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Stephen Meyer Events, Visits to Churches

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Listed below are some events with Dr. Stephen Meyer. I expect more to be forthcoming!

Those of us who are part of promoting ID know how hard it is to get churches to appreciate the importance of ID. Most of the biology teachers who opposed ID at Dover were professing Christians and Sunday School teachers. The unfortunate situation in Dover is not unique. Darwinism has remained in the culture because churches have allowed it to spread. Churches have allowed it to spread because they are unwilling to engage the facts but rather resort to theology.

I often get harsh reactions from fellow creationists when I tell them they have to stop arguing theology and start engaging the facts. Recall the words of the father of modern ID, Phil Johnson, “Get the Bible and the Book of Genesis out of the debate.”

Theistic evolution can be successfully opposed in the churches by arguing the facts. Maybe your experience is different than mine, but I’ve not known a single individual who was truly converted away from Darwinism by purely theological means or trying to pound them over the head with theology and the Bible…

With that in mind, I am happy to report the following ID events, two of which will be at churches, and one where I hope to be present (in McLean, Virginia, near Washington, DC):

Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Calvary Chapel – Olympia
Here is the official Discovery Institute Announcement and Calvary Chapel Direction

June 3, 2009
Stephen C. Meyer at Calvary Chapel – Olympia
The God Hypothesis

“The universe as a whole has a structure in its basic fabric, in its laws, and in its other parameters that suggests design right from the very beginning.” A proponent of Darwin’s theory of evolution would call this statement “unscientific” – but is it really? Join Dr. Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute as he lays the groundwork for an extensive discussion of the science that strongly suggests that our universe was intelligently designed.

The event will be held on Wednesday, June 3rd, at 7:00pm in the main sanctuary of Calvary Chapel at 919 Division Street NW in Olympia. For directions to the church go to the Calvary Chapel website.

Thursday, June 4, 2009
Puget Sound Community College
Here is the official Discovery Institute Announcement and Puget Sound Direction

June 4, 2009
Signature in the Cell: What your professors aren’t telling about the new evidence for Intelligent Design
Stephen C. Meyer at South Puget Sound Community College

June 4, 2009, 12pm (noon)
South Puget Sound Community College
Building 26, Room 101

The Christian Fellowship Club is sponsoring a lecture by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer at South Puget Sound Community College on June 4th at noon.

In his forthcoming book Signature in the Cell, Dr. Meyer shows that the digital code embedded in DNA points powerfully to a designing intelligence and helps unravel a mystery that Darwin did not address: how did the very first life begin? Listen as Dr. Meyer presents how new scientific discoveries are pointing to intelligent design as the best explanation for the complexity of life and the universe.

This free event is open to the public.

Click here for directions to the campus/building.

Thursday, June 25th , 2009
McLean Bible Church, McLean Virginia
Here is the Official McLean Bible Church Announcement

The MBC Apologetics Ministry Team Presents:
“Signature In The Cell”
Come spend an evening with Dr. Stephen C. Meyer – a leading voice in the national discussion over intelligent design (ID).
Dr. Meyer’s brand new book release: “Signature in the Cell” DNA evidence for intelligence Design.
Dr. Meyer’s will be talking about the evidence as a Christian author.

Date: Thursday, June 25th , 2009
Location: MBC Tyson’s Campus in Community room C
Time: 7:30pm to 9:00pm
Cost: $10 for Adults or $5 for students

Registration will open up on June 3

For more information contact

apologeticsconference@mcleanbible.org

162 Replies to “Stephen Meyer Events, Visits to Churches

  1. 1
    Reg says:

    Churches have allowed it to spread because they are unwilling to engage the facts but rather resort to theology.

    Yes, that’s the problem with Church: always with the theology, not too much with the facts.

  2. 2
    jerry says:

    I’ve made the point more than once, the way to kill interest in ID is to make a religious argument. It is closely associated with certain religious approaches and is an immediate turnoff for many.

    The frequent religious discussions on this site just reinforces that perception. What drives the 400+ comments here, not science but religion or atheism.

    Ever notice that the anti ID people love to debate on the religious threads, likes moths to a flame.

    So that Meyer will be going to two churches may reinforce the perception that ID is just religious doctrine. And in the other he is a guest of a Christian group.

  3. 3
    mike1962 says:

    “Theistic evolution can be successfully opposed in the churches by arguing the facts.”

    Since when does TE need to be opposed?

  4. 4
    StephenB says:

    —-Jerry: “Ever notice that the anti ID people love to debate on the religious threads, likes moths to a flame.”

    Yes, I have noticed that. Notice too that most Darwinists who come here reject reason itself, which rules out the possibility of a reasoned dialogue even before the discussion begins. If you are lucky enought to get one to even enter into a scientific discussion, you will find, if you examine their objections and assertions carefully, that they base their arguments on the assumption that something can come from nothing or that physical events can occur without causes. You cannot effectively use reasoned evidence against irrational assumptions like that, and trying to do so is a waste of time. You have to expose the assumptions. I think that it is important to bring the out from time to time.

  5. 5
    scordova says:

    Since when does TE need to be opposed?

    To the extent their science is bad they should be opposed. They should be challenged on the facts.

  6. 6
    scordova says:

    I’ve made the point more than once, the way to kill interest in ID is to make a religious argument. It is closely associated with certain religious approaches and is an immediate turnoff for many.

    ID should be marketed to people that are most likely to be enthused to study it.

    You underestimate the difficulty of reaching out to people who are in churhes.

    People will pursue an area of exploration where they have a vested interest.

  7. 7
    scordova says:

    Since when does TE need to be opposed?

    Thank you for the question. On philosophical grounds I view Darwinism as bad for the soul.

    The Discovery Institute reported on the case of Jesse Kilgore, the young man who lost his faith after being encouraged by his biology professor to read Richard Dawkins. Kilgore then committed suicide.

    It would have been good for Jesse to hear both sides of the argument, and perhaps he might still be alive today if he heard the truth.

    TE’s have been hindering the flow of relevant scientific findings in church discussions. Pastors are unwilling to take sides, and I respect that.

    Let the laity take up the discussions, let Illustra media videos be distributed in church circles via private channels and word of mouth and maybe a life will be saved.

    The idea that man is made in the image of God is supported (not proven) by ID arguments. Darwinism erodes the strength of that belief.

    Whatever anyone believes in terms of their religion is their business, but I think it would be good for people to hear the facts.

    Churches by their nature tend to deal with the issue of origins by use of theology. Pastors (in general) are uncomfortable discussing the science.

    I think science is more friendly to religious ideas than most realise. Even Ken Miller said:

    physics has rescued religion

    I will take that even farther, I will be bold enough to argue that the facts of biology will rescue religion.

  8. 8
    scordova says:

    I’ve made the point more than once, the way to kill interest in ID is to make a religious argument. It is closely associated with certain religious approaches and is an immediate turnoff for many.

    I personally have little interest in doing business with people who will put their metaphysical prejudices above the search for truth.

    I’ve gotten harsh criticisms from both creationists and Darwinists because of my insistence on minimizing metaphysics and maximizing empiricism and valid deductions.

  9. 9
    scordova says:

    I’ve made the point more than once, the way to kill interest in ID is to make a religious argument. It is closely associated with certain religious approaches and is an immediate turnoff for many.

    By the way, what empirical or anecdotal evidence do you have to back your claim?

    What percentage of the general population would be interested in ID because of its metaphysical implications versus those who would be turned off?

    My polling data suggests the ratio of about 3-to-1. Hence, the way to generate interest in ID is go to people with a vested interest in seeing ID succeed, not those who could probably care less…

  10. 10
    Ben Z says:

    “What percentage of the general population would be interested in ID because of its metaphysical implications versus those who would be turned off?”

    I see your point, but just consider Francis Beckwith, who might be a powerful ally. I myself am mainly intrigued by the metaphysics (especially as it concerns randomness) of ID. This is mainly because I am currently unable to follow the core of the mathematical and biological arguments, and I do not foresee getting a PhD in statistics or biology.

  11. 11
    jerry says:

    “I personally have little interest in doing business with people who will put their metaphysical prejudices above the search for truth.”

    They think it is associated with fundamentalist Christians and where I live (NY area) they are in short supply and the people here have a somewhat negative attitude about them. The term “Holly Roller” is a pejorative associated with Fundamentalists, like it or not. Some of these are people who go to church every week.

    “By the way, what empirical or anecdotal evidence do you have to back your claim?”

    Conversations with friends and family. It is a topic I seldom bring up or else they think “kooky” Jerry is at it again. I recently found a friend and her husband who were interested but when you have to get into some of the details they got lost. Both her and her husband have master’s degrees. When you talk with an intelligent person you have to provide some proof for what you are claiming and it is not easy to do it in a 30 minute conversation. Most people don’t want to spend more than 10 minutes on it before it goes onto the next topic going around the room.

    I have never been in a conversation where someone else brought it up. And in the last 20 times I have brought it up and this is over a 3 year period, the conversation on it lasted an average of 5 minutes. People are just not interested and you could feel a discomfort in that the topic was loaded with religious over tones and people just do not want to discuss anything to do with that in a social occasion.

  12. 12
    PhilosophyFan says:

    “What percentage of the general population would be interested in ID because of its metaphysical implications versus those who would be turned off?…My polling data suggests the ratio of about 3-to-1.”

    Personally, I am more interested in the metaphysical aspects (i.e., issues such as those addressed in Nicholas Taleb’s–a practicing Christian–two books on randomness). This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I probably won’t ever have the neccessary mathematical or scientific training to get into the core of the debate (e.g., Dembski and Mark’s papers, Well’s and Behe’s books/papers).

    Just consider a powerful ally such as Francis Beckwith, who is obviously more interested in the metaphysics.

  13. 13
    RDK says:

    Yes, I have noticed that. Notice too that most Darwinists who come here reject reason itself, which rules out the possibility of a reasoned dialogue even before the discussion begins. If you are lucky enought to get one to even enter into a scientific discussion, you will find, if you examine their objections and assertions carefully, that they base their arguments on the assumption that something can come from nothing or that physical events can occur without causes.

    Would you like to back up your assertions with actual examples, or would you like to make baseless stereotypical claims about all atheists everywhere?

    Oh wait. Silly me, thinking that you actually want to put substance to your arguments.

  14. 14
    scordova says:

    Most people don’t want to spend more than 10 minutes on it before it goes onto the next topic going around the room.

    I have never been in a conversation where someone else brought it up.

    Thank you for your reply. But on what grounds do you think removing religion will foster any more interest? What will ID do for them? Why will their lives be better for investing a hour of their life watching an Illustra media video?

    From my experience, people searching for God will have a vested interest in watching an Illustra media video like Case for a Creator.

    I can’t imagine why someone with little interest in God will ever want to be interested in ID. Fred Hoyle (who used the word “Intelligent Design”) was one of the few that come to mind.

    Michael Denton, David Berlinski were interested critics of Darwinian evolution. Michael Denton grew to have a distaste for creationism (he was an old-Earth creationist growing up), but it did not stop him from engaging the facts.

    Science is supposed to be dispassionate, but Michael Polanyi pointed out that the history of science is filled of stories of individuals on a passionate (not dispassionate) quest.

    I just don’t see much point in going out of our way to appease the ambivalent (who might not even care after all of our concessions), versus going after people who might have a vested interest in learning ID.

    Even if someone is pursuaded that ID is true, it does not mean that their education stops. In fact, it was because I felt ID had a chance of being true that I’ve invested in a stack of literature that can go from the floor to the ceiling.

    If churchgoers believe ID might be true, all the more reason to teach them and reassure them of the facts.

    I believe much of physics as we understand it is largley true (with some exceptions). If I did not have that faith, I would not have bothered to study it.

    Same is true of ID. It will be studied most effectively by those who believe it is true.

    In contrast, it has been painful to study Darwinism because the more I study it the more I’m convinced it is a waste of time and a failed theory. I study it only because it helps me understand ID better.

  15. 15
    scordova says:

    Would you like to back up your assertions with actual examples, or would you like to make baseless stereotypical claims about all atheists everywhere?

    I find atheistic Darwinism more logically consistent than Theistic Evolution.

    The majority (or at least a very very good percentatge) of Darwinists are TE’s, not atheists.

    I probably like atheists writings by Bradley Monton than the misrepresentations of a TE like Ken Miller.

  16. 16
    tribune7 says:

    I recently found a friend and her husband who were interested but when you have to get into some of the details they got lost.

    Jerry, I don’t see how sticking to the science would help get the point across to them.

  17. 17
    tribune7 says:

    If churchgoers believe ID might be true, all the more reason to teach them and reassure them of the facts.

    Sal, the thing that must be kept in mind — and this is where I sympathize with some TE people — is that ID can be falsified.

    I guess my point is that ID is good science and raises good points and makes good observations but it is not something in which to put your faith.

  18. 18
    vividbleau says:

    RDK “Would you like to back up your assertions with actual examples, or would you like to make baseless stereotypical claims about all atheists everywhere?

    Oh wait. Silly me, thinking that you actually want to put substance to your arguments”

    Wow talk about tossing StephenB a softball!!!

    Over the last several weeks there have been two threads…one over 600 comments long subsequently closed… an open thread of over 450 comments where Darwinists have indeed claimed that something can from from nothing and that physical events can occur without causes.

    I would also say that StephenB restricted his description of Darwinists and Atheists to those who visit this site not to all atheists.

    I certainly hope that the vast majority of atheists are not like the ones here that for all practical purposes invoke magic as an explanation for the existence of our univerese, that things are poofed into existence out of nothing and something can exist before it exists.

    Vivid

    Vivid

  19. 19
    scordova says:

    Sal, the thing that must be kept in mind — and this is where I sympathize with some TE people — is that ID can be falsified.

    Thank you for your thoughts, but it may come as no surprise, that I somewhat regard the atheistic position to be more honest than TE.

    What is the point of believing something merely just because we want to believe it.

    Don’t facts count for something, even in matters of theology and religious belief?

    I sympathize with the atheists who demand physical evidence for certain beliefs. There are manythings we must accept only by faith (including the axioms of math and the laws of physics), but isn’t the Bible more believable if it agrees with observable facts?

    Our concern is with the search for truth. A religious belief can do all sorts of things for us. It can sustain us in life and in the approach of death, it can add meaning when there is none to be found, but it cannot do these things with integrity unless it is founded on the truth…..

    Believing in something without caring if it’s really true is the ultimate atheism, it worships human wishes rather than ultimate reality….

    God is known because he has chosen to make himself known, through gracious disclosure.

    John Polkinhorne

    Polkinhorne echoes my sympathies about religion and facts.

    PS
    The irony is that the physicist Polkinghorne is a Theistic evolutionist who believes in the resurrection of the dead and the resurreciton of Christ.

    Why is ID so hard for Polkinhorne?

  20. 20
    serendipity says:

    StephenB writes:

    Notice too that most Darwinists who come here reject reason itself, which rules out the possibility of a reasoned dialogue even before the discussion begins.

    vividbleau adds:

    …an open thread of over 450 comments where Darwinists have indeed claimed that something can from from nothing and that physical events can occur without causes.

    RDK,

    StephenB and vividbleau have overactive imaginations. When they see someone explaining limited acausality in quantum mechanics, they assume, as StephenB puts it, that he or she is “rejecting reason itself.”

    Their error has been explained to them multiple times, to no avail.

    If you’re interested, the thread is here.

  21. 21
    tribune7 says:

    Sal, maybe I used TE improperly –although the ones I’ve seen express the concern were TEs. Perhaps, I should have used the phrase Christian ID-skeptics.

    Don’t facts count for something, even in matters of theology and religious belief?

    Sure, and I have no objection to Meyer speaking in churches about ID.

    What must be kept in mind is that ID — the narrowly defined non-negating aspect of it — can be shown to be wrong, and that it doesn’t prove the existence of God anyway.

    If you put your faith in ID you have a good chance of losing your faith. If you come to know God personally — regardless of what the fashion is in philosophy and science — you have a much less chance of losing your faith.

    When I accepted Christ I had a general acceptance of evolution. What caused me to start doubting it was not theology but the new ability to step outside the stream of social pressure to evaluate things in a more rigorous fashion.

    I’m a big admirer of Dembski and I think ID is great but the more established it becomes the more it will be attacked. There will be false reports that it is disproved, and it may even eventually be disproved since it is a scientific theory.

    It is important that people understand the true source of their faith.

  22. 22
    tribune7 says:

    Why is ID so hard for Polkinhorne?

    Probably because he thinks it’s something that it isn’t. Maybe he thinks it’s an attempt to prove God (which it isn’t)

  23. 23
    StephenB says:

    —-serendipidy: “StephenB and vividbleau have overactive imaginations. When they see someone explaining limited acausality in quantum mechanics, they assume, as StephenB puts it, that he or she is “rejecting reason itself.”

    For the record, serendipidy has already condemned himself by insisting that a thing can both be true and false, that something can come from nothing, and that physical events can occur without causes.

    —-“Their error has been explained to them multiple times, to no avail.”

    serendipidy is in no position to correct anyone’s error do the the fact that he/she does not understand the metaphysical foundations for science.

    I have expained to him that “time flow” has nothing to do with self evident truths nor has it ever been listed among thoe concepts understood as such. It is a scientific concept that is falsifiable. I asked him to name a real self evident truth, and he simply repeats the same error and reverts back to his “time flow” mantra. I have explained this to serendipidy, yet he is obviously impervious to reason presumably as a result of having rejected reason.

  24. 24
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Serendipity,

    You should also reference the “Disappointed With Shermer” thread, where the same issues were discussed at great length.

  25. 25
    vividbleau says:

    “StephenB and vividbleau have overactive imaginations. When they see someone explaining limited acausality in quantum mechanics, they assume, as StephenB puts it, that he or she is “rejecting reason itself.”

    I can think of nothing more unreasonable than to claim that something can come from nothing, that something can exist before it exists or that a physical event can just poof into existence without a cause.

    Now because I reject the above I am rejecting reason and because Serendipity affirm the above he is not rejecting reason.

    This is not surprising.After all once one rejects rationality and escapes from reason one should expect absurdity from that person. Furthermore one would expect that those who reject reason would think that their absurdity is completely rational.

  26. 26
    RDK says:

    RDK,

    StephenB and vividbleau have overactive imaginations. When they see someone explaining limited acausality in quantum mechanics, they assume, as StephenB puts it, that he or she is “rejecting reason itself.”

    Their error has been explained to them multiple times, to no avail.

    If you’re interested, the thread is here.

    Thanks for making it clear. The hilarious part is that, for some reason, the concept of an Intelligent Designer (I.E., god) doesn’t fit into the category of “nonscientific magic”, or things “poof[ing]” into existence “from nothing”.

    serendipidy is in no position to correct anyone’s error do the the fact that he/she does not understand the metaphysical foundations for science.

