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Logic and First Principles, 13: The challenge of creeping scientism (and of linked nominalism)


There is a creeping scientism in our intellectual climate.

We have been led to think that Science is the gold standard of reliable, substantial knowledge and that institutional science and its leaders are the curators of knowledge. This is of course deeply connected to the wider domination of evolutionary materialistic scientism, which compounds the above with the notion that the stuff studied by the physical and chemical sciences is effectively the limit of credibly, reliably knowable reality.

Where, let us note that scientism is a part of the defining cluster of naturalism, in both its metaphysical and “methodological” guises. We can readily see that in that ever so humble source, Wikipedia, speaking confidently and comfortably on its own philosophical bent:

“Naturalism can intuitively be separated into an ontological and a methodological component,” argues David Papineau.[3] “Ontological” refers to the philosophical study of the nature of being. Some philosophers equate naturalism with materialism. For example, philosopher Paul Kurtz argues that nature is best accounted for by reference to material principles. These principles include mass, energy, and other physical and chemical properties accepted by the scientific community. Further, this sense of naturalism holds that spirits, deities, and ghosts are not real and that there is no “purpose” in nature. Such an absolute belief in naturalism is commonly referred to as metaphysical naturalism.[4]

Assuming naturalism in working methods as the current paradigm, without the further consideration of naturalism as an absolute truth with philosophical entailment [–> as in, let’s keep it implicit], is called methodological naturalism.[5] The subject matter here is a philosophy of acquiring knowledge based on an assumed paradigm.

Notice, the latter point, suitably highlighted: “[T] he subject matter here is a philosophy of acquiring knowledge based on an assumed paradigm.”


But, in fact, all of this is ill-informed.

Science, insofar as it creates large scale explanatory constructs, is inherently unable to rise to the first level of responsible certainty, moral certainty. That is, theories and models are inherently highly provisional and are subject to correction or replacement based on logical critique or empirical observations. That’s why we talk about paradigm shifts and scientific revolutions. Today’s dominant school of thought can become tomorrow’s dead theory, often one funeral at a time.

Scientific observations of course can indeed be morally certain, but that is if they are the testimony of reliable witnesses, not because they are scientific. This is part of why observations test and can overthrow theories. Models don’t even aspire to the possibility of truth, they only hope to give good enough results in some domain of practice or other.

So, too, we can see that the tendency to view for instance Mathematics as a Science in the modern sense, is ill-founded. Core mathematical facts and necessary realities are necessary truths or entities, they are far more strongly warranted than scientific frameworks or even observations.

Similarly, nominalism (especially as regards mathematics) is questionable. It is of course the default view of most mathematical practitioners that the substance of their practice is embedded in reality, is somehow real although abstract so that core mathematical entities and their properties are discovered rather than invented, notably if one makes a paper mobius strip and cuts it around in the centre vs 1/3 way across, one gets a dramatically different result. And again, those contrast with cutting around an ordinary cylindrical loop of paper. There are many, many other cases.

This has been challenged by nominalists, who tend to dismiss the reality of abstracta, or to hold that abstraction is “merely” a concept we form to collect phenomena we perceive as somehow related, in effect a form of words. Some would hold that the reality of mathematical entities is that we hold them in our minds (whatever such minds are and however they arise). In this context, axiomatisations then effectively determine mathematical truth as what comes from successful axioms, as we play the collective intellectual game we term Mathematics. Thus the study of the logic of structure and quantity is the focus, the notion that there is a substantial body of discoverable substance independent of our culturally influenced thought and invention is deprecated or even dismissed. As the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy outlines:

Nominalism about mathematics (or mathematical nominalism) is the view according to which either mathematical objects, relations, and structures do not exist at all, or they do not exist as abstract objects (they are neither located in space-time nor do they have causal powers). In the latter case, some suitable concrete replacement for mathematical objects is provided. Broadly speaking, there are two forms of mathematical nominalism: those views that require the reformulation of mathematical (or scientific) theories in order to avoid the commitment to mathematical objects (e.g., Field 1980; Hellman 1989), and those views that do not reformulate mathematical or scientific theories and offer instead an account of how no commitment to mathematical objects is involved when these theories are used (e.g., Azzouni 2004) . . . .

In ontological discussions about mathematics, two views are prominent. According to platonism, mathematical objects (as well as mathematical relations and structures) exist and are abstract; that is, they are not located in space and time and have no causal connection with us. Although this characterization of abstract objects is purely negative—indicating what such objects are not—in the context of mathematics it captures the crucial features the objects in questions are supposed to have. According to nominalism, mathematical objects (including, henceforth, mathematical relations and structures) do not exist, or at least they need not be taken to exist for us to make sense of mathematics. So, it is the nominalist’s burden to show how to interpret mathematics without the commitment to the existence of mathematical objects.

Such nominalism, however, is problematic. In a sense, such is unsurprising, all philosophically tinged schools of thought bristle with difficulties so that a key method of philosophy is comparative difficulties. However, it is arguable that in mathematics, nominalism goes a bridge too far. We can readily see that the results of making and cutting paper loops in particular ways are independent of our views, understanding, axiom systems and the like. In fact, if an axiom system would contradict the facts of structure and quantity we see on the ground, it would be severely challenged as unrealistic and likely irrelevant. More could be said, but enough is on the table that we can see why so many practitioners are firmly convinced that there is a discoverable substance of structure and quantity that is there, albeit not concrete. There is no mental or technological tool or instrument that would allow us to spy out a realm where we find a repository holding for example THE null set.

And we already see by the above, that the domain that studies degree of warrant, reliability and certainty of knowledge claims is not science, but philosophy. This is part of the task of Epistemology, one of its branches.

