Intelligent Design

No Sane Person Acts as if Materialism Is True

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Seversky set out the following challenge:

Draw up two lists, the first being all the scientific and technological advances of the last two hundred years, say, that were based on [1] a naturalistic/materialistic/ physicalist metaphysics, [2] the second being a list of all such advances based on a teleological metaphysics. A simple comparison should reveal which has been the more prolific and productive approach.

Interesting test. The answer is on list [1] there would be zero entries. On list [2] there would be all the scientific and technological advances of the last two hundred years.

You see, Sev, many people spout materialism. No one actually conducts their lives, from moral choices to scientific research, as if it were true. Because if it were true, there would be no point to any moral choice, and there would be no reason to expect that the universe conforms to regularities we call scientific laws. So, even the researchers who spout materialism act as if it were false when they are actually doing research.

This is especially true of biology, including evolutionary biology, where the scientific literature is drenched in teleological language.  Why?  Because if one wants to describe what is going on, the use of teleological language is unavoidable.

118 Replies to “No Sane Person Acts as if Materialism Is True

  1. 1
    jdk says:

    For the record, I’ll submit that you are wrong, but refuse to make an effort to understand a view that opposes yours, held by many sane, smart, well-educated people, or to consider that the various issues involved are far from settled, and may not be capable of being settled.

  2. 2

    jdk:

    “Holding a view” intellectually is not the same as acting as if that view is actually true. No sane person can act as if libertarian free will doesn’t exist; no sane person can actually act as if morality is subjective; no sane person can actually act as if materialism is true.

    That they can believe these things to be true is irrelevant. People can believe all sorts of irrational things that have no basis in reality or their actual behavior.

  3. 3
    jdk says:

    to William: I am aware that is your thesis, and have discussed this with you. I disagree. I sketched some of my reasons once, and your reply was highlighted as a “devastating” rebuttal. I didn’t feel devastated, for what that’s worth, but it helped me see the details of the chasm between us concerning how we see the world.

    You wrote a post recently about the value of participating in the kind of discussions that go on here at UD. I agree with you that a large benefit is that it allows one to practice articulating one’s arguments: that has certainly been the case for me.

    Another benefit, which I don’t think you mentioned, is that it let’s one, if one is so inclined, work at learning the true details of opposing views. In doing so, one learns both the nuances of the opposing position, but also learns that various people who look like they are on on the same “side” on the issue actually have different beliefs once you get past the simple surface.

    This is valuable for several reasons. First, if one accurately understands the position of one who holds an opposing view, then one can make one’s replies truly relevant to the argument. On the other hand, if one holds a simplified, stereotyped view of the opposing views, then one’s own arguments will not be truly as relevant and accurate as they might, thus weakening one’s own effort to argue for own’s position.

    The second reason is that when one sincerely tries to understand another, even if there are fundamental disagreements, the discussion get humanized: it is easier to be civil, and it is easier to search for and find commonalities that perhaps reach across the differences. However, if one is certain that the opposing view has no merit, if one has no interest in truly understanding the other point of view and is in fact convinced that no sane person could hold it, then the discussion becomes dichotomized and often antagonistic.

    I am interested in the first kind of discussion, where each side is given a civil welcome in presenting their views, and where a genuine effort is made to really understand the views of others.

    In a good discussion between people with different views, in honor of our common humanity, each person really ought to try to help the other person do the best job they can of becoming aware of and articulating their views.

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: It may help to recall some recent remarks by Pearcey:

    A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself . . . . An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

    Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?

    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

    Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.

    Another example comes from Francis Crick. In The Astonishing Hypothesis, he writes, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But that means Crick’s own theory is not a “scientific truth.” Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide.

    Of course, the sheer pressure to survive is likely to produce some correct ideas. A zebra that thinks lions are friendly will not live long. But false ideas may be useful for survival. Evolutionists admit as much: Eric Baum says, “Sometimes you are more likely to survive and propagate if you believe a falsehood than if you believe the truth.” Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.

    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.

    [–> that is, responsible, rational freedom is undermined. Cf here William Provine in his 1998 U Tenn Darwin Day keynote:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.

    A few thinkers, to their credit, recognize the problem. Literary critic Leon Wieseltier writes, “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? … Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”

    On a similar note, philosopher Thomas Nagel asks, “Is the [evolutionary] hypothesis really compatible with the continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge?” His answer is no: “I have to be able to believe … that I follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so.” Hence, “insofar as the evolutionary hypothesis itself depends on reason, it would be self-undermining.” [ENV excerpt, Finding Truth (David C. Cook, 2015) by Nancy Pearcey.]

    In short, WJM is quite right.

    Meanwhile there is the little matter of the logic of induction on empirical evidence and where it points for the design inference. Which is too often studiously distracted from. KF

  5. 5
    aarceng says:

    I’d like to see such a list with an explanation of why each item belongs where it is placed. I seriously doubt you could justify 0 items in list 1.

  6. 6
    ppolish says:

    Planck vs Krauss
    Einstein vs Carroll
    Maxwell vs DegrassTyson

    The Best Science is guided science. List 2 duh.

  7. 7
    groovamos says:

    Seversky: the second being a list of all such advances based on a teleological metaphysics.

    OK lets see how much science would get done absent the above metaphysics. Teleology in human affairs would have a precursor teleology regarding the advent of human life and for that matter all life.

    If Seversky denies teleology while doing science, then he should be able to walk into his laboratory and tell any number of his materialist associates: “you don’t mean s___ to me.” I hold that this would be a truism and acceptable behavior within materialism because a person having any meaning or purpose would require Seversky and associates believe it by inference in a chain of reasoning back to the advent of life. But life is meaningless within MN. Since science is a search for truth, then the truth to a materialist should be out in the open and to state the truth about the meaninglessness of each researcher to the other would not impact progress in research if it were really true.

    But we all know the real truth, that materialists stating their professed truth in the above manner would destroy scientific progress in a hurricane of hurt and resentment. That said unless the researchers are meaty robots, which maybe Seversky wouldn’t mind at all, but only speculating.

    So now Seversky can come on here and say about the proposed laboratory scene “that is the most ridiculous and insane scenario I have ever heard.” But that is the challenge from Barry, to logically show that materialists acting on a daily basis according to their beliefs would be insanity. And to get the materialist to admit it, as Seversky would be so doing by adopting the above protest or something similar.

  8. 8

    Science has discovered that representation is the mechanism that enables biology. Science has also discovered that the specific type of representation required to organize the cell is exclusively identifiable by its unique physical organization, and the only other place we can identify that specific system is in recorded language and mathematics. What list should that be under, and what difference does it make?

  9. 9
    ellazimm says:

    Barry,

    . . . there would be no reason to expect that the universe conforms to regularities we call scientific laws.

    I don’t understand the basis for this assertion. Unless you believe the universe could not have even come into existence without divine intervention. And that has been in no way proven.

    And I agree with jdk, those of us who disagree with you are frequently portrayed as incapable of rational thought which implies you’re not really intending on listening in the first place. So, why should we bother?

  10. 10

    ella:
    I agree with jdk, those of us who disagree with you are frequently portrayed as incapable of rational thought which implies you’re not really intending on listening in the first place. So, why should we bother?

    jdk:

    You wrote a post recently about the value of participating in the kind of discussions that go on here at UD. I agree with you that a large benefit is that it allows one to practice articulating one’s arguments: that has certainly been the case for me

    my comments were about the goals and purposes of the ID movement, not about “the evidence for ID”, such as it is. It is true that right now I am not interested in discussing the latter issue.

    must be nice

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ,

    With all due respect, distractors.

    The fact remains — as is for instance illustrated at 4 above — that evolutionary materialist scientism notoriously persistently fails to ground responsible rational freedom, a condition of not only doing science but of the life of the mind. Alex Rosenberg as he begins Ch 9 of his The Atheist’s Guide to Reality inadvertently brings out the self-referential incoherence with great force:

    FOR SOLID EVOLUTIONARY REASONS, WE’VE BEEN tricked into looking at life from the inside. Without scientism, we look at life from the inside, from the first-person POV (OMG, you don’t know what a POV is?—a “point of view”). The first person is the subject, the audience, the viewer of subjective experience, the self in the mind.

    Scientism shows that the first-person POV is an illusion. [–> grand delusion is let loose in utter self referential incoherence] Even after scientism convinces us, we’ll continue to stick with the first person. But at least we’ll know that it’s another illusion of introspection and we’ll stop taking it seriously. We’ll give up all the answers to the persistent questions about free will, the self, the soul, and the meaning of life that the illusion generates [–> bye bye to responsible, rational freedom on these presuppositions].

    The physical facts fix all the facts. The mind is the brain. It has to be physical and it can’t be anything else, since thinking, feeling, and perceiving are physical process—in particular, input/output processes—going on in the brain. We [–> at this point, what we, apart from we delusions?] can be sure of a great deal about how the brain works because the physical facts fix all the facts about the brain. The fact that the mind is the brain guarantees that there is no free will. It rules out any purposes or designs organizing our actions or our lives [–> thus rational thought and responsible freedom]. It excludes the very possibility of enduring persons, selves, or souls that exist after death or for that matter while we live.

    In short, grand delusion has been let loose and has been multiplied by the GIGO principle of that blind mechanical process we call computing. This becomes utterly self-undermining as say Haldane long since understood.

    Reppert puts the matter clearly:

    . . let us suppose that brain state A, 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 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.

    KF

    PS: I note that the issue properly on the table is NOT that objectors to ID or adherents of evolutionary materialist scientism are incapable of rational thought. Rather, as human beings we are. But this is incompatible with the worldview just described, leading to self referential incoherence and self-falsification of the worldview. Where if that worldview is then insisted on further, this becomes a case of fallacious thinking that should be corrected. Which implies that the objector is capable of responsible, rational thought, decision and action. The you don’t want to listen objection you used above therefore fails to be relevant.

