on my own.
Therefore
10. There is an external source of moral assistance that makes up the difference between what I can do on my own and what I cannot.

Summary

I have sketched two arguments which need closer scrutiny. The one based on the (B) response to the triad gives some, though not a conclusive or compelling, reason for accepting a distinction between agential and non-agential oughts. The argument based on the (C) response to the triad is also rationally uncompelling, useful though it may be in the articulation of the Christian position. For, with no breach of logical propriety, one could simply run the (7)-(10) argument in reverse by rejecting the conclusion, accepting (8) and then rejecting (7).

160. 160
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@157

We all know that evolutionary materialist scientism is grossly inadequate to ground ought. Allow Provine’s summary [studiously sidelined] to speak for itself:

I don’t even know who Provine is, and I don’t really care. I didn’t even refer to him in the course of elucidating my own views. I’ve referred in the past to Dewey and to Kropotkin, and in 149, I referred to Tomasello and to Philip Pettit. Other philosophers who have influenced my views on this issue would include Alastair MacIntyre (in Dependent Rational Animals), Philippa Foot (in Natural Goodness), and Philip Kitcher (in The Ethical Project).

Now, if you want to know more about these views, you can feel free to ask. And I don’t mind explaining why I think Provine is wrong. But I would prefer that you not dismiss my views by associating them with someone I haven’t read or referred to. Likewise, I don’t mind explaining why I think Plato’s criticism of ancient Greek atomism don’t apply to my views.

With regard to your dismissal of Carroll: well, one you has made important contributions to cosmology and quantum field theory, and I’m not inclined to think it’s you.

161. 161
kairosfocus says:

PM1, your opinion is not what counts, substance does. The point is even stronger in Crick, another well known spokesman:

. . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will [–> which would imply morally freighted choices], are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing. [The Astonishing Hypothesis, 1994.]

Plato was specifically responding to ancient atomism and fellow traveller views (the sophists and Alcibiades) but we both know the substantial point is far wider than that. Atoms, molecules, fields etc are all ises and do not rise to either mind nor ought. Computationalism is categorically different from rational responsible self moved freedom, and relative opinions are not oughts; as Hawthorne pointed out in response to further spokesmen such as the well known Ruse and Wilson in a fairly well known essay, so, it remains the case that fundamentally materialistic systems are unable to account for ought. Emergentism beyond say interactions of Na and Cl ions in a salt crystal, is little more than something from nothing by poof magic.

Turning to Carroll, it is a simple matter of the nature of science that sciences are after the fact of an observable cosmos. Which, by the logic of an infeasible supertask, cannot be past infinite; above and beyond the only actual observations, which point to 14 BYA. The q-foam is already speculative and so metaphysics.

And, cosmology insofar as it is a science is within not beyond the span of observable reality. That’s science 101.

KF

162. 162
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@161

It seems evident that you want to conduct the conversation on the basis of what you already know and aren’t interested in where I’m actually coming from. Adieu.

163. 163
Origenes says:

PM1@
Two questions about emergent consciousness:

Suppose that emergentism is real. Suppose that from the physical brain substrate, consciousness emerges with real top-down mental powers. That is, the emergent consciousness can steer the neurons in the brain in order to have the thoughts that it wants, rather than the “thoughts” that arise from the level of blind particles in the void.

1. How does the emergent consciousness know which neurons to manipulate and how? Does it have a map of the brain and an instruction manual? If not, how does it know what to do?
2. Which tool(s) are available for consciousness to steer the neurons in the direction that it wants? IOW how does the manipulation of neurons work?

164. 164
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@163

Suppose that emergentism is real. Suppose that from a physical substrate, consciousness emerges with real top-down mental powers. That is, the emerged consciousness can steer the neurons in the brain in order to have the thoughts that it wants, rather than thoughts that arise from the level of blind particles in the void.

I would not want to say that consciousness is a wholly immaterial entity or thing that controls the brain. I would rather say that consciousness is a feature of the embodied brain, which exerts top-down control over the rest of the organism.

165. 165
Origenes says:

PM1@

I would rather say that consciousness is a feature of the embodied brain, which exerts top-down control over the rest of the organism.

The same questions apply:
So, how does a “feature of the embodied brain” exert its top-down control over the brain?

1. How does “a feature of the embodied brain” know which neurons to manipulate and how? Does it have a map of the brain and an instruction manual? If not, how does it know what to do?
2. Which tool(s) are available for “a feature of the embodied brain” to steer the neurons in the direction that it wants? IOW how does the manipulation of neurons work?

166. 166
kairosfocus says:

PM1, again, insubstantial. Arguments do start from givens, and for one, sciences study the going concern world in ways that are empirically accountable. They do not go beyond that, there is a slipping across a border into metaphysics when they do. Next, while I do not wish to critique Carroll’s hinted at rather than substantiated argument in detail, let’s take a snippet from this 2018 Arxiv paper:

The Schr ?odinger equation has an immediate, profound consequence: almost all quantum
states evolve eternally toward both the past and the future. Unlike classical models such as
spacetime in general relativity, which can hit singularities beyond which evolution cannot be
extended, quantum evolution is very simple. Any state can be written as a superposition of
states of definite energy (eigenstates), in terms of which the Schr ?odinger equation implies that
the magnitude of each coefficient remains constant, while the phase orbits at a fixed velocity
(at least for time-independent Hamiltonians). In Hilbert space, the entire evolution of the
universe simply describes eternal motion in a straight line within some high-dimensional
space that is topologically a torus [34].

If this setup describes the real world, there is no beginning nor end to time. This is not to
say that there is no Big Bang in the usual sense; only that it is not a true physical singularity
as it would be in classical general relativity, nor does it represent the first moment of the
universe. As far as physics is concerned, such a universe would be completely self-contained,
existing perpetually without any external cause. One can still question whether or not an
uncaused eternal universe is intellectually satisfying, but there is no physical or cosmological
obstacle to its existence.

That’s reification of a mathematical property.

To compare, ponder a simple and familiar exercise, turning on an oscilloscope to ponder a waveform, e.g. a sinusoid, and also turning on a spectrum analyser in parallel. By mathematical definition, a sinusoid is past and future eternal, the trace on screen will look pretty much as the familiar graph and the signal analyser will have a peak. Extend to more complex forms such as a square wave, we will see multiple peaks at periodic intervals on the spectrum analyser. Fourier analysis will tell us an arbitrary periodic waveform is made up of a sum of related sinusoids, each being past and future eternal. Now, feed in an impulse, say through a microphone picking up a drum. We now see a pulse, usually of complex shape and an envelope on the spectum analyser, i.e. the Fourier prediction of a continuous spectrum, per fourier integral. (You can try this by downloading say, Real Time Analyser and looking at time domain and frequency domain panes, especially the waterfall view.)

So, have we just proved that the physical world is past and future infinite, as the Fourier equations say so?

No.

We are simply up against a familiar border, the gap between physicality and mathematical, abstract logic-model worlds. A similar case is the Newtonian particle, which strictly is a mathematical point of infinite density. And there are others.

In short, Mathematical models do not “prove” past infinities any more than they prove future infinities long after the oscilloscope, spectrum analyser and signal sources would have been turned off. Much less, crumbled into dust as the cosmos moves to heat death.

Far more relevant would be the thermodynamics hinted at, which point onward to heat death, and applied backward, would have arrived there long since on a long enough past. That’s before the absurdities of a claimed transfinite past traversal of years would have been accomplished. Especially, as time on cosmological scope is bound up in thermodynamically constrained energy processes. Time is the dimension in which energy concentrations are dissipated, driven by pretty inexorable stochastic, molecular scale processes.

So, we must mark a distinction between the logic-model and the physical.

I hope that helps to clarify why I insist on the understanding that sciences address the going concern, empirically accountable world. There is a lot of lab coat clad speculation, but that is beyond science.

This applies to the onward jumps to IF, then we have poof an eternal, causeless universe.

Not an adequate model thermodynamically, absent an infinite energy source beyond the system boundary. Which defeats the causelessness.

And more.

KF

167. 167
kairosfocus says:

Origenes you need a system architect and a programmer. We keep on seeing models that try to get complex information rich organisation fine tuned to function, from grossly inadequate causal sources. KF

168. 168
Origenes says:

KF@

… you need a system architect and a programmer.

Yes, also here right? An emergent consciousness (arguendo assuming that such exists) is in need of vast amounts of information in order to steer 86 billion neurons in the brain. This information has to **emerge** simultaneously with the emergent consciousness, otherwise, it doesn’t know what to do. BTW how does emergent consciousness process this information? And. of course, the emergence of manipulation tools is also required. Perhaps PM1@ can tell us what those tools look like.

169. 169
JVL says:

Origenes: How does “a feature of the embodied brain” know which neurons to manipulate and how? Does it have a map of the brain and an instruction manual? If not, how does it know what to do?

It doesn’t intentionally manipulate neurone. Even my dog can have a memory of a past event and react accordingly when a similar situation occurs.

Which tool(s) are available for “a feature of the embodied brain” to steer the neurons in the direction that it wants? IOW how does the manipulation of neurons work?

No biological system is focused on manipulating particular neurones. If that were true then each human would have to have a different schematic because everyone’s brain is wired a bit differently.

But let’s hear how you think it all works from your dualist point of view . . . how does a disembodied mind influences nerves when, for example, playing football? How does the immaterial trigger the right neurones to fire when throwing a forward pass? Or, if you prefer, how does an immaterial mind figure out how to paint a picture, from memory, of the artist’s childhood home? Or, if you prefer, how does an immaterial mind trigger the blink reflex when an object approaches an eye quickly?

It seems to me that the dualist view is much, much more complicated and fraught with error than the materialist view. If all thinking and reactions and responses have to be generated by a non-physical . . . entity then conveyed to the physical body/brain then carried out (along with feedback from any physical interaction having to come back up the pipe, get processed and then a reaction pushed out) why isn’t there a larger lag between input and reaction? How can the communication between the brain and the mind be instantaneous? No science fiction answers please; either you have an answer or you don’t.

If you want to have a competing explanation then please provide that explanation.

170. 170
Origenes says:

JVL@

But let’s hear how you think it all works from your dualist point of view . . . how does a disembodied mind influences nerves when, for example, playing football? How does the immaterial trigger the right neurones to fire when throwing a forward pass? Or, if you prefer, how does an immaterial mind figure out how to paint a picture, from memory, of the artist’s childhood home? Or, if you prefer, how does an immaterial mind trigger the blink reflex when an object approaches an eye quickly?

Good question to which I do not know the answer. I don’t even understand how a microbe functions, let alone a human being. However (and this is a huge ‘however’), unlike you, I am allowed to refer to an intelligent cause. I can argue that it is conceivable that an intelligent ‘system architect / programmer, as KF calls it, can make things work. You are forced to explain things from blind unmotivated particles in the void.

171. 171
JVL says:

Origenes: I can argue that it is conceivable that an intelligent ‘system architect and a programmer, as KF calls it, can make things work.

Conceivable? But you have no idea how that would work. I’m not sure that IS conceivable. That sounds more like wishful thinking.

AND, remember, there is a lot of research that has been done and is being done and will be done regarding how the brain interacts with the body to produce movements and reactions. What can you test in a lab to check out your, admittedly, non-existent theory of how dualism physically works?

172. 172
Origenes says:

JVL @

Conceivable? But you have no idea how that would work. I’m not sure that IS conceivable. That sounds more like wishful thinking.

I am a rational person. Physical determinism does not allow for a rational person. So, it is not wishful thinking at all. It has to be the case that I steer the brain, or I am not rational.

AND, remember, there is a lot of research that has been done and is being done and will be done regarding how the brain interacts with the body to produce movements and reactions. What can you test in a lab to check out your, admittedly, non-existent theory of how dualism physically works?

Physical determinism does not allow for a rational person who is in control of his thoughts. Dualism has to be true, or we are not rational.

Here is the ironclad proof:

1. If physical determinism is true, then all our actions and thoughts are consequences of events and laws of nature in the remote past before we were born.
2. We have no control over circumstances that existed in the remote past before we were born, nor do we have any control over the laws of nature.
3. If A causes B, and we have no control over A, and A is sufficient for B, then we have no control over B.
Therefore
4. If physical determinism is true, then we have no control over our own actions and thoughts ….

173. 173
JVL says:

Origenes: Here is the ironclad proof:

So, your appearance of trying to have a dialogue is just a feint?

I have no interest in having a discussion with someone who is already convinced they are correct.
I have strong convictions and beliefs but, because of what some of the contributors here have said, I have changed some of my stances. I think that’s a good and honest approach. And indicative of my wanting to explore areas of disagreement. You seem to lack that interest in this area. So I won’t be pursuing the topic any further. And I’d ask you to cease trying to lure people in with the pretence that you have an open mind.

174. 174
tangent says:

4. If physical determinism is true, then we have no control over our own actions and thoughts ….

That’s a common error. Without realizing it, you are implicitly assuming dualism. Your statement is equivalent to “If physical determinism is true, then I (this entity separate from the body) have no control over the body, which is out of my control and following the deterministic laws of physics.”

But under physicalism, you aren’t separate from your body. You are your body. Your body isn’t some separate rogue element of you that is dragging around the real you.

When your body picks up an object, you are picking up the object. You — the body — are in control of your action.

175. 175
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@165

The global features of the brain aren’t a separate entity that controls the neurons: the whole constrains what the parts are able to do.

@172

Physical determinism does not allow for a rational person who is in control of his thoughts. Dualism has to be true, or we are not rational.

You make things just a little too convenient for yourself by dismissing every alternative to “determinism or dualism” as irrational, meaningless, gibberish, magic, etc.

My main objection to determinism is that it’s based on comparatively simple systems governed by linear equations. I don’t think it’s plausible to think that the physical world is deterministic once we take into account what complexity theory is showing us about the world, forcing us to abandon simple models and easy calculations.

176. 176
Origenes says:

PM1@

The global features of the brain aren’t a separate entity that controls the neurons: the whole constrains what the parts are able to do.

That does not seem to address my concerns. Because the whole must ‘constrain’ the parts in such a way, that they get involved in free choices, reasoning, world view, intentionality, typing sentences, and so on … So, that must be a very flexible and precise constraint. So, the same questions return. For instance, how does the whole ‘constrain’ neurons in such a way that they get involved in, let’s say, the issue of morality?

Another concern of mine is the following. We are talking about top-down causation. The ‘whole’, you say, constrains the neurons, it steers the neurons rather than the neurons steering the whole. Top-down causation. Ok.
But to have top-down causation, there must be a top level that exerts its power downwards onto the lower (chemical) levels of the brain. My question is: what level is exactly independent of the lower chemical levels of the brain? Is there a mental level independent from the brain chemistry (the ‘whole’ perhaps) where thoughts, feelings, and intentions are? A level that can be said to have top-down causation from a certain independence of chemistry? And if there is no such level, then what is doing the top-down causation? If there is no such thing as a person with all its attributes that is independent of the brain, then what is it that exerts top-down causation?

177. 177
Origenes says:

(double post removed)

178. 178
kairosfocus says:

F/N: Let me clip from another Arxiv paper (by Magain and Hauret) to illustrate issues about time and its import, again, to document here a factor needed to appreciate the significance of “a causal-temporal, thermodynamically constrained world”:

When applying GR to the whole Universe in order to de-
rive the ?CDM model, one assumes that the Universe is
homogeneous on large scales and that the small scale inho-
mogeneities have no impact on the evolution of the Universe
as a whole. One also assumes that the 4-dimentional space-
time can be sliced into 3-dimensional space-like hypersur-
faces labeled with a time parameter t. This time parame-
ter is usually taken as the time measured by fundamental,
comoving, clocks (Hobson et al. 2006). The time t is then
identified with the proper time of fundamental observers. It
is generally taken for granted that, if the Universe is homo-
geneous, this proper time flows at the same rate all along
the history of the Universe. When Einstein derived the ba-
sic theory of GR, the Universe was believed to be essentially
static and there was no reason to question that hypothe-
sis. However, in the framework of an evolving Universe, one
might ask whether the rate at which time flows could not
depend on the dynamical state of the Universe itself. We
thus propose to distinguish between two different times: (1)
the (conventional) coordinate time parameter t, which is the
one measured by our present clocks and is assumed to flow
at a constant rate and (2) the cosmological time ? , which is
the one measured by fundamental clocks at any times, may
depend on the state of the Universe and controls all phys-
ical processes. When building our cosmological model, this
proper time ? may not be used as an independent coordi-
nate, as it is a function of other parameters and, thus, an
emergent property.
It is often argued that the direction of time flow, the
arrow of time, is dictated by the second law of thermo-
dynamics: the direction of time flow is the one for which
the entropy of an isolated system increases. Let us consider
fundamental observers in the Universe. The largest system
possibly interacting with such observers is the region of the
Universe that is causally connected to them. That region is
bounded by the particle horizon, defined by the distance a
light signal could travel from the beginning of time to the
observers. From their very point of view, that system can be
considered isolated since no interaction can happen with ob-
jects located further than the particle horizon. A very simple
assumption we could thus make is that the proper time ?
measured by such observers is proportional to the entropy
of the region of the Universe which is causally connected to
them

This is itself sufficient to underscore that time is itself a complex matter and that it is deeply connected to thermodynamics and to cause.

KF

179. 179
kairosfocus says:

JVL [and attn PM1 et al],

are you convinced you are correct? Or, that at least O is incorrect or the like?

See, the self referentiality involved?

Across the history of science, math and ideas more generally, as a matter of simple record of fact many fruitful discussions were held between people of diverse convictions. The issue is, that our opinions are worth less than pocket change, but substance and warrant are treasures of great price. So, we should be highlighting merits of fact and logic, issues of assumptions and underlying worldviews further shaped by recognition of comparative difficulties and the vexed challenge of self referentiality. Where, self referential incoherence or broader absurdity is fatal to a claim.

For example, while O’s skeletal on determinism is strictly valid, it is limited. It does prove something that for cause has often been emphasised here at UD, any species of determinism is self referentially absurd, undermining credibility of mind.

A sounder startpoint, then is to accept the face value of our experience, we are responsible, rational [though error prone] significantly free, morally governed creatures with knowable first principles and duties of reason. Now, expanding, let us use the general frame, that brains etc are dynamic-stochastic systems instead, expanding to include chance elements. As in, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. Then:

1. If global physical, dynamic stochastic causal chaining [GPDSCaCh] is true, then all our actions and thoughts are consequences of events and laws of nature in the remote past before we were born.
2. We have no control over circumstances that existed in the remote past before we were born, nor do we have any control over the laws of nature.
3. If A causes B, and we have no control over A, and A is sufficient for B, then we have no control over B.
_______________________
Therefore
4. If [GPDSCaCh] is true, then we have no control over our own actions and thoughts ….

Where, we can give the usual formulation of such GPDSCaCh, as evolutionary materialism, in Plato’s day, as philosophy; in ours, as an aspect of scientism. Which is itself a further error; science, strictly, cannot monopolise knowledge.

This broader result clearly follows from the logic and exposes the fatal self referentiality of such schemes. Nor is this a particularly unusual finding, it is part of what Plato pointed to in The Laws Bk X, and it is what lies behind J B S Haldane, here, as skeletonised and augmented:

[JBSH, REFACTORED AS SKELETAL, AUGMENTED PROPOSITIONS:]

“It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For

if

[p:] my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain

[–> taking in DNA, epigenetics and matters of computer organisation, programming and dynamic-stochastic processes; notice, “my brain,” i.e. self referential]
______________________________

[ THEN]

[q:] I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true.

[–> indeed, blindly mechanical computation is not in itself a rational process, the only rationality is the canned rationality of the programmer, where survival-filtered lucky noise is not a credible programmer, note the functionally specific, highly complex organised information rich code and algorithms in D/RNA, i.e. language and goal directed stepwise process . . . an observationally validated adequate source for such is _____ ?]

[Corollary 1:] They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically.

And hence

[Corollary 2:] I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. [–> grand, self-referential delusion, utterly absurd self-falsifying incoherence]

[Implied, Corollary 3: Reason and rationality collapse in a grand delusion, including of course general, philosophical, logical, ontological and moral knowledge; reductio ad absurdum, a FAILED, and FALSE, intellectually futile and bankrupt, ruinously absurd system of thought.]

In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. Cf. here on (and esp here) on the self-refutation by self-falsifying self referential incoherence and on linked amorality.]

This issue lurks behind much of what goes on above and should be borne in mind.

KF

PS, Nancy Pearcey:

A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself . . . .

An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?

Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.

Another example comes from Francis Crick. In The Astonishing Hypothesis, he writes, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But that means Crick’s own theory is not a “scientific truth.” Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide.

Of course, the sheer pressure to survive is likely to produce some correct ideas. A zebra that thinks lions are friendly will not live long. But false ideas may be useful for survival. Evolutionists admit as much: Eric Baum says, “Sometimes you are more likely to survive and propagate if you believe a falsehood than if you believe the truth.” Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.

To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.

[–> that is, responsible, rational freedom is undermined. Cf here William Provine in his 1998 U Tenn Darwin Day keynote:

Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.

A few thinkers, to their credit, recognize the problem. Literary critic Leon Wieseltier writes, “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? … Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”

On a similar note, philosopher Thomas Nagel asks, “Is the [evolutionary] hypothesis really compatible with the continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge?” His answer is no: “I have to be able to believe … that I follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so.” Hence, “insofar as the evolutionary hypothesis itself depends on reason, it would be self-undermining.” [ENV excerpt, Finding Truth (David C. Cook, 2015) by Nancy Pearcey.]

I trust, the above will help us rebalance and refocus.

PPS, clearly, as morality is a reasonably identifiable domain, this also extends to knowledge of morality. Where, I again note:

Objective, so know-able moral truth is widely denied in our day, for many it isn’t even a remotely plausible possibility. And yet, as we will shortly see, it is undeniably true; as is so for other reasonably identifiable fields of discussion. This marginalisation of moral knowledge, in extreme form, is a key thesis of the nihilism that haunts our civilisation, which we must detect, expose to the light of day, correct and dispel, in defence of civilisation and human dignity.

