Intelligent Design

Mind vs Matter: the Result of an Error of Thought

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(I think we’ve corrupted KF’s thread long enough.)

The entire problem of mind/matter dualism is rooted in a single error of thought: the reification of an abstract descriptive model of experience into an causal agency independent of the mind that conceives it and the mental experience it is extrapolated from. It is similar to the same error of thought that mistakes “forces” and “physical laws” and “energy” as independently existing causal agencies, when in fact they are abstract models of various mental experiences.

All experience and all thought about experience takes place in mind, regardless of whether or not it is caused by something external to mind. Therefore, “an external, physical world” is a mental abstraction about mental experiences. Insisting that the content of the abstraction is “real” is entirely irrelevant.

Since all we have to work from and with is mental experience and mental thoughts about mental experiences, mind is not only primary ontologically and epistemologically; it is ontologically and epistemologically exhaustive. Even if some non-mental, independent “secondary” aspect of our existential framework exists, we have no access to it nor any ability to use it. If some sort of independent physicality exists, it is therefore 100% ontologically and epistemologically irrelevent. The “external physical world” abstraction still lies within the ontological and epistemological framework of mind and it is all we can ever have access to or use.

In fact, once one understand this error of thought, the self-evidently true irrelevant nature of any supposed external world comes clearly into focus.

This error of thought has entrenched the idea of an external world as “real” so deeply into general psychology that it has contaminated thousands of years of thought. It has generated “the hard problem of consciousness” out of nothing but error. It has led to adoption of 3rd-layer abstractions about mental experience as having primacy over mental experience itself from which they are generated (much like insisting that one’s grandchild is one’s own father). It has generated an entirely false dependency on the “reality” of that abstract world in many philosophical lines of thought.

One such bizarre perspective it has generated is this: that if the external physical world doesn’t in fact exist (even though it is 100% irrelevant because it is 100% outside of our access), then mental experience – the ONLY kind of experience we actually have – is deemed “delusional,” when in fact “delusion” can factually only ever be a comparison between kinds of mental experiences and can never include any comparison to any supposed “external physical reality.”  The idea that unless an actual external world exists we are doomed to delusion is entirely due to an error of thought. The delusion or reality value of anything can only ever be a comparison of kinds of mental experiences.

It gets worse. Non-materialists (people that are not materialists) insist that epistemological validity requires that some sort of external world exists independent of mind that can cause universal or near universal mental states in observers .  It seems no one has figured out that if one insists that non-mental, independent external commodities can cause mental states, thoughts and experiences, they have just given up free will and have become an “in principle” materialist, consigning themselves to existence as caused automatons.

How would we determine what is an externally-caused mental state, thought or experience concerning free will and what is an independent free choice?  Answer: as long as something external can cause mental states, there’s no way to know. As with materialism, even rationality is lost.

105 Replies to “Mind vs Matter: the Result of an Error of Thought

  1. 1
    vividbleau says:

    WJM
    Obviously, at least to me, that you have thought long and hard about these things and certainly have touched upon a very interesting and controversial subject, thank you.

    “All experience and all thought about experience takes place in mind”

    When you say “All experience ..“ what experience are you referring to?

    “regardless of whether or not it is caused by something external to mind”

    How do you explain common shared thoughts about experiences?

    Thanks

    Vivid

  2. 2

    Vivid @1: All experiences we have occur in the mind. Every experience is a mental experience. If we see a table, touch a table, think about a table … all those experiences occur in the mind. If you turn your mind off – all of it, conscious, subconscious, unconscious – is there any experience?

    Two different observers having the same, or similar enough, mental experience. We are all part of universal mind, which lies entirely within all of us, making each of us part of each other’s mental world. Of course we can have shared experiences and shared thoughts about experiences – if we have similar enough identity structures.

  3. 3
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    Care to provide a source for that definition?

    Here’s the definition I posted.

    From the Collins Dictionary: “believing in something that is false.”

    According to this dictionary, “deluded” means “believing things that are not real or true”.

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, I cross-comment from the previous, responding to 249:

    _____

    F/N: WJM in 249 seems to summarise his argument. So, on points:

    >>249 William J Murray June 10, 2019 at 5:40 am

    Once we’ve established the exhaustive ontologically and epistemologically mental nature of our experiential reality,>>

    1: Referring to the extended Smith model in the OP, we can see that consciousness would be part of the self-aware self moved behaviour of an oracle, but by an interface to brain and thence to wider body, there is no incoherence in an onward interaction with a real, physical world.

    2: On theism, that world is a creation, and is the natural domain of our common experience. Such a domain is antecedent to our particular existence.

    3: On naturalism, we in effect have — modulo, emergentism — the inverse monism, of the physical world. However the inability of computational, composite substrates to sustain rationality radically undermines such monism.

    >> we can see the sheer folly of making models that include extra-mental commodities and investing in those abstract commodities as independently existing causal agencies.>>

    4: This gives mostly perspective and implies appeal to idealistic monism on parsimony. We therefore face the challenges of the ancient but still very live problem of the ONE and the MANY, with its ramifications.

    5: The assertion on INDEPENDENTLY existing causal agencies is not quite right. Independent of us and our particular error-prone and often causally ineffective notions, yes . . . if wishes were hoses, beggars would own stables . . . but that is very different from what sounds like a clock-winder characterisation of an utterly independent natural, physical world. We are by no means locked up to idealism or monism.

    6: It seems apt to draw upon Plato in The Laws Bk X as he discusses first, self-moved cause, chains of consequent effects, life and soul — and yes, we here delve into philosophy, not of my choice but to respond to serious questions taken seriously:

    Cle. You are right; but I should like to know how this happens.

    Ath. I fear that the argument may seem singular.

    Cle. Do not hesitate, Stranger; I see that you are afraid of such a discussion carrying you beyond the limits of legislation. But if there be no other way of showing our agreement in the belief that there are Gods, of whom the law is said now to approve, let us take this way, my good sir.

    Ath. Then I suppose that I must repeat the singular argument of those who manufacture the soul according to their own impious notions; they affirm that which is the first cause of the generation and destruction of all things, to be not first, but last, and that which is last to be first, and hence they have fallen into error about the true nature of the Gods.

    Cle. Still I do not understand you.

    Ath. Nearly all of them, my friends, seem to be ignorant of the nature and power of the soul [[ = psuche], especially in what relates to her origin: they do not know that she is among the first of things, and before all bodies, and is the chief author of their changes and transpositions. And if this is true, and if the soul is older than the body, must not the things which are of the soul’s kindred be of necessity prior to those which appertain to the body?

    Cle. Certainly.

    Ath. Then thought and attention and mind and art and law will be prior to that which is hard and soft and heavy and light; and the great and primitive works and actions will be works of art; they will be the first, and after them will come nature and works of nature, which however is a wrong term for men to apply to them; these will follow, and will be under the government of art and mind.

    Cle. But why is the word “nature” wrong?

    Ath. Because those who use the term mean to say that nature is the first creative power; but if the soul turn out to be the primeval element, and not fire or air, then in the truest sense and beyond other things the soul may be said to exist by nature; and this would be true if you proved that the soul is older than the body, but not otherwise.

    [[ . . . .]

    Ath. . . . when one thing changes another, and that another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change? Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change of the self-moving principle? . . . . self-motion being the origin of all motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is second.

    [[ . . . .]

    Ath. If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or fiery substance, simple or compound-how should we describe it?

    Cle. You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power life?

    Ath. I do.

    Cle. Certainly we should.

    Ath. And when we see soul in anything, must we not do the same-must we not admit that this is life?

    [[ . . . . ]

    Cle. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul?

    Ath. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change and motion in all things?

    Cle. Certainly not; the soul as being the source of motion, has been most satisfactorily shown to be the oldest of all things.

    Ath. And is not that motion which is produced in another, by reason of another, but never has any self-moving power at all, being in truth the change of an inanimate body, to be reckoned second, or by any lower number which you may prefer?

    Cle. Exactly.

    Ath. Then we are right, and speak the most perfect and absolute truth, when we say that the soul is prior to the body, and that the body is second and comes afterwards, and is born to obey the soul, which is the ruler?

    [[ . . . . ]

    Ath. If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred laws, then, as is plain, we must say that the best soul takes care of the world and guides it along the good path. [[Plato here explicitly sets up an inference to design (by a good soul) from the intelligible order of the cosmos.]

    >>It is folly for several reasons. First, it reifies an abstract model as the cause of what the model describes. >>

    7: Reminder, to reify is:

    reify
    Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
    re·i·fy (r???-f??, r??-)
    tr.v. re·i·fied, re·i·fy·ing, re·i·fies
    To regard or treat (an abstraction) as if it had concrete or material existence.
    [Latin r?s, r?-, thing; see r?- in Indo-European roots + -fy.]
    re?i·fi·ca?tion (-f?-k??sh?n) n.
    re?i·fi?er n.
    American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
    reify (?ri???fa?)
    vb, -fies, -fying or -fied
    (tr) to consider or make (an abstract idea or concept) real or concrete
    [C19: from Latin r?s thing; compare deify]
    ?reifi?cation n
    ?reifi?catory adj
    ?rei?fier n
    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
    re•i•fy (?ri ??fa?, ?re?-)

    v.t. -fied, -fy•ing.
    to convert into or regard as a concrete thing: to reify a concept.
    [1850–55; < Latin r?(s) thing + -ify]
    re`i•fi•ca?tion, n.
    Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

    8: This seems to beg the question by positing that we in effect live in a Plato’s cave where our in-common world is a shadow show on the wall, a sort of simulation, similar to the notion that on a grand multiverse, the most plausible explanation for the perceived world shared with others is that a Boltzmann brain by fluctuation of the underlying quantum foam has popped into composite being, programmed with a simulation of a world perceived but which has no reality in concrete sense beyond the somehow simulation.

    9: In short, we already see the critical foundational crack: grand delusion at level 1. But then once loosed, level 2 delusion beckons, that this level 1 perception is itself delusion, thence levels 3, 4 ad infinitum.

    10: We can take as a first principle of responsible rationality comparable to the law of distinct identity and its corollaries (LNC, LEM, number, etc) that a scheme of thought reducing to a grand delusion is absurdly self defeating by utterly undermining rationality.

    11: We could stop here, but it is important to continue.

    12: Now, one of the tainted fruit of modernity is the dismissal of abstracta, even though without resort to such, we can neither think nor communicate. Instead we can take it that per logic of being in any possible world, certain abstracta must obtain, starting with the panoply of numbers. These constrain what is possible of being. In a simple case, there is no world where we will but obtain: || + ||| -> |||||.

    13: Many intangible and abstract things are real, not just internalised mouth noises running on wetware. Absent that, including things like meaning and understanding, implication and import, rationality collapses. Reppert, again, is helpful:

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

    14: This is of course an answer to evolutionary materialistic scientism, but its force is general. Abstracta can be as real as concrete particulars like the labelled keys I am using, just they are real in a different, characteristically mental way. Contemplation and recognition by mind, tied to being integral to the logic of being.

    15: For instance, consider a possible world W distinct from a near neighbour W’ because of some aspect A, so W = {A|~A}, thus we see simple and complex unity [A vs ~A], duality [A with the distinct ~A] and nullity [partition is empty]. From this numbers come, {] –> 0, {0} –> 1, {0,1} –> 2 and so on by unlimited succession, thence N, Z, Q, R, C, and transfinites thence hyperreals and surreals.

    16: None of these is concrete, none can be found in some ghostly repository but we can see they are necessary entities and that they are discovered not invented in the sense of not existing until we come along and first think of them as figments of our imagination. (I of course do not exclude their being eternally contemplated by world root, necessary being mind.)

    17: So, no, we can and credibly do have abstract and concrete entities that are antecedent to our thinking about them, and we have no good reason to dismiss the physical world as not being just that, objectively real regardless ow what we think.

    >>Second, it generates intractable problems like the hard problem of consciousness (personal experience being ** caused** by physical commodities that have no inherent capacity to cause any such thing, or – the hard problem of personal experience).>>

    18: Consider again the extended Smith Model. There is no intractable problem of consciousness arising from interactions of a computational substrate. All that problem does is it exposes the bankruptcy of materialism. But materialism and mentalism as opposed monisms do not exhaust our options.

    >>Hazel’s speculation (and other have speculated this) that the “material world” and “mind” are phenomena generated by an “unknowable,” mysterious deeper substrate is a form of this cognitive error – reifying a model as an independently existing cause (and, it further suffers from sheer lack of predictive or explanatory capacity – basically, it’s a cognitive dodge).>>

    19: Again, not relevant. See extended Smith model i/l/o Reppert etc.

    >>KF (and others capable of following a logical argument): Let’s follow the logic of “external reality” further. What is one of the reasons (perhaps the most important one) that we theorize an external, consistent world in the first place?>>

    20: We experience an objective in common reality, in-common mass delusions are implausible, we have no reason to reduce the world to a computational simulation or dream. Such would all reduce to grand delusion, axiomatically an absurdity.

    >> It is the apparent consensuality of experiences between observers.>>

    21: No, it is not agreement that is primary, but evidence that the world is, despite what we imagine or desire, fear or wish. Surprises like quantum theory are a good case in point.

    22: And BTW, we are seeing what has happened to our civilisation as it abandoned its Judaeo-Christian heritage, we are wandering, helplessly into questions we don’t have a clue how to resolve and rebuild a sound consensus on.

    >> IOW, whatever one theorizes is the ultimate nature of a tree, different observers experience “the tree” in a very similar fashion – where it is, the colors of the leaves and bark, its basic structure, etc. The theory claims that the independent nature of the tree (independent from mind) is causing fairly universal mental states in all observers.>>

    23: The best explanation for the breadfruit tree experiences on going out the front door, is, the real breadfruit tree. Similarly, the banana tree, the Christmas Palm tree, the mango tree, the Avocado, the cashew, etc.

    >> We’ll skip the model reification issue here>>

    24: Already answered.

    >> and go another route: think about what you’ve just proposed: an independent, non-mental commodity has caused a particular mental state/experience in all observers.>>

    25: The best explanation for the breadfruit tree experiences on going out the front door, is, the real breadfruit tree. Similarly, the banana tree, the Christmas Palm tree, the mango tree, the Avocado, the cashew, etc. Observers come and go, or may err, the trees are there.

    26: Also, the independence is independence from our error-prone opinions and perceptions.

    >>However you slice it, you are promoting a materialist principle: that mental states can be caused by independently existing non-mental commodities. >>

    27: Nope, this is not materialism. That we have organs and senses capable of working to provide a body of information recognised and understood as a world does not imply that the world has been reduced to a simulation or model.

    28: Agaim refer to the extended Smith Model.

    >>You’ve reduced us to being externally-caused entities>>

    29: causal influence is not causal determinism. Yes, our senses respond to the external world and generate signals in differing ways that are integrated to form an understanding of ourselves in the world, that on sound common sense we take very seriously. That is not the same as that those determine our actions, we are self-moved.

    >> and you’ve effectively given up free will. >>

    30: Not at all, again see the extended Smith Model. Plato long ago got this right.

    >>There is no escaping the self-annihilating logical consequences of the premise that mental states can be caused by external commodities.>>

    31: Are causally influenced by is not deterministic. We perceive, we act, we respond.

    32: It further seems we need to clarify cause. That an external entity is sensed and is interacted with does not entail that it controls us. Our eyes or ears for example are designed to sense and feed processing that assembles a gestalt, thence a world-picture. This is a mostly reliable though sometimes defective cybernetic subsystem. That does not determine what the supervisory oracle will do.

    KF
    ______

    KF

  5. 5
    john_a_designer says:

    Apparently to WJM, God… is a Principle known as the Divine Mind. It has no personhood and no personality… God is “All in All.” In other words, God is all that exists, and what we perceive as matter is an interpretation of divine mind.

  6. 6
    Brother Brian says:

    KF@4 has pulled out all the stops and used numbered sentences. WJM is doomed. 🙂

  7. 7
    hazel says:

    And >>

  8. 8
    daveS says:

    BB,

    KF@4 has pulled out all the stops and used numbered sentences. WJM is doomed.

