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Michael Egnor on why evil shows that there IS a God

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From Michael Egnor at ENST, replying to one of the universe is “itself a mind” philosophers, Phillip Goff:

Evil is not a problem, and in fact does not exist, if there is no God. And Goff errs in proposing that the universe is a Mind and that the Mind embodied in the universe is the ground of existence.

The universe is not a Mind. It is a manifestation of a Mind, the creation of a Mind, but it has no mind itself. A mind is an aspect of a soul, and what characterizes a mind is its ability to hold the form of another substance in it without becoming that substance. For example, my mind can grasp the idea of a tree or of justice, but I do not therefore become a tree or justice. The universe certainly has forms, but those are substantial forms, which make the universe and the component parts what they are. There is no reason to impute “mind” to what is clearly an assemblage of material substances.

Furthermore, the universe is contingent. Its essence — what it is — does not include the necessity that it is. Nowhere in a physical description of the universe or of its laws is there any necessity of its existence. When we describe a distant galaxy or the Big Bang, it is possible that we are engaging in fantasy or error. But the ground of existence must have necessary existence — its essence must be existence. What it is must be that it is. That is clearly not true of the physical universe. More.

See also: At Aeon: Fine-tuning is easy to explain: The universe itself is conscious, and somewhat like a human. Goff: “However, it now seems to me that reflection on the fine-tuning might give us grounds for thinking that the mental life of the Universe is just a little closer than I had previously thought to the mental life of a human being.” Indeed. If we keep going in this direction, we will run into Zeus. The only remaining mystery is why our Stone Age ancestors gave up on him after a while.

At Quartz: Materialists are converting to panpsychism

Latest consciousness theory: Rocks have minds

The universe may be conscious?

Evading hard problem of human consciousness: Consciousness is in everything!

The illusion of consciousness sees through itself.

And the naturalist’s biggest problem, to hear him tell it, is the persistence of stubborn doubt about naturalism.

89 Replies to “Michael Egnor on why evil shows that there IS a God

  1. 1
    tribune7 says:

    That evil exists shows that there is a God.

    As per the atheists, the cruelty and hate defined by Judeo-Christian ethos would most certainly remain there just is nothing to authoritatively define them as, well, evil.

  2. 2
    buffalo says:

    God is pure goodness itself.

    Something exists that is not God.

    Therefore, some degree of evil has to exist.

  3. 3
    critical rationalist says:

    That’s and interesting conjecture. How might we go about finding errors it might contain and discarding them?

  4. 4
    critical rationalist says:

    There are reasonable sounding opposites for nearly all of these arguments.

    Example? God could be perfectly evil and still allow good. Why? Because, being perfectly evil, it would be necessary for us to know what we were missing when the tortured us for eternity.

    That says the opposite is true, in really, yet explains what we experience, “evil”, just as well. This is an example of an easily varied explanation.

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    The existence of a concept or the word for that concept does not necessarily mean that the thing referred to must exist as something other than a concept. Middle Earth does not necessarily exist just because Tolkien named and described such a place. So what do we mean by “God” and “goodness” and what reason do we have for thinking that they exist as more than fictions?

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky states:

    The existence of a concept or the word for that concept does not necessarily mean that the thing referred to must exist as something other than a concept.

    Hmmmm, like the claim from materialists that the entire ‘concept’ of say a person named “Seversky’ must not necessarily exist as a real person but must instead be a neuronal illusion?

    Ross Douthat Is On Another Erroneous Rampage Against Secularism – Jerry Coyne – December 26, 2013
    Excerpt: “many (but not all) of us accept the notion that our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.”
    Jerry Coyne – Professor of Evolutionary Biology – Atheist
    https://newrepublic.com/article/116047/ross-douthat-wrong-about-secularism-and-ethics

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    “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

    And to echo Ross Douthat’s question to Coyne, and exactly why should I or anyone else take what the illusion named ‘Seversky’ says about what is real and what is imaginary seriously? Illusions, by definition, are unreal to begin with!

  7. 7
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 – why do you think Seversky is an illusion?

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Hmmm Bob (and weave) O’Hara, as was gone over with you in detail before,,,

    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/jonathan-mclatchie-vs-keith-fox-has-id-stood-the-test-of-time/#comment-652410

    ,,,it is not I that think that you or Seversky are illusions, it is your own ‘chosen’ materialistic philosophy that insists that consciousness (i.e. personhood), free will, and morality, are illusions.

    That you yourself do not think you are an illusion is in itself a testament to the fact that atheistic materialism is false.

    In fact, the more you insist that your consciousness, free will, and morality are not illusions, and that you are indeed a real person with real meaning and purpose in your life, then the more you in fact testify to the fact that your own atheistic worldview is clearly false (and insane).

    I certainly don’t think that you and Seversky are illusions. It is an insanity, out of many insanities, that arises strictly from your own atheistic materialism.

    But don’t feel bad Bob that you have been so badly suckered by your own atheistic worldview. The false presupposition that material reality takes precedence over conscious reality is fairly common, even among Christians.

    The fact that it is a fairly common false presupposition on the part of many people in general is revealed by the ‘shock’ that people feel when they first learn that quantum mechanics reveals that external ‘material’ reality does not exist without conscious observation.

    In fact, the confusion between what is actually real (consciousness) and what is actually illusory (materialism) is so great that quantum mechanics falsified a materialistic model that is actually named ‘realism’.

    Which is basically a materialistic model of the world in which it is held that material reality exist apart from consciousness in general, and conscious observation in particular.

    Thus, by naming the materialistic model ‘realism’ in the first place, the confusion between what is actually real (i.e. consciousness) and what is actually illusory (i.e. materialism) is shown to run fairly deep in the human psyche.

    Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness – May 27, 2015
    Excerpt: The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.
    Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler’s delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler’s experiment then asks – at which point does the object decide?
    Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    Despite the apparent weirdness, the results confirm the validity of quantum theory, which,, has enabled the development of many technologies such as LEDs, lasers and computer chips.
    The ANU team not only succeeded in building the experiment, which seemed nearly impossible when it was proposed in 1978, but reversed Wheeler’s original concept of light beams being bounced by mirrors, and instead used atoms scattered by laser light.
    “Quantum physics’ predictions about interference seem odd enough when applied to light, which seems more like a wave, but to have done the experiment with atoms, which are complicated things that have mass and interact with electric fields and so on, adds to the weirdness,” said Roman Khakimov, PhD student at the Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    An experimental test of non-local realism – 2007
    Simon Gröblacher, Tomasz Paterek, Rainer Kaltenbaek, Caslav Brukner, Marek Zukowski, Markus Aspelmeyer &; Anton Zeilinger
    Abstract: Most working scientists hold fast to the concept of ‘realism’—a viewpoint according to which an external reality exists independent of observation. But quantum physics has shattered some of our cornerstone beliefs. According to Bell’s theorem, any theory that is based on the joint assumption of realism and locality (meaning that local events cannot be affected by actions in space-like separated regions) is at variance with certain quantum predictions. Experiments with entangled pairs of particles have amply confirmed these quantum predictions, thus rendering local realistic theories untenable. Maintaining realism as a fundamental concept would therefore necessitate the introduction of ‘spooky’ actions that defy locality. Here we show by both theory and experiment that a broad and rather reasonable class of such non-local realistic theories is incompatible with experimentally observable quantum correlations. In the experiment, we measure previously untested correlations between two entangled photons, and show that these correlations violate an inequality proposed by Leggett for non-local realistic theories. Our result suggests that giving up the concept of locality is not sufficient to be consistent with quantum experiments, unless certain intuitive features of realism are abandoned.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....05677.html

    Quantum physics says goodbye to reality – Apr 20, 2007
    Excerpt: Many realizations of the thought experiment have indeed verified the violation of Bell’s inequality. These have ruled out all hidden-variables theories based on joint assumptions of realism, meaning that reality exists when we are not observing it; and locality, meaning that separated events cannot influence one another instantaneously. But a violation of Bell’s inequality does not tell specifically which assumption – realism, locality or both – is discordant with quantum mechanics.
    Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger and colleagues from the University of Vienna, however, have now shown that realism is more of a problem than locality in the quantum world. They devised an experiment that violates a different inequality proposed by physicist Anthony Leggett in 2003 that relies only on realism, and relaxes the reliance on locality. To do this, rather than taking measurements along just one plane of polarization, the Austrian team took measurements in additional, perpendicular planes to check for elliptical polarization.
    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.”
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/27640

    The Incompatibility of Physicalism with Physics: A Conversation with Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk-UO81HmO4

    Though it may be shocking to first learn that ‘reality’ does not exist without conscious observation in particular (and consciousness in general),,, the fact of the matter is that plain old fashioned logic dictates that ‘reality’ must simply be this way or else all reason is lost,,

    “In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could not believe that mind is not primary in the first place.”
    – William J. Murray

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the main founder of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    Of supplemental note:

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    “I think the idea of (materialists) saying that consciousness is an illusion doesn’t really work because the very notion of an illusion presupposes consciousness. There are no illusions unless there is a conscious experience or (a conscious person) for whom there is an illusion.”
    Evan Thompson, Philosopher – author of Waking, Dreaming, Being

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 6

    Seversky states:

    The existence of a concept or the word for that concept does not necessarily mean that the thing referred to must exist as something other than a concept.

    Hmmmm, like the claim from materialists that the entire ‘concept’ of say a person named “Seversky’ must not necessarily exist as a real person but must instead be a neuronal illusion?

    We have good evidence that the way we see the world is that image-forming light enters our eyes and is transduced into electrical signals passed along the optic nerve to the visual cortex of the brain. There it is processed to form the visual image we see in front of us. Similar processes for converting external stimuli into electrical signals transmitted to the brain occur in our other sensory channels.

    All that data is integrated to form the HD, stereoscopic, full color model complete with touch, taste and smell which is what we use to navigate the external reality we assume the model represents. And this is a partial model or representation of what is out there, good in some respects, not so good in others, but not the whole thing. The are birds of prey whose visual acuity is far greater than ours. I have read that if we could see in the dark as well as owls, we could read a newspaper in pitch darkness by the light of a single candle set a mile away. Dogs and cats have a far better sense of smell than we do and they and other animals can hear sounds that are completely inaudible to us. Some creatures can “see” by infra-red radiation or by ultra-violet wavelengths that are beyond the range of our senses.

    My question to you is, if there is some other, more direct extra-sensory way of perceiving external reality, what is the point of this immensely complex sensory apparatus and the very expensive processing capacity that converts that data into what you and I are experiencing now?

    If you think we are able to do without it then there is a simple experiment we can perform where a volunteer is placed in a sensory-deprivation tank and challenged to provide information about objects brought into the same room. How do you think they would do?

    Coming back to the question of our conscious experience of self we can say that, if we are using the model of external reality to navigate around it, then it must also include a representation of ourselves and how we are orientated with respect to the external world. It is but a short step from there to see that information about our internal physical states could be used to create a representation or model of ourselves as a physical beings within the greater model. The hard problem is explaining how our undeniable sense of individual self emerges.

    Is our conscious model or representation of external reality and self an illusion? Only if there is no external reality to be modeled. Otherwise, it is a model or map and they are not illusions but abstractions of what is being modeled or mapped.

    And to echo Ross Douthat’s question to Coyne, and exactly why should I or anyone else take what the illusion named ‘Seversky’ says about what is real and what is imaginary seriously? Illusions, by definition, are unreal to begin with!

    If you really think that I am an illusion then you are under no obligation to take anything I say seriously.

    If you take the solipsistic position that you are the only conscious entity then why are you talking to yourself?

    If, on the other hand, you believe that there are others like you out there, how do you know that your understanding and explanations of external reality are better than theirs? Are you interested in testing one against the other or are you only interested in finding confirmation of your own presuppositions?

