agit-prop, opinion manipulation and well-poisoning games Epistemology (the study of knowledge and its conditions) Logic and First Principles of right reason

Logic and First Principles, 9: Can we be “certain” of any of our views or conclusions?

Spread the love

Currently, one of the objections on the table to a demonstration on how certain structural and quantitative entities are implicit in there being a distinct possible world is the rejection, dismissal or doubting of certainty of conclusions. This again reflects one of the many problems with thought in our day.

Let’s add a quip, for those who doubt that warranted (as opposed to ill-advised) certainty is possible: are you CERTAIN that we cannot be justifiably certain?

Accordingly, I took the opportunity to comment in the fallacies discussion thread:

[KF, FDT 304:] One of the themes that keeps surfacing is “certainty,” which sets up the issues: warrant, knowledge, reliability, credibility, and responsibility.


Given that we ever so often use knowledge in a sense that is less than absolute, irrefutable certainty, as in science, I have put on the table that knowledge speaks of warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) belief. Obviously, this is normally provisional, but it leaves open cases where the degree of warrant and credibility are such that these claims are utterly certainly true and beyond doubt, save by the irresponsible. That is where self-evident truths and inescapable first principles of right reason live. Such includes mathematical truths of the order

||| + || –> |||||.


Thus, we see that warrant comes in degrees and must attain to some degree of reliability that lends the credibility that leads to responsible belief. This may be less than certain, e.g. by and large scientific theories and models are not certain, they are open to correction on many grounds. Yes, Science is at a relatively low rung on the warrant ladder. Observations of science are another matter, they carry with them the credibility of witness, which can be morally certain.


So, certainty is now on the table, and just like warrant (from which it derives) it comes in degrees depending on cases, context and subject matter.


Moral certainty is a case where the grounds of warrant are sufficiently strong that one would be derelict of duty if one were to willfully treat something of that degree of credibility as though it were false, when something of great moment or value is on the table. For example, in a criminal case under Common Law jurisdictions, one must prove beyond reasonable doubt — this is a criterion of responsibility in the context of duty to justice. In commercial or civil matters, preponderance of evidence is a lower standard.


Beyond that everyday sense of certainty, lie the cases where in effect there is reason to believe that the judgement that x is the case has passed beyond room for reasonable, responsible doubt and is utterly unlikely to be reversed; something is true and is so grounded that there is no real room for doubt, but is not a necessary truth — one that must be so in this and all other possible worlds. Then, there is self-evidence, where x is so, is seen to be so by one with enough experience to understand the claim properly, and is such that the denial is immediately, patently absurd. That error exists, is a case in point, the attempt to deny instantly exemplifies that error exists. Likewise, one cannot be deluded that s/he is conscious, as to doubt is an act of consciousness.


Regrettably, we are so situated that it is impossible to build a whole worldview up from matters that are at least self-evidently so.


However, this degree of warranted certainty (and what lies beyond) serves to provide yardsticks and plumblines to test our worldview cores. For example, that error exists is undeniably true and warranted to self-evident certainty. This confirms that truth beyond opinion exists.

Likewise, that some truths are intelligible, accessible by reason. As we observe and experience that error exists means that observation and experience can access truth. Similarly, we have warrant to undeniable certainty, so certain knowledge exists. If certain knowledge exists, knowledge (embracing weaker senses) exists also.


Further to this, beliefs, opinions, ideologies and worldviews that assume, argue, opine and assert that truth, or knowledge, or warrant or certain knowledge do not exist or that claims to such only serve “intolerance” and oppressor-classes — their name is Legion, are swept away wholesale as error. And yes, for cause I have the fell work of cultural marxism squarely in my sights, along with radical relativism and radical subjectivism.


Moreover, having warranted this point to certainty, I freely hold there is demonstrative warrant and that for cause opinion and rhetorical objection to the contrary avail nothing. Though in a politically correct era, many will take the vapours and will be frightened that I have announced a policy of right wing, Christofascist totalitarianism dressed up in Torquemada’s robes. That is how far ever so many in our civilisation have been misled.


That agit prop induced and/or mal-education induced reaction is unwarranted, the issue is to act responsibly and rationally in light of duty to truth, right reason, prudence, justice, etc.


However, there are higher yet degrees of warrant and certainty of knowledge.


Some truths are necessary, certain, intelligible and knowable to utter, incorrigible certainty and even absolute: the truth, the whole truth on a material matter, nothing but the truth on the material matter. Where, a necessary truth will be so in this or any other possible world. And what is more, many such truths are intelligible and warranted to similarly necessary certainty. Many core principles of reason and mathematics are of this order.


For relevant example, for a distinct world to be possible of existence, it must have in it at least one feature [A] such that it is different from all other possible worlds. We may then freely dichotomise W: W = {A|~A}. This already indicates that rationally intelligible structure and quantity are present in the fabric for such a world, we may readily identify here duality, unity (and complex unity in the case ~A), also nullity. The von Neumann construction then gives muscle to Peano’s succession from unity, and we have the natural counting numbers. From this, we may further recognise Z, Q, R, C and more.


Widening scope, and using reality in the widest sense, in reality (to include the case where there may be plural worlds as domains in reality) there will be some A, thus too ~A and a similar dichotomy obtains, R = {A|~A}. Instantly, A is itself i/l/o its core characteristics, perhaps a bright red ball on a table. This is the Law of Identity, LOI. Similarly, by the contrast and dichotomy, no x in R will be in A and in ~A, law of non contradiction, LNC. Thirdly (notice how counting numbers are implicit) any x in R will be in A or else in ~A, not in both or neither. Law of the excluded middle, LEM.


These three are inescapably true. We cannot prove them by appealing to something deeper, as to try to prove cannot but assume and implicitly use them. Likewise a claimed disproof or possible world in which they do not hold will on inspection be found to be implicitly using them. Such are the start-points for reasoning.

In short, we can see that the claim that we cannot be certain about anything is itself a claim to certainty, so it is advisable to instead explore the degrees of warrant we may obtain, for various types of cases. Once we do so, it becomes clear that there are degrees of warrant thus of certainty. Where, moral certainty is the first such degree, with self-evidence and necessary, undeniable or inescapable truths progressing upwards on the ladder. Such then allow us to have yardsticks and plumb-lines to test our reasoning and knowledge claims.

The common notion that associates certainty with oppression, intolerance etc and reacts by applying a hermeneutic of suspicion fails to properly address warrant and knowledge. END

PS: It is likewise worth pausing to point out the relevant demonstration on how considerable, rationally intelligible substance of structure and quantity are implicit in there being a distinct possible world on the table. Here, 257 in the same thread:

1: Consider reality, and within it some distinct entity, say a bright red ball on a table, B. Thus the rest of reality is the complement to B, ~B. Reality, R = {B|~B}


2: Immediately, B is itself (distinctly identifiable i/l/o its core, distinguishing characteristics), this is the fundamental law of thought, Law of Identity, which sets up the dichotomy and its corollaries.


3: Clearly, no x in R can be B AND ~B. Law of non-contradiction, a corollary.


4: Likewise, any x in R must be in B or in ~B, not between them or separate from them: B X-OR ~B, law of the excluded middle. The second corollary.


