Intelligent Design

Materialism Makes People Stupid Too

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Commenter psypaul writes regarding those (such as Sam Harris) who say consciousness is an illusion.

Consciousness is an illusion….to whom? Who is being deceived? Isn’t ‘self’ an illusion as well? Doesn’t the concept of ‘illusion’ require a perceiver (person)? Absurdity.

Indeed, psypaul.  As with much of the drivel that comes pouring out of the materialists, this is a statement of purported universal truth that requires an implicit exception for the speaker, thus rendering absurd its claim to being universal.

“Consciousness is an illusion – except for me right now; I’m aware of (that is to say, “conscious of”) the illusion.”

“There is no meaning.  Except what I just said.  That has meaning.”

“We deconstructionists assert absolutely that all texts have infinite meaning and therefore must be deconstructed; except this text; it has only the plain meaning I intend; no deconstruction necessary.”

“At bottom there is no good or evil in the universe; except for creationists; they are insane, stupid or wicked.”

“There is no truth, except what I just said; that’s true.”

Materialism makes people say stupid things.  To those who would respond that materialists don’t actually say the things that are implicit in their assertions, I say, “so what?”  If a proposition necessarily follows as a matter of logic from what someone has just said, then one of two things is true:  (1) that person accepts that necessary corollary and embraces it; or (2) he is too stupid to understand the necessary corollary follows from his assertion.  With the materialist propositions set forth above, either way he is stupid.

There are other propositions requiring an implicit exception for the speaker.  Readers are welcome to add to the list.

22 Replies to “Materialism Makes People Stupid Too

  1. 1
    Box says:

    Materialist: my worldview is based on naturalistic science, which informs me that my worldview is formed by non-rational uncomprehending blind particles in motion.

  2. 2
    Barry Arrington says:

    Box, I like it.

    How about:

    “Our brains evolved for fitness, not truth; and that statement is true.” or

    “Religion is an evolutionary adaptation, and we know it to be false; science is also an evolutionary adaptation, and we know it to be true.” or

    “Metaphysics is dead; except for the metaphyscial assertion I just made.” or

    “Science is the only source of reliable knowledge; except for the knowledge I have of the truth of the statement I just made, which is metaphysical, not scientific.”

    We could play this game all day.

  3. 3
    Box says:

    In Chapter 8 we saw that the “thoughts” in the brain can’t be about anything at all, either things inside or outside the brain.

    [A.Rosenberg]; ‘The Atheist’s Guide To Reality’, Ch.9 “Farewell to the purpose-driven life”.

    UDEditors: Box, you forgot to add the implicit exception for the speaker:

    “‘thoughts’ in the brain can’t be about anything at all, either things inside or outside the brain; except for the thought I am now expressing, which is about something outside of my brain, namely the concept of ‘thought.'”

  4. 4

    “the statement : ‘the painting is beautiful’, is a statement of fact about a love for the way the painting looks existing in my brain”

    It is very obvious that materialism only works with objectivity, facts. There is no room in it for subjectivity at all, opinion. It is really as simple as that.

    And my finding is that neither the religious intellectuals provide much room for subjectivity.

    The structure of common religion is valid, and provides straightforward room for subjectivity. But the work of religious intellectuals is mainly to destroy that room.

    Sophisticated mumbo jumbo while neglecting the basis of faith, how faith works. Then you get such terms as “reasoned faith” where only the reasoning part is explained how it works, but the faith part is left unexplained.

    The wiki on free will is a mess of contradictory points of view. The religious intellectuals, intelligent design theorists, and creationists, aren’t providing basic knowledge about how things are chosen, let alone sophisticated knowledge.

    It is very obvious that there is something going on with people that distorts knowledge about how choosing works. That something is original sin.

    It is totally ridiculous that we can talk in terms of choosing in daily life, yet intellectually our knowledge about how choosing works is a big mess. That is the weakness of man, tragically failing in the most simple thing, to bring knowledge HE ALREADY HAS on a common level, to an intellectual level.

