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The Squid and the Supernova: A Reply to Professor Egnor

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In February 1987, a supernova appeared in the Southern skies, and remained visible for several months. Giant squid, with their large, powerful eyes, must have seen it, too. But if you believe that the act of perception takes place at the object, as Professor Egnor argues in his perspicacious reply to my last post, then you will have to maintain that the squid’s perception of the stellar explosion took place at the location of the supernova itself: somewhere in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a galaxy about 168,000 light years from Earth. The problem is that the object itself ceased to exist nearly 200 millennia ago, long before the dawn of human history. Even if the squid that witnessed the explosion were capable of having perceptions which are located in intergalactic space, as Egnor contends, they are surely incapable of having perceptions which go back in time.

Before I continue, I would like to compliment Professor Egnor on his latest post, which is nothing less than a literary tour de force. I wish I could write even half as well. The author’s learning and depth of thought are abundantly evident. And although I believe he is wrong, he is at least nobly wrong, for he has succeeded in highlighting a genuine philosophical problem concerning perception: namely, the puzzle of how we can have reliable knowledge of the external world. (Egnor’s original article can be viewed here; see here for my reply.)

Briefly, Egnor contends that even if perception takes place at the location of the sensory organ (a view I defended in my previous post), and not in the subject’s brain, it is still cut off from objects located in the outside world; hence, it can afford us no sure knowledge of the outside world. Additionally, Aristotle’s insistence that perception involves the observer being made like the object she observes, and even possessing this object, only makes sense if the observer makes contact with the object. For these reasons, Egnor holds that his account of perception is the only one which is both true to the teaching of Aristotle and able to explain how we can have genuine knowledge of the external world (bold emphases mine – VJT):

The crux of Aristotle’s theory of perception is that the perceiver “is made like the object and has acquired its quality” (DA II 5)… One is made like an object and acquires its quality by encountering the object, not by watching a movie about the object…

If perception does not occur at the object — if it begins only at the sense organ or the brain — then there is no encounter between perceiver and perceived. If perception begins at the sense organ, and not at the object, then only the sensory stimulus, not the object, is perceived.

In the Aristotelian view, the perception of an object is the possession of its form. This includes its accidental forms as well as its substantial form. Location is an accidental form (Organon 1b25-2a4). Thus, in my interpretation, possession of an object entails possession of its location — perception of an object occurs at the location of the object.

There are deeper problems with the notion that perception occurs only at the sense organs and brain. Let us imagine that the Cartesian theater is real and perception occurs only in sense organs and the brain. In this scenario, we only have direct knowledge of our perceptions themselves; we never have direct knowledge of the objects perceived. And in this Cartesian theater, there can be no reliable knowledge of the external world whatsoever, because any attempt at confirmation of knowledge by correlating internal perception with external reality is rendered moot by my inability to perceive the outside world directly. We are trapped inside the theater, and we can’t get out. The Cartesian theater leaves us practically and even theoretically unable to know reality…

And locating perception in the senses, or in the brain and the senses, doesn’t solve the problem, it merely makes the Cartesian theater a little more spacious. Either your knowledge of the world is limited by your skull or it’s limited by your skin. Either way, you’re trapped in solipsism.

Although I made it quite clear in my original post that I reject the notion of a “theater in the brain” where a homunculus views the sensory data which my brain receives, I think it is fair to say that Professor Egnor has exposed a problem with the account I put forward: namely, that it fails to adequately explain how we manage to encounter objects, when we perceive them.

Responding to my objection that the notion of perception occurring at a distance from the observer was simply too bizarre to be true, Professor Egnor proceeds to turn the tables, by pointing out that the Newtonian notion of action at a distance (which scientists came to accept in the seventeenth century) is equally bizarre:

Perception at a distance is no more inconceivable than action at a distance. The notion that a perception of the moon occurs at the moon is “bizarre” (Torley’s word) only if one presumes that perception is constrained by distance and local conditions — perhaps perception would get tired if it had to go to the moon or it wouldn’t be able to go because it’s too cold there. Yet surely the view that the perception of a rose held up to my eye was located at the rose wouldn’t be deemed nearly as bizarre. At what distance does perception of an object at the object become inconceivable?

It is quite true that early theories of gravity and electromagnetism were forced to appeal to the outlandish notion of action at a distance, in order to describe how an object responds to the influence of distant objects. Newton himself had no idea how it could happen, but he famously refused to speculate, writing: “I have not as yet been able to discover the reason for these properties of gravity from phenomena, and I do not feign hypotheses.” Modern physics, however, has dispensed with the need for such a counterintuitive notion, thanks to the development of the concept of a field, which mediates interactions between objects across empty space.

What’s wrong with perception – and action – occurring at a distance from the subject?

In my reply to Egnor’s original article, I did indeed object that the notion of perception taking place at a distance from the observer was a bizarre one; but in addition to that, I put forward a philosophical argument, designed to show that the notion was not only bizarre, but nonsensical. In a nutshell, my argument was that perception is a bodily event, and that an event involving my body cannot take place at a point which is separate from my body. An event involving my body may occur inside my body, or at the surface of my body, but never separately from it. Thus it simply makes no sense to assert that I am here, at point X, but that my perceptions – or for that matter, my actions – are located at an external point Y.

Think of it this way. Suppose that an action or a perception could be spatially divorced from its subject. How could one demonstrate that the action or perception in question – call it A – should be attributed to this subject (Tom), rather than that subject (Mary), who happens to be standing nearby? How would one resolve the matter, if a dispute were to arise as to whose action (or perception) it was?

Again, if we suppose that an action or a perception is capable of being spatially divorced from its subject, then why couldn’t it be temporally divorced as well? Why couldn’t my actions and my perceptions continue, long after I am dead? For that matter, why couldn’t they have taken place before I was even conceived? Professor Egnor’s account of action and perception fails to exclude either of these absurd scenarios.

To my mind, the foregoing objections are absolutely fatal to any philosophical theory which locates the act of perception outside the observer, and at the object itself, even when it is located at some distance from the observer.

Is Professor Egnor’s argument conclusive?

I am a firm believer in the view that when formulating an argument, it is vital to put it forward in the form of a syllogism, so that its validity can be easily assessed. In the absence of a syllogism, the reader is liable to be convinced by the rhetorical force of the argument, rather than its logical force. Accordingly, I have endeavored to reconstruct Professor Egnor’s core argument in logical form, stripping it down to its bare bones:

1. If I am to have direct knowledge of an object when I perceive it, then my perceptions of that object must encounter the object itself – and not an impression, simulation or representation of it.

2. In order for my perceptions to encounter an object, my perceptions must come into immediate contact with it.

3. Some objects which I perceive are spatially distant from my body.

4. Hence, if I am to have direct knowledge of these distant objects when I perceive them, then my perceptions of these objects must (somehow) come into immediate contact with them.

5. But my body does not come into immediate contact with these distant objects, when I perceive them.

6. Hence my perceptions of distant objects cannot be located on or inside my body, but must be located outside my body, at the objects themselves.