    I have expained to him that “time flow” has nothing to do with self evident truths nor has it ever been listed among thoe concepts understood as such. It is a scientific concept that is falsifiable. I asked him to name a real self evident truth, and he simply repeats the same error and reverts back to his “time flow” mantra. I have explained this to serendipidy, yet he is obviously impervious to reason presumably as a result of having rejected reason.

    Are you purporting that “time flow” is an invalid concept? I sure hope not! Time is a very real thing; it can be ripped and even bent.

    And as for events without any seeming physical causation, well, once again, your ignorance of quantum mechanics displays itself. On the subatomic level, nothing is something. Particles literally do pop out of nowhere. It’s bizarre, it completely bypasses the law of conservation of mass, but it happens all the time.

    But perhaps this is getting off-topic. Would anyone like me to post my rough criteria for Intelligent Design being considered a valid theory? I posted it before, but one of the moderators deleted it.

  27. 27
    herb says:

    Sal,

    Pardon me for jumping in here. I would have to take issue with these two statements:

    There are manythings we must accept only by faith (including the axioms of math and the laws of physics)

    If the laws of physics are laws at all, they should be testable, and their acceptance should not be a matter of faith.

    Furthermore, I’m not sure it’s fair to characterize a mathematician’s acceptance of a particular set of axioms as a matter of faith either. For example, working under ZFC has proven to be very fruitful—it requires no faith to accept such an axiom system on purely pragmatic grounds.

  28. 28
    serendipity says:

    Nakashima writes:

    You should also reference the “Disappointed With Shermer” thread, where the same issues were discussed at great length.

    Thank you, Nakashima. Here it is.

  29. 29
    vividbleau says:

    ” that he or she is “rejecting reason itself.”

    Besides that was not the totality of RDK’s complaint against StephenB. He was also taking StephenB to task for the claim that atheists on this blog claim that something can come from nothing or that physical events can occur
    without a cause.

    RDK “Would you like to back up your assertions with actual examples,”

    Yes RDK you have Serendibity as example #1.

    Vivid

  30. 30
    serendipity says:

    StephenB writes:

    For the record, serendipidy has already condemned himself by insisting that a thing can both be true and false, that something can come from nothing, and that physical events can occur without causes.

    More evidence of Stephen’s overactive imagination. Of those three, the only one that even comes close to anything I’ve claimed is the last. I pointed to a a decaying atomic nucleus as an example of an event whose occurrence at one particular time vs. another cannot be explained causally.

    The other two are figments of Stephen’s imagination. He must be confusing me with some other godless Darwinist. I think we all look alike to him.

    Stephen, if you insist on continuing this discussion, let’s move it back to the “self-correcting” thread where it belongs.

  31. 31
    RDK says:

    If the laws of physics are laws at all, they should be testable, and their acceptance should not be a matter of faith.

    Furthermore, I’m not sure it’s fair to characterize a mathematician’s acceptance of a particular set of axioms as a matter of faith either. For example, working under ZFC has proven to be very fruitful—it requires no faith to accept such an axiom system on purely pragmatic grounds.

    Don’t get caught up in the naming of things in science. There are lots of terms people use for ideas. You’ll hear things called theories, hypotheses, laws, maxims, propositions, corollaries, etc. Obviously they have different meanings based upon the different fields, but ultimately, these are used quite interchangeably (for the most part). In mathematics, there is a difference between a hypothesis and a law, because in math, you can actually prove things. But in science you can’t; at least not 100%.

    Every scientist knows the tentative nature of science–that’s why we have scientific laws; they outline what should happen, or what is purported to happen most of the time.

    So a “law” in science is fairly meaningless (unless you accept the axioms of scientific investigation!). But we use the term anyway. Like the “Law of Averages”, or “The Second Law of Thermodynamics”. They get “broken” all the time, but still we persist…

  32. 32
    StephenB says:

    —-serendipity: I pointed to a a decaying atomic nucleus as an example of an event whose occurrence at one particular time vs. another cannot be explained causally.”

    Serendipidy has already had it explained to him that to be unpredictable and spontaneous is not synonymous with causesless. But I thank him for confessing that he believes that physical events can occur without causes.

  33. 33
    herb says:

    Hi RDK,

    I pretty much agree with you but my main point was simply that the acceptance or rejection of a physical “law” should not be a matter of faith but of evidence. If a proposition is regarded as a law of physics (whatever is meant by that), it should be testable at some point.

  34. 34
    Frost122585 says:

    Socrdova allow me to share some of my observations and thoughts on all of this.

    I think the church is the most powerful force for ID. I think events like these with Meyer are excellent but I do not think that the Church is the place where people are going to talk about ID day in and day out. Therefore I don’t think that the power and acceptance of Darwinism is being facilitated from inside the churches. Most churches teach explicitly about a would which God designed and created.

    The reality is that it is the schools of America and the world which are doing the greatest amount of facilitation converting people away from the churches and the faith. When you have to write on test that all species share a common ancestor and that natural selection is what brings about life’s diversity you are altering the intellect or mind of the student to where an ID or creationist view really no longer makes any sense.

    Ever since the early 1900’s public school has become sort of the parent of the children of the US- and of course it is easiest to shape the minds of youths. When i learned about Darwin’s theory in 9th grade biology class I was a bit disgusted by it but the teacher believed in it wholeheartedly. I was one of the lucky one’s who looked at it with kind of an unimpressed eye as I realized there was nothing in the theory of natural selection that created diversity. Also the peppered moth example which was used as supposedly a prime example didn’t seem to mean anything in regards to evolution that i could see. So I always since a lack of explanation and a sense of suspicion that the evidence being used really was not very convincing. But I think a was unique among a lot of kids because I was always one who would reject and question what i did not like. Most kids bought into the full Darwinian view because they thought it was true sceince- afterall it was taught to them by a science teacher.

    There is a theological component though that plays into all of this. Today there is a very liberal religious and theological climate. A lot of Christians today feel that to get into heaven all one has to do is believe in Jesus Christ. With out higher religious standards one’s moral and rational perspective on the world falls apart. People begin to think it really doesn’t matter if they accept Darwinism or not because after all they are going to heaven anyways.

    Those are the two primary and fundamental forces giving power to things like Darwinism. A loose and liberal theology and a massive government run secular public education system.

    Alter either one of those components towards a greater and stricter faithfulness and an increased interest and acceptance of ID will fallow.

    This is not to say that schools have to be religious but they need to practice intellectual tolerance and religious tolerance to a certain degree. ID is a scientific theory capable of standing on it’s own two feet- it only needs free and responsible minds to hear it out.

  35. 35
    djmullen says:

    scordova and others, I don’t see why you object so strongly to Theistic Evolution. It seems to be perfectly compatible with ID, geology and Christianity although it does conflict with a literal reading of the Bible.

    If I may play “God’s advocate” for a while, imagine God wanting to make a cake. The Theistic Evolution method of Godly cake-making would have God put eggs, flour, sugar and whatever else in a bowl, mix it thoroughly and put it in a hot oven long enough for ordinary physics and chemistry to turn the ingredients into a cake.

    The “anti-TE” method of Godly cake-making would force God to personally place every one of the gazillions of atoms in a cake in the exact places required to form a cake. (And maybe poor God would have to make the atoms out of sub-atomic particles first.)

    To an omniscient, omnipotent Being, evolution is like mixing the ingredients and putting them in a hot oven. It’s letting physics and chemistry do the tedious work while God merely zaps an occasional DNA base-pair to “fine tune” the process to get exactly the kind of organism He wanted in the first place.

    This is 100 percent compatible with (non-creationist) religion. God still creates man, although he lets chemistry and physics do the drudge work.

    It’s also compatible with what science reveals as the history of life on earth – the various species DID develop gradually over a long period of time and there’s no evidence that says that God couldn’t have intervened from time to time with an occasional DNA zap.

  36. 36
    djmullen says:

    Frost122585 @ 33:
    I have to strongly disagree when you say things like,

    “The reality is that it is the schools of America and the world which are doing the greatest amount of facilitation converting people away from the churches and the faith. When you have to write on test that all species share a common ancestor and that natural selection is what brings about life’s diversity you are altering the intellect or mind of the student to where an ID or creationist view really no longer makes any sense.” and

    “Those are the two primary and fundamental forces giving power to things like Darwinism. A loose and liberal theology and a massive government run secular public education system.”

    I don’t think schools have much at all to do with “converting people away from the churches and the faith”. If a student has to “write on test that all species share a common ancestor”, he’s well within the bounds of ID, as defined by William Dembski, who has said much the same thing on this very blog:

    “I have consistently argued that intelligent design neither rules out the common descent of life on Earth (Darwin’s single Tree of Life) nor restricts the implementation of design to common descent, as if that were the only possible geometry for the large-scale relationships of organisms. Thus, with regard to this forum, the truth or falsity of common descent is an open question worthy of informed discussion.” “Common Descent at Uncommon Descent”

    And if a student has to write “that natural selection is what brings about life’s diversity” then they’re not even being taught evolutionary theory, since mutation and gene re-arrangement during sex are the sources of diversity and natural selection just gets rid of the new genetic combinations that don’t work.

    That “loose and liberal” theology hardly exists in the United States. The denominations that embrace it are the ones that are disappearing while conservative “back to the Bible” churches are the ones dominating the airwaves, electing the politicians (and school boards) and building 5000 member mega-churches.

    I even question your whole idea that people are being converted away from their churches, at least in this country. Scordova tells us once or twice a month that most Americans reject evolution. If I remember right, the numbers are somewhere around 80% against it.

    In my opinion, conservative Christianity’s problems are mainly that the evidence has turned out to squarely falsify some of their fundamental beliefs (i.e. that the Earth is 6000 years old) and no amoount of rhetorical twisting and turning has been able to change that. Governments and schools have nothing to do with these very real problems.

  37. 37
    scordova says:

    Tribune wrote:

    What caused me to start doubting it was not theology but the new ability to step outside the stream of social pressure to evaluate things in a more rigorous fashion.

    Exactly!

    I was TE.

    I’ve yet to meet a TE that changed his mind on purely theological grounds!

    Darwinism cannot be successfully challenged in the churches by arguing theology.

    I’ve tried to tell my creationist colleagues to stop trying to argue against Darwinism by arguing theology. It doesn’t change people’s minds, it only puts distaste in people’s mouths.

  38. 38
    Frost122585 says:

    Dj,

    I’m sorry but you are just wrong. The Chirches have not only been empting in the last decade but the poltical war against thing like ID and moral ethics that pertain to unverisal God given rules has been destroyed. Public shcools teach things like premarital sex is not wrong, that drug use in moderation is not demonstadted to be that harmful, that personal responsiblity is not as important or real as thigs like enviornment and disalbities.

    The public culture has very much become a materialistic Darwinian culture. This is not to say that there are segments of people who still believe in universal theistic laws but in the old days these things could be discussed and now they are being completely edited out and even outlawed in public education. The situation has gotten worse not better.

    It would be one thing if the school were truly non biased when it came ot issues concering relgion but the schools do teach a relgious docrines of so called secular science. It should be very alarming that the public schools are professing ethics but have claim to have no diety to where those ethics arise. The tolerance of homosexulaity, the agenda and need of more government, the tenent of “freedom from religion”, and ofcourse all the green earth dogma. None of this necessary as far as ethics go and as i pointed out they cannot even appeal to any source that maes these ethics right.

    My point can be vividly summarized like this… to take God out of the classroom you have not created a climate where people can freely discuss things without personal belief corrupting the process- but what you actually have is a situation where schools have made a statement that education is better without God. That things like origins and ethics, and interpretive history, sex education and so on, can be correctly taught about without a theistic backdrop.

    Look where it has taken us. We have a president that was never even proven to be a US citizen, and one who has taken over the economic system with the help of others putting it on a radical new course that history has proven as disastrous. He has spent more money than any one can even speculate how he will pay back. And yet his poll numbers are good.

    You have one of the most important Catholic colleges in the world giving the president an degree for nothing – when the president’s beliefs are the antithesis of churches doctrines- and the Christian doctrine as a whole.

    The theological climate of the US is in horrible shape. The pubic schools has done a very poor job teaching about “The the theory Evolution.” You still have absolutely brilliant people like Stephen Meyer who question universal common ancestry and yet school demand student take this as fact.

    It saddens me that you would vehemently oppose the general thesis of perspective. The theology is too liberal and secular public schools are facilitating a a great deception is regards to science. That deception is that secular science is better than science based in a theistic framework.

    Now allow me to point out the logical distinction that i think you fail to grasp. I do not want public schools to teach from a religious point of view. I would prefer more vouches for people wanting a religious based education for their kids and think this would go a long way for the country. i am sick of the government having a monopoly over education. I do however realize that that undermines ID politically because the forces that support secular science are usually anti-theistic. This is truth that few grasp. The synthetic establishment of a secular public education system is actually one that is anti-theism because it presupposes that you can truthfully accurately teach about things without giving a theistic perspective but in cases of ethics and politics and origins – and lifestyle, the secular school makes up its own religion which to me amounts to a pagan like doctrine of belief in the earth and humanity (i.e. humanism, earth worship) or something like that. ID cant be grasped in public schools because it is immediately associated with theism and therefor is labeled as against the rules. Once again this is anti-theism.

  39. 39
    scordova says:

    Furthermore, I’m not sure it’s fair to characterize a mathematician’s acceptance of a particular set of axioms as a matter of faith either. For example, working under ZFC has proven to be very fruitful—it requires no faith to accept such an axiom system on purely pragmatic grounds.

    That is not what I was taught and further, the point of the book, Godel Escher Bach by Hofstadter had this to say:

    Truth is greater than provability

    And John Barrow

    If a `religion’ is defined to be a system of ideas that contains unprovable statements, then Godel taught us that mathematics is not only a religion, it is the only religion that can prove itself to be one.

    Certainly math is a reasonable belief system, but it’s underlying axioms can only be accepted through reasonable faith.

    Regarding physics, Wheeler said the laws are not “from everlasting to everlasting”, thus the laws are not eternal nor immutable. We only accept by faith they are proximally applicable. In the deep past, the “constants” we have today may not be what they are now, nor the laws themselves. The extrapolations are only justified by experience and faith, it is possible counter examples exist which we have never observed.

    And in fact, we infer that counter examples have existed in the past. We can only presume that we will not encouter them in the future. It is reasonable presumption, but formally speaking it is not provable, only falsifiable. Recall Popper.

  40. 40
    Frost122585 says:

    Sal,

    “I’ve tried to tell my creationist colleagues to stop trying to argue against Darwinism by arguing theology. It doesn’t change people’s minds, it only puts distaste in people’s mouths.”

    This is true depending on the circumstances of the discussion. I firmly believe that there are theological arguments for ID. I think ID is theologically very pure. I think in the case of public education public science that you need to stay scientific. This does not mean one needs to forget their theology. The churches are a friend of ID and I do think that you want to alienate the possibility of headway ion that area just out of the fear that you might offend those who hate ID for anti religious reasons to begin with.

    I got into this debate recently with someone who was vehemently opposed to ID. And after dispelling all of her supposed silver bullet criticisms of the theory on purely scientific and secular grounds she asked me “aren’t you a little fearful though of things like the wedge document? and the fact that the vast majority of ID support comes from fundamentalists?

    I flat out told her no. I don’t care what motivates someone to do good science- I only care if it is good science- but when you are ruling out a religious belief and theories which are merely supportive of it simply for political sociological reasons then the process of science is compromised. I see public education- especially the colleges and such – as being anti-theistic – and I see a liberal theological climate as not caring about it’s own survival. It is no secret that ID is a close friend of theism and that theism is a close friend of ID. Lets call a spade a spade.

  41. 41
    Frost122585 says:

    I would like to point out in regards to the discussion above about Godel, math and faith that mathematics is a synthetic form of reasoning and judgment. It is not about any “thing” in particular but about the relationships between things and yes the axioms originate and come apriori from unprovable sources outside of the mathematical system.

    Truth is infinitely greater than probability- as numbers like pi hint.

  42. 42
    djmullen says:

    Frost, I think you’re mistaken when you blame our education system, or even the government, for religion’s problems.

    If anything has discredited the belief in universal god-given rules, it was the 19 devout believers who hijacked four airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

    If that wasn’t enough to make a lot of people think twice about religion and morals, having a hyper religious, god-fearing president who was put into office largely by conservative Christians tell us that he had prayed long and hard and that God told him to go ahead with his disasterous war on Iraq certainly gave a lot more people reason to reconsider their beliefs. The fact that he borrowed five trillion dollars from Red China to fight it didn’t exactly help. I guess the moral here is that if you manage to get a president elected, be prepared to take some serious lumps if he screws up royally.

    Oh, and those Iraqis who were using their belief in the God of Abraham, Moses and Jesus to justify their drilling holes in other Iraqis with power drills didn’t help your cause either. Or the Ayatollah Khoumani or Jerry Fallwell hawking “The Clinton Chronicals” or Jerry and Pat Robertson saying that abortion and tolerance of homosexuals caused 9/11 or … well, I think everybody gets the idea.

    It turns out to be fairly easy to show that all of those actions are wrong using secular principles such as the Golden Rule, but people who think their morals come directly from God don’t have much truck with secular morality.

    Your comments on taking God out of the schools are interesting to me because I live in Wisconsin. We took government led prayer out of our schools in 1895. Yes, that’s EIGHTEEN ninety five, as in the late 19th century. And we took it out because a group of Catholic parents sued the state to have government led prayer removed from our schools. And they sued because they didn’t like having their children beaten up on the way home from school every night. It seems that the minority Catholics didn’t like the prayers the majority Protestants tried to force them to say and refused to say them – and then paid the price on the way home. It’s been over a hundred years since we took prayer out of the schools and looking back, it was clearly a Good Thing.

    I have to say here that religion doesn’t exactly get a boost when religious people try to claim that Obama has never been “… proven to be a citizen.” The man did post his birth certificate on his web site, after all, and hearing conservative Christians say that’s not enough does not increase the public’s confidence in Christianity.

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks:

    A quick note:

    Serendip, 30: I pointed to a a decaying atomic nucleus as an example of an event whose occurrence at one particular time vs. another cannot be explained causally.

    Now, as those who follow the relevant thread will be able to see, S et al fail to understand that a necessary causal condition is a causal condition — not just sufficient causal conditions.

    Q mech is of course replete with such necessary conditions, as I discussed on the case of alpha decay (and beta decay too — the issues then happen inside a neutron considered as a composite particle).