  5. 5
    Barry Arrington says:

    mohammadnursyamsu, you are on to something.

    “Free will does not exist; except for the freedom you have to evaluate and accept that proposition.”

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    Consciousness is an illusion, but we can never know that it is an illusion.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    The one thing that stands out for me, in the atheistic/materialistic claim that consciousness is merely an illusion, is that the atheists, supposedly the rational scientific ones, (at least according to them), have no scientific evidence whatsoever that consciousness can possibly emerge from a material basis, whereas the Theist is more than amply verified with empirical evidence in his belief that the consciousness of God sustains reality in its continually being.

    As to atheists having no empirical support whatsoever for their claim that consciousness is ’emergent’ from a material basis, here are a few quotes:

    ‘But the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that I can’t even imagine what kind of empirical findings would satisfactorily solve it. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of discovery would get us to first base, not to mention a home run.’
    David Barash – Materialist/Atheist Darwinian Psychologist

    “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.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientist Sebastian Seung makes this clear in his book “Connectome,” saying:

    “Every day we recall the past, perceive the present and imagine the future. How do our brains accomplish these feats? It’s safe to say that nobody really knows.”

    There is simply no direct evidence that anything material is capable of generating consciousness. As Rutgers University philosopher Jerry Fodor says,

    “Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. Nobody even knows what it would be like to have the slightest idea about how anything material could be conscious. So much for the philosophy of consciousness. Regardless of our knowledge of the structure of the brain, no one has any idea how the brain could possibly generate conscious experience.”

    As Nobel neurophysiologist Roger Sperry wrote,

    “Those centermost processes of the brain with which consciousness is presumably associated are simply not understood. They are so far beyond our comprehension at present that no one I know of has been able even to imagine their nature.”

    From modern physics, Nobel prize-winner Eugene Wigner agreed:

    “We have at present not even the vaguest idea how to connect the physio-chemical processes with the state of mind.”

    Contemporary physicist Nick Herbert states,

    “Science’s biggest mystery is the nature of consciousness. It is not that we possess bad or imperfect theories of human awareness; we simply have no such theories at all. About all we know about consciousness is that it has something to do with the head, rather than the foot.”

    Physician and author Larry Dossey wrote:

    “No experiment has ever demonstrated the genesis of consciousness from matter. One might as well believe that rabbits emerge from magicians’ hats. Yet this vaporous possibility, this neuro-mythology, has enchanted generations of gullible scientists, in spite of the fact that there is not a shred of direct evidence to support it.”

    Whereas, on the other hand, the Theist is more than amply verified with empirical evidence in his belief that the consciousness of God sustains reality in its continually being.

    Putting all the lines of evidence together the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:
    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.
    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect)

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

    Quantum physics says goodbye to reality – Apr 20, 2007
    Excerpt: They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell’s thought experiment, Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it. “Our study shows that ‘just’ giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics,” Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. “You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism.”

    Prof. Richard Conn Henry stated this after the Leggett results came in:

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist).
    (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (Leggett’s Inequality: Violated, as of 2011, to 120 standard deviations)

    Leggett’s Inequality, the mathematics behind it, and the overwhelming Theistic implications of it, are discussed beginning at the 24:15 minute mark of the following video:

    Quantum Weirdness and God 8-9-2014 by Paul Giem – video

    Besides Leggett’s Inequality, the Delayed Choice experiments give us the same ‘reality doesn’t exist until we measure it’ result:

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

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

    I like Scott Aaronson’s humorous thought on the implications of it all:

    Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables – Scott Aaronson – MIT associate Professor
    Excerpt: “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”

    A few more quotes of note:

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    Max Planck – The main originator of Quantum Theory – Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944) (from Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Abt. Va, Rep. 11 Planck, Nr. 1797)

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    (Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.)

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”
    Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays “Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays”;
    Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.

    “It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” –
    Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169)

    ‘all real things are contents of consciousness’
    – John von Neumann

    Verse and Music:

    Colossians 1:17
    “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

    Imagine Dragons – Radioactive

  8. 8
    ppolish says:

    “Survival of the Fittest” is an illusion. We can all agree on that I presume,

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    “We Scientists . . . oops, where do we get to ‘we’?”

