Intelligent Design

Question for materialists

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It’s been a while since I’ve been “out here” and I am wondering if materialism is still considered by some to be a rational position to hold. I understand “materialism” to be the idea that every existing thing is comprised of the periodic table of elements (rearranged in a vast number of ways described by the standard model and general relativity) and no more. Is this a fair definition? Thanks.

168 Replies to “Question for materialists

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    From my perspective, “materialism” – in the very simplistic sense that everything is made from tiny lumps of hard stuff – is an archaic usage. The more recent term is “physicalism” which the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains as follows:

    Physicalism is, in slogan form, the thesis that everything is physical. The thesis is usually intended as a metaphysical thesis, parallel to the thesis attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Thales, that everything is water, or the idealism of the 18th Century philosopher Berkeley, that everything is mental. The general idea is that the nature of the actual world (i.e. the universe and everything in it) conforms to a certain condition, the condition of being physical. Of course, physicalists don’t deny that the world might contain many items that at first glance don’t seem physical — items of a biological, or psychological, or moral, or social, or mathematical nature. But they insist nevertheless that at the end of the day such items are physical, or at least bear an important relation to the physical.

    […]

    Physicalism is sometimes known as ‘materialism’. Indeed, on one strand to contemporary usage, the terms ‘physicalism’ and ‘materialism’ are interchangeable. But the two terms have very different histories. The word ‘materialism’ appears in English towards the end of the 17th century, but the word ‘physicalism’ was introduced into philosophy only in the 1930s by Otto Neurath (1931) and Rudolf Carnap (1959/1932), both of whom were key members of the Vienna Circle, a group of philosophers, scientists and mathematicians active in Vienna prior to World War II. While it is not clear that Neurath and Carnap understood physicalism in the same way, one thesis often attributed to them (e.g. in Hempel 1949) is the linguistic thesis that every statement is synonymous with (i.e. is equivalent in meaning with) some physical statement. But materialism as traditionally construed is not a linguistic thesis at all; rather it is a metaphysical thesis in the sense that it tells us about the nature of the world. At least for the positivists, therefore, there was a clear reason for distinguishing physicalism (a linguistic thesis) from materialism (a metaphysical thesis). Moreover, this reason was compounded by the fact that, according to official positivist doctrine, metaphysics is nonsense. Since the 1930s, however, the positivist philosophy that under-girded this distinction has for the most part been rejected—for example, physicalism is not a linguistic thesis for contemporary philosophers—and this is one reason why the words ‘materialism’ and ‘physicalism’ are now often interpreted as interchangeable.

    Some philosophers suggest that ‘physicalism’ is distinct from ‘materialism’ for a reason quite unrelated to the one emphasized by Neurath and Carnap. As the name suggests, materialists historically held that everything was matter — where matter was conceived as “an inert, senseless substance, in which extension, figure, and motion do actually subsist” (Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge, par. 9). But physics itself has shown that not everything is matter in this sense; for example, forces such as gravity are physical but it is not clear that they are material in the traditional sense (Lange 1865, Dijksterhuis 1961, Yolton 1983). So it is tempting to use ‘physicalism’ to distance oneself from what seems a historically important but no longer scientifically relevant thesis of materialism, and related to this, to emphasize a connection to physics and the physical sciences. However, while physicalism is certainly unusual among metaphysical doctrines in being associated with a commitment both to the sciences and to a particular branch of science, namely physics, it is not clear that this is a good reason for calling it ‘physicalism’ rather than ‘materialism.’ For one thing, many contemporary physicalists do in fact use the word ‘materialism’ to describe their doctrine (e.g. Smart 1963). Moreover, while ‘physicalism’ is no doubt related to ‘physics’ it is also related to ‘physical object’ and this in turn is very closely connected with ‘material object’, and via that, with ‘matter.’

  2. 2
    Viola Lee says:

    Good material, Sev. This is important:

    As the name suggests, materialists historically held that everything was matter — where matter was conceived as “an inert, senseless substance, in which extension, figure, and motion do actually subsist” (Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge, par. 9). But physics itself has shown that not everything is matter in this sense; for example, forces such as gravity are physical but it is not clear that they are material in the traditional sense (Lange 1865, Dijksterhuis 1961, Yolton 1983). So it is tempting to use ‘physicalism’ to distance oneself from what seems a historically important but no longer scientifically relevant thesis of materialism, and related to this, to emphasize a connection to physics and the physical sciences.

    Also, the article is clear that there is some ambiguity about the term “materialism”.

    I recently discussed this with someone (Querius), distinguishing “old” materialism from “new” materialism. Modern materialism includes everything that modern physics accepts as existing, including all the facets of quantum mechanics, fields, etc. that go way beyond just thinking of the elemental particles that make up atoms as summarized in the periodic table.

  3. 3
    Belfast says:

    Materialism is a view that the world can be explained, admitting no exceptions, by natural laws. Its definition is malleable, if not in flux, hence the nonsense about the “new” materialism and “bits of hard stuff”.
    Science has long disputed the classical understanding of matter, and described it as an illusion arising from a false belief that what is obvious and observable can be extrapolated into the sub-atomic world; or, as Nobel Laureate, Hans Bethe, put it, “our intuition is based on our experiences in the macroscopic world. There is no reason to expect our intuition to be valid for microscopic phenomena.”
    Bohr, Heisenberg, Planck, …, all conveyed the conception that, at sub-atomic levels, there is no matter as such, only relationships, or potentials; and elementary subatomic particles don’t exist except as an explanatory tool, so an elementary subatomic ‘particle’ is a pattern of excitation in a quantum field. Though abstract, it exists.
    In other words materialism has had/is having an agonising time trying to convey an acceptable definition of ‘matter’, and poet, Richard Wilbur, put it well when he wrote, “Cloudy, cloudy, is the stuff of stones.”
    “Scientific” materialism is the ‘strong view’ of metaphysical materialism and it, also, asserts that the physical world is all there is; it thus lies in a general philosophy of materialism, but with the word ‘scientific’ added for a cachet of distinction.
    Materialism has no scientific credentials. Materialism is a philosophy not subordinate to scientific methods. Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner is one who argues that, while some philosophical concepts may be logically consistent with present-day quantum mechanics, materialism is not one of them. Tacking ‘scientific’ to materialism as Whitehead and James etc., did was as silly as tacking ‘scientific’ to Stoicism, or any philosophy – Positivism imploded when it tacked on ‘Logical’.
    The root of materialism today is that everything which exists, and every event that occurs, had a natural cause; it holds that matter/energy interactions are enough to explain any phenomenon, including human consciousness, as the outcome of material interactions. Notions of free will, for example, do not, cannot, exist, for if humans are wholly matter, and matter is ruled by matter/energy interactions, then there is no space for free will. The argument runs that the brain is bits of matter, and matter moves following laws of physics, so what is considered as free will, etc., are mathematically objective outcomes of matter movement. In Materialism, all causes are natural causes, all effects are natural effects.
    Cause and effect is very properly at the root of all physics so words like ‘interactions’ and ‘attraction’ and ‘result’ and ‘stress’ and ‘product’ pepper every scientific paper.
    And It is the absence of a natural cause for the origin of the universe, and life, and, indeed, for the natural origin of ‘matter’ itself that will eventually cause the jettisoning of materialism as a philosophy of any use to humanity.

  4. 4
    Viola Lee says:

    Belfast writes,

    Science has long disputed the classical understanding of matter, and described it as an illusion arising from a false belief that what is obvious and observable can be extrapolated into the sub-atomic world; or, as Nobel Laureate, Hans Bethe, put it, “our intuition is based on our experiences in the macroscopic world. There is no reason to expect our intuition to be valid for microscopic phenomena.”
    Bohr, Heisenberg, Planck, …, all conveyed the conception that, at sub-atomic levels, there is no matter as such, only relationships, or potentials; and elementary subatomic particles don’t exist except as an explanatory tool, so an elementary subatomic ‘particle’ is a pattern of excitation in a quantum field. Though abstract, it exists.

    Yes, this is what I was saying about the modern understanding of materialsim, or physicalism.

    The OP was not asking for a defense of materialism as an explanation for everything, but rather just a clarification of what the modern understanding of the term is, which is what Sev and I have responded to.

    Belfast, you write, “The argument runs that the brain is bits of matter, and matter moves following laws of physics.”

    However, as you and I both agree, I think, “bits of matter” is an outdated concept. Macroscopically the brain is “bits of matter”, but so is my table. What they are at the foundational quantum level is something different.

    Let me make it clear, again, I’m not defending philosophical materialism (I am not a materialist), but we are trying to have a consistent view of what modern materialism refers to, and it is that, to quote you (or maybe Bethe: I’m not sure where his words end and yours begin), “there is no matter as such, only relationships, or potentials; and elementary subatomic particles don’t exist except as an explanatory tool.”

  5. 5
    Belfast says:

    VL
    Materialism is the talk; but it is not always the walk. A materialist who actually lives as though her husband is an assortment of molecules responding to chemical interactions, who actually lives as though her feeling of free will is merely a cultural artefact and that she really has no more free will than a wheelbarrow, who sees her children as robots directed by their genes and environmental pressures, would likely be regarded as a psychopath.
    “Love” might be a reification but it works better than dissolving an amalgam of causes into its possible constituent parts of self-interest, need for approval, youthful imprinting and the rest.
    I remember when the Higgs Field was established as not a statistical coincidence and I considered the peculiarity of a thing – a lepton in this case – as having no intrinsic mass, immaterial by one definition, yet acquiring mass when it reacted in a Higgs field, it looked like acquiring mass led to materiality. That led to musing on whether things like Fairness, Justice, Authority, Love , are continuations of the physical world, abstractions which exist acquiring mass in different kinds of fields.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    TGP, great to see you popping up, hope you hang around for a bit! KF

    PS, Evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow travellers = a description of much of Naturalism, travel in the orbit of physicalism. Lewontin lets cats out of the bag, but maybe Monod needs to be put in the spotlight:

    In writing about naturalistic origins of life, in Chance and Necessity, Monod proposed that life is the result of chance and necessity. This reflects the naturalistic attitude, and is tied to the a priori rejection of design as a possibility highlighted by Lewontin thirty years later; yes, an assumption held to be pivotal to
    scientific “objectivity.”

    Clipping:

    [T]he basic premise of the scientific method, . . . [is] that nature is objective and not projective [= a project of an agent]. Hence it is through reference to our own activity, con-scious and projective, intentional and purposive-it is as | makers of artifacts-that we judge of a given object’s “naturalness” or “artificialness.” [pp. 3 – 4] . . . .

    [T]he postulate of objectivity is consubstantial with science: it has guided the whole of its prodigious develop-ment for three centuries. [–> false!] There is no way to be rid of it, even tentatively or in a limited area, without departing from the domain of science itself. [–> ideological captivity to evolutionary materialistic scientism][p. 21]

    Further to such, in a 1971 television interview, he asserted — tellingly — as follows:

    [T]he scientific attitude implies what I call the postulate of objectivity—that is to say, the fundamental postulate that there is no plan, that there is no intention in the universe. Now, this is basically incompatible with virtually all the religious or metaphysical systems whatever, all of which try to show that there is some sort of harmony between man and the universe and that man is a product—predictable if not indispensable—of the evolution of the universe.— Jacques Monod [Quoted in John C. Hess, ‘French Nobel Biologist Says World Based On Chance’, New York Times (15 Mar 1971), p. 6. Cited in Herbert Marcuse, Counter-Revolution and
    Revolt
    (1972), p. 66.]

    This is of course a Nobel Prize winner speaking and writing on the record. Chance and Necessity was in fact a highly influential, widely celebrated book. This is not some half baked soapbox debater.

  7. 7
    Viola Lee says:

    Hey, KF, no one here is defending materialism. Have you actually read the posts???

  8. 8
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @7,

    Hey, KF, no one here is defending materialism. Have you actually read the posts???

    Pretty snarky if you ask me.

    If you consult online Britannica, Materialism is defined as follows:

    materialism, also called physicalism, in philosophy, the view that all facts (including facts about the human mind and will and the course of human history) are causally dependent upon physical processes, or even reducible to them.

    The word materialism has been used in modern times to refer to a family of metaphysical theories (i.e., theories of the nature of reality) that can best be defined by saying that a theory tends to be called materialist if it is felt sufficiently to resemble a paradigmatic theory that will here be called mechanical materialism. This article covers the various types of materialism and the ways by which they are distinguished and traces the history of materialism from the Greeks and Romans to modern forms of materialism.

    . . . The theory denies that immaterial or apparently immaterial things (such as minds) exist or else explains them away as being material things or motions of material things.

    For additional information, see https://www.britannica.com/topic/materialism-philosophy

    I’ve typically used the term, deterministic materialism. However, theoretical physicist, Sabine Hossenfelder defends materialism by further defining it as “superdeterminism,” denying free will, spooky action at a distance, and supporting the hidden variables (i.e. missing information) interpretation of quantum mechanics.
    https://youtu.be/ytyjgIyegDI

    I’m seem to remember vigorous (endless) debates here regarding neuroscience and free will. Do you?

    Perhaps I should use this less popular term, superdeterminism, in the future.

    -Q

  9. 9
    Viola Lee says:

    But no one in this thread is defending materialism, Q. We’re just discussing what the word means, as is the topic of the OP. That’s why KF’s post was a distraction. Given the extreme language KF often uses to characterize people, I don’t think a little snark is unjustified (and it was also a legitimate question.)

    Here’s some more of the article that significantly adds to the part you quoted.

    It says,

    Mechanical materialism is the theory that the world consists entirely of hard, massy material objects, which, though perhaps imperceptibly small, are otherwise like such things as stones.

    Everyone in this thread is pointing out that that definition is very out-dated.

    Britannica goes on to say,

    “It is therefore natural to extend the word materialist beyond the above paradigm case (of mechanical materialism) to cover anyone who bases his theory on whatever it is that physics asserts ultimately to exist.”,This sort may be called physicalistic materialism. Such a materialist allows the concept of material thing to be extended so as to include all of the elementary particles and other things that are postulated in fundamental physical theory—perhaps even continuous fields and points of space-time. Inasmuch as some cosmologists even try to define the elementary particles themselves in terms of the curvature of space-time, there is no reason why a philosophy based on such a geometricized cosmology should not be counted as materialist, provided that it does not give an independent existence to nonphysical things such as minds.

    This is what both Belfast and I have said.

  10. 10
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @9,

    So I guess you didn’t watch Sabine Hossenfelder’s video on determinism and superdeterminism, right?

    -Q

  11. 11
    William J Murray says:

    …provided that it does not give an independent existence to nonphysical things such as minds.

    It would appear, then, that physicalists don’t understand quantum physics or what the term “wave” or “field of potential” refers to in that theory.

  12. 12
    AaronS1978 says:

    Materialism to me is the philosophical abuse of reductionism which turns science into the religion of scientism.

  13. 13
    Alan Fox says:

    Empiricism is the idea that we can only know anything that we are aware of, that has some physical existence. That includes quantum effects, William. And gravity.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, kindly note OP:

    I understand “materialism” to be the idea that every existing thing is comprised of the periodic table of elements (rearranged in a vast number of ways described by the standard model and general relativity) and no more. Is this a fair definition?

    I responded to TGP on this in a PS, in large part by citing a leading, Nobel Prize holding materialist, Monod. He in effect tries to redefine science as applied materialism. This is right there in his leading bestseller book and in a TV interview. In so doing, he identifies what he understands materialism is, from a leading horse’s mouth.

    Notice:

    Monod: [T]he scientific attitude [= evolutionary materialistic scientism and it pulls on its coat tails fellow travellers who are not strictly materialists] implies what I call the postulate of objectivity—that is to say, the fundamental postulate that there is no plan, that there is no intention in the universe. Now, this is basically incompatible with virtually all the religious or metaphysical systems whatever, all of which try to show that there is some sort of harmony between man and the universe and that man is a product—predictable if not indispensable—of the evolution of the universe.

    So, I am manifestly on topic.

    Now, we can freely go further to flesh out Monod, that the physical cosmos and/or quasi physical extensions exhaust fundamental reality.

    That would include things like quantum foams popping up sub universes as fluctuations, it would include multiverses and whatever root reality exists. That’s why there is held to be no plan, no intention in the universe. And that’s why the prestige of science is drawn on to make it seem plausible to the College educated and the secularised masses who look to Big-S Science as the utterly dominant source of reliable truth.

    Where of course the origins narrative runs from hydrogen to humans by way of a big bang, cosmological evolution, solar system evolution, chemical evolution, spontaneous origin of cell based life, body plan level macroevolution, human evolution, language evolution, societal evolution, all claimed to be driven by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. (For those who need it, this extends the understanding of materialism beyond our periodic table of elements and associated particles, the four forces etc.)

    I have for 35 years pointed out that in effect Haldane is right, such a narrative cannot credibly account for the rational responsible freedom required for us to have enough credibility to be rational and knowing creatures. That is, just on its own terms and what we need to have intellectual credibility enough to reliably warrant and know, it is self referentially incoherent and self falsifying.

    As a common example, I noticed how marxist critiques of those they target are self referential. So were freudian and behaviourist thinkers. That extends to their successors today, it is a pattern to the point that we need to watch out for it.

    That was long before I heard of an abductive design inference on signs or a theory or a movement.

    It was there as I thought about the thermodynamics and information issues that led me to see that the long since known architecture of the cell has to answer to those issues and it fed back into my longstanding interest in astronomy and cosmology. Along the way these things helped me bridge information, systems architecture and the impact of the informational school of thought on thermodynamics.

    But that is a personal story in outline.

    The key point is, we have from a key horse’s mouth, a clear path to understanding evolutionary materialistic scientism.

    KF

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, the empir-ICAL must not be confused for the empir-ICIST. KF

  16. 16
  17. 17
    whistler says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve been “out here” and I am wondering if materialism is still considered by some to be a rational position to hold. I understand “materialism” to be the idea that every existing thing is comprised of the periodic table of elements (rearranged in a vast number of ways described by the standard model and general relativity) and no more. Is this a fair definition? Thanks.

    🙂 Materialism is a ridiculous concept. The biggest problem is that to be formulated you need something that is not in the periodic table of elements: reason.

  18. 18
    Alan Fox says:

    Materialism is a ridiculous concept.

    Who are you arguing with?

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

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

    “Materialism (or physicalism or naturalism) is the view that the sum and substance of everything that exists is exhausted by physical objects and processes and whatever supervenes causally upon them. The resources available to the materialist for providing an explanation of how the universe works are therefore restricted to material objects, causes, events and processes. Because quantum theory is thought to provide the bedrock for our scientific understanding of physical reality, it is to this theory that the materialist inevitably appeals in support of his worldview. But having fled to science in search of a safe haven for his doctrines, the materialist instead finds that quantum theory in fact dissolves and defeats his materialist understanding of the world.”
    – Bruce Gordon PhD.
    https://www.namb.net/apologetics/resource/why-quantum-theory-does-not-support-materialism/

    “If you go back and look at the premises which underlie materialism, They are all presumptions that were made back in the 17th and 18th century. Those (presumptions) are: reality, locality, causality, continuity, and determinism. All of those concepts were assumed to be self evident. And all of them have been disproved by quantum theory. The last one to fall was locality. (John Bell’s theory of non-locality disproved locality, which has now been proven I think 11 times in 11 different experiments throughout the world.),,, Anyone who says, “Well, I want to believe materialism and I don’t want to believe quantum physics.” Okay then, get rid of your cell phone, along with anything you have with a transistor in it. Get rid of your MRIs, get rid of all those things. Because quantum electro-dynamics is the theory which allows those things. It is the most proven theory in all of science.”
    – Dr. Alan Hugenot – 2015

    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism (v2)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM0IKLv7KrE

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Whistler: “Materialism is a ridiculous concept.”

    Alan Fox “Who are you arguing with?”

    Thanks for succinctly highlighting the primary fatal flaw within materialism/physicalism/naturalism Alan.,,,, Under materialism/physicalism/naturalism there simply is no “Who” for anyone to be arguing with! Only “Neuronal Illusions’, ‘Meat Robots’, and/or ‘controlled hallucinations’ of a very distinctive kind’,

    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.
    https://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/the-confidence-of-jerry-coyne/?mcubz=3

    “You are robots made out of meat. Which is what I am going to try to convince you of today”
    Jerry Coyne –
    No, You’re Not a Robot Made Out of Meat (Science Uprising 02) – video
    https://youtu.be/rQo6SWjwQIk?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1OmYcqv_yQSpje4p7rAE7-&t=20

    “Our experiences of being and having a body are ‘controlled hallucinations’ of a very distinctive kind.”
    Anil Seth, “The Real Problem” at Aeon – (Nov. 2, 2016)
    – per evolution news – Oct. 2022

    “(Daniel) Dennett concludes, ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’.”
    J.W. SCHOOLER & C.A. SCHREIBER – Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection – 2004

    The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness – Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
    Part II THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
    Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.
    Steven Pinker – Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University
    – per academia

    Sam Harris: “The self is an illusion.”
    – Michael Egnor Demolishes the Myth of Materialism (Science Uprising EP1)
    https://youtu.be/Fv3c7DWuqpM?t=267

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.,,,
    – Alex Rosenberg – Professor of Philosophy Duke University – The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    “The first thing to understand, I believe, is that there is no thing like “the self.” Nobody ever had or was a self. Selves are not part of reality. Selves are not something that endures over time. The first person pronoun “I” doesn’t refer to an object like a football or a bicycle, it just points to the speaker of the current sentence. There is no thing in the brain or outside in the world, which is us. We are processes… the self is not a thing but a process.”
    – Thomas Metzinger is a German philosopher. As of 2011 he holds the position of director of the theoretical philosophy group at the department of philosophy at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz

    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

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism
    Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism. If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.
    – per evolution news

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

    You see, as Alan succinctly highlighted in his question “Who are you arguing with?”, (and in a shining example of poetic justice), in the atheist’s denial that God exists as a real person, the atheist ends up having to deny that he himself exists as a real person. Without God being a real person, there simply is nothing for the atheistic materialist to ground the entire concept of ‘personhood’ on!

    Nothing: God’s new Name – Antoine Suarez – video
    Paraphrased quote: (“it is impossible for us to be ‘persons’ experiencing ‘now’ if we are nothing but particles flowing in space time. Moreover, for us to refer to ourselves as ‘persons’, we cannot refer to space-time as the ultimate substratum upon which everything exists, but must refer to a Person who is not bound by space time. i.e. We must refer to God!”)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOr9QqyaLlA

    Moreover, it is not just our ‘sense of self’, i.e. our very ‘personhood’, that Darwinists end up denying the reality of, (as devastating as that is for materialists), Darwinists end up, because of their reductive materialistic framework, being forced to deny the reality of many things that everyone, including the vast majority of Darwinists themselves, accept as being undeniably real.

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist (who believes Darwinian evolution to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris, Coyne), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. the illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who also must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the hopelessness of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is simply too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must also hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    April 18, 2021 – Defense of each claim
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/philosopher-mary-midgeley-1919-2018-on-scientism/#comment-728595

    Thus, although a materialist, Darwinian Atheist, and/or Methodological Naturalist, may firmly, and falsely, believe that he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for naturalistic explanations over and above God as a viable explanation), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists themselves are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

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

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

    And to put a cherry on top of all this, empirical science has now proven, via the falsification of ‘realism’ by Leggett’s inequality, that material particles themselves, (whatever the ‘particles’ may actually be, and which Darwinian materialists hold to be the ultimate foundation, and/or ultimate definition, for all of reality), are themselves found to not be ‘real’.

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

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.

  21. 21
    chuckdarwin says:

    Like Madonna sings:

    You know that we are living in a material world
    And I am a material girl…..

  22. 22
    JVL says:

    Chuckdarwin: Like Madonna sings:

    Papa, don’t preach.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  23. 23
    chuckdarwin says:

    JVL
    LOL……

  24. 24
    Alan Fox says:

    You see, as Alan succinctly highlighted in his question “Who are you arguing with?”

    And the answer is?

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, that we are embodied is not the issue, that we are self aware, conscience guarded, have rational responsible freedom is. KF

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, actually, there is a need to clarify the term materialism. Some have taken time to make substantial contributions. Your input is? ________ KF

  27. 27
    Alan Fox says:

    KF, it’s simple. Anything that impinges on our reality (our ontology, if you like), however indirectly (as examples but not restricted to) such as an image from a scanning electron microscope, an X-ray diffraction pattern from a crystal, infra-red signals from the Webb telescope is part of this physical universe. Some things are only known from their effects, such as gravity and black holes. All are physical. There are indeed limits to our knowledge; what is beyond the visible universe, for instance. There are also limits to our ability to understand ourselves and the reality we inhabit. Humans have a propensity for vivid imagination and, seemingly, an emotional need for stories that fill gaps in our knowledge.

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, our consciousness is delusional if it is without residue the manifestation of a computational substrate and if it is sufficiently free to be rational it is a sign that reality is more than the material, as Haldane pointed out long since. And your pushing strawmannish talking points about gaps is a naked, prejudice driven fallacy. KF

  29. 29
    bornagain77 says:

    Hmmm, AF: “Anything that impinges on our reality,,, All are physical”

    And exactly what is this ‘our reality’ that all that physical stuff is impinging on?

