Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

No Sane Person Acts as if Materialism Is True


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.

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. ppolish
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. Barry Arrington
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? DarelRex
"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. Barry Arrington
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? jdk
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? Bob O'H
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). DillyGill
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 kairosfocus
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;) ppolish
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. ppolish
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. Phinehas
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 kairosfocus
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. groovamos
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. jdk
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 kairosfocus
Just a note: the equation e^i*x + 1 = 0 has an infinite number of solutions in the form x = pi + n•2pi. jdk
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'. Axel
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. groovamos
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. jdk
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 kairosfocus
DS, this is not gushing. The significance of the links is not in doubt or on trial, our response to it is. KF kairosfocus
to Bob: yes, ppolish's point is that everything is designed. See his response at 77. jdk
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. daveS
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. jdk
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 kairosfocus
ppolish - Is the point you were trying to make is the one summarised by jdk in 72? If so, it makes things easier. Bob O'H
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. Bob O'H
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 groovamos
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. groovamos
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!) DillyGill
1 2 3

Leave a Reply