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    Try 2: “Science has proved . . . oops, how do we get to proof in a world of blind stochastic-dynamic matter-energy and space time without intentionality and without non-delusional identity? Double oops, how do we get to we again, and isn’t scientists another way of saying we?”

  11. 11
    Seversky says:

    mohammadnursyamsu @ 4

    It is very obvious that materialism only works with objectivity, facts. There is no room in it for subjectivity at all, opinion. It is really as simple as that.

    Speaking as a materialist, I’d say that’s nonsense. I have the same subjective experience of the world as you. The only problem I have is in explaining how that subjective experience arises from the physical brain.

    Sciemce tells us that the red color of the car I see in the parking lot is not a property of the car. The car is coated in a paint that is designed to reflect only a narrow band of wavelengths from the visible spectrum of electromagnetic radiation and absorb the rest. Those wavelengths are represented in my conscious awareness of that car as the color red. Does that make it an illusion? Some may think so. I don’t. I prefer to think of it as living within a mental model of the world created on the basis of sensory input. It’s not very accurate and it’s far from a complete representation – there’s a lot of what is out there that we don’t have the sensory apparatus to detect – but it’s fit for purpose. It enables us to navigate our way around the world fairly safely. It’s not entirely reliable, no, but it’s the best we’ve got so it’ll have to do for the present.

    As for free will, how many people here consciously chose their sexuality? How many sat down one day and asked, “Hmmm, should I be straight or should I be gay? You know, I think I’ll be straight.” Free will is not some all-or-nothing absolute. There are some things where we seem to have have a degree of freedom of choice and others where we really have no choice at all

  12. 12
    tjguy says:


    OK, a bit off topic, but I want to respond to this wacko statement that BA quoted above: (nothing against BA — I doubt he quoted it for the purpose of ridiculing creationists. I’m guessing he would agree with this critique too.)

    “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc.

    I know the purpose of bringing up this quote was not to give validation to this part of the quote, but I need to point out how ridiculous it is.

    I know of no creationist one who believes this. There may be some who take a stab at the date of creation, but it is simply a guess. No one knows for sure. Even the year 4004 BC is just an educated guess. Adding the 9am Baylonian time is a cute addition, but it gives the false impression that creationists actually believe this. I know of not one group that does. False accusation – and he knows it – meant simply to denigrate creationists!

    Then there is the idea of God creating the ground with fossils already in it. I know of no credible creationist organization that makes such a claim. If Mr. Aaronson(associate MIT professor) is going to make such ridiculous accusations, he should give references to support them. Perhaps he could even find someone somewhere who might make such a claim, but treating it as if it is a fair representation of what creationists believe is simply dishonest and not appropriate for anyone, let alone a university professor! (Perhaps morality is not important to this guy, I don’t know.) But we creationists could also do the same thing with evolution. We could take the evo-devo stuff, claim it is what evolutionists believe, and ridicule them and in so doing make evolution sound even sillier than it already does. Why do they feel like they can treat us unfairly, but then get all huffy and puffy if we were to try the same thing? No double standard there, right?

    Then he claims that creationists believe that God created the universe with light on the way to earth. This is one POSSIBLE option for solving the problem of light travel that some groups mention, but again, I do not know one credible creationist group that actually takes this position. I don’t know enough about the various creationist groups that exist to say definitively that none take this position, but I know the major groups do not. So that alone ruins his claim of what creationists believe.

    Amazingly, not one of his claims/charicatures of creationists is accurate. So strike three – you’re out!

    Herre’s a novel idea: Why not deal with the views of the mainstream creationist groups such as CMI, AiG, or ICR, as opposed to non scientific fringe groups/individuals that may or may not really exist?

    Critics love straw men! They cannot talk back and so the attacker is seen to be wise while the opponent is made out to look stupid.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    tjguy, I certainly didn’t mean to ruffle your feathers, but I like his quote since he is at least honest enough to admit that materialists are in a far worse position than YECs.

