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# 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.

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/466-17/QuantumMechanicsWeinberg.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.
bornagain77
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... relatd
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 Querius
Querius at 163, Thar's it! Quoted right of my non-existent Primordial Soup Cookbook. Fake, 100% Fake. relatd
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.
Seversky
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 Querius
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 Querius
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 Querius
@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. Belfast
'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. relatd
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.”
Viola Lee
https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnfarrell/2017/01/29/a-physicist-talks-god-and-the-quantum/?sh=293e63362c86 Viola Lee
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. Viola Lee
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 Querius
@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. PyrrhoManiac1
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. Viola Lee
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 Querius
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. Viola Lee
@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. PyrrhoManiac1
Well AF, I did mean AC, you are at least right, and I was wrong, on that. :) bornagain77
AF, you are right.
I think you mean AndyClue, AC! Alan Fox
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..
bornagain77
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?
Viola Lee
@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
AndyClue
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 Querius
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 Querius
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. tgpeeler
Q at 108. Thanks! Anything but God. I hope the scientists eventually realize the metaphysicians have the origins answers. tgpeeler
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. relatd
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. jerry
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