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At Reasons.org: “I Think, Therefore It Must Be True,” Part 1: The Science of Belief

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Steven Willing writes:

Late in life, atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell received this challenge: if, after death, he found himself face to face with God, what would he say? Russell replied, “I probably would ask, ‘Sir, why did you not give me better evidence?’”¹

Theists contend that though evidence for God is both present and sufficient, bias can fog even brilliant minds like Russell’s. It’s possible that bias could explain Russell’s atheism, but is the accusation of bias merely an ad hominem counter argument? We often assume that human beliefs arise from the application of reason to facts and experience; that we are, in effect, Homo rationalis (rational man). If Russell were objectively rational after considering all the evidence, then his defense is valid. His unbelief would signify failure on God’s part.

“I Think, Therefore It Must Be True,” Part 1: The Science of Belief
Reasons.org

Homo rationalis is widely embraced and resonates with our self-perception. We always think our own beliefs are based on facts, reason, and experience.

Social scientists in the 1970s broadly accepted two ideas about human nature. First, people are generally rational, and their thinking is normally sound. Second, emotions such as fear, affection, and hatred explain most of the occasions on which people depart from rationality.²

However, the Christian Scriptures reject the doctrine of Homo rationalis, instead predicting that people would refuse to believe in the face of overwhelming evidence. In a parable recorded in Luke 16, Jesus says, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” And in Romans 1:21, Paul writes, “Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

In recent decades, researchers from a range of disciplines have investigated the nature of human belief. The results of this research enable us to test which is more correct, Homo rationalis or the biblical perspective.

Finding #1: Relying on Heuristics

Humans routinely sift through mountains of information to make even simple decisions. Ideally, a person one would take accurate, complete data and apply reason to reach a logical and correct conclusion. Reality is not so cooperative; we often lack both time and desire for exhaustive analysis, even if perfect information were available. Instead, we make the best possible decisions based on imperfect, incomplete data.

Heuristics are those mental shortcuts people use for deciding as efficiently as possible given the information on hand. We all use them, several times a day. Heuristics are quite helpful, actually. If you encounter a shadowy figure in a dark alley with something shaped like a gun in his hand, the “representativeness” heuristic would recommend avoidance. Logic would be useless until you determined beyond all doubt that (1) yes, it was a gun, and (2) the bearer had malicious intent—which could be too late.

Unfortunately, heuristics are often wrong and used as a substitute for thoughtful reflection. In his book Thinking Fast and Slow, renowned psychologist Daniel Kahneman offers a comprehensive portrayal of how our minds work and how an expanding catalog of cognitive biases and faulty heuristics routinely and predictably lead us astray. Heuristics are automatic, quick, and effortless. Kahneman labels this “System 1” thinking. Thoughtful reflection (“System 2” thinking) yields better decisions at the cost of time and effort. What Kahneman and his collaborators found was that our minds are naturally lazy so we rely on System 1 as much as possible: “System 1 is gullible and biased to believe, System 2 is in charge of doubting and unbelieving, but System 2 is sometimes busy, and often lazy.”³

Cognitive biases are tendencies deeply embedded in our subconscious that lead us to err in predictable ways. Almost two hundred have been described in the literature. Many serve to enhance our own self-image or minimize emotional tension. For example, confirmation bias is the tendency to assign greater significance to evidence that supports our preexisting opinion. Heuristics and biases are closely intertwined. One way to understand the connection is that heuristics represent a shortcut to decision making, but are neutral regarding outcome. Biases push those decisions in certain (somewhat) predictable directions. Having invested a lifetime researching heuristics and biases, Kahneman concluded that “the human mind is not bound to reality.”4

Finding #2: Emotional Influences

It would be a sorry state of affairs if we regarded tragedy and suffering with cold indifference. But to what extent do emotions determine our beliefs? Is it merely an occasional exception or do emotions undermine the validity of Homo rationalis? In recent decades, a clear picture has emerged. It began with the observation that patients with specific brain injuries lost all capacity for emotion. The surprising consequence, though, was that such patients also lost the ability to make decisions. They could analyze a problem all day long without ever forming a conclusion. Dr. Antoine Bechara summarized the outcome of this research in 2004: 5

The studies of decision-making in neurological patients who can no longer process emotional information normally suggest that people make judgments not only by evaluating the consequences and their probability of occurring, but also and even sometimes primarily at a gut or emotional level. (emphasis added)

Now, this is far from saying that every decision is purely or primarily emotional nor that emotions inevitably lead to flawed conclusions. But when it comes to objective analysis or honest truth-seeking, emotions may not merely impede our progress; they can propel us right off the cliff. Consider the emotional fervor over certain political, social, religious, and even scientific issues. It is easy to believe the issues inflame our passion; more often it is our passions that inflame the issue. Despite the evidence, few will admit to thinking emotionally rather than logically. Most likely we don’t even know we’re doing it.

In 2015, Jennifer Lerner of Harvard University reviewed 35 years of research on the role of emotions in judgment and decision making.6

The research reveals that emotions constitute potent, pervasive, predictable, sometimes harmful and sometimes beneficial drivers of decision making. Across different domains, important regularities appear in the mechanisms through which emotions influence judgments and choices.

Finding #3: Social influences

If Homo rationalis existed, then we could completely trust expert opinions. But there are two obvious problems. First, experts often disagree. Second, recent history shows that experts sometimes fail spectacularly. The bandwagon effect inclines people to conform their opinions to the perceived majority position. This may occur either to enhance one’s own conformity and social acceptance, or because one sincerely (perhaps naively) trusts the wisdom of the majority.

When formulating an opinion on a complex subject, rarely do people rely on their own analysis. For example, on initial consideration, Professor B may consider Professor A’s opinion. The opinion of Professor A will be treated as additional data, sometimes prompting Professor B to reach the opposite conclusion from what he might have reached independently. Professor C then comes along and, rather than seeing disagreement between Professors A and B, she sees unanimity. If she trusts her colleagues, the inclination toward agreement becomes ever greater. This is the mechanism by which information cascades develop. In an information cascade, the early deciders have a disproportionate impact over equally qualified experts who arrive later. When a cascade has occurred, the majority viewpoint of 100 experts may be completely opposite to the opinion of the same 100 experts analyzing the data independently, blinded to the opinions of their colleagues.

Finding #4: Intelligence and Religiosity

There is no evidence that more intelligent or better educated individuals transcend their own emotions and biases or are less susceptible to peer pressure. In Kahneman’s collaborative research, it didn’t matter whether the subjects were average high school students or Ivy League undergrads. Highly intelligent and educated people are more confident,7 making them less likely to doubt their opinions or change their minds. Rather than pursuing truth wherever it may be found, smarter people channel their energy toward arguing and reinforcing their preexisting opinions.8

Belief Formation Research Supports Scripture

While Bertrand Russell, and many others, may attribute unbelief to lack of evidence, the Bible declares that belief is a choice. Research on human decision making has demonstrated that we are heavily influenced by nonrational factors that can lead to faulty decisions and incorrect belief (or unbelief). It seems the Bible’s view is well supported. To paraphrase Solzhenitsyn, the dividing line between fact and fancy cuts through the mind of every person, believer and skeptic alike.

Reasons.org

The conclusions of this article indicate the importance of continuing to strive to evaluate the available evidence rationally and objectively.

76 Replies to “At Reasons.org: “I Think, Therefore It Must Be True,” Part 1: The Science of Belief

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    “the Bible declares that belief is a choice.”

    I think some people like to deny they make choices to maintain or change or discard beliefs. They can then try to deny responsibility for stuff they think and do. It’s really a selfish and immature illusion to cling to for some kind of emotional habit.

    Andrew

  2. 2
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    I think I’m confused here. It seems as if the argument is that the psychology and neuroscience of reasoning and decision-making shows that we’re not innately good at epistemology, and that supports a Scriptural view about the nature of faith. I’m having a hard time seeing how those two are supposed to be connected.

  3. 3
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 2,

    Do you believe for a reason? Ask yourself, why do I believe?

  4. 4
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @3

    Do you believe for a reason? Ask yourself, why do I believe?

    What you mean by “believe”? I have reasons for my belief that my wife loves me, reasons for my belief that my car needs to be taken to the shop, etc. I assume that’s not what you mean by “believe”, right?

  5. 5
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 4,

    You read the article above, right? What are your thoughts?

  6. 6
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @5

    You read the article above, right? What are your thoughts?

    I expressed my thoughts in my comment (2) above. It seems as if the article is taking some research in the psychology of reasoning and decision-making, pointing that that we’re not innately good at epistemology, and then concluding that this somehow supports a Biblical view of human nature.

    If I’m reading it right, the author is saying that from the fact that there are lots of non-rational factors that affect judgment and decision-making, it follows that belief in God is a choice. (The technical term here is doxastic voluntarism.)

    I just don’t see how the role of various cognitive heuristics and emotional biases to decision-making are supposed to support doxastic voluntarism. To me it looks like one big non sequitur. That’s why I’m asking for clarification.

  7. 7
    chuckdarwin says:

    Descartes’ formulation should have, to be empirically consistent, gone “I think therefore I thought.”

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    I think. The rest is just thoughts.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, the issue is, that our biases and emotive reactions plus our bounded rationality are often self-serving. If it were merely that we were poor at epistemology, our thought and beliefs would be all over the map, but what is there is a systematic bias or cluster of biases. In short, we tend to self-servingly fail duty to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence etc, even while our reactions to others shows, consistently, that we expect them to fulfill same (especially where such would benefit us) . . . save when we have reached despair. Maybe, we could call this the [short-sighted?] selfishness warping effect thesis? That sort of debased mindset sounds suspiciously like what the Bible terms sin or folly or in extreme cases the reprobate mind, contrasted with godly wisdom. Thoughts? KF

  10. 10
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 8,

    You should write a book. Random Thoughts by Seversky.

    Or you could collect some of your more incendiary posts here and release Rants and Raves by Seversky.

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, I think we have a game of galloping tenses there, which is interesting. I read Descartes as being in the act of deep, self induced existential doubt. However, even as he doubts he is in another mind, recognising that the very act of doubting is an expression of a going concern mind in action. But that is not non-being, non-existence, it is something and something recognisably oneself. So, the race sees this recognition pulling away and winning the inner conflict. Even to doubt like this, I must be and so I am. KF

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, kindly see the just now. KF

  13. 13
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @9

    PM1, the issue is, that our biases and emotive reactions plus our bounded rationality are often self-serving. If it were merely that we were poor at epistemology, our thought and beliefs would be all over the map, but what is there is a systematic bias or cluster of biases. In short, we tend to self-servingly fail duty to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence etc, even while our reactions to others shows, consistently, that we expect them to fulfill same (especially where such would benefit us) . . . save when we have reached despair. Maybe, we could call this the [short-sighted?] selfishness warping effect thesis? That sort of debased mindset sounds suspiciously like what the Bible terms sin or folly or in extreme cases the reprobate mind, contrasted with godly wisdom. Thoughts? KF

    Those seem like importantly different cases to me.

    The first kind of case concerns our epistemic deficiencies: the kinds of case where we tend to ignore discomfirming evidence or commit a certain widespread informal fallacy (the sunk-cost fallacy, for example). There’s some research in the psychology of reasoning which indicates that reasoning is a fundamentally social activity: we’re just not great at being solitary reasoners, though of course it is possible to become better at reasoning by internalizing the strategies that have been collectively developed.

    The second kind of case concerns our ethical deficiencies: our tendency to put our needs, interests, and desires ahead of those of others, and even a willingness to use others as mere means for our ends. I guess I think of that as a failure of love (agape) more than a failure of reason.

    But, though distinct, it’s not hard to see how they might be connected.

    So here’s one way of seeing a connection: reasoning as a social practice, reasoning in concert with others, requires that we make our beliefs available to the criticism of others, just as we criticize them.

    This will require acknowledging other people as having an epistemic authority equal to our own, such that they can be acknowledged as possible sources of criticism and correction.

    And that in turn requires according to others a certain baseline level of respect — one will ignore the criticisms one receives from people one does not respect.

    So in that sense, I can see how the failure to respect others as members of one’s community (a failure of agape?) can lead to failures of reasoning correctly, because the egotism has deprived someone of the possibility of corrective feedback — one ends up stuck, quasi-solipsistically, in one’s own cognitive biases.