    Being a OEC, I guess I am not as sensitive to the slight as you would be. But he is absolutely right, the fact that ‘reality doesn’t exist until we measure it’ is absolutely devastating to the atheistic materialist.

    Moreover, you can’t get any better observational evidence in science than having the observation itself do the falsifying of atheistic materialism !

    It simply can’t get any better than that in science!

    It is the best science we have, (i.e. a primary quantum mechanical prediction verified to 120 standard deviations), and it is also the best falsification of atheistic materialistic premises that any Theist of any stripe, whether they be OEC or YEC, could possibly have ever hoped for. 🙂

    I hope that makes his quote a bit more palatable for you.

  14. 14
    anthropic says:

    Personally, I love to hear people say that I shouldn’t “judge” certain behavior and/or attitudes as wrong. Judgment is evil, don’cha know!

    I ask, “You mean like how you are judging me right now?”

    Perplexity and indignation ensue…

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    tjguy: Even the year 4004 BC is just an educated guess.

    An educated guess. You’re serious. Sadly.

    The idea that the earth is 6000 years old is not an educated guess. Not in the slightest. It’s a mis-educated speculation.

    Only a small minority of “religiously educated” people believe the earth is only 6000 years old. For some odd reason these “religiously educated” people think the Bible teaches that the universe was created 6000 years ago, plus or minus a few “guesses” to the contrary.

    Further, based on their “religious guesstimations” they then go on to accuse old earth creationists of all sorts of perfidious beliefs and intentions, as if the bible clearly identifies old earth creationism as a mortal sin.

    The actual evidence that the earth is older than 6000 years is immense. This is not in conflict with any statement in the bible, because the bible does not state how old the earth is.

    The pernicious nature of YECism is most evident in it’s claims that Jesus was a liar. The incoherence of YECism can be seen in it’s claims to be based on what Jesus taught. If Jesus lied about when he would return then any statements he made that can be construed to establish the age of the earth are suspect.

    The irony here is that BBA77 claims to be an old earth creationist while still accepting the YEC hermeneutic.

  16. 16


    It’s true that one can have subjectivity in spite of materialism, but materialism still destroys a large part of it.

    For instance you don’t believe in God. That’s subjectivity that materialism destroyed for you.

    But it doesn’t stop there, you also don’t believe in the human spirit or soul. That’s destroying a lot more subjectivity. And you don’t BELIEVE emotions are real, subjectively, either. You accept they are real as fact, but then these factually measurable things in the brain are not the real emotions.

    I predict that you are a calculating person who is always and forever thinking about what is best to do, as opposed to a spontaneous person (distinct from an impulsive person).

    That is because materialists define choosing as sorting out the best result, they have no recourse to the definition of the spirit making a possible future the present or not, because the spirit is not material.

    The main subjectivity that survives for materialists is opinions pretending to be facts. Materialism opposes emotions because they cannot be measured, so then what emotions do in response to that attack, is simply to make the expression of emotions into statements of fact, in stead of opinions.

    So that is how materialists become to regard the worth of human beings as a matter of scientific fact, like Sam Harris says. That is the only way for him to have any expression of emotion left.

  17. 17
    Axel says:

    anthropic #14
    That was why Jesus immediately followed up his apparent commandment against judging, with his commandment not to condemn.

    Jesus knew that atheists themselves, ergo the atheist in all of us, never choose to believe in hell so fervently as when they hate and condemn someone. It was never Jesus’ intention that we should abnegate our intelligence, far from it. How else could we speak to a person’s condition, if we fail to analyze it, to make a judgment.

    In law, judgments, I believe, are often called ‘decisions’, but that is because such decisions have specific, material implications for the future of the accused. ‘Appraisal’ might otherwise be a more appropriate term.

