Intelligent Design

WD400 Doubles Down on Dobzhansky’s Maxim

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Readers may recall that in a recent post I quoted molecular biologist wd400 undermining Theodosius Dobzhansky’s silly maxim that “nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution” when he asserted that a lot of molecular biologists, including world-famous leader of the human genome project Francis Collins, “don’t understand much about evolution.”

I noted that it follows as a matter of simple logic that Dobzhansky was wrong if one of the world’s leading biologists can do his job perfectly well without even understanding evolution, far less depending on it to make sense of everything.

Today wd400 doubled down when he asserted that not only does Collins not understand evolution, but in fact he is dead wrong about key aspects of the theory, such as junk DNA, HGT and gene counts.

Simple logic again:  One can be dead wrong about key aspects of modern evolutionary theory and still lead to a successful conclusion one of greatest undertakings in applied biology in the history of the world.

That swirling sound you hear is Dobzhansky’s maxim circling the drain.

UPDATE:

I pointed out to wd400 that if Collins does not understand evolution and in fact is dead wrong about key aspects of the theory, Dobzhansky’s maxim implies that Collins can’t “make sense” of the human genome, even though he was the head of the human genome project.

Frankly, I expected wd400 to back down in the face of this reductio ad absurdum argument.  He did not.  He tripled down on his claim and said: “I also very much doubt Collins himself would say the genome ‘makes sense’ to him.”

Yet again we have an example of someone willing to sacrifice rationality itself for the sake of their creation myth.  wd400 please do us all a favor.  Never poke fun at those religious “fundies.”  It would be hypocritical.

 

117 Replies to “WD400 Doubles Down on Dobzhansky’s Maxim

  1. 1
    wd400 says:

    Oh, Barry.

    Collins is/was wrong about key aspects of the human genome like the prevalence of HGT, number of genes and proportion of junk DNA. He made these mistakes in part because he doesn’t have a deep understanding of evolutionary theory.

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    wd400:

    He made these mistakes in part because he doesn’t have a deep understanding of evolutionary theory.

    What is it, exactly, that modern evolutionary theory prohibits? Time travel?

  3. 3
    Barry Arrington says:

    Here is wd400’s quote in full. I will let readers decide whether he is talking about being wrong about the human genome or evolutionary theory:

    It’s also quite possible to depend on the results/methods of evolutionary biology without understanding much of the theory from which they are built (which was my point about Collins getting junk, HGT and gene counts wrong).

    BTW, for those who do not know, “HGT” stands for “horizontal gene transfer,” which is a topic of . . . evolutionary theory. Junk DNA is also a frequent topic in evolutionary theory. And the gene count issue has been raised in these pages countless times. In case you have not figured it out yet, this site is not devoted to the human genome project. So yet again wd400 confirms that he believes Collins was dead wrong about these aspects of evolutionary theory. Yet, somehow, despite being totally clueless about these aspects of evolutionary theory, Collins managed to lead to completion the most ambitious biology project in the history of the world.

    Maybe that swirling sound you hear is wd400 trying to spin his own comments.

  4. 4
    Barry Arrington says:

    wd400 here are some questions for you:

    1. Do you admit that Francis Collins is one of the preeminent experts in the world on the human genome?

    2. Do you admit that the human genome is a matter “in biology”?

    3. Do you admit that the human genome “makes sense” to Francis Collins?

    4. Do you admit that Dobzhansky’s maxim is false?

  5. 5
    wd400 says:

    This is kind of ridiculous. People that know a little about the history of the human genome project will know they predicted there would be >100,000 genes. That was not the case. It’s much more like Ohno’s 1972 estimate of ~30,000 genes (made using genetic load, an evolutionary theory).

    In the orignal paper describing the human genome the authors concluded that many human genes were the result of HGT from bacteria. This has proved to be wrong. People who know more about evolutionary biology pointed this out at the time.

    Now Collins (seems to) think most of the genome is functional. There is a lot of evidence to think he is wrong about this too.

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    Nothing in Biology makes sense…

  7. 7
    Barry Arrington says:

    wd400,

    You seem to have missed my questions in 4 when you commented at 5. No prob. I will put them up for you again:

    1. Do you admit that Francis Collins is one of the preeminent experts in the world on the human genome?

    2. Do you admit that the human genome is a matter “in biology”?

    3. Do you admit that the human genome “makes sense” to Francis Collins?

    4. Do you admit that Dobzhansky’s maxim is false?

  8. 8
    wd400 says:

    As with the last time you set this very clever trap of yours, I remind you that I have never claimed that Collins knows nothing about evolution. I also very much doubt Collins himself would say the genome “makes sense” to him.

    You seem much more interested in catching me in some assumed contradiction that actually understanding what I’m saying. So, just to recap. Collins and others use evolutionary biology to understand genomes. That doesn’t mean they have a deep understanding of evoluionary theory. In some cases their misunderstandings have contributed to errors. I, and many other biologists, believe the proportion of junk DNA in the human genome is another example of this.

    Dobzhansky’s essay is very good. You should read it.

  9. 9
    Mung says:

    wd400:

    Dobzhansky’s essay is very good. You should read it.

    The Bible is very good. You should read it.

  10. 10
    Andre says:

    Dr Ben Carson reject unguided evolution and yet he is the best brain surgeon in the world.

    So when you say people don’t understand evolutionary theory which one are you talking about WD400?

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    If Ben Carson believes that the universe was created 6000 years ago and yet still managed to become the best brain surgeon in the world my hat is off to Ben Carson.

    Why should I vote for Ben Carson?

    1.) He believes things that are obviously false.

    2.) He’s good at what he does in spite of what he believes.

  12. 12
    Andre says:

    Except Dr. Ben Carson does not think the earth is 6000 years old.

  13. 13
    bornagain says:

    “Dobzhansky’s essay is very good. You should read it.”

    Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of theology? – Dilley S. – 2013
    Abstract
    This essay analyzes Theodosius Dobzhansky’s famous article, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” in which he presents some of his best arguments for evolution. I contend that all of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon sectarian claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. Moreover, Dobzhansky’s theology manifests several tensions, both in the epistemic justification of his theological claims and in their collective coherence. I note that other prominent biologists–such as Mayr, Dawkins, Eldredge, Ayala, de Beer, Futuyma, and Gould–also use theology-laden arguments. I recommend increased analysis of the justification, complexity, and coherence of this theology.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23890740

    Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys – Paul Nelson – September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise’s Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous “God-wouldn’t-have-done-it-that-way” arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,,
    ,,,with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s essay “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (1973).
    Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky’s essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes:
    “Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist’s arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky’s arguments.”,,

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89971.html

    I like Egnor’s maxim much better since it is based on good science and not on bad theology.

    “Nothing in biology makes sense without inference to functional biological information.”
    Michael Egnor – Life Is a “Distinguished Outcome”
    – November 20, 2015
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....01061.html

  14. 14
    gpuccio says:

    BA:

    What about:

    “Nothing in biology makes sense in light of neo-darwinian evolution” ?

  15. 15
    Box says:

    WD400: (…) he doesn’t have a deep understanding of evolutionary theory.

    Is it possible to have a “deep understanding” of something which is essentially contentless to the extent that it fails to penetrate the surface of rationality?
    Assuming that we are discussing evolutionary theory which presupposes naturalism, we do know that rationality — let alone a “deep understanding” — is not grounded in principle:

    1. If naturalism is true, then determinism is true.
    2. If determinism is true, then all our actions and thoughts are consequences of events and laws of nature in the remote past before we were born.
    3. We have no control over circumstances that existed in the remote past before we were born, nor do we have any control over the laws of nature.
    4. If A causes B, and we have no control over A, and A is sufficient for B, then we have no control over B.
    Therefore
    5. If determinism is true, then we have no control over our own actions and thoughts.
    Therefore, assuming that rationality requires control,
    6. If determinism is true, we are not rational.

    Conclusion: if naturalism is true there can be no “deep understanding” of evolutionary theory.

  16. 16
    bornagain says:

    gpuccio, much better. 🙂

    Somebody ought to do a cartoon of an evolutionary biologist staring into a crystal ball to come up with these supposed solid scientific ‘predictions’ of neo-Darwinian evolution that wd400 is so enamored with.

    But then again, I would not want to insult crystal ball fortune tellers. 🙂
    http://elleseconomy.com/wp-con.....teller.jpg

    Although, per Popper, I don’t even consider neo-Darwinian evolution to be science in the first place since it has no falsification criteria

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge
    http://izquotes.com/quote/147518

    Although Darwinism does not even qualify as a proper science in the first place, wd400, Larry Moran and other Darwinists, ignore that fact and pretend ‘fuzzy’ predictions , i.e. crystal ball reading, verify Darwinian evolution.

    wd400 is particularly fond of taking rough, back of the envelope, calculations that have some fuzzy semblance of relating to reality, i.e. crystal ball reading, and then treating those fuzzy numbers as if they were on par with proving General Relativity to another decimal place of precision.

    Yet contrary to what wd400 wants to believe, the track record of successful scientific predictions from neo-Darwinian evolution is dismal.

    In fact, neo-Darwinian evolution has far, far, more failed predictions that go to the core of the theory than it has superfluous successful predictions. Failed predictions which should, per Lakatos, rightly disqualify it as a legitimate science.

    Imre Lakatos tipped toed around the fact that Darwinism does not have demarcation criteria to test against so as to potentially falsify it,,,

    A Philosophical Question…Does Evolution have a Hard Core ?
    Some Concluding Food for Thought
    In my research on the demarcation problem, I have noticed philosophers of science attempting to balance (usually unconsciously) a consistent demarcation criteria against the the disruptive effects that it’s application might have with regard to the academic status quo (and evolution in particular)… Few philosophers of science will even touch such matters, but (perhaps unintentionally) Imre Lakatos does offer us a peek at how one might go about balancing these schizophrenic demands (in Motterlini1999: 24)

    “Let us call the first school militant positivism; you will understand why later on. The problem of this school was to find certain demarcation criteria similar to those I have outlined, but these also had to satisfy certain boundary conditions, as a mathematician would say. I am referring to a definite set of people to which most scientists as well as Popper and Carnap would belong. These people think that there are goodies and baddies among scientific theories, and once you have defined a demarcation criterion. you should divide all your theories between the two groups. You would end up. for example, with a goodies list including Copernicus’s (Theory1), Galileo’s (T2), Kepler’s (T3), Newton’s (T4) … and Einstein’s (T5), along with (but this is just my supposition) Darwin’s (T6). Let me just anticipate that nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin can be described as scientific, but this is exactly what we are looking for.”