  10. 10
    tribune7 says:

    That says the opposite is true, in really, yet explains what we experience, “evil”, just as well. This is an example of an easily varied explanation.

    CR, you are arguing like a second grader on the playground. With enough imagination you can always think of an argument against something.

    The reality, though, is that you have to put your chips on something. Natural science is a very silly way to determine what that something is.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Are you trying to outdo ‘Bob (and weave)’ in non-sequitur argumentation Seversky?

    Again, it is not I that is saying that consciousness (i.e. personhood), free will, and morality, are illusions (or a ‘model’ as you try to term consciousness), It is your own materialistic philosophy that insists that consciousness (i.e. personhood), free will, and morality, are illusions.

    And again, the more you fight against what your own atheistic philosophy dictates, i.e. that you are an illusion, the more you testify to the fact that it is false (and insane).

    “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

    Of related note: As to (re)establishing the Agent Causality of God back to physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned, it is good to see how Quantum Mechanics has now validated certain aspects of “Mind”, (particularly validated the aspects of ‘the experience of “the now”‘ of the mind that Albert Einstein himself once claimed would never be a part of experimental physics and also validated the aspect of free will which Einstein claimed did not really exist but was only an illusion:

    Albert Einstein vs. Quantum Mechanics and His Own Mind – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxFFtZ301j4

  12. 12

    Seversky @ 9: “If, on the other hand, you believe that there are others like you out there, how do you know that your understanding and explanations of external reality are better than theirs?”

    This, of course, is the question that everyone must ask him or herself. Surely you know that BA77 has already asked it of himself and he remains a theist. You presumably have asked it of yourself and you remain an atheist.

    “Are you interested in testing one against the other or are you only interested in finding confirmation of your own presuppositions?”

    I would presume that both you and BA77 are interesting in testing the reasonableness of your worldviews. Nevertheless, the divide between you exists, not because either of you refuses to test your worldview but because some things are beyond testing empirically. Some things ultimately come down to faith. BA77 has faith that theism is true. You have faith that atheism is true. Neither can be proved empirically.

  13. 13
    ET says:

    We have good evidence that the way we see the world is that image-forming light enters our eyes and is transduced into electrical signals passed along the optic nerve to the visual cortex of the brain. There it is processed to form the visual image we see in front of us. Similar processes for converting external stimuli into electrical signals transmitted to the brain occur in our other sensory channels.

    And we have good reasons to say all of that is the result of intelligent design We don’t have any reason, besides personal bias, to say that non-telic processes did it. There isn’t even a way to test such a claim.

  14. 14
    critical rationalist says:

    @tribune7

    With enough imagination you can always think of an argument against something.

    And the opposite is true, in that you can always think of an argument for something, as well. That’s my point. Thanks for making for me.

    We start out with a conjecture, which we develop using our imagination. Then we come up with ways to test those guesses in hope of finding and discarding errors they contain. So, how do you know your explanation for “evil” is the right one? How could we go about finding errors in it?

    We can always think of criticisms of our ideas. And we continue to do so long after they are developed.

    And, as I pointed out, your explanation is easily varied. That is you can modify it significant without impacting its ability to explain “evil”. Being easily varied is the hallmark of an bad explanation.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    ET @ 13, excellent point. and since Sev champions the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution, and since the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution is now proven to be false by advances in ‘quantum biology’, I really don’t think that Sev should ever be referring to biology in any way, shape, or form, to try to make his case for atheism since, as far as biology is concerned, he is now shown to not even be on the correct theoretical foundation in order to properly understand biological organisms in the first place.

    Darwinian Materialism vs Quantum Biology – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHdD2Am1g5Y

    Biological ‘form’ is also excellent for falsifying the reductive materialistic foundation of Darwinian evolution:

    Darwinism vs Biological Form – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w

  16. 16
    tribune7 says:

    CR

    And the opposite is true, in that you can always think of an argument for something, as well.

    And you still have to come to a conclusion.

    So, how do you know your explanation for “evil” is the right one?

    Because it is impossible to refute. Give it a shot.

  17. 17
    critical rationalist says:

    @tribune7

    And you still have to come to a conclusion.

    The Christian God, as an explanation of “evil” and “good” in the world, is a bad explanation because it is easily varied.

    Again, it could just as well be that God is actually perfectly evil. And, being perfectly evil, he has no choice but to allow us to experience the good we will be missing when we are tortured for eternity. Otherwise he wouldn’t be perfectly evil. Right?

    What’s worse? An eternity of torture without knowing good your missing or an eternity of torture knowing what good you could be having and experiencing instead?

    That explains “evil” and “good” we experience in the world just as well, yet suggests the exact opposite his happening in reality. They are both bad explanations because they can be easily varied.

    Because it is impossible to refute. Give it a shot.

    See above.

  18. 18
    J-Mac says:

    I wonder what would happen if Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten the forbidden fruit and actually hadn’t sinned?

    How would they have known what good and evil is? Would there be evil at all?

    I guess the perfect “Christian God” of the many at UD would’ve had to found another way to trick them into committing evil otherwise they would be like God or the would be God, as per Dr. Egnor’s theory:

    “Evil exists because the created universe is not God, but His creation, so it must of necessity fall short of God, who is perfectly Good. After all, if the universe were perfectly good, without evil, it would just be God.

    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/02/cosmic-fine-tuning-and-the-problem-of-evil/

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Funny how atheists deny that evil (i.e. morality) even exists on the one hand, and then on the other hand always pretend that they know morality better than God does because they say God would never allow evil to exist.

    Don’t believe me? Richard Dawkins himself is a raging moralist who thinks he knows morality better than God:

    Ben Stein vs. Richard Dawkins Interview
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlZtEjtlirc

    Might I suggest that God knows a lot more about morality, i.e. good and evil, than the atheist does? Especially since he used evil against itself on the Cross in order to bring redemption to man,,, which I hold to be supremely good

    The Problem of Evil by Benjamin D. Wiker – April 2009
    Excerpt: We still want to cry, Job-like, to those inscrutable depths, “Who are you to orchestrate everything around us puny and pitiable creatures, leaving us shuddering in the darkness, ignorant, blasted, and buffeted? It‘s all well and good to say, ‘Trust me! It‘ll all be made right in the end,‘ while you float unscathed above it all. Grinding poverty, hunger, thirst, frustration, rejection, toil, death of our loved ones, blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation — that‘s the meal we‘re served! You‘d sing a different tune if you were one of us and got a taste of your own medicine.”
    What could we say against these depths if the answer we received was not an argument but an incarnation, a full and free submission by God to the very evils about which we complain? This submission would be a kind of token, a sign that evil is very real indeed, bringing the incarnate God blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation on the cross. As real as such evil is, however, the resurrection reveals that it is somehow mysteriously comprehended within the divine plan.
    With the Incarnation, the reality of evil is absorbed into the deity, not dissolved into thin air, because God freely tastes the bitterness of the medicine as wounded healer, not distant doctor. Further, given the drastic nature of this solution, we begin to recognize that God takes the problem of evil more seriously than we could ever have taken it ourselves. ,,,
    http://www.crisismagazine.com/.....em-of-evil

  20. 20
    Dick says:

    The problem with Egnor’s argument is that the atheist could simply substitute “suffering” for “evil” and avoid the pitfall of an atheist using moral terminology.

  21. 21
    tribune7 says:

    CR,

    You miss the point. Cruelty, indifference to suffering, hate etc. are realities.

    What makes them evil?

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    The pitfall is still immovably there Dick:

    This Theologian Has An Answer To Atheists’ Claims That Evil Disproves God – Jan, 2018
    Excerpt: In “The Last Superstition: A Refutation Of The New Atheism,” Feser, echoing Thomas Aquinas, notes that the first premise of the problem of evil is “simply false, or at least unjustifiable.” According to Feser, there is no reason to believe that the Christian God, being all-good and all-powerful, would prevent suffering on this earth if out of suffering he could bring about a good that is far greater than any that would have existed otherwise. If God is infinite in power, knowledge, goodness, etc., then of course he could bring about such a good.
    Feser demonstrates his reasoning with an analogy. A parent may allow his child a small amount of suffering in frustration, sacrifice of time, and minor pain when learning to play the violin, in order to bring about the good of establishing proficiency. This is not to say that such minimal suffering is in any way comparable to the horrors that have gone on in this world. But the joy of establishing proficiency with a violin is not in any way comparable to the good that God promises to bring to the world.

    In Christian theology, this good is referred to as the Beatific Vision: the ultimate, direct self-communication of God to the individual. In other words, perfect salvation or Heaven. Feser describes the Beatific Vision as a joy so great that even the most terrible horror imaginable “pales in insignificance before the beatific vision.” As Saint Paul once said, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
    Your Argument Assumes Its Conclusion
    I can already see the disciples of the Four Horsemen readying their keyboards, opening a copy of Dawkins’ “The God Delusion,” and preparing their response. An atheist may claim that he cannot possibly imagine anything in the next life that could possibly outweigh the Holocaust, children’s suffering, or any other instance of significant suffering in this world. According to Feser, this response is precisely the reason he states that the problem of evil is “worthless” as an objection to arguments in favor of the existence of the Christian God.

    The problem is that the only way the atheist can claim that nothing could outweigh the most significant suffering on earth is if he supposes that God does not exist and therefore there is no Beatific Vision. But he cannot presume that God does not exist in the premise of an argument that aims to prove the conclusion that God does not exist. By doing so, he is begging the question, or arguing in a circle, and therefore does not prove anything at all.
    As Feser goes on to demonstrate, the atheist is essentially stating: “There is no God, because look at all this suffering that no good could possibly outweigh. How do I know there’s no good that could outweigh it? Oh, because there is no God.”
    http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....oves-gods/

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    “It is a glorious phrase of the New Testament, that ‘he led captivity captive.’
    The very triumphs of His foes, it means, he used for their defeat. He compelled their dark achievements to sub-serve his end, not theirs.
    They nailed him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to his feet.
    They gave him a cross, not guessing that he would make it a throne.
    They flung him outside the gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up all the gates of the universe, to let the King of Glory come in.
    They thought to root out his doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy.
    They thought they had defeated God with His back (to) the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down.
    He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”
    James Stewart (1896–1990) was a minister of the Church of Scotland

    Hmmm, sounds a lot like what is happening now in China and the former Soviet Union:

    Study: Rising Religious Tide in China Overwhelms Atheist Doctrine
    Excerpt: One of the last great efforts at state-sponsored atheism is a failure. And not just any kind of failure. China has enforced its anti-religion policy through decades of repression, coercion and persecution, but the lack of success is spectacular, according to a major new study.
    No more than 15 percent of adults in the world’s most populous country are “real atheists.” 85 percent of the Chinese either hold some religious beliefs or practice some kind of religion, according to the Chinese Spiritual Life Survey.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....11665.html

    Christians Now Outnumber Communists in China – 12/29/14
    Excerpt: Though the Chinese Communist Party is the largest explicitly atheist organization in the world, with 85 million official members, it is now overshadowed by an estimated 100 million Christians in China.,,,
    “By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University
    http://www.breitbart.com/natio.....-in-china/

    Pew: Here’s How Badly Soviet Atheism Failed in Europe
    In 18 nations across Central and Eastern Europe, religion is now essential to national identity. (massive study based on face-to-face interviews with 25,000 adults in 18 countries}
    Jeremy Weber – 5/10/2017
    Excerpt: “The comeback of religion in a region once dominated by atheist regimes is striking,” states Pew in its latest report. Today, only 14 percent of the region’s population identify as atheists, agnostics, or “nones.” By comparison, 57 percent identify as Orthodox, and another 18 percent as Catholics.
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....#038;w=380
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ntity.html

    Of related note: The reports of the death of Christianity in America are, much like Mark Twain’s death, greatly exaggerated

    New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Not Shrinking, But Growing Stronger – Jan. 2018
    Excerpt: New research published late last year by scholars at Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington is just the latest to reveal the myth. This research questioned the “secularization thesis,” which holds that the United States is following most advanced industrial nations in the death of their once vibrant faith culture. Churches becoming mere landmarks, dance halls, boutique hotels, museums, and all that.
    Not only did their examination find no support for this secularization in terms of actual practice and belief, the researchers proclaim that religion continues to enjoy “persistent and exceptional intensity” in America. These researchers hold our nation “remains an exceptional outlier and potential counter example to the secularization thesis.”
    http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....-stronger/

  24. 24
    john_a_designer says:

    The ultimate good cannot be evil.