    Great post, your #4, BA77. It seems to me that Leggett’s Inequality seems to bear out my thesis that we each live in a littel world of our own, seamlessly coordinated by God.

    tjguy, their are fundamentalists of an especially narrow, literalist cast of mind. It also happens that all theists are tarred with the brush of these YECs by atheists, indeed, sovereign irony, they like to ascribe a belief in unicorns and pink pixies to us. To them, all theists are extreme ‘fundies’, becauase they absolttly require a straw man.

    It was a simple a case of exaggeration for the sake of emphasis, in this narrow context, justified by his conclusion, cutting the ground from under atheism. It sometimes happens that in order to berate someone or ridicule a dreranged and truculent opponent it is necessary to use what will be an insult to them.

    A Dutch footballer complained to the club’s chairman and ‘money-man’, that the money he was offered would be laughed at by a homeless person. He was slagged off by the perjured media who had heavy investments in the club, but he fitted the imagery to the person. It would have be taken as an unambiguous compliment by Christ or one of his Apostles.

  18. 18
    redwave says:

    A cursory review of the teachings of Jesus will show that Jesus did not speak literally at every turn of a phrase:

    “And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, … ” (Matthew 13:10-14)

    The Jesus’ empiricus, ‘reliance on experience’, is embedded throughout his teachings and even more recognizable in his parables. Jesus’ empiricus does not mean we can transmute him to a present day empirical scientist and then shackle his teaching to a scientific position, as we naively take such positions. Yet an understanding of Jesus’ empiricus could help ‘shed light on’ the nature of knowledge and our understanding of human experiencing. This could be performed with a review of Newton’s empiricus, Planck’s empiricus, Bohm’s empiricus.

    What a human empiricus could say about epistemology, and resultantly scientific inquiry and interpretation, concerns a spectrum with ‘jumps’ or discontinuous points, continua with critical points, and not neatly cut isolated regions of that which is true and that which is false. The spectrum of knowledge is not sullied or deformed beyond recognition through the inclusion of the material and the immaterial, the physical and the metaphysical, the plain and the mysterious, the temporal and the timeless, the objective and the subjective, the transient and the absolute. An empiricus that is neatly cut isolated regions of human experiencing can be used for analytic purposes, but is not incontrovertibly the case an absolute.

    Scientific research often demands setting causes, components, and functions into manageable categories, in analytic concept boxes, and following upon a working completion a scientist will likely use interpretation to gather, reconstruct, and unify. It is at the interpretation point(s) that the discontinuities are difficult to integrate along an otherwise smooth set of functions … for knowledge and understanding of the full spectrum in human experiencing. If our empiricus is made to be bounded by physical-sensible data, are we creating an artificial world and therefore a necessary illusion of reality? The artificial can be a useful device, and has been shown useful in the many devices we employ, yet mistaking the artificial as a conclusive sum for human experiencing of reality is not empirically and epistemically sustainable, not in toto.

    Some have eyes but do not see. Some have ears but do not hear. Some do not understand. So parables embedded with empiricus are given, not the mysteries of the kingdom, because they, the some, have the world in neatly cut isolated regions and are bounded by physical-sensible data. The mysteries are not in a neighborhood near the point the some have found themselves and they will not move beyond that discontinuity.

    The mysteries were symbols and signs, ‘symbolon’, tokens of identity verified by comparing its other half. Jesus’ empiricus shows an acute awareness of the asymmetry in the perceptions of humans and he used the asymmetry to teach others how to begin moving beyond the discontinuities. For Jesus this is a process for removing the disjoint separating neighborhoods and coming into a Oneness of human experiencing with the Creator, in which our identity is verified by comparing our empiricus with the full spectrum. And not ‘forced’ into a bounded confinement. Here Jesus’ declarative, If you have faith the size of a grain … in which Jesus has again and again made clear, unfolds faith as not blind but rather the fundamental principle for his empiricus.

  19. 19
    anthropic says:

    Axel 17

    Yeah, the whole “judge not” passage is often ripped out of context to mean something entirely different than what Jesus meant.

    Matthew 7:1-6
    1“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2“For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
    6“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

    Note that Jesus was NOT saying that we are barred from noticing faults & sins in others. Instead, he was saying that we actually should help others with their issues, but first make sure we are not being hypocritical about it.