5: Now, ponder a possible world, W, a sufficiently complete description of a possible [coherent!] state of affairs in reality, i.e. in this or any other world that could be or is.


6: So far, we have set up a framework for discussion, including pointing out the key first principles of right reason that we must use so soon as we type out a message using distinct characters, etc. These are not provable, they are inevitable, inescapable and thus have a right to be presumed first truths of right reason.


7: Now, W, holds distinct identity, it is a particular possible world, different from all others. That is, if claimed entities W1 and W2 are not discernibly different in any respect, they are just different labels for the same thing W.


8: Notice, all along we are trafficking in statements that imply or assert that certain things are so or are not so, i.e. propositions and that relationship of accurate description of reality that we term truth.


9: All of these are not merely concrete particulars or mere labels, they are abstracta which are inevitable in reasoning. Indeed, the relationship of intentionality implicit in attaching a name is an abstractum, too.
10: Now, W is one of infinitely many possible states of affairs, and shares many attributes in common with others. So, we mark the in-common [genus] and the distinct [differentia].


11: So, we freely identify some unique aspect of W, A. W, then is: W = {A|~A}.


12: But already, we see rationally discernible abstract entities, principles and facts or relationship, quantity and structure; i.e. the SUBSTANCE of Mathematics. Namely,


13: first, that which is in W but external to A and ~A is empty, as is the partition: nullity.


14: Likewise, A is a distinct unit, as is ~A [which last is obviously a complex unity]. This gives us unity and duality.


15: So, simply on W being a distinct possible world, we must have in it nullity, unity and duality. These are abstract structural and quantitative properties embedded in the framework for W.


16: This is, strictly, already enough for the claim that there is an abstract substance of mathematical character that is necessarily embedded in any possible world, which is itself an abstract entity, being a collection of propositions. In at least one case such are actualised, i.e. it is possible to have an accurate summary of our world.


17: However, much more is necessarily present, once we see the force of the von Neumann succession of ordinals (which substantiates Peano’s succession), actually presenting the natural counting numbers starting from the set that collects nothing, which is itself an undeniable abstract entity:


{} –> 0
{0} –> 1
{0,1) –> 2
{0,1,2} –> 3
. . .
{0,1,2,3 . . . } –> w [first transfinite ordinal]
etc, without limit


18: We here have N. Define for some n in N, that -n is such that n + (-n) = 0, and we equally necessarily have Z. Again, rooted in the distinct identity of a world, we are studying, exploring, discovering, warranting (as opposed to proving), not creating through our culturally influenced symbolism and discussion.


19: Similarly, identify the ratio n:m, and we attain the rationals, Q.
20: Use power series expansions to capture whole part + endless sum of reducing fractions converging on any given value such as pi or e or phi etc, and we have the reals, R, thus also the continuum. Where, from Z on, we have has entities with magnitude and direction, vectors.


21: Now, propose an operation i*, rotation pivoting on 0 through a right angle. This gives us i*R, an orthogonal axis with continuum, and where for any r in R+, i*r is on the new [y] axis.


22: Now too, go i*i*r, and we find -r. That is we have that i = sqrt(-1), which here has a natural sense as a vector rotation. Any coordinate in the xy plane as described is now seen as a position vector relative to the origin.


23: We have abstract planar space, thus room for algebraic and geometrical contemplation of abstract, mathematically perfect figures. For instance consider the circle r^2 = x^2 + y^2, centred on o.


24: In its upper half let us ponder a triangle standing at -r [A] and r [B] with third vertex at C on the upper arc. This is a right angle triangle with all associated spatial properties, starting with angle sum triangle and Pythagorean relationships, trig identities etc. Between these two figures and extensions, the world of planar figures opens up.


25: Extend rotations to ijk unit vectors and we are at 3-d abstract “flat” space. All of this, tracing to distinct identity.


26: We may bring in Quaternions and Octonions, the latter now being explored as a context for particle physics.


27: The Wigner Math-Physics gap is bridged, at world-root level.


28: Similarly, we have established a large body of intelligible, rational entities and principles of structure and quantity implicit in distinct identity. Such are the substance we discover by exploration (which is culturally influenced) rather than invent.


29: Where it is an obvious characteristic of invention, that it is temporally bound past-wards, Until some time t, entity e did not exist. Then, after t, having been created, it now exists.


30: The above abstracta are implicit in the distinct identity of a world and so have existed so long as reality has. That is, without past bound. (It can readily be shown that if a world now is, some reality always was.)

I again point out that once a demonstration is on the table, only a counter-demonstration suffices to answer it. Unsubstantiated opinions to the contrary avail nothing. Perhaps, it is helpful to note Aristotle on pathos, ethos, logos:

Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker [ethos]; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind [pathos]; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself [logos]. Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible . . . Secondly, persuasion may come through the hearers, when the speech stirs their emotions. Our judgements when we are pleased and friendly are not the same as when we are pained and hostile . . . Thirdly, persuasion is effected through the speech itself when we have proved a truth or an apparent truth by means of the persuasive arguments suitable to the case in question . . . . [Aristotle, The Rhetoric, Book I, Ch. 2. Cf. summary with scholarly observations at http://plato.stanford.edu/entr…..-rhetoric/ and http://www.public.iastate.edu/…..index.html for a hypertext version of the book]

For, appeals to our passions, perceptions and felt reactions are of no more weight than the soundness of underlying judgements. Those to the credibility of an authority or presenter hold no more weight than the merits of the underlying case. It is therefore to the merits of fact and logic that we must always go. This should not be controversial, but that is where we now have reached.

78 Replies to “Logic and First Principles, 9: Can we be “certain” of any of our views or conclusions?

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Logic and First Principles, 9: Can we be “certain” of any of our views or conclusions?

    –> Let me sharpen this a bit: can we be CERTAIN that we cannot be certain?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Hi KF, as to:

    Can We Be “Certain” Of Any Of Our Views Or Conclusions?

    As Descartes pointed out, ‘certainty’ can only be based in an immaterial mind, i.e. “I think therefore I am”. For ‘certainty to even exist in the first place, then immaterial mind is a requirement! Yet Atheistic Materialism/Naturalism denies the reality of the immaterial mind. This denial of the primacy of the immaterial mind by Atheists leads to the self-refuting contention by many leading atheistic philosophers that ‘consciousness is an illusion’, i.e. to the claim that they really don’t exist as real people,,,

    Ross Douthat Is On Another Erroneous Rampage Against Secularism – Jerry Coyne – December 26, 2013
    Excerpt: “many (but not all) of us accept the notion that our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.”
    Jerry Coyne – Professor of Evolutionary Biology – Atheist
    https://newrepublic.com/article/116047/ross-douthat-wrong-about-secularism-and-ethics

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

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.”
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    The Consciousness Deniers – Galen Strawson – March 13, 2018
    Excerpt: What is the silliest claim ever made? The competition is fierce, but I think the answer is easy. Some people have denied the existence of consciousness: conscious experience, the subjective character of experience, the “what-it-is-like” of experience.,,,
    Who are the Deniers?,,, Few have been fully explicit in their denial, but among those who have been, we find Brian Farrell, Paul Feyerabend, Richard Rorty, and the generally admirable Daniel Dennett.,,,
    http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2.....s-deniers/

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

    The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness
    By STEVEN PINKER – Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
    Part II THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
    Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.
    http://www.academia.edu/279485.....sciousness

    “(Daniel) Dennett concludes, ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’.”
    J.W. SCHOOLER & C.A. SCHREIBER – Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection – 2004

    Besides the insane claim from leading atheistic philosophers that their own personal subjective conscious experience is an illusion, and that they really don’t exist as real people, many other things become illusory in the atheist’s worldview. Things that normal people resolutely hold to be concrete and real.