Let a proposition be represented by x
M = x is a proposition asserting that some state of affairs regarding right conduct, duty/ought, virtue/honour, good/evil etc (i.e. the subject is morality) is the case [–> truth claim]
O = x is objective and generally knowable, being adequately warranted as credibly true [–> notice, generally knowable per adequate warrant, as opposed to widely acknowledged]

It is claimed, cultural relativism thesis: S= ~[O*M] = 1

[ NB: Plato, The Laws, Bk X, c 360 BC, in the voice of Athenian Stranger: “[Thus, the Sophists and other opinion leaders etc — c 430 BC on, hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.” This IMPLIES the Cultural Relativism Thesis, by highlighting disputes (among an error-prone and quarrelsome race!), changing/varied opinions, suggesting that dominance of a view in a place/time is a matter of balance of factions/rulings, and denying that there is an intelligible, warranted natural law. Of course, subjectivism then reduces the scale of “community” to one individual. He continues, “These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might . . . ” [–> door opened to nihilistic factionalism]]

However, the subject of S is M,
it therefore claims to be objectively true, O, and is about M
where it forbids O-status to any claim of type-M
so, ~[O*M] cannot be true per self referential incoherence [–> reductio ad absurdum]

++++++++++
~[O*M] = 0 [as self referential and incoherent cf above]
~[~[O*M]] = 1 [the negation is therefore true]
__________
O*M = 1 [condensing not of not]
where, M [moral truth claim]
So too, O [if an AND is true, each sub proposition is separately true]

That is, there UNDENIABLY are objective moral truths; and a first, self-evident one is that ~[O*M] is false.

The set is non empty, it is not vacuous and we cannot play empty set square of opposition games with it. That’s important.

180. 180
kairosfocus says:

F/N: going back to the Fourier series/integral case, if we take the math literally [as opposed to as a useful, empirically reliable model], we are looking at utter determinism. As, the sinusoids involved are eternal in past and future, any observation of a sinusoid composed signal, together with its spectrum can be taken as proof that from eternity past it was pre-programmed that at some t0, a CRO and Spectrum Analyser — let’s go old fashioned analogue, dynamic-stochastic so there is no escape through it is all an algorithmic calculation — in a certain setup would happen, and then a trace on each screen would be seen [Fourier here, too] and the lot would be turned off at t1 etc. [Easy way to visualise, they are on a power strip, just cut the power to the lot with one flick of a switch, but of course, one should properly turn off instruments, transients from high power turn on/off can be damaging.] Now, extend: every transient vibration, every trajectory across time, by the magic of Fourier series and integrals, can be reduced to such chains of sinusoids. Where, in effect, we can say that a non repetitive pulse of any shape, is mathematically equivalent to a periodic waveform of infinite period, leading to the continuous spectrum. Where, that means the observation that for an observed sinusoid for a span t0 to t1, there is actually a band rather than a line on the spectrum analyser does not evade the issue but reinforces it. This is of course Laplace’s demon on steroids. We can inject noise, it makes no practical difference. Does this force dynamic stochastic dynamism as conclusion, with the implied collapse of credibility of mind? No, we just need to use common sense about the difference between mathematical ideal logic model worlds and physical observable events. As one of my old High Schools had in its rules, a breach of common sense is a breach of the school rules. The mathematics, here, frames a model, we are not dealing with necessary entity core logic of being. This extends to Laplace’s demon and other similar cases. As we saw in part above. KF

PS, a lecture on Laplace’s demon https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/A_Lecture_on_the_Limits_of_Human_Knowledge

181. 181
Origenes says:

Kairosfocus@
~ Excerpts from ‘The Epistemological Skyhook’, by Jim Slagle:

If a world does not have the formation of true beliefs as the final cause of the forming of a particular belief, however, we can posit innumerable possible worlds physically identical to it in which belief contents and truth do not enter into the causal network. Since, ex hypothesi, the inhabitants of these worlds would have minds with all the same causes, they would qualify as nearby.
Yet what is true of them is true of us: how do we know that we are not in one of these worlds?12 Indeed, some philosophers seem to think we are. Recall Patricia Churchland’s claim that “The principal chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive.… Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost.”13 Or Dennett’s claim that “It is true that every belief state is what it is, and locally causes whatever it causes, independently of whether it is true or false.”14 If these views are correct, then the truth of a belief is irrelevant to one’s holding it, opening us up to the scenario envisaged above.
(…)
Similarly, a higher mediate purpose can trump a lower mediate purpose, and the ultimate purpose can trump the mediate purpose(s). Therefore, if the formation of true beliefs is only ever the proximate or a mediate purpose of the brain in the forming of a particular belief, then that belief could aspire to be only accidentally true if it is true at all.
The lesson from this is that truth must be the ultimate goal or purpose of the mental processes that produce and sustain a belief. Truth must be the final cause of the belief. As long as the brain forms a true belief only in order to serve some other purpose, then that belief could be only accidentally true, since the ultimate purpose could have been served by some other mediate or proximate purpose in a nearby possible world.
(…)
So, if truth is not the ultimate purpose involved in a belief’s formation, then that belief could be only accidentally true at best, and thus could not be an item of knowledge.
(…)
The absence of such a connection leads to a virtually unlimited diversity regarding which belief contents can be associated with that neural configuration in physically identical worlds. Because of this unlimited diversity, the probability that any particular belief one forms is true is a crapshoot—
(…)
Therefore, if naturalism is true, one has a reason to refrain from believing naturalism. Moreover, this reason can never be overruled because the same considerations will apply to whatever reasoning one uses in attempting to nullify the reason itself. This makes it either an undefeatable defeater or an unresolvable defeater—in either case, a defeater that can never itself be ultimately defeated.17 We can now update our argument:

1.) If naturalism is true, any given belief would be produced and sustained by processes that do not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.
2.) If a belief is produced and sustained by processes that do not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth, we have an undefeatable or unresolvable defeater for it.
3.) Naturalism is a belief.
4.) Therefore, if naturalism is true, belief in naturalism is produced and sustained by processes that do not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth (from 1* and 3*).
5.) Therefore, if naturalism is true, we have an undefeatable or unresolvable defeater for naturalism (from 2. and 4.).

182. 182
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

The quotes provided above indicate to me that Pearcey and Slagle simply do not understand naturalism. The same is true of C. S. Lewis’s “argument from reason” and Plantinga’s “evolutionary argument against naturalism.”

The crux of their error is failing to understand how naturalists themselves conceptualize the very problem that they are interested in.

The problem that interests naturalists, when they turn their attention to epistemology, is how to answer epistemological questions using cognitive science. (Churchland’s quip, quoted by Slagle above, is from the first paragraph of her 1987 “Epistemology in the Age of Neuroscience”.)

One might, of course, argue against naturalists by claiming that one can’t use cognitive science to do epistemology — that one is empirical and the other is conceptual, or that is one is descriptive and the other is normative, etc. We can call that an external criticism: criticizing naturalism by standards that the naturalist need not accept.

But that is not what Plantinga, Pearcey, or Slagle are claiming to do: they are claiming to show that naturalism is self-undermining. They are purporting to provide an internal criticism, and doing that requires actually understanding how naturalists themselves understand their project.

As naturalists themselves understand their project, the starting-point is the idea of a cognitive system. The proper function of a cognitive system is perceptually guided control of behavior. This requires the ability to reliably map regularities of perceptual ‘input’ to regularities of behavioral ‘output’.

Perceptually guided control of behavior, if that behavior is to be conducive to achieving an animal’s goals and satisfying its needs, requires that the perceptual component can reliably classify similarities and differences amongst perceptual regularities (and irregularities).

It would not make sense as far as the naturalist is concerned to suppose that a cognitive system that is unable to reliably classify similarities and differences amongst perceptual regularities would be just as conducive to achieving organismal goals and satisfying needs as one that is able to do so.

But that is precisely how the scenarios sketched by Pearcey and Slagle appear, when translated into the naturalist’s preferred language.

In other words, the premise

If naturalism is true, any given belief would be produced and sustained by processes that do not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.

is not a premise that the naturalist themselves would accept.

183. 183
Origenes says:

Slagle’s definition of ‘Naturalism’:

~ Naturalism ~
Physicalism is broader than materialism. In a similar sense, naturalism is broader than physicalism. Naturalism takes the definition of physicalism and simply substitutes the word “natural” for “physical”: natural entities and processes are all that exist. In general, naturalism holds that “reality is exhausted by nature, containing nothing ‘supernatural’, and that the scientific method should be used to investigate all areas of reality.” Other than that, however, it “has no very precise meaning in contemporary philosophy.” 15 This can lead to complications, since the definition of naturalism varies with whomever one is arguing with; refuting one person’s naturalism does not necessarily refute another’s. The editors of one collection critical of ontological naturalism left it to each individual contributor to define their target.16 Plantinga initially defines it as the rejection of the existence of God or any spiritual reality: essentially, as anti-supernaturalism. This is problematic because it leads to a sort of house of mirrors, where we can never find the original concept being reflected. 17 Like physicalism, however, it can be understood as minimally requiring the causal closure of the natural world, with the definition of “natural world” being left to science.
So, just as there are different types of determinism, so there are different types of naturalism, based on what the ground level of reality is posited as being. This raises the question of what the common thread is between these views. I offer the following criteria as aspects of any type of naturalism or physicalism or materialism. These criteria are raised because of their ultimate relevance to the Skyhook and are by no means exhaustive.
First, as mentioned above, is a concession that the physical sciences are the touchstone to reality. Since the physical sciences can investigate only certain types of things, such an accession will limit the possibilities of what can and cannot be examined. If science is the touchstone, then science’s limitations are limitations on reality. In other words, naturalism adopts an ontology based on the physical sciences. If science cannot see it, it does not exist: “in the dimension of describing and explaining the world, science is the measure of all things, of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not.” 18 Naturalists take this to entail the causal closure of the physical.
The second criterion is best stated by Wilbur Marshall Urban in the lead-up to his version of the Skyhook: “the derivative status of mind is the characteristic feature of all forms of naturalism.”19 This is not necessarily a problem in and of itself, but becomes one only when this derivative nature takes on a specific implication. Urban elucidates this in his discussion of the perceived unity between naturalism and realism.
The main issue then, from which this entire discussion started, and which is involved in the modern identification of realism with naturalism, is the contention that, since reality is prior to knowledge, mind must consequently (italics mine) have a status which is derivative and not pivotal. Why this, consequently, should ever have entered into modern thinking I am at a loss to see. It does not at all follow that, because the principle of being, or the postulate of antecedent reality, is dialectically necessary for an intelligible theory of knowledge, the mind that knows is causally derivative from this antecedent, being conceived as nature in the sense of modern science. This derivative status of mind and knowledge does not follow from the epistemological postulate of realism but is rather an inference, whether rightly or wrongly made, from a specific scientific theory, namely, that of Darwinian evolution. 20
Presumably it is this criterion that Dennett had in mind when he complained about explanations employing “a ‘mind-first’ force or power or process, an exception to the principle that all design, and apparent design, is ultimately the result of mindless, motiveless mechanicity.” 21
For the third criterion I turn to William Hasker. After noting some unsatisfactory definitions of naturalism and physicalism, he suggests that physical causality and explanation are inherently mechanistic. This, however, immediately raises the specter of quantum mechanics, which does not proceed according to predictable and quantifiable causes, so Hasker seeks to define “mechanistic” in such a way that would include quantum physics.
(….)
The point here is complicated and will be addressed throughout this book and in detail in the final chapter. For now, we will just take Hasker’s broad point as our third criterion: naturalism involves, at some level, the denial of teleology, and teleology is necessary for the veracity or verisimilitudineity of thought. 24

184. 184
Viola Lee says:

to PM: 182 is excellent, on two points, and thanks to PM for being so clear.

First, the distinction between external and internal criticism. Anti-naturalists (or anti-my position whenever I’ve tried to describe it) invariably judge by their own set of standards, and then say the other position fails for some reason (commonly, self-referentiality). Example: one will claim there are no objective moral standards and the critics will exclaim, but then you have no objective standards for judging morality. Aha, gotcha! 🙂 They want everything to be judged by their perspective. They seldom, if ever, seriously and genuinely want to know how morality is established by those who don’t think the objective standards exist: they just go straight down the slippery slope to nihilism! (I know this is quite a rant, so I hope they just all ignore me.)

The second point is that of course a naturalistic description of behavior, of all animals as well as humans, leads to reliability and truth, because otherwise they/we wouldn’t survive. Of course, this is not Truth and Reliability as the critics would want it, but that’s just another external criticism that assumes they are right about the existence of such.

The question that needs to be asked is if the believers in objective Morals and Truth, and some cosmic root of reality supporting them are wrong, then how would one account for the presence of morality, truth, reliability etc. in an empirically accurate and consistent way. That’s the question that motivates me.

185. 185
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@183

Thank you for that long quote! I can’t say that I’m agreeing with Slagle about anything he says, but I’ll always have some measure of respect for anyone who has the self-discipline for writing a philosophy book.

naturalism involves, at some level, the denial of teleology, and teleology is necessary for the veracity or verisimilitudineity of thought.

The “at some level” is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. For one thing, it’s been argued at least since Kant that there’s more than one concept of teleology, and some concepts of teleology are more easily naturalized than others.

But, for another, there has been some scholarship in recent years arguing that teleology in some sense (that weasel phrase again!) can indeed be naturalized.

These are somewhat technical articles, written by academics for other academics. But I think the abstracts at least will convey the flavor of what these people are doing.

186. 186
Origenes says:

PM1@
You can’t say that you are agreeing with Slagle about anything he says … that’s quite a statement.
You quote Slagle and proceed with derisive ‘lecturing’ commentary:

Slagle: … naturalism involves, at some level, the denial of teleology, and teleology is necessary for the veracity or verisimilitudineity of thought.

The “at some level” is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. For one thing, it’s been argued at least since Kant that there’s more than one concept of teleology, and some concepts of teleology are more easily naturalized than others.

Now let’s look at the entire Slagle quote and especially the part you left out:

Slagle: The point here is complicated and will be addressed throughout this book and in detail in the final chapter. For now, we will just take Hasker’s broad point as our third criterion: naturalism involves, at some level, the denial of teleology, and teleology is necessary for the veracity or verisimilitudineity of thought.

Slagle stresses that the relation between naturalism and teleology is a complicated matter, points out that it will be addressed in the book and where specifically, and makes clear that what follows is a provisional (“for now”) definition; that is modestly formulated (“at some level”). You remove all of that and proceed with painting Slagle as an uninformed person.
Not your finest moment.

187. 187
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@186

Well, you’re right that I spoke far too hastily. I’ve since read the first chapter of The Epistemological Skyhook (it was free on his webpage) and I found it much less objectionable than I was expecting to.

I would still disagree (I expect) with Slagle about a few issues.

1. I concede that I was too hasty in my inference that Slagle excludes all teleology from naturalism. Nevertheless, it seems to me that if Slagle wants to maintain that naturalism cannot accommodate rationality, then I would expect for him to say that the concept of teleology that naturalism can accept (if it can accept any at all) is not the concept of teleology that rationality requires. And while I’m open to seeing that argument, I’m also skeptical: my inclination is to say that the concept of teleology that naturalism can accommodate is all the teleology that rationality requires.

2. I share with Slagle the Kantian thought that rationality must be presupposed in any inquiry in which we can meaningfully be engaged. But I disagree with him that naturalism as such is incompatible with Kant, although some forms of it are. I read Kant as specifying the kinds of purely formal functions that any system must have if it is to generate the kinds of cognitive experiences that we manifestly have. That is at least compatible with a reading of the relevant cognitive sciences as specifying the corresponding material structures that perform those functions and of evolutionary theory as specifying the historical processes that generated those functional structures.

3. The argument about Kant’s ontological argument went by a bit too quickly for my taste (which is to be expected in an introduction!). Still I’d like to see a more developed argument for the conclusion (as it seems to be) that in denying the existence of God per se, naturalism therefore denies the existence of a necessary being and that presupposing a necessary being is required for rational thought. It seems at least an option for a naturalist to agree with Kant’s ontological argument for the existence of a necessary being, but deny that such a being must be anything like the God of classical theism.

4. Finally — and this is the big issue — from the introduction I don’t get the sense that Slagle really understands naturalism. I don’t mean that he hasn’t read X, Y, or Z — that’s not a fault, no one can read everything. I mean that he doesn’t seem to engage in the kind of interpretative empathy needed to really understand how someone very different from them sees the world. This is far from easy — in fact, it’s extremely difficult, and very few people have ever managed it at all. Slagle is so deeply unsympathetic to naturalism that I would guess he would really struggle to understand why anyone would be a naturalist at all. There’s something about how naturalists conceptualize their own cognitive and epistemic activity that he seems to struggle to comprehend. And this is not necessarily his fault — I think very few naturalists have really put in the time to explain, to people basically unsympathetic to naturalism, why naturalism might even seem to be a reasonably attractive position.

188. 188
tangent says:

Kairosfocus,

There is a thread over at The Skeptical Zone dedicated to a discussion of your statement that

In short, VB is right to highlight that without the eternal reckoning, it is simply not the case that truth telling is to one’s advantage, short or long term.

Just thought you might be interested.

189. 189
kairosfocus says:

Tangent, sadly, for cause I have low expectations of TSZ. The clip from me is a matter of massively supported history, many have greatly profited from their evil and have died in comfort, as they have been powerful. That is, shielded from adverse consequences. Start, with the C17 invention of the slave labour based sugar plantation in the Caribbean, which was seen as in effect a licence to mint money, it was so lucrative. Generations lived and died on the fruit of the associated oppression and it took a huge effort to get reformation. On the specific matter of falsity, many have profited from and many continue to profit from deceit, while being shielded from the consequences of such evil by their power bases. Some would point to the marketing/advertising and public relations industry as case no 1, with much of what goes on in politics, government and courts running neck and neck behind. A fair amount of what happens in finance is troublingly close to deceit, fraud and profiting from same; where, I am by no means convinced that the repeated scandals such as the current one over the theft of \$ 12 million from Usain Bolt’s retirement fund, reportedly leaving just \$12,000, come close to being a deterrent. Coming up behind are those who are part of the corruption of education systems. It may be that many (especially those who don’t hold enough power and are not shielded by power classes) do get found out and that eventually things can crash if a critical mass of chaos pervades a society but that does not mean that many do not profit from deceit, fraud, evil and so forth with little consequence. Many of these die in great estate and are buried with high praise, pomp and circumstance. So, it is not a general case that telling the truth is an advantage. Indeed, it is proverbially dangerous to be right when the government is wrong and fighting city hall is often a recipe for defeat and attracting relentless attack backed by big money government coffers. The eternal audit with perfect justice, presumably, will bring a true balance, but ever so many scoff at such, until it is too late. But, all of this does not change one iota, that we are duty bound to truth and other first duties. It does mean that we must understand that doing the right thing is by no means a guaranteed road to comfort, prosperity and praise . . . KF

PS, I took a glance, they are running true to sad form, totally missing the context I just amplified.

190. 190
Origenes says:

PM1@

Slagle is so deeply unsympathetic to naturalism that I would guess he would really struggle to understand why anyone would be a naturalist at all.

If you are right, then Slagle has been less than forthcoming. In the preface you have just read, he writes about his skyhook against determinism and naturalism:

Slagle: Indeed, in many ways, my philosophical pilgrimage has been my attempt to refute this argument. I have failed. Here I make the case that the argument, at least in some of its guises, is successful.

There’s something about how naturalists conceptualize their own cognitive and epistemic activity that he seems to struggle to comprehend.

You’ve just finished the first chapter you say?

And this is not necessarily his fault — I think very few naturalists have really put in the time to explain, to people basically unsympathetic to naturalism, why naturalism might even seem to be a reasonably attractive position.

Well, as I see it, naturalism has been completely debunked. Darwinian evolution fails spectacularly in explaining FSCO/I. Emergentism also offers no adequate mechanism. End of story.
And even if we allow things to go further down the road, a few simple questions like the ones in posts #165 and #176 , make clear that emergentism is not a coherent concept.
And then there are several arguments that on their own have the ability to defeat naturalism. Slagle’s skyhook is just one of many arguments.
And then there are paranormal events, experienced by millions. Personally, I have witnessed a totally convincing communication with a human spirit.
“A reasonably attractive position”, you say. The idea that we are just accidental beings and that never-ending death awaits us all has no attraction to me.

191. 191
kairosfocus says:

VL, PM1, I think you will agree that a self contradiction in a logical system that cannot be eliminated is a fatal flaw. Indeed, proof by self contradiction of an alternative assertion is a commonplace of argument, not least in Mathematics. Notice, too, the fate of Set Theory 1.0, often illustrated by the Barber paradox, which led to modern set theory, e.g. ZFC. When it comes to worldviews and ideologies, a major source of difficulties is that our claims strongly tend to be self-referential. That means due care is needed to avert inescapable self referential incoherence, which is a clear case of contradiction, thence falsification. That was the fate, for example of the verifiability thesis of logical positivism a bit over a half century ago. Similarly, atheists and the like used to run riot with accusations that theism was self contradictory over the problem of evil, and were decisively checked by Plantinga. So, I think some rethinking is in order. KF

PS, I took a little time to look at what I could see from Slagle. I find some rather familiar concerns that I think, for cause and on bitter experience of my homeland, are of relevance:

[Skyhook, Ch 1:] . . . [I will inter alia address the argument that] two common philosophical positions are
self-referentially incoherent: that is, by believing, arguing for, asserting, or
just considering these positions as possibilities, one acquires a reason to
withhold belief in them, a reason that can neither be rebutted nor counter-
acted by other considerations. These two positions are purportedly reached
via rational thought but render rational thought impossible, and therefore
they are ultimately self-defeating.

The two positions are determinism and naturalism . . . .

The most basic form of the argument is used against those who try to explain
away beliefs or arguments—particularly those with which they disagree—as
motivated by some force(s) other than rationality. Freudianism and Marx-
ism, at least in their more naïve expressions, are common targets. Freudians
believe (allegedly) that all beliefs are the products of nonrational psycho-
logical dysfunctions, or at least functions that do not reliably produce true
beliefs. 1 And Marx himself wrote of his critics, “Your very ideas are but the
outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois
property, just as your jurisprudence is but the will of your class made into
a law for all, a will whose essential character and direction are determined
by the economical conditions of existence of your class.” 2 Thus, his critics’
beliefs are brought about by social conditioning and their economic position
in society and, as such, can be dismissed. 3

The obvious response to such claims is to apply it to the Freudian and
the Marxist themselves, not to mention Freud and Marx: if all beliefs are
the product of nonrational forces, and thus nonveracious in some way, then
belief in Freudianism and Marxism is similarly produced and so just as
nonveracious as any other. If all reasoning is hopelessly tainted, then the
Freudian and the Marxist arrive at their doctrines by tainted processes too,
and if this condition allows their critics to be discounted, as Marx seems to
suggest, it allows Freudianism and Marxism to be discounted by the same
token. More broadly, if all beliefs are produced by nonrational forces and
are thus nonveracious, then the belief that “all beliefs are produced by non-
rational forces and are thus nonveracious” is itself produced by nonrational
forces and is thus nonveracious. This belief, and any position that leads to
it, is therefore self-defeating: if it is true, we no longer have any reason for
believing it to be true. It is hoist with its own petard.