So, first, we must recognise the limitations of science and that the ideology of evolutionary materialistic scientism is self referentially incoherent (as Rosenberg so aptly but inadvertently demonstrates) and necessarily false. The self-refuting is logically falsified. It is worth quoting Rosenberg in his own voice, as a reminder:

Alex Rosenberg as he begins Ch 9 of his The Atheist’s Guide to Reality:

>> FOR SOLID EVOLUTIONARY REASONS, WE’VE BEEN tricked into looking at life from the inside. Without scientism, we look at life from the inside, from the first-person POV (OMG, you don’t know what a POV is?—a “point of view”). The first person is the subject, the audience, the viewer of subjective experience, the self in the mind. Scientism shows that the first-person POV is an illusion. [–> grand delusion is let loose in utter self referential incoherence] Even after scientism convinces us, we’ll continue to stick with the first person. But at least we’ll know that it’s another illusion of introspection and we’ll stop taking it seriously. We’ll give up all the answers to the persistent questions about free will, the self, the soul, and the meaning of life that the illusion generates [–> bye bye to responsible, rational freedom on these presuppositions]. The physical facts fix all the facts. [–> asserts materialism, leading to . . . ] The mind is the brain. It has to be physical and it can’t be anything else, since thinking, feeling, and perceiving are physical process—in particular, input/output processes—going on in the brain. We [–> at this point, what “we,” apart from “we delusions”?] can be sure of a great deal about how the brain works because the physical facts fix all the facts about the brain. The fact that the mind is the brain guarantees that there is no free will. It rules out any purposes or designs organizing our actions or our lives [–> thus rational thought and responsible freedom]. It excludes the very possibility of enduring persons, selves, or souls that exist after death or for that matter while we live.>>

Next, we must recognise that without people, there is no science. People, able to think rationally, responsibly and with significant freedom, a freedom that is morally governed by duty to truth, right reason, prudence, fairness etc. That is, we see here that it is inescapably true that we have minds of our own, minds that are utterly transcendent relative to what blindly mechanical and/or stochastic GIGO-limited, computing on a computational substrate, its organisation and software can do. Computers are refined, organised rocks and they have no dreams; rational, reflective, active, contemplative thought is beyond such. Even a profoundly deluded mind rises above mechanistic and/or stochastic computation, through self-awareness:

Thus, as reasoning we have reason to take seriously the view that the brain is an interface, not the de-limiting computational substrate. The Smith, two-tier controller cybernetic bio-bot model can help us catch a glimpse of how that might be:

The Derek Smith two-tier controller cybernetic model

We therefore look at other philosophical issues, recognising that just to reason, we face the inescapable truth that we must have minds of our own, minds that have properties drastically different from those of dynamic-stochastic systems including computational substrates. Reppert, aptly summarised:

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

Recall, our ability to be responsibly, freely rational is antecedent to science and is a condition we must implicitly accept just to credibly do scientific and linked mathematical reasoning. Therefore, it is not explanatorily empty to accept on reasoned reflection that we have reason to accept that mind reflects an order of reality that transcends the picture painted by scientism or by evolutionary materialism.

So, we now look at questions from another branch of core philosophy, the logic of being, i.e. ontology, a sub-discipline of metaphysics which studies being. What sort of thing must mind be to have the properties that are inescapable if we are to have a consensus-building community of rational, credible discussion?

We find that conscious, self-aware, reflective, volitional, conscience guided, more or less intelligent, rationally and morally governed mind is our first fact; the fact through which we process others. So, such things are inescapably certain, in many ways.

Where also, one of the empirical observations we make, is that design exists and often has in it highly reliable signs of intelligent, purposeful design that we may observe. Where also as contingent creatures, we cannot delimit possible intelligences. So, we know that where we see reliable signs of design, we are warranted to infer that as best explanation, indeed, as a scientific inference, that intelligently directed configuration — design — is a material causal factor. In the world of life, this immediately comes out when we notice the genetic code and its role in protein synthesis.


The Genetic Code in action


Protein Synthesis (HT: Wiki Media)

Going further, the observed cosmos and its physics are pervaded with fine tuning, a strong sign of design. Where also atomic matter and the mathematics of cosmology point to contingency of being. As Luke Barnes summarises:

Barnes: “What if we tweaked just two of the fundamental constants? This figure shows what the universe would look like if the strength of the strong nuclear force (which holds atoms together) and the value of the fine-structure constant (which represents the strength of the electromagnetic force between elementary particles) were higher or lower than they are in this universe. The small, white sliver represents where life can use all the complexity of chemistry and the energy of stars. Within that region, the small “x” marks the spot where those constants are set in our own universe.” (HT: New Atlantis)

We need a deeper root of reality than the physical world we inhabit. One that can accommodate designers.

This is pointing to mind as antecedent to matter.

Also, as we are minded, embodied, contingent, morally governed creatures, we see that the roots of reality reflect properties of mindedness (intelligence, purpose, creative synthesis are components of designing) AND moral properties. This points to mind that is of moral character sufficient to ground our moral government. All of this is reasoned thought, not empty, woolly speculation on culturally available myths.

Evolutionary materialistic scientism (aka Naturalism) and its fellow travellers, simply cannot sufficiently address what we face in confronting and trying to understand reality. We need a fresh start as a civilisation. END