  25. 25
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 @ 8 – if you don’t think that Seversky is an illusion, then stop saying he is!

    And also please stop telling me what I think. You don’t know, and a lot of what you write is plain wrong.

  26. 26
    mikeenders says:

    THis is always fun stuff because the parsing game begins.

    If you notice Egnor parses the universe as being separate from humans and their minds when they are as part of it as a galaxy and all of its stars. Is the universe conscious? Why obviously. I am conscoius but I don’t claim my fingers are. That part of me that is conscious makes the claim stand.

    then our materialist commenters start parsing human concept from material reality – but all things being material a concept is a material system.

    CR adds to the parsing game trying to seperate Evil and good from a standard begging God could be evil which is just a trojan for a totally fallacious argument that assumes its own comclusion – that evil or good stands outside of an authority. Note – God could no more be evil than a ruler that determines what a foot is could be less or more than a foot. Good news for CR is that he’s apparently totally uaware of the circularity he’s employing.

    its always with the sleight of a magician’s hand that atheist and materialists beg themselves out of addressing issues of morality, evil or even emotion. As if they can categorize it to something outside of materialism when they claim nothing is outside of it.

    I don’t know that Evil PROVES there is a God but I find it oddly ID based that our sense of morality conjured up by the material in our minds just happens to match ( or dare I say it? be finely tuned) with health and other benefits to the rest of my body, my world and all those living in it.

    the argument that concepts of the mind let the materialists off of explaining them by beggin they are not real and material is a magic trick I no longer buy.

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob, do you have a reading comprehension issue?

    Once again, it is not I that is saying that consciousness (i.e. personhood), free will, and morality, are illusions, It is your own materialistic philosophy that insists that consciousness (i.e. personhood), free will, and morality, are illusions.

    And again, the more you fight against what your own atheistic philosophy dictates, the more you testify to the fact that it is false (and insane).

    Moreover, if atheists were consistent with what their atheistic materialism actually entails, then they would also adamantly claim that mathematics itself is illusory, since it, like consciousness, free will and morality, also has no material basis,.

    An Interview with David Berlinski – Jonathan Witt
    Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time….
    Interviewer:… Come again(?) …
    Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.
    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/20.....-here.html

    Darwinian Evolution vs Mathematics – video
    Excerpt: “Simply put, Mathematics itself, contrary to the materialistic presuppositions of Darwinists, does not need the physical world in order to exist. And yet Darwinists, although they deny that anything beyond the material realm exists, need this transcendent world of mathematics in order for their theory to be considered scientific in the first place. The predicament that Darwinists find themselves in regards to denying the reality of this transcendent world of mathematics, and yet needing validation from this transcendent world of mathematics in order to be considered scientific, should be the very definition of self-refuting.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3gyx70BHvA

  28. 28
    Origenes says:

    The argument from evil is an attempt to show that there is no all-loving God. The argument is not about there being no God at all.

  29. 29
    bornagain77 says:

    of related note to this transcendent world of mathematics:

    Of interest to theoretical mathematics that are fruitful to the progress of science, it is said that the best mathematical theories, that are later confirmed empirically to be true, were born out of the mathematicians ‘sense of beauty’. Paul Dirac is said to have mathematically discovered the ‘anti-electron’, before it was empirically confirmed, through his mathematical ‘sense of beauty’:

    Graham Farmelo on Paul Dirac and Mathematical Beauty – video (28:12 minute mark – prediction of the ‘anti-electron’)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfYon2WdR40

    As the preceding video highlighted, Paul Dirac was rather adamant that beauty was integral to finding truth through math:

    ‘it is more important to have beauty in one’s equations than to have them fit experiment’
    Paul Dirac

    Albert Einstein was also a big fan of beauty in math. Einstein stated:

    Truth not equal to Beauty – Philip Ball – May 2014
    Excerpt: ‘the only physical theories that we are willing to accept are the beautiful ones’
    – Albert Einstein
    http://aeon.co/magazine/philos.....-equation/

    In regards to General Relativity, mathematical physicist Clifford Will and others also claim that it is beautiful

    “Fiddling with general relativity, he believes, would be tantamount to changing the Fifth Symphony. “General relativity is so unbelievably beautiful and simple – it’s in some ways the most perfect gravitational theory that you could possibly imagine,” he says. All of the alternatives he’s seen so far are “horrendously ugly by comparison”.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-its-time/

    Einstein’s Masterpiece – Michael W. Begun – Fall 2015
    Excerpt: General relativity has served as a paragon of a scientific theory, and generations of physicists have hailed its sublimity. Ernest Rutherford, for instance: “the theory of relativity by Einstein … cannot but be regarded as a magnificent work of art.” Wolfgang Pauli: “it will always remain the pattern of a theory of consummate beauty of the mathematical structure.” Sean Carroll: “General relativity is the most beautiful physical theory ever invented.”
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....asterpiece

  30. 30
    bornagain77 says:

    Alex Vilenkin, who mathematically proved that all hypothetical inflationary universes must have also have had a beginning, commenting on Euler’s Identity, stated,,,

    “It appears that the Creator shares the mathematicians sense of beauty”
    Alex Vilenkin – Many Worlds in One: (page 201)

    As well, Richard Feynman called Euler’s Identity a ‘jewel’:

    “Richard Feynman was a huge fan and called it a “jewel”.”
    http://www.sciencedump.com/con.....-equations

    ‘Mathematical beauty’ even had a guiding hand in the fairly recent discovery of the Amplituhedron:

    The Amplituhedron (mathematical beauty – 21:12 minute mark) – Nima Arkani-Hamed, Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By27M9ommJc#t=1272

    Paul Dirac, when pressed for a definition of mathematical beauty, reacted as such:

    Dirac threw up his hands. Mathematical beauty, he said, ‘cannot be defined any more than beauty in art can be defined’ – though he added that it was something ‘people who study mathematics usually have no difficulty in appreciating’.
    http://aeon.co/magazine/philos.....-equation/

    And indeed, just as Dirac held, it is found when mathematicians are shown equations such as Euler’s identity or the Pythagorean identity the same area of the brain used to appreciate fine art or music lights up:

    Mathematics: Why the brain sees maths as beauty – Feb. 12, 2014
    Excerpt: Mathematicians were shown “ugly” and “beautiful” equations while in a brain scanner at University College London.
    The same emotional brain centres used to appreciate art were being activated by “beautiful” maths.,,,
    One of the researchers, Prof Semir Zeki, told the BBC: “A large number of areas of the brain are involved when viewing equations, but when one looks at a formula rated as beautiful it activates the emotional brain – the medial orbito-frontal cortex – like looking at a great painting or listening to a piece of music.”
    http://www.bbc.com/news/scienc.....t-26151062

    But where this ‘sense of beauty’ in mathematics, that apparently has been so fruitful for science, breaks down is with string theory, (and m-theory):

    The Admiral of the String Theory Wars – May 7, 2015
    After a decade, Peter Woit still thinks string theory is a gory mess.
    Excerpt: Woit’s major complaint about the theory, then and now, is that it fails to make testable predictions, so it can’t be checked for errors—in other words, that it’s “not even wrong.”,,,
    Woit’s secondary grievance is aesthetic. He, like many physicists, perceives an intricate beauty in the math underlying successful physical theories like Einstein’s. In contrast, Woit says, string theory’s math is “a gory mess.”
    http://nautil.us/issue/24/erro.....heory-wars

    What is astonishing, in this seemingly deep connection between math and beauty, is the fact that the ‘argument from beauty’ is in fact a Theistic argument:

    Aesthetic Arguments for the Existence of God:
    Excerpt: Beauty,,, can be appreciated only by the mind. This would be impossible, if this `idea’ of beauty were not found in the mind in a more perfect form.
    http://www.quodlibet.net/artic.....etic.shtml

    Even Darwin himself conceded that ‘beauty’ was fatal to his theory:

    “The foregoing remarks lead me to say a few words on the protest lately made by some naturalists, against the utilitarian doctrine that every detail of structure has been produced for the good of its possessor. They believe that very many structures have been created for beauty in the eyes of man, or for mere variety. This doctrine, if true, would be absolutely fatal to my theory.”
    (Charles Darwin – 1859, 199)

    Thus, if you believe that beauty exists then you should reject atheistic materialism as false. As for myself, I certainly believe that beauty exists

    This Year’s Best Science Photos Are So Good They’re Basically Art – George Dvorsky – 3/06/17
    http://gizmodo.com/this-years-.....1793004117

  31. 31
    critical rationalist says:

    @Tribune

    Justification doesn’t help because reason always comes first. You use reason to choose between what you think are infallible sources, when to defer to them, how to interpret them, etc. So, who choses what is “evil”? You do. We all do. And we do so via criticism of moral ideas.

    From this article at Nautilus

    The fact is, there’s nothing infallible about “direct experience” either. Indeed, experience is never direct. It is a sort of virtual reality, created by our brains using sketchy and flawed sensory clues, given substance only by fallible expectations, explanations, and interpretations. Those can easily be more mistaken than the testimony of the passing hobo. If you doubt this, look at the work of psychologists Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, and verify by direct experience the fallibility of your own direct experience. Furthermore, the idea that your reminiscences are infallible is also heresy by the very doctrine that you are faithful to.

    I’ll tell you what really happened. You witnessed a dress rehearsal. The real ex cathedra ceremony was on the following day. In order not to make the declaration a day early, they substituted for the real text (which was about some arcane theological issue, not gravity) a lorem-ipsum-type placeholder that they deemed so absurd that any serious listener would immediately realize that that’s what it was.

    And indeed, you did realize this; and as a result, you reinterpreted your “direct experience,” which was identical to that of witnessing an ex cathedra declaration, as not being one. Precisely by reasoning that the content of the declaration was absurd, you concluded that you didn’t have to believe it. Which is also what you would have done if you hadn’t believed the infallibility doctrine.

    You remain a believer, serious about giving your faith absolute priority over your own “unaided” reason (as reason is called in these contexts). But that very seriousness has forced you to decide first on the substance of the issue, using reason, and only then whether to defer to the infallible authority. This is neither fluke nor paradox. It is simply that if you take ideas seriously, there is no escape, even in dogma and faith, from the obligation to use reason and to give it priority over dogma, faith, and obedience.

  32. 32
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 @ 27 – it’s you who wrote “… exactly why should I or anyone else take what the illusion named ‘Seversky’ says about what is real and what is imaginary seriously?” @ 8, and you’ve done this before. If you don’t think people are illusions, then don’t call them illusions. And my world view doesn’t lead me to the conclusion that we are illusions, so don’t claim please don’t be so arrogant as to tell me what I think.

  33. 33
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob (and weave) continues his disingenuous debating style.

    He partially quotes me and leaves out the qualifier for the statement that it is indeed his atheistic philosophy that makes the claim,,,

    Context is everything,,,

    Hmmmm, like the claim from materialists that the entire ‘concept’ of say a person named “Seversky’ must not necessarily exist as a real person but must instead be a neuronal illusion?