    The more interesting and difficult problem arises when it comes to group-level biases: if everyone in a community has the same biases, then no one can get corrective feedback from anyone else. In cases like that — cases of ideology, of echo chambers, bubbles, etc. — there are really only two options: (1) figuring out how to actually test one beliefs against how the world really is (science) and (2) learn how to communicate and cooperate with someone from outside one’s own culture, which in turn involves recognizing our shared humanity.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, yes there are several points there, however there are two distinct types of ignorance, individual and collective. Primary, due to lack of reasonable access to relevant well warranted information, to which the due response is to calibrate the new information and on good info, to acknowledge it. Secondary, we may lock out good information we do have adequate access to but which does not match well with our preferences etc. The latter is a whole lot less innocent, but may pretend that warrant is missing or the matter is falsified or dubious etc. Guilty ignorance, see what the White Rose martyrs had to say to Germany in the 1940’s. KF

  15. 15
    Fasteddious says:

    Pyrrho @6: It seems the author is merely saying that in comparing the “homo rathionalis” assumption and the Bible’s view of man, the latter provides a better model for how humans make decisions. This is probably a false dilemma, but presumably is intended to bolster belief in the Bible.

  16. 16
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ 10
    Don’t jab
    I’m only saying this because I’ve been on CD’s case for similar remarks and Sev hasn’t posted anything to warrant that. Not to mention I noticed CD’s last couple of comments have not been down right trolls of the op and ID

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “I Think, Therefore It Must Be True,” Part 1: The Science Of Belief – October 31, 2022
    Excerpt: However, the Christian Scriptures reject the doctrine of Homo rationalis, instead predicting that people would refuse to believe in the face of overwhelming evidence. In a parable recorded in Luke 16, Jesus says, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” And in Romans 1:21, Paul writes, “Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
    In recent decades, researchers from a range of disciplines have investigated the nature of human belief. The results of this research enable us to test which is more correct, Homo rationalis or the biblical perspective.,,,,
    ,,,, Research on human decision making has demonstrated that we are heavily influenced by nonrational factors that can lead to faulty decisions and incorrect belief (or unbelief). It seems the Bible’s view is well supported.
    https://uncommondescent.com/logic-and-first-principles-of-right-reason/at-reasons-org-i-think-therefore-it-must-be-true-part-1-the-science-of-belief/

    In confirming the biblical principle that people are very biased in how they form their beliefs, It is also very interesting to note that the biblical principle that people are “heavily influenced by nonrational factors” in forming their beliefs also played a very large role in Francis Bacon formulating the inductive methodology that lies behind the scientific method.

    In short, Francis Bacon was driven to formulate the inductive methodology that lies behind the scientific method as check and balance against man’s fallen, sinful, nature.

    As Emily Morales, via Peter Harrison, noted, “It was the rather low regard for the fallen human mind, besieged as it were by sin, that drove Francis Bacon, the “Father” of the Scientific Method, to formulate a new epistemology,,, Bacon’s inductive methodology facilitated an explosion in knowledge of the natural world and accompanying technological advancement”,,,

    Bacon’s “Enchanted Glass” – Emily Morales – December 2019
    Excerpt: It was the rather low regard for the fallen human mind, besieged as it were by sin, that drove Francis Bacon, the “Father” of the Scientific Method, to formulate a new epistemology in his Great Instauration. In this brilliant man of faith’s view, the Adamic fall left an indelible mark on the human intellect, such that in its total depravity and persistent infirmity it could not be trusted to generate knowledge that was in any way free from bias, wrong presuppositions, or contradictions.,,,
    Recognizing then, the limitations of the human mind for revealing truth by mere logic and deductive reasoning, Bacon posited an altogether different means for knowledge acquisition: experimentation3—repeated experimentation—within the context of a scientific community (natural philosophers in his day). Bacon’s inductive methodology facilitated an explosion in knowledge of the natural world and accompanying technological advancement:
    https://salvomag.com/post/bacons-enchanted-glass

    The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science
    Description: Peter Harrison provides an account of the religious foundations of scientific knowledge. He shows how the approaches to the study of nature that emerged in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were directly informed by theological discussions about the Fall of Man and the extent to which the mind and the senses had been damaged by that primeval event. Scientific methods, he suggests, were originally devised as techniques for ameliorating the cognitive damage wrought by human sin. At its inception, modern science was conceptualized as a means of recapturing the knowledge of nature that Adam had once possessed. Contrary to a widespread view that sees science emerging in conflict with religion, Harrison argues that theological considerations were of vital importance in the framing of the scientific method.
    https://www.amazon.com/Fall-Man-Foundations-Science/dp/0521117291
    *Peter Harrison is a former Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford and is presently Research Professor and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland. He was the 2011 Gifford Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and holds a Senior Research Fellowship in the Ian Ramsey Centre at Oxford

    And here is how Meyer summed it up in his book, “Return of the God Hypothesis”, “on the one hand, that human beings could attain insight into the workings of the natural world, but that, on the other, they were vulnerable to self-deception, flights of fancy, and prematurely jumping to conclusions.”

    “Such a nuanced view of human nature implied, on the one hand, that human beings could attain insight into the workings of the natural world, but that, on the other, they were vulnerable to self-deception, flights of fancy, and prematurely jumping to conclusions. This composite view of reason—one that affirmed both its capability and fallibility—inspired confidence that the design and order of nature could be understood if scientists carefully studied the natural world, but also engendered caution about trusting human intuition, conjectures, and hypotheses unless they were carefully tested by experiment and observation.”
    – Meyer, Stephen C.. – Return of the God Hypothesis (p. 38)

    Bacon’s inductive methodology, which he introduced as a check and balance against humanity’s fallen sinful nature, was a radically different form of ‘bottom up’ reasoning that was completely different than the ‘top down’ deductive reasoning of the ancient Greeks which had preceded it. A form of ‘top-down’ reasoning in which people “pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”

    “The emergence of modern science was associated with a disdain for the rationalism of Greek philosophers who pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”
    – Henry F. Schaefer III – Making Sense of Faith and Science – 23:30 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/C7Py_qeFW4s?t=1415

    Deductive vs. Inductive reasoning – top-down vs. bottom-up – graph
    https://i2.wp.com/images.slideplayer.com/28/9351128/slides/slide_2.jpg

    Inductive reasoning
    Excerpt: Inductive reasoning is distinct from deductive reasoning. While, if the premises are correct, the conclusion of a deductive argument is certain, the truth of the conclusion of an inductive argument is probable, based upon the evidence given.[4]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning

    This new form of ‘bottom up’ inductive reasoning, which lays at the basis of the scientific method itself, was championed by Francis Bacon over and above the deductive reasoning of the ancient Greeks in 1620 in his book that was entitled ‘Novum Organum’. Which is translated as ‘New Method’.

    In the title of that book, Bacon is specifically referencing Aristotle’s work ‘Organon’, which was, basically, Aristotle’s treatise on logic and syllogism. In other words, ‘Organum’ was, basically, Aristotle’s treatise on deductive reasoning.

    The Organon and the logic perspective of computation – 2016
    Excerpt: The works of Aristotle on logic are collectively known as the Organon, that is, the ” instrument ” or ” tool ” of thought. In the ” Prior Analytics “, Aristotle introduced a list of inference rules that concern with the relation of premises to conclusion in arguments (syllogisms). His aim was to determine which kinds of arguments are valid. The validity of an argument is characterized and inferred based on its logical form (deduction) and for this reason Aristotle is considered as the father of formal logic.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303407444_The_Organon_and_the_logic_perspective_of_computation

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    And thus in his book “Novum Organum”, Bacon was specifically and directly championing a entirely new method of ‘bottom-up’ inductive reasoning, (where repeated experimentation played a central role in one’s reasoning to a general truth), over and above Aristotle’s ‘top-down’ deductive form of reasoning, (where one’s apriori assumption of a general truth, (i.e. your major premises), played a central role in one’s reasoning), which had been the dominate form of reasoning that had been around for 2000 years at that time.

    Deductive and Inductive Reasoning (Bacon vs Aristotle – Scientific Revolution) – video
    Excerpt: Deductive reasoning, which uses general premises to arrive at a certain conclusion, has been around since Aristotle. In his book Novum Organum (1620, translated ‘new method’), Sir Francis Bacon advanced a new way of philosophical inquiry known as inductive reasoning, in which the inquirer comes to a probable conclusion based on several specific observations.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAdpPABoTzE

    And indeed, repeated experimentation, ever since it was first set forth by Francis Bacon in his inductive methodology, has been the cornerstone of the scientific method. And has indeed been very, very, fruitful for man in gaining accurate knowledge of the universe in that repeated experiments lead to more “exacting, and illuminating”, conclusions than is possible with the quote-unquote, “educated guesses” that follow from the ‘top-down’ deductive form of reasoning that had been the dominant form of reasoning up to that time.

    Francis Bacon, 1561–1626
    Excerpt: Called the father of empiricism, Sir Francis Bacon is credited with establishing and popularizing the “scientific method” of inquiry into natural phenomena. In stark contrast to deductive reasoning, which had dominated science since the days of Aristotle, Bacon introduced inductive methodology—testing and refining hypotheses by observing, measuring, and experimenting. An Aristotelian might logically deduce that water is necessary for life by arguing that its lack causes death. Aren’t deserts arid and lifeless? But that is really an educated guess, limited to the subjective experience of the observer and not based on any objective facts gathered about the observed. A Baconian would want to test the hypothesis by experimenting with water deprivation under different conditions, using various forms of life. The results of those experiments would lead to more exacting, and illuminating, conclusions about life’s dependency on water.
    https://lib-dbserver.princeton.edu/visual_materials/maps/websites/thematic-maps/bacon/bacon.html

    And, (in what should not be surprising for anyone who has debated Darwinists for any length of time), it turns out that Darwinian evolution itself is not based on Bacon’s Inductive form of reasoning, (which is too say that Darwin’s theory itself is not based on the scientific method), but Darwin’s theory is instead based, in large measure, on the Deductive form of reasoning that Bacon had specifically shunned because of the fallibleness of man’s fallen sinful nature.

    As Dr. Richard Nelson noted in his book ‘Darwin, Then and Now’, Charles Darwin, in his book ‘Origin of Species’, “selected the deductive method of reasoning – and abandoned the inductive method of reasoning.”

    Darwin Dilemma by Dr. Richard William Nelson
    The theory of biological evolution Charles Darwin argued for in the Origin of Species now presents a litany of problems for twenty-first-century evolution scientists – known as the Darwin Dilemma. The dilemma stems from the method of reasoning Darwin selected.
    Dilemma Origins: For investigating the laws of nature, Charles Darwin selected the deductive method of reasoning – and abandoned the inductive method of reasoning. The method of reasoning is critical when investigating the secrets of nature.
    Unlike deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning minimizes the dogma and bias of the investigator. Inductive reasoning is the defining element of what has become known as the scientific method. Details of Darwin’s reasoning method are discussed in Darwin, Then and Now.
    https://www.darwinthenandnow.com/darwin-dilemma/

    In fact, Richard Owen, in a review of Charles Darwin’s book shortly after it was published, had found that Charles Darwin, as far as inductive methodology itself was concerned, had failed to produce any “inductive original research which might issue in throwing light on ‘that mystery of mysteries.’.

    Darwin on the Origin of Species (1860)
    Reviewed by Richard Owen for Edinburg Review
    Excerpt: The scientific world has looked forward with great interest to the facts which Mr. Darwin might finally deem adequate to the support of his theory on this supreme question in biology, and to the course of inductive original research which might issue in throwing light on ‘that mystery of mysteries.’ But having now cited the chief, if not the whole, of the original observations adduced by its author in the volume now before us, our disappointment may be conceived.
    http://www.victorianweb.org/sc.....rigin.html

    In other words, Darwin had failed to produce any original experimental research that might support his theory for the “Origin of Species”.

    And on top of Richard Owen’s rather mild rebuke of Darwin for failing to use inductive methodology, Adam Sedgwick was nothing less than scathing of Darwin for deserting, “after a start in that tram-road of all solid physical truth – the true method of induction, and started us in machinery as wild, I think, as Bishop Wilkins’s locomotive that was to sail with us to the moon.”

    Moreover, Adam Sedgwick also called Darwin out for being deceptive in exactly what form of reasoning he was using in his book. Specifically Sedgwick scolded Darwin that “Many of your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved, why then express them in the language and arrangement of philosophical induction?”

