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Metaphysical naturalism is total failure

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But many Christians in science do not seemingly want to confront that fact. Can they not face the ensuing responsibilities?

Further to “How BioLogos describes the intelligent design community, commenter Ted Davis, a Biologian, replies (he follows up with a challenge for yer news hack, as per below):

I’ll follow it with a second question for you, Denyse: Why do you continue to whip on the ASA? Is your complaint simply that the ASA is not an advocacy organization, such as UD or TDI or AiG or BL? If your complaint is that there are too many proponents of evolution in the ASA, then persuade a few hundred ID supporters to join the ASA and you’ll change the facts. …

Hey. Yer news hack does not need to recruit members for any organization, let alone change any facts.

Let’s get this straight right now:

Metaphysical naturalism is a complete and utter failure. In cosmology, it has led to the disaster of multiverse theory (everything is true, so nothing is). Meanwhile, no one has been to the moon in forty years.

In origin of life, science has gone nowhere for maybe two centuries.

In origin of human beings or the human mind, we are still bugged by … the kind of garbage one might read in New Scientist (maybe the study of baboons would help re the human mind, when the obvious point is that baboons never did what humans did).

Whoopsies! We aren’t supposed to think of that, are we? Aren’t we still supposed to be apologizing for something that happened to Galileo?

And no one ever gets sick of this garbage?

What troubles me after fifteen years of covering Christians in science who belong to these organizations is how few confess what a complete and utter failure a metaphysical naturalist perspective is in practice. So many act like they fear it might be true.

It always felt like they wanted to prepare me for the possibility that it might be true.

I kept wanting to say, come outside, come outside, it isn’t snowing … It’s not even that cold.

That was why I ended up spending years accumulating evidence of metaphysical naturalism’s utter failures, as per the links above, re the origin of the universe, life, humans, and the human mind.

But why did I feel so alone? Why were ASA people telling me garbage like “Don’t get the Rock of Ages mixed up with the age of the rocks”?

Huh?

When I discovered the ID community, I began to understand that everything depends on whether one thinks intelligence arises from blind forces or from something beyond them.

That is the fundamental question.

Bill Dembski was a great help in that regard, as he helped me see that information theory can help answer those questions.

He is not, I am sure, going to be on the program of the “currently employed Christian scientist” association.

But doesn’t someone, at some point, just need to put Christian Darwinism out of its misery? They may have money, but their ideas are an utter, inevitable failure.

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43 Replies to “Metaphysical naturalism is total failure

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Is Faith in God Reasonable? FULL DEBATE with William Lane Craig and Alex Rosenberg – (1 hour mark) video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ge#t=3641s

    In the preceding debate Dr Craig states that atheist Dr. Rosenberg blurs together Epistemological Naturalism, which holds that science is the only source of knowledge and, Metaphysical Naturalism, which holds that only physical things exist.

    As to, Epistemological Naturalism, which holds that science is the only source of knowledge, Dr. Craig stated it is a false theory of knowledge since,,,

    a). it is overly restrictive
    and
    b) it is self refuting

    Moreover Dr Craig states, epistemological naturalism does not imply metaphysical naturalism. In fact, Dr. Craig stated that a Epistemological Naturalist can and should be a Theist because Metaphysical Naturalism is reducto ad absurdum on (at least) these eight following points: (8 points which, by the way, Dr. Craig pulled from Dr. Rosenburg’s own book on atheism. In other words, Dr. Craig used Dr. Rosenburg’s own 8 conclusions about atheism, which Dr Rosenburg had reasoned out himself in his book, against him in the debate: 🙂 )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Verae and Music:

    Romans 1:19
    since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

    Blanca “Who I Am” LIVE at Air1
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqm42K-rUNk

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Metaphysical naturalism is a complete and utter failure. In cosmology, it has led to the disaster of multiverse theory (everything is true, so nothing is). Meanwhile, no one has been to the moon in forty years.

    How is metaphysical naturalism a complete failure? The multiverse theory has neither succeeded nor failed as there seems to be no way to test it at present. I get that you don’t like it but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

    Yes, there are a whole lot of unanswered questions in science and some of the answers we do have are wide of the mark. But that doesn’t negate all the scientific advances that have been made so far based on purely a/mat assumptions,

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    as to “that doesn’t negate all the scientific advances that have been made so far based on purely a/mat assumptions,”

    Please do tell us of all these advances:

    “If you go back and look at the premises which underlie materialism, They are all presumptions that were made back in the 17th and 18th century. Those (presumptions) are: reality, locality, causality, continuity, and determinism. All of those concepts were assumed to be self evident. And all of them have been disproved by quantum theory. The last one to fall was locality. (John Bell’s theory of non-locality disproved locality, which has now been proven I think 11 times in 11 different experiments throughout the world.),,, Anyone who says, “Well, I want to believe materialism and I don’t want to believe quantum physics.” Okay then, get rid of your cell phone, along with anything you have with a transistor in it. Get rid of your MRIs, get rid of all those things. Because quantum electro-dynamics is the theory which allows those things. It is the most proven theory in all of science.”
    Dr. Alan Hugenot – Hugenot holds a doctorate of science in mechanical engineering, and has had a successful career in marine engineering, serving on committees that write the ship-building standards for the United States. He studied physics and mechanical engineering at the Oregon Institute of Technology.
    quote taken from 16:35 minute mark of interview
    http://www.skeptiko.com/276-al.....-research/

  4. 4
    Andre says:

    You will never be able to reconcile Darwinism with Christianity and here is why; “For Him and through Him all things were made” To think Darwinism true is to reduce Christ to an accident.

    I must admit only one thing more idiotic than Darwinists and that is Christian Darwinists.

  5. 5
    tjguy says:

    Seversky @2

    The multiverse theory has neither succeeded nor failed as there seems to be no way to test it at present.

    lol!