  12. 12
    soundburger says:

    this is an excellent post. Nobody goes about scientific inquiry, just as they don’t set out to create beautiful music or a great film, etc., by first reminding themselves, ‘okay, I am simply a bag of chemicals leading a meaningless life, no different than, say, a frog’s, that will soon be over with nothing gained by it. My ‘desire’ to make a new discovery is just some secretions within a mass of molecules that is not really different, than say, a rock. Just atoms. My meaningless ‘discovery’ will be ‘understood’ by some other bags of chemicals, who may give me a bag of chemicals called a Nobel Prize which I couldn’t possibly really want, because duh. Here I go.’

  13. 13
    Bob O'H says:

    I just want to know the teleological metaphysics behind aeroplanes.

  14. 14
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob @ 13.

    It was explained to you in the OP and the comments have elaborated on the explanation. You respond not by suggesting that the explanation is lacking in some respect but by pretending there has been no explanation at all.

    That is absolutely fascinating. I am genuinely curious about your response and hope you will cash it out for me. Possible reasons that come to mind are:

    1. You are genuinely incapable of perceiving the grounds of arguments with which you disagree.
    2. You are pulling our leg.

    What am I missing Bob?

  15. 15
    groovamos says:

    I just want to know the teleological metaphysics behind aeroplanes.

    A few people might be interested in the teleology regarding Bob’s choice of the term ‘aeroplane’ rather than ‘flying machine’.

    soundburger – good one – I think we scare Seversky a little unless he can come back at us here on his favorite website.

  16. 16
    Barry Arrington says:

    jdk @ 1,
    aarceng @ 5
    ellazimm @ 9
    Bob @ 13

    Einstein wrote:

    Now I come to the most interesting point in your letter. You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori one should expect a chaotic world which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way. One could (yes one should) expect the world to be subjected to law only to the extent that we order it through our intelligence. Ordering of this kind would be like the alphabetical ordering of the words of a language. By contrast, the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for instance, is wholly different. Even if the axioms of the theory are proposed by man, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the “miracle” which is being constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.

    This is the concept to which I allude in the OP. So far all you have offered in response is bare denials. Here’s a clue: Bare denial is not an argument. Write that down. It will be useful to you in the future as you attempt to make, you know, actual arguments.

    Do you have any arguments in response to Dr. Einstein or are you content to rest on your bare denials?

  17. 17

    Bob,

    The entire enterprise of science depends upon the view that behaviors we observe and model now are predictive of behaviors in the future, and that when we apply those models to things we design we can predict how the things we design will behave in accordance with those models.

    The entire process – from the expectation that there is a predictive, useful value in modeling the behaviors of phenomena (to successfully apply in the future), to the expectation that such information is usefully comprehensible to humans, to using those models to make a blueprint with engineering specifications to build an airplane from – the entire process from start to finish is teleological in nature.

    Even if the metaphysical assumption that scientific data is teleologically meaningful and useful isn’t spoken or recognized, it lies at the heart of science. Materialism offers no valid conceptual reason to expect any of that, and in fact scientific progress languished in much of the world due to materialist or other counter-productive metaphysics. Physical forces and laws are nothing if not teleological constructs which predict future behaviors, without which airplanes cannot be built.

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    Bob O’H: I just want to know the teleological metaphysics behind aeroplanes.

    They always, or almost always, fly.

  19. 19
    Mung says:

    If science is not teleological, then what is it? If science is the denial of teleology, then it is self-refuting, unless it’s denial of teleology is without goal or purpose. In which case it is merely incoherent.

    Yet science is neither incoherent, nor is it self-refuting. Therefore it is teleological. QED.

  20. 20
    Mung says:

    What is this talk of scientific advances? Advancing towards what, exactly?

  21. 21
    velikovskys says:

    Wjm:Holding a view” intellectually is not the same as acting as if that view is actually true. No sane person can act as if libertarian free will doesn’t exist; no sane person can actually act as if morality is subjective;.

    American legal system does not hold that libertarian free will exists, children are not judged as equally competent as adult, if libertarian free will exists age will inform but not cause a decision.

    If morality involves intent, differing sincerely held beliefs will affect the intent. Without evidence that a particular absolute morality is true, one can only go with the feeling of pragmatism

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    VS, were you sufficiently rationally and responsibly free that we should take this as an intentional message that responds to a context of discussion between actual responsibly free minds, or is it comparable to Putnam’s parable of the and who in one case in its wanderings traced out the shape of Churchill’s face, and in the other the shape of the glyphs that spelled out his name? (what if a robot insect carried out the same feat, what then would that speak to — and why?) KF

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    Bob O’H: it seems to me that aircraft, flying machines, are produced by design. So, it is reasonable to posit on this that design is possible, designers too. Further, a world with aircraft is a world such that its root conditions enable such designers to exist. All of this is heavily freighted with worldviews import. KF

  24. 24
    Bob O'H says:

    Mung @ 18 – yes, but do they want to?

  25. 25
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 14 – I think you are conflating two issues:
    (1) whether theories are based on specific metaphysics, and
    (2) whether the people who develop theories hold to specific metaphysics.
    Seversky’s test is clearly about the first (and hence my slightly tongue in cheek reply). Do theories themselves have teleological underpinnings? Your answer is, it seems to me, about the second – can the people reasonably hold to material metaphysics? But even if someone is not a materialist, that doesn’t mean that they can’t develop scientific ideas that are materialistic – they can simply develop ideas that don’t rely on going the extra mile to God, chi, or meatballs.

    Thus, I think you are answering a rather different question to the one Seversky asked, and thus your answers don’t answer my question.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    Bob O’H: “based on” points directly to world foundations. What sort of world FROM THE GROUND UP must exist for flying machines to be designed, built and operated? KF

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    Bob O’H: similarly, what happens when men adopt beliefs that are utterly unable to ground responsible rational freedom, but in effect ride piggyback on views they reject or are hostile to, which do ground responsible rational freedom. Notice, 11 above. KF

  28. 28
    Seversky says:

    You see, Sev, many people spout materialism. No one actually conducts their lives, from moral choices to scientific research, as if it were true. Because if it were true, there would be no point to any moral choice, and there would be no reason to expect that the universe conforms to regularities we call scientific laws. So, even the researchers who spout materialism act as if it were false when they are actually doing research.

    No sane person jumps off the top of a skyscraper expecting to fly hundreds of yards to the roof of a neighboring building as in The Matrix. They believe that they will fall and be killed when they come to an abrupt stop against the very solid, very material ground. They believe it because, as far as we know, that is what has always happened – except in movies.

    As we all agree, James Clerk Maxwell was by all accounts a very religious man. He believed that God created our Universe, including electromagnetism. But his equations that model that phenomenon contain no term for divine intervention. They are a purely materialistic account. Diabetes had been observed as a disorder for thousands of years but it wasn’t until Banting and Best revealed the role of insulin in sugar metabolism that effective treatment became available. Again, a purely materialistic account that proved to be very successful.

    There are many other examples that could be cited but they all lead to the same conclusion. Assuming a naturalistic, materialistic Universe works. We don’t know if it will always work. We don’t know if it has its limits. But it has served us well so far so we might as well continue to use it until we find those limits or something better comes along.

  29. 29
    Bob O'H says:

    kf – I can see no problems with designers existing in a purely material, non-teleological universe (should such a universe exist). TBH I doubt the designers of the flying machines we know about were really deeply worried about foundational metaphysical issues. They just wanted things to fly, which seems to me to be an inherently material thing to wish for.

  30. 30
    Mung says:

    Bob O’H: Mung @ 18 – yes, but do they want to?

    Ah, I see. Well, in my understanding teleology has nothing to do with “wants to.” Telos is the Greek word for end, purpose, or goal. I understand teleology to be concerned with that which is end-directed.

    Surely you would agree that airplanes have a purpose. That they were created with an end in mind. That every time an airplane flies it exhibits that end and that an airplane that is incapable of flight isn’t much of an airplane.

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    Bob O’H, Cf 11 above as was already indicated, and kindly explain re the issues highlighted: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-614937 KF

  32. 32
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray @ 2

    No sane person can act as if libertarian free will doesn’t exist;…

    We all agree that we experience or have the sensation of exercising free will But no sane person can deny that much of what they are physically and psychologically was inherited from their parents through their genes. No sane person can deny that their character or personality was shaped in their formative years by influences of which they were unaware and over which they had no control. So no sane person can deny that to that extent what and who we are was determined or constrained by history. Given the above, to what extent can we be said to have free will?

    There was no point during puberty where I sat down and tried to decide rationally whether to be heterosexual or homosexual. I didn’t even decide it by the toss of a coin. I became aware of my sexual preference at a certain point, a preference that had already been determined. I couldn’t change that then or now by an exercise of free will and I think that is true of most people.

    Given the above, to what extent can we be said to have free will?
    Given those constraints, what can we mean by “libertarian free will”?

    …no sane person can actually act as if morality is subjective;…

    If the function of morality is to regulate the way human beings behave towards one another in society then what else can it be? If it is somehow a property embedded in the physical universe then where do we find it?

    Anatomically modern humans are thought to have emerged a few hundred thousand years ago. The age of the Universe is now set at about 13.8 billion years. Was morality built in from the very beginning in anticipation of beings that would not emerge until billions of years in the future? If it was added later, when and by whom?

    Isn’t the better explanation that moral codes are what have been developed by human beings as rules that are intended to promote a more cohesive society that will be to the benefit of all? Yes, if morals are subjective then, in principle, anyone can make up their own moral beliefs to suit themselves and there is no objective means of deciding between them. What constrains that freedom, however, is that they apply to human beings in society.

    The psychopath may decide that he is morally justified in satisfying his appetite for rape and murder but all his potential victims are equally justified in deciding that they don’t want to be actual victims. Given that the potential victims greatly outnumber the psychopaths the will of the majority is likely to prevail. What’s wrong with that? The Nazis may have believed that they were morally justified in believing that the Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and mentally disabled were corrupting society and should be exterminated. If they had been asked, those groups would almost certainly have disagreed, as would at least part of the German people. As did much of the rest of the world. The Nazi regime was overthrown at great cost. Was that wrong?