    So basically, the demarcation problem is a fun game philosophers enjoy playing, but when they realize the implications regarding the theory of evolution, they quickly back off…
    http://www.samizdat.qc.ca/cosm.....ore_pg.htm

    Lakatos, although he tipped toed around the failure of Darwinism to have a rigid demarcation criteria, he was brave enough to state that a good scientific theory will make successful predictions in science and a bad theory will generate ‘epicycle theories’ to cover up embarrassing failed predictions:

    Science and Pseudoscience (transcript) –
    “In degenerating programmes, however, theories are fabricated only in order to accommodate known facts”
    – Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) a philosopher of mathematics and science, , quote as stated in 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture
    http://www2.lse.ac.uk/philosop.....cript.aspx
    Here’s the audio:
    Science and Pseudoscience – Lakatos – audio lecture
    http://richmedia.lse.ac.uk/phi.....nce128.mp3

    In his 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture 1[12] he also claimed that “nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin can be described as scientific”.
    Almost 20 years after Lakatos’s 1973 challenge to the scientificity of Darwin, in her 1991 The Ant and the Peacock, LSE lecturer and ex-colleague of Lakatos, Helena Cronin, attempted to establish that Darwinian theory was empirically scientific in respect of at least being supported by evidence of likeness in the diversity of life forms in the world, explained by descent with modification. She wrote that

    “our usual idea of corroboration as requiring the successful prediction of novel facts…Darwinian theory was not strong on temporally novel predictions.” …
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.....27s_theory

    And following in Lakatos footsteps, Dr. Hunter has compiled a list of some of the false predictions generated by evolutionary theory. False predictions that are fundamental to evolutionary theory, i.e. go to the ‘core’ of the theory, and falsify it from the inside out as it were.

    Darwin’s (failed) Predictions – Cornelius G. Hunter – 2015
    This paper evaluates 23 fundamental (false) predictions of evolutionary theory from a wide range of different categories. The paper begins with a brief introduction to the nature of scientific predictions, and typical concerns evolutionists raise against investigating predictions of evolution. The paper next presents the individual predictions in seven categories: early evolution, evolutionary causes, molecular evolution, common descent, evolutionary phylogenies, evolutionary pathways, and behavior. Finally the conclusion summarizes these various predictions, their implications for evolution’s capacity to explain phenomena, and how they bear on evolutionist’s claims about their theory.

    *Introduction
    Why investigate evolution’s false predictions?
    Responses to common objections

    *Early evolution predictions
    The DNA code is not unique
    The cell’s fundamental molecules are universal

    *Evolutionary causes predictions
    Mutations are not adaptive
    Embryology and common descent
    Competition is greatest between neighbors

    *Molecular evolution predictions
    Protein evolution
    Histone proteins cannot tolerate much change
    The molecular clock keeps evolutionary time

    *Common descent predictions
    The pentadactyl pattern and common descent
    Serological tests reveal evolutionary relationships
    Biology is not lineage specific
    Similar species share similar genes
    MicroRNA

    *Evolutionary phylogenies predictions
    Genomic features are not sporadically distributed
    Gene and host phylogenies are congruent
    Gene phylogenies are congruent
    The species should form an evolutionary tree

    *Evolutionary pathways predictions
    Complex structures evolved from simpler structures
    Structures do not evolve before there is a need for them
    Functionally unconstrained DNA is not conserved
    Nature does not make leaps

    *Behavior
    Altruism
    Cell death

    *Conclusions
    What false predictions tell us about evolution
    https://sites.google.com/site/darwinspredictions/home

    Why investigate evolution’s false predictions?
    Excerpt: The predictions examined in this paper were selected according to several criteria. They cover a wide spectrum of evolutionary theory and are fundamental to the theory, reflecting major tenets of evolutionary thought. They were widely held by the consensus rather than reflecting one viewpoint of several competing viewpoints. Each prediction was a natural and fundamental expectation of the theory of evolution, and constituted mainstream evolutionary science. Furthermore, the selected predictions are not vague but rather are specific and can be objectively evaluated. They have been tested and evaluated and the outcome is not controversial or in question. And finally the predictions have implications for evolution’s (in)capacity to explain phenomena, as discussed in the conclusions.
    https://sites.google.com/site/darwinspredictions/why-investigate-evolution-s-false-predictions

  17. 17
    Zachriel says:

    Box: 1. If naturalism is true, then determinism is true.

    That doesn’t necessarily follow, and many metaphysical naturalists recognize that chance may be a fundamental property of the universe.

  18. 18
    bornagain says:

    Zany Zach has another zinger

    “many metaphysical naturalists recognize that chance may be a fundamental property of the universe.”

    Saying that my actions are determined by chance and law is just as deterministic as saying that they are determined solely by law, i.e. ‘determined’ completely independent of the illusion of ‘me’:

    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/comm.....n-activity

    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/2.....90071.html

  19. 19
    bFast says:

    After watching Dr. Raymond Bolin’s video on the complexity of the genetic code, http://www.metacafe.com/watch/....._g_bohlin/
    I am with Mung (6) “Nothing in Biology makes sense…”

    WD400 says that Francis Collins doesn’t have a good understanding of evolutionary biology. I contend that WD400 is right. However I challenge that WD400 also has no hint of a clue how Dr. Bolin’s video could be an accurate description of advanced biology. The one who has the best clue of these experts is Ben Carson who concludes that God did it. Virtually nothing in Biology is simple enough that we mortals can understand it.

  20. 20
    Box says:

    Zach:

    Box: 1. If naturalism is true, then determinism is true.

    That doesn’t necessarily follow, and many metaphysical naturalists recognize that chance may be a fundamental property of the universe.

    I give the floor to Van Inwagen, who will explain that undetermined events (also) fail to ground rationality:

    “Let us look carefully at the consequences of supposing that human behavior is undetermined …

    Let us suppose that there is a certain current-pulse that is proceeding along one of the neural pathways in Jane’s brain and that it is about to come to a fork. And let us suppose that if it goes to the left, she will make her confession;, and that if it goes to the right, she will remain silent. And let us suppose that it is undetermined which way the pulse goes when it comes to the fork: even an omniscient being with a complete knowledge of the state of Jane’s brain and a complete knowledge of the laws of physics and unlimited powers of calculation could say no more than: ‘The laws and present state of her brain would allow the pulse to go either way; consequently, no prediction of what the pulse will do when it comes to the fork is possible; it might go to the left, and it might go to the right, and that’s all there is to be said.’

    Now let us ask: does Jane have any choice about whether the pulse goes to the left or to the right? If we think about this question for a moment, we shall see that it is very hard to see how she could have any choice about that.

    …There is no way for her to make it go one way rather than the other. Or, at least, there is no way for her to make it go one way rather than the other and leave the ‘choice’ it makes an undetermined event.”
    [Van Inwagen]

  21. 21
    bornagain says:

    of related note to post 16:

    Heads or Tales – How Evolutionary Theory “Predicts” What It Finds by Casey Luskin – Fall 2014
    Excerpt: PZ did make a few substantive points in response to the student and me. He conceded that early vertebrate embryos can “vary greatly” and that “there is wide variation in the status of the embryo.”9 But he wasn’t going to let those facts challenge his theory, as he countered: “I wish I could get that one thought into these guys’ heads: evolutionary theory predicts differences as well as similarities.”10
    That’s intriguing, I thought. Earlier we saw PZ cite the “substantial similarities” between vertebrate embryos in the pharyngula stage as “evidence of common descent.” But later, when forced to admit the “wide variation” among embryos, PZ tells us that “evolutionary theory predicts differences” too. Perhaps that’s true, but then how can he cite the “similarities” among embryos in the pharyngula stage as evidence for common ancestry?
    In reality, according to PZ, evolutionary theory predicts whatever it finds. Such logic might help save his theory from falsification in light of all the differences between vertebrate embryos across many stages of development, but it doesn’t help construct a robust theory that makes testable predictions. As the old adage says, “the theory that explains anything really explains nothing.”
    http://salvomag.com/new/articl.....-tails.php

  22. 22
    Mung says:

    …many metaphysical naturalists recognize that chance may be a fundamental property of the universe.

    And they claim ID is a science stopper. Laughs.

  23. 23
    Zachriel says:

    Box: I give the floor to Van Inwagen, who will explain that undetermined events (also) fail to ground rationality

    That wasn’t the question, but whether naturalism implies determinism. One can be a naturalist and non-determinist, or a supernaturalist and a determinist.

  24. 24
    Virgil Cain says:

    Box:

    1. If naturalism is true, then determinism is true.

    If naturalism were true then we wouldn’t be here to discuss it. 😉

    But I digress, could you please state the case supporting your first point? For me naturalism and contingency- contingent serendipity- would go hand-in-hand.

  25. 25
    Box says:

    Zach,

    Naturalism — purely deterministic or accommodating undetermined events — fails to ground rationality.

  26. 26
    Seversky says:

    Box @ 25

    Naturalism — purely deterministic or accommodating undetermined events — fails to ground rationality.

    Not necessarily. From the entry on ”Naturalism” in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

    Naturalism
    First published Thu Feb 22, 2007; substantive revision Tue Sep 15, 2015
    The term “naturalism” has no very precise meaning in contemporary philosophy. Its current usage derives from debates in America in the first half of the last century. The self-proclaimed “naturalists” from that period included John Dewey, Ernest Nagel, Sidney Hook and Roy Wood Sellars. These philosophers aimed to ally philosophy more closely with science. They urged that reality is exhausted by nature, containing nothing “supernatural”, and that the scientific method should be used to investigate all areas of reality, including the “human spirit” (Krikorian 1944; Kim 2003).

    So understood, “naturalism” is not a particularly informative term as applied to contemporary philosophers. The great majority of contemporary philosophers would happily accept naturalism as just characterized—that is, they would both reject “supernatural” entities, and allow that science is a possible route (if not necessarily the only one) to important truths about the “human spirit”.

    This is how I understand “naturalism”, as the study of the nature of reality. If a ghost or a god is real then they are part of the natural order of things and, in principle, fit for scientific investigation. If the universe is entirely deterministic then that is natural but if there is an irreducible level of uncertainty then that is also natural.

  27. 27
    bornagain says:

    At about the 1 hour mark of the video, which I have ‘current time’ linked here:

    Is Faith in God Reasonable? FULL DEBATE with William Lane Craig and Alex Rosenberg – (1 hour mark) video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ge#t=3641s

    In the preceding debate Dr Craig states that atheist Dr. Rosenberg blurs together Epistemological Naturalism, which holds that science is the only source of knowledge and, Metaphysical Naturalism, which holds that only physical things exist.
    As to, Epistemological Naturalism, which holds that science is the only source of knowledge, Dr. Craig states it is a false theory of knowledge since,,,

    a). it is overly restrictive
    and
    b) it is self refuting

    Moreover Dr Craig states, epistemological naturalism does not imply metaphysical naturalism. In fact, Dr. Craig stated that a Epistemological Naturalist can and should be a Theist because Metaphysical Naturalism is reducto ad absurdum on (at least) these eight following points: (8 points which, by the way, Dr. Craig pulled from Dr. Rosenburg’s own book on atheism. In other words, Dr. Craig used Dr. Rosenburg’s own 8 conclusions about atheism, which Dr Rosenburg had reasoned out himself in his book, against him in the debate:

    1.) Argument from intentionality
    1. If naturalism is true, I cannot think about anything.
    2. I am thinking about naturalism.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    2.) The argument from meaning
    1. If naturalism is true, no sentence has any meaning.
    2. Premise (1) has meaning.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    3.) The argument from truth
    1. If naturalism is true, there are no true sentences.
    2. Premise (1) is true.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    4.) The argument from moral blame and praise
    1. If naturalism is true, I am not morally praiseworthy or blameworthy for any of my actions.
    2. I am morally praiseworthy or blameworthy for some of my actions.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    5.) Argument from freedom
    1. If naturalism is true, I do not do anything freely.
    2. I am free to agree or disagree with premise (1).
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    6.) The argument from purpose
    1. If naturalism is true, I do not plan to do anything.
    2. I (Dr. Craig) planned to come to tonight’s debate.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    7.) The argument from enduring
    1. If naturalism is true, I do not endure for two moments of time.
    2. I have been sitting here for more than a minute.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    8.) The argument from personal existence
    1. If naturalism is true, I do not exist.
    2. I do exist!
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    I strongly suggest watching Dr. Craig’s following presentation of the 8 points to get a full feel for just how insane the metaphysical naturalist’s (atheist’s) position actually is.