    At least he stopped before ω. 😛

    Referring to the OP:

    Since all we have to work from and with is mental experience and mental thoughts about mental experiences, mind is not only primary ontologically and epistemologically; it is ontologically and epistemologically exhaustive. Even if some non-mental, independent “secondary” aspect of our existential framework exists, we have no access to it nor any ability to use it. If some sort of independent physicality exists, it is therefore 100% ontologically and epistemologically irrelevent.

    We have sense organs, which allow us to obtain “information” about our physical surroundings, do we not? Otherwise, what are eyes and ears for?

  9. 9
    StephenB says:

    Most of our experiences are the product of direct contact with the material world. We don’t come to know the existence of a cat, for example, by using a mental “model.”. We simply experience this or that cat through our senses, courtesy of matter, and then we abstract the idea of cat from the matter we just experienced. That is how we come to know things for what they are. We don’t define things by their atomic or subatomic structure; we define them by their nature and purpose.

    If we had experienced a dog, then we would have abstracted the idea of dog from its material existence. Our senses tell us about the individual dog or cat (the one) and our mind recognizes it as a member of a class (the many). We don’t project the idea of cat onto the cat, because the cat was already there waiting to be experienced.

    Yes, our thoughts take place in the mind because the faculty of mind was designed for that purpose. Still, those thoughts are often about things that exist outside the mind. The key point, though, is this: Not *all* of our experiences take place in the mind. Sometimes our experiences take place in the senses –at least at first. I experience hot and cold weather in the senses and then, I think about it and react to it. I may try to project the idea of hot and cold all day long, but it will not change the weather.

    To say that we have no “access” to the outside world is to ignore the role of the senses or to deny their existence altogether. In the world of cause and effect, the senses are often the recipient of causes coming from the outside: The sound waves reach my ear from the outside and then I hear the music. In this case, I don’t project the idea of sound waves from my mind to the outside world. I know that this is the case because I also know the chronological order of events. The experience is not the cause of the sound wave, it is the effect.

    None of this violates the principle of free will nor does it lead to a deterministic view of life. Law-like regularities in the universe do not affect our capacity to act as free moral agents. Indeed, as causal agents, we can use those laws any way we choose. Yes, law like-regularities influence us in many ways, and sometimes they are an intrusion. But that doesn’t change our role as intelligent and moral agents.

    For some reason, there is this idea floating around that to acknowledge the material world as real, which it is, is to also subscribe to the philosophical error of materialism (matter is all there is). Nonsense. That is bad enough, but there is more. Not a few quantum scientists have even tried to deny the laws of non-contradiction and causality based on the precision of their experiments.. More nonsense. Thoughts are real, and matter is real; minds exist, and bodies exist. And yes, the laws of causality and non-contradiction persist no matter what some philosophically challenged quantum scientists may say about it. As Clint Eastwood once put it, “a man’s got to know his limitations.”

  10. 10
    vividbleau says:

    WJM
    “ If you turn your mind off – all of it, conscious, subconscious, unconscious – is there any experience?”

    Thought experiment.

    If everyone in the world were sleeping (unconscious) at the same time does this mean that London, NY, etc dont exist?

    “If we see a table, touch a table, think about a table …”

    What table?

    Vivid

  11. 11
    Fasteddious says:

    I find myself disagreeing with, “The “external physical world” abstraction still lies within the ontological and epistemological framework of mind and it is all we can ever have access to or use.” for two reasons:
    1. I and any number of others can compare thoughts about “the real world” outside our minds without prior collusion, and agree on most (if not all) aspects of it. Thus, as far as we are able to discern, we all share the same physical reality and the mental models we each have of it are coherent and very compatible. Moreover, one person’s sleeping (i.e. mind turned off) does not seem to affect the rest of the “real world” as experienced in the minds of everyone else, whether we know about that person’s sleep or not. Thus, his/her loss of mind does not appear to affect our models of reality.
    2. Our senses are transducers to convert something (presumed external) to impulses experienced by our minds. The simplest approach is to assume that these transducers are relatively accurate, within their limitations, and reasonably reflect the objects or reality they are sensing. To claim that there is no such reality, or that it may be totally different from how we experience it, is to assume that something is sending us false or severely contrived and extremely non-linear sensory signals, which nonetheless appear to be consistent, allowing us to create coherent mental models of “reality”. That is, of course, a logical possibility – the brain in a vat idea – but Ockham’ razor suggests that it is less likely. It would take considerably more simulation effort, cleverness and energy to create such a false reality for us. The simpler explanation of more-or less accurate transducers therefore seems the better approach, at least as a starting point.

  12. 12
    hazel says:

    Good post by Fasteddious, I think.

  13. 13
    Brother Brian says:

    Hazel

    Good post by Fasteddious, I think.

    I agree.

    If what WJM says is actually true, then all of the arguments for objective moral truth are wrong (which I think they are, but for different reasons).

  14. 14
    EricMH says:

    Deleted – WJM

  15. 15
    Brother Brian says:

    Deleted. – WJM

  16. 16
    AaronS1978 says:

    I don’t believe he thinks in such a literal sense from what I’m reading

    Pretty much means that every single experience you have from writing that comment, to reading what I’m about to write, has to be experienced in your mind. That subjective self. Your entire world around you is translated (abstracted) by your mind. Yes you have sensory organs that interact with the external, but ALL of the information they gather is translated (determined) by the mind and it’s parts. Now how far that goes I’m not certain, even if the sensation of water felt more like dried cement, it wouldn’t follow that you couldn’t move freely through the water still. But someone could never know colors or defined details if all the saw was shapes in various shades of brown.

    Maybe I got it wrong, I did just kind of skimmed through everything so pay no attention to me

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    EMH, now you know part of why Plantinga spoke to our senses working in their proper environment, and being aimed at substantial truth. The implication or mere significant likelihood of grand delusion is fatal. KF

  18. 18
    ET says:

    Brother Brainless:

    If what WJM says is actually true, then all of the arguments for objective moral truth are wrong (which I think they are, but for different reasons).

    Cuz you say so? Really?

    Why do all losers think they can just say something and it’s true?

  19. 19

    DaveS @3 said:

    According to this dictionary, “deluded” means “believing things that are not real or true”.

    If that is the definition you want to use, then since we all probably believe things that are not true, whether or not belief in an external world is “delusional” becomes a trivial matter.

    KF @4 said:

    Referring to the extended Smith model in the OP, we can see that consciousness would be part of the self-aware self moved behaviour of an oracle, but by an interface to brain and thence to wider body, there is no incoherence in an onward interaction with a real, physical world.

    Arguing for your model is not the same as arguing against the logic of mine. If you want to compare models, however, fine: my model is more efficient in this respect because it doesn’t require an interface **or** an entire external physical reality. Much, much more efficient, in fact.

    On theism, that world is a creation, and is the natural domain of our common experience. Such a domain is antecedent to our particular existence.

    Thisis an irrelevant (to the logical validity of my model) ideological assertion in support of your worldview, and is yet another, additional abstraction required to support it.

    This seems to beg the question by positing that we in effect live in a Plato’s cave where our in-common world is a shadow show on the wall, a sort of simulation, similar to the notion that on a grand multiverse, the most plausible explanation for the perceived world shared with others is that a Boltzmann brain by fluctuation of the underlying quantum foam has popped into composite being, programmed with a simulation of a world perceived but which has no reality in concrete sense beyond the somehow simulation.

    This is exactly what I’m talking about when I say that the original mental error of model reification has deeply embedded that error into thought. The “shadows on the walls” are not shadows in the mental reality model because there is no “outside the cave” because the cave is not a cave at all. The whole allegory is a product of an error of thought – investing in the abstraction that something external is causing the internal. Your complaint here is lodged from an inapplicable perspective when it comes to examining what my model actually means and the logical coherence and practical value of it.

    You go on, asserting “external world” commodities and philosophical perspectives as if they somehow falsify or undermine my model, when my model has rejected that world and those perspectives as being anything other than reified abstractions and thought based on the error of reified, abstract models. Saying that “we have sense organs” or “a brain” or “interaction with a physical world” or “confirmation from others” does nothing to counter-act my position that (1) all experience is mental (regardless of what it may be “of” or “caused by”; (2) you are reifying models mentally extrapolated from mental experiences as independently existing objective phenomena; and (3) arguing from a position that assumes your conclusion (about an external world) by inserting such points into the discussion where they have no relevance. Until you can show how we can have non-mental experiences, or how we can verify that an external world actually exists (in a way that doesn’t assume that model to be true), then you have no evidential or logical leverage.

    Even the complaint that it would be “delusional” is utterly false because delusion vs reality values have always been comparisons between kinds (or models) of mental experiences. All I’m doing is eliminating a whole universe of excess baggage.

    DaveS @8 said”

    We have sense organs, which allow us to obtain “information” about our physical surroundings, do we not? Otherwise, what are eyes and ears for?

    All experience of sense organs are mental.

  20. 20
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    If that is the definition you want to use, then since we all probably believe things that are not true, whether or not belief in an external world is “delusional” becomes a trivial matter.

    We are all deluded about some things, surely.

    But not things such as who the current president of the US is. If I am wrong about who our president is, I would definitely want to know that. That sort of “delusion” is highly nontrivial. Similarly, mistakenly believing that matter exists would be nontrivial.

    For contrast, here’s one example of a trivial “delusion”: Believing that Sinbad starred in the movie “Shazaam”. Many people believe that, but it’s false.

    All experience of sense organs are mental.

    Ok, but what do you believe the purposes of eyes and ears are, if the physical world is an illusion?

  21. 21

    StephenB @9 said:

    Most of our experiences are the product of direct contact with the material world.

    That assumes your theory that an external world exists is true – IOW, you are assuming your conclusion here. In fact, your entire comment assumes your conclusion.

    For some reason, there is this idea floating around that to acknowledge the material world as real, which it is, is to also subscribe to the philosophical error of materialism (matter is all there is). Nonsense.

    If some external world can cause mental states, you’ve become an in-principle materialist and you’ve lost free will.

    Vividblue @10 asks:

    If everyone in the world were sleeping (unconscious) at the same time does this mean that London, NY, etc dont exist?

    The unconscious is part of mind.

    Fasteddious @11 said:

    I and any number of others can compare thoughts about “the real world” outside our minds without prior collusion, and agree on most (if not all) aspects of it. Thus, as far as we are able to discern, we all share the same physical reality and the mental models we each have of it are coherent and very compatible.

    You’re assuming your conclusion here – that consistent, consensual mental experiences means an external world actually exists. The only way you can validate that phenomena outside of mind actually exist would be to have some way to experience or test for it outside of your, or anyone’s, mental experience. This is impossible – even test results have to be experienced to be known.

    IOW, there is no way to verify that an external world exists. Claiming that the model of an external world built from patterns of mental experience verifies that such a world exists is classic model reification.

    Let me try to explain this. We might construct a model that an unseen planet exists because of patterns of behavior we see in light and in the orbits and movement of other planets. We can actually go there and find that planet, and experience it. The reason this is different is because, regardless of how good the model of an external world is, we cannot, even in principle, ever go there to verify its existence. It’s literally impossible. A model can never demonstrate that what it refers to exists; it can only demonstrate the value of the model.

  22. 22

    A reminder to participants: I do not allow character or motivational comments or insinuations, or other forms of trolling in my threads. Those posts will be deleted. Complaints about deletions will be deleted.

  23. 23

    AaronS1978 @16:

    The point is, regardless of any model of how we acquire experience or where it comes from, the only place we actually experience **anything** is in mind. The concept of an external (to mind) physical body – senses – nervous system – electro-chemical exchange and interpretation (magically!) into experience is a theory based entirely on mental experiences and extrapolated via mental thoughts, then held in mind as a mental, abstract model that – unbelievably – considers mental experience, which is necessarily primary in all of that, as secondary …. the model is generating that which created the model in the first place, according to them. It’s bizarre.

  24. 24
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    A PS to my previous question:

    Ok, but what do you believe the purposes of eyes and ears are, if the physical world is an illusion?

    Do you wear eyeglasses?

  25. 25

    DaveS @24 asks:

    [1}Ok, but what do you believe the purposes of eyes and ears are, if the physical world is an illusion?[2] Do you wear eyeglasses?

    [1] The idea that physical experience is an “illusion” is rooted in the external-world paradigm. It’s not an illusion. One of the problems here is that the external-world paradigm has generated a language that assumes that paradigm, making it very difficult to even think about or from a mental-reality perspective.. What we experience as an external physical world is, essentially, various aspects our own psychology held mostly at the unconscious and subconscious levels, which can be modeled as informational patterns and constructs we have attached ourselves to. The body and the sense organs represent our sense of personal identity – who and what we hold ourselves to be, how we exist and experience and in what format. Experiential reality = us experiencing our own psychology and whatever that psychology permits from the infinite information available to us, including other people and consensuality (inasmuch as our psychology permits).

    [2] Yes, and I’m blind in one eye. Let me attempt to anticipate further questions here and make offer a broader, more significant form of your question: why don’t I heal my eyes? Why don’t I grow wings? Why don’t I make myself younger and perfectly fit? Why don’t I stop my aging? Why don’t I mentally create a million dollars in my bank account?

    My inference here is that you think it should be easier to do those things if we lived in a mental reality. That is what happens when you attempt to challenge the mental reality model from the perspective of the external world reality. Here’s your answer: if we’re already experiencing mental reality (which is the premise of my model), why would you expect any of those things to be easier if we’re living in a mental reality? That doesn’t make any sense.

    Making significant changes is one’s psychology is incredibly difficult. What do you think is easier: overcoming a low self-esteem, or remodeling your bathroom? I’ve been doing this for 30 years or so; uprooting a deep belief and changing it, for many people, is as difficult as sprouting wings and flying.

  26. 26

    If you think what I’ve been writing so far is crazy, wait until I start talking about how space and time do not exist.

  27. 27
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    The body and the sense organs represent our sense of personal identity – who and what we hold ourselves to be, how we exist and experience and in what format.

    Thanks for addressing my questions, but I have to say this is very vague. I don’t consider this a satisfactory account of why we have sense organs.

    Or why we bother to get glasses, when matter doesn’t exist. My understanding is that glasses are made of matter, with lenses designed according to physical principles so as to correct our vision. These principles have been discovered through centuries of work, and allow optometrists to accurately determine what prescription we need after a few moments of examination.

    This is too much to ask, I know, but it would be very interesting to read a “dialogue” between you and your optometrist, where you explain to her/him various aspects of your appointment in terms of your model. For example, the optometrist might give you different options for lens material based on refractive index. What is refractive index in your model?

    Yes, and I’m blind in one eye. Let me attempt to anticipate further questions here and make offer a broader, more significant form of your question: why don’t I heal my eyes? Why don’t I grow wings? Why don’t I make myself younger and perfectly fit? Why don’t I stop my aging? Why don’t I mentally create a million dollars in my bank account?

    Those are good questions, to be sure, but probably not the next ones I would ask. I would continue with more fundamental things: Why do we need to bother getting glasses? What are glasses if not physical objects? Why do we need to eat?

  28. 28
    AaronS1978 says:

    William j Murray@23

    That’s what I was thinking thank you for the clarification and the response.

  29. 29
    daveS says:

    PS:

    I’ll rephrase part above the above post. Instead of:

    Why do we need to bother getting glasses?

    substitute:

    What exactly is the process of “getting glasses” in your model?

  30. 30

    DaveS: My need for glasses (or eyes, for that matter) is ultimately a matter of psychological structure. My intent would be to better my vision. The structure of my psychology searches through the associated information and represents “how to get better vision” as models predicting methods of acquiring the goal. The process is played out in my physical experience however my psychology dictates. For others it might play out as getting surgery, acupuncture, doing eye exercises, taking supplements and some special diet, praying, meditating, or a combination of those things if they want to accomplish it without going the more common route.