    “Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft).
    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,”
    Paper with references for each claim page; Page 37:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pAYmZpUWFEi3hu45FbQZEvGKsZ9GULzh8KM0CpqdePk/edit

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

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science, (and to “certainty” 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, since the most ‘certain’ thing about reality that we can be absolutely ‘certain’ of is the fact that we really do exist as real people, “I think therefore I am”, and since we can also be absolutely certain that is not our own finite, contingent, immaterial mind that is upholding reality, then we also can be absolutely ‘certain’ that it must necessarily be the infinite Mind of God that is upholding reality. As Plantinga humorously noted in his critique of solipsism, “We take good care of the professor because when he goes we all go.”

    Solipsist Humor from Plantinga
    ,,,At a recent Lecture I attended by Philosopher Alvin Plantinga, he warmed up the crowd with a few solipsist jokes.,,,
    FYI, solipsism is the rather odd idea that there is only one individual in the universe and that you are it. Everyone else is just a figment of your imagination.
    1. British philosopher Bertrand Russell was a solipsist for a time (why does that not surprise me?), and he once received a letter from a woman who found his arguments very convincing. Well, I suppose it’s not so hard to convince a figment of your imagination that your arguments are brilliant. Anyway, the woman commented in her letter that his description of solipsism made a lot of sense and that, “I’m surprised there aren’t more of us.”
    2. Plantinga also told of an accomplished academic who was a well-known solipsist (I forget the guys name). And Plantinga thought it would be fun to meet a real life solipsist, so he went to visit him. He was treated fairly well considering he was only figment. I mean, it’s not a given that a solipsist would feel the need to be polite to his imaginary friends. After a brief conversation, Plantinga left and on the way out one of the man’s assistants said, “We take good care of the professor because when he goes we all go.”
    http://www.fellowtravelerblog......plantinga/

    Another interesting argument comes from the leading philosopher and Christian, Alvin Plantinga—he asked, what evidence does anyone have for the existence of other people’s minds? He argued cogently that the evidence for God is just as good as the evidence for other minds; and conversely, if there isn’t any evidence for God, then there is also no evidence that other minds exist—see God and Other Minds, Cornell University Press, repr. 1990.
    http://creation.com/atheism-is-more-rational

    Supplemental quotes from leaders of quantum mechanics, (and from Eben Alexander who had a Near Death Experience), on the ‘necessary’ premise of the primacy of immaterial mind:

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

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

    “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists.”
    – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177.

    The Science of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander – Nov. 18, 2012
    Can consciousness exist when the body fails? One neurosurgeon says he has seen it firsthand—and takes on critics who vehemently disagree.
    Excerpt: Many scientists who study consciousness would agree with me that, in fact, the hard problem of consciousness is probably the one question facing modern science that is arguably forever beyond our knowing, at least in terms of a physicalist model of how the brain might create consciousness. In fact, they would agree that the problem is so profound that we don’t even know how to phrase a scientific question addressing it. But if we must decide which produces which, modern physics is pushing us in precisely the opposite direction, suggesting that it is consciousness that is primary and matter secondary.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/n.....eaven.html

    Thus in conclusion, we find that ‘certainty’ itself can only be based within the Theistic framework where immaterial mind is held to be primary, and we also find that, besides the entire atheistic worldview becoming ‘illusory’ (and therefore “uncertain’), the Atheist himself becomes illusory is his ‘uncertain’ atheistic worldview. ,,, Poe would be proud of the ‘Dream within a Dream’ that the atheist forces himself to live in with his chosen illusory worldview where he has forsaken God from having any place in his life.,,,

    A Dream Within a Dream
    BY EDGAR ALLAN POE
    Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow —
    You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?
    All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

    I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand —
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep — while I weep!
    O God! Can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?
    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?

    Verse:

    Ephesians 5:14
    For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”

    Quote:

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

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

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77, evolutionary materialistic scientism is self-refuting, indeed. KF

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    Added to the OP:

    Let’s add a quip, for those who doubt that warranted (as opposed to ill-advised) certainty is possible: are you CERTAIN that we cannot be justifiably certain?

  5. 5
    Ed George says:

    KF

    are you CERTAIN that we cannot be justifiably certain?

    Obviously there are things we can be justifiably certain about. I am justifiably certain that I can’t live without food water and air. But I suspect that you are talking about issues that are often discussed here (eg, objective morality, ID, the origin of human rights, homosexuality, abortion, etc., etc.). For most of these, no we can’t be justifiably certain. And the reason for this is once we claim justifiable certainty, we end the discussion. And it becomes majority rules.and, at present, the majority is winning. To the detriment of all of us.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, the issue on the table is warrant, in a context that spoke to a logical demonstration. You will get no further warnings about trying to drag in sewer topics, as you have tried to drag into thread after thread. KF

    PS: If you had actually read the discussion in the OP, you would have seen: “by and large scientific theories and models are not certain, they are open to correction on many grounds. Yes, Science is at a relatively low rung on the warrant ladder. Observations of science are another matter, they carry with them the credibility of witness, which can be morally certain.” (Moral certainty is defined in the OP, as too often this term is not well understood today.) The design inference on tested reliable sign is well warranted as a scientific claim, but is one that is always open to test; the resort to selective hyperskepticism, false accusations of smuggling “religion” into science and to ideological lockouts by imposition of self-refuting, question-begging evolutionary materialistic scientism are what have no proper warrant in that context. The challenge being answered — as you full well know — is about actual demonstration on first principles and their corollaries and implications. As is explicitly laid out. In that context, certainty was challenged in a way that suggests that it is unwarranted and questionable, fully meriting a reply as is in the OP.

  7. 7
    hazel says:

    “Drag in sewer topics”? I do believe the OP says, “Moral certainty is a case where the grounds of warrant are sufficiently strong that one would be derelict of duty if one were to willfully treat something of that degree of credibility as though it were false, when something of great moment or value is on the table.” Ed mentioned some moral issues “of great moment or value” (not sewer issues), and said he thought you might have some of the following in mind: not an unreasonable thing to do given the sentence of yours I quoted.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Hazel, assuming for the sake of argument that you really exist as a real person, and are not a neuronal illusion generated by the molecules of your brain, just how does someone of the atheistic persuasion judge whether anything is morally superior or not? Morality, like value, meaning, purpose, is illusory in the atheist’s worldview. Subject to the subjective whims of whomever is making a moral judgement. Moreover, given that free will is also illusory in the atheist’s worldview, then even the supposed subjective moral choices we make are also not subject to our control. i.e. No one is ever really guilty of murder for no one ever has control over whether they murder or not.

    In short, Atheism is an insane worldview. Even atheists themselves are unable to live as if their insane worldview were actually true.