    The elimination of the Nazis has not prevented the emergence of brutally despotic regimes elsewhere in the world since then. In two cases, Iraq and Libya, such regimes were removed by military action although the consequences not been good for the people of those countries and it’s questionable whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Other despotic regimes have been left in place for various reasons. What does objective morality tell us about how we should handle such situations?

    …no sane person can actually act as if materialism is true.

    Sure they can, and do. Just because you find it impossible to accept materialism is true, doesn’t mean that others of us can’t. Bertrand Russell is usually considered to have been a fairly sane person and, as most of us know, wrote:

    Here there comes a practical question which has often troubled me. Whenever I go into a foreign country or a prison or any similar place they always ask me what is my religion.

    I never know whether I should say “Agnostic” or whether I should say “Atheist”. It is a very difficult question and I daresay that some of you have been troubled by it. As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God.

    On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.

    None of us would seriously consider the possibility that all the gods of homer really exist, and yet if you were to set to work to give a logical demonstration that Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, and the rest of them did not exist you would find it an awful job. You could not get such proof.

    Therefore, in regard to the Olympic gods, speaking to a purely philosophical audience, I would say that I am an Agnostic. But speaking popularly, I think that all of us would say in regard to those gods that we were Atheists. In regard to the Christian God, I should, I think, take exactly the same line.

    Like Russell, I can’t rule out the possibility of a God or some sort of original creative agent but I don’t find the arguments for the existence of such a being compelling. No, I don’t have a materialistic account for the origin of the Universe but that only means the honest position is “I don’t know”. There is no necessary default to belief in a God. And the Universe, in the broadest meaning of the word, is observably materialistic. Quantum mechanics and relativity theory, however unintuitive or downright weird their predictions, are still dealing with the nature of the physical Universe. It may be far stranger than we had previously thought but it is still part of the natural world. I should have thought that living according to our best understanding of the way the world is observed to be is at least as viable as living by what may be no more than a myth or legend, no matter how hopeful and comforting it might be.

  33. 33
    jdk says:

    Excellent post, sev. I especially like the quote from Russell, and your last paragraph about how quantum mechanics and relativity have expanded our understanding of the material world, not gone beyond it, and also that the best answer to how the universe got here as it is is that we don’t know.

  34. 34
    Rationalitys bane says:

    jdk, “Excellent post, sev.”

    Ditto.

  35. 35
    Barry Arrington says:

    jdk, just yesterday you were denying that posts like Sev’s that deny the existence of libertarian free will even existed on these pages. Today you are applauding yet another one. Odd that.

  36. 36
    Barry Arrington says:

    Seversky @ 32:

    Here is your argument summarized: Who we are (our character if you like) and the choices we make are deeply influenced by our environment and heredity. Therefore, libertarian free will does not exist. Of course, this is a massive non sequitur. Your conclusion simply does not follow logically from your premises.

    I concede that who I am and the choices I make are deeply influenced by my environment and heredity. Yet I had a choice about whether to post this comment. I could have done otherwise. The existence of such meaningful choices – even given our environment and heredity – means libertarian free will exists.

    The Nazi regime was overthrown at great cost. Was that wrong?

    Under your theory of morality, the most powerful prevailed. And the mere fact of their prevailing makes their actions right.

    The more interesting question Sev is what about the opposite. Suppose the Nazis had won WWII and eradicated the Jews and homosexuals and then taken over the school systems of the world and taught everyone to believe that the eradication of every Jew and homosexual on the face of the earth was a good thing. Suppose further that you came along and bucked the system, so that you were literally the only person on the face of the earth who says killing all the Jews and homosexuals was wrong.

    Would you be right and everyone else wrong?

    I predict you will dodge that question. And why will you dodge it? Because if you give the only obviously correct response, the entire materialist edifice you have constructed for yourself will come tumbling down. And you will never allow that. Better to avert your eyes from the glaringly obvious truth than abandon the comforts of your materialist worldview.

  37. 37
    jdk says:

    Barry, I was not denying that posts that deny the existence of libertarian free will exist. Libertarian free will is a belief that only a dualist who believes that we have a non-material aspect to ourselves that somehow can influence the world, and I am not such a person.

    My comment earlier was about someone who declared that it was an “ironclad law” (there are no such things in the social sciences) that peoples lives were determined by the place and circumstances they were born in. My point was that no social scientists say that.

    These are two different things.

    But, as the saying goes, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    UDEditors: Translation: “I was not denying that people deny free will; I was denying that people deny free will in an ‘ironclad’ way.”

  38. 38
    Mung says:

    …and no captivity is so terrible and so impossible to break as that in which the individual keeps himself…

    – Soren Kierkegaard

  39. 39
    jdk says:

    And which of us does that apply to, and how do you know?

  40. 40
    bornagain77 says:

    That “No Sane Person Acts as if Materialism Were True” is easily provable. For instance, given materialistic premises, your conscious experience of yourself becomes merely a ‘neuronal illusion’. In other words, given materialistic premises, ‘you’, as a real person, do not really exist as a real person, but are merely an illusion. Yet everyone acts as if they are real persons and no sane person acts as if they were an illusion.

    “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne

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

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    “The neural circuits in our brain manage the beautifully coordinated and smoothly appropriate behavior of our body. They also produce the entrancing introspective illusion that thoughts really are about stuff in the world. This powerful illusion has been with humanity since language kicked in, as we’ll see. It is the source of at least two other profound myths: that we have purposes that give our actions and lives meaning and that there is a person “in there” steering the body, so to speak.”
    [A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide To Reality, Ch.9]

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does.”
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    In other words, under atheistic materialism, the lights are on but nobody is home!

    Photo of an atheist contemplating his mind
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-H-kj.....0/rob4.jpg

    Even leading atheistic materialists admit that it is impossible for them to live as if their worldview were actually true:

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”
    An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots — that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one “can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free.” We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    Even Richard Dawkins himself reluctantly admits that it would be ‘intolerable’ for him to live as if materialism were actually true and to live as if he did not actually exist as a real person:

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

    In what should be needless to say, if it is impossible for you to live as if your worldview were actually true then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but your worldview must instead be based on fantasy. It is akin to someone believing he is superman save for the minor detail that he never actually acts like superman. For what it worth, we call such people who believe such imaginary things delusional!

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    Moreover, in their denial of ‘personhood’, atheistic materialists become a bit more ‘psychopathic’ and also undermine morality generally.

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

    This psychopathic characteristic inherent to the atheistic/materialistic philosophy is born out empirically, in that people who do not believe in a mind/soul tend to be more psychopathic than the majority of normal people in America who do believe in a mind/soul.

    A scientific case for conceptual dualism: The problem of consciousness and the opposing domains hypothesis. – Anthony I. Jack – 2013
    Excerpt page 18:  we predicted that psychopaths would not be able to perceive the problem of consciousness.,,
    In a series of five experiments (Jack, in preparation), we found a highly replicable and robust negative correlation (r~-0.34) between belief in dualism and the primary psychopathic trait of callous affect7.
    Page 24: Clearly these findings fit well with the hypothesis (Robbins and Jack, 2006) that psychopaths can’t see the problem of consciousness8. Taking these finding together with other work on dehumanization and the anti-social effects of denying the soul and free will, they present a powerful picture. When we see persons, that is, when we see others as fellow humans, then our percept is of something essentially non-physical nature. This feature of our psychology appears to be relevant to a number of other philosophical issues, including the tension between utilitarian principles and deontological concerns about harming persons (Jack et al., accepted), the question of whether God exists (Jack et al., under review-b), and the problem of free will9.
    http://tonyjack.org/files/2013.....281%29.pdf

    Why Don’t Psychopaths Believe in Dualism?
    The Role of Opposing Brain Networks Anthony Jack (Case Western Reserve University, Cognitive Science, Cleveland, OH
    In a theoretical paper linking the attribution of phenomenal consciousness to moral cognition, Robbins and Jack (Philosophical Studies, 2006) predicted that psychopaths would not perceive the problem of consciousness. New experimental evidence is presented which supports this claim: in a group of undergraduates it was found that support for a naturalistic view of the mind is positively correlated with the primary psychopathic trait of callousness.
    http://www.sonoran-sunsets.com/goinggreen.html

  41. 41
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is a dramatic personal testimony of that psychopathic characteristic inherent to atheistic materialism:

    Why I Am a Christian (David Wood, Former Atheist) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DakEcY7Z5GU

    Moreover, in atheistic materialism’s failure to ground personhood, atheistic materialism undermines morality for society at large.

    In fact, both the Jews in Nazi Germany, and humans in their mother’s womb in present day America, were and are denied the legal status of ‘personhood’

    The introduction of the Nuremberg Race Laws in 1935 saw Jews declared non-persons, stripped of their rights, robbed of their property and isolated.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new.....-Jews.html

    8 Horrific Times People Groups Were Denied Their Humanity – July 02, 2014
    Excerpt: According to Ernst Fraenkel, a German legal scholar, the Reichsgericht, the highest court in Germany, was instrumental in depriving Jewish people of their legal rights. In a 1936 Supreme Court decision, “the Reichsgericht refused to recognize Jews living in Germany as persons in the legal sense.”
    Nazis described Jews as Untermenschen, or subhumans to justify exterminating them.
    http://www.personhood.com/8_ho.....r_humanity

    Unborn children as constitutional persons. – 2010
    Excerpt: In Roe v. Wade, the state of Texas argued that “the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.” To which Justice Harry Blackmun responded, “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.” However, Justice Blackmun then came to the conclusion “that the word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.” In this article, it is argued that unborn children are indeed “persons” within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20443281

    in no case in its history has the Court declared that a fetus—a developing infant in the womb—is a person. Therefore, the fetus cannot be said to have any legal “right to life.”
    http://www.phschool.com/curric...../scc35.htm

    I wonder, since atheists claim they are not really real persons, but are merely neuronal illusions, would atheistic materialists be willing to give up their legal status as real persons?