    Ross Douthat Is On Another Erroneous Rampage Against Secularism – Jerry Coyne – December 26, 2013
    Excerpt: “many (but not all) of us accept the notion that our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.”
    Jerry Coyne – Professor of Evolutionary Biology – Atheist
    https://newrepublic.com/article/116047/ross-douthat-wrong-about-secularism-and-ethics

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    “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

    And to echo Ross Douthat’s question to Coyne, and exactly why should I or anyone else take what the illusion named ‘Seversky’ says about what is real and what is imaginary seriously? Illusions, by definition, are unreal to begin with!

    Thus either Bob (and weave) has a serious reading comprehension issue or else, as is in all likelihood, he is being thoroughly disingenuous to the issue at hand (as is usual for internet atheists), that it is indeed his own atheistic philosophy that makes the claim the he, as a person, does not really exist.

    And to reiterate a obvious point in all this, that Bob (and weave) would take such exception to being thought of as an illusion is yet more proof that his atheistic materialism is false and even insane.

    Of supplemental note: The insanity inherent to atheism, especially the denial that real meaning and purpose exists for our lives, plays out in the ‘real’ world:

    “ I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PR11#v=onepage&q&f=false
    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA100#v=onepage&q&f=false

  34. 34
    Bob O'H says:

    Thus either Bob (and weave) has a serious reading comprehension issue or else, as is in all likelihood, he is being thoroughly disingenuous to the issue at hand (as is usual for internet atheists), that it is indeed his own atheistic philosophy that makes the claim the he, as a person, does not really exist.

    Right. I’ve told you repeatedly that I don’t think I’m an illusion. And your response … to accuse me of lying.

    To reiterate: no, my philosophy does not lead to the conclusion that I don’t really exist. And I think I might just possibly have more knowledge of what I think than you do.

  35. 35
    john_a_designer says:

    Without light there are no shadows.

  36. 36
    Molson Bleu says:

    “There are reasonable sounding opposites for nearly all of these arguments.

    Example? God could be perfectly evil and still allow good. Why? Because, being perfectly evil, it would be necessary for us to know what we were missing when the tortured us for eternity.

    That says the opposite is true, in really, yet explains what we experience, “evil”, just as well. This is an example of an easily varied explanation.”

    I don’t often agree with an atheist, but you do make a very good point here. I read Dr. Egnor’s piece and it feels more like word games used to support wishful thinking than a well thought out, logical exercise. Because we are God’s creations, we trust him with regard to what is good and what is evil. But that says nothing about the nature of God himself. Is it not possible that we perceive as being all good simply because to think otherwise scares the crap out of us? Although none of us believe that God is actually evil, is there anything that is stopping this from being fact? Being God, can’t he be anything that he wants to be?

  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob (and weave) claims

    “my philosophy does not lead to the conclusion that I don’t really exist.”

    Really?? You better inform all the atheistic professors of that:

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.
    (…)
    So, the fiction of the enduring self is almost certainly a side effect of a highly effective way of keeping the human body out of harm’s way. It is a by-product of whatever selected for bodies—human and nonhuman—to take pains now that make things better for themselves later. For a long time now, Mother Nature has been filtering for bodies to postpone consumption in the present as investment for the body’s future. It looks a lot like planning. Even squirrels do it, storing nuts for the winter. Does this require each squirrel to have a single real enduring self through time? No. If not, then why take introspection’s word for it when it has a track record of being wrong about things like this, when the self just looks like part of the same illusions and is supposed to have features that physics tells us nothing real can have.”
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    “Most people don’t feel identical to their bodies. They feel like they have bodies. They feel like they’re inside the body. And most people feel like they’re inside their heads. Now that sense of being a subject, a locus of consciousness inside the head is an illusion. It makes no neuro-anatomical sense.”
    Sam Harris: The Self is an Illusion
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fajfkO_X0l0

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt:,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “It turns out that if every part of you, down to sub-atomic parts, are still what they were when they weren’t in you, in other words every ion,,, every single atom that was in the universe,, that has now become part of your living body, is still what is was originally. It hasn’t undergone what metaphysicians call a ‘substantial change’. So you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You are just carbon and neon and sulfur and oxygen and all these individual atoms still.
    You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    And in the following article, Dawkins himself admits that it would be ‘intolerable’ for him to live as if his atheistic worldview were actually true:

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt: Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    Hey, I got an idea Bob, since you say atheism does not say that consciousness, (i.e. personhood), is an illusion, and all the atheistic professors and authors say otherwise, why don’t we run a test???

    Prove to me empirically that you really exist as a real person and that your concept of personhood is not just an illusion that is being pawned off on you by the randomly colliding particles of your brain,,, 🙂

    Myself, I can empirically support my belief in a ‘transcendent’ soul and mind, but, you being a reductive materialist (i.e. Darwinist), that is not the type of evidence that you are looking for is it??? 🙂

    Darwinism vs Biological Form – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w

  38. 38
    bornagain77 says:

    Materialists, despite their belief that consciousness is ’emergent’ from a material basis, simply have no evidence for that belief:

    “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.”
    – Jerry Fodor – Rutgers University philosopher
    [2] Fodor, J. A., Can there be a science of mind? Times Literary Supplement. July 3, 1992, pp5-7.

    “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.”
    Sebastian Seung – Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientist – “Connectome”:

    “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.”
    Roger Wolcott Sperry – Nobel neurophysiologist
    As quoted in Genius Talk : Conversations with Nobel Scientists and Other Luminaries (1995) by Denis Brian

    “We have at present not even the vaguest idea how to connect the physio-chemical processes with the state of mind.”
    – Eugene Wigner – Nobel prize-winner – Quantum Symmetries

    “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.”
    Nick Herbert – Contemporary physicist

    “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.”
    – Larry Dossey – Physician and author

    Whereas atheists have no empirical support whatsoever for their belief that matter generates consciousness, I, on the other hand, as a Christian, can support my beliefs that #1, the immaterial mind interacts with the material brain, and #2 that consciousness precedes material reality:

    For example, in direct contradiction to the atheistic claim that our thoughts are merely the result of whatever state our material brain happens to be in, ‘Brain Plasticity’, the ability to alter the structure of the brain from a person’s focused intention, has now been established by Jeffrey Schwartz, as well as among other researchers.

    The Case for the Soul – InspiringPhilosophy – (4:03 minute mark, Brain Plasticity including Schwartz’s work) – Oct. 2014 – video
    The Mind is able to modify the brain (brain plasticity). Moreover, Idealism explains all anomalous evidence of personality changes due to brain injury, whereas physicalism cannot explain mind.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBsI_ay8K70

    The Case for the Soul: Refuting Physicalist Objections – video
    Computers vs. Qualia, Libet and ‘Free won’t’, Split Brain (unified attention of brain despite split hemispheres, as well, visual and motion information is shared between the two hemispheres despite the hemispheres being split),
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB5TNrtu9Pk

    The Case for the Soul: Quantum Biology – (7:25 minute mark – Brain Plasticity and Mindfulness control of DNA expression)
    https://youtu.be/6_xEraQWvgM?t=446

    Then there is also the well documented placebo effect in which a person’s beliefs have pronounced physiological effects on their body

    How Your Thoughts Change Your Brain, Cells and Genes – Mar 24, 2017
    Excerpt: Studies have shown that thoughts alone can improve vision, fitness, and strength. The placebo effect, as observed with fake operations and sham drugs, for example, works because of the power of thought. Expectancies and learned associations have been shown to change brain chemistry and circuitry which results in real physiological and cognitive outcomes, such as less fatigue, lower immune system reaction, elevated hormone levels, and reduced anxiety.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....16176.html

    Moreover, due to advances in quantum mechanics, the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either precedes 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.

    Five intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Double Slit, Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    – Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness: 5 Experiments – video
    https://youtu.be/t5qphmi8gYE

    also see “Albert Einstein vs. Quantum Mechanics and His Own Mind’

    Albert Einstein vs. Quantum Mechanics and His Own Mind – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxFFtZ301j4

  39. 39
    Bob O'H says:

    Bob (and weave) claims

    “my philosophy does not lead to the conclusion that I don’t really exist.”

    Really?? You better inform all the atheistic professors of that:

    Why? They have different opinions. Should I ask you to confront rabbis about why Jesus is you lord?

    Hey, I got an idea Bob, since you say atheism does not say that consciousness, (i.e. personhood), is an illusion,…

    I’ve never said that, though. I only stated my beliefs, not those of other people. As far as I can tell, I exist (Cogito ergo sum and all that). I can’t prove it, though, as it isn’t a mathematical theorem. Sorry.

  40. 40
    mikeenders says:

    Molson @36

    “Is it not possible that we perceive as being all good simply because to think otherwise scares the crap out of us? Although none of us believe that God is actually evil, is there anything that is stopping this from being fact? Being God, can’t he be anything that he wants to be?”

    Actually no he can’t because

    A) there is no time (as we know it) for him to change his mind
    B) There is no fact or occurence that would cause him to change his mind that he does not already know.

    This is not even remotely a good point or argument. It merely assumes good and evil is something that finds its root in something outside of the authority that establishes it. Besides how would created beings come to hold a standard that is more right than God who in fact is what indues them with any sense of right and wrong?

    Unfortunately we no longer really grasp what the word God means when we talk of him. Its just a word with an assumed understood meaning when it often isn’t understood at all.

    Again Claiming God coud be evil is like saying a ruler that determines what a foot is, is shorter than a foot.

  41. 41
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob (and weave),,,
    and your ‘illusory’ opinion is suppose to outweigh the empirical evidence and the opinion of leading experts how exactly?

    Moreover, since atheism denies the reality of free will, did you really choose your opinion or did the particles of your brain just give you the illusion that you chose your opinion?

    And why should I care what the particles of your brain did? And even if I did care, since according to atheism I have no free will, how could I possibly change my opinion? I’m a friggin complete victim of the particles of my brain according to your unsubstantiated opinion,, an opinion that you have by no power of your own! 🙂

  42. 42
    Molson Bleu says:

    “Actually no he can’t because

    A) there is no time (as we know it) for him to change his mind
    B) There is no fact or occurence that would cause him to change his mind that he does not already know.”

    But that assumes, a-priori, that he is good. But if he was evil from the start, why couldn’t he proceed with us as he already has?

    “Again Claiming God coud be evil is like saying a ruler that determines what a foot is, is shorter than a foot.”

    Yet we have no qualms about claiming that God is good. Would the same hold true for that?

    And, to reiterate, I am not suggesting that God is evil. This hypothetical is just a counter-point to Dr. Egnor’s claim, which I think is flawed.

  43. 43
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 @ 41 – what “empirical evidence” do these experts have that I am an illusion?

    Also, I don’t see that atheism denies free will – I think such a denial would have to rest on more than just the non-existence of any gods.

    And why should I care what the particles of your brain did?

    I’m going for “because Jesus told us to love our neighbour as ourselves”. Which, for what it’s worth, I reckon is pretty good advice.

  44. 44
    Origenes says:

    Bob O’H: I don’t see that atheism denies free will …

    Materialism offers determined, indetermined and emergent events. All three fail to ground free will. So, what is that you do not see?

  45. 45
    Bob O'H says:

    Origenes – Keep up. We weren’t discussing materialism.

  46. 46
    Origenes says:

    Bob@

    So, what are we discussing? Panpsychism?

  47. 47
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob (and weave) states:

    Keep up. We weren’t discussing materialism.

    Bob (and weave), I don’t know about you, but all through this thread I have been talking directly about atheistic materialism, and/or Darwinian evolution, and the presuppositions inherent therein. I have been VERY specific about that!