F/N: I/l/o the onward thread, I think I should pick up and respond, briefly and specifically to:
MNS, 9 : >>facts use the logic of being forced. Facts are FORCED by evidence.>>
I respond, that instead, our acknowledgement that some claim X is warranted as a knowable fact is inherently not "forced by evidence" but is an act of freely responding to intellectual duty to warranted truth of experience, observation, reason. The too often exemplified fact that we may impose a crooked yardstick, be hyperskeptically dismissive or even reject the corrective of a plumb-line, self-evident truth, speaks volumes. Responsiveness to well warranted truth or even knowable fact is in part a choice. Indeed, once we have the background, so is willingness to follow a chain of evidence and warrant. There is, proverbially, none so blind as s/he who WILL not see. Sadly, willful obtuseness is real. KF kairosfocus
FYI, cont'd: 7a SM: Is the slippery slope argument ALWAYS fallacious? https://uncommondescent.com/logic-and-first-principles-of-right-reason/sm-is-the-slippery-slope-argument-always-fallacious/ 8 Logic & First Principles 8: Bridging the Wigner MATH-PHYSICS GAP (with help from phase/ configuration/ state space) https://uncommondescent.com/physics/logic-first-principles-8-bridging-the-wigner-math-physics-gap-with-help-from-phase-configuration-state-space/ 9 Logic and First Principles, 9: Can we be “certain” of any of our views or conclusions? https://uncommondescent.com/logic-and-first-principles-of-right-reason/logic-and-first-principles-9-can-we-be-certain-of-any-of-our-views-or-conclusions/ 10 Logic and First Principles, 10: Knowable Moral Truth and Moral Government vs. Nihilistic Manipulation https://uncommondescent.com/ethics/logic-and-first-principles-10-knowable-moral-truth-and-moral-government-vs-nihilistic-manipulation/ 11 Logic and First Principles, 11: The logic of Ultimate Mind as Source of Reality https://uncommondescent.com/mind/logic-and-first-principles-11-the-logic-of-ultimate-mind-as-source-of-reality/ 12 Logic and First Principles, 12: The crooked yardstick vs plumb-line self-evident truths https://uncommondescent.com/logic-and-first-principles-of-right-reason/logic-and-first-principles-12-the-crooked-yardstick-vs-plumb-line-self-evident-truths/ {This thread's OP is no. 13] KF PS: Note no 6 in context. kairosfocus
FYI, on the series in hand so far: 1 Logic & first principles, 1: Analogy, Induction and the power of the principle of identity (with application to the genetic code) https://uncommondescent.com/the-design-of-life/logic-first-principles-analogy-induction-and-the-power-of-the-principle-of-identity-with-application-to-the-genetic-code/ 2 Logic and First Principles, 2: How could Induction ever work? (Identity and universality in action . . . ) https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/logic-and-first-principles-how-could-induction-ever-work-identity-and-universality-in-action/ 3 Logic & First Principles, 3: The roots of right reason and the power/limits of entailment https://uncommondescent.com/mathematics/logic-first-principles-3-the-roots-of-right-reason-and-the-power-limits-of-entailment/ 4 Logic & First Principles, 4: The logic of being, causality and science https://uncommondescent.com/mathematics/logic-first-principles-4-the-logic-of-being-causality-and-science/ 5 Logic and first principles, 5: The mathemat-ICAL ordering of reality https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/logic-and-first-principles-5-the-mathemat-ical-ordering-of-reality/ 6 Logic and First Principles, 6: Reason/Rationality and Responsibility (i.e. moral government) are inextricably entangled https://uncommondescent.com/logic-and-first-principles-of-right-reason/logic-and-first-principles-6-reason-rationality-and-responsibility-i-e-moral-government-are-inextricably-entangled/ 7 Logic and First Principles, 7: The problem of fallacies vs credible warrant https://uncommondescent.com/logic-and-first-principles-of-right-reason/logic-and-first-principles-7-the-problem-of-fallacies-vs-credible-warrant/ kairosfocus
PS: It will be helpful to note the great writer on Evidence, Simon Greenleaf on evidence, inductive logic and rhetorical proof -- yes, that is a thing (it is bound up in the Greek word, PISTIS . . . often rendered faith or being firmly convinced on good warrant, esp. in 2 Tim 3:12 - 17) -- to moral certainty
Evidence, in legal acceptation, includes all the means by which any alleged matter of fact, the truth of which is submitted to investigation, is established or disproved . . . None but mathematical truth is susceptible of that high degree of evidence, called demonstration, which excludes all possibility of error [--> Greenleaf wrote almost 100 years before Godel], and which, therefore, may reasonably be required in support of every mathematical deduction. [--> that is, his focus is on the logic of good support for in principle uncertain conclusions, i.e. in the modern sense, inductive logic and reasoning in real world, momentous contexts with potentially serious consequences.] Matters of fact are proved by moral evidence alone; by which is meant, not only that kind of evidence which is employed on subjects connected with moral conduct, but all the evidence which is not obtained either from intuition, or from demonstration. In the ordinary affairs of life, we do not require demonstrative evidence, because it is not consistent with the nature of the subject, and to insist upon it would be unreasonable and absurd. [--> the issue of warrant to moral certainty, beyond reasonable doubt; and the contrasted absurdity of selective hyperskepticism.] The most that can be affirmed of such things, is, that there is no reasonable doubt concerning them. [--> moral certainty standard, and this is for the proverbial man in the Clapham bus stop, not some clever determined advocate or skeptic motivated not to see or assent to what is warranted.] The true question, therefore, in trials of fact, is not whether it is possible that the testimony may be false, but, whether there is sufficient probability of its truth; that is, whether the facts are shown by competent and satisfactory evidence. Things established by competent and satisfactory evidence are said to be proved. [--> pistis enters; we might as well learn the underlying classical Greek word that addresses the three levers of persuasion, pathos- ethos- logos and its extension to address worldview level warranted faith-commitment and confident trust on good grounding, through the impact of the Judaeo-Christian tradition in C1 as was energised by the 500 key witnesses.] By competent evidence, is meant that which the very-nature of the thing to be proved requires, as the fit and appropriate proof in the particular case, such as the production of a writing, where its contents are the subject of inquiry. By satisfactory evidence, which is sometimes called sufficient evidence, is intended that amount of proof, which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced mind [--> in British usage, the man in the Clapham bus stop], beyond reasonable doubt. The circumstances which will amount to this degree of proof can never be previously defined; the only legal [--> and responsible] test of which they are susceptible, is their sufficiency to satisfy the mind and conscience of a common man; and so to convince him, that he would venture to act upon that conviction, in matters of the highest concern and importance to his own interest.