    It’s a “theory”, but it can’t be tested? Hmmmm…

    Seversky, do you even know the definition of the word “theory”?

  6. 6
    Andre says:

    I’ll help Seversky

    “A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation”

    It’s from Wikipedia, unemployed atheists swear by it!

    But that puts Darwin’s unguided evolution in a bit of a conundrum……

    Sceptic: “It can’t be tested so is it even a theory?”

    Darwinist: “Of course it is, even though it can’t be tested its way beyond theory its a fact!”

    Sceptic: ” Why a fact?”

    Darwinist “Because it makes me an intellectually fulfilled atheist!”

    Sceptic: “Really can you show me how?”

    Darwinist: “You don’t understand evolution!”

  7. 7
    News says:

    If there is a heaven for sock puppets, a lot of Christians in science are going to be really happy some day. Otherwise, …

  8. 8
    tarmaras says:

    Atheism, especially New Atheism relies on several assumptions that are now mainstream, and I think that is why its proponents have a sense of triumphalism in their rhetoric. It’s like, when you debate a new atheist, you’re not going against their philosophy, but you’re going against science, technology, medicine and the very idea of advancement. So, that’s why I found it interesting (and ironic) to discover in Ashish Dalela’s writings some of philosophical consequences of New Atheism’s assumptions.

    These are some points extracted from Ashish Dalela’s new book, Uncommon Wisdom: Fault Lines in the Foundations of Atheism (Chapter 4: Problems in Atheism).

    –The problem of material reductionism in dealing with meanings–

    “…the problem of meaning is not just in the study of our perception and mind. It also appears in the study of material objects themselves, when we describe object collections rather than individual objects. The reason for this is profound: meanings are defined collectively rather than individually. If you look at an individual object, you can imagine that it exists independent of the other objects, and this description of nature appears to work in some cases. The notion of independent objects, however, fails dramatically when it is used to construct macroscopic objects and to define properties of such objects. Problems of such collections are well-known in modern physics (e.g., quantum theory, thermodynamics, and general relativity), mathematics (e.g., numbers are properties of collections), computing theory (e.g., program semantics is a property of a collection of computer instructions), and biology (e.g., the functional properties of living beings are attributes of the whole system).”

    –Belief in determinism–

    “Let’s begin with the belief in determinism. This belief was accurate in classical physics, which described individual objects, but it has failed every time physics has attempted to describe object collections. The problem of object collections can be illustrated by the following example. Suppose you have a bottle of ink which you want to spread on paper. As you can imagine, there are infinitely many different ways to distribute any given amount of ink, if indeed there is more than one ink particle. If there is only one ink particle in the universe then wherever you place it, the universe looks identical. But as the number of ink particles grows, the different particle distributions begin to look different; for instance, you could produce different books with the same amount of ink. It turns out that in physical theories there is no good way to describe such distributions because the theories deal in physical invariants—mass, charge, energy, momentum, angular momentum, etc. Just as there are infinitely many ways to distribute the total amount of ink on paper, similarly, there are infinite ways to distribute the total amount of physical invariants on space-time. All these distributions are equivalent but not identical. They are equivalent from the standpoint of the physical invariants, but they are not identical from the standpoint of meanings. Each such distribution represents a different universe. Which one these possible universes happen to be our universe?”

    –Biological evolution–

    “Evolution has exerted a greater influence on New Atheism than materialism (opposed to the notion that ideas are real) and determinism (opposed to the claim that we have free will). Evolution depends on the ideas of random mutation and natural selection, both of which are independently problematic. Random mutation is problematic because it undermines scientific completeness; we believe that things are random only if we are unable to predict them. But if things were truly that random, then this theory would be unable to predict them, too. What is the true value of such a theory that makes no predictions? For me, this is not a rhetorical issue, because I believe that the randomness is a shortcoming of the current physical description and it would be overcome in a semantic description. Furthermore, the idea of natural selection cannot be defined unless the boundary between an organism and its environment is defined, and the physical basis for assuming such boundaries does not exist. The physical basis of boundaries exists only at the level of individual objects in current physics, and not at the level of object collections; collection boundaries are assumed without a physical basis. ”

    –Causality–

    “Atheism works under the premise that there is only one space which universally extends everywhere. This is an outcome of thinking of space linearly rather than hierarchically. When space is treated linearly, higher dimensions cannot be accessed from within the space. However, when space is treated hierarchically, then some locations in space are also higher locations than others. They will physically appear to be the same as the other locations, but they are actually higher dimensions. In fact, semantic locations are also dimensions, although a new notion of space and time is needed to explicate this notion. The locations which represent abstract types would appear to be “empty” because we cannot perceive any objects in those locations. But, actually, these locations are not empty; they have a form and represent a type more abstract than the sensations, which can be perceived by the mind, intellect, ego, morality, etc. When such an “empty” location appears to cause effects, we cannot model them in current science, and they will appear as miracles. But these miracles can be understood via deeper kinds of perceptions.

    Modern science recognizes that about 95% of the universe is ‘dark-energy’ and ‘dark-matter’ which exist although they cannot be perceived. In Vedic philosophy, these forms of matter are not dark, although they cannot be perceived by the gross senses, because they represent more abstract information than what the senses can see. These invisible forms of matter have an effect on the visible matter, but these effects cannot be causally modeled and understood unless the space and time are described using a hierarchical theory. In the semantic theory, black-holes, worm-holes, dark-energy, and all such exotic concepts will become different types of material locations. Furthermore, they will abound all over the universe—at both small and large scales—and will not remain exotic objects anymore. If we happen to enter these locations, we would have new kinds of experiences—for instance, direct perceptual encounter with concepts, order, structure, intentions, and morals; we would be able to perceive and understand the nature of these subtle types of entities.”