At first sight, the argument appears unexceptionable, when couched in this form. However, some of the key terms used in the argument turn out to be rather vague and ill-defined. For instance: I know perfectly well what it means for me to encounter an object, but what does it mean for my perceptions to encounter an object (as stated in premises 1 and 2)? That strikes me as an odd way of talking.

One possible remedy for this problem would be to replace “my perceptions” with “I” in the first two premises. But if we simply say that perception simply requires me to encounter (and come into contact with) the objects I perceive, then we run into trouble in premise 3, which states the rather obvious fact that I don’t come into contact with all of the objects I perceive.

A critic of Egnor’s argument might be inclined to reject premise 2. After all, if Professor Egnor is willing to entertain the thought that the direct perception of an object can be spatially distant from the perceiving subject, then why can’t a direct perception of an object be spatially distant from the perceiving object, as well? If the former is conceivable, then why not the latter?

Or perhaps we should reject premise 1, instead. Why should it be the case that my direct perceptions of an object have to encounter the object? Surely it is I who encounter the object, via my perceptions of it.

At this point, I am reminded of Fred Dretske’s aphorism, “One man’s modus ponens is another man’s modus tollens.”

How the Krakatoa eruption undercuts the corpuscular theory of perception

However, in this Christmas season, I do not wish to be accused of being uncharitable in my reading of Professor Egnor’s argument. So I’d like to use another analogy, in order to bring out the point which Egnor wants to make. Most readers will be familiar with the volcanic eruption which took place in Indonesia in 1883, destroying most of the island of Krakatoa as well as its surrounding archipelago.

Now, suppose that I had lived about 100 kilometers from the island, at the time of the eruption. In that case, it would have been too far away for me to have actually seen the island exploding, with my own eyes. However, I would certainly have heard a loud noise – the sound of the explosion was heard even 3,000 miles away, in Alice Springs, Australia – and in addition to that, I would have been inundated with particles of volcanic ash from the eruption. Let’s put aside my perception of the sound of the explosion. The question I’d like to focus on is: does my being inundated with particles of volcanic ash count as a perception of the explosion?

The reason why I am posing this question is that it has bearing on what I’ll call the corpuscular theory of perception, which was defended by Cartesians and by atomists in the seventeenth century, and which is still upheld by modern philosophers. On this account, what happens when I perceive a distant body, such as the supernova which was seen to explode in 1987, is that particles (or corpuscles) travel from that object to my eye – rather like the way in which particles of volcanic ash traveled from the Krakatoa explosion to people living in surrounding areas. In the 21st century, we refer to these “particles” as photons of light, but the basic idea is the same as it was in the seventeenth century.

Getting back to Krakatoa: if I had been inundated with particles of ash from the Krakatoa eruption back in 1883, what could I have concluded from that fact? Nothing much, really. All that I could have said was that something had caused those particles to reach me, but I would have had absolutely no idea what it was. My being rained on with particles of ash could hardly qualify as a perception of the eruption itself: being situated at some distance from the eruption, I would have been unable to conclude that an eruption had even occurred. All I could have concluded was: “Something big happened.”

The above example, I believe, serves to illustrate the point Professor Egnor is making, in his critique of theories of perception which locate the act of perception away from the object itself, and either at or in the body of the observer. For what Egnor is arguing is that if these theories are correct, then I am in a similar quandary when I perceive distant objects: all I can say is that “something I know not what” is causing my perceptions. There is no real encounter between the observer and the observed.

An irenic proposal: it is objects which reach out to us, not we to them

At this point, I’d like to make an irenic proposal to Professor Egnor. He has indeed highlighted a genuine philosophical problem when he argues that any veridical perception of an object requires an encounter between the perceiver and the object itself, and he is also correct in saying that corpuscular theories of perception fail to do justice to this encounter. What I’d like to suggest is that instead of supposing (as Egnor does) that my act of perception of a distant object takes place at the distant object itself, which I somehow “reach out to” when I perceive its form, wouldn’t it be more sensible to suppose that it is the object which reaches out to me, when I perceive it?

In other words, what I am saying is that when I perceive a distant star by means of photons emitted from that star impinging on my eye, something is happening which is very different in character from my getting rained on by particles of volcanic ash from the Krakatoa eruption. The vital difference is that the particles of ash failed to manifest the character of the object itself to me: unless I had been a trained geologist, I would have been in no position to know that they came from a volcano, rather than (say) a meteorite. When I perceive a star, on the other hand, photons emitted by that star (many years ago) enter my eye and modify the organ itself, in a way which literally gives me a picture of their source. Looking at the star, I can determine that it is located in a certain region of the sky, that it is highly luminous, and that it is of a certain color. Looking at it through a telescope, I can further determine that it is roughly round in shape. And if the star in question is sufficiently close to Earth, I can even directly calculate its distance, using the method of parallax, and I can also compute its size.

What makes my perceptions both genuine and reliable in this case is that the star, in its act of emitting photons, does something much more than merely projecting particles: it also projects its own powers – in this case, the power to illuminate observers, in a particular way. And when I am affected by the star’s powers, I am thereby informed (literally, “in-formed”) in a manner which enables me to have a veridical perception of the star itself, and to arrive at a genuine knowledge of what it is.

We can now make sense of Aristotle’s statement that in the act of perception, the observer “is made like the object and has acquired its quality” (De Anima II 5), as well as his claim that the perception of an objection entails having a possession of its form. For when I perceive a distant star, I do indeed receive its form, by virtue of my eye’s being affected by the normal exercise of its powers: the star is the kind of object which has a tendency to emit light of a certain wavelength, which we perceive as “red.” Because the star is exercising its normal, regular powers when it affects me in this way, I am able to recognize that one of its characteristics is to appear red, and that another of its characteristics is to shine. I also perceive its position in the sky, and because “the stars in their courses” appear to follow a regular path in the night sky, I know that the star I perceive is not a phosphorescent flash caused by a random disturbance of my optic nerve, but an object, with a well-defined location, shape, color and size.

But, it will be asked, how can a distant object project its powers to an observer? The notion seems a little mysterious. I would suggest that the modern scientific concept of a field (which I mentioned above) may go some way towards dispelling this mystery. Briefly, the idea is that every material object is surrounded by a field of some sort – gravitational, electromagnetic, strong, weak, or what have you. We can never divorce an object from its surrounding field: the two go together like hand and glove. What I am saying is that the field serves to project the object itself: when the object’s field interacts with another body (such as the body of an observer), that body is then subjected to (and affected by) the powers of the object. The effect is not instantaneous; it takes a certain interval of time. But that is unimportant. What matters is that to perceive an object is to fall under its powers, in some way, and to thereby be informed by it, when one’s sensory organs are altered by the normal exercise of those powers.

The key difference between Egnor’s account of perception and mine, then, is that in his account, it is we who reach out to the object, when we perceive it; whereas on my account, it is the object which reaches out to us. And in the case of an exploding star, the object is capable of reaching out to us even after it has ceased to exist, because the photons it projects continue traveling in space, long after it is gone. Objects can thus exercise their powers in remote locations, even when they are no more.