[= definition of moral certainty as a balanced unprejudiced judgement beyond reasonable, responsible doubt. Obviously, i/l/o wider concerns, while scientific facts as actually observed may meet this standard, scientific explanatory frameworks such as hypotheses, models, laws and theories cannot as they are necessarily provisional and in many cases have had to be materially modified, substantially re-interpreted to the point of implied modification, or outright replaced; so a modicum of prudent caution is warranted in such contexts -- explanatory frameworks are empirically reliable so far on various tests, not utterly certain. Morally certain facts of observation and experience in our common world are not necessary truths.]
[A Treatise on Evidence, Vol I, 11th edn. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1888) ch 1., sections 1 and 2. Shorter paragraphs added. (NB: Greenleaf was a founder of the modern Harvard Law School and is regarded as a founding father of the modern Anglophone school of thought on evidence, in large part on the strength of this classic work.)]
MNS, we are incorrigibly self-aware, conscious, responsible, rational, morally governed, conscience-guided individuals so subjects; subjects who are self-evidently, inescapably knowing that we are self-aware. That is rather explicitly in the OP, just note the contrast between dreamless rock and contemplative, conscious mind in the first infographic in it. Here, we have, then, a first undeniable fact of our inner, subjective lives, illustrating that subjectivity of person and objectivity of truth and of knowledge are not only mutually intersecting but mutually supportive. Likewise, just the contemplation of possible worlds grounds a considerable domain of core necessary mathematical facts antecedent to axiomatic systems. Subjectivity, conscious, reasonable and responsible significantly free agency and objectivity (including knowing facts) are mutually compatible and even mutually supportive. There is no good reason for the radical separation of subjectivity and knowing facts that you seem to suggest. Facts can only be warranted as knowledge to at least moral certainty (the lowest degree) by responsibly, rationally significantly free, morally and rationally governed subjects, i.e. significantly free moral agents. That we know we are governed by duty to truth, to right reason, to prudence and fairness etc, immediately grounds our credibility as creatures able and duty-bound to seek truth through sound, responsible rationality -- including known truths warranted to the level of fact -- are already effectively a demonstration that being subjects and knowing facts of experience, observation and necessity [such as in core Mathematics] are inextricably tangled with our being self-aware subjects and agents. No one has sought to say that the subjective and the objective are not distinct and separably identifiable. No one has sought to denigrate the significance of being rationally, reasonably, conscience-guided and morally governed significantly free self-aware, knowing, choosing, speaking, acting agents. What we have done is to highlight that it takes such a subject to credibly seek, warrant and know a fact. So, the stereotypes fail, we are not cardboard cut-out figures. Going beyond, the existence of such creatures points to a root of reality adequate to bridge IS and OUGHT. An inherently good, necessary being, with power, capability and intent to design, effect, create such a world with such creatures. It is in that context that it is entirely appropriate to challenge creeping scientism, nominalism in Math (and other domains of thought) etc. Which is the actual focus of the OP. KF F/N: FYI, when I make a SERIES of OP's on logic and first principles, that automatically implies a stage by stage approach that addresses various first principle level issues one by one or in useful clusters. kairosfocus
It doesn't add up. You don't appreciate enough what a beating subjectivity is getting from humanity in general, academics, and various religious doctrines and ideologies. You don't come down to a straightforward unequivocal acceptance of the validity of subjectivity. It is just more of the same bending everything toward fact. Everybody bends everything towards fact. Sure in practise subjectivity and objectivity are intermingled, that doesn't mean you cannot state what two different things are being intermingled. And that is creationism, as explained. When you make a post titled logic and first principles, then that must be explaining the logic of subjectivity and objectivity, creator and creation, because those are the first principles. mohammadnursyamsu
PS: Vid, unfortunately YT is distorted in its proportions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1OOc8HC3TY kairosfocus
MNS, knowledge is warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) belief. How one arrives there inextricably intertwines the subjectivity of the knowing agent and the objectivity of warrant. And yes, i/l/o Gettier cases, I accept that we distinguish internal justification from in effect externally accessible warrant. For instance, I am wearing glasses as I view and type on a PC. I perceive visually, and the glasses add clarity of focus, yielding a consistent reading of the message. I am warranted to accept the perception augmented by the use of glasses. Similarly, I see consistent correlations between keys pressed and the letters then words etc appearing in the comment box; coherence of different appearances yielding the conclusion that I am interacting with something in the external world is a warrant. Further, when I go away and return, or look from a different angle, a consistent picture of the PC emerges. It is reinforced by what I feel, and I observe others interacting with the same consistent object. I also can observe changes over time, e.g. as it warms up from a cold start, or performance shifts as memory use, processing and I/O change, reported by monitoring software. Similarly, I can see battery usage, charging, expected remaining battery life, etc, all forming a consistent whole. All of this is an example of how my perceptions and concepts (e.g. the "permanence" of objects when I am not present) are not just arbitrary choices but reflect warrant that I am working with an external entity. I could go on to a scientific and a financial calculator, houses, lawns, vehicles, other people, the rooster crowing in the background, etc etc. These entities are real, independent of my opinions, dreams, desires, choices. When I report accurately, I am stating facts about such realities. A striking example is the mobius strip. Make up three paper loops. One a cylinder, two with half-twists (180 degrees). Cut the cylinder around the loop along its middle with a pair of scissors. Similarly cut one M-strip in the middle. Cut the other 1/3 way across. Three very different, consistent results. We can accurately describe on good warrant, giving facts as experienced and observed. Those facts correspond to realities. Now, in so interacting, something else is happening, I am a self-aware, conscious, choosing agent. I can do the experiment or watch a video demonstration. I can ponder the implied structure and quantity issues that are independent of my opinions. I can ponder how a DNA loop could possibly have a mobius strip form factor and what that could mean for how it is read in the cell. I can accurately report those thoughts. How it strikes me to ponder such is a subjective event, sparked by the basically ribbon-like architecture of the molecule and the