    I’m sure there are many people that would be willing to treat them as objects to used for personal gain and pleasure instead of persons to be respected as humans ‘made in God’s image’, if they could legally get away with treating them as such!

  42. 42
    jdk says:

    since atheists claim they are not really real persons, but are merely neuronal illusions

    Baloney: I know lots of atheists (including myself rather well), and none of them claim that.

    UDEditors: It took us ten seconds to find this in which atheists do that. jdk, you seem to feel free to pontificate on matters about which you are massively ignorant. How do you justify that?

  43. 43
    bornagain77 says:

    Sorry jdk, I should have said instead,,

    “since atheists, who are honest with what their worldview actually entails, claim they are not really real persons, but are merely neuronal illusions”,,,

    I provided references of leading atheistic academics who honestly admit that, given materialistic premises, subjective conscious experience is an illusion and can provide more.

    Could Consciousness be an Illusion? June 30, 2014 –
    Excerpt: “I recently participated in a conference which was unusual for a couple of reasons. Firstly it was held in a sailing boat in the Arctic. Secondly the consensus view of the conference was that consciousness is an illusion. This view, ‘illusionism’, is about as far removed from my own perspective in philosophy of mind as it is possible to get. Me the panpsychist, Martine Nida-Rümelin the substance dualist, and David Chalmers who splits his opinion between these two views, formed the official on board opposition to the hard-core reductionist majority. Somehow we managed to avoid being made to walk the plank.”,,
    Illusionism is even less plausible than solipsism: the view that my conscious mind is the only thing that exists.,,,
    http://conscienceandconsciousn.....-illusion/

    There is only one sort of stuff, namely, matter-the physical stuff of physics, chemistry, and physiology-and the mind is somehow nothing but a physical phenomenon. In short, the mind is the brain.
    Daniel Dennett

    How does the brain go beyond processing information to become subjectively aware of information? The answer is: It doesn’t. The brain has arrived at a conclusion that is not correct. When we introspect and seem to find that ghostly thing — awareness, consciousness, the way green looks or pain feels — our cognitive machinery is accessing internal models and those models are providing information that is wrong.
    Michael S. A. Graziano

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

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

    jdk, I don’t blame you for saying “Baloney” when the implications of atheistic materialism, i.e. non-personhood, are made clear to you. It is complete baloney! The fact that you really exist as a real person is the most sure thing you can possibly know about reality!

    Any worldview that denies that most sure thing that you can know, i.e. the fact that you really exist as a real person, must necessarily be baloney. Otherwise you end up in complete epistemological failure:

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

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

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

  44. 44
    jdk says:

    1. I am honest. Telling me that I believe what I believe because I am not honest doesn’t cut it.

    2. I am not responsible for what others say, nor obligated to agree with them.

  45. 45
    Mung says:

    jdk: And which of us does that apply to, and how do you know?

    It applies to each and everyone one of us. You’re nothing special, even if you do think there’s no essential difference between you and a rock.

  46. 46
    Mung says:

    jdk: I am honest.

    Honestly mistaken, if that is even possible. 🙂

    To be honest, don’t you have to be in possession of the truth?

    : good and truthful

    How is it that you are both good and truthful when you are nothing more than chemicals?

  47. 47
    jdk says:

    to Barry: I don’t think much of Coyne or Harris (or Dawkins, for that matter). I didn’t say there wasn’t anyone that might have made some comments about the nature of the self or consciousness being illusions. I just said most don’t believe that.

    I am not responsible for what other people say: there are not just two black-and-white sides here,as I pointed out in another post recently. People who act as if there are just two sides are detriments to constructive discussion.

  48. 48
    Barry Arrington says:

    bornagain77 @ 41:

    since atheists claim they are not really real persons, but are merely neuronal illusions

    jdk @ 42

    Baloney: I know lots of atheists (including myself rather well), and none of them claim that.

    UDEditors @ 42:

    It took us ten seconds to find [atheists claiming they are neuronal illusions] in which atheists do that. jdk, you seem to feel free to pontificate on matters about which you are massively ignorant. How do you justify that?

    jdk @ 47

    I didn’t say there wasn’t anyone that might have made some comments about the nature of the self or consciousness being illusions.

    No, that is precisely what you said. “none of them claim that.”

    I just said most don’t believe that.

    No, you said “none of them claim that.”

    You are damned liar sir. I despise liars. What’s more, you are a coward. A courageous man admits his errors and tries to improve. A coward lies about them. Don’t worry though. I won’t ban you for this. Just keep on doing what you are doing. You are helping our side immensely.

  49. 49
    Barry Arrington says:

    jdk @ 47:

    People who act as if there are just two sides are detriments to constructive discussion.

    People, such as yourself, who lie shamelessly are even worse detriments to discussion.

    A couple of days ago you informed us all that you jettisoned your Christian upbringing. Apparently you did, including that “do not bear false witness” thing.

  50. 50
    Barry Arrington says:

    jdk @ 47

    I am not responsible for what other people say

    That is exactly right. Conversely, you are responsible in every sense of that word, including the moral sense, for what you yourself say. And when you lie, as you brazenly did above, you are morally culpable. Or do you think “lying for the materialist cause” is morally good?

  51. 51
    jdk says:

    Barry, I think you are riled up for no good reason.

    I wrote,

    I know lots of atheists (including myself rather well), and none of them claim that.

    My sentence was obviously about atheists I know, not about every single atheist.

  52. 52
    Mung says:

    The world is full of honest rocks.

    Barry, telling a rock that it is a bad rock doesn’t help the rock one bit.

  53. 53
    Barry Arrington says:

    My sentence was obviously about atheists I know, not about every single atheist.

    Are you now claiming to be unaware of world famous atheists Harris, Dawkins and Coyne? Are you suggesting that you were justified in saying BA77’s comment was “baloney” because the half dozen atheists you personally know don’t hold that view? Are you now denying that you were implying that no atheists (not just the half dozen you know personally) hold that view?

    The answer to all of those questions is “yes.” Which means you are adding lies to your lies.

    First rule of being in a hole jdk: Stop digging.

  54. 54
    bornagain77 says:

    jdk, you seem to want to have your cake and eat it to. In atheistic materialism, only the material brain is held to be real. Consciousness, beliefs, thoughts, free will, the belief that you exist as a real person, i.e. as a mind and/or soul, and etc.. etc.., are held to be merely fictions generated by the material brain. i.e. merely illusions. Yet you rightly want to claim that you really do exist as a real person and that you are not just ‘a bag of chemicals’ as it has been put in this thread. You cannot have it both ways jdk. Either you exist as a real person or your brain is generating the most elaborate fiction known to mankind.

    Moreover, we don’t have to argue about whether ‘personhood’ is real or whether it is a fiction. We can look at the scientific evidence itself and see whether the atheist or the Theist is correct:

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

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

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

    Moreover, as alluded to in the preceding video, and completely contrary to materialistic thought, mind has been now also been shown to be able to reach all the way down and have pronounced, ‘epigenetic’, effects on the gene expression of our bodies:

    Scientists Finally Show How Your Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes, – December 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
    “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.,,,
    the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways.
    http://www.tunedbody.com/scien.....ges-genes/

    Then there is also the well documented placebo effect

    placebo effect
    a beneficial effect, produced by a placebo drug or treatment, that cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself, and must therefore be due to the patient’s belief in that treatment.

    Moreover, If the mind of a person were merely the brain, as materialists hold, then if half of a brain were removed then a ‘person’ should only be ‘half the person’, or at least somewhat less of a ‘person’, as they were before. But that is not the case, the ‘whole person’ stays intact even though the brain suffers severe impairment:

    Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics’ Lives: – 1997
    Excerpt: “We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor,” Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining,,
    Dr. John Freeman, the director of the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Epilepsy Center, said he was dumbfounded at the ability of children to regain speech after losing the half of the brain that is supposedly central to language processing.
    ”It’s fascinating,” Dr. Freeman said. ”The classic lore is that you can’t change language after the age of 2 or 3.”
    But Dr. Freeman’s group has now removed diseased left hemispheres in more than 20 patients, including three 13-year-olds whose ability to speak transferred to the right side of the brain in much the way that Alex’s did.,,,
    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08.....lives.html

    In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study:

    “Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications.”

    Strange but True: When Half a Brain Is Better than a Whole One – May 2007
    Excerpt: Most Hopkins hemispherectomy patients are five to 10 years old. Neurosurgeons have performed the operation on children as young as three months old. Astonishingly, memory and personality develop normally. ,,,
    Another study found that children that underwent hemispherectomies often improved academically once their seizures stopped. “One was champion bowler of her class, one was chess champion of his state, and others are in college doing very nicely,” Freeman says.
    Of course, the operation has its downside: “You can walk, run—some dance or skip—but you lose use of the hand opposite of the hemisphere that was removed. You have little function in that arm and vision on that side is lost,” Freeman says. Remarkably, few other impacts are seen. ,,,
    http://www.scientificamerican......than-whole

    How Removing Half of Someone’s Brain Can Improve Their Life – Oct. 2015
    Excerpt: Next spring, del Peral (who has only half a brain) will graduate from Curry College, where she has made the dean’s list every semester since freshman year.
    http://www.mentalfloss.com/art.....their-life

    Although the girl in the following videos was written off as hopelessly retarded by everyone who saw her, eventually a breakthrough was made that gave her the ability to communicate with the outside world. A breakthough that revealed there was/is indeed a gentle intelligence, a “me”, a “soul”, a “person”, within the girl that was and still is trapped within her body. And that that “me” was not able to express herself properly to others simply because of her neurological disorder not because she did not have a ‘mind’ that was not fully functioning.

