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Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder shares her self-doubts about exposing nonsense in cosmology

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Lost in Math One must hope that Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, isn’t too worried about the people who criticize her:

Let us leave aside for a moment that you have to skip half the book to not notice I question myself on every other page. Heck, if you ask me to sign the book, I’m afraid I’ll misspell my own name. I’m a walking-talking bag of self-doubt. Indeed that was the reason I ended up writing this book.

Needless to say, making a case against a community of some thousands of the biggest brains on the planet has not been conducive to my self-confidence. But I have tried to find a scientific reason for the methods which my colleagues use in theory-development and could not. I wrote the book because I think it’s my responsibility as scientist to say clearly that I have come to the conclusion what goes on the foundations of physics is a waste of money, and that the public is being misinformed about the promise of this work.

I do not think that this will change the mind of people in the field. They have nothing to worry about because the way that academia is currently organized there is safety in numbers.

So, yes, I doubt myself. But I have written a whole book in which I explain why I have arrived at my conclusion. Rather than asking me, you should ask the people who work in these fields what makes them so certain that beautiful ideas are promising descriptions of nature. Sabine Hossenfelder, “You say theoretical physicists are doing their job all wrong. Don’t you doubt yourself?” at BackRe(Action)

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Ah! A question with an answer: It costs the establishment people nothing to be wrong. It may not even cost them anything to suppress people who are right. Keep reading, thinking, and writing anyway.

See also: Sabine Hossenfelder: Black holes do not behave as string theorists say they should

and

“Perhaps physics has slipped into a post-empirical era…” (from a review of Hossenfelder’s book at Physics World)

35 Replies to “Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder shares her self-doubts about exposing nonsense in cosmology

  1. 1
    PaoloV says:

    “…what goes on the foundations of physics is a waste of money, and that the public is being misinformed about the promise of this work.”

    Wow! Is that true?

    If it is, then current po-mo science is in serious problem.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    It is a healthy self-doubt that she harbors. A kind of healthy self doubt that Feynman himself promoted so as to have integrity in science:

    “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.”
    – Cargo Cult Science by RICHARD P. FEYNMAN
    Some remarks on science, pseudoscience, and learning how to not fool yourself. Caltech’s 1974 commencement address.
    http://calteches.library.calte.....goCult.htm

  3. 3
    jdk says:

    Hmmm. Something for ba to think about.

  4. 4
    jdk says:

    Feynman also made an even more important admonition when he said he would rather live with uncertainty than believe things that are not true.

  5. 5
    jdk says:

    And Feynman also said if you think you understand quantum mechanics, you’re wrong (or something to that effect).

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    It might behoove jdk to study, besides Feynman’s witty quotes, Feynman’s Nobel prize winning, and groundbreaking, work in QED a little more closely:

    Richard Feynman, in his role in developing Quantum-Electrodynamics, which is a mathematical theory in which special relativity and quantum mechanics are unified,,,

    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/.....ivity.html

    ,, Richard Feynman was only able to unify special relativity and quantum mechanics in quantum electrodynamics by quote unquote “brushing infinity under the rug” by a technique called Renormalization

    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.o.....g-infinity

    In the following video, Richard Feynman rightly expresses his unease with “brushing infinity under the rug” in Quantum-Electrodynamics:

    “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:
    Feynman: Mathematicians versus Physicists – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obCjODeoLVw

    I don’t know about Richard Feynman, 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’:

    “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

    John1:1
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    of note: ‘the Word’ in John 1:1 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

    The reason why I find it rather comforting is because of John 1:1, which says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    ‘The Word’ in John 1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos also happens to be the root word from which we derive our modern word logic.
    So that it would take an infinite amount of logic to know what tiny bit of spacetime is going to do is pretty much exactly what one should expect to see under Christian presuppositions.

    In fact, as a Christian Theist, I find both the double slit and quantum electrodynamics to be extremely comforting for overall Christian concerns.

    Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism- video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK9kGpIxMRM

    As to having a healthy skepticism towards one’s own approach to science, and one’s own acceptance of unsubstantiated theories in science, I find it extremely ironic that jdk, a Darwinist, would tell me that it is something for me to think about since the healthy skepticism that is so crucial in other areas of science is, in large measure, completely absent from Darwinian thinking:

    Perhaps jdk should take his own advice about skepticism and apply it to his own belief in Darwinism?