    Those necessary conditions set up a stochastic situation, where we may be unable to observe what would be sufficient conditions, but that does not mean that they do not exist.

    That leap is an “it does not follow,” per logic: [1] unless necessary conditions for an event are met, it CANNIOT happen; [2] when sufficient conditions are met, it WILL happen.

    (The fire triangle — fuel, oxidiser and heat — being a capital illustrative case in point. Similarly, a chance causal factor is a causal factor. That is, that an entity may be in or may find itself in one of various states on a probabilistic basis and that the relevant target zone/threshold may be functional in some interesting way that we may subsequently observe, has stated a relevant causal condition. Statistical thermodynamics is replete with such analyses, and solid state physics too: e.g. the Fermi level and conduction vs valence bands in semiconductors. )

    Thus, RA decay and other Quantum phenomena — contrary to what some may say — are NOT “acausal.”

    And, it is notorious that appeals to acausality in Q-mech have been used to argue to “something can happen from nothing” in general, just as relativity was once commonly abused to try to warrant relativism.

    The fallacy in view is: “blind ’em with science.”

    GEM of TKI

  44. 44
    tribune7 says:

    I’ve tried to tell my creationist colleagues to stop trying to argue against Darwinism by arguing theology. It doesn’t change people’s minds, it only puts distaste in people’s mouths

    Very true!

  45. 45
    PaulBurnett says:

    “Frost122585” (#40) wrote: “I firmly believe that there are theological arguments for ID.” and “The churches are a friend of ID…” and “It is no secret that ID is a close friend of theism and that theism is a close friend of ID. Lets call a spade a spade.”

    Indeed. The Wedge Document starts “The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God…”; the film “Expelled” was shown in churches and church-related venues prior to its public release; Messrs. Buckingham and Bonsell of the Dover School Board were found not to have supported intelligent design for reasons of science; etc.

    Frost, your friend and many others have indeed noticed “…the fact that the vast majority of ID support comes from fundamentalists.” They have also noticed the fact that essentially every science organization (AAAS, NAS, NABT, etc.) is opposed to intelligent design.

    Intelligent design needs to get its research program in gear and start producing some science that is recognizable as science by the science establishment – not by the religious establishment. That would indeed be a wonderful thing.

  46. 46
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Cordova,

    I think you are making more out of popularizations and aphorisms than you should. “Truth is greater than provability” means that in any axomatic system strong enough to support arithmetic (such as ZFC) there will be infinitely more true things than provable things.

    But working within a set of axioms is not a statement of faith, as the word faith is commonly used. I could work with Euclidean geometry in the morning and Reimannian geometry in the afternoon – I haven’t changed anything anyone would call faith during lunch.

    As your quote of Wheeler shows, we don’t even know if the universe has an axiomatic basis, or if that basis is constant. Please remind StephenB of that!

  47. 47
    scordova says:

    from wiki:

    In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but considered to be either self-evident, or subject to necessary decision. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory dependent) truths.

    In mathematics, the term axiom is used in two related but distinguishable senses: “logical axioms” and “non-logical axioms”. In both senses, an axiom is any mathematical statement that serves as a starting point from which other statements are logically derived. Unlike theorems, axioms (unless redundant) cannot be derived by principles of deduction, nor are they demonstrable by mathematical proofs, simply because they are starting points; there is nothing else from which they logically follow (otherwise they would be classified as theorems).

    Axioms cannot be proven as true.

    If we accept something as true but which cannot be proven, is that not a statement of faith?

  48. 48
    scordova says:

    Frost,

    Do you think you might come out to the Stephen Meyer event in McLean, Viriginia? Since McLean is so close to the Discovery Institute in DC, maybe Stephen Meyer will also make an appearance there. Look at the DI weblog to see if he will appear elsewhere on the East Coast.

    I hope to see you again. I remember how you were on TV with David Berlinski and I remember the wine bottles clanging. 🙂

    Sal

  49. 49
    allanius says:

    Not to seem overly dense, but there is a wedge strategy already in place in which ID plays a prominent role. ID is ideal for overturning materialism because it is self-evident. It has already won the argument in the public square for the simple reason that nature is clearly the product of design.

    ID-friendly sites are at their best when they stay away from theology and metaphysics and focus on the fact of design. What is most effective is not any abstract argument requiring axioms of any kind but simple scientific elucidation of the wonders of nature.

    A post here a while back about the migrating habits of birds was perfect: friendly, well-written, non-confrontational, and chock-full of interesting information; just the sort of thing a civilized person would enjoy reading on his porch on a spring evening and sharing with family and friends.

    ID thrives on unspoken inference. It is not necessary to connect the dots to the Bible or attempt to make any demonstration whatsoever of the existence God. Natural revelation provides plenty of firepower in itself for shaking the foundations of materialism.

    ID can help to resuscitate a consciousness of the marvelous quality of nature. The battle today is between those who believe that nature is “very good” and those who pretend it as a trifling value—the purveyors reductionism like Dawkins and Provine and Gould.

    They understand perfectly well that materialism is overthrown if nature is “very good.” Matter and physical laws are value-neutral and cannot account for goodness. This is why they attempt to devalue nature. It’s also why ID is most effective when it reminds us of just how marvelous nature really is.

    Seems to us we’ve only just scratched the surface. Birds not only migrate but sing and weave nests. Let the science speak for itself, bringing forward studies that avoid just-so storytelling and focus on the strangeness of such things, thus reminding us of how little profit there is in being jaded about nature.

    A review of studies on chlorophyll could be effective. There is hardly anything more basic to the ecosystem than chlorophyll—and hardly anything more wonderful or strange. And chlorophyll produces sugar. The quality of sweetness is important to recognizing the goodness of nature—and cannot be explained by materialism.

    Digesting the results of basic biochemical and medical research for the layman is a very effective tactic. Maybe the best-kept secret of our time is how strongly those study results point to design and how little effort is made by the investigators to hide the inference with extraneous meta-narratives.

    These are just a few examples of how ID can make the wedge strategy effective. To cross over from the wedge strategy to metaphysics might be effective—Kant did a pretty good job of it—but it would require a good deal more subtlety and strategic vision than is evident in ID circles today.

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    SC:

    I add that axioms, self evident truths and the like can find warrant within a system of thought, as opposed to proof. That is, we can have reasonable grounds for accepting them, i.e. reasonable faith.

    One such is the commitment that we will not accept contradictions and associated self-referential inconsistencies. (As opposed to the mere possibility of such . . . )

    GEM of TKI

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    Nakashima-San:

    A self-evident truth is not synonymous to “an axiom.”

    Wiki:

    AXIOM: In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but considered to be either self-evident, or subject to necessary decision. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory dependent) truths.

    In mathematics, the term axiom is used in two related but distinguishable senses: “logical axioms” and “non-logical axioms”. In both senses, an axiom is any mathematical statement that serves as a starting point from which other statements are logically derived. Unlike theorems, axioms (unless redundant) cannot be derived by principles of deduction, nor are they demonstrable by mathematical proofs, simply because they are starting points; there is nothing else from which they logically follow (otherwise they would be classified as theorems).

    ————-

    SET: In epistemology (theory of knowledge), a self-evident proposition is one that is known to be true by understanding its meaning without proof.

    Some epistemologists deny that any proposition can be self-evident. For most others, the belief that oneself is conscious is offered as an example of self-evidence. However, one’s belief that someone else is conscious is not epistemically self-evident.

    The following propositions are often said to be self-evident:

    * A finite whole is greater than any of its parts

    * It is impossible for the something to be and not be at the same time in the same manner . . . .

    It is sometimes said that a self-evident proposition is one whose denial is self-contradictory. It is also sometimes said that an analytic proposition is one whose denial is self-contradictory. But these two uses of the term self-contradictory mean entirely different things. A self-evident proposition cannot be denied without knowing that one contradicts oneself (provided one actually understands the proposition). An analytic proposition cannot be denied without a contradiction, but one may fail to know that there is a contradiction because it may be a contradiction that can be found only by a long and abstruse line of logical or mathematical reasoning. Most analytic propositions are very far from self-evident. Similarly, a self-evident proposition need not be analytic: my knowledge that I am conscious is self-evident but not analytic.

    An analytic proposition, however long a chain of reasoning it takes to establish it, ultimately contains a tautology, and is thus only a verbal truth: a truth established through the verbal equivalence of a single meaning. For those who admit the existence of abstract concepts, the class of non-analytic self-evident truths can be regarded as truths of the understanding–truths revealing connections between the meanings of ideas.

    _________________

    SOME axioms are self-evident, but not all are. And, being self evident is not determined by being an axiom but on being seen to be true — on pain of absurdity — on understanding it.

    GEM of TKI

  52. 52
    scordova says:

    In my opinion, conservative Christianity’s problems are mainly that the evidence has turned out to squarely falsify some of their fundamental beliefs (i.e. that the Earth is 6000 years old) and no amoount of rhetorical twisting and turning has been able to change that.

    I felt exactly the same way once upon a time. I found putting theological ideas ahead of any possible contrary evidence to be distasteful. Militant YECism has been responsible for creating plenty of atheists or at least driving people out of the church, imho.

    I know Christians who are physicists who nearly left the church because of the YEC issue.

    Although, from an evidential standpoint, I would not rule out the YECs from succeeding.

    I’ve kept arguing with my YEC friends that they don’t have good theoretical and evidential arguments yet. They need to provide a reformulation of Maxwell’s equations for starters and back it up with experiments and observations. Till then, the YEC hypothesis will be weak.

    Some help has come from the Natural Philosophy Alliance of dissdent physicists. They and the creationists teamed up for a conference at University of Connecticut under the sponsorship of a respected professor of physics and mathematics, Domina Spencer (MIT PhD).

    I was at the YEC ICC 2008 conference. I met Dr. Bill Lucas an intermediate energy particle physicist. He provided a possible reformulation of Maxwell’s equations which might solve the distant starlight problem of the YECs. His work can be found here:

    Universal Force Law.

    I hope Kairosfocus and other will look at Lucas’s work.

    One YEC relativistic cosmology has passed peer review. I mention it here: YEC versions of relativity.

    If YECs want to be more convincing, they need to stop arguing theology, they need to come up with bold testable models, experiments, and theories. Bill Lucas and John Sanford are on the right track, but they are few and far between.

  53. 53
    herb says:

    Axioms cannot be proven as true.

    If we accept something as true but which cannot be proven, is that not a statement of faith?

    I would view a particular set of axioms more as rules of the game, so to speak, rather than a collection of “true” statements. Following Mr. Nakashima’s example of geometry, sometimes you might want to work under the assumption that distinct parallel lines never meet; at other times it may be sensible to assume they always met. So choosing an appropriate axiom system in which to work is like choosing the right tool for the job.

  54. 54
    Frost122585 says:

    Sal,

    I am considering coming up to listen to Meyer. I have considerable admiration for Meyer’s contributions to ID especially his paper “Intelligent Design: The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories”

    So I will definitely try to find the time. and yes, I plan to watch myself around the wine table this time around ;P

  55. 55
    herb says:

    Oops. Re #51, I meant to say something like “at other times it may be sensible to assume that all lines meet”, in contrast with the Euclidean situation. The normal parallel postulate fails in that case of course.

  56. 56
    scordova says:

    So choosing an appropriate axiom system in which to work is like choosing the right tool for the job.

    I think this is a fair point, and very well articulated.

    But on what basis is one axiom chosen over another?

    We generally accept math systems where:

    1+1 = 2, but one could, in principle create an axiomatic system where this is not true. We can equivocate symbols such as in a modulo-2 vector space where:

    1+1 = 0

    With respect to classical physics (Euclidian) and general relativity (non-euclidian, riemann differential geometry), we can only hypothesis which one is appropriate. The choice of geometry is a falsifiable faith choice, it is not formally provable as the right choice.

    The question is appropriate to origins theories and physics.

    Classical, Euclidian alternatives to general relativiy are being offered. One faith-based hypothesis may in the end be closer to the truth than another.

    With respect to Darwinian evolution vs. Intelligent Design or Darwinian Evolution vs. Special Creation, one model is probably closer to the truth than the other.

  57. 57
    RDK says:

    Truth is greater than provability

    Once again, you are taking things out of context Mr. Cordova. Doug Hofstadter is a mathematician, and is working with math principles that do not readily carry over to scientific investigation situations. Refer to my previous post where I outlined why things can be proven in math, but not in science.

    Regarding physics, Wheeler said the laws are not “from everlasting to everlasting”, thus the laws are not eternal nor immutable. We only accept by faith they are proximally applicable. In the deep past, the “constants” we have today may not be what they are now, nor the laws themselves. The extrapolations are only justified by experience and faith, it is possible counter examples exist which we have never observed.

    And in fact, we infer that counter examples have existed in the past. We can only presume that we will not encouter them in the future. It is reasonable presumption, but formally speaking it is not provable, only falsifiable. Recall Popper.

    …and this is exactly what I’ve said, time and time again. But to purport that your religion is justified just by the simple fact that mathematics contains unprovable axioms is silly. You’re missing the key ingredient: probability. Truth only exists in fields like math. In science, there is no truth; only likelihood.

    If you’re searching for ultimate truth, science has no answer for you. Try a philosophy class.

  58. 58
    scordova says:

    1+1 = 2

    and

    1+1 = 0

    Hofstadter pointed out we could make any symbol system we wanted with all sorts of rules.

    The problem is for the math to be of any practical use, it has to be tied to subjective notions of meaning. To say we properly interpret the meaning of something is not subject to proof. We cannot prove we have properly interpreted the symbols, we can only accept that by faith.

    For example:

    1 rabbit + 1 rabbit = 7 rabbits (or more, since rabbits can reproduce)

    There is no general principle to argue

    1+1 = 2,

    there are only contexts where that axiom seems most meaningful and appropriate. But the approriateness of a description can only be accepted as a matter of faith in the formal sense.

  59. 59
    StephenB says:

    —–Scordova: “I’ve yet to meet a TE that changed his mind on purely theological grounds!

    —–“Darwinism cannot be successfully challenged in the churches by arguing theology.

    —-“I’ve tried to tell my creationist colleagues to stop trying to argue against Darwinism by arguing theology. It doesn’t change people’s minds, it only puts distaste in people’s mouths

    I understand what you are saying here, but there is another point to be made. It is essential that a theological case be made for the “unity of truth.” While theistic evolutionists claim to reconcile their faith with their religion, they do nothing of the kind. For them, there are two truths, one for religion and one for science. In order to accommodate their Darwinism, which for them is primary, they must compromise their theology. Thus, many of them trade away basic Christian beliefs. I am not talking about a seven-day creation, which is negotiable, but also the belief in single first parents and the doctrine of original sin, which are not negotiable. At the most basic level they do not believe in the unity of truth, because they feel they most make all these compromises in order to fabricate that unity.

    In keeping with that point, TE’s trade away Christianity’s teaching about God’s dual revelation [Revelation in scripture AND revelation in nature]. Their radical Darwinism forces them to hold that design is just an “illusion,” which is hardly a Christian world view. So all their talk about “reconciling” their faith with their religion is all so much bluster, because they are, in fact, subordinating their faith to their Darwinist ideology. They do not believe in the unity of truth because they reject Christianity’s aspect of the truth, which is the fact that God’s handiwork is evident in nature. Since their Darwinism bids them to concede that design is an “illusion,” they trade away their belief that God revealed himself in nature and that we must take it “on faith. But the Christian religion does not say we must “believe” that God designed nature, it says that we can “see” it and, because we can see it, we ought to consider Christianity to be reasonable and more worthy of belief that other religions which do not have that same reasonable foundation. TEs trade all of that away.

    ID Christians, on the other hand, truly reconcile their faith and religion, understanding that if Christianity is true, it need not be compromised, and if their science is true, it need not be compromised either. Unlike TEs, they do not believe in two different truths, but in one unified truth with two different aspects. The theological aspect of truth holds that God’s handiwork is evident in nature [Psalm 19, Romans 1:20]. That part is non-negotiable for Christianity because it confirms its reasonableness. Does that fit with guided micro or guided macro-evolution? Sure. If common descent is a fact, that is no problem for Christianity, no problem for design, and no problem for the reconciliation of faith and reason. Does it permit retaining original first parents and the doctrine of original sin? Of course. So, ID Christianity can be reconciled with its science. TE Christianity subordinates its faith to Darwinism. That argument needs to be made in addition to the argument from science.

  60. 60
    herb says:

    Sal,

    I think this is a fair point, and very well articulated.

    But on what basis is one axiom chosen over another?

    Thanks, Sal. Regarding your question (and the rest of your post), I would just say we should choose whichever axiom accounts for observed data best. Of course this is still a provisional choice.

    In fact, AFAIK everyone knows that space and time do not literally comprise a 4-dimensional Riemannian manifold, even though that is essentially an axiom of GR—that model breaks down at quantum scales. Nevertheless, apparently it’s the best game in town currently. When and if a quantum theory of gravity is developed, this axiom will happily be discarded in favor of whatever new and improved version appears.

  61. 61
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Cordova,

    It is entirely possible to work with formal, axiomatic systems without concern for whether the system is aligned with reality. I can see where someone might apply “faith” to the issue of whether a particular system applies to reality, but that is a different issue.

  62. 62
    Nakashima says:

    Mr KairosFocus,

    I’m not sure why you want to bring this distinction to my particular attention. I’m not very interested in the concept of self-evident truth and find it extremely suspect. If it was self-evident to David Berkowitz that his dog was telling him to kill people, but that is not self-evident to anyone else, of what value is this concept?

  63. 63
    StephenB says:

    —-Nakashima: “As your quote of Wheeler shows, we don’t even know if the universe has an axiomatic basis, or if that basis is constant. Please remind StephenB of that!

    You are still confusing axioms with self-evident truths.

    Do you doubt either of the following statments as articulated by kairosfocus:

    *A finite whole is greater than any of its parts

    *It is impossible for the something to be and not be at the same time in the same manner . . . .

    Those statements are not mere axioms whose truth can be tested. They are fundamental self-evident truths on which all scientific tests depend and are built on.

    So, again, I ask. Do you accept that those two propositions are undeniably true?

  64. 64
    StephenB says:

    —-Nakashima: “I’m not very interested in the concept of self-evident truth and find it extremely suspect. If it was self-evident to David Berkowitz that his dog was telling him to kill people, but that is not self-evident to anyone else, of what value is this concept?”

    That may well be the most extravagant strawman ever built.

  65. 65
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB:

    You are still confusing axioms with self-evident truths.

    Seems a lot of people confuse the two.
    Encyclopedia Brittanica:

    in logic, an [axiom is an] indemonstrable first principle, rule, or maxim, that has found general acceptance or is thought worthy of common acceptance whether by virtue of a claim to intrinsic merit or on the basis of an appeal to self-evidence. An example would be: “Nothing can both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect.”