twisted vs untwisted forms. I have asked, internally, what-if, and see the implications of one-sidedness. That is the self-moved, reflexively active agent in action. By choice or by spontaneous events -- e.g, a perception that a car is approaching as I wish to cross the street, I can modify my inner life and outer conduct. (I just decided, here, to allude to Plato in The Laws, Bk X, but chose not to quote him in extenso on the self-moved. I point also to the Smith, two-tier controller cybernetic loop model and the concept of quantum influence. More could be suggested.) Subjectivity and objectivity are intertwined, inextricably. I can know my thoughts and know things about the external world, both being warranted. If you have seen my contributions and comments over time, you will know that I point out that for the life of the mind and for discussion etc to be credible, we have to have responsible, rational, significant freedom. Which will be morally rather than mechanically or stochastically governed. Let me note as you keep reverting to it, that beauty has long been analysed on axiological principles which render a degree of objectivity to it. That's beautiful/ugly is not merely a random or arbitrary reaction. Yes, tastes are involved and appreciation can grow or wane [and can be distorted], but this is not purely arbitrary. The recent studies on the proportions, symmetry and patterns of beautiful faces are good current cases in point. There are principles of composition that contribute to beauty, as any properly trained artist can tell you -- ponder the classic golden ratio in all its guises. And more. Please, interact with the real people in and around this blog, not projected stereotypes. KF kairosfocus
KFS, although what I say is very simple, it occurs to me that while I recognize two categorically different ways of reaching a conclusion about what exists, subjectivity and objectivity, you really only recognize one way, the warranted true belief. I am right and you are wrong. There is no doubt about it because I can just look at the logic used in common discourse to see how it works. It is direct available evidence. You are making a very, very, big error to put fact in the creator category. And you know that atheists, materialists, they always go on about facts and the scientific method, talking about how to obtain facts. You never see them explain how subjectivity works, how to form subjective opinions. It is very obvious on the face of it, that materialists, atheists, have problems with subjective opinion. Noticeably many atheists deny free will, or redefine it, to make it mean that they could not have done otherwise. While subjective opinions are formed by free will, atheists deny free will. Do atheists deny free will in order to get rid of subjectivity? Does 1 +1=2? Why don't you get a clue and look at the obvious. 1. Creator, chooses, spiritual, existence of which is a matter of chosen opinion 2. Creation, chosen, material, existence of which is a matter fact forced by evidence Where choice is the mechanism of creation, how any creation originates. An opinion is formed by choice and expresses what it is that makes a choice. A fact is obtained by evidence forcing to produce a 1 to 1 corresponding model of a creation. To say a painting is beautiful, the opinion was formed by spontaneous expression of emotion with free will, therefore choosing the opinion. To say the painting is ugly would have been an equally logically valid opinion. The word "beautiful", refers back to a love for the way the painting looks. Out of this love the word "beautiful" was chosen. So it means the love was agency of the choice to say it is beautifull. The logic is demonstrated, that a subjective opinion is formed by choice, and expresses what it is that makes a choice. What that means is that it is a chosen opinion that this love for the way the painting looks exists. You will find no factual, measurable love in the brain. You cannot find the emotion love, but you may find more expression in the brain, like the word beautiful is also expression. mohammadnursyamsu
H, he is not in utter error, but has points that need comparison with plumb lines. Gotta go, later, KF kairosfocus
MNS, Thanks for viewing, it is shocking food for thought -- for 2400 years now. The essay is also vital, as it gives real-world teeth to the longstanding parable. Within living memory continents were dominated by ideologies that created destructive shadow-show realities pivoting on crooked yardsticks enshrined as standards of straight, accurate, upright. This meant what was truly such was locked out. The community view of common good sense or is at least prudent to profess, can be driven by error and even outright manipulation. That is why we need plumbline, self-evident first truths, and it is why we need to address core worldview and principles of reasoning issues. Now, let me, for record, note on points: >>I am talking about things which have the level of sophistication of tic tac toe, and you talk about ubercomplex things.>> 1: Philosophy is best understood as the discipline of hard, fundamental questions, hard because they have no easy, simplistic answers so that a key method is comparative difficulties. Maybe, Solomon's preface to the Proverbs, from 3,000 years ago can help us see more clearly:
Proverbs 1 Amplified Bible (AMP) The Usefulness of Proverbs 1 The proverbs (truths obscurely expressed, maxims) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction; To discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight, 3 To receive instruction in wise behavior and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness, Righteousness, justice, and integrity; 4 That prudence (good judgment, astute common sense) may be given to the naive or inexperienced [who are easily misled], And knowledge and discretion (intelligent discernment) to the youth, 5 The wise will hear and increase their learning, And the person of understanding will acquire wise counsel and the skill [to steer his course wisely and lead others to the truth], 6 To understand a proverb and a figure [of speech] or an enigma with its interpretation, And the words of the wise and their riddles [that require reflection]. 7 The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; But arrogant [a]fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline.
2: Wisdom is often simply and eloquently expressed, but it is by no means superficial. On reflection, the infinite depths begin to surface. >>The schoolbook for the Hitler Youth starts out with the title “A factual outlook on life”.>> 3: The agit-prop fallacy of the appeal to the simple or obvious that is a trap for the unwary. Solomon's father, David -- speaking in the name and voice of The Holy, had some choice words for that mentality:
Ps 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you [who are willing to learn] with My eye upon you. 9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bridle and rein to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you.