    Severely Handicapped Girl Suddenly Expresses Intelligence At Age 11 – very moving video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNZVV4Ciccg

    Carly’s Café – Experience Autism Through Carly’s Eyes – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmDGvquzn2k

  55. 55
    bornagain77 says:

    Then there is the whole Near Death Experience line of evidence:

    Near death, explained (?) – By Dr. Mario Beauregard research professor Neuroscience Research Center at the University of Montreal. – April 2012
    Excerpt: These findings strongly challenge the mainstream neuroscientific view that mind and consciousness result solely from brain activity. As we have seen, such a view fails to account for how NDErs can experience—while their hearts are stopped—vivid and complex thoughts and acquire veridical information about objects or events remote from their bodies.
    NDE studies also suggest that after physical death, mind and consciousness may continue in a transcendent level of reality that normally is not accessible to our senses and awareness. Needless to say, this view is utterly incompatible with the belief of many materialists that the material world is the only reality.
    http://www.salon.com/2012/04/2.....singleton/

    In the following study, researchers who had a bias against Near Death Experiences being real, set out to prove that they were merely hallucinations by setting up a clever questionnaire that could differentiate which memories a person had were real and which memories a person had were merely imaginary.
    They did not expect the results they got:

    ‘Afterlife’ feels ‘even more real than real,’ researcher says – Wed April 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “If you use this questionnaire … if the memory is real, it’s richer, and if the memory is recent, it’s richer,” he said.
    The coma scientists weren’t expecting what the tests revealed.
    “To our surprise, NDEs were much richer than any imagined event or any real event of these coma survivors,” Laureys reported.
    The memories of these experiences beat all other memories, hands down, for their vivid sense of reality. “The difference was so vast,” he said with a sense of astonishment.
    Even if the patient had the experience a long time ago, its memory was as rich “as though it was yesterday,” Laureys said.
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/09/.....periences/

    Then there is also physical evidence that we have a transcendent component to our being. Namely, quantum entanglement, which cannot be reduced to any possible materialistic explanation, is now found in our bodies on a massive scale, i.e. in every DNA and protein molecule.

    Molecular Biology – 19th Century Materialism meets 21st Century Quantum Mechanics – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1141908409155424/?type=2&theater

  56. 56
    groovamos says:

    Seversky Assuming a naturalistic, materialistic Universe works.

    Of course it works for a large universe of scientific problems.

    Huge exception: finding a material cause for schizophrenia. The assumption of a naturalistic, materialistic Universe does not work.

    Related exception: finding a purely material, non-experiential cure for schizophrenia. The assumption of a naturalistic, materialistic Universe does not work.

    Subsitute any mental illness, including addiction and serious personality disorders, in the above exceptions list and you have summed up decades, decades and more decades of massively spectacular failures in methodological naturalism. Despite trillions and untold trillions of dollars spent worldwide on a naturalistic search for causes and cures for some of the worst suffering of humanity, and note the side issue of suffering inflicted on others by the afflicted.

  57. 57
    groovamos says:

    jdk: My sentence was obviously about atheists I know, not about every single atheist.

    Why is it germain to our discussion what the subset of atheists, those ones you know, believe, and are you really on such intimate terms that you know what they believe anyway?

  58. 58
    Bob O'H says:

    Mung @ 30 – I think you’re making the same error I was pointing to in 25. Nobody would doubt that scientists have purpose (well, some one them…). But is the physics behind aeroplanes teleological? I don’t think fluid dynamics is teleological, although the developers of the science had a purpose when doing it. I think there would be very few people who would disagree (up to a qualification…).

    I think where the disagreement would be would be on whether the universe was created for a purpose: if so then fluid dynamics could have been set in motion for some purpose, even if the fluids themselves have no purpose. But unless we’re dealing with these fundamental issues, I’m not sure it helps in day to day life to say fluid dynamics is teleological.

  59. 59

    Seversky @32:

    Free will: Showing that free will is contextualized/informed/influenced in an attempt to argue that free will as defined here doesn’t exist is not an argument that we do not all act a if such free will exists. Even if libertarian free will doesn’t exist, we all act as if it does – as if the people we argue with have the capacity to override their chemical and conditional programming and accept a properly argued and evidenced argument; and, we expect them to responsibly override their physico-chemical programming when the programming would cause them to do something evil.

    Morality: An argument that attempts to use the varying, contradictory moral behavior of groups of people as an argument that morality is subjective is not an argument against the fact that each of those people were acting as if morality was objective in nature. Because people disagree on a thing and act in accordance with what they think that thing factually is in reality doesn’t mean the thing itself is subjective in nature nor does it mean that the people are behaving as if that thing is subjective in nature. Those people fight other people over moral positions because they hold their moral position to be objectively true. They are not acting as if morality is subjetive in nature.

    Materialism: That people argue for materialism – even if the make good arguments – doesn’t mean they actually act as if materialism is true. I can argue all day long that solipsism is true; I might even intellectually believe it. However, I cannot actually act as if it is true in my day to day life.

  60. 60
    Axel says:

    Great links to the one-time, physically-violent psychopath and the autistic girl (both very, very impressive and heart-warming), BA77.

    Loved the clever metaphor of the escalators and stairs. He was a great one for teaching aids. Nice when a person of very high-seeming worldly, analytical intelligence boosts its usefulness spiritually.

  61. 61

    Another excellent post, Barry. Thank you.

    bornagain77 @ 54: You continue to amaze, my friend. The Darwinists, materialists, secularists, etc. can’t lay a glove on you no matter how many punches they throw. Keep up the good work.

  62. 62
    ppolish says:

    Bob OH, while you argue that fluid dynamics in particular and laws of physics in general are purposeless & unguided (not teleological) – there is enough evidence to blow that belief away. “Ooops” has been statistically eliminated.

    Sure, many people are in denial in regards to intrinsic teleology – they either don’t understand the maths or are desperately trying to discover new maths to overturn it – multiverse for example. (The “Simulationist” folks embrace teleology).

  63. 63
    velikovskys says:

    :Wjm:Holding a view” intellectually is not the same as acting as if that view is actually true. No sane person can act as if libertarian free will doesn’t exist; no sane person can actually act as if morality is subjective;.

    I thought that was your thesis,holding certain intellectual views causes one to act in a certain way, whether that view is true or not. The legal system acts on view that free will is not acausal whether it is true or not

    But since you repeated your assertion, I am convinced

  64. 64
    velikovskys says:

    KF
    VS, were you sufficiently rationally and responsibly free that we should take this as an intentional message that responds to a context of discussion between actual responsibly free minds

    Actual I was responding to William’s claim that all people act like free will is acausal, pointing out that the legal system does not. I think there are many causes that led me to respond.

    Not responsibly free, acausally free.

    or is it comparable to Putnam’s parable of the and who in one case in its wanderings traced out the shape of Churchill’s face, and in the other the shape of the glyphs that spelled out his name? (what if a robot insect carried out the same feat, what then would that speak to — and why?) KF

    What kind of robot insects?

  65. 65
    origin_surgeon says:

    Hey, everyone! Our members will be interested if you could state your opinion in this board: https://8ch.net/christian/res/287536.html

    So please, post your opinion on evolution, and thank you for your time!

  66. 66
    Bob O'H says:

    ppolish – in what way is fluid dynamics in particular teleological, and what’s the evidence? I’m not aware of it, but this isn’t my area of expertise.

  67. 67
    JDH says:

    This is so simple to answer.

    1. Most technological advances and scientific advances depend upon extensive experimental testing before they can be made practical. This testing requirement is useless unless the tests are done in the context of an assumption of methodological naturalism. NOTE: This assumption of MN is NOT a statement about reality. ONLY a statement about how to have reliable testing of results. No one wants to drive over a bridge that a God is required to hold up. HOWEVER….

    2. All experimental testing requires the design of hypothesis which hide the unimportant variables and allow the fundamental design properties ( material strength, temperature constraints, gear ratios…) to be examined so that a scientific advance can be packaged as a useful product. There is no model of materialism that allows an agent to exist that could conduct such experiments.

    SO…. in conclusion.

    Methodological naturalism is just a tool that design agents can use to make technological advances.

    Technical advances can only happen by the operation of intelligent agents capable of design.

    Intelligent agents who are able to believe there own experimental results can only exist in a world that is not limited by materialism.

    So without a worldview that includes paradigms beyond materialism, no technological or scientific advance is possible.

  68. 68
    jdk says:

    Bob asks, “ppolish – in what way is fluid dynamics in particular teleological, and what’s the evidence? I’m not aware of it, but this isn’t my area of expertise.”

    I’m very interested in this, as I just read a book on chaos theory, and turbulence was one of the main phenomena that chaos theory was applied to. I also am puzzled as to what could be teleological about turbulence.

  69. 69
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, again, absent a world in which responsible rational freedom exists, engineering [such as to design and develop a flying machine] and the discipline of physics could not exist. The issue then turns on grounding such at world root level. And a materialistic world simply cannot, the difficulties are categorical. KF

  70. 70
    jdk says:

    As Bob has pointed out several times, there is a distinction between the physics itself – the events going on in the world, and our efforts to understand and describe them – the discipline of physics as a aspect of human understanding. kf’s remark applies to the latter, but I think Bob’s question is about the former.

  71. 71
    ppolish says:

    You ask “In what way is fluid dynamics in particular teleological, and what’s the evidence”, Bob OH.

    Well, 1st a definition of teleology per Mirriam/Webster:
    “The study of evidences of design in nature”.

    Design in Nature. Awesome. What would be the opposite? How about “aimlessness”. Ooops.