    Wikipedia:

    In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but considered to be either self-evident, or subject to necessary decision. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory dependent) truths.

    Thankfully you will set us all straight.

  66. 66
    Nakashima says:

    Mr StephenB,

    I think either of those two statements could be axiomatic, though I will have to reserve comment on whether an axiomatic system that contains them is in accord with reality!

    In your next comment, you object to my use of the criminally insane to disparage the use of the term self evident. There are of course other examples.

    A good one is the example of the self evident truth that all men are created equal. It only took the American Civil War to work out that, yes, it really was self evident. If you’d prefer to discuss self evidence in terms of the American Declaration of Independence, I’m happy to continue.

  67. 67
    Nakashima says:

    Anecdotally, I had a calculus professor who in the middle of a lecture said, “Now it is obvious that …. ” Some student in the back of the lecture hall said (a little too loudly) “It’s obvious?” The professor sat down and scribbled on some paper for twenty minutes, ignoring the class. Then he lifted his head in triumph, “Yes! It _is_ obvious!”

  68. 68
    kairosfocus says:

    Nakashima-San:

    Self Evident Truths are sometimes used as axioms, but — as the Wiki summary put it well — that is not their core meaning:

    In epistemology (theory of knowledge),a self-evident proposition is one that is known to be true by understanding its meaning without proof.

    Some epistemologists deny that any proposition can be self-evident. For most others, the belief that oneself is conscious is offered as an example of self-evidence. However, one’s belief that someone else is conscious is not epistemically self-evident.

    One usually does not use the belief that oneself is conscious as a premise in a system of reasoning, but that does not change its self-evident status. Indeed, it is the premise of all our reasoning (and much more besides), and one can see that to try to deny it is patently absurd.

    Not that some do not try.

    Also, the prof in question was illustrating that a logical chain that uses tautologies may seem obvious at first look, be hard to show on second look then on third look — having demonstrated it — look obvious again.

    That is precisely where self-evident truths differ: once we understand them, we see they are true, and of course that usually means that their denial lands you in incoherence and other forms of absurdity right away.

    Which also applies to the issue of the fundamental equality of people: we are equally human and so if we expect that others should respect us, we owe the same to them. That cuts across self and class interests, so it is often denied; only to end in absurdity.

    Sadly, the US civil war cost a great many lives in defence of an absurdity. (You may be interested to know that Jesus once warned some people: BECAUSE I tell the truth, you do not believe me.” [If one has committed oneself to an error, it may distort the ability to understand — much less accept — the otherwise obvious truth. Never mind the resulting absurdities.])

    GEM of TKI

  69. 69
    StephenB says:

    —-Nakashima: “I think either of those two statements could be axiomatic, though I will have to reserve comment on whether an axiomatic system that contains them is in accord with reality”

    Thank you for admitting that you do not know whether or not the law of non-contradiction, or the proposition that the whole is greater than any of its parts, applies to the real world. That does explain a great deal.

  70. 70
    David Kellogg says:

    kairosfocus, what you’ve said amounts to “self-evident truths are self-evident for those who find them self-evident,” only you’ve translated that last part as “for those who understand.”

  71. 71
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB:

    Thank you for admitting that you do not know whether or not the law of non-contradiction, or the proposition that the whole is greater than any of its parts, applies to the real world. That does explain a great deal.

    Keepin’ it classy.

  72. 72
    StephenB says:

    —David Kellogg: “Seems a lot of people confuse the two.
    Encyclopedia Brittanica:”

    —“in logic, an [axiom is an] indemonstrable first principle, rule, or maxim, that has found general acceptance or is thought worthy of common acceptance whether by virtue of a claim to intrinsic merit or on the basis of an appeal to self-evidence. An example would be: “Nothing can both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect.”

    Here is your first clue: “Common acceptance” or “general acceptance,” is not synonymous with “intrinsic merit” and “self-evident.” Mark the difference well.

    —-Wikipedia:

    —-“In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but considered to be either self-evident, or subject to necessary decision. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory dependent) truths.”

    You will notice that Wikipedia defines it more precisely as a self-evident truth whereas Britannica allows for a looser connotation. That is why dictionaries can be useful but cannot always serve to probe the core issue. Thus, a self evident truth can take the form of an axiom, but an axiom may not be a self evident truth.

    —-“Thankfully you will set us all straight.”

    It’s my pleasure, and don’t hesitate to come back for more information if it is needed.

  73. 73
    scordova says:

    What requires faith is deciding the “proper” foundatins of math. Even Eucldian and non-Euclidean geometries must seem to be constrained by a “proper” set of rules (the 4 common axioms of both geometries). But why is one set of rules more “proper” than another in a particular context? This seems to be a matter of faith.

    I recall when studying math that it bothered me that a discipline that was so focused on proving things could not logically justify it’s own existence or worth. It had to be accepted by faith. The utility of zermelo-frankl had to be accepted by faith. There was no formal proof that this was the way to go about doing math. It bothered me that we couldn’t possibly prove that math was true. And math has been universally regarded as close to ultimate truth that there is, so much so Cantor claimed Absolute Infinity = God!

    I think the appropriateness and utiliy of sets of rules is a matter of faith.

    What guidine then do we have to choose one set of unprovable rules over another?

    Here is a link to something I think relevant to the discussion of math:

    Structure of the World

    F J Tipler
    Department of Mathematics and Department of Physics, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
    Abstract. I investigate the relationship between physics and mathematics. I argue that physics can shed light on the proper foundations of mathematics, and that the nature of number can constrain the nature of physical reality. I show that requiring the joint mathematical consistency of the Standard Model of particle physics and the DeWitt–Feynman–Weinberg theory of quantum gravity can resolve the horizon, flatness and isotropy problems of cosmology. Joint mathematical consistency naturally yields a scale-free, Gaussian, adiabatic perturbation spectrum, and more matter than antimatter. I show that consistency requires the universe to begin at an initial singularity with a pure SU(2)L gauge field. I show that quantum mechanics requires this field to have a Planckian spectrum whatever its temperature. If this field has managed to survive thermalization to the present day, then it would be the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR). If so, then we would have a natural explanation for the dark matter and the dark energy. I show that isotropic ultrahigh energy cosmic rays are explained if the CMBR is a pure SU(2)L gauge field. The SU(2)L nature of the CMBR may have been seen in the Sunyaev–Zel’dovich effect. I propose several simple experiments to test the hypothesis.

    Print publication: Issue 4 (April 2005)
    Received 21 September 2004
    Published 15 March 2005

  74. 74
    StephenB says:

    —-David Kellogg: “Keepin’ it classy.”

    Once one acknowledges that the law of non-contradiction pr related self-evident truths may not apply to the real world, all things are possible, which means that nothing can be ruled out, which means that reason has been abandoned. Why would anyone abandon reason? Why should I respect that abandonment?

  75. 75
    kairosfocus says:

    DK:

    Nope — the point is that once we understand (which is open to cross-checking . . . ) we can see that they are so.

    For instance, take my favourite example: Error exists, which I of course offer in the simplest meaning — some claims are inaccurate to reality. For convenience, let this be E.

    Not only do you know it from having had your gluteus smacked for fibbing as a 4 year old, or from seeing a sea of red ink from the proverbial Ms Smith in Grade 1, but it is undeniably true.

    Let’s look:

    Try to deny it: NOT-E, and you only instantiate a case of error. For if NOT-E were assumed true for a moment, E would be an error, i.e. E is true by example.

    So, instead, NOT-E is an error, which is an example of E being true.

    That is the attempted denial instantiates the truth of the claim E. (And if you cannot spot the absurdity in that, you have no sense of the incongruous . . . )

    GEM of TKI

    PS: The above also (sadly) illustrates why trying to debate theology and philosophy [including phil of sci] with people who — pardon, but the facts are plain — struggle with acknowledging basic principles of right reason, will be fruitless. For that matter, if someone doubts that {A and NOT-A} = 0, then s/he is going to have real trouble with basic empirical evidence, such as is used in ID reasoning . . . e.g. that FSCI is a reliable sign of intelligence as per millions of observed cases where we directly see the cause in action; with no observed counter-instances. So, on seeing FSCI one has a right to abductively infer to the same level of known cause as the best explanation. I conclude that the real solution is to bring out the absurdities and address the ordinary common-sense using man in the proverbial Clapham Bus Stop. After he has been soundly educated, he will spot the absurdities in evolutionary materialist thought well enough for himself.

    PPS: Sal — looks interesting.

  76. 76
    David Kellogg says:

    In short, a “self-evident truth” is the name we give for a glorified kind of axiom.

    You write:

    Here is your first clue: “Common acceptance” or “general acceptance,” is not synonymous with “intrinsic merit” and “self-evident.” Mark the difference well.

    Um, ok. Breaking down the syntx of the sentence, Brittanica says an axiom is

    an indemonstrable first principle, rule, or maxim,

    that

    has found general acceptance

    or

    is thought worthy of common acceptance

    whether
    by virtue of a claim to intrinsic merit

    or

    on the basis of an appeal to self-evidence

    Nobody is equating the terms you warn against equating. Certainly not me. Nevertheless, so-called “self-evident truths” are clearly axioms.

  77. 77
    Nakashima says:

    Mr KairosFocus,

    Thank you again for your kind attention.

    I have personally experienced the phenomenon of waking up in the middle of a dream, so I no longer consider the example of my own consciousness self evident.

    BTW, if anyone is tired of “The Matrix” as a media analogy, I would like to recommend both Stanislaw Lem’s “The Futurological Congress” and the recent anime “Paprika” for your consideration.

  78. 78
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB [71], Nakashima is not suggesting “that the law of non-contradiction pr [sic] related self-evident truths may not apply to the real world.”

    kairosfocus [72], Kant uses the exact same logic about understanding in his Critique of Judgment to say that some artistic works are more intrinsically valuable than others. And with the same failings: that is, those who disagree are inevitably portrayed as having some fundamental flaw or incapacity. Just so, with you and StephenB, your opponents aren’t just wrong, they have some profound flaw.

  79. 79
    StephenB says:

    —Nakashima: “I can see where someone might apply “faith” to the issue of whether a particular system applies to ”

    That is exactly right. The principles of right reason must be taken on faith. They cannot be proven.

  80. 80
    Nakashima says:

    Mr StephenB,

    It is not that reason has been abandoned, it has been bounded in terms of its applicability, and another form of reason has been bounded on the other side. I’m sorry if QM and GR make you uncomfortable. They are not self evident, but they are true.

  81. 81
    Nakashima says:

    Mr StephenB,

    That is exactly right. The principles of right reason must be taken on faith. They cannot be proven.

    I agree, and encourage you to formalize these principles as axioms. As the contributions of Mr Vjtorley has shown, this can lead to a greater clarity in thinking.

    However, the applicability of the formal system to the real world can be proven or disproven. As Mr Cordova has said elsewhere on this thread, the association of any formal system with the real world is provisional, at best.

  82. 82
    StephenB says:

    —kairosfocus: “For that matter, if someone doubts that {A and NOT-A} = 0, then s/he is going to have real trouble with basic empirical evidence, such as is used in ID reasoning . . . e.g. that FSCI is a reliable sign of intelligence as per millions of observed cases where we directly see the cause in action; with no observed counter-instances.”

    Precisely. If reason is abandoned, evidence cannot be rationally interpreted.

  83. 83
    StephenB says:

    —-Nakashima: “I agree, and encourage you to formalize these principles as axioms.”

    I encourage you to accept them unconditionally as foundational for reasoned discourse whether I formalize them or not.

  84. 84
    StephenB says:

    —-Nakashima: “It is not that reason has been abandoned, it has been bounded in terms of its applicability, and another form of reason has been bounded on the other side. I’m sorry if QM and GR make you uncomfortable. They are not self evident, but they are true.”

    I accept all current findings in quantum theory, so, excuse me, put you are resorting to a strawman again. To accept the principles of quantum mechanics is not to hold that physical events can occur without causes. On the other hand, to believe that physical events can occur without causes, will cause one to misinterpret the evidence. When that happens, the observer will think that quantum particles, which are spontaneous and unpredictable, are also uncaused, which is a logical error. No physical event is uncaused or can be uncaused.

  85. 85
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB, here’s a causal question related to QM, from banned commenter olegt:

    You prepare the spin in a state with a known projection of +1/2 along, say, the z axis and then measure its value along the x axis. You get +1/2 and -1/2 with equal probabilities. As far as we know, there are no hidden variables controlling the outcome. It’s pure chance. Yet it’s totally different from flipping a classical coin, where the outcome is too difficult to compute and a small uncertainty in the initial state makes the outcome essentially indeterminate. Not so with a spin: there is no uncertainty in its initially prepared state, we know the state exactly, the entropy of that state is zero. And yet the outcome of the measurement is uncertain.

    What is the causal chain?

  86. 86
    StephenB says:

    —-Nakashima: “As Mr Cordova has said elsewhere on this thread, the association of any formal system with the real world is provisional, at best.”

    No object or entity in the real world can exist and not exist at the same time under the same formal circumstances. Science does not contest that fact; science [and reason itself] depend on that fact. I doubt that Mr. Cordova would have a problem with that statement.

  87. 87
    StephenB says:

    Nevertheless, so-called “self-evident truths” are clearly axioms.

    The point is that self-evident truths are not ONLY axioms, which is the substance of my correction to Nakashima.

  88. 88
    StephenB says:

    —-“David Kellogg: Nevertheless, so-called “self-evident truths” are clearly axioms.

    The point is that self-evident truths are not ONLY axioms, which is the substance of my correction to Nakashima.

  89. 89
    Nakashima says:

    Mr StephenB,

    I encourage you to accept them unconditionally as foundational for reasoned discourse whether I formalize them or not.

    Which I do, in a Non-Overlapping Magisteria sort of way!

  90. 90
    StephenB says:

    [Acceptance of law of non-contradiction etc]

    —-Nakashima: “Which I do, in a Non-Overlapping Magisteria sort of way!”

    That constitutes non-acceptance, but thank you for playing.

  91. 91
    Nakashima says:

    Douitashimashite!

  92. 92
    David Kellogg says:

    NOMA also = abandonment of reason.
    All positions other than StephenB’s = abandonment of reason.

  93. 93
    DATCG says:

    Nakashima,

    LOL, do you exist or not exist?

    If you do not exist, how can you argue on this blog?

    I hope the reality is you do exist. I do enjoy your participation.

    Otherwise all these arguments pro/con for materialist or ID evolution is meaningless waste of non-existent time. 😉

  94. 94
    DATCG says:

    David,

    “What is the causal chain?”

    I have little knowledge of QM. But immediate questions are…

    You don’t know the answer?

    Or, are you stating scientist know there is no answer to your question?

    Does this eliminate a being outside our known universe from knowing the answer?

    If it does not, can we conclude there is a causal chain?

    Or, are you saying the answer will never be known regardless of any possible external knowledge?

    Ps. I may not be able to check back until tomorrow.

  95. 95
    David Kellogg says:

    DATCG, I think there may be a sense in which the answer may be “uncaused.” But I don’t know myself. I was just relaying a question from olegt, who has been banned here despite being a tenured physics professor in a world-class physics department.

  96. 96
    StephenB says:

    —-DavidK: “NOMA also = abandonment of reason. All positions other than StephenB’s = abandonment of reason.”

    Nakashima was using the term “Non-Overlapping Magisteria” as a metphor to convey the idea that neither [A] the “axiom” of non-contradiction, nor [B] the principle that the whole is always greater than any of its parts, “overlaps” with reality, which means his position is exactly like yours, which means that [a] the planet Pluto could both exist and not exist at the same time and [b] an automobile could be a part of a crankshaft. If you don’t think your position is unreasonable, ask another reasonable person.

  97. 97
    David Kellogg says:

    I’ll let Nakashima speak for himself, but I don’t think that’s what he was saying. It’s certainly not what I was saying.

  98. 98
    RDK says:

    That is the attempted denial instantiates the truth of the claim E. (And if you cannot spot the absurdity in that, you have no sense of the incongruous . . . )

    GEM of TKI

    PS: The above also (sadly) illustrates why trying to debate theology and philosophy [including phil of sci] with people who — pardon, but the facts are plain — struggle with acknowledging basic principles of right reason, will be fruitless. For that matter, if someone doubts that {A and NOT-A} = 0, then s/he is going to have real trouble with basic empirical evidence, such as is used in ID reasoning . . . e.g. that FSCI is a reliable sign of intelligence as per millions of observed cases where we directly see the cause in action; with no observed counter-instances. So, on seeing FSCI one has a right to abductively infer to the same level of known cause as the best explanation. I conclude that the real solution is to bring out the absurdities and address the ordinary common-sense using man in the proverbial Clapham Bus Stop. After he has been soundly educated, he will spot the absurdities in evolutionary materialist thought well enough for himself.

    PPS: Sal — looks interesting.

    I’m assuming this post was to me? If so (it was tagged incorrectly), then it’s obvious you completely missed the point of my post, because nothing you said disagreed with my initial statement. Anyone who’s read Hofstadter’s book has seen the example you gave (albeit not in the same exact form), so I don’t know why you responded as if it’s some glorious revelation. How exactly does it contradict my previous post?…

  99. 99
    StephenB says:

    —“I’ll let Nakashima speak for himself, but I don’t think that’s what he was saying. It’s certainly not what I was saying.”

    Your position [and Nakashima’s position] is that the the law of non-contradiction, and the principle that the whole is greater than any one of its parts, may not apply to the real world. I was just showing you @96 what that really means in concrete terms. If you don’t like the implications of your own position, you can always revise it.

  100. 100
    Nakashima says:

    I am sorry if my use of NOMA was too obscure a reference. What I meant by it was my position that LNC might work at the macroscopic level while at the QM level it did not. QM and macroscopic ensembles are the two non-overlapping magisteria.

    This is certainly not a strong analogy to Steven J Gould’s original usage. I merely borrowed it to express that we might need to shift our axiomatic basis when solving different problems, and that LNC is not universal, whether we like it or not.

  101. 101
    Nakashima says:

    BTW, if discussing QM seems repetitive, we can always shift over and talk about the Banach-Tarski Paradox. As I’m sure you know, it calls into question the relation of finite wholes and parts.

  102. 102
    Diffaxial says:

    Speaking of effects and their necessary causes:

    Are human behaviors “effects”?

  103. 103
    vjtorley says:

    Sal (#73):

    Thanks very much for providing a link to the abstract of Frank Tipler’s paper, The Structure of the World from Pure Numbers. A complete version of the paper is available online here .