4: An allegation of fact without credible warrant is usually a trap for the inexperienced, simplistic and superficial. 5: That is doubly so in the mouth of the advocates of big lies and turnabout false accusations. >> The book then proceeds to claim that the content of character of people is a factual issue of biology.>> 6: A big lie, also meant to project the arrogance and folly of Nazism to those it targetted for attempted conquest and genocide. >>That is a category error. As character refers to the agency of choices people make,>> 7: From skimming elsewhere idiosyncratic usage. >> it therefore belongs in category 1, which means it is a matter of chosen opinion what the content of someone’s character is, and not a matter of fact. So the nazi’s mistakenly had a calculating and measuring attitutde in regards to the worth of people, the attitude that is appropiate for matter of fact issues.>> 8: Errors carried forward. No one here seriously disputes that virtue is a life building, soul making exercise. >>Then after the holocaust postmodernism was popularized, which asserted that opinions are inherent to statements of fact.>> 9: Knowledge includes actual belief, which is an attitude of a subject, thus too is or implies opinions. However, to be knowledge, what is actually believed must be well warranted, credibly true and so also reliable. 10: PoMo or better, ultramodernity, is not properly characterised by pointing to opinion. Instead, radical subjectivism or relativism such as in how the fable of the blind men and the elephant is used to create a subtle second order totalising metanarrative. >> That trick to blend opinion with fact softened and diffused the previous hardedged attitudes of materialists, like nazi’s.>> 10: Not all nazis were materialists. 11: To hold a firm view on good warrant is not to be an irrational dogmatist comparable to a nazi. 12: Radical subjectivism and relativism are themselves totalising metanarratives. The narrator after all sees the whole elephant and relativises and dismisses those characterised as blind. >>But really postmodernism is incoherent,>> 13: That is by now well known. The heavy lifting on that was done long since. >> and the solution is not to blend opinion with fact, >> 14: A strawman, which fails to properly grapple with epistemology, esp on what knowledge is. 14: Again, in the weak sense, knowledge is well warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) belief. Which includes or implies opinions and the act of an agent who holds the belief, judges the warrant, is a knower. >>but to accept the validity of subjectivity and objectivity, each in their own right.>> 15: It is subjects who know, as opposed to being merely loaded with data and carrying out programmed instructions. Gotta go, KF kairosfocus
Strangely enough, I feel some affinity with one thing I think that MNS is saying: to the extent that we are are free agents (a major disclaimer) and are exercising that freedom, our various beliefs, values, aesthetic preferences, normative judgments, and in general all statements that are subjective (arrive from the subject), etc. are choices - things we affirm - that could be chosen otherwise if we choose to do so, as opposed to facts, which can be confirmed consensually by reference to the world, and are thus objective (or in some cases, confirmed by direct internal experience: i.e., "I am conscious.") hazel
KFS, I watched the video, did not really read the essay. I am talking about things which have the level of sophistication of tic tac toe, and you talk about ubercomplex things. The schoolbook for the Hitler Youth starts out with the title "A factual outlook on life". The book then proceeds to claim that the content of character of people is a factual issue of biology. That is a category error. As character refers to the agency of choices people make, it therefore belongs in category 1, which means it is a matter of chosen opinion what the content of someone's character is, and not a matter of fact. So the nazi's mistakenly had a calculating and measuring attitutde in regards to the worth of people, the attitude that is appropiate for matter of fact issues. Then after the holocaust postmodernism was popularized, which asserted that opinions are inherent to statements of fact. That trick to blend opinion with fact softened and diffused the previous hardedged attitudes of materialists, like nazi's. But really postmodernism is incoherent, and the solution is not to blend opinion with fact, but to accept the validity of subjectivity and objectivity, each in their own right. mohammadnursyamsu
F/N: I have headlined Harry at 7 and LoneCycler at 18. KF kairosfocus
MNS, maybe, you need to take a moment to watch this video on Plato's Parable of the cave. The common sense reality of a community can be manipulated into a destructive delusion, as say the sad history of Nazi Germany or the USSR's Marxist-Leninist revolution demonstrate. Kindly see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2afuTvUzBQ&feature=related KF PS: After that, please take time to read Havel's essay on the power of the powerless: https://mrdivis.yolasite.com/resources/Vaclav%20Havel's%20Power%20of%20the%20Powerless.pdf kairosfocus
H, there is a place for making record for the onlooker, then moving on. KF kairosfocus
MNS, just another observation on context and focus. We are simply not interested in the topic, Creationism in this thread, the focus is right there in the title, logic and first principles. The issue is to get our thinking straight and to address a major worldview challenge in our civilisation, evolutionary materialistic scientism, which is problematic utterly independent of whether say 6-day, young earth, Bible-based Creationism is true or reasonable to accept, or day-age Creationism, or Theistic Evolution, etc. This is because -- although it is dominant in key institutions and perhaps in the wider community, it is manifestly incoherent. KF PS: I note, the straightforward meaning of fact has already been brought out sufficiently for reasonable purposes. As a reminder, kindly see 16 above: https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/logic-and-first-principles-13-the-challenge-of-creeping-scientism-and-of-linked-nominalism/#comment-673897 ( I assume, English is likely not your native language.) On this, we can have facts of observation, experience, perception and introspection or contemplation; where our perceptions, introspections and contemplations are part of our interior conscious lives and cannot be directly shared with another (save for those conjoined twins with intersecting nervous systems, e.g. seeing through one another's eyes); but as we are similar creatures who use language, they can be communicated and may evoke similar perceptions. If I am appeared to redly by a ball on a table that is an incorrigible first-person truth worth taking as a fact, independent of whether it is an observation, a video or a dream state. The exposition of a theory such as Newtonian dynamics lays out the facts of what that theory says and how it is worked out, the facts of what it predicts and where those are reliable or breakdown are again facts tied to analysis and observation. Their objectivity lies in how they are in effect open to accountability over correctness and their confirmation beyond reasonable doubt as such and so is indeed the case. On the subjective side, it is us, subjects, agents with conscious inner lives who have experiences, make observations, do and write out analyses, carry out experiments, observe, draw conclusions, etc. Knowledge is a state of a subject, having well warranted, credibly true (and so reliable) belief. PPS: I am again writing for record. kairosfocus
There is nothing not to comprehend about creationism because it uses the same logic everybody already uses in common discourse, and everybody comprehends it there intuitively. mohammadnursyamsu
I think we are seeing a new record for incomprehensibility here, IM~HO hazel