    Is Metaphysical Naturalism Viable? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzS_CQnmoLQ

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.
    (…)
    So, the fiction of the enduring self is almost certainly a side effect of a highly effective way of keeping the human body out of harm’s way. It is a by-product of whatever selected for bodies—human and nonhuman—to take pains now that make things better for themselves later. For a long time now, Mother Nature has been filtering for bodies to postpone consumption in the present as investment for the body’s future. It looks a lot like planning. Even squirrels do it, storing nuts for the winter. Does this require each squirrel to have a single real enduring self through time? No. If not, then why take introspection’s word for it when it has a track record of being wrong about things like this, when the self just looks like part of the same illusions and is supposed to have features that physics tells us nothing real can have.”
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    The amazing thing about Dawkins, and other militant atheists, in their claim that God does not really exist, is that, in their denial of the reality of God, also end up denying that they really exist as real ‘persons’.
    In other words, given atheistic/materialistic premises, there really is no such person named Dawkins, (or Coyne or etc..), there is only a neuronal illusion of a brain who thinks, (if illusions could think), that it is a person named Dawkins
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-573462

    “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne
    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/eagleton-on-baggini-on-free-will/

    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.c.....oyne/?_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 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/2.....02783.html

  28. 28
    Box says:

    Seversky #26,

    By “naturalism” I refer to materialism or physicalism.

    Physicalism is the thesis that everything is physical, or as contemporary philosophers sometimes put it, that everything supervenes on the physical.

    [Stanford.edu]

    Are you saying that naturalism should be defined differently?
    From your quote: “They urged that reality is exhausted by nature, containing nothing “supernatural”, (…).” To me this seems like an elaborate way of saying that everything is physical. The quotation marks enclosing “human spirit” have the same message.
    Well naturalists, materialists and physicalists, if everything is physical then rationality necessarily goes out the window — see #15 & #20.

  29. 29
    Mapou says:

    Box:

    Are you saying that naturalism should be defined differently?

    I can’t stand the term ‘naturalism’. It wrongly assumes that those who preach the religion know what nature is. Why would it be against nature if God and spirits exist? If something exists, it is natural, no?

    I think atheists should stick to ‘materialism’ instead but, even then, that would not solve the conundrum that’s already in the definition of word. Why can’t there be a different form of matter than physical particles? Indeed, there are an infinite number of ways to combine energy and properties to create particles that have little in common with neutrons, protons, electrons and photons.

    Materialism is a religion of cretins, IMO.

  30. 30

    @box
    Naturalism, materialism, physicalism etc. are pseudo-philosophies which are really just an expression of original sin. Eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, making what is good and evil into a fact.

    Only creationism validates both fact and opinion, each in their own domain, so what is good is distinct from what is fact.

    About van Inwagen.
    How choosing works is to make a possibility, which is in the future, the present or not. So choosing is anticipatory, in regards to the really existing future.

    What naturalists etc. don’t understand is that agency is a subjective issue. The question about what makes the decision in regards to the pulse in Jane’s brain turn out the way it does, can only be answered by choosing the answer, resulting in an opinion.

    It is then simply a matter of belief to posit Jane’s soul which decided the way the pulse turns out. You could also say there is nothing there, that the agency of the decision is empty. The validity of the answer just depends on that it is chosen, and that subjective terminology is used like love, hate, emptiness, soul etc.

  31. 31
    Jack Jones says:

    @26 Seversky

    Your position is that humans are nothing more than matter in motion right?

    Matter can be reduced to chemical elements that are listed on the periodic table.

    Can you tell me which chemical elements are free?

    is Iron free? What about Lead?

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    Zachriel:

    Box did first speak to determinism and the objection was what about chance. He cited the philosopher in response to that.

    It may be fun to divert to side issues but the fundamental incoherence of evolutionary materialism remains. Blind forces, of chance and/or necessity simply are not a good foundation for responsible rational freedom, which is foundational to intellectual enterprises.

    Here is how I put the issue:

    a: Evolutionary materialism argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature; from hydrogen to humans by undirected chance and necessity.

    b: Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws of chance and/or mechanical necessity acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of happenstance initial circumstances.

    (This is physicalism. This view covers both the forms where (a) the mind and the brain are seen as one and the same thing, and those where (b) somehow mind emerges from and/or “supervenes” on brain, perhaps as a result of sophisticated and complex software looping. The key point, though is as already noted: physical causal closure — the phenomena that play out across time, without residue, are in principle deducible or at least explainable up to various random statistical distributions and/or mechanical laws, from prior physical states. Such physical causal closure, clearly, implicitly discounts or even dismisses the causal effect of concept formation and reasoning then responsibly deciding, in favour of specifically physical interactions in the brain-body control loop; indeed, some mock the idea of — in their view — an “obviously” imaginary “ghost” in the meat-machine. [[There is also some evidence from simulation exercises, that accuracy of even sensory perceptions may lose out to utilitarian but inaccurate ones in an evolutionary competition. “It works” does not warrant the inference to “it is true.”] )

    c: But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this meat-machine picture. So, we rapidly arrive at Crick’s claim in his The Astonishing Hypothesis (1994): what we subjectively experience as “thoughts,” “reasoning” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as the unintended by-products of the blind natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains that (as the Smith Model illustrates) serve as cybernetic controllers for our bodies.

    d: These underlying driving forces are viewed as being ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance shaped by forces of selection [[“nature”] and psycho-social conditioning [[“nurture”], within the framework of human culture [[i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism]. And, remember, the focal issue to such minds — notice, this is a conceptual analysis made and believed by the materialists! — is the physical causal chains in a control loop, not the internalised “mouth-noises” that may somehow sit on them and come along for the ride.

    (Save, insofar as such “mouth noises” somehow associate with or become embedded as physically instantiated signals or maybe codes in such a loop. [[How signals, languages and codes originate and function in systems in our observation of such origin — i.e by design — tends to be pushed to the back-burner and conveniently forgotten. So does the point that a signal or code takes its significance precisely from being an intelligently focused on, observed or chosen and significant alternative from a range of possibilities that then can guide decisive action.])

    e: For instance, Marxists commonly derided opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismissed qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? Should we not ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is little more than yet another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze? And — as we saw above — would the writings of a Crick be any more than the firing of neurons in networks in his own brain?

    f: For further instance, we may take the favourite whipping-boy of materialists: religion. Notoriously, they often hold that belief in God is not merely cognitive, conceptual error, but delusion. Borderline lunacy, in short. But, if such a patent “delusion” is so utterly widespread, even among the highly educated, then it “must” — by the principles of evolution — somehow be adaptive to survival, whether in nature or in society. And so, this would be a major illustration of the unreliability of our conceptual reasoning ability, on the assumption of evolutionary materialism.

    g: Turning the materialist dismissal of theism around, evolutionary materialism itself would be in the same leaky boat. For, the sauce for the goose is notoriously just as good a sauce for the gander, too.

    h: That is, on its own premises [[and following Dawkins in A Devil’s Chaplain, 2004, p. 46], the cause of the belief system of evolutionary materialism, “must” also be reducible to forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity that are sufficiently adaptive to spread this “meme” in populations of jumped- up apes from the savannahs of East Africa scrambling for survival in a Malthusian world of struggle for existence. Reppert brings the underlying point sharply home, in commenting on the “internalised mouth-noise signals riding on the physical cause-effect chain in a cybernetic loop” view:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [[But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [[so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

    i: The famous geneticist and evolutionary biologist (as well as Socialist) J. B. S. Haldane made much the same point in a famous 1932 remark:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [[“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    . . . . j: Therefore, though materialists will often try to pointedly ignore or angrily brush aside the issue, we may freely argue: if such evolutionary materialism is true, then (i) our consciousness, (ii) the “thoughts” we have, (iii) the conceptualised beliefs we hold, (iv) the reasonings we attempt based on such and (v) the “conclusions” and “choices” (a.k.a. “decisions”) we reach — without residue — must be produced and controlled by blind forces of chance happenstance and mechanical necessity that are irrelevant to “mere” ill-defined abstractions such as: purpose or truth, or even logical validity.

    (NB: The conclusions of such “arguments” may still happen to be true, by astonishingly lucky coincidence — but we have no rational grounds for relying on the “reasoning” that has led us to feel that we have “proved” or “warranted” them. It seems that rationality itself has thus been undermined fatally on evolutionary materialistic premises. Including that of Crick et al. Through, self-reference leading to incoherence and utter inability to provide a cogent explanation of our commonplace, first-person experience of reasoning and rational warrant for beliefs, conclusions and chosen paths of action. Reduction to absurdity and explanatory failure in short.)

    k: And, if materialists then object: “But, we can always apply scientific tests, through observation, experiment and measurement,” then we must immediately note that — as the fate of Newtonian Dynamics between 1880 and 1930 shows — empirical support is not equivalent to establishing the truth of a scientific theory. For, at any time, one newly discovered countering fact can in principle overturn the hitherto most reliable of theories. (And as well, we must not lose sight of this: in science, one is relying on the legitimacy of the reasoning process to make the case that scientific evidence provides reasonable albeit provisional warrant for one’s beliefs etc. Scientific reasoning is not independent of reasoning.)

    So, whether or no some naturalism supporters are or are not determinists is immaterial to the crux of the matter. Though it may make a convenient rhetorical diversion.

    KF

  33. 33
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Naturalism — purely deterministic or accommodating undetermined events — fails to ground rationality.

    Then you no longer defend your previous statement that naturalism implies determinism?

    As for naturalism and rationality, most naturalists see rationality as a function of the brain — or computers, for that matter.

  34. 34
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain: 1. If naturalism is true, I cannot think about anything.

    Assuming the conclusion.

    bornagain: 1. If naturalism is true, no sentence has any meaning.

    Assuming the conclusion.

    bornagain: 1. If naturalism is true, I am not morally praiseworthy or blameworthy for any of my actions.

    Assuming the conclusion.

    bornagain: 1. If naturalism is true, I do not do anything freely.

    Assuming the conclusion.

    bornagain: 1. If naturalism is true, I do not plan to do anything.