    If, for instance, a pastor is involved in adultery with the already married church secretary, he should NOT do family counseling! (Really he shouldn’t be a pastor, either.) Or, for example, a grossly obese person shouldn’t lecture others about proper dietary habits.

    We examine ourselves and deal honestly with our own issues precisely so we CAN “see clearly” enough to judge rightly. Not only so we can help others with their issues, but also so we can judge those who beyond our help.

    Some people have no wish to deal with their issues, nor the truth, and will ferociously bark & snarl at anyone foolish enough to try to reason with them. Jesus says we should properly judge if someone is like this; if so, we should leave them alone.

    Bottom line: Yes, we are to judge. But we must first judge ourselves, which leads to both humility (we, too, are flawed) and transparency.

  20. 20
    Axel says:

    Yes, a crucial point, anthropicus: the beam and the moat and keeping one’s own eye clear as best, with God’s grace’ we are able.

    Still, Old Nick has a vast array of means to tempt us to subvert our own integrity; often in little ways to begin with, but if they are left unchecked they develop; and when they develop, they can cross into areas we might not suspect to be vulnerable.

    ‘It’s a hard life, if you don’t weaken’ is an old saying, but in my experience, it can be much harder of you do weaken.

  21. 21
    Axel says:

    redwave @ your 18, I think Aldous Huxley referred to those concepts as the ‘analytical intelligence’ and the ‘unitive intelligence’.

    Einstein seems to me, at least in his earlier years, to have understood the primacy of wisdom, the unitive, spiritual intelligence, rating imagination higher than the rigidly compartmentalised, analytical, worldly intelligence. The latter being pretty good for IQ tests, I suspect, so perhaps it’s not so surprising his teacher told him he’d never amount to much, and he came about 12th of 14 in his Polytechnic class at his polytechnic.

    Sitting there imagining a man sliding down a rainbow! You can just imagine his teacher, if he could have read his mind: ‘You’ll go far, lad! You just keep day-dreaming like a dopey kid.’ Though I think the ‘rainbow slide’ insight came to him, looking out of the window of his patent office.

    I believe his father was quite an easy-going, happy-go-lucky type, an equable atheist, but making sure Albert got a sound grounding in Judaism and his education. And I wonder if that happy-go-lucky outlook rubbed off on his son, so that he really became interested in truth, itself, rather than being driven primarily by ambition, as most parents I think favour.

    Pretty comical, when you consider how he has become a byword for extremely high intelligence. while the Wisdom books of the Old Testament designate the worldly-wise as the simple ones.

    ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all things will be added’. In his prioritization of seeking truth for its own sake, in his own way he was seeking the kingdom of heaven.

  22. 22
    tarmaras says:

    Modern materialism is not really very consistent — and it couldn’t be, because taking materialism to its logical consequences would turn society upside down. There are lots of non-material “entities” with which we operate (like logic, numbers, probability, moral laws etc). In his book Uncommon Wisdom: Fault Lines in the Foundations of Atheism, Ashish Dalela has this to say on the matter:

    Modern materialism tries to answer the question of our origin, without addressing the issue whether that explanation can answer why we even asked that question. What kind of universe must there be to produce the kinds of objects which then begin to inquire about the origin of the universe? Unfortunately, materialism doesn’t have any answers to these questions.”


    “Materialism is not a new idea. It can be traced to at least 600 B.C. in the writings of a philosopher named Carvaka in India. In fact, theism and atheism have been studied side-by-side in Indian philosophy for a long time. Anyone who doubts this has only to pick up an introductory book on Indian philosophy. So the way the contradiction between theism and atheism is treated as something novel in the Western world often surprises me. One of Carvaka’s verses aptly summarizes all the main conclusions of New Atheism.

    There is no other world other than this;
    There is no heaven and no hell;
    The realm of Shiva and like regions
    Are invented by stupid imposters.

    Carvaka, in fact, was so committed to materialism that he carried forward this idea into a clearer articulation of how one must lead their personal life. The following verse illustrates this well.