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt:,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

    Richard Dawkins himself admitted that it would be quote unquote ‘intolerable’ for him to live his life as if atheistic materialism were actually true

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt:
    Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    And in the following article subtitled “When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails”, Nancy Pearcey quotes many more leading atheists who honestly admit that it would be impossible for them to live their life as if atheistic materialism were actually true.

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”
    An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots — that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one “can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free.” We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    This impossibility for Atheists to live consistently within their stated worldview directly undermines their claim that Atheism is true
    Specifically, as the following article points out, if it is impossible for you to live your life consistently as if atheistic materialism were actually true, then atheistic materialism cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but atheistic materialism must instead be based on a delusion.

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    My question to you Hazel, why do you personally choose, (again assuming you really are a real person who really can choose between viable options), to pretend as if the insanity of atheism is true rather than choosing the sanity that can be ground solely in Christian Theism as your foundational wordview?

    If you, like Nagel, “just don’t want the universe to be like that” then at least have enough honesty within yourself and with others to honestly admit that rather than pretend the insanity that you and other atheists are championing on UD is in any way coherently rational. It simply disingenuous of you to want us to play along with your insane charade.

    “I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about human life, including everything about the human mind …. This is a somewhat ridiculous situation …. [I]t is just as irrational to be influenced in one’s beliefs by the hope that God does not exist as by the hope that God does exist.”
    – Thomas Nagel

    “I have argued patiently against the prevailing form of naturalism, a reductive materialism that purports to capture life and mind through its neo-Darwinian extension.” “…, I find this view antecedently unbelievable—a heroic triumph of ideological theory over common sense”.
    Thomas Nagel – “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False” – pg.128

    Verse:

    Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.
    —Matthew 7:24–27

    I AM THEY – My Feet Are on the Rock (Official Music Video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uYiHiJTN6Y

  9. 9
    hazel says:

    ba writes, “January 25, 2019 at 8:56 pm
    Hazel, assuming for the sake of argument that you really exist as a real person, and are not a neuronal illusion generated by the molecules of your brain, just how does someone of the atheistic persuasion judge whether anything is morally superior or not?”

    Why are you even asking me that question? It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with anything I said??????

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Morality and atheism have nothing to do with your question or with you?

    Okie Dokie, I can see honesty will not be forthcoming.

    FYI, I don’t play word games with atheists and will just as soon see you banned rather than play stupid word games with you.

  11. 11
    hazel says:

    Weird response, but obviously not much point in trying to understand.

  12. 12
    Ed George says:

    Hazel

    Ed mentioned some moral issues “of great moment or value” (not sewer issues), and said he thought you might have some of the following in mind: not an unreasonable thing to do given the sentence of yours I quoted.

    Thank you Hazel. I was confused by KF’s response as well. C’est la vie.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    sheesh, double denial. ,,, but alas, that is the main modus operandi of Darwinian Atheism. Deny, deny, deny.,,,.

    i.e. deny morality exists but insist that your subjective and amoral atheistic morality is just as valid as objective Christian morality.

    i.e. deny free will exists but demand the right for women to ‘choose’ to kill their unborn babies.

    deny etc..exists but live as if it is real.

    i.e. Atheism is insane!

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    H & EG,

    I first highlight the point on certainty from the fallacies thread that is being answered:

    H, FDT, 298: I’ve said I think you [WJM] and kf both think you know more than you really can: you’ve invented your own set of philosophical abstractions and a logic that holds them all together, but they are a self contained system without any definitive appeal to any experience that can validate them to others.

    H, FDT, 89: Platonic realism, one of three possible philosophies mentioned in post 85. Another is nominalism, which I am suggesting. I am making the point that your philosophy, although it seems absolutely certain to you, is seen differently by other respected philosophers. [BTW, note, too in this comment: H — “there are circular things: your fishing reel has many of them. But the abstract circle, or the property of circleness, exists only in our minds. That is the position of nominalism (which a word I didn’t know until a couple of days ago, but it fits what I have been trying to say.)” –> so, it was fair comment for me to note that you had gone on to champion nominalism, here as conceptualism. The context of being imbued with a view without having learned its name speaks to cultural availability due to ideological dominance..]

    All of this, is in reply to a logical demonstration on the principle of identity that draws out that the requisites of a distinct possible world lead to a partition of some distinctive aspect A with its complement being the rest of the world, ~A. Thus, on inspection of the partition, we see duality, unity, nullity, thence can follow succession to the Naturals, from which Z, Q, R, C follow as abstracta embedded in the distinct identity for any specific possible world. Which means, such entities are necessary.

    I suggest, looking at a specific red ball on a table in this actual (so, possible) world, and noticing that that concrete case is a familiar example of said dichotomy. The triple first principles of right reason follow, LOI, LNC, LEM, not as speculations locked away in some logic game WJM or I may play and others may elect not to play, but as inescapable truths manifest in our common world. In fact, to object in this thread you have had to rely on the distinct identity of alphanumeric characters and associated glyphs.

    I also beg to remind one and all that I invited you both, H and EG, to get out paper scissors and glue or tape then explore paper loops with and without twists that make Mobius strips. I invited concrete experimentation to see the divergent results on cutting three strips around the loop. An ordinary loop cut along its centre separates into two narrower loops. An M-strip cut along the centre will on cut 1 go to a longer loop (a second cut of this loop results in interlocked loops). The second M-strip, cut along the 1/3 point will separate into interlocked twisted loops, one longer than the other.

    These concrete exercises with paper are clearly independent of our inner notions and games of thought. Had they been undertaken, they would have exhibited the consequences of embedded structures and quantities manifest in our common world independent of our particular ideas. And indeed, the Mobius strip, I understand, was a significant case of mathematical discovery that helped launch a field of study, Topology. A case of discovery rather than invention in some logic game. A discovery that demonstrates empirically how properties of space are embedded in our world.

    Unsurprisingly, neither of you reported on such an exercise. H, you said you understand such strips. EG, I believe went silent on the topic.

    Moreover, appeal to experience as validating — here, get out paper, glue and scissors — is of course another appeal to warrant that may provide a degree of certainty.

    Empirical observation may in many cases rise to moral certainty, but as was pointed out in the OP, explanatory constructs on such (models and theories used in science, engineering, finance and management) cannot rise beyond provisional warrant on tested empirical reliability so far.

    When we turn to conscious reflection, we find things that are indubitably experience, and which can and do rise to much higher certainty of warrant. For instance, that one is self aware and conscious is undeniably true and self evident to a given subject. Likewise, that such a subject is appeared to redly on seeing a bright red ball on a table is a fact of experience that is undeniably so. One, that can be shared with others by pointing and inviting, pointing to our shared world. (I add: where, if someone cannot perceive red under appropriate conditions, we identify that person as colour blind. Indeed, recently there was a triumph of making glasses that by filtering certain bands achieved a breakthrough that has become somewhat of an Internet sensation.)

    Likewise, through language and rational study we can and do have shared experiences of warrant that can rise to demonstrative certainty, rooted in first principles. Where, such principles can often be seen in the same way as self evident, undeniable or necessary through being inescapable. These are not proofs, they form the basis on which we may test or prove.

    In context, I have highlighted the inescapable nature of distinct identity and its corollaries, non-contradiction and excluded middle. Kindly cf. OP. The attempt to suggest such are inaccessible fails and once experience includes shared rational reflection, they are accessible to others in a community of rational contemplation.