    Assuming the conclusion.

    bornagain: 1. If naturalism is true, I do not endure for two moments of time.

    Assuming the conclusion.

    bornagain: 1. If naturalism is true, I do not exist.

    Assuming the conclusion.

  35. 35
    Eric Anderson says:

    There has hardly been a more clueless statement about biology than Dobzhansky’s statement.

    The vast majority of biological study depends not one whit on evolutionary theory’s historical claims. And many solid scientists would dispute how much evolutionary theory brings to the table anyway. Furthermore, much of evolutionary theory is laughably wrong. It would be much more accurate to say that “not much in biology makes sense in light of evolution.”

  36. 36
    Box says:

    Zach:

    Box: Naturalism — purely deterministic or accommodating undetermined events — fails to ground rationality.

    Then you no longer defend your previous statement that naturalism implies determinism?

    Some naturalists will hold that all events are determined by natural law. And then there are naturalists who will hold that, next to determined events, there are (also) undetermined events. You described the latter group like this: “many metaphysical naturalists recognize that chance may be a fundamental property of the universe.”

    So, in this sense, there are two versions of naturalism; a purely deterministic version and one that also accommodates undetermined events.

    Again, my point is that both versions of naturalism fail to ground rationality; for reasons outlined in #15 & #20.

    Zach: As for naturalism and rationality, most naturalists see rationality as a function of the brain — or computers, for that matter.

    Yes, they do. Unfortunately for them the arguments provided in #15 & #20 show that such views are incoherent.

  37. 37
    Box says:

    Zachriel #34,

    Did you read the part of Bornagain’s post #27 which explains that all 8 premises stem from Rosenberg’s book?
    This part:

    (…) 8 points which, by the way, Dr. Craig pulled from Dr. Rosenburg’s own book on atheism. In other words, Dr. Craig used Dr. Rosenburg’s own 8 conclusions about atheism, which Dr Rosenburg had reasoned out himself in his book, against him in the debate (…)

  38. 38
    Zachriel says:

    Box: So, in this sense, there are two versions of naturalism; a purely deterministic version and one that also accommodates undetermined events.

    So you’ve abandoned your syllogism @15.

    Box: Unfortunately for them the arguments provided in #15 & #20 show that such views are incoherent.

    The syllogism @15 fails because #1 is false. @20 doesn’t address rationality.

  39. 39
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Did you read the part of Bornagain’s post #27 which explains that all 8 premises stem from Rosenberg’s book?

    So? Did he properly represent Rosenberg’s view? Does Rosenberg represent the only view of naturalism? Regardless, bornagain’s syllogisms are still assuming the conclusion. He thinks the premise is obvious and needs no justification. The syllogism is just window dressing.

  40. 40
    bornagain says:

    Perhaps you should actually watch the debate between Rosenberg and Craig?

    But then again, it was never you intention, (as if molecules in a skull could possess ‘intention’), to be honest, being the pathological liar that you are, it was just your intention to throw whatever you could on the wall and hoped it sticks.

    You are pathetic.

    Since, given materialism, you are not really a ‘person’, is it legal to kill you Zach?

    Of note to the atheist’s inability to ground ‘personhood’. Both the Jews in Nazi Germany, and the humans in their mother’s womb in present day America, are denied the status of ‘personhood’

    in no case in its history has the Court declared that a fetus—a developing infant in the womb—is a person. Therefore, the fetus cannot be said to have any legal “right to life.”
    http://www.phschool.com/curric...../scc35.htm

    The introduction of the Nuremberg Race Laws in 1935 saw Jews declared non-persons, stripped of their rights, robbed of their property and isolated.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new.....-Jews.html

    8 Horrific Times People Groups Were Denied Their Humanity – July 02, 2014
    Excerpt: According to Ernst Fraenkel, a German legal scholar, the Reichsgericht, the highest court in Germany, was instrumental in depriving Jewish people of their legal rights. In a 1936 Supreme Court decision, “the Reichsgericht refused to recognize Jews living in Germany as persons in the legal sense.”
    Nazis described Jews as Untermenschen, or subhumans to justify exterminating them.
    http://www.personhood.com/8_ho.....r_humanity

    Want to come over to my basement and debate the status of your ‘personhood’ Zach?

    Cruel Logic | Written and Directed by Brian Godawa
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE6jemqjyfw

  41. 41
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain: Perhaps you should actually watch the debate between Rosenberg and Craig?

    We read the transcript from the point you marked. There’s nothing new or definitive in the arguments. Rosenberg doesn’t represent the views of all naturalists, so refuting his position only refutes his position, not all naturalistic philosophies.

    bornagain: Both the Jews in Nazi Germany, and the humans in their mother’s womb in present day America, are denied the status of ‘personhood’

    Oh yes, and Hitler.

  42. 42
    bornagain says:

    Zachriel, it matters not one iota that you personally deny the truth of what naturalism entails. In fact, being the pathological liar that you have proven yourself to be, I fully expect ‘you’ to deny what naturalism truly entails. It only matters that, given naturalism/materialism/atheism, there truly is no such thing as a real mind and/or a real person. There is only an ‘illusion’ of a real mind and/or a real person.

    The truth of that fact is not dependent on whether ‘you’, (if there were a ‘you’), agree with it or not. The truth is derived from the premises of naturalism/materialism/atheism itself.

    “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

    “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

    “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne
    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/eagleton-on-baggini-on-free-will/

    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.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain.
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    The Waning of Materialism Edited by Robert C. Koons and George Bealer
    Description: Twenty-three philosophers examine the doctrine of materialism and find it wanting. The case against materialism comprises arguments from conscious experience, from the unity and identity of the person, from intentionality, mental causation, and knowledge. The contributors include leaders in the fields of philosophy of mind, metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology, who respond ably to the most recent versions and defenses of materialism. The modal arguments of Kripke and Chalmers, Jackson’s knowledge argument, Kim’s exclusion problem, and Burge’s anti-individualism all play a part in the building of a powerful cumulative case against the materialist research program. Several papers address the implications of contemporary brain and cognitive research (the psychophysics of color perception, blindsight, and the effects of commissurotomies), adding a posteriori arguments to the classical a priori critique of reductionism. All of the current versions of materialism–reductive and non-reductive, functionalist, eliminativist, and new wave materialism–come under sustained and trenchant attack.
    http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/.....0199556199

    “Hawking’s entire argument is built upon theism. He is, as Cornelius Van Til put it, like the child who must climb up onto his father’s lap into order to slap his face.
    Take that part about the “human mind” for example. Under atheism there is no such thing as a mind. There is no such thing as understanding and no such thing as truth. All Hawking is left with is a box, called a skull, which contains a bunch of molecules. Hawking needs God In order to deny Him.”
    – Cornelius Hunter

    Photo – an atheist contemplating his mind
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-H-kj.....0/rob4.jpg

  43. 43
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain: It only matters that, given naturalism/materialism/atheism, there truly is no such thing as a real mind and/or person.

    A lot of naturalists would disagree.

    bornagain: (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.

    Computers can act rationally, that is, based on or in accordance with reason or logic.

  44. 44
    bornagain says:

    A lot of ‘naturalists’ would disagree.

    And a lot of naturalists are either ignorant, deceived, or pathological liars.

    Your Computer Doesn’t Know Anything – Michael Egnor – January 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Your computer doesn’t know a binary string from a ham sandwich. Your math book doesn’t know algebra. Your Rolodex doesn’t know your cousin’s address. Your watch doesn’t know what time it is. Your car doesn’t know where you’re driving. Your television doesn’t know who won the football game last night. Your cell phone doesn’t know what you said to your girlfriend this morning.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92981.html

    Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas G. Robertson – 1999
    Excerpt: Chaitin’s Algorithmic Information Theory shows that information is conserved under formal mathematical operations and, equivalently, under computer operations. This conservation law puts a new perspective on many familiar problems related to artificial intelligence. For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomenon: the creation of new information.
    “… no operation performed by a computer can create new information.”
    http://cires.colorado.edu/~dou...../info8.pdf

    Evolutionary Computing: The Invisible Hand of Intelligence – June 17, 2015
    Excerpt: William Dembski and Robert Marks have shown that no evolutionary algorithm is superior to blind search — unless information is added from an intelligent cause, which means it is not, in the Darwinian sense, an evolutionary algorithm after all. This mathematically proven law, based on the accepted No Free Lunch Theorems, seems to be lost on the champions of evolutionary computing. Researchers keep confusing an evolutionary algorithm (a form of artificial selection) with “natural evolution.” ,,,
    Marks and Dembski account for the invisible hand required in evolutionary computing. The Lab’s website states, “The principal theme of the lab’s research is teasing apart the respective roles of internally generated and externally applied information in the performance of evolutionary systems.” So yes, systems can evolve, but when they appear to solve a problem (such as generating complex specified information or reaching a sufficiently narrow predefined target), intelligence can be shown to be active. Any internally generated information is conserved or degraded by the law of Conservation of Information.,,,
    What Marks and Dembski prove is as scientifically valid and relevant as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in mathematics. You can’t prove a system of mathematics from within the system, and you can’t derive an information-rich pattern from within the pattern.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....96931.html

  45. 45
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain: Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test

    So you’ve abandoned the rationality test.

    bornagain: For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics.

    The vast majority of people would fail that test.

    Note that a computer that possesses a genuine random number generator, one that exploits quantum uncertainty or the thermal voltage fluctuations in a resistor, for example, would get around the immediate difficulty by rendering Chaitin’s theorem inapplicable

    So much for that “proof”.

  46. 46
    bornagain says:

    Do you think your computer is a person?

  47. 47
    bornagain says:

    “Note that a computer that possesses a genuine random number generator, one that exploits quantum uncertainty or the thermal voltage fluctuations in a resistor, for example, would get around the immediate difficulty by rendering Chaitin’s theorem inapplicable”

    Actually no, besides free will, ‘Context’ must be taken into consideration in the creation of information:

    since a computer has no free will to invent information, nor a conscious mind so as to take overall context into consideration, then one simple way of defeating the Turing test is to simply tell, or to invent, a joke:,,,

    “(a computer) lacks the ability to distinguish between language and meta-language.,,,
    As known, jokes are difficult to understand and even more difficult to invent, given their subtle semantic traps and their complex linguistic squirms. The judge can reliably tell the human (from the computer)”
    Per niwrad
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....artifices/

    Such as this joke:

    Turing Test Extra Credit – Convince The Examiner That He’s The Computer – cartoon
    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/turing_test.png

    or perhaps this one:

    Turing Test – cartoon
    http://static.existentialcomic.....ngTest.jpg

    For Artificial Intelligence, Humor Is a Bridge Too Far – November 13, 2014
    Excerpt: The article reminded me of an exercise in one of my first programming books that made me aware of the limits of computers and AI. I’ve forgotten the author of the book, but the problem was something like the following: “Write a program that takes in a stream of characters that represent a joke, reads the input and decides whether it’s funny or not.”
    It’s a perfect illustration of Erik’s statement, “Interestingly, where brute computation and big data fail is in surprisingly routine situations that give humans no difficulty at all.” Even when my grandchildren were very young I marveled at how they grasped the humor of a joke, even a subtle one.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91211.html

    Of related note:

    What Is a Mind? More Hype from Big Data – Erik J. Larson – May 6, 2014
    Excerpt: In 1979, University of Pittsburgh philosopher John Haugeland wrote an interesting article in the Journal of Philosophy, “Understanding Natural Language,” about Artificial Intelligence. At that time, philosophy and AI were still paired, if uncomfortably. Haugeland’s article is one of my all time favorite expositions of the deep mystery of how we interpret language. He gave a number of examples of sentences and longer narratives that, because of ambiguities at the lexical (word) level, he said required “holistic interpretation.” That is, the ambiguities weren’t resolvable except by taking a broader context into account. The words by themselves weren’t enough.
    Well, I took the old 1979 examples Haugeland claimed were difficult for MT, and submitted them to Google Translate, as an informal “test” to see if his claims were still valid today.,,,
    ,,,Translation must account for context, so the fact that Google Translate generates the same phrase in radically different contexts is simply Haugeland’s point about machine translation made afresh, in 2014.
    Erik J. Larson – Founder and CEO of a software company in Austin, Texas
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....85251.html

  48. 48
    Box says:

    Zach,

    Post #15 provides an argument against “deterministic naturalism” and post #20 provides an argument against naturalism that accommodates (also) undetermined events.
    Okay?