    All physical methods are manifestations of psychological processes, which is why people can have enormous variances of methodology to achieve the same results. It’s not the physical process that is essential – which is why we have miraculous, spontaneous cures for some and not others, why placebos work for some and not others, why some methods work for Jim and not Joe.

    I don’t need glasses in other experiential states – like, when I’m dreaming, visualizing, or visiting other physically consistent frameworks. There are cases of people that have been completely blind since birth but can see perfectly during NDEs or OOBEs.

  31. 31
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    My intent would be to better my vision.

    What is there to look at under your model?

    I’m sorry, but you’re not making a very strong case here. You can simply assert that all experience is ultimately psychological, but you leave a great deal unexplained (for example, what refractive index is).

  32. 32
    PaoloV says:

    WJM,
    What you wrote @2 is not a scientific statement, is it ?

    “We are all part of universal mind, which lies entirely within all of us, making each of us part of each other’s mental world.”

    It’s a philosophical statement.

    And it’s devoid of proof.

    It’s just an opinion elevated to the category of philosophical worldview.

    I respect it. As much as I respect that some people like to buy discolored jeans with holes.

  33. 33
    daveS says:

    PaoloV/Dionisio,

    Yes, this is largely a philosophical discussion. If you don’t like it, there are many other threads which focus on science.

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, you will notice, I consistently speak to grand delusion, a degree that effectively undercuts the reliability and credibility of senses and rational or moral capacities, leading to self-referential discredit by absurdity. We all err, and our perceptual faculties are capable of illusion, we even depend on that to see moving pictures. However, that error exists is self-evidently true and undeniably warranted, instantly establishing that truth is, that it is possible to know truth, that some truth is known to utter certainty, and that systems of thought inconsistent with such . . . subjectivism, solipsism, relativism, anything yielding grand delusion . . . are errors, are falsified en bloc. More, later, RW stuff still beckons. KF

  35. 35

    KF @34:
    I’ve already addressed this. (1) You are applying “delusion” from it’s material-world oriented perspective, which renders it inapplicable here. (2) Delusion vs realty can only ever be a comparison of kinds of mental experiences regardless of if an external world exists or not, rendering your objection moot. Unless you’re going to argue that we cannot tell the difference between different kinds of mental experiences, you have no case here.

    Here’s another kernel for you to chew on: the concept of “delusion” is entirely derived from an error of thought. There’s no such thing because all experiences are real because experience = reality. Because some experiences are non-consensual does not make them less real.

  36. 36

    DaveS @32: Just because you don’t understand the answer doesn’t mean I didn’t answer. Like everything else one experiences, a “refractive index” is a representation of information acquired and filtered via psychology.

    What “case” do you think I’m trying to make? The only case I’m “trying to make” is the logical one. I don’t see that you’re addressing the logic I’ve presented. You’re asking me for a description about “how it works,” which has no bearing on the logic that forms the ontological and epistemological structure of mental reality.

    There are things I can and cannot do at this time because of my particular and universal psychological structures. Every identity requires limitations and context in order to exist (experience) as an individuated identity. That’s an inescapable rule of mind. Those limitations and contextual features are manifest in any experience – including physical experience, or else there would be no physical experience of any kind.

  37. 37
    PaoloV says:

    Deleted – WJM

  38. 38
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    What “case” do you think I’m trying to make?

    You have made the assertion that matter does not exist and appear to be defending it against our objections.

    I don’t see that you’re addressing the logic I’ve presented. You’re asking me for a description about “how it works,” which has no bearing on the logic that forms the ontological and epistemological structure of mental reality.

    I don’t think there are necessarily any logical problems with what you’re proposing. We can come up with all sorts of models which are not logically inconsistent. I am much more interested in “how it works”. I envision myself as an embodied being moving around a physical world, and vaguely understand what things such as “refractive index” mean from that perspective. I find it massively implausible that the concept of “refractive index” makes any sense in the complete absence of matter.

  39. 39
    PaoloV says:

    Deleted – WJM

  40. 40
    vividbleau says:

    WJM
    “If you think what I’ve been writing so far is crazy, wait until I start talking about how space and time do not exist.”

    Can’t wait!!

    Vivid

  41. 41
    benwel says:

    WJM,

    What is the relationship of the Biblical concept of “spirit” to “mind” in your thinking? Thanks.

  42. 42
    StephenB says:

    SB: Most of our experiences are the product of direct contact with the material world.

    WJM

    That assumes your theory that an external world exists is true – IOW, you are assuming your conclusion here. In fact, your entire comment assumes your conclusion.

    That is not true. It is an opening statement followed by several arguments and examples to support its claims, all of which you ignored. You dismiss several telling points without providing even a semblance of a counter argument. I realize that you are trying to play chess with several commenters, but in my case, It would have been better to say that you just don’t have time to get to everyone.

    If you examine your own opening statement, you will notice that it, too, is vulnerable to the claim that it assumes its conclusion. But I didn’t stop reading it for that reason because I expected you to follow with rational arguments just as I followed my opening statement with rational arguments, all of which are the product of many years of thoughtful reflection. As it is, I am not yet confident that you can argue against them.

  43. 43
    PaoloV says:

    Deleted – WJM

  44. 44
    StephenB says:

    WJM

    The entire problem of mind/matter dualism is rooted in a single error of thought: the reification of an abstract descriptive model of experience into an causal agency independent of the mind that conceives it and the mental experience it is extrapolated from. It is similar to the same error of thought that mistakes “forces” and “physical laws” and “energy” as independently existing causal agencies, when in fact they are abstract models of various mental experiences.

    You are assuming your conclusion with a vengeance,

    All experience and all thought about experience takes place in mind, regardless of whether or not it is caused by something external to mind. Therefore, “an external, physical world” is a mental abstraction about mental experiences. Insisting that the content of the abstraction is “real” is entirely irrelevant.

    Another assumed conclusion. The senses could exist in a material brain and thoughts could originate in an immaterial mind.

    Since all we have to work from and with is mental experience and mental thoughts about mental experiences, mind is not only primary ontologically and epistemologically; it is ontologically and epistemologically exhaustive. Even if some non-mental, independent “secondary” aspect of our existential framework exists, we have no access to it nor any ability to use it. If some sort of independent physicality exists, it is therefore 100% ontologically and epistemologically irrelevent. The “external physical world” abstraction still lies within the ontological and epistemological framework of mind and it is all we can ever have access to or use.

    Yet another assumed conclusion. If matter does exist, then we can work with it and from it. You continue to make one bald assertion after the other. It seems evident that your entire enterprise is an assumed conclusion.

    Meanwhile, you have not explained how, in the absence of matter, you can know the difference between a dog and a cat, perform a design inference, or explain why it takes billions of years for the light of a far away star to reach us.

    That raises another question: Do you support those quantum theorists who reject the laws of causality and non-contradiction on the basis of quantum experiments? If not, why not?

    If some sort of independent physicality exists, it is therefore 100% ontologically and epistemologically irrelevent.

    Please define “independent physicality.” Would something be independent physically if God created it and continues to sustain its existence, even though it can play a distinct causal role.

  45. 45
    Axel says:

    RE your ‘universal mind’ concept, WJM, are you familiar with the R C doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ (based on Christ’s teaching concerning the ‘True Vine’ in the Gospels) ? A vine of which we are the branches and Chist is the head, the Holy Spirit evidently being the sap. A kind of spiritual cloning, I suppose.

  46. 46

    SB said:

    That is not true. It is an opening statement followed by several arguments and examples to support its claims, all of which you ignored. You dismiss several telling points without providing even a semblance of a counter argument. I realize that you are trying to play chess with several commenters, but in my case, It would have been better to say that you just don’t have time to get to everyone.

    SB said earlier:

    SB: Most of our experiences are the product of direct contact with the material world. – WJM I understand this now to be your proposition.

    SB: We don’t come to know the existence of a cat, for example, by using a mental “model.” WJM – True – we have a mental experience of a cat, whether or not that experience came from outside of mind. We create models of the cat, where it exists and how we came to experience it later.

    SB: We simply experience this or that cat through our senses, – WJM: No. Even if the sensory equipment existed outside of mind, the actual experience occurs first and only in the mind – you seeing a cat, hearing it purr, reaching out and touching it – all those experiences take place in the mind. We know this because if you shut your mind off, the cat may as well not even exist because you cannot see it, feel it or hear it.

    You are working this through backward, SB. We have a mental experience of a cat. We then generate an abstract model that an exterior world exists and that we have some sort of sensory input and interface between our mental state/experience and the cat. Note that this is an abstract model laid upon another abstract model – an abstract model built from an abstract model.

    However, we still have the hard problem of personal experience, of consciousness: there is no reason why or explanation how anything (matter) proposed in the abstract model should or could make the jump from external physical excitation of matter or energy into a full-blown conscious experience.

    SB: courtesy of matter, and then we abstract the idea of cat from the matter we just experienced. WJM – No, we experience the cat mentally first. We then abstract from that experience the idea that the cat resides in a world that is independent of our mind, and create more abstract models that this outside world is made of something called “matter.” You’re fundamentally reversing the order of the nature of experience and subsequent modeling because you have reified the model to the point you’ve elevated the subject of the model to causal status in terms of your original mental experience – a dangerous and slippery slope.

    SB: That is how we come to – know things for what they are. We don’t define things by their atomic or subatomic structure; we define them by their nature and purpose. WJM – we define them by what their nature appears to be in our mental experience of them.

    SB: If we had experienced a dog, then we would have abstracted the idea of dog from its material existence. – WJM – again, you cannot abstract any ideas from “material existence”; it’s literally impossible, unless you’re going to say that matter causes ideas, and there is no evidence for that. We make abstractions from mental experiences regardless of what causes those mental experiences.

    SB: Our senses tell us about the individual dog or cat (the one) and our mind recognizes it as a member of a class (the many). WJM – the theory that external-world model physical senses tell us anything cannot be considered a serious model until that model explains how material excitations can generate conscious experience. Until then, you might as well be saying that matter creates consciousness. It’s entirely unsupportable.

    SB: We don’t project the idea of cat onto the cat, because the cat was already there waiting to be experienced. WJM – Well, I agree with this, in that the cat is already there – just not as an externally existing material phenomena. Everything is already there, waiting to be experienced, except it resides in mind – eternally.

    SB: Yes, our thoughts take place in the mind because the faculty of mind was designed for that purpose. Still, those thoughts are often about things that exist outside the mind. WJM – Assumes your conclusion. Those thoughts could more easily be about things that exist in the mind because there is no hard problem gap to overcome.

    SB: The key point, though, is this: Not *all* of our experiences take place in the mind. Sometimes our experiences take place in the senses –at least at first. WJM – it’s not possible for experience to take place “in the senses” because none of that information (proposed as excitations of matter running up the neural circuitry of the arm) is translated into experiential format until it (supposedly) hits the brain (which, I assume you think has something to do with the mind and mental experiences). Do you suppose that if I cut off your head and keep you alive in a vat, you will be able to “feel” a cat I put in your hand, or ice or a fire? You might be able to feel it if you’re watching me do it … as many experiments demonstrate. Why is that? It’s because you don’t experience anything at the “sense” level, only at the mental level.

    SB – I experience hot and cold weather in the senses and then, I think about it and react to it. I may try to project the idea of hot and cold all day long, but it will not change the weather.WJM – Thinking about things, visualizing them, is known to be able to produce the same physiological effects in many cases as the “actual” experience of a thing; quite a bit of psychotherapy is based on this. Have you ever tried to change the weather by projecting those ideas?

    SB: To say that we have no “access” to the outside world is to ignore the role of the senses or to deny their existence altogether. WJM – No, it is the result of proper, rational thinking and clearing out errors of thought that come from the elevation of the model of an external world to primacy over that from which it originates.

    SB: In the world of cause and effect, the senses are often the recipient of causes coming from the outside: The sound waves reach my ear from the outside and then I hear the music. – WJM – Until you can solve the hard problem of conscious experience and bridge the gap from states of matter to experiences of mind, this is nothing but a useful model that cannot be rationally accepted as being about anything real – its only value would be in its usefulness. Even if you could solve the gap problem, you wouldn’t want to, because you would then have shown that mental experiences are caused by excitations of matter. That’s going to put you in a rather bad position – much like a materialist.

    SB: In this case, I don’t project the idea of sound waves from my mind to the outside world. Nobody is claiming that you do. Remember, SB, in my model, there is no “outside world.”

    SB: I know that this is the case because I also know the chronological order of events. The experience is not the cause of the sound wave, it is the effect. WJM – Nobody is claiming we don’t experience sequences of events. I didn’t claim that experiences are not effects; they are effects, in a sense, but not ones caused by any supposed external, independent world.

    More later.

  47. 47

    Axel @44: No, I’m not aware of that doctrine.

  48. 48
    StephenB says:

    WJM

    We create models of the cat, where it exists and how we came to experience it later.

    Again, this unsupported claim needs some kind of rational defense. We use models in science, yes, but our ability to abstract essences (what a thing is) from undefined material objects does not derive from models at all. I have provided epistemologically-grounded reasons to show why this is the case, but you have provided no reasons to support the proposition that, outside of science, we normally think in terms of models.

    SB: We simply experience this or that cat through our senses, –

    No. Even if the sensory equipment existed outside of mind, the actual experience occurs first and only in the mind – you seeing a cat, hearing it purr, reaching out and touching it – all those experiences take place in the mind. We know this because if you shut your mind off, the cat may as well not even exist because you cannot see it, feel it or hear it.

    We know as a practical matter that the cat’s purr occurs before we hear it. If it is situated eleven hundred feet away from us, the sound will come to exist exactly one second before it reached us. Clearly, our experience of the cat, at least in part, depends on the existence of the cat; the existence of the cat does not depend on our experience of it.

    You are working this through backward, SB. We have a mental experience of a cat. We then generate an abstract model that an exterior world exists and that we have some sort of sensory input and interface between our mental state/experience and the cat. Note that this is an abstract model laid upon another abstract model – an abstract model built from an abstract model.

    I understand that this is your claim, but you have given us no reasons to believe it is true. Also, you have not explained why the senses cannot exist in the brain while our thoughts originate in the mind. You simply assume that there is not, or cannot be, such a thing as a physical brain.

    However, we still have the hard problem of personal experience, of consciousness: there is no reason why or explanation how anything (matter) proposed in the abstract model should or could make the jump from external physical excitation of matter or energy into a full-blown conscious experience.

    Sorry, but that is a strawman argument. No one, certainly not me, thinks that the matter or energy in question is responsible for (or the cause of) the human capacity to experience it. The faculty of mind is a product of the Creator, not the dynamics of matter and energy. Also, you are asking us to agree with your unsupported claim that our experience of matter is something that we “model” from the inside out rather than something that we receive from the outside in. On the contrary, I say that matter presents itself to us a physical experience, the meaning of which is interpreted by the mind.

    you have reified the model to the point you’ve elevated the subject of the model to causal status in terms of your original mental experience – a dangerous and slippery slope.

    How can I reify a model that I claim doesn’t exist? Our knowledge of things is the product of abstraction, not modeling. Modeling only gives us approximations; abstraction presents things as they really are (their whatness). The atomic or subatomic structure of a thing tells us nothing at all about its nature, what it is, or what it is for. Science does not equal epistemology.

    – again, you cannot abstract any ideas from “material existence”; it’s literally impossible, unless you’re going to say that matter causes ideas, and there is no evidence for that.

    The knowledge of what a thing is begins as sense experience and is completed in the mind by way of mental abstraction. The senses present the physicality of this or that cat, but the mind is the cause of our understanding about “what” it is – a member of a class of animals that we call cats –something that lives, purrs, and rolls over in a playful way, among other things. Our senses tell us nothing about the nature of a cat. If the cat doesn’t really exist, then there is nothing physical to abstract from.

    – it’s not possible for experience to take place “in the senses” because none of that information (proposed as excitations of matter running up the neural circuitry of the arm) is translated into experiential format until it (supposedly) hits the brain (which, I assume you think has something to do with the mind and mental experiences).