One might ask: is this a case of the star’s actions being temporally divorced from the star itself – a notion which I rejected as absurd in my philosophical argument against the possibility of actions or perceptions being either spatially or temporally divorced from their subject? There is indeed a temporal delay between the action and its effect – just as there would be if a fiend were to plot a murder by enclosing a bomb inside his last will and testament, which was designed to detonate only when it was opened, some time after his death. But even in this case, the dastardly deed of enclosing the bomb inside the will is performed during the lifetime of the fiend – and similarly, the action of emitting light is performed during the lifetime of the star, even its effects are only felt by us much later. Thus there is no “temporal divorce” between the entity and its actions, but only between the actions and their effects.

It seems to me that the account of perception which I am defending here is a lot less odd, metaphysically speaking, than the account put forward by Professor Egnor. It also appears to accord better with common sense. But at this point, I shall lay down my pen, and let my readers judge the matter for themselves. I am also happy to let Professor Egnor have the last word in this exchange, and I would like to wish him a merry Christmas.

What do readers think?

UPDATE: Over at ENV, Professor Egnor has written a reply to my post, on which I have briefly commented below (see here).

Comments
Of related note to 'perception at a distance':
Sense of Being Stared At http://www.sheldrake.org/research/sense-of-being-stared-at The Sense of Being Stared At - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJkXlZJfyRw The Sense of Being Stared At - Part 1: Is it Real or Illusory? - Rupert Sheldrake http://www.sheldrake.org/files/pdfs/papers/JCSpaper1.pdf Sheldrake and His Critics: The Sense of Being Glared At Rupert summarises his case for the 'non-visual detection of staring'. His claims are scrutinised by fourteen critics, to whom Rupert then responds. Anthony Freeman, in his editorial introduction, explores the concept of "heresy" in science and in religion and asks why it provokes such hostility. http://www.sheldrake.org/books-by-rupert-sheldrake/the-sense-of-being-glared-at
bornagain
December 24, 2015
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J-Mac, so you consider it a 'sermon' to point out the 'self'-defeating premise of your argument against 'mind'? Take it however you want to take it. Being 'not even wrong' in your beliefs is what it is. Some people would be grateful to be corrected.
Proverbs 9:8-10 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, Reprove a wise man and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Joy Williams - 2000 Decembers ago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W8K3OhxVSw
bornagain
December 21, 2015
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"I don’t blame you for wanting to drop out of the discussion. Denying the reality of you own mind/soul, to put it mildly, is not the best place to start a debate. You see J-Mac, without your mind/soul to refer to, you are essentially saying that ‘you’, as a person, do not really exist and that ‘you’ are an illusion. That is literally a ‘self’-defeating proposition to be defending in a debate since ‘you’ are in fact denying the reality of ‘self’ to begin with. :) Nancy Pearcey has written an excellent book that covers this subject in one part of her book. Here is an excerpt from her book on this particular subject: Don't you even care who reads your stuff? I bet most of them are atheists. I'm 100 % turned of by your attitude and I try to become a Christian. What do you think they are going to do when they read your sermons?J-Mac
December 21, 2015
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Oh, i'm sorry. I forgot to include my final statement: "J-Mac, why should I listen to an illusion? ‘You’ yourself, by your own premises of denying the reality of your own mind, are trying to tell me that ‘you’ do not really exist but are a illusion! I ignore illusions J-Mac! “You” are in what I term ‘epistemological failure’." Just because you refuse to believe something and insist on believing something else it doesn't make it true does it? What makes you so different from Darwinists? BTW: The mind, the memories, the experiences of life etc. are all there where you think your "soul" is; quantum state of the particles you and I are made of. Remember, if you are off about the soul and mind thingy, you have nowhere else to go.J-Mac
December 21, 2015
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as to: "You also cite Dr. William Dembski’s work on backwards causation in The End of Christianity. However, Dr. Dembski’s argument relates to events (on Earth) which are causally subsequent to, but temporally prior to, the Fall of Adam. The supernova explosion, on the other hand, is causally independent of the Fall of Adam. Hence the parallel does not hold." So you admit that backward causation in time is theologically sound as far as Christ is concerned, but draw the line at humans? Is that your exact position? If so, I hold that that backwards in time causation is theologically sound for humans to:
John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
Of note, the second law is intimately connected to death and to the supernova's explosion. In his book, Dr. Dembski argues that the effects of the fall reach back in time as well as forward
Entropy Explains Aging, Genetic Determinism Explains Longevity, and Undefined Terminology Explains Misunderstanding Both - 2007 Excerpt: There is a huge body of knowledge supporting the belief that age changes are characterized by increasing entropy, which results in the random loss of molecular fidelity, and accumulates to slowly overwhelm maintenance systems [1–4].,,, http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info%3Adoi/10.1371/journal.pgen.0030220 Shining Light on Dark Energy – October 21, 2012 Excerpt: It (Entropy) explains time; it explains every possible action in the universe;,, Even gravity, Vedral argued, can be expressed as a consequence of the law of entropy. ,,, The principles of thermodynamics are at their roots all to do with information theory. Information theory is simply an embodiment of how we interact with the universe —,,, http://crev.info/2012/10/shining-light-on-dark-energy/
bornagain
December 21, 2015
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Some may say, “But hey, whatever the photon is doing in the double slit while it is in its infinite dimension/information state, we at least know that it is travelling at the speed of light!” Yet, Special Relativity is just about as mysterious as a photon exiting in a infinite dimension/information state.
“The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.” Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12 “..the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however tenacious this illusion may be.” – Albert Einstein – March 1955 (of note: he passed away in April of that year)
And all this is before we even get to the profound mysteries surrounding ‘the observer’ in the double slit! :) Moreover, Feynman, in his role in developing QED, played an integral part in unifying special relativity with quantum mechanics:
Theories of the Universe: Quantum Mechanics vs. General Relativity Excerpt: The first attempt at unifying relativity and quantum mechanics took place when special relativity was merged with electromagnetism. This created the theory of quantum electrodynamics, or QED. It is an example of what has come to be known as relativistic quantum field theory, or just quantum field theory. QED is considered by most physicists to be the most precise theory of natural phenomena ever developed. http://www.infoplease.com/cig/theories-universe/quantum-mechanics-vs-general-relativity.html
This unification was accomplished by “brushing infinity under the rug.”
THE INFINITY PUZZLE: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe Excerpt: In quantum electrodynamics, which applies quantum mechanics to the electromagnetic field and its interactions with matter, the equations led to infinite results for the self-energy or mass of the electron. After nearly two decades of effort, this problem was solved after World War II by a procedure called renormalization, in which the infinities are rolled up into the electron’s observed mass and charge, and are thereafter conveniently ignored. Richard Feynman, who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for this breakthrough, referred to this sleight of hand as “brushing infinity under the rug.” http://www.americanscientist.org/bookshelf/pub/tackling-infinity
Feynman rightly expresses his unease with “brushing infinity under the rug.” here:
“It always bothers me that in spite of all this local business, what goes on in a tiny, no matter how tiny, region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time, according to laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out. Now how can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do?” – Richard Feynman – one of the founding fathers of QED (Quantum Electrodynamics) Quote taken from the 6:45 minute mark of the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obCjODeoLVw
I don’t know about Feynman and others who wish that space itself could be explained without reference to 'infinite logic', but as for myself, being a Christian Theist, I find it rather comforting to know that it takes an ‘infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do’:
John1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” of note: ‘the Word’ in John1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos is also the root word from which we derive our modern word logic http://etymonline.com/?term=logic
bornagain
December 21, 2015
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as to: "You seem to be arguing that backwards causation allows future actions to causally influence past events. So here’s my question: are you saying that the supernova wouldn’t have exploded if someone on Earth hadn’t subsequently observed it?" No, and I already answered the question of why God's observation by itself does not collapse the wave function in post 104 and 106.
God, in His highest heaven and infinite power, is the One Who is collapsing the infinite dimension/infinite information wave function for our benefit in the first place so that we may be able to see the light that he has created for us. (See Gonzalez and Robin Collins for fine tuning of light for humans). For you to claim that there is an irresolvable problem since God’s observation does not always collapse the wave function, and yet our finite observation does, is to imply that God is somehow not in total control of His creation. https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-squid-and-the-supernova-a-reply-to-professor-egnor/#comment-592233 You apparently want material particles to continually exist in their finite material particle state without ever being in their infinite dimension/infinite information quantum wave state. But let me ask you, "exactly who are we to tell God how to run His creation?" Perhaps it is easier for God, (as if anything is too hard for God), in his running of this universe to have material things exist in a infinite information/infinite dimension state until it is absolutely necessary that they exist in their finite material state? After all, it is He who must collapse the quantum wave state anyway! And indeed, I looked over the rest of your first post, and it seems your confusions stems primarily from the fact that you seem to believe their can be no history apart from there being a continual existence of material particles in their finite state and humans around to collapse them. https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-squid-and-the-supernova-a-reply-to-professor-egnor/#comment-592254
Here are a few of my references along that line: It is interesting to note what Feynman himself says about quantum mechanics. Particularly the double slit:
“The double-slit experiment has in it the heart of quantum mechanics. In reality, it contains the only mystery.” Richard Feynman According to a Physics World poll conducted in 2002,[1] the most beautiful experiment in physics is the two-slit experiment with electrons. According to Richard Feynman,[2] this classic gedanken experiment “has in it the heart of quantum mechanics” and “is impossible, absolutely impossible, to explain in any classical way.” Feynman, R.P., Leighton, R.B., and Sands, M. (1965). The Feynman Lectures in Physics Volume 3, Section 1–1, Addison–Wesley.
Anton Zeilinger stated this in regards to the double slit:
“The path taken by the photon is not an element of reality. We are not allowed to talk about the photon passing through this or this slit. Neither are we allowed to say the photon passes through both slits. All this kind of language is not applicable.” – Anton Zeilinger – Double Slit Experiment. Is anything real? – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayvbKafw2g0 “We know what the particle is doing at the source when it is created. We know what it is doing at the detector when it is registered. But we do not know what it is doing in-between.” Anton Zeilinger – Double Slit Experiment – video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6101627/
Actually, contrary to what Zeilinger stated, and according to Feynman himself who had a lead role in developing Quantum Electrodynamics (QED), not only do we not know what the photon is doing ‘in between’ in the double slit experiment, as it is travelling, we really don’t even know how the photons are emitted and absorbed in the first place.
Quantum Electrodynamics The key components of Feynman’s presentation of QED are three basic actions.[1]:85 *A photon goes from one place and time to another place and time. *An electron goes from one place and time to another place and time. *An electron emits or absorbs a photon at a certain place and time. These actions are represented in a form of visual shorthand by the three basic elements of Feynman diagrams: a wavy line for the photon, a straight line for the electron and a junction of two straight lines and a wavy one for a vertex representing emission or absorption of a photon by an electron. These can all be seen in the adjacent diagram. It is important not to over-interpret these diagrams. Nothing is implied about how a particle gets from one point to another. The diagrams do not imply that the particles are moving in straight or curved lines. They do not imply that the particles are moving with fixed speeds. The fact that the photon is often represented, by convention, by a wavy line and not a straight one does not imply that it is thought that it is more wavelike than is an electron. The images are just symbols to represent the actions above: photons and electrons do, somehow, move from point to point and electrons, somehow, emit and absorb photons. We do not know how these things happen, but the theory tells us about the probabilities of these things happening. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_electrodynamics#Introduction
And although, according to Zeilinger, we cannot say exactly what the photon is doing in the double slit between emission and absorption, we do know that while a photon is doing whatever it is doing in the double slit, that the photon is mathematically defined as being in a infinite dimension state. A infinite dimension state that takes an infinite amount of information to describe.
The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960 Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space, http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc/MathDrama/reading/Wigner.html Wave function Excerpt “wave functions form an abstract vector space”,,, This vector space is infinite-dimensional, because there is no finite set of functions which can be added together in various combinations to create every possible function. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_function#Wave_functions_as_an_abstract_vector_space Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (photon) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1) http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/faculty/duwell/DuwellPSA2K.pdf Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-quantcomp/#2.1
bornagain
December 21, 2015
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Vj, you might be interested in this critic of Boethius's views on God's omniscience.Vy
December 21, 2015
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Hi bornagain, Here's a quick response to your request (#174) that I address your posts #156-159. My apologies for not responding earlier. You seem to be arguing that backwards causation allows future actions to causally influence past events. So here's my question: are you saying that the supernova wouldn't have exploded if someone on Earth hadn't subsequently observed it? Or are you saying that the rays emitted by the exploding supernova would not have traveled to Earth if someone hadn't subsequently observed them? What exactly are you claiming? Both claims would appear to be untenable. The first claim implies that there are no supernova explosions in galaxies which we never happen to observe; the second implies that there are explosions, but that no radiation emitted by unobserved supernovas ever reaches Earth. You also cite Dr. William Dembski's work on backwards causation in The End of Christianity. However, Dr. Dembski's argument relates to events (on Earth) which are causally subsequent to, but temporally prior to, the Fall of Adam. The supernova explosion, on the other hand, is causally independent of the Fall of Adam. Hence the parallel does not hold. Best wishes for a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.vjtorley
December 21, 2015
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Hi J-Mac, Sorry for not answering your query (#155) earlier. You write (emphases mine):
Imagine that God, just like Dr.Torley suggested, is able to watch a movie with all of the events of that movie at the same time. He is able to watch every second of the movie at the same time. Now imagine, that the movie God is watching is the movie/history of the universe and all the history of mankind beginning from the first creation of the Earth, Adam and Eve, and all the way to the ends of the universe. If God can watch this movie with all the bits and pieces at the same time, because he is omniscient, how is that not making Him responsible for Adam and Eve’s sin? According to this belief God is watching the movie of the history of the universe “past, present and future of his creation at the same time and even before He had even started the creation. This means that God had already known that Adam and Eve would sin, because he was able to watch the “universe expansion movie” in the past, present and future at the same time and be able to know all the details of that movie at an instant of time. My problem is this; if I were God, Why would I go to all the trouble and create the wonderful universe and all the beauty of it plus mankind if I were already “watching” the outcome of it at the same time? This reasoning does’t stand the logic and more - God’s high moral principles that He had wanted man to imitate.