    Next, I repeat:from the OP; moral certainty is a degree of certainty — that where

    the grounds of warrant are sufficiently strong that one would be derelict of duty if one were to willfully treat something of that degree of credibility as though it were false, when something of great moment or value is on the table. For example, in a criminal case under Common Law jurisdictions, one must prove beyond reasonable doubt — this is a criterion of responsibility in the context of duty to justice. In commercial or civil matters, preponderance of evidence is a lower standard.

    The subject on the table — again — is warrant and certainty, not tangential topics, especially such as go down in the sewer as I have had occasion to specifically gavel in another thread recently, as EG full well knows.

    The name for the fallacy involved in side tracking — a favourite tactic of concern trolls BTW — is the red herring. This is normally the first stage of a trifecta: red herrings –> strawman caricatures soaked in ad hominems — > set alight rhetorically to cloud, poison, polarise. That can be done blatantly or it can be done subtly but the effect is much the same.

    In a future thread, I will take time to (again) show that there are self-evident moral truths that are instructive on ordering our interior and common lives. For example, it is self-evident that reasoned discussion appeals to the known duty to truth, right reason, prudence, fairness etc. Without acknowledged moral truth that has force of known law, the possibility of a community of rational discourse collapses in absurdity, deceit and cynical manipulativeness. And more.

    But this thread’s issue is prior.

    The question is warrant to an appropriate degree of certainty.

    Where, I again ask those who have been conditioned to see claims to certainty as always unjustified and likely oppressive: are you CERTAIN that one cannot ever be justifiably certain? If so, why?

    If not, of course, the objection collapses.

    In short, the objection is self-referentially incoherent and demonstrably an error. Where, that error exists is undeniably certain.

    KF

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Let me take up further, a pivotal claim by H: “you’ve invented your own set of philosophical abstractions and a logic that holds them all together.”

    Not at all.

    Let me use a classical reference that exposes crucial errors in the claim:

    Paul of Tarsus, 1 Cor 14:6 Now, believers, if I come to you speaking in unknown tongues, how will I benefit you unless I also speak to you [clearly] either by revelation [revealing God’s mystery], or by knowledge [teaching about God], or by prophecy [foretelling the future, speaking a new message from God to the people], or by instruction [teaching precepts that develop spiritual maturity]?

    7 Yet even lifeless things, whether flute or harp, when producing a sound, if they do not produce distinct [musical] tones, how will anyone [listening] know what is piped or played? 8 And if the [war] bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?

    9 So it is with you, if you speak words [in an unknown tongue] that are not intelligible and clear, how will anyone understand what you are saying? You will be talking into the air [wasting your breath]! [AMP]

    Here, we see an apt illustration of how the principle of distinct identity is pivotal to rational communication and thought. This is literally undeniable truth as the attempt to deny, belittle or dismiss it — simply to communicate a message — must rely on distinct identity. The principle of distinct identity is not an arbitrary invention by dubious individuals setting up THEIR idiosyncratic scheme of logic, it is a first prior of rational, propositional thought and communication. It is a terrible sign of where our civilisation has reached that this has become a debated point, that an educated person could imagine it is a plausible claim to target an inescapable truth such as this.

    The matter goes further, as a facet of the principle is the common identity of indiscenibles. That is if W1 and W2 are identical in every material respect we are justified to conclude that we are simply seeing different labels for the same entity, say W. A classic case is the morning vs evening star, long recognised to be the same object, Venus. Likewise, one and the same thing will have the same core properties even when it appears in different guises or contexts: a wandering star at evening or morning, in succession in the case of Venus.

    It is in this context, for example that we can point out that there is just one null set, which we discover manifested in various contexts.

    By contrast, identical twins are not truly ontologically identical: they are two closely resembling individuals whose bodies came from one common zygote which split into two separate bodies; and this becomes clear in cases of conjoined twins, even where the incomplete separation is such that there is considerable bodily overlap.

    All of this points to the force of the principle: that any entity A is itself, in light of its core characteristics which mark it out as distinguishable from all others. Thus with a given distinct world W there will be some A that marks it out as separate from all other possible worlds. Then, we may freely partition W = {A|~A}, dichotomising W. Thus instantly as corollaries no x in W will be both A and ~A and any x in W will be in A or in ~A but not both or neither. LNC and LEM, respectively, as was pointed out in the OP.

    These are not arbitrary choices (i.e. “inventions”) that may be freely rejected. As seen, the very attempt to express that rejection inescapably implicitly uses the LOI just to communicate a message. They are recognised, verbalised, discovered, understood as true, necessarily true, so true on pain of instant, patent absurdity on the attempted dismissal. Where, their central role in propositional thought and communication implies that they are implicitly present even in contexts that set out to create other “logics” that deny them.

    The objection and associated implied appeals to relativism and/or subjectivism (as well as, likely, the narrative of oppressive imposition) fails.

    Again and again, it seems the issue at stake is first principles of reason and refusal to acknowledge just how inescapable they are.

  16. 16

    Hazel said

    “Drag in sewer topics”? I do believe the OP says, “Moral certainty is a case where the grounds of warrant are sufficiently strong that one would be derelict of duty if one were to willfully treat something of that degree of credibility as though it were false, when something of great moment or value is on the table.” Ed mentioned some moral issues “of great moment or value” (not sewer issues), and said he thought you might have some of the following in mind: not an unreasonable thing to do given the sentence of yours I quoted.

    The argument is not about any particular issue; the argument is about the logically supportable basis by which we make any moral claim whatsoever. There’s no use arguing IF something is moral or immoral unless there is a common basis by which to pursue a rational argument in the first place. KF has outlined his basis repeatedly. What is your (or Ed George’s) basis or model by which you make moral decisions?

  17. 17
    hazel says:

    I was just wondering why kf thought it inappropriate for Ed to mention some moral issues, and specifically why he called them “sewer topics”. He didn’t appear to answer that question. That’s all my post was about.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    H,

    Pardon, but I did not invent the term, moral certainty; which is not primarily about “moral issues” beyond the duties of prudence, justice and right reason, indeed it is the context for the criminal law standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt. It has to do with warrant sufficient to ground duty to act on x as though it were true on matters of high importance. Indeed, that is pretty much what I already said in the OP:

    Moral certainty is a case where the grounds of warrant are sufficiently strong that one would be derelict of duty if one were to willfully treat something of that degree of credibility as though it were false, when something of great moment or value is on the table. For example, in a criminal case under Common Law jurisdictions, one must prove beyond reasonable doubt — this is a criterion of responsibility in the context of duty to justice. In commercial or civil matters, preponderance of evidence is a lower standard.

    I could not have been more explicit and specific in a brief compass on the point.

    Consequently this feels, rhetorically very much like a side-tracking that distracts from a pivotal matter to mire the discussion in frankly sewage — given one of the topics listed which EG has raised repeatedly and was warned about in another thread just a few days ago. (Maybe that word will help to convey the revulsion that some forms of behaviour justifiably raise, because that is exactly what is involved. Such topics simply should not come up routinely in normal discussion.) Then, up it pops again in this thread. I can and will deal with that and similar topics in due course but they are not the topic for this thread nor are they relevant to it.

    There is a prior issue on the table, that certainty that one cannot justifiably be certain is not only self referentially incoherent but also clearly ill founded by way of examining degrees of warrant.