    I argue that the brain and mind are both involved in conscious experience, though each presents a different kind of experience or information (i. e. sensing vs thinking), In terms of physical things, such as animals, tools, buildings etc., the brain receives material phenomena through the senses, causing a sensible experience, which is then “worked on” by the mind in the form of an abstraction, which is a mental experience. It is through the latter experience that we recognize a things design, or its whatness, or its form. As such, we do not recognize our “model” that approximates the thing, we recognize the thing as it is itself. (A can opener or a fountain pen).

    Do you suppose that if I cut off your head and keep you alive in a vat, you will be able to “feel” a cat I put in your hand, or ice or a fire? You might be able to feel it if you’re watching me do it … as many experiments demonstrate. Why is that? It’s because you don’t experience anything at the “sense” level, only at the mental level.

    I would need to study the methodology of these experiments. Since both the mind as a non-material faculty and the brain as an material organ can cause pain, and since each can influence that other, I think the question is unanswerable, at least without more information, such as this: Is the mind still functioning and the brain (or the senses) now dead, or vice versa? Since human minds cannot operate in a body without a brain, and since brains cannot operate in the absence of a head, I can’t imagine what such an experiment would prove. Of course, your philosophy of idealistic monism doesn’t recognize the distinction between a material organ that produces electrical impulses and a non-material faculty that grasps abstract concepts, so there wouldn’t seem to be much room for a productive discussion on the matter.

    SB – I experience hot and cold weather in the senses and then, I think about it and react to it. I may try to project the idea of hot and cold all day long, but it will not change the weather.

    Thinking about things, visualizing them, is known to be able to produce the same physiological effects in many cases as the “actual” experience of a thing; quite a bit of psychotherapy is based on this. Have you ever tried to change the weather by projecting those ideas?

    I totally agree that thoughts can produce physiological effects, at least in humans, but I don’t think that the earth’s ecology is quite as impressionable to suggestions as the human body.

    SB: To say that we have no “access” to the outside world is to ignore the role of the senses or to deny their existence altogether.

    No, it is the result of proper, rational thinking and clearing out errors of thought that come from the elevation of the model of an external world to primacy over that from which it originates.

    Rational thinking would take account of the fact that the physical event (the light emitted by a far-away galaxy), usually precedes the mental event (our conscious reception and experience of that event). In that sense, our conscious experience would be passive, not active. We do not cause an event of that sort to happen by an exercise of our conscious experience.

    On the other hand, our conscious experience *does* precede the physical event in some cases–such as when we decide to run a mile. The problem is that you acknowledge only the one way operation by which the mind is *always* the active cause and the physical event is *always* a passive event. Sometimes it is the other way around, but your prior commitment to monistic idealism prevents you from thinking in those terms.

    And of course, that eight-hundred pound elephant in the room has not gone away. In the absence of matter, it is impossible to detect the existence of an intelligent agent by examining the physical evidence found in nature. It would be nice if you could acknowledge that point.

  49. 49
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    Reflecting further on your post #30, the whole process of going to an optometrist and getting a pair of eyeglasses under your model appears to be a ritual of sorts. Your goal is not to get a physical pair of glasses (made of matter), but to transform yourself psychologically, so there are potentially many paths you could take (e.g., visiting an optometrist vs. visiting a shaman). Is that correct?

  50. 50

    DaveS @4:
    That’s a fair way of looking at it.

  51. 51

    SB @48 said:

    Again, this unsupported claim needs some kind of rational defense. We use models in science, yes, but our ability to abstract essences (what a thing is) from undefined material objects does not derive from models at all.

    There appears to be something substantial you’re not understanding about the model. I never claimed we understood what a thing is by creating a model of it. I said we experience a thing, and then use models or create models about it.

    I’m going to try a different tactic SB – I’m going to try and explain this in theistic-model terms to see if I can provide you some better insight into the model. In a theistic model, before God created anything, everything existed as information in the mind of God because – well, what else could it have existed as? The very concept of “intelligent design” requires that the information exists prior to the design process.

    Further, “omniscience” requires that God has ALL the information about everything. Information about how to create a physical universe (in your model); how to create a human mind; how to make a sensory interface; how to bridge the hard problem gap from physical excitations of matter to qualia; how to structure the human mind so that it is capable of understanding and using logic and properly interacting with, utilizing and categorizing different kinds of experience. ALL of that was and is representations of information whether or not something actually, physically exists in an external world AND/OR in the perceptual qualia of an observer/experiencer.

    The difference between your model and mine is this: yours requires a whole extra existential domain (external physical reality), an interface to acquire information from that domain, and a matter-qualia gap to somehow bridge, while mine has none of those issues because God can provide the same experience without any of that; the mind of god can just directly interact with our mind and give us the same experience, same rules, same apparent structure, laws, forces, physics, etc. … without ever leaving the domain of mind.

    We already know this is possible in principle because we all have dreams where we have physical experiences of what appears to be an external physical world all inside our own minds. It’s really not that much of a stretch to look at what we think is an external physical world and re-frame it as existing in a larger, more consistent divine “dream.”

    Perhaps my answers will make more sense to you from that perspective.

    Rational thinking would take account of the fact that the physical event (the light emitted by a far-away galaxy), usually precedes the mental event (our conscious reception and experience of that event).

    It’s not ever an experiential fact that something precedes our mental experience of it; it’s the conclusion of the abstract model of an external world.

    And of course, that eight-hundred pound elephant in the room has not gone away. In the absence of matter, it is impossible to detect the existence of an intelligent agent by examining the physical evidence found in nature. It would be nice if you could acknowledge that point.

    I don’t think you understood my model well enough to make this assessment. In my model, “the absence of matter” is entirely irrelevant; the patterns of information we apprehend mentally via experience can be as easily discerned wrt ID because that’s all we have to work with anyway (Plato’s cave).

    I would need to study the methodology of these experiments.

    It’s a thought experiment that directly refutes your claim that you experience things “in your senses.” If I cut of your right arm, take that arm 100 miles away, and put a cat in its hand, will you experience the cat? No. Why is that? Because (under your model, which is what I’m arguing from now) the information cannot reach your brain, where it would be processed and interpreted into qualia. You never experience anything “in your senses” because qualia is a mental experience, period.

    What do you think is going on when you have sensory experiences in a dream? Do you think those are actually physical arms and legs and eyes and ears you’re using in a dream?

  52. 52
    steveO says:

    WJM
    I always enjoy your writing and apologies in advance if this is a trivial example!

    A younger colleague related a story to me about a recent trip to Amsterdam.
    As a novice he purchased some mild “special” truffles to try (available to purchase legally in various stores there).
    Later, back in his hotel room, he saw the window curtains defy gravity and raise from the hems in his direction.
    At the same time, he observed wave patterns moving along the length of the curtains. There were other very odd experiences also.

    If experience = reality, as you mentioned earlier, why would he, during the experience, find the curtains so belly-achingly funny (as he described it)?

    I had assumed the laughter was based on his awareness that experience != reality.

  53. 53

    Let me continue with the dream analogy.

    Let’s posit that what we are actually living “in” is the mind of god projecting a dream. Let’s further postulate that what we are are individualized conscious avatars “in” that dream state. The qualitative difference is that the dream of god (or universal mind) is much deeper and much more consistent than most of our own dreams.

    There is absolutely nothing that we experience as an external physical reality that this model cannot explain because there isn’t anything an external world can cause in our mental experience that mind is incapable of producing on its own – because even if something was causing it from the outside, the mind must still be capable of taking that information and using mental commodities to create the qualia we experience. As long as the information is available, the qualia can be produced by mind. The information doesn’t require an actual physical world – we know information is of mind.

    Furthermore, the mental model predicts (or retrodicts) that, given a reasonable cognitive open-ness, we will find such things as universal entanglement (we’re all connected to everything else in universal mind), a lack of physicality at the root level; a breakdown of physical causation and linear time causation sequence; the capacity to experience without brain or body; various PSI capacities; that everything at its root is information and the processing of that information; and so many other things that the external-world physicality model just cannot deal with.

    Such a model means that we will (or at least be able to) experience things that are inexplicable in terms of an external physical reality (given that we don’t use cognitive biases to black them out of our minds). Most of us just dismiss such experiences or information, even when research demonstrates its validity.

    The model predicts that we have the capacity to do and experience far, far more than was available (predictively) from the external world model. For instance, we have available to us direct access to all information (think how Tesla came up with a lot of his formulas and creations); we can cause external world changes via a proper reconditioning of our psychology and sometimes just with changes in conscious thoughts (which millions of people attest to and which research supports); we can enter other mental-reality states besides what we call “dreams” and “consensual physical reality”; etc., and have fully interactive experiences there – all without even leaving the comfort of our home. 🙂

  54. 54

    SteveO @52:
    Whether or not anything is funny depends on how you’re looking at it. Perhaps because he believed it was not real, he found it funny. Perhaps if he thought he was seeing reality at a different level, so to speak, or via some sensory capacity he didn’t know he had, he would have reacted more with wonder or excitement and it would provoke further experimentation, like it did with Terence McKenna and his use of DMT.

  55. 55
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    Thanks. And regarding:

    Terence McKenna and his use of DMT.

    I was just going to mention him. I am open to reality being very different from my model, in part due to people like McKenna (he and Ralph Abraham, specifically). I’m a bit skeptical, but I find these reports of indescribable experiences under the influence of DMT to be fascinating.

  56. 56

    I said in a prior post: “The entire problem of mind/matter dualism is rooted in a single error of thought: the reification of an abstract descriptive model of experience into an causal agency independent of the mind that conceives it and the mental experience it is extrapolated from. It is similar to the same error of thought that mistakes “forces” and “physical laws” and “energy” as independently existing causal agencies, when in fact they are abstract models of various mental experiences.”

    To which he added:

    Yet another assumed conclusion. If matter does exist, then we can work with it and from it. You continue to make one bald assertion after the other. It seems evident that your entire enterprise is an assumed conclusion.

    StephenB @44 quoted that and responded:

    You are assuming your conclusion with a vengeance

    He then quoted me further: “All experience and all thought about experience takes place in mind, regardless of whether or not it is caused by something external to mind. Therefore, “an external, physical world” is a mental abstraction about mental experiences. Insisting that the content of the abstraction is “real” is entirely irrelevant.”

    Nowhere in any of that was I assuming my conclusion that we live in a mental reality; I’m stating experiential fact (all qualia experience occurs in what we call “mind.”) This is something Plato clearly made apparent. The only thing we can ever experience, regardless of what they are “about”, are mental states – qualia. Even if it feels like your hand is cold, that qualia still occurs in the mind. The logic, experimentation and simple thought experiments show the intractable mental nature of qualia. EVEN IF there was an external physical world and we use that perspective, what your hand touches must send electrochemical information up to the brain, and the brain must process that information, bridge the gap to the conscious mind, and produce qualia. Otherwise, you don’t feel anything. Furthermore, if your wiring or interpretive modules are messed up, you might experience that “cold hand” as music or a smell or 3D imagery. You cannot cut off your hand, remove it from your sight, put a cat in it and still feel the cat. Now, if you SEE them put a cat in your cut off hand, you might feel it – because the experience of qualia doesn’t require any actual physical connection via specific senses. I can experience a cat in a dream without employing ANY physical senses. I can imagine a thing and experience it physiologically.

    I’m not assuming my conclusion because this mental qualia is the only thing we directly experience. It is then a logical necessity that from that experience we have generated an abstract model that an external world exists that is represented some way into qualia. I’m not saying we experience the abstract model, SB, as some of the way you phrase your comments seems to suggest. I’m saying we organize qualia into abstract models about the qualia; the most pervasive model is that an external physical world exists. I’m not saying that is a bad model, per se – it’s very useful and predictive.

    Meanwhile, you have not explained how, in the absence of matter, you can know the difference between a dog and a cat, perform a design inference, or explain why it takes billions of years for the light of a far away star to reach us.

    You’d first have to explain why matter is necessary to know the difference between a dog and a cat for that challenge to have any value. What essential role does “matter” play in understanding the difference between a dog and a cat?

    As far as your question about light, you might want to read this article and watch the video.

    That raises another question: Do you support those quantum theorists who reject the laws of causality and non-contradiction on the basis of quantum experiments? If not, why not?

    I think they are trying to understand their results through the prism of the model of an independently existing external world, which generates errors of thought, but I’d need a link or more information to make an informed appraisal.

    Please define “independent physicality.” Would something be independent physically if God created it and continues to sustain its existence, even though it can play a distinct causal role.

    Look what you’re doing here – you’re essentially saying here, if I am inferring properly, that god is mentally manifesting, sustaining and ordering an entire, distinct physical world in order for it to cause experiences (qualia) in people in a certain comprehensible fashion. How much more efficient would it be for God to just directly, mentally cause the same experiences, after whichh people can use their own free will to accept, deny, evaluate, categorize, and reason from? Why bother going through the middle-man of an entire physical universe and an interface to get the same exact experiential result?

  57. 57

    It makes absolutely no sense, under theism, for God to create an entire system that included creating and maintaining an independent, external-to-mind physical world and an interface so that we could have qualia (mental experiences) of that world, if God can just produce the same qualia directly. He supposedly has ALL the information and capacity. We cannot ever have an experience outside of mental qualia … what would be the point of building and maintaining so much entirely useless architecture?

    It’s like having the capacity to instantly send someone money via technology from your bank account to theirs, but insisting that they take actual paper money and using Fedex to deliver it. Good grief … is God limited to clunky mechanical constructs? Might as well say he needs gears, nuts and bolts to deliver an experience to us.

  58. 58

    Dave@ @55:
    Yep. McKenna is just the tip of one of the enormous icebergs of experience, information, logic and evidence that is basically simply dismissed or unseen by both materialists and non-materialists alike because both usually have ideological/identity commitments to the idea that an independent physical world exists.

  59. 59
    hazel says:

    Arguments about what makes sense for God to do are really irrelevant. One can argue that it makes no sense for God to create anything at all, being it is sufficient unto itself, and it certainly makes no sense to make a bunch of sub-minds that think there is an external reality when there isn’t.

    You can do better than this, wjm. 🙂

  60. 60

    Hazel @59:

    I agree that it is irrelevant since I’m not advocating theism as some intrinsic aspect of the model (although a case might be made that universal mind requires something comparable to “God”), but that’s an inference and motivation would be a different discussion. However, I’m trying to get comprehension of the model to SB, so I tried to frame it accordingly and make a specific case he might be more open to. IOW, IF there was a creator god, then given the nature of experience and the assumed qualities of that god (which SB expressed), then an external physical world is both inefficient and irrelevant.

  61. 61
    hazel says:

    to Dave: yes, many people (including myself) have had significant drug-induced experiences that open them up to a broader view of reality. I have already mentioned the Carlos Castenada books to wjm, but he didn’t respond. They offer a fascinating “alternate reality” perspective, although they are now widely considered to be fiction (but not by the true believers.) I’ve also mentioned various psychological abnormalities as described by people like Oliver Sacks. All of these, in my opinion, are evidence that the mind is intricately entangled with the physical brain, and that our normal perceptions of reality can be altered considerably if the brain is changed by significant chemical or physiological disruptions.

    So yes, our perceptions of reality can be altered, but I don’t see that as evidence that physical reality doesn’t exist.

    P.S. Here’s an interesting article about a 1000-year old bag found with the remains of a man in South America with traces of psychedelics, and even a tube for snorting them. People have been doing this from time immemorial, I think.

    Shaman bag

  62. 62
    Brother Brian says:

    Hazel

    All of these, in my opinion, are evidence that the mind is intricately entangled with the physical brain, and that our normal perceptions of reality can be altered considerably if the brain is changed by significant chemical or physiological disruptions.

    I agree that the mind and the brain are inseparable. There simply isn’t any compelling evidence that the mind can exist without the physical brain.

    But your use of “normal perception of reality” raises the question of how accurate our normal perception are at perceiving reality. They are obviously adequate for survival but adequate need not equate to accurate.