    Pivotal to the argument in post #15 is the assumption “rationality requires control”. Perhaps you wish to argue against it?
    At the point where it is shown that — given deterministic naturalism — we can not be in control of our thoughts, the assumption ‘rationality requires control’ is put into place and the case against deterministic naturalism is easy to complete.

    Zach: @20 doesn’t address rationality.

    I was hoping that everyone would understand that it does. In post #20 Van Inwagen argues that Jane has no control over undetermined events — “There is no way for her to make it go one way rather than the other.”
    So, again, we have reached a point where it is shown that there is no control over thoughts.
    Here one can proceed in the exact same manner as used in the argument in post #15 : insert the assumption ‘rationality requires control’ and the case against this version of naturalism is easy to complete in the exact same manner as used in the argument in post #15.

  49. 49
    bornagain says:

    Zach, you have a standing invitation to my basement!

  50. 50
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain: Do you think your computer is a person?

    Didn’t say it was. Rather, a computer can act rationally, which refutes the claim about rationality and naturalism.

    bornagain: Actually no, besides free will, ‘Context’ must be taken into consideration in the creation of information

    It’s presented as a mathematical proof, but for it to have validity, the computer has to be disembodied. If it has input, even something as simple as a random number generator, or as complex as sensory inputs, then the proof doesn’t apply.

    Box: Pivotal to the argument in post #15 is the assumption “rationality requires control”. Perhaps you wish to argue against it?

    Computers can act rationally, that is, based on or in accordance with reason or logic.

  51. 51
    bornagain says:

    computers cannot act rationally, they can only do what they are programmed to do. They may imitate rationality since they are following a program designed by a rational mind, but that is no different than saying water acts rationally when it follows the piping in your house.

    It is doing exactly what it was intelligently designed to do. For a material object to act in a deterministic ‘logical’ manner and to actually be rational are two very different things. That difference being the concept of ‘personhood’ itself.

    Moreover, the computer is accomplishing this ‘rationality’ under the control of information that was originally imparted by a mind.

    Information which has never been observed being created by material processes.

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness

  52. 52
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain: computers cannot act rationally, they can only do what they are programmed to do.

    They act based on or in accordance with reason or logic, that is, rationally.

  53. 53
    bornagain says:

    Anyway Box, I’m out of here.

    Zach is a liar and he will never concede your very reasonable point and will constantly lie, and play semantics, in order to try defend his atheism.

    Frankly, I wish Arrington would boot him. He just repeats the same lies over and over again and it gets old.

  54. 54
    Box says:

    Bornagain: computers cannot act rationally, they can only do what they are programmed to do. They may imitate rationality since they are following a program designed by a rational mind, but that is no different than saying water acts rationally when it follows the piping in your house.

    Exactly right!

    Zach: They act based on or in accordance with reason or logic, that is, rationally.

    The letters you are reading right now “act in accordance with reason or logic”, however it is absurd to hold that this fact makes “them” rational.

    // Bornagain #53 I share your sentiments.

  55. 55
    Andre says:

    I am 100% sure Zachriel is a young earth creationist that is just taking the mickey out of everyone.

  56. 56
    Zachriel says:

    Box: The letters you are reading right now “act in accordance with reason or logic”, however it is absurd to hold that this fact makes “them” rational.

    It’s certainly a common definition. Were you using the term in a different sense?

  57. 57
    Seversky says:

    bornagain @ 27

    In the preceding debate Dr Craig states that atheist Dr. Rosenberg blurs together Epistemological Naturalism, which holds that science is the only source of knowledge and, Metaphysical Naturalism, which holds that only physical things exist.
    As to, Epistemological Naturalism, which holds that science is the only source of knowledge, Dr. Craig states it is a false theory of knowledge since,,,

    a). it is overly restrictive
    and
    b) it is self refuting

    If you were interested in giving a fair account of this debate you really should have presented Dr Rosenberg’s side of the argument as well.

    As for Dr Craig’s assertion that epistemological naturalism is a false theory, that is his opinion. He is not an arbiter in such matters and I say he is wrong on both counts. If naturalism is a claim about everything that is or can be then it is absurd to call it overly restrictive and I deny that it is self-refuting or that Dr Craig has shown it to be so.

    Moreover Dr Craig states, epistemological naturalism does not imply metaphysical naturalism. In fact, Dr. Craig stated that a Epistemological Naturalist can and should be a Theist because Metaphysical Naturalism is reducto ad absurdum on (at least) these eight following points: (8 points which, by the way, Dr. Craig pulled from Dr. Rosenburg’s own book on atheism. In other words, Dr. Craig used Dr. Rosenburg’s own 8 conclusions about atheism, which Dr Rosenburg had reasoned out himself in his book, against him in the debate:

    Any logical argument can be attacked on two grounds. First, is it valid, in other words, does it follow the prescribed logical form? Second, are the premises sound? Are they acceptable as stated? In the case of the eight arguments quoted, the first premise in each is rejected because in none of the cases is it shown that the alleged consequences follow necessarily from the assumption of naturalism. It’s a neat debating tactic but that’s all it is.

    As for determinism and free will, I will simply remind you that, if there exists an omniscient God with certain knowledge of our future, then there can be no free will as the future is pre-ordained and we can have no choice in the matter.

  58. 58
    bornagain says:

    And exactly who is this person that is disagreeing with Dr. Craig?

    I know I exist, but ‘you’ could be an illusion for all ‘I’ know.

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

    Philosophical Zombies – cartoon
    http://existentialcomics.com/comic/11

  59. 59
    Seversky says:

    Box @ 28

    By “naturalism” I refer to materialism or physicalism.

    Physicalism is the thesis that everything is physical, or as contemporary philosophers sometimes put it, that everything supervenes on the physical.

    [Stanford.edu]

    Are you saying that naturalism should be defined differently?

    The SEP entry claims that ‘naturalism’ has no agreed, clearly-defined meaning. I would agree that reality is exhausted by nature. But, by ‘naturalism’, I mean the position that we can best understand reality by learning the ‘natures’ of all the things that comprise reality. Nature, in this sense, means that which makes a thing itself and not something else. Thus, quantum mechanics describes the nature of matter at a sub-atomic level. It also means that a god will have a ‘nature’ which makes it a god and not an egg-and-tomato sandwich but both are part of the natural order of things in that sense.

    Materialism or physicalism are narrower claims. Physical reality may, at one level, be described in terms of matter and energy in their various forms or states but the nature of a particular thing will be more than just that.

  60. 60
    bornagain says:

    you have your own definition for naturalism that is not the common usage definition, and is thus not applicable for the points you raised.

  61. 61
    Box says:

    Seversky #57: Any logical argument can be attacked on two grounds. First, is it valid, in other words, does it follow the prescribed logical form? Second, are the premises sound? Are they acceptable as stated? In the case of the eight arguments quoted, the first premise in each is rejected because in none of the cases is it shown that the alleged consequences follow necessarily from the assumption of naturalism. It’s a neat debating tactic but that’s all it is.

    Let’s take a look at the first argument:

    1.) Argument from intentionality
    1. If naturalism is true, I cannot think ABOUT anything.
    2. I am thinking about naturalism.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    Premise 1. seems odd. Did Rosenberg actually say that given naturalism one cannot have thoughts about anything? This must be some debating tactic by Graig, right? Well, let’s have a look:

    Alex Rosenberg:
    THE BRAIN DOES EVERYTHING WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT ANYTHING AT ALL.

    Science must even deny the basic notion that we ever really think about the past and the future or even that our conscious thoughts ever give any meaning to the actions that express them.
    Introspection must be wrong when it credits consciousness with thoughts about birthdays, keys, and bosses’ names. But the mistake introspection makes is so deep and so persuasive, it’s almost impossible to shake, even when you understand it. At first you won’t even be able to conceive how it could be a mistake. But it has to be. The mistake is the notion that when we think, or rather when our brain thinks, it thinks about anything at all
    We have to see very clearly that introspection tricks us into the illusion that our thoughts are about anything at all.
    Thinking about things can’t happen at all. The brain can’t have thoughts about Paris, or about France, or about capitals, or about anything else for that matter. When consciousness convinces you that you, or your mind, or your brain has thoughts about things, it is wrong.
    Physics has ruled out the existence of clumps of matter of the required sort. There are just fermions and bosons and combinations of them. None of that stuff is just, all by itself, about any other stuff. There is nothing in the whole universe—including, of course, all the neurons in your brain—that just by its nature or composition can do this job of being about some other clump of matter. So, when consciousness assures us that we have thoughts about stuff, it has to be wrong. (…)
    Therefore, consciousness cannot retrieve thoughts about stuff. There are none to retrieve. So it can’t have thoughts about stuff either.

    [A.Rosenberg, Ch.8 “THE BRAIN DOES EVERYTHING WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT ANYTHING AT ALL”, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality]

  62. 62
    Zachriel says:

    Let’s take a look at the first argument:

    1.) Argument from intentionality
    1. If Rosenberg is right, I cannot think ABOUT anything.
    2. I am thinking about something.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    Two problems with the argument. You haven’t addressed Rosenberg’s actual position, which is that thinking is an illusion. (Our response to Rosenberg is that consciousness of thinking is a sensation. It would only be considered illusory insofar as it didn’t provide reliable information about the underlying thinking process. While much of the process is hidden from the consciousness, saying the entirety is an illusion is an overstatement.) See Allen, 1972.

    Of course the primary problem with the argument is equating Rosenberg’s views with all forms of naturalism or materialism.

  63. 63
    Seversky says:

    Box @ 61

    Let’s take a look at the first argument:

    1.) Argument from intentionality
    1. If naturalism is true, I cannot think ABOUT anything.
    2. I am thinking about naturalism.
    3. Therefore naturalism is not true.