    “Much of the vast neo-Darwinian literature is distressingly uncritical. The possibility that anything is seriously amiss with Darwin’s account of evolution is hardly considered. … The methodological skepticism that characterizes most areas of scientific discourse seems strikingly absent when Darwinism is the topic.”
    Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....98141.html

  7. 7
    jdk says:

    I just read some about Hossenfelder and her book. She seems like an interesting, talented woman with some important points to make.

  8. 8
    jdk says:

    HI ba. I have read all of QED, as well as parts of Feynman’s book on Path Integrals, and have read quite a bit about the mathematical issue of renormalization. I’m not sure that you understand the issue, especially in regard to the role of infinity.

    Question: how well-versed in calculus are you?

    And I am a skeptic – a clear agnostic on many issues, and not a “Darwinist”, for what that’s worth.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    So you really want to try the ‘argument from authority” on me ? 🙂

    I don’t think this tactic is going to turn out like you think it will.

    Anyways, bluff and bluster aside, Infinity, and how it has tried to be tamed, is very interesting to look at, and, as far as I can tell, supports Christianity in how it has been used thus far, (as well as where infinity ‘creeps into’ science).

    Gödel, Infinity, and Jesus Christ as the Theory of Everything – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1Jw5Y686jY

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    jdk states:

    “I am a skeptic – a clear agnostic on many issues, and not a “Darwinist”, for what that’s worth.”

    Well since you are an atheist and are not a Darwinist, and since you fight tooth and nail against the living God who gives you life, then what exactly are you?

  11. 11
    jdk says:

    More on topic: how well versed in calculus are you? How well do you understand renormalization mathematically?

  12. 12
    R J Sawyer says:

    BA77

    So you really want to try the ‘argument from authority” on me ?

    I agree. Who in their right mind would try the “argument from authority” against someone who has raised “argument from authority” to an art form? 🙂

  13. 13
    jdk says:

    re 12: That’s right, ba has a vast catalog of quotes to support his arguments from authority, and I have very few. I am bound to lose an argument from authority contest. 🙂

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    I am not well versed on calculus. From my very limited understanding of calculus, calculus does not deal directly with infinity but places limits on infinity so as to allow approximate calculations to be possible within calculus.

    Limits to Infinity
    https://www.mathsisfun.com/calculus/limits-infinity.html

    As to a more robust treatment of infinity, I re-reference this video (which jdk apparently thought himself too smart to bother watching),,,

    Gödel, Infinity, and Jesus Christ as the Theory of Everything – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1Jw5Y686jY

    ,,, a video where I give an overview of the work, by Cantor, trying to ‘tame infinity’ mathematically so as to make it useful within mathematics. I also touched upon where Godel picked up the pieces where Cantor had failed trying to ‘tame infinity’, which subsequently led to Godel formulating his incompleteness theorems.

    “Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (1931), proves that there are limits to what can be ascertained by mathematics. Kurt Gödel halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything in his theorem that: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove.”
    – Stephen Hawking & Leonard Miodinow, The Grand Design (2010)

    The nature and significance of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems – Princeton – 2006
    Excerpt: ,,Stephen Hawking and Freeman Dyson, among others, have come to the conclusion that Gödel’s theorem implies that there can’t be a (mathematical) Theory of Everything.,,
    http://math.stanford.edu/~fefe.....el-IAS.pdf

    As to renormalization, and to reiterate, I understand that Richard Feynman (and others) were only able to unify special relativity and quantum mechanics into Quantum Electrodynamics by quote unquote “brushing infinity under the rug” with a technique called Renormalization

    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.o.....g-infinity

    Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK9kGpIxMRM

    And whereas special relativity, by ‘brushing infinity under the rug’, has been successfully unified with quantum theory to produce Quantum Electrodynamics, no such mathematical ‘sleight of hand’ exists for unifying general relativity with quantum mechanics.

    General relativity, as the following articles show, simply refuses to be mathematically unified with quantum mechanics in any mathematically acceptable way.

    In technical terms, Gravity has yet to be successfully included into a theory of everything since the infinities that crop up in that attempt are not renormalizable as they were in Quantum-Electrodynamics.