  63. 63
    hazel says:

    If 99.999% of the people all perceive the external world in virtually the same way 99.999% of the time, I am not going to doubt that those perceptions are accurate at the macro-level in which we live. Of course, it could all be a grand delusion affecting us all, but sophomoric scenarios like that have no interest to me: everything could have come into existence last Thursday, also, but no one takes last Thursdayism seriously.

  64. 64
    Brother Brian says:

    Hazel@63, I wasn’t suggesting that our perceptions don’t accurately reflect reality for the most part, but there are plenty of examples where 99.999% of people perceive something in the same way but, when more closely examined, our perception is shown to be inaccurate. An staged example would be what we see in a 3D movie. 99.999% of us perceive that shark jumping out at us but it is, of course, just our brains misperceiving a two dimensional image.

    Another example can be attested to by anyone who just got progressive glasses and went golfing shortly after. As you move your head back and forth as you line up that putt, you perceive that the edges of the green are rising and falling. But, the amazing thing is that after a few days you don’t see this any more.

  65. 65
    StephenB says:

    WJM

    There appears to be something substantial you’re not understanding about the model. I never claimed we understood what a thing is by creating a model of it. I said we experience a thing, and then use models or create models about it.

    I assume that you are referring to your philosophical model of monistic idealism, which I will refer to as (MI). I understand that MI is a logical possibility. I am simply saying that there is no reason to believe that it is true and many reasons to believe that it is not true.

    The difference between your model and mine is this: yours requires a whole extra existential domain (external physical reality), an interface to acquire information from that domain, and a matter-qualia gap to somehow bridge, while mine has none of those issues because God can provide the same experience without any of that; the mind of god can just directly interact with our mind and give us the same experience, same rules, same apparent structure, laws, forces, physics, etc. … without ever leaving the domain of mind.

    This is one good example of elevating expediency over truth. God says in Scripture, that he created the universe and “saw that it was good.” The point of that verse is to [a] make the distinction between the Creator and the creation, not simply to provide the illusion of a creation (the main idea is to rule out Pantheism) – and [b] to show that matter is good, which rules out Gnosticism (the prospect that a good god created a positive world of spirit and a bad god created a negative world of matter).

    So my model takes into account not only the philosophy of common sense (form exists and matter exists) but also God’s own account of his creation. I don’t think the MI model lends itself to making important metaphysical distinctions such as these.

    It’s not ever an experiential fact that something precedes our mental experience of it; it’s the conclusion of the abstract model of an external world.

    Are you calling into question the point that I wrote my response to you before you had the experience of reading it?

    I don’t think you understood my model well enough to make this assessment. In my model, “the absence of matter” is entirely irrelevant; the patterns of information we apprehend mentally via experience can be as easily discerned wrt ID because that’s all we have to work with anyway (Plato’s cave).

    I don’t understand how you can detect design in the absence of matter, either scientifically or philosophically. Can you take me through the process step by step? What exactly are you observing and what methods are you using to conclude that the object of your observation was, indeed, the product of design? How do you know that you are not observing the product of your own imagination rather than something that was designed by an agent whose existence is different from your own?

    .

    What do you think is going on when you have sensory experiences in a dream? Do you think those are actually physical arms and legs and eyes and ears you’re using in a dream?

    I think I am experiencing emerging impressions based on the contents of my subconscious mind, which can be explained by my earlier exposure to matter. It’s all about a random reshuffling of memories. There is nothing in the subconscious mind that was not first in the conscious mind.

    SB: Meanwhile, you have not explained how, in the absence of matter, you can know the difference between a dog and a cat.

    You’d first have to explain why matter is necessary to know the difference between a dog and a cat for that challenge to have any value. What essential role does “matter” play in understanding the difference between a dog and a cat?

    You will recall my earlier comment, which I will now explain in different words. In order to know that a cat is a cat, one must first abstract its form (its nature, its class, its essence, its whatness), from matter (the concrete reality of this particular animal which is the object of my experience, complete with all its material qualities).

    If I know “what” it is, then I also know what it is not (law of identity). Therefore, I know that a dog is not a cat. So my question persists: How do you know, in the absence of matter, that a dog is a dog and is not a cat.

  66. 66
    StephenB says:

    SB: Please define “independent physicality.” Would something be independent physically if God created it and continues to sustain its existence, even though it can play a distinct causal role.

    Look what you’re doing here – you’re essentially saying here, if I am inferring properly, that god is mentally manifesting, sustaining and ordering an entire, distinct physical world in order for it to cause experiences (qualia) in people in a certain comprehensible fashion.

    On the contrary, I am simply asserting a metaphysical truth. Nothing contingent can exist or remain in existence unless a self existent being first created it out of nothing and keeps it from falling back into nothingness. Also, my question persists. You did not address it.

    How much more efficient would it be for God to just directly, mentally cause the same experiences, after whichh people can use their own free will to accept, deny, evaluate, categorize, and reason from? Why bother going through the middle-man of an entire physical universe and an interface to get the same exact experiential result?

    You need to explain why God would worry about efficiency at all inasmuch as he can perform all acts with equal ease. God doesn’t’ need to use secondary causality, but it seems as if he often does. You are making several unwarranted assumptions here. And, of course, you did not address my question.

    It makes absolutely no sense, under theism, for God to create an entire system that included creating and maintaining an independent, external-to-mind physical world and an interface so that we could have qualia (mental experiences) of that world, if God can just produce the same qualia directly. He supposedly has ALL the information and capacity. We cannot ever have an experience outside of mental qualia … what would be the point of building and maintaining so much entirely useless architecture?

    That is like asking why did God bother to create men and women with souls and bodies when he could just as easily have been satisfied with creating angels, which are pure spirits and contain no matter all. It is also like asking why would God assume human form and die on a cross to save his creatures when he could have just as easily pricked his finger with a pin and offered that little drop of blood as a sacrifice to the Father. It is like asking why God equipped his creatures with the capacity to solve problems when he could have simply provided all the answers so they wouldn’t have to think. It is like saying that ockham was smarter than God because he used his razor and God didn’t use his.

  67. 67
    StephenB says:

    SB: That raises another question: Do you support those quantum theorists who reject the laws of causality and non-contradiction on the basis of quantum experiments? If not, why not?

    I think they are trying to understand their results through the prism of the model of an independently existing external world, which generates errors of thought, but I’d need a link or more information to make an informed appraisal.

    You answer surprises me because I assumed that, for you, the laws of logic would be non-negotiable, as they are for me. For my part, I don’t need to hear the quantum theorists interpretation of quantum events to know that A cannot also be non-A at the same time and in the same sense or that all effects require proportionate causes.

    Quantum experiments do not inform the laws of logic and causality, the laws of logic and causality inform quantum experiments. So we know that if a scientist is willing to negotiate these laws away on the basis of some observation, we also know, for that reason alone, that he has abandoned rationality and should not be taken seriously. He has just sawed off the branch on which he is sitting. I don’t understand how you can question the point.

  68. 68
    mike1962 says:

    Consciousness is primary. Reason cannot explain the Uncreated Transcendent Reality.
    Don’t even try.
    Waste of time.
    Okay, go ahead and waste your time if you don’t have anything better to do.

  69. 69
    bornagain77 says:

    Hard core materialists argue that consciousness is an illusion. Hard core Theists argue that material is an illusion. Problem for materialists is that if consciousness is an illusion then everything we hold as being undeniably real, including our own sense of self identity, becomes illusory:

    In fact, (as I have pointed out several times now), assuming Naturalism instead of Theism as the worldview on which all of science is based leads to the catastrophic epistemological failure of science itself.

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft).
    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    – Darwin’s Theory vs Falsification – 39:45 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/8rzw0JkuKuQ?t=2387

    Thus, although the Darwinist may firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    Whereas the problem for hard core Theists, in their claim that material is illusory, is relatively minor and by no means does it spell catastrophic failure for their epistemology as the opposite claim for materialists does to their epistemology.

    The main counter-argument that I’ve heard from materialists is that of kicking a rock and thus they know the rock is real. Of course this neglects the fact that if we were not conscious then we could not have the experience of the pain of kicking the rock in the first place. i.e. The rock would not be real to us if we were not first conscious!

    Moreover, quantum mechanics has revealed that the atoms of the rock are not the solid billiard ball type particles that materialists originally envisioned them to be. This following video, starting at the 24:31 minute mark, has some excellent photographs of atoms that gets this ‘non-solid’ point of the energy/matter of a rock:

    Discovering Science: Uncertain Principles – video – 24:31 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/iu6kqO4L0KQ?t=1471

    In fact, (as you can somewhat tell from the preceding video that show ‘waves of electrons bouncing off walls’), it is the unchanging, transcendent, universal constants within the atoms that are the ONLY solid, uncompromising “thing” in the rock.

    As Heisenberg stated, “Atoms are not things.”

    “The ontology of materialism rested upon the illusion that the kind of existence, the direct ‘actuality’ of the world around us, can be extrapolated into the atomic range. This extrapolation, however, is impossible…Atoms are not things.”
    – Werner Heisenberg (1962). “Physics and philosophy: the revolution in modern science”, Harpercollins College Div.)

    Thus the ‘hardness’ of the rock does not derive from the atoms being ‘solid’ billiard ball type particles. as materialists had originally envisioned, but instead the hardness of the rock is derived purely from the ‘unseen’ realm of transcendent universal constants. And this is a thoroughly Theistic presupposition. (In fact, the belief in universal laws and constants is a presupposition that lay at the founding of modern science itself by Christian Theists, i.e. especially Newton’s first ‘unification’ in physics).

    Psalm 119:89
    Your word, O LORD, is everlasting; it is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; You established the earth, and it endures.…

    Matthew 24:35
    Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.

    Thus, the next time someone may doubt the promises for eternal life that God has made to us in Christ, just go kick a rock. The hardness of the rock is a reflection of the fact that God NEVER goes back on his word. i.e. The hardness of the rock derives from God’s unchanging word!)

    Of course, besides having their most basic presupposition about the ‘solid’ billiard ball nature of atoms overturned, quantum mechanics has gone further and also falsified the materialist’s notion of realism, i.e. overturned the belief that an independent physical reality exists apart from our conscious awareness of it:

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

    Quantum physics says goodbye to reality – Apr 20, 2007
    Excerpt: They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell’s thought experiment, Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it. “Our study shows that ‘just’ giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics,” Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. “You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism.”
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/27640

    Of course this is a bridge too far for materialists, and even some theists seem to be very reluctant to accept these consistent empirical findings from quantum mechanics against realism. Yet, none the less, the problem is not with these consistent findings of quantum mechanics, (I can assure you that these findings overturning realism will only get stronger), but is with the a-priori beliefs that people have about the nature of reality.

    “Despite the unrivaled empirical success of quantum theory, the very suggestion that it may be literally true as a description of nature is still greeted with cynicism, incomprehension and even anger.”
    (T. Folger, “Quantum Shmantum”; Discover 22:37-43, 2001)

    And yet despite some, even most, people wanting desperately to cling to their a-priori beliefs about reality existing apart from our conscious observation of it, the experiments of quantum mechanics could care less about their a-priori beliefs. For prime example of this is Steven Weinberg.

    Steven Weinberg, an atheist himself, states in the following article, In the instrumentalist approach (in quantum mechanics) humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.,,, the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.,,, In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure,,, Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    In fact Weinberg, again an atheist, rejected the instrumentalist approach precisely because “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level” and because it undermined the Darwinian worldview from within. Yet, regardless of how he and other atheists may prefer the world to behave, quantum mechanics itself could care less how atheists prefer the world to behave.

    For instance, this recent 2019 experimental confirmation of the “Wigner’s Friend” thought experiment established that “measurement results,, must be understood relative to the observer who performed the measurement”.

    More Than One Reality Exists (in Quantum Physics) By Mindy Weisberger – March 20, 2019
    Excerpt: “measurement results,, must be understood relative to the observer who performed the measurement”.
    https://www.livescience.com/65029-dueling-reality-photons.html

    Moreover, although there have been several major loopholes in quantum mechanics over the past several decades that atheists have tried to appeal to in order to try to avoid the ‘spooky’ Theistic implications of quantum mechanics, over the past several years each of those major loopholes have each been closed one by one. The last major loophole that was left to be closed was the “setting independence” and/or the ‘free-will’ loophole:

    Closing the ‘free will’ loophole: Using distant quasars to test Bell’s theorem – February 20, 2014
    Excerpt: Though two major loopholes have since been closed, a third remains; physicists refer to it as “setting independence,” or more provocatively, “free will.” This loophole proposes that a particle detector’s settings may “conspire” with events in the shared causal past of the detectors themselves to determine which properties of the particle to measure — a scenario that, however far-fetched, implies that a physicist running the experiment does not have complete free will in choosing each detector’s setting. Such a scenario would result in biased measurements, suggesting that two particles are correlated more than they actually are, and giving more weight to quantum mechanics than classical physics.
    “It sounds creepy, but people realized that’s a logical possibility that hasn’t been closed yet,” says MIT’s David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and senior lecturer in the Department of Physics. “Before we make the leap to say the equations of quantum theory tell us the world is inescapably crazy and bizarre, have we closed every conceivable logical loophole, even if they may not seem plausible in the world we know today?”
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220112515.htm

    And now Anton Zeilinger and company have recently, as of 2018, pushed the ‘free will loophole’ back to 7.8 billion years ago, thereby firmly establishing the ‘common sense’ fact that the free will choices of the experimenter in the quantum experiments are truly free and are not determined by any possible causal influences from the past for at least the last 7.8 billion years, and that experimenters themselves are therefore shown to be truly free to choose whatever measurement settings in the experiments that he or she may so desire to choose so as to ‘logically’ probe whatever aspect of reality that he or she may be interested in probing.

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract: In this Letter, we present a cosmic Bell experiment with polarization-entangled photons, in which measurement settings were determined based on real-time measurements of the wavelength of photons from high-redshift quasars, whose light was emitted billions of years ago; the experiment simultaneously ensures locality. Assuming fair sampling for all detected photons and that the wavelength of the quasar photons had not been selectively altered or previewed between emission and detection, we observe statistically significant violation of Bell’s inequality by 9.3 standard deviations, corresponding to an estimated p value of ? 7.4 × 10^21. This experiment pushes back to at least ? 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

  70. 70
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, here is another recent interesting experiment by Anton Zeilinger, (and about 70 other researchers), that closed a ‘technical’ loophole and insured the complete independence of the measurement settings in a Bell test by using the free will choices of 100,000 human participants instead of having a super fast randomizer determine the measurement settings (as is usually done in these quantum experiments).

    Challenging local realism with human choices – A. Zeilinger – 20 May 2018
    Abstract: A Bell test, which challenges the philosophical worldview of local realism against experimental observations, is a randomized trial requiring spatially-distributed entanglement, fast and high-efficiency detection, and unpredictable measurement settings. While technology can perfect the first two of these, and while technological randomness sources enable device-independent protocols based on Bell inequality violation, challenging local realism using physical randomizers inevitably makes assumptions about the same physics one aims to test. Bell himself noted this weakness of physical setting choices and argued that human free will could rigorously be used to assure unpredictability in Bell tests. Here we report a suite of local realism tests using human choices, avoiding assumptions about predictability in physics. We recruited ~100,000 human participants to play an online video game that incentivizes fast, sustained input of unpredictable bits while also illustrating Bell test methodology. The participants generated 97,347,490 binary choices, which were directed via a scalable web platform to twelve laboratories on five continents, in which 13 experiments tested local realism using photons, single atoms, atomic ensembles, and superconducting devices. Over a 12-hour period on the 30 Nov. 2016, participants worldwide provided a sustained flow of over 1000 bits/s to the experiments, which used different human-generated bits to choose each measurement setting. The observed correlations strongly contradict local realism and other realist positions in bi-partite and tri-partite scenarios. Project outcomes include closing of the freedom-of-choice loophole, gamification of statistical and quantum non-locality concepts, new methods for quantum-secured communications, a very large dataset of human-generated randomness, and networking techniques for global participation in experimental science.
    https://arxiv.org/abs/1805.04431

    Thus regardless of how Steven Weinberg and other atheists may prefer the universe to behave, with the closing of the last remaining free will loophole in quantum mechanics, “humans are indeed brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level”, and thus these recent findings from quantum mechanics directly undermine, as Weinberg himself stated, the “vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.”