    Likewise, the notion that all is subjective or culturally based opinion in rhetorical games anyway, is equally self referentially incoherent.

    Where, the injection or suggestion of cultural marxist narratives that to stand up for objectivity and objective certainty on adequate warrant is oppressive, is a destructive subversion of reason and prudence.

    Correcting such becomes doubly important when we have to turn to scientific inferences or matters of moral truth or prudence.

    KF

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Here is Simon Greenleaf, a founding father of the modern anglophone school of thought on evidence, on warrant to moral certainty:

    Evidence, in legal acceptation, includes all the means by which any alleged matter of fact, the truth of which is submitted to investigation, is established or disproved . . . None but mathematical truth is susceptible of that high degree of evidence, called demonstration, which excludes all possibility of error [–> Greenleaf wrote almost 100 years before Godel], and which, therefore, may reasonably be required in support of every mathematical deduction. [–> that is, his focus is on the logic of good support for in principle uncertain conclusions, i.e. in the modern sense, inductive logic and reasoning in real world, momentous contexts with potentially serious consequences.]

    Matters of fact are proved by moral evidence alone; by which is meant, not only that kind of evidence which is employed on subjects connected with moral conduct, but all the evidence which is not obtained either from intuition, or from demonstration. In the ordinary affairs of life, we do not require demonstrative evidence, because it is not consistent with the nature of the subject, and to insist upon it would be unreasonable and absurd. [–> the issue of warrant to moral certainty, beyond reasonable doubt; and the contrasted absurdity of selective hyperskepticism.]

    The most that can be affirmed of such things, is, that there is no reasonable doubt concerning them. [–> moral certainty standard, and this is for the proverbial man in the Clapham bus stop, not some clever determined advocate or skeptic motivated not to see or assent to what is warranted.]

    The true question, therefore, in trials of fact, is not whether it is possible that the testimony may be false, but, whether there is sufficient probability of its truth; that is, whether the facts are shown by competent and satisfactory evidence. Things established by competent and satisfactory evidence are said to be proved. [–> pistis enters; we might as well learn the underlying classical Greek word that addresses the three levers of persuasion, pathos- ethos- logos and its extension to address worldview level warranted faith-commitment and confident trust on good grounding, through the impact of the Judaeo-Christian tradition in C1 as was energised by the 500 key witnesses.]

    By competent evidence, is meant that which the very-nature of the thing to be proved requires, as the fit and appropriate proof in the particular case, such as the production of a writing, where its contents are the subject of inquiry. By satisfactory evidence, which is sometimes called sufficient evidence, is intended that amount of proof, which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced mind [–> in British usage, the man in the Clapham bus stop], beyond reasonable doubt.

    The circumstances which will amount to this degree of proof can never be previously defined; the only legal [–> and responsible] test of which they are susceptible, is their sufficiency to satisfy the mind and conscience of a common man; and so to convince him, that he would venture to act upon that conviction, in matters of the highest concern and importance to his own interest. [= definition of moral certainty as a balanced unprejudiced judgement beyond reasonable, responsible doubt. Obviously, i/l/o wider concerns, while scientific facts as actually observed may meet this standard, scientific explanatory frameworks such as hypotheses, models, laws and theories cannot as they are necessarily provisional and in many cases have had to be materially modified, substantially re-interpreted to the point of implied modification, or outright replaced; so a modicum of prudent caution is warranted in such contexts — explanatory frameworks are empirically reliable so far on various tests, not utterly certain. ] [A Treatise on Evidence, Vol I, 11th edn. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1888) ch 1., sections 1 and 2. Shorter paragraphs added. (NB: Greenleaf was a founder of the modern Harvard Law School and is regarded as a founding father of the modern Anglophone school of thought on evidence, in large part on the strength of this classic work.)]

  20. 20
    Ed George says:

    BA77

    i.e. Atheism is insane!

    I know several atheists and I don’t detect any insanity. This sort of childish taunt does not promote fruitful discussion. Might I suggest a less polarizing and confrontational tone?

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Likewise, here is the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, on being challenged regarding the credibility of logic:

    http://classics.mit.edu/Epicte.....ses.mb.txt

    Chapter 25

    That logic is necessary

    When one of those who were present said, “Persuade me that logic is
    necessary,” he replied: Do you wish me to prove this to you? The answer was,
    “Yes.” Then I must use a demonstrative form of speech. This was granted. How
    then will you know if I am cheating you by argument? The man was silent. Do you
    see, said Epictetus, that you yourself are admitting that logic is necessary,
    if without it you cannot know so much as this, whether logic is necessary or
    not necessary

    –> Notice, inescapability in action.

    Chapter 26

    What is the property of error

    Every error comprehends contradiction: for since he who errs does not wish
    to err, but to he right, it is plain that he does not do what he wishes. For
    what does the thief wish to do? That which is for his own interest. If, then,
    the theft is not for his interest, he does not do that which he wishes. But
    every rational: soul is by nature offended at contradiction, and so long as it
    does not understand this contradiction, it is not hindered from doing
    contradictory things: but when it does understand the contradiction, it must of
    necessity avoid the contradiction and avoid it as much as a man must dissent
    from the false when he sees that a thing is false; but so long as this
    falsehood does not appear to him, he assents to it as to truth.

    –> Here, to err is to miss the mark of truth and right, not by design but by mistake

    –> There is what lies beyond mere error, willful knowing evil

    –> There is also being trapped in evil or falsehood, by some bondage or other

    –> A particularly pernicious trap is making what is false or evil the yardstick to judge truth and good, for then the true and the good can never match such a crooked yardstick.

    He, then, is strong in argument and has the faculty of exhorting and
    confuting, who is able to show to each man the contradiction through which he
    errs and clearly to prove how he does not do that which he wishes and does that
    which he does not wish. For if any one shall show this, a man will himself
    withdraw from that which he does; but so long as you do not show this, do not
    be surprised if a man persists in his practice; for having the appearance of
    doing right, he does what he does. For this reason Socrates, also trusting to
    this power, used to say, “I am used to call no other witness of what I say, but
    I am always satisfied with him with whom I am discussing, and I ask him to give
    his opinion and call him as a witness, and through he is only one, he is
    sufficient in the place of all.” For Socrates knew by what the rational soul is
    moved, just like a pair of scales, and that it must incline, whether it chooses
    or not. Show the rational governing faculty a contradiction, and it will
    withdraw from it; but if you do not show it, rather blame yourself than him who
    is not persuaded.

    –> This presumes commitment to truth, right reason and prudence, justice etc

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    EG,

    Evolutionary materialistic scientism is demonstrably and inescapably self-referentially incoherent, thus inherently irrational.

    Worse, the incoherence is not particularly hard to spot, e.g. here is J B S Haldane’s longstanding corrective:

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

    This can be elaborated, e.g. here is Reppert:

    . . . 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.

    Much more can be said, but here is the horse’s mouth, Alex Rosenberg:

    Alex Rosenberg as he begins Ch 9 of his The Atheist’s Guide to Reality:

    >> FOR SOLID EVOLUTIONARY REASONS, WE’VE BEEN tricked into looking at life from the inside. Without scientism, we look at life from the inside, from the first-person POV (OMG, you don’t know what a POV is?—a “point of view”). The first person is the subject, the audience, the viewer of subjective experience, the self in the mind.