To put this another way, those who claim that all beliefs, acts of reason-
ing, etc., are nonveracious are positing a closed circle in which no beliefs
are produced by the proper methods by which beliefs can be said to be
veracious or rational. Yet at the same time, they are arrogating to them-
selves a position outside of this circle by which they can judge the beliefs of
others, a move they deny to their opponents. Since the raison d’être of their
thesis is that there is no outside of the circle, they do not have the epistemic
right to assume a position independent of it, and so their beliefs about the
nonveracity of beliefs or reasoning are just as nonveracious as those they
criticize. If all of the beliefs inside the circle are suspect, we cannot judge
between truth and falsity, since any such judgment would be just as suspect
as what it seeks to adjudicate.

Now these are opening remarks for a book that will doubtless explore details, but they have a point. And the point extends to many other cases. Perhaps the best example is the way the story of six blind men and an elephant is often used by relativists to discredit objectivity, while implicitly the narrator implies his or her own objectivity.

The real solution is to be aware of the issues, recognise that when worldview influenced issues are on the table, self referentiality is almost inescapable, and seek to avoid self referential incoherence.

Easier said than done.

192. 192
Origenes says:

PM1@
Again, Slagle’s skyhook against naturalism:

1.) If naturalism is true, any given belief would be produced and sustained by processes that do not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.
2.) If a belief is produced and sustained by processes that do not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth, we have an undefeatable or unresolvable defeater for it.
3.) Naturalism is a belief.
4.) Therefore, if naturalism is true, belief in naturalism is produced and sustained by processes that do not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth (from 1* and 3*).
5.) Therefore, if naturalism is true, we have an undefeatable or unresolvable defeater for naturalism (from 2. and 4.).

In his argument above Slagle claims that naturalism does not allow for a very specific type of teleology, namely the one aimed at “the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.” So, he is not saying that all naturalistic processes are devoid of teleology, instead, his argument is based on the idea that a specific teleology is missing in all naturalistic processes. A very specific teleology that is required for truth. He argues that “… truth must be the ultimate goal or purpose of the mental processes that produce and sustain a belief. Truth must be the final cause of the belief.”

You seem to interpret his argument as based on the idea that naturalism lacks teleology completely and in #185 you link to papers on ‘biological organization’, ‘self-organizing processes’, and ‘systems embodying an orientation towards their own beneficial ends.’
Those papers are not at all about the specific teleology that Slagle refers to in his argument. If you think that this refutes Slagle’s argument, or is even relevant to his argument, then you are mistaken.

193. 193
kairosfocus says:

Origenes, your summary of Slagle highlights that there is a naturally evident purpose or due end of mind, right reason directed to truth, and by prudence, requiring adequate warrant. A rather familiar sounding cluster, on which we may superpose the insight that evils frustrate, wrench or side track what is good from its due end, which of course tends to chaos. With that on the table, we see yet again illustrated the first duties [including first principles] of reason and first built in law highlighted so long ago by Cicero. The very duties, that are so powerfully pervasive, branch on which we sit first principles that those who try to object invariably . . . readily observably (as has been pointed out here for some time now) . . . appeal to same to gain persuasive traction. This, too is of course an aspect of the self referentiality that comes up when we argue about core difficult questions, i.e. philosophy. For epistemology, we are knowers; for logic, we are reasoners; for metaphysics including logic of being, we are beings in a going concern world; for morality and ethics, we are morally governed, contingent, rational beings who require adequate cause (one that does not lead to or invite inference of grand, self discrediting delusion); for aesthetics, we are moved by beauty and beauty reminds us that ugliness is not all there is; for politics, governance and law, we are reminded of neighbour and justice. And more. It is reasonable to expect that our arguments will not draw a circle around reasoning that undermines reasoning, for we then are caught in our own circle of self defeat. KF

PS, for over a decade I have pointed to the path of soundness. Agree with Josiah Royce, Elton Trueblood et al, that error exists, proposition E. Further agree, that this claim is undeniable on pain of immediate absurdity: to try to deny E, ~E, means it is error to assert E, oops. From this, recognise that E is a case in point of readily knowable, self evident, certain, reliable, objective truth, so objective truth that is knowable exists. Any species of worldview that tries to deny objective truth fails. Their name is legion. This gives us a base on which we may build.

PPS, indeed, for any reasonable general subject G, we may see that the denial of objective truth is a truth claim regarding G and therefore refutes itself. This implies there is knowable truth for any reasonably distinct identifiable subject, not excepting morality. Indeed, the first objective truth is this one. Beyond it, the extent of known truth may be meagre indeed [which would be a case of Rumsfeld’s known unknowns], but we cannot soundly deny that bare fact.

PPPS, that systems and structures of the world of life are acknowledged to involve many systems with naturally evident ends, systems that so often exhibit copious Orgel-Wicken functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information manifested in the latter’s wiring diagrams, is of course a strong sign that they came about by the only actually observable [trillions of cases, no exceptions], needle in haystack search plausible cause for FSCO/I, design.

194. 194
tangent says:

That was a lot of verbiage, but none of it actually addresses the key point being raised over at TSZ.

You write:

The clip from me is a matter of massively supported history, many have greatly profited from their evil and have died in comfort, as they have been powerful.

The issue isn’t whether anyone has ever profited from being dishonest. Obviously, they have. The problem is your categorical assertion that “without the eternal reckoning, it is simply not the case that truth telling is to one’s advantage, short or long term.”

Upon a moment’s reflection, an intelligent person can bring to mind instances where truth-telling is decidedly advantageous, even in the here-and-now. You claim that such instances do not exist.

Imagine you have a dear, longtime friend you wish to keep. Do you truly see no personal advantage in being honest with that person instead of lying through your teeth?

195. 195
Origenes says:

KF@

… error exists, proposition E. Further agree, that this claim is undeniable on pain of immediate absurdity: to try to deny E, ~E, means it is error to assert E, oops. From this, recognise that E is a case in point of readily knowable, self evident, certain, reliable, objective truth, so objective truth that is knowable exists. Any species of worldview that tries to deny objective truth fails. Their name is legion. This gives us a base on which we may build.

As an aside, I note that ‘truth exists’ can also not be denied. To try to deny T, ~T, means it is true to that ~T, which means T, oops.
About the base on which we may build, I suggest we invite the free rational person. Allow him to take his rightful place at the base of philosophy, so we can continually monitor his ‘health’ while building our worldview. In my view that is the correct way to avoid being “caught in our own circle of self-defeat” as you call it.

90% of the things you say in your post I can gladly agree with. Part of the other 10% involves the term ‘objective.’ We had a discussion about its meaning and implications a few years ago. Perhaps another day.

196. 196
kairosfocus says:

F/N: As I noted there is a quantum eternity theorem claim, that needs to meet the Fourier eternity theorem, which is absolutely universal for any pulse or repeating waveform of consequence. It gets even more interesting, as we build the cathode ray oscilloscope, spectrum analyser, signal source, put together and set up, voila, we see the wave or pulse, the spectrum of sinusoids and note that any sinusoid is by mathematical definition endless in past and future. So, pure tones, pulses, blends all trace to that. We get to a choice, utter determinism theorem so anything in time is set from eternity to eternity, or is produced through circular eternal retrocausation with feed forward eternal cause too. Let’s call this, instant, transtemporal cause. What fun! We have proved everything. Not. We need to exert common sense about the difference between abstract logic model worlds and empirical actuality. KF

197. 197
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@192

In his argument above Slagle claims that naturalism does not allow for a very specific type of teleology, namely the one aimed at “the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.” So, he is not saying that all naturalistic processes are devoid of teleology, instead, his argument is based on the idea that a specific teleology is missing in all naturalistic processes. A very specific teleology that is required for truth. He argues that “… truth must be the ultimate goal or purpose of the mental processes that produce and sustain a belief. Truth must be the final cause of the belief.”

Well, as Alice cried, “curiouser and curiouser!”

I apologize for asking you to do the work here, when I really should just read the book for myself. But what you say is so baffling to me!

1.) If naturalism is true, any given belief would be produced and sustained by processes that do not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.

It seems to me that the consequent, “any given belief would be produced and sustained by processes that do not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth”, is true regardless of whether or not naturalism is true.

That is, regardless of whether naturalism is true or not, people can and do believe lots of different things for lots of different reasons, and not all of those reasons can bear critical scrutiny. People can believe things because of how they were raised, because of features of their social environment, because of the information they absorb from the world around them, etc.

What we want, of course, is a method of inquiry: a way of figuring out which beliefs we ought to accept and which ones we ought to reject. The goal of that inquiry is true beliefs. But truth is a goal of inquiry, not a goal of the processes that produced that morass of beliefs in the first place.

To say that truth is the final end of inquiry is to say, with C. S. Peirce, that the truth is what the community of inquirers is fated to believe, were inquiry to go on for as long as possible. Jay Rosenberg (no relation to Alex, I don’t think) defended a similar view under the label “convergent realism”: we make progress in science to the extent that the succession of scientific theories is an asymptotic approximation to the real.

I think truth as the norm of inquiry, as understood by Peirce and Rosenberg, is basically right: we aim at true beliefs, and we inquire into the reasons for our beliefs in order to find out which ones are true.

Given that context, would Slagle say that the Peirce/Rosenberg view is just not the right way of understanding aletheic teleology? Or would he perhaps agree with Peirce about truth as the goal of inquiry, but argue that naturalism cannot account for it?

198. 198
Origenes says:

PM1@ 197

Slagle: 1.) If naturalism is true, any given belief would be produced and sustained by processes that do not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.

It seems to me that the consequent, “any given belief would be produced and sustained by processes that do not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth”, is true regardless of whether or not naturalism is true.

What makes you say that? Utter nonsense.

That is, regardless of whether naturalism is true or not, people can and do believe lots of different things for lots of different reasons, and not all of those reasons can bear critical scrutiny.

So, because some beliefs do not bear critical scrutiny, it follows that “any given belief” is produced by “processes that do not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.” That does not follow at all.

What we want, of course, is a method of inquiry: a way of figuring out which beliefs we ought to accept and which ones we ought to reject. The goal of that inquiry is true beliefs. But truth is a goal of inquiry, not a goal of the processes that produced that morass of beliefs in the first place.

Your reasonings have no bearing on Slagle’s argument. You need to address the following claim: if naturalism is true, then there are no processes that have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.

199. 199
Viola Lee says:

“If naturalism is true, then there are no processes that have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.”

Well, if naturalism is true, there are no ultimate goals or purposes, period. I think naturalists are OK with proximate goals and purposes that arise from our existence as organisms.

Even for some non-naturalists (me), we may live in a universe that arose from some non-naturalistic source and accounts for both the physical world and the nature of consciousness but nevertheless provides no ultimate goals or purposes. The universe just exists as it is, and things within it move along according to their nature. No ultimate goals or purposes necessary.

200. 200
JVL says:

Kairosfocus: s, the sinusoids involved are eternal in past and future, any observation of a sinusoid composed signal, together with its spectrum can be taken as proof that from eternity past it was pre-programmed that at some t0, a CRO and Spectrum Analyser — let’s go old fashioned analogue, dynamic-stochastic so there is no escape through it is all an algorithmic calculation — in a certain setup would happen, and then a trace on each screen would be seen [Fourier here, too] and the lot would be turned off at t1 etc.

Yes, that is one, very long and convoluted sentence.

Where, in effect, we can say that a non repetitive pulse of any shape, is mathematically equivalent to a periodic waveform of infinite period, leading to the continuous spectrum.

If it’s non-repetitive then, yes, you could still break it down into a linear combination of sines or cosines but the breakdown would only be valid for the interval the pulse was defined over. Let’s say an instrument played one note for 2 seconds. You could still use Fourier analysis to see how that note breaks down but the fact that you’re using pieces of infinitely defined functions is not important.

Where, that means the observation that for an observed sinusoid for a span t0 to t1, there is actually a band rather than a line on the spectrum analyser does not evade the issue but reinforces it. This is of course Laplace’s demon on steroids. We can inject noise, it makes no practical difference. Does this force dynamic stochastic dynamism as conclusion, with the implied collapse of credibility of mind?

I have no idea what point is being made here.

Indeed, proof by self contradiction of an alternative assertion is a commonplace of argument, not least in Mathematics.

No one says “proof by self contradiction”; the phrase is “proof by contradiction”. I’ve used that technique many times.

Notice, too, the fate of Set Theory 1.0, often illustrated by the Barber paradox, which led to modern set theory, e.g. ZFC.

ZFC = Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory + Axiom of Choice which (quoting Wikipedia):

Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory, named after mathematicians Ernst Zermelo and Abraham Fraenkel, is an axiomatic system that was proposed in the early twentieth century in order to formulate a theory of sets free of paradoxes such as Russell’s paradox. Today, Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory, with the historically controversial axiom of choice (AC) included, is the standard form of axiomatic set theory and as such is the most common foundation of mathematics. Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory with the axiom of choice included is abbreviated ZFC, where C stands for “choice”, and ZF refers to the axioms of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory with the axiom of choice excluded.

Note that their formulation was devised to deal with paradoxes, NOT contradictions. There’s a difference.

As I noted there is a quantum eternity theorem claim, that needs to meet the Fourier eternity theorem, which is absolutely universal for any pulse or repeating waveform of consequence.

Gibberish. There is no “quantum eternity theorem” or “Fourier eternity theorem”. You can’t just throw in words to the titles of of well known results or concepts because you think it makes sense.

We get to a choice, utter determinism theorem so anything in time is set from eternity to eternity, or is produced through circular eternal retrocausation with feed forward eternal cause too.

No, no one actually thinks that or infers that philosophical conclusion. Everyone knows when you are using Fourier analysis you are not supposing any kind of actual, physical eternity. That is just a straw man which you conveniently knock down a sentence or two later.

Stop bending and twisting mathematical procedures and results in some attempt to make them more theological than they are. They are abstract concepts some of which have terribly useful applications in the real, limited world. And everyone already knows that.

201. 201
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@198

What makes you say that? Utter nonsense.

Maybe I phrased things badly. I was only trying to draw distinction between the processes that produce beliefs and the standards by which we determine which beliefs are justified or true.

When I ask someone, “why do you think that?” I’m not asking “what social conditions caused you to form that belief?”, I’m asking “what reasons do you have for considering that belief to be justified and true, to the extent that you do?”

So it makes sense to me to say that truth is the goal of the process of inquiring into which beliefs we ought to accept, but it makes much less to me to say that truth is the goal of the process that produces beliefs in the first place.

You need to address the following claim: if naturalism is true, then there are no processes that have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.

But that premise is just so baffling to me. I’m sure that Slagle has an argument for it, and I feel I’ve taken sufficient advantage of your time so far that I don’t wish to impose further. But on the face of it, that premise just looks bizarre to me. It’s not something I would have gotten from my reading of Churchland, Rorty, Dennett, or other contemporary naturalists, and it strikes me as not merely wrong but obviously wrong. Clearly I need to read Slagle for myself in order to figure out what the argument is supposed to be for this claim!

202. 202
Origenes says:

VL @199

Well, if naturalism is true, there are no ultimate goals or purposes, period. I think naturalists are OK with proximate goals and purposes that arise from our existence as organisms.

Naturalists are not OK with that, because (according to Slagle) that would mean that no one can hold naturalism to be a true belief.

Slagle’s argument (see #181) put differently:

1.) In order for us to hold that a belief is true, it must be produced by a process that has the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.
2.) If naturalism is true, then no process that has the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth exists.
3.) If naturalism is true every belief is produced by a process that does not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.
4.) Naturalism is a belief

Therefore, from 1.), 3.), and 4.)

5.) If naturalism is true, we cannot hold that naturalism is a true belief.

203. 203
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

In re: 202

1.) In order for us to hold that a belief is true, it must be produced by a process that has the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.
2.) If naturalism is true, then no process that has the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth exists.
3.) If naturalism is true every belief is produced by a process that does not have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth.
4.) Naturalism is a belief.
5.) If naturalism is true, we cannot hold that naturalism is a true belief.

Consider the following line of thought:

Suppose we were to rewrite (1) as

We are justified in holding a belief if it has survived iterative testing through a social practice that takes truth as its goal.

would you or Slagle accept that as an alternative to (1)? If not, why not?

I really struggle to see how that is incompatible with naturalism!

204. 204
bornagain77 says:

Thanks Origenes at 202. I saved your argument right under my Nancy Pearcey reference,

Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself – Nancy Pearcey – March 8, 2015
Excerpt: Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.
To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.
So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.,,,
Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality.
The reason so few atheists and materialists seem to recognize the problem is that, like Darwin, they apply their skepticism selectively. They apply it to undercut only ideas they reject, especially ideas about God. They make a tacit exception for their own worldview commitments.
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....94171.html

Moreover, as if that was not bad enough, the Darwinist is also forced to believe that his perceptions of reality are not trustworthy

Donald Hoffman: Do we see reality as it is? – Video – 9:59 minute mark
Quote: “fitness does depend on reality as it is, yes.,,, Fitness is not the same thing as reality as it is, and it is fitness, and not reality as it is, that figures centrally in the equations of evolution. So, in my lab, we have run hundreds of thousands of evolutionary game simulations with lots of different randomly chosen worlds and organisms that compete for resources in those worlds. Some of the organisms see all of the reality. Others see just part of the reality. And some see none of the reality. Only fitness. Who wins? Well I hate to break it to you but perception of reality goes extinct. In almost every simulation, organisms that see none of reality, but are just tuned to fitness, drive to extinction (those organisms) that perceive reality as it is. So the bottom line is, evolution does not favor veridical, or accurate perceptions. Those (accurate) perceptions of reality go extinct. Now this is a bit stunning. How can it be that not seeing the world accurately gives us a survival advantage?”
https://youtu.be/oYp5XuGYqqY?t=601

The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality – April 2016
The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.
Excerpt: “The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.”
https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160421-the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality/

205. 205
relatd says:

Our perceptions of reality are not trustworthy? Those who believe that should not be allowed to drive.

206. 206
Origenes says:

PM1@ 203, Bornagain77@

PM1: We are justified in holding a belief if it has survived iterative testing through a social practice that takes truth as its goal.

I take it that by “a social practice” you mean scientific experiment.

would you or Slagle accept that as an alternative to (1)? If not, why not?
I really struggle to see how that is incompatible with naturalism!

I don’t think Slagle would accept that. He writes:

Therefore, if naturalism is true, one has a reason to refrain from believing naturalism. Moreover, this reason can never be overruled because the same considerations will apply to whatever reasoning one uses in attempting to nullify the reason itself. This makes it either an undefeatable defeater or an unresolvable defeater—in either case, a defeater that can never itself be ultimately defeated.

Your question is most likely addressed specifically somewhere in his book. I expect him to argue that every scientific test is necessarily based on beliefs that, like all beliefs under naturalism, we have good reason to distrust.
If naturalism is true, we have good reason to distrust all beliefs—including the belief in naturalism. We are entrapped in a circle of self-defeat from which there is no escape.
Why did this happen? Naturalism does not provide enough space for a free rational person.
– – – – –
Bornagain77 @204

Highly relevant. Nancy Pearcey essentially makes the same argument as Slagle.

207. 207
JVL says:

Bornagain77: Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so.

Well, mathematicians have done pretty well relying on rationality with ZERO appeal to any greater being. There is no actual mathematical theorem which requires a deity as part of its proof. Mathematics requires no philosophy; theists and non-theists are welcome and capable of producing good mathematics. AND every mathematician I have known has been in the field because they find it fascinating NOT because they feel driven to discover God’s thoughts. NO ONE tries to find something like the quadratic formula because they love God. It just doesn’t happen.

Modern scientists have recognised that it’s possible (and sometimes easy) for a particular researcher or experimentalist to make a logical or experimental error which is why the system of peer review was introduced and also why some scientists have spent time trying to reproduce results they doubt. The point being: there is no need to invoke a philosophical stance when ‘doing’ science. If your result is reproducible and observer independent then you probably have something. You don’t even need to be a materialist; you just need to be able to be careful and rigorous and honest. What you choose to explore may depend on some of your pre-held beliefs but that doesn’t mean that when you check them out you can’t be objective and clear. And, if you’re not, someone will, eventually, cry foul. Because all scientific knowledge is provisional, i.e. subject to revision. It happens every day.

Unlike mathematics which has no need for such things. There is peer review but mostly before someone even submits a mathematical research paper they will have double and triple checked their own work and, most likely, shown it to a colleague especially if the result is surprising or unexpected. That’s why it took Andrew Weil years and years to prove Fermat’s Last Theorem; the problem was complicated and he knew if he claimed victory and was wrong he’d be a laughing stock.

208. 208
kairosfocus says:

JVL, you get the Fourier integral by in effect extending the period to infinity for a repetitive wave form. Second, I emphasised the contradiction as self, flowing from the alternative assertion; its consequences lead to incoherence so it is rejected. I suggest, yes, paradoxes are subtly different from blatant contradictions, but are essentially the same. Taking Russell’s barber paradox, subset A, men in the village who shave themselves, subset B, those shaved by our barber, there being no men not shaved, so every man shaves himself or else — X-OR — is shaved by the Barber, b0. Now who shaves b0? The contradiction is implicit on exhausting the alternatives posed, whether b0 shaves himself or not, there is a contradiction, an irreconcilable dilemma where one can neither go between the horns nor pose a counter dilemma. Next, there is a context you have overlooked: I was replying to a claimed quantum eternity theorem by Carroll responded to by Wall, through posing a comparable case on Fourier series . . . which applies to any pulse or periodic signal, once certain odd conditions are met; thus to both classical and quantum cases. The point was not in the theorems (though it is interesting that Fourier helps us see an example of claimed retrocausation as a thought exercise) but to recognise that mathematical models sometimes cannot be pressed too far or have to be used with common sense. Above I gave the Newtonian particle as a similar entity, being a point mass implying transfinite density; usually addressed as oh that’s an ideal that works well enough. There are quite a few workarounds out there. And, when you say no, no one holds to eternal determinism or retrocausation because of Fourier’s sinusoids, why, yes of course. That was actually my exact point, one must hold physical claims to an empirical standard informed by common sense rather than flashing mathematical oddities as though they were decisive proofs. In this case, thermodynamics is always the king in physical claims. This points to a beginning and to finitely distant future heat death. Where, BTW, thermodynamics lurks underneath cosmological clocks used to give cosmos level timelines. KF

209. 209
kairosfocus says:

PM1, social practice, notoriously, is a matter of power not truth seeking. No, we the new lab/doctor coat clad magisterium impose our gold standard does not work. As, may be emerging on the recent pandemic. KF

210. 210
JVL says:

Kairosfocus: you get the Fourier integral by in effect extending the period to infinity for a repetitive wave form.

Fourier integral operators have to do with Fourier transforms NOT Fourier analysis.

Second, I emphasised the contradiction as self, flowing from the alternative assertion; its consequences lead to incoherence so it is rejected.