    Moreover allowing free will and/or Agent causality into the laws of physics at their most fundamental level has some fairly profound implications for us personally.

    First, allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”. Here are a few posts where I lay out and defend some of the evidence for that claim:

    Overturning of the Copernican Principle by both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/bill-nye-should-check-wikipedia/#comment-671672

    (April 2019) Overturning the Copernican principle
    Thus in conclusion, the new interactive graph by Dr. Dembski provides a powerful independent line of evidence, along with several other powerful lines of evidence, that overturns the Copernican principle and restores humanity back to centrality in the universe, and even, when putting all those lines of evidence together, brings modern science back, full circle, to Christianity from whence it originated in the first place.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/bill-dembski-and-colleagues-create-an-updated-magnifying-the-universe-tool/#comment-675730

    I will reiterate my case for Christ’s resurrection from the dead providing the correct solution for the much sought after “Theory of Everything”.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/bill-nye-should-check-wikipedia/#comment-671692

    (February 19, 2019) To support Isabel Piczek’s claim that the Shroud of Turin does indeed reveal a true ‘event horizon’, the following study states that ‘The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image.’,,,
    Moreover, besides gravity being dealt with, the shroud also gives us evidence that Quantum Mechanics was dealt with. In the following paper, it was found that it was not possible to describe the image formation on the Shroud in classical terms but they found it necessary to describe the formation of the image on the Shroud in discrete quantum terms.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experiment-quantum-particles-can-violate-the-mathematical-pigeonhole-principle/#comment-673178
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experiment-quantum-particles-can-violate-the-mathematical-pigeonhole-principle/#comment-673179

    Supplemental notes defending the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/viruses-devolve/#comment-674732

    To give us a small glimpse of the power that was involved in Christ resurrection from the dead, the following recent article found that, ”it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.”

    Astonishing discovery at Christ’s tomb supports Turin Shroud – NOV 26TH 2016
    Excerpt: The first attempts made to reproduce the face on the Shroud by radiation, used a CO2 laser which produced an image on a linen fabric that is similar at a macroscopic level. However, microscopic analysis showed a coloring that is too deep and many charred linen threads, features that are incompatible with the Shroud image. Instead, the results of ENEA “show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence”.
    ‘However, Enea scientists warn, “it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come to several billion watts )”.
    Comment
    The ENEA study of the Holy Shroud of Turin concluded that it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.
    http://westvirginianews.blogsp.....in-is.html

  71. 71
    bornagain77 says:

    Deleted – WJM. No proselytizing on my threads, regardless of whether or not they are significant logical extrapolations of available evidence.

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    The human mind is one of the few places where contradictions happily reside next to one another. (The job of reason, in part, is to carry out the required evictions.)

  73. 73
    daveS says:

    hazel @61,

    Yes, I think you’re probably correct on all counts. I have never had any such mind-expanding experiences, and doubt I ever will. Perhaps if my circumstances were different, I would be more of a psychonaut.

  74. 74

    SB @65 said:

    This is one good example of elevating expediency over truth. God says in Scripture, that he created the universe and “saw that it was good.” The point of that verse is to [a] make the distinction between the Creator and the creation, not simply to provide the illusion of a creation (the main idea is to rule out Pantheism) – and [b] to show that matter is good, which rules out Gnosticism (the prospect that a good god created a positive world of spirit and a bad god created a negative world of matter).

    I’m not here to argue scripture or any religious beliefs. I’m just discussing the logic of my model, which may or may not be the same as Monistic Idealism. From a look at the simple definitions I found, I can’t tell.

    Are you calling into question the point that I wrote my response to you before you had the experience of reading it?

    There is no question; I experienced reading your response first. The abstract view that you wrote it before I read it (it can only be an abstract view because I didn’t witness the event) is what you get when you interpret experiences through the abstract model of a 3D external world with linear time. One reaches the conclusion “he wrote it before I read it” because the evidence (your message) is interpreted through an abstract 3D external world linear-time cause and effect explanatory model.

    I don’t understand how you can detect design in the absence of matter, either scientifically or philosophically.

    This really doesn’t have anything to do with the logical validity of my model or its potential, practical, every-day applications. ID detection is nothing more in essence than pattern recognition of observed information whether it is translated through senses from an external, independent world or not.

    I think I am experiencing emerging impressions based on the contents of my subconscious mind, which can be explained by my earlier exposure to matter. It’s all about a random reshuffling of memories. There is nothing in the subconscious mind that was not first in the conscious mind.

    That doesn’t address the point, which is that you have sensory experiences in dreams generated entirely within your mind as if you were using hands, ears, eyes, etc. This demonstrates that the mind is fully capable of generating the sensory experience without the sensory equipment.

    There is nothing in the subconscious mind that was not first in the conscious mind.

    I realize this is a statement of faith in your model (since you obviously don’t know everything that resides even in your own subconscious, much less everyone else’s), but evidence indicates otherwise.

    From Psychology Today:

    The authors argue that, “The fact that blind subjects present [rapid eye movements] and that these are correlated with visual dream recall is another result supporting our argument that they do activate visual areas during dream, being able to generate their own visual imagery.

    To explain the finding—that subjects who have been blind since birth still seem to exhibit visual activity during REM sleep and dreaming—the authors turn to another study of eye movements in individuals who have never experienced any visual input: human fetuses.

    Schöpf et al. (2014) conducted a study comparing in utero eye movements to neural activity using fMRI data acquired from seven fetuses. During the study, fetal eye movements were recorded and corresponded with fMRI data. Results showed that already in utero, fetal eye movements correspond with activity in visual and frontal cerebral areas. This suggests that the human visual system is active even prior to birth.”

    There are also reports of people blind since birth having sight during an NDE. The idea that new stuff we experience in dreams and other experiences is “stitched together” or somehow extrapolated from prior conscious experience of an externally-existing physical world is the narrative of the external-world model, not an experiential fact nor is it a necessary logical conclusion.

  75. 75

    SB @65 said:

    You will recall my earlier comment, which I will now explain in different words. In order to know that a cat is a cat, one must first abstract its form (its nature, its class, its essence, its whatness), from matter (the concrete reality of this particular animal which is the object of my experience, complete with all its material qualities).”

    Until you recognize the following statement about experience as absolute and self-evidently true, you’re not only not going to be able to understand my model, you won’t be able to understand my criticisms of comments like the one above. Here is the statement:

    “The only thing any individual can ever actually experience is mental qualia. It does not matter if something is causing that qualia or not, if an external, independent world exists or not, if we are talking about some physical reality, dreams, hallucinations, delusions, imagination – ALL our direct, conscious (of any sort) experience takes place in mind (qualia) and we cannot escape that fact of our existential situation.” That is not a claim that nothing exists outside of mind; it is a factual statement that all experience is mental experience, period. Absolute full stop.

    In your comment above, you are so invested in the external-world abstract model that you refer to abstract inferences derived from the model as if you are having extra-mental experiences. You cannot extract the nature of a cat you experience from its supposed physical nature (even if it were to actually exist) because all you have access to is your mental qualia cat experience. Regardless of how insistently you reify the model of an external physical world as if you had some kind of direct access to it, that doesn’t change the fact that the only thing you can possibly be making statements about is your qualia, or mental experience.

    It is factually, existentially, logically, experientially impossible for you to extract the “nature” of anything other than what it is in your experience – it doesn’t matter one bit if that mental qualia experience corresponds to something outside of your mental experience. Making such claims about something outside of your mental, qualia experience as if you are experiencing something outside of your experience is a logical error based on the erroneous reification of the external world model. You can make factual, truthful claims about your mental experience of qualia and nothing else, certainly not something supposely outside of that experience.

  76. 76

    SB asks @66:

    SB: Please define “independent physicality.” Would something be independent physically if God created it and continues to sustain its existence, even though it can play a distinct causal role.

    I don’t know that I know what you mean by “God” (especially given that your version can’t be assumed efficient). I also don’t know what you mean by “play a distinct causal role.” Distinct from what? From God’s will? From what God has presumably (in your model) created as how we process that information?

    What I mean by “independent physicality” is “independent of universal mind” – a physical universe that exists outside of universal mind that causes mental states/experiences. In that model, I am a loci of consciousness within universal mind – much like a dream avatar.

    SB @67:

    You answer surprises me because I assumed that, for you, the laws of logic would be non-negotiable, as they are for me.

    Okay, if you’re asking me do I reject the laws of logic, the answer is no. If you’re asking me do I agree that the results of their experiment might somehow indicate (erroneously, via some error in thought) the laws of logic are not valid, I’d have to have know more about the experiment and results. I agree completely with your assessment – they are necessarily sawing off the branch upon which they are sitting if they think the results of the research indicates the laws of logic can be broken or are not valid.

  77. 77
    bornagain77 says:

    Deleted – WJM

  78. 78
    Brother Brian says:

    Deleted – WJM

  79. 79
    hazel says:

    Deleted – WJM

  80. 80
    ET says:

    Deleted – WJM

  81. 81
    Brother Brian says:

    Deleted – WJM. 🙂

  82. 82
    hazel says:

    Deleted – WJM

  83. 83
    Brother Brian says:

    Deleted – WJM

  84. 84
    ET says:

    Deleted – WJM

  85. 85
    StephenB says:

    WJM

    I’m not here to argue scripture or any religious beliefs. I’m just discussing the logic of my model, which may or may not be the same as Monistic Idealism. From a look at the simple definitions I found, I can’t tell.

    [1] Monism equals one realm; Idealism equals no matter. So Monistic Idealism would seem to sum up your position, just as Hylemorphic Dualisn would fairly sum up my position.

    [2] I introduced biblical concepts only to show that your model seems to leave no room for the prospect of a Divine creator who is both in and above his creation. You may not believe that God formed man from the dust of the earth, but your model rules out that possibility in principle. It also rules out the possibility that a human being is a composite of body and soul and many other things,

    So rather than expanding your metaphysical horizons in order to get at the whole truth about things, to the extent that it is possible, you seem to place undue emphasis on scientific facts, while dismissing the philosophical, and theological truths that gives meaning to those facts. I say that we cannot gain as much knowledge as possible if we are open only to those truths that our congenial with our inclinations.

    There is no question; I experienced reading your response first.

    If your experience leads you to believe that your reading of my text preceded my experience of writing them, then I think you are interpreting your experience in an overly self conscious way. Obviously, you cannot read my comments if I didn’t first write them.

    The abstract view that you wrote it before I read it (it can only be an abstract view because I didn’t witness the event) is what you get when you interpret experiences through the abstract model of a 3D external world with linear time.

    No. It is based on the fact that effects require causes. Your experience of reading it is, in part, the effect; my experience of writing it is, in part, the cause. The same thing applies in reverse. It isn’t just about your experience, it is about the intersection of your experience and my experience.

    SB: I don’t understand how you can detect design in the absence of matter, either scientifically or philosophically.

    This really doesn’t have anything to do with the logical validity of my model or its potential, practical, every-day applications. ID detection is nothing more in essence than pattern recognition of observed information whether it is translated through senses from an external, independent world or not.

    I still don’t understand how you can detect design in the absence of matter. I detect the design in a sand castle, for example, only on condition that the patterns produced by the arranged grains of sand (matter) are real (they exist independent of my conscious experience) and are observable as bits of information. Thus, I am not projecting my experience, I am apprehending something that is not me. ID is about apprehending, not projecting.

    That doesn’t address the point, which is that you have sensory experiences in dreams generated entirely within your mind as if you were using hands, ears, eyes, etc. This demonstrates that the mind is fully capable of generating the sensory experience without the sensory equipment.

    That sensory experiences can be generated by the mind is not a matter of dispute. That is what psychosomatic pain is all about. In terms of the five senses, the impressions one has in a dream are not normally about real things and true events. We can dream about people that don’t even exist, which means that our senses, under those circumstances, are not as reliable as when we are awake. In this case, it could be that it is our imagination and not our senses that are at work.

    But it doesn’t matter either way. Recall that I am arguing that our senses, when they are operating properly, report the existence of things as they really exist, (this dog or cat in front of us right now, not something that may appear in a dream).

    SB: You will recall my earlier comment, which I will now explain in different words. In order to know that a cat is a cat, one must first abstract its form (its nature, its class, its essence, its whatness), from matter (the concrete reality of this particular animal which is the object of my experience, complete with all its material qualities).”

    Until you recognize this statement about experience as absolute and self-evidently true, you’re not only not going to be able to understand my model, you won’t be able to understand my criticisms of comments like the one above.

    I am simply explaining the process by which I know the difference between a dog and a cat. You will recall that I took you through the sequence one step at a time, making it clear that my explanation is plausible. When I asked you how you know the difference in the absence of matter, you could not provide an answer or any semblance of a process, Under the circumstances, then, it would seem that my model is more explanatory than yours, at least in that context.

    It is factually, existentially, logically, experientially impossible for you to extract the “nature” of anything strong other than what it is in your experience – it doesn’t matter one bit if that mental qualia experience corresponds to something outside of your mental experience.

    If your mental experiences do not correspond to the actual state of affairs (what is going on outside your experience) then you cannot know the truth about anything. You can only think thoughts and hope you are right, The point is to get input from the outside to test the truth value of your impressions. If you don’t believe in extra-mental reality, then there is no input to be had.

    I don’t know that I know what you mean by “God” (especially given that your version can’t be assumed efficient). I also don’t know what you mean by “play a distinct causal role.” Distinct from what? From God’s will? From what God has presumably (in your model) created as how we process that information?

    Whether or not the Christian God was “efficient” as a creator depends solely on his purpose for doing the creating. No reasonable judgment about efficiency can be made without knowing the purpose of the enterprise. If, for example, God created a moral universe – a stage on which individual creatures can achieve virtue or work out their salvation – then no monistic model could be used to reflect that reality, no matter how “efficient” the universe’s operations may appear to be.

    By “distinct” causal role, I mean the ability of creatures to act as causal agents, even though that agency is dependent on Gods creative act of bringing it into being. In other words, humans, as causal agents, are not independent insofar as it was God, not they, who brought that capacity for being a causal agent into being and continues to maintain it so that it does not fall back into nothingness. These kinds of things – and others – must be accounted for.
    .

    What I mean by “independent physicality” is “independent of universal mind” – a physical universe that exists outside of universal mind that causes mental states/experiences. In that model, I am a loci of consciousness within universal mind – much like a dream avatar.

    As I said earlier, the existence of matter does not mean that matter is all that exists, though you seem to think otherwise. There is no logical pathway from the modest claim that matter exists to the radical claim that matter is all there is.

    Meanwhile, I don’t understand what it could mean to be “a loci of consciousness within a universal mind.” That statement cries out for clarification. Does it mean that you are a conscious agent as a “part “of a universal mind? Obviously, that will not work since immaterial realities cannot be parts or contain parts,. only material things can do that, So you must mean something else.

    In your model, how many conscious agents are involved; is it just one, the universal mind, or is it two, your mind and the universal mind. Or should we put the number at seven billion, paying tribute to every living human being with a conscious mind. All this needs to be unpacked. I don’t think the words “loci” or “within” can do the necessary work for making your model coherent. In this case, I think rationality matters more than efficiency, especially since the former can be evaluated and, as indicated, the latter cannot.

    Okay, if you’re asking me do I reject the laws of logic, the answer is no. If you’re asking me do I agree that the results of their experiment might somehow indicate (erroneously, via some error in thought) the laws of logic are not valid, I’d have to have know more about the experiment and results. I agree completely with your assessment – they are necessarily sawing off the branch upon which they are sitting if they think the results of the research indicates the laws of logic can be broken or are not valid.