    Does quantum mechanics contradict the theory of relativity?
    Sanjay Sood, Microchip Design Engineer, Theoretical and Applied Physicist – Feb 14, 2016
    Excerpt: quantum mechanics was first integrated with special theory of relativity by Dirac in 1928 just 3 years after quantum mechanics was discovered. Dirac produced an equation that describes the behavior of a quantum particle (electron). In this equation the space and time enter on the same footing – equation is first order in all 4 coordinates. One startling by product of this equation was the prediction of anti matter. It also gave the correct explanation for the electron’s spin. Dirac’s equation treats an electron as a particle with only a finite degrees of freedom.
    In 1940s Dirac’s equation was incorporated into the relativistic quantum field theory that’s knowns as quantum electrodynamics (QED) independently by Feynman, Schwinger and Tomonaga. This is the theory that describes the behavior of electrons and photons and their interactions with each other in terms of relativistic quantum fields that have infinite degrees of freedom. QED allowed extremely precise calculation of anomalous magnetic dipole moment of an electron. This calculated value matches the experimentally measured value to an astonishing precision of 12 decimal places!
    The integration of Einstein’s general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics has proved to be far more difficult. Such an integration would give a quantum theory of gravity. Even after a sustained effort lasting more than half a century, no renormalized quantum field theory of gravity has ever been produced. Renormalization means a theory that’s free of infinities at zero distance or infinite energy because 2 point particles can interact with each other at zero distance. A non renormalizable theory has no predictive value because it contains an infinite number of singular coefficients.
    https://www.quora.com/Does-quantum-mechanics-contradict-the-theory-of-relativity

    Unified field theory
    Excerpt: Gravity has yet to be successfully included in a theory of everything.
    Simply trying to combine the graviton with the strong and electroweak interactions runs into fundamental difficulties since the resulting theory is not renormalizable. Theoretical physicists have not yet formulated a widely accepted, consistent theory that combines general relativity and quantum mechanics. The incompatibility of the two theories remains an outstanding problem in the field of physics.
    Some theoretical physicists currently believe that a quantum theory of general relativity may require frameworks other than field theory itself, such as string theory or loop quantum gravity.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_field_theory#Current_status

    And again, the irreconcilable infinity problem between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity is dealt with in more detail in the following video (which jdk apparently thinks himself too smart to watch).

    Gödel, Infinity, and Jesus Christ as the Theory of Everything – video
    https://youtu.be/x1Jw5Y686jY

    And as was also touched upon in the preceding video, I believe that the reconciliation of Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ was accomplished in Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

    Verses:

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

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

  15. 15
    jdk says:

    I lose.

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    As to the main topic of the thread, i.e. Hossenfelder’s self-doubts, I hold that in order for anything to real and certain for us in the first place then God must necessarily exist.

    Simply put, without God, Atheists exist in a world of illusion and fantasy that makes Alice in wonderland seem rational by comparison:

    In what I consider a shining example of poetic justice, in their claim that God does not really exist as a real person but is merely an illusion, the Atheist himself also ends up claiming that he himself does not really exist as a real person but that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ of his brain. Here are a few references that drive this point home,,,

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    https://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/the-confidence-of-jerry-coyne/?mcubz=3

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins
    ”If consciousness is an illusion… what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “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

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    “The neural circuits in our brain manage the beautifully coordinated and smoothly appropriate behavior of our body. They also produce the entrancing introspective illusion that thoughts really are about stuff in the world. This powerful illusion has been with humanity since language kicked in, as we’ll see. It is the source of at least two other profound myths: that we have purposes that give our actions and lives meaning and that there is a person “in there” steering the body, so to speak.”
    [A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide To Reality, Ch.9]

    “I’m not arguing that consciousness is a reality beyond science or beyond the brain or that it floats free of the brain at death. I’m not making any spooky claims about its metaphysics. What I am saying, however, is that the self is an illusion. The sense of being an ego, an I, a thinker of thoughts in addition to the thoughts. An experiencer in addition to the experience. The sense that we all have of riding around inside our heads as a kind of a passenger in the vehicle of the body. That’s where most people start when they think about any of these questions. Most people don’t feel identical to their bodies. They feel like they have bodies. They feel like they’re inside the body. And most people feel like they’re inside their heads. Now that sense of being a subject, a locus of consciousness inside the head is an illusion. It makes no neuro-anatomical sense.”
    Sam Harris: The Self is an Illusion
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fajfkO_X0l0

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    Besides he himself becoming a ‘neuronal illusion’, the atheist’s entire worldview also dissolves into pure illusion.