    I would be very interested to know if the simple experiments proposed by Tipler on pages 950-958 (to test his hypothesis regarding the cosmic microwave background radiation) have in fact been performed. KairosFocus, have you heard any news on this score?

    While looking at Tipler’s Wikipedia biography, I also stumbled across a very interesting article by him on the fact-value distinction. The title of the article is: The Value/Fact Distinction: Coase’s Theorem Unifies Normative and Positive Economics. To say that it is bold and refreshingly original would be an understatement. It is a pleasure to read, whatever your philosophical perspective. It can be downloaded in its entirety at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/pa....._id=959855 .

    Diffaxial

    You ask whether human behaviors are effects. Here’s a fascinating Web site which I think will answer your question:

    http://www.informationphilosop.....om/cogito/ .

    Enjoy!

  104. 104
    scordova says:

    vjtorley wrote:

    Sal (#73):

    Thanks very much for providing a link to the abstract of Frank Tipler’s paper, The Structure of the World from Pure Numbers. A complete version of the paper is available online here .

    Wow! Thank you for the link. I didn’t know where to find the whole paper! Marvelous!

    Some quotes from the paper:

    Can the structure of physical reality be inferred by a pure mathematician? As Einstein posed
    it, ‘Did God have any choice when he created the universe?’ Or is mathematics a mere
    handmaiden to the Queen of the Sciences, physics? Many Greeks, for instance Plato, believed
    that the world we see around us was a mere shadow, a defective reflection of the true reality,
    geometry. But the medieval universitywas based on the primacy of the physics of Aristotle over
    mere mathematics. Galileo, a poor mathematician, had to live on a salary of 520 ducats at the
    University of Padua, while Cesare Cremonini, the university’s natural philosopher (physicist),
    had a salary of 2000 ducats (Tipler 1994, pp 372–3). Recently, mathematics has regained
    some of its primacy as theoretical physicists and mathematicians have struggled to determine
    if there is a Brane theory picked out by mathematical consistency.
    I shall investigate the idea that physical reality is pure number in the second section of
    this paper. I shall point out that quantum mechanics—more precisely the Bekenstein Bound,
    a relativistic version of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle—implies that the complexity of
    the universe at the present time is finite, and hence the entire universe can be emulated down
    to the quantum state on a computer. Thus, it would seem that indeed the universe is a mere
    expression of mathematical reality, more specifically an expression of number theory, and of
    integers to boot.

    and

    According to Aristotle, the Pythagoreans
    devoted themselves to mathematics, they were the first to advance this study, and
    having been brought up in it they thought its principles were the principles of all
    things. Since of these principles, numbers are by nature the first, and in numbers they
    seemed to see many resemblances to the things that exist and come into being—more
    than in fire and earth andwater (such and such a modification of numbers being justice,
    another being soul and reason, another being opportunity—and similarly almost all
    other things being numerically expressible); since, again, they saw that the attributes
    and the ratios of the musical scales were expressible in numbers; since, then, all other
    things seemed in their whole nature to be modeled after numbers, and the numbers
    seemed to be the first things in the whole of nature, they supposed the elements of
    numbers to be the elements of all things, and the whole heaven to be a musical scale
    and a number. And all the properties of numbers and scales which they could show
    to agree with the attributes and parts and the whole arrangement of the heavens, they
    collected and fitted into their scheme; and if there was a gap anywhere, they readily
    made additions so as to make their whole theory coherent. (Metaphysics A5, 985b,
    24–33, 986a, 1–7 (Barnes 1984), p 1559.)
    This ideal of the primacy of number is what I wish to develop in this section. As we shall
    see, by ‘number’ the Greeks probably meant ‘real number’ and not ‘natural number’ (positive
    integer), but in this section I shall follow modern (post-18th century) opinion and assume that
    ‘number’ means ‘integer’.
    The physical evidence that integers are fundamental comes from quantum mechanics.
    James Clerk Maxwell, in a little known article for Encyclopedia Britannica, was the first to
    state that energy of certain systems was quantized; that is, the energy of these systems could
    not be a continuous variable, but instead would have to be discrete. In the system analysed by
    Maxwell, the system energy could have only two possible values (see Tipler 1994, pp 230–1
    for a discussion of Maxwell’s discovery of quantized energy). Max Planck in 1900 and Albert
    Einstein in 1905 established that the energy of the electromagnetic field was quantized.

    Thank you!

  105. 105
    scordova says:

    RDK wrote:

    But to purport that your religion is justified just by the simple fact that mathematics contains unprovable axioms is silly.

    I never made that assertion. Ascribing arguments to me which I never made is a quick way to get on my bad side.

  106. 106
    scordova says:

    I understand what you are saying here, but there is another point to be made. It is essential that a theological case be made for the “unity of truth.” While theistic evolutionists claim to reconcile their faith with their religion, they do nothing of the kind. For them, there are two truths, one for religion and one for science. In order to accommodate their Darwinism, which for them is primary, they must compromise their theology. Thus, many of them trade away basic Christian beliefs.

    I agree the TE’s belief system seems awfully conflicted. They believe in miracles, the resurrection of Christ, the resurrection of the dead and somehow cannot even entertain the possibility that life could also be a miracle….

    However, as a former TE myself, it was not through theology that my views were changed. Neither was this the case for Michael Behe or for many other former TE’s including Bill Dembski.

    I’m a pragmatist. The question at hand is what form of argumentation is most effective:

    1. presuppositional
    2. evidential

    As far as I can tell, evidential arguments carry the day.

    To that end, are there any former TE’s at UD that somehow accept ID after realizing their philosophical system was logically inchoherent?

    The account of Michael Behe renouncing Darwinism after reading Michael Denton seems more representative of how TE’s will change their minds.

  107. 107
    Frost122585 says:

    Djmuller wrote

    “If anything has discredited the belief in universal god-given rules, it was the 19 devout believers who hijacked four airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

    If that wasn’t enough to make a lot of people think twice about religion and morals, having a hyper religious, god-fearing president who was put into office largely by conservative Christians tell us that he had prayed long and hard and that God told him to go ahead with his disastrous war on Iraq certainly gave a lot more people reason to reconsider their beliefs.”

    Dj there has been plenty, in fact more, radical violent behavior from so called secular, atheistic or agnostic people. Most of the war in the 20th century was the result of secular crusades like those of Stalin, Moa, and other. There are plenty of murders in jail who are atheists. The point is that theism does not correlate with terrorism- what you had on 911 was a radical political fundamentalist Islamic agenda carried out by brainwashed terrorists.

    The point about Theism is that science is definecent in ceertain respects like ethics, morality, first cause/creation, puirpose etc- and that how one does sceince is infclused by their beleifs and theism is the main form of beleife for most people- so to synthetically make it off limtis compromises sceince. If you want to be an atheist that is your choice but if your view is theistic you should be allowed to use that as motivation for doing good sceince. That’s why I would reccoemend private chrich based education for people rasing kids and I support vouchers to ballance out the secular monoply of the edcuation establishment.

    Secondly my point was that a liberal theological climate makes people not really care about things like ID in regards tot heir faith. Manny modern Christians just say a prayer to Christ and think that is enough- that there is no bigger plan or picture or judgment. ID will benefit from people who take theology seriously, and things like Obama’s incident at Notre Dame prove a dieing theological culture especially among the Catholic Vatican 2.

    So taking theology seriously will help ID as there should be a serious and natural theological interest in seeing evidence of God though his creation.

  108. 108
    Diffaxial says:

    Vjtorley @ 103:

    Diffaxial

    You ask whether human behaviors are effects. Here’s a fascinating Web site which I think will answer your question:

    http://www.informationphilosop…..om/cogito/ .

    Enjoy!

    Thanks, VJ.

    Of course, there are many possible answers to my question. Does that link summarize your view?

    StephenB: Are human behaviors “effects?”

    KF: Are human behaviors “effects?”

    Note I am not asking if human actions are “causes.”

  109. 109
    kairosfocus says:

    RDK (et al):

    First, I was not aware that you had made a significant comment, so I looked up-thread, seeing only that there were a few dismissive remarks at 13 above.

    So, no, I am not responding to you specifically.

    (The names I have specified above are the ones I am responding to directly, but there is an obvious relevance to your own remarks, as there is an anti-objectivity, selectively hyperskeptical intellectual movement at large in our civilisation.)

    For a couple of threads now, I have been quite explicitly following noted philosopher Josiah Royce, thank you. It is he who — I think back in the 1870’s (in his PhD if I recall right) — first identified the significance of a general consensus on the reality of error (and I am also influenced by Elton Trueblood’s later remarks on it; Trueblood being no mean philosopher-theologian).

    But in fact that names-dropping question, up to and including Hofstadter [Godel, Escher, Bach?], is a bit of a distraction: the material issue is, that error exists is not only a consensus truth, but it is undeniably so, on pain of self-referential incoherence</b..

    So, it is a case where once we understand what is being said, we see that it is true, and indeed must be so on pain of at once descending into self-referential incoherence and absurdity. Thus, we see here a specific instance of a relevant self-evident truth.

    And if the demonstration that this is so is not a bit of an eye-opener for relativists; then that says more about the blinding effect of that position than it does about the force of the point on the merits.

    But then, at this point, I am more interested in the man in the Clapham bus stop than the jaded dismissive advocate indoctrinated in and committed to radical relativism, regardless of absurdities that it entails.

    Moreover, the ordinary man will be open to the onward implications and associations of this self-evident truth no 1. For example:

    a –> Since a known truth exists, truth exists and is in some cases objectively knowable, even to the level in this case of warranted, self-evidently true belief.

    b –> Knowledge, even in the strong sense: warranted, true belief, thus also exists — and knowledge to self evidence on pain of absurdity is only changeable by rejecting the basic principles of right reason. One is of course free to do so, but cannot then properly claim to be anything more than incoherent, absurd and confused in his thought life. All of which our man in the Clapham bus stop is duly noticing. (That he is being taxed to support whether or no he agrees, an established intellectual class and de facto magisterium that professionally professes such absurdities and insists on teaching them as received wisdom in schools and colleges will doubtless also be duly noted. So, he is doing a slow burn . . . )

    c –> Further, attempted denial of the truth that error exists immediately illustrates why affirming {A and NOT-A} leads to absurdity and confusion, so we may see — i.e UNDERSTAND — why the law of non-contradiction is also self-evidently true and relevant to deciding reasonably on what to accept as true.

    d –> At the same time, the particular truth is humbling: we may err. So, it leads logically to being open to the correction of error in light of principles of right reason and warranting of knowledge claims, chief among which stands the law of non-contradiction. (And, attempts to trot our Quantum theory in the cause of dismissing the principle of non-contradiction, are little more than the fallacy known as “blind[ing] ’em with science.”)

    e –> Moreover, that error exists is undeniably true is also a warning, for, undue closed-minded commitment to errors may lead us to impatiently or even irritably reject or dismiss such truths as cut across our views, demonising also those who point our errors out to us — and lead us into Mrs Barbara Tuchman’s notorious march of folly, the oft-repeated ruiner of countries, empires and civilisations. As Jesus warned the elites of Judea 2,000 years ago. [Would that they had heeded it before 66 – 70 AD; after all prophecies of ruin, as Jeremiah advises are implicitly conditional, i.e. they are dramatised calls to repent even on the brink of disaster brought on by stubborn folly. As Jonah informs us, even scarcely a month out from ruin, there is hope that God will relent the judgement due and overdue, if we would but REPENT; starting from the top. Resemblances to the current state and trends of a certain friendly neighbourhood civilisation are NOT coincidental.]

    f –> So, the principle is a call to open-minded, critically aware humble realism that seeks a reasonable faith: an approach to the life of the mind in which experience, logical insights and self-evident first principles are all vital. [It bears noting that self evident truths will never amount to being a full base for a worldview, but provided useful guide-stars in a confused hyper-modern (more accurate than much of what is called “postmodern”) world. When it comes to my own faith/ worldview, its anchor point is certain C1 historical realities centring on the death, burial and resurrection of one who is God’s yardstick of judgement for the world, as is discussed in Ac 17 for one instance.]

    g –> Reasonable faith as an approach to worldviews is also worth a pause: A claim we accept, A, requires supporting experience, evidence and argument B, which in turn leads to C, D, . . . So, we face an absurd infinite regress [we cannot ever get to the first established truth because as soon as we propose X, we must address Y beyond it, ad infinitum] or else we pause at some F, our set of first plausibles (including of course the vast body of our direct perceptions that we instinctively trust without even thinking about it). Such will include also self-evident truths and axioms chosen as reasonable start points for systems to thought etc.

    h –> By looking at such worldviews on a comparative difficulties basis, we may each come to a reasonable faith on which is acceptable on balance, knowing that ALL significant worldviews will bristle with difficulties. Such analysis therefore looks for the balance on factual adequacy, coherence [logical and dynamical], and explanatory elegance/ “cleanness” and power [neither an ad hoc patchwork nor simplistic].

    So, when we get common sense realism and rationality straight, we can then proceed to fixing the magisterium’s imposition of evolutionary materialism on science, and the import of the fact that here are empirically reliable signs of intelligence. Also, since the man sitting in the pews of the churches in Seattle may well be a good American equivalent to the man in the Clapham bus stop, Mr Meyer’s outreach to churches as community based organisations is an appropriate move.

    Going over the heads of the de facto magisterium to the public they have presumed and imposed upon at taxpayer funded expense, in short summary.

    The lurking radical protestant in me loves it!

    GEM of TKI

    PS: In case you are worried [all that agitprop against the real and imagined sins of Christendom that censors out the positive contributions across tech centuries and today is bound to have some impact . . . ], I am a small-c catholic, small-o orthodox, small-e evangelical Christian. (And, if you can name the top ten [real or imagined] sins of Christendom and “fundamentalism” — this last so much reduced to being a demonising smear word that AP advises against its use — but cannot find a balancing list of major civilisational contributions, guess what has happened to you at the hands of the dominant elites and their media popularisers . . . )

    PPS: Interesting stuff on physics Sal et al. I am not specifically following up on recent experimental tests of these topics — drinking from a firehose is the metaphor that comes to mind — but if they turn out to be significant. will look up. Your onward thoughts will be appreciated.

    PPPS: Diff, repeating already long since adequaely answered questions in a new thread — here on causal influences on human thoughts — simply reveals closed-minded objectionism at work, a manifestation of selective hyperskepticism, virulent form. We must all live by the acted out premise that humans can reason decide and act in ways that reveal them to be agents, capable of living above the merely mechanical and stochastic patterns of he physical cosmos, including our own bodies (of which our brains) are a part, on pain of self-referential absurdity. So, while bodily influences are necessary causal factors, we have no non-absurd grounds for reducing mind to body including brain and its neural networks; thus the “hardness” in the so-called hard problem of consciousness — for evolutionary materialist views. Cf my always linked, Appendix 8, for a more detailed discussion. (And of course there is a lot more out there on the subject, I am just giving a handy note for the man in the Clapham bus stop. For, in the end, he and his friends are collectively our boss — as more than one ruling elite has found out to its cost, at length when that slow burning fuse hits the powder keg.)

  110. 110
    jerry says:

    Nakashima said,

    “The professor sat down and scribbled on some paper for twenty minutes, ignoring the class. Then he lifted his head in triumph, “Yes! It _is_ obvious!””

    I don’t believe this happened with you but that you have read past posts on UD.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-126503

  111. 111
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Jerry,

    You are correct that it did not happen to me, I only heard it told of my math professor.

  112. 112
    scordova says:

    are there any former TE’s at UD that somehow accept ID after realizing their philosophical system was logically inchoherent?

    The invitaiton is still open. Are there any former TE’s who converted to ID because someone successfully argued with them and demonstrated the TE position was logically incoherent?

    The reason I prefer to argue the facts is that it makes the arguments about philosophical and theological assumptions moot.

    For example, if someone said: “God moves the planets according to epicylces”.

    If epicycles are proven wrong, then all the philsophical and theological questions about the statement: “God moves the planets according to epicylces” become completely moot.

    If Darwinism is false, there is no need to deal with trying to reconcile theology with Darwinsim, there is no need for Theistic Darwinism.

    A large percentage, dare I say perhaps even the majority of Darwinists, are TE’s. I find it encouraging many of the major ID proponents today were TE’s. I believe there can be a trend away from TE toward ID.

  113. 113
    scordova says:

    “If anything has discredited the belief in universal god-given rules, it was the 19 devout believers who hijacked four airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

    Not all religions are equal. If one is afraid of radical Islam and belief in God, it unwise to try to stop belief in God by first trying to exterminate Christianity.

    There are plenty atheists who would prefer to live in a Christian land like Italy versus aheists paradises like the Soviet Union, Communist Cambodia, or Moaist China.

    I don’t see the logic of trying to stop radical Islam by first trying to exterminate Christianity.

  114. 114
    scordova says:

    Let me say, I don’t disrespect someone for because he is an atheist.

    I can understand someone looking at the pain and suffering in the world and concluding there is no God or that God is indifferent to the plight of humanity. It is hard to look at all the bad designs and conclude an intelligence created the world. That problem of evil is the strongest argument against God being the Intelligent Designer. One can reconcile this by invoking other Intelligent Designers apart from a benevolent God, or explanations for the problem of evil.

    I think if someone accepts Darwinism and is an atheist, his belief system is at least more logically consistent than a theistic evolutionists.

    But all these issues are moot if Darwinism and mindless OOL are wrong to begin with.

  115. 115
    scordova says:

    BTW, if discussing QM seems repetitive, we can always shift over and talk about the Banach-Tarski Paradox. As I’m sure you know, it calls into question the relation of finite wholes and parts.

    The banach-tarski paradox will disappear if one chooses to have a different set of starting assumptions, namely, removing the axiom of choice.

    Is accepting by faith the axiom of choice a better way of doing math?

    This only underscores what troubled me about math as an undergrad, so many question had no logical resolution, except to make up an arbitrary rule!

    You get one kind of math if you accept one rule, and another if you accept the negation of that rule. The only inherent truth was whether a system was logically consistent.

    1 + 1 = 2

    was not an immutable truth.

    As I went to study digital communications where error correction polynomials in modulo-2 vector spaces was the norm, I had to re-learn math. Because in that world:

    1 + 1 = 0

  116. 116
    herb says:

    Hi Sal,

    This only underscores what troubled me about math as an undergrad, so many question had no logical resolution, except to make up an arbitrary rule!

    I understand where you’re coming from. What you’ve shown is that both the “regular” integers as well as integers mod 2 are useful in certain settings. And that’s ok—the symbols “0”, “1”, etc. were constructed by humans, and we get to make the rules governing their use. If a certain set of rules turns out to be conducive to solving problems, that’s a good thing.