    Atheistic materialism, and/or Darwinian evolution, is exactly what I was talking about with Seversky when you jumped into the thread at comment 7 and specifically asked,,

    why do you think Seversky is an illusion?

    If you are not defending atheistic materialism, then you had no business whatsoever asking that question. For you not to specify how your philosophy differs from Seversky, and Darwinists in general, if at all, is misleading and pathetic.

    Another example of you being pathetic is this:

    Me: And why should I care what the particles of your brain did?

    Bob (and weave): I’m going for “because Jesus told us to love our neighbour as ourselves”. Which, for what it’s worth, I reckon is pretty good advice.

    Well golly gee whiz Bob, if you can see no ‘moral’ problem with an atheistic materialist ‘borrowing’ morality from Christianity, then I guess that certainly explains exactly why you do not find it morally troubling in the least that an atheistic materialist would also help themselves to free servings of consciousness, (i.e. personhood), and free will from Christian Theism. All without batting an eye.

    Like I said, your arguments are pathetic., and, in regards to that last comment you made, apparently shameless.

  48. 48
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 11

    Are you trying to outdo ‘Bob (and weave)’ in non-sequitur argumentation Seversky?

    Again, it is not I that is saying that consciousness (i.e. personhood), free will, and morality, are illusions (or a ‘model’ as you try to term consciousness),

    I know you are not saying that consciousness, free will, morality, etc are illusions. Neither am I. If there are other a/mats who say they are then I disagree.

    It is your own materialistic philosophy that insists that consciousness (i.e. personhood), free will, and morality, are illusions

    That is the strawman fallacy. You are attacking something other than what I believe. Being an a/mat does not necessarily mean you are bound to hold that consciousness, etc are illusions.

  49. 49
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 38

    Whereas atheists have no empirical support whatsoever for their belief that matter generates consciousness, …

    Yes, we do. We have a wealth of observations of the correlation between brain states and the observed conscious behavior of the individual. We have a host of observations of how damage to the brain caused by injury or disease can change the conscious behavior of the victim. We have experiments in which electrical or magnetic stimulation of the brain can elicit a range of conscious experiences in the subject.

    Finally, we have never observed consciousness existing apart from the physical brain.

    I, on the other hand, as a Christian, can support my beliefs that #1, the immaterial mind interacts with the material brain…

    You cannot demonstrate the existence of an immaterial mind so you cannot show there is anything to interact with the physical brain.

    … and #2 that consciousness precedes material reality:

    An absurd notion. As I’ve asked before, if material reality does not exist until observed by consciousness then what is consciousness observing in the first place?

  50. 50
    Origenes says:

    Sev: Being an a/mat does not necessarily mean you are bound to hold that consciousness, etc are illusions.

    Why not?

  51. 51
    tribune7 says:

    CR

    Justification doesn’t help because reason always comes first. You use reason to choose between what you think are infallible sources, when to defer to them, how to interpret them, etc. So, who choses what is “evil”? You do.

    IOW, what is evil for me is not necessarily evil for Pol Pot.

    So we are back to comment #1. If there is no God then evil is without meaning hence doesn’t exist.

    I do believe evil exists and neither you nor I get to define it.

    OTOH, if you do say evil gets to be defined by beholder and there is no accountability, well, that’s what Pol Pot did.

  52. 52
    Molson Bleu says:

    “Bob (and weave) continues his disingenuous debating style.”

    Frankly, I can only see one person continuing a disingenuous debating style. And it is not Bob or Seversky. It really embarrasses me that we are on the same side of this debate. Bob and Seversky have been polite and have presented their views honestly, politely and effectively. I disagree with their arguments but, unlikely you, I don’t resort to ridicule and telling them what they think. And neither do they.

  53. 53
    bornagain77 says:

    Sev, you stated

    I know you are not saying that consciousness, free will, morality, etc are illusions. Neither am I. If there are other a/mats who say they are then I disagree.

    Please get it straight Sev, “the particles of your brain disagree”. “You”, your thoughts, all your actions, are the result of material particles. As much as “you” may think that “you” have chosen to have a certain opinion, it is all an illusion. The particles of your brain just so happened to find themselves in a particular state that gave you a certain opinion. You are at the complete mercy of whatever the particles decide to do (as if particles could ‘decide’)
    as to:

    Being an a/mat does not necessarily mean you are bound to hold that consciousness, etc are illusions.

    Yes it does, either matter is primary and consciousness is basically illusory in nature, or else mind is primary and matter is basically illusory in nature.

    Funny that in quantum mechanics you often here researchers mention ‘illusory’ when they talk about materialism.

    ,,,next post topic,,,

    Sev, You have no clue how matter might achieve self awareness. Pointing to ‘brain states’ does not answer the profound mystery of how consciousness arises in the least.

    A MAP OF THE SOUL by Michael Egnor – June 29 2017
    Excerpt: I’m a neuroscientist and professor of neurosurgery.,,,
    Our higher brain functions defy precise mapping onto brain tissue, because they are not generated by tissue, as our lower brain functions are.
    Materialism, the view that matter is all that exists, is the premise of much contemporary thinking about what a human being is. Yet evidence from the laboratory, operating room, and clinical experience points to a less fashionable conclusion: Human beings straddle the material and immaterial realms.
    We can do better science—and medicine—when we recognize that human beings have abilities that transcend reductionist material explanations. In this century of unprecedented advances in brain research, it’s remarkable that the deepest insights emerge from an ancient paradigm: Thomas Aquinas’s map of the soul.
    https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/06/a-map-of-the-soul

    Indeed, as the following paper makes abundantly clear, finding strict correlation of mind to brain states is all but impossible:

    Discrepancy Between Cerebral Structure and Cognitive Functioning: A Review – 2017
    Excerpt: The aforementioned student of mathematics had a global IQ of 130 and a verbal IQ of 140 at the age of 25 (Lorber, 1983), but had “virtually no brain” (Lewin 1980, p. 1232).,,,
    This student belonged to the group of patients that Lorber classified as having “extreme
    hydrocephalus,” meaning that more than 90% of their cranium appeared to be filled with cerebrospinal fluid (Lorber, 1983).,,,
    Apart from the above-mentioned student of mathematics, he described a woman with an extreme degree of hydrocephalus showing “virtually no cerebral mantle” who had an IQ of 118, a girl aged 5 who had an IQ of 123 despite extreme hydrocephalus, a 7-year-old boy with gross hydrocephalus and an IQ of 128, another young adult with gross hydrocephalus and a verbal IQ of 144, and a nurse and an English teacher who both led normal lives despite gross hydrocephalus.,,,
    Another interesting case is that of a 44-year-old woman with very gross hydrocephalus described by Masdeu (2008) and Masdeu et al. (2009). She had a global IQ of 98, worked as an administrator for a government agency, and spoke seven languages.,,,
    ,,, , people who grew up with only one hemisphere developed all the neuronal foundations
    needed for ordinary cognitive and most motor skills. Even so, it seems additionally surprising that one hemisphere can accomplish this after the other has been removed or was isolated anatomically and functionally from the rest of the brain, as it is the case of surgical hemispherectomy.,,,
    It is astonishing that many patients can lead an ordinary life after this drastic procedure, having only minor motor disabilities that result from mild hemiplegia.,,,
    McFie (1961) was astonished that “not only does it (one hemishere) perform motor and sensory functions for both sides of the body, it performs the associative and intellectual functions normally allocated to two hemispheres” (p. 248).,,,
    ,,, most patients, even adults, do not seem to lose their long-term memory such as episodic
    (autobiographic) memories.,,,
    Finally, we will present additional considerations about memory processing, especially in savants. In this respect, Kim Peek (1951–2009) was most remarkable in that he seemed to possess a perfect memory: he forgot nothing he ever read and remembered complete
    melodies, even if he heard them only once. Most remarkably, his brain showed considerable malformations that included a deformed cerebellum, abnormalities of the left hemisphere, and the complete lack of the corpus callosum, as well as the anterior and posterior commissures. In addition, much of the skull interior comprised empty areas that were filled with cerebrospinal fluid, as in hydrocephalic subjects (Treffert and Christensen, 2005). Nevertheless, he memorized more than 12,000 books, apparently verbatim, the contents of which amounted to an encyclopedic knowledge in multiple areas of interest.
    Typically, he would read a page in eight to ten seconds, and then turn to the next page. He even read two pages of smaller books such as paperbacks simultaneously, using one eye each for each page. Moreover, he had impressive calendar calculating abilities (Treffert, 2010).
    https://med.virginia.edu/perceptual-studies/wp-content/uploads/sites/360/2017/12/Discrepancy-between-cerebral-structure-and-cognitive-functioning-JNMD.pdf

    Moreover Sev, your claim that “we have never observed consciousness existing apart from the physical brain.” is (as you have been told at least twice by me personally), just plain false. Near Death Experiences directly falsify your claim:

    Near death, explained? – Mario Beauregard – Apr 21, 2012
    Excerpt: The scientific NDE (Near Death Experience) studies performed over the past decades indicate that heightened mental functions can be experienced independently of the body at a time when brain activity is greatly impaired or seemingly absent (such as during cardiac arrest). Some of these studies demonstrate that blind people can have veridical perceptions during OBEs associated with an NDE. Other investigations show that NDEs often result in deep psychological and spiritual changes.
    These findings strongly challenge the mainstream neuroscientific view that mind and consciousness result solely from brain activity. As we have seen, such a view fails to account for how NDErs can experience—while their hearts are stopped—vivid and complex thoughts and acquire veridical information about objects or events remote from their bodies.
    NDE studies also suggest that after physical death, mind and consciousness may continue in a transcendent level of reality that normally is not accessible to our senses and awareness. Needless to say, this view is utterly incompatible with the belief of many materialists that the material world is the only reality.
    http://www.salon.com/2012/04/2.....socialflow

    As to your last two supposed rebuttals, what can I say?,,,

    I supported my claims with empirical evidence and you just stated an opinion that you, since you have no free will, had no power in choosing in the first place. 🙂

    Why should I care that the particles of your brain made you make such an incoherent argument?

    Go figure.

  54. 54
    bornagain77 says:

    Molson Bleu, moral posturing again??? and I guess me telling you to go soak your pompous head again would really be too much for you? 🙂

    I’ll ask one time, please quit pestering me with your moral posturing.

    Any more and I will take it as trolling.

  55. 55
    Molson Bleu says:

    “I’ll ask one time, please quit pestering me with your moral posturing.

    Any more and I will take it as trolling.”

    Moral posturing? All I said was that you were being disingenuous. Would you like an example?

    Why should I care that the particles of your brain made you make such an incoherent argument?

    Go figure.

    Why don’t you actually respond to his comments rather than say that because he is an atheist, he can have no real thoughts? That is the height of disingenuous pomposity.

    If you want to label me a troll and run to the site owner and have me banned because it is easier than addressing my criticism, that is your choice. Alternately, you could simply treat others with the respect that you feel that you are entitled to.

  56. 56
    jdk says:

    Above someplace, someone wrote, “But that assumes, a-priori, that he [God] is good. But if he was evil from the start ….”

    Assuming for the sake of argument that some type of “God” is responsible for the creation of the universe as it is, I don’t see why it is necessary that it would have a personal interest in our behavior, or judgments about whether our behavior met some standards of “good or evil”: judgments about good and evil in respect to human behavior might not be a characteristic that would apply to it all.

    Even if such a God watches over the world, as opposed to just creating it, that God might be totally disinterested in the specific nature and behavior of various parts of the universe, including living things and including us.

    I think this possibility needs to be kept in mind.

  57. 57
    bornagain77 says:

    Well Molson, since you find my mannerism intolerable, even ’embarrassing’, and cannot help yourself but to repeatedly butt in and try to correct me on my manners, I’ve asked a administrator to adjudicate the matter between us.