    Darwin’s Theory vs Falsification – 39:45 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/8rzw0JkuKuQ?t=2387
    Excerpt: Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft).
    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    Paper with references for each claim page; Page 37:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pAYmZpUWFEi3hu45FbQZEvGKsZ9GULzh8KM0CpqdePk/edit

    Thus, although the Darwinian Atheist firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

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

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

    Matthew 7:24-27
    “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Of supplemental note to something being ‘real’ and therefore ‘certain’ for us in the first place:

    In order for someone to claim that something is real for them then they ultimately have to appeal to their own subjective conscious awareness of something in order to claim that it is really real for them. For instance, ‘I kicked the rock, I know the rock is really real because it hurt my foot.’

    As you can see, for the rock to be really real for a person, a person must ultimately make reference to his own subjective conscious experience of the rock.

    That is to say, for anything to be ‘real’ for us in the first place then consciousness is not, and can never be, derivative from some material substrate as Darwinian atheists hold, but consciousness itself, i.e. the Mind of God, must be the primary substratum from which everything else is derived.

    The founders of quantum mechanics, and others, put this ‘obvious’ and simple fact for something to be ‘real’ like this.

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the main founder of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

    “In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could not believe that mind is not primary in the first place.”
    – William J. Murray

    He goes toe-to-toe with science big wigs… and so far he’s undefeated. – interview
    Dr. Bernardo Kastrup: You see we always start from the fact that we are conscious. Consciousness is the only carrier of reality and existence that we can know. Everything else is abstraction; [they] are inferences we make from consciousness.
    http://www.skeptiko.com/274-be.....rialistic/

    And while the logic that for anything to be ‘real’ for us in the first place then consciousness must necessarily be primary, not derivative, is straightforward, and, on pain of denying the reality of personhood itself, undeniable (Descartes), it should also be noted that the primary mental attribute of Qualia defies ever being reduced to any possible physical examination and/or explanation.

    “what it is like to taste a specific apple, this particular apple now”.
    Examples of qualia include the perceived sensation of pain of a headache, the taste of wine, as well as the redness of an evening sky.,,
    – per wikipedia

    This inability to reduce the primary subjective mental attribute of qualia to physical examination and/or explanation is referred to as “the hard problem” of consciousness,,,

    David Chalmers on Consciousness (Descartes, Philosophical Zombies and the Hard Problem of Consciousness) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Yo6VbRoo

    And indeed one would be very hard pressed to produce any experimental evidence for the primary subjective mental attribute of qualia.

    For prime example, the only ‘scientific’ evidence that I can produce for my claim that “for anything to be ‘real’ for us in the first place then consciousness itself, i.e. the Mind of God, must be the primary substratum from which everything else is derived”, is this anecdotal evidence from personal testimonies about the ‘realness’ of Near Death Experiences.

    To quote the headline of the following article, ‘Afterlife’ feels ‘even more real than real”

    ‘Afterlife’ feels ‘even more real than real,’ researcher says – Wed April 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “If you use this questionnaire … if the memory is real, it’s richer, and if the memory is recent, it’s richer,” he said.
    The coma scientists weren’t expecting what the tests revealed.
    “To our surprise, NDEs were much richer than any imagined event or any real event of these coma survivors,” Laureys reported.
    The memories of these experiences beat all other memories, hands down, for their vivid sense of reality. “The difference was so vast,” he said with a sense of astonishment.
    Even if the patient had the experience a long time ago, its memory was as rich “as though it was yesterday,” Laureys said.
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/09/.....periences/

    Exactly how is it even possible for something to become even ‘more real than real’ for a person in a NDE unless consciousness, i.e. the infinite Mind of God, truly is the basis for all reality, and this material reality we presently live in, as is claimed in Christianity, really is just a shadow of the heavenly paradise that awaits us after death?

    On Christianity this ‘more real than real’ finding is expected whereas, once again, materialism is found to be at a complete loss to explain why this ‘more real than real’ experience should even happen in the first place.