    Awesome vs Ooops. Ok, let’s start with Fluids period before we consider Fluid Dynamics. The maths tell us the probability of fluids emerging from Aimlessness is 1 in 10 to the 500 or 1 in “10 to the 10,000” for all practical purposes as Atheist Nima Arkani-Hamed adds. Basically it ain’t going to happen by Aimlessness. At least not without a really really big Multiverse. Go multiverse! Or a Neil DegrasseTyson “Simulation” – but that would be teleogic. Deep down Neil is an IDiot:)

    So, fluids by aimlessness is ruled out by math. In a Unverse at least. How about the equations of fluid dynamics? Gosh they’re beautiful to a science nerd/nerdette:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_equations_in_fluid_mechanics

    C’mon Bob. C’mon. The future deep debate will be between Teleolgy and Theology. Aimlessness has left the building. Directly through an exit btw – not by bumping off the walls until the exit was found. It’s a really really big building lol. Really big. But there’s Room for you in the House:)

  72. 72
    ellazimm says:

    Barry

    Your quote from Einstein is interesting but it is just one man’s opinion. And you did leave out his next paragraph:

    There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles”. Oddly enough, we must be satisfied to acknowledge the “miracle” without there being any legitimate way for us to approach it. I am forced to add that just to keep you from thinking that – weakened by age – I have fallen pray to the parsons.

    I think that, because we and other highly organised and complex creatures exists points to a universe that has to have underlying principles that are discernible. If there was no order then we wouldn’t exist.

    But there’s no reason to assume any intelligence behind the ‘order’. It is true that some scientists have assumed a divine reason for there being ‘order’. And many have not. The science comes from trying to discover the models of the ‘order’ NOT where you think the order comes from. Although some are starting to ask if it’s possible there could be more than one ‘universe’ with different values for different base ‘constants.’ But this is currently sheer speculation, interesting though it may be. Still one should to dream and wonder and ask questions.

  73. 73
    jdk says:

    to ppolish: I see – you are saying that because the universe was designed, and did not arrive by chance, all phenomena are teleological. Is this an accurate reading of what you are saying?

    That is, even something as basic as the water molecule itself is teleological because of the fine-tuning of the properties and constants of elementary particles themselves that make the bonding of two hydrogen molecules with one oxygen molecule to make water.

    Would you say this was also true, as another example?

  74. 74
    ppolish says:

    jdk, can turbulence arise from nothing?

  75. 75
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, physics is a human science; the world (and so its behaviour) is a reality physics seeks to understand, thus in part enabling another human discipline, engineering. Physics and engineering cannot be separated from humans and their ability to be rational and responsible — as I can directly testify on personal experience, albeit that is notorious post Newton, Maxwell and Einstein et al. Thus, the metaphysics of a world in which physics is possible demands that responsible, rational freedom is possible. Where, it is seriously arguable (101 here) that evolutionary materialist scientism lacks the metaphysical resources to ground responsible, rational freedom. KF

  76. 76
    jdk says:

    Hi ppolish. I’m not sure I understand your question.

    And did you read my post at 72? I’m interested to see if I understand your main point correctly.

    As to turbulence, they question “can turbulence arise from nothing” doesn’t make sense to me. The obvious answer is “no”: turbulence arises from the nature of water as it flows in certain conditions.

    And to take the matter further, which is your point I think, water doesn’t arise from nothing either.

    Am I understanding you correctly?

  77. 77
    ppolish says:

    Thanks for the pointer jdk – I missed your post 72. Yes to both points. I see design everywhere, even chaos & turbulence. I’m like a cave person:)

  78. 78
    bb says:

    ppolish,

    You’re much more patient than I am. In my mind, hearkening back to WJM’s term, Bob O’h = implacable. While design can’t be proven without doubt, unless God performs an act for the entire world to see, it is obvious. But….as I think on what the Bible says the Hebrews did while literally seeing God as a pillar of fire every night for 40 years, I have my doubts about the previous “unless” clause.

    Materialists can’t get away from the word “design” and, like Barry said, will use teleology all day long while they deny it’s there. I’m resigned to call it a mental illness. A very unhealthy state of denial. If one will dismiss his own self-evident free-will as an illusion, I’m ready to dismiss what he says out of hand. It is clearly a case of Psalm 14:1: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” Solomon advises us to not engage that fool in Proverbs 26:4.

    I know this is a philosophical discussion and I’m probably out of line for invoking the religious. But religion is important and there’s a point when philosophy is useless and deceptive as Paul said.

  79. 79
    ppolish says:

    Euler’s equations in Fluid Dynamics were inspired! He also came up with

    “Sir, a+bn/n =x, hence God exists—reply!”

    Or so it goes: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonhard_Euler

  80. 80
    jdk says:

    Euler was one of the world’s greatest mathematicians.

    Euler’s fluid dynamic formulas, however, could not account for turbulence by direct solutions. It took the exploration of this system with computers in the last 50 years or so and the accompanying development of chaos theory before turbulence could be understood (although even now not completely.)

    He is, of course, the namesake of the most famous identity in higher mathematics, Euler’s Identity: e^(i•pi) + 1 = 0. I used to build up to explaining why this is true as a culmination of my calculus class.

    However, I don’t get at all the (a + b^n)/n = x story???

  81. 81
    ppolish says:

    Oh, Euler is THAT Euler. Smart cookie. Flaming Christian.

    jdk – from Euler wiki:

    “There is a famous legend[62] inspired by Euler’s arguments with secular philosophers over religion, which is set during Euler’s second stint at the St. Petersburg academy. The French philosopher Denis Diderot was visiting Russia on Catherine the Great’s invitation. However, the Empress was alarmed that the philosopher’s arguments for atheism were influencing members of her court, and so Euler was asked to confront the Frenchman. Diderot was informed that a learned mathematician had produced a proof of the existence of God: he agreed to view the proof as it was presented in court. Euler appeared, advanced toward Diderot, and in a tone of perfect conviction announced this non-sequitur: “Sir,
    a+bn
    /
    n
    =x, hence God exists—reply!” Diderot, to whom (says the story) all mathematics was gibberish, stood dumbstruck as peals of laughter erupted from the court. Embarrassed, he asked to leave Russia, a request that was graciously granted by the Empress. However amusing the anecdote may be, it is apocryphal, given that Diderot himself did research in mathematics.[63] The legend was apparently first told by Dieudonné Thiébault[64] with significant embellishment by Augustus De Morgan.[65][66]”

  82. 82
    jdk says:

    I read all that on Wikipedia. My point is that mathematically (a+b^n)/n = x has no significance that I can see. Maybe the point is that Eular just spouted some relatively meaningless math which still impressed Diderot.

    So it’s not much a story, as far as I can tell. I just don’t get why it’s a famous story.

    Edited a bit later: I just read the Wikipedia story more carefully, and it looks like my guess was right: Euler was just pulling Diderot’s leg. The article also says the whole thing is unlikely, as Diderot was also a mathematician, and wouldn’t have been ignorantly overawed by the math Euler offered.

  83. 83
  84. 84
    ellazimm says:

    jdk

    Maybe the point is that Eular just spouted some relatively meaningless math which still impressed Diderot.

    That is exactly the point. Catherine didn’t want her court shown up by Diderot so she had Euler spout something which Diderot didn’t understand and therefore had to leave the ‘field of battle’. But I agree with you (now that I’ve read your full reply); it’s highly unlikely Diderot would have been fooled.

  85. 85
    kairosfocus says:

    PP, yup. Euler’s famed, seemingly simple expression . . .
    1 + e^i*pi = 0 . . .
    sums up an astonishing deep coherence in reality — a nexus that draws together then sends out again in every direction — that points strongly to unifying mind at its root as well as to the issue of necessary abstract being integrated into the foundation of reality for a world to exist. These open up metaphysical vistas for those open to see and to hear. But of course, ever so many will be willfully blind. An issue today, then, is to show how the dominant, too often domineering a priori evolutionary materialist scientism irretrievably ends in self-falsifying self-referential absurdity such that in a world where we must be responsibly and rationally free in order to seriously think, reason, argue, respond to an urgency to the true and the right, it cannot be correct. KF

  86. 86
    daveS says:

    KF,

    PP, yup. Euler’s famed, seemingly simple expression . . .
    1 + e^i*pi = 0 . . .
    sums up an astonishing deep coherence in reality — a nexus that draws together then sends out again in every direction — that points strongly to unifying mind at its root as well as to the issue of necessary abstract being integrated into the foundation of reality for a world to exist. These open up metaphysical vistas for those open to see and to hear.

    🙂

    On the other hand, it’s a tautology. An interesting identity, but a tautology nonetheless.

  87. 87
  88. 88
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, of course it becomes a tautology, but one that draws together domains into a compressed point that then flows out again everywhere. That something is an equivalence has no ability to undermine its underlying significance. Likewise, that a proof is fairly simple to us does not undermine what is shown. That is an error that comes up again and again in those who refuse to see what is so manifestly there. Indeed, we see here yet again the rhetorical tactic of distraction and side tracking that is all too common in our day, and which when coupled to the tendency to polarise becomes destructive. Instead, I simply point out that this result shows the power of necessary abstract being at the root of the framework for a world — literally, any world — to exist. This identity ties to the reality of planes, the abstract reality of a flat space, the domain of oscillatory and transient behaviour coupled, so the whole world opened up by Fourier, Laplace and Z transforms [thus, digital signal processing . . . ], issues of stability therefore [as in, the results about where you are in the s-plane or the z-plane . . . ], the wormhole bridge through the complex domain that is so fruitful in all of mathematics, points the way to the domain of orthogonal vectors [and quaternions] and so much more. All, while bringing together and locking inextricably five pivotal numbers that arise from diverse fields of thought, showing that Mathematics is a single domain of thought — an utterly astonishing coherence that unifies, pointing to a core abstract necessary being root of reality. There is a reason this expression was voted the most beautiful result in mathematics back in 1998. I add, lastly it points to the pivotal importance of responsible, rational freedom in the key disciplines of thought. So also, yet again to the question already diverted from or dodged several times above, in what sort of world is such possible. KF

  89. 89
    DillyGill says:

    One area that scientism has bitterly failed us and the philosophical commitment to materialism really does great damage is in mental health.