Everyone knows it’s just a model which is only applicable over the interval the phenomena is observed NOT out to infinity. NO ONE says: gee, look, it would be a contradiction to apply this out forever. Straw man.

I suggest, yes, paradoxes are subtly different from blatant contradictions, but are essentially the same

Blatant? What does blatant have to do with mathematics? NO mathematician uses paradox and contradiction interchangeably. Why can’t you use standard terms in the standard ways?

Taking Russell’s barber paradox, subset A, men in the village who shave themselves, subset B, those shaved by our barber, there being no men not shaved, so every man shaves himself or else — X-OR — is shaved by the Barber, b0. Now who shaves b0? The contradiction is implicit on exhausting the alternatives posed, whether b0 shaves himself or not, there is a contradiction, an irreconcilable dilemma where one can neither go between the horns nor pose a counter dilemma.

Condescending. I know the barber PARADOX. The contradiction comes from assuming one of the cases which IS NOT the same as the scenario which is the paradox.

I was replying to a claimed quantum eternity theorem by Carroll responded to by Wall, through posing a comparable case on Fourier series . . . which applies to any pulse or periodic signal, once certain odd conditions are met; thus to both classical and quantum cases.

What ‘quantum eternity theorem’? Physics doesn’t have theorems. ‘Certain odd conditions’? What? All mathematical results depend on certain conditions being met.

The point was not in the theorems (though it is interesting that Fourier helps us see an example of claimed retrocausation as a thought exercise) but to recognise that mathematical models sometimes cannot be pressed too far or have to be used with common sense.

Everyone knows that! Straw man! Also: retrocausation is not a word.

And, when you say no, no one holds to eternal determinism or retrocausation because of Fourier’s sinusoids, why, yes of course.

It takes you several paragraphs or sentences that which you could express in one carefully chosen phrase. “Just like no one assumes that using Fourier analysis to analyse a ‘short’ signal or sound implies that signal or sound can be extended to infinity, we must be aware of the limitations and restrictions when modelling real world phenomena with mathematics.” Boom, done.

And, along the way you say things that aren’t true or aren’t standard usage or are confusing.

211. 211
bornagain77 says:

JVL holds that the applicability of mathematics to the universe is not to be considered a ‘miracle’. i.e. it is the typical ‘nothing to see here’ response of atheists to anything that contradicts their worldview.

The Naked Gun – “Nothing to see here!”

Yet, as has been pointed out to JVL previously, both Einstein and Wigner disagree with JVL’s personal opinion.

Specifically, Eugene Wigner, (who’s insights into quantum mechanics continue to drive breakthroughs in quantum mechanics; per A. Zeilinger), and Albert Einstein, who needs no introduction, are both on record as to regarding it as a ‘miracle’ that math should even be applicable to the universe. Moreover, Wigner questioned Darwinism’s ability to produce our “reasoning power” in his process of calling it a miracle, and Einstein even went so far as to chastise ‘professional atheists’ in his process of calling it a miracle.

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
https://www.maths.ed.ac.uk/~v1ranick/papers/wigner.pdf

On the Rational Order of the World: a Letter to Maurice Solovine – Albert Einstein – March 30, 1952
Excerpt: “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way .. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.
There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles.”
-Albert Einstein
http://inters.org/Einstein-Letter-Solovine

Of related note, the Christian founders of modern science, (via Neoplatonic philosophy and Augustinian theology), believed that any mathematics that might describe this universe were “God’s thoughts”.

KEEP IT SIMPLE by Edward Feser – April 2020
Excerpt: Mathematics appears to describe a realm of entities with quasi-­divine attributes. The series of natural numbers is infinite. That one and one equal two and two and two equal four could not have been otherwise. Such mathematical truths never begin being true or cease being true; they hold eternally and immutably. The lines, planes, and figures studied by the geometer have a kind of perfection that the objects of our ­experience lack. Mathematical objects seem immaterial and known by pure reason rather than through the senses. Given the centrality of mathematics to scientific explanation, it seems in some way to be a cause of the natural world and its order.
How can the mathematical realm be so apparently godlike? The traditional answer, originating in Neoplatonic philosophy and Augustinian theology, is that our knowledge of the mathematical realm is precisely knowledge, albeit inchoate, of the divine mind. Mathematical truths exhibit infinity, necessity, eternity, immutability, perfection, and immateriality because they are God’s thoughts, and they have such explanatory power in scientific theorizing because they are part of the blueprint implemented by God in creating the world. For some thinkers in this tradition, mathematics thus provides the starting point for an argument for the existence of God qua supreme intellect.,,,
https://www.firstthings.com/article/2020/04/keep-it-simple

Of supplemental note:

The Limits Of Reason – Gregory Chaitin – 2006
Excerpt: Unlike Gödel’s approach, mine is based on measuring information and showing that some mathematical facts cannot be compressed into a theory because they are too complicated. This new approach suggests that what Gödel discovered was just the tip of the iceberg: an infinite number of true mathematical theorems exist that cannot be proved from any finite system of axioms.
https://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/The_Limits_of_Reason_Chaitin_2006.pdf

Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas S. Robertson
Excerpt: Chaitin’s Algorithmic Information Theory shows that information is conserved under formal mathematical operations and, equivalently, under computer operations. This conservation law puts a new perspective on many familiar problems related to artificial intelligence. For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.,,,
The basic problem concerning the relation between AIT and free will can be stated succinctly: Since the theorems of mathematics cannot contain more information than is contained in the axioms used to derive those theorems, it follows that no formal operation in mathematics (and equivalently, no operation performed by a computer) can create new information.

Bruce Gordon: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
Excerpt: ,,,The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy.
This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,,
Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,,
Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

Verse and quote:

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

‘the Word’ in John 1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos is also the root word from which we derive our modern word logic

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

212. 212
JVL says:

Bornagan77: holds that the applicability of mathematics to the universe is not to be considered a ‘miracle’. i.e. it is the typical ‘nothing to see here’ response of atheists to anything that contradicts their worldview.

That’s not what I said at all!! And if you’re trying to guess something I hold to be true but didn’t express on this thread or are referring to something I said someplace else then you really need to reference that instead of just making off-topic comments.

You’re continual misrepresentation of what people have actually said (and can easily be checked by others) is either deliberate or inadvertent. Which means you are either a knave or a fool. Which is it?

AND you completely dodged the point I did make which was that mathematicians have utilised logic without the need to resort to theology since before Christ was born. Why don’t you discuss that instead of trying to change the subject?

213. 213
relatd says:

JVL at 207,

With all due respect, just because you know a few people, it does not mean they represent an entire group. Scientists who are nuns working on potential cancer treatments and that sort of thing. I suspect there are a few Christians among mathematicians as well.

Another failing of the internet in general is the assumption that “My group is just like everybody else.” No. It’s not. I see it on a World War II forum I contribute to. I’m tempted to laugh when some real/not real – it’s hard to know – expert says, “That’s common knowledge.” Common to who? You? You AND your buddies. I certainly didn’t know that and I’ve been posting here for over 17 years.

214. 214
bornagain77 says:

So JVL, now you’ve changed your mind and hold that it is a ‘miracle’ that the applicability of mathematics to the universe is a miracle? 🙂

Anyways, Darwinian atheists simply are at a complete loss to explain, number 1, why the, supposedly, purely material mind of man can comprehend the immaterial realm of mathematics in the first place, and number 2, why this ‘abstract’ immaterial realm of mathematics should even be applicable to the material universe.

Although atheist try to play this ‘miracle’ off (as JVL is currently trying to do), It certainly doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to see that this is devastating to Darwinian materialism.

David Berlinski: “Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time ….
Interviewer… Come again …
David Belinski: : No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.”
https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/di-fellow-david-berlinski-there-is-no-argument-against-religion-that-is-not-also-an-argument-against-mathematics/

Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
Excerpt: Mathematics is certainly something we do. Is mathematics “included in the space-time continuum [with] basic elements … described by physics”?,,, What is the physics behind the Pythagorean theorem? After all, no actual triangle is perfect, and thus no actual triangle in nature has sides such that the Pythagorean theorem holds. There is no real triangle in which the sum of the squares of the sides exactly equals the square of the hypotenuse. That holds true for all of geometry. Geometry is about concepts, not about anything in the natural world or about anything that can be described by physics. What is the “physics” of the fact that the area of a circle is pi multiplied by the square of the radius? And of course what is natural and physical about imaginary numbers, infinite series, irrational numbers, and the mathematics of more than three spatial dimensions? Mathematics is entirely about concepts, which have no precise instantiation in nature,,,
Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.
https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

Mathematics Can Prove the Existence of God – Michael Egnor – July 2022
Excerpt: The solution proposed by Augustine (and many other philosophers and theologians, most notably Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz) is called scholastic realism. Scholastic realism posits that God’s Mind is the Platonic realm of Forms. Augustine proposed that universals such as numbers, mathematics in general, propositions, logic, necessities and possibilities exist in the Divine Intellect, which is infinite and eternal.
What’s remarkable about the reality of universals as proof for God’s existence is that it points in a simple and clear way to some of God’s attributes, such as infinity, eternity, and omnipotence. To see how, consider again the set of natural numbers, which is infinite. Therefore:
– The Mind that contains them must itself be infinite.
– Because the Mind in which natural numbers exists is infinite, it is also omnipotent. Limitations on power are finite and are inconsistent with an infinite Mind.
— Because numbers exist independently of the material universe, they are eternal (e.g., the truth that 1+1=2 is independent of time) and thus the Mind that contains them is eternal.
I find the Augustinian Proof of God’s existence via the reality of universals in the Divine Mind a compelling proof. It is a highly satisfying and an even beautiful concept — our abstract thoughts have a real existence in the Mind of our Creator, and we, who are created in His image, participate in His thoughts.
https://mindmatters.ai/2022/07/mathematics-can-prove-the-existence-of-god/

Of note, although the atheist is at a complete loss to explain any of this, the Christian theist readily expects the universe to be rational and for the minds of men to have the capacity to grasp that rationality, i.e. (1) Intelligibility
First, the (Christian) founders of modern science assumed the intelligibility of nature. They believed that nature had been designed by the mind of a rational God, the same God who made the rational minds of human beings. These thinkers assumed that if they used their minds to carefully study nature, they could understand the order and design that God had placed in the world.,,,

New Book: For Kepler, Science Did Not Point to Atheism – Stephen C. Meyer – January 17, 2023
The Conflict Myth Unmade,,,
As historian Ian Barbour says, “science in its modern form” arose “in Western civilization alone, among all the cultures of the world,” because only the Christian West had the necessary “intellectual presuppositions underlying the rise of science.”2
So, what were those presuppositions? We can identify three. As Melissa Cain Travis shows, (in her book: “Thinking God’s Thoughts: Johannes Kepler and the Miracle of Cosmic Comprehensibility”), all have their place in Kepler’s seminal works. More generally, all find their origin in the Judeo-Christian idea of a Creator God who fashioned human beings and an orderly universe.
(1) Intelligibility
First, the (Christian) founders of modern science assumed the intelligibility of nature. They believed that nature had been designed by the mind of a rational God, the same God who made the rational minds of human beings. These thinkers assumed that if they used their minds to carefully study nature, they could understand the order and design that God had placed in the world.,,,
(2) The Contingency of Nature
Second, early pioneers of science presupposed the contingency of nature. They believed that God had many choices about how to make an orderly world. Just as there are many ways to design a watch, there were many ways that God could have designed the universe. To discover how He did, scientists could not merely deduce the order of nature by assuming what seemed most logical to them; they couldn’t simply use reason alone to draw conclusions, as some of the Greek philosophers had done.,,,
(3) The Fallibility of Human Reasoning
Third, early scientists accepted a biblical understanding of the power and limits of the human mind. Even as these scientists saw human reason as the gift of a rational God, they also recognized the fallibility of humans and, therefore, the fallibility of human ideas about nature.,,,
Such a nuanced view of human nature implied, on the one hand, that human beings could attain insight into the workings of the natural world, but that, on the other, they were vulnerable to self-deception, flights of fancy, and prematurely jumping to conclusions. This composite view of reason — one that affirmed both its capability and fallibility — inspired confidence that the design and order of nature could be understood if scientists carefully studied the natural world, but also engendered caution about trusting human intuition, conjectures, and hypotheses unless they were carefully tested by experiment and observation.11,,,
https://evolutionnews.org/2023/01/new-book-for-kepler-science-did-not-point-to-atheism/

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kairosfocus says:

216. 216
JVL says:

Relatd: With all due respect, just because you know a few people, it does not mean they represent an entire group. Scientists who are nuns working on potential cancer treatments and that sort of thing. I suspect there are a few Christians among mathematicians as well.

Right, okay, you tell me a mathematician you know who thinks that divine intercession makes their work possible.

Another failing of the internet in general is the assumption that “My group is just like everybody else.” No. It’s not. I see it on a World War II forum I contribute to. I’m tempted to laugh when some real/not real – it’s hard to know – expert says, “That’s common knowledge.” Common to who? You? You AND your buddies. I certainly didn’t know that and I’ve been posting here for over 17 years.

And yet, isn’t it just what the theological fans do here; post things that they think are obviously and clearly true because . . . . some reason which they, personally find compelling.

I get that you have read The Bible and that you, personally, find it compelling and meaningful and truthful and, maybe, all you need to guide you in your life. I get that. But others don’t feel that way. And we all have to learn how to get on with each other and come to some common, workable agreements about things like crime and punishment, same-sex marriage, women’s participation in sports, trans rights, etc. I’m happy to have a real debate about those things and I’m happy to try and find a compromise that, hopefully, we can all live with. What I do not understand is some peoples’ dogmatic and completely uncompromising views.

217. 217
JVL says:

Bornagain77: So JVL, now you’ve changed your mind and hold that it is a ‘miracle’ that the applicability of mathematics to the universe is a miracle? ?

Since you clearly are intentionally not even reading what I have written I think it’s time to just ignore you and your quote-mined diatribes, some of which (I have pointed out in the past) are out-dated (dead links) and contrary to what you think they are saying.

But, again, what I pointed out was that mathematicians had been following rational thought since way before Christ was even born. Some are atheists, some are theological, some are pagans. Math gets done despite anyone’s theological leanings. Because, guess what, you can reason and think without any kind of deistic stance. I know you don’t like that and that’s why you are not addressing it. But it is true. Your lack of mathematical knowledge limits your understanding of what I am saying. If you were honest you would admit that. But you’re not honest (knave) and you won’t admit that.

Goodbye.

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JVL says:

Kairosfocus: we got there by precisely that route way back when, an approach that appeals to physical scientists, the logic of an infinite period should be clear.

Tell me someone who interpreted things the same way you do? Show me one mathematician or physicist who believed your straw man idea.

And in context I am responding to someone who took something out to infinite time so putting a case alongside will help clarify, with all due respect I think the obvious hostility of your remarks may be impeding seeing the context.

I think you misinterpreted statements owing to your biases.

Where, take fourier series as the simplest start point, t-domain sinusoids definitely, mathematically extend without limit to past and future. That’s enough to bring out the point.

There is no ‘point’. Anyone who works with applications of mathematics to the real world already knows and understands the limits of the application. You created a straw man which no one actually supports.

Oh, and by the way, you did mix up Fourier transforms with Fourier analysis. Didn’t you? Why can’t you admit that?

Blatant, or straightforward explicit, glaring, outright contradictions, as I showed for how the Barber paradox leads to a dilemma of contradictions.

AND, guess what . . . mathematics came up with a solution, it came up with a modified version of set theory which is now accepted as canon and one of the bases of mathematics. So, what is your point?

I, for cause find your dismissive “condescending” a tad ironic when compared with your own tone.

Oh please! You always, always, go into some convoluted explanation of some aspect of mathematics which you really should know by now I do understand and which I myself would assume that others understand or could look up. You preach instead of discuss. All the time.

Where, given that you wished to mark paradox different from contradiction I showed the connexion, which does reasonably require or at least permit, a slight review to substantiate.

There are not the same thing. If you think they are then present your case with sound arguments and examples and references. I’ll wait.

Next, “theorems” are somewhat of a commonplace in theoretical physics and Carroll has indeed proposed such in discussions as is raised above, in a parallel thread and onward links.

No, no, no. Only mathematics has theorems. You are just making things up. Use terms as they are commonly used; don’t make stuff up.

That “everybody knows” serves to further show my point, thanks for the inadvertent supportive point; no, it is not a strawman when you are addressing a case in point.

You are clearly not a mathematician. Or a physicist. You have taken some classes in those fields, maybe even more that Calculus or a bit of modern physics. But you clearly have not, actually, worked in either of those fields. Lots of the people on this forum might be impressed by your math-y statements but that doesn’t make them right or even sensible. Especially when you start slinging your theology.

Show me a math textbook or theorem which references or requires a theological view. Show me a physics textbook or research paper which references or requires a theological view. Those are rhetorical questions, clearly, because you won’t be able to provide any examples which say anything about God or a designer. Those concepts are not necessary, not required, not important when ‘doing’ math or physics. Or chemistry. Or a lot of other hard sciences. The only people, for the most part, who think theology is required are non-scientific believers. People who are not actually scientists, who don’t do research, who don’t publish, who aren’t qualified to teach in an accredited institution. In fact, mostly, the only people who insist on theology being part of science are some anonymous commenters on blogs like this. People who won’t even admit to who they are.

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bornagain77 says:

JVL at 217,

Angry little atheist aren’t we Mr JVL? ,,, 🙂

You keep claiming that “mathematicians had been following rational thought since way before Christ was even born” as if that somehow explains why we are capable of rational thought.

FYI JVL, pointing to the thing that needs explaining, does not explain its origin. Not even close.

Darwinism is a simply a non-starter as to explaining the origin of rational thought. In fact, In 2014 an impressive who’s who list of leading ‘Darwinian’ experts authored a paper in which they stated that they have “essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,”

Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
(Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

Those are YOUR people JVL. They are the ones saying you have no explanation for the origin of
“linguistic computations and representations”, i.e. for rational thought. Perhaps you should go vent a little of your irrational anger towards them instead of venting it towards people here on UD?

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relatd says:

JVL at 216,

“…things like crime and punishment, same-sex marriage, women’s participation in sports, trans rights, etc. I’m happy to have a real debate about those things and I’m happy to try and find a compromise that, hopefully, we can all live with. What I do not understand is some peoples’ dogmatic and completely uncompromising views.”

Well, unless you personally know the reasoning of these ‘uncompromising’ people then no discussion is possible.

So-called “rights” are often not that at all. They are permissions.

“Trans Rights.” A boy tells mom and dad he feels like a girl and he heard he can transition. Some teachers at schools are willing to stand between mom and dad when they say no, and accommodate the transition in secret. They have no legal standing to do this.

Sports. I worked in hospital for 9 years. Men and women have different skeletal structures. In women, at the hips, a pelvic tilt, and other in-born structural details. A ‘trans woman’ is a man. End of story.

221. 221
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@206

I take it that by “a social practice” you mean scientific experiment.

No, scientific practices (which include experiments but aren’t limited to them) are a type of social practice. But I was thinking about a whole vast array of reason-giving social practices, which can include the everyday (“why are you going back home?” “because I forgot to take out the garbage”), legal rulings, logical inference, mathematical reasoning, etc.

If naturalism is true, we have good reason to distrust all beliefs—including the belief in naturalism. We are entrapped in a circle of self-defeat from which there is no escape.
Why did this happen? Naturalism does not provide enough space for a free rational person.

Well, this is more a question for Slagle than for you (or anyone else here) but I still just do not understand the claim that “Naturalism does not provide enough space for a free rational person”. My gut-response is “of course it does, what are you talking about??”

I’m still baffled at this claim that naturalism gives us a reason to distrust all beliefs. That just seems so bonkers to me, I’m unsure as how one could even begin to argue for it.

To be sure, I am aware that Plantinga has some arguments for this claim, but I consider the EAAN to have been fully refuted by arguments made by Churchland and Millikan. So I hope that Slagle’s argument does not rest upon the EAAN!

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Viola Lee says:

o Origenes at 202:

When I wrote, “Well, if naturalism is true, there are no ultimate goals or purposes, period. I think naturalists are OK with proximate goals and purposes that arise from our existence as organisms.”, Origenes replied,

Naturalists are not OK with that, because (according to Slagle) that would mean that no one can hold naturalism to be a true belief.

As PM wrote at 182, “We can call that an external criticism: criticizing naturalism by standards that the naturalist need not accept.”

A non-ultimatist (to coin a phrase: either a naturalist or a non-naturalist such as myself who doesn’t believe that these ultimate goals, purposes, and truths exist) would say that all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another. We are not claiming that it is True (in the ultimate sense) that there are no ultimate goals etc., but instead that we think it much more likely true than not, and so we adopt that as a chosen philosophical position, taking into account all the evidence that we have available to us.

It is wrong to consider it a relevant criticism of a non-ultimatist that their belief in non-ultimaticity is not ultimate. You may consider us wrong (which you do), but you can’t criticize our beliefs solely on the fact that they contradict your ideas of how things are. This does not make non-ultimaticism internally or self-referentially contradictory, it just makes it in opposition to a different perspective that thinks these ultimates exist.

223. 223
bornagain77 says:

,,, “all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another” save, of course, for the belief that “all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another”.

224. 224
Origenes says:

VL @

Ori: Naturalists are not OK with that, because (according to Slagle) that would mean that no one can hold naturalism to be a true belief.

As PM wrote at 182, “We can call that an external criticism: criticizing naturalism by standards that the naturalist need not accept.”

What is PM1 trying to convey with the term ‘external criticism’? Is being ‘external’ perhaps a convenient reason to discard certain criticism? If not, PM1 is, of course, free to argue that naturalism allows for teleological processes that have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth, or that truth does not matter, or whatever he wants. As an aside, your claim that “if naturalism is true, there are no ultimate goals or purposes, period”, is not supportive of such an effort.

A non-ultimatist (to coin a phrase: either a naturalist or a non-naturalist such as myself who doesn’t believe that these ultimate goals, purposes, and truths exist) would say that all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another. We are not claiming that it is True (in the ultimate sense) that there are no ultimate goals etc., but instead that we think it much more likely true than not, and so we adopt that as a chosen philosophical position, taking into account all the evidence that we have available to us.
It is wrong to consider it a relevant criticism of a non-ultimatist that their belief in non-ultimaticity is not ultimate.

Are you absolutely sure that it is wrong for me to do so? Or do you hold that as a tentative belief?
I would say that a claim like “truth does not exist” is self-defeating. The same with “all our beliefs are tentative.” BTW do you hold the belief that 2 + 2 = 4 ‘tentatively’? And do you hold ‘tentatively’ the belief that you exist? Is that a computer screen in front of you?
But you tell me that you don’t claim that non-ultimatism is True, but, instead “likely true”, and that I should not criticize it. Ok.

You may consider us wrong (which you do), but you can’t criticize our beliefs solely on the fact that they contradict your ideas of how things are.