    Perhaps you will win.

    If so, I will gladly leave and/or accept my being banned.

  58. 58
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 @ 47 –

    If you are not defending atheistic materialism, then you had no business whatsoever asking that question. For you not to specify how your philosophy differs from Seversky, and Darwinists in general, if at all, is misleading and pathetic.

    I’ve been trying to get you to understand something that I would hope would be simple – you don’t necessarily understand what other people’s view are (in particular mine and Seversky’s). It seems to me that if you don’t even appreciate that, trying to explain my views would be a waste of time, because you would be telling me that I don’t understand my own views, rather like your response in 53, where you leap in and tell Seversky what he should be thinking.

  59. 59
    Origenes says:

    Molson Bleu @

    Molson Bleu: Bob and Seversky … have presented their views honestly, … and effectively.

    If that is true, then you will have no problem summarizing/explaining their position for us.
    Seversky’s (and Bob’s) main claim is this:

    Sev: Being an a/mat does not necessarily mean you are bound to hold that consciousness, etc are illusions.

    Since you hold that this view has been presented “honestly” and “effectively”, can you tell us why that is? How can free will, consciousness and morality exist in a world which consists solely of matter and impersonal laws?

  60. 60
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob O’Hara you specifically stated:

    “Origenes – Keep up. We weren’t discussing materialism.”

    If you were not trying to defend Atheistic Materialism, and Darwinian evolution in general, please state exactly what philosophy you hold as a worldview and are trying to defend. The answer should take one or two words.

    What I do know for a fact, since I have been through the evidence ten ways to Sunday for the last 10 years or more, is that Atheistic Materialism is completely bankrupt as a coherent worldview.

    That you basically appeal to your own subjective opinion, i.e. “my own views”, as having the final say in what is true or not, and not to any specific evidence, is even more evidence against the validity of Atheistic Materialism.

    Our inner subjective experience is, to put it simply, a basic property of Consciousness and/or Mind. A basic property of Mind that will forever be beyond materialistic explanation.

    Qualia
    “Qualia is subjective experience, which is first person ontology. You can describe pain, using science or literature or whatever. But the experience of pain is something qualitatively different. There is nothing in science which infers subjectivity — no “Newton’s Fourth Law” by which objective matter produces subjective experience. No material law or principle invokes subjectivity, yet subjectivity is the hallmark of the mind.”
    – Michael Egnor – The Mind and Materialist Superstition – 2008
    Six “conditions of mind” that are irreconcilable with materialism: –
    Excerpt: Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....13961.html

    Moreover, I don’t have to rely solely on a philosophical argument, as compelling as it is, to say that inner subjective experience will forever be beyond any possible materialistic explanation. I can also appeal to our best cutting edge science.

    That this basic, and irreducible, element of Mind, i.e. subjective experience, will forever be beyond any possible materialistic explanation is now made evident in quantum mechanics where the subjective experience of “the now”, (i.e. of having a ‘subjective’ perspective outside space-time in which we watch as time passes by), has now been validated in several different ways in quantum mechanics, and this validation of “the now” falsifies Einsteins claim that “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.”

    “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.”
    – Albert Einstein

    Albert Einstein vs. Quantum Mechanics and His Own Mind – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxFFtZ301j4

    Thus in conclusion Bob, that you would rely almost exclusively on your own subjective opinion, i.e. “my own views”, rather than on any compelling empirical evidence, in order to support atheistic materialism, (if that is in fact the philosophy you are trying to defend), is actually another very strong piece of evidence against atheistic materialism being true since subjective experience is, and always has been, a basic, and irreducible, property of a immaterial Mind.

    Materialists simply cannot assume that their own ‘subjective’ opinions. i.e. “my own views”, are all they ever need to validate their claims for materialism being true since subjective experience itself is indeed what is in need of explanation as far as atheistic materialism itself is concerned.

  61. 61
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 @ 60 – read my comment at 58, I guess it crossed your comment. I’m trying to defend the idea that I know better about what I think than you do.

  62. 62
    bornagain77 says:

    I specifically addressed your comment at 58. Where do you think I quoted “my own views” from?

    Again, your own subjective opinion is completely worthless in a debate about materialism’s inability to ground the subjectivity of immaterial Mind in the first place (i.e. the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness). It is called ‘assuming your conclusion’ in the premises of your argument.

    As you told Origenes – “Keep up”! 🙂

    Hard Problem of Consciousness — David Chalmers
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5DfnIjZPGw

  63. 63
    Bob O'H says:

    I specifically addressed your comment at 58.

    No you didn’t. You responded to another comment, with no acknowledgement of my concern that you were mis-representing my views.

  64. 64
    Origenes says:

    Follow up #59//

    Molson Bleu: Bob and Seversky … have presented their views honestly, … and effectively.

    WRT presenting their views honestly and effectively, both Bob and Seversky could learn a thing or two from Alex Rosenberg:

    What we need is a clump of matter, … , that … points at, indicates, singles out, picks out, identifies (and here we just start piling up more and more synonyms for “being about”) another clump of matter …. But there is no such physical stuff.
    Physics has ruled out the existence of clumps of matter of the required sort. There are just fermions and bosons and combinations of them. None of that stuff is just, all by itself, about any other stuff. There is nothing in the whole universe … that just by its nature or composition can do this job of being about some other clump of matter.

    … which rules out free will, consciousness, morality and even rationality.

    So, when consciousness assures us that we have thoughts about stuff, it has to be wrong. The brain nonconsciously stores information in thoughts. But the thoughts are not about stuff. Therefore, consciousness cannot retrieve thoughts about stuff. There are none to retrieve. So it can’t have thoughts about stuff either. …
    Right now, I am thinking about the problem of how conscious thought can be about stuff. Introspection is telling me, firsthand, exactly what I am thinking about. How can anyone deny that?
    No matter how hard it is to deny, we have to do so.
    [A. Rosenberg, ‘The Atheist’s Guide To Reality’, Ch. 8, ‘The brain does everything without thinking about anything at all’]

    Molson, do you now see why you were completely wrong when you wrote:

    Molson Bleu: Why don’t you actually respond to his comments rather than say that because he is an atheist, he can have no real thoughts? That is the height of disingenuous pomposity.

  65. 65
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob (and weave) tries to bob and weave with this claim,,,

    “No you didn’t.”

    The heck I didn’t. In 58 you claimed that,,

    “you don’t necessarily understand what other people’s view(s) are” and also claimed that “trying to explain my views would be a waste of time, because you would be telling me that I don’t understand my own views“,,,

    Yet in post 60 I directly addressed the topic of a person’s subjective opinion and materialism’s abject failure to explain subjective experience in the first place, and even referenced empirical evidence from quantum mechanics falsifying Einstein’s claim against subjective experience ever being a part of experimental physics,, and as I further summarized in post 62,,

    “your own subjective opinion is completely worthless in a debate about materialism’s inability to ground the subjectivity of immaterial Mind in the first place (i.e. the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness). It is called ‘assuming your conclusion’ in the premises of your argument.”

    To further clarify just how insoluble subjective experience is to any proposed materialistic explanation, I further referenced a video by David Chalmers on “the hard problem”, which you apparently didn’t even bother to view,,,

    Hard Problem of Consciousness — David Chalmers
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5DfnIjZPGw

    Oh well Bob, I’ll leave it to the readers to ‘subjectively’ decide for themselves who is being forthright with the issue at hand and who is ‘bobbing and weaving’ so as to avoid addressing the issue of ‘subjectivity’ honestly.

    Well, the last word is all yours, save for if you cite actual experimental evidence, instead of you just citing your own personal subjective opinion, to support your own subjective view that subjectivity can arise from some materialistic basis.
    (talk about an augment failing because of ‘self-referential’ absurdity, your argument is it) 🙂

    “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.”
    – Jerry Fodor – Rutgers University philosopher
    [2] Fodor, J. A., Can there be a science of mind? Times Literary Supplement. July 3, 1992, pp5-7.

  66. 66
    Bob O'H says:

    The heck I didn’t.

    No, you just dismissed my views as irrelevant. Apparently it desn’t matter what I think, which I guess explains why you’re so unapologetic about telling me what I think, regardless of whether it is what I think.

  67. 67
    OldAndrew says:

    If I understand correctly (and this is a big “if”) the reasoning is that evil proves the existence of God because it is an abstract thought, abstract thought demonstrates the existence of consciousness, and consciousness proves the existence of God.

    I suppose those dots connect. But why go down this path when

    a) Aren’t there much better ways to prove the existence of God?

    b) Wait, back up – I thought that intelligent design wasn’t about proving the existence of God? I get that this post isn’t about intelligent design. But by the same reasoning, if the existence of abstract thought proves that God specifically exists, then so does intelligent design. I’m totally okay with both conclusions, but there’s 0.0% chance of persuading someone who isn’t already convinced based on that evidence.

    Whether one believes in God or not, it’s sound, logical reasoning to conclude that some sort of deliberate, intentional design is a better explanation for life and the form of living things than a series of bizarre chemical reactions that no one has even clearly hypothesized.

    But when you jump straight to the conclusion of God, you lose everyone but the choir. Given that half of the articles mention religion in general, specific religions, and political leanings in the titles, I can only conclude that UD has abandoned any pretense of persuasion from a scientific angle. Why? The evidence is in your corner!

  68. 68
    asauber says:

    Here’s what invariably happens with Atheists (and Bob O’H has once again demonstrated it with great dexterity):

    Once they try to answer questions posed to them they reluctantly admit there are things out there they don’t understand.

    Lo’ and behold! God fits right into the things that are out there that the Atheist doesn’t understand (and nobody does completely).

    So we can see that virtually all of the Atheist posturing is ignorance-based. And it’s mostly posturing for other Atheists.

    I used to think that there was an actual religious belief that There Is No God held by some Atheists. While that may be true in some cases, I don’t think many of them get past a shallow need to posture for other Atheists. That’s really all they know.

    Andrew

  69. 69
    Origenes says:

    Bob: No, you just dismissed my views as irrelevant.

    Bornagain did not do that. He made an educated guess about your views (you left him with no other option) and next pointed out an insoluble problem.

    Question: how do you reckon that your views are relevant to this discussion if you refuse to present them with any detail?

  70. 70
    Bob O'H says:

    Origenes – ba77 may have made an educated guess, but I have repeatedly told him that he is wrong in his guess but he hasn’t changed his position. There doesn’t seem any point in going further trying to explain my views if I can’t even get him to acknowledge that the views that I hold are not the views he thinks I hold.

    My views are only relevant in the sense that they show that the views he subscribes to atheists are not the views held by all atheists.

  71. 71
    jdk says:

    Hang in there, Bob: this is a critical issue. One of the key elements of constructive discussion is for people to be able to accurately represent the position of people they disagree with, both because that allows them to truly be arguing about issues of common importance, and also because it’s the fundamentally decent thing to do. People who, as you say, dogmatically insist that they know what your true position is, and what’s wrong with it, are just arguing with their own stereotypes and projecting them on to you.

  72. 72
    Origenes says:

    Bob o’H: I have repeatedly told him that he is wrong in his guess …

    Allow me to make an educated guess: you did not tell why the guess is wrong. You did not present your position with any detail. Am I right?

    jdk: One of the key elements of constructive discussion is for people to be able to accurately represent the position of people they disagree with …

    Indeed. That’s why it is important for participants to present their positions with some detail. Something that Bob refuses to do.

  73. 73
    Bob O'H says:

    Allow me to make an educated guess: you did not tell why the guess is wrong. You did not present your position with any detail. Am I right?

    Have you had many discussion here? If I did that, it would get side-tracked (especially as my views are nuanced and I acknowledge a lot of uncertainty). So I tried to keep the subject simple and to the point.