    From Adam Sedgwick – 24 November 1859
    Cambridge
    My dear Darwin,
    Excerpt: I have read your book with more pain than pleasure. Parts of it I admired greatly, parts I laughed at till my sides were almost sore; other parts I read with absolute sorrow, because I think them utterly false and grievously mischievous. You have deserted – after a start in that tram-road of all solid physical truth – the true method of induction, and started us in machinery as wild, I think, as Bishop Wilkins’s locomotive that was to sail with us to the moon. Many of your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved, why then express them in the language and arrangement of philosophical induction?-
    As to your grand principle – natural selection – what is it but a secondary consequence of supposed, or known, primary facts. Development is a better word because more close to the cause of the fact.”,,,
    ,,, (your conclusions are not) “ever likely to be found any where but in the fertile womb of man’s imagination.”
    Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) – one of the founders of modern geology. – The Spectator, 1860
    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2548.xml

    And it was not as if Charles Darwin himself was ignorant of the fact that he had failed to follow Bacon’s inductive methodology when he wrote his book.

    Charles Darwin himself, two years prior to the publication of his book, honestly confessed to a friend that “What you hint at generally is very very true, that my work will be grievously hypothetical & large parts by no means worthy of being called inductive; my commonest error being probably induction from too few facts.”

    Charles Darwin to Asa Gray – 29 November 1857
    My dear Gray,
    ,,, What you hint at generally is very very true, that my work will be grievously hypothetical & large parts by no means worthy of being called inductive; my commonest error being probably induction from too few facts.
    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2176.xml

    In fact, just two weeks before Darwin’s book was to be published, Darwin’s brother, Erasmus, told Darwin, “In fact, the a priori reasoning is so entirely satisfactory to me that if the facts [evidence] won’t fit, why so much the worse for the facts, in my feeling.”

    Scientific Method
    Excerpt: Darwin was concerned about the effect of abandoning the scientific method. To console Darwin, just two weeks before the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, Erasmus Darwin, his brother wrote:
    “In fact, the a priori reasoning is so entirely satisfactory to me that if the facts [evidence] won’t fit, why so much the worse for the facts, in my feeling.”
    https://www.darwinthenandnow.com/darwin-dilemma/scientific-method/

    And now, over a century and a half later, the situation of ‘the facts won’t fit’ still has not changed for Darwinists. To this day, Darwinists still have no experimental research that would establish Darwin’s theory as being scientifically true (or even, given the extreme rarity of functional proteins, that it is even remotely feasible),

    As Dr Richard Nelson further noted in his book’ Darwin, Then and Now’, “After 150 years of research,,, the scientific evidence is clear: there are no “successive, slight” changes in the fossil record, embryology, molecular biology, or genetics to support Darwinism or neo-Darwinism.”

    Darwin, Then and Now – by Dr. Richard William Nelson – Book Preview
    Excerpt: as a theology graduate from Christ’s College, Darwin set out on a mission to discover the natural laws of evolution with a passion. Darwin Then and Now reveals how the emerging nineteenth century philosophies influenced Darwin to eventually abandon the Scientific Method. Darwin conceded that The Origin of Species was just “one long argument from the beginning to the end”—not a scientific treatise. DARWIN, THEN AND NOW highlights Darwin’s top 15 contradictions in arguing for natural selection.
    Just two years before the publication of The Origin of Species, in writing to a friend, Darwin confided, “I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science.” With more than 300 quotations from Darwin, DARWIN, THEN AND NOW is an exposé on what Darwin actually said concerning his “point of view” on the origin of species.
    After 150 years of research with more than 700 references from scientists, DARWIN, THEN AND NOW chronicles how the scientific evidence is clear: there are no “successive, slight” changes in the fossil record, embryology, molecular biology, or genetics to support Darwinism or neo-Darwinism. Even the popular twentieth-century Central Dogma theoretical mechanism of evolution has been abandoned. Today, a cohesive mechanism of evolution and evidence of a Tree of Life continues to remain as elusive as Darwin infamous drawing – “I Think.”
    – ibid

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    In fact, in further proving that Darwinism is not based on Bacon’s inductive form of reasoning, (and as anyone who has debated Darwinists for any length of time knows), there is simply no way that one can go about falsifying Darwin’s theory via empirical observation.

    “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 R. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery

    As Denis Noble noted in his little confrontation with Darwinists, “If, as the commentator seems to imply, we make neo-Darwinism so flexible as an idea that it can accept even those findings that the originators intended to be excluded by the theory it is then incumbent on modern neo-Darwinists to specify what would now falsify the theory. If nothing can do this then it is not a scientific theory.”

    Central tenets of neo-Darwinism broken. Response to ‘Neo-Darwinism is just fine’ – 2015
    Excerpt: “If, as the commentator seems to imply, we make neo-Darwinism so flexible as an idea that it can accept even those findings that the originators intended to be excluded by the theory it is then incumbent on modern neo-Darwinists to specify what would now falsify the theory. If nothing can do this then it is not a scientific theory.”
    – Denis Noble – President of International Union of Physiological Sciences
    https://jeb.biologists.org/content/218/16/2659

    And in my years of debating Darwinists, I have compiled a list of many lines of experimental evidence that directly falsify core presuppositions of Darwin’s theory,,,, empirical falsifications that Darwinists simply ignore as if they do not matter

    Darwinism vs. Falsification – list

    1. Darwin’s theory holds mutations to the genome to be random. The vast majority of mutations to the genome are not random but are now found to be ‘directed’.

    2. Darwin’s theory holds that Natural Selection is the ‘designer substitute’ that produces the ‘appearance’ and/or illusion of design. Natural Selection, especially for multicellular organisms, is found to be grossly inadequate as the ‘designer substitute.

    3. Darwin’s theory holds that mutations to DNA will eventually change the basic biological form of any given species into a new form of a brand new species. Yet, biological form is found to be irreducible to mutations to DNA, nor is biological form reducible to any other material particulars in biology one may wish to invoke.

    4. Darwin’s theory, (via Fisher’s Theorem in population genetics), assumed there to be an equal proportion of good and bad mutations to DNA which were, ultimately, responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Yet, the ratio of detrimental to beneficial mutations is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever.

    5. Charles Darwin himself held that the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Yet, from the Cambrian Explosion onward, the fossil record is consistently characterized by the sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record, (i.e. disparity), then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. Moreover, Fossils are found in the “wrong place” all the time (either too early, or too late).

    6. Darwin’s theory, due to the randomness postulate, holds that patterns will not repeat themselves in supposedly widely divergent species. Yet thousands of instances of what is ironically called ‘convergent evolution’, on both the morphological and genetic level, falsifies the Darwinian belief that patterns will not repeat themselves in widely divergent species.

    7. Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Yet as Doug Axe pointed out, “Basically every gene and every new protein fold, there is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in that gradualistic way. It’s all a mirage. None of it happens that way.”

    8. Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.” Yet as Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig pointed out, “in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as modern versions of it.”

    9. Charles Darwin himself stated that, ““The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God. Yet ‘our conscious selves’ are certainly not explainable by ‘chance’ (nor is consciousness explainable by any possible reductive materialistic explanation in general), i.e. ‘the hard problem of consciousness’.

    10. Besides the mathematics of probability consistently showing that Darwinian evolution is impossible, the mathematics of population genetics itself has now shown Darwinian evolution to be impossible. Moreover, ‘immaterial’ mathematics itself, which undergirds all of science, engineering and technology, is held by most mathematicians to exist in some timeless, unchanging, immaterial, Platonic realm. Yet, the reductive materialism that Darwinian theory is based upon denies the existence of the immaterial realm that mathematics exists in. i.e. Darwinian evolution actually denies the objective reality of the one thing, i.e. mathematics, that it most needs in order to be considered scientific in the first place!

    11. Donald Hoffman has, via population genetics, shown that if Darwin’s materialistic theory were true then all our observations of reality would be illusory. Yet the scientific method itself is based on reliable observation. Moreover, Quantum Mechanics itself has now shown that conscious observation must come before material reality, i.e. falsification of ‘realism’ proves that our conscious observations are reliable!.

    12. The reductive materialism that undergirds Darwinian thought holds that immaterial information is merely ’emergent’ from a material basis. Yet immaterial Information, via experimental realization of the “Maxwell’s Demon” thought experiment, is now found to be its own distinctive physical entity that, although it can interact in a ‘top down’ manner with matter and energy, is separate from matter and energy.

    13. Darwinists hold that Darwin’s theory is true. Yet ‘Truth’ itself is an abstract property of an immaterial mind that is irreducible to the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution. i.e. Assuming reductive materialism and/or Naturalism as the starting philosophical position of science actually precludes ‘the truth’ from ever being reached by science!

    14. Darwinists, due to their underlying naturalistic philosophy, insist that teleology (i.e. goal directed purpose) does not exist. Yet it is impossible for Biologists to do biological research without constantly invoking words that directly imply teleology. i.e. The very words that Biologists themselves are forced to use when they are doing their research falsifies Darwinian evolution.

    Link to Defense of each claim
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1I6fT6ATY700Bsx2-JSFqL6l-rzXpMcZcZKZfYRS45h4/

    Darwinists simply refuse to ever question the presupposition of methodological naturalism, (and/or atheistic naturalism), that serves as the primary premise of their worldview.

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

    “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.
    Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen. ”
    – Richard Lewontin

    In fact, in the infamous Dover trial, Darwinists went so far as to claim that the presupposition of methodological naturalism, (i.e. the presupposition of atheistic naturalism), is the quote-unquote ‘ground rule’ for doing science,

    Methodological naturalism
    Excerpt: Pennock’s testimony as an expert witness[21] at the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial was cited by the Judge in his Memorandum Opinion concluding that “Methodological naturalism is a ‘ground rule’ of science today”:[22]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalism_(philosophy)#Methodological_naturalism

    Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that science was born out of, and is still based on, essential Judeo-Christian presuppositions

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.theistic.net/papers.....cience.pdf
    Rob Koons is a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. With degrees from Michigan State, Oxford, and UCLA, he specializes in metaphysics and philosophical logic, with special interest in philosophical theology and the foundations of both science and ethics.

    In fact, far from the a-priori assumption of methodological naturalism, (i.e. atheistic naturalism), being the ‘ground rule’ for doing science, presupposing naturalism, (instead of assuming Christian Theism), as being true beforehand drives science itself into catastrophic epistemological failure.

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist (who believes Darwinian evolution to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris, Coyne), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. the illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who also must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the hopelessness of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is simply too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must also hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,

    Thus, although the Darwinian Atheist and/or Methodological Naturalist may firmly, and falsely, believe that he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for naturalistic explanations over and above God as a viable explanation), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists themselves are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

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

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

    Moreover, Darwinian evolution, (besides being falsified by many lines of empirical evidence that they simply ignore as being inconsequential)), is simply not needed in as a guiding principle, and/or as a heuristic, in biology. (i.e. it turns out that Darwinian evolution is not even needed in science as a primary presupposition within the ‘top-down’ Deductive form of reasoning that the ancient Greeks used).

    “Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.
    I also examined the outstanding biodiscoveries of the past century: the discovery of the double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries; and others. I even queried biologists working in areas where one would expect the Darwinian paradigm to have most benefited research, such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. Here, as elsewhere, I found that Darwin’s theory had provided no discernible guidance, but was brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss.
    In the peer-reviewed literature, the word “evolution” often occurs as a sort of coda to academic papers in experimental biology. Is the term integral or superfluous to the substance of these papers? To find out, I substituted for “evolution” some other word – “Buddhism,” “Aztec cosmology,” or even “creationism.” I found that the substitution never touched the paper’s core. This did not surprise me. From my conversations with leading researchers it had became clear that modern experimental biology gains its strength from the availability of new instruments and methodologies, not from an immersion in historical biology.,,,
    Darwinian evolution – whatever its other virtues – does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology.”
    Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. – Why Do We Invoke Darwin? – 2005
    http://www.discovery.org/a/2816

    “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superflous one.”
    – Adam S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to “Evolutionary Processes” – (2000).

    “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.”
    – Marc Kirschner, founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved. It might be thought, therefore, that evolutionary arguments would play a large part in guiding biological research, but this is far from the case.”
    – Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit (1988) – co-discoverer of the DNA helix

    Scientifically speaking, Darwinian evolution has simply been a bust. Even Jerry Coyne admitted as much

    “Truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn’t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of ‘like begets like’. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all.”
    (Jerry Coyne, “Selling Darwin: Does it matter whether evolution has any commercial applications?,” reviewing The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life by David P. Mindell, in Nature, 442:983-984 (August 31, 2006)

    In fact, in so far as Darwinian evolution has been used as a guiding principle and/or heuristic in science, it had grossly misled scientists into blind alleys, such as with its false prediction of junk DNA, vestigial organs, with eugenics, i.e. ‘selective’ abortion, with etc.. etc…

    In fact, it is also very interesting to note that Francis Bacon, (who was, again, the father of the scientific method), in his book “Novum Organum”, also stated that the best way to tell if a philosophy is true or not is by the ‘fruits produced’.