  117. 117
    Diffaxial says:

    KF:

    Diff, repeating already long since adequaely answered questions in a new thread — here on causal influences on human thoughts — simply reveals closed-minded objectionism at work, a manifestation of selective hyperskepticism, virulent form. We must all live by the acted out premise that humans can reason decide and act in ways that reveal them to be agents, capable of living above the merely mechanical and stochastic patterns of he physical cosmos, including our own bodies (of which our brains) are a part, on pain of self-referential absurdity. So, while bodily influences are necessary causal factors, we have no non-absurd grounds for reducing mind to body including brain and its neural networks; thus the “hardness” in the so-called hard problem of consciousness — for evolutionary materialist views.

    When humans reason, decide and act in ways that reveal them to be agents, capable of living above the merely mechanical and stochastic patterns of the physical cosmos, are those behaviors at least in part physically uncaused? That is, behaviors certainly entail physiochemical events (say, muscle contractions); are those physiochemical events, to the extent they reflect human agency, in part caused by other physical events, and in part uncaused by any physical event?

  118. 118
    StephenB says:

    —-scordova: “The invitaiton is still open. Are there any former TE’s who converted to ID because someone successfully argued with them and demonstrated the TE position was logically incoherent?

    —-“The reason I prefer to argue the facts is that it makes the arguments about philosophical and theological assumptions moot.”

    I am not suggesting that one approach be used in lieu of the other, but that both approaches should be used in concert. One thing you will notice is that you cannot argue facts in evidence with those whose philosophical system interprets that evidence in ways that confirm their philosophical bias. Just as the atheist physicist typically posits infinite multiple universes in the teeth of evidence for design, TEs typically posit “a wise God that would not have done it that way” in the teeth of evidence for design.

    To be truly effective we must use philosophy and science, reason and evidence, common sense and facts to make our points. That good philosophy has been unfairly discredited in our times owes to the fact that bad philosophy reigns, that science is unduly worshipped, and, under the circumstances, doesn’t want to be held accountable to rational standards of behavior.

    We can’t do good science without good philosophy, and we can’t do good philosophy without good science. The problem is not just that TE skeptics deny evidence. The problem is that TE skeptics are grounded in the kind of skepticism that rules out evidence that challenges the skepticism. Notice how many on this very thread believe that design is not necessary because physical effects can occur without causes. To such a person, evidence for design is useless, because it will be interpreted as more evidence that something can come from nothing. TEs, insofar as they are subject to Darwinist ideology, are are subject to that same mind set.

    You can’t just go with evidence,
    you must also confront the mind set that disdains it in principle. In other words, you must restore faith in reason itself, a faith that has been corrupted by postmodernism.

    In any case, you are not going to get a TE to admit publically that he/she embraced an illogical position. Even if that is the cause, they will likely attribute their

  119. 119
    StephenB says:

    —-Diffaxial: “StephenB: Are human behaviors “effects?”

    Since there are many kinds of causes in addition to efficient causes, and since human behavior is different than the physical events often associated with causation, the question gets a little complicated. Still, I will attempt an answer without appealing to final or formal causes, although they are relevant in many respects.

    I would say that the answer is yes in the sense that human behaviors are the effects of biological, environmental, psychodynamic, and volitional causes.

    The last part, of course, refers to agency, and, in that sense, agents are, themselves causes, although the free will option which defines their capacity to act, while significant, is also limited due to several other factors including the other three causes just mentioned.

    The biological need to eat, for example, causes the agent to search for food. On the other hand, the volitional component, composed of an intellect, which can recognize the dangers of overeating, and a will, which can choose to ratify or not ratify the intellect’s verdict, can shape the agent’s behavior in the direction of temperance or intemperance.

  120. 120
    Diffaxial says:

    StephenB:

    I would say that the answer is yes in the sense that human behaviors are the effects of biological, environmental, psychodynamic, and volitional causes.

    The last part, of course, refers to agency, and, in that sense, agents are, themselves causes, although the free will option which defines their capacity to act, while significant, is also limited due to several other factors including the other three causes just mentioned.

    Fair enough.

    Given those limits: Of those several causes that determine human behavior, does the volitional component itself have causes? By that I mean, does the volitional component (as distinct from these other causes) itself have causes that are themselves not volitional?

  121. 121
    StephenB says:

    —-Diffaxial: “Given those limits: Of those several causes that determine human behavior, does the volitional component itself have causes? By that I mean, does the volitional component (as distinct from these other causes) itself have causes that are themselves not volitional?”

    That is an interesting follow up. Even in that realm, I would still be inclined to say yes. First, for theists, God would be the cause of all intellectual and volitional power. From that perspective, one could not reason or will without that power. Second, that which the will aspires to, that is, whatever it wants, also has a kind of causal power in the sense that it demands some kind of response. If one strives to be loved, appreciated, or noticed, for example, it seems to me that those needs are causes in the sense that they cannot be ignored. So, I would hold that both of those forces operating from the outside would qualify as causes.

    On the other hand, it also seems plausible to me that the will can operate freely from the inside in the sense that it can decide what objects or ideals are worth choosing and select the means to obtain the objects of those choices from a wide variety of options [limited, of course, by the biological, environment, and psychodynamic elements]. To that extent, it seems to me that the individual who exercises these intellectual and volitional faculties has some control over his/her own destiny.

    In that sense, I would disagree strongly with compatibilists who, claiming to believe in the power of choice, speak of a kind of free will that is nevertheless completely bound by pre-determined forces, meaning that the chooser’s destiny cannot be influenced or changed even in the smallest way. To me, such a concept of free will is farcical. What good is free will if the one who has it cannot influence outcomes?

  122. 122
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks:

    A couple of follow-up points.

    1] B-T paradoxes;

    Let’s use Wiki to amplify Sal’s rebuttal just a bit, for those of us standing in the Clapham bus stop and so needing a 101 approach:

    The reason the Banach–Tarski theorem is called a paradox is because it contradicts basic geometric intuition. “Doubling the ball” by dividing it into parts and moving them around by rotations and translations, without any stretching, bending, or adding new points, seems to be impossible, since all these operations preserve the volume, but the volume is doubled in the end.

    Unlike most theorems in geometry, this result depends in a critical way on the axiom of choice in set theory. This axiom allows for the construction of nonmeasurable sets, collections of points that do not have a volume in the ordinary sense and require an uncountably infinite number of arbitrary choices to specify. Robert Solovay showed that the axiom of choice, or a weaker variant of it, is necessary for the construction of nonmeasurable sets by constructing a model of ZF set theory (without choice) in which every geometric subset has a well-defined Lebesgue measure. On the other hand, Solovay’s construction relies on the assumption that an inaccessible cardinal exists (which itself cannot be proven from ZF set theory); Saharon Shelah later showed that this assumption is necessary.

    And, such non-measurable sets are:

    In mathematics, a non-measurable set is a subset of a set with finite positive measure where the subset’s structure is so complicated that it cannot itself have a meaningful measure. Such sets are constructed to shed light on the notions of length, area and volume in formal set theory.

    The notion of a non-measurable set has been a source of great controversy since its introduction. It is intuitively obvious to many people that any subset S of the unit disk (or unit line) has a measure, because one can throw darts at the disk (see Freiling’s axiom of symmetry), and the probability of landing in S is the measure of the set. A non-measurable set means that it is inconsistent to talk about randomly picked geometric points.

    Historically, this led Borel and Kolmogorov to formulate probability theory on sets which are constrained to be measurable. The measurable sets on the line are formed by countable unions and intersections of intervals. These sets are rich enough to include every conceivable definition of a set that arises in standard mathematics, but they require a lot of formalism to prove that sets are measurable.

    In 1979, Solovay established that it is consistent with standard set theory, excluding uncountable choice, to assume that there are no non-measurable sets.

    In short, the B-T paradox is deeply controversial in mathematics and does not relate to a world of real objects made up from real atoms, but instead is linked to the many paradoxes of infinity, here “an uncountably infinite number of arbitrary choices.”

    Diff et al: What part of “an uncountably infinite number of arbitrary choices” is in any reasonable sense a FINITE entity, relevant to, say, a ball made up of a finite number of real-world atoms much less than 10^80, most likely 10^20 – 10^26 or so? (For, while geometric point groups are in principle infinitely divisible on a process that requires “an uncountably infinite number of arbitrary choices,” a real world ball plainly is not.)

    Verdict: More “blind ’em with science.” (Here by keeping back relevant information that provides a crucial balancing point.) The attempt to dismiss the self-evident truth that “a finite whole is greater than any of its proper parts,” fails.

    (And, observers, note that “error exists” is being tip-toed around quietly; just as Sir Thomas Wilson advised in his notorious 1560 the Arte of Rhetorique: “Matters hard to auoyde
    should alwaies be past ouer, as though wee sawe them not at all . . . “
    That suggests that there is no serious answer so avoidance on the merits and distraction is a useful tactic.)

    2] Of minds and cause-effect bonds

    While we wait in the Clapham bus stop . . .

    Let us note — in addition to SB’s excellent remarks — that we have identified two crucial and distinct senses of cause, necessary and sufficient; illustrating by the case of the fire triangle.

    That acts of embodied agents in a physical world will be influenced by physicality will be indubitable. Unless you have appropriate body parts, you cannot speak, write or type. (And yes, that includes those who are able to use their mouths or even feet to do such, having become paralysed otherwise.)

    So, embodied agents plainly have necessary causal factors that are physical. But of course that which is necessary needs not be sufficient; a crucial difference.

    But, again, something has been passed by in a conveniently Thomas Wilsonian rhetorical silence. Namely, the issue of the massive difference between acts of volitional choice and reasoned thought, and physical cause effect chains of sufficiency.

    SB has reminded us that on the Judaeo-Christian view, this power of mind to reason and to choose and to understand behind both, is a gift of our Creator. One that we experience every day, even to post here.

    Q1: Is the act of posting here constrained by necessary physical causal factors?

    A1: Of course.

    Q2: is that cluster of facrtors credibly not only necessary but also suffcient?

    A2: Not at all. For, as the previously linked discussion (again, passed over in a convenient silence) raised, there is the issue of lucky noise as failing of being a credible source of what is meaningful, decisional or reasonable in any sense worth talking about. So, adapting Richard Taylor:

    . . . suppose you were in a train and saw [outside the window] rocks you believe were pushed there by chance + necessity only, spelling out: WELCOME TO WALES. Would you believe the apparent message, why?

    Now, it is obviously highly improbable [per the principles of statistical thermodynamics applied to, say, a pile of rocks falling down a hill and scattering to form randomly distributed patterns]. But, it is plainly logically and physically possible for this to happen.

    So, what would follow from — per thought experiment — actually having “good reason” to believe that this is so?

    1 –> We know, immediately, that chance + necessity, acting on a pile of rocks on a hillside, can make them roll down the hillside and take up an arbitrary conformation. There thus is no in-principle reason to reject them taking up the shape: “WELCOME TO WALES” any more than any other configuration. Especially if, say, by extremely good luck we have seen the rocks fall and take up this shape for ourselves. [If that ever happens to you, though, change your travel plans and head straight for Las Vegas before your “hot streak” runs out! (But also, first check that the rocks are not made of magnetite, and that there is not a magnetic apparatus buried under the hill’s apparently innocent turf! “Trust, but verify.”)]

    2 –> Now, while you are packing for Vegas [having verified that the event is not a parlour trick writ large . . . ], let’s think a bit: [a] the result of the for- the- sake- of- argument stroke of good luck is an apparent message, which was [b] formed by chance + necessity only acting on matter and energy across space and time. That is, [c] it would be lucky noise at work. Let us observe, also: [d] the shape taken on by the cluster of rocks as they fall and settle is arbitrary, but [e] the meaning assigned to the apparent message is as a result of the imposition of symbolic meaning on certain glyphs that take up particular alphanumerical shapes under certain conventions. That is, it is a mental (and even social) act. One pregnant with the points that [f] language at its best refers accurately to reality, so that [g] we often trust its deliverances once we hold the source credible. [Indeed, in the original form of the example, if one believes that s/he is entering Wales on the strength of seeing such a rock arrangement, s/he would be grossly irrational to also believe the intelligible and aptly functional arrangement of rocks to have been accidental.]

    3 –> But, this brings up the key issue of credibility: should we believe the substantial contents of such an apparent message sourced in lucky noise rather than a purposeful arrangement? That is, would it be well-warranted to accept it as — here, echoing Aristotle in Metaphysics, 1011b — “saying of what is, that it is, and of what is not, that it is not”? (That is, (i) is such an apparent message credibly a true message? Or (ii) is any observed truth in it merest coincidence?)

    4 –> The answers are obvious: (i) no, and (ii) yes. For, the adjusted example aptly illustrates how cause-effect chains tracing to mechanical necessity and chance circumstances acting on matter and energy are utterly unconnected to the issue of making logically and empirically well-warranted assertions about states of affairs in the world. For a crude but illuminating further instance, neuronal impulses are in volts and are in specific locations in the body; but the peculiarly mental aspects — meaningfulness, codes, algorithms, truth and falsehood, propositions and their entailments, etc — simply are not like that. That is, mental concepts and constructs are radically different from physical entities, interactions and signals.

    5 –> So, it is highly questionable (thus needs to be shown not merely assumed or asserted) that such radical differences could or do credibly arise from mere interaction of physical components under only the forces of chance and blind mechanical necessity. For this demonstration, however, we seek in vain: the matter is routinely assumed or asserted away, often by claiming (contrary to the relevant history and philosophical considerations) that science can only properly explain by reference in the end to such ultimately physical-material forces. Anything less is “science-stopping.”

    ________________

    In short, worldview issues have serious consequences, and can blind those caught up in such systems to the force of evidence. This includes those places where scientific research programmes inevitably have core worldviews level commitments and blind spots. (NB: I am of the strong opinion that at both undergrad and graduate level, science majors should do a compulsory seminar in phil and history of science; with both “survey of” and “current topics in” foci. many gross errors would be corrected thereby.)

    In any case, comparative difficulties that forces us to look in a balanced and comparative way across different systems, at facts, coherence of explanations and the explanatory power of such views, will help us.

    GEM of TKI

  123. 123
    scordova says:

    For the reader’s benefit, the Banach-Tarkski paradox is likened to creation ex-nihilo. Using ones mind and imagination, one create something out of nothing mathematically.

    To illustrate using the Grandi Series

    0 = 0 + 0 + 0 ……

    0 = [1 -1] + [ 1-1] ….

    but using the rules of association

    0 = 1 + [-1 + 1] + [-1 + 1] ….

    0 = 1 + 0 + 0 + 0

    0 = 1

    Yikes!!!!!!!

    See:
    Grandi Series

    Another example, consider the real numbers between 0 and 2. For every real number between 0 and 2 we can map to every real number between 0 and 1.

    That is let

    f(x) = x/2

    where x is a number between 0 and 2.

    But this is like black magic! Intuitively we would think there as twice as many points in the interval between 0 and 2 as there are between 0 and 1, but that is not the case!

    Do these counter-intuitive results imply we have a logically inconsistent system? Is it possible our axiomatic systems which we can build ordinary arithmetic are self-contradictory? We accept by faith they are not.

    Godel showed we can create statements from our axiomatic systems which say:

    1. A is true
    2. or not-A is true

    But we know from logic, this is deeply disturbing when we have systems were there is a free will choice of choosing A and not-A and coming up with perfectly valid arguments. There is free will in mathematics after all.

  124. 124
    scordova says:

    The way one chooses perceive something is a way alternative realities can be created. From the wiki entry on Grandi:

    One can arrive at two conclusions:

    The series 1 ? 1 + 1 ? 1 +… has no sum.

    but its sum should be 1/2.

    In fact, both of these statements can be made precise and formally proven, but only using well-defined mathematical concepts that arose in the 19th century. After the late 17th-century introduction of calculus in Europe, but before the advent of modern rigor, the tension between these answers fueled what has been characterized as an “endless” and “violent” dispute between mathematicians.

    There is free will in mathematics after all.

  125. 125
    herb says:

    Hi Sal,

    Do these counter-intuitive results imply we have a logically inconsistent system? Is it possible our axiomatic systems which we can build ordinary arithmetic are self-contradictory? We accept by faith they are not.

    Things like the Grandi series are interesting to think about, but I’m not sure what the significance of this is concerning our mathematical systems of axioms. You can’t just manipulate a divergent series as if it were a finite sum and expect to get sensible results. It is true that the Grandi series has a Cesaro sum of 1/2, but that definition is different from the “regular” definition of the sum of a series. I don’t think there’s anything particularly “deep” here concerning alternate realities. We just have two related but different definitions for how to “sum” a series, each with its own range of applicability.

  126. 126
    Diffaxial says:

    KF @ 605:

    Diff et al: What part of “an uncountably infinite number of arbitrary choices” is in any reasonable sense a FINITE entity…

    I’ve made no comment on the Banach-Tarski paradox.

    And, observers, note that “error exists” is being tip-toed around quietly; just as Sir Thomas Wilson advised in his notorious 1560 the Arte of Rhetorique…

    I posted a noisy response to “Error exists” on the “Science is Self-Correcting” thread.

    We know you read my post, because you expressed (misplaced) umbrage at my use of “KF has stopped beating his wife.” I added a clarifying followup post, to which you also responded at length. (Neither of your responses address the argument I made, but that is a different issue.) I was subsequently placed in moderation, effectively ending my ability to engage in exchanges on any topic (moderation that has since been rescinded without explanation).

    Given that, why do you continue to state that “Error exists” has been ignored in Wilsonian fashion?

  127. 127
    Diffaxial says:

    StephenB:

    Even in that realm, I would still be inclined to say yes. First, for theists, God would be the cause of all intellectual and volitional power. From that perspective, one could not reason or will without that power…it also seems plausible to me that the will can operate freely from the inside in the sense that it can decide what objects or ideals are worth choosing and select the means to obtain the objects of those choices from a wide variety of options [limited, of course, by the biological, environment, and psychodynamic elements]. To that extent, it seems to me that the individual who exercises these intellectual and volitional faculties has some control over his/her own destiny.

    Fair enough again.

    Stipulating the forgoing, that the very capacity to display volition derives from God, are all choices that express volition thereby attributable to God? For example, when an individual employs volition and chooses one course of action over another, is that difference in the world also a function of God’s causation, or is there an element of such an expression of volition that is independent of not only of physical, biological, environmental, and psychodynamic causes, but is also independent of causation attributable to God?

  128. 128
    StephenB says:

    —-Diffaxial: “For example, when an individual employs volition and chooses one course of action over another, is that difference in the world also a function of God’s causation, or is there an element of such an expression of volition that is independent of not only of physical, biological, environmental, and psychodynamic causes, but is also independent of causation attributable to God?”