    A Doctor’s Near Death Experience Inspires a New Life – video
    Quote: “It’s not like a dream. It’s like the world we are living in is a dream and it’s kind of like waking up from that.”
    Dr. Magrisso
    http://www.nbcchicago.com/on-a.....31791.html

    Medical Miracles – Dr. Mary Neal’s Near Death Experience – video (More real than real quote at 37:49 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/WCNjmWP2JjU?t=2269

    “More real than anything I’ve experienced since. When I came back of course I had 34 operations, and was in the hospital for 13 months. That was real but heaven is more real than that. The emotions and the feelings. The reality of being with people who had preceded me in death.”
    – Don Piper – “90 Minutes in Heaven,” 10 Years Later – video (2:54 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/3LyZoNlKnMM?t=173

    And yet whereas qualia will never lend itself to rigorous physical examination and/or explanation, on the other hand we find that the mental attributes of “the experience of the now” and ‘free will’, do lend themselves to physical examination.

    Albert Einstein vs. Quantum Mechanics and His Own Mind – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxFFtZ301j4

    Thus, while qualia gives us a bit of a hard time, the mental attributes of “the experience of the now” and ‘free will’ do give us enough of a ’empirical foothold’ to further warrant our ‘common sense’ belief that consciousness must be the primary basis of reality.

    Thus, whereas the Atheist, in forsaking the primacy of consciousness, has forsaken any rational claim he can make in regards to properly defining what is ‘real’ and certain in the first place, the Christian Theist is sitting very comfortable in his belief that God is the basis of ALL reality.

    Verse:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

  18. 18
    jdk says:

    in 10, ba wrote

    since you fight tooth and nail against the living God who gives you life, then what exactly are you?

    First, I don’t “fight tooth and nail” about God, or anything else: that’s an excessive metaphor. I don’t believe in the Christian God, or, more broadly, that the beliefs of any religion are ontologically true. Discussing, debating, or even arguing with people about that is not “fighting tooth and nail.”

    Second, as to what “exactly” I am, I don’t think of there being any one label that describes me, and I’m not interested in trying to settle on any. There are some broad labels that I am most comfortable with (I’ve discussed them in the past), but I don’t feel bound at all to what other people think those labels necessarily entail. I’m interested in discussing beliefs, not labels.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    “I’m interested in discussing beliefs”

    Except yours of course.

    Regardless, your denial of God in and of itself is enough to condemn you to a worldview of irreconcilable irrationality. See post 16 and 17, and this:

    Atheism,,, is certainly far more than the mere absence of faith. – David Bentley Hart
    God, Gods, and Fairies by David Bentley Hart – June 2013
    Excerpt: All of which is to say (to return to where I began) that it is absurd to think that one can profess atheism in any meaningful way without thereby assenting to an entire philosophy of being, however inchoate one’s sense of it may be. The philosophical naturalist’s view of reality is not one that merely fails to find some particular object within the world that the theist imagines can be described there; it is a very particular representation of the nature of things, entailing a vast range of purely metaphysical commitments.
    Principally, it requires that one believe that the physical order, which both experience and reason say is an ensemble of ontological contingencies, can exist entirely of itself, without any absolute source of actuality. It requires also that one resign oneself to an ultimate irrationalism: For the one reality that naturalism can never logically encompass is the very existence of nature (nature being, by definition, that which already exists); it is a philosophy, therefore, surrounded, permeated, and exceeded by a truth that is always already super naturam, and yet a philosophy that one cannot seriously entertain except by scrupulously refusing to recognize this.
    It is the embrace of an infinite paradox: the universe understood as an “absolute contingency.” It may not amount to a metaphysics in the fullest sense, since strictly speaking it possesses no rational content—it is, after all, a belief that all things rest upon something like an original moment of magic—but it is certainly far more than the mere absence of faith.
    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/06/god-gods-and-fairies

  20. 20
    R J Sawyer says:

    Jdk

    I lose.

    Certainly by word count, you lose.

  21. 21
    jdk says:

    re 19: I am not a philosophical naturalist.

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    I did not say you were anything, I merely said “your denial of God in and of itself is enough to condemn you to a worldview of irreconcilable irrationality. See post 16 and 17, and this:”

    Atheism,,, is certainly far more than the mere absence of faith. – David Bentley Hart,,,

    ———–

    To falsely accuse me of calling you anything when I clearly indicated that the only belief you were firmly committed to was ‘denial of God’ is, as usual, dishonest and disingenuous on your part.

    Moreover, as such antics on your part make abundantly clear, you certainly are not interested in honest discussion, but are only interested in trolling.

    I find your disingenuous and ‘foggy’ debating tactics to be pathetic.

  23. 23
    jdk says:

    re 19:

    ba writes, …Your denial of God …”

    Note well what I actually wrote:

    I don’t believe in the Christian God, or, more broadly, that the beliefs of any religion are ontologically true.