    Would you agree that the same standard applies for the principle of causality? If the scientist thinks the results of research indicate that a quantum event (or any event) can occur in the absence of prior cause (or causal conditions) he, too, has sawed off the branch on which he sits?

  86. 86
    StephenB says:

    WJM

    You cannot extract the nature of a cat you experience from its supposed physical nature (even if it were to actually exist) because all you have access to is your mental qualia cat experience.

    No, no, no. I have access to the cat because my experience is *of* the cat. Otherwise, I could never know *what* it is that I am experiencing. I would only know that I am experiencing an undefined something or other. That is why I asked you how you know that a cat is a cat. You should have told me right then and there that you don’t know if a cat is a cat or if a dog is a dog. According to your model, you can’t know the difference between a cat and a dog because you don’t have access to cats and dogs. It’s really that simple.

  87. 87
    daveS says:

    StephenB,

    If I may ask about this:

    Do you support those quantum theorists who reject the laws of causality and non-contradiction on the basis of quantum experiments?

    Would you happen to have any links or references to writings by these quantum theorists?

  88. 88

    SB said @85:

    So rather than expanding your metaphysical horizons in order to get at the whole truth about things, to the extent that it is possible, you seem to place undue emphasis on scientific facts, while dismissing the philosophical, and theological truths that gives meaning to those facts. I say that we cannot gain as much knowledge as possible if we are open only to those truths that our congenial with our inclinations.

    As I’ve said before, existential “truth” is not something I’m interested in. What I’m interested in is the functional practicality of any model I have wrt living an enjoyable life. My models always begin with my actual, personal experience, because that is all I have to operate with and through and it is what I’m trying to both understand and affect. The reason I like to submit my model to criticism is to see if I’ve missed something or have made an error of logic which might affect the functional application of the model. Plus, it’s just kind of fun for me to debate things I’m interested in.

    If your experience leads you to believe that your reading of my text preceded my experience of writing them, then I think you are interpreting your experience in an overly self conscious way. Obviously, you cannot read my comments if I didn’t first write them.

    Whether or not you wrote them before I read them doesn’t change the fact that the first thing that occurs in my experience is the reading of them, and that after I filter that experience through the external-world time-linear model (which usually occurs immediately and subconsciously), I conclude that you wrote them before I read them. Usually, there isn’t even any recognizable thought process going on here and the idea that you wrote them before I read them, though necessarily abstract, is immediately accepted as being every bit as real as my actual experience of reading your comments. Well, for most people.

    “Overly self-conscious?” I guess that depends on your point of view. I’m painstakingly detailed in my introspection about the nature, habits, and sequences of my experiences because, frankly, IMO it’s the whole ball game. I support the theory when I present it for criticism with facts, logic, and philosophy. It has some theological implications, but not the ones you are claiming, mostly because your view of my model is still inextricably enmeshed in the exterior-world model.

    No. It is based on the fact that effects require causes. Your experience of reading it is, in part, the effect; my experience of writing it is, in part, the cause. The same thing applies in reverse. It isn’t just about your experience, it is about the intersection of your experience and my experience.

    I agree that effects require causes, but under my model the cause is different and arranged differently than it is in the linear-time, exterior-world model.

    I detect the design in a sand castle, for example, only on condition that the patterns produced by the arranged grains of sand (matter) are real (they exist independent of my conscious experience) and are observable as bits of information. Thus, I am not projecting my experience, I am apprehending something that is not me. ID is about apprehending, not projecting.

    There’s not much further we can go on this until you disentangle yourself, at least for the sake of argument, from the idea that you can experience things outside of your experience.

    We can dream about people that don’t even exist, which means that our senses, under those circumstances, are not as reliable as when we are awake. In this case, it could be that it is our imagination and not our senses that are at work.

    I’m not even sure what this means. Are you saying that we are employing the sensory equipment of our physical hearing, touch and sight in a dream? You have talked before as if “senses” and “mental experience”, in your view, are two different things, but here you seem to be equating them.

    I am simply explaining the process by which I know the difference between a dog and a cat.

    The only thing you can know the difference of is between two personal qualia experiences, whether or not it has anything at all to do with any supposed exterior reality. This is the reason careful thought is necessary – it can be very hard to separate reified abstract models from actual experience and experiential knowledge.

    You will recall that I took you through the sequence one step at a time, making it clear that my explanation is plausible. When I asked you how you know the difference in the absence of matter, you could not provide an answer or any semblance of a process, Under the circumstances, then, it would seem that my model is more explanatory than yours, at least in that context.

    Just because you do not understand my answer doesn’t mean I didn’t provide one. As I’ve said, under my model I am a loci of consciousness that is embedded in, part of and connected to a local information structure within universal mind. My local information structure, which is “my” local mind, guided by my attention (which I have free will power over), is constantly finding and processing branches and subsets of information and turning that information into experiential commodities (dog, cat) which I then organize and categorize into abstract models. The “dogness” or “catness” of an experience is something I experience directly – only in my model, there is no matter-mind qualia gap to bridge and one less entire domain of reality (external physical world) to consider.

    And no, this doesn’t represent a different version of an external world because all of what I have described is internal. IOW, everything is internal, within universal mind, but also within every local mind (like a holographic structure where the information of the whole is within each part). In my model, everything actually exists in a single point at the same time (zero point energy, zero point information), but that’s a bit too much to get into right now.

    I realize that you cannot understand right now how the “catness” of a cat can be apprehended without the “cat” being an external physical entity, but IMO that’s really just because you refuse to (or cannot) extricate your thinking from the external world model even arguendo.

    You and I have a cat experience. I don’t claim that your or the cat exist independently of my experience. You do. However, the difference here is that your claim that the cat and I exist independently of your experience is due to the immediate processing of your experience through the abstract exterior-world model. I don’t claim that because I have disassociated myself, via a very long and painstaking process, from that model. Note: I haven’t abandoned or discarded the model, I have simply extricated myself from subconsciously and automatically processing everything through that abstract model (primarily because I experienced things that the model proved insufficient in accounting for and helping me with. It became a liability in some very important ways.)

    If your mental experiences do not correspond to the actual state of affairs (what is going on outside your experience) then you cannot know the truth about anything. You can only think thoughts and hope you are right, The point is to get input from the outside to test the truth value of your impressions. If you don’t believe in extra-mental reality, then there is no input to be had.

    All of this is processed from the external world model. Until you can suspend that model arguendo and argue from the non-external world model I am proposing, we won’t ever even be able to get past the semantics that don’t track from one model to the other. Such as, your following criticism:

    Does it mean that you are a conscious agent as a “part “of a universal mind? Obviously, that will not work since immaterial realities cannot be parts or contain parts,. only material things can do that, So you must mean something else.

    That doesn’t even make sense. Are you saying that concepts cannot be conceptually subdivided into constituent conceptual parts? Are you saying that I cannot imagine distinctly different things? I have no idea what this statement means. How could you possibly make such an assessment that “only material things can do that” outside of conceptually (immaterially) organizing qualia (immaterial) into parts?

    In your model, how many conscious agents are involved; is it just one, the universal mind, or is it two, your mind and the universal mind. Or should we put the number at seven billion, paying tribute to every living human being with a conscious mind. All this needs to be unpacked. I don’t think the words “loci” or “within” can do the necessary work for making your model coherent. In this case, I think rationality matters more than efficiency, especially since the former can be evaluated and, as indicated, the latter cannot.

    I’d say that there are infinite conscious agencies simply because there would be infinite information that could be interpreted an infinite number of ways, and in my model all potential experiences are necessarily simultaneously actualized in the same instant in the zero point. IOW, there is no information-experience gap; all information is actualized as experience by someone somewhere from some point of reference. In theistic terms, this translates into a kind of infinite-set omniscience because all potential information has been actualized from the theistic perspective.

    However, universal mind is not “conscious” at the universal level in the same sense that humans are because it has no context by which to logically extrapolate an experiential identity of self and other. In my model, from my perspective, “god” would be universal, infinite unconscious, which is internal from all conscious perspectives.

    Would you agree that the same standard applies for the principle of causality? If the scientist thinks the results of research indicate that a quantum event (or any event) can occur in the absence of prior cause (or causal conditions) he, too, has sawed off the branch on which he sits?

    I think this is probably a bag of cats in and of itself. You’re interpreting “causality” through a linear-time, external world model. I think that model logically requires what you say – absence of prior cause would be undermining the necessary logic of those models. However, in my model, “causation” is something else entirely, but equally necessary for the logic of the model to be sound. In my model, sequences of experiences occur in the “now” and what causes different “now” experiences is one’s “state of mind”, so to speak. So, one would not be “causing” something “prior” to occur, because all that actually exists is the eternal now, and I cannot experience anything I am not, at some level, causing.

    In my model, cause and effect are actually two sides of the same coin, so to speak, separated only by psychological factors. IOW, if we could remove all psychological barriers, whatever I imagined would be instantly actualized in my experience to the point of zero distinction between mental cause and experiential effect. I would be consciously experiencing the reality of my thoughts continuously as if I were god, so to speak, but that is impossible as an individualized identity which requires some degree of separation between thought (cause) and experience (effect). However, it is possible to experience a far more direct relationship between thought and experiential reality than most people experience (I assume and gather). I don’t think it can go beyond the recognition (or semblance?) of cause and effect as an individuated identity.

    SB @86:

    According to your model, you can’t know the difference between a cat and a dog because you don’t have access to cats and dogs. It’s really that simple.

    Well, it’s that simple in your perspective, because you have thoroughly and completely reified the abstract model of an external world, and we can’t seem to get beyond that barrier.

  89. 89
    StephenB says:

    DaveS

    Do you support those quantum theorists who reject the laws of causality and non-contradiction on the basis of quantum experiments?

    No. Quantum experiments cannot render the laws of logic obsolete. Scientific evidence does not inform the laws of logic; the laws of logic inform scientific evidence. Accordingly, I would dismiss as irrational any quantum theorist who claims that a quantum event is uncaused, just as I would dismiss any cosmologist who says that the universe is uncaused, just as I would dismiss any zoologist who says that a cat is also an elephant. In each case, I would know, going in, that the evidence used to support these absurd claims had not been interpreted in a rational way.

  90. 90

    There are abstract models that are so enmeshed in our minds as being fundamental that it can be virtually impossible to even notice them, much less recognize them as such, much less be able to extract them from governing every thought and conclusions, much less extricating the automatic cognitive narrative of a language built upon the assumption of reified abstract models that it reinforces with virtually every word.

    Linear time is an abstract model. “The past” and “the future” are abstract models; all experience actually takes place in the now. An independently existing external world is an abstract model. Forces and energy are abstract models reified as causal agencies. All of these abstract models are built from and with mental qualia; mental qualia is the fundamental nature of our existence preceding and informing all abstract models. This is not an argument; it is self-evidently and necessarily true (for those of you who are interested in existential truths) once understood.

  91. 91
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM

    What I’m interested in is the functional practicality of any model I have wrt living an enjoyable life.

    That’s a great starting point, and in fact, it is the first thing to analyze. Discussions on the nature of consciousness and of epistemology are secondary. I think you have to start with what it is to “live an enjoyable life”. Why is that a goal? You state that you’re not interested in “truth” but you’ve posited a first principle (an enjoyable life is a purpose that a practical model should support) and that needs to be measured against some standards of truth.
    What is required to live an “enjoyable life”? This depends on what is meant by “enjoyment”. Can we find enjoyment in situations of affliction or deprivation? I think, yes. But in that case, enjoyment is not the purpose of life – there is a higher purpose that makes various sacrifices or afflictions “enjoyable” because they are necessary to serve the higher goals.

  92. 92

    Silver Asiatic @91:

    That’s a good point. I was implying that I wasn’t that interested in supposed universal existential truths, but I agree that my position on “enjoying my life” is a declaration of personal existential truth – the general statement of what I have organized my thought process around.

    First, why enjoyment? To try to be brief, let me filter years of introspection into a single hypothetical question: “If knowing existential truths meant I would be miserable as long as I existed, would I want to know existential truths?”

    My answer was no, I would not. That brought into focus the fact that I wasn’t really interested in the existential truth part, but was only interested in such knowledge if it provided me leverage to lead an enjoyable life. I found I could apply this question to anything: If achieving or having X meant unenjoyable expereinces, do I want t achieve or have X? Obviously, for me, I realized it was all essentially about enjoying my existence and not any particular middle-man I thought might be the path to it.

    Something I had to grapple with at that point was the sheer self-centered nature and apparent triviality of that understanding, but that’s another story.

    That moved my introspective analysis towards the question: what do I actually enjoy? Why do I enjoy it? What do I not enjoy, and why? What actually works in increasing enjoyment and decreasing unenjoyment? Can something really be enjoyed much unless one has contrasting experiences? What kind of “enjoyment dissonance” was I experiencing – being unable to enjoy something because of the mental model that trivialized or disparaged it? What kind of things did I think would be unenjoyable, but I only saw it as such because of abstract hierarchical models of comparative value? What models actually provided enjoyable experiences even though I realized they were abstract? Etc.

    So, to keep this succinct, I kept my actual experiences primary and manipulated my abstract models about those experiences according to how much I enjoyed my existence. If they had no practical application in those terms, I dispensed with it; if the model decreased my enjoyment, I dispensed with it (or modified it), and if it resulted in increased enjoyment I kept it and would tweak it if appropriate.

    “Knowing what I enjoy” and “why I enjoy it” and “how to generate more into my life” has become decades-long, ongoing personal research that requires a kind of unflinching self-honesty. For example, I realized I did not enjoy trying to be a good father. In fact, it made me miserable. Note that I said I didn’t enjoy **trying** to be a good father. I did, to a small degree, enjoy being considered a good father. Not exactly something one wishes to admit to themselves.

    But, I did admit it, and I stopped trying to be a good father. My honest assessment: I wasn’t a good father when the kids were growing up. I wasn’t particularly bad, but I wasn’t good. Today, my kids think I’m a good father and think I was a good father while they were going up. Most of my kids think I was and am a great father.

    So, this is just one tiny example of an immense understanding of the difference between a desired goal and an abstract model that predicts how you can achieve the goal. I’ve found that most of the abstract models I had were actually beyond ineffective – they were counter-productive. I found that I could completely alter my enjoyment to unenjoyment ratio of many things simply by changing my thoughts about those things with zero physical changes whatsoever.

    I kept note of what I enjoyed, why, and how; I kept note of how models and actions and thoughts affected my enjoyment; I searched for efficient ways of expressing those ideas and relationships into general rules and practices. I developed an overarching conceptual model of my existence in this manner, which led to what has been over the past 15 years or so an amazingly enjoyable existence – far beyond anything I imagined possible. I transformed a highly miserable existence into a highly enjoyable one. I say “I” but I include my wife as we have been partners in this effort for the past 30 years.

    That doesn’t mean we never experience unenjoyable things; it just means we have a very successful model for dealing with unenjoyable experiences and transforming them into even greater enjoyment (as per the principle of contrast).

  93. 93
    StephenB says:

    WJM

    As I’ve said before, existential “truth” is not something I’m interested in. What I’m interested in is the functional practicality of any model I have wrt living an enjoyable life. My models always begin with my actual, personal experience, because that is all I have to operate with and through and it is what I’m trying to both understand and affect.

    The problem is not so much that you start with your own personal experience. The problem is that you also end there. You don’t seem to make reasonable deductions from your experience about how it should be interpreted. Also, you often don’t take other people’s experiences seriously because, in your judgment, they are slaves to an outdated paradigm and have nothing to teach you. In fact, your ideas are not all that new and revolutionary. Many of the ancient Greeks made the same mistake, saying that “Man is the measure of all things,” which is just another way of saying, “everything starts with me.”

    The reason I like to submit my model to criticism is to see if I’ve missed something or have made an error of logic which might affect the functional application of the model. Plus, it’s just kind of fun for me to debate things I’m interested in.</blockquote?

    Yet when I provide you with information which shows that you did miss something, you dismiss it off the grounds that it is not compatible with your model. That is a bit ironic, I would say. You continue to suggest, well no, to insist, that I don’t understand your model, but this is not my first brush with monistic idealism, which is the opposite error of monistic materialism.