Is that what I’m doing? I flatter myself believing that I criticize ideas if I spot internal incoherence.

This does not make non-ultimaticism internally or self-referentially contradictory, …

No? Are you sure? Or do you hold that as a tentative belief?

… it just makes it in opposition to a different perspective that thinks these ultimates exist.

That too.

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Viola Lee says:

No, BA. That’s a stupid and/or intellectually dishonest rejoinder, one and obviously, if you paid any attention to what I was saying, you would know that is not something I am saying or claiming. My belief that “all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another” is a tentative belief: just as with all my beliefs, to some degree or another, one I think is much more likely to be true than not, taking into account all the evidence that we have available to us, and thus a belief that I choose to hold.

226. 226
relatd says:

Ba77 at 223,

They act as if they don’t see the problem.

,,, “all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another” save, of course, for the belief that “all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another”.

I watched a “comedian” tell his audience to question everything. OK, let’s start with you and what you just said.

227. 227
Origenes says:

Viola Lee
What does the fact that some beliefs are more likely true than others tell you? Can you really doubt each and every belief you have?
Can you doubt that you exist? Can you doubt 2 + 2 = 4? Can you doubt that you sometimes have doubts? Can you doubt that error exists?
Is it really possible for you to hold that all beliefs “are tentative to some degree”?

228. 228
bornagain77 says:

“My belief that “all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another” is a tentative belief: just as with all my beliefs, to some degree or another,”

So, in other words, your feet are planted firmly in midair? 🙂

Unbeknownst to you, you are yet another victim of Darwin’s corrosive effect on education

How Darwinism Dumbs Us Down – Nancy Pearcey
Excerpt: The gist of my talk was that Darwinism undercuts the very possibility of rational truth–an argument that seemed unsettling to atheist students who had organized a group specifically to promote rational thought!
To understand how Darwinism undercuts the very concept of rationality, we can think back to the late nineteenth century when the theory first arrived on American shores. Almost immediately, it was welcomed by a group of thinkers who began to work out its implications far beyond science. They realized that Darwinism implies a broader philosophy of naturalism (i.e., that nature is all that exists, and that natural causes are adequate to explain all phenomena). Thus they began applying a naturalistic worldview across the board–in philosophy, psychology, the law, education, and the arts.
At the foundation of these efforts, however, was a naturalistic approach to knowledge itself (epistemology). The logic went like this: If humans are products of Darwinian natural selection, that obviously includes the human brain–which in turn means all our beliefs and values are products of evolutionary forces: Ideas arise in the human brain by chance, just like Darwin’s chance variations in nature; and the ones that stick around to become firm beliefs and convictions are those that give an advantage in the struggle for survival. This view of knowledge came to be called pragmatism (truth is what works) or instrumentalism (ideas are merely tools for survival).
Darwinian Logic
One of the leading pragmatists was John Dewey, who had a greater influence on educational theory in America than anyone else in the 20th century. Dewey rejected the idea that there is a transcendent element in human nature, typically defined in terms of mind or soul or spirit, capable of knowing a transcendent truth or moral order. Instead he treated humans as mere organisms adapting to challenges in the environment. In his educational theory, learning is just another form of adaptation–a kind of mental natural selection. Ideas evolve as tools for survival, no different from the evolution of the lion’s teeth or the eagle’s claws.
In a famous essay called “The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy,” Dewey said Darwinism leads to a “new logic to apply to mind and morals and life.” In this new evolutionary logic, ideas are not judged by a transcendent standard of Truth, but by how they work in getting us what we want. Ideas do not “reflect reality” but only serve human interests.
To emphasize how revolutionary this was, up until this time the dominant theory of knowledge or epistemology was based on the biblical doctrine of the image of God. Confidence in the reliability of human knowledge derived from the conviction that finite human reason reflects (to some degree at least) an infinite divine Reason. Since the same God who created the universe also created our minds, we can be confident that our mental capacities reflect the structure of the universe. In The Mind of God and the Works of Man, Edward Craig shows that even as Western thinkers began to move away from orthodox Christian theology, in their philosophy most of them still retained the conception that our minds reflect an Absolute Mind as the basis for trust in human cognition.
The pragmatists were among the first, however, to face squarely the implications of naturalistic evolution. If evolutionary forces produced the mind, they said, then all are beliefs and convictions are nothing but mental survival strategies, to be judged in terms of their practical success in human conduct. William James liked to say that truth is the “cash value” of an idea: If it pays off, then we call it true.
Pragmatism Today
This Darwinian logic continues to shape American thought more than we might imagine. ,,,,
If James’s religious pragmatism has become virtually the American approach to spirituality today, then Dewey’s pragmatism has become the preferred approach to education. Virtually across the curriculum–from math class to moral education–teachers are trained to be nondirective “facilitators,” presenting students with problems and allowing them to work out their own pragmatic strategies for solving them. Of course, good teachers have always taught students to think for themselves. But today’s nondirective methodologies go far beyond that. They springboard from a Darwinian epistemology that denies the very existence of any objective or transcendent truth.
Take, for example, “constructivism,” a popular trend in education today. Few realize that it is based on the idea that truth is nothing more than a social construction for solving problems. A leading theorist of constructivism, Ernst von Glasersfeld at the University of Georgia, is forthright about its Darwinian roots. “The function of cognition is adaptive in the biological sense,” he writes. “This means that ‘to know’ is not to possess ‘true representations’ of reality, but rather to possess ways and means of acting and thinking that allow one to attain the goals one happens to have chosen.” In short, a Darwinian epistemology implies that ideas are merely tools for meeting human goals.
Postmodern Campuses
These results of pragmatism are quite postmodern, so it comes as no surprise to learn that the prominent postmodernist Richard Rorty calls himself a neo-pragmatism….
I once presented this progression from Darwinism to postmodern pragmatism at a Christian college, when a man in the audience raised his hand: “I have only one question. These guys who think all our ideas and beliefs evolved . . . do they think their own ideas evolved?” The audience broke into delighted applause, because of course he had captured the key fallacy of the Darwinian approach to knowledge. If all ideas are products of evolution, and thus not really true but only useful for survival, then evolution itself is not true either–and why should the rest of us pay any attention to it?
Indeed, the theory undercuts itself. For if evolution is true, then it is not true, but only useful. This kind of internal contradiction is fatal, for a theory that asserts something and denies it at the same time is simply nonsense. In short, naturalistic evolution is self-refuting.
https://www.namb.net/apologetics/resource/how-darwinism-dumbs-us-down/

Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Francis J. Beckwith and Gregory Koukl https://www.amazon.com/Relativism-Feet-Firmly-Planted-Mid-Air/dp/0801058066

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relatd says:

Ba77,

I went to Catholic high school. The nuns told us that if we thought this was hard, just wait till you get to college. I got to college, learned I could set my own schedule and also learned that college had a lot of hedonism in the background thanks to the sexual revolution.

You may find the following to be of interest:

https://cardinalnewmansociety.org/land-o-lakes-statement-caused-devastation-50-years/

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Origenes says:

BA77 @288
That is a great quote and absolutely infuriating. Unlike most of you, I am not trained in mercifulness, so I will tell you like it is. What Pearcey succinctly describes is the rise of the numskulls. And in the meantime, they have turned society as a whole, the education system included, into an insane asylum run by patients.

231. 231
Viola Lee says:

As usual, I get the feeling that you folks are not really trying to understand another’s point of view, but here is a short reply:

1. I am certain about certain things that are logically true. I am certain that a bachelor is an unmarried man because that is the definition of bachelor. I am certain about the facts of math because those are part of a logical system where the definitions and rules for manipulation are clearly defined.

2. I have no reasonable doubts that there is a tree in my front yard. I trust my senses in regards to everyday perception. I could be wrong (brain in a vat) but I see no reason to even consider that, and there are many ways that I can test my belief, so that falls in the category of “virtually certain with no reason to spend any time of energy doubting, even though in theory I could be wrong.” I am virtually certain the earth is approximately spherical, although (like those people who doubt we went to the moon or people who think the earth is flat) I could be wrong, I suppose, but the chanvces are way to small to think about. I’m fairly certain the earth’s core is molten lead, but that is not from direct observation by anyone, so it has a slightly greater chance of being wrong, buyt in my opinion not much.

And so on about all sorts of empirical facts. Given that the topic of the discussion is about metaphysical matters such as ultimate purposes and goals I shouldn’t even have to go over all this.

Origenes, you write, “But you tell me that you don’t claim that non-ultimatism is True, but, instead “likely true”, and that I should not criticize it. Ok.”

This is why these discussions are so frustrating and unfruitful. I didn’t say you couldn’t criticize my positions. I said something much more specific. I said, “You may consider us wrong (which you do), but you can’t criticize our beliefs solely on the fact that they contradict your ideas of how things are…. This does not make non-ultimaticism internally or self-referentially contradictory, …”, to which you replied “I flatter myself believing that I criticize ideas if I spot internal incoherence.”

Well, I’ve explained the mistake I think you’re making, but I’m not going to spend just saying stuff again.

And last, you write, “No? Are you sure? Or do you hold that as a tentative belief?”

I’ve said over and over that I present my beliefs according to what I think that is best supported by evidence and logic. I could be wrong, and people might change my minds. As far as I can tell, the universe has no ultimate purpose. I’m not certain of that, but it is the belief I’ve chosen as the most reasonable to be a part of my philosophy. At some point, people have to make the choices that seem best to fit the situation, and that’s mine. That doesn’t mean I can’t search, and find, lots of things that are solidly true about the world, and others that are less certain, and so on.

Arrggghhh. This is useless, and I can’t figure out why I keep commenting. I will really try hard to go away now.

232. 232
bornagain77 says:

“My belief that “all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another” is a tentative belief: just as with all my beliefs, to some degree or another,”

and yet,,

“I am certain about certain things that are logically true. ”

And you do not see this as a contradiction in your thinking?

233. 233
bornagain77 says:

Origenes, you may also appreciate this,

The Self Evident — A Reminder – John C. Wright – 2019
From time to time it is useful for sane men in an insane world to remind themselves of basic truths.
The first truth is that truth is true. A statement that there is no truth, if true, is false.
We know this truth is basic because without it, no question can be answered, not even the question of whether or not truth is true.
Truth is a subtle and complex topic, but what we mean by the word can be said in a short sentence using words of one syllable: Truth is when one says ‘it is’, and it is as one says.
The second conclusion springs immediately from the first. We know that truth is true because to say truth is untrue is illogical. A statement that truth is true is a self-evident statement, hence a true one. A statement that truth is untrue is a self-contradiction, hence false.
http://www.scifiwright.com/201.....f-evident/

Twenty Arguments For The Existence Of God – Peter Kreeft
11. The Argument from Truth
This argument is closely related to the argument from consciousness. It comes mainly from Augustine.
1. Our limited minds can discover eternal truths about being.
2. Truth properly resides in a mind.
3. But the human mind is not eternal.
4. Therefore there must exist an eternal mind in which these truths reside.
https://peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm#11

Verses:

John 18:37-38
“Then You are a king!” Pilate said. “You say that I am a king,” Jesus answered. “For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.” “What is truth?” Pilate asked.,,,

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

234. 234
Origenes says:

VL@

I am certain about certain things that are logically true. I am certain that a bachelor is an unmarried man because that is the definition of bachelor. I am certain about the facts of math because those are part of a logical system where the definitions and rules for manipulation are clearly defined.
(…) And so on about all sorts of empirical facts.
As far as I can tell, the universe has no ultimate purpose. I’m not certain of that, but it is the belief I’ve chosen as the most reasonable to be a part of my philosophy.

Now I understand you better. You have, like most of us, several certain basic beliefs. Your non-ultimatism applies mainly to metaphysical beliefs. And here you hold tentatively the belief that the universe (life?) has no ultimate purpose.
May I ask why you believe that there is likely no ultimate purpose?

235. 235
Viola Lee says:

I see no evidence.

236. 236
Ford Prefect says:

Bornagain77 writes:

pm
“My belief that “all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another” is a tentative belief: just as with all my beliefs, to some degree or another,”

and yet,,

“I am certain about certain things that are logically true. ”

And you do not see this as a contradiction in your thinking?

There is no contradiction here.

237. 237
Origenes says:

BA77 @
Thx! The following quote made me laugh uncontrollably. Not sure why 🙂

A statement that there is no truth, if true, is false.

238. 238
Origenes says:

VL @

As far as I can tell, the universe has no ultimate purpose.

Ori: May I ask why you believe that there is likely no ultimate purpose?

I see no evidence.

If it turns out that the universe is fine-tuned for life, would that count as evidence for an ultimate purpose? If not, what would count as evidence?

239. 239
Viola Lee says:

No. The universe is fine-tuned for more than life. It’s fine-tuned for the existence of physics and chemistry and the resulting universe full of stars and galaxies and all the rest that is out there. That doesn’t mean there is a purpose for it, other than to just be what it is.

I have no idea what would count to me as evidence for ultimate purpose. I can’t imagine having access to whatever might be the source of a purpose for the universe even if there is one.

240. 240
Origenes says:

VL@
I take it that you also tentatively believe that there is no ultimate purpose for human beings. Would a near-death experience count as evidence for you? If it is all untrue, then a lot of cardiac patients are liars …
From WikI:

Pim van Lommel (cardiologist) was one of the first researchers to bring the study of NDEs into the area of Hospital Medicine. In 1988 he launched a prospective study that spanned 10 Dutch hospitals. 344 survivors of cardiac arrest were included in the study.[7][34][79] 62 patients (18%) reported NDE. 41 of these patients (12%) described a core experience. The aim of the study was to investigate the cause of the experience, and assess variables connected to frequency, depth, and content.[7] Prospective studies were also taking place in the U.S. Schwaninger and colleagues[80] collaborated with Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where they studied cardiac arrest patients over a three-year period (April 1991 – February 1994). Only a minority of the patients survived, and from this group 30 patients were interviewable. Of these 30 patients 23% reported an NDE, while 13% reported an NDE during “a prior life-threatening illness”.

In a prospective study from 2001, conducted at Southampton General Hospital, Parnia and colleagues found that 11.1% of 63 cardiac-arrest survivors reported memories of their unconscious period. Several of these memories included NDE-features.[5]Note c Greyson[35] conducted a 30-month survey of patients admitted to the cardiac inpatient service of the University of Virginia Hospital. He found that NDEs were reported by 10% of patients with cardiac arrest and 1% of other cardiac patients. Up to 2005, 95% of world cultures have been documented making some mention of NDEs.[37] In all close to 3500 individual cases between 1975 and 2005 had been reviewed in one or another study. And all these studies were carried out by some 55 researchers or teams of researchers.[37]

241. 241
Viola Lee says:

What does that have to do with ultimate purpose?

242. 242
vividbleau says:

“It is wrong to consider it a relevant criticism of a non-ultimatist that their belief in non-ultimaticity is not ultimate.”

Huh?

“No. The universe is fine-tuned for more than life. It’s fine-tuned for the existence of physics and chemistry and the resulting universe full of stars and galaxies and all the rest that is out there. “

Of course it’s fine tuned for the existence of physics, chemistry, stars and galaxies otherwise we would not have life.

“Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.

Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it? Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident? At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?

There’s more. The fine-tuning necessary for life to exist on a planet is nothing compared with the fine-tuning required for the universe to exist at all. For example, astrophysicists now know that the values of the four fundamental forces—gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the “strong” and “weak” nuclear forces—were determined less than one millionth of a second after the big bang. Alter any one value and the universe could not exist. For instance, if the ratio between the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force had been off by the tiniest fraction of the tiniest fraction—by even one part in 100,000,000,000,000,000—then no stars could have ever formed at all. Feel free to gulp.

Multiply that single parameter by all the other necessary conditions, and the odds against the universe existing are so heart-stoppingly astronomical that the notion that it all “just happened” defies common sense. It would be like tossing a coin and having it come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row. Really?” Eric Metaxas

Vivid

243. 243
vividbleau says:

The moon

“First of all, about 4.5 billion years ago the planet that eventually became Earth was very different from what it is now. To be accurate, it wasn’t yet Earth. Most of us haven’t heard about this because it was only recently understood. But the planet that became Earth was actually smaller than Earth. So it was a kind of proto-Earth that scientists usually refer to as Theia. But one day a few million years after the formation of this proto-Earth, something happened: A Mars-sized object just happened to hit Theia at just the perfect angle and at just the perfect speed. The object that collided with the proto-Earth also had precisely the right composition. This all happened very shortly after the formation of our solar system, and shortly after the formation of the proto-Earth as part of the solar system. But we know that if it had not happened—and happened precisely as it happened in every detail—we would not be here. It is another inescapably amazing “coincidence” to consider.
So what happened? As we have said it was the mysteriously perfect collision of two planet-sized spheres hurtling through infinity for millions of years “became Earth had been different in size or composition, we would not be here.
This is not science fiction. It is what science has rather recently come to understand. It seems miraculous, no matter what one’s view of the situation is. But science is not in the business of proclaiming anything miraculous, even if something seems miraculous. Science is simply in the business of finding out what happened. But science now knows enough to say that if any details of what happened had been even slightly different, we could not be here now. So what did happen? Many things.
First, as a result of this inconceivably powerful collision, the super thick atmosphere of the proto-Earth—Theia—exploded off into outer space, never to return. So the new planet—what we today call home—suddenly had a much, much thinner atmosphere. We know that the atmosphere on the proto-Earth was forty to a hundred times denser than the atmosphere afterward, and breathing it would have been like trying to breathe sand. So because of this extremely perfect collision, our planet instantly had a new atmosphere, one thin enough for sunlight to penetrate so that plants could grow, and[…]” “lourish on the newly formed Earth. To be clear, the size of our moon is outrageously large when compared to other moons in our solar system. But anything at all smaller would not have been sufficient to stabilize the wobble of our axis, as it has done ever since and is doing now. But science tells us that the moon’s stabilization of our axis is another unavoidable prerequisite for an environment where life could exist. For example, it enables us to have just the right seasonal variation, with seasons mild enough that the temperature does not fluctuate wildly, which would make life impossible. So this perfect collision just happened to happen, and the size of Earth and the size of the moon and the atmosphere and the axis of Earth were all magically and perfectly and suddenly established, so that we could eventually live here as we now do.
But because it is only recently that science has settled on all of this, most of us simply haven’t heard about it. Now that we do know it, however, we can add this breathtakingly perfect collision to the list of what appear to be outrageous coincidences”

Excerpt From
Eric Metaxas
This material may be protected by copyright.

https://jesusquestion.com/miracle-moon-eric-metaxas-book-miracles/

Vivid

244. 244
kairosfocus says:

245. 245
bornagain77 says:

VL stated,

“My belief that “all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another” is a tentative belief: just as with all my beliefs, to some degree or another,”

And then later VL stated

“I am certain about certain things that are logically true. ”

“And you do not see this as a contradiction in your thinking?”

FP throws his two cents in and states,

“There is no contradiction here.”

Sorry FP, but you and VL can’t have it both ways. You can’t hold a belief to be ‘certain’ and to also be ‘tentative’. For crying out loud, the definition of tentative is “NOT certain’.

cer·tain
known for sure; established beyond doubt.

ten·ta·tive
not certain or fixed; provisional.

In other words, despite FP’s denial to the contrary, VL’s claims are a direct contradiction in logic.

246. 246
kairosfocus says:

PM1, of course, as I noted earlier to you, social practices are too often driven by power not warrant and are inadequate. As for the challenges of evolutionary materialistic scientism, a first expansion of the relevant sense of naturalism, there are already enough examples on the table to establish that there are serious difficulties for grounding enough of responsible, rational freedom for minds and the arguments and conclusions of minds to be credible. In particular, Slager has outlined enough to give pause, such that there are sufficient cat out of bag remarks by spokesmen to give pause. In particular, we have reason to know that a computational substrate is a signal processing entity constrained by GIGO, with no higher credibility than the quality of its programming; such do not have rational, responsible freedom. Where, as we are on topics with a lot of self referentiality, it is clear that some pretty self undermining remarks have been put on the table, as cited. Those need to be answered and the relativism of largely power driven social and institutional processes undermines such an appeal. Scientism’s implication that science dominates or monopolises knowledge, in particular, is both self referentially incoherent [this is an epistemological claim] and fails to reckon adequately with power issues in relevant institutions. KF

247. 247
kairosfocus says:

BA77, you are right. On topics like this, self referentiality is almost impossible to avoid, which is part of why core hard questions are hard. What we need to do, is to try to avoid incoherence by making assertions that when referred to ourselves, undercut the point we were trying to make. I think a safe position is, error exists is undeniably true and self evident. This first establishes that some things are knowable as certainly true, instantly discrediting all sorts of relativistic notions. However, the truth is also humbling and we need first principles of reasoning to guard and guide us, being open to change our views on adequate evidence. KF

248. 248
bornagain77 says:

Well KF, for me, VL’s direct contradiction in logic is simply a small microcosm of the catastrophic epistemological failure that permeates the materialistic metaphysics of Darwinian evolution at large. (a materialistic metaphysics which dominates our colleges and public schools today)

In short, if God is not held to be real and true, (i.e. ‘certain’), then nothing else can be held to real and true, (i.e. certain’) for the Darwinian materialist.

First off, if God does not really exist as a real person, but is merely an illusion as Darwinian materialists hold, then we ourselves do not really exist as real persons, but our sense of self is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ that is somehow, inexplicably, generated by, and/or emergent from, the unconscious material particles of the brain.

Sam Harris: “The self is an illusion.”
– Michael Egnor Demolishes the Myth of Materialism (Science Uprising EP1)
https://youtu.be/Fv3c7DWuqpM?t=267

The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness – Steven Pinker – Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
Part II The Illusion Of Control
Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.

At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
“consciousness is an illusion”
A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.

The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
https://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/the-confidence-of-jerry-coyne/?mcubz=3

“There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.,,,
– A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

The claim that consciousness, i.e. our sense of self, is a ‘neuronal illusion’, since it denies the objective reality of ‘self’, is, in a word, insane. As brain surgeon, and professor of brain surgery, Michael Egnor pointed out, “Materialist theories of the mind border on the insane. If a man walks into a doctor’s office and says “I never have direct access to my thoughts and I have no first person point of view,” the man will be referred to a psychiatrist and may be involuntarily hospitalized until it is established that he is not a danger to himself or others. If the same guy walks into the philosophy department at Duke University, he gets tenure.”