    –how can physicalism deal with falsities in nature?-

    “Physical theories of nature can measure the existence of things, but not their truth, because to decide if they are true, we must first give them meanings, and that makes the system logically inconsistent. The problem for a physical theory is—how can false things exist? If nature is logical, then it must only permit true things because we assume that it begins in true axioms which are converted into true conclusions by the application of logic. If nature were indeed logical then everything that exists must also be true. Since the belief that the sky is purple exists in my brain, it must also be true.

    The problem of morality stems from the fact that we separate existence from truth: ideas about morality exist in my head, but they may not be true. Judgments of right and wrong exist as beliefs but they may be incorrect. How can something false exist in nature if nature is supposed to be logically consistent? The problem of morality is therefore not different from the problem of any belief, and the problem is that we don’t know how false beliefs can exist. The solution to this problem—as we have seen previously—requires a shift in thinking about nature; nature should not be viewed as things which are given meanings (because things never become meanings). Rather, nature should be viewed as meanings which become things; all such things are now symbols of meanings. When nature is treated in this way, there is a difference between existence and truth, and the difference is created because there are meanings.”

  9. 9
    Axel says:

    Your #6, Andre

    ROFL! Brutal, but true.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Thanks Tarmaras

  11. 11
    Box says:

    Metaphysical naturalism:

    1. we don’t need no God in order to explain anything
    2. the 100% material universe came into existence from nothing (or a multiverse)
    3. Fine-tuning? Chance. Flagellum? Chance. Life itself? Chance. Consciousness? Chance
    4. you cannot prove me wrong

  12. 12
    tjguy says:

    Box @11

    Metaphysical naturalism:

    1. we don’t need no God in order to explain anything
    2. the 100% material universe came into existence from nothing (or a multiverse)
    3. Fine-tuning? Chance. Flagellum? Chance. Life itself? Chance. Consciousness? Chance
    4. you cannot prove me wrong

    Oh, and you could add this too maybe:

    5. We believe the above beliefs to be superior to all beliefs involving the supernatural.

  13. 13
    tjguy says:

    Andre @ 4

    You will never be able to reconcile Darwinism with Christianity and here is why; “For Him and through Him all things were made” To think Darwinism true is to reduce Christ to an accident.

    I must admit only one thing more idiotic than Darwinists and that is Christian Darwinists.

    Andre, that is one of my favorite Bible verses!
    But don’t forget the last phrase which gives the purpose for the existence of each and every person/thing!

    Romans 11:36 (ESV)

    “For from him and through him and to him are all things.
    To him be glory forever. Amen.”

    This is the last verse in a beautiful doxology (glory speech praising God for who He is) in the middle of Romans after Paul explains many great truths about God.
    Read v. 33-36 for the whole doxology.

    It deals with the past, the present, and the future and it is all in God’s hands!

    He is central to all things!

    The universe revolves around Him, not us!

  14. 14
    Starbuck says:

    In origin of life, science has gone nowhere for maybe two centuries.

    That is simply not true.The abiotic synthesis of RNA is an ongoing project and progress is being made on several fronts. For published examples see;

    1. Chemoselective Multicomponent One-Pot Assembly of Purine Precursors in Water. J. Am. Chem. Soc (2010)
    2. Phosphate-Mediated Interconversion of Ribo- and Arabino-Configured Prebiotic Nucleotide Intermediates. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. (2010)
    3. A Stereoelectronic Effect in Prebiotic Nucleotide Synthesis. ACS
    Chem. Biol. (2010)

  15. 15
    tjguy says:

    Seversky @2

    “Yes, there are a whole lot of unanswered questions in science and some of the answers we do have are wide of the mark. But that doesn’t negate all the scientific advances that have been made so far…

    Seversky, where did anyone claim that “the unanswered questions in science negate “ALL THE SCIENTIFIC ADVANCES THAT HAVE BEEN MADE SO FAR”?”

    This is the problem so often in arguments. You think that simply because we don’t accept all scientific answers that we are anti-science and don’t accept any – that we are against ALL scientific answers.

    Making this false claim though is useful for making IDers/creationists look stupid and irrational.

    It might be useful for you to differentiate between scientific theories that deal with the present and can use the scientific method to test and validate the hypothesis vs those areas of science that cannot and involve more assumption/interpretation/worldview thinking to make conclusions.

    Here is an example of what I mean.

    Do you remember the Scopes trial?

    Are you familiar with the science textbook at issue in the trial? (Civic Biology by Hunter)

    It made the following claims:

    1) It said that in his early history, “man must have been little better than one of the lower animals” and concluded that, “At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man … the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.”

    2. According to the textbook, the civilized Caucasian race of Europe and America showed the highest level of evolution, and ‘inferior’ races of humans (such as Negroes and Orientals) should be treated as unfit:

    ‘ … if such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways of preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race.’

    3) I could give other examples, but if you look at what that textbook taught concerning scientific theories/principles/laws/ideas that are testable and could be verified through experiment vs what it taught in the historical sciences, which of those areas do you think was more trustworthy?

    One way to test that would be to go back and see how much of the teachings of the testable science has changed since that time and how much of the teachings/claims of the historical science has changed since that time.

    I bet you would laugh about some of the things taught as true in the historical science portion – namely the evolutionary teachings – of that textbook now or maybe cringe because of the harmful things that were taught in the name of evolution, like racism and eugenics.

    That should help you to understand why we have problems simply accepting the untestable claims of historical science made by Materialists as true.

    New information has come to light through research since then so the depth of our scientific knowledge has grown, but how many of the testable teachings of real science have changed since then? Very few I’m sure.