KFS, that 's not what subjectivity is. Facts are models, and the models are generally all not exhaustive, and there are all kinds of differences between models and what is modelled. Those differences are not subjectivity. When you decided not to look at how subjective words are used in common discourse, then really we are not having a reasonable debate. What makes creationism GREAT is that it separates fact from opinion, validating each in their own right. It's enormously powerful intellectually to have in principle 100 percent hard scientific fact, and purely emotional opinion. Where in comparison, materialism doesn't really have any place for subjective opinion at all (which results in social darwinism) , and postmodernism which blends opinion with fact. And then you put fact in the creator / agency category, making a mess just like materialism and postmodernism. mohammadnursyamsu
MNS, The phenomenon of visual illusions shows just how much of interpretation is involved. This includes the illusion of motion when we look at videos etc. Ironically, that allows us to see reality better and beyond direct experience! An interesting example for me is as I drive S here, on a certain corner there is what appears like an animal bent over to eat. It is in fact a cluster of croton bushes. The point remains, subjectivity and objectivity are not necessarily opposites. KF kairosfocus
To Kairosfocus: Perhaps the conscious aspect of vision is a map of levels of "noticing" laid over the picture. That objects in the field of vision get attributed points by choice, which process is noticing. It is just fanciful speculation. In any case you simply ignore common discourse, in favor of your intellectual reasoning. I have shown your ideas are inconsistent with common discourse / creationism. So that your ideas are irrellevant to fact and opinions as they are in common discourse. We should want people to know when the police ask for the facts about what happened, that they are supposed to provide a 1 to 1 corresponding recreation of what occurred. And not that they assert as fact that they are really very certain that person X is a bad man, person Y is a good man. mohammadnursyamsu
MNS, I will select just one key point. Vision is not equal to the neurological sensing and linked processing. It is a conscious, integrated experience which is inherently conscious and mental. It is also one of the most credible means we have to interact with the world. I add that our rational choice of terms does not render such descriptions as inevitably lacking in objectivity. I see the sun rising or setting or that the sky is cloudy with grey, rainy-looking clouds (adjusted for being relative descriptions) or the like is not an arbitrary, empty choice that could as well have gone any other way. KF kairosfocus
To Kairosfocus: You are not actually looking at the logic used in common discourse in regards to subjective words, rather you are investigating subjectivity as a brainfunction, with your reference to vision etc. In common discourse subjective words must be used by choice, and express what it is that makes a choice. That's the rules by which subjective words are used. Words like beautiful, nice, lazy, hate, fear, but also spirit, God, soul, they are all in reference to the agency of choices, and therefore can only be used by choice. That means it provides an invalid opinion to be forced to say a painting is beautiful. The creationist conceptual scheme: 1. Creator, chooses, spiritual, existence of which is a matter of chosen opinion 2. Creation, chosen, material, existence of which is a matter of fact forced by evidence Facts are category 2 only. A fact is obtained by evidence of a creation forcing to produce a 1 to 1 corresponding model of it in the mind. If I say "the moon is a sphere", then those words provide a 1 to 1 corresponding picture of the moon. If I say, "the moon is a cube", then the picture provided does not correspond, therefore the stated fact is inaccurate. You break up the whole conceptual scheme of creationism by putting fact in category 1. You cannot make a 1 to 1 corresponding model of beauty, laziness, hate, fear, agency is not factual. You are doing exactly the same thing every atheist and materialist is doing by making every issue factual. Science covers the facts, if you assert agency as fact, then it falls within the scope of science. mohammadnursyamsu
LC, interesting -- not sure I could bring myself to try mice in a survival situation, save maybe as bait for fish. And yes a deadfall is full of signs of design. Of course, if one has implicitly or explicitly taken the assumption or view that a relevant designer was not possible at the point of origin, then no quantity or quality of evidence that points to signs of design will ever suffice. On that basis, blind chance and mechanical necessity HAD to be good enough. This is part of the crooked yardstick as reference standard problem. What is straight and accurate cannot conform to crookedness. That is why we need plumb-line, self-evident tests that will expose crookedness. KF kairosfocus
DS, thanks, a for record will suffice. KF kairosfocus
From the OP “Today’s dominant school of thought can become tomorrow’s dead theory, often one funeral at a time.” This is true. Every time they find another fossil they have to re-organize their phylogenetic trees. Some trees have been changed so many times it’s almost like watching a game of three card monte, trying to figure out where the Lady is going to be located this time around. “Next, we must recognize that without people, there is no science.” I would add that without people there is also no scientism. We can attempt to rationalize why creeping scientism is on the creep but this is a waste of time. It’s human nature and like many other things it’s a moral crime at the least and at the worst it leads to a slide into the abyss. People commit crimes against others for three reasons. And only three reasons. For greed of money, sexual lust and the pursuit of power. From murder to misdemeanors there are only these root causes. Take Alexander Rosenberg cited in the OP. A 1960’s radical leftist who has been ensconced in academia his entire adult life, I reckon his motivation is once he found out economics was a complete crock he focused on the philosophy of science as a means to stay employed. After all, it’s not like Darwinism informs advancement of any science, it’s just that it needs active priests like him to keep people in line. So I put him down for greed of money, and idle thoughts of power over what other people are allowed to think. Modern Unis like Duke are not in the business of enlightenment but about raking in as much cash as possible while ensuring anyone wanting to pursue a life of the mind shares the same mindset of the Ubermenschen. “So, we know that where we see reliable signs of design, we are warranted to infer that as best explanation….” As an example of this I was scouting a hunting lease this week and came across a figure 4 deadfall trap. This was evidence that some person was there actively trapping small game on land I paid money to reserve for myself. If you don’t know what a figure 4 deadfall is this 3:47 video will make you an expert at identifying them in the wild. (Viewer discretion advised.