    Okay, let’s look at the first argument. I have already said I would reject the first premise and, incidentally, disagree with Rosenberg but that’s beside the point. The debating tactic lies in premise two.

    You very kindly quote Rosenberg writing as follows in the passage from his book:

    Introspection must be wrong when it credits consciousness with thoughts about birthdays, keys, and bosses’ names. But the mistake introspection makes is so deep and so persuasive, it’s almost impossible to shake, even when you understand it. At first you won’t even be able to conceive how it could be a mistake. But it has to be. The mistake is the notion that when we think, or rather when our brain thinks, it thinks about anything at all
    We have to see very clearly that introspection tricks us into the illusion that our thoughts are about anything at all.
    Thinking about things can’t happen at all. The brain can’t have thoughts about Paris, or about France, or about capitals, or about anything else for that matter. When consciousness convinces you that you, or your mind, or your brain has thoughts about things, it is wrong.

    In other words, Rosenberg is arguing that the belief that we are thinking about anything at all – which would include Craig’s claim to be thinking about naturalism – is an illusion. Craig’s debating tactic lies in failing to address Rosenberg’s argument which specifically attacks claims such as premise two. In effect, Craig is holding up to ridicule a strawman version of Rosenberg’s position. That’s a debating tactic not a refutation.

  64. 64
    Seversky says:

    bornagain @ 60

    you have your own definition for naturalism that is not the common usage definition, and is thus not applicable for the points you raised.

    1. Why not?

    2. What, in your view, is the common usage definition of ‘naturalism’?

  65. 65

    @Seversky Zachriel

    You both still at it with the semantics and word-goo.

    Present a formal conceptual scheme where personhood fits in with the known laws of physics.

    The creationist logic is:

    – A decision is made between A and B, and A is chosen.

    – What made the decision turn out A instead of B?

    – This question can only be answered by choosing the answer. Meaning at least 2 answers are valid.

    With this conceptual scheme there is a domain for opinion (what is doing the choosing) agency, personhood, emotions, spirituality etc. and a domain for facts (what is chosen), material, mathematics, fantasy etc.

  66. 66
    Zachriel says:

    mohammadnursyamsu: Present a formal conceptual scheme where personhood fits in with the known laws of physics.

    Physics really isn’t the domain of “personhood”. A naturalist would probably define a person as the body, including the brain, and the activities of the body, including the brain and the brain’s sensibilities.

    mohammadnursyamsu: – A decision is made between A and B, and A is chosen.

    Computers make decisions.

  67. 67

    @Zachriel

    It’s not what I meant. I meant personhood is not physics, but it must fit with physics all the same. How to recognize both physics, and beauty, love, goodness are valid, real and relevant.

    Computers are designed to act in a forced way. The randomness which is used to simulate decisionmaking in games is generally pseudo-randomness, it cannot really turn out several different ways, in the event.

    A decision is to make a possibility, which is in the future, the present or not. Or also commonly defined as to make one of alternative future’s the present.

    I presented you the solution maybe 4 times already. It’s a working solution, while you’ve got nothing ready to go.

  68. 68
    Zachriel says:

    mohammadnursyamsu: I meant personhood is not physics, but it must fit with physics all the same. How to recognize both physics, and beauty, love, goodness are valid, real and relevant.

    A naturalist would presumably see beauty, love, goodness, personhood, as human constructs.

    mohammadnursyamsu: Computers are designed to act in a forced way. The randomness which is used to simulate decisionmaking in games is generally pseudo-randomness, it cannot really turn out several different ways, in the event.

    It’s easy enough to incorporate true randomness, or complex data external to the computer, into its workings.

  69. 69

    @Zachriel

    It’s still a machine designed to operate in a forced way, with a tiny little bit of freedom attached. Of course one would need to make the decisionmaking central to the whole operation of it, and then you would be well on your way to producing a frankenstein machine.

    This Frankenstein machine would then choose, and it would still be a matter of opinion what the agency of the decision is. So you have not engineered love or hate, you have then only engineered a structure for decionmaking. A very sophisticated structure, which in the end all it does basically, is choose A or B. It chooses between Clinton, or Huckabee, it can turn out either way. It chooses to vote or not vote.

    Again, this is a matter of logic. Our subjectivity that we use in daily life already has a logic attached, which is creationist logic of freedom, choosing, agency. You fail to acknowledge this logic, you fail to acknowledge the validity of the subjectivity we all use in daily life.

    We create the word love, so far love is a human construct, but of course the word love is not love, the word love refers to agency, that is the real love. Things can really turn out several different ways in the universe, and then it is a matter of opinion what it is that makes the decision turn out the way it does, subjectivity!

  70. 70
    Zachriel says:

    mohammadnursyamsu: It’s still a machine designed to operate in a forced way, with a tiny little bit of freedom attached.

    The amount of freedom depends largely on the program. Some programs are very flexible, and others not so much.

    mohammadnursyamsu: So you have not engineered love or hate, you have then only engineered a structure for decionmaking.

    Your previous argument concerned decision-making. Computers don’t love, but then again, humans don’t choose to love. They’re born that way.

  71. 71

    @Zachriel

    You are very imprecise, as also in our previous discussion you were very imprecise post after post.

    In creationism it is love that is doing the choosing, it is not about choosing to love, which you imply.

    So you turn the logic of creationism completely upside down, even after it has been explained to you about 5 times already.

    And creationist love, is the common discourse love. That you don’t understand creationism means you really have no idea about love in general.

    All current programs on computers work in a forced way, there is no freedom in it, the flexibility does not increase the freedom one bit.

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky

    Pardon but you have it exactly the wrong way around:

    Rosenberg is arguing that the belief that we are thinking about anything at all – which would include Craig’s claim to be thinking about naturalism – is an illusion. Craig’s debating tactic lies in failing to address Rosenberg’s argument which specifically attacks claims such as premise two. In effect, Craig is holding up to ridicule a strawman version of Rosenberg’s position. That’s a debating tactic not a refutation.

    The common sense principle that we all accede to in praxis is that we are responsibly free rational agents. That is, we can think, weigh, reason, conclude, decide and act for ourselves. Without which, the whole life of the mind, and particularly, reasoning, is emptied of any significance.

    Rosenberg’s argument boils down therefore to denying the premise of rationality, and as he is actually presenting an argument that he presumably intends to be rational, he falls into self-referential incoherence and absurdity.

    His argument refutes itself.

    And Craig is right to point that out.

    Beyond, such is the fate of any evolutionary materialist stance.

    Let me clip Pearcey:

    A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself . . . . An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

    Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?

    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

    Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.

    Another example comes from Francis Crick. In The Astonishing Hypothesis, he writes, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But that means Crick’s own theory is not a “scientific truth.” Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide.

    Of course, the sheer pressure to survive is likely to produce some correct ideas. A zebra that thinks lions are friendly will not live long. But false ideas may be useful for survival. Evolutionists admit as much: Eric Baum says, “Sometimes you are more likely to survive and propagate if you believe a falsehood than if you believe the truth.” Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.

    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.

    [–> that is, responsible, rational freedom is undermined. Cf here William Provine in his 1998 U Tenn Darwin Day keynote:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.

    A few thinkers, to their credit, recognize the problem. Literary critic Leon Wieseltier writes, “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? … Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”

    On a similar note, philosopher Thomas Nagel asks, “Is the [evolutionary] hypothesis really compatible with the continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge?” His answer is no: “I have to be able to believe … that I follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so.” Hence, “insofar as the evolutionary hypothesis itself depends on reason, it would be self-undermining.” [ENV excerpt, Finding Truth (David C. Cook, 2015) by Nancy Pearcey.]

    KF

  73. 73
    Zachriel says:

    mohammadnursyamsu: In creationism it is love that is doing the choosing

    Computers can choose from options among novel situations.

    mohammadnursyamsu: All current programs on computers work in a forced way, there is no freedom in it, the flexibility does not increase the freedom one bit.

    All you have done is introduce yet another term, “freedom”, which is not well-defined in this context.

  74. 74
    Virgil Cain says:

    Computers can choose from options among novel situations.

    Only if they are programmed to do so.

  75. 75

    @Zachriel

    What computers do is sorting, not choosing, it is completely different. Some if else function is not choosing it is sorting, and that is basic computer logic.

    I have given you all definitions of terms already, and they follow common discourse definitions of terms.

    As said, a choice is to make a possiblity, WHICH IS IN THE FUTURE, the present or not. Or otherwise defined as making one of alternative futures the present. Choosing is anticipatory towards the future, while you make choosing into sorting with present variables.

    You have to be precise, otherwise it is word-goo.

    With the computer, it is simply forced the way it will turn out. Sure a computer can deal with novel situations, it can deal with a user with free will, who chooses all kinds of things for the computer to do. The computer does not perform the function of making a possibility the present, or not. It is forced to do what it does, as can just be calculated.

  76. 76
    Zachriel says:

    mohammadnursyamsu: t is sorting, and that is basic computer logic. I have given you all definitions of terms already, and they follow common discourse definitions of terms. As said, a choice is to make a possiblity, WHICH IS IN THE FUTURE, the present or not.

    Computers can choose a possible future, indeed, can make those decisions based on a projection of what the future might be depending on the choice.

  77. 77
    bFast says:

    A computer program can weigh a bunch of inputs with an algorithm. It can even factor in a “random” if it is so programmed. But it doesn’t choose what it “wants”, because it has no sense whatsoever of “wanting” anything. And a computer never makes a “choice” which is outside of the algorithm. Humans seem quite capable of choosing what is self-defeating.

    Zachriel, “All you have done is introduce yet another term, “freedom”, which is not well-defined in this context.” This is one of those puzzling things that MNs (methodological naturalists) that puzzle the heck out of me. Its like that stupid argument about the “blind spot” in human vision being bad design. Y’all look out of your own eyes, and notice that the blind spot is a non-issue, yet you declare the designer “stupid”. In the same way, y’all have “freedom” just like I do, yet you can’t figure out that freedom means anything. Look inside man! Let yourself be part of the analysis.

  78. 78

    @zachriel

    “Choose a possible future” is not coherent. Choosing is to make a possibility, which is in the future, the present or not.

    You leave out the ‘or not’ part to choosing, meaning that you describe a logi of being forced.
    .
    You seem incapable to get your head around the concept of choosing as presented in creationism, and lay it side by side with other concepts of choosing, and then evaluate which one is best.

    It always seems to end up with word-goo, like here you repeat the right words, but the words are arbitrarily tossed about, just as previously you managed to provide an upside down representation of what creationism says. And in the end all what you write is slanted towards cause and effect, things being forced.

  79. 79
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, 73:

    mohammadnursyamsu: All current programs on computers work in a forced way, there is no freedom in it, the flexibility does not increase the freedom one bit.

    [Z:] All you have done is introduce yet another term, “freedom”, which is not well-defined in this context.

    Actually, not.

    Absent responsible, rational freedom — exactly what a priori evolutionary materialist scientism cannot account for — you could not actually compose comment 73 above.

    In short, freedom is always there once the mind is brought to bear, and without it we cannot be rationally creative.