  24. 24
    jdk says:

    ba, the quote you offered by Benton was about philosophical naturalism, so it seemed reasonable to assume that you were addressing that quote to me. Therefore, I implied that the quote didn’t apply to me because I am not a philosophical naturalist.

    If you just want me to respond to you, then don’t quote other people.

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    Whatever jdk, don’t expect me to chase you down the rabbit hole of what God you are willing or not willing to accept. It is not on me to specifically define your belief that you are purposely trying to be obtuse on.

    My empirical evidence has been laid out for the robustness of Christianity in regards to the subject at hand. Whereas you, as usual, have nothing save for your own foggy denial of God. Good luck with all that.

    Again, I find your debating tactics to be pathetic, even trollish.

    And I shall soon weary of it and treat you as such.

  26. 26
    jdk says:

    Referring back to the Feynman quotes in 2 and 4 above (which is why I got involved in this thread), I strongly endorse Feynman’s thoughts about uncertainty and belief: I would rather live with uncertainty than believe things that are not true.

    Therefore, I am a strong agnostic about metaphysical matters because I don’t believe we have the means to investigate them. I enjoy thinking about metaphysical possibilities, and have preferences that I have chosen for my personal orientation towards metaphysics, but I don’t think we can really know. Therefore, I don’t think any religions are true, and I am doubtful, and in fact thoroughly skeptical, of those who claim with certainty that their metaphysical beliefs are true.

    That’s part of the answer to ba’s question, “what exactly are you?”

  27. 27
    jdk says:

    ba wrote, “Thus, whereas the Atheist, in forsaking the primacy of consciousness …”

    One can believe, and some do, that consciousness is a component, and perhaps the primary component, of the universe, without believing in a God, such as the Christian one, who takes any kind of active role or interest in how the universe unfolds.

    Thus, not all atheists forsake the primacy of consciousness.

  28. 28
    bornagain77 says:

    jdk, as you know, the vast majority of atheists on this site reject the primacy of consciousness and fully embrace philosophical naturalism.

    Thus, if you really want to be considered fair in how you evaluate matters, you would do very well to also argue with the many Darwinian atheists on this site that their naturalistic position is incorrect. Instead of solely targeting ID advocates in general and Christians in particular.

    And I don’t know exactly what position you are going to argue for, since, the other day, you seemed to reject pantheism altogether,,,. You said something along the lines of ‘I mentioned pantheism one time but don’t embrace it’

    Shoot, in this thread, in post 8, you even said that you do not believe in Darwinian evolution. Which was a bit of a shocker, and when I pressed you on that point you did not answer.

    Which is understandable since, even in a passing glance, your position is completely incoherent. i.e. An atheist who rejects Darwinian evolution.

    Think about that for a moment,,,

    I am sure I am not the only one on this site who is very curious as to exactly how you will possibly try to square that circle.

    Yet, I won’t be holding my breath for you to clearly define your position since it is an absurd position even on its surface and is only sure to get more absurd if you try to clearly define it.

    Moreover, your typical modis operandi is lack of clarity. In fact, I find that you are the arch enemy of clarity in a debate.

    So again, to prove you are truly fair in these matters, why not tell the many Darwinists that visit this site why they are wrong in their beliefs?

    Why just ID advocates and Christians?

    It is a particular kind of militant agnosticism that you harbor that manifests itself solely in being against ID and, in particular, being against Christianity, and does not bother to openly complain against the many other worldviews that you also hold to be false.

    But such is the irrational life of being a militant atheistic troll is it not jdk?

  29. 29
    R J Sawyer says:

    BA77

    Which is understandable since, even in a passing glance, your position is completely incoherent. i.e. An atheist who rejects Darwinian evolution.

    Just a note. I consider myself to be an atheist that does not believe in Darwinian evolution. But this is because I believe that evolutionary theory has advanced well beyond what Darwin had proposed. And well beyond what is described in neo-darwinism.

  30. 30
    ET says:

    Earth to RJ Sawyer- natural selection is still the only posited mechanism that can produce the appearance of design (without an intelligent designer). So how far has evolutionism really advanced?

    The alleged evidence for the evolution of the eye/ vision systems is the same today as it was in Darwin’s day- so again how far has evolutionism really advanced?