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdw6xI1AR0M If you were walking around the deep woods, the nearest road two miles away, the nearest habitation more than 20, and came across something like this what would you think about it? How did this thing get here? Clearly, the A-Mats among us would declare “The wind, rain and lightning caused wild fires that caused those three sticks to be cut at just the right places and positioned so they could support that 10 pound rock they’re holding up entirely by chance. It may have taken a decade or so to evolve here.” The figure 4 trap is pretty simple and can be constructed with found objects and crude tools as the video shows. But they don’t assemble themselves at random by chance. Would you agree that if you found one of these in the woods it was made by a designer? That there was another mind involved in constructing it? Let’s examine the branches from the spruce tree that were used for the three sticks that I found. A single cell from the spruce has only 12 chromosomes but more than 7 times the DNA of a human cell. Somehow, we’re not entirely certain, the genetic material in the cells produce a living organism that reproduces itself by production of male and female gametes, transferring the male gametes to the female ovules by pollination. This results in seeds that are dispersed by the wind, water and animals, the process continuing for at least the past 136 million years. A self-replicating living organism, established around the entire planet, and nothing but random chance is involved? Compare the complexity of the figure 4 deadfall trap, which you have to admit, is not that complicated but never-the-less contains reliable sign of design, against the complexity of the living cell and its nearly unbelievable complexity. A living cell is much more complicated. But we’re told by folks running the three card monte that if we think it did not occur by random chance we must be some kind of snake handling bible basher down from the hills. I assure you, we’re not. LoneCycler
KF, Have you looked into the internet history of your interlocutor Mohammad Nur Syamsu (going back to the mid 1990s)? This history suggests engagement is futile. daveS
PPS: Perhaps the following credible reports will help:
fact (f?kt) n. 1. Knowledge or information based on real occurrences: an account based on fact; a blur of fact and fancy. 2. a. Something demonstrated to exist or known to have existed: Genetic engineering is now a fact. That Chaucer was a real person is an undisputed fact. b. A real occurrence; an event: had to prove the facts of the case. c. Something believed to be true or real: a document laced with mistaken facts. 3. A thing that has been done, especially a crime: an accessory before the fact. 4. Law A conclusion drawn by a judge or jury from the evidence in a case: a finding of fact. Idiom: in (point of) fact In reality or in truth; actually. [Latin factum, deed, from neuter past participle of facere, to do; see dh?- in Indo-European roots.] Usage Note: Since the word fact means "a real occurrence, something demonstrated to exist or known to have existed," the phrases true facts and real facts, as in The true facts of the case may never be known, would seem to be redundant. But fact has a long history of use in the sense of "an allegation of fact" or "something that is believed to be true," as in this remark by union leader Albert Shanker: "This tract was distributed to thousands of American teachers, but the facts and the reasoning are wrong." This usage has led to the notion of "incorrect facts," which causes qualms among critics who insist that facts must be true. The usages, however, are often helpful in making distinctions or adding emphasis. American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved. fact (fækt) n 1. an event or thing known to have happened or existed 2. a truth verifiable from experience or observation 3. a piece of information: get me all the facts of this case. 4. (Law) law (often plural) an actual event, happening, etc, as distinguished from its legal consequences. Questions of fact are decided by the jury, questions of law by the court or judge 5. (Philosophy) philosophy a proposition that may be either true or false, as contrasted with an evaluative statement 6. (Law) after the fact criminal law after the commission of the offence: an accessory after the fact. 7. (Law) before the fact criminal law before the commission of the offence 8. as a matter of fact in fact in point of fact in reality or actuality 9. fact of life an inescapable truth, esp an unpleasant one 10. the fact of the matter the truth [C16: from Latin factum something done, from factus made, from facere to make] ?factful adj Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014 fact noun 1A thing that is known or proved to be true. ‘the most commonly known fact about hedgehogs is that they have fleas’ ‘he ignores some historical and economic facts’ mass noun ‘a body of fact’ 1.1facts Information used as evidence or as part of a report or news article. ‘even the most inventive journalism peters out without facts, and in this case there were no facts’ 1.2the fact that Used to refer to a particular situation under discussion. ‘despite the fact that I'm so tired, sleep is elusive’ 1.3Law mass noun The truth about events as opposed to interpretation. ‘there was a question of fact as to whether they had received the letter’ [Oxford English Dictionary]
It is of course agents who know -- have warranted, credibly true (and thus reliable) beliefs, here especially by experience, observation or credible report. kairosfocus
MNY, and, pray, tell me WHO is aware that I have written something that it objects to? Likewise, WHO is objecting? Similarly, WHO is reasoning -- or is it reasoning at all? A genetic program with a delusion of self as part of its GIGO problem? The point is, absent responsible freedom, rationality, reasoning and discussion break down into self-referential absurdity. So, no, I am not suffering cognitive dissonance, I am pointing out that our first undeniable, inescapable fact is the first person, self-aware, conscious self, through which we access all else. A fact, being something known to responsible certainty to be the case -- especially a matter of experience or observation or credible report of such; one may be subjectively aware of a fact (e.g. that one is awake or is sitting in front of a tablet pc and reading this comment). Subjective perceptions of beauty etc may actually respond to objective patterns studied through aesthetics, e.g. what makes a sunrise beautiful, and the chaos of a garbage dump ugly. Emotions and attitudes like love often are felt responses to cognitive judgements. Indeed, just to see and read my comment, you rely on your vision (or possibly your hearing if you use a reader), which is part of that fact of your consciousness. Let me add: subjectivity is not the opposite of objectivity, one can be subjectively aware of an objective fact, and indeed the fact of one's own awareness is incorrigibly true. Objective truths are adequately warranted so that they are not credibly simply figments of one's error-prone imagination. To respond, you implicitly rely on your conscious self and rationality, which you rely on as not being mere GIGO at work. You also count on my known duties to truth, right reason, prudence, fairness etc, or else there is no sufficient force for responsible discussion, and more. KF PS: While we can derive various quantities and structures from zero (taken as the null set), relations, operations, axiomatisations and more do not come about so simply. This includes von Neumann's successive construction, which is a way to give teeth to Peano's succession through a relation. kairosfocus

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