    So long as you shall live, you shall live happily
    You shall take out loans and drink clarified butter
    After all, once the body has been burnt,
    Where is the question of coming back?

    Carvaka epitomizes the person without an existential crisis. He acknowledges the existence of matter as the only reality. As a consequence, he rejected even the use of reason (or inference) because there is no material evidence for logic or for concepts. There are only particulars in this world, and we cannot generalize them into universals. There is no need for a moral or truthful life, or for being good to others, because at the point of death, it would just not matter. Carvaka did not make any serious attempts to convince others of his materialist position because trying to convince them would mean that he had a way of knowing what they believed in—which would imply that he and the others had a mind different from the body—which according to him is impossible. The world, according to him, exists only piece meal. There is no way to connect these things using concepts, logic, inference, or induction, since there is no reason to suppose any of these are true, given that only matter is real. There is hence no point in trying to formulate theories of nature, to understand the origin of the universe by generalizing particular experiences, or to form any moral theory of good and bad. Carvaka exemplifies a complete and consistent materialism. If the New Atheism movement wanted to learn how atheism could be logically consistent and coherent, it would do well to study Carvaka.

    The problem, however, is that New Atheism is living in its own existential crisis. It could assert what Carvaka earlier asserted, but that would be so out of place. Taking that position would not only deny the possibility of science, but also annul any legal or administrative system. It would convert an organized society into an anarchist dog-eat-dog world. Therefore, New Atheism advocates a new hodge-podge theory where we accept the reality of reason, logic, concepts, induction, and a host of other ideas such as space, time, continuity, causality, numbers, algebraic formulae, etc., which are all not material—at least not in the sense of tables and chairs—but denies other kinds of non-material things such as minds, souls, or God. I therefore call this view Selective Non-Materialism (SNM). No religious theory that I know of denies the existence of matter. The conflict between religion and science is only in the extent to which they accept the existence of certain types of non-material entities. Science too employs a wide array of non-material entities, which are used to formulate scientific theories. But New Atheism and most modern materialists deny the reality of anything beyond matter.

    How convenient! Let’s first decide if we are going to accept only material entities (in the sense of physical objects) or non-material entities as well. If we accept only matter, then science cannot exist, because numbers are needed to formulate science and numbers are not material things. If, however, we are going to accept some non-material things, but not others, then let’s define the criteria for permitting some non-material versus other non-material. For instance, many areas of modern science depend on the notion of probabilities. Atomic objects are, for example, described as probabilities. But what is probability? Is probability an object? Then why can’t we see these objects? If not, then in what form does it exist? If we formulate a scientific theory based on probabilities, then we must accept the existence of probability in some sense, even though we cannot call this existence a material object. What is that particular sense?

    The problems of materialism are quite profound as they begin in the existence of concepts, numbers, logic, induction, and probability. Materialists are either ignorant of these problems or they deliberately mislead their audience into believing there is no problem.”

    And, in a blog post, he also addresses the problems of the materialist viewpoint from another perspective:

    Problems in Materialism

    The problem in materialism is that it seems to work very well when we describe individual objects, but fails when we describe object collections. If you begin with $1 notes, and count 100 of them individually, it seems that $100 is built up from $1 notes. It appears that $1 notes are real and $100 is just a made up thing from these notes. But if you begin with the value of $100 and divide into smaller parts, it seems that there are many ways to divide it into different denominations. Each such division creates interdependent parts; i.e., if you choose to have $10 notes, then you must only have 10 of them.

    The problem of materialism is that when we study object collections, we find that there are still individuals but they are not independent. If they are not independent, then how do we define their existence? How do we define an individual that depends on the other individuals which in turn depend on this first individual?

    The problems of holism in science are too many to list here; they appear in many areas of physics (such as atomic theory and statistical mechanics), they appear in mathematics (because numbers are properties of collections), they appear in computing theory (because the meaning of a program is defined as a whole) and they appear in biology (because the functions in a living being are defined collectively).

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