    Specifically Bacon stated that, “Of all signs there is none more certain or worthy than that of the fruits produced: for the fruits and effects are the sureties and vouchers, as it were, for the truth of philosophy.”

    Is Biology Approaching the Threshold of Design Acceptance? – January 8, 2019
    Excerpt: Simultaneously, biomimetics fulfills one of the goals of Francis Bacon (1561-1626), the champion of systematic, methodical investigation into the natural world. In Aphorism 73 of Novum Organum, Bacon told how best to judge good natural philosophy, what we call science: “Of all signs there is none more certain or worthy than that of the fruits produced: for the fruits and effects are the sureties and vouchers, as it were, for the truth of philosophy.” Good fruits are pouring forth from the cornucopia of biologically inspired design. What has Darwinism done for the world lately?
    https://evolutionnews.org/2019/01/is-biology-approaching-the-threshold-of-design-acceptance/

    And in regards to society at large, and 150 years after Darwinian evolution burst onto the scene, (as atheistic philosophy masquerading as an empirical science), and in regards to the ‘fruits produced’ by Darwinian ideology, we can now accurately surmise that, Darwinian ideology has been a complete and utter disaster for man that has had unimaginably horrid consequences for man.

    Atheism’s Body Count *
    It is obvious that Atheism cannot be true; for if it were, it would produce a more humane world, since it values only this life and is not swayed by the foolish beliefs of primitive superstitions and religions. However, the opposite proves to be true. Rather than providing the utopia of idealism, it has produced a body count second to none. With recent documents uncovered for the Maoist and Stalinist regimes, it now seems the high end of estimates of 250 million dead (between 1900-1987) are closer to the mark. The Stalinist Purges produced 61 million dead and Mao’s Cultural Revolution produced 70 million casualties. These murders are all upon their own people! This number does not include the countless dead in their wars of outward aggression waged in the name of the purity of atheism’s world view. China invades its peaceful, but religious neighbor, Tibet; supports N. Korea in its war against its southern neighbor and in its merciless oppression of its own people; and Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge kill up to 6 million with Chinese support. All of these actions done “in the name of the people” to create a better world.
    https://www.scholarscorner.com/atheisms-body-count-ideology-and-human-suffering/

    Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao – quotes – Foundational Darwinian influence in their ideology –
    July 2020
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/michael-egnor-on-the-relationship-between-darwinism-and-totalitarianism/#comment-707831

    In short, and to repeat, Darwinian evolution, instead of ever producing any ‘good fruit’ for man, (as true empirical sciences normally do), has instead produced nothing but unimaginably horrid consequences for man.

    Verse:

    Matthew 7:18-20
    A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

  20. 20
    Sir Giles says:

    @17, 18, 19: “I think, therefore I spam. “

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    SG: You do realize that you just confirmed the thesis of the OP do you not? 🙂

  22. 22
    relatd says:

    Ba77,

    Your lengthy and informative replies plainly reveal the lack of evidence for Darwinism. However, it has proven useful in promoting certain ideas and these ideas have led to the deaths of millions. During the Second World War, Polish General Anders was being escorted by Russian guards to Lubyanka prison, a former luxury hotel. His Blessed Virgin Mary pin fell to the ground. One guard said to him, “Do you think that *itch is going to help you in here?” He was kept with other ‘special’ prisoners. The various aggressions of the Soviet Union during the 20th Century were motivated by an atheist State committed to ‘exporting the revolution’ and gaining as much land and resources as possible. I watched it fall in the early 1990s.

    It may interest you to know that Jesus sent His mother Mary to give this warning at Fatima:

    ‘Mary continued: “If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved.”

  23. 23
    chuckdarwin says:

    This is a false dichotomy:

    While Bertrand Russell, and many others, may attribute unbelief to lack of evidence, the Bible declares that belief is a choice.

    The author’s patronizing (and gratuitous) claim that Russell’s “bias” caused foggy thinking, is laughable and pathetic. Russell made a conscious choice, as does any conscientious agnostic or atheist, as to his atheism. He outlines his thinking very carefully and succinctly in “Why I am not a Christian” which was published in 1927. The quip about his encounter with God is classic Russell. Like many great thinkers, Russell had a gift for aphorism, one of his best being:

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

    Indeed, indeed………..

  24. 24
    Viola Lee says:

    re 20: 🙂

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    ChuckyD claims, via Bertrand Russel, that “:wiser people” are “full of doubts.”

    And by ‘wiser people’ Russell, (and ChuckyD) apparently mean atheists such as themselves. Yet, the one thing that sticks out about atheists, especially Darwinian atheists, is their complete lack of skepticism, and/or doubt, about Darwinian evolution itself.

    As Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, authors of “What Darwin Got Wrong”, noted, “Much of the vast neo-Darwinian literature is distressingly uncritical. The possibility that anything is seriously amiss with Darwin’s account of evolution is hardly considered. … The methodological skepticism that characterizes most areas of scientific discourse seems strikingly absent when Darwinism is the topic.”

    It’s Time for Second Thoughts about Our Faith in Peer-Reviewed Research – Kirk Durston – July 30, 2015
    Excerpt: “Much of the vast neo-Darwinian literature is distressingly uncritical. The possibility that anything is seriously amiss with Darwin’s account of evolution is hardly considered. … The methodological skepticism that characterizes most areas of scientific discourse seems strikingly absent when Darwinism is the topic.”
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/07/second_thoughts/

    And as Jonathan Wells pointed out, Darwinian evolution is assumed to be fact despite all the evidence that comes forward to the contrary.

    Darwinian ‘science’ in a nutshell:
    Jonathan Wells on pop science boilerplate – April 20, 2015
    Excerpt: Based on my reading of thousands of Peer-Reviewed Articles in the professional literature, I’ve distilled (the) template for writing scientific articles that deal with evolution:
    1. (Presuppose that) Darwinian evolution is a fact.
    2. We used [technique(s)] to study [feature(s)] in [name of species], and we unexpectedly found [results inconsistent with Darwinian evolution].
    3. We propose [clever speculations], which might explain why the results appear to conflict with evolutionary theory.
    4. We conclude that Darwinian evolution is a fact.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ilerplate/

    ChuckyD, as should be needless to say, this IS NOT atheists being “full of doubts” about their worldview. It is the complete opposite. It is atheists holding onto their worldview no matter what the empirical evidence says to the contrary. And as should also be needless to say, this complete lack of ‘doubt’ on their part towards Darwinian evolution, IS NOT science.

    In short, the complete lack of ‘doubt’ that atheists display towards Darwinian evolution is confirmation of the thesis that has been succinctly outlined in the OP. Namely people in general, and atheists in particular, “are heavily influenced by nonrational factors that can lead to faulty decisions and incorrect belief”.

    Of note,

    Cargo Cult Science By Richard P. Feynman
    Excerpt: “But this long history of learning how to not fool ourselves—of having utter scientific integrity—is, I’m sorry to say, something that we haven’t specifically included in any particular course that I know of. We just hope you’ve caught on by osmosis.
    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.
    I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist. I’m not trying to tell you what to do about cheating on your wife, or fooling your girlfriend, or something like that, when you’re not trying to be a scientist, but just trying to be an ordinary human being. We’ll leave those problems up to you and your rabbi. I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you’re maybe wrong, that you ought to do when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.”
    https://calteches.library.caltech.edu/51/2/CargoCult.htm

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.

  26. 26
    relatd says:

    Ba77,

    I’d like to repeat the observation that atheists being wedded to Darwinism has nothing to do with the following:

    “In short, the complete lack of ‘doubt’ that atheists display towards Darwinian evolution is confirmation of the thesis that has been so outlined in the OP. Namely people in general, and atheists in particular, “are heavily influenced by nonrational factors that can lead to faulty decisions and incorrect belief”.’

    This desire, by the usual suspects here, to promote Darwinism is part of a commitment to the Pro-Darwin Advertising Program here. Much like Communists in the United States promoted their ideas in the past. In the end, both Darwinism and Communism, were interested in only one goal: converts who would in turn repeat the same things. Both Darwinism and Communism were good things. History has shown that to not be the case. I don’t think the facts are lost on them.

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, you have made grave accusations, answered with a challenge to you here https://uncommondescent.com/off-topic/what-must-we-do-when-the-foundations-are-being-destroyed/#comment-768554 I still await your response, on pain of showing yourself an irresponsible false accuser. KF

  28. 28
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @14

    PM1, yes there are several points there, however there are two distinct types of ignorance, individual and collective. Primary, due to lack of reasonable access to relevant well warranted information, to which the due response is to calibrate the new information and on good info, to acknowledge it. Secondary, we may lock out good information we do have adequate access to but which does not match well with our preferences etc. The latter is a whole lot less innocent, but may pretend that warrant is missing or the matter is falsified or dubious etc. Guilty ignorance, see what the White Rose martyrs had to say to Germany in the 1940’s. KF

    I like the distinction between innocent ignorance (due to lack of access to relevant information) and culpable ignorance (due to refusal to consider and evaluate relevant information to which one does have access). But I would say that both of those can take individual and collective forms.

    One distinction I like is between epistemic bubbles and echo chambers. Epistemic bubbles are social groups in which conflicting beliefs and ideas are simply not present to members of that group. Echo chambers are social groups in which conflicting beliefs and ideas are actively excluded, usually (but not always) by calling into question the character or motives of the sources of those conflicting ideas.

    For example, the Amish people of Pennsylvania are an epistemic bubble. They are aware of ‘the outside world’ with its gadgets and distractions, and they will adopt technology when, after much deliberation, they agreed that it is consistent with their values. By contrast, a cult is an echo chamber: going outside of the cult for information is actively discouraged by sanctions, withholding affection, and sometimes punishments.

  29. 29
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @18

    And, (in what should not be surprising for anyone who has debated Darwinists for any length of time), it turns out that Darwinian evolution itself is not based on Bacon’s Inductive form of reasoning, (which is too say that Darwin’s theory itself is not based on the scientific method), but Darwin’s theory is instead based, in large measure, on the Deductive form of reasoning that Bacon had specifically shunned because of the fallibleness of man’s fallen sinful nature.

    It is true that Darwin’s method in Origin of Species is not inductive, and you’re right to point out that he was painfully aware of that fact, and that is why he was anxious that perhaps his theory was not genuinely scientific by the accepted standards of his time.

    However, Darwin’s method was not deduction from first principles as Aristotelian science (if we can call it that!) was. Aristotle’s general method (in Physics and De Anima, for example) is to contrast what others have said with his own observations, consider what is “in agreement with reason”, and come up with a view that makes the most sense. (For example, he argues that the world must have always existed, since if did not, then there must have been a time before time began, and that is absurd.)

    Darwin’s method is hypothecio-deductive: he advances a specific hypothesis, infers what must be the case if that hypothesis were correct, and shows that what can be observed in the world is consistent with the deductive implications of that hypothesis.

    Specifically, the Darwinian hypothesis is this (paraphrasing):

    If there is no metaphysically real distinction between species and varieties, then ecological conditions acting as iterated filters on constantly arising new biological organization can explain where species come from

    Darwin then draws out the implications of this hypothesis for embryology, paleontology, biogeography, comparative anatomy, and so on. His goal in doing so is to demonstrate consilience: a hypothesis that, if true, unifies a great deal of disparate lines of evidence that otherwise wouldn’t make sense.

    It should also be pointed out that the hypothetico-deductive method describes what scientists do far better than Baconian induction. Not only biology but chemistry, physics (including quantum mechanics), astronomy, and to a lesser extent the social sciences all make use of the same general hypothetico-deductive method that Darwin used. His method was neither Baconian induction nor Aristotelian deduction but the method that is today widely recognized as a centerpiece of scientific reasoning.