The short answer to your question is that causal priority is not the same thing as temporal priority. God views all events - past, present and future - together, in their entirety. These events are never (and were never) absent from God's all-knowing gaze. However, God does not make them happen; He is made aware of them. He does not determine them; rather, He is (timelessly) determined by them. If God determined our choices - either by deciding what we shall do (as the author of a book decides what his characters will do), or by deciding to put us in a situation where we would invariably act in a certain way, which is determined by our nature - then He would indeed be fully responsible for those choices. But I hold that God does not in any way determine our choices. He is (timelessly) informed of what we do; hence He is not responsible for our actions. Does God watch the cosmic movie of our actions "before He had even started the creation"? No. There is no time before the Big Bang; hence we can rule out a temporal "before." What about a causal "before"? Once again, the answer is no: God's knowledge is causally subsequent to His decision to create, which means that if God had not (timelessly) chosen to create the world, there would be no movie for Him to watch. Finally, you ask: why would God go to all the trouble of making a universe if He were already watching the movie of creation? As I explained in the previous paragraph, there would be no movie for God to watch, if God had not decided to create the cosmos. His decision to create the world is causally (but not temporally) prior to the "cosmic movie" that He always views. So while it is true to say that the movie is always being watched by God, it is not true to say that He was already watching the movie when He decided to create the world - as if He would still be watching the movie even if He hadn't decided to create. Rather, what we should say is that God's decision to create and God's knowledge of creation are both timeless, and neither are ever absent from God's Mind (although they both would be, if God's choices were other than what they are). I hope that answers your question.vjtorley
December 21, 2015
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J-Mac - you state:
"I have nothing else to say to you. I’m sorry. Don’t take it as an offence, please. I don’t think there is a need to explain anything on my part."
I don't blame you for wanting to drop out of the discussion. Denying the reality of you own mind/soul, to put it mildly, is not the best place to start a debate. You see J-Mac, without your mind/soul to refer to, you are essentially saying that 'you', as a person, do not really exist and that 'you' are an illusion. That is literally a 'self'-defeating proposition to be defending in a debate since 'you' are in fact denying the reality of 'self' to begin with. :) Nancy Pearcey has written an excellent book that covers this subject in one part of her book. Here is an excerpt from her book on this particular subject:
Darwin's Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails - Nancy Pearcey - April 23, 2015 Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, "Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get." An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, "The impossibility of free will ... can be proved with complete certainty." Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. "To be honest, I can't really accept it myself," he says. "I can't really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?",,, In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots -- that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one "can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free." We are "constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots." One section in his book is even titled "We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.",,, When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine -- a "big bag of skin full of biomolecules" interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, "When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, ... see that they are machines." Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: "That is not how I treat them.... I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis." Certainly if what counts as "rational" is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis within Brooks's worldview. It sticks out of his box. How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn't. Brooks ends by saying, "I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs." He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/04/when_evolutiona095451.html
Also of interest to this mind/soul issue J-Mac, the human body is conservatively made up of a billion-trillion protein molecules.
One Body – XVIVO Scientific Animation – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDMLq6eqEM4 HOW BIOLOGISTS LOST SIGHT OF THE MEANING OF LIFE — AND ARE NOW STARING IT IN THE FACE – Stephen L. Talbott – May 2012 Excerpt: “If you think air traffic controllers have a tough job guiding planes into major airports or across a crowded continental airspace, consider the challenge facing a human cell trying to position its proteins”. A given cell, he notes, may make more than 10,000 different proteins, and typically contains more than a billion protein molecules at any one time. “Somehow a cell must get all its proteins to their correct destinations — and equally important, keep these molecules out of the wrong places”. And further: “It’s almost as if every mRNA [an intermediate between a gene and a corresponding protein] coming out of the nucleus knows where it’s going” (Travis 2011),,, Further, the billion protein molecules in a cell are virtually all capable of interacting with each other to one degree or another; they are subject to getting misfolded or “all balled up with one another”; they are critically modified through the attachment or detachment of molecular subunits, often in rapid order and with immediate implications for changing function; they can wind up inside large-capacity “transport vehicles” headed in any number of directions; they can be sidetracked by diverse processes of degradation and recycling… and so on without end. Yet the coherence of the whole is maintained. The question is indeed, then, “How does the organism meaningfully dispose of all its molecules, getting them to the right places and into the right interactions?” The same sort of question can be asked of cells, for example in the growing embryo, where literal streams of cells are flowing to their appointed places, differentiating themselves into different types as they go, and adjusting themselves to all sorts of unpredictable perturbations — even to the degree of responding appropriately when a lab technician excises a clump of them from one location in a young embryo and puts them in another, where they may proceed to adapt themselves in an entirely different and proper way to the new environment. It is hard to quibble with the immediate impression that form (which is more idea-like than thing-like) is primary, and the material particulars subsidiary. Two systems biologists, one from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Germany and one from Harvard Medical School, frame one part of the problem this way: “The human body is formed by trillions of individual cells. These cells work together with remarkable precision, first forming an adult organism out of a single fertilized egg, and then keeping the organism alive and functional for decades. To achieve this precision, one would assume that each individual cell reacts in a reliable, reproducible way to a given input, faithfully executing the required task. However, a growing number of studies investigating cellular processes on the level of single cells revealed large heterogeneity even among genetically identical cells of the same cell type. (Loewer and Lahav 2011)”,,, And then we hear that all this meaningful activity is, somehow, meaningless or a product of meaninglessness. This, I believe, is the real issue troubling the majority of the American populace when they are asked about their belief in evolution. They see one thing and then are told, more or less directly, that they are really seeing its denial. Yet no one has ever explained to them how you get meaning from meaninglessness — a difficult enough task once you realize that we cannot articulate any knowledge of the world at all except in the language of meaning.,,, http://www.netfuture.org/2012/May1012_184.html#2
My question J-Mac is this, what unifying principle is holding the approx. billion-trillion protein molecules of a human body together as a single unified whole for precisely a lifetime, and not a moment longer?
The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Stephen L. Talbott – 2010 Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary. ,,, the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer? Despite the countless processes going on in the cell, and despite the fact that each process might be expected to “go its own way” according to the myriad factors impinging on it from all directions, the actual result is quite different. Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity. http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-unbearable-wholeness-of-beings
Without a soul to refer to, you, since you deny the reality of your own mind/soul J-Mac, have no coherent answer to give to this simple question
What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer? - picture – http://cdn-4.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/harvardd-2.jpg