    Whether or not you wrote them before I read them doesn’t change the fact that the first thing that occurs in my experience is the reading of them, and that after I filter that experience through the external-world time-linear model (which usually occurs immediately and subconsciously)

    In this comment, you are confirming your ongoing theme that you do not care all that much about truth. Yes, you say, I may have written my comments before you read them, but that fact is of no importance to you because it tugs away at your hyper- epistemological, anti metaphysical model of reality.

    SB: I detect the design in a sand castle, for example, only on condition that the patterns produced by the arranged grains of sand (matter) are real (they exist independent of my conscious experience) and are observable as bits of information. Thus, I am not projecting my experience, I am apprehending something that is not me. ID is about apprehending, not projecting.

    There’s not much further we can go on this until you disentangle yourself, at least for the sake of argument, from the idea that you can experience things outside of your experience.

    One man’s entanglement is another man’s firm and informed conviction. You characterize my position as the former and your position as the latter. Do you realize that you are doing that?

    Meanwhile, let’s not forget the context. I have shown that you cannot perform a design inference in the absence of matter, which means that as long as you are “entangled in your egoistic model, you cannot detect designs arranged by agents whose identity is different from yours. We both know that to be the case, even though you have not yet acknowledged the point. I consider that fact to constitute a serious flaw with your model.

    You will recall that I took you through the knowing process one step at a time and explained why matter is an indispensable element. For your part, you have presented no alternative process of knowing for me to consider. How exactly does the idea of cat’s nature get in your head? Indeed, you have yet to acknowledge that a cat does have a nature. If you don’t acknowledge a cat’s nature (as something that exists outside of your conscious experience), and can be known for what it is, then you can’t know anything at all for what it is. You appear not to understand how great this problem is for your model.

    Just because you do not understand my answer doesn’t mean I didn’t provide one.

    Your answer did not take the form of a design process, which is what I asked for.

    As I’ve said, under my model I am a loci of consciousness that is embedded in, part of and connected to a local information structure within universal mind.

    That is not a design detection process.

    My local information structure, which is “my” local mind, guided by my attention (which I have free will power over), is constantly finding and processing branches and subsets of information and turning that information into experiential commodities (dog, cat) which I then organize and categorize into abstract models.

    That is not a design detection process. If I don’t understand your model better than you do, how is it that I know it leaves no room for design detection – and you don’t?

    I realize that you cannot understand right now how the “catness” of a cat can be apprehended without the “cat” being an external physical entity, but IMO that’s really just because you refuse to (or cannot) extricate your thinking from the external world model even arguendo.

    I have already provided an explanation of how we know that a cat is a cat and why matter is required as part of the process of knowing. By contrast, you have not offered an alternative explanation about how such knowledge can be attained. Indeed, it seems that you don’t recognize that cats even exist as an extra-mental reality.

    All of this (my claims about reality) is processed from the external world model.

    No, not at all. I examine the facts and find that the external world model provides the best explanation. When I dialogue with you, for example, I realize that I am communicating with an individual whose identity is different from mine, which means outside conscious experience. That is the big difference between us. I don’t shape my evidence to fit my model, I shape my model to fit the evidence.

  94. 94

    SB,

    As long as you insist that you experience things outside of your experience, virtually everything you say will be filled with irrational absurdities derived from that poisoned tree (original error of thought) – including deep semantic and inferential errors, categorical errors, and model comparison errors. I’m satisfied that I have pointed the main problems out sufficiently. I appreciate your time.

  95. 95

    The statement “I experience things outside of my experience” is an inherent absurdity. Every argument that someone attempts to demonstrate that they experience something outside of their experience is necessarily making an absurd argument. Nobody – nobody – can experience a thing outside of their experience – it is an inherent logical self-contradiction.

    Efforts to support that idea are inherently doomed to failure – because they are attempting to demonstrate or logically prove an inherent logical self-contradiction. You cannot experience anything outside of your experience, which is synonymous with “mental experience” or “qualia” or “mental qualia”. Yes, my theories begin and end with my mental qualia, my experience, because it is literally all I have to work from and with, even if I create models that something exists outside of it – those models are also mental qualia.

    Again, if one cannot understand that, they cannot understand my model or my argument.

  96. 96
    StephenB says:

    WJM The statement “I experience things outside of my experience” is an inherent absurdity.”

    Of course it is, which is why I didn’t say it. What I said was this:
    “The problem is not so much that you start with your own personal experience. The problem is that you also end there. “You don’t seem to make reasonable deductions from your experience about how it should be interpreted. Also, you often don’t take other people’s experiences seriously because, in your judgment, they are slaves to an outdated paradigm and have nothing to teach you.”

    I trust that any fair reader can discern the radical difference between what I really said and what WJM has attributed to me. Adding insult to energy, he put his false characterization of me in quotation marks, leaving the equally false impression that I used those words.

    He is not only content to keep repeating this outrageous misrepresentation paragraph after paragraph, he even tries to end the discussion on that note by thanking me for my time, implying that he wants nothing more to do with me. Remarkable! Just Remarkable!

  97. 97
    daveS says:

    StephenB,

    Thanks for the response; my question was really about whether you could post some links or references to the writings of quantum theorists who reject non-contradiction and causality.

  98. 98
    hazel says:

    Dave, I’m not Stephen, but I think he rejects QM interpretations in which quantum probabilities are truly random events, with no underlying cause. I think there is a whole school of interpretation that holds that position. I don’t know who he might be referring to in reference to the law of non-contradiction.

  99. 99

    SB,
    I didn’t attribute that statement to you, and I didn’t put that statement in a comment directed at you or including your name. In fact, I put that statement in an entirely different comment without your name to distinguish it from my conversation with you.

    That statement is in quotes in a separate comment to paraphrase a perspective (the one you have been arguing): that one can experience something outside of mental experience. In particular, you have argued that you have extra-mental sensory experience. Logically, that is not possible. Until you understand that is not possible, you will fail to understand that you do not have any direct connection to any supposed external physical world whatsoever. None. Zero. The only thing you have a direct connection to is your own mental experience, or qualia.

    Because this is true, the only factual statements you can make are about your own mental experience, or about qualia. Characterizing them as factual statements or true statements about some external physical world is the erroneous product of reifying an abstract model to the point that one believes they are experiencing and making factual statements about what the abstract model refers to. Nobody can make factual or true statements about any supposed external physical world; they can only make factual and true statements about their qualia, their personal mental experience. All statements about a theoretical external world are necessarily theoretical or hypothetical statements – not factual ones.

    There is no argument or evidence that can save anyone from this factual nature of individual, conscious experience. You can theorize all you want that such a world exists; you can never experience it nor make factual statements about it.

    In essence, you are arguing that the only way external objective world ideas and inferences make sense is if there is an external objective world. That’s hardly surprising. You also argue that my answers don’t explain things, but what I see is that they don’t explain things in terms of an external physical world, and my answers don’t satisfy the needs of an external world model. Again, that’s hardly surprising.

    Your arguments and criticisms all stem from the view that such a world exists and is causing our experiences, then you make cases that unless that world exists, certain experiences cannot be rationally explained or accounted for and certain lines of rational inference about our experiences break down. The problem is that the reasoning you are are using and pointing at is reasoning derived from the assumption that the external model is true. It utterly depends on the external model being true – not just “an effective model”, but actually true. It requires you to think you have some sort of direct experiential access to it when you cannot.

    So of course the lines of reasoning about our ontological situation and epistemological process fail when you take them outside of the very model they are derived from and are sustained by – yet you act as if that’s a problem for me. You seem to think that unless there is a cat outside of my experience, I cannot know what a cat is. That is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. The only way I can know what a cat is, is if it is in my experience. You seem to think that unless a thing’s essential nature exists outside and independent of my experience, there is no essential essence of “it” for me to experience, when the only place I can possibly have access to any essential “it-ness” the thing may have is … again, inside my experience. The only quality of “it-ness” I have access to about anything … is the “it-ness” of distinct qualia. “Cat-ness” is a quality of qualia; it literally cannot be about anything in any external physical world even if that world existed, and even if it is causing qualia.

    “It-ness” is a quality assigned by our mind to a particular mental experience or qualia. That is the bare root, inescapable fact of the matter, regardless of what else may exist or be causing it. The idea that the “it-ness” refers to some external commodity is theory – an abstract model, regardless of how much faith anyone has that it is true. To then say that one has no capacity to determine the “it-ness” of qualia unless the abstract model is true is putting the cart before the horse – it was the mental capacity to identify “it-ness” values in qualia in the first place that allowed the model of an external world to be built. To say one cannot identify it-ness values without the model, or without what the model refers to being true, is absurd.

    You ask me to explain how I identify it-ness values without the external-world model; it doesn’t require explanation, it is a directly experienced capacity. The reason that identifying it-ness values requires explanation in your model is because your model is theoretical and thus requires explanation. You are theorizing an external world that causes variant experiences and so the “it-ness” quality cannot lie in the experience qualia itself because the experience qualia is caused by something external; therefore, in your model, the “it-ness” MUST lie in the external world and be causing an identical “it-ness” value in your qualia.

    What does my model have to explain? I refer to my this aspect of my view as a “model” as a charitable colloquialism, but much of what I refer to is not “model” at all; it is experiential fact and logical necessity. I directly, factually experience it-ness values in my qualia. That’s not a model. Each distinct qualia is a distinct set of information; that’s not a model, that is using terminology to express an experiential fact, only a “model” in the sense that all words are symbols and in that sense “models.” The principles of logic themselves are mental qualia identifiable as distinct and directly accessible as necessary; we can only apply them to qualia; we can only use them to make distinctions between qualia, make statements about qualia, and draw inferences (qualia) from qualia. All qualia are information, and information is only information if different sets and kinds of information can be distinguished from each other. This is not a model. Those are facts.

    I say that I have a mental reality model; as I said, that’s mostly a charitable colloquialism. What I’m actually doing is removing the model (the external world model) and making statements about and inferences from the experiential and logical facts of our existence as qualia-tive beings. We are qualia-tive beings – meaning, our existence is in and of and about qualia. That doesn’t require “explanation” because it is self-evidently true upon understanding it. Self-evidently true statements do not require explanation; they are used to explain other things and inform our reasoning.

    You are using qualia to make statements about qualia to support your assertion that something non-qualia-tive exists that is causing qualia. It is your model, your theory, that requires support and explanation. I haven’t said anything about the essential nature of our existence and experience that requires explanation because I’m stating experiential facts and self-evident truths.

    I haven’t proposed anything (in this particular vein) that requires an explanation; I’m happy to give answers, but asking me “how I explain” the experience of distinct “it-ness” values (whether of cats or Intelligent design) is like asking “how I explain” my apprehension of self-evidently true logical principles. It doesn’t require explanation; it is what we use to explain other things. “It-ness” identification is a necessary, essential aspect of existence that precedes all models. It’s basically the experiential equivalent of the principles of logic (which must themselves be “it-ness” identifiable).

    The fundamental qualia-tive nature of our existence logically, necessarily means: the only thing we can possibly be looking at when we open our eyes, hearing with our ears or sensing with touch … is our own minds, whether or not anything outside of those minds exists, whether or not those qualia sensations are caused by something external to mind. Everything we see, hear, taste, touch, think, imagine .. can factually only be our own mind.

    That’s not a “model” that requires “explanation.” It’s experientially, factually and necessarily true regardless of one’s faith-commitment otherwise.

    A meaningful question might be, if I am looking at my own mind, what – in mind – is causing it to look a certain way, change, etc. Your theory would be – an external world. This is where we get to the usefulness of theories and models. The usefulness of the external world theory is remarkable and it’s easy to see why it is so deeply reified; however, it is also deeply restrictive because of associated theories of linear time causation, physical capacities, resource limitations, probabilities of outcomes, and countless model add-ons about how to get from A to a desired B through an external physical world.

    This is where we get to my actual model – that no external physical world actually exists. That is a model because I have no way of knowing if it actually exists or not. However, it’s actually fairly simple to test. Some of those tests have been scientific (quantum research) and have produced evidence that supports the theory that no external physical world actually exists, but my interest isn’t in what can be proven in a lab. My interest is whether or not my model has practical applications that demonstrate its usefulness value over and above what the physical model can provide.

    Put simply, if I make changes in my mind, will my “reality experience” change – not just in the way I think about things and react to them, but in what I experience as consensual physicality? Can I produce changes that defy the “external world” model? Does the “there is no external physical world” model free up personal exploratory and experimental avenues of investigation that would not even occur to those deeply enmeshed in the external world model? Would those avenues produce results?

    30 years of personal investigation and experimentation has led me to adopt my model, which includes in it a version of the “external physical world model,” but reformulated as “apparent consensual physicality,” and is a subset of the whole of what is available as kinds of mental experiences, or categories of modes of qualia. I’ve found that there are many distinct consensual physicalities available to experience, among other things not addressed adequately by prior models.

  100. 100
    daveS says:

    Hazel,

    Thanks. I guess I’ve read a little about QM vs causality in general. It’s hard to imagine a situation where empirical science could overturn non-contradiction.

  101. 101
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM

    Until you understand that is not possible, you will fail to understand that you do not have any direct connection to any supposed external physical world whatsoever.

    I think that’s like saying that you cannot touch something with your hand, without using your hand. So, you never have a direct experience, only your hand does. In the same way, you never have a direct experience of a thought because it always comes from the brain.

    That would eliminate the usefulness of the concept “direct experience”.

    It’s much more complex to describe how the mind communicates, learns, compares and contrasts data and responds to apparently external stimuli (the universal experience of humanity) without reference to an external world that influences thought.

    And as argued previously, if there is no external reality then there is no means for validation and a dream or imagination has the same quality of existence as an observed entity. I think it violates the Law of Identity since nothing has a unique identity.

  102. 102
    StephenB says:

    Regarding the ridiculous prospect of “experiencing things outside your experience”

    WJM
    SB,
    I didn’t attribute that statement to you, and I didn’t put that statement in a comment directed at you or including your name. In fact, I put that statement in an entirely different comment without your name to distinguish it from my conversation with you

    How, then, do you explain this:

    WJM @94

    SB,

    As long as you insist that you experience things outside of your experience, virtually everything you say will be filled with irrational absurdities derived from that poisoned tree (original error of thought) – including deep semantic and inferential errors, categorical errors, and model comparison errors. I’m satisfied that I have pointed the main problems out sufficiently. I appreciate your time.

    Meanwhile, I am waiting for you to explain the *process* by which you can detect design patterns in nature if matter doesn’t exist. I have said several times that cannot do it. You have said that you can. So, do it. Take me through the process step by step.

  103. 103
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM

    Put simply, if I make changes in my mind, will my “reality experience” change – not just in the way I think about things and react to them, but in what I experience as consensual physicality? Can I produce changes that defy the “external world” model? Does the “there is no external physical world” model free up personal exploratory and experimental avenues of investigation that would not even occur to those deeply enmeshed in the external world model? Would those avenues produce results?

    Do you have answers to those questions?

  104. 104
    mike1962 says:

    Let’s boil it down.
    1. You are conscious.
    2. But wait, nobody can prove anyone else is conscious.
    3. You experience things.
    4. Your intellectual models that make you feel good about your world view.
    5. But there’s no way to know how deceived you are. About anything.
    6. Humility in order. Doncha think?
    7. It’s a very good possibility that you’re being punked by the overlords. Get used to it.
    8. You have no idea what is going on here. Get used to it.
    9. You’re not clever enough to know what’s going on here. Get used to it.
    10. Don’t listen to anything I say because I don’t know what I’m talking about. (Neither do you.)
    11. Go make yourself a Margarita and have a nice relaxing day, if you can.
    12. Don’t be evil.

  105. 105
    AnimatedDust says:

    WJM, this was thoroughly thought provoking. I read it all to the bottom of the comments.
    I enjoyed it immensely. Will we be seeing something from you soon about the illusion of space and time? 🙂

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