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, yes, that is why I spoke to the individual and the collective; there can even be a guilty culture or civilisation. You are also pointing to the groupthink problem and onward to cultic — or by free extension ideological — brainwashing and polarisation. Having dealt with cases, I can testify that “brainwashing” (a bad translation and poor term, but it’s what we have) is all too real and results when one is isolated, disoriented and immersed in a manipulative environment; I allude to the unfreezing, changing, refreezing scheme here. There are some things we cannot not know, there are others we have a duty to acknowledge, there are first duties of reason that are too often ducked, there is a right to innocent reputation and a correlative duty of basic respect. KF

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    Well PMI, none of what you say takes away from the fact that Darwinists stubbornly fail to ever take empirical falsification into account.

    “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 R. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery

    Central tenets of neo-Darwinism broken. Response to ‘Neo-Darwinism is just fine’ – 2015
    Excerpt: “If, as the commentator seems to imply, we make neo-Darwinism so flexible as an idea that it can accept even those findings that the originators intended to be excluded by the theory it is then incumbent on modern neo-Darwinists to specify what would now falsify the theory. If nothing can do this then it is not a scientific theory.”
    – Denis Noble – President of International Union of Physiological Sciences
    https://jeb.biologists.org/content/218/16/2659

    Moreover, to get a bit more specific in exactly what type of reasoning that Darwin used, Stephen Meyer, (who has a PHD in the philosophy and history of science from Cambridge, Newton’s alma mater), points out that Darwin, (since Darwin was, first and foremost, dealing with historical science, and not real-time empirical science), used ‘”the method of multiple competing hypothesis” and/or ‘inference to the best explanation’, (which is part and parcel to Bacon’s inductive methodology), as his method of reasoning. Moreover as Dr. Meyer further pointed out, ID uses the same exact method of reasoning that Darwin used and, (via the empirical evidence that we now hove in hand 160 years hence Darwin), comes to a far more robust conclusion, i.e. a far better ‘inference to best explanation’, for Intelligent Design creating life, than Darwinists can infer for unguided material processes creating life.

    “So I began to wonder if this intuition, this intuitive connection between information and intelligence, could be formulated as a rigorous scientific argument. And that was my big animating question as I left for Grad school. And I began to study the scientific method and methods of reasoning that scientists use when they are investigating these questions about what happened in the remote past. In the distant past. These origins questions. So naturally that led me to Darwin. And I learned that Darwin had a particular method of reasoning that is now called ‘the method of multiple competing hypothesis’ or ‘the method of inference to the best explanation’. And he (Darwin) said in justifying his own theory that he inferred his picture of the history of life as the best explanation and that he would hold it until a better explanation came along. But that raised the question, “Well what makes an explanation best?”,, And I came across the answer to that (question), not only in Darwin’s work where he had a very specific criterion of ‘best explanation’, but also in the work of his scientific mentor, Charles Lyell, the great geologist. And I’ll never forget the day that I was reading this boring Victorian sub-title to a dusty old book, and for me the light bulb just went on. Here’s the book, “Principles of Geology: Being an attempt to explain the former changes of the Earth’s surface by reference to causes now in operation.” And this idea just hit me like a thunderbolt. I remember right where I was. What Lyell was saying was that if you are going to explain an event in the remote past you should not invoke a cause the effects of which we do not know. You should invoke a cause the effects of which we do know. You should invoke a cause that is presently acting, or now operating, which has the power to produce the effect in question.,, The best explanation is (found) by reference to a cause that is known to produce what you are trying to explain.,,,”
    So when I began to think of the information question in light of the “Darwinian methodology’, the Lyellian principles of uniformitarian reasoning, I realized that, using Darwin’s own method of reasoning, we should come to a very different conclusion,, Why? Because there is something else we know about information, and this was my second epiphany. Information scientist Henry Quastler, early pioneer in applying information science and theoretical analysis to molecular biology, to the genome. Off hand, not meaning to say anything about this question of design in biology, he said “The creation of information is habitually associated with conscious activity.”
    Now think of that in light of causes now in operation. In other words, what he is saying is the cause now in operation for the production of information is,, intelligence, mind, conscious activity.
    So I realized that applying Darwin’s key standard of ‘best explanation’, Lyell’s principle of reasoning, to the information question, to the DNA enigma, there was a powerful rationale supporting the inference to intelligent design. Why? Because we know of only one cause that produces information.
    So I realized that applying Darwin’s key standard of ‘best explanation’, Lyell’s principle of reasoning, to the information question, to the DNA enigma, there was a powerful rationale supporting the inference to intelligent design. Why? Because we know of only one cause that produces information.
    I knew from my study of Origin of Life research that chance, necessity, the combination of the two, and all the models that fell under those mutually exhaustive categories, had failed, But there was a cause of which we know is capable of producing information. And that cause is conscious activity, rational deliberation, intelligent design. Is this consistent with our experience? Absolutely.,, (whenever you trace information back to its source),, (you) invariably come to an intelligent cause, not to a mindless, undirected, process. So when we encounter information at the foundation of life, in these information bearing molecules, such as DNA, RNA, and proteins, the most logical thing to conclude, based on our knowledge of cause and effect, based on our knowledge of causes now in operation, is that intelligence also played a role in the origin of the first life because life depends of information.”
    – Stephen Meyer: Charles Darwin’s Methods, Different Conclusion – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqq6JP5gE0E

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, on scientific reasoning, I tend to go with the modern sense that inductive arguments are those that support conclusions rather than deductively entailing them. Therefore I see abduction as in effect a major province of inductive reasoning, particularly inference to the best [current] explanation. In that context, on comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and balance of explanatory power, we examine competing explanations and their implications towards best so far status. Thus, accepting that we cannot simply reverse an implication, affirming the consequent, but recognising that empirical reliability, predictive power, coherence and elegance of explanation count as powerful support. Such, even as we must be humbled by the pessimistic induction. Further to this, that is a context for my accepting that common day to day, managerial and scientific knowledge are a weak sense: warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) belief, obviously open to growth and correction. Credibly true marks a key difference from a model which is known to be a simplification thus strictly false though reliable — models of electronic circuitry are a key case I have in mind here. KF

    PS, the well founded empirical reliability of theories such as Newtonian dynamics in their range of validity is itself an observable that is morally certain, stronger than the theory itself.

  33. 33
    bornagain77 says:

    PMI claimed that “embryology, paleontology, biogeography, comparative anatomy” provides “consilience” for Darwin’s theory.

    I beg to differ.

    The Diverse Early Embryonic Development of Vertebrates and Implications Regarding Their Ancestry
    David W. Swift – July 21, 2022
    Excerpt: It is well known that the embryonic development of vertebrates from different classes (e.g., fish, reptiles, mammals) pass through a “phylotypic stage” when they look similar, and this apparent homology is widely seen as evidence of their common ancestry. However, despite their morphological similarities, and contrary to evolutionary expectations, the phylotypic stages of different vertebrate classes arise in radically diverse ways. This diversity clearly counters the superficial appearance of homology of the phylotypic stage, and the plain inference is that vertebrates have not evolved from a common vertebrate ancestor. The diversity extends through all stages of early development—including cleavage and formation of the blastula, gastrulation, neurulation, and formation of the gut and extraembryonic membranes. This paper focuses on gastrulation, during which the germ layers originate and the vertebrate body-plan begins to form.,,,
    https://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/view/BIO-C.2022.1/pdf

    “The earliest events leading from the first division of the egg cell to the blastula stage in amphibians, reptiles and mammals are illustrated in figure 5.4. Even to the untrained zoologist it is obvious that neither the blastula itself, nor the sequence of events that lead to its formation, is identical in any of the vertebrate classes shown. The differences become even more striking in the next major phase of embryo formation – gastrulation. This involves a complex sequence of cell movements whereby the cells of the blastula rearrange themselves, eventually resulting in the transformation of the blastula into the intricate folded form of the early embryo, or gastrula, which consists of three basic germ cell layers: the ectoderm, which gives rise to the skin and the nervous system; the mesoderm, which gives rise to muscle and skeletal tissues; and the endoderm, which gives rise to the lining of the alimentary tract as well as to the liver and pancreas.,,, In some ways the egg cell, blastula, and gastrula stages in the different vertebrate classes are so dissimilar that, where it not for the close resemblance in the basic body plan of all adult vertebrates, it seems unlikely that they would have been classed as belonging to the same phylum. There is no question that, because of the great dissimilarity of the early stages of embryogenesis in the different vertebrate classes, organs and structures considered homologous in adult vertebrates cannot be traced back to homologous cells or regions in the earliest stages of embryogenesis. In other words, homologous structures are arrived at by different routes.”
    – Michael Denton – Evolution: A Theory in Crisis – pg 145-146

    At the 16:49 minute mark of the following 2021 video, Dr. Gunter Bechly, who is a paleontologist himself, quotes many leading Darwinian paleontologists who also agree that the fossil record is severely discordant with Darwin’s theory.

    Gunter Bechly Explains What The Fossil Evidence Really Says – video (2021)
    https://youtu.be/V15sjy7gtVM?t=1009

    Günter Bechly video: Fossil Discontinuities: A Refutation of Darwinism and Confirmation of Intelligent Design – 2018
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7w5QGqcnNs
    The fossil record is dominated by abrupt appearances of new body plans and new groups of organisms. This conflicts with the gradualistic prediction of Darwinian Evolution. Here 18 explosive origins in the history of life are described, demonstrating that the famous Cambrian Explosion is far from being the exception to the rule. Also the fossil record establishes only very brief windows of time for the origin of complex new features, which creates an ubiquitous waiting time problem for the origin and fixation of the required coordinated mutations. This refutes the viability of the Neo-Darwinian evolutionary process as the single conceivable naturalistic or mechanistic explanation for biological origins, and thus confirms Intelligent Design as the only reasonable alternative.

    Casey Luskin: Biogeography Is No Friend of Common Descent – Jan. 2022
    Excerpt: geologist Casey Luskin discusses biogeography and the problems it poses for the idea of universal common descent. To make it work, evolutionists have to propose, for instance, that old world monkeys rafted across the Atlantic from Africa to South America on a natural raft. Really? That’s some raft. And how did the monkeys not starve to death? Or die of thirst? They couldn’t drink salty ocean water, after all. And talk about a genetic bottleneck!
    That’s just one of several problems Luskin raises with the idea that all species gradually evolved from a universal common ancestor.
    https://idthefuture.com/1550/

    In Just Eight Minutes, New Video Punctures Evolution’s Circular “Homology” Argument – January 15, 2020
    Excerpt: “Homology can’t be used as evidence for evolution because it assumes the very thing it’s trying to prove.” In other words, Homology therefore evolution, evolution therefore homology. “And when biologists try to fix this by pointing to DNA or other areas it only further undermines the case.”
    https://evolutionnews.org/2020/01/in-just-eight-minutes-new-video-punctures-evolutions-circular-homology-argument/

    Is Homology Evidence for Evolution? (Long Story Short, Ep. 1) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk1gDk1wGhQ

    And in case PMI tries to claim, “Well. DNA provides evidence for Darwin’s theory”, I’ll throw this in,

    New Paper by Winston Ewert Demonstrates Superiority of Design Model – Cornelius Hunter – July 20, 2018
    Excerpt: Ewert amassed a total of nine massive genetic databases. In every single one, without exception, the dependency graph (intelligent design) model surpassed common descent.
    Darwin could never have even dreamt of a test on such a massive scale. Darwin also could never have dreamt of the sheer magnitude of the failure of his theory. Because you see, Ewert’s results do not reveal two competitive models with one model edging out the other.
    We are not talking about a few decimal points difference. For one of the data sets (HomoloGene), the dependency graph model was superior to common descent by a factor of 10,064. The comparison of the two models yielded a preference for the dependency graph model of greater than ten thousand.,,,
    But It Gets Worse
    The problem with all of this is that the Bayes factor of 10,064 bits for the HomoloGene data set is the very best case for common descent. For the other eight data sets, the Bayes factors range from 40,967 to 515,450.
    In other words, while 6.6 bits would be considered to provide “decisive” evidence for the dependency graph model, the actual, real, biological data provide Bayes factors of 10,064 on up to 515,450.
    We have known for a long time that common descent has failed hard. In Ewert’s new paper, we now have detailed, quantitative results demonstrating this. And Ewert provides a new model, with a far superior fit to the data.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/07/new-paper-by-winston-ewert-demonstrates-superiority-of-design-model/

  34. 34
    relatd says:

    The fraud perpetrated by the publication of Haeckel’s embryos in 1868 continued until 1997. This supports the idea that ‘evolution’ was used as a strong counter to the involvement of God in Creation and required the use of false evidence to support it.

    https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/H/bo18785800.html

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    Ponder, is the issue want of evidence and reason, or our tendency to hyperskepticism and to reject what fails to line up with our preferred, but crooked, yardsticks?