I could tell you about conservation of 'non-local' quantum information and how it, like energy, cannot be created nor destroyed, and how that conserved information disappears from the human body upon death, but, IMHO, that is to miss this main question of "What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?" IMHO J-Mac, 'soul/mind' is the ONLY coherent answer to that simple question. Reductive materialism is not even in the ballpark of rationality as to answering that simple question. Verse:
Mark 8:36-37 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? "For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
bornagain
December 21, 2015
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Dr. Torley, I've noticed you have not responded to my last post @155. I'm just making sure you are ok even if you are not going to respond to it. It was very nice talking to you. You are my favorite philosopher!J-Mac
December 20, 2015
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Borngain, I have nothing else to say to you. I'm sorry. Don't take it as an offence, please. I don't think there is a need to explain anything on my part.J-Mac
December 20, 2015
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156 - 159 need to be addressed on points https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-squid-and-the-supernova-a-reply-to-professor-egnor/#comment-592708bornagain
December 20, 2015
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Dr. Torley, your objections were answered. It won't do for you to claim that they weren't. Please briefly answer the responses one by one in your own words. Several thousand word salad replies will not be read. And I will respond however way I choose because I don't care if you personally listen or not. For you to still claim that past events in time take precedence over how the observer perceives the world, especially given our current state of knowledge about quantum mechanics, reveals that you do not understand quantum mechanics nor do you even really understand mind's primacy in reality. Neither mind nor quantum mechanics is limited to past events in time nor to your false materialistic premises. For you to again try to imbue material objects with quasi-agent causality is to reveal once again that you have a severely muddled view of reality. You accuse me of evasion but I have not moved. You are the one who refuses to address the empirical evidence from quantum mechanics and special relativity head on. The few times you have tried to address it, I had to correct some gross misunderstandings that you had. For instance, you tried to claim Zeilinger supported your severely misinformed materialistic interpretation of quantum mechanics when he was in fact calling for a brand new 'information theoretic' view of reality. He even quoted John 1:1 for crying out loud.
Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe? Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: "In the beginning was the Word." Anton Zeilinger - a leading expert in quantum mechanics http://www.metanexus.net/archive/ultimate_reality/zeilinger.pdf
You keep trying to give temporal time primacy. Quantum Mechanics has no need for that hypothesis and has been shown to take dominion over past events in time. Thus substantiating Dr. Egnor's claim. For you to keep making the same claim over again after it has been refuted empirically is something I would expect from a Darwinist. Not from someone who claims to follow the evidence wherever it leads. You claim that no one can see beyond the constraints of time and see past events in history, yet you also claim to believe in the Bible which tells of many prophets foretelling many future events sometimes hundreds and even thousands of years in advance. You keep bringing up animals when you haven't even understood humans yet. Need I say more? By your own admission, the star can do nothing within itself unless acted upon by God. So why frame the the issue as if the star has acted on its own accordance to reach out to us without God? That is what is so subtly disingenuous in your framing of the issue. You claim you make no extravagant claims for your materialistic position. That is exactly your problem.
“We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough.” –Niels Bohr
Whenever you are trying to describe how reality is actually structured, and necessarily have to include God in your description of reality, then the description you find will indeed appear to be 'crazy' to those who prefer a self existent universe that does not need God to explain its existence (if there can even exist such a simplistic and completely self existent universe outside of the imagination of man) I don't blame you for not wanting me to list citations that back up my position. You have shown your ignorance whenever you have tried to address them in the past. Especially with Zeilinger, and your 'no-read' of Radin. I think you owe Egnor and everyone on UD an apology for your post against Egnor. But I doubt you will ever admit your mistakes. Merry Christmas to you and yours.bornagain
December 20, 2015
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Hi bornagain, I'd like to briefly respond to the comments you made above. First, I should say a little about the nature of philosophy. It is a no-holds-barred sport, in which participants regularly hold their opponents' feet to the fire, in order to test the consistency and strength of their convictions. They do this by deliberately posing tough questions, challenging thought experiments and acute logical dilemmas. So it simply won't do for you to dismiss my objections to your position as either disingenuous, or as the product of my being brainwashed for several decades of exposure to materialist propaganda. Even if that were true, it's totally irrelevant. Regardless of their provenance or motivation, the objections which I raised still need to be answered. Second, it seems to me that you haven't really addressed the central questions I raised in my OP. Perception is, according to Professor Egnor's account, an event in which I reach out to and make immediate epistemic contact with, the object I perceive. (On my account, it's an event in which the object reaches out to me.) The argument I made was a very simple one: you can't make immediate contact with that-which-no-longer-exists. You exist and perceive now; that-which-no-longer-exists existed at some time in the past, but not now. You have tried to evade the force of this objection by invoking relativity and parapsychology. Neither will help you. Time might cease to exist at the speed of light; but when I perceive a star in the night sky, I'm not traveling at the speed of light. In fact, I'm not traveling anywhere; I'm just standing on the ground. Also, if you're willing to count extra-sensory perception as "seeing," then you've failed to explain why we need a body at all, in order to perceive anything. But if you don't consider seeing to be a bodily act, then your position is at odds with Egnor's - and with Aristotle's. (It might be compatible with Plato's view, but that is another matter.) Alternatively, you might want to suggest that when I perceive, I somehow stand outside time. But if that were the case, then why am I unable to perceive events that happened in my vicinity, 10 or 100 years ago? Why can none of us see the Battle of Gettysburg, even if we visit the scene of the battle? You dismissed my questions about whether animals perceive as facile and disingenuous, but the questions are perfectly valid ones. Does a one-year-old puppy dog perceive the Dog Star (Sirius, 8.6 light years from Earth) when it looks up at the night sky? And if it does, how, when and where does this act of perception take place? Can the dog stand outside time? I doubt it. Can it travel back on time? I doubt that even more. Finally, you have attacked my own moderate view that objects have causal powers of their own and that they reach out to us when we perceive them, as smacking of materialism and atheism. I have tried to refer you to short, simple explanations of secondary causality on the Internet, but you appear to have learned nothing from them. So I'll conclude with a simple example from Aquinas: a hand moving a stick, which in turn moves a stone. An object is an agent, but it is a secondary agent: it is like the stick, in Aquinas' example. Does the stick act upon the stone? Of course it does: it hits the stone, and makes it move. Is the stick an instrument of the agent when it does so? Of course it is: the stick has no mind of its own. Objects have causal powers, but they are not "autonomous": they could do nothing unless acted on and maintained in existence by God. I cannot make my meaning any clearer than that. So when a star shines in the sky, it has a genuine power to act upon the retinas of our eyes. It is therefore capable of reaching out to us. The photons that it projects continue traveling in space, even after the star itself ceases to exist. As I explained in my OP, since the action of emitting light is performed during the lifetime of the star (even its effects are only felt by us much later), there is therefore no “temporal divorce” between the entity and its actions, but only between those actions and their effects on us. I think that's a much more common-sensical view of perception than Egnor's, and it makes no extravagant claims. If you wish to respond, you are welcome to do so, but please do me a favor and address my objections, in your own words. If you direct me to other articles, I won't read them; I want to know what you think. Even if I had the time to read the articles (which I don't), I probably wouldn't understand the point you are trying to make, simply because the words are not your own, but somebody else's, and they were not written in order to addressed to the objection that I was raising, but for some other reason. Hence they are only obliquely relevant, at best. Try to communicate in your own words, in future; it forces you to actually think. I'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.vjtorley