    I am not sure I would say that individual’s volitional act was independent of God’s causative power, because from a classical theist view, God must sustain [not just create] the creatures power to think and decide. However, I gather that you are getting at something a little deeper, namely the point about whether the creature can use that power in an independent way and cause something to happen different from what God causes to happen, and again, on that matter, I would have to say yes.

  129. 129
    lamarck says:

    RDK says

    “And as for events without any seeming physical causation, well, once again, your ignorance of quantum mechanics displays itself. On the subatomic level, nothing is something. Particles literally do pop out of nowhere. It’s bizarre, it completely bypasses the law of conservation of mass, but it happens all the time.”

    How you know particles are popping out of nowhere? Last I checked these particles popped out of a “sponge” of possibility per physics. I don’t know anyone in physics saying something can come from nothing, and if someone does, aren’t they “just saying it”? Quantum physics is pulled out of the atheist sleeve like an ace card over and over on this site but why? I’d like someone to explain how something can literally come from nothing considering that once the something comes into existence, the nothingness from whence it came was always retroactively a nothingness with potential, and so a somethingness. That’s one argument against it anyways.

    I never see an atheist here simply acknowledging that this is impossible, on every conceivable level. Yet RDK would probably say it’s inconceivable but empirically proven. Well how so? It’s a blind assertion and the ultimate stretch to say something pops from no-where.

    The answer is usually “fine then, things are eternal”

    Well eternity isn’t even “just a concept”. As we understand eternity, it’s not a concept because it can’t be conceived of, and not because it’s such a long time, but because we have no concept basis for non-causative non-starts in this universe, period.

    Therefore, although we’re all agnostics by force in the end, I lean towards a sentient entity from another universe with laws that do allow for an infinity; as the cause for this universe. Maybe this other universe is total static or total thought based. Thought seems to have some infinite qualities.

  130. 130
    Diffaxial says:

    StephenB @ 128:

    StephenB:

    However, I gather that you are getting at something a little deeper, namely the point about whether the creature can use that power in an independent way and cause something to happen different from what God causes to happen, and again, on that matter, I would have to say yes.

    Wouldn’t it be fair to say, then, that this remaining parcel of volition – that fraction of volition to which you refer that is independent of physical, chemical, biological, environmental, psychodynamic (etc.) and even divine causation and constraint – issues in differences in the world (through behaviors) that are uncaused? That is to say, there is a component of volitional behavior that has no non-volitional determinants, as well as no divine determinants, and are therefore uncaused?

    Of course, we can say that the “cause” of these volitional behaviors is volition itself, but that doesn’t get us very far, since we have above distilled a fraction of volition that is independent of all non-volitional causation (biological, environmental, psychodynamic, etc.), as well as independent of the volitional causation of God (vis particular choices). Hence the description of this parcel of volition as causeless appears to hold, as choices that issue therefrom to not reflect a chain of prior causal events at all (all the while acknowledging that there are necessary conditions for the expression of this fraction of human volition – e.g. one must have a body, be a creature sustained by God, and so on).

    Would you say that is correct?

  131. 131
    StephenB says:

    —-Diffaxial: “That is to say, there is a component of volitional behavior that has no non-volitional determinants, as well as no divine determinants, and are therefore uncaused?”

    I don’t think I could go quite that far with you, because, remember, in order for an event to be causeless, there can be no necessary or sufficient conditions at all.

  132. 132
    Diffaxial says:

    I don’t think I could go quite that far with you, because, remember, in order for an event to be causeless, there can be no necessary or sufficient conditions at all.

    So, then, that component of volition that is not traceable to physical, biological, environmental, psychodynamic, or divine causes is nevertheless caused, and therefore determined, in the same sense that other events in the world (say, a rockslide) are caused?

  133. 133
    StephenB says:

    —-Diffaxial: “So, then, that component of volition that is not traceable to physical, biological, environmental, psychodynamic, or divine causes is nevertheless caused, and therefore determined, in the same sense that other events in the world (say, a rockslide) are caused?”

    I don’t think you can say that even that “part” of volition is totally not traceable to divine causes since its power to operate must be sustained. On the other hand, that sustaining power, though necessary, would not be sufficient for the act, which allows for the possibility of a free choice. The rockslide, on the other hand, would not be a free-choice event.

  134. 134
    vividbleau says:

    Diff:”and therefore determined, in the same sense that other events in the world (say, a rockslide) are caused?”

    A rockslide is determined however a rockslide has no choice in the matter.

    Vivid

  135. 135
    Upright BiPed says:

    Hello – just reading through.

    What is the justification given in assuming that agents that have even a modicum of volition would not, or could not, have been so endowed by what caused them. If something can be caused in the natural world, it does not immediately follow that everything about it must therefore be determined.

    This only seems to restate that there is something that has no cause, and everything else required it.

  136. 136
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks:

    A few footnotes, pardon.

    1] B-T Paradox

    On this Diff is right, it is Nakashima-San who primarily raised it. I should not have rolled him into the remarks.

    Pardon. (I accidentally conflated two different commenters in my mind.)

    Nakashima-San, care to address the matter further?

    [And BTW, I agree that a plainly non-convergent series (Grandi . . . ) should not be treated like a convergent one. It also exhibits the paradoxes of infinities. (And recall a good old fashioned decimal number like 1.9999 . . . is, strictly speaking, a convergent series [it converges to 2]; i.e. this stuff is a lot closer to home than we may realise.)]

    2] Wife beating rhetoric vs dealing with self evidence on the merits

    Oh, ladies and gentlemen of the Clapham Bus Stop, why not look for yourself at what was raised here at what is now 403, and my response here to see why I point out here at what is now 418 that this was utterly uncalled for, and distractive.

    (That is the response in the previous thread was no more substantial than in this one: up to now it has not addressed the actual issue of self-evidence, instead trying to use an outrageous chestnut on wide beating to try to imply that there was a complex question involved, in a context that allowed much airing of a subtext of contempt. There is not, and if there was fear of such, there was a simple solution — make the distinction in one sentence and address the question on the merits.)

    3] Minds as caused

    SB is quite correct that if “in Him we live, move and have our being” then minds and the rest of our existence are sustained by God, so being caused is not the issue.

    The real issue is that on evolutionary materialist presuppositions, mind reduces to teh simply dynamical consequences of chance + necessity as initial and intervening conditions, in a wholly physical world, ending in self-referential incoherence:

    . . . [evolutionary] materialism [a worldview that often likes to wear the mantle of “science”] . . . argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature. Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of chance.

    But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this picture. Thus, what we subjectively experience as “thoughts” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as unintended by-products of the natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains. (These forces are viewed as ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance [“nature”] and psycho-social conditioning [“nurture”], within the framework of human culture [i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism].)

    Therefore, if materialism is true, the “thoughts” we have and the “conclusions” we reach, without residue, are produced and controlled by forces that are irrelevant to purpose, truth, or validity. Of course, the conclusions of such arguments may still happen to be true, by lucky coincidence — but we have no rational grounds for relying on the “reasoning” that has led us to feel that we have “proved” them. And, if our materialist friends then say: “But, we can always apply scientific tests, through observation, experiment and measurement,” then we must note that to demonstrate that such tests provide empirical support to their theories requires the use of the very process of reasoning which they have discredited!

    Thus, evolutionary materialism reduces reason itself to the status of illusion. But, immediately, that includes “Materialism.” For instance, Marxists commonly deride opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismiss qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? And, should we not simply ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is simply another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze?

    In the end, materialism is based on self-defeating logic . . . .

    That evident (and apparently inescapable) incoherence, oh ladies and gentlemen men of the Clapham Bus stop, is the central challenge of materialism.

    And it is a most Wilsonian rhetorical move to try to turnabout the issue, as though it were theistic views that had a problem with cause-effect bonds and mindedness.

    Again, the real solution is to move to open comparative difficulties analysis across worldviews, something that for some four years of regular engagement online I notice that evolutionary materialists are utterly loathe to do.

    By this time, I have a few suspicions on why.

    GEM of TKI

  137. 137
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Lamarck, you are right: SPACE is not “nothing” in Q-mech, especially once we have to factor in energy fields that have zero-point harmonic levels and associated quantisation; thence also the energy-time from of the uncertainty principle so there is indeed a sponge of pair production quantum foam bubbling away with higher and higher energy levels accessible as the time gets shorter and shorter. This too was thrashed out on the previous thread, e.g. most recently from 488 on.

  138. 138
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Rockslides, per the accessible configuration states on the chance + necessity acting, are so maximally unlikely to produce meaningful configs that even if we were to see an apparent rock slide “spontaneously” produce glyphs spelling out “WELCOME TO WALES,” we would be suspicious, esp. if this was on the border of Wales. And,t eh physical cause-effect bonds of the rockslide process have NOTHING to do with the meaningfulness of such glyphs as were just suggested.

    That is, we see here evidence that points out that intelligent cause is radically different from the impacts of chance + necessity on the gamut of the search resources of the observed cosmos.

    So, once meaningful communication and associated volitional decisions are in play as facts that must be seriously reckoned with, we see that the physicalist/materialist account of reality [and of mind] has a major gap, one that happens to be central to our ability to think symbolically and linguistically and LOGICALLY as minded creatures.

  139. 139
    Frost122585 says:

    I love the “Welcome To Wales” argument. It really points out the absurdity at the heart of hyper skepticism.

  140. 140
    Frost122585 says:

    It reminds me a little of the absurdity of those who claim that there is no absolute truth. Then when you ask them if what they are saying is true they answer, “absolutely!”

  141. 141
    Diffaxial says:

    StephenB @ 133:

    I don’t think you can say that even that “part” of volition is totally not traceable to divine causes since its power to operate must be sustained. On the other hand, that sustaining power, though necessary, would not be sufficient for the act, which allows for the possibility of a free choice. The rockslide, on the other hand, would not be a free-choice event.

    OK. I’m trying to parse what you are saying.

    A thought experiment.* Imagine two individuals who are identical in every respect – physically (down to the atomic level and below**), biologically, environmentally, psychodynamically AND with respect to the fact that their capacity for volition is sustained by God. They have identical histories and are placed in identical circumstances.

    1. Can they exercise volition and make free choices that differ? (I would assume that your response is “yes.”)

    2. If so, to what is the ensuing difference attributable? Can that difference be said to have a cause? That is to say, given that the particular behaviors that ensue, to the extent that they reflect free choice, cannot be attributed to any of the above enumerated facts (from the distribution of subatomic particles to their dependence upon God, all held constant), whence that difference? And, given that we have included all possible categories of causation in the constant initial conditions, can that difference be said to be caused?

    *The experiment can be restated as a single individual arriving a given point in time where volition is exercised. She may exercise one choice – yet may (same atoms, same God) exercise another. Given identical atoms and identical dependence upon God, what accounts for that difference?

    **Of course, quantum indeterminacy renders the “identical” status of two individuals impossible in principle, but I think you are barred from invoking quantum indeterminacy in light of previous posts. And, of course, chaos theory suggests that their behavior would not ensue identically for long. However, I doubt that you would equate the exercise of volition with quantum indeterminacy amplified by chaotic turbulence. E.g, two rockslides with identical starting conditions are likely to differ in some details for the same reasons, although we would not attribute that difference to “volition.”

  142. 142
    Diffaxial says:

    Upright Biped:

    What is the justification given in assuming that agents that have even a modicum of volition would not, or could not, have been so endowed by what caused them. If something can be caused in the natural world, it does not immediately follow that everything about it must therefore be determined.

    That is a very good point. However, I am trying to draw out StephenB’s position so that I can better understand it. If I understand Stephen correctly he is stating that there is portion of volition that arises independently of any other causal factors. I am more inclined to the position you describe.

    Indeed, your remark brings to mind Dennett’s Freedom Evolves, which makes a similar argument: Just as living organisms can be composed of units that themselves cannot be said to be alive, meaningful freedom (“freedom worth having,” as he expresses it) can from natural causal factors that are themselves determined. Of course, the causal factors/history he cites is evolutionary.

  143. 143
    Diffaxial says:

    KF @ 136:

    in the previous thread was no more substantial than in this one: up to now it has not addressed the actual issue of self-evidence, instead trying to use an outrageous chestnut on wide beating to try to imply that there was a complex question involved, in a context that allowed much airing of a subtext of contempt.

    As before, I used “KF has stopped beating his wife. True or false” as an illustration of the fact it is sometimes necessary to ignore imposed dichotomies (“true or false”) to give an accurate and complete response. The correct response (IMHO) to “Error exists. True or false” calls for a similar rejection of the true-false dichotomy.

    I find it impossible to believe that any other reader construed my use of the old chestnut “Have you stopped beating your wife?” – a line worthy of Jack Benny – in this way as a serious accusation or innuendo regarding your martial behavior (are you married?) Indeed, as I said earlier, I selected that example because it is obviously flawed, yet one needs to go outside the “true – false” dichotomy to demonstrate that flaw.

    I reject the question “Is ‘Error exists’ true or false?” not because it presents a complex clause, but rather because it is a loaded question. Were I to say “plotnick exists” you may not know to what I am referring, but you do know that I am asserting that an “object” or a “thing” exists, because the grammatical structure of that brief sentence indicates that “plotnick” is a noun. It is by that means that the assumption that the “Error” in “Error exists” is an object rather than a modifier is smuggled into the sentence, and hence “Error,” and consequently “Truth,” are reified into objects that “exist” rather than descriptors of the accuracy of particular utterances.

    You haven’t yet addressed yourself to this objection.

  144. 144
    Diffaxial says:

    your martial behavior

    Make that, “your marital behavior.” May the twain never meet.

  145. 145
    StephenB says:

    —-Diffaxial: “1. Can they exercise volition and make free choices that differ? (I would assume that your response is “yes.”)

    I would, indeed, say yes.

    —-“2. If so, to what is the ensuing difference attributable?”

    I am not clear on the stumbling block here. In both cases, the power of volition conferred by God [created and sustained] is the necessary cause. In both cases the difference between the two decisions is the differences between the respective added sufficient causes?

    So, in both cases, the decision makers act as causes.On the other hand, both are caused insofar as they rely on the sustaining power of God to exercise the power of volition, but not insofar as they differ in their decisions and actions as causal agents.

    I must once again reiterate: In order for an event to be causesless, neither a necessary or sufficient cause can be present.

  146. 146
    Upright BiPed says:

    Diff: “If I understand Stephen correctly he is stating that there is portion of volition that arises independently of any other causal factors”

    That is not what I see Stephen saying. He seems to be indicating that the capacity for volition in the natural world can be caused to exist, indeed must be caused to exist. That does not mean however, that it is not volition. What exactly is known about the natural world that suggests a volitional agent is prohibited from existence?

    Diff: “…your remark brings to mind Dennett’s Freedom Evolves, which makes a similar argument: Just as living organisms can be composed of units that themselves cannot be said to be alive…”

    This requires a gymnastic twist of reasoning.

    Diff: “I am trying to draw out StephenB’s position so that I can better understand it.”

    Stephen is quite capable of illuminating his own position. But you might consider my previous question. What is the justification in assuming that volitional agents “would not, or could not, have been so endowed by what caused them?” If there is no such justification, then perhaps it is here that you can integrate the pieces.

  147. 147
    Diffaxial says:

    UB:

    What is the justification in assuming that volitional agents “would not, or could not, have been so endowed by what caused them?”

    I don’t know, Biped. As I don’t assert that volitional agents would not, or could not exist in the natural world, I don’t see a need to justify that assumption.

  148. 148
    Diffaxial says:

    I am not clear on the stumbling block here. In both cases, the power of volition conferred by God [created and sustained] is the necessary cause. In both cases the difference between the two decisions is the differences between the respective added sufficient causes?

    So, in both cases, the decision makers act as causes

    I am attempting to articulate a particular distinction (apparently without much success). I’ll think on it. I appreciate your patient responses.

  149. 149
    kairosfocus says:

    Fellow members of the Clapham bus stop club:

    The significance of the reality of self-evident truths is that they are not only foundational to right reason, but expose one of the major cracks in the foundation of hyper-modern thought, which tries to pretend that truth is a matter of opinions and perceptions, no more that “your truth,” or “my truth.”

    In so doing, such thought is self-referentially incoherent (as even the attempt to suggest that there is nothing more to truth than perceptions etc immediately leads to).

    As in: is that YOUR truth, or what?

    Just so, after turning back from the red herring side-tracks, we can see that DA has still failed to squarely address one of the simplest cases of a credibly self evident truth.

    Nor is there need to “reify” truth to see the point . . . just, willingness to accept that there is such a thing as error, in the very simple, common, garden variety sense sense of claims that are inaccurate to reality; a patent fact.

    So, let’s simply excerpt from 418 in the previous thread as linked earlier today, to show that his objection such as it is has long been answered, but ignored a la Wilson:

    _________________

    . . . back on the merits of the issue.

    1 –> Is error about reality, or merely a matter of a term that appears in sentences? Let’s see: from toddlerhood [and echoing Aristotle as long since cited above], we know that the truth says of what is, that it is, and of what is not, that it is not. So also, error misses that mark of accuracy of claims to reality, whether by accident or by intent. (That was not so hard, was it; nor does it commit us to any “reification” etc., i.e. to any particular metaphysical scheme. Just to a longstanding, plain old common sense consensus. It may contribute, later on, to clarifying which metaphysics makes best sense, but that is another story for another day.)

    2 –> For now, we face a much more modest issue: “Error exists” is a candidate self-evident truth; which — note, onlookers — is precisely what Diff ducks addressing in his haste to rage over alleged complex questions and alleged verbal tricks . . .

    3 –> Next, do such statements that fail to be accurate to reality exist? ANS: Yes, by general consensus. Indeed, Diff is at pains to try to correct what he perceives as errors . . .

    4 –> Is Josiah Royce making “a silly verbal trap”? Not at all, he — a most distinguished American Philosopher, BTW — was using the consensus about and the self-referential nature of the stated claim: “Error exists,” to bring out a key (and often overlooked) implication of said general consensus that error is a reality we have to face. (And, I have given an in-brief, 101 level summary.)

    5 –> Namely, to try to deny that error exists necessarily includes in its reference, the statement that “error exists” [if you will, as statements that are inaccurate to reality], so the attempted denial instantiates the claim; warranting it as undeniable.

    6 –> That is, it is an undeniably true statement that “error exists.” Putting that another way, denying that “statements exist that are inaccurate to reality” [NB: a matter of patent fact, not reification . . . ] implies that this just last is an error, but in so doing frustrates the attempt by instead actually exemplifying its truth; i.e. ends up confirming it by immediate instantiation.