    And per observation, computation is a blind, mechanical cause effect process imposed on suitably organised substrates by mind. In fact, a fair summary of decision node based processing is that coded algorithms reduced to machine code act on suitably coded inputs and stored data by means of a carefully designed and developed . . . troubleshooting in a multi-fault environment required . . . physical machine, to generate desired outputs. At least, once debugging is sufficiently complete. (Which is itself an extremely complex, highly intuitive, non algorithmic procedure critically dependent on creative, responsible, rational freedom. [Where, this crucial aspect tends to get overlooked in discussions of finished product programs and processing.])

    There really is a wizard behind the curtain.

    KF

  80. 80
    Seversky says:

    kairosfocus @ 72

    The common sense principle that we all accede to in praxis is that we are responsibly free rational agents. That is, we can think, weigh, reason, conclude, decide and act for ourselves. Without which, the whole life of the mind, and particularly, reasoning, is emptied of any significance.

    That is certainly what we assume and it is what we seem to experience. But there are clearly problems with the notion of freedom and free will if we are shaped and influenced by past events over which we had no control and of which we often had no knowledge. It may be a case of degrees of freedom not freedom in any absolute sense.

    Rosenberg’s argument boils down therefore to denying the premise of rationality, and as he is actually presenting an argument that he presumably intends to be rational, he falls into self-referential incoherence and absurdity.

    His argument refutes itself.

    And Craig is right to point that out.

    Craig would have been right to point that out if he had, but he didn’t. He simply responded with the assertion that he was thinking about naturalism, in effect, a flat denial of Rosenberg’s position not a refutation.

    Let me clip Pearcey:

    A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself . . . . An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

    As I’ve argued before, Pearcey’s case, like all such, founders on a false dichotomy: the assumption that truth-value and survival-value are somehow different. The chances of survival in a dangerous environment must be improved by having an accurate – a true – account of its nature. If you know in advance what is dangerous and what isn’t, if you can predict where to find food and water with the least risk to yourself, then your chances of survival must be improved to that extent. You quoted Pearcey, I’ll quote Quine:

    Creatures inveterately wrong in their inductions have a pathetic but praiseworthy tendency to die before reproducing their kind.

    And is it really such a stretch to imagine that a capacity to construct rational and accurate accounts of what is directly observed could also be adapted and applied to more abstract or metaphysical considerations?

    A few thinkers, to their credit, recognize the problem. Literary critic Leon Wieseltier writes, “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? … Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”

    On a similar note, philosopher Thomas Nagel asks, “Is the [evolutionary] hypothesis really compatible with the continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge?” His answer is no: “I have to be able to believe … that I follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so.” Hence, “insofar as the evolutionary hypothesis itself depends on reason, it would be self-undermining.” [ENV excerpt, Finding Truth (David C. Cook, 2015) by Nancy Pearcey.]

    And underlying both of those comments is the instinctive craving for certainty which is in all of us and which arguably derives from our instinct for survival.

    The reality, however, is there is little, if anything, of which we can be absolutely certain. It is more a question of degrees of confidence even though that is a much less satisfying position. I could say I am certain that the Sun will rise in the east tomorrow but there is always the possibility that some cosmic catastrophe could prevent that happening, so it is truer to say that I have a high degree of confidence that it will happen.
    We can have confidence in evolutionary biology because it has evidentiary support and because it is the product of the same rational process that has given us the scientific knowledge and technology in other fields that we take for granted.

  81. 81
    Zachriel says:

    bFast: A computer program can weigh a bunch of inputs with an algorithm. It can even factor in a “random” if it is so programmed. But it doesn’t choose what it “wants”, because it has no sense whatsoever of “wanting” anything.

    So it’s not reason or choosing that defines human intelligence, but “wanting”. Slugs “want”.

    bFast: And a computer never makes a “choice” which is outside of the algorithm.

    It’s not clear, objectively, whether humans do otherwise.

    bFast: Humans seem quite capable of choosing what is self-defeating.

    As are computers.

    bFast: In the same way, y’all have “freedom” just like I do, yet you can’t figure out that freedom means anything.

    Shared experience can be convincing, but can’t be argued. So you agree there is no objective criterion to distinguish the freedom of humans to choose and the freedom of computers to choose.

    mohammadnursyamsu: As said, a choice is to make a possiblity, WHICH IS IN THE FUTURE, the present or not.

    Which computers can do. A computer playing chess looks into the future, considers possibilities, and make moves to bring the anticipated future into the present.

  82. 82
    gpuccio says:

    Zachriel:

    “So it’s not reason or choosing that defines human intelligence, but “wanting”. Slugs “want”.”

    Feeling and desire are certainly an essential part of free will. I don’t know if slugs want, but I am sure that objects which are not conscious and have no feeling cannot choose.

    You see, consciousness is like a coin with two faces, which can never be separated: one face is cognition, the other face is feeling.

    Cognition is the experience of meaning. Feeling is the experience of purpose. Both are necessary for free choices to take place, both cognitive free choices and moral free choices. Indeed, any free choice is both cognitive and moral.

    Non conscious systems have no trace of either cognition and meaning, or feeling and purpose. They cannot understand, and they cannot choose.

  83. 83
    Zachriel says:

    gpuccio: I am sure that objects which are not conscious and have no feeling cannot choose.

    Computers make choices. So do slugs.

    Slugs have desires and sensibilities, so they make decisions based on these desires and sensibilities. Computers don’t have desires or sensibilities, but that doesn’t mean computers don’t make choices based on other criteria.

    Humans have desires and sensibilities, but, in addition, they have a moral sensibility. They also have the ability to model the sensibilities of others, or even of themselves. This allows for a much more nuanced choice-making process.

  84. 84
    gpuccio says:

    Zachriel:

    You are simply playing with words. You are using the word “choice” to mean two different things.

    “Choices” as parts of an algorithm are not true choices, even if you like to call them that way. The programmer makes choices and he transforms those choices into algorithms, which will act according to the original choices of the programmer.

    Sentient beings make choices that are based on conscious representations, and their reaction to those representations. You may think that it is the same thing that is taking place in the computer, but it is not.

    Until you can reasonably explain conscious representations as a result of algorithms, and you can’t, and you never will be able, until then conscious events cannot be equaled to non conscious nodes in a programmed algorithm.

    Therefore, you cannot name the passages in a non conscious algorithm with the same word which describes events in a consciousness. It is completely arbitrary.

    We can discuss if conscious choices are free or if they are not. But certainly we cannot equal conscious choices to algorithmic “choices”, as you repeatedly try to do.

  85. 85
    Zachriel says:

    gpuccio: You are using the word “choice” to mean two different things.

    Let’s see.

    gpuccio: “Choices” as parts of an algorithm are not true choices, even if you like to call them that way.

    Ah, not a True Choice™.

    gpuccio: The programmer makes choices and he transforms those choices into algorithms, which will act according to the original choices of the programmer.

    Decision-making in neural nets isn’t programmed; they learn from experience.

    gpuccio: Sentient beings make choices that are based on conscious representations, and their reaction to those representations.

    Computers make choices based on internal representations. The difference seems to be the sensation of consciousness. Not sure this represents two different definitions of choice. Computers choose, but they don’t do so consciously.

  86. 86
    Mung says:

    gpuccio:

    “Choices” as parts of an algorithm are not true choices…

    Yes, that s true. When a computer executes a choice it is merely executing the will (choice) of the programmer(s).

    Take a simple if/then statement:

    If ‘Zachriel’ then word_games().

    This doesn’t offer the computer a choice. The computer has no choice in the matter. This is simply a way to represent the choice of the programmer.

  87. 87
    gpuccio says:

    Mung:

    “If ‘Zachriel’ then word_games().” 🙂

    OK, I agree. But some of his word games are smart, and I like them, even if I don’t agree.

    Others, instead, are not smart at all!

  88. 88
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: When a computer executes a choice it is merely executing the will (choice) of the programmer(s).

    Neural nets don’t make decisions based on algorithmic conditions, but learn from experience, then make decisions based on that background knowledge.

  89. 89
    gpuccio says:

    Zachriel:

    Ah, not a True Choice™.

    Certainly, not the same thing as what I call a true choice, but the point is not how we call them. The point is that they are two different things.

    Decision-making in neural nets isn’t programmed; they learn from experience.

    The neural network is programmed to incorporate new data and react to them in a programmed way. No difference at all. It’s an algorithm just the same.

    Computers make choices based on internal representations.

    Computers make “zachriel” choices based on internal “zachriel” representations.

    None of that has anything to do with conscious choices based on conscious representations.

    The difference seems to be the sensation of consciousness.

    The difference is consciousness: the existence of conscious representations in a conscious subject, the I.

    Your use of “sensation of consciousness” is a really poor trick. Sensations happen in consciousness, like any other conscious representation. A sensation is a sensation only when the subject represents it.

    Not sure this represents two different definitions of choice.

    I am definitely sure. I am sure that you would be sure too, if you only accepted to use your intelligence to understand what is obvious. Your choice! 🙂

    Computers choose, but they don’t do so consciously.

    Computers execute algorithms, and you call “choice” a part of those algorithms.

    Sentient beings choose according to conscious representations. Those events have always been called choices, since the word, or the concept, exists.

    They are two completely different phenomena.

  90. 90
    Zachriel says:

    gpuccio: The neural network is programmed to incorporate new data and react to them in a programmed way. No difference at all.

    It’s programmed to emulate how the brain is thought to work, that is, to learn from experience.

    gpuccio: It’s an algorithm just the same.

    There’s no reason why we couldn’t design a non-algorithmic neural net. Computer algorithms are used because they are flexible and ubiquitous.

    gpuccio: Computers make “zachriel” choices based on internal “zachriel” representations.

    And Zachriel makes “zachriel” choices based on internal “zachriel” representations.

    gpuccio: A sensation is a sensation only when the subject represents it.

    A slug has sensations, but presumably doesn’t have an ego.

    gpuccio: I am definitely sure.

    You have a private definition, if that is what you mean. There’s choice, then there’s gpuccio-choice which entails consciousness. Or do you mean self-consciousness here?

    gpuccio: Sentient beings choose according to conscious representations. Those events have always been called choices, since the word, or the concept, exists.

    And computers make choices, ever since the invention of computers. It’s not considered an analogy. They evaluate and then decide. Now, we understand you want to distinguish conscious choice from unconscious choice, which is fine, but it’s not inherent in the word itself.

    Nor is it clear if consciousness is not also a natural phenomenon of the brain.

  91. 91
    gpuccio says:

    Zachriel:

    And Zachriel makes “zachriel” choices based on internal “zachriel” representations.

    Are you suggesting that you are not conscious?

    A slug has sensations, but presumably doesn’t have an ego.

    I am not so sure that I understand slugs as well as you seem to do.

    There’s choice, then there’s gpuccio-choice which entails consciousness. Or do you mean self-consciousness here?

    gpuccio-choice certainly entails consciousness. Self-consciousness is a complicated matter, and is not what I meant. It would require a lot of complex distinctions, and the discussion would be ambiguous just the same.