December 19, 2015
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Hi mapou, Thank you for your post. I"d just like to make a few quick comments. You claim that God (Yahweh) is good at mind-reading, but deny that He knows the distant future. Isaiah 46:9 contradicts that when it declares: “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things not yet done.” You also hold that a God Who was incapable of learning would merit no praise whatsoever. The reason why I praise Him is simply that I depend on Him for every moment of my existence. I'd say that's reason enough, regardless of whether God learns or not. You object to my equation 1+0.5+0.25+0.125+0.0625+...=2, on the grounds that the left hand side isn't written down in its entirety. But I could have expressed my point equally well by using the sigma sign and writing the equation as the sum of an infinite geometric sequence, where the first term a=1, and where r=0.5. Since |r|<1, we can calculate the infinite sum of the geometric sequence as 2. Finally, you object that my Boethian view of free will, according to which God sees the past, present and future laid out before Him, is tantamount to an Einsteinian denial of the objective reality of time: all that exists is static "block time." In reply: the fact that God is outside time and views it as a succession of moments does not make time "unreal." From a cosmos-bound perspective, such as our own, time is perfectly real. And even from a Divine standpoint, the order of causality is real: it is the ball that breaks the window, not the window the ball. Thank you for the exchange.vjtorley
December 19, 2015
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J-Mac, why should I listen to an illusion? 'You' yourself, by your own premises of denying the reality of your own mind, are trying to tell me that 'you' do not really exist but are a illusion! I ignore illusions J-Mac! "You" are in what I term 'epistemological failure'. In other words, your theory of knowledge of how we know things to be true is self-defeating in both the logical sense and more importantly in the personal sense of there being no 'self' to know anything in the first place. For 'you' to now try to debate scripture and quantum mechanics, whilst ignoring this elephant in the living room problem of there being no 'you' to argue in the first place, indicates that you have no clue just how soundly your denial of your own mind defeats any argument that 'you' may choose make afterwards. And much like your denial of your own mind, your claim that scripture tells us that there is no life after death is patently absurd.
99 verses about life after death: Excerpt: John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Luke 23:43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” John 14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” http://www.openbible.info/topics/life_after_death
bornagain
December 19, 2015
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I've noticed you didn't address the scripture from Eccl 9:10 the clearly indicates that there is no mind activity after death. Don't you think that if there was a transcendent mind, soul or spirit that had existed before our creation and after our bodies' death, the above scripture would contradict it? Let's look at quantum mechanics. For some reason I think you love quantum mechanics. If that's the case, we share one love :-) Do you or don't you believe that teleportation also known as quantum leap is possible? Please elaborate if your answer is yes or no.J-Mac
December 19, 2015
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J-Mac - "I don’t believe us and animals as well have a transcendent mind" Really? OK, if you have no mind, and consciousness is just an emergent property, i.e. 'illusion', of the brain, just who wrote your preceding post denying the reality of your own mind?
Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let's Dump Methodological Naturalism - Paul Nelson - September 24, 2014 Excerpt: "Epistemology -- how we know -- and ontology -- what exists -- are both affected by methodological naturalism (MN). If we say, "We cannot know that a mind caused x," laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won't include minds. MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn't write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact. "That's crazy," you reply, "I certainly did write my email." Okay, then -- to what does the pronoun "I" in that sentence refer? Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,, You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse -- i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss -- we haven't the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world -- such as your email, a real pattern -- we must refer to you as a unique agent.,,, some feature of "intelligence" must be irreducible to physics, because otherwise we're back to physics versus physics, and there's nothing for SETI to look for.",,, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/09/do_you_like_set090071.html
And although Dr. Nelson alluded to writing an e-mail, (i.e. creating information), to tie his ‘personal agent’ argument into intelligent design, Dr. Nelson’s ‘personal agent’ argument can easily be amended to any action that ‘you’, as a personal agent, choose to take:
“You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.” “You didn’t open the door. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.” “You didn’t raise your hand. Physics did, and informed the illusion you of that event after the fact.” “You didn’t etc.. etc.. etc… Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.” Human consciousness is much more than mere brain activity, - Mark Vernon - 18 June 2011 However, "If you think the brain is a machine then you are committed to saying that composing a sublime poem is as involuntary an activity as having an epileptic fit. ...the nature of consciousness being a tremendous mystery." http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/jun/17/human-consciousness-brain-activity
Dr. Craig Hazen, in the following video at the 12:26 minute mark, relates how he performed, for an audience full of academics at a college, a ‘miracle’ simply by raising his arm,,
The Intersection of Science and Religion – Craig Hazen, PhD – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=xVByFjV0qlE#t=746s
What should be needless to say, if raising your arm is enough to refute your supposedly ‘scientific’ worldview of atheistic materialism/naturalism, then perhaps it is time for you to seriously consider getting a new scientific worldview? Moreover, J-Mac, if your consciousness/mind is really just an 'illusion', why in blue blazes should I care what you think is true? Illusions by there very nature are false views of reality. i.e. why should I trust a a false view of reality, which you claim is 'you', to tell me what is really true about reality?
"What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.”" Jerry Coyne The Confidence of Jerry Coyne - January 6, 2014 Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary. http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/the-confidence-of-jerry-coyne/?_r=0
at 37:51 minute mark of following video, according to the law of identity, Richard Dawkins does not exist as a person: (the unity of Aristotelian Form is also discussed) i.e. to repeat, ironically, in atheists denying that God really exists, they end up denying that they themselves really exist as real persons.
Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video Quote: "It turns out that if every part of you, down to sub-atomic parts, are still what they were when they weren't in you, in other words every ion,,, every single atom that was in the universe,, that has now become part of your living body, is still what is was originally. It hasn't undergone what metaphysicians call a 'substantial change'. So you aren't Richard Dawkins. You are just carbon and neon and sulfur and oxygen and all these individual atoms still. You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren't any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That's why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, "You know, I'm not really here". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s
And in the following article Dawkins admits that it is impossible to live as if his atheistic worldview were actually true
Who wrote Richard Dawkins's new book? - October 28, 2006 Excerpt: Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don't feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,, Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views? Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.,,, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/10/who_wrote_richard_dawkinss_new002783.html
And since Dawkins can't possibly live as if atheistic materialism were actually true, then that makes his worldview a delusion:
Existential Argument against Atheism - November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen 1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview. 2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview. 3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality. 4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion. 5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true. Conclusion: Atheism is false. http://answersforhope.com/existential-argument-atheism/