    Had ba77 written something like “sorry, I was wrong, what are your views?” we might have had a discussion about them. But we never got that far.

  74. 74
    Origenes says:

    Bob@

    O: You did not present your position with any detail.

    Bob: If I did that, it would get side-tracked …

    So, you do not state your position with any detail in order not to get side-tracked. That didn’t work out well, now did it? Because of your lack of clarity we end up being side-tracked by speculations about your position.
    Jdk is right when he wrote: “One of the key elements of constructive discussion is for people to be able to accurately represent the position of people they disagree with … “.
    You have failed to provide other participants the required information to do so.

  75. 75
    jdk says:

    I was referring to ba77, not Bob, as ba77 seems to have made a lot of statements about what he thinks Bob must believe. As Bob pointed out, this is a discussion stopper.

  76. 76
    tribune7 says:

    OldAndrew

    If I understand correctly (and this is a big “if”) the reasoning is that evil proves the existence of God because it is an abstract thought,

    Evil is not an abstract thought. It’s a reality. The only way it can be a reality, though, is if God exists.

    Cruelty, indifference to suffering etc. can be realities in an atheist world.

    Evil, however, cannot.

    Evil, though, is a reality hence God must exist.

  77. 77
    Bob O'H says:

    tribune7 – how do you distinguish between cruelty, indifference to suffering etc. and evil?

  78. 78
    OldAndrew says:

    T7,

    I’d have to say that evil is an abstraction. The easiest way to justify that is that the only way to make it non-abstract is to use it as an adjective and give it a subject, like an evil act or an evil person. We can use it as a noun, but it’s always with the unstated meaning that we’re describing something which has the quality of being evil, which makes it an adjective again.

    I’m not trying to play word games or deny that anything is evil. I’m just saying that it is an abstraction.

    There’s some circular reasoning above. Either the existence of God supports the existence of evil or vice versa, but it can’t be both. I’m not fond of either. I get the idea, that without God there’s no absolute moral standard by which something can be evil – I sure don’t want to open that can of worms.

    Although I doubt that the reasoning is that God created evil, it could sure look that way to someone reading this. If there’s no evil without God then that would make God responsible for evil. But God didn’t create anything evil, he just defined the standard by which something could be called evil. (Which is why it’s an abstraction.)

    And if an atheist calls something “evil” I’m not going to split hairs over their use of the word like I own it.

  79. 79
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky, who is, unlike some, unashamed to proclaim he is an Atheistic Materialist,,, waaay back at post 9 Seversky referenced the way sensory stimulus is processed in the brain:

    We have good evidence that the way we see the world is that image-forming light enters our eyes and is transduced into electrical signals passed along the optic nerve to the visual cortex of the brain. There it is processed to form the visual image we see in front of us. Similar processes for converting external stimuli into electrical signals transmitted to the brain occur in our other sensory channels.
    All that data is integrated to form the HD, stereoscopic, full color model complete with touch, taste and smell which is what we use to navigate the external reality we assume the model represents.,,,

    There are two problems with Seversky referencing ‘sensory pathways’ in the brain.

    Number 1, as was already briefly mentioned, Darwinists have no clue how such fantastic integrated complexity in the brain (or in the eye) can arise without Intelligence.

    “Complexity Brake” Defies Evolution – August 8, 2012
    Excerpt: Consider a neuronal synapse — the presynaptic terminal has an estimated 1000 distinct proteins. Fully analyzing their possible interactions would take about 2000 years. Or consider the task of fully characterizing the visual cortex of the mouse — about 2 million neurons. Under the extreme assumption that the neurons in these systems can all interact with each other, analyzing the various combinations will take about 10 million years…, even though it is assumed that the underlying technology speeds up by an order of magnitude each year.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62961.html

    How the origin of the human eye is best explained through intelligent design – 2017
    Excerpt: The human eye consists of over two million working parts making it second only to the brain in complexity.,,,
    ,,, Every time we change where we’re looking, our eye (and retina) is changing everything else to compensate: focus & light intensity are constantly adjusting to ensure that our eyesight is as good it can be. Man has made his own cameras… it took intelligent people to design and build them. The human eye is better than the best human made camera. How is the emergence of eyes best explained, evolution, or design ?!
    http://reasonandscience.heaven.....ent-design

    William Bialek: More Perfect Than We Imagined – March 23, 2013
    Excerpt: photoreceptor cells that carpet the retinal tissue of the eye and respond to light, are not just good or great or phabulous at their job. They are not merely exceptionally impressive by the standards of biology, with whatever slop and wiggle room the animate category implies. Photoreceptors operate at the outermost boundary allowed by the laws of physics, which means they are as good as they can be, period. Each one is designed to detect and respond to single photons of light — the smallest possible packages in which light comes wrapped.
    “Light is quantized, and you can’t count half a photon,” said William Bialek, a professor of physics and integrative genomics at Princeton University. “This is as far as it goes.” …
    Scientists have identified and mathematically anatomized an array of cases where optimization has left its fastidious mark,,,,
    In each instance, biophysicists have calculated, the system couldn’t get faster, more sensitive or more efficient without first relocating to an alternate universe with alternate physical constants.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....an-we.html

    Indeed the human brain is ‘beyond belief’ in terms of complexity:

    The Human Brain Is ‘Beyond Belief’ by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. * – 2017
    Excerpt: The human brain,, is an engineering marvel that evokes comments from researchers like “beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief”1 and “a world we had never imagined.”2,,,
    Perfect Optimization
    The scientists found that at multiple hierarchical levels in the whole brain, nerve cell clusters (ganglion), and even at the individual cell level, the positioning of neural units achieved a goal that human engineers strive for but find difficult to achieve—the perfect minimizing of connection costs among all the system’s components.,,,
    Vast Computational Power
    Researchers discovered that a single synapse is like a computer’s microprocessor containing both memory-storage and information-processing features.,,, Just one synapse alone can contain about 1,000 molecular-scale microprocessor units acting in a quantum computing environment. An average healthy human brain contains some 200 billion nerve cells connected to one another through hundreds of trillions of synapses. To put this in perspective, one of the researchers revealed that the study’s results showed a single human brain has more information processing units than all the computers, routers, and Internet connections on Earth.1,,,
    Phenomenal Processing Speed
    the processing speed of the brain had been greatly underrated. In a new research study, scientists found the brain is 10 times more active than previously believed.6,7,,,
    The large number of dendritic spikes also means the brain has more than 100 times the computational capabilities than was previously believed.,,,
    Petabyte-Level Memory Capacity
    Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.9,,,
    Optimal Energy Efficiency
    Stanford scientist who is helping develop computer brains for robots calculated that a computer processor functioning with the computational capacity of the human brain would require at least 10 megawatts to operate properly. This is comparable to the output of a small hydroelectric power plant. As amazing as it may seem, the human brain requires only about 10 watts to function.11 ,,,
    Multidimensional Processing
    It is as if the brain reacts to a stimulus by building then razing a tower of multi-dimensional blocks, starting with rods (1D), then planks (2D), then cubes (3D), and then more complex geometries with 4D, 5D, etc. The progression of activity through the brain resembles a multi-dimensional sandcastle that materializes out of the sand and then disintegrates.13
    He also said:
    We found a world that we had never imagined. There are tens of millions of these objects even in a small speck of the brain, up through seven dimensions. In some networks, we even found structures with up to eleven dimensions.13,,,
    Biophoton Brain Communication
    Neurons contain many light-sensitive molecules such as porphyrin rings, flavinic, pyridinic rings, lipid chromophores, and aromatic amino acids. Even the mitochondria machines that produce energy inside cells contain several different light-responsive molecules called chromophores. This research suggests that light channeled by filamentous cellular structures called microtubules plays an important role in helping to coordinate activities in different regions of the brain.,,,
    https://www.icr.org/article/10186

    To say that level of complexity defies Darwinian explanations is to put the situation for Darwinists very mildly.

    The second problem for Seversky in referencing sensory pathways, to try to counter the fact that materialism can provide no grounds for subjective experience, is that if his Darwinian worldview is actually true, then the math of population genetics itself says that ALL of Seversky’s perceptions of reality will be unreliable.

    In the following video and article, Donald Hoffman has, through numerous computer simulations of population genetics, proved that if Darwinian evolution were actually true then ALL of our perceptions of reality would be illusory.

    Donald Hoffman: Do we see reality as it is? – Video – 9:59 minute mark
    Quote: “,,,evolution is a mathematically precise theory. We can use the equations of evolution to check this out. We can have various organisms in artificial worlds compete and see which survive and which thrive, which sensory systems or more fit. A key notion in those equations is fitness.,,, fitness does depend on reality as it is, yes.,,, Fitness is not the same thing as reality as it is, and it is fitness, and not reality as it is, that figures centrally in the equations of evolution. So, in my lab, we have run hundreds of thousands of evolutionary game simulations with lots of different randomly chosen worlds and organisms that compete for resources in those worlds. Some of the organisms see all of the reality. Others see just part of the reality. And some see none of the reality. Only fitness. Who wins? Well I hate to break it to you but perception of reality goes extinct. In almost every simulation, organisms that see none of reality, but are just tuned to fitness, drive to extinction that perceive reality as it is. So the bottom line is, evolution does not favor veridical, or accurate perceptions. Those (accurate) perceptions of reality go extinct. Now this is a bit stunning. How can it be that not seeing the world accurately gives us a survival advantage?”
    https://youtu.be/oYp5XuGYqqY?t=601

    The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality – April 2016
    The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.
    Excerpt: “The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.”
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160421-the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality/

    The Interface Theory of Perception
    Donald D. Hoffman & Manish Singh & Chetan Prakash
    http://people.psych.cornell.ed.....erface.pdf
    http://ruccs.rutgers.edu/image.....15_PBR.pdf (follow-up discussion)

  80. 80
    bornagain77 says:

    Thus even if Atheistic materialism could somehow provide a coherent explanation for the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness, i.e. for subjective experience, I would STILL have grounds for holding the atheistic materialist’s subjective opinion as invalid since his own worldview dictates that all his subjective perceptions of the world are illusory.

    Although Hoffman tried to limit his results to just our visual perceptions, as Plantinga had pointed out years before Hoffman came along, there is no reason why the results do not also extend to undermining our cognitive faculties as well:

    The Case Against Reality – May 13, 2016
    Excerpt: Hoffman seems to come to a conclusion similar to the one Alvin Plantinga argues in ch. 10 of Where the Conflict Really Lies: we should not expect — in the absence of further argument — that creatures formed by a naturalistic evolutionary process would have veridical perceptions.,,,
    First, even if Hoffman’s argument were restricted to visual perception, and not to our cognitive faculties more generally (e.g., memory, introspection, a priori rational insight, testimonial belief, inferential reasoning, etc.), the conclusion that our visual perceptions would be wholly unreliable given natural selection would be sufficient for Plantinga’s conclusion of self-defeat. After all, reliance upon the veridicality of our visual perceptions was and always will be crucial for any scientific argument for the truth of evolution. So if these perceptions cannot be trusted, we have little reason to think evolutionary theory is true.
    Second, it’s not clear that Hoffman’s application of evolutionary game theory is only specially applicable to visual perception, rather than being relevant for our cognitive faculties generally. If “we find that veridical perceptions can be driven to extinction by non-veridical strategies that are tuned to utility rather than objective reality” (2010, p. 504, my emphasis), then why wouldn’t veridical cognitive faculties (more generally) be driven to extinction by non-veridical strategies that are tuned to utility rather than objective reality? After all, evolutionary theory purports to be the true account of the formation of all of our cognitive faculties, not just our faculty of visual perception. If evolutionary game theory proves that “true perception generally goes extinct” when “animals that perceive the truth compete with others that sacrifice truth for speed and energy-efficiency” (2008), why wouldn’t there be a similar sacrifice with respect to other cognitive faculties? In fact, Hoffman regards the following theorem as now proven: “According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness” (Atlantic interview). But then wouldn’t it also be the case that an organism that cognizes reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that cognizes none of reality but is just tuned to fitness? On the evolutionary story, every cognitive faculty we have was produced by a process that was tuned to fitness (rather than tuned to some other value, such as truth).
    http://www.gregwelty.com/2016/.....t-reality/

    In short, Darwinian evolution itself commits intellectual suicide against itself:

    Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself – Nancy Pearcey – March 8, 2015
    Excerpt: An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.
    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.,,,
    Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.
    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.
    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.,,,
    Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality.
    The reason so few atheists and materialists seem to recognize the problem is that, like Darwin, they apply their skepticism selectively. They apply it to undercut only ideas they reject, especially ideas about God. They make a tacit exception for their own worldview commitments.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....94171.html

    Thus, in what should be needless to say, a worldview that undermines the scientific method itself by holding all our observations of reality, and cognitive faculties, are illusory is NOT a worldview that can be firmly grounded within the scientific method!