    Scientism shows that the first-person POV is an illusion. [–> grand delusion is let loose in utter self referential incoherence] Even after scientism convinces us, we’ll continue to stick with the first person. But at least we’ll know that it’s another illusion of introspection and we’ll stop taking it seriously. We’ll give up all the answers to the persistent questions about free will, the self, the soul, and the meaning of life that the illusion generates [–> bye bye to responsible, rational freedom on these presuppositions].

    The physical facts fix all the facts. [–> asserts materialism, leading to . . . ] The mind is the brain. It has to be physical and it can’t be anything else, since thinking, feeling, and perceiving are physical process—in particular, input/output processes—going on in the brain. We [–> at this point, what “we,” apart from “we delusions”?] can be sure of a great deal about how the brain works because the physical facts fix all the facts about the brain. The fact that the mind is the brain guarantees that there is no free will. It rules out any purposes or designs organizing our actions or our lives [–> thus rational thought and responsible freedom]. It excludes the very possibility of enduring persons, selves, or souls that exist after death or for that matter while we live.>>

    Going on, here is Cothran:

    The materialist, said Chesterton, “is not allowed to admit into his spotless machine the slightest speck of spiritualism or miracle.” Materialists like Harris keep asking why we make the decisions we do, and what explanation there could be other than the physiological. The answer, of course, is the psychological, the philosophical, the whimsical, and about a thousand others.

    But these violate the central tenets of his narrow dogma, and so are automatically rejected.

    There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.

    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.

    And this is not only a mortal consequence for Harris as the one trying to prove his point, it is also problematic from the reader’s perspective: If we are convinced by Harris’s logic, we would have to consider this conviction as something determined not by the rational strength of his logic, but by the entirely irrational arrangement of the chemicals in our brains. They might, as Harris would have to say, coincide, but their relation would be completely arbitrary. If prior physical states are all that determine our beliefs, any one physical state is no more rational than any other. It isn’t rational or irrational, it just is.

    If what Harris says is true, then our assent to what we view as the rational strength of his position may appear to us to involve our choice to assent or not to assent to his ostensibly rational argument, but (again, if it is true) in truth it cannot be any such thing, since we do not have that choice — or any other.

    Indeed, it is hard to see how, if free will is an illusion, we could ever know it. [“The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It: Sam Harris’s Free Will” by Martin Cothran at ENV (echoing C S Lewis and J B S Haldane etc) on November 9, 2012, HT the too often underestimated BA77, cf. here.]

    So, “insane” in the colloquial sense — AmHD: 4. Very foolish; absurd: took insane risks behind the wheel — is relevant, though I would prefer to use the more specifically descriptive terms: evolutionary materialistic scientism is demonstrably irrational by way of being inescapably self-referentially incoherent (thus self-falsifying), in ways that should be readily accessible to a reasonably informed person, and thus is indefensible.

    KF

  23. 23
    ET says:

    Ed George @ 20 quote mines bornagain77 and then has the gall to call it a “childish taunt”.

    Unbelievable.

  24. 24
    hazel says:

    FYI: Atheism is not equivalent to “evolutionary materialistic scientism.”

  25. 25
    ET says:

    hazel:

    Atheism is not equivalent to “evolutionary materialistic scientism.”

    FYI: Yes, it is. Wow, it’s easy “arguing” like hazel, brother brian and Ed George.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    H, I am very aware of other varieties of atheism; I very specifically spoke to the relevant variety. I can address these in general, e.g. starting from that our rational life is morally governed through a known duty under truth, right reason, prudence, justice etc, thus implying that the IS-OUGHT GAP must be bridged at the only level of reality that such is possible, the root. Whence, we see that there is but one serious candidate: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being; one worthy of our loyalty and of the responsible, rational service of doing the good that accords with our evident nature. Where, as this is phil, I can challenge to put up an alternative if one rejects such: _____. However, a prior issue lies on the table — warrant and rational responsibility, including the possibility of rational certainty and the self-evident, inescapable nature of first principles of right reason. Indeed, foundations of mathematics also. At this stage, I am increasingly concerned that our civilisation is on a march of utterly irrational folly, never mind the pretence of erudition and brilliance among the educated and chattering classes. KF

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    ET, actually, there are idealistic forms and various other varieties. Some types of Buddhism count, for example. There are versions on Daoism that have been seen that are effectively atheistical. Other things are “non-theistic” but not atheistic. Some are anti-theistic or even theo-phobic. In many cases, there will be no coherent view sufficient to be termed a worldview, just an ad hoc world-picture that locks out God. We must not allow the common rhetorical subterfuge that atheism is mere lack of belief in God, explicitly or implicitly atheism rejects the reality of God. Where, as an essential part of what it means to be God, God would be a necessary being; atheism implies that God is impossible of being, that there is no possible world in which God exists would be true were such an actual world. Thus, atheism carries the –unmet — intellectual burden of showing that the God of ethical theism is impossible of being. KF

  28. 28
    ET says:

    Yes, kairosfocus. I was being facetious.

    I fully understand that an atheist can be an IDist. That is because ID does not require God.

  29. 29
    hazel says:

    re 26: Got it, kf. I wasn’t clear since your “evolutionary materialistic scientism” post immediately followed a remark about atheism being insane, so I mistakenly thought you were seeing those as equivalent. I see now that you don’t. All is well.

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    H, for cause, I hold that any variety of evolutionary materialistic scientism (the predominant form of current atheism) is caught up in inherently and inescapably self referentially incoherent, necessarily false views where adequate reason to recognise the falsity is readily accessible. Secondly, other forms of atheism that do not reduce to such in one way or another are utterly unable to account for us adequately as responsibly, rationally free, morally governed, enconscienced creatures. Further, this cluster of evidence strongly points to the inherently good, maximally great, necessary being creator God as root of reality. Accordingly, while it is often intellectually and ideologically fashionable, atheism in its various forms is ill-founded and ill advised. KF

    PS: I suggest a reading of this book, as a first corrective.

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    ET, indeed, the design inference on tested, reliable signs is an inference to credible causal process, not to the identity or ontological nature of candidate designers. KF

  32. 32
    hazel says:

    I haven’t said anything that needs a corrective, kf, as I haven’t made any claims whatsoever about atheism, other than it’s not equivalent to “evolutionary materialistic scientism”, which is a point you agreed on.

  33. 33
    bornagain77 says:

    as to

    “Atheism is insane!”

    to which,

    “I know several atheists and I don’t detect any insanity. ”

    How so very scientific, a personal subjective opinion on his own ability, i.e. “I know”, to detect insanity.

    First off, if atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism were true, (which just so happens to be, by far, the prevailing ‘scientific’ worldview taught in leading American universities), then there is no “I” to know anything. In fact, if atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism were actually true, then EG did not actually write his post in protest to me calling Atheism insane, but the laws of physics wrote it and informed the illusion of EG of the event after the fact,,, per Paul Nelson..

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism – Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: “Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism (MN). If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed (the illusion of) you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.,,,
    some feature of “intelligence” must be irreducible to physics, because otherwise we’re back to physics versus physics, and there’s nothing for SETI to look for.”,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90071.html

    No matter how you cut it, that is completely insane.