  31. 31
    jdk says:

    re 28: I hope to respond more when I have time, but here’s a short reply.

    ba writes, “atheist who rejects Darwinian evolution. …”

    I assumed by “Darwinist” you meant coming from a materialistic viewpoint, and since I am not a materialist I said I was not a Darwinist.

    Am I correct that by Darwinist you imply materialism?

  32. 32
    bornagain77 says:

    jdk states:

    ba writes, “atheist who rejects Darwinian evolution. …”

    I assumed by “Darwinist” you meant coming from a materialistic viewpoint, and since I am not a materialist I said I was not a Darwinist.

    Am I correct that by Darwinist you imply materialism?

    Too funny! 🙂

    Thus far, jdk considers materialism, philosophical naturalism, pantheism, Theism, Christianity and Darwinism all to be false. And yet he wants me to clarify exactly which form of Darwinism I meant as if that will help him to clarify exactly which form of evolution he believes in.

    You simply can’t make this stuff up! 🙂

    Not that I ever expect a straightforward and honest answer from jdk, but anyways, for entertainment purposes, when I said Darwinian Evolution in that context I included all forms of evolution that exclude Intelligent Design and was not limiting my scope to just Neo-Darwinism.

    When I limit my scope on which form of evolution I mean, I usually use the term ‘Neo-Darwinism” to differentiate it from the plethora of other naturalistic forms of evolution that are advocated by James Shapiro’s ‘The Third Way” crowd.

  33. 33
    jdk says:

    ba, you write,

    Thus far, jdk considers materialism, philosophical naturalism, pantheism, Theism, Christianity and Darwinism all to be false.

    You don’t seem to understand the following sentence, which I wrote in 26.

    I am a strong agnostic about metaphysical matters because I don’t believe we have the means to investigate them.

    I don’t believe that we have the means to investigate whether the list of things that you list above are true or false. For instance, when I say I am not a materialist, that is not the same thing as saying, as a positive assertion, that materialism is false. I have reasons to think it isn’t true, but that is a tentative assertion about my own beliefs, which are strongly tempered by agnostic uncertainty, not a definitive statement about ontological truth.

    Also you say,

    Darwinism in that context I included all forms of evolution that exclude Intelligent Design.

    If by Intelligent Design you mean purposively guided evolution by some divine being acting through means outside or beyond the action of natural processes (which I assume you as a theist believe), then yes, I am a Darwinist.

    But I think that is misleading. (We had a discussion about this here recently.) I think most people here consider Darwinism to imply materialism, but maybe you don’t.

    Or maybe you think the only two possible metaphysics are theism as you believe in it and materialism, in which case you are leaving out multiple other non-materialistic metaphysics that nevertheless accept the theory of evolution as a description of what has happened, and how, as best we know it, over the course of time.

  34. 34
    jdk says:

    ba, you bagan this discussion by invoking Feynman’s famous quote about not fooling oneself. I added that Feynman said that one important way to not fool yourself is to not think you know more than you do: to accept uncertainty about your beliefs rather than fool yourself into believing things that are not, or might not, be true. (I will point out that this is in part what the OP is about.)

    I think if you are going to invoke Feynman, you should accurately represent his views.

    Here is an more extended Feynman quote on this topic, which I entirely agree with:

    “You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here…. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell. It doesn’t frighten me.

    from “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”, an edited transcript of an interview with Richard Feynman, published in the book also entitled “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.”

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    After all that, I still don’t know exactly which form of ‘naturalistic’ Darwinism that jdk believes in.

    I told you guys it would be entertaining! 🙂

    But then again, it turns out that jdk’s stated goal is to not know anything for certain save for the fact that he is uncertain about everything. 🙂

    Again, you simply can’t make this stuff up!

    of supplemental note, I am well aware of the fact that Feynman was an atheist, which is why I find his irritation with ‘brushing infinity under the rug’ all the more telling.

    Moreover, despite jdk’s quote from Feynman about living with uncertainty (what else but uncertainty can atheism deliver to a person by the way?), Feynman was certainly far more committed to what empirical science could tell us about what is true and false about reality than jdk seems willing to imply in his highlighted quote.

    The Scientific Method – Richard Feynman – video
    Quote: ‘If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL6-x0modwY

    And again, I find QED, Feynman’s crowning jewel and one of our most accurately tested theories ever in the history of science, to support Theism, even to support Christianity in particular, and not to support Atheism:

    Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK9kGpIxMRM

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