    Moreover, completely contrary to what Hoffman found for Darwinian theory, it turns out that accurate perception, i.e. conscious observation, far from being unreliable and illusory, is experimentally found to be far more integral to reality, i.e. far more reliable of reality, than the mathematics of population genetics predicted. In the following experiment, it was found that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.

    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.
    http://themindunleashed.org/20.....at-it.html

    Apparently science itself could care less if atheistic materialists are forced to believe, because of the mathematics of population genetics, that their observations of reality are illusory!

    Then at the end of post 9 Seversky makes an astute observation and then asks some questions that are actually very interesting:

    If you really think that I am an illusion then you are under no obligation to take anything I say seriously.

    Again, it is not I that is saying that your sense of self is a neuronal illusion, I know you are a real person made in the image of God,,, it is your very own Atheistic Materialism that is telling you that you must be a illusion. That you disagree so strongly with the thought that you are a illusion, instead of a real person, is actually your own common sense trying to wake you up from the insanity that is inherent in your own worldview.,,,

    and then Seversky asks

    If you take the solipsistic position that you are the only conscious entity then why are you talking to yourself?

    I don’t take the solipsistic position seriously

    Solipsist Humor from Plantinga
    ,,,At a recent Lecture I attended by Philosopher Alvin Plantinga, he warmed up the crowd with a few solipsist jokes.,,,
    FYI, solipsism is the rather odd idea that there is only one individual in the universe and that you are it. Everyone else is just a figment of your imagination.
    1. British philosopher Bertrand Russell was a solipsist for a time (why does that not surprise me?), and he once received a letter from a woman who found his arguments very convincing. Well, I suppose it’s not so hard to convince a figment of your imagination that your arguments are brilliant. Anyway, the woman commented in her letter that his description of solipsism made a lot of sense and that, “I’m surprised there aren’t more of us.”
    2. Plantinga also told of an accomplished academic who was a well-known solipsist (I forget the guys name). And Plantinga thought it would be fun to meet a real life solipsist, so he went to visit him. He was treated fairly well considering he was only figment. I mean, it’s not a given that a solipsist would feel the need to be polite to his imaginary friends. After a brief conversation, Plantinga left and on the way out one of the man’s assistants said, “We take good care of the professor because when he goes we all go.”
    http://www.fellowtravelerblog......plantinga/

    Seversky then asks:

    If, on the other hand, you believe that there are others like you out there, how do you know that your understanding and explanations of external reality are better than theirs? Are you interested in testing one against the other or are you only interested in finding confirmation of your own presuppositions?

    Besides logic, and ‘trustworthy’ personal experience, I rely heavily on empirical evidence from experimental science to establish the validity of my personal Christian views of reality over and above competing views of reality.

    And, as I have pointed out numerous times on this thread thus far, since we are indeed debating the origin of ‘trustworthy’ subjective experience itself, then empirical evidence and logic greatly outweigh personal subjective opinions.

    And yet, apparently, this obvious and clear point, that subjective opinions must take a back seat to logic and empirical evidence, is completely lost on some of the atheistic persuasion.

    Which, as usual, is par for the course in debating internet atheists.

  81. 81
    ET says:

    We have a host of observations of how damage to the brain caused by injury or disease can change the conscious behavior of the victim. We have experiments in which electrical or magnetic stimulation of the brain can elicit a range of conscious experiences in the subject.

    So what? Physical damage to a computer can change how it operates. Electrical or magnetic stimulation can also alter how it functions. So computers are just hardware? Really?

  82. 82
    ET says:

    Bob:

    how do you distinguish between cruelty, indifference to suffering etc. and evil?

    Why would you want to?

  83. 83
    OldAndrew says:

    Some call intelligent design a “god of the gaps” argument because they claim it inserts God wherever we don’t understand something.

    They’re wrong for two reasons. One is that ID isn’t about God. But the other is that it’s a valid inference on its own merit. I’d argue the other way – darwinism and belief in life by accident is a “‘something highly improbable that we can’t even begin to define or even imagine coherently must have happened but we’re sure it’s coming because it has to’ of the gaps” argument.

    How the mind functions and interacts with the brain is a whole different story. It’s just something that we don’t understand. To say that because we don’t understand it we can automatically apply a very particular interpretation of scripture is a gaps-type fallacy. It’s an argument from ignorance even for those who do believe in God. It’s saying that because we don’t know how God would pack a consciousness into a brain, he didn’t. We believe in him doing all sorts of complex stuff we can’t comprehend and then draw the line right there.

    Even from the standpoint of the Bible there’s no requirement for the human mind to be some separate spiritual entity. Genesis does not say that God placed an existing mind into Adam. He breathed life (spirit) into a lifeless body and it became a man. He told Adam that he would return to the dust from which he came. That has no meaning if Adam did not in fact return to the dust, but left his body and went somewhere else. Are we to suppose that God is really that bad at saying what he means, so that he would mislead and confuse Adam (and Moses, the author of Genesis, and all of its readers) by misstating the very nature of their existence? Psalm 146 confirms that a man dies, his spirit (life) goes out, *he* – not his body, but *he* returns to the dust, and his plans – literally “thoughts” – perish. It’s the account of Adam’s creation in Genesis except in reverse. Are we to understand that he does not return to the ground and his thoughts do not perish?

    We don’t know how it works. We have to be okay with saying we don’t know what we don’t know. ID has enough of an uphill battle without discrediting it by associating it with gaps fallacies that support particular religious beliefs.

  84. 84
    bornagain77 says:

    ET at 81, as to

    We have a host of observations of how damage to the brain caused by injury or disease can change the conscious behavior of the victim. We have experiments in which electrical or magnetic stimulation of the brain can elicit a range of conscious experiences in the subject.

    In related interest to that, if you have ever been presented with the case of Phineas Gage by an atheist, it may interest you to know that ‘the most famous case’ of Phineas Gage, in American textbooks, has been, and in large part still is, a fraudulent account:

    What the textbooks don’t tell you about psychology’s most famous case study – June 30, 2015
    Excerpt: It’s a remarkable, mythical tale with lashings of gore – no wonder it’s a favourite of psychology students the world over. I’m talking about Phineas Gage, the nineteenth century railway worker who somehow survived the passing of a three-foot long tamping iron through the front of his brain and out the top of his head. What happened to him next?
    If you turn to many of the leading introductory psychology textbooks (American ones, at least), you’ll find the wrong answer, or a misleading account. Richard Griggs, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Florida, has just analysed the content of 23 contemporary textbooks (either released or updated within the last couple of years), and he finds most of them contain distortions, omissions and inaccuracies.
    It needn’t be so. Thanks to painstaking historical analysis of primary sources (by Malcolm Macmillan and Matthew Lena) – much of it published between 2000 and 2010 – and the discovery during the same time period of new photographic evidence of post-accident Gage (see image, right), it is now believed that Gage made a remarkable recovery from his terrible injuries. He ultimately emigrated to Chile where he worked as a horse-coach driver, controlling six horses at once and dealing politely with non-English speaking passengers. The latest simulations of his injury help explain his rehabilitation – it’s thought the iron rod passed through his left frontal lobe only, leaving his right lobe fully intact.
    Yet, the textbooks mostly tell a different story. Of the 21 that cover Gage, only 4 mention the years he worked in Chile. Only three detail his mental recovery. Fourteen of the books tell you about the first research that attempted to identify the extent of his brain injuries, but just four of the books give you the results from the most technically advanced effort, published in 2004, that first suggested his brain damage was limited to the left frontal lobe (watch video). Only 9 of the books feature either of the two photos to have emerged of Gage in recent times.
    So the textbooks mostly won’t tell you about Gage’s rehabilitation, or provide you with the latest evidence on his injuries. Instead, you might hear how hear never worked again and became a vagrant, or that he became a circus freak for the rest of his life, showing off the holes in his head. “The most egregious error,” says Griggs, “seems to be that Gage survived for 20 years with the tamping iron embedded in his head!”.,,,
    https://digest.bps.org.uk/2015/06/30/what-the-textbooks-dont-tell-you-about-psychologys-most-famous-case-study/

  85. 85
    tribune7 says:

    OA

    –Although I doubt that the reasoning is that God created evil,–

    My way of making sense of it is that God created Man, told us what He wanted us to do and then gave us the greatest gift a loving father can give which is pure freedom.

    Since we have freedom we can choose to do the opposite of God wants for us which is to love. A point can be reached where mild petulance becomes depravity or self-centered indifference.

    At that point the reality of evil occurs.

    I’m not saying this is authoritative but this is how I make sense of it.

  86. 86

    BA77 @ 79 and 80: Well done. Brilliant.

  87. 87
    Bob O'H says:

    t7 @ 85 –

    Since we have freedom we can choose to do the opposite of God wants for us which is to love. A point can be reached where mild petulance becomes depravity or self-centered indifference.

    At that point the reality of evil occurs.

    So are you saying that evil is just (?!) when someone is behaving really badly? My impression is that some Christians see Evil as a an actual entity, which was why I asked my question at 77 (err, my impression is why I asked the question, not Evil. At least I don’t think it was Evil that made me do it).

    From what you write, my impression is that if an act is bad enough, then you would call it evil, but that this is a judgment call made by you. Is this an accurate reflection of your views, or have I extrapolated too far?

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    tribune7 says:

    Bob

    So are you saying that evil is just (?!) when someone is behaving really badly. . . which was why I asked my question at 77

    I apologize. I missed 77, but why are you asking me how do you distinguish between cruelty, indifference to suffering etc. and evil?

    What was the (my) very first comment on the thread?

    Presume, the atheist view is correct and God — much less a loving one — does not exist. Do cruelty, indifference etc disappear? Of course not, but why would they be evil? Because it bothers your sense of aesthetics? Suppose it doesn’t bother that of the bigger group — or even that their sense of aesthetics is that you are a food source and your child is a sex toy and that roasting kittens alive on a grill is fun?

    Who are you to judge? That’s a serious question. This worldview is not just historical but contemporaneous.

    I’ll repeat Comment 1 for convenience. That evil exists shows that there is a God. As per the atheists, the cruelty and hate defined by Judeo-Christian ethos would most certainly remain there just is nothing to authoritatively define them as, well, evil.

    .

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    tribune7 says:

    Bob,

    Let me clarify further. If you believe in a loving God you don’t distinguish between cruelty, etc. and evil.

    If you don’t believe in God the thing is impossible because you cannot define evil with authority.

    If you believe in an unloving god (Mars, Baal) you will call cruelty etc “good’.

    These discussions are really not so much about nature but the (mis)use of a methodology designed to understand the consistencies of nature to discourage a belief in a loving God.

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