  36. 36
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @35

    Ponder, is the issue want of evidence and reason, or our tendency to hyperskepticism and to reject what fails to line up with our preferred, but crooked, yardsticks?

    I tend to think that there’s a pervasive epistemic posture in our polarized and polarizing political culture, which I like to call “dogmatic skepticism”. Dogmatic skepticism consists in both mechanically and unreflectingly posing skeptical challenges to “the other side”, ignoring all responses that would address the challenge if it were offered in good faith, while at the same time refusing to acknowledge any challenges to one’s own entrenched position, and mechanically repeating one’s own preferred talking points, regardless of challenges.

    It’s an almost Brechtian parody of dialogue.

    And I think one can see it in almost every issue that comes up for discussion: evolution, climate change, fraud in the 2020 presidential election, the successes and failures of one’s preferred political party, policies, and candidates. It’s the epistemic posture of a society that is so deeply divided that there’s increasingly less sense of a shared reality.

    It’s why liberals and conservatives increasingly see “the other side” not as fellow citizens with whom there’s reasonable disagree but as beyond the scope of rationality, as out of touch with reality, and in the most extreme cases, as existential threats.

    As I see it, either there’s the possibility of reasoned dialogue between people who adhere to really different world-views, or there isn’t. If there isn’t, then we might as well go back to burning each other at the stake and do that for a few hundred years, since apparently we forgot the lessons of why that didn’t work out the first time.

  37. 37
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 36,

    Why have Ultra-Orthodox religions when you have politics? You bring up nothing new.

    The following applies to all points mentioned:

    “… beyond the scope of rationality, as out of touch with reality, and in the most extreme cases, as existential threats.”

    Threats to “science.”
    Threats to “my country.”

    And what drives this today? A little history:

    1965 Hippies begin publishing “underground newspapers” that are outside of the so-called “mainstrem press.” Why? To create confusion. To expose people to Marxist-Communist-Anarchist-Atheist ideas. To try to convince them that these ideas are somehow valid. They weren’t.

    1967 Hippies start showing up in our neighborhoods. They try to convince us to live with and have sex with our girlfriends without benefit of marriage, and to use illegal drugs. Most of us reject this.

    Today. The descendants of these people are using (non) social media to do the exact same thing. That is why I refuse to use the following:

    Snipchat
    Tweeter
    Instantgram
    TakTik
    and others.

    These new distractions try to convince the foolish and the naive and too trusting that they are somehow legitimate. They aren’t.

    A new development on cable TV is the “commentator.” These all appear to be actors selected for their looks, accent and mode of dress. All to convince people who know better that they are “one of us.” They aren’t.

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, that is why we need to go back to self evident first truths, to warrant for the core and perhaps most of all to what we could call Ciceronian first duties of responsible reason (and first, built in law), as are outlined in the introduction to De Legibus:

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc.

    It is in that context that maybe a critical mass can be built to turn back from the current, manifest voyage of civilisation level folly. Some lessons from history might help, some worldviews analysis, some waking up to the truly absurd. If for instance, the Reichstag fire incident and lessons on how a fledgling democratic republic fell to lawless ideological oligarchy could be drawn, that would help, as would deeper echoes from Ac 27 on how bought and paid for technical opinion and money led to a disastrous voyage. From there a step to the Peloponnessian war and the Sicilian expedition might wake a few up. KF

  39. 39
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @37

    The following applies to all points mentioned:

    “… beyond the scope of rationality, as out of touch with reality, and in the most extreme cases, as existential threats.”

    I don’t know if perhaps you misunderstood or just wanted to ignore my point. But, to reiterate: I think it is incredibly foolish and dangerous for anyone to believe that the people who disagree with them are existential threats. I think that attitude is going to take us back to the wars of religion that choked Europe in blood and fire. It took us hundreds of years to get to the point where could accept that our fellow citizens, friends, and neighbors could have really different worldviews and yet we can all get along. Do we really want to abandon that hard-won legacy?

    P.S.: I love that you misspelled every social media site!

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, what do you think marxism — including in neo forms — is about but the idolatry of political messianism and associated demonisation of the targetted other, who will then be subjected to he hit back first if he tries to defend himself? The past 100+ years, for cause, have been the bloodiest, all time. KF

    PS, the variants may have been deliberate, for example fakebook.

  41. 41
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @38

    Ciceronian first duties of responsible reason (and first, built in law)

    Right. And I would like to underscore that these are duties are worldview-neutral. We have epistemic obligations to other persons, regardless of how our preferred worldview explains the origins of these obligations. A Christian and an atheist would not agree on how to explain the origin of these epistemic obligations, but they can agree that we all have them.

  42. 42
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 39,

    Do you get your version of reality from The Media or reality? I talk about things with actual people. I spend very little time on various “social media” sites.

    You need to remember, both sides can’t be right. And a “divided nation” is getting a lot of airplay in The Media.

    Who or what influences you?

    Your attempt at an apocalyptic reality has no basis in fact. As in, let’s go back to burning each other at the stake. That’s not rational.

    In the real world, most people go to work, come home, spend time with family and friends, and live among actual real people.

    “wars of religion”? Seriously?

    I want to get along with everybody. I really do. At the same time, I’m not going to be pulled into a fake, media created non-reality that they want me to engage with. My goal has been to treat people, including strangers, well. The deficiency of the internet is that everyone sits in a black room and we can only communicate by keyboard. I prefer interacting with actual people.

  43. 43
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @40

    PM1, what do you think marxism — including in neo forms — is about but the idolatry of political messianism and associated demonisation of the targetted other, who will then be subjected to he hit back first if he tries to defend himself? The past 100+ years, for cause, have been the bloodiest, all time. KF

    If I were to discuss this issue at all on this site, I would insist on beginning with a distinction between what Marx actually said and the many actions committed in the name of “Marxism.” If we’re not going to talk about what Marx actually claims in his writings, then I’m not interested in talking about Marxism.

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, they are self evident, branch on which we all sit duties. That is for example seen from how objectors cannot but appeal to them in their objections. However, that did not stop objectors, as the root of the objections was anything but a matter of logic. That’s because, such duties are NOT worldview neutral, they require a reality root and structure in which responsible rational freedom is possible, and on which duty, goodness, the right etc find grounding. With the riot of the mutinous academics of recent generations, that has been lost and there has been a fundamental polarisation that sadly fits Plato’s parable all too well. We really need a reformation. KF

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, marxism and its neo-forms have some roots back to Marx but are also cultural forces we have to deal with on their own weight. KF

  46. 46
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @44

    That’s because, such duties are NOT worldview neutral, they require a reality root and structure in which responsible rational freedom is possible, and on which duty, goodness, the right etc find grounding.

    That’s where I would disagree. As far as I can tell, if an atheist had reasons from within her own worldview for why she is willing to acknowledge and uphold her epistemic duties, nothing more could be expected of her.

    @45

    marxism and its neo-forms have some roots back to Marx but are also cultural forces we have to deal with on their own weight.

    They have certainly taken on a life of their own.

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, there has been quite the needless debate here at UD on this ground, and it was clear that it was the agenda not the logic. Which, sadly, obtains for too many issues of civilisational significance. That is fact in the record. However, kindly provide for me a solution to the sort of dilemma that, say, Provine et al put up on rational responsible freedom under evolutionary materialistic scientism. KF

    PS, here is a clip, from Provine’s 1998 Darwin Day Address at U Tenn:

    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

    [==> key theses of nihilism. Citing the just linked IEP: “Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history.” As without rational, responsible freedom, rationality collapses, Provine implies self referential incoherence. Similarly, ethical foundations include our self evident, pervasive first duties of reason: to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, fairness and justice etc. Provine has given a recipe for gross (and all too common) intellectual irresponsibility.]

    . . . . 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]

  48. 48
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @47

    Needless to say, I think Provine was quite mistaken as to the implications of evolutionary theory.

  49. 49
    Alan Fox says:

    Be wary PM1, KF’s “quote” of Provine is stuffed with KF nonsense in square brackets. The link is also broken.

  50. 50
    Viola Lee says:

    KF does love him some Provine. What KF can’t accept is that there are lots of other metaphysical ways to understand the world, including evolution and the five issues Provine mentions, and that Provine is not the definitive spokesperson for anything or for any group of people.

    I also note that on the key issue, KF truncates what Provine wrote: it would be nice to see more but, as AF points out, the link to the speech is broken, which prevents us from seeing more of what Provine said.

    Provine is quoted as saying “I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices, “ which is the same thing a number of us said in a long thread on free will a while back. That position can be defended from a number of metaphysical viewpoints, not just Provine’s.

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    AF,

    your now usual, uncivil projections appear.

    Wayback machine:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20070829083051/http://eeb.bio.utk.edu/darwin/Archives/1998ProvineAbstract.htm

    “Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life”

    (Abstract)
    Dr. William Provine

    Second Annual Darwin Day Celebration
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville
    Feb. 12, 1998

    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.

    Free Will

    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 free will, moral responsibility seems impossible. But I will argue that moral responsibility is actually based upon the lack of free will.

    Free will is a disastrous and mean social myth. Using free will as an excuse, we condone a vicious attitude of revenge toward anyone who does wrong in our society. Most of the movies in a video store are based upon getting even with some nasty person. This attitude leads to a gross ly expensive and hopeless systems of punishment in America , though much the same attitude can be found in most countries around the world.

    Without free will, justification for revenge disappears and rehabilitation is the main job of judicial systems and prisons. We will all live in a better society when the myth of free will is dispelled.

    Devout Christians also believe in forgiveness and rehabilitation. Agreement here is possible between atheism and religion . . .

    It is quite clear that the citation is accurate, does not twist the meaning and it is highly fair comment to note as I identified already. For cause, on track record, I no longer expect serious commentary from you, let this stand as an exposure of your attitude.

    Now, I comment on snippets:

    >>”Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life” (Abstract) Dr. William Provine Second Annual Darwin Day Celebration University of Tennessee, Knoxville Feb. 12, 1998>>

    1: Context and its significance are as already noted.

    >>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.>>

    2: The issues are as noted. He implies fundamental atheism, materialism, ethical nihilism, metaphysical/existential nihilism and denial of freedom, precisely as advertised.

    3: Your attempts to taint my earlier quote are shown to be out of order and without foundation, they seem to be an attempt to push away concerns you have no serious substantial answer to.

    4: Notice, the lack of responsible, rational freedom undermines credibility of mind to even think his own thoughts.

    >>Free Will>>

    5: How horrible, I left out a section title, horrible distortion! NOT.

    >>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.>>

    6: He admits the disquiet, but of course, this is driven by the intuitive recognition that if we lack responsible rational freedom, this seriously and for cause undermines confidence in our minds, arguments, theorising etc.

    7: There are those who try to argue otherwise but they have to deal first with the self referentiality then with the implications highlighted by Reppert and many others:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A [–> notice, state of a wetware, electrochemically operated computational substrate], 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 [–> concious, perceptual state or disposition] 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.

    8: Notice, I used ellipses and notified internal notes, also a clarifying [But], how horrible, quote mining! NOT.

    >> I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices.>>

    9: With a spot of generosity, include the stochastic, humans are here seen as in effect dynamic stochastic computational substrates, whereby choices are programmed and/or random. That is, “choice” is redefined as not being an aspect of freedom.

    10: If Provine’s conclusions are driven by blind mechanical necessity and/or stochastic patterns, i.e. causal rather than rational processes, they are of absolutely no credibility.

    >> They have, however, no free will.>>

    11: Directly stated.

    >>Without free will, moral responsibility seems impossible. But I will argue that moral responsibility is actually based upon the lack of free will.>>

    12: Intellectual responsibility also, and no we cannot found responsible rationality on its denial.

    >>Free will is a disastrous and mean social myth. Using free will as an excuse, we condone a vicious attitude of revenge toward anyone who does wrong in our society.>>

    13: He tries to redefine justice as revenge dressed up. Fail.

    14: Without justice as due balance of rights, freedoms and duties, a frame of responsible lawful government collapses. He does not realise it but he is opening the door to lawless ideological oligarchy and its results as we have consistently seen since the French Revolution.