    Science itself is a great tool for recognising patterns of behaviour, grouping them together and observing outcomes. That is as far as the science should go. However because of scientisms’ beliefs the effort for treatment is put into chemical control of the brain and any counselling is on the basis that there is no spiritual aspect to be dealt with. There can be no expanding on the world view of materialism to treat the patient because it would only induce greater despair.

    As a direct testimony (which will carry little weight for those that just use words as a way to manipulate and crush the world view of others) spiritual principles grounded by God has saved my life and restored me to sanity.

    So much so that I think any aspect of treating mental health that does not have very much in mind spiritual principles (combined with other techniques) is doing a disservice to the person on the receiving end.

    The title of this thread is ‘no sane person acts as if materialism were true’ and I would say also ‘no insane person can be restored to sanity by being told (lectured and have the belief expanded upon) materialism is true’ Ha! (and yes that means I know what insanity is because I was insane!)

  90. 90
    groovamos says:

    KF: 1 + e^i*pi = 0 . . .
    sums up an astonishing deep coherence in reality

    I feel it’s time for a takedown regarding this vaunted, manipulated equation which can be simplified into fewer terms:

    e^i*pi = -1 in which the vaunted {0,1} has been obliterated and such gives rise to the much less sexy, less foundational {-1} in a more compact form. Mathematicians love compact.

    — a nexus that draws together then sends out again in every direction — that points strongly to unifying mind at its root as well as to the issue of necessary abstract being integrated into the foundation of reality for a world to exist.

    See, its gotten out of hand, too much magical thought here regarding the math.

    Why not celebrate a quick and simple insight/construct of yours truly from bed one fine morning instead of a nexus that draws together then sends out again in every direction and adopt as mascot an equation incorporating 1, 0, i, e, pi, the all-important 2 AND its square AND its square root plus a bonus of the frequent 3 (enumerated spacial dimensions, also the sum 1+2):

    e^-3i*pi/4 + e^3i*pi/4 + 2^1/2 = 0

    If you see how it works, and the truth of it, you understand it is a contrivance and not magic. Furtherly, replace the last exponent with a radical for compactness, and substract root 2 from both sides for compactness, and I lose the {1,0} just as easily as losing it in the other equation. I guess I just blew up my own suggestion for a new mascot.

  91. 91
    groovamos says:

    DillyGill and yes that means I know what insanity is because I was insane!

    I can empathize, I’ve been there, in an experiential mode where I could watch it with a full grasp that it was only temporary, and it took all of the willpower I could muster. It seems to be a requirement for a no-holds-barred movement towards a spiritual level where you know you can put the possibility of helpless insanity behind you forever and ever amen. And where you don’t make all the same mistakes again, even though I’m not sure I’m quite there.

    I’ve had materialist “experts” on pathological mental states tell me on other blogs that I’m ignorant of what we here are discussing. It is entertaining to spar with these guys with their polemics who have never been there.

    Your topic is similar to mine @ 56

  92. 92
    Bob O'H says:

    ppolish @ 70 –

    You ask “In what way is fluid dynamics in particular teleological, and what’s the evidence”, Bob OH.

    Well, 1st a definition of teleology per Mirriam/Webster:
    “The study of evidences of design in nature”.

    Which rather begs the rejoiner “so what in fluids is studying the evidence, the fluid or its molecules?”

    More seriously, can you provide a link that explain this:

    The maths tell us the probability of fluids emerging from Aimlessness is 1 in 10 to the 500 or 1 in “10 to the 10,000” for all practical purposes as Atheist Nima Arkani-Hamed adds.

    as I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean by Aimlessness. So I’m afraid I can’t even parse your argument.

  93. 93
    Bob O'H says:

    ppolish – Is the point you were trying to make is the one summarised by jdk in 72? If so, it makes things easier.

  94. 94
    kairosfocus says:

    Groov,

    I think I beg to differ.

    Perhaps, a comparable example will help.

    Do you recognise E = m*c^2 as a profound and highly significant result?

    (I assume so.)

    This result — astonishingly — drops out almost by the way from a process of evaluating energy and motion of particles under relativistic conditions. It is a zero-velocity energy term, which is interpreted as rest-mass energy. (There should strictly be a subscripted 0 there: m_0. Of course it has its first technical significance from the mass defect curve for the elements.)

    Likewise, one way to get to Newton’s gravitational result is to consider the flux of a field spreading out in space evenly from a point particle as a “pole.” This then naturally spreads out in inverse square relationship. (I actually liked to use this with 6th formers as it draws parallels to the Gauss flux approach to electromagnetism. Of course it hints of an effect on the fabric of space. Again, an almost trivial deduction, but with deep import. And absolutely pivotal as a nexus that unified the heavens and the earth, transforming our view of the cosmos. Also, completing our promotion to also being in the heavens not in the chaotic sump of a cosmic order.)

    The way a result comes up is in no wise determinative of its significance.

    Where, for just one instance, your rearrangement removes the + operation and the number 0 from the table. That is, while just a mathematical operation away, it removes one of the five key numbers and one of the four key operations in the standard form.

    So, we are back to the nexus status of the classical identity, and to how it demonstrates how the five most significant numbers and four key operations or relationships in mathematics are inextricably locked together in a demonstration of powerful coherence. A coherence that ties major domains of mathematics together, and a lot of scientifically or technically relevant phenomena in the time and frequency domains.

    Coherence and unification are quite significant issues in the world of thought.

    And no, this is not a magical mentality. Metaphysics is not magic, despite the pouncing on by those who traffic in magick. (I once wandered into such a shop when I naively wondered why a new bookshop was named after a branch of philosophy. I promptly learned why and why in my childhood people talked of the Black Arts and a certain publisher in Chicago.)

    KF

  95. 95
    jdk says:

    For what it’s worth, I showed why groovamos’s formula in 89 works in another post some time ago.

    Also, FWIW, e = m•c^2 is considerably different than Euler’s Identity, as the former is about how the world works, and its applicability can be (and has been) tested, while Euler’s Identity is an identity within math itself: its truth arises from its logical connection to other math, but it has no direct, testable connection to the real world.

  96. 96
    daveS says:

    KF,

    We can spend all day gushing about these identities, but so what? As we agree, it literally could not be otherwise.

    Regarding:

    I add, lastly it points to the pivotal importance of responsible, rational freedom in the key disciplines of thought.

    (my bolding added)

    I don’t see how the existence of this tautological statement “points to” freedom of one sort or another.

  97. 97
    jdk says:

    to Bob: yes, ppolish’s point is that everything is designed. See his response at 77.

  98. 98
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, this is not gushing. The significance of the links is not in doubt or on trial, our response to it is. KF

  99. 99
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, The expression used by Groov has neither the historical significance nor the natural connexions that emerge from pondering power series expansions of the exponentials and the trig functions. They do not naturally lead into rotations and oscillations etc. They are simply not comparable. Indeed we see here creeping in the same distractive pattern already pointed out in recent days. The Euler result speaks to powerful necessary abstract relationships that are in the framework of all possible worlds. They thus highlight the significance of abstract realities in worlds, thus pointing to where abstracta live: minds. Here, calling onto the stage the question of world-framing foundational mind. Where for a contingent cosmos to be, even and indeed especially through a multiverse speculation, we see the need for a root necessary being for reality. Where the relevant issue is best explanation per comparative difficulties analysis. And, we see here that the math in question is carried out by minds that need to be responsibly rationally free, which evolutionary materialistic scientism is powerless to deliver on, indeed reduces to self refuting incoherence once such is on the table. KF

  100. 100
    jdk says:

    I never said that Groovamos expression had great significance, or compared it to Euler’s Identity, so I have no idea why you said what you did. If groovamos’s identity was a distraction, please address yourself to him, not me. All I said was that I had shown why it is true a while back.

  101. 101
    groovamos says:

    KF I think I beg to differ.

    Perhaps, a comparable example will help.

    Do you recognise E = m*c^2 as a profound and highly significant result?

    (I assume so.)

    This result — astonishingly — drops out almost by the way from a process of evaluating energy and motion of particles under relativistic conditions. It is a zero-velocity energy term, which is interpreted as rest-mass energy. (There should strictly be a subscripted 0 there: m_0. Of course it has its first technical significance from the mass defect curve for the elements.)

    OK nothing here is incorrect, and don’t want to degrade anyone’s day. I could get into poles and zeros of a rational function etc. maybe not.

    E = m*c^2 is in a form for use in problem solution, a relationship where an independent variable is designated, either of the 2 variable, to bring it to the level of algebra for other readers. Now KF here is correct in a analogous way that probably the simplist cardinal form for problem solution in algebra is f(x) = 0. There is a related form that comes up in engineering and science where f(x) -> inf. In that case it applies, like he says, to a field spreading out from a point (an idealization of a ‘pole’) at which the flux density is infinite. In engineering it comes up in feedback systems where g(s)/h(s) -> inf can be solved for the ‘poles’ by finding all the roots of h(s) = 0 (which is ultra simplistic because h(s) = 0 does not supply the residue at each pole). Here the variable s is complex. The residue at a pole is a real number indicating how rapidly infinity is approached as the pole is approached in the plane.

    Now using s in the place of x with the cardinal f(s) = 0, the ‘zeroes’ are also important in science and engineering. Here f(s) is typically a polynomial or if a rational function can be used: f(s) = g(s)/h(s) = 0 where the ratio of two functions is ‘rational’. If you remember in algebra solving for the ‘roots’ of g(s) = 0, then they as you can see are identical to the zeroes of f(s).

    Now back to our mascot 1 + e^i*pi = 0.

    (1) Did that at any time arise from the cardinal form e^i*x + 1 = 0 on the way to solve for x = pi? Really?

    (2) the relationship (to say “equation” is a tad overblown because an equation implies something that is used in problem solution and the mascot is the solution to a problem), that relationship e^i*pi = -1 is proven using Taylor’s series expansion of the trig functions.

    You can see the zig zag path of utilization of Euler’s relationship here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euler%27s_formula
    and see how no one person put it all together for application to the complex plane and how the complex plane depiction did not come for 50 years. This is how discovery in math works, a gigantic puzzle doesn’t seem to come together until many pieces point to a big picture.

    OK. (assuming) So can we say that the mascot may be special because it CAN be put into the form with {0,1} and not because the FORM REQUIRES {0,1} members to be depicted? By saying this are we reaffirming {1} as multiplicative identity, which would tempt me to say “big deal”? Is e^0i = pi/pi an almost as good or even better mascot because identity factor {1} is there without even having to depict it?

    OK so then why not go ahead and adopt a new and better mascot for all the reasons @ 89,

    e^-3i*pi/4 + e^3i*pi/4 + 2^1/2 = 0

    And see if it implies all kinds of additional or maybe even new stuff about the universe and mind, by its including the additional 3, 2^2 and 2^1/2.

  102. 102
    Axel says:

    Bob, ‘aimlessness’ denotes the absence of an aim, a target, an objective, a design, a plan, an intention, nay, dare I venture, a design. Complete randomness, ‘aleatoriness’.

  103. 103
    jdk says:

    Just a note: the equation e^i*x + 1 = 0 has an infinite number of solutions in the form x = pi + n•2pi.

  104. 104
    kairosfocus says:

    Groov, while you have said some interesting things, my earlier remarks still apply. And yes, additive and multiplicative inverses are significant things, as is the root of natural logs and as is that famous number that keeps cropping up in odd places, pi. More significant is the domains thus brought together. Don’t overlook the significance of the underlying power series. KF

  105. 105
    jdk says:

    By the way, groovamos, the approach to the proof using power series on the wikipedia page you linked to is the way I used to approach this in my high school calculus class.

  106. 106
    groovamos says:

    you have said some interesting things, my earlier remarks still apply. And yes, additive and multiplicative inverses are significant things, as is the root of natural logs and as is that famous number that keeps cropping up in odd places, pi. More significant is the domains thus brought together. Don’t overlook the significance of the underlying power series. KF

    It’s been fun, just slightly tongue in cheek I will admit, maybe just a slightly wacky indication of my fondness for takedowns. Usually directed at fundamentalists of all religions especially scientific materialism religion and with help the takedown of my own ego. BTW my mention of Taylor’s series today and over the years on here is the “power series” to which you refer.

  107. 107
    kairosfocus says:

    Groov, but of course, the Taylor Series is more or less the standard form for the sort of power series we deal with. And no, I am not saying Euler’s result is some sort of new Scripture or the like. What I have pointed to is the nexus character of the result and what it points to. Deep unity and coherence, bringing together a considerable range of domains, locking them together. This speaks to the sort of world that is possible as relevant logic of quantity and structure (i.e. Math) constrains. It also hints at the roots of reality. KF

  108. 108
    Phinehas says:

    Sev:

    There was no point during puberty where I sat down and tried to decide rationally whether to be heterosexual or homosexual. I didn’t even decide it by the toss of a coin. I became aware of my sexual preference at a certain point, a preference that had already been determined. I couldn’t change that then or now by an exercise of free will and I think that is true of most people.

    Given the above, to what extent can we be said to have free will?

    Why are you asking if none of us have the free will to answer outside what we’ve been conditioned to answer?

    Oh. You must be asking because you’ve been conditioned to ask. Nevermind.

  109. 109
    ppolish says:

    Kairosfocus, thank you for the Euler video/lecture in post 87! Very informative & watchable – and I can now pronounce “Euler” correctly:)

    Euler was a Monster of Math:O Happy monster, impossible productive monster. Yikes.

  110. 110
    ppolish says:

    BobOH @ 92….

    Aimlessness is opposite of Design. It is opposite of Teleogy. It will never never ever result in a caterpillar or butterfly.

    Aimlessness will never ever give you fluids or the laws that govern their dynamics. Euler was not the result of aimlessness:)

    Modern scientists in physics realize this now. It troubles many of them. You need a very fine tuned universe to create fluids and Eulers. “Very fine tuned” is an understatement. Write “very” a hundred times on the blackboard to get a flavor lol:)

    Enter the Multiverse. It can give us lots and lots of “very’s”. It might even introduce aimlessness? Many hope so, but sorry nope. That is a debate for another day.

    10^500 universes required to give us one like ours has been bandied about. Atheist Nima Arkani Hamed calls BS – says it might as well be 10^zillions (not 10000 like I previously wrote oops) in this lecture about 11 minutes in;

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FrTq_m1pLz8

    At about 25 minutes in, Nima starts discussing the Multiverse. Note – he admits that if it indeed turned out our Universe is the only Universe, he would become Religious:) Nima was raised in Iran and publicly said he witnessed nasty religion stuff as a child. If he DOES get religion again, I’m hoping he comes over to our team;)

  111. 111
    kairosfocus says:

    PP,

    My 6th form Math book long ago suggested “Oiler.” He was a giant, a true one of a kind. His contribution is to be deeply respected.

    The identity being discussed above, we must remember, comes from the powerful mind of a man who was broad and surpassingly deep all across the field of Mathematics, so it is no surprise that he put his finger on a point of nexus that brings ever so much together at one focus and noted on it.

    That such a result should have connexions and resonances in all sorts of ways should not surprise us.

    But the problem is, it is too powerful, too connected, too suggestive for where many would like to go, and they have spent vast energy in trying to make us dismissively not see what is there. In some cases, people — including suprising cases — are genuinely persuaded there is not much there, but that often reflects the pattern and effects of a live donkey kicking a dead lion and braying loudly over the immense victory; which may lead others to think a real victory was indeed won. (More than one astute general has thereby turned a modest result into a triumph, as perceived. Sometimes, even defeat has been transmuted into apparent victory. Those who are so persuaded are not to be blamed for it, but we should be open to the possibility of there being less victory there than is brayed over. Likewise, genuine and substantial achievements by the “wrong” person or side, have too often been muted or even transformed into failures as perceived.)

    All, multiplied by our poverty in metaphysics and especially ontology in our time.

    KF

  112. 112
    DillyGill says:

    Seversky @32 says
    “We all agree that we experience or have the sensation of exercising free will But no sane person can deny that much of what they are physically and psychologically was inherited from their parents through their genes. No sane person can deny that their character or personality was shaped in their formative years by influences of which they were unaware and over which they had no control. So no sane person can deny that to that extent what and who we are was determined or constrained by history. Given the above, to what extent can we be said to have free will?”

    My take on that and the free will issue

    The front line of the battle of the will is determined by all the above factors however all that does is put you in a position of the battle field which you are dropped into as you become more responsible for your own choices. So if you were raised being taught that stealing is okay then that may become your front line, if you come into agreement with the spiritual principle that it is not. If you were well provided for and stealing was taught to you as wrong and you have never been tempted because you have what you need and much of what you desire you may look at the system that is operating in the world and see that people are being stolen from as a matter of how the system works (dollar a day/ poverty wages etc..) and you may be fighting the battle of the will that goes against your own best interests (the status quo with you doing rather nicely) and fight for justice for the poor. It is still a battle of the will. There is a fight to be fought for everyone at the level their will operates for good, truth and justice and personal sacrifice (and/or the spiritual principles laid out in the Bible). The battle of the will is a fight to be fought for everyone regardless of the factors you mentioned because those only determine the level of the battle.
    I was born an alcoholic my choice is abstinence or drunkenness. I can not choose not to be an alcoholic however I do have a choice about how I live my life (drunk/sober).

  113. 113
    Bob O'H says:

    ppolish – ah, thanks. Once we have the laws and initial conditions set in place (whether aimless or not), why can’t the subsequent behaviour of the universe be aimless? In other words, can God (or whatever) just set things up and let it roll without interference?

  114. 114
    jdk says:

    An additional question: could God (or whatever) have done the fine-tuning and initial set up of a purely material world and let it roll.

    That is, could the universe have been designed and created by some non-material entity and yet still be, within itself, a purely material universe? Any philosophical problem with that?

  115. 115
    Barry Arrington says:

    “I predict you [i.e., Seversky] will dodge that question [at 36].”

    Here we are three days later. Sev has commented on other matters but has fled this this thread. Prediction confirmed.

  116. 116
    DarelRex says:

    Barry Arrington said, “Under your theory of morality, the most powerful prevailed. And the mere fact of their prevailing makes their actions right.”

    I suspect that an underlying assumption of Arrington’s argument is that “most powerful” is an arbitrary, luck-dictated characteristic, unrelated to an objectively definable morality. If instead, the most powerful are (on-average, long-term) those who have the best policies for helping their people to be productive and creative, then Arrington’s argument may not hold up.

    Arrington said, “I predict you [i.e., Seversky] will dodge that question [at 36].” I can’t speak for Seversky, but consider my above paragraph to be the non-dodge. Now — will you dodge it?

  117. 117
    Barry Arrington says:

    DarelRex @ 116

    If instead, the most powerful are (on-average, long-term) those who have the best policies for helping their people to be productive and creative, then Arrington’s argument may not hold up.

    You use the words “productive” and “creative” as if they had objective meaning and were obvious objective goods. In other words, like most materialists, you kick objective morality out the front door and try to smuggle it back in through the back door.

    Also, there is no reason to believe that there is any necessary relation between raw power and the objective goods you smuggle in. Unless you truly believe that might does in fact make right.

  118. 118
    ppolish says:

    Yes Bob&jdk, one can imagine a god setting up a purely material universe and letting it roll aimlessly. One could imagine a multiverse doing the same thing. Imagination is a wonderful “thing”:)

    What is very hard to imagine, however, is a universe where butterflys and Euler emerge aimlessly. I mean c’mon, imagination has to be tempered by evidence and logic sometimes. Especially when doing science.

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