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    as to RNA world speculation:

    Dr. Stephen Meyer: Chemistry/RNA World/crystal formation can’t explain genetic information – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLeWh8Df3k8

    The RNA world hypothesis: the worst theory for the early evolution of life (except for all the others) – July 2012
    Excerpt: “The RNA World scenario is bad as a scientific hypothesis” – Eugene Koonin
    “The RNA world hypothesis has been reduced by ritual abuse to something like a creationist mantra” – Charles Kurland
    “I view it as little more than a popular fantasy.” – Charles Carter
    http://www.biology-direct.com/.....0-7-23.pdf

    Deflating the synthetic proofs of the RNA World – David Tyler – August 2011
    Excerpt: There may be a consensus about the RNA World, but it is not a consensus based on evidence. The approach is supported by synthetic proofs drawn from unrealistic laboratory experiments, showing all the signs of a dogmatism that pastes its ideas on to nature.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index....._of_the_rn

    New findings challenge assumptions about origins of life – September 13, 2013
    Excerpt: But for the hypothesis to be correct, ancient RNA catalysts would have had to copy multiple sets of RNA blueprints nearly as accurately as do modern-day enzymes. That’s a hard sell; scientists calculate that it would take much longer than the age of the universe for randomly generated RNA molecules to evolve sufficiently to achieve the modern level of sophistication. Given Earth’s age of 4.5 billion years, living systems run entirely by RNA could not have reproduced and evolved either fast or accurately enough to give rise to the vast biological complexity on Earth today.
    “The RNA world hypothesis is extremely unlikely,” said Carter. “It would take forever.”
    Moreover, there’s no proof that such ribozymes even existed billions of years ago. To buttress the RNA World hypothesis, scientists use 21st century technology to create ribozymes that serve as catalysts. “But most of those synthetic ribozymes,” Carter said, “bear little resemblance to anything anyone has ever isolated from a living system.”,,,
    The (current) study leaves open the question of exactly how those primitive systems managed to replicate themselves—something neither the RNA World hypothesis nor the Peptide-RNA World theory can yet explain.
    http://phys.org/news/2013-09-assumptions-life.html

    Stephen Meyer Responds to Fletcher in Times Literary Supplement – Jan. 2010
    Excerpt: everything we know about RNA catalysts, including those with partial self-copying capacity, shows that the function of these molecules depends upon the precise arrangement of their information-carrying constituents (i.e., their nucleotide bases). Functional RNA catalysts arise only once RNA bases are specifically-arranged into information-rich sequences—that is, function arises after, not before, the information problem has been solved.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2....._flet.html

    Origin of Life: Claiming Something for Almost Nothing (RNA)
    Excerpt: Yarus admitted, “the tiny replicator has not been found, and that its existence will be decided by experiments not yet done, perhaps not yet imagined.” But does this (laboratory) work support a naturalistic origin of life? A key question is whether a (self-replicating) molecule could form under plausible prebiotic conditions. Here’s how the paper described their work in the lab to get this (precursor) molecule:,,(several ‘unnatural’ complex steps of laboratory work are listed)
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100302a

  17. 17
    Silver Asiatic says:

    tarmaras

    Physical theories of nature can measure the existence of things, but not their truth, because to decide if they are true, we must first give them meanings, and that makes the system logically inconsistent. The problem for a physical theory is—how can false things exist? If nature is logical, then it must only permit true things because we assume that it begins in true axioms which are converted into true conclusions by the application of logic. If nature were indeed logical then everything that exists must also be true. Since the belief that the sky is purple exists in my brain, it must also be true.

    I’ve been trying to express this very same thing several times, and I was going to do it again (nobody ever responded) but I gave up, thinking I might have misunderstood — but here it is! A marvelous coincidence. A Vedic philosopher sees this essential point that so many Western thinkers (even believers sometimes) completely miss.

    Yes, in metaphysical naturalism, or materialism … “false things cannot exist”. Because “false” is “non-existent”.

    If “everything is material” and “material is all there is” — then there is only “the is”.

    There cannot be “the is not”. Because “the is not” obviously, does not exist and therefore cannot be material.

    “The is not” is what we mean by “false”.

    Materialism is monism – there is only one thing, the physical. There can’t be any true versus false in that system. There is only “the is” – and the term “true” is meaningless.

    The problem of morality stems from the fact that we separate existence from truth: ideas about morality exist in my head, but they may not be true. Judgments of right and wrong exist as beliefs but they may be incorrect. How can something false exist in nature if nature is supposed to be logically consistent?

    This is a devastating critique that could go much further. Materialists simply can’t answer this at all. I haven’t encountered one that even understands it. To decide or judge after the fact on right versus wrong, requires “something false to exist in nature”.

    That is nonsense in monism. Everything just “is”. There can be no true versus false, right versus wrong.

    Rather, nature should be viewed as meanings which become things; all such things are now symbols of meanings. When nature is treated in this way, there is a difference between existence and truth, and the difference is created because there are meanings.

    Interesting concept. There is definitely a difference between existence and truth. In materialism, there is and can only be “existence” alone. But we see that truth judges existence. Truth is an immaterial standard that cannot be generated by the physical/material since it judges and evaluates the physical/material. It stands outside of material existence.

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    SA, I am currently reading the book Life Itself: A Comprehensive Inquiry into the Nature, Origin, and Fabrication of Life which raises many of these same issues esp wrt the difference between physics and biology. He proposes the need for a relational biology.

  19. 19
    tarmaras says:

    @Silver Asiatic

    ————–
    I’ve been trying to express this very same thing several times, and I was going to do it again (nobody ever responded) but I gave up, thinking I might have misunderstood — but here it is! A marvelous coincidence. A Vedic philosopher sees this essential point that so many Western thinkers (even believers sometimes) completely miss.
    —————-

    Glad to hear you’re on the same page here. Perhaps it comes natural to think like this in Vedic philosophy because of the idea of Maya as objective illusion — that is, false theories exist as subtle material entities (where matter is idea-like) and they exist side by side with the true theory of nature which is basically reality itself (or God’s point of view).