Atheist Philosopher Thinks “We Never Have Direct Access To Our Thoughts”
Michael Egnor – July 20, 2016
Excerpt: Materialist theories of the mind border on the insane. If a man walks into a doctor’s office and says “I never have direct access to my thoughts and I have no first person point of view,” the man will be referred to a psychiatrist and may be involuntarily hospitalized until it is established that he is not a danger to himself or others.
If the same guy walks into the philosophy department at Duke University, he gets tenure.
https://evolutionnews.org/2016/07/atheist_philoso/

Moreover, the claim that consciousness, i.e. our sense of self, is a ‘neuronal illusion’, since it denies the objective reality of ‘self’, is also self refuting in the most fundamental way possible. This is because it claims that the one thing by which we judge everything else to either be real of illusory, i.e. consciousness, is itself an illusion.

As David Bentley Hart states in the following article, “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”

The Illusionist – Daniel Dennett’s latest book marks five decades of majestic failure to explain consciousness. – 2017
Excerpt: “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”
– David Bentley Hart
https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-illusionist

249. 249
bornagain77 says:

Moreover, the Darwinian materialist, besides being forced to claim that he himself is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’, is also forced to claim that he, as a neuronal illusion, is simultaneously having the illusion of free will.

The Illusion of Free Will – Sam Harris – 2012
Excerpt: “Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.,,,”
– Jerry Coyne
https://samharris.org/the-illusion-of-free-will/

Free Will is a Necessary Fiction (They Claim)
Covers writers who suppose that free will is a necessary fiction: that although we don’t have such free will, we should still encourage a belief in it.
Saul Smilansky,,,
John Horgan,,,
Matt Ridley, Genome,,,
Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works,,,
https://www.naturalism.org/philosophy/free-will/writers-on-the-self-and-free-will/free-will-is-a-necessary-fiction

Free Will: Weighing Truth and Experience – Do our beliefs matter? – Mar 22, 2012
Excerpt: If we acknowledge just how much we don’t know about the conscious mind, perhaps we would be a bit more humble. We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/social-brain-social-mind/201203/free-will-weighing-truth-and-experience
Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

As is made abundantly clear by the fact that Darwinists are forced to hold that they are ‘neuronal illusions’ who are simultaneously having the illusion of free will, rationality itself is completely lost in their denial of free will.

Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html
Of note: Martin Cothran is author of several textbooks on traditional logic
https://www.amazon.com/Martin-Cothran/e/B00J249LUA/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

In short, if we do not have free will in some real and meaningful since, then rationality itself collapses, (and since science itself depends on rationality, then science itself also collapses along with it)

(1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
(2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain (determinism).
(3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
(4) no effect can control its cause.
Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
– per Box UD

And as VL herself is giving evidence to in this very thread, the Darwinian materialist is also forced to believe that all his beliefs about reality are unreliable, untrustworthy, and/or are illusory. Or as VL put it, she holds all her beliefs to be ‘tentative’.

“Since we are creatures of natural selection, we cannot totally trust our senses. Evolution only passes on traits that help a species survive, and not concerned with preserving traits that tell a species what is actually true about life.”
– Richard Dawkins – quoted from “The God Delusion”

Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself – Nancy Pearcey – March 8, 2015
Excerpt: Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.
To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.
So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.,,,
Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality.
The reason so few atheists and materialists seem to recognize the problem is that, like Darwin, they apply their skepticism selectively. They apply it to undercut only ideas they reject, especially ideas about God. They make a tacit exception for their own worldview commitments.
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....94171.html

250. 250
bornagain77 says:

The Darwinian materialist is also forced to believe that all his perceptions of reality are also illusory, and/or ‘constructed representations’,

“the illusion that our brains evolved to have, a very compelling and persistent illusion – namely that the reality we perceive is real, rather than a constructed representation.”
– Steven Novella – academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine
https://mindmatters.ai/2019/07/tales-of-the-mind-a-neurologist-encounters-the-house-of-mirrors/

The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality – April 2016
The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.
Excerpt: “The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.”
https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160421-the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality/

The Darwinian materialist, since he has no real time experimental evidence substantiating any of his grandiose claims for Darwinian evolution, is also forced to make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection,

Sociobiology: The Art of Story Telling – Stephen Jay Gould – 1978 – New Scientist
Excerpt: Rudyard Kipling asked how the leopard got its spots, the rhino its wrinkled skin. He called his answers “Just So stories”. When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.
Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.

The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4573302/

And the Darwinian materialist is forced to make up these illusory “just so stories” so as to ‘explain away’ the overwhelming ‘appearance’ of design, (which is to say he is forced to make up these ‘just-so stories’ so as to explain away the overwhelming ‘illusion’ of design), that he himself is seeing in life

“Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning.”
– Richard Dawkins – “The Blind Watchmaker” – 1986 – page 21

“Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved. It might be thought, therefore, that evolutionary arguments would play a large part in guiding biological research, but this is far from the case.”
– Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit (1988)

,,, “living organisms “appear to have been carefully and artfully designed”
Richard C. Lewontin – Adaptation,” Scientific American, and Scientific American book ‘Evolution’ (September 1978)

The Darwinian materialist also must make up illusory meaning and purposes for his life since the hopelessness inherent in atheistic nihilism is simply too much for anyone to bear,

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”
– Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning – 1946 – Austrian psychiatrist, Auschwitz survivor

How I’m Planning to Celebrate Darwin Day – Tom Gilson – February 11, 2020
Excerpt: Making Humanity Meaningless
If that looks meaningless at first glance, it remains so under full-length analysis. To be human (under naturalistic or undirected evolution) is to have meaningless origins, and those meaningless origins mean we live in a meaningless world.
Many staunch Darwinists will grant there’s no meaning behind human existence, but still insist, “I create meaning for myself.” But that hardly makes sense. More likely, it’s meaninglessness creating the illusion of meaning.,,,
https://stream.org/how-planning-celebrate-darwin-day/

Study: Atheists Find Meaning In Life By Inventing Fairy Tales – Richard Weikart
March 29, 2018
Excerpt: when religious people say non-religious people have no basis for finding meaning in life, and when non-religious people object, saying they do indeed find meaning in life, they are not talking about the same thing. If one can find meaning in life by creating one’s own meaning, then one is only “finding” the product of one’s own imagination. One has complete freedom to invent whatever meaning one wants.
This makes “meaning” on par with myths and fairy tales. It may make the non-religious person feel good, but it has no objective existence.
http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....iry-tales/

The Darwinian materialist is also forced to hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God Who is the source for all real and objective moral standards and truths,

“In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
– Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

“Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either. What an unintelligible idea.”
– William Provine – as stated in a 1994 debate with Phil Johnson at Stanford University:

Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
The Moral Argument – drcraigvideos – video – 4:36 mark
https://youtu.be/OxiAikEk2vU?t=276

The Darwinian materialist is also forced to hold, since beauty itself cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, that beauty itself must be illusory. In fact, no less than Charles Darwin himself stated that “beauty in the eyes of man”,, “would be absolutely fatal to my theory.”

“The foregoing remarks lead me to say a few words on the protest lately made by some naturalists, against the utilitarian doctrine that every detail of structure has been produced for the good of its possessor. They believe that very many structures have been created for beauty in the eyes of man, or for mere variety. This doctrine, if true, would be absolutely fatal to my theory.”
(Charles Darwin – 1859, p. 199)

Thus in conclusion, although the Darwinist may firmly believe that he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for naturalistic and/or materialistic explanations, (i.e. methodological naturalism), over and above God as a viable explanation), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic and/or naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinian materialists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

It would be hard to fathom a worldview that turns out to be more antagonistic towards modern science, indeed which is more antagonistic towards reality itself, than the presumption of Darwinian materialism, (i.e. methodological naturalism), has turned out to be.

2 Corinthians 10:5
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Bottom line, without God nothing turns out to be truly real in the atheist’s worldview. Not even the atheist himself turns out to be real in his materialistic worldview. Much less are beauty, meaning, and purposes for his life to be considered real in his naturalistic worldview.

To call such a worldview ‘impoverished’ is an understatement. It is a vile, putrid, and rotting philosophy which can’t even support rational thought in the first place, and which robs man of anything, and everything, that might give any semblance of real meaning and purpose to his life.

Thanks be to God that it is an utterly false worldview.

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

251. 251
jerry says:

That doesn’t mean there is a purpose for it, other than to just be what it is

one of the more stupid statements ever on UD.

Something created the universe. That something must have immense intelligence and power. To then say it was done so incredibly precisely for no purpose is unbelievably illogical.

As always the lack of argument against ID is always the most interesting question. Thread after thread, it’s always the same. What better proof for ID.

252. 252
Origenes says:

VL@

Ori: I take it that you also tentatively believe that there is no ultimate purpose for human beings. Would a near-death experience count as evidence for you? If it is all untrue, then a lot of cardiac patients are liars

VL: What does that have to do with ultimate purpose?

I gathered that life after death is a prerequisite for the existence of an ultimate purpose for human beings. Perhaps I was being presumptuous. Perhaps you would also accept a naturalized version of ultimate purpose, such as ‘being fertilizer’?

253. 253
bornagain77 says:

“Perhaps you would also accept a naturalized version of ultimate purpose, such as ‘being fertilizer’?”

Reminds me of this comedy skit,

Dane Cook – – Atheist Sneeze
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2ukznw

254. 254
Origenes says:

BA77 @248, 249

Thank you for compiling those baffling self-defeating statements.

Steven Pinker: The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness – Steven Pinker – Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
Part II The Illusion Of Control
Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.

Steven Pinker could not have produced the text above if he was aware of the self-referential implications. Somehow he does not realize that the text refers to himself also.
The problem of self-referentiality, or rather the failure to be aware of it, is widespread and cannot be unseen once seen. As Kairosfocus notes:

On topics like this, self-referentiality is almost impossible to avoid, which is part of why core hard questions are hard. What we need to do, is to try to avoid incoherence by making assertions that when referred to ourselves, undercut the point we were trying to make.

The problem of self-referentiality is not limited to claims about the non-existence of consciousness and/or rationality. And it is also not limited to our contemporaries. In particular, it seems to rear its ugly head among the skeptically inclined, such as Popper, Russell, and the like. A few years ago I compiled a long list of self-defeating Popper statements that had the common theme (paraphrasing): ‘There are no true statements.’
Why is it that so few point it out? I am not sure what to make of it.

255. 255
JVL says:

Kairosfocus: theorems are fairly commonplace in physics, contrary to your earlier assertion. As I recall for the moment, Bell Theorem in Quantum Physics, Louville;s theorem [in statistical mechanics topics], the Carnot theorem on maximum efficiency of a heat engine, the rather useful Buckingham Pi theorem for dimensional analysis of physical relationships, even the BVG theorem, roughly, on a finite past to expanding cosmos Carroll tried to counter. (A list by Wikipedia here will help clarify that in physics there are results that are indeed described as theorems; so, no the term theorem is not exclusively used by Mathematicians.)

Okay, I will certainly concede that there are ‘theorems’ in physics (although they all look to be highly mathematical). Interestingly enough, one of the theorems on that Wikipedia list is The free will theorem of John H. Conway and Simon B. Kochen which:

states that if we have a free will in the sense that our choices are not a function of the past, then, subject to certain assumptions, so must some elementary particles.

Which sounds pretty weird to me. The discussion in the article is a bit beyond my pay-grade.

Also, it seems like Dr Carroll proposed a “Quantum Eternity Theorem” in a very off-the-cuff fashion and the idea, might in fact, just be similar to a known result.

From Did the Universe Begin? IV: Quantum Eternity Theorem: http://www.wall.org/~aron/blog.....y-theorem/

First Dr Carroll’s comment:

If you need to invoke a theorem, because that’s what you like to do rather than building models, I would suggest the quantum eternity theorem. If you have a universe that obeys the conventional rules of quantum mechanics, has a non-zero energy, and the individual laws of physics are themselves not changing with time, that universe is necessarily eternal.

But, according to the author of the page:

That’s all the Quantum Eternity Theorem (QET) says. It’s a little bombastic for Carroll to even refer to this as a “theorem”, since it’s just an elementary restatement of one of the most basic principles of QM.

And

But if Carroll’s QET does apply, then no matter how many fireworks there were at the “Big Bang”, it could only really have been the universe passing from one form to another. So is he right? Probably not. Carroll himself states the important loophole in his reasoning, although he does it in a kind of a cryptic way so that only another physicist like me knows what it really means.

It all centres around whether or not the universe has zero energy. I’ll leave you to read the full article.

Oh, by the way, that page comes from Undivided Looking, a blog about Physics and Theology. From their About section:

“Undivided Looking” expresses the aspiration that, although compartmentalized thinking is frequently helpful in life, one must also step back and look at the world as a whole. This involves balancing specialized knowledge with common sense to keep both kinds of thinking in perspective.

“Undivided Looking” also suggests that in order to see the Truth, we have to be earnestly seeking it with our whole self. As Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”. The word “pure” means unmixed or whole. Those who want to live wholesome lives must purify themselves from malice, bias and greed, so that the Holy can dwell within them.

So, not some materialistic site.

You were right about Physics theorems. I will change my stance on that issue.

256. 256
Origenes says:

Follow-up Self-referentiality #254

Jim Slagle describes the self-referentiality problem for those who claim that beliefs are produced by non-rational forces, (such as blind particles in the void):

More broadly, if all beliefs are produced by nonrational forces and are thus nonveracious, then the belief that “all beliefs are produced by non-rational forces and are thus nonveracious” is itself produced by nonrational forces and is thus nonveracious. This belief, and any position that leads to it, is therefore self-defeating: if it is true, we no longer have any reason for believing it to be true. It is hoist with its own petard.

With an almost painful accuracy, Slagle goes on to describe the self-referentiality problem for skeptics of rationality:

To put this another way, those who claim that all beliefs, acts of reasoning, etc., are nonveracious are positing a closed circle in which no beliefs are produced by the proper methods by which beliefs can be said to be veracious or rational. Yet at the same time, they are arrogating to themselves a position outside of this circle by which they can judge the beliefs of others, a move they deny to their opponents. Since the raison d’être of their thesis is that there is no outside of the circle, they do not have the epistemic right to assume a position independent of it, and so their beliefs about the nonveracity of beliefs or reasoning are just as nonveracious as those they criticize. If all of the beliefs inside the circle are suspect, we cannot judge between truth and falsity, since any such judgment would be just as suspect as what it seeks to adjudicate. We would have to seek another argument, another chain of reasoning, another set of beliefs, by which we can judge the judgment—and a third set to judge the judgment of the judgment, ad infinitum. At no point can they step out of the circle to a transcendent standpoint that would allow them to reject some beliefs as tainted while remaining untainted themselves.

257. 257
Ford Prefect says:

Bornagain77 writes:

Sorry FP, but you and VL can’t have it both ways. You can’t hold a belief to be ‘certain’ and to also be ‘tentative’. For crying out loud, the definition of tentative is “NOT certain’.

BA77 obviously has a problem reading for comprehension. Try reading VL’s comment again but, this time, pay attention to the words being used rather than reacting viscerally because you disagree with her worldview.

258. 258
bornagain77 says:

I did read the words for context, and even read them charitably, not viscerally, as you have falsely accused me.

Again, there is a direct contradiction in logic in her two statements,

“My belief that “all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another” is a tentative belief: just as with all my beliefs, to some degree or another,”

“I am certain about certain things that are logically true. ”

cer·tain
known for sure; established beyond doubt.

ten·ta·tive
not certain or fixed; provisional.

259. 259
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@224

What is PM1 trying to convey with the term ‘external criticism’? Is being ‘external’ perhaps a convenient reason to discard certain criticism? If not, PM1 is, of course, free to argue that naturalism allows for teleological processes that have the ultimate goal or purpose of believing truth, or that truth does not matter, or whatever he wants.

I defined “external criticism” very carefully: a criticism is external if it is based on criteria to which someone is not committed. By contrast an internal criticism is a criticism based on premises to which someone is committed.

Slagle is attempting internal criticism because he is trying to show that naturalism is self-refuting: that the naturalist is committed to premises which undermine their own project.

From what I can tell, he is committed to a Plantinga-like account of how this is supposed to work. Plantinga claims that the naturalist is committed to the low or inscrutable likelihood that cognitive faculties are reliable, which should include their own, hence undermining the beliefs formed through those faculties, including naturalism.

My main objection is that it’s not really clear why, according to Plantinga, the naturalist is committed to the low or inscrutable likelihood of the reliability of our cognitive faculties. His argument in “Content and Natural Selection” depends on the assumption that we can conceive of a belief having different content but still having the same impact on behavior, hence we have no reason to believe that content can be a target of natural selection:

It is easy to see how beliefs thus considered can enter the causal chain leading to behavior; current science gives us a reasonably plausible account of the process whereby volleys of impulses propagated along the efferent nerves cause muscle contraction, motor output, and thus behavior. It is exceedingly difficult to see, however, how they can enter that chain by virtue of their content; a given belief, it seems, would have had the same causal impact on behavior if it had had the same NP properties, but
different content. . . . it will not be the case that a false belief causes maladaptive behavior by virtue of its having false content, and it will not be the case that a true belief causes adaptive behavior by virtue of having true
content. The truth or falsehood of the belief will then be irrelevant to
fitness and thus, so to speak, invisible to natural selection; but then it is
hard to see how natural selection can promote or enhance or reward
true belief (or reliable belief-producing processes) and penalize false
belief (or unreliable belief-producing processes). (pp. 436-437)

This argument is so terrible that it hurts me to spend time responding to it.

Here’s the crux of the problem: “It is exceedingly difficult to see, however, how they can enter that chain by virtue of their content”.

What is “difficult to see” depends on the stock of concepts one has at ones disposal. It was “difficult to see” how electricity and magnetism could have anything to do with each other before the work of Faraday and Maxwell: post Faraday and Maxwell, we find it difficult to see how the connection would have been difficult to see!

In this context, specifically, of course one cannot understand how content could affect behavior if one is unfamiliar with naturalized theories of content. But someone who does understand how content can be naturalized would not agree with Plantinga that it is at all “difficult to see” how content can affect behavior.

The naturalization of content is still being hotly debated in the philosophy of cognitive science, and yes, no one can be expected to know everything. But “Content and Natural Selection” was published in 2011, long after the first attempts were made to naturalize content by Dretske, Millikan, and Paul Churchland. By 2011, teleosemantics was a major area of interdisciplinary inquiry. Yet Plantinga writes as if it doesn’t exist. And that’s a real problem, because then his project fails as an internal criticism of naturalism.

This goes to my larger complaint with Plantinga (and perhaps with Slagle, though I haven’t read much of him yet): they purport to be engaged in an internal criticism of naturalism, but they haven’t really taken the time to understand what naturalists are committed to, and why.

We can see the same problem with this thought: “a given belief, it seems, would have had the same causal impact on behavior if it had had the same NP properties, but different content.”

Is that really so? We can imagine that the neurophysiological properties remain the same while the content changes. That would show at most that the relation between semantic content and neurophysiological properties is not a logically necessary truth. But that’s irrelevant, since no naturalist ever contended that it was.

What the naturalist needs to say is that, regardless of whatever is logically necessary or contingent, is a fact about how brains work in the actual world that variation in semantic content is a variation in neurophysiological properties. Plantinga ignores this perfectly obvious response because (but I tire of repeating himself) he does not really understand naturalism. Plantinga’s criticism of naturalism is based on a monumental act of self-deception; he does not really understand what he thinks he does.

By contrast, if teleosemantics is a promising route to naturalize content, and thereby show how semantic content is causally efficacious by virtue of being part of a biological system, then content can be a target of selection, and therefore a naturalist can happily say it is extremely probable that minds formed through natural selection really are generally reliable.

@256

if all beliefs are produced by nonrational forces and are thus nonveracious, then the belief that “all beliefs are produced by non-rational forces and are thus nonveracious” is itself produced by nonrational forces and is thus nonveracious.

I have no objection to this line of reasoning. But who exactly is the target here? Who is it who supposedly says “all beliefs are produced by non-rational forces”?

I can tell you this much: the Churchlands do not say this. Dennett does not say this. Neither do Dewey, Freud, or Marx say this, despite what Pearcey and Slagle insinuates.

(The only philosopher I know of who says anything like this, and who does draw out all of the skeptical conclusions, is Friedrich Nietzsche.)

260. 260
asauber says:

“My belief that “all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another” is a tentative belief: just as with all my beliefs, to some degree or another,”

“I am certain about certain things that are logically true. ”

This is a train wreck of ideas demolishing each other.

Andrew

261. 261
relatd says:

Ba77 at 245,

I think you’re missing the overarching concept: ‘My beliefs are my beliefs and that’s that.’ Your attempt to add logic to the situation may not apply. Or someone is pulling your leg.

262. 262
relatd says:

Ba77 at 248,

Someone should send the Dean of every university the following:

“If a man walks into a doctor’s office and says “I never have direct access to my thoughts and I have no first person point of view,” the man will be referred to a psychiatrist and may be involuntarily hospitalized until it is established that he is not a danger to himself or others. If the same guy walks into the philosophy department at Duke University, he gets tenure.” ‘

263. 263
kairosfocus says:

PM1, if someone is not committed to first principles and duties of reason, that is already decisive. And yes, that shows a problem with the approach you propose. KF

264. 264
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

Erratum in my @259: I wrote that Plantinga ignores teleosemantics. That is in fact not the case: he considers both Dretske and Millikan as offering responses to the threat of “semantic epiphenomenalism”. He does not think that either theory can do the job — or more precisely, he thinks that teleosemantics could not ground metaphysical or mathematical beliefs. I think this is a misreading of the explanatory function of teleosemantics.

What the naturalist needs is a theory that connects the kinds of reliable feature-detecting representations that teleosemantics explains in ‘simple minds’ (bees or beavers) with the kinds of symbolically articulated, culturally scaffolded representations that we find in mathematics, philosophy, and science.

It’s at this point that the naturalist would need to look to work by Cecilia Hayes, Joseph Heinrich, or Ken Sterelny. The basic idea is that what needs to be explained is the evolution of human culture itself, since it is culture that makes the minds of human beings different from the minds of non-human animals.

265. 265
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@263

PM1, if someone is not committed to first principles and duties of reason, that is already decisive. And yes, that shows a problem with the approach you propose.

Wherever did you get the idea that the approach I’m proposing is not committed to “first principles and duties of reason”?

266. 266
JVL says:

PyrrhoManiac1: Wherever did you get the idea that the approach I’m proposing is not committed to “first principles and duties of reason”?

‘Cause you came to a different conclusion from him. It’s not the journey, it’s the end.

267. 267
bornagain77 says:

PM1 264 “since it is culture that makes the minds of human beings different from the minds of non-human animals.”

And there you go, all we need to do to change a monkey mind into a human mind is to drop him into the proper ‘culture’, supposedly for an extended period of time.

Chimp in haute couture

But then again, something tells me that PM1 may be overlooking some small detail with his hypothesis in which he holds “it is culture that makes the minds of human beings different from the minds of non-human animals.”

Namely, the ‘small detail’ that “We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses.”