    >> Most of the movies in a video store are based upon getting even with some nasty person. This attitude leads to a gross ly expensive and hopeless systems of punishment in America , though much the same attitude can be found in most countries around the world.>>

    15: This sets up and knocks over a strawman, ducking the nihilistic implications of undermining justice. Plato rightly warned long since in The Laws Bk X, c 2360 BC:

    Ath[enian Stranger, in The Laws, Bk X 2,360 ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos — the natural order], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity; observe, too, the trichotomy: “nature” (here, mechanical, blind necessity), “chance” (similar to a tossed fair die), ART (the action of a mind, i.e. intelligently directed configuration)] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all[–> notice the reduction to zero] in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics, so too justice, law and government: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”), opening the door to cynicism, hyperskepticism and nihilism . . . this is actually an infamous credo of nihilism . . . also, it reeks of cynically manipulative lawless oligarchy . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

    16: This is what Provine needed to answer instead, along with the course of history since 1789 and especially since 1917 and 1933.

    >>Without free will, justification for revenge disappears and rehabilitation is the main job of judicial systems and prisons. We will all live in a better society when the myth of free will is dispelled.>>

    17: Not on evidence, and we again see the strawman twisting of justice into revenge.

    18: We could go on but the point is clear enough.

    KF

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, kindly, provide a cogent summary, not that many do not accept the sort of conclusions a Provine or many like him draw, but good reason to reject these as logical consequences of evolutionary materialistic scientism and/or fellow travellers. In particular, on such, how do we become morally governed, that does not end in undermining morality; including justice. KF

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, I continued the quote, giving wayback machine. You will see it only gets worse. Nor is Provine an isolated case, Plato was already highlighting the problem 2360 years ago. The root is the IS-OUGHT gap, and the second issue is undermining the credibility of reason, knowledge, mind. KF

  54. 54
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, thanks for linking to the abstract of the speech, but that’s not the speech itself. In the abstract, he says, “But I will argue that moral responsibility is actually based upon the lack of free will”. My guess is that I would disagree with some substantial parts of his argument (I am not a Provine fan, nor have the same metaphysical viewpoint as he does), but it would still be interesting to see what the argument is.

    More importantly, Provine wrote, “3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists;”

    Your response was to label these “ethical nihilism, metaphysical/existential nihilism.”

    For the record, I disagree that what Provine said implies what you said. You and I have discussed this more often than I care to recount, but I thought I’d remind readers of my position here.

  55. 55
    Alan Fox says:

    Will Provine died from brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 73. His Wikipedia entry mentions his being a determinist and thus rejecting libertarian free will. This is a position Jerry Coyne also holds. I don’t find it convincing myself. Interestingly, Wikipedia tells us

    He debated the founder of the intelligent design movement, Phillip E. Johnson, and the two had a friendly relationship. Provine said that his course on evolutionary biology began by having his students read Johnson’s book, Darwin on Trial.[9]

    A lesson there for those wishing to polarize any debate.

  56. 56
    Alan Fox says:

    8: Notice, I used ellipses and notified internal notes, also a clarifying [But], how horrible, quote mining! NOT.

    Your eccentric style maybe isn’t intended to mislead (that is certainly it’s effect). But to avoid confusion, you should keep quotations separate from your own comments. I guess it stems from laziness, copying and pasting stuff you have written previously elsewhere.

    Maybe you are in some kind of competition with BA77.

    One piece of advice, check your links before posting. I always do. It avoids the embarrassment of having to correct oneself.

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, There is demonstrably no misquoting or quoting out of context. There is a source link, thanks for pointing out a fairly common problem, but remedy was also common, first link at web archive, searched through the original URL. Next, ellipsis is commonplace and appropriate rather than including secondary or extraneous material. Clarifying words in square brackets is standard. My own comments are there, a compressed form of the clip in parts and comment on points that I subsequently made. None of that is misrepresented as part of the original source. You are making a distractive, often personality laced objection. KF

  58. 58
    Alan Fox says:

    AF, There is demonstrably no misquoting or quoting out of context…

    As I said, your eccentric style leads to a perception of, shall I say, lack of professionalism. It may lead to people scrolling over your comments, as most seem to do with BA77’s comments. Why post at all if your views are not read, not noticed, not taken seriously? Look at the relationship between Provine and Johnson. Maybe just discussing differences in world-view civilly without impugning the integrity of those with whom you disagree might be more effective. We all have to live together on this Earth, after all, no matter some of us live on small islands or deep in rural backwaters.

  59. 59
    Alan Fox says:

    Clarifying words in square brackets is standard.

    That’s not what you do. You interpolate criticism. That is not standard and is misleading. It’s a shame Provine died prematurely. I’m sure his defence and clarification of his own position and your criticism of it would have made for an interesting discussion.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, yes this is Provine’s abstract, which counts as a valid part of his speech as published online.

    The arguments are his, the failures are patent.

    He is not being idiosyncratic, he is drawing out fairly serious and fairly widely understood issues of modernism and postmodernism as influenced by evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow travellers. He seems to be aware of some of Darwin’s stated civilisational intentions, as can be documented from his letters.

    Now, I did summarily label his denials as forms of nihilism. That can be readily shown to be a correct assessment. Wikipedia’s confession:

    Nihilism (/?na?(h)?l?z?m, ?ni?-/; from Latin nihil ‘nothing’) is a philosophy, or family of views within philosophy, that rejects generally accepted or fundamental aspects of human existence,[1][2] such as objective truth, knowledge, morality, values, or meaning.[3][4] . . . . There have been different nihilist positions, including that human values are baseless, that life is meaningless, that knowledge is impossible, or that some set of entities do not exist or are meaningless or pointless.[5][6] . . . . The term is sometimes used in association with anomie to explain the general mood of despair at a perceived pointlessness of existence or arbitrariness of human principles and social institutions. Nihilism has also been described as conspicuous in or constitutive of certain historical periods. For example,[11] Jean Baudrillard[12][13] and others have characterized postmodernity as a nihilistic epoch[14] or mode of thought.[15] Likewise, some theologians and religious figures have stated that postmodernity[16] and many aspects of modernity[17] represent nihilism by a negation of religious principles. Nihilism has, however, been widely ascribed to both religious and irreligious viewpoints.[8]

    In popular use, the term commonly refers to forms of existential nihilism, according to which life is without intrinsic value, meaning, or purpose.[18] Other prominent positions within nihilism include the rejection of all normative and ethical views (§ Moral nihilism), the rejection of all social and political institutions (§ Political nihilism), the stance that no knowledge can or does exist (§ Epistemological nihilism), and a number of metaphysical positions, which assert that non-abstract objects do not exist (§ Metaphysical nihilism), that composite objects do not exist (§ Mereological nihilism), or even that life itself does not exist.

    Provine’s views as asserted as if they were scientifically grounded facts, clearly fall in this spectrum. Plato, long before, pointed to much the same consequences. And, Provine’s attempt to relabel justice as little more than revenge, is tellingly indicative of the hazards in play.

    Now, you disagree as does PM1, no one denies that. The issue is, Dawkins’ acid that allegedly makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist — though in fact what is self referentially incoherent cannot be true. Is there a logic of argument or rhetoric, a logic of invited or enabled trend/agenda and institutional power in this thinking that points and pushes in that direction. Clearly, yes.

    People recoil from it, as Provine admitted as to responsible rational freedom, but it is there.

    We can see many attempts to rescue “values” and sound social order, all failed or visibly failing as we see with say the USA. As for the mind and responsible, rational freedom, the issues have been highlighted since Haldane, 1927. Reppert is just drawing out the problem [at book length BTW], there really is a trend to see mind as an epiphenomenon of dynamic-stochastic computation on a wetware substrate, with claimed incremental programming and condition tracing to non-rational sources. Reppert, as was Lewis before him, is correct to point out the sharp difference of identity between blind dynamic-stochastic processes and rational inference on insight and recognised principles of right reason.

    Do I need to point to the problem of consciousness — embedded in Reppert’s point — as summarised by say Bloch? As in:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20060305010539/http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/block/papers/ecs.pdf

    The Hard Problem of consciousness is how to explain a state of consciousness in terms of its neurological basis [–> this of course inserts precisely the computationalism as pointed out, it is also instantly self referential] . . . . There are many perspectives on the Hard Problem but I will mention only the four that comport with a naturalistic framework . . . . Eliminativism . . . . Philosophical Reductionism or Deflationism . . . . Phenomenal Realism, or Inflationism . . . . Dualistic Naturalism.

    In short, an acknowledged, real and “unsolved” central problem. Or, perhaps, that’s because it is actually a fatal crack, a point of self defeating self referentiality that therefore points outside the box we are told we must stay in. The suspicion grows as one sees attempts repeatedly fall into the sort of self defeating claim made by Crick:

    . . . 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.

    The problem in this was highlighted by the late Philip Johnson, who aptly replied that the equally late Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Johnson then acidly commented: “[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [Reason in the Balance, 1995.]

    Others have sought an emergent mind, but that generally falls into poof word magic.

    By now it is a Sci Fi trope how some complex AI falls into becoming self aware and boom we have a mind and character like David Weber’s Dahak and his Athrawes. I am not sure if HAL becomes self aware in 2001. Such are fantasies. And emergentism has simply failed to show a means to transcend the GIGO barrier of computationalism, as the more serious literature will show.

    Such emergentism or evolutionary confidence is an unstable point, it either dissolves into computationalism or it explodes into admitting mind by the back door. Typically, unreflectively. This is actually what Provine was trying to overturn.

    Then, there are those who try to turn the tables, challenging that some cartesian dualistic mind or soul as ghost in the machine of the body has no basis to influence the material world. So there, you dualists have an even bigger problem.

    Nope, not in an information age.

    Information is routinely expressed or embedded in matter-energy constructs, is thereby measurable etc, but it stubbornly refuses to be reduced to matter and energy. That is, we see a major phenomenon that points beyond this ghost in the machine challenge. An obvious context is quantum influence given the issue of observer effects etc. That’s pretty messy and hairy in itself but it does help open our thinking. I have suggested that Eng Derek Smith’s two tier interactive controller with an interface shared memory space is a good first point for onward discussion.

    Reality, at its root, cannot be material, as, such is inherently contingent, just ponder E = m*c^2 on this. So, we need another order of existence that can have necessary beings. Historically, that has been termed the spiritual realm and candidate no 1 for reality root necessary being and creator of the material world is God. (To be explored later on.)

    What of mind and soul?

    A serious answer has been, the interface between the two realms.

    We face a mystery highlighted in that classical era work that is the most commonly published book:

    2 Cor 4:18 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

    Col 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

    Heb 11:3 By faith [trusting God at his word] we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

    I cite these not as proof but as outlining that there is a longstanding alternative in our civilisation that still has a message for us. One, worth pondering i/l/o the issue of being and root of reality, where to ponder with any credibility we must have minds that are rationally, responsibly, credibly significantly free to act as Reppert summarised.

    KF

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, did you pause to see that there are two very distinct things I have done, one, use ellipses and clarifying words in brackets to focus a linked or referenced discussion. Second, in a compressed form, comment similar to what I did above by snipping apart Provine line by line and adding more detailed points. I am after all quite intentionally making a critique [where there is no provision for marginalia], in a compressed way, under doctrine of fair comment. Normally, clarifying remarks are as so: [But] and a critical comment is like [–> comment] and if extended will be indented. You are trying to make a distractive mountain out of a mole hill. The substantial matter is in the critique, shown to be connected to the source, and it is clear you have tried to dismiss with contempt on the zero concessions, hyperskeptical principle, and have failed on substance. There is no reasonable doubt that Lehninger et al, leaders in Biochemistry education for nearly 50 years, agree with the consensus that D/RNA has in it coded instructions for stepwise construction of AA chains in protein synthesis. Your attempted dismissal on claimed superior knowledge of biochem failed and exposed you as trying to pose on an authority you demonstrably do not have. You subsequently played the quotation is quote mining accusation, equally failed. Now, you are trying to suggest that an embedded critique is wrong and misleading when it is clearly distinct from what it comments on and is obviously a markup, regrettably we do not have access to different text colour or the like that would give another level of distinction. In short, your argument fails. KF

  62. 62
    hnorman42 says:

    If Provine’s views on free will and determinism are correct, then can we be held accountable for holding someone else accountable? Or for enjoying revenge-based movies? And if this is a stupid comment on my part, then my defense is that I didn’t have a choice in making it.

  63. 63
    Alan Fox says:

    In short, your argument fails. KF

    I’m not making an argument. I’m just observing that your style of presentation distracts from any argument you may be making. You are welcome to ignore my observation, of course.