    In a recent blog post, the author says:

    “there is a kind of subtle matter that transforms reality into an illusion—this is called m?ya. The crucial point is that illusion, lies, falsities, and misperceptions exist. This is essential because in modern science false cannot exist, and if something exists, it must also be true. Science therefore equates existence with truth, and this is a huge problem. I can think that the sky is purple and that thought exists, but it is not true. So, existence is not identical to truth. The material world exists, but in so far as it is material it is also false. This means that it comprises false propositions—e.g., that the sky is purple. Something about everything in the material world is a mistake.”
    http://www.ashishdalela.com/20.....hilosophy/

    ————-
    Materialism is monism – there is only one thing, the physical. There can’t be any true versus false in that system. There is only “the is” – and the term “true” is meaningless.
    ————-

    In Vedic philosophy it’s exactly the opposite. The world is ideas and it for this very reason that it can actually be known — the mind (a more abstract idea) can know an object (a more contingent idea). The interaction between “mind” and “body” is now the interaction between two types of information. As the author puts it in Uncommon Wisdom:

    “Given that all previous attempts to integrate mind and body have failed, and given that all attempts to reduce the mind to body have failed, we are left with only one choice: reduce the body to the mind. In other words, the body is an idea, too; it just happens to be more refined and contingent idea, relative to the ideas in the mind. The mind-body divide is now false; there aren’t two different substances, and there aren’t two separate worlds. Rather, the present world is idea-like, and material bodies are more concrete ideas while the mind is an abstract idea. The body is simply a refinement of the mind; the body is developed from the mind, and the mind must therefore exist even prior to the existence of the body.”

    This idea has implications for the theory of evolution, because now the proper role for information (ideas) in nature is recognized — the DNA code is actually a code and the atoms from which it is made are also symbols further elaborating the idea of DNA. So, what seems like the evolution of bodies (through the mutually contradictory postulates of random mutation and natural selection) is actually an evolution of ideas. In the semantic view, this evolution is a consequence of the influence of time, but where time is a computer of the laws of logic. From Uncommon Wisdom:

    “The structure of space represents all that can exist, while the structure of time constructs these things. The construction represents computation, and these computations select the possibilities to create the existents. This selection of actuality from possibility is time; it is a type of choice and it evolves cyclically: the same possibilities become real (appear) and unreal (disappear) at different times. They are, therefore, logically possible always, but they are created and destroyed (manifest and unmanifest) in time. None of these possibilities is, however, disproved.”

    Since time is a type of choice, it is described as a type of supreme consciousness, called Sankarshana, who self-computes.

    ———–
    Interesting concept. There is definitely a difference between existence and truth. In materialism, there is and can only be “existence” alone. But we see that truth judges existence. Truth is an immaterial standard that cannot be generated by the physical/material since it judges and evaluates the physical/material. It stands outside of material existence.
    ———-

    This concept of nature as meanings was (and still is) the hardest for me to grasp from this semantic theory of nature stemming from Vedic philosophy. But if nature is indeed made of meanings (information) then nature can accomodate truths and falsities to coexist in “matter”, because matter is now idea-like and there is no mind-body divide, in which ideas are supposed to exist in the inaccessible Platonic world (or in the Cartesian “mind”).

    The question is now, what is the truth from which falsities need to be distinguished. And this is where another proposition comes from Vedic philosophy — the theory held by the universal observer is also the true theory of nature (God’s will, in religious terms) and the direction of determining the absolute truth is now in relation with the universal observer’s theory. All other theories are false or, if you want, only partially true. And what is defined as moral is that which takes one towards the true theory of nature and immoral what takes one away from the true theory of nature. Thus, materialism, using one of the filters of Maya that I mentioned above, focuses exclusively on the most contingent ideas (that is, material objects), rejects the existence of other more abstract entities (mind, intelligence, ego, morality and consciousness); the form of this rejection is the ad-hoc consideration that all these entities are epiphenomena of atomic particles. Exactly how this epiphenomenalism just happens remains to be explained, and that’s why, when it comes to explaining these things science remains hopelessly incomplete (or if it does try to explain them, it becomes inconsistent). the only thing the New Atheists have going for them here is the rhetoric that BECAUSE science makes laptops, space-stations and antibiotics, therefore IN THE FUTURE we will explain all these puzzling abstractions as arrangements of material objects.

    PS: I can’t figure out how to properly use the quote tags below :). Any tutorials on the website somewhere? Thanks

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    standard html angle brackets to open and close the tags. I usually just go with the straight blockquote.

  21. 21
    Mung says:

    <blockquote>

    insert quote here …

    </blockquote>

  22. 22
    Silver Asiatic says:

    tarmaras

    Interesting thoughts. That’s a different perspective for me – it’s good to learn about it.

    given that all attempts to reduce the mind to body have failed, we are left with only one choice: reduce the body to the mind. In other words, the body is an idea, too; it just happens to be more refined and contingent idea, relative to the ideas in the mind.

    I’d only disagree that all attempts to integrate mind and body have necessarily failed and therefore we need to reduce body to mind. I don’t see this as a solution – for reasons you gave (I think). We wouldn’t have any means of separating true ideas from false. As a parallel to the materialist problem, there wouldn’t be any physical reality, just ideas. Since some ideas are false, and no ideas reference any ‘true physical objects’, then you really couldn’t do any science or math at all.

    The question is now, what is the truth from which falsities need to be distinguished.

    It seems the answer you gave is something like “only God knows” or perhaps one would need a mystical perception to know if something is real or not.

    But without that, we couldn’t trust our senses. I can understand and agree with the view that one can and should develop perceptions that go beyond the physical, but even with that a kind of “idea monism” doesn’t permit the kind of hierarchies that are required to judge reality (and eventually find reasonable evidence for the existence of God) as I see it.