    Thus, the prevailing atheistic worldview taught in American Universities today, i.e. methodological naturalism, is an insane worldview. There simply are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

    If “you” want to protest that believing “you’ don’t actually exist as a causal agent is actually a sane position to hold, well then by all means have at it! 🙂 Who am I to deny you the right to deny that you exist?

    Einstein himself was prone to the insanity of denying his own agent causality. As Ellis stated, “if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.”

    Physicist George Ellis on the importance of philosophy and free will – July 27, 2014
    Excerpt: And free will?:
    Horgan: Einstein, in the following quote, seemed to doubt free will: “If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.” Do you believe in free will?
    Ellis: Yes. Einstein is perpetuating the belief that all causation is bottom up. This simply is not the case, as I can demonstrate with many examples from sociology, neuroscience, physiology, epigenetics, engineering, and physics. Furthermore if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.
    I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense. Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....free-will/

    As Dr. Egnor pointed out, “The denial of free will is a psychiatric, not philosophical, issue.”

    More on John Searle and Free Will – Michael Egnor – July 27, 2016
    Excerpt: the three defenses of free will that I listed are obvious points that any informed and minimally thoughtful person would raise.,,,
    The denial of free will is a psychiatric, not philosophical, issue.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....03026.html

    And as I pointed out in post 2, besides the insanity in denying your own agent causality, the insanity gets much worse for those who toe the line of methodological naturalism.

    Besides the insane claim from leading atheistic philosophers that their own personal subjective conscious experience is an illusion, and that they really don’t exist as real people, many other things become illusory in the atheist’s worldview. Things that normal people resolutely hold to be concrete and real.

    “Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft).
    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,”
    Paper with references for each claim page; Page 37:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pAYmZpUWFEi3hu45FbQZEvGKsZ9GULzh8KM0CpqdePk/edit

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

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science, (and to “certainty” 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;

    Thus, EG may not like me calling atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism insane, but alas, under atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism there is no EG to really object to anything. Only a mindless meat zombie making whistling gurgling and popping noises forced upon him by the lower level laws of physics.,, And again that is, pardon the language, just plain bat-{SNIP] crazy insane no matter how you slice it.

    Moreover, this insanity, i.e. methodological naturalism, is taught in leading American universities in spite of the fact that we now have robust scientific evidence from neuroscience and quantum mechanics strongly supporting the ‘common sense’ contention that free-will, i.e. agent causality, actually exists.

    (December 2018) Neuroscientific and quantum validation of free will
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/three-knockdown-proofs-of-the-immateriality-of-mind-and-why-computers-compute-not-think/#comment-670445

    Moreover, if EG would have bothered to look up the facts, he would have found that numerous studies have now all shown that faith in God has a tremendous beneficial effect on both our mental and physical health:
    As Professor Andrew Sims, former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, states, “The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally.”,,, “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life;,,”

    “I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface
    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA100#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Lack of ultimate meaning in life associated with alcohol abuse, drug addiction and other mental health problems – August 2015
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....092911.htm

    In fact, in the following study it was found that, “those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%.”

    Can attending church really help you live longer? This study says yes – June 1, 2017
    Excerpt: Specifically, the study says those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%. The Plos One journal published the “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults” study May 16.
    “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did who attended church at some point over the last year,” Bruce said.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/02/can-attending-church-really-help-you-live-longer-study-says-yes/364375001/

    Thus, it is readily apparent that the Atheist’s attempt to create illusory meaning and purposes for his life, minus belief in God and a afterlife, falls short in a rather dramatic fashion on both the mental and physical level.

    In short, the insanity inherent within the atheist’s worldview does indeed have a rather dramatic negative effect on both the atheist’s mental and physical life that is very much scientifically detectable.

    Of related note: The mental illness of ‘denialism’ is also rampant within evolutionary thinking, especially among supposed ‘professionals’

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65381.html

    And indeed, the denial of design, especially in biology, is nothing short of sheer madness,

    “It is not enough to say that design is a more likely scenario to explain a world full of well-designed things. It strikes me as urgent to insist that you not allow your mind to surrender the absolute clarity that all complex and magnificent things were made that way. Once you allow the intellect to consider that an elaborate organism with trillions of microscopic interactive components can be an accident… you have essentially “lost your mind.”
    Jay Homnick

    Thus, EG may take exception to the bluntness of me calling atheism, particularly methodological naturalism, insane, but in all fairness I was not being blunt enough in proclaiming the sheer madness that results from holding methodological naturalism as being true. When examined in detail, Alice in Wonderland looks sane in comparison to the leading worldview taught in American Universities, i.e. methodological naturalism.

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77, language, please refrain from vulgarities. Also, while “insanity” as a one time reference in context is at least understandable, regular resort becomes inappropriate and invites a reaction rather than a response. Please use different language going forward. KF

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    You can forget about me commenting on your threads going forward.

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77, that is your privilege. KF

  37. 37
    Ed George says:

    BA77

    You can forget about me commenting on your threads going forward.

    That is much better than a “read more” button. 🙂

  38. 38
    StephenB says:

    Ed George

    Obviously there are things we can be justifiably certain about. I am justifiably certain that I can’t live without food water and air. But I suspect that you are talking about issues that are often discussed here (eg, objective morality, ID, the origin of human rights, homosexuality, abortion, etc., etc.). For most of these, no we can’t be justifiably certain. And the reason for this is once we claim justifiable certainty, we end the discussion. And it becomes majority rules.and, at present, the majority is winning. To the detriment of all of us.

    So if I insist that the truth about the morality of abortion can be known, my certainly is a detriment to society because it ends discussion and promotes majority rule, but if you insist that the truth about the morality of abortion cannot be known, your certainly is not a detriment to society because it does not end discussion and does not promote majority rule. Do I understand you correctly?

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, the claim that one cannot know truth concerning moral claims is a moral truth claim; in effect that moral claims cannot be warranted, so by implication are subjective or relative and possibly imposed (note the shade of claimed injustice there). It is thus self-referential, incoherent and consequently certainly false. By reductio ad absurdum, one therefore can freely, properly conclude that on the contrary one can know to relevant certainty some moral truths. A good start-point is, to observe that in our reasoning and arguing even those who object are appealing to our known duties to truth, right reason, prudence, fairness & justice, etc. Pondering the suggestion that such duties are not in fact known instantly lands mindedness, reason and discussion in the morass of grand delusion. We therefore cannot escape the conclusion that we are indeed under moral law of such duties, starting with our thought life, conscience being a witness. From this, we then find that contrary to a common belief, is and ought are inextricably intertwined and the IS-OUGHT gap must be bridged at the only possible level (on pain of ungrounded ought), the root of reality. This then points us to the only serious candidate on the table — if you doubt, just put up a successful alternative: _______ . This brings us face to face with him whom theo-phobes get the vapours over: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being. One, who is worthy of loyalty and of the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good which accords with our evident nature. In that light, classically, woe to those who put darkness for light and light for darkness, good for evil and evil for good, who are wise in their own eyes, etc. Particularly, as setting up a crooked yardstick as a false standard for straightness and uprightness means that what is genuinely straight (“true”) and upright (“plumb”) cannot match what falsity demands. The resulting delusion then systematically locks out truth