    Therefore, simply consciousness.

    It’s not considered an analogy.

    By you. For me, it’s an analogy, and a bad one too.

    They evaluate and then decide.

    Only in your sense. Which is not mine. Again, there are two different meanings. It’s not a question of words, but that you apparently try to deny that there are two different meanings. But there are. There is the gpuccio meaning, and the zachriel meaning. You cannot deny that.

    Now, we understand you want to distinguish conscious choice from unconscious choice, which is fine, but it’s not inherent in the word itself.

    Again, my problem is not with the word, but with the ambiguity which is generated when we use the same word for two different things, passing a philosophical assumption as a reality.

    Do you want to call your non conscious computer choices “true choices”? It’s fine for me. I can call conscious choices “schmucks”, or whatever you like.

    But they are two different things.

    Nor is it clear if consciousness is not also a natural phenomenon of the brain.

    Exactly. It is not clear at all that it is. Indeed, there is no credible argument in favor of that idea.

    Therefore, as the existence of consciousness is a fact, an empirical reality, while the idea that it is a natural phenomenon of the brain is, at best, an unsupported theory, we should definitely go on describing the phenomena of consciousness empirically, and name them with appropriate, specific words, and not assume an unsupported idea as the basis for language or for scientific reasoning, as you seem to do repeatedly.

  92. 92
    Zachriel says:

    gpuccio: Are you suggesting that you are not conscious?

    Just showing that your argument is not an argument.

    gpuccio: I am not so sure that I understand slugs as well as you seem to do.

    Slugs clearly act as if they have sensations. However, consciousness seems more likely in mammals and birds.

    gpuccio: Only in your sense. Which is not mine.

    It would normally be called a “conscious choice”. The modifier has a purpose. It’s just semantics, but the proper use of terminology does help clarify views.

    gpuccio: Do you want to call your non conscious computer choices “true choices”?

    Is that like a True Scotsman?

    gpuccio: Indeed, there is no credible argument in favor of that idea.

    Modifying the brain function appears to alter consciousness. This isn’t proof, but it is certainly credible evidence.

    gpuccio: Therefore, as the existence of consciousness is a fact

    The only consciousness anyone can experience is one’s own. The rest can only be determined by analogy or by empathy. Furthermore, there’s objective evidence that the experience of consciousness is not a full or accurate representation of the workings of the mind, or even of the decision-making process.

  93. 93
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Neural nets don’t make decisions based on algorithmic conditions, but learn from experience, then make decisions based on that background knowledge.

    This is irrelevant. We are not talking about neural nets. We were talking about computers.

  94. 94
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: We are not talking about neural nets. We were talking about computers.

    Computers can be used to create artificial neural networks.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_neural_network

  95. 95
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Computers can be used to create artificial neural networks.

    So? Do you think they have a choice in the matter?

  96. 96
    kairosfocus says:

    Games with meanings and connotations?

  97. 97
    gpuccio says:

    KF:

    “Games with meanings and connotations?”

    Absolutely! Zachriel is good at that, but after a while he loses his edge.

  98. 98
    Dionisio says:

    gpuccio

    Very insightful comments.

    Once more you’ve shown having a huge amount of patience to engage in discussions.

    I could not have said what you wrote better. Thank you.

    From my own experience working on engineering design software development projects for a number of years as a programmer, what I did was to translate the project leader’s ideas into code that could activate different electronic circuits within the computer. My boss defined the possible or valid choices of actions based on different conditions. I just implemented algorithms that produced results based on given conditions, according to the project leader’s defined choices. The computer did not choose anything. It just produced results based on the engineers’ choices. The engineers established the criteria to make the choices. The computer produced results based on the engineers’ choices according to the engineers’ criteria.

    If I had to segregate marbles based on their colors, placing them in separate color-coded bins, I would just perform a series of repetitive actions based on clear simple instructions previously given to me.
    Let’s say for example that I was told to place red marbles in a red bin, green marbles in a green bin, blue marbles into a blue bin, yellow marbles into a yellow bin.
    If I do exactly that, I would not make any choices, but simple execute my instructor’s choices.
    Now, if at some point I decide to stop working and leave, that would be my choice.
    If -for whatever reasons- I decide to place all the marbles in the same bin, ignoring the received instructions, that would be my choice (and most probably I would pay for some consequences).

    Does this make sense?

  99. 99
    gpuccio says:

    Dionisio:

    “Does this make sense?”

    Absolutely!

  100. 100

    @zachriel

    Now with your example of the chesscomputer you are saying that sorting = choosing. That is just defining terms, it is not argument. And your definitions confuse the differences between concepts proposed.

    I will try to make it more mathematical, so to make clear the differences.

    x=1
    If x > 0 then do A otherwise do B

    That is in essence what you call choosing, which is sorting.

    X has alternative future values of 0 and 1, 1 is made the present, 1 is chosen

    These are demonstrably different concepts.

  101. 101
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Do you think they have a choice in the matter?

    Do you have a choice? The problem is with the term “choice”. If we can show that there is a physical reason for you to always prefer chocolate, you will still say you have a free choice, even as you continue to choose chocolate.

    mohammadnursyamsu: Now with your example of the chesscomputer you are saying that sorting = choosing.

    Computers choose specific moves in chess, just like humans.

  102. 102
    Virgil Cain says:

    Computers choose specific moves in chess, just like humans.

    LoL! The chess playing computer program was designed by humans.

    If we can show that there is a physical reason for you to always prefer chocolate,

    I don’t always prefer chocolate.

  103. 103
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Do you have a choice? The problem is with the term “choice”. If we can show that there is a physical reason for you to always prefer chocolate, you will still say you have a free choice, even as you continue to choose chocolate.

    Yes I think I have a choice. I also think you have a choice. Else I would not bother talking to you. I’d just ignore you as a source of irritating noise.

    Your claim about chocolate is vacuous. If I ceased to choose chocolate then you would find a physical reason for me to not always prefer chocolate. So your little test doesn’t test anything. It’s useless.

    Do you believe there’s a physical basis for addiction?

    How about eating? And people who go on a hunger strike? They have no choice either way?

  104. 104
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Yes I think I have a choice.

    But you can’t show that your choice is any different than a choice made by a machine.

    Mung: If I ceased to choose chocolate then you would find a physical reason for me to not always prefer chocolate.

    Actually, some taste-reactions have been shown to be strongly correlated with genetics. The point is that if we scientifically demonstrate that your preference is due to a physical cause, you would still say you have a free choice, even as you choose chocolate over a hot poker in the eye.

    Mung: How about eating? And people who go on a hunger strike? They have no choice either way?

    Just because the response is complex, and involves many different desires balanced against one another, doesn’t mean the choice is different in kind from the choice of a machine. That doesn’t mean it isn’t, just that you can’t provide objective evidence that it is.

  105. 105

    @zachriel

    Yes people sort too, just like chesscomputer.

    That is not choosing as it is understood in creationism and common discourse, as was demonstrated the concepts are different.

    Choosing can turn out either way in the moment. It can be considered thrilling which way a decision will turn out, like in an election or a football match. There is no thrill when you know the working of the chesscomputer, because then you know beforehand which way it turns out. Which is why chesscomputers also use a random function to simulate decision making, that it really can turn out one way or the other in the moment.

  106. 106
    Zachriel says:

    mohammadnursyamsu: There is no thrill when you know the working of the chesscomputer, because then you know beforehand which way it turns out.

    If you knew which way it would turn out, you would never lose to a computer. Computers are known for some exciting tactical play.

  107. 107
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, actually, Computer programs for chess exploit the human tendency to have lapses — that is the usual design strategy. A mistake is hit and your material and position are degraded perhaps decisively. KF

  108. 108
    Zachriel says:

    kairosofocus: Computer programs for chess exploit the human tendency to have lapses — that is the usual design strategy. A mistake is hit and your material and position are degraded perhaps decisively.

    Funny. That’s how most people play too.

  109. 109
    Mung says:

    Mung: Yes I think I have a choice.

    Zachriel: But you can’t show that your choice is any different than a choice made by a machine.

    Why would I even try to show such a thing when I deny that machines are even capable of choice, and you can’t demonstrate that machines make choices?

  110. 110
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: That’s how most people play too.

    So? That’s not how the good players play.

    How does a computer “choose” which opening to employ?

  111. 111
    Virgil Cain says:

    But you can’t show that your choice is any different than a choice made by a machine.

    Which computer chooses to eat chocolate?

  112. 112
    Mung says:

    Silly Virgil. Computers choose to not eat chocolate.

  113. 113

    @zachriel

    …..they can just program a take back move option in the chess program. Then you can see the move the computer makes in response to your move, and you can take back your move knowing for a fact what move the computer makes beforehand. Then the thrill is gone, while the chesscomputer still operates the exact same way as it did before.

    It is a wellknown “personality disorder” to make what is good and evil into a fact. That is the basis of your confused idea about choosing. Like the Sheldon character in the big bang theory sitcom, who says as fact which woman is beautiful and which woman is ugly, straight to their face.

    How that works is, you conceive of choosing as sorting, an then you need sortingcriteria to sort with. Like the chess computer uses the highest possible score, winnig, as a sortingcriteria to sort out moves. The sorting criteria then function as the facts about what is good and evil, in this case winning the chessmatch is then in fact good. So that is how denial of freedom in the creationist sense, to conceive of choosing as sorting, is related to the wellknown original sin of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    I mean you actually present no argument whatsoever to evaluate the creationist concept of choosing. That shows there is no reasoning behind your rejection of creationist choosing, the motivation for clinging to your idea about choosing as sorting is original sin.

  114. 114
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, the good players read the game, intuitively highlighting the most relevant scenarios, often based on insights they cannot put into words. Well do I remember being amazed by anglers reading a beach. Same for first class troubleshooters. And BTW, top flight designers read possibilities too and produce effective, elegant designs with what looks like magic. KF

  115. 115
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Why would I even try to show such a thing when I deny that machines are even capable of choice, and you can’t demonstrate that machines make choices?

    Computers make choices in the usual sense of the word. They consider options, project possibilities, then apply criteria to decide on a specific action.

    Mung: How does a computer “choose” which opening to employ?

    Depends on the computer or person. Some always play the same opening. Some choose willy-nilly. Others consider previous results with various openings.

    mohammadnursyamsu: they can just program a take back move option in the chess program.

    Human players often allow take-backs too.

    mohammadnursyamsu: Then you can see the move the computer makes in response to your move, and you can take back your move knowing for a fact what move the computer makes beforehand.

    You hang your queen. Bobby Fischer takes your queen. Having agreed to take-backs, you take back your move. You make the same move again, and amazingly, Bobby Fischer takes your queen again. It’s like he’s a robot or something!

  116. 116
    Virgil Cain says:

    Computers make choices in the usual sense of the word.

    Any and all choices made by computers are traced back to the humans who designed and programmed them.

  117. 117
    asauber says:

    Computers make choices in the usual sense of the word.

    Zachy, and everyone else here know this is trolling.

    But that’s Our Zachy.

    Nothin’ Better To Do.

    Andrew

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