    Those are just my initial thoughts on a quick review. I’m not well-versed enough to fully criticize the philosophy. It does seem Platonist in many interesting ways. Thanks for sharing it.

  23. 23
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Mung – that looks interesting, thanks.

    Central to Rosen’s work is the idea of a “complex system,” defined as any system that cannot be fully understood by reducing it to its parts. In this sense, complexity refers to the causal impact of organization on the system as a whole. Since both the atom and the organism can be seen to fit that description

    Neo-Darwinism has been trying to build up systems-complexity from a reductionist starting point, but it really doesn’t work. In fact, it actually kills biology itself since reductionism brings us to sub-atomic particles, and thus physics. All of the properties of life, supposedly, are contained there somehow. But then there’s nothing to govern what would ever develop from the particle origins.

    That looks like a good book.

  24. 24
    tarmaras says:

    @kairosfocus & @Mung thanks for the tutorial

    @Silver Asiatic

    I’d like to reply first to 22 and then refer to 23 since you and Mung have raised a great point that relates to what the semantic theory is trying to highlight

    I’d only disagree that all attempts to integrate mind and body have necessarily failed and therefore we need to reduce body to mind. I don’t see this as a solution – for reasons you gave (I think). We wouldn’t have any means of separating true ideas from false. As a parallel to the materialist problem, there wouldn’t be any physical reality, just ideas. Since some ideas are false, and no ideas reference any ‘true physical objects’, then you really couldn’t do any science or math at all.

    Indeed, you would be right to disagree if the same problems of materialist reductionism would now migrate into the new view. I’ve been doing some digging into the Dalela’s Moral Materialism book (about the semantic theory as applied to ethics) because I remembered a point similar to what you raised being addressed.

    It is here where the Vedic idea of the law of consequences would come in handy — also known as the law of karma. In summary, if one holds a false theory of reality, this karmic law will force one into encounters with phenomena that would give one opportunity to correct the theory. In a sense morality is not just a concept but a vector that pushes one towards the true theory of nature — to God’s POV if you will.

    The test of reaching the true theory of nature is when one is no longer affected by the laws of nature (which are laws of meaning).

    A blog post on this point:
    http://www.ashishdalela.com/20.....son-faith/

    In any case, thanks for raising a very salient point and I will definitely put it on my list of questions that I’m preparing for a future interview with the author.

  25. 25
    groovamos says:

    Seversky: Yes, there are a whole lot of unanswered questions in science and some of the answers we do have are wide of the mark.

    Here is an unanswered (ahem, possibly never to be answered) question “in science”: why was a mind capable of inventing the calculus selected at random? BTW the two relevant men whose minds were selected and whose minds conferred survival advantage were not able to pass on their ‘genes’, neither having offspring. So how were the rest of us able to comprehend the invention?

    Another one: why was a mind selected for that could invent fantastic symphonies or other works of art?

    And of course: why was a mind selected for that would percieve all unanswered questions as being “in science”, whatever that means?

    And then why were minds evolved to believe that “science” cannot be the final arbiter of what questions belong “in science”?

  26. 26
    Andre says:

    Axel for me its really sad that that there is almost never a fruitful exchange

  27. 27
    Andre says:

    Tjguy

    For me nothing beats John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    This verse has music with rocks in it!

  28. 28
    tarmaras says:

    @Silver Asiatic

    Neo-Darwinism has been trying to build up systems-complexity from a reductionist starting point, but it really doesn’t work. In fact, it actually kills biology itself since reductionism brings us to sub-atomic particles, and thus physics. All of the properties of life, supposedly, are contained there somehow. But then there’s nothing to govern what would ever develop from the particle origins.

    I just wanted to add that not only that the reduction of biology to physics dissolves the notion of systems (and functions, and structures) in biology and thus the object of study of biology — the organism, but this reduction is sometimes carried out to outdated notions of physics. I’m adding for discussion an excerpt from the preface to Dalela’s Signs of Life: A Semantic Critique of Evolutionary Theory (which can be read for free, along with part of the first chapter by clicking on the Look Inside feature of the ebook version on Amazon).

    “The key idea that I wish to describe in this book is that the theory of biological evolution is based on concepts that are inconsistent with the notions of matter in modern physics, the problems of meaning in mathematics, what randomness entails in computing theory, and what game theoretic and ecological perspectives tell us about the natural world. Many of the ideas Darwin formed in his theory of evolution were based on notions of space-time, matter, and causality used in classical physics. Deep connections between physics and chemistry had not been made then, and consequently the problems of physics and their implications for chemistry did not have a bearing on biological theories. Mathematics was supposed to be logically complete and consistent, and its incompleteness and paradoxes had not been shown. Computing theory did not exist and its problems did not have an impact on biology. Game theory had not yet been invented, and its implications for competitive behaviors were not known. Over the decades after Darwin much has happened in other fields outside biology, but, unfortunately, the problems of causality, motion, completeness, complexity, non-linearity, and meaning in these other fields have not had any serious impact on biology. Biology still lives in a relative time-warp of philosophical presuppositions that were acceptable in Darwin’s time but are now false.

    Let’s take for example the conceptual revolutions in physics. The ideas of causality, motion, and space-time have undergone a dramatic revision in quantum theory but they have had little impact on biology. Biologists still think of changes as being caused by forces when, in fact, quantum theory states that a closed system is always in a stationary state. Biologists believe that molecules are real things, when quantum physics tells us that the same ensemble of particles can be divided into many different sets of molecules. Biologists still think that a living being is built up of thing-in-itself particles, ignoring new ideas such as entanglement and non-locality. The unresolved measurement problem in quantum physics—which entails that objects are not real until a measurement is performed—has had literally no impact on biology; biologists continue to think that there is in fact a reality which exists without observation.