The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals – Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015
Excerpt: Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals.
Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.,,,
It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference.
We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm. It is obvious and manifest in our biological nature. We are rational animals, and our rationality is all the difference. Systems of taxonomy that emphasize physical and genetic similarities and ignore the fact that human beings are partly immaterial beings who are capable of abstract thought and contemplation of moral law and eternity are pitifully inadequate to describe man.
The assertion that man is an ape is self-refuting. We could not express such a concept, misguided as it is, if we were apes and not men.
https://evolutionnews.org/2015/11/the_fundamental_2/

Of related note:

Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
(Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

“The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
– Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College –

It is hard to imagine a more convincing scientific proof that we are ‘made in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information, and have come to ‘master the planet’, not via brute force as is presupposed in Darwinian thought, but precisely because of our ability to infuse immaterial information into material substrates

John 1:1-4
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

Of course, a more convincing proof that we are made in the image of God could be if God Himself became a man, walked on water, healed the sick, raised the dead, and then defeated death itself on a cross.

And that just so happens to be precisely the proof that is claimed within Christianity.

John: 14:8-9
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram – video

268. 268
relatd says:

PM1 at 264,

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

“The basic idea is that what needs to be explained is the evolution of human culture itself, since it is culture that makes the minds of human beings different from the minds of non-human animals.”

In the chicken or egg question, a mind that is human comes first, not culture. In the fictional story about ‘primitive’ man living in caves, humans could just grunt and point. Then there is the fictional story about humans living in trees until a change in the environment forced them to walk on land. How they got water prior to that is not explained. This does not include the idea that humans got ‘smarter’ as their brains got bigger.

269. 269
JVL says:

Bornagain77: The assertion that man is an ape is self-refuting.

Just curious; would you agree that humans are primates?

270. 270
bornagain77 says:

“would you agree that humans are primates?”

Is an ape or human asking?

Jan. 2022 Fossil Record refutes human evolution
Fossils and Human Evolution (full series) – Casey Luskin – Oct. 2022
https://evolutionnews.org/tag/fossils-and-human-evolution-series/
Sept: 2022 – Genetic Evidence falsifies the claim the humans evolved from apes-like creature. And falsifies it in a ‘hard’ manner.
https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/at-evolution-news-did-life-first-arise-by-purely-natural-means/#comment-765765
Darwinists simply have no evidence that morphology, and/or biological form, is reducible to mutations to DNA.
https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/evangelical-scientists-getting-it-wrong/#comment-740247
Population Genetics falsifies, instead of confirms, Darwinian claims for human evolution
Human exceptionalism falsifies Darwinian claims for human evolution
https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/evangelical-scientists-getting-it-wrong/#comment-740249
Darwinists, (in what makes the ‘problem’ of explaining the origin of the human species pale in comparison), have no clue whatsoever why “I” should even come into existence as a “person” with a unique individual subjective conscious experience, but are instead reduced to arguing that my sense of self, my “I”, is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’

271. 271
JVL says:

Bornagain77: Is an ape or human asking?

I’ll assume you don’t think humans are primates even though you failed to directly answer a very simple question.

Since Primate is a human-defined classification (not necessarily related to descent or evolution) then what is your objection for having humans defined as primates? What part of the definition of primate do you think humans do not match?

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bornagain77 says:

Whatever JVL, you want to ignore the profound mental differences between apes and humans and exaggerate superficial physical similarities, so as to make it seem that humans are just highly evolved apes. That is precisely why I provided multiple lines of empirical evidence that ‘scientifically’ refute the Darwinian claim that humans evolved from apes.

Moreover, according to PM1’s ‘right culture’ hypothesis, it is theoretically possible that you are simply an ape that had the good fortune of being raised up in the right culture so as to develop a human mind. 🙂

According to PM1’s ‘right culture’ hypothesis, I have every right to ask, “Is an ape or human asking?”

It ain’t rocket science.

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Ford Prefect says:

Bornagain77 writes:

Again, there is a direct contradiction in logic in her two statements,

Then I can only conclude that you have no idea what you are talking about.

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relatd says:

JVL at 271,

It’s definitely related to evolution.

“Primate;

“: any of an order (Primates) of mammals that are characterized especially by advanced development of binocular vision resulting in stereoscopic depth perception, specialization of the hands and feet for grasping, and enlargement of the cerebral hemispheres and that include humans, apes, monkeys, and related forms (such as lemurs and tarsiers)”

Note: I can’t use my feet for grasping.

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bornagain77 says:

Ford Prefect, that may be your false personal opinion, but unfortunately for you, words have meaning. and anyone can read her words for themself,

Again, there is a direct contradiction in logic in her two statements,

“My belief that “all our beliefs are tentative to some degree or another” is a tentative belief: just as with all my beliefs, to some degree or another,”

“I am certain about certain things that are logically true. ”

cer·tain
known for sure; established beyond doubt.

ten·ta·tive
not certain or fixed; provisional.

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JVL says:

Bornagain77: Whatever JVL, you want to ignore the profound mental differences between apes and humans and exaggerate superficial physical similarities, so as to make it seem that humans are just highly evolved apes.

Look, there is a morphological definition of Primate; do you think humans match that definition?

You are such a coward you can’t even answer such a simple question honestly.

You could say: yes, humans match that category but I disagree with the evolutionary explanation. But you can’t even do that.

Like I said, coward.

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JVL says:

Relatd: I can’t use my feet for grasping.

I can pick up things with my feet. Anyway, in general, do you think humans match the morphological definition of primate?

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relatd says:

FP at 273,

I have no idea how you reached your conclusion. Perhaps you can provide a more detailed explanation.

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relatd says:

JVL at 277,

Not according to the definition I posted. There is no connection between humans and the animals listed.

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JVL says:

Relatd: Not according to the definition I posted. There is no connection between humans and the animals listed.

So, humans do not have advanced development of binocular vision? Or enlarged cerebral hemispheres?

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bornagain77 says:

Well JVL, so you issued an ad hominem attack on me and called me a coward simply because I refused to play your silly game and admit to an obviously true point on classification?

And since you have become increasing abusive and angry towards me recently, do you think I ought to have admin settle the matter for us JVL? Or do you think I ought to let you continue with your ad hominem attacks against me? Seeing that we are humans, not apes, we do have rules of behavior you know.

Please try to be better in your dialogue with me. You have been given fair warning.

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relatd says:

JVL at 280,

If you look at a common, but now falsified, ‘evolutionary tree,’ humans were once lemur-like creatures. And before that…

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relatd says:

As a moderator on another forum, I sometimes think I’m dealing with a playground full of 5 year olds. But, I do know that these are grown men who can sometimes behave like 5 year olds.

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JVL says:

Bornagain77: Well JVL, so you issued an ad hominem attack on me and called me a coward simply because I refused to play your silly game and admit to an obviously true point on classification?

Thank you for admitting that humans do match the morphological definition of primate.

And since you have become increasing abusive and angry towards me recently, do you think I ought to have admin settle the matter for us JVL? Or do you think I ought to let you continue with your ad hominem attacks against me? Seeing that we are humans, not apes, we do have rules of behavior you know.

You can try. But then the admins would have to admit to a severe double standard since they have frequently in the past let descriptions of me as being insane or mad or stupid or much much worse pass without comment. Also, if you want to go down that route then you’d have to curb your own tendency for name calling.

Please try to be better in your dialogue with me. You have been given fair warning.

Are you threatening me? With what authority?

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JVL says:

Relatd: If you look at a common, but now falsified, ‘evolutionary tree,’ humans were once lemur-like creatures. And before that…

Since you clearly are unable to answer simple questions I’ll just stop talking to you on this particular topic.

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relatd says:

JVL at 284,

You need a new hobby. Seriously.

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relatd says:

JVL at 285,

I’ve got a picture of my great, great, etc. grandfather as an amoeba-like creature.

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bornagain77 says:

JVL, to be clear, I have never personally called you insane, mad or stupid. I have called your beliefs insane, mad, or stupid.

I believe you have taken offense to this quote that I have often cited,

It’s Really Not Rocket Science – Granville Sewell
“It is not enough to say that design is a more likely scenario to explain a world full of well-designed things. It strikes me as urgent to insist that you not allow your mind to surrender the absolute clarity that all complex and magnificent things were made that way. Once you allow the intellect to consider that an elaborate organism with trillions of microscopic interactive components can be an accident… you have essentially “lost your mind.”

,,, Max Planck biologist W.E. Loennig once commented that Darwinism was a sort of “mass psychosis” — then he asked me, is that the right English word? I knew psychosis was some kind of mental illness, but wasn’t sure exactly what it was, so I looked it up in my dictionary when I returned home: “psychosis — a loss of contact with reality.” I wrote him that, yes, that was the right word.
https://evolutionnews.org/2015/11/it_really_isnt/

Note that it is the belief that life can possibly be an accident, not any particular person, that is being called insane.

Moreover, if you continue your angry attacks against me personally, It is not a threat, but a promise that I will take it up with admin.

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JVL says:

Bornagain77: Moreover, if you continue your angry attacks against me personally, It is not a threat, but a promise that I will take it up with admin.

Oooo, I’m really scared now.

You have always been terribly dismissive and rude about anyone’s belief which disagrees with your own. Always. You have always portrayed such beliefs as less than rational, to put it mildly. And yet you threaten me with sanctions for using the same tactics you have done in the past. For shame.

In all the years I have been participating in this site I have never, ever seen you admit to making a mistake or conceding that even part of your views were incorrect. I have admitted that I was wrong earlier on this very thread.

Is there any point, at all, in trying to have a dialogue with you in the future? Is there any possible scenario when you might concede even a minor point of your beliefs?

I don’t want to waste your time or my time if you are never, ever even going to consider that you might need to adjust your views.

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bornagain77 says:

“And yet you threaten me with sanctions for using the same tactics you have done in the past.”

Again, I have never attacked you personally. If you disagree with me then please cite the exact thread where I attacked you personally. I don’t recall ever doing so. And if I ever inadvertently ever did sink to that level of personally attacking you, I apologize.

As far as I can recall, I have always attacked your beliefs, and not you personally, as being ‘irrational, insane, mad’, etc.. etc.. That is a BIG difference. It is the spirit of open and honest debate that ideas/beliefs, etc.. and not people, can be attacked and/or defended. Indeed, open and honest debate simply would be impossible if beliefs were not allowed to be attacked and defended.

Moreover, instead of just calling your beliefs “‘irrational, insane, mad’, etc.. etc., I have, in my limited ability, always tried my best to use logic and empirical evidence to clearly demonstrate, for all to see, that your Darwinian beliefs are, in fact, “‘irrational, insane, mad’, etc.. etc.,

For what it’s worth, though I certainly think your beliefs are “‘irrational, insane, mad’, etc.. etc., I personally hold you to be reasonably smart guy, A reasonably smart guy who, hopefully, may someday ‘get it’ before its too late.

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kairosfocus says:

PM1 & JVL, personalising and polarising. I am pointing out something fairly obvious, that one who speaks with disregard to truth, disregards first principles of reason and is more moved to use what persuades rather than what is warranted, rejects something that is on your terms “EXTERNAL” but which is in fact UNIVERSAL AND BINDING. So, the attempt to discredit “external” critiques easily becomes an invitation to relativism, subjectivism and — doubtless inadvertently — will to power nihilism. My capital examples of recent times, of course are Hitler and co, Stalin and co, and the like. The issue of critique and analysis is objective warrant tracing to sound reasoning. KF

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bill cole says:

Hi All
There is a post from VJ Torley at TSZ that those interested in Christian apologetics may want to read.

http://theskepticalzone.com/wp.....-skeptics/

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EDTA says:

At first glance, I’m a little bit surprised at VJT here. He is making a common mistake (made here also quite frequently by our skeptical friends) of assuming that human language can convey the fullness of things that originate at a higher level. The first example I ran across was:

>”Does it even make sense to say that one and the same person has two distinct minds – let alone two radically different ones: an infinite one and a finite one?”

Well, when it comes to a higher/superior being communicating things to inferior beings, one has to simplifications somewhere along the way. One cannot assume that the above claim, the Trinity, etc., are completely expressible in all their depth, in mere human language. We might like it to be that way, so we wouldn’t have to keep explaining this background information all the time, but it just can’t be avoided.

In any case, everywhere I glanced in the linked post, the above error crops up…maybe I’ll find more time to study it more closely later–if I can get past the glaring error(s).

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tangent says:

EDTA,

Why not post your comment over at TSZ, where VJT and others can respond to it?

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bornagain77 says:

EDTA per VJT: ”Does it even make sense to say that one and the same person has two distinct minds – let alone two radically different ones: an infinite one and a finite one?”

First off, the trinity has been debated and ably defended by prominent Christian theologians for a very, very, long time. Here is a good and brief overview for the main arguments against the trinity and the main defenses against those arguments.

Thus there is a rich, and long, history in the church of defending the trinity.

But as to modern science and the finite and infinite divide in Christianity,. How can the finite and infinite divide found in Christianity possibly relate to modern science?

First a little background is necessary, our own William Dembski, (a prominent ID advocate who started this blog), has stated the following as to bridging the finite/infinite divide,

The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31
William Dembski PhDs. Mathematics and Theology
Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”
http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

Of note: I hold it to be fairly obvious that ‘growing large without measure’ can only ever be a potential infinity. Whereas a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero would be an actual infinity and/or a “completed totality”

Potential Infinity vs. Actual Infinity – June 7, 2012 by Ryan
Excerpt: In a potential infinity, one can keep adding or subdividing without end, but one never actually reaches infinity. In a sense, a potential infinity is an endless process that at any point along the way is finite. By contrast, in an actual infinity, the infinite is viewed as a completed totality.
http://www.numbersleuth.org/tr.....-infinity/

And I also note that this actual infinity and/or a “completed totality” fits extremely well with the Augustian theological notion that “this infinity of numbers (potential infinity) is not outside the comprehension of him “whose understanding cannot be numbered” (i.e. God’s completed infinity).”

“Every number is defined by its own character so that no number is equal to any other. They are unequal to one another and are different, and the individual numbers are finite, but as a class they are infinite. Does that mean that God does not know all numbers, because of their infinity? Does God’s knowledge extend as far as a certain sum, and end there? No one could be insane enough to say that.
Now those philosophers who revere the authority of Plato will not despise numbers and say that they are irreverent to God’s knowledge, For Plato emphasizes that God constructed the world by use of numbers, while we have the authority of Scripture, where God is thus addressed, “You have set all things in order all things by number, measure, and weight.” And the prophet says of God, “He produces the world according to number’. And the Savior says in the Gospel, “Your hairs are all numbered”.
Never let us doubt then that every number is known to him “whose understanding cannot be numbered”. Although the infinite series of numbers cannot be numbered, this infinity of numbers is not outside the comprehension of him “whose understanding cannot be numbered”.”
– St. Augustine – “City of God” – 12th Book, 19th Chapter
– Infinity: Aristotle, St. Augustine, Cantor, Gödel – video – 31:29 minute mark
https://youtu.be/SMt2VtjMfrU?t=1889

So exactly how does the ‘completed infinity’ of Christ’s resurrection from death possibly relate to modern science?

Well, much like the infinite mathematical divide that exists between finite man and infinite God, there is also found to be an infinite mathematical divide between general relativity and quantum mechanics.

Professor Jeremy Bernstein states the situation as such, “there remains an irremediable difficulty. Every order reveals new types of infinities, and no finite number of renormalizations renders all the terms in the series finite.
The theory is not renormalizable.”

Quantum Leaps – Jeremy Bernstein – October 19, 2018
Excerpt: Divergent series notwithstanding, quantum electrodynamics yielded results of remarkable accuracy. Consider the magnetic moment of the electron. This calculation, which has been calculated up to the fifth order in ?, agrees with experiment to ten parts in a billion. If one continued the calculation to higher and higher orders, at some point the series would begin to break down. There is no sign of that as yet. Why not carry out a similar program for gravitation? One can readily write down the Feynman graphs that represent the terms in the expansion. Yet there remains an irremediable difficulty. Every order reveals new types of infinities, and no finite number of renormalizations renders all the terms in the series finite.
The theory is not renormalizable.
https://inference-review.com/article/quantum-leaps
Jeremy Bernstein is professor emeritus of physics at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

And as theoretical physicist Sera Cremonini stated, “You would need to add infinitely many counterterms in a never-ending process. Renormalization would fail.,,,”

Why Gravity Is Not Like the Other Forces
We asked four physicists why gravity stands out among the forces of nature. We got four different answers.
Excerpt: the quantum version of Einstein’s general relativity is “nonrenormalizable.”,,,
In quantum theories, infinite terms appear when you try to calculate how very energetic particles scatter off each other and interact. In theories that are renormalizable — which include the theories describing all the forces of nature other than gravity — we can remove these infinities in a rigorous way by appropriately adding other quantities that effectively cancel them, so-called counterterms. This renormalization process leads to physically sensible answers that agree with experiments to a very high degree of accuracy.
The problem with a quantum version of general relativity is that the calculations that would describe interactions of very energetic gravitons — the quantized units of gravity — would have infinitely many infinite terms. You would need to add infinitely many counterterms in a never-ending process. Renormalization would fail.,,,
Sera Cremonini – theoretical physicist – Lehigh University
https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-gravity-is-not-like-the-other-forces-20200615/

And as Michio Kaku stated in the following video, when you try to combine General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics, “you get an infinite sequence of infinities, (which is) infinitely worse than the divergences of Einstein’s original theory (i.e. General Relativity).”

“Here is the problem (with black holes), right there, when ‘r’ (radius) is equal to zero, The point at which physics itself breaks down. So 1 over ‘r’ equals 1 over 0 equals infinity. To a mathematician infinity is simply a number without limit. To a physicist it is a monstrosity. It means first of all that gravity is infinite at the center of a black hole. That time stops. And what does that mean? Space makes no sense. It means the collapse of everything we know about the physical universe. In the real world there is no such thing as infinity. Therefore there is a fundamental flaw in the formulation of Einstein’s theory.”
(And Michio Kaku then notes, when you try to combine General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics) “In fact, you get an infinite sequence of infinities, (which is) infinitely worse than the divergences of Einstein’s original theory (i.e. General Relativity).”
Quantum Mechanics & Relativity – Michio Kaku – The Collapse Of Physics As We Know It ? – video
Science vs God Its The Collapse Of Physics As We Know it – video
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2jbd7x

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bornagain77 says:

Various attempts have been made to find a mathematical workaround for this ‘infinite mathematical divide’ that exists between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, String Theory, M-Theory, etc.. They have all failed.

In fact, “The ones currently most promising adopt a very radical attitude to infinity. They deny that the infinitely small can exist in the universe, but prescribe a minimum possible scale, essentially the so-called Planck scale.”

“Attempts to reconcile relativity and quantum theory have been made. The ones currently most promising adopt a very radical attitude to infinity. They deny that the infinitely small can exist in the universe, but prescribe a minimum possible scale, essentially the so-called Planck scale.”
– Peter Cameron, Emeritus Professor Mathematics at Queen Mary, University of London

Yet even this attempted workaround of prescribing a minimum possible size will not bridge the ‘infinite mathematical divide’ that exists between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

Specifically, it is now proven, via the extension of Godel’s incompleteness into quantum physics, that “even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,” and that “the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”,

Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015
Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,,
It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,
“We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
http://phys.org/news/2015-12-q.....godel.html

In short, and mathematically speaking, the microscopic descriptions of quantum mechanics, (even if you prescribe a minimum possible size), will never be successfully extended to the account for the macroscopic descriptions of General Relativity. i.e. There will never be a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’ that includes both quantum mechanics and general relativity into a single mathematical equation.

And although there will never be a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’ that bridges the infinite mathematical divide that exists between quantum mechanics and general relativity, all hope is not lost in finding the correct ‘theory if everything’.

As I stated previously via William Dembski, “The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”

Moreover, when we rightly allow the Agent Causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founder of modern physics, Sir Isaac Newton himself, originally envisioned,

‘Without all doubt this world…could arise from nothing but the perfectly free will of God… From this fountain (what) we call the laws of nature have flowed, in which there appear many traces indeed of the most wise contrivance, but not the least shadow of necessity. These therefore we must not seek from uncertain conjectures, but learn them from observations and experiments.”,,,
– Sir Isaac Newton – (Cited from Religion and the Rise of Modern Science by Hooykaas page 49).
https://thirdspace.org.au/comment/237

“Newton’s Rejection of the “Newtonian World View”: The Role of Divine Will in Newton’s Natural Philosophy – (Davis, 1991)
Excerpt: Newton’s voluntarism moved him to affirm an intimate relationship between the creator and the creation; his God was acted on the world at all times and in ways that Leibniz and other mechanical philosophers could not conceive of, such as causing parts of matter to attract one another at a distance. Finally, Newton held that, since the world is a product of divine freedom rather than necessity, the laws of nature must be inferred from the phenomena of nature, not deduced from metaphysical axioms — as both Descartes and Leibniz were wont to do.
http://home.messiah.edu/~tdavis/newton.htm

,, and when we rightly allow the Agent Causality of God back into physics, as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company,

Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
Excerpt: This experiment pushes back to at least 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

,, then that (very) reasonable concession to rightly allow God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned, provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides a very plausible, and empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”.

Specifically, when scrutinizing some of the many fascinating details of the Shroud of Turin, we ‘surprisingly’ find that both General Relativity, i.e. gravity, and Quantum Mechanics were both dealt with in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

As can be seen in the following ‘backside’ image, and holographic image video, from the Shroud of Turin, there is no flattening on the backside of the body as would be expected if the image on the Shroud had formed if a dead body had merely been laying flat on a slab of rock.

Shroud Hologram – backside image

And in the following video, the late Isabel Piczek, who made a sculpture from the Shroud of Turin states that, “The muscles of the body are absolutely not crushed against the stone of the tomb. They are perfect. It means the body is hovering between the two sides of the shroud. What does that mean? It means there is absolutely no gravity.”