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: To move the matter forward, here is a clip from MIT Open Courseware, on computationalism and brain neural networks. Remember, taught, graded and put in transcripts as Science:

    Neural coding: linear models
    [MIT] 9.29 Lecture 1

    1 What is computational neuroscience? The term “computational neuroscience” has two different de?nitions:

    1. using a computer to study the brain
    2. studying the brain as a computer

    In the ?rst, the ?eld is de?ned by a technique. In the second, it is de?ned by an idea.
    Let’s discuss these two de?nitions in more depth.

    Why use a computer to study the brain? The most compelling reason is the tor­
    rential ?ow of data generated by neurophysiology experiments. Today it is common to
    simultaneously record the signals generated by tens of neurons in an awake behaving
    animal. Once the measurement is done, the neuroscientist must analyze the data to
    ?gure out what it means, and computers are necessary for this task. Computers are also
    used to simulate neural systems. This is important when the models are complex, so
    that their behaviors are not obvious from mere verbal reasoning.

    On to the second de?nition. What does it mean to say that the brain is a computer?
    To grasp this idea we must think beyond our desktop computers with their glowing
    screens. The abacus is a computer, and so is a slide rule. What do these examples
    have in common? They are all dynamical systems, but they are of a special class.
    What’s special is that the state of a computer represents something else. The states of
    transistors in your computer’s display memory represent the words and pictures that
    are displayed on its screen. The locations of the beads on a abacus represent the money
    passing through a shopkeeper’s hands. And the activities of neurons in our brains
    represent the things that we sense and think about. In short,

    computation = coding + dynamics

    [–> presumably, including stochastic processes]

    The two terms on the right hand side of this equation are the two great questions
    for computational neuroscience. How are computational variables are encoded in neu­
    ral activity? How do the dynamical behaviors of neural networks emerge from the
    properties of neurons?

    We see here the fleshing out of the focal issue on neurological basis as suggested core to the hard problem of consciousness.

    Weighted sum gates are powerful and chaining allows for very interesting properties but these are fundamentally GIGO limited computation on a dynamic-stochastic substrate. Analogue or digital signal processing does not assign meaning, insight, intentionality, reference, logical inference in accord with sound principles, weighted support, warrant, knowledge.

    We have ontological issues on the table here, logic of being, characteristics, distinction and more.

    KF

  65. 65
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, you have been making a series of attacking arguments for months. They fail, one by one. We can notice that on the current case you cannot show misquotation, twisting of meaning by out of context quotation, or even that the consequences and issues I raised were irrelevant or readily and cogently answered. That is pivotal. KF

    PS, let’s roll the tape on what you tried to attack as an alleged nonsensical critique:

    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

    [==> key theses of nihilism. Citing the just linked IEP: “Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history.” As without rational, responsible freedom, rationality collapses, Provine implies self referential incoherence. Similarly, ethical foundations include our self evident, pervasive first duties of reason: to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, fairness and justice etc. Provine has given a recipe for gross (and all too common) intellectual irresponsibility.]

    . . . . 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]

    My pointing to IEP was on target and is a comment clearly marked out from the main summary assertion. You clearly have no ready, cogent answer to my onward point about the self referential incoherence and grand delusion. And, history confirms what manipulators did, listen to 100 million ghosts of victims. And yes there was a decayed link, thanks; replaced from Wayback. As to venue and significance i/l/o the Scopes publicity stunt and trial gone sour, that is invited by the circumstances.

    In short, hardly nonsensical [as you tried to dismiss] and I would argue clear enough for someone not measuring with crooked yardsticks and demanding conformity to same.

  66. 66
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @64

    Weighted sum gates are powerful and chaining allows for very interesting properties but these are fundamentally GIGO limited computation on a dynamic-stochastic substrate. Analogue or digital signal processing does not assign meaning, insight, intentionality, reference, logical inference in accord with sound principles, weighted support, warrant, knowledge.

    We need to make a few additional distinctions here.

    Firstly, we need to distinguish consciousness from cognition. Consciousness in the sense of awareness, of being sentient, is different from cognition, in the sense of having thoughts or mental contents. (If these weren’t distinct there would be no sense to the idea of “unconscious thoughts”.)

    Computational neuroscience does not, generally speaking, try to be a theory of consciousness. It is a theory of cognition: of perception, inference, decision, and action. More specifically, it is a theory of how the brain contributes to perception, inference, decision, and action. The basic idea is that one of the main things that brains do is perform computations. (This is not all that brains do, of course!)

    But even if that’s right (and I think the evidence is overwhelming that it is), that doesn’t solve the GIGO problem: a program can, of course, transform meaningless strings into other meaningless strings, as long as it does so in accord with rules. And computational neuroscientists know this perfectly well. So the claim is not that neural computations are sufficient for cognition but only that there are necessary. They do not, by themselves, solve the problem of content. (For a recent attempt at a solution to the problem of content from a neuroscientific perspective, see “Situated Neural Representations” by Piccinini, 2022.)

    interestingly, Piccinini thinks that neural computations are neither digital nor analog but sui generis. His main reason is that neural computations consist of rates of spike trains, which are neither as discrete as digital computations nor as continuous as analog computations.

    Needless to say, even if something like computational neuroscience were basically right about the role of brains in cognition, it wouldn’t solve the problem of consciousness — not even if one dismisses the hard problem.

  67. 67
    Alan Fox says:

    AF, you have been making a series of attacking arguments for months.

    Well, I did initially come on this last visit to point out to Upright Biped that his semiotic argument had a few holes in it. He seems to have withdrawn from commenting and, unfortunately, I have continued to post comments as the mood takes me and time permits.

    The fact is that “Intelligent Design” has declined into obscurity. It was founded in an attempt to circumvent US laws on church/state separation, at which it has proved singularly unsuccessful. Harrisburg should have been the end of it. But, now the Supreme Court has been stacked with religious reactionaries, the church/state separation laws are being ignored. Another nail in ID’s coffin.

    So my current impression is that “Intelligent Design” has failed: failed to achieve the level being
    a genuinely scientific approach. I’ve asked several times for some evidence that ID actually has some scientific merit, a genuine alternative to evolutionary theory. The silence is deafening.

  68. 68
    Viola Lee says:

    KF quotesWikipedia about nihilism. The quote mixes two different meanings of the word nihilism.

    1. One meaning, which Provine states, is a philosophical view that rejects “objective truth, knowledge, morality, values, or meaning.” We have discussed, somewhat interminably, what objective might mean here, but I think the meaning here is ontologically objective.

    2. The second meaning mentioned is this: “Other prominent positions within nihilism include the rejection of all normative and ethical views (§ Moral nihilism), the rejection of all social and political institutions (§ Political nihilism), the stance that no knowledge can or does exist (§ Epistemological nihilism).”

    This is different. Just because one rejects ontologically objective meaning, values, etc does not mean one rejects all ideas about the existence and value of meaning, morals, society, knowledge, etc. All those things can be grounded in human experience without any need to reference ontological objectivity

    Your quote says, “The term is sometimes used in association with anomie to explain the general mood of despair at a perceived pointlessness of existence or arbitrariness of human principles and social institutions.”

    That is definitely not a necessary consequence of rejecting ontological objective meaning et al.

  69. 69
    asauber says:

    “So my current impression is that “Intelligent Design” has failed:”

    AF,

    Then why are you obsessed with ID? It appears you spend most of your waking hours here opposing something that’s already dead. Why do you continue wasting everyone’s time?

    Andrew

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, I would note that in effect a smoothly varying pulse rate signal is actually an analogue signal, here, roughly inputs/outputs to/from a relaxation oscillator, but that is just a note. Digital means discrete state, not level. I point to consciousness as meaning based awareness is involved in volitional, rational inference; freely chosen principles guided inference on intersection of meanings is not to be equated to dynamic-stochastic processing of signals as cause-effect chains, computational signal processing. And, the meaningful content and the programming of neural networks or other styles of computational signal processing have to be adequately explained. KF

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, it seems to me Provine expresses and credits to Darwin’s legacy, various forms and aspects of nihilism. I should add, evisceration of meaning, responsible rational freedom and knowledge undermine credibility of mind across the board. Despair, death wish, desperate sensualism, impulses to destroy whatever angers one etc flow from it. Nero reminds that a sort of existential numbness leads to desperate thrill seeking, e.g. his reported going around at night as a common robber. KF

  72. 72
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @70

    volitional, rational inference; freely chosen principles guided inference on intersection of meanings

    I’m no expert — just a random person on the internet — but I’m pretty sure that David Chalmers would say that even zombies can do all that, even though they lack qualia.

  73. 73
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, I know lots of people who do not believe in ontological objectivity (nihilism in the first sense) that do not at all feel “despair, death wish, desperate sensualism, impulses to destroy whatever angers one” flowing from that. The second is not a necessary correlate of the first.

  74. 74
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @53

    VL, I continued the quote, giving wayback machine. You will see it only gets worse. Nor is Provine an isolated case, Plato was already highlighting the problem 2360 years ago. The root is the IS-OUGHT gap, and the second issue is undermining the credibility of reason, knowledge, mind.

    There’s no way that Plato could have been talking about evolutionary theory, since it didn’t exist in ancient Greece. He does allude to the influence of the ancient Greek atomists (though never mentions them by name, which is kind of interesting in itself), and he does suggest that ancient Greek materialism was a threat to the public good. But his arguments are really hard to decipher, and I won’t want to make too much rest on them.

    This whole “is-ought gap” is itself really unclear: like, what is the gap supposed to be, even?

    One influential source is Hume, who writes:

    In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remark’d, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when of a sudden I am surpriz’d to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, Is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it shou’d be observ’d and explain’d; and at the same time that a reason shou’d be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. (Treatise of Human Nature 3.1.2)

    This “deduction from others” is the decisive point. His point is that there is no deductively valid argument that contains only descriptive claims in all the premises and a prescriptive claim in the conclusion, nor are the rules of deductive inference sufficient to explain the insertion of a prescriptive claim in the premises arbitrarily.

    Hume is, I think, entirely correct about this.

    But what follows from this? Not much, I think! For all that Hume is committed to is that there’s a logical fallacy in a certain kind of deductive argument that’s supposed to generate normative conclusions.

    Nothing in that argument entails that we cannot, for example, explain the origins of ethics from other, older kinds of primate social behavior.

    Now, it’s quite true that even if we had a good explanation of the origins of ethics, that by itself would not allow us to settle any questions about how we ought to behave, or answer questions of ethics. It couldn’t, because of the crucial difference between justification and explanation. No explanation of the origins of morality could function as a criterion of moral goodness or rightness.

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    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, for cause, I am a believer in taking people at their words, in historic context, letting that inductively shape and constrain the broad lines of any synthetic view we form. In the Laws, Bk X, it is quite clear that Plato was targeting rather cynical materialistic sophists and their influences on the young of Athens, likely in the context of the Peloponnesian war, finally lost a generation before he wrote as a relatively old man. He describes them as attributing root causal factors to “fire and water, and earth and air, [that] all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only.” This is not a Darwin-Wallace evolutionary scheme, nor is it scientific, but it is a philosophical frame that is materialistic and unfolding by time, chance and necessity seen as defining all of reality. Where, unfolding is the root meaning of evolution so it is an evolutionary and materialistic view. Somewhere in there of course lurks Alcibiades. He offers no detailed summary of mechanisms of how things “come” from such, but he implies some dynamic, non intelligent process, explicitly locking out art, techne, and he is mainly interested in the onward unfolding into radical relativism, factions and nihilistic will to power; but in countering will make the first cosmological design inference on record. He says these teachers reduce justice and law to in effect social imposition, going on to declare “that the highest right is might” — the nihilist credo. He points to resulting ruthless, lawless and incompetent factions (ghosts of the Sicilian expedition all the way to the final debacle at Aegospotami would doubtless agree). The key point here is, when a world vision has no root level is that can bear the weight of ought, there is an historically demonstrated road open to this sort of lawless domineering and resulting chaos. As for the is-ought gap, I suggest this is one of the absolute core all-time issues of philosophy and is closely related to the issue of the one and the many. I do not agree with key aspects of this short discussion but it is a start. KF

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    kairosfocus says:

    PS, I disagree regarding roots of ethics and law. Here is part of why:

    , On the Republic, Bk 3: {22.} [33] L . . . True law is right reason in agreement with [–> our morally governed] nature , it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it [–> as universally binding core of law], and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people [–> as binding, universal, coeval with our humanity], and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. [–> sound conscience- guided reason will point out the core] And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment. . . . – Marcus Tullius Cicero, c. 55 – 54 BC

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