bornagain
December 19, 2015
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bornagain, I'm sorry bornagin but I was very tired yesterday. I should have been more clear answering your deep questions. 1. I tend to believe that humans are living "souls" as are the animals. 2.I don't believe us and animals as well have a transcendent mind for many reasons one of them being this: Ecclesiastes 9:10 "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom."J-Mac
December 19, 2015
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J-Mac, let's be perfectly clear here, which question were you answering? 'I don't' can be taken two different ways. BA: "so you don’t believe you are a soul?" JMac: 'I don't' BA: "How about your mind? Do you deny the existence of your mind to?" JMac: 'I don't' Do you believe that you have a transcendent mind that is not reducible to any material explanations? And yet you do not believe you have a transcendent soul? Is that your exact position? Or are you just saying that you believe you have a 'mind' but that the 'mind' you believe in is really reducible to brain states? i.e. You have a 'mind' but your 'mind' is really just an illusion produced by your brain?bornagain
December 18, 2015
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I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I don't. As you may or may not know, I don't have doubts about God's ABILITY TO KNOW EVERYTHING IN ADVANCE. I know, He can do it. However, does He want to do it? If yes, why? If not, why not?J-Mac
December 18, 2015
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J-Mac, so you don't believe you are a soul? How about your mind? Do you deny the existence of your mind to? Sadducees vs. Pharisees? Acts 23:8 - 9 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” of note, one commenter argues even the Sadducees believed in an afterlife of sorts: At this point, I’m prepared to stand by my original claim that the Sadducees in general did indeed believe that at death, the soul continues to exist, and departs to an afterlife (of sorts) in Sheol, despite Pharisaic attempts to portray them as annihilationists, and despite the possibility that individual Sadducees may indeed have absorbed Greek philosophical materialism into their personal religion. I’d discount the latter group, because if you’re going to become a Greek materialist, you’ve got no particular interest in books of laws supposedly dictated by immaterial gods, and therefore you’re not really part of the debate between Jesus and the Sadducees. What we’ve got in Matthew 22 are a bunch of Sadducees who already believed that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were in Sheol, http://blog.evangelicalrealism.com/2009/11/08/life-after-death-as-the-sadducees-saw-it/bornagain
December 18, 2015
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bornagain, I get it all. I just wished you had not insisted on your side of the story so much. I believe that the Bible, the accurate history of Christianity, the Greek Mythology as well as Quantum Mechanics clearly contradict the existence of immaterial soul.J-Mac
December 18, 2015
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J-Mac, UD has quite the diversity of theistic views. The one thing that unites us all is our defense of ID. Personally, I have no problem with you not believing in a soul. Don't get me wrong, I believe you are completely wrong, both theologically and empirically in regards to the soul. As I am sure you think I am wrong in my position. But, as I see it, that is between you and God, and is certainly not up to me nor my feeble attempts to correct what I see to be Theological and empirical error. The primary thing is that we are united against atheists and their doctrine of Darwinian evolution. May you and yours have a very Merry Christmas Season. Joy Williams - Here With Us with lyrics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgGaQWCCjR0&index=1&list=RDrgGaQWCCjR0bornagain
December 17, 2015
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BA, I like you but your soul-quantum mechanics thing is getting out of control. If you believe it, read this! If you can't understand it, look it up! Here we go-The soul teaching is not even a Christian teaching. Where would the soul of Larry Moran go after death? I hope not to heaven? According to your belief, the poor Larry's soul would have to go to the purgatory but they apparently only accept agnostics and revamped atheists. Where would Larry's soul go? To hell to be tortured for eternity?J-Mac
December 17, 2015
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The only thing I should have added to my post #155 is that God has to have the ability to foreknow the future but He does't always exercise that ability as it has already been suggested by JJ#132. Otherwise, the act of creation wouldn't make much sense at all.J-Mac
December 17, 2015
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Also of related note, Gravity (i.e. space-time itself) was overcome in the resurrection event of Christ:
Particle Radiation from the Body – July 2012 – M. Antonacci, A. C. Lind Excerpt: The Shroud’s frontal and dorsal body images are encoded with the same amount of intensity, independent of any pressure or weight from the body. The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image. Radiation coming from the body would not only explain this feature, but also the left/right and light/dark reversals found on the cloth’s frontal and dorsal body images. https://docs.google.com/document/d/19tGkwrdg6cu5mH-RmlKxHv5KPMOL49qEU8MLGL6ojHU/edit A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847 THE EVENT HORIZON (Space-Time Singularity) OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN. – Isabel Piczek – Particle Physicist Excerpt: We have stated before that the images on the Shroud firmly indicate the total absence of Gravity. Yet they also firmly indicate the presence of the Event Horizon. These two seemingly contradict each other and they necessitate the past presence of something more powerful than Gravity that had the capacity to solve the above paradox. http://shroud3d.com/findings/isabel-piczek-image-formation Turin shroud – (Particle Physicist explains event horizon) – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHVUGK6UFK8 The Center Of The Universe Is Life (Jesus) - General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5070355/
Moreover, as would be expected if General Relativity (Gravity), and Quantum Mechanics/Special Relativity (QED), were truly unified in the resurrection of Christ from death, the image on the shroud is found to be formed by a quantum process. The image was not formed by a ‘classical’ process:
The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008 Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril. http://cab.unime.it/journals/index.php/AAPP/article/view/C1A0802004/271 “It is not a continuum or spherical-front radiation that made the image, as visible or UV light. It is not the X-ray radiation that obeys the one over R squared law that we are so accustomed to in medicine. It is more unique. It is suggested that the image was formed when a high-energy particle struck the fiber and released radiation within the fiber at a speed greater that the local speed of light. Since the fiber acts as a light pipe, this energy moved out through the fiber until it encountered an optical discontinuity, then it slowed to the local speed of light and dispersed. The fact that the pixels don’t fluoresce suggests that the conversion to their now brittle dehydrated state occurred instantly and completely so no partial products remain to be activated by the ultraviolet light. This suggests a quantum event where a finite amount of energy transferred abruptly. The fact that there are images front and back suggests the radiating particles were released along the gravity vector. The radiation pressure may also help explain why the blood was “lifted cleanly” from the body as it transformed to a resurrected state.” Kevin Moran – optical engineer Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011 Excerpt: After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists. However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax. Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic. “The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” they said. And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-say-turin-shroud-is-supernatural-6279512.html
bornagain
December 17, 2015
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Of related note to the Theology of 'backward in time' causation by mind being in accordance with Christian Theism.
Old Earth Creationism and the Fall, William Dembski - Christian Research Journal, volume 34, number 4(2011). Excerpt: My solution (to death preceding the fall) in my book “The End of Christianity” is to argue that, just as the effects of salvation at the cross reach both forward in time (saving present day Christians) and backward in time (saving Old Testament saints), so the effects of the fall reach forward in time as well as backward. What makes the argument work is the ability of God to arrange events at one time to anticipate events at a later time.,,, http://www.equip.org/PDF/JAF4344.pdf William Dembski Interview - Finding A Good God In An Evil World – (2011) (death preceding fall - God's anticipation) - 25:30 minute mark - video interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=81CALS-xZTQ#t=1472 Finding a Good God in an Evil World - William Dembski http://www.designinference.com/documents/2009.05.end_of_xty.pdf
bornagain
December 17, 2015
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