“When you look at the image of the shroud, the two bodies next to each other, you feel that it is a flat image. But if you create, for instance, a three dimensional object, as I did, the real body, then you realize that there is a strange dividing element. An interface from which the image is projected up and the image is projected down. The muscles of the body are absolutely not crushed against the stone of the tomb. They are perfect. It means the body is hovering between the two sides of the shroud. What does that mean? It means there is absolutely no gravity. Other strange you discover is that the image is absolutely undistorted. Now if you imagine the clothe was wrinkled, tied, wrapped around the body, and all of the sudden you see a perfect image, which is impossible unless the shroud was made absolutely taut, rigidly taut.”
Isabel Piczek – (world renowned sculptor and artist) – 2:20 mark
– Turin shroud – – video

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bornagain77 says:

As well, Kevin Moran, an optical engineer who has studied the Shroud of Turin, describes the Shroud Image in this way, “The unique front-and-back only image can be best described as gravitationally collimated. The radiation that made the image acted perfectly parallel to gravity. There is no side image. The radiation is parallel to gravity,,,”

Optically Terminated Image Pixels Observed on Frei 1978 Samples – Kevin E. Moran – 1999
Discussion
Pia’s negative photograph, from 1898, showed what looked to be a body that was glowing, but slightly submerged in a bath of cloudy water. This condition is more properly described as an image that is visible, at a distance, but by locally attenuated radiation. The unique front-and-back only image can be best described as gravitationally collimated. The radiation that made the image acted perfectly parallel to gravity. There is no side image. The radiation is parallel to gravity and, if moving at light speed, only lasted about 100 picoseconds. It is particulate in nature, colliding only with some of the fibers. It is not a continuum or spherical-front radiation that made the image, as visible or UV light. It is not the X-ray radiation that obeys the one over R squared law that we are so accustomed to in medicine. It is more unique,,,
Theoretical model
It is suggested that the image was formed when a high-energy particle struck the fiber and released radiation within the fiber at a speed greater that the local speed of light. Since the fiber acts as a light pipe, this energy moved out through the fiber until it encountered an optical discontinuity, then it slowed to the local speed of light and dispersed.
Discussion
The fact that the pixels don’t fluoresce suggests that the conversion to their now brittle dehydrated state occurred instantly and completely so no partial products remain to be activated by the ultraviolet light. This suggests a quantum event where a finite amount of energy transferred abruptly. The fact that there are images front and back suggests the radiating particles were released along the gravity vector. The radiation pressure may also help explain why the blood was “lifted cleanly” from the body as it transformed to a resurrected state.”
https://www.shroud.com/pdfs/moran.pdf

Moreover, besides gravity being dealt with on the Shroud of Turin, the Shroud of Turin also gives us evidence that Quantum Mechanics itself was also dealt with.

In the following paper, it was found that it was not possible to describe the image formation on the Shroud in classical terms but they found it necessary to describe the formation of the image on the Shroud in discrete quantum terms.

The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete (quantum) values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008
Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril.
http://cab.unime.it/mus/541/1/c1a0802004.pdf

Moreover, the following rather astonishing study on the Shroud, found that it would take 34 Trillion Watts of what is termed VUV (directional) radiation to form the image on the shroud.

Astonishing discovery at Christ’s tomb supports Turin Shroud – NOV 26TH 2016
Excerpt: The first attempts made to reproduce the face on the Shroud by radiation, used a CO2 laser which produced an image on a linen fabric that is similar at a macroscopic level. However, microscopic analysis showed a coloring that is too deep and many charred linen threads, features that are incompatible with the Shroud image. Instead, the results of ENEA “show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence”.
‘However, Enea scientists warn, “it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come only to several billion watts)”.
Comment
The ENEA study of the Holy Shroud of Turin concluded that it would take 34 Thousand Billion (trillion) Watts of VUV radiation to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.
http://www.predatormastersforu.....er=3014106

Lazzaro’s (approx.) 30th slide in his powerpoint presentation states,
Excerpt: 34 thousand billion watt is an impressive number but,,
* Back to basics: let us consider the fraction A/B.
If B is very small then A/B results in a very large number.,,,
* 17 joules energy/0.00000001 seconds results in 1.7 billion watt. It is called “peak power” which different of the commonly used “average power”.
* The above peak power was delivered to 1 cm^2 flax.
Being the average man skin surface = 2 m^2 = 20,000 cm^2, we have 34 thousand billion watt necessary to complete the body image on the Shroud.

That it is even possible for the human body to emit such ‘quantum light’ is revealed by the following,

Photocount distribution of photons emitted from three sites of a human body – 2006
Excerpt: Signals from three representative sites of low, intermediate and high intensities are selected for further analysis. Fluctuations in these signals are measured by the probabilities of detecting different numbers of photons in a bin. The probabilities have non-classical features and are well described by the signal in a quantum squeezed state of photons. Measurements with bins of three sizes yield same values of three parameters of the squeezed state.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16520060

Humans Glow in Visible Light – July 2009 – with photographs
Excerpt: Past research has shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our naked eyes are sensitive. In fact, virtually all living creatures emit very weak light,
https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna32090918

Thus in conclusion, when we rightly allow the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, (as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders,,,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), then rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead bridges the infinite mathematical divide that exists between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics and provides us with a very plausible, and empirically backed, reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”

Colossians 1:15-20
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

298. 298
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@291

I am pointing out something fairly obvious, that one who speaks with disregard to truth, disregards first principles of reason and is more moved to use what persuades rather than what is warranted, rejects something that is on your terms “EXTERNAL” but which is in fact UNIVERSAL AND BINDING. So, the attempt to discredit “external” critiques easily becomes an invitation to relativism, subjectivism and — doubtless inadvertently — will to power nihilism. My capital examples of recent times, of course are Hitler and co, Stalin and co, and the like. The issue of critique and analysis is objective warrant tracing to sound reasoning.

At no point did I ever attempt to discredit external criticism. I said nothing about it, positive or negative.

I made the distinction between external criticism and internal criticism (which, by the way, is widespread) in order to underscore a specific feature of Slagle’s project: that he, like Plantinga, is attempting to show that naturalism is self-undermining.

This requires beginning with the naturalist’s own commitments, and then elucidating that those commitments have inferential consequences that contradict the initial commitments themselves.

By contrast, an external criticism would begin with commitments that are not specific to the naturalist’s own position.

My objection to Plantinga is that his attempt to show that naturalism is self-undermining fails. For a while I had thought it failed because he doesn’t see that teleosemantics gives the naturalist a way to avoid semantic epiphenomenalism. I then realized that the issue rather is that he doesn’t think teleosemantics is compatible with metaphysical or mathematical claims.

I still think that the best naturalistic response to Plantinga is this article by Paul Churchland: naturalism is not based on the cognitive capacities as shaped by millions of years of natural selection, but rather is based on the symbolically articulated, culturally scaffolded, and technologically augmented social practices, especially those specific to modern science.

What Plantinga would need to show is that science cannot be naturalized: that we cannot use metaphysical naturalism in order to explain why scientific practices, when all goes well, disclose features of the structure of reality.

For whatever it may be worth, I regard Rouse’s Articulating the World: Conceptual Understanding and the Scientific Image as the most successful attempt to date in naturalizing scientific knowledge.

I think that anyone who wants to defend the Plantinga-Slagle line that metaphysical naturalism is incompatible with scientific knowledge itself should frame that criticism in response to Rouse.

299. 299
kairosfocus says:

PM1, you tried to set up a frame that invites an insulation around internalism. I highlighted universally binding first principles and duties as a relevant answer. Moreover, it is a matter of common enough fact to see setting up a closed circle then taking an implicit exception — start with pomo use of the six blind men of hindustan. This is directly relevant to a first principle, contradiction, and here to self referential incoherence. Many evasive arguments have been put up but in the end, the incoherence is inescapable. KF

300. 300
Ford Prefect says:

Kairosfocus writes:

I highlighted universally binding first principles and duties as a relevant answer.

To be fair, you asserted and declared them. That’s a far cry from highlighting them.

301. 301
Ford Prefect says:

Bornagain77@295, 296 and 297 writes:

blah, blah, blah

Well, let’s be honest. Does anybody seriously read anything he writes? Especially when he starts ranting about the shroud of Turin? A fraud that the fraudster is on record of admitting his fraud?

302. 302
Querius says:

Ford Prefect @302,

Yes. Actually, Bornagain77 provides valuable information and links to people who are open and interested. While I’m already familiar with a lot of the information he provides, I do follow the links of my personal interest and appreciate the trove of information he’s collected.

Besides vituperation, what have you been providing?

-Q

303. 303
kairosfocus says:

FP, do you recognise that without distinct identity — ponder bits 0/1, alphanumeric text [ASCII etc], codes for images and video involving distinct states, phonemes, etc — you cannot communicate with text or otherwise, or that non contradiction and excluded middle are close corollaries, or that one may simply ask why something is/is not/may be/cannot be, thence inquire about cause etc? Further, if you do not value truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, fairness etc, that is excellent reason to hold you as an empty troll of no credibility? Do you even realise that by implying want of warrant, you are appealing to said first principles and duties of reason, sitting on the same branch with the rest of us? More can be said but that is enough to show why we are here dealing with universally binding first principles and duties. KF

PS, you would be well advised to ponder the following recorded incident with Epictetus:

DISCOURSES
CHAPTER XXV

When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [ –> Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. We here see the first principles of right reason in action. Cf J. C. Wright]

Our education systems have failed us badly.

304. 304
bornagain77 says:

FP claims the Shroud of Turin is a fraud from the Middle Ages. i.e. “A fraud that the fraudster is on record of admitting his fraud”.

Yet, that oft repeated false claim from atheists has been debunked.

Why is the Turin Shroud Not Fake? – Giulio Fanti* – December 04, 2018
Excerpt: The historical age of the Shroud is 1355 when it appeared in France, in Lirey. There are no documented traces of the Turin Shroud before this period. A memorial of the bishop Pierre d’Arcis (1389) reports the furious polemics immediately following the first exposition and his declaration of a fake
Assertions on the Shroud history
Without going into detailed historical discussions, various authors [2,10,11] have highlighted several traces of the presence of the Shroud from the first centuries after Christ and have reported the controversy with P. d’Arcy. They evidence that the bishop, envious for the great number of persons that visited the exhibition, thus deserting his church, declared that the Shroud was a painted relic. Today we know that the Relic is certainly not a paint. It is curious to add that some these documents about the Shroud were even officially corrected a posteriori. Instead, we must observe that a numismatic study on the Byzantine coins minted starting from 692 AD [4] shows, with a probability very close to 100% that the Shroud was taken as a model for the representation of Christ. The presence of the Shroud of Jesus in the first centuries AD it is not only confirmed by numismatic analysis, but also by numerous examples of Byzantine iconography.
https://juniperpublishers.com/gjaa/pdf/GJAA.MS.ID.555715.pdf

There are quite a few other ‘small’ problems with FP’s oft repeated false claim that the Shroud is a fraud. For instance, the carbon dating that had supposedly dated to the Middle Ages has now been overturned.

Specifically, the carbon dating question has been thoroughly addressed and refuted by Joseph G. Marino and M. Sue Benford in 2000. Their research, with textile experts, showing the carbon testing was done with a piece of the Shroud which was subject to expert medieval reweaving in the 1500’s had much historical, and photographic, evidence behind it. Their historical, and photographic, evidence was then scientifically confirmed by chemical analysis in 2004 by none other than Raymond Rogers, the lead chemist on the STURP team. Thus, the fact that a false age was shown by the 1988 carbon testing has now been established.

Shroud of Turin – Carbon 14 Test Proven False –
– Joseph G. Marino and M. Sue Benford – video
(with Raymond Rogers, lead chemist from the STURP project)

Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the shroud of turin – Raymond N. Rogers – 2004
Abstract
In 1988, radiocarbon laboratories at Arizona, Cambridge, and Zurich determined the age of a sample from the Shroud of Turin. They reported that the date of the cloth’s production lay between A.D. 1260 and 1390 with 95% confidence. This came as a surprise in view of the technology used to produce the cloth, its chemical composition, and the lack of vanillin in its lignin. The results prompted questions about the validity of the sample.
Preliminary estimates of the kinetics constants for the loss of vanillin from lignin indicate a much older age for the cloth than the radiocarbon analyses. The radiocarbon sampling area is uniquely coated with a yellow–brown plant gum containing dye lakes. Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry results from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud.,,,
The fact that vanillin can not be detected in the lignin on shroud fibers, Dead Sea scrolls linen, and other very old linens indicates that the shroud is quite old. A determination of the kinetics of vanillin loss suggests that the shroud is between 1300- and 3000-years old. Even allowing for errors in the measurements and assumptions about storage conditions, the cloth is unlikely to be as young as 840 years.
per: Thermochimica Acta (Volume 425 pages 189-194, Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of California)
http://www.shroud.it/ROGERS-3.PDF

Rogers passed away shortly after publishing that paper, but his work was ultimately verified by scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory:

Carbon Dating Of The Turin Shroud Completely Overturned by Scientific Peer Review
Excerpt: Rogers also asked John Brown, a materials forensic expert from Georgia Tech to confirm his finding using different methods. Brown did so. He also concluded that the shroud had been mended with newer material. Since then, a team of nine scientists at Los Alamos has also confirmed Rogers work, also with different methods and procedures. Much of this new information has been recently published in Chemistry Today.
http://shroudofturin.wordpress.....s-of-time/

“Analytical Results on Thread Samples Taken from the Raes Sampling Area (Corner) of the Shroud Cloth” (Aug 2008)
Excerpt: The age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case……. LANL’s work confirms the research published in Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 2005) by the late Raymond Rogers, a chemist who had studied actual C-14 samples and concluded the sample was not part of the original cloth possibly due to the area having been repaired.
– Robert Villarreal – Los Alamos National Laboratory
http://www.ohioshroudconference.com/

Shroud Carbon Dating Overturned – Robert Villarreal – press release video

305. 305
bornagain77 says:

As well, newly developed ‘non-destructive’ dating methods have now placed the age of the Shroud at the time of Christ

Why is the Turin Shroud Authentic? – Giulio Fanti* – November 2018
Conclusion excerpt: If, as discussed above, by authenticity of the Shroud is meant a funerary sheet, of very ancient manufacture, of about 2000 years ago, that wrapped the corpse of a man hard tortured and dead on a cross, all the scientific clues considered seem favorable to this hypothesis.
Six [8, 10-14] out of seven independent dating methods (and [9] has been widely criticized) indicate that this linen Sheet is datable to a period including the first century after Christ. The most important Relic of Christianity wrapped a corpse. The blood traces correspond to those of a tortured man. The body image cannot be explained, but the most reliable hypotheses refer to an intense and probably very brief burst of energy. The corpse, endowed with considerable corpse rigidity, remained wrapped in the Shroud for a short period, not exceeding forty hours. All these clues therefore confirm the authenticity of the Shroud [27]
https://juniperpublishers.com/gjaa/pdf/GJAA.MS.ID.555707.pdf

Evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity (Timeline of facts) –
What Is the Shroud of Turin? Facts & History Everyone Should Know – Myra Adams and Russ Breault – November 08, 2019
https://www.christianity.com/wiki/jesus-christ/what-is-the-shroud-of-turin.html

New technology suggests Shroud of Turin is 2,000 years old – April 2022
Excerpt:,,, a new dating technology has placed the fabric within the time of Christ.
WAXS
The study was conducted by Dr. Liberato de Caro of Italy’s Institute of Crystallography of the National Research Council, in Bari. Dr. de Caro has employed a method known as “Wide-Angle X-ray Scattering,” or WAXS, which measures the natural aging of flax cellulose and converts it to time since manufacture.
The process has several key features that make it more desirable than radiocarbon dating, not least of which that it is completely non-destructive to the samples.,,,
De Caro explained that the WAXS method was used on a variety of samples of historical textiles that have been documented to be aged from 3000 BC to 2000 AD. He placed the Shroud of Turin against these samples and found that it best matched a piece of fabric known to have come from the siege of Masada, Israel, in 55-74 AD.,,,
Pollen
De Caro also noted some exciting elements that could help trace the shroud’s history and migration from the Middle East to Europe. He noted that the samples of the shroud contained samples of pollen from the ancient region of Palestine, which could not have originated in Europe.
https://aleteia.org/2022/04/22/new-technology-suggests-shroud-of-turin-is-2000-years-old/

Now that the flawed carbon dating has finally been overturned, all the other major lines of evidence that strongly indicated the Shroud is authentic, lines of evidence which atheists have simply ignored, now converge and establish the Shroud as authentic.

8 Reasons Why The Shroud Of Turin Might Be The Burial Cloth Of Jesus
By Brian Chilton – April 25, 2017
1) The 1988 carbon-dating test was flawed
2) The blood on the Shroud is authentic
3) The image on the Shroud is not a painting
4. The pollen on the Shroud is found exclusively in the Jerusalem area
5. The wounds of the man on the Shroud match the details of Jesus’s crucifixion
6. The points of the face match those of the earliest portraits of Jesus
7. The identical position and type of blood on the face of the Shroud with that of the Sudarium of Oviedo.
8. ,,, high-powered ultraviolet radiation used to make the image on the Shroud.
http://reasonsforjesus.com/8-r.....-of-jesus/

Perhaps the best piece of evidence that Shroud is not a fraud is the simple fact that the technology that was needed to produce the shroud did not exist in the Middle Ages. And still today, with all our advanced technology, we still cannot reproduce the Shroud in all its detail.

“the closest science can come to explaining how the image of the Man in the Shroud got there is by comparing the situation to a controlled burst of high-intensity radiation similar to the Hiroshima bomb explosion which “printed” images of incinerated people on building walls.”
– Frank Tribbe – Leading Scholar And Author On Shroud Research

Shroud Of Turin Is Authentic, Italian Study Suggests – December 2011
Excerpt: Last year scientists were able to replicate marks on the cloth using highly advanced ultraviolet techniques that weren’t available 2,000 years ago — nor during the medieval times, for that matter.,,, Since the shroud and “all its facets” still cannot be replicated using today’s top-notch technology, researchers suggest it is impossible that the original image could have been created in either period.
http://www.thegopnet.com/shrou.....ests-87037

Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011
Excerpt: After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.
However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.
Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic.
“The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” they said.
And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....79512.html

Moreover, the Shroud image has a very enigmatic photographic negative, 3-D holographic, characteristic to it.

Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Hologram – video

Basically, we have a clothe with a photographic negative image on it that was made well before photography was even invented. Moreover, the photographic negative image has a 3-Dimensional holographic nature to its image that was somehow encoded within the photographic negative well before holography was even known about. Moreover, even with our present day technology, we still cannot replicated the image in all its detail.
My question to atheists is this, if you truly believe some mad genius forger in the middle ages made this image, then please pray tell why did this mad genius save all his genius for this supposed forgery alone and not for, say, inventing photography itself since he surely would have required mastery of photography to pull off the forgery? Not to mention the invention and mastery of laser holography? Moreover, why did this hypothetical mad super-genius destroy all of his scientific instruments that he would have had to invent in order to make the image? Leonardo da Vinci would not have been worthy to tie the shoe laces of such a hypothetical mad super-genius!

As Silver Asiatic commented,

These are big questions to deal with. I’ve never seen any of the shroud-skeptics address this.
We see claims that “the shroud is a forgery” and then the discussion ends with that. It seems obvious to me that the skeptics are afraid to go any further and are just relieved that they “silenced” the shroud.
But wait – yes, who was this forger? We have 3-D, photographic image of amazing subtlety and refinement. Yes, it’s something that transcends the genius of Leonardo DaVinci. We continue to use 21st century technology just to try to reproduce it.
But nobody knows the name or origin of this artistic genius? There is no evidence of a workshop or artistic guild where this innovative creation was designed? Nobody from history ever mentioned this person? This genius-artist only produced this one masterpiece work – a holographic image on a cloth (containing pollen traceable to Jerusalem)? It was not framed or put on display. Not sold to anyone. The artist got nothing from creating it. Even the name of the genius artist disappeared. He never influenced any other artists. No family, friends, artistic community – not even the parish church – ever knew or said who he was?
Amazingly, we only discovered the true power of the image when we took a photo negative of it in the 20th century. Yes, where are the medieval instruments used to create it? Everything was just accidentally lost?
– Silver Asiatic

Verse:

John 20:3-8
Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.
Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.

306. 306
PyrrhoManiac1 says:

@299

PM1, you tried to set up a frame that invites an insulation around internalism.

I absolutely did no such thing at all. I simply made a perfectly intelligible distinction between different kinds of criticism, and I did so in order to underscore the specific kind of criticism that Plantinga and Slagle are engaged in.

307. 307
Querius says:

Bornagain77 @304,

While this is off topic from the evidence of the intelligent design of the universe, you might find this interesting since you brought up the shroud of Turin. It’s a stretch, but maybe one can suggest that the design of the universe and the shroud of Turin are points where science potentially encounters God.

As you know, the shroud of Turin is the most intensely studied cloth in human history, employing chemical analysis of the dirt in it, the weave pattern, blood type analysis (type AB), holographic 3D imaging, C-14 dating (flawed due to contamination by a medieval re-weaving that repaired a charred corner of the original cloth), pollen analysis, and even some cutting-edge technologies.

The Sudarium of Oviedo, Spain, is the face cloth that once covered the face of a crucified man for a few hours. It seems to match up with the face area on the shroud of Turin—wound locations, blood flows, type AB blood . . . and they have different provenances. Here are some references:

https://www.shroud.com/guscin.htm

And here’s a scientific article on the subject from 2015:
https://www.shs-conferences.org/articles/shsconf/abs/2015/02/shsconf_atsi2014_00008/shsconf_atsi2014_00008.html

And photos
http://www.shroudofturin.us/

-Q

308. 308
bornagain77 says:

Q, thanks.

As to: “maybe one can suggest that the design of the universe and the shroud of Turin are points where science potentially encounters God.”

More than the vast majority of people realize.

309. 309
kairosfocus says:

PM1, yes, you did make such claims and continue to do so. However, we both know that a material issue is that many dispute the first principles of logical reasoning (esp. LNC and even weak form principles of sufficient reason thence causality and the necessary beings) and even more dispute demonstrably branch on which we all sit first duties of reason; their name is legion. These principles and duties, however are both manifestly pervasive self evident first principles, that are universally binding. When therefore an ideology or school of thought would dismiss or dispute such — even though they are “external” to it — that critique is highly valid and remains so despite objection or dismissal. In fact such resistance becomes evidence of the unreasonableness involved in the school and its doctrine in the military sense. And of course, as self referentiality and incoherence are bound up in these, such a critique is valid once substantial. KF

310. 310
kairosfocus says:

PS, by weak form, I here imply that for any A that is/is not/may be/may not be/ is impossible, we may freely ask why and hope with confidence that we may have an answer on inquiry. Where, using PW, we may see that some candidates A are impossible of being, and that others are possible. Of the latter some are contingent and caused, others are necessary and fabric to any possible world.

311. 311
Origenes says:

~ “external criticism”

KF: PM1, you tried to set up a frame that invites an insulation around internalism.

PM1: I absolutely did no such thing at all. I simply made a perfectly intelligible distinction between different kinds of criticism, and I did so in order to underscore the specific kind of criticism that Plantinga and Slagle are engaged in.

When someone attempts to criticize my position by saying that I am wrong to claim that there isn’t any scientific proof for the realness of near-death experiences, I would simply reply that I made no such claim. So, I would make clear that the person is mistaken about my position WRT NDE, and leave it at that. I would not go on to state, as you do, that this person engages in “external criticism based on criteria to which someone is not committed.” And even now that you have made me aware of the possibility to do so, I won’t adopt this practice, because it makes exactly zero sense to me.