    There are considerable conceptual problems when ideas in physics have to be extended to living beings. For instance, the brain can hold ideas about the world but physical objects can only indicate their own properties. But this problem is generally ignored because physicists study non-referential objects, and biologists extend this view of nature even to living beings, which are referential.

    The problem of reference appears in mathematics and computing theory as the incompleteness and incomputability of all number systems, although the connection between incompleteness, incomputability and reference is generally not well-understood. Again, those scientists working outside mathematics take a pragmatic approach to mathematics: numbers are useful for calculations but what numbers are is not relevant to other areas of science. In particular, problems of mathematics or computing are not problems of physics or biology because numbers are not physical. However, these problems become very important when a physical theory has to explain the ability to process meanings in the brain. Now, numbers have to be treated as concepts rather than quantities. A true conceptual treatment of numbers has never been successful because mathematicians have tried to derive number concepts from objects. This in turn entails that no formal system (in the sense defined currently) can ever contain meanings. If biological systems are described using such mathematics, they too could not have meanings. This is not a question of biological complexity; it is rather a problem of not possessing a mathematical formalism in which to describe a physical system that can represent meanings about the world.

    If classical notions of causality, motion, and determinism fail so noticeably in physics, then they must also fail in chemistry and biology. If the problems of meaning have not been solved in mathematics and computing theory, then surely they could not be solved in chemistry and biology that simply inherit the logical thinking. If the creation of sub-atomic particles cannot be predicted in physics, then the formation of bonds and chemical molecules also cannot be predicted. Evolutionists seem oblivious to these challenges. They suppose that all fundamental issues about the nature of atoms, space-time, and causality have been settled, and they now wish to settle the issue of how molecules form living beings. They presume that physical systems can encode meanings, when this is known to be logically impossible in a physical system. The paradox here is not that living bodies consist of molecules. The paradox is that the theory of molecules themselves is incomplete. Could it be that when the physical theories are completed, they would also be able to explain the meaning forming capabilities in living beings? Could it be that this ability would require a substantial revision to logic and mathematics, since meanings cannot be encoded in physical objects?

    The problems of physics and mathematics are not problems of nature. It is very likely that causality in nature, and logic and numbers are quite different from how we have currently conceived them. To build a causally complete theory, new notions about causality are needed. To incorporate meanings in the material world, new notions about logic and numbers are necessary. These new ideas about matter, logic, and numbers would not just change our view of physics and mathematics, but also our ideas about living beings. Without their solution, biology would be incomplete, too.”

  29. 29
    Mung says:

    tarmaras, Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I’ll have to pick up some of these books, they sound very interesting. Seems they’ll fit right in with my current area of study.

  30. 30
    tarmaras says:

    I’m following this great blog from 2007 (I’ve been greatly benefited intellectualy) so I’m glad to be of use (for a change).

  31. 31
    tarmaras says:

    Mung, I’m following this great blog from 2007 (I’ve been greatly benefited intellectualy) so I’m glad to be of use (for a change).

  32. 32
    Axel says:

    Well, Andre, it’s not something I think you could ever get used to, really, is it? Why are they educated to tertiary level and beyond?

    It reminds me of the description of the concluding findings of the 9/11 Commission by an American journalist called Strawberry, who remarked that it was akin to words you might hear from a young child, who had accidentally knocked down a lamp from where it had been, and broken it: ‘The lamp broke.’ Kind of transparently untransparent and vacuous, when they’re cornered.

  33. 33
    Seversky says:

    Andre @ 6

    I’ll help Seversky

    “A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation”

    That’s very kind, Playing with definitions is fun, I agree. How about this one:

    a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.

    or this one from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    Theories are customarily represented as collections of sentences, propositions, statements or beliefs, etc., and their logical consequences. Among these are maximally general explanatory and predictive laws (Coulomb’s law of electrical attraction and repulsion, and Maxwellian electromagnetism equations for example), along with lesser generalizations that describe more limited natural and experimental phenomena (e.g., the ideal gas equations describing relations between temperatures and pressures of enclosed gasses, and general descriptions of positional astronomical regularities). Observations are used in testing generalizations of both kinds.

    Some philosophers prefer to represent theories as collections of ‘states of physical or phenomenal systems’ and laws. The laws for any given theory are

    …relations over states which determine…possible behaviors of phenomenal systems within the theory’s scope. (Suppe 1977, 710)
    So conceived, a theory can be adequately represented by more than one linguistic formulation because it is not a system of sentences or propositions. Instead, it is a non-linguistic structure which can function as a semantic model of its sentential or propositional representations. (Suppe 1977, 221–230) This entry treats theories as collections of sentences or sentential structures with or without deductive closure. But the questions it takes up arise in pretty much the same way when theories are represented in accordance with this semantic account.

    All quite simple really.

  34. 34
    Seversky says:

    tarmaras @ 28

    I just wanted to add that not only that the reduction of biology to physics dissolves the notion of systems (and functions, and structures) in biology and thus the object of study of biology — the organism, but this reduction is sometimes carried out to outdated notions of physics. I’m adding for discussion an excerpt from the preface to Dalela’s Signs of Life: A Semantic Critique of Evolutionary Theory (which can be read for free, along with part of the first chapter by clicking on the Look Inside feature of the ebook version on Amazon).

    An interesting discussion in itself, no doubt, but a tad ironic.

    In another thread, we have a regular contributor, Timaeus, berating a respected biochemist, Professor Laurence Moran, for not being properly qualified to pronounce on evolutionary theory. Although what appears to irk Timaeus more is what he views as Professor Moran’s unwarranted appearance of certainty and his dismissive attitude towards proponents of Intelligent Design. To what extent Timaeus is qualified to comment on evolutionary theory is unclear but he or she are entitled to their privacy.

    Against that we have an excerpt from a whole book commenting on the alleged shortcomings of evolutionary theory from a semantic perspective written by a Hindu computer scientist and upthread the irrepressible BA77 quotes a marine engineer, neither of which disciplines are exactly central to evolutionary biology. Yet there’s nary a murmur of protest from any quarter about their credentials to comment on evolution.

  35. 35
    tjguy says:

    Seversky @ 33

    I enjoyed the examples of the word “theory” you supplied.

    Now, how about you google “scientific meaning of the word theory” and see what you find.

    Here is one I found at this site:
    http://www.livescience.com/214.....heory.html

    The process of becoming a scientific theory

    Every scientific theory starts as a hypothesis.

    According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a hypothesis is an idea that hasn’t been proven yet.

    If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step — known as a theory — in the scientific method and becomes accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomenon.

    You do know what the scientific method is, right? But you admitted here that the multiverse “theory” cannot be tested, so how can you call it a scientific theory?

    Seems to me that a more accurate description of it would be Multiverse Hypothesis, wouldn’t you agree?

    Others would call it a dream or wishful thinking. Take your pick.

    But sure, you can find lots of definitions of the word “theory” that do not demand testability or experimental evidence because the normal use of that word and the scientific use of it are totally different.

    When someone objects by saying “But it’s only a theory,” Materialists come out of the woodwork and look down their pointy noses at the poor ignorant little idiot who put his foot in his mouth because he didn’t understand the scientific definition of the word.

    However, they turn right around and use the word theory in the exact same way and pretend all is good, hoping no one calls their bluff.

    Like I said, google the phrase “scientific theory” and see if your cherry picked definitions are accurate. I think we all know they are not.

    Just admit that it is not scientifically correct to call the multiverse hypothesis a theory and we’ll go away!

    And then please refrain from calling it a theory in the future!

  36. 36
    Andre says:

    Seversky @33

    So you posted the meaning of theory from a philosophical framework, and if this applies to unguided evolution then we are in agreement, unguided evolution is indeed nothing more or less than a philosophy.

    Your demarcation helps to clarify that unguided evolution does not pass the criteria as a scientific theory. thank you so much for collaborating my exact point.

    See materialists and ID’ers can agree on terms and meanings.

  37. 37
    Querius says:

    Tarmaras @ 28,

    Good points all. I’d add that even the most ordinary biologists seem to have a greater appreciation for the profusion of chemical cycles than the evolutionists who don’t even try to explain how these evolved, being stuck fast first in physical homologies and now looking for DNA patterns that they don’t understand, assuming that in humans, most of them to be junk.

    They also cling to the notion that the fossil record will eventually vindicate their fanciful conjectures when it’s clearly obvious to any thoughtful individual that new discoveries are going the wrong way. In many ways the fossil record seems upside down from their perspective.

    They also are clueless about how ionizing radiation would shred any soft tissue, capillaries, and red blood cells (not to mention fragile DNA molecules) into dust thousands of times over in the span of the speculated 68 million years that it spent in a T.rex bone, and that an iron atom in a heme group can’t stop the process.

    Then there are “living fossils” that “must have” escaped evolutionary processes for millions of years because the biome “must have” been just right for that time, not realizing the circular logic they invoke. This type of poor reasoning seems ubiquitous: Why do H.sapiens have large brains? Because it “must have” provided some survival benefit.

    The theory of evolution can explain absolutely anything but predicts nothing successfully. This is the opposite of science.

    As to Seversky’s ravings, I haven’t decided whether they’re written in orgasmic adulation of Professor Moran or simply logic-free rhetorical flatulence. In either case, I won’t waste any more time on his/her/whatever posts.

    As you emphasized, demonstratable causality is at the heart of science, and is conspicuously absent in the theories of evolution outside of wildly misconstrued or misrepresented work by breathless “science” journalists of this type: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=1703

    -Q

  38. 38
    Querius says:

    Groovamos @ 25 wondered,

    Here is an unanswered (ahem, possibly never to be answered) question “in science”: why was a mind capable of inventing the calculus selected at random?

    Not at random. Everyone knows that chicks dig bad boys and that bad boys dig chicks who know calculus! Just look around.

    A research proposal to determine the evolution of intellectual plumage would certainly be successful! 😉

    -Q

  39. 39
    Mung says:

    Everyone knows that chicks dig bad boys and that bad boys dig chicks who know calculus!

    I’m SOL. I am bad in all the wrong ways and don’t know calculus.

  40. 40
    Querius says:

    Sorry Mung.

    You’ve been kicked out of the gene pool. Your consolation is that it’s a dirty pool and apparently getting a lot dirtier fast! 😮

    -Q

  41. 41
    Mung says:

    Q, Well, that’s just what I get for peeing in it!

  42. 42
    Seversky says:

    tjguy @ 35

    You do know what the scientific method is, right? But you admitted here that the multiverse “theory” cannot be tested, so how can you call it a scientific theory?

    Dictionary definitions are a compilation of past and present usages. They are descriptive rather than prescriptive. They tell you how words have been and are being used not how they should be used.

    Just admit that it is not scientifically correct to call the multiverse hypothesis a theory and we’ll go away!

    If by “theory” we mean an explanation that has withstood repeated empirical testing to the extent that we are warranted in having a much higher degree of confidence in its correspondence to observable reality then, no, the multiverse explanation is not a theory but a hypothesis if we believe that it is testable, at least in principle. If we don’t believe it is testable, even in principle, then it is a conjecture

    And then please refrain from calling it a theory in the future!

    Agreed, as long as you stop calling Intelligent Design a theory.

  43. 43
    Querius says:

    For the record, I believe that ID is a paradigm rather than a theory, the same as macro evolution.

    In that sense ID and the ToE are the same, except that ID’s record of predicting design is a lot better than the ToE’s record of predicting random junk.

    -Q

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