    7 –> Thus, we see a case of a statement that is undeniably true, on pain of self-referential absurdity. It is a true statement, so truth exists, indeed, objective [beyond merely mental or subjective] and I daresay absolute [pure and unadulterated] truth. It is not only objectively true that error exists, but it is absolutely and undeniably true that error exists . . .

    8 –> Also, the statement “error exists” is a case of warranted, true belief: knowledge in the strong sense exists, warranted as self-evident truth — on pain of immediate absurdity immediately following from the attempted denial that as a matter of reality not mere words, error exists. (Notice, self evident truths are those that once we — as minded creatures living in a common real world — understand, we see are not just so, but that they must be so; on pain of patent absurdity, inconsistencies of various kinds and confusion . . .

    ________________

    So, we have good reason to see that there are things that are true, and that on understanding them we see they are and even must be true on pain of absurdity.

    CONCLUSION: That such heavy weather is made out of so simple a matter as the reality of truths that are — on pain of absurdity — seen to be true on understanding them, is telling on what has gone wrong with our civlisation’s intellectual culture.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: It is sadly obvious that DA has not understood that using an outrageous and insulting “example” in a distractive context is inexcusable, utterly inexcusable. Period. [Esp. in a situation where a really nasty similar case was done on a principal of the blog, Mrs O’Leary, recently. “I wasn’t serious and anybody should spot that . . . ” is no excuse.]

    Sorry, the subtext of contempt shows; all too plainly.

  150. 150
    Diffaxial says:

    StephenB:

    In both cases, the power of volition conferred by God [created and sustained] is the necessary cause. In both cases the difference between the two decisions is the differences between the respective added sufficient causes?
    So, in both cases, the decision makers act as causes.

    By that last sentence I assume you intend that “in both cases the decision maker acts as the sufficient causes.” And from your previous posts that you intend that this volitional component that becomes the sufficient cause of the ensuing differences itself has origins other than physical, biological, environmental, psychodynamic, and divine.

    What causes each sufficient cause to assume the “value” that it does (one that results in behavior X, another that results in behavior Y)? The answer cannot be, “their God given capacity for volition” (or any of the other necessary causes) because they share that, yet arrive at different volitional outcomes.

  151. 151
    StephenB says:

    —-Diffaxial: “What causes each sufficient cause to assume the “value” that it does (one that results in behavior X, another that results in behavior Y)?

    The decision maker, or the personal agent, is the cause, meaning that he/she uses the power of intellect to pass judgment on the worthiness or desirability of [value x, value y] then, with the will, decides to ratify or not ratify the intellect’s verdict, followed by a an action that reflects the will’s decision.

  152. 152
    Upright BiPed says:

    “What is the justification in assuming that volitional agents “would not, or could not, have been so endowed by what caused them?””

    I don’t know, Biped.

    Then it would seem you have the answer to your question. Identical agents can arrive at differenct outcomes – for the exact reason you say they “cannot”.

  153. 153
    StephenB says:

    —-Diffaxial: “I am attempting to articulate a particular distinction (apparently without much success). I’ll think on it. I appreciate your patient responses.”

    Yes, this is a much better way to dialogue.

  154. 154
    Diffaxial says:

    Biped:

    Then it would seem you have the answer to your question. Identical agents can arrive at differenct outcomes – for the exact reason you say they “cannot”.

    You are attributing to me statements made by Serendipity (I think).

  155. 155
    Diffaxial says:

    KF:

    It is sadly obvious that DA has not understood that using an outrageous and insulting “example” in a distractive context is inexcusable, utterly inexcusable.

    KF, to avoid further misunderstanding, I’ll refrain from responding further to your posts.

  156. 156
    Upright BiPed says:

    Diff,

    Then it would seem you have the answer to your question. Identical agents can arrive at different outcomes – for the exact reason you say they “cannot”.

    You are attributing to me statements made by Serendipity (I think).

    Diff: “The answer cannot be, “their God given capacity for volition” (or any of the other necessary causes) because they share that, yet arrive at different volitional outcomes.”

  157. 157
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks (and Diff . . . ):

    Re Diff, 155: KF, to avoid further misunderstanding, I’ll refrain from responding further to your posts

    pardon, but let us first underscore the civility issue at stake: Diff could very easily have avoided all “misunderstandings” by simply refraining from using invidious, ad hominem laced (or, adversely suggestive) rhetorical examples.

    Had he simply made the distinction on the merits that was of concern to him in a sentence or two, and moved on, that would have been fine.

    Similarly, having seen that the example he did use was at best irritating, he could easily have left it out of this subsequent thread; especially as it had nothing to do with the matters at stake on the merits. And, in so doing, we could have made progress on the important matters on the table, by focussing on them instead of on distractions from them.

    All of which underscores an unfortunate but significant fact: TO DATE, DIFF. ET AL HAVE STILL NOT YET COGENTLY ADDRESSED THE “ERROR EXISTS” CASE STUDY OF A SELF-EVIDENT TRUTH, OR ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR HYPER-MODERNIST RELATIVISM.

    And given the Wilsonian rhetorical principle — “Matters hard to auoyde should alwaies be past ouer, as though wee sawe them not at all . . .” — that is highly significant on the weight of the point that it is self-evidently true on pain of absurdity that error exists. So, also, sufficiently knowable truth exists that radical relativism falls to the ground.

    Thirdly, we can see that while we may be in error about potentially knowable truth, if our present view lands us in a morass of self-contradictions a resulting confusions, the absurdity is a strong indicator that this view is in error.

    That is, we see the significance of the much despised law of non-contradiction. It plainly is a fundamental principle of right reason.

    So, with all respects to whomever it is due to, let us return the thread to focus . . .

    GEM of TKI

  158. 158
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, 2:

    Back on the thread’s main issue:

    In the original post, this thread is about Mr Meyer’s programme of visits to churches, on which Mr Cordova raises the issue of the conflict over theistic evolutionism vs the intelligent design movement (with the Biblical Creationism theme lurking in the background). In so doing, he observes:

    Those of us who are part of promoting ID know how hard it is to get churches to appreciate the importance of ID. Most of the biology teachers who opposed ID at Dover were professing Christians and Sunday School teachers. The unfortunate situation in Dover is not unique. Darwinism has remained in the culture because churches have allowed it to spread. Churches have allowed it to spread because they are unwilling to engage the facts but rather resort to theology.

    I often get harsh reactions from fellow creationists when I tell them they have to stop arguing theology and start engaging the facts. Recall the words of the father of modern ID, Phil Johnson, “Get the Bible and the Book of Genesis out of the debate.”

    Theistic evolution can be successfully opposed in the churches by arguing the facts. Maybe your experience is different than mine, but I’ve not known a single individual who was truly converted away from Darwinism by purely theological means or trying to pound them over the head with theology and the Bible…

    Now, there actually is a bit of quite relevant Bible, that — because it poses a point of empirical test on the creational component of the Judaeo-Christian worldview — can open the door to a way forward for Christians in general, but also in particular for those Christians who happen to be science educators, scientists and theologians:

    Rom 1: 19. . . what may be known about God is plain to [men], because God has made it plain to them. 20For 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 men are without excuse.

    21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles . . . . 28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.

    Some observations:

    1–> Here, in a foundational source on core Christian theology, we see that a theology of creation is at the core of the Christian faith [so, creationists — whatever debates on interpretations of texts may bring up — have a valid underlying concern], and that that faith is at its core committed to the perspective that design is evident in the world without and from our inner life. (Which is therefore a point of legitimate empirical test, test that can in principle be passed or failed.)

    2 –> Also, this issue is onward directly connected to the issue of the moral government of the community [a major citizenship issue and perspective], i.e. it is contended that a culture that turns its backs on such evidence will find its understanding endarkened and find its consciences benumbed, leading to both intellectual and moral chaos. [And, whether or not the public at large in the end agrees with the point, it should at least be aware of it as a serious view (one held BTW by the vast majority of the US’ founding fathers — including the two well-known Deists among them), and with the reasons and historical evidence that speak in its favour.]

    3 –> In turn, amoral social chaos [Cf. the Books of Judges and 1 Sam for examples] by which “every man does what seems right in his own eyes” is a well known harbinger of tyranny; whether from within (as would-be political messiahs promise to restore order) or from without (as the culture loses the strength of will to protect itself from external threats).

    4 –> So, immediately, we should be alert to the implications of movements in our culture that — even, in the name of “science” — try to (as US NAS member Richard Lewontin admitted) a priori exclude the possibility that from the world without and from our minds and consciences within, we may see signs that point to evident design. It is worth noting again what Mr Lewontin said:

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    5 –> That insistence on an a priori imposition rather suggests that Paul was right to observe that signs of design are quite evident in the world and in our inner lives so the influential elites of a culture have to take a positive decision to turn from that evidence if they wish to erect a culturally dominant non-teleological view of the world in the name of “knowledge.”

    6 –> Instead of such Lewontinian question-begging, we should insist on basic common sense: we know that designers exist, so design is possible in our world and maybe even of our world. therefore we need to identify signs that may allow us to distinguish credible cases of design from credible cases of spontaneity.

    7 –> Similarly, we see — immemorial since Plato et al! (And, underscored in the past generation by the Nobel Prizewinning scientist, Monod, in his Chance and Necessity) — that causal forces can be reasonably clustered under the heads: natural [= mechanical necessity + undirected contingency, AKA chance] and artificial [= intelligent], where each of these factors leaves characteristic, empirically identifiable and testable signs.

    8 –> Namely, (i) necessity leads to low contingency regularities [which we trace to laws of nature and underlying mechanical forces], (ii) undirected contingency leads to stochastic outcomes manifested in probability distributions, (iii) intelligence leads to structures and patterns that reflect a purposeful, information-using mind such as functionally specific complex information and the like.

    9 –> So if we look at an object or event or phenomenon, facet by facet, feature by feature, aspect by aspect, we should be able to trace the best explanations of each factor. That is, it is on its face credible that an empirically anchored explanatory filter will be a useful guide to discovering the truth about our world in light of empirical observations and experiments. (Which is what science is about, at its best.)

    10 –> And, on matters of the scientific study of origins, we know that we were not there [as Job 38 so forcefully reminds us . . . ] so we must revert to the traces of the unobserved [and perhaps unobservable] past in the present and infer on best explanation to plausible accounts of the roots of our world. This is an exercise in abductive reasoning, and such is not well-served by imposition of worldview level question-begging. (Instead, we need to be able to consider all reasonable models of the possible past, and compare their predictions and explanations on the evidence, without censorship by de jure or de facto magisteria operating under whatever labels.)

    11 –> When we do so, comparing well tested signs of intelligence, we see that it is at least credible enough to sit at the table that our cosmos as a whole is purposefully fine-tuned to foster intelligent life like us, that life embeds code-bearing algorithm-executing information systems and structures that point to design, that body-plan level biodiversity manifests innovations in the information that similarly point to designs, and that the credibility of our own minds and the binding force that drives conscience point beyond the capacity of chance plus necessity acting blindly on matter and energy.

    12 –> None of this should be overly surprising: it comports well with the majority view of intelligent and informed people across the ages, including many pioneers of modern science. Indeed, it is the imposition of what is now often termed methodological naturalism as an imagined criterion of “being scientific” that has led to this even being a matter of debate much less controversy and polarisation.

    _________________

    So, maybe the time has come for a rethink, similar to what happened when — in Ac 27 [cf. also 487 in the previous thread] — at Fair Havens, Paul’s prudent counsel on the risks of venturing out from safe though rustic harbour was discarded in the popular rush to comfort, manipulated through interested advice driven by hoped for reduction of commercial risk. Hardly had they ventured out under the winds and waves of rhetoric, when they were caught up in the typhonic chaos of a major storm, and were reduced to sinking, being in the end glad to “only” shipwreck on the north shores of Malta.

    (I think that Ac 27 should be a lesson to us all on the power of rhetoric to mislead a democratic polity into ill-considered action, and land it in stormy waters. So, we the members of the Clapham Bus Stop society [CBS] need to seek out and heed principles and practices of right reason, as have been a major secondary focus in this thread.)

    GEM of TKI

  159. 159
    Diffaxial says:

    Upright Biped:

    Diff: “The answer cannot be, “their God given capacity for volition” (or any of the other necessary causes) because they share that, yet arrive at different volitional outcomes.”

    I see. I didn’t recognize your paraphrase of my post.

    I posed a series of questions to StephenB that attempt to draw out implications of his response to my original question, “Is human behavior an ‘effect.'” It was my observation that God’s sustenance of human volition (his view) cannot account for particular outcomes of the exercise of that volition, because our identical agents share that factor. (Stated another way: a constant cannot serve as an independent variable, as a variable must vary before the values of a dependent variable can be causally associated with it.) Stephen appeared to agree, and instead situated the sufficient conditions for those different outcomes within the volition of the agents themselves.

    This all flows from Stephen’s position. StephenB didn’t have any difficulty understanding that, and didn’t have any problem with my posing these questions, either.

    I would not attempt to justify either position (individual choices do, or choices do not, issue from God’s sustenance of human volition) because I am somewhere between agnostic and atheistic regarding the existence of God. I also would expect that agents who were identical in all of the above enumerated respects (were that possible, which it isn’t, due to quantum indeterminacy) would exercise identical volition – an obviously paradoxical assertion, a paradox that goes to the question of how “volition” is defined, and to what it refers (far from an easy philosophical problem). I do have some thoughts on the matter grounded in and pertaining to human evolutionary history.

    Ultimately, it is my contention that paradox is present in Stephen’s position as well, as there are uncaused events hiding in his construal of the sufficient causes of particular choices, in contradiction to his previously expressed self-evident truth that all effects have causes. He doesn’t agree (that’s fine), and that is probably where I’ll leave it for now.

  160. 160
    StephenB says:

    —-Diffaxial: “Ultimately, it is my contention that paradox is present in Stephen’s position as well, as there are uncaused events hiding in his construal of the sufficient causes of particular choices, in contradiction to his previously expressed self-evident truth that all effects have causes. He doesn’t agree (that’s fine), and that is probably where I’ll leave it for now.”

    It seems to me that I have covered all the bases, nor can I conceive of any other cause that has not been addressed. In the end, this appears to be another version of the debate about free choice, and, of course, I argue in the affirmative.

    On the other hand, it may be about something else entirely, which leads me to ask Diffaxial a question:

    Your opening question read, “Does human behavior have effects?” —and if I recall, the reciprocal formulation, “Is human behavior caused?”

    Was this latest round of questions prompted by my earlier argument that no physical events can occur without causes? It was, after all, in that context that you first introduced the question albeit on another thread.

  161. 161
    Diffaxial says:

    StephenB:

    Your opening question read, “Does human behavior have effects?” —and if I recall, the reciprocal formulation, “Is human behavior caused?”

    Was this latest round of questions prompted by my earlier argument that no physical events can occur without causes? It was, after all, in that context that you first introduced the question albeit on another thread.

    My original question was “Are human behaviors “effects?” And it did originate in the context of our previous discussion vis effects, causes, etc.

  162. 162
    kairosfocus says:

    Stephen:

    An effect is something that begins to happen. So, it is not self-explanatory.

    It is caused, and must meet not only the necessary factors [without which it cannot happen] bust also sufficient ones [on which it will happen].

    That is simple common sense. And, insofar as events are realities and we do observe triggering and/or sustaining factors at work, this is not mere tautology.

    To see why that is so, it is helpful to go to a concrete, key case study — one that, predictably, the objectors have made very heavy weather of, and have not been able to directly address:

    1 –> Consider a fire: without any of the key generic factors heat, fuel and oxidiser, if cannot occur.

    2 –> Likewise so soon as and so long as the three are together [under of course particularising circumstances], it will occur and/or be sustained.

    3 –> A fire is an iconic effect, and it has both necessary and sufficient causal factors. Without the former it cannot occur, and with the latter it will occur.

    4 –> general thesis: necessary facrtors and sufficient ones are both required for an effect.

    5 –> So, if we see something that begins to exist, it must be under circumstances where necessary factors and sufficient ones are present. (This, whether or no we know or can trace the factors in detail.)

    6 –> Humans of course begin to exist, and our behaviours similarly begin to exist. Thus, we are caused and our behaviours — including our thoughts — are caused. Necessary factors must be met, and sufficient ones are met.

    7 –> When we observe causes, immemorial, we see that sometimes there are mechanical and dynamical chains, sometimes there are stochastic situations where contingencies simply flow from a distribution [i.e are the products of credibly undirected contingency, e.g. noise in a communication system]], and sometimes there is purposefully directed contingency.

    8 –> This last, traces to of course intelligence.

    9 –> Our reasonings and decisions are iconic examples of such intelligence [which should bot be equated to wisdom — our species name is a bit presumptuous].

    10 –> At the same time, considering our bodies — which include our brains — as cybernetic systems, we observe by comparison with those cybernetic systems that we make, that the intelligence in a cybernetic system is not credibly self-created; it is impressed from outside by intelligence.

    11 –> Also, as the Welcome to Wales lucky noise thought exercise shows, it is not credible that intelligent and contextually relevant information and information processing of any complexity arise by chance-based stochastic processes. (For, the associated configuration spaces so rapidly overwhelm t6eh search resources of the observed cosmos, that brute trial and error are maximally unlikely to ever get us tot he shores of islands of function once we are at or beyond 1,000 bits of information capacity. Which is very easy to exceed.)

    12 –> We know from observation and personal experience, that we are minded creatures who think and reason, acting through our bodies, thus also our brains [which are parts of our bodies].

    13 –> Indeed, we must rely on our ability to think and reason correctly sufficiently often to survive and thrive in our world.

    14 –> Thus, we know we are minded, and we know that mind is not credibly the product of mere dynamics and stochastic contingencies. Otherwise we fall at once into irretrievable self-referential incoherence and absurdities.

    15 –> Thus, we have reason to believe that we here encounter an aspect of our being that points beyond the merely physical. (And, no wonder we encounter here the issue of the so-called hard problem of consciousness . . . attempts to reduce mind to matter as it has evolved through chance + necessity across eons end up in such self-referential incoherence.)

    16 –> In that context, it is at least a reasonable live option that there is more than the merely physical at work, an that that more than the merely physical can influence and indeed sometimes control the physical. (And the idea that our physics etc may be an incomplete picture of reality at this time — just as in many former eras — should provoke no astonishment from those who know their history of science. [Nor, should resistance to changes that do not sit easy with preferred views of the world.])

    17 –> And, indeed, there is room in Q-mech for such influences. For instance the Casimir effect shows how the “virtual reality” of particles popping into and out of space has measurable large scale effects. (And, repeat, space is not nothing. Nor, on this view, would be minds.)

    So, let us not close our minds.

    GEM of TKI

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