    “We wish to measure a temperature.,,,
    But in any case, no matter how far we calculate — to the mercury vessel, to the scale of the thermometer, to the retina, or into the brain, at some time we must say: and this is perceived by the observer. That is, we must always divide the world into two parts, the one being the observed system, the other the observer.”
    – John von Neumann – 1903-1957 – The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, pp.418-21 – 1955

    As hinted at in post 20, Materialism/Physicalism/Naturalism simply is at a complete loss to explain the “our reality’ that all that physical stuff is impinging on. i.e. the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness.

    I find George Ellis’s ‘pragmatic’ definition of existence to be far more useful in defining what exists. “If Y is a physical entity made up of ordinary matter, and X is some kind of entity that has a demonstrable causal effect on Y as per Definition 1, then we must acknowledge that X also exists (even if it is not made up of such matter)”,,, “The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.”

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    Excerpt: Causation: The nature of causation is highly contested territory, and I will take a pragmatic view:
    Definition 1: Causal Effect
    If making a change in a quantity X results in a reliable demonstrable change in a quantity Y in a given context, then X has a causal effect on Y.?Example: I press the key labelled “A” on my computer keyboard; the letter “A” appears on my computer screen.,,,
    Definition 2: Existence
    If Y is a physical entity made up of ordinary matter, and X is some kind of entity that has a demonstrable causal effect on Y as per Definition 1, then we must acknowledge that X also exists (even if it is not made up of such matter).
    This is clearly a sensible and testable criterion; in the example above, it leads to the conclusion that both the data and the relevant software exist. If we do not adopt this definition, we will have instances of uncaused changes in the world; I presume we wish to avoid that situation.,,,
    ,,,However there are many topics that one cannot understand by assuming this one-way flow of causation. The flourishing subject of social neuroscience makes clear how social influences act down on individual brain structure[2]; studies in physiology demonstrate that downward causation is necessary in understanding the heart, where this form of causation can be represented as the influences of initial and boundary conditions on the solutions of the differential equations used to represent the lower level processes[3]; epigenetic studies demonstrate that biological development is crucially shaped by the environment[4]
    What about physics? In this essay I will make the case that top-down causation is also prevalent in physics, even though this is not often recognised as such. This does not occur by violating physical laws; on the contrary, it occurs through the laws of physics, by setting constraints on lower level interactions.
    Excerpt: page 5: A:
    Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.
    The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.
    Excerpt page 7: The assumption that causation is bottom up only is wrong in biology, in computers, and even in many cases in physics, for example state vector preparation, where top-down constraints allow non-unitary behaviour at the lower levels. It may well play a key role in the quantum measurement problem (the dual of state vector preparation) [5]. One can bear in mind here that wherever equivalence classes of entities play a key role, such as in Crutchfield’s computational mechanics [29], this is an indication that top-down causation is at play.,,,
    Life and the brain: living systems are highly structured modular hierarchical systems, and there are many similarities to the digital computer case, even though they are not digital computers. The lower level interactions are constrained by network connections, thereby creating possibilities of truly complex behaviour. Top-down causation is prevalent at all levels in the brain: for example it is crucial to vision [24,25] as well as the relation of the individual brain to society [2]. The hardware (the brain) can do nothing without the excitations that animate it: indeed this is the difference between life and death. The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1212.2275.pdf

    Likewise, using Ellis’s ‘pragmatic’ definition of existence, God’s Mind can also be discerned. As Dr. Egnor asks, “What is it about God’s existence that you still consider hidden?”

    The Divine Hiddenness Argument Against God’s Existence = Nonsense – Michael Egnor -Oct. 4, 2021
    Excerpt: We will set aside Scriptural revelation and personal experience (given that atheists like Dillahunty discount these anyway) and consider the ways in which God shows Himself in nature (i.e., the ten ways that God’s existence can be known that I listed during my debate with Dillahunty. Here are three excellent references for the details of these various arguments: Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide, (Edward Feser), Five Proofs of the Existence of God (Edward Feser), and Letters to an Atheist (Peter Kreeft).
    These and other works cover evidence such as Aquinas’ First Way (by change in nature), Aquinas’ Second Way (by cause in nature), Aquinas’ Third Way (by contingent existence), Aquinas’ Fourth Way (by degrees of perfection), and Aquinas’ Fifth Way (by design in nature) as well as the Thomistic argument from existence, the Neoplatonic argument (from the order of things), the Augustinian argument (from abstract objects), the rationalist argument (from the principal of sufficient reason), and the argument for Moral Law (from the reality of objective moral obligation).
    Each of these proofs of God’s existence is revealed to us through our intellect.
    Is the information that God provides in these ways sufficient to convince a reasonable person of His existence? Consider the ten ways that simple everyday experience provides inexhaustible evidence for His existence:
    Every change in nature proves His existence. Every cause in nature proves His existence. Everything that exists in nature proves His existence. Every degree of perfection in nature proves His existence. Every manifestation of natural design proves His existence. Every realization of possibility in nature proves His existence. Every manifestation of organization in nature proves His existence. Every abstract concept proves His existence. Every reason for anything in nature proves His existence. And every twinge of human conscience proves His existence.
    Natural science provides massive evidence for His existence as well. The Big Bang — i.e., the creation of the universe from nothing in an immense primordial flash of light — is a remarkable confirmation of the beginning of the book of Genesis. Astrophysicists have discovered dozens of physical forces and properties in the universe that must have very specific values to permit human life — and of course these forces and properties do have exactly the values necessary for our existence (as if Someone rigged physics just for us). The DNA in living things is an actual code — in every meaningful sense like a computer code with letters and words, grammar and phrases, sentences and punctuation. And life forms’ intracellular metabolism is run by an astonishingly intricate and elegant system of biological nanotechnology.
    So my question to Dillahunty and to other atheists who endorse the Divine Hiddenness argument against God’s existence is this: What is it about God’s existence that you still consider hidden?
    https://mindmatters.ai/2021/10/the-divine-hiddenness-argument-against-gods-existence-nonsense/

    Verse:

    Romans 1:19 – 20
    since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

  30. 30
    Alan Fox says:

    …our consciousness is delusional if it is without residue the manifestation of a computational substrate and if it is sufficiently free to be rational it is a sign that reality is more than the material…

    If, maybe. That’s a big if. Whilst I question the concept of consciousness altogether, let’s say for the sake of argument that consciousness is a property of a living, thinking human brain. By that definition, consciousness is a process inherent in brain activity. There’s no need to look for a non-physical explanation.

    …as Haldane pointed out long since.

    He’s dead. But a few quotations (and apocryphal) remarks remain popular.

    Wikipedia

    *He is famous for the (possibly apocryphal) response that he gave when some theologians asked him what could be inferred about the mind of the Creator from the works of His Creation: “An inordinate fondness for beetles.”[121][122] or sometimes, “….stars and beetles.”[123]
    *”My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”[124]
    *”It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”[124]:?209?
    *”Teleology is like a mistress to a biologist: he cannot live without her but he’s unwilling to be seen with her in public.”[125][126]
    *”I had gastritis for about fifteen years until I read Lenin and other writers, who showed me what was wrong with our society and how to cure it. Since then I have needed no magnesia.”[127]
    *”I suppose the process of acceptance will pass through the usual four stages: (i) This is worthless nonsense; (ii) This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view; (iii) This is true, but quite unimportant; (iv) I always said so.”[128]
    *”Three hundred and ten species in all of India, representing two hundred and thirty-eight genera, sixty-two families, nineteen different orders. All of them on the Ark. And this is only India, and only the birds.”[129]
    *”The stupidity of the mynah shows that in birds, as in men, linguistic and practical abilities are not very highly correlated. A student who can repeat a page of a text book may get first class honours, but may be incapable of doing research.”[130]
    *When asked whether he would lay down his life for his brother, Haldane, presaging Hamilton’s rule, supposedly replied “two brothers or eight cousins”.

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    “let’s say for the sake of argument that consciousness is a property of a living, thinking human brain.”

    Let’s not! “I” am not my brain! (see post 20)

  32. 32
    Viola Lee says:

    re 14, to KF: My apologies: you were on topic. The modern meaning of materialism would include the idea that there is no plan or intention in the outflowing of causal histories via physical mechanisms, including all the forces and quantum phenomena that have been mentioned above.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, appreciated. Materialism is indeed beyond C19 now, as our concepts of the physical world have changed, but it still retains the central rejection Monod stated and thus it becomes an ideological imposition and runs into self referentiality trouble. . KF

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, the dismissal of consciousness is at once self referential and self defeating. Of course, the trouble is, this is the part that sticks out beyond the Procrustean bed. KF

  35. 35
    Alan Fox says:

    AF, the dismissal of consciousness is at once self referential and self defeating. Of course, the trouble is, this is the part that sticks out beyond the Procrustean bed. KF

    Doesn’t stick out of my bed, Procrustean or not.

    What do you think consciousness is, and where is it located?

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, to object you used your own consciousness and appealed to mine. That is enough. KF

  37. 37
    Alan Fox says:

    So, KF, you run true to form. Ask a question that you have no answer to.

  38. 38
    Alan Fox says:

    Actually, I’m quite interested in the idea of what people think the word “consciousness” actually means. I get the impression some religious folks equate it with the idea of a soul. My current position is there is no need nor justification to postulate that consciousness has a separate existence from the process of thinking, a physical process which occurs in the brain.

    Anyone want to argue the point?

  39. 39
    Sir Giles says:

    We can alter consciousness with chemicals that act on the brain.

  40. 40
    Alan Fox says:

    We can alter consciousness with chemicals that act on the brain.

    Indeed. And, though I certainly don’t suggest they be repeated, some fairly convincing experiments regarding the connection between brain and consciousness were conducted in the aftermath of the French Revolution.

  41. 41
    bornagain77 says:

    “some fairly convincing experiments regarding the connection between brain and consciousness were conducted in the aftermath of the French Revolution.”

    The French Revolution (French: Révolution française [?ev?lysj?? f???s??z]) was a period of radical political and societal change in France that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended with the formation of the French Consulate in November 1799.
    – per wiki

    Wait a second, so extremely crude experiments conducted over 220 years ago solved the hard problem of consciousness and we have been missing it all these years???

    Stop the presses!

    The Hardest Problem in Science? October 28, 2011
    Excerpt: ‘But the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that I can’t even imagine what kind of empirical findings would satisfactorily solve it. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of discovery would get us to first base, not to mention a home run.’
    – David Barash – Professor of Psychology emeritus at the University of Washington.
    https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/the-hardest-problem-in-science/40845

    As to altering consciousness with chemicals,

    CAN LSD HELP US UNDERSTAND THE MIND–BRAIN RELATIONSHIP?
    Is the mind generated by the brain or does the brain merely focus the mind on the current scene? An experiment sheds some light
    MICHAEL EGNOR MAY 23, 2021
    Excerpt: The Cornell researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the brains of people on LSD or on placebo (= the control group). While using LSD, the brains of volunteers showed less high-level processing and more activity related to more rudimentary sensation. One of the investigators described the effect as flattening the landscape over which the brain can roam — the drug makes it easier for the mind to transcend mundane perceptual habits and see the world in greater detail. Thus they enabled people to break out of repetitive and ruminative thought.
    This work, whatever its other merits, lends credence to an understanding of the mind–brain relationship that goes back centuries. It was stated perhaps most clearly by Oxford philosopher Ferdinand Schiller in 1891 when he proposed that
    “… matter is not what produces consciousness but what limited and confines its intensity within certain limits… This explanation admits the connection of matter and consciousness, but contends that the course of interpretation must proceed in the contrary direction. Thus it will fit the facts with materialism rejected as supernatural and thereby attain an explanation which is ultimately tenable instead of one which is ultimately absurd. It is an explanation the possibility of which no evidence in favor materialism can possibly affect.”
    QUOTED IN CHRIS CARTER, SCIENCE AND THE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE: HOW CONSCIOUSNESS SURVIVES DEATH (2010) CHAPTER 1.
    https://mindmatters.ai/2021/05/can-lsd-help-us-understand-the-mind-brain-relationship/

    Also see this refutation of the “DMT causes NDEs” claim of atheists

    Near-Death Experiences and DMT – Steve Taylor Ph.D. – Oct 12, 2018
    A neurological explanation of NDEs remains elusive.
    Excerpt: Another theory is that NDEs are related to psychedelic chemicals that are naturally produced by the brain. This theory was apparently boosted recently with the release of a paper called “DMT Models the Near-Death Experience” by a team of UK researchers associated with the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London. (In case you don’t know, DMT – short for dimethyltryptamine – is a hallucinogenic, similar to LSD and magic mushrooms.) Aiming to study the apparent similarities between the psychedelic substance and NDEs, the researchers gave both DMT and a placebo to 13 participants, then asked them to complete a scale of the characteristics of NDEs.
    The results were reported as showing significant overlap between the two types of experience. As the researchers concluded, “Results revealed significant increases in phenomenological features associated with the NDE, following DMT administration compared to placebo.” This appears to be true, but on closer inspection, the findings of the paper still fall far short of establishing any strong connection between DMT and NDEs.
    Of the 16 items in the NDE scale used in the study, nine items showed a high degree of crossover. These included an ‘unearthly environment,’ a sense of peace, heightened senses, harmony/unity, altered time perception, feelings of joy, bright light, and so on. However, all nine of these characteristics are generally associated with spiritual or mystical experiences, rather than just NDEs. It is well known that NDEs have a strong spiritual or mystical element to them, which is partly why they have such a powerful life-changing effect. But NDEs are not just spiritual experiences. And significantly, the seven items in this study with the least crossover between NDEs and DMT were those which differentiate NDEs from standard spiritual experiences. For example, three of the most salient characteristics of NDEs are a feeling of reaching a ‘border/point of no return,’ ‘encountering deceased/religious spirits,’ and a life review. In this study, these were amongst the least reported in DMT experiences.
    In other words, what this study seems to indicate is a relationship between DMT experiences and spiritual or mystical experiences. Since we already know that NDEs contain some of the same elements of spiritual experiences, it is not surprising that there is some relationship between NDEs and DMT experiences.
    In view of this, there is no reason to jump to the conclusion that NDEs are associated with DMT. Other researchers—such as Rick Strassman—have suggested that NDEs may be caused by the release of DMT when a person is close to death or in the process of dying. However, there is no evidence that large amounts of DMT are released close to death. It is not even certain that DMT is produced in the human body (although it has been found in the pineal gland of rats).
    The After-Effects of NDEs
    But perhaps one of the strongest arguments against any connection between NDEs and DMT is their after-effects. As I describe in my new book, Spiritual Science, in the great majority of cases, NDEs are powerfully transformative experiences. After them, a person’s values and attitude toward life are completely transformed. People often become less materialistic and more altruistic, less self-oriented and more compassionate. They often feel a new sense of purpose, and their relationships become more authentic and intimate. They report becoming more sensitive to beauty and more appreciative of everyday things. They also typically report a loss of the fear of death.
    It’s remarkable that one single experience can have such a profound, long-lasting, transformational effect. This is illustrated by research showing that people who have near-death experiences following suicide attempts very rarely attempt suicide again. This is in stark contrast to the normal pattern—in fact, a previous suicide attempt is usually the strongest predictor of actual suicide.
    This is one of the strongest arguments against the idea that NDEs are a brain-generated hallucination. Dreams and hallucinations do not generally have transformational after-effects. They are usually quickly forgotten, with a clear sense that they were delusional experiences, less authentic and reliable than ordinary consciousness. (In contrast, with NDEs there is a clear sense that the experience is more real and authentic than normal consciousness.)
    And this applies to DMT experiences, too. There is no doubt that psychedelic experiences such as DMT can sometimes be transformative to some degree. For some, they provide a glimpse of a more expansive and intense reality which makes them realize that their normal view of the world is limited. They may lead to a new interest in spirituality. However, DMT experiences are certainly not transformational to anything like the same degree as NDEs. In a 2012 paper in the Journal of Near-Death Studies, Dr. Michael Potts examined the similarities between NDEs and DMT and also concluded that salient features of NDEs are absent (such as traveling through a tunnel into a transcendent realm or the subsequent reporting of events witnessed during the experience). But most notably, in Potts’ view, DMT lacked the powerful transformative after-effects of NDEs. He concluded that in NDEs permanent change is the rule rather than the exception, whereas it is the exception rather than the rule with DMT.
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/out-the-darkness/201810/near-death-experiences-and-dmt
    Steve Taylor, Ph.D. is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University, UK.

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, you forget this https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/reference-the-smith-model-an-architecture-for-cybernetics-and-mind-body-free-will-determinism-compatibilism-analysis/ (or even my always linked . . . ) and run true to form with your ill founded superciliousness. KF

    PS, did you notice my point that any thought that sees consciousness as dubious and delusional is self referentially incoherent? Where, of course there is a natural general location for the conscious self, our bodies, but also sometimes a bit beyond, on a lot of testimony and experience. In any case by law of identity it is not the brain or an emanation emerging from it, it interfaces with the body. See the Smith Model I have put up ever so many times as a start point for the serious discusion that too many are eager to avoid.

  43. 43
    Alan Fox says:

    Followed your link. Very handily, Vincent Torley, who I regard as a friend these days though we disagree amicably on many issues, has commented on the OP in comments. He writes:

    The model you outline above is a very good way of describing how the unconscious mind of an insect might work, for instance. (“Unconscious mind” might sound like an oxymoron to some readers, but I used the term in my thesis to refer to the fact that an insect uses certain self-correcting representations as an internal map of the world, with which it can steer itself around. Effectively, these representations function as beliefs.)

    However, the conscious mind of a mammal or bird is a different kind of entity from the unconscious mind of an insect, and the self-reflexive mind of a human being is even further removed. In these kinds of minds, we can speak of “top-down” patterns of causation in the supervisory controller which are absent in the insect. And in the case of humans, it is quite certain that this top-down control is exercised via higher-level mental acts which are no longer bodily acts.

    The late philosopher, Mortimer Adler, had an interesting way of putting it. Referring to the human brain, he said: “You can’t think without it, but you don’t think with it.”

    I certainly disagree with Mortimer Adler. The mind is what the brain does and thinking is a physical process happening entirely within the brain.

  44. 44
    Viola Lee says:

    Q, since for some reason you feel like continuing to ask, I watched the Hossenfelder video. I doesn’t seem to add anything to the discussion on this thread. She does have some interesting thoughts on QM, although she isn’t in the majority on some issues (which doesn’t mean she might not be right.) But I don’t know why you think it important that I watched it. But now you can quit asking me.

  45. 45
    Sir Giles says:

    BA77@41, scroll, scroll, scroll. At least my thumb is getting a work out. I’m beginning to look like Sissy Hankshaw in “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues.”

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, I disagree with the phrase top down, read the chart and you will see two way interaction and a two port memory; supervisory yes but interactive. In fact I think quantum influence is a possibility. I put up the model as a start point for serious discussion. KF

  47. 47
    JVL says:

    Sir Giles: I’m beginning to look like Sissy Hankshaw in “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues.”

    Sigh. Another roadside attraction. Skinny legs and all.

  48. 48
    Sir Giles says:

    JVL: Sigh. Another roadside attraction. Skinny legs and all.

    Still Life with Woodpecker. I am going to have to re-read all of them.

    The crowd here would become apoplectic over Another Roadside Attraction. Smuggling the body of Jesus Christ out of the Vatican crypts, threatening the collapse of Christianity.

  49. 49
    bornagain77 says:

    Sir Giles states, “Smuggling the body of Jesus Christ out of the Vatican crypts, threatening the collapse of Christianity.”

    Yet, directly contrary to what Sir Giles apparently wants to believe, it is his atheism, not Christianity, that is headed towards the dustbin of history.

    Pew Study Shows Atheism is Dying While Islam Projected to Dominate by the Turn of the Century
    JOHN SANIDOPOULOS | 02 JUNE 2018
    Excerpt: We often hear from atheists how religion is dying out as mankind comes to see the clear light of reason.
    Atheist “intellectuals” speak disparagingly about religion and predict that mankind is on the cusp of a new age in which religion will simply disappear as science, technology and reason are in the ascendant.
    The facts indicate exactly the opposite. It is religion which continues to grow around the world while the statistics indicate that agnosticism and atheism are dying out.
    A new report chronicled here by Pew Research at the Daily Telegraph tells a very interesting story.
    While the numbers of those who are “religiously unaffiliated” is predicted to rise in Western Europe and the United States, in global terms their numbers are shrinking as Christianity and Islam continue to wrestle for spiritual domination in the world.
    According to the Pew Research Centre, the religiously unaffiliated – referring to atheists, agnostics and other people who do not identify with a religion – are declining as a share of the population. Sixteen per cent of the population was unaffiliated to a religion in 2010 and Pew predicted by 2050, this would fall to 13 per cent, mainly because individuals in this group are older and have less children.
    http://www.pravmir.com/pew-stu.....e-century/

    Whereas Christianity, again when looking at the entire world population, is continuing to grow at a healthy rate:

    Think Christianity is dying? No, Christianity is shifting dramatically
    By Wes Granberg-Michaelson May 20, 2015
    Excerpt: Over the past 100 years, Christians grew from less than 10 percent of Africa’s population to its nearly 500 million today. One out of four Christians in the world presently is an Africa, and the Pew Research Center estimates that will grow to 40 percent by 2030.
    Asia is also experiencing growth as world Christianity’s center has moved not only South, but also East. In the last century, Christianity grew at twice the rate of population in that continent. Asia’s Christian population of 350 million is projected to grow to 460 million by 2025.
    The global religious wildcard is China. Even today, demographers estimate that more Christian believers are found worshipping in China on any given Sunday than in the United States. Future trends, while difficult to predict because so much is below the religious radar, could dramatically drive down the world’s religious “nones.”
    The growth of Pentecostalism in Latin America is estimated to be at three times the rate of Catholic growth. Non-Catholic believers now account for 2 percent of Latin America’s 550 million Christians.
    Today, Brazil not only has more Catholics than any other country, but also more Pentecostals, reflecting Pentecostalism’s astonishing global growth. Tracing its roots to the Azusa Street revival in 1910, and comprising 5 percent of Christians in 1970, today one of four Christians is Pentecostal or Charismatic. Or think of it this way: one out of 12 people alive today has a Pentecostal form of Christian faith.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/05/20/think-christianity-is-dying-no-christianity-is-shifting-dramatically/?utm_term=.9ef31bdab313

    To give a glimpse of how putrid Sir Giles’s atheism is as a worldview, “Here’s How Badly Soviet Atheism Failed in Europe”

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

    Russia’s Journey from Orthodoxy to Atheism, and Back Again
    By Gene Zubovich | October 16, 2018
    Excerpt: In Russia, there is a religious revival happening. Orthodox Christianity is thriving after enduring a 70-year period of atheistic Soviet rule. In 1991, just after the collapse of the USSR, about two-thirds of Russians claimed no religious affiliation. Today, 71 percent of Russians identify as Orthodox.
    https://religionandpolitics.org/2018/10/16/russias-journey-from-orthodoxy-to-atheism-and-back-again/

    This is simply remarkable, after decades of indoctrination into Darwinian/Atheistic ideology, and the massacre of countless thousands of Pastors, Priests, and Nuns in Stalin’s purges, in very short order Christianity picked up right where it left off as being the majority belief in the Soviet Union. It is as if atheism had not been constantly indoctrinated into all those people for all those many years.

    If anything testifies to just how bankrupt, and repugnant, atheism is as a worldview, the dramatic, overnight, resurgence of Christianity in the former Soviet Union is it.

    “More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
    Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
    What is more, the events of the Russian Revolution can only be understood now, at the end of the century, against the background of what has since occurred in the rest of the world. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.
    The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century.”,,,
    Aleksander Solzhenitsyn – “Men Have Forgotten God” – The Templeon Address – 1983

    Also of note:

    No, Non-Believers Are Not Increasing In America – APRIL 24, 2019
    Excerpt: The stats are given as often and with as much confidence as they are wrong. The story goes that our nation is growing more secular with every passing day. Christianity is tanking, and atheists and generic non-believers mushrooming.,,,
    Stark gets more precise: “The entire change [toward none-ness] has taken place with the non-attending group.” “In other words,” he adds, “this change marks a decrease only in nominal affiliation, not an increase in irreligion.” Stark says the wealth of data he has studied, as well as that his peers have, “does not support claims for increased secularization, let alone a decrease in the number of Christians. It may not even reflect an increase in those who say they are ‘nones.’”,,,
    In fact, Professor Barry A. Kosmin, director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, the man who coined the term “the nones,” expresses frustration that the larger press has not really gotten the story right on what belief group is actually seeing the largest size increase. He told me, “The rise of nondenominational Christianity is probably one of the strongest [religious growth] trends in the last two decades” in the United States.
    He added that the percentage gain among the “nons,” or nondenoms, is “many times larger” compared to those we have come to know as the nones. Read that again. The growth of nondenominational churches has been many times larger than that of the nones. Is it likely that one group that is growing—the nones—are gaining folks from a particular group that is growing at even greater pace? That answer would be no.
    Greg Smith, the long-time associate director of research at the Pew Research Center, adds heft to the conclusion that evangelicalism is actually growing. He confidently explains that while the more liberal mainline churches have been tanking dramatically, losing from 5 to 7.5 million members since 2007 (!), things are completely different for evangelical and non-denominational churches….
    The Harvard/Indiana University researchers found the same thing, explaining “evangelicals are not on the decline” but “grew from 1972 when they were 18 percent of the population, to a steady level of about 28 percent” from the late 1980s to the present. This “percentage of the population” measure is very significant because it shows not only growth in terms of real numbers, but enough growth to keep up with or even exceed the rate of population growth. That’s not nothing.
    https://thefederalist.com/2019/04/24/no-non-believers-not-increasing-america/

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

    Verse:

    Isaiah 9:6-7
    For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.,,,

  50. 50
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: Yet, directly contrary to what Sir Giles apparently wants to believe, it is his atheism, not Christianity, that is headed towards the dustbin of history.

    Too funny, Sir Giles was referring to the plot of A NOVEL, one written in the early 70s by a very famous author.

    You really should get out more.

  51. 51
    bornagain77 says:

    So you and Sir Giles, as Darwinian atheists, are not antagonistic towards Christianity???

    Really???

    Regardless, I stand by the facts I presented, it is atheism, not Christianity, that is headed towards the dustbin of history.

    Verse:

    Isaiah 9:6-7
    For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.,,,

  52. 52
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: So you and Sir Giles, as Darwinian atheists, are not antagonistic towards Christianity???

    I was merely pointing out that you didn’t get the cultural reference.

    Regardless, I stand by the facts I presented, it is atheism, not Christianity, that is headed towards the dustbin of history.

    It’s not a fact if it hasn’t happened.

  53. 53
    relatd says:

    JVL at 52,

    In the former Soviet Union, the official State religion was atheism. A look at the various military operations that occurred since the Russian Revolution begs the question: What god were these soldiers dying for? Apparently, Atheism. The goal was to ‘export the Revolution.’ Former Churches were being used to store ammunition. I watched the Soviet Union fall in the early 1990s and religion return. So much for the claim that an ‘atheist utopia’ and ‘workers’ paradise’ was the way forward for mankind.

  54. 54
    JVL says:

    Relatd: So much for the claim that an ‘atheist utopia’ and ‘workers’ paradise’ was the way forward for mankind.

    I don’t think anyone would suggest that the Soviet Union was any kind of real functioning state. And, are you saying it’s a lot better now since they allowed the return of religion? Who ever made a claim about an ‘atheist utopia’ anyway?

    You don’t seem to be making any kind of coherent argument, just railing against non-theists.

    Also, I have said many, many times I have no problem with faith. I don’t hate God. I don’t hate the church. I’m not advocating the abolition of religion. So, really, I’m not sure what you are complaining about.

  55. 55
    bornagain77 says:

    Whatever JVL, contrary to what is popularly believed, it is your Darwinian atheism that is shrinking at a marked rate. Whereas, as I pointed out, despite the best efforts of the totalitarian atheists of the 20th century, Christianity is continuing to grow a fairly healthy clip.

    That makes me VERY happy. As it should make any reasonable man VERY happy.

    Atheism’s Body Count *
    It is obvious that Atheism cannot be true; for if it were, it would produce a more humane world, since it values only this life and is not swayed by the foolish beliefs of primitive superstitions and religions. However, the opposite proves to be true. Rather than providing the utopia of idealism, it has produced a body count second to none. With recent documents uncovered for the Maoist and Stalinist regimes, it now seems the high end of estimates of 250 million dead (between 1900-1987) are closer to the mark. The Stalinist Purges produced 61 million dead and Mao’s Cultural Revolution produced 70 million casualties. These murders are all upon their own people! This number does not include the countless dead in their wars of outward aggression waged in the name of the purity of atheism’s world view. China invades its peaceful, but religious neighbor, Tibet; supports N. Korea in its war against its southern neighbor and in its merciless oppression of its own people; and Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge kill up to 6 million with Chinese support. All of these actions done “in the name of the people” to create a better world.
    https://www.scholarscorner.com/atheisms-body-count-ideology-and-human-suffering/

    And that is not even counting the untold millions, upon millions, of abortions worldwide.

    JVL, why you and other Darwinian atheists would even try to defend such a horrible worldview, I have no idea. The science certainly isn’t on your side, and the disastrous social consequences for mankind should make even you recoil in horror at defending such a reprehensible ‘death as the creator’ worldview,,,, even if the science were on your side, (which it isn’t).

    How Has Darwinism Negatively Impacted Society?
    John G. West – January 11, 2022
    Excerpt: Death as the Creator,,
    As Darwin wrote at the end of his most famous work (Origin): “Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.”
    https://evolutionnews.org/2022/01/how-has-darwinism-negatively-impacted-society/

    “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state as we may hope, than the Caucasian and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”
    – Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

    “One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”
    – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species – 1861, page 266

    “A stronger race will oust that which has grown weak; for the vital urge, in its ultimate form, will burst asunder all the absurd chains of this so-called humane consideration for the individual and will replace it with the humanity of Nature, which wipes out what is weak in order to give place to the strong.”
    – Adolf Hitler – Mein Kampf – Chapter 4

    Darwin on Marx – by Richard William Nelson | Apr 18, 2010
    Excerpt: Marx and Engels immediately recognized the significance of Darwin’s theory. Within weeks of the publication of The Origin of Species in November 1859, Engels wrote to Marx –
    “Darwin, by the way, whom I’m reading just now, is absolutely splendid. There was one aspect of teleology that had yet to be demolished, and that has now been done…. One does, of course, have to put up with the crude English method.”
    Marx wrote back to Engels on December 19, 1860 –
    “This is the book which contains the basis in natural history for our view.”
    The Origin of Species became the natural cause basis for Marx’s emerging class struggle movement. In a letter to comrade Ferdinand Lassalle, on January 16, 1861, Marx wrote –
    “Darwin’s book is very important and serves me as a basis in natural science for the class struggle in history.”
    Marx inscribed “sincere admirer” in Darwin’s copy of Marx’s first volume of Das Kapital in 1867. The importance of the theory of evolution for Communism was critical. In Das Kapital, Marx wrote –
    “Darwin has interested us in the history of Nature’s Technology, i.e., in the formation of the organs of plants and animals, which organs serve as instruments of production for sustaining life. Does not the history of the productive organs of man, of organs that are the material basis of all social organisation, deserve equal attention?”
    To acknowledge Darwin’s influence, Marx asked to dedicate Das Kapital to Darwin.
    https://www.darwinthenandnow.com/2010/04/darwin-on-marx/

    “V.I. Lenin, creator of the Soviet totalitarian state, kept a little statue on his desk—an ape sitting on a pile of books including mine [The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle of Life], gazing at a human skull. And Mao Zedong, butcher of the tens of millions of his own countrymen, who regarded the German ‘Darwinismus’ writings as the foundation of Chinese ‘scientific socialism.’ This disciple mandated my works as reading material for the indoctrination phase of his lethal Great Leap Forward.”
    – Nickell John Romjue, I, Charles Darwin, p. 45

    Stalin’s Brutal Faith
    Excerpt: At a very early age, while still a pupil in the ecclesiastical school, Comrade Stalin developed a critical mind and revolutionary sentiments. He began to read Darwin and became an atheist.
    G. Glurdjidze, a boyhood friend of Stalin’s, relates:
    “I began to speak of God, Joseph heard me out, and after a moment’s silence, said:
    “‘You know, they are fooling us, there is no God. . . .’
    “I was astonished at these words, I had never heard anything like it before.
    “‘How can you say such things, Soso?’ I exclaimed.
    “‘I’ll lend you a book to read; it will show you that the world and all living things are quite different from what you imagine, and all this talk about God is sheer nonsense,’ Joseph said.
    “‘What book is that?’ I enquired.
    “‘Darwin. You must read it,’ Joseph impressed on me” 1
    1 E. Yaroslavsky, Landmarks in the Life of Stalin (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing house, 1940), pp. 8-12. ,,,
    http://www.icr.org/article/stalins-brutal-faith/

    Darwin and Mao: The Influence of Evolutionary Thought on Modern China – 2/13/2013
    Excerpt: Mao and his fellow Communists, “found in Marxism what seemed to them the fittest faith on Earth to help China to survive.” He concludes his article thus:
    “This was not, of course, all Darwin’s doing, but Darwin was involved in it all. To believe in Marxism, one had to believe in inexorable forces pushing mankind, or at least the elect, to inevitable progress, through set stages (which could, however, be skipped). One had to believe that history was a violent, hereditary class struggle (almost a ‘racial’ struggle); that the individual must be severely subordinated to the group; that an enlightened group must lead the people for their own good; that the people must not be humane to their enemies; that the forces of history assured victory to those who were right and who struggled.”
    Who taught Chinese these things? Marx? Mao? No. Darwin.
    https://nonnobis.weebly.com/blog/darwin-and-mao-the-influence-of-evolutionary-thought-on-modern-china

    Chairman MAO: Genocide Master (Black Book of Communism)
    “…Many scholars and commentators have referenced my total of 174,000,000 for the democide (genocide and mass murder) of the last century. I’m now trying to get word out that I’ve had to make a major revision in my total due to two books. I’m now convinced that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin….”
    http://wadias.in/site/arzan/bl.....de-master/

    As to how diametrically opposed Darwinian ‘morality’ and Christian morality actually are:

    “The law of selection exists in the world, and the stronger and healthier has received from nature the right to live. Woe to anyone who is weak, who does not stand his ground! He may not expect help from anyone.”
    – Adolf Hitler

    Matthew 5: 5-10
    Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
    Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
    Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
    Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called sons of God.
    Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  56. 56
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: contrary to what is popularly believed, it is your Darwinian atheism that is shrinking at a marked rate.

    Not according to most polls about religious beliefs. But again, I’m not fighting against or even arguing against faith. You, on the other hand, are trying to pick a fight with atheism. But, being something of a pacifist, I’m not going to rise to your baited barbs.

    Abortions have nothing to do with atheism. As I have pointed out in the past (and is easy to verify) early abortions were generally considered legal and acceptable in England and the US until the mid-19th century. When just about everyone was a Christian or pretended to be one. A fact which you conveniently neglect to point out. Which is, sadly, typical.

  57. 57
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL, and yet studies have consistently found that ‘the secularization thesis’ promulgated by atheists is false. Go figure. “When we go back to that initial secularization hypothesis and re-examine it, we realize that not only was it wrong, but it was wrongly founded on a white western bias which assumed that where Western Europe led, the rest of the world would follow. And those days are gone.”

    Why the Secularization Hypothesis Is Fundamentally Flawed – April 23, 2019
    Is Religion Declining?
    Before I was born, there was a consensus among sociologists that religion was declining. As the world became more modern, more scientific, and more educated, they thought the world was also becoming less religious. This was based on the story of Western Europe where indeed secularization had been bred out of modernization.
    But in the time between then and now, we’ve seen what’s been referred to as the large-scale empirical falsification of the secularization hypothesis. Not only has the world not become less religious, but the world actually seems to be becoming more religious. So at the moment, if we look at the best projections from now until 2060, we see that Christianity will continue to be the world’s largest global worldview.
    Currently, about 31% of the world identifies as Christian and it looks like that will be slightly up to 32%. Islam is set to grow quite dramatically from about 25% to 31% in that time and become a very close competitor with Christianity. Hinduism and Buddhism are set to decline slightly, by 1% or 2%.
    The thing that’s really shocking to the secular system is that the proportion of people around the world who will say that they don’t affiliate with any particular religion is set to decline from 16% to 13%. So the question is: What’s going on here?
    Worldwide Shift
    Part of the answer is that people who believe in God seem to have more children than people who don’t. I’m pregnant at the moment with my third child which puts me on the exact average birth rate for Christians globally (2.7%).
    Muslims also have a substantially larger number of children, also Jews. But people of no religious belief have a lower birth rate. But that’s not the whole story. China—which is currently the global center of atheism—is experiencing a rate of growth in the church that is unexpected, unprecedented, and looks set to change the world.
    So at the moment, America is the country with more Christians than any other country. It looks like by 2030, it may be China. By 2060, one of the leading sociologists of religion for China, a man named Fenggang Yang, anticipates that China could be a majority Christian country.
    The global implications of that shift—politically and economically—from a communist-majority country to a Christian-majority country are pretty spectacular. When we go back to that initial secularization hypothesis and re-examine it, we realize that not only was it wrong, but it was wrongly founded on a white western bias which assumed that where Western Europe led, the rest of the world would follow. And those days are gone.
    https://www.crossway.org/articles/why-the-secularization-hypothesis-is-fundamentally-flawed/

  58. 58
    bornagain77 says:

    “Abortions have nothing to do with atheism.”

    Really??? So you really think that Jesus would be championing ‘dismemberment’ abortions?

    Dismemberment Abortion – Patrina Mosley, M.A.
    Dismemberment abortions are a common and brutal type of abortion that involve dismembering a living unborn child piece by piece. According to the National Abortion Federation’s abortion training textbook, dismemberment abortions are a preferred method of abortion, in part because they are cheaper than other available methods.1 (2018)
    https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF18F25.pdf

    100 million views: People respond to the viral ‘Abortion Procedures’ videos
    Excerpt: In these videos, Dr. Levatino, who committed over 1,200 abortions before becoming pro-life, explains in detail what occurs when the life of a preborn child is destroyed during an abortion during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
    Each of the Abortion Procedures videos describes in detail how each abortion procedure is carried out and how the preborn child dies. The realization of abortion’s barbarity, cruelty, and inhumanity has impacted many viewers who were not expecting to see what they saw.,,,
    https://www.liveaction.org/news/live-action-abortion-procedures-impact/

    Abortion Procedures: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Trimesters
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFZDhM5Gwhk

    Watch (pro-choice) minds (immediately) change on abortion (after watching the abortion procedures video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xWQHhqOAcg

    Abby Johnson Discusses Why She Left Planned Parenthood At The 2020 RNC | NBC News, (she witnessed a dismemberment abortion first hand)
    https://youtu.be/NXQjCuWFdzI?t=100

    Michael Egnor – The Junk Science of the Abortion Lobby (Fetuses not only experience pain but experience it more intensely than do adults)
    https://mindmatters.ai/2019/01/the-junk-science-of-the-abortion-lobby/

  59. 59
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: and yet studies have consistently found that ‘the secularization thesis’ promulgated by atheists is false.

    I am not familiar with any kind of secularisation thesis. The truth is that non-theists tend not to sit around in dark basements in small cabals plotting the downfall of faith. In fact, the matter of faith almost never comes up in my daily life. It’s not something I discuss often nor does anyone (except the Jehovah’s Witnesses) seem to want to discuss it with me.

    I can’t quite figure out why you want to conflate political models with theistic or non-theistic ones. Faith is just not a political issue in Europe which is good because it should be a private, personal matter which should not influence the way someone is treated.

    But you seem to need to tilt at various windmills. Perhaps your time would be better spent arguing the many Christians who support abortion and other things you disapprove of like same-sex marriage. I’m not going to touch your faith or church at all but your fellow Christians just might help tear your faith apart.

  60. 60
    bornagain77 says:

    Whatever JVL, now you are just flinging stuff at the wall to see what sticks. You, as usual, got nothing. I’m more that happy to let my comments stand as stated and let unbiased readers, (if there be any unbiased readers on UD), judge for themselves.

  61. 61
    JVL says:

    From: https://probe.org/faith-trends-in-america-how-is-christianity-faring-as-we-enter-the-third-decade-of-the-21st-century/

    All surveys we have reviewed covering this century show the same general result: the percent of people claiming an affiliation with a Protestant or Catholic church has been declining.

    GSS surveys{3} found across all ages the percentage who identify as Protestant or Catholic has dropped from 84% of the population in 1988 down to 69% in 2018. Looking only at Protestants (both Evangelical and Mainline), the drop was from 58% down to 46%. Considering those who are Millennials now, that is ages 18 to 34, we find a decline from 53% down to 36% over this thirty-year period. And the data does not show any leveling off in the rate of decline.

    But we may ask, “Are Evangelicals participating in this general decline or are they thriving as some authors claim?”

    The bottom-line answer is that Evangelicals are declining as a percent of the overall population but at a much slower rate. Across all ages, the percentage who identify as Evangelical has dropped from 30% to 28% over this twenty-year period. For those aged 18 to 34 the drop was from 29% to 25%. In October 2019, Pew released a report showing that from 2009 to 2018, the percentage of Evangelicals of all ages dropped from 28% to 25%, a significantly faster rate of decline.

    Nones are people who state their religious affiliation is either atheist, agnostic or nothing at all. The dramatic growth of the Nones has been an ongoing headline story.

    Surveys indicate the Nones were 8% of the population in 1988. By 2018 they had grown to over 23% of the population. For ages 18 through 29, they tripled from 13% to 35% of the population. No one denies this growth, but some question the importance of this trend.

    For example, Glenn Stanton states, “(The Nones) are simply reporting their actual faith practices in more candid ways, largely due to new ways in which polling questions have been asked in the last ten years or so.” Oddly enough, he primarily relies on data from GSS for long term trends and they have asked exactly the same question regarding Nones since 1972.

    Some suggest Nones are primarily Christians who will return to the fold as they move into marriage and child rearing. Is there any indication that this is happening?

    Well, in 2007, among those aged 18 to 32, 24% of them are classified as Nones. In 2014, for this same group now seven years older, 32% of them are Nones. As this group began rearing children, a significantly larger percentage of them were Nones than when they were younger. Also, instead of attending church, only 4% of these Nones attend church more than once a month.

    Instead of emerging adult Nones turning into church-attending Christians as they age, more of them are becoming Nones. It appears that the cultural pressures against Christianity are outweighing the tendency of prior generations returning to seek religious training for their children.

  62. 62
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: now you are just flinging stuff at the wall to see what sticks.

    Not at all. I’ve said over and over and over again I am not anti-faith, that I am not anti-church, that I am not a militant atheist, etc, etc, etc. I have also noted, many times, that lots of my very good friends have a deep and abiding faith and we get along just fine because we respect and like each other regardless of our faith or lack thereof.

    You are the one trying to tar-and-feather anyone who you think is an atheist or a ‘Darwinist’. You clearly dislike both of those groups to the point of hatred. In fact, you spend hours and hours every day on this site (at least) posting things which are not only calling some well established science into question but attempting to group atheists and ‘Darwinists’ with Nazi’s and Communists (of the Soviet variety).

    If anyone here is just throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks it’s clearly you. Your intense dislike oozes out of just about everything you post. It seems to almost possess you. I guess, deep down, you are genuinely terrified of atheism and unguided evolutionary theory. Not sure why but it sure feels that way. And it makes you react viscerally instead of thoughtfully: you frequently misrepresent what people have actually written, you latch onto a few trigger words instead of taking things in the complete context, you generally don’t even read the full text of things you post links about as I have shown several times in the past (even pointing out that one link wasn’t even to the right paper!).

    You might get more sympathy and responses if you actually tried to listen more often and really try to understand the arguments you knee-jerk reject. I’m quite sure you won’t do those things but I offer the suggestions in hopes you do.

  63. 63
    bornagain77 says:

    JVL, a dogmatic Darwinian atheist who steadfastly refuses to listen to any scientific evidence that contradicts his Darwinian worldview, tries to lecture me on listening to others. 🙂

    But anyways. his blatant hypocrisy aside, and again, worldwide atheism is declining and Christianity is growing.

    7 encouraging trends of global Christianity in 2022
    By AARON EARLS, Lifeway Feb 4, 2022
    Regardless of the situation in the United States, Christianity is growing around the world, especially in the global South, according to recently released analysis.
    The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary regularly updates a report tracking statistics and trends of religion in general and Christianity specifically around the world. There are seven encouraging trends to note in their 2022 Status of Global Christianity report.
    Religious faith is growing faster than the irreligious.
    Particularly in the West, it can seem as if secularism is growing, and people are leaving the church and the faith. Globally, that is not the case.
    While populations of all religions are growing at a 1.27 percent rate, the growth rate of the religiously unaffiliated is less than half that – 0.52 percent, well below the total population growth percentage. In particular, atheism is almost stagnant, growing only 0.18 percent per year. A 2015 Pew Research study also predicts the number of unaffiliated will shrink in terms of the share of global population.
    According to the Gordon-Conwell report, there are fewer atheists around the world today (147 million) than in 1970 (165 million), with the number expected to continue declining through 2050.
    Christianity continues to grow.
    Not only is religion growing overall, but Christian specifically is growing. With a 1.17 percent growth rate, almost 2.56 billion people will identify as a Christian by the middle of 2022. By 2050, that number will top 3.33 billion.
    Catholics remain the largest Christian group with almost 1.26 billion adherents, but the two fastest growing Christian groups around the world are evangelicals (1.8 percent growth rate) and charismatics (1.88 percent).
    The dramatic global growth for charismatic Christians is particularly noteworthy. In 1900, less than 1 million people around the world were considered Pentecostals. By 2050, more than 1 billion will be.
    Growth is fastest in the global South.
    The places where Christianity is growing the fastest? Africa (2.77 percent growth) and Asia (1.50 percent). In 2000, 814 million Christians lived in Europe and North America, while 660 million Christians called African and Asia home. This year, 838 million live in the global North, while almost 1.1 billion Christians live in Africa and Asia alone.
    In 1900, twice as many Christians lived in Europe than the rest of the world combined. Today, more Christians live in Africa than any other continent. By 2050, Africa will be home to almost 1.3 billion Christians, while Latin America (686 million) and Asia (560 million) will both have more than Europe (497 million) and North America (276 million).
    Christianity continues to spread out.
    As Christianity continues to grow in the global South, it is also becoming less concentrated in highly Christian areas. In 1900, 95 percent of all Christians lived in a majority Christian country. In 2022, that number has fallen to 53.7 percent. By 2050, most Christians (50.4 percent) around the world will live in non-majority Christian nations.
    The percentage of non-Christians who know a Christian is climbing.
    With more Christians living outside of Christian nations, more non-Christians know a Christian. In 1900, only 5.4 percent of non-Christians could identify a Christian they knew. That number has grown to 18.3 percent today. By 2050, 1 in 5 non-Christians (20 percent) will know a follower of Jesus and have the opportunity to hear the Gospel from them.
    As a result, the percentage of unevangelized people around the world continues to fall. In 1900, more than half of the world’s population (54.3 percent) was unevangelized. That has now fallen to 28 percent.
    More than 90 million Bibles will be printed this year.
    As Christianity continues to grow, the printing of Bibles continues to grow along with it. This year, 93 million copies of God’s Word will be printed, up from 54 million in 2000 and 5 million in 1900. By 2025, 100 million Bibles will be printed each year. Currently, almost 1.8 billion Bibles are in circulation around the world. That will climb to 2.3 billion by 2050.
    God’s Word continues to expand into new languages in new and exciting ways, including pastors and theologians in India developing and printing a first-of-its-kind Telugu study Bible for the nearly 90 million Telugu speakers in the country.
    Fewer Christians are dying for their faith.
    In 2000, the Status of Global Christianity marked a rate of 1.6 million Christian martyrs over a 10-year period – the high mark of their report. In 2022, they estimate the decade-long number to be 900,000. Each death is a tragedy, but any improvement is worth noting.
    The 10-year trends do not negate year-over-year numbers, like the increase in martyrs for 2021 as recorded by Open Doors’ latest report. Regardless of the current numbers or trends, churches should continue praying for persecuted believers around the world.
    https://www.kentuckytoday.com/baptist_life/7-encouraging-trends-of-global-christianity-in-2022/article_6a1f9336-861a-11ec-aab8-dbfeb19c7929.html

    The thing that’s really shocking to the secular system is that the proportion of people around the world who will say that they don’t affiliate with any particular religion is set to decline from 16% to 13%. (by 2060)
    https://www.crossway.org/articles/why-the-secularization-hypothesis-is-fundamentally-flawed/

    The Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion: A Response to Recent Research
    Landon Schnabel,a Sean Bockb
    a) Indiana University Bloomington; b) Harvard University
    ,,, the intensity of American religion is actually becoming more exceptional over time. We conclude that intense religion in the United States is persistent and exceptional in ways that do not fit the secularization thesis.
    https://www.sociologicalscience.com/download/vol-4/november/SocSci_v4_686to700.pdf

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    And again, what is materialism?

  65. 65
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: “According to the Gordon-Conwell report, there are fewer atheists around the world today (147 million) than in 1970 (165 million), with the number expected to continue declining through 2050.”

    That sounds very non-sensical to me: the population doubled and the number of atheists dropped? Really? I may take the time to look that particular statistic up.

    Fewer Christians are dying for their faith.

    Oh so they’re not being persecuted. I could have sworn someone here said they were . . .

    More than 90 million Bibles will be printed this year.

    More tickets to football (soccer) matches than that will be bought. So what?

    Hahahahahahahah.

    I tried accessing the first link: https://www.kentuckytoday.com/baptist_life/7-encouraging-trends-of-global-christianity-in-2022/article_6a1f9336-861a-11ec-aab8-dbfeb19c7929.html and I got this message:

    451: Unavailable due to legal reasons

    We recognize you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore access cannot be granted at this time. For any issues, contact info@kentuckytoday.com or call 502-489-3332.

    So, that website does not abide by privacy laws enforced all over Europe. Lovely.

    So, I can’t even read the article. OH WELL!

  66. 66
    Viola Lee says:

    Actually, I think the “what is materialism” question has been answered, and was done about post 19.

  67. 67
    bornagain77 says:

    The collapse of the Soviet Union, and the subsequent dramatic increase of Christianity in the former Soviet Union, can readily account for a large percentage of the dramatic drop in global atheism from 1970.

    Russia’s Journey from Orthodoxy to Atheism, and Back Again
    By Gene Zubovich | October 16, 2018
    Excerpt: In Russia, there is a religious revival happening. Orthodox Christianity is thriving after enduring a 70-year period of atheistic Soviet rule. In 1991, just after the collapse of the USSR, about two-thirds of Russians claimed no religious affiliation. Today, 71 percent of Russians identify as Orthodox.
    https://religionandpolitics.org/2018/10/16/russias-journey-from-orthodoxy-to-atheism-and-back-again/

    Throw China’s recent ‘Christianization’ on top of that, I am surprised that the percentage drop in worldwide atheism is not even higher than what they reported,

    . By 2060, one of the leading sociologists of religion for China, a man named Fenggang Yang, anticipates that China could be a majority Christian country.
    https://www.crossway.org/articles/why-the-secularization-hypothesis-is-fundamentally-flawed/

  68. 68
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: The collapse of the Soviet Union, and the subsequent dramatic increase of Christianity in the former Soviet Union, can readily account for the dramatic drop in global atheism from 1970.

    Perhaps. It is somewhat plausible at least. Too bad Russia being Christian again didn’t stop them from invading Ukraine and killing tens of thousands of innocent people. But, you can’t have everything can you?

    From the linked article:

    President Vladimir Putin has encouraged this revival and he has also benefited from it, both at home and abroad. Last year, he explained that Russia’s intervention in the Syrian civil war was designed to protect Christians from the Islamic State. Not only has the Orthodox Church supported this “holy war” but so have some American evangelicals, who are likewise concerned about Christians in the Middle East and praise Putin’s socially conservative policies.

    So, Putin is protecting Christians . . . sometimes at least. I guess that’s alright then. I’ll stop worrying about the destruction in Syria then.

    But wait, there’s more:

    . . . and the rate of abortions in Russia is more than double compared to the U.S. and enjoys widespread support despite strong objections from the Orthodox Church. And contrary to Orthodox teaching, attitudes toward divorce and pre-marital sex remain lax.

    Maybe not so Christian after all then. Oh well.

  69. 69
    JVL says:

    Oh dear oh dear:

    Evangelical leaders “face reckoning over praise for Putin”

    https://currentpub.com/2022/02/25/evangelical-leaders-face-reckoning-over-praise-for-putin/

    n February and March 2014, Putin invaded Ukraine and annexed the Crimean Peninsula. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association featured Putin on the cover of the March 2014 issue of Decision magazine, ignoring the invasion but praising the dictator’s stand protecting children from “propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia.”

    “I think Russia is the hope for the world right now,” said Larry Jacobs, managing director of the Rockford, Illinois-based World Congress of Families, in 2014. Russia’s invasion of Crimea led WCF to cancel its 2014 gathering in Moscow that year, but the nonprofit continues to partner with Russia’s religious and political leaders.

    “The Russians are not our problem,” said the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer in a 2018 post about then-President Trump and the 2016 election.

    And more from: https://ministrywatch.com/franklin-graham-and-pro-family-groups-face-reckoning-over-praise-for-putin/

    Putin began massing troops on Ukraine’s border in April 2021. Three months later, Franklin Graham traveled to Moscow to meet with Volodin and other religious and government leaders. The September issue of Decision magazine covered the visit in its “Good News” section, reporting the two had met for two hours. “This is the time for the U.S. and Russia to stand together,” Graham said after the visit.

    Not everyone agreed. “The meeting between America’s most prominent evangelical and one of the most prominent sanctioned politicians in Russia fits a broader, years-long pattern of Kremlin-connected officials cultivating relations with American Christian fundamentalists,” said The Bulwark.

  70. 70
    bornagain77 says:

    Huh? Trying to find a silver lining for your atheism in just how anti-moral a country is? And that does not strike you as being macabre?

    Do you even think about what you are writing? Or are you really just a ‘meat robot’ as your Darwinian worldview entails?

    “You are robots made out of meat. Which is what I am going to try to convince you of today”
    Jerry Coyne –
    No, You’re Not a Robot Made Out of Meat (Science Uprising 02) – video
    https://youtu.be/rQo6SWjwQIk?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1OmYcqv_yQSpje4p7rAE7-&t=20

    For what its worth, I think Russia, and all countries, fall far short of the “Christian mark”. None-the-less, however far a country may ‘miss the mark’ of Christianity, it is still orders of magnitude better than what happens to a country under atheism. Just ask the +200 million dead in the 20th century at the hands of their own atheistic governments!

  71. 71
    Seversky says:

    So how many here support Putin and Russia and think we shouldn’t be involved the war in Ukraine?

  72. 72
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: Huh? Trying to find a silver lining for your atheism in just how anti-moral a country is? And that does not strike you as being macabre?

    I don’t think pointing out that despite Russia’s acceptance of Christianity it hasn’t stopped perpetrating some pretty hideous acts is trying to justify or support the Soviet Union or atheism. Sometimes you don’t make sense at all. You’re like one of those baseball batters that tries to hit a home run on every pitch. Which means you miss a lot.

    Do you even think about what you are writing? Or are you really just a ‘meat robot’ as your Darwinian worldview entails?

    I think a lot. And I check out stuff, and look for information and data. And sometimes I find things that I didn’t expect or run contrary to what I did expect. And I try really hard NOT to just pick and choose phrases from papers and articles that resonate with some of my beliefs. I try and peruse the entire piece of work to make sure I understand the full context.

    Again, you are bound and determined to pick a fight. Sadly, some of your links and references lead to areas and statements that prove to be uncomfortable for you at best and, sometimes, even contradictory to the point you think you’re making. It’s not my fault that actually scanning an entire linked article of yours sometimes makes you look foolish.

    None-the-less, however far a country may ‘miss the mark’ of Christianity, it is still orders of magnitude better than what happens to a country under atheism. Just ask the +200 million dead in the 20th century at the hands of their own atheistic governments!

    I’ll just ask the thousands and thousands of Ukrainians who were raped and killed by Russians because . . . why exactly? What did Ukraine do to provoke the war crimes now being done to them? Is this any different from when the (atheistic) Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan? Has being Christian made any difference at all in the way politicians in Moscow act?

    If Putin decides to use tactical nuclear weapons I just might have a cloud of fallout drift over my home. Maybe you don’t care ’cause you’re a long ways away but some of us who are closer to the front lines are scared. But he supports Christians so you’ll cut him some slack?

  73. 73
    Seversky says:

    I doubt if the real numbers of atheists and believers has changed much over the years. What is more likely is that religious belief was heavily suppressed in The Soviet Union and Communist China so that skewed the numbers. It was assumed that all good Soviet and Chinese citizens had abandoned their religious beliefs at the behest of The Party when all that happened was religious belief was driven underground not erased.

  74. 74
    Alan Fox says:

    So how many here support Putin and Russia and think we shouldn’t be involved the war in Ukraine?

    It is easy to commit the fallacy of division. Putin is a psychopath and I’m sure there are many ordinary Russians, despite the propaganda they are fed, who would be glad to see the back of him. I’m also desperately sorry for the people of Ukraine and the destruction of life and property they are having to endure because of Putin’s unjustifiable aggression. Ukraine should be given all possible support to resist the aggressor .

  75. 75
    JVL says:

    Seversky: So how many here support Putin and Russia and think we shouldn’t be involved the war in Ukraine?

    I’m sure many Russian civilians are decent and peaceful people who don’t really understand what’s going on because their access to information is severely curtailed and edited. But the Russian army and its commanders . . . they are acting like animals. Hideous awful crimes are being perpetrated by them. They need to be stopped and prosecuted. Otherwise we condone by silence, we accept by turning away, we let the cancer spread and hope our children figure out how to deal with it.

    One of these days Putin is going to be taken out and shot by his generals or oligarchs or both. They’re probably arguing over who’s going to be in charge once he’s eliminated. But if you let up on the pressure and the kickback it will put off that reckoning. This isn’t about ideology, it’s about sheer, unmitigated, raw power as manifested via horror and death.

    Putin isn’t going to spare you or protect you because you’re Christian as most Ukrainians are. He will lay you under the ground if he thinks it suits his purposes regardless of your creed.

  76. 76
    bornagain77 says:

    Got to love Darwinian atheists appealing to Christian morality in order to try to find a silver lining for their atheism.

    “I think a lot.”

    Hardly.

  77. 77
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: Got to love Darwinian atheists appealing to Christian morality in order to try to find a silver lining for their atheism.

    Well, let’s hear your authentic Christian moral stance then on the war in Ukraine. Putin has encouraged Christianity in Russia and now the Russians are bombing and raping and killing Christians in Ukraine. I assume you and your church are happy to condemn him publicly?

  78. 78
    relatd says:

    JVL, you are something of a rabble-rouser.

    https://www.npr.org/2022/10/02/1126454129/russia-ukraine-pope-francis-plea-peace

    By the way, the Russians are pursuing specific military objectives. Warfare has not changed since the Second World War. In my opinion, based on history, nuclear weapons will not be used. The Russians could have done so when they were in Afghanistan and did not. The U.S. could have done the same when they were in Afghanistan but did not.

  79. 79
    Seversky says:

    I’m also sure that ordinary Russians on average are decent people who love their country and don’t want anything to do with Putin and his megalomaniacal ambitions. I’m sure they do care about all the lives that have been lost and the personal and economic hardship they are suffering, things I doubt he cares about at all.

    What is both alarming and despicable are the signs that MAGA Republican sympathies are swinging towards these really unpleasant autocrats, not just Putin but Erdogan in Turkey, Orban in Hungary or Lukashenko in Belarus. Tucker Carlson is said to have become almost a mouthpiece for Russian propaganda.

    If this is what MAGA Republicans really want here in the US, to do away with democracy and install Trump as President-for-life with a rubber-stamp Supreme Court as an American Volksgerichtshof then there will be trouble.

  80. 80
    bornagain77 says:

    Of course I am against Putin committing his atrocities against the Ukrainians. What made you think otherwise? Especially given Stalin’s genocide against the Ukrainians, (Stalin stole all their grain at gunpoint resulting in the mass starvation of millions of Ukrainians), I’ve opposed Putin from day one in his invasion of Ukraine. My ‘simple’ point was that in order for you, a Darwinian atheist, to condemn his atrocities you are forced to reach over into the objective morality of Judeo-Christian Theism in order to do it. “Red in tooth and claw” Darwinism simply provides you no objective moral basis in which to condemn Putin’s acts as evil. ,,, If only you really did think deeply about such matters instead of just superficially trying to rationalize them away in order to try to protect your atheism and try to cast a shadow on Christianity.

    “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”
    – Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life – pg. 133

    Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
    Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
    Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
    The Moral Argument – drcraigvideos – video
    https://youtu.be/OxiAikEk2vU?t=276

  81. 81
    Sir Giles says:

    BA77@49,55,57,58, 63, 67, 70, 80, scroll, scroll? Scroll.

    JVL, all of this over the fact that he doesn’t appreciate Tom Robbins. What I would be interested in is whether BA77, KF and others here would vote against having Tom Robbins novels in school libraries.

  82. 82
    bornagain77 says:

    Kind of like how Darwinists try to forcibly censor any and all criticism of their theory?

    At Mind Matters News: Non-Materialist Science Is Wanted — Dead Or Alive – August 29, 2021
    Michael Egnor: As an example of how difficult this can be, I’ve been involved quite a bit in the intelligent design vs. Darwinism debates. I have a friend who is a basic scientist and molecular biologist who is one of the leading people in this field. He is exceptionally accomplished… great guy.
    I was at a meeting with him one time and he took me aside and he said, “I’ve seen what you’ve been doing with intelligent design and so on. I’m a Christian. And I think you’re right. I think Darwinism and materialism are grossly inadequate ways of understanding biology. But I can’t say that out loud. I can’t say a word about that, because my wife is sick. We need our health insurance. I need my job. And if I said a word about materialism or Darwinism not being acceptable frameworks for doing the science, I would never get another grant. I couldn’t feed my family.”
    And that’s true. They will destroy people. They will destroy people’s careers. Look at what people tried to do to Mike Behe for writing Darwin’s Black Box (1996). He’s tenured. But in his department, he was treated as a pariah. If they could have fired him, they would have done it in a minute.
    Arjuna Das: I was wondering how he got away with it.
    Michael Egnor: He’s tenured. I’ve gotten calls to my department in my university demanding that I be fired. That’s a fairly frequent thing.
    I was called a couple of years ago by the campus police that there was a death threat against me and they wanted to protect me. So this kind of stuff goes on. And some of these people are vicious.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/at-mind-matters-news-non-materialist-science-is-wanted-dead-or-alive/

    Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (full movie)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5EPymcWp-g

    Slaughter of Dissidents – Book
    Volume 1 of a trilogy, the disturbing premise of this book documents widespread discrimination by Darwin loyalists against Darwin skeptics in academia and within the scientific community. Multiple case studies expose the tactics used to destroy the careers of Darwin skeptics, denying them earned degrees and awards, tenure, and other career benefits offered to non-skeptics. The book exposes how freedom of speech and freedom of expression are widely promoted as not applicable to Darwin doubters, and reveals the depth and extent of hostility and bigotry exhibited towards those who would dare to question Darwinism. The book also shows how even the slightest hint of sympathy for Darwin Doubters often results in a vigorous and rabid response from those who believe such sympathies represent an attack on science itself.,,,
    “If folks liked Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” they will be blown away by “Slaughter of the Dissidents.”
    – Russ Miller
    http://www.amazon.com/Slaughte.....0981873405

  83. 83
    Sir Giles says:

    BA77: Kind of like how Darwinists try to forcibly censor any criticism of their theory?

    Thank you for the non answer. Would you like to try again? Would you support a book that satirizes the Christian faith being in a school library. Yes or no.

  84. 84
    bornagain77 says:

    Hmm, so pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of a Darwinist griping about ‘hypothetical’ censorship, as opposed to the real censorship that Darwin skeptics face day in and day out, is a ‘non-answer’ in your book? Really???

    Perhaps, “remove the beam from your eye” might ring a bell?

  85. 85
    vividbleau says:

    “If this is what MAGA Republicans really want here in the US, to do away with democracy and install Trump as President-for-life with a rubber-stamp Supreme Court as an American Volksgerichtshof then there will be trouble.”

    The one doing away with Democracy is Zelenski

    https://deadline.com/2022/03/ukraine-president-vologymyr-zelensky-combines-all-national-tv-channels-to-combat-alleged-misinformation-1234982814/

    https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2022/03/20/ukraine-zelensky-uses-martial-law-to-ban-main-opposition-party-in-crackdown-on-division/

    As far as your inane MAGA Trump installation comment one must have institutional power to do such a thing. Trump has no institutional power. The military hates him, the media hates him, the CIA hates him, the intelligence agencies hate him. Many Republicans hate him.Exactly how would this installation happen?

    Vivid

  86. 86
    Sir Giles says:

    BA77: Hmm, so pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of a Darwinist griping about ‘hypothetical’ censorship,

    Nobody is talking about a hypothetical censorship. His books have been banned.

    Your refusal to answer speaks volumes, and not in your favour.

  87. 87
    bornagain77 says:

    I see its time for a Sunday school lesson,

    Parable of the Log and Speck- Truma Videos Christian Comedy
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z1MynGK3YA

  88. 88
    Sir Giles says:

    BA77, your turnabout projection is showing.

  89. 89
    vividbleau says:

    RE 85 I forgot to mention the FBI and DOJ all hate Trump as well.

    Viivid

  90. 90
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    “Materialism”, like all “-isms,” does a great deal of mischief — we cannot think without -isms, yet all too often the -isms control our thinking.

    One question to consider would be, “materialism as opposed to what?” I mean, what is supposed to contrast with materialism? If one says that materialism contrasts with dualism or idealism, then one is already conceiving of materialism as a definite kind of position. For some philosophers, Aristotelian hylomorphism is a kind of materialism — for others, it isn’t. (This depends on what kinds of causes one can accommodate within “materialism”.)

    The logical positivists used “physicalism” but for them this was a choice of language — shall we use a language that refers to physical objects or not? — as opposed to a phenomenalist language, in which all talk about physical objects is analyzed into talk about actual and possible sensations.

    From the OP: “I understand “materialism” to be the idea that every existing thing is comprised of the periodic table of elements (rearranged in a vast number of ways described by the standard model and general relativity) and no more.”

    I think this is a good definition of materialism, using that term in one of its senses. I think it captures what most materialists are trying to say: that everything that exists could be, at least in principle, be explained in terms of quantum mechanics or general relativity. (Even if such explanations are almost never useful — would a materialist say that if we’re trying to figure what’s driving inflation, quantum mechanics will be more useful than economics?)

    I think that materialism, thus defined, is perhaps coherent but a deeply unattractive position. And it has to do with reasons that I haven’t yet seen addressed in this thread.

    Why does the materialist think that all explanations are, in principle, reducible to explanations of quantum mechanics or general relativity? It’s because those theories belong to fundamental physics: they are true everywhere in the history of the universe, at all times and places. (Technically, only above the Planck scale, but let’s ignore that for a moment.) We can talk about molecules in terms of atoms and atoms in terms of fermions and boson, but we don’t know how to talk about fermions and bosons in terms of anything else.

    Likewise, general relativity is also a theory of fundamental physics — it also purports to be true at all times and places in the history of the universe. But general relativity and quantum mechanics are not logically compatible. They are both true everywhere and everywhen, at every resolution of spatio-temporal scale.

    Perhaps quantum mechanics will be replaced by another theory that can be reconciled with general relativity. Perhaps general relativity will be replaced by another theory that can be reconciled with quantum mechanics. Perhaps both theories will be replaced with a third theory. Right now, no one can know.

    This puts the materialist in the embarrassing situation of having to say, “all explanations reduce to fundamental physics, but no one knows what that is, we have no idea how we might ever find out, and it’s quite possible that we’ll never find out.” (One might see this as a modern-day version of Hempel’s Dilemma.)

    Is that a rational position to adopt? If so, I don’t see how. So my best stab at the puzzle in the OP is that materialism is not an obviously rational position.

  91. 91
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, what is going on here? There is a serious issue on the table, at civilisation level. What is materialism. I guess the implication of the red herrings led away to strawman caricatures soaked in ad homs and set alight is that the main focus is just a tad too close to the truth and there is no cogent answer. KF

    PS, Mr Putin is an example of someone playing power games while not listening to sound ethical counsel. He may actually at least half believe his propaganda about nazi thrusts through the Ukraine into Russia’s underbelly that had to be fought for at horrific cost in blood in the 1940’s.

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, it is time to read about the Reichstag fire incident and how it was used to seize power in Germany. I find disturbing parallels between nazi propaganda targetting Jews etc and how Republicans in the US as well as the people of flyover country are routinely portrayed and are increasingly treated.

  93. 93
    William J Murray says:

    Seversky @71 said:

    So how many here support Putin and Russia and think we shouldn’t be involved the war in Ukraine?

    With the state of modern news and information sources, and what we know historically about the kind of misinformation and/or propaganda campaigns we’ve all been admittedly subjected to (and are being subjected to,) I’m not sure how any reasonable person is supposed to even attempt to sort any of it out in terms of what is “true.” So, I don’t bother. I have more practical matters to attend. I have no personal reason to support either dog in this fight – I mean, if there is even an actual fight happening.

  94. 94
    JVL says:

    WJM: I’m not sure how any reasonable person is supposed to even attempt to sort any of it out in terms of what is “true.” So, I don’t bother. I have more practical matters to attend. I have no personal reason to support either dog in this fight – I mean, if there is even an actual fight happening.

    You are a complete waste of space and oxygen, in my opinion. And I shall cease responding to you at all.

  95. 95
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, in my day job, for all my sins I am sentenced to do strategic analysis, including geostrategic analysis, where time, place and circumstances intersect with strategic challenges. For the record, since 2016 I have very publicly stated that Putin’s Russia is a wild card; in effect he is likely seeking to rebuild a good slice of Russia’s domination of the Mackinder pivot area in E and possibly C Europe on grounds of the inherent indefensibility of the great European plain, also Germany’s historic challenge. He disregards the post 1918 principle, allow the people to decide, self determination. But then, not entirely without cause he perceives corrupt Western influences.

    He is also very sensitive to how Ukraine was a dagger in the underbelly of Russia 1941 – 3.

    He is also pretty ruthless, a KGB light colonel with a telltale gunfighter’s walk.

    He is rational, though ruthless and he has perceived a threat in Ukraine’s longstanding corruption and attitude to ethnic Russians [cf Russia, 1914 and being big bro to fellow Slavs in Serbia]. Yes, a threat. He gravely miscalculated that a quick push could do better than Stalin’s Winter War with Finland 1939, and is facing similarly unexpectedly stout, plucky resistance.

    He has also undone the geostrategic de facto neutrality pacts on his Scandinavian flanks. He is threatening nukes and resorting to bombardment of key civilian infrastructure, maybe he implicitly blames Ukraine and its backers for Nord Stream. That, may be maskirovka.

    This feeds into wider conflicts and policy blunders with energy driven by environmentalist ideology and stagflation crouches at the door.

    At the same time the Western policy establishments are busily alienating core populations and are playing with pandering to increasingly bizarre proclivities. Not to mention their track record of strategic incompetence. So, one does not have to support or like Putin and his foolish policies to say, we do not want to play chicken with nuclear war, or that we have no confidence in our perverse, demonstrably incompetent policy establishment, or that you pounce on us, you call us racists and fascists/nazis, you trash our history irresponsibly, you call out swat squad hit teams to over charge us for little or nothing (while coddling red guards), you run elections that are open to massive fraud [and criminalise criticism] then you want to turn us into cannon fodder again right after you demonstrated strategic incompetence over the past 20 years?

    So, kindly stop projecting demonising strawman caricatures. KF

    PS, with that out of your system, can we return to materialism? Or, should we infer from distractors and toxic projections that there is no case on the merits that can make materialism remotely defensible?

  96. 96
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, do you want me to document again, on the US State Dept assessment of UKRAINE the danger of widespread correspondence voting?

  97. 97
    bornagain77 says:

    Sir Giles, “BA77, your turnabout projection is showing.”

    Again, a Darwinian atheist complaining about censorship of his atheistic worldview in America is a shining example of the speck and the beam parable.

    Matthew 7:3
    Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?

    Censorship of opposing ideas, by supposedly ‘tolerant’ Darwinian atheists, is a pervasive reality in science and academia today in America. Moreover, censorship is necessary for Darwinists to retain their grip on power since a truly fair, balanced, and reasoned discourse would soon expose, for all to see, that the Darwinian king has no clothes on.

    Censorship Is Atheism’s Immune System – Michael Egnor – March 29, 2014
    Excerpt: The irony of intolerant atheists is remarkable. They proudly declare their open-mindedness, and in the same breath they work feverishly to extinguish by force any mention of God, any support to theism, in civic life. Are you puzzled by this? Don’t be. Censorship is in atheism’s marrow.
    When we lack recourse to a creator, rights become mere assertions of power. Those who have power do what they want to do, and call it a “right.” Without transcendence there are no rights, because without transcendence there can be no objective moral truths — therefore no rights — at all.
    Moreover, atheism cannot withstand reasoned examination. The assertion that everything came from nothing, without reason and without moral law, isn’t defensible in rational discourse, so silent assent is necessary to hold sway over culture.,,,
    Atheism as a philosophical proposition is utterly untenable, and belief in atheism amounts to self-delusion or culpable ignorance.
    There are, accordingly, to be no questions that might lead to a source for existence or to objective moral truth. All of atheism’s power depends on making it immune to questions. Censorship is thus a core manifestation of atheism.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/03/censorship_is_a/

    Censoring the Darwin Skeptics: How Belief in Evolution Is Enforced by Eliminating Dissidents – May 17, 2018
    This is the third volume of a trilogy that has been more than a decade in the making. The trilogy documents over 100 cases of discrimination handed out to individuals (60 of whom were PhDs) who dared to challenge Darwinian concepts within many venues of science and academia. For those who think this type of discrimination is minor or inconsequential, you should examine this work. This type of discrimination is not rare by any means in America, but has been constantly on the rise for decades. It represents nothing less than the brutal violation of freedom of speech, thought, and religious freedom for those who are qualified to practice in their field. Over and over again the clear pattern emerges from the pages of this trilogy – you are at high risk of career termination if you dare question much less oppose evolutionary concepts. Other books in this trilogy include Slaughter of the Dissidents (Volume I) and Silencing the Darwin Skeptics (Volume II)
    https://www.amazon.com/Censoring-Darwin-Skeptics-Eliminating-Dissidents/dp/0981873421

    Discrimination (by Darwinists) is a pervasive reality in the scientific (and education) world. It’s also a hidden reality.
    Scott Minnich
    Richard Sternberg
    Günter Bechly
    Eric Hedin
    Don McDonald
    David Coppedge
    Caroline Crocker
    Bryan Leonard
    Martin Gaskell
    Dean Kenyon
    Roger DeHart
    Granville Sewell
    https://freescience.today/stories/
    Here are many more examples of discrimination against people who dare question Darwinism
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/review-of-darwins-doubt-slams-id-theorists-for-not-publishing-in-darwinist-run-journals/

    Quote and Verse:

    “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.”
    – Joseph Stalin

    Acts 4: 17-19
    But to keep this message from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in this name.” Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than God.…

  98. 98
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Returning to focus, here is an online comment worth considering, in effect picking up on points in Monod:

    https://simplyphilosophy.org/study/scientific-materialism/

    Scientific materialism is the direction of Western analytical philosophy of the second half of the 20th century in solving a psychophysical problem in intersubjective language. The external factor of its appearance was the development of new areas of knowledge – neuroscience, cognitive sciences, psycholinguistics, the theory of artificial intelligence, etc. His philosophical sources are the non-behaviourism of B. Skinner, the logical behaviorism of J. Reil, the physicalism of R. Carnap, the concept of L. Wittgenstein’s private language. The leading representatives – G. Feigl, J. Smart, D. Armstrong, R. Rorty, P. Feyerabend, W. Sellars, J. Fodor, K. Wilkes, P. Churchland, M. Bunge, J. Kim, D. Dennet .

    Discussions in scientific materialism, in general, are conducted within the framework of the physicalist paradigm, which includes physicalistic monism and determinism (“everything is physical and everything is subject to physical laws”) , , , ,

    Eliminativism proposes a more radical strategy: to completely remove the category of “consciousness” from the philosophical language. P. Feyerabend (1963), one of the first to express this idea, argued that with the creation of a perfect materialistic language, mental terms will change their meaning and be replaced by scientific ones. [–> Notice, the huge implications of scientism] R. Rorty (1965) supported this idea: the replacement of the mentalistic language by the scientific will occur in the same way as in medicine, in the explanation of diseases, the elimination of the medieval “language of witches” occurred. Any being in order to be recognized as an object of intersubjective discussion must be fixed in the language; the concept of consciousness does not have a referent, it is linguistically inexpressible, it is based on a false premise about the introspective access of the one who is conscious to his consciousness, therefore it can not be considered a special reality. [–> the unrecognised, self referentially incoherent grand delusion thesis] The “nature of consciousness” is exhausted by sociolinguistic communication and people’s behavior (1979). P.Churchland (1984) considers strategies to translate languages ??(R.Carnap) or identity (G.Feigl, J.J. Smart, D.Armstrong) to be false because of the possibility of intertheoretical reduction of “folk-psychology” statements in them to the statements of scientific psychology, which uses the neurophysiological language.

    In the field of “folk-psychology” explanations are based on premises that do not have intersubjective significance: they express information from the first person – “I feel pain”, which another person can have a qualitatively different basis. Since the terms “folk-psychology” do not have exact correlates in the scientific language, its conception awaits the same fate of elimination that befell the physical concepts of “phlogiston”, “moving celestial spheres”, etc. The main difficulty of the thesis of eliminating the category “consciousness” is in its the contradiction of man’s subjective confidence in the reality of his consciousness and direct access to his self.

    In setting such aside, I simply point to the self defeat of self referential incoherence.

    That holds, whether or not it is ignored, dismissed or hotly objected to. Any system that ends in this is absurd. Materialism ends in this and it is absurd, false, self defeated.

    KF

  99. 99
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: playing with pandering to increasingly bizarre proclivities.

    And what would those proclivities be? Oh, I forget, you don’t even like to say the words. Makes it hard to be sure what you’re talking about doesn’t it?

    with that out of your system, can we return to materialism? Or, should we infer from distractors and toxic projections that there is no case on the merits that can make materialism remotely defensible?

    Not a conversation I have anything to add to.

    do you want me to document again, on the US State Dept assessment of UKRAINE the danger of widespread correspondence voting?

    Do you mean what is normally referred to as postal voting? I’ll pass on that thanks.

  100. 100

    Sev @ 79 – and others.

    With all the name calling thrown about, and hatred from the left, we now have a new blanket name for this hatred – MAGA Republican.
    But I have been cataloging and itemizing what and who are actual threats to our republic (we are not a democracy).
    Read my book on such matters at:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B096XXVDF3?ref_=dbs_m_mng_rwt_calw_tkin_1&storeType=ebooks

  101. 101
    jerry says:

    On sale today at. the Great Courses for $14.95 (video download)

    The Great Questions of Philosophy and Physics

    https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/the-great-questions-of-philosophy-and-physics

    1 Does Physics Make Philosophy Superfluous?
    2 Why Mathematics Works So Well with Physics
    3 Can Physics Explain Reality?
    4 The Reality of Einstein’s Space
    5 The Nature of Einstein’s Time
    6 The Beginning of Time
    7 Are Atoms Real?
    8 Quantum States: Neither True nor False?
    9 Waves, Particles, and Quantum Entanglement
    10 Wanted Dead and Alive: Schrödinger’s Cat
    11 The Dream of Grand Unification
    12 The Physics of God

    Maybe it will make the discussion on UD more coherent?

    Can any of our resident commenters teach this course?

  102. 102
  103. 103
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    The link at https://simplyphilosophy.org/study/scientific-materialism/

    contains several mistakes, most of them relatively trivial. But there’s one mistake which is not trivial and which could lead to serious misunderstanding of what is being claimed.

    n the field of “folk-psychology” explanations are based on premises that do not have intersubjective significance: they express information from the first person – “I feel pain”, which another person can have a qualitatively different basis. Since the terms “folk-psychology” do not have exact correlates in the scientific language, its conception awaits the same fate of elimination that befell the physical concepts of “phlogiston”, “moving celestial spheres”, etc. The main difficulty of the thesis of eliminating the category “consciousness” is in its the contradiction of man’s subjective confidence in the reality of his consciousness and direct access to his self. The possibility, without resorting to a mental language, to express a rich range of human feelings (Dzh.Serl, T. Nagel), is questionable. Without denying the competition of the language of folk psychology and the scientific language, many critics see in it the process of mutual correction, rather than repression.

    The central thesis of Rorty and Churchland is not the elimination of consciousness as a concept– not at all!

    The contention rather is this: begin with the thought that ordinary sense-perception does not tell us the truth about the physical world, because physics tells us that the ultimate constituents of physical objects are fermions and bosons with properties that we don’t detect with our senses (spin, charge) and not having properties that we do detect with our senses (colors, tastes). Then add that introspection is not reliable in just the same way: our ordinary ways of expressing our thoughts, beliefs, and desires, and referring to the thoughts, beliefs, and desires of others, does not capture the reality of what’s causing those mental objects.

    So the argument against “eliminative materialism” would need to show that introspection is, if not infallible, at least far more reliable than sense-perception.

    But that’s consistent with holding that “folk psychology” or “mentalistic discourse” is perfectly useful for most purposes, just as the vocabulary of referring to physical objects as having properties classified by the proper and common sensibles is perfectly useful for most purposes. (If you ask a physicist where the red car went, it would be odd if she were to reply, “I can’t say because cars are composed of fermions and bosons, and fermions and bosons do not have color.”)

    In any event, it’s not entirely clear to me that avoiding self-referential absurdity requires that introspection be more reliable than sense-perception — though Cartesian dualism certainly does require that assumption, and it is Cartesian dualism that is being targeted by the Feyerabend-Rorty-Churchland thesis.

    I’m perfectly happy to let people here attack materialism, and I have no interested in defending it, but I do want to make sure that people here understand the views that they are attacking. No straw people, please!

  104. 104
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, good considerations. of course, I am of the view that the wholistic, it’s a house is at least as valid as, houses are made of concrete, bricks, steel rebars, fixtures and fittings. The house-ness does use such hardware but house-ness was actually conceived and designed before there were ever foundations dug, walls erected, roof put on etc. Fermions, bosons, quantum effects have their place but so do other aspects and scales. Where, too, any species of grand delusion-ism is self discrediting and self defeating. KF

  105. 105
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @104: for sure, we agree that any account of objects needs to account for “structure” as well as “stuff”.

    On my view, we should regard the structure of the world is “multilevel”, and that what’s “structure” at one level is “stuff” for the level above it (and conversely — what is “stuff” at one level is “structure” for the level below it) — hence we can think of molecules as both structures of atoms and the stuff of macroscopic materials. (I also think that a multilevel structure/stuff hierarchy is the right way of reading Aristotle’s metaphysics, but that’s a side-issue.)

  106. 106
    tgpeeler says:

    Wow. Nice. So I think there is some basic agreement here about what “materialism” is so now I’d like for anyone who claims to believe that to engage on the following with particular emphasis on the first item. I’ve looked and looked and looked for characteristics and properties of matter but never have I seen the following as characteristics of matter:
    – that it can create itself (yet here we are???)
    – that it can decide or choose
    – that it can recognize right and wrong
    – that it can recognize itself

    I could go on but I would be happy to have a “materialist” or as Owen Flanagan says in “The Problem of the Soul” “Humans don’t possess some animal parts or instincts. We are animals. Many think the conflict … lies in our resistance to materialism, physicalism, naturalism, call it what you will… We are, I repeat, animals.”

    So calling it whatever we will, any empirical, rational explanations for how matter, lacking these properties, can explain our existence, and the rest will be most welcome. Thank you.

    p.s. I get asked all the time when I deconstruct materialism “well what do they say to that?” So I’m compiling a list of specific responses to these questions. Maybe I’m missing something…

  107. 107
    tgpeeler says:

    KF – thanks. It is exhausting having the same conversations over and over. I applaud your staying power. I’ll last as long as I can. 🙂

  108. 108
    Querius says:

    Tgpeeler @106,

    Good points. The problem is that NONE of the properties you listed have been discovered in the quarks and leptons of the Standard Model.

    As to creating themselves, some physicists and cosmologists, realizing that the probabilistic appearance of quantum fluctuations require space-time to exist first, so they speculate . . .

    Here’s the truly brilliant theoretical physicist explaining in about 6 minutes what we definitely know about how everything came into existence. Enjoy.

    How did the universe begin?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHhUCav_Jrk

    -Q

  109. 109
    Viola Lee says:

    Hi TGP. Interesting to have you drop back in given that the response to your question got fairly derailed starting at about post 20.

    You write, “So I think there is some basic agreement here about what “materialism” is.” Back at 2, I wrote,

    Modern materialism includes everything that modern physics accepts as existing, including all the facets of quantum mechanics, fields, etc. that go way beyond just thinking of the elemental particles that make up atoms as summarized in the periodic table.

    So metaphysical materialism would then say that everything in the universe is part of the material, or physical, world, as described in the quote above. Or, as I wrote in 32

    The modern meaning of materialism would include the idea that there is no plan or intention in the outflowing of causal histories via physical mechanisms, including all the forces and quantum phenomena that have been mentioned above.

    Added in edit: to be thorough, prompted by your recent post, I would say,

    Modern materialism would say that there is no aspect of human beings, such as consciousness, will and decision making, emotions, rational thought, etc., that isn’t a component of the material world, as described above.

    Is this a reasonably accurate statement of what you think the basic agreement is about the philosophical meaning of materialism?

    I’ll also point out that nobody in the thread posted in defense of materialism. The goal, as per your OP, was just to get clear on what the word meant.

  110. 110
    Querius says:

    Since there were no vocal materialists posting comments, here are two informed but radically opposing views regarding materialism (or deterministic physicalism) and consciousness, one by a theoretical physicist and the other by a philosopher.

    You don’t have free will, but don’t worry (11 minutes)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpU_e3jh_FY

    Does Consciousness Defeat Materialism? (13 minutes)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI-cESvGlKc

    -Q

  111. 111
    Viola Lee says:

    I don’t know why you would say materialism is deterministic physicalism. Most (but not all) quantum physicists believe that the probability in quantum events is real, and thus the material world is not deterministic.

    Also, could you summarize the main opposing views regarding materialism in the videos you linked to.

  112. 112
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, blind mechanical necessity augmented by blind chance is not capable of causing Orgel-Wicken functionally specific complex organisation and.or associated information, FSCO/I, beyond 500 to 1,000 bits. On trillions of observed cases, intelligently directed configuration can and does. Your own comments exemplify. The physical world yes often shows dynamic-stochastic entities and for a generation the butterfly effect and related studies have transformed understanding of the dynamics side through chaos. Evolutionary materialistic scientism and/or fellow travellers can be understood on saying that the physical, dynamic stochastic world and extensions [this includes multiverse speculations], per the 4 forces, specifies all that exists, reality. Now, account for a fine tuned cosmos, for origin of life, for origin of major body plans, of mind we need as credible to ponder on such terms. Include code and algorithms so language and goal directed process in the heart of cell based life. Do so, on empirically well founded terms. You cannot, instead you will see the sort of ideological imposition Crick, Mahner, Provine, Rosenberg, Lewontin, NAS and NSTA variously document. This is self referentially incoherent and self defeating, self falsifying. Instead, the abductive inference to design on reliable signs offers a fresh departure. But the mutiny on the ship of the academy will not allow it to be seriously heard, even as the increasingly erratic voyage points to shipwreck. KF

  113. 113
    Alan Fox says:

    @ KF

    Nothing prevents you or anyone else from carrying out your own empirical research into whatever aspect of reality or imagination that interests you.

    Instead you spend time writing nonsense such as this GEM:

    This is self referentially incoherent and self defeating, self falsifying. Instead, the abductive inference to design on reliable signs offers a fresh departure. But the mutiny on the ship of the academy will not allow it to be seriously heard, even as the increasingly erratic voyage points to shipwreck.

    It’s a waste of your time to write it and a waste of everyone else’s time to read it

  114. 114
    Alan Fox says:

    I don’t know why you would say materialism is deterministic physicalism.

    Another case of severe strawman syndrome?

    When a fission event occurs, what determines the timing (and whose time) and what determines the path taken by an emitted particle (and whose coordinates)?

    Determinists, please step forward and explain.

  115. 115
    whistler says:

    Viola Lee
    I don’t know why you would say materialism is deterministic physicalism.

    Yes it is. There are the universal laws and the matter that blindly obey them.

    Most quantum physicists believe that

    :))) Bring all your quantum physicists to sit around a rock and make quantum spells so the rock won’t fall down but will fly…because of quantum physics.

  116. 116
    Alan Fox says:

    Yes it is.

    Oh no, it isn’t. She’s behind you!

    There are the universal laws and the matter that blindly obey them.

    Do you think particles and waves carry a rulebook? Scientific laws are we humans best efforts at modelling the properties and predicting the behaviour of aspects of the physical universe that we are aware of.

  117. 117
    whistler says:

    Very interesting message from an older UD article

    43
    Heartlander
    An algorithmic system and/or system of postulates requires some basic assumptions which are taken as given – so naturalism requires at least a single miracle (the origin of the postulates) at the beginning. Put more broadly, natural processes cannot create natural processes (circulus in probando) – so we are left with creation from the supernatural.

    Futhermore, methodological naturalism cannot incorporate human consciousness (mind), abstract concepts, or information (all immaterial), which are measured differently from mass or energy– yet these are the very tools required for methodological naturalism to exist.

    “When we force science to adhere to naturalism, it requires scientists to simply ascribe supernatural powers to ordinary matter.”
    – Arminius Mignea

  118. 118
    Viola Lee says:

    re 112: Irrelevant to my post, which was about defining materialism, not defending it.

  119. 119
    Viola Lee says:

    re 112: Irrelevant to my post, which was about defining materialism, not defending it.

  120. 120
    bornagain77 says:

    AF at 116 states,

    “Do you think particles and waves carry a rulebook? Scientific laws are we humans best efforts at modelling the properties and predicting the behaviour of aspects of the physical universe that we are aware of.”

    So apparently AF rightly concedes that it is preposterous to believe that particles and waves can make their own rules,

    “There cannot be, in principle, a naturalistic bottom-up explanation for immutable physical laws — which are themselves an ‘expression’ of top-down causation. A bottom-up explanation, from the level of e.g. bosons, should be expected to give rise to innumerable different ever-changing laws. By analogy, particles give rise to innumerable different conglomerations.
    Moreover a bottom-up process from bosons to physical laws is in need of constraints (laws) in order to produce a limited set of universal laws.
    Paul Davies: “Physical processes, however violent or complex, are thought to have absolutely no effect on the laws. There is thus a curious asymmetry: physical processes depend on laws but the laws do not depend on physical processes. Although this statement cannot be proved, it is widely accepted.”
    Saying that laws do not depend on physical processes, is another way of saying that laws cannot be explained by physical processes.”
    – Origenes – UD blogger

    ,,, and yet AF also concedes that humans, mysteriously, look for universal laws that can model and predict how particles and waves will behave.

    So, as a Darwinian materialist, these leaves an ‘elephant in the living room’ question hanging for AF.,,, “From whence do these scientific laws come from?” As he himself, inadvertently, conceded, it is simply preposterous for anyone to believe that “particles and waves carry a rulebook”. i.e. that particles can make their own rules as to how they behave.

    And yet if you rightly believe that particles and waves can’t possibly make their own rules, and yet you are also an atheistic materialist who believes everything ’emerged’, in a ‘bottom-up’ fashion, from particles randomly jostling, and/or fluctuating, around in the void, then, or course, you will never look for any universal rules governing the particles and waves.

    And this belief that everything emerges in a ‘bottom-up’ fashion from particles randomly jostling around in the void is the primary belief of atheistic materialism that prevented atheistic materialists from ever founding modern science, or from ever making a significant contribution to the founding of modern science, since they, inherently, don’t believe “particles and waves carry a rulebook”.

    On the following site, starting on page 235, there is a list of the ‘Bible believing’ founders of modern science. You will be very hard pressed to find a single non-believing atheist that founded any major branch of ‘hard’ science, (excluding Darwinian evolution, of course, which is shown, via Robert Marks, William Dembski and company, to NOT even be a ‘hard’ science in the first place that can be realistically modeled).

    Founders of Modern Science Who Believe in GOD – Tihomir Dimitrov – (pg. 235)
    SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINES – BIBLE-BELIEVING SCIENTISTS
    1. ANALYTICAL GEOMETRY – RENE DESCARTES – (1596-1650)
    2. ANESTHESIOLOGY – JAMES SIMPSON – (1811-1870)
    3. ANTISEPTIC SURGERY – JOSEPH LISTER – (1827-1912)
    4. ASTRONAUTICS – HERMANN OBERTH – (1894-1989) – WERNHER VON BRAUN – (1912-1977)
    5. ATOMIC PHYSICS – JOSEPH J. THOMSON – (1856-1940)
    6. BACTERIOLOGY – LOUIS PASTEUR – (1822-1895)
    7. BIOLOGY – JOHN RAY – (1627-1705)
    8. CALCULUS – ISAAC NEWTON – (1642-1727) – GOTTFRIED LEIBNIZ – (1646-1716)
    9. CARDIOLOGY – WILLIAM HARVEY – (1578-1657)
    10. CELESTIAL MECHANICS – JOHANNES KEPLER – (1571-1630)
    11. CHEMISTRY – ROBERT BOYLE – (1627-1691)
    12. COMPARATIVE ANATOMY – GEORGES CUVIER – (1769-1832)
    13. COMPUTER SCIENCE – CHARLES BABBAGE – (1791-1871)
    14. CRYOLOGY – LORD KELVIN – (1824-1907)
    15. DIFFERENTIAL GEOMETRY – CARL FRIEDRICH GAUSS – (1777-1855)
    16. DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS – LORD RAYLEIGH – (1842-1919)
    17. DYNAMICS – ISAAC NEWTON – (1642-1727)
    18. ELECTRODYNAMICS – JAMES CLERK MAXWELL – (1831-1879) ANDRE-MARIE AMPERE – (1775-1836)
    19. ELECTRO-MAGNETICS – MICHAEL FARADAY – (1791-1867)
    20. ELECTRONICS – JOHN AMBROSE FLEMING – (1849-1945) MICHAELFARADAY – (1791-1867)
    21. ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY – JOHN ECCLES – (1903-1997)
    22. EMBRIOLOGY – WILLIAM HARVEY – (1578-1657)
    23. ENERGETICS – LORD KELVIN – (1824-1907)
    24. ENTOMOLOGY OF LIVING INSECTS – HENRI FABRE – (1823-1915)
    25. EXPERIMENTAL PHYSICS – GALILEO GALILEI – (1564-1642)
    26. FIELD THEORY – MICHAEL FARADAY – (1791-1867)
    27. FLUID MECHANICS – GEORGE STOKES – (1819-1903)
    28. GALACTIC ASTRONOMY – WILLIAM HERSCHEL – (1738-1822)
    29. GAS DYNAMICS – ROBERT BOYLE – (1627-1691)
    30. GENETICS – GREGOR MENDEL – (1822-1884)
    31. GEOLOGY – NICOLAUS STENO – (1638-1686)
    32. GLACIAL GEOLOGY – LOUIS AGASSIZ – (1807-1873)
    33. GYNECOLOGY – JAMES SIMPSON – (1811-1870)
    34. HELIOCENTRIC COSMOLOGY – NICOLAUS COPERNICUS – (1473-1543)
    35. HYDRAULICS – LEONARDO DA VINCI – (1452-1519)
    36. HYDRODYNAMICS – BLAISE PASCAL – (1623-1662)
    37. HYDROGRAPHY – MATTHEW MAURY – (1806-1873)
    38. HYDROSTATICS – BLAISE PASCAL – (1623-1662)
    39. ICHTHYOLOGY – LOUIS AGASSIZ -(1807-1873)
    40. IMMUNOLOGY – LOUIS PASTEUR – (1822-1895)
    41. ISOTOPIC CHEMISTRY – WILLIAM RAMSAY – (1852-1916)
    42. LASER SCIENCE – CHARLES TOWNES – (1915-2015) – ARTHUR SCHAWLOW – (1921-1999)
    43. MATHEMATICAL ANALYSIS – LEONHARD EULER – (1707-1783)
    44. MICROBIOLOGY – LOUIS PASTEUR – (1822-1895)
    45. MINERALOGY – GEORGIUS AGRICOLA – (1494-1555)
    46. MODEL ANALYSIS – LORD RAYLEIGH – (1842-1919)
    47. MODERN MEDICINE – WILLIAM HARVEY – (1578-1657)
    48. NANOTECHNOLOGY – RICHARD SMALLEY – (1943-2005)
    49. NATURAL HISTORY – JOHN RAY – (1627-1705)
    50. NON-EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY – BERNHARD RIEMANN – (1826-1866)
    51. NUMBER THEORY – CARL FRIEDRICH GAUSS – (1777-1855)
    52. OCEANOGRAPHY – MATTHEW MAURY – (1806-1873)
    53. OPTICAL MINERALOGY – DAVID BREWSTER – (1781-1868)
    54. OPTICS – JOHANNES KEPLER – (1571-1630)
    55. PALEONTOLOGY – JOHN WOODWARD – (1665-1728) – GEORGES CUVIER – (1769-1832)
    56. PATHOLOGY – RUDOLPH VIRCHOW – (1821-1902)
    57. PHYSICAL ASTRONOMY – JOHANNES KEPLER – (1571-1630)
    58. PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY – MIKHAIL LOMONOSOV – (1711-1765)
    59. PHYSIOLOGY – WILLIAM HARVEY – (1578-1657)
    60. QUANTUM MECHANICS – MAX PLANCK – (1858-1947) – WERNER HEISENBERG – (1901-1976)
    61. REVERSIBLE THERMODYNAMICS – JAMES JOULE – (1818-1889)
    62. STATISTICAL THERMODYNAMICS – JAMES CLERK MAXWELL – (1831-1879)
    63. STRATIGRAPHY – NICOLAUS STENO – (1638-1686)
    64. SYSTEMATIC BIOLOGY – CAROLUS LINNAEUS – (1707-1778)
    65. TAXONOMY – JOHN RAY – (1627-1705)
    66. THERMODYNAMICS – LORD KELVIN – (1824-1907)
    67. THERMOKINETICS – HUMPHRY DAVY – (1778-1829)
    68. TRANSPLANTOLOGY – ALEXIS CARREL – (1873-1944) – JOSEPH E. MURRAY – (1919-2012)
    69. VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY – GEORGES CUVIER – (1769-1832)
    70. WAVE MECHANICS – ERWIN SCHROEDINGER – (1887-1961)
    https://www.academia.edu/2739607/Scientific_GOD_Journal

    Of note, although some atheists might try to claim that Ludwig Boltzmann, a Darwinian atheist who first linked probability and entropy, is an exception to this rule of Christians founding modern science, I simply note, via Max Planck, that Ludwig Boltzmann “never gave thought to the possibility of carrying out an exact measurement of the (Boltzmann) constant.”

    The Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann first linked entropy and probability in 1877. However, the equation as shown, involving a specific constant, was first written down by Max Planck, the father of quantum mechanics in 1900. In his 1918 Nobel Prize lecture, Planck said: This constant is often referred to as Boltzmann’s constant, although, to my knowledge, Boltzmann himself never introduced it – a peculiar state of affairs, which can be explained by the fact that Boltzmann, as appears from his occasional utterances, never gave thought to the possibility of carrying out an exact measurement of the constant. Nothing can better illustrate the positive and hectic pace of progress which the art of experimenters has made over the past twenty years, than the fact that since that time, not only one, but a great number of methods have been discovered for measuring the mass of a molecule with practically the same accuracy as that attained for a planet.
    http://www.daviddarling.info/e.....ation.html

    I hold that the primary reason why Boltzmann, an atheist, never thought to carry out, or even propose, a precise measurement for the universal constant on entropy is that it would simply be unfathomable for him, as an Atheistic materialist, to conceive that the random jostling of particles should ever be governed by a universal constant. Whereas on the other hand, to a Christian Theist such as Max Planck, it is expected that even these seemingly random entropic events of the universe should be governed by a universal constant. In fact modern science was born out of such thinking.

    As C.S. Lewis put it, “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”

    The God Particle: Not the God of the Gaps, But the Whole Show – Monday, Aug. 2012
    Excerpt: C. S. Lewis put it this way: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”
    http://www.christianpost.com/n.....how-80307/

    And as Paul Davies pointed out, “Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way.”

    Taking Science on Faith – By PAUL DAVIES – NOV. 24, 2007
    Excerpt: All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed.
    ,,, the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe,,,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11.....avies.html

    And although Darwinian atheists often falsely portray Christianity as being ‘at war’ with science,

    The Two Guys to Blame for the Myth of Constant Warfare between Religion and Science – February 27, 2015
    Excerpt: Timothy Larsen, a Christian historian who specializes in the nineteenth century, notes:
    The so-called “war” between faith and learning, specifically between orthodox Christian theology and science, was manufactured during the second half of the nineteenth century. It is a construct that was created for polemical purposes.
    No one deserves more blame for this stubborn myth than these two men:
    Andrew Dickson White (1832-1918), the founding president of Cornell University, and
    John William Draper (1811-1882), professor of chemistry at the University of New York.
    http://www.thegospelcoalition......d-science/

    ,,, And although Darwinian atheists often falsely portray Christianity as being ‘at war’ with science, the fact of the matter is that it is Darwinian atheism itself that is ‘at war’ with science.

    As Dr. Cornelius Hunter pointed out, “the conflict is the exactly the opposite—it is between the metaphysical foundation of evolutionary thought and science. That metaphysical foundation of naturalism is unyielding and unbending, and it makes no sense on the science. It is the evolutionists who have a conflict between their religious beliefs and science.,,, the scientific evidence is clear, and the genetic and fossil evidence is abundant, but it does not support evolution. Not even remotely.”

    The Importance of the Warfare Thesis – Cornelius Hunter, PhD in Biophysics – July 26, 2015
    Excerpt: Historians have understood for the better part of a century now that this Warfare Thesis (between science and religion) is a false history. It was constructed by evolutionists to frame the origins debate in their favor. In fact the conflict is the exactly the opposite—it is between the metaphysical foundation of evolutionary thought and science. That metaphysical foundation of naturalism is unyielding and unbending, and it makes no sense on the science. It is the evolutionists who have a conflict between their religious beliefs and science. The Warfare Thesis is an attempt to turn the tables and turn the attention away from the obvious problems with evolutionary thought.
    Evolutionists say that their skeptics suffer from bad religion and bad science. In fact, the metaphysical foundation of naturalism is not biblical (in spite of the fact that it comes from Christians), and evolutionary theory is not scientific. Science does not indicate that the world spontaneously arose.,,,
    Clear scientific evidence for evolution? Abundant genetic and fossil evidence for evolution? Yes, the scientific evidence is clear, and the genetic and fossil evidence is abundant, but it does not support evolution. Not even remotely.
    Of course Scripture can have different interpretations. But the science leaves no such wiggle room. It does not prove, indicate or suggest that the species arose spontaneously, as a consequence of natural laws and processes. That is a metaphysical mandate (from atheists) that is in conflict with the science.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....logos.html

    Of further note to the Christian presupposition that there should be universal laws governing the universe since there is a ‘universal law giver’, (i.e. since there is a God), Sir Isaac Newton himself stated that, ‘Without all doubt this world…could arise from nothing but the perfectly free will of God… From this fountain (what) we call the laws of nature have flowed”,,

    ‘Without all doubt this world…could arise from nothing but the perfectly free will of God… From this fountain (what) we call the laws of nature have flowed, in which there appear many traces indeed of the most wise contrivance, but not the least shadow of necessity. These therefore we must not seek from uncertain conjectures, but learn them from observations and experiments.”,,,
    – Sir Isaac Newton – (Cited from Religion and the Rise of Modern Science by Hooykaas page 49).
    https://thirdspace.org.au/comment/237

  121. 121
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, at the 16:47 minute mark of the following video, Dr. Stephen Meyer reveals that Sir Isaac Newton himself believed that God was “constantly sustaining the universe by the word of His power”.

    Stephen Meyer Answers Questions about the Judeo-Christian Origins of Science – video
    https://youtu.be/YBwRC8qJSoI?t=994

    Specifically, “Newton’s voluntarism moved him to affirm an intimate relationship between the creator and the creation; his God was acted on the world at all times and in ways that Leibniz and other mechanical philosophers could not conceive of,,”

    “Newton’s Rejection of the “Newtonian World View”: The Role of Divine Will in Newton’s Natural Philosophy – (Davis, 1991)
    Abstract: The significance of Isaac Newton for the history of Christianity and science is undeniable: his professional work culminated the Scientific Revolution that saw the birth of modern science,,,
    Newton’s voluntarist conception of God had three major consequences for his natural philosophy. First, it led him to reject Descartes’ version of the mechanical philosophy, in which matter was logically equated with extension, in favor of the belief that the properties of matter were freely determined by an omnipresent God, who remained free to move the particles of matter according to God’s will. Second, Newton’s voluntarism moved him to affirm an intimate relationship between the creator and the creation; his God was acted on the world at all times and in ways that Leibniz and other mechanical philosophers could not conceive of, such as causing parts of matter to attract one another at a distance. Finally, Newton held that, since the world is a product of divine freedom rather than necessity, the laws of nature must be inferred from the phenomena of nature, not deduced from metaphysical axioms — as both Descartes and Leibniz were wont to do.
    http://home.messiah.edu/~tdavis/newton.htm

    And since Newton also held the orthodox belief that man is made in the image of God,,,

    Priest of Nature – the religious worlds of Isaac Newton – R. Iliffe (Princeton University Press, 2017)
    Excerpt page 5:
    “The analogy between the human and the divine would remain at the heart of Newtons theological metaphysics. In the essay on God, space, and time that he penned in the early 1690s, the analogy between man and God played a key role. Was it not most agreeable to reason, he asked, that Gods creatures shared his attributes as far as possible as fruit the nature of the tree, and an image the likeness of a man, and by sharing tend towards perfection? Similarly, was it not reasonable to believe that God could be discerned in the more perfect creatures as in a mirror? Such a view also enabled humans to understand the being and attributes of the divine.”
    https://www.yoono.org/download/prinat.pdf

    ,,, and since Newton also held to the orthodox belief that man is made in the image of God, (and since he explicitly rejected the mechanical and/or necessitarian philosophy), then I hold that Newton would be very pleased to see the recent closing of the “freedom of choice” loophole within quantum mechanics.

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract excerpt: This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

    This is simply devastating to Atheistic materialism since it undermines the Darwinian worldview from within.

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

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

    In fact Weinberg, again an atheist, rejected the instrumentalist approach precisely because “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level” and because it undermined the Darwinian worldview from within. Yet, regardless of how he and other atheists may prefer the world to behave, quantum mechanics itself could care less how atheists prefer the world to behave. Again, the ‘freedom of choice’ loophole has now been closed, via Zeilinger and company, to at least 7.8 billion years ago.

    Moreover, when we rightly allow the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, (as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders,,,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands with the closing of the “freedom-of-choice” loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), then rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead bridges the infinite mathematical divide that exists between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics and provides us with an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”

    December 2021 – When scrutinizing some of the many fascinating details of the Shroud of Turin, we find that both General Relativity, i.e. gravity, and Quantum Mechanics were both dealt with in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/in-time-for-american-thanksgiving-stephen-meyer-on-the-frailty-of-scientific-atheism/#comment-741600

    The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead as the correct “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vpn2Vu8–eE

    Verses:

    Matthew 26:39
    And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Matthew 28:18
    And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

    Of supplemental note: Also see George Ellis’s article, ‘Recognising Top-Down Causation’

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1212.2275.pdf

  122. 122
    Viola Lee says:

    BA writes, “Sir Isaac Newton himself believed that God was “constantly sustaining the universe by the word of His power”.

    In addition,

    Newton’s voluntarism moved him to affirm an intimate relationship between the creator and the creation; his God was acted on the world at all times and in ways that Leibniz and other mechanical philosophers could not conceive of, such as causing parts of matter to attract one another at a distance. Finally, Newton held that, since the world is a product of divine freedom rather than necessity, the laws of nature must be inferred from the phenomena of nature, not deduced from metaphysical axioms — as both Descartes and Leibniz were wont to do.

    Yes, Newton was a “theistic evolutionist” in this regard, although the evolution part of it wouldn’t come up for 150 years.

  123. 123
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @106

    I could go on but I would be happy to have a “materialist” or as Owen Flanagan says in “The Problem of the Soul” “Humans don’t possess some animal parts or instincts. We are animals. Many think the conflict … lies in our resistance to materialism, physicalism, naturalism, call it what you will… We are, I repeat, animals.”

    Interesting that you cite Flanagan. I like his work in general and that book in particular.

    Flanagan’s project there is summed up in the subtitle: “Two Visions of Mind and How to Reconcile Them”. (Interestingly, I just realized that one of the mentors to whom the book is dedicated is the great neo-Thomist philosopher Alastair MacIntyre.)

    One of these visions is the idea of human beings as persons. The other vision is the idea of human beings as animals. So the question of a naturalistic philosophy of mind is, “how can persons be animals, and how did (and do) animals become persons?”

    By persons, I mean the idea that we are (if all goes well in our biological development and socio-cultural immersion) beings that are conscious, self-conscious, rational and reasonable, choosing to act and of refraining from acting, capable of holding ourselves and others responsible for our actions, capable of making choices based on criteria that are available for public commentary, and capable of revising those criteria based on rational deliberation of what is best for ourselves, others, and the good of the moral community to which we belong.

    (This is not intended to be exhaustive — just what I came up right now.)

    By animals, I mean living things capable of perceiving various configurations of their surroundings, purposefully responding to those configurations by moving their bodies and especially, in many cases, altering the configurations of their environments, and in many cases, engaging in forms of social behavior with various affects (love, care, dislike, aggression, envy, etc.).

    (Again, this is not intended to be exhaustive!)

    (And by living things I mean complex dynamical systems that are constituted by an interlocking set of causal constraints that jointly distinguish the organism from its environment, but which require constant exchanges of energy and matter with its environment in order to maintain itself as far from thermodynamic equilibrium with that environment. Once again, not intended to be exhaustive!)

    So the question of a “could there be a wholly naturalistic theory of persons?” is the question of how things that are entirely and wholly animals (as defined above) could, under specific conditions, also become persons (as defined above). One could also, with equal justice, call this a wholly secular theory of persons: an account of what persons are that does not require concepts drawn from any religious tradition.

    A secular theory of persons does not, so far as I can tell, depend on any claims about the nature of “matter”, nor does it depend on any claims about theories of fundamental physics. It certainly does not depend upon the idea that everything that exists can be explained in terms of fermions and bosons.

    In other words, I think there’s quite a big difference between asking the question “what might a wholly secular theory of persons look like?” and asking the question, “can everything that exists be explained in terms of fundamental physics?”

  124. 124
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @111,

    I don’t know why you would say materialism is deterministic physicalism. Most (but not all) quantum physicists believe that the probability in quantum events is real, and thus the material world is not deterministic.

    Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder, a research physicist of note, totally destroys your conclusion in the 11-minute video below:

    You don’t have free will, but don’t worry
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpU_e3jh_FY

    The 13-minute counterpoint to Dr. Hossenfelder is provided by Dr. David Chalmers a professor of Philosophy and Neural Science at New York University:

    Does Consciousness Defeat Materialism?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI-cESvGlKc

    Also, could you summarize the main opposing views regarding materialism in the videos you linked to.

    No, I don’t do homework assignments for people. Besides, I’ve already watched them twice.

    But go ahead and watch them yourself (I really do think they would be enlightening for you). If you think it would be helpful to the discussion, why don’t you post a summary of their views on materialism with your comments?

    -Q

  125. 125
    Viola Lee says:

    Q, let’s get this straight. I don’t like watching videos, for reasons I’ve explained before. If you can’t write a summary and provide written statements here, then you are expecting me to do your homework, not vice versa.

    And I know Hossenfelder is a good popularizer of science, and a legitimate quantum physicist, but her views on the determinism issue are not shared by a majority of quantum physicists, and are certainly not the definitive word on the subject.

    And the idea that probability is real is not my view, it’s the view of the majority of quantum physicists. I think it was you who posted a link to a chart of what percent of different physicists believed what about QM, and far more thought probability was real than thought it wasn’t.

    And I seriously doubt that you are enough of an expert to conclude that Hossenfelder totally destroys the argument that probability is real, especially in a short youtube video.

    So given that we’re at an impasse about youtube videos, I’d like it it if you wouldn’t bother me about them anymore.

  126. 126
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @125,

    Fortunately, I can easily copy-paste a transcript of Dr. Hossenfelder’s presentation so you won’t have to click a link and watch her presentation. And here’s a even a short summary, which I’ll probably regret spending the time to write.

    Summary: Free will is a rubbish idea because everything that exists, including your brain, is made of of particles and that everything that happens to those particles had a cause that can be traced back to the big bang. Dr. Hossenfelder said, “These deterministic laws of nature apply to you and your brain because you are made of particles, and what happens with you is a consequence of what happens with those particles.” She goes on to say that it’s no good to simply label it as materialism or reductionism to belittle the concept. “But this is denying scientific evidence. We do not guess, we know that brains are made of particles. And we do not guess, we know, that we can derive from the laws for the constituents what the whole object does. If you make a claim to the contrary, you are contradicting well-established science.

    Today I want to talk about an issue that must have occurred to everyone who spent some time thinking about physics. Which is that the idea of free will is both incompatible with the laws of nature and entirely meaningless. I know that a lot of people just do not want to believe this. But I think you are here to hear what the science says. So, I will tell you what the science says. In this video I first explain why free will does not exist, indeed makes no sense, and then tell you why there are better things to worry about.

    I want to say ahead that there is much discussion about free will in neurology, where the question is whether we subconsciously make decisions before we become consciously aware of having made one. I am not a neurologist, so this is not what I am concerned with here. I will be talking about free will as the idea that in this present moment, several futures are possible, and your “free will” plays a role for selecting which one of those possible futures becomes reality. This, I think, is how most of us intuitively think of free will because it agrees with our experience of how the world seems to works. It is not how some philosophers have defined free will, and I will get to this later. But first, let me tell you what’s wrong with this intuitive idea that we can somehow select among possible futures.

    Last week, I explained what differential equations are, and that all laws of nature which we currently know work with those differential equations. These laws have the common property that if you have an initial condition at one moment in time, for example the exact details of the particles in your brain and all your brain’s inputs, then you can calculate what happens at any other moment in time from those initial conditions. This means in a nutshell that the whole story of the universe in every single detail was determined already at the big bang. We are just watching it play out.

    These deterministic laws of nature apply to you and your brain because you are made of particles, and what happens with you is a consequence of what happens with those particles. A lot of people seem to think this is a philosophical position. They call it “materialism” or “reductionism” and think that giving it a name that ends on –ism is an excuse to not believe it. Well, of course you can insist to just not believe reductionism is correct. But this is denying scientific evidence. We do not guess, we know that brains are made of particles. And we do not guess, we know, that we can derive from the laws for the constituents what the whole object does. If you make a claim to the contrary, you are contradicting well-established science. I can’t prevent you from denying scientific evidence, but I can tell you that this way you will never understand how the universe really works. So, the trouble with free will is that according to the laws of nature that we know describe humans on the fundamental level, the future is determined by the present. That the system– in this case, your brain – might be partly chaotic does not make a difference for this conclusion, because chaos is still deterministic. Chaos makes predictions difficult, but the future still follows from the initial condition.

    What about quantum mechanics? In quantum mechanics some events are truly random and cannot be predicted. Does this mean that quantum mechanics is where you can find free will? Sorry, but no, this makes no sense. These random events in quantum mechanics are not influenced by you, regardless of exactly what you mean by “you”, because they are not influenced by anything. That’s the whole point of saying they are fundamentally random. Nothing determines their outcome. There is no “will” in this. Not yours and not anybody else’s.

    Taken together we therefore have determinism with the occasional, random quantum jump, and no combination of these two types of laws allows for anything resembling this intuitive idea that we can somehow choose which possible future becomes real. The reason this idea of free will turns out to be incompatible with the laws of nature is that it never made sense in the first place. You see, that thing you call “free will” should in some sense allow you to choose what you want. But then it’s either determined by what you want, in which case it’s not free, or it’s not determined, in which case it’s not a will.

    Now, some have tried to define free will by the “ability to have done otherwise”. But that’s just empty words. If you did one thing, there is no evidence you could have done something else because, well, you didn’t. Really there is always only your fantasy of having done otherwise. In summary, the idea that we have a free will which gives us the possibility to select among different futures is both incompatible with the laws of nature and logically incoherent.

    I should add here that it’s not like I am saying something new. Look at the writing of any philosopher who understand physics, and they will acknowledge this. But some philosophers insist they want to have something they can call free will, and have therefore tried to redefine it. For example, you may speak of free will if no one was in practice able to predict what you would do. This is certainly presently the case, that most human behavior is unpredictable, though I can predict that some people who didn’t actually watch this video will leave a comment saying they had no other choice than leaving their comment and think they are terribly original. So, yeah, if you want you can redefine “free will” to mean “no one was able to predict your decision.” But of course your decision was still determined or random regardless of whether someone predicted it.

    Others have tried to argue that free will means some of your decisions are dominated by processes internal to your brain and not by external influences. But of course your decision was still determined or random, regardless of whether it was dominated by internal or external influences. I find it silly to speak of “free will” in these cases.

    I also find it unenlightening to have an argument about the use of words. If you want to define free will in such a way that it is still consistent with the laws of nature, that is fine by me, though I will continue to complain that’s just verbal acrobatics. In any case, regardless of how you want to define the word, we still cannot select among several possible futures. This idea makes absolutely no sense if you know anything about physics. What is really going on if you are making a decision is that your brain is running a calculation, and while it is doing that, you do not know what the outcome of the calculation will be. Because if you did, you wouldn’t have to do the calculation. So, the impression of free will comes from our self-awareness, that we think about what to do, combined with our inability to predict the result of that thinking before we’re done.

    I feel like I must add here a word about the claim that human behavior is unpredictable because if someone told you that they predicted you’d do one thing, you could decide to do something else. This is a rubbish argument because it has nothing to do with human behavior, it comes from interfering with the system you are making predictions for. It is easy to see that this argument is nonsense because you can make the same claim about very simple computer codes. Suppose you have a computer that evaluates whether an equation has a real-valued root. The answer is yes or no. You can predict the answer. But now you can change the algorithm so that if you input the correct answer, the code will output the exact opposite answer, i.e. “yes” if you predicted “no” and “no” if you predicted “yes”. As a consequence, your prediction will never be correct. Clearly, this has nothing to do with free will but with the fact that the system you make a prediction for gets input which the prediction didn’t account for. There’s nothing interesting going on in this argument.

    Another objection that I’ve heard is that I should not say free will does not exist
    because that would erode people’s moral behavior. The concern is, you see, that if
    people knew free will does not exist, then they would think it doesn’t matter what
    they do. This is of course nonsense. If you act in ways that harm other people, then these other people will take steps to prevent that from happening again. This has nothing to do with free will. We are all just running software that is trying to optimize our well-being. If you caused harm, you are responsible, not because you had “free will” but because you embody the problem and locking you up will solve it.

    There have been a few research studies that supposedly showed a relation between priming participants to not believe in free will and them behaving immorally. The problem with these studies, if you look at how they were set up, is that people were not primed to not believe in free will. They were primed to think fatalistically. In some cases, for example, they were being suggested that their genes determine their future, which, needless to say, is only partly correct, regardless of whether you believe in free will. And some more nuanced recent studies have actually shown the opposite. A 2017 study on free will and moral behavior concluded “we observed that disbelief in free will had a positive impact on the morality of decisions toward others”. Please check the information below the video for a reference.

    So I hope I have convinced you that free will is nonsense, and that the idea deserves going into the rubbish bin. The reason this has not happened yet, I think, is that people
    find it difficult to think of themselves in any other way than making decisions drawing on this non-existent “free will.” So what can you do? You don’t need to do anything. Just because free will is an illusion does not mean you are not allowed to use it as a thinking aid. If you lived a happy life so far using your imagined free will, by all means, please keep on doing so. If it causes you cognitive dissonance to acknowledge you believe in something that doesn’t exist, I suggest that you think of your life as a story which has not yet been told. You are equipped with a thinking apparatus that you use to collect information and act on what you have learned from this. The result of that thinking is determined, but you still have to do the thinking. That’s your task. That’s why you are here. I am curious to see what will come out of your thinking, and you should be curious about it too. Why am I telling you this? Because I think that people who do not understand that free will is an illusion underestimate how much their decisions are influenced by the information they are exposed to. After watching this video, I hope, some of you will realize that to make the best of your thinking apparatus, you need to understand how it works, and pay more attention to cognitive biases and logical fallacies.

    As you can see, Dr. Hossenfelder is fully aware of chaos and that a few quantum events are truly random. It’s pretty obvious that she totally destroys your argument. But you’ll have to read a transcript of Dr. Chalmer’s perspectives to see how he addresses Dr. Hossenfelder’s arguments.

    You then wrote:

    And I know Hossenfelder is a good popularizer of science, and a legitimate quantum physicist, but her views on the determinism issue are not shared by a majority of quantum physicists, and are certainly not the definitive word on the subject.

    That’s a pretty ambitious assertion on your part. Can you support it with any references?

    -Q

  127. 127
    bornagain77 says:

    Viola Lee tries to hold that “Newton was a “theistic evolutionist””

    Yet, as I already referenced, Newton explicitly rejected the mechanical and/or necessitarian philosophy, (i.e. Theistic Evolution), of Descartes and Leibniz.

    “Newton’s Rejection of the “Newtonian World View”: The Role of Divine Will in Newton’s Natural Philosophy – (Davis, 1991)
    Abstract: The significance of Isaac Newton for the history of Christianity and science is undeniable: his professional work culminated the Scientific Revolution that saw the birth of modern science,,,
    Newton’s voluntarist conception of God had three major consequences for his natural philosophy. First, it led him to reject Descartes’ version of the mechanical philosophy, in which matter was logically equated with extension, in favor of the belief that the properties of matter were freely determined by an omnipresent God, who remained free to move the particles of matter according to God’s will. Second, Newton’s voluntarism moved him to affirm an intimate relationship between the creator and the creation; his God was acted on the world at all times and in ways that Leibniz and other mechanical philosophers could not conceive of, such as causing parts of matter to attract one another at a distance. Finally, Newton held that, since the world is a product of divine freedom rather than necessity, the laws of nature must be inferred from the phenomena of nature, not deduced from metaphysical axioms — as both Descartes and Leibniz were wont to do.
    http://home.messiah.edu/~tdavis/newton.htm

    Shoot, even wikipedia itself, (which is certainly no friend of ID), states that “(Newton) rejected Leibniz’s thesis that God would necessarily make a perfect world which requires no intervention from the creator.”

    “Newton saw God as the masterful creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation.[19] Nevertheless, he rejected Leibniz’s thesis that God would necessarily make a perfect world which requires no intervention from the creator.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Isaac_Newton#God_as_masterful_creator

    Moreover, elsewhere Newton himself stated, “Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being, necessarily existing.”

    “Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being, necessarily existing.”
    – Isaac Newton, The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (3rd edition)

    In short, directly contrary to Viola Lee tried to claim, Newton certainly did not believe that God created the universe and then, basically, walked away to let the universe unfold to its own accord. (i.e. Theistic Evolution).

  128. 128
    Viola Lee says:

    BA, TE is not a ” mechanical and/or necessitarian philosophy”.

    You also write, “Newton certainly did not believe that God created the universe and then, basically, walked away to let the universe unfold to its own accord. (i.e. Theistic Evolution).”

    That is deism, not TE.

  129. 129
    bornagain77 says:

    Well Viola Lee, the Theistic Evolutionists over at Biologos will certainly be surprised by your statements since they themselves jumped on Leibniz’s deistic bandwagon

    Newton, Leibniz, and the Role of God in Planetary Orbits – December 2014
    Excerpt:
    “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being”
    — Sir Isaac Newton. “Principia Mathematica” (1687)
    Perhaps the most spectacular early success of Isaac Newton’s theory of gravitation was its natural explanation for Johannes Kepler’s observation that the planets orbit the sun in elliptical orbits. But upon further reflection, some nagging problems emerge. The perfect elliptical orbits are only valid for an isolated planet orbiting around the sun. Gravity works on all objects, and so the other planets perturb the motion of the Earth, potentially leading to its ejection from the solar system. This problem vexed Sir Isaac, who postulated that God occasionally “reformed” the planets, perhaps by sending through a comet with just the right trajectory.
    In a famous exchange of letters, cut short only by his death in 1716, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, took Sir Isaac to task for his view. He objected that:
    “if God had to remedy the defects of His creation, this was surely to demean his craftsmanship.”1
    And moreover that:
    “..when God works miracles, he does it not to meet the needs of nature but the needs of grace. Anyone who thinks differently must have a very mean notion of the wisdom and power of God.”2
    In other words, the regular sustaining activity of God, as evidenced by natural laws, should be sufficient to explain the regular behavior of the solar system, without the need for additional ad-hoc interventions. Making it right the first time is more glorious than having to fix it later. Moreover, when God deviates from his regular sustaining activity to perform miracles, he does so for soteriological reasons, not to repair nature.,,,
    1. 1. John Hedley Brooke, Science and Religion, CUP, Cambridge (1991), p147.
    2. From letter 1 point 4 (Nov 1715). The full correspondence can be found online.
    – per biologos

    Yet, although Newton held God to be active in creation and not a distant clock-maker, the preceding account of Newton is a bit of Whig history:

    Here is an interesting article about the Newton-Leibniz-Laplace controversy that shows Newton’s ‘God of the gaps’ controversy is not nearly as cut and dried as some atheists and/or Theistic Evolutionists have tried to make it out to be:

    a) Newton did develop perturbation theory for the orbits (and actually applied it to the moon), so it is false that God belief prevented him from attempting to solve the problem.
    b) the math was not “crumbs” for Newton, since Laplace had worked on foundations laid by some of the most brilliant mathematicians of the century (Euler, Lagrange, Clairaut), some of whom also failed to solve the very same problem Newton was working on, and one of these, Euler is regarded as the greatest mathematician of all time!
    c) Laplace did not really solve the problem (of perturbations) in the end, but only for first degree approximations, but Haret showed that orbits are not absolutely stable using third degree approximations.
    d) Finally, and most ironically perhaps, it is not clear that Laplace was motivated by atheism to solve this problem, Laplace cites with approval Leibniz’s criticism of Newton’s invocation of divine intervention to restore order to the Solar System: “This is to have very narrow ideas about the wisdom and the power of God.”, to them, it would count as evidence against intelligent design if God had to intervene to prevent the solar system from collapsing. So intelligent design could just as easily be a motivation to prove the stability of the solar system.
    (of note: original article modified since originally accessed)
    https://letterstonature.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/neil-degrasse-tyson-on-newton-part-1/
    “Leibniz, in his controversy with Newton on the discovery of infinitesimal calculus, sharply criticized the theory of Divine intervention as a corrective of the disturbances of the solar system. “To suppose anything of the kind”, he said, “is to exhibit very narrow ideas of the wisdom and power of God’.”
    – Pierre-Simon Laplace
    https://books.google.com/books?id=oLtHAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA73&lpg=PA73

    Even according to wikipedia, Laplace paraphrase is in all likelihood based on folklore not on fact,

    In 1884, however, the astronomer Hervé Faye[76][77] affirmed that this account of Laplace’s exchange with Napoleon presented a “strangely transformed” (étrangement transformée) or garbled version of what had actually happened. It was not God that Laplace had treated as a hypothesis, but merely his intervention at a determinate point:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre-Simon_Laplace#Religious_opinions

    Of further note: As to not having to “remedy the defects of His creation”, I hold that both Newton and Leibniz (and even the often misquoted Laplace) would all be very pleased by what modern science has now revealed about the wisdom and power of God in creating this solar system:

    “You might also think that these disparate bodies are scattered across the solar system without rhyme or reason. But move any piece of the solar system today, or try to add anything more, and the whole construction would be thrown fatally out of kilter. So how exactly did this delicate architecture come to be?”
    R. Webb – Unknown solar system 1: How was the solar system built? – New Scientist – 2009

    Is the Solar System Stable? By Scott Tremaine – 2011
    Excerpt: So what are the results? Most of the calculations agree that eight billion years from now, just before the Sun swallows the inner planets and incinerates the outer ones, all of the planets will still be in orbits very similar to their present ones. In this limited sense, the solar system is stable. However, a closer look at the orbit histories reveals that the story is more nuanced. After a few tens of millions of years, calculations using slightly different parameters (e.g., different planetary masses or initial positions within the small ranges allowed by current observations) or different numerical algorithms begin to diverge at an alarming rate. More precisely, the growth of small differences changes from linear to exponential:,,,
    As an example, shifting your pencil from one side of your desk to the other today could change the gravitational forces on Jupiter enough to shift its position from one side of the Sun to the other a billion years from now. The unpredictability of the solar system over very long times is of course ironic since this was the prototypical system that inspired Laplacian determinism.
    Fortunately, most of this unpredictability is in the orbital phases of the planets, not the shapes and sizes of their orbits, so the chaotic nature of the solar system does not normally lead to collisions between planets. However, the presence of chaos implies that we can only study the long-term fate of the solar system in a statistical sense, by launching in our computers an armada of solar systems with slightly different parameters at the present time—typically, each planet is shifted by a random amount of about a millimeter—and following their evolution. When this is done, it turns out that in about 1 percent of these systems, Mercury’s orbit becomes sufficiently eccentric so that it collides with Venus before the death of the Sun. Thus, the answer to the question of the stability of the solar system—more precisely, will all the planets survive until the death of the Sun—is neither “yes” nor “no” but “yes, with 99 percent probability.”
    https://www.ias.edu/about/publications/ias-letter/articles/2011-summer/solar-system-tremaine

    Rare Planetary System BY HUGH ROSS – JUNE 12, 2017
    Excerpt: Thanks in large part to research on extrasolar planets, astronomers also know that every planet in the solar system fulfills a key role in making advanced life possible on Earth. Two Brazilian astronomers showed that even tiny adjustments in the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune would prove catastrophic for life in our solar system.5 Regions beyond the precise orbital positions of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune abound in destructive mean motion resonances. As it is, Uranus is close to a 7:1 resonance with Jupiter (where Jupiter would make exactly 7 orbits around the Sun for every single orbit of Uranus), a 2:1 resonance with Neptune, and a 3:1 resonance with Saturn. Meanwhile, Jupiter and Saturn are very close to 5:2 resonance. If any of the solar system gas giant planets’ orbital positions were to shift ever so slightly, that shift would destabilize the orbit of one or more of the eight planets in the solar system with catastrophic consequences for a long history of life on Earth.
    Three Canadian astronomers further demonstrated that the orbital positions of Venus, Earth, and Mars must be fine-tuned so as to break up mean motion resonances that could be damaging for life on Earth. They showed that even the orbital features of the Earth-Moon system must be fine-tuned for this purpose.6 The Earth-Moon system suppresses a resonance in Venus’ orbit that is generated from the orbital patterns of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Unless the Earth-Moon system is configured the way it is, both Venus’ and Mercury’s orbits would destabilize and generate destructive chaos throughout the inner solar system.
    Every planet in our solar system and Earth’s Moon contribute to making advanced life possible on Earth. The solar system’s array of eight planets must be exactly the way it is. Have you thanked God today for Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune?
    https://www.reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2017/06/12/rare-planetary-system

  130. 130
    Viola Lee says:

    I know nothing about BioLogos. Do you have a source about what they believe? ((And by source I don’t mean a series of quotes. I mean a link to an article or part of their website that describes their beliefs.)

  131. 131
    bornagain77 says:

    Defining Theistic Evolution
    An Introduction to the book “Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, And Theological Critique”
    Stephen C. Meyer – February 1, 2019
    Excerpt: Theologically Problematic Views
    Other formulations of theistic evolution explicitly deny that God is directing or guiding the mutation/selection mechanism, and instead see a much more limited divine role in the process of life’s creation. One formulation affirms that God designed the laws of nature at the beginning of the universe to make the origin and development of life possible (or inevitable). This view is scientifically problematic, however, since it can be demonstrated that the information necessary to build even a single functional gene (or section of DNA) cannot have been contained in the elementary particles and energy present at the beginning of the universe.18 Another formulation holds that God created the laws of nature at the beginning of the universe and also affirms that he constantly upholds those laws on a moment-by-moment basis. Nevertheless, both of these understandings of theistic evolution deny that God in any way actively directed the mutation/selection (or other evolutionary) mechanisms. Both formulations conceive of God’s role in the creation of life (as opposed to the maintenance of physical law) as mainly passive rather than active or directive. In both views, the mechanisms of natural selection and random mutation (and/or other similarly undirected evolutionary mechanisms) are seen as the main causal actor(s) in producing new forms of life. Thus, God does not act directly or “intervene” within the orderly concourse of nature.,,,
    https://stephencmeyer.org/2019/02/01/defining-theistic-evolution/

  132. 132
    Viola Lee says:

    Hmmm, Q, if you can easily copy-paste a transcript of the video, then why not just link to that instead of or in addition with the link to the video? And where is that transcript? I looked and couldn’t find such a thing.

    Second, Hossenfelder doesn’t deny that probability exists: “What about quantum mechanics? In quantum mechanics some events are truly random and cannot be predicted.”

    She also says,

    These laws have the common property that if you have an initial condition at one moment in time, … then you can calculate what happens at any other moment in time from those initial conditions. This means in a nutshell that the whole story of the universe in every single detail was determined already at the big bang. We are just watching it play out.

    These statements are contradictory if she really means that some QM events are truly random. You can’t “calculate what happens at any other moment in time” from the conditions of the previous moment if in fact something probabilistically random happens in the transition.

    Can you explain why this is not a contradiction?

    So she doesn’t deny the undetermined probabilistic quantum events happen, but she claims that doesn’t affect her “no free will” argument. But I’ve never been interested in the libertarian free will issue from a materialistic point of view, so this isn’t relevant to discussions I’ve been having. Not sure why you have focused on me about this topic. The part about strict determinism being inconsistent with quantum probability is the topic I’ve been interested in.

    I’ll also point out her argument is strictly about the particles that make up the brain. I’m assuming that as a materialist she assumes that consciousness and all the things associated with it arise from those particles, but she nor anyone else knows how that is supposed to happen, but that’s a different topic.

  133. 133
    bornagain77 says:

    Of further note to post 120.

    To further validate the claim that it is preposterous to believe that “particles and waves carry a rulebook”. i.e. that particles can make their own universal laws as to how they behave, it is very interesting to note that, unlike all hard sciences, Darwinists simply have no universal laws to appeal to in order to make their theory ‘scientific’.

    As Ernst Mayr himself conceded, “In biology, as several other people have shown, and I totally agree with them, there are no natural laws in biology corresponding to the natural laws of the physical sciences.”

    The Evolution of Ernst: Interview with Ernst Mayr – 2004 (page 2 of 14)
    Excerpt: biology (Darwinian Evolution) differs from the physical sciences in that in the physical sciences, all theories, I don’t know exceptions so I think it’s probably a safe statement, all theories are based somehow or other on natural laws. In biology, as several other people have shown, and I totally agree with them, there are no natural laws in biology corresponding to the natural laws of the physical sciences.
    ,,, And so that’s what I do in this book. I show that the theoretical basis, you might call it, or I prefer to call it the philosophy of biology, has a totally different basis than the theories of physics.
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/media/pdf/0004D8E1-178C-10EB-978C83414B7F012C.pdf

    In the following article, Roger Highfield makes much the same point as Ernst Mayr and states, ,,, Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.

    What Scientific Idea Is Ready For Retirement? Evolution is True – Roger Highfield – January 2014
    Excerpt: If evolutionary biologists are really Seekers of the Truth, they need to focus more on finding the mathematical regularities of biology, following in the giant footsteps of Sewall Wright, JBS Haldane, Ronald Fisher and so on.
    ,,, Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.
    Little seems to have changed from a decade ago when the late and great John Maynard Smith wrote a chapter on evolutionary game theory for a book on the most powerful equations of science: his contribution did not include a single equation.
    http://www.edge.org/response-detail/25468

    And Professor Murray Eden of MIT, in a paper entitled “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory” stated that “the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.
    https://people.eecs.berkeley.edu/~christos/evol/compevol_files/Wistar-Eden-1.pdf

    Not having any laws, and/or rules, telling the particles/waves how to behave is certainly not a minor problem for Darwinists.

    If Darwinists don’t have any universal laws, and/or rules, telling the particles exactly how to behave so as to conform to any particular ‘biological form’, and/or species,, exactly how is it remotely possible for a Darwinist to ever give us a coherent definition for what a species actually is? The simple answer is that, without any universal laws, and/or rules, telling the particles exactly how to behave, Darwinists will never be able to give us a coherent definition of what a species actually is.

    As Logan Paul Gage states in the following article, ”In Aristotelian and Thomistic thought, each particular organism belongs to a certain universal class of things. Each individual shares a particular nature—or essence—and acts according to its nature. Squirrels act squirrelly and cats catty. We know with certainty that a squirrel is a squirrel because a crucial feature of human reason is its ability to abstract the universal nature from our sense experience of particular organisms.”,,, ” this denial (of true species) is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge.”

    Darwin, Design & Thomas Aquinas
    The Mythical Conflict Between Thomism & Intelligent Design by Logan Paul Gage
    Excerpt:,,, In Aristotelian and Thomistic thought, each particular organism belongs to a certain universal class of things. Each individual shares a particular nature—or essence—and acts according to its nature. Squirrels act squirrelly and cats catty. We know with certainty that a squirrel is a squirrel because a crucial feature of human reason is its ability to abstract the universal nature from our sense experience of particular organisms.
    Denial of True Species
    Enter Darwinism. Recall that Darwin sought to explain the origin of “species.” Yet as he pondered his theory, he realized that it destroyed species as a reality altogether. For Darwinism suggests that any matter can potentially morph into any other arrangement of matter without the aid of an organizing principle. He thought cells were like simple blobs of Jell-O, easily re-arrangeable. For Darwin, there is no immaterial, immutable form. In The Origin of Species he writes:
    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    Statements like this should make card-carrying Thomists shudder.,,,
    The first conflict between Darwinism and Thomism, then, is the denial of true species or essences. For the Thomist, this denial is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge. As philosopher Benjamin Wiker observes in Moral Darwinism, Darwin reduced species to “mere epiphenomena of matter in motion.” What we call a “dog,” in other words, is really just an arbitrary snapshot of the way things look at present. If we take the Darwinian view, Wiker suggests, there is no species “dog” but only a collection of individuals, connected in a long chain of changing shapes, which happen to resemble each other today but will not tomorrow.
    What About Man?
    Now we see Chesterton’s point. Man, the universal, does not really exist. According to the late Stanley Jaki, Chesterton detested Darwinism because “it abolishes forms and all that goes with them, including that deepest kind of ontological form which is the immortal human soul.” And if one does not believe in universals, there can be, by extension, no human nature—only a collection of somewhat similar individuals.,,,
    https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=23-06-037-f

    And you don’t have to take Logan Paul Gage’s word for it. In 2019, a Darwinist honestly admitted that “The most important concept in all of biology, (i.e. species), is a complete mystery”

    What is a species? The most important concept in all of biology is a complete mystery – July 16, 2019
    https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-species-the-most-important-concept-in-all-of-biology-is-a-complete-mystery-119200

    And as the following 2020 article pointed out, Darwinists simply have no rigid, ‘one size fits all’, demarcation criteria for what actually constitutes a species.

    At New Scientist: Questioning The Idea Of Species – Nov. 2020
    Excerpt: Take the apparently simple organising principle of a species. You might have learned at school that a species is a group of individuals that can breed to produce fertile offspring. But this is just one of at least 34 competing definitions concocted over the past century by researchers working in different fields.,,,,
    https://uncommondescent.com/darwinism/at-new-scientist-questioning-the-idea-of-species/

    And as Logan Paul Gage pointed out in his article, even Charles Darwin himself honestly admitted that he did not have a rigid definition for what a species actually was when he stated, “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience,”

    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    – Charles Darwin

    As should be needless to say, if your theory can’t even provide a rigid ‘scientific’ definition for what a ‘species’ actually is in the first place, (in your theory that adamantly claims to be the ‘be all/end all’ scientific explanation for the ‘origin of species’), well then, so much for your claim that you have scientifically explained the ‘origin of species’. i.e. Scientifically speaking, your claim is worse than useless, and as Wolfgang Pauli might have put it, your theory is, ‘Not even wrong’.

    Quotes and verse

    “There is a moral or metaphysical part of nature as well as a physical. A man who denies this is deep in the mire of folly.,,”
    – Letter from Adam Sedgwick to Charles Darwin – 24 Nov 1859

    “I have tried to make this intentional plan in the organization of the animal kingdom evident, by showing that the differences between animals do not constitute a material chain, analogous to a series of physical phenomena, bound together by the same law, but present themselves rather as the phases of a thought, formulated according to a definite aim. I think we know enough of comparative anatomy to abandon forever the idea of the transformation of the organs of one type into those of another.”
    Letter from Louis Agassiz To A. Sedgwick. Neuchatel, June, 1845. In Elizabeth Cary Agassiz (Ed.). 1885. Louis Agassiz: His Life and Correspondence. Houghton, Mifflin and Co: Boston. P. 388 – 390

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.

  134. 134
    relatd says:

    Theistic evolution, as stated here, is a useless idea. It is assumed that God made something like a wind-up toy, set it on the floor and let it go wherever it wanted. God constantly sustains His Creation, knowing, before it was made, all of its parts, including some that human beings are just starting to investigate, like the quantum world. Science has been discovering the inner workings of atoms and will discover more. But everything was already established by God. We are not at a point where we can find out certain things. The creativity God gives to men will allow us to uncover more and more in the near future. He has seen this. He knows when certain things will happen.

  135. 135
    Viola Lee says:

    Realtd writes, “Theistic evolution, as stated here, is a useless idea. It is assumed that God made something like a wind-up toy, set it on the floor and let it go wherever it wanted.”

    I have had several discussions, with documentation, showing that this is not the Catholic idea of theistic evolution. Just saying, for the record.

  136. 136
    bornagain77 says:

    I’ve seen catholic Ken Miller’s ‘theistic evolution’ view in action when he tried to refute Michael Behe, also a catholic, on ‘irreducible complexity’.

    It was not pretty.

    Ken Miller’s Embarrassingly Bad Argument Against ID
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeGobRxLrN4

    Has Ken Miller Refuted (Behe’s) Irreducible Complexity with a Tie Clip?
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/10/has_ken_miller/

  137. 137
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @132,

    Hmmm, Q, if you can easily copy-paste a transcript of the video, then why not just link to that instead of or in addition with the link to the video? And where is that transcript? I looked and couldn’t find such a thing.

    You can display a transcript as a column on the right side of some YouTube videos. You can copy or save the transcripts, but you can only link to the video itself.

    Second, Hossenfelder doesn’t deny that probability exists: “What about quantum mechanics? In quantum mechanics some events are truly random and cannot be predicted.”

    Dr. Hossenfelder, who specializes in quantum mechanics, posted the following video on “superdeterminism” that will help you understand why this isn’t a contradiction:

    Does Superdeterminism save Quantum Mechanics? Or does it kill free will and destroy science?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytyjgIyegDI

    This video link also comes with a transcript. It starts out like this:

    Superdeterminism is a way to make sense of quantum mechanics. But some physicists and philosophers have argued that if one were to allow it, it would destroy science. Seriously. How does superdeterminism work, what is it good for, and why does it allegedly destroy science? That’s what we’ll talk about today.

    First things first, what is superdeterminism? Above all, it’s a terrible nomenclature because it suggests something more deterministic than deterministic and how is that supposed to work? Well, that’s just not how it works. Superdeterminism is exactly as deterministic as plain old vanilla determinism. Think Newton’s laws. If you know the initial position and velocity of an arrow, you can calculate where it will land, at least in principle. That’s determinism: Everything that happens follows from what happened earlier. But in quantum mechanics we can only predict probabilities for measurement outcomes, rather than the measurement outcomes themselves. The outcomes are not determined, so quantum mechanics is indeterministic. Superdeterminism returns us to determinism. According to superdeterminism, the reason we can’t predict the outcome of a quantum measurement is that we are missing information . . .

    You then wrote:

    I’ll also point out her argument is strictly about the particles that make up the brain. I’m assuming that as a materialist she assumes that consciousness and all the things associated with it arise from those particles, but she nor anyone else knows how that is supposed to happen, but that’s a different topic.

    Yes, materialistim, also known as physicalism (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism/), asserts that all phenomena in reality can be explained with interactions of particles (mass-energy) in space-time. This includes consciousness and “free will.”

    You had previously written:

    And I know Hossenfelder is a good popularizer of science, and a legitimate quantum physicist, but her views on the determinism issue are not shared by a majority of quantum physicists, and are certainly not the definitive word on the subject.

    To which I responded with this question that you forgot to answer:

    That’s a pretty ambitious assertion on your part. Can you support it with any references?

    -Q

  138. 138
    Viola Lee says:

    Q, either you or Jerry recently posted a link to a survey of physicists about their thoughts about various aspects of QM. I don’t know where it is. I remember that only a small percentage of the respondents believed that what appeared as probability was actually caused by deterministic “hidden variables.” Perhaps you or Jerry will remember what I’m talking about.

    I looked at the scrolling transcript at the video you linked to. You posted a complete transcript to the other video. How did you do that? Did you copy the transcripts and then edit out the times and page breaks? That would be a lot of work.

    It appears that she thinks the work that has ruled out hidden variables is in error, so she becomes a strict determinist and really doesn’t think probability is real: that it only appears because we can’t see the information that is hidden. She is making this argument to her fellow physicists: maybe her arguments will become widely held, but I don’t think they are now.

  139. 139
    jerry says:

    either you or Jerry recently posted a link to a survey of physicists about their thoughts about various aspects of QM

    Not me.

    As least I have no memory of it. I keep away from quantum mechanics.

  140. 140
    relatd says:

    Ba77 at 136,

    I am disappointed with Ken Miller’s views. As a Catholic, he wants to believe in evolution and God at the same time. How he pictures God as Creator of all things, as stated in the Bible, is something of a mystery. I also found the article at Evolution News a little disappointing. At the end, the writer expresses surprise that Ken Miller “gets away” with this sort of poorly thought out, not even logical reasoning. Didn’t he think his publishing a critique of Ken Miller’s claims was helpful in pointing out the kinds of thinking common among evolution supporters, especially when criticizing claims made by ID proponents? Is the author of that article unaware of how deeply embedded evolution is in academia? Or that Ken Miller could have heard that exact same explanation from one or more colleagues, and simply repeated it?

    To be more specific, Ken Miller totally ignores the complex information that would have to arise to build a working system in an organism. If I had the opportunity, I would ask him: Where do you think the information comes from to add a useful function to an organism at a specific point? How are the instructions to add that function stored in the organism? How is the specific function(s) carried out in the organism? It’s not enough to say some mutation did it. Did what? Specifically. Be specific. Mutations don’t magically appear and modify an organism. Imagine adding a part to a car’s engine while it’s running. Then imagine trying to replace a part in the same engine that is a few centimeters too short.

    While the Catholic Church allows Ken Miller to hold certain views, it does not mean those views are accurate in a practical, functional sense. I suspect, but cannot prove, that Mr. Miller, and others like him, assume evolution is true and have not examined it as closely as they should. After all, evolution is referred to as the cornerstone of biology.

    On a personal note, I want to point out the power of authority in making unproven statements. All that’s required is a confident voice and those who don’t think in detail about what they just heard are taken in.

    I watched on TV as a voiceover told me that all a planet needed for life was the right distance from its sun, water, and the building blocks of life – amino acids. If all were available, life would appear there. I believed this at first because the word ‘scientists’ was mentioned. Later, I realized that no scientist anywhere could show that this could actually happen. They were describing magic, not science.

  141. 141
    tgpeeler says:

    Q at 108. Thanks! Anything but God. I hope the scientists eventually realize the metaphysicians have the origins answers.

  142. 142
    tgpeeler says:

    VL at 109. Yes. I think you’ve captured the essence of “materialism.” I was hoping some of the people I remember from years ago would step forward to defend the idea but I guess they’ve been run off or reduced to lurker status. Thanks.

  143. 143
    Querius says:

    Tgpeeler @141,

    Yep! I love science and the scientific method. One of my most profound experiences in a college lab was looking through a B&L binocular dissection microscope and filled with awe at the jaw-dropping beauty of a tiny flower, Stellaria media, under about 15-45x magnification.

    However, most of what we hold in the highest regard–love, integrity, courage, creativity, kindness, generosity, inner peace–isn’t composed of particles nor are they properties of particles.

    Imagine that.

    While science cannot operate directly in the spiritual dimension, or even account for self-conscious biological tissue, science cannot reasonably rule out its existence, nor can it deliver or produce the precious qualities listed above.

    -Q

  144. 144
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @138,

    If you look around in YouTube UI, you’ll eventually find the button that turns off the time indications in the transcripts.

    You had previously written:

    And I know Hossenfelder is a good popularizer of science, and a legitimate quantum physicist, but her views on the determinism issue are not shared by a majority of quantum physicists, and are certainly not the definitive word on the subject.

    Can you support your bold assertion that Dr. Hossenfelder’s views on determinism are in the minority among physicists? Judging by their books on quantum mechanics, I’d have thought that most of her fellow physicists are also deterministic materialists.

    -Q

  145. 145
    AndyClue says:

    @bornagain77:

    Well Viola Lee, the Theistic Evolutionists over at Biologos will certainly be surprised by your statements since they themselves jumped on Leibniz’s deistic bandwagon

    (…)
    Moreover, when God deviates from his regular sustaining activity to perform miracles, he does so for soteriological reasons, not to repair nature.,,,
    (…)

    Are you joking?? You say they jump on the deistic bandwagon, yet you provide a quote in which the person clearly rejects deism.

    And biologos does indeed reject deism, as their “What We Believe” states:

    We believe that God created the universe, the earth, and all life over billions of years. God continues to sustain the existence and functioning of the natural world, and the cosmos continues to declare the glory of God. Therefore, we reject ideologies such as Deism that claim the universe is self-sustaining, that God is no longer active in the natural world, or that God is not active in human history.

    https://biologos.org/about-us/what-we-believe

  146. 146
    Viola Lee says:

    Q, I’m interested in your answer to this question, as it bears directly on the question of determinism: From above

    Hossenfelder doesn’t deny that probability exists: “What about quantum mechanics? In quantum mechanics some events are truly random and cannot be predicted.”

    She also says,

    These laws have the common property that if you have an initial condition at one moment in time, … then you can calculate what happens at any other moment in time from those initial conditions. This means in a nutshell that the whole story of the universe in every single detail was determined already at the big bang. We are just watching it play out.

    These statements are contradictory if she really means that some QM events are truly random. You can’t “calculate what happens at any other moment in time” from the conditions of the previous moment if in fact something probabilistically random happens in the transition.

    Can you explain why this is not a contradiction?

  147. 147
    bornagain77 says:

    AF, you are right. I was wrong in my initial claim. Deism is somewhat of a subset belief within Theistic evolution. Defining theistic evolution turns out to be a bit like trying to nail jello to a wall. But anyways, I, via Stephen Meyer and company, provided a more robust definition, (and refutation), of the various flavors of Theistic evolution.

    Defining Theistic Evolution
    An Introduction to the book “Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, And Theological Critique”
    Stephen C. Meyer – February 1, 2019
    Excerpt: Theologically Problematic Views
    Other formulations of theistic evolution explicitly deny that God is directing or guiding the mutation/selection mechanism, and instead see a much more limited divine role in the process of life’s creation. One formulation affirms that God designed the laws of nature at the beginning of the universe to make the origin and development of life possible (or inevitable). This view is scientifically problematic, however, since it can be demonstrated that the information necessary to build even a single functional gene (or section of DNA) cannot have been contained in the elementary particles and energy present at the beginning of the universe.18 Another formulation holds that God created the laws of nature at the beginning of the universe and also affirms that he constantly upholds those laws on a moment-by-moment basis. Nevertheless, both of these understandings of theistic evolution deny that God in any way actively directed the mutation/selection (or other evolutionary) mechanisms. Both formulations conceive of God’s role in the creation of life (as opposed to the maintenance of physical law) as mainly passive rather than active or directive. In both views, the mechanisms of natural selection and random mutation (and/or other similarly undirected evolutionary mechanisms) are seen as the main causal actor(s) in producing new forms of life. Thus, God does not act directly or “intervene” within the orderly concourse of nature.,,,
    https://stephencmeyer.org/2019/02/01/defining-theistic-evolution/

    Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, And Theological Critique
    Description: Many prominent Christians (Theistic Evolutionists) insist that the church must yield to contemporary evolutionary theory and therefore modify traditional biblical ideas about the creation of life. They argue that God used?albeit in an undetectable way?evolutionary mechanisms to produce all forms of life. Featuring two dozen highly credentialed scientists, philosophers, and theologians from Europe and North America, this volume contests this proposal, documenting evidential, logical, and theological problems with theistic evolution?making it the most comprehensive critique of theistic evolution yet produced.
    https://www.amazon.com/Theistic-Evolution-Scientific-Philosophical-Theological/dp/1433552868

    “Theistic evolution means different things to different people. This book carefully identifies, and thoroughly debunks, an insidious, all-too-commonly accepted sense of the phrase even among Christians: that there is no physical reason to suspect life was designed, and that evolution proceeded in the unguided, unplanned manner Darwin himself championed.”
    – Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University; author, Darwin’s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution

    “This significant book persuasively argues that theistic evolution fails as a theory – scientifically, philosophically, and biblically. And with its broad-ranging collection of essays, it mounts a very impressive case. Strongly recommended, both for those who seek to defend Christianity intelligently and for those who find Christianity implausible because of the claims of neo-Darwinism.”
    – Michael Reeves, President and Professor of Theology, Union School of Theology, UK

    “The theistic evolution solution to the creation-evolution controversy herein encounters a substantial, sustained, and trenchant critique. The team of scientific, philosophical, and theological scholars assembled by the editors have joined to confront the venerable theory with a stinging challenge that its adherents will have to answer if they value their scholarly integrity. This is necessary reading for those who wrestle with the great questions surrounding the origins of life.”
    – Peter A. Lillback, President, Westminster Theological Seminary

    “Few scholars even marginally knowledgeable regarding the nature of this debate could read objectively the lineup of scholars in this volume and not be impressed. Beyond the scholars’ academic credentials, the topics covered are both sophisticated and timely. For this reviewer, the experience caused me to respond time and again: ‘I want to start right there . . . or maybe there . . . wow – have to read that one first . . .’ The topic is not always an easy target, but after almost one thousand pages of critique across interdisciplinary lines, I do not think that it could be bettered. Kudos! Highly recommended.”
    – Gary R. Habermas, Distinguished Research Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, Liberty University

    etc.. etc..

  148. 148
    Alan Fox says:

    AF, you are right.

    I think you mean AndyClue, AC!

  149. 149
    bornagain77 says:

    Well AF, I did mean AC, you are at least right, and I was wrong, on that. 🙂

  150. 150
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @142

    VL at 109. Yes. I think you’ve captured the essence of “materialism.” I was hoping some of the people I remember from years ago would step forward to defend the idea but I guess they’ve been run off or reduced to lurker status. Thanks.

    I think (as per my comment at 123) that a good deal depends on what we’re really interested in talking about? Are we talking about the prospects for a single grand comprehensive ‘theory of everything’? Or are we really talking about what it means to be a human being?

    It seems to me as if “materialism” is being used to refer to both

    (1) an account of persons that allows no room for libertarian freedom, qualia, or other concepts that don’t easily cohere with a scientific world-view

    and

    (2) a metaphysics that explains all observable phenomena in terms of the entities and relations posited by our best theories of fundamental physics.

    I gave my reasons above for being skeptical about materialism in the sense of (2). But I’d be quite willing to discuss (1), or what I would call scientific humanism.

  151. 151
    Viola Lee says:

    Hi PM.
    At 123 you wrote,

    So the question of a “could there be a wholly naturalistic theory of persons?” is the question of how things that are entirely and wholly animals (as defined above) could, under specific conditions, also become persons (as defined above). One could also, with equal justice, call this a wholly secular theory of persons: an account of what persons are that does not require concepts drawn from any religious tradition.
    A secular theory of persons does not, so far as I can tell, depend on any claims about the nature of “matter”, nor does it depend on any claims about theories of fundamental physics. It certainly does not depend upon the idea that everything that exists can be explained in terms of fermions and bosons.
    In other words, I think there’s quite a big difference between asking the question “what might a wholly secular theory of persons look like?” and asking the question, “can everything that exists be explained in terms of fundamental physics?”

    And you said of persons, they are conscious, rational willful, and capable of moral judgments.
    But, irrespective of whether those have a religious explanation, if they are explained by materialism then they are, ultimately, a product of physics, so I don’t quite see how you are separating the two issues you mention: personhood from a larger belief about everything.
    Perhaps you could explain more about what you think a secular theory of personhood, or “scientific humanism”, might entail, how it would explain consciousness et al, and how it would relate the bigger definition of materialism.

  152. 152
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @146,

    The answer to your question in a word is “superdeterminism.”

    To understand the issue and see the back-and-forth discussion about randomness and entanglement, see this blog and Dr. Hossenfelder’s responses. No, I’m not going to summarize it for you. Search on jbaxter, read his question and Dr. Hossenfelder’s response.
    https://backreaction.blogspot.com/2019/07/the-forgotten-solution-superdeterminism.html

    However, I noticed that you still haven’t answered my previous question:

    Querius:You had previously written:

    Viola Lee: And I know Hossenfelder is a good popularizer of science, and a legitimate quantum physicist, but her views on the determinism issue are not shared by a majority of quantum physicists, and are certainly not the definitive word on the subject.

    Querius: Can you support your bold assertion that Dr. Hossenfelder’s views on determinism are in the minority among physicists? Judging by their books on quantum mechanics, I’d have thought that most of her fellow physicists are also deterministic materialists.

    -Q

  153. 153
    Viola Lee says:

    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1612.00676.pdf

    Survey of 1234 physicists

    From page 3

    3. What is your opinion about the randomness of individual quantum events (such as the decay of a radioactive nuclei)?

    The randomness is only apparent 12%
    There is a hidden determinism 4%
    The randomness cannot be removed from any physical theory 18%
    Randomness is a fundamental concept of nature 67%

    Only 16% of the respondents believe that the probability we see in QM is merely apparent, and that the arguments that hidden variables do not exist are wrong. Such people are determinists.

    67% believe that the probability we see is real. Such people are not determinists: they believe every moment does not cause a completely determined next moment.

    This is the only point I’ve been interested in making, so I think I’m done.

    P.S. You are the person who posted a link to this survey.

  154. 154
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @151

    But, irrespective of whether those have a religious explanation, if they are explained by materialism then they are, ultimately, a product of physics, so I don’t quite see how you are separating the two issues you mention: personhood from a larger belief about everything.
    Perhaps you could explain more about what you think a secular theory of personhood, or “scientific humanism”, might entail, how it would explain consciousness et al, and how it would relate the bigger definition of materialism.

    Hi! My suggestion was that the very term “materialism” is ambiguous because it’s used in lots of different ways, and that we need to disentangle different senses, depending on what we want to talk about.

    I think that one could articulate a ‘scientific humanism,’ or a scientific philosophical anthropology, without being committed to any claims about the reducibility or irreducibility of all sciences to fundamental physics, or the prospects of a unified theory of fundamental physics.

    By a scientific philosophical anthropology, I mean only that we take a fairly minimal conception of what it is to be a person — a rational self-conscious agent — and try to flesh out the material conditions of personhood using the relevant sciences (e.g. cognitive psychology, neuroscience, sociology, social psychology, developmental biology, etc.).

    I think one could do that while being neutral about the cogency of materialism as a comprehensive metaphysical position.

    I say that because I think the prospects for a scientific philosophical anthropology are rather good, esp given how much information we’ve accumulated about how brains function.

    But I think the prospects for materialism/physicalism as a comprehensive metaphysical position are really quite terrible, because (as far as I can see), there’s no coherent version of materialism/physicalism that doesn’t require that there’s a single comprehensive theory of fundamental physics, and not only do we not have, we also have no idea about how to get one.

    As far as we’re able to tell right now, it could be that a unified conception of physical reality is beyond the scope of our cognitive powers.

  155. 155
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @153,

    67% believe that the probability we see is real. Such people are not determinists: they believe every moment does not cause a completely determined next moment.

    This is the only point I’ve been interested in making, so I think I’m done.

    Congratulations, you supported an assertion. Was that so hard?

    As you now know, Dr. Hossenfelder believes that determinism is still possible under superdeterminism and that Bell’s Inequality applies only locally.

    P.S. You are the person who posted a link to this survey.

    Yeah, I know. (grin)

    -Q

  156. 156
    Viola Lee says:

    Q wrote, “Can you support your bold assertion that Dr. Hossenfelder’s views on determinism are in the minority among physicists? Judging by their books on quantum mechanics, I’d have thought that most of her fellow physicists are also deterministic materialists.”

    I did support my assertion, as Q acknowledges. I think maybe Q has not judged correctly what the books he has read say about determinism. I’m not even sure all her [Hossenfelder] fellow physicists all materialists. I imagine there are some QM physicists that are theists, CHristian or otherwise. Also, I imagine there are QM physicists that consider consciousness an element of the world that is not derived from the material world, and thus would not be materialists. In fact, I bet BA could quickly find a half-dozen or more quotes from QM physicists that show they believe that there is more than just the material world.

  157. 157
  158. 158
    Viola Lee says:

    Some interesting stuff in the article I linked to in 156. First Barr, author of “The Believing Scientist: Essays on Science and Religion”, makes the point I am making to Q: that not all, or even most, perhaps, QM physicists are “deterministic materialists”.

    Barr writes,

    My own opinion is that the traditional Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory still makes the most sense. In two respects it seems quite congenial to the worldview of the biblical religions: It abolishes physical determinism, and it gives a special ontological status to the mind of the human observer.

    Note well: I am not arguing for the correctness of any particular QM interpretation, including this one by Barr. But I am interested in having a correct understanding of the scope of QM interpretations and their metaphysical implications.

    Barr also has this to say about ID, FWIW, which goes along with points I have been making about theistic evolutionists.

    ”It is time to take stock: What has the intelligent design movement achieved? As science, nothing. The goal of science is to increase our understanding of the natural world, and there is not a single phenomenon that we understand better today or are likely to understand better in the future through the efforts of ID theorists. If we are to look for ID achievements, then, it must be in the realm of natural theology. And there, I think, the movement must be judged not only a failure, but a debacle.”

    Very few religious skeptics have been made more open to religious belief because of ID arguments, Barr adds. “These arguments not only have failed to persuade, they have done positive harm by convincing many people that the concept of an intelligent designer is bound up with a rejection of mainstream science.”

  159. 159
    relatd says:

    ‘Very few religious skeptics have been made more open to religious belief because of ID arguments, Barr adds. “These arguments not only have failed to persuade, they have done positive harm by convincing many people that the concept of an intelligent designer is bound up with a rejection of mainstream science.”

    What a bizarre statement. The same can be said about Sunday school students being exposed to Biology textbooks where they learn that the idea that “God created life and man” is discarded for a non-God explanation and on that basis, reject their religious beliefs.

    It should be clear to all reading, that the primary problem/issue here is not science but adopting a worldview. Finding the correct, truthful answer to human origins and the development of life on earth is the primary concern or should be. Getting the correct/truthful answer about the development of life and the role of intelligence should be paramount.

  160. 160
    Belfast says:

    @VL @158
    Thanks very much for your link to Farrell’s review of Barr’s book – so interesting that his book has now been ordered.
    Barr decries ID because it does not ‘persuade sceptics,’ but that is not the test; ID is not an evangelising movement, what it does, regarding faith in God, is that it confirms believers in a supervening first cause intelligence by, inter alia, pointing out the inadequacy of a materialistic worldview, particularly the evidence-free component that asserts life happens by sheer chance.
    Barr’s preferred option is QM which, he writes, ‘makes it easy’ for he and others to reach a belief in God without proving God’s existence – almost his personal choice of weapons.
    King David’s, “wonderfully and fearfully made“ comment is the design argument which confirmed belief for millions before the advent of QM, and both design and QM possibly have their most important part to play with would-be believers who are passing through spiritual aridity rather than religious skeptics, and those inclined to atheism.

  161. 161
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @156,

    Yes, I agree. Again, the books I’ve read on QM have generally supported materialist points of view, some of which are very open about their assumptions (such as Lee Smolin), which I respect more than those who browbeat their readers. As I’ve said before, I respect Sabine Hossenfelder for her incisive observations of the lack of experimental evidence, which results in the proliferation of QM speculation. However, this is not what the poll results indicate.

    -Q

  162. 162
    Querius says:

    Relatd @159,

    Yes, Barr’s statement is indeed bizarre from anyone who understands that ID is entirely pragmatic and doesn’t even need a Designer to make it work better than that presupposition that everything started randomly (AND was eventually guided in tiny steps by natural selection).

    “Vestigial remnants of the evolutionary process” always seem to eventually reveal a significant function that “surprises” researchers.

    It should be clear to all reading, that the primary problem/issue here is not science but adopting a worldview.

    I completely agree and have seen this bias termed ideological poisoning.

    -Q

  163. 163
    Querius says:

    Belfast @160,

    ID is not an evangelising movement, what it does, regarding faith in God, is that it confirms believers in a supervening first cause intelligence by, inter alia, pointing out the inadequacy of a materialistic worldview, particularly the evidence-free component that asserts life happens by sheer chance.

    Well, it might have happened by sheer random chance, but there must be more evidence for that position than “it musta happened by chance.”

    The counter-argument to random chance is “Fine. Show me.” One person put it something like this: “Make a smoothie out of bacteria. Now make it come alive again by subjecting it to chemicals, heat, cold, lightning discharges, cosmic radiation, wave action, and drying out in little pools. Add your can of Campbell’s Primordial Soup and stir over a volcanic vent at the bottom of the ocean under pressure. Whatever it takes. And then report your results.”

    -Q

  164. 164
    Seversky says:

    From Barr’s critique of Tom Bethel

    ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS ABOUT RELATIVITY

    […]

    Tom Bethel has been riding an anti-relativity-theory hobby horse for years. He has recently published an article questioning the theory of relativity in the American Spectator . I have never met Mr. Bethel. I am sure he is a fine fellow; but he should stick to subjects he knows something about. Bethel apparently learned what he knows about physics (obviously very little) from a now-deceased friend of his named Petr Beckmann. Bethel tells us that Beckmann was an engineer. I have enormous respect for engineers— as engineers. But knowledge of engineering in itself no more qualifies a person to talk about fundamental physics than does knowing about baseball or butterfly collecting.

    […]

    There is a certain kind of humility that is not only a Christian virtue, but a necessary condition of remaining sane. I barely know the rules of football. I played touch football (very badly) as a child. I don’t follow the sport. Would I feel myself competent to advise Charlie Weis on what plays to call? I have never taken lessons in flying any kind of airplane. Would I climb into the cockpit of a 747 and try to fly it solo to London? I know nothing about accounting or tax law. Would I try to do Donald Trump’s taxes? I have never taken any courses in medicine. Would I try to do a heart transplant? The answer in every case is no. Why? Because I am not crazy. Competence in theoretical physics is no less difficult to achieve than any of those other skills.

  165. 165
    relatd says:

    Querius at 163,

    Thar’s it! Quoted right of my non-existent Primordial Soup Cookbook. Fake, 100% Fake.

  166. 166
    Querius says:

    Relatd @165,

    “Yabbut, it just musta happened by random chance.” Lee Smolin notwithstanding, there doesn’t seem to be any actual evidence that the laws of physics (and physical chemistry) “evolved” over time, presumably through the natural selection of more promising physical laws, not to mention prebiotic natural selection.

    Quoted right of my non-existent Primordial Soup Cookbook. Fake, 100% Fake.

    Haha! Dr. Tour should consider publishing a satire, The Primordial Soup Cookbook: an Alchemist’s Guide to turning Lead into Life.

    I’d imagine illustrations of organic molecules being formed using symbols similar to those used to plot out football plays . . .

    -Q

  167. 167
    relatd says:

    Ah yes, the Yabbut Defense. Used by evolutionists to confuse detractors.

    In my copy of the Primordial Soup Cookbook, those football play type lines are a bit less organized. In fact, they zig and zag and turn back on each other, crossing paths along the way. The caption reads: “This is how it happened.” *

    *We think, maybe. See page 220.”

    On page 220. “That was just a typo.”

    As I understand it, inorganic chemicals combined under some unknown early Earth atmosphere under unknown atmospheric pressure under an unknown pool of water. Once they combined, they produced amino acids – the building blocks of life. Assuming, for a moment, that this happened, the amino acids would have to have the right ‘handedness.’ It gets impossible after this. Food source? Additional required chemical reactions? Reproduction?

    But, no, no, says True Believers. It musta! It musta! Yeah… right…

  168. 168
    bornagain77 says:

    As to 153:

    ,,, “Randomness is a fundamental concept of nature 67%

    Only 16% of the respondents believe that the probability we see in QM is merely apparent, and that the arguments that hidden variables do not exist are wrong. Such people are determinists.”

    As to the question of “how do probabilities get into quantum mechanics?”, the late Steven Weinberg, an atheist, had an excellent article on the subject that explains the ‘probability issue’ in quantum mechanics in a fairly easy to understand manner

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 2017
    Excerpt: There is a rule of quantum mechanics, known as the Born rule, that tells us how to use the wave function to calculate the probabilities of getting various possible results in experiments. For example, the Born rule tells us that the probabilities of finding either a positive or a negative result when the spin in some chosen direction is measured are proportional to the squares of the numbers in the wave function for those two states of the spin.8
    The introduction of probability into the principles of physics was disturbing to past physicists, but the trouble with quantum mechanics is not that it involves probabilities. We can live with that. The trouble is that in quantum mechanics the way that wave functions change with time is governed by an equation, the Schrödinger equation, that does not involve probabilities. It is just as deterministic as Newton’s equations of motion and gravitation. That is, given the wave function at any moment, the Schrödinger equation will tell you precisely what the wave function will be at any future time. There is not even the possibility of chaos, the extreme sensitivity to initial conditions that is possible in Newtonian mechanics. So if we regard the whole process of measurement as being governed by the equations of quantum mechanics, and these equations are perfectly deterministic, how do probabilities get into quantum mechanics?,,,
    Today there are two widely followed approaches to quantum mechanics, the “realist” and “instrumentalist” approaches,9 which view the origin of probability in measurement in two very different ways. For reasons I will explain, neither approach seems to me quite satisfactory.10,,,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal, but I think not yet.
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,,
    These problems are partly avoided in the realist—as opposed to the instrumentalist—approach to quantum mechanics. Here one takes the wave function and its deterministic evolution seriously as a description of reality. But this raises other problems.
    The realist approach has a very strange implication, first worked out in the 1957 Princeton Ph.D. thesis of the late Hugh Everett. When a physicist measures the spin of an electron, say in the north direction, the wave function of the electron and the measuring apparatus and the physicist are supposed, in the realist approach, to evolve deterministically, as dictated by the Schrödinger equation; but in consequence of their interaction during the measurement, the wave function becomes a superposition of two terms, in one of which the electron spin is positive and everyone in the world who looks into it thinks it is positive, and in the other the spin is negative and everyone thinks it is negative. Since in each term of the wave function everyone shares a belief that the spin has one definite sign, the existence of the superposition is undetectable. In effect the history of the world has split into two streams, uncorrelated with each other.
    This is strange enough, but the fission of history would not only occur when someone measures a spin. In the realist approach the history of the world is endlessly splitting; it does so every time a macroscopic body becomes tied in with a choice of quantum states. This inconceivably huge variety of histories has provided material for science
    fiction,12 and it offers a rationale for a multiverse, in which the particular cosmic history in which we find ourselves is constrained by the requirement that it must be one of the histories in which conditions are sufficiently benign to allow conscious beings to exist. But the vista of all these parallel histories is deeply unsettling, and like many other physicists I would prefer a single history.
    There is another thing that is unsatisfactory about the realist approach, beyond our parochial preferences. In this approach the wave function of the multiverse evolves deterministically. We can still talk of probabilities as the fractions of the time that various possible results are found when measurements are performed many times in any one history; but the rules that govern what probabilities are observed would have to follow from the deterministic evolution of the whole multiverse. If this were not the case, to predict probabilities we would need to make some additional assumption about what happens when humans make measurements, and we would be back with the shortcomings of the instrumentalist approach. Several attempts following the realist approach have come close to deducing rules like the Born rule that we know work well experimentally, but I think without final success.
    The realist approach to quantum mechanics had already run into a different sort of trouble long before Everett wrote about multiple histories. It was emphasized in a 1935 paper by Einstein with his coworkers Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen, and arises in connection with the phenomenon of “entanglement.”13
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    Moreover, regardless of the late Weinberg’s, an atheist, rejection of the instrumentalist approach, (since “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level” and since “the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else”), quantum mechanics could care less how the late Weinberg and other atheists may prefer the world to behave.

    As Anton Zeilinger commented in the following video, “what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”

    “The Kochen-Speckter Theorem talks about properties of one system only. So we know that we cannot assume – to put it precisely, we know that it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement. Not always. I mean in certain cases. So in a sense, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    Anton Zeilinger –
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4C5pq7W5yRM#t=437

    Moreover, Anton Zeilinger and company have now, as of 2018, pushed the ‘freedom of choice’ loophole back to 7.8 billion years ago, thereby firmly establishing the ‘common sense’ fact that the free will choices of the experimenter in the quantum experiments are truly free and are not determined by any possible causal influences from the past for at least the last 7.8 billion years, i.e. the experimenters are shown to be truly free to choose whatever measurement settings in the experiments that he or she may so desire to choose so as to ‘logically’ probe whatever aspect of reality that he or she may be interested in probing. (of personal note, I find it to more than a bit humorous that they would even have to experimentally prove such a thing 🙂 .)

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Excerpt: This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

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

    i.e. to the consternation of Jerry Coyne, (and apparently to the consternation of many atheists here on UD who deny that we have free will in any real, and meaningful, sense), we are not ‘robots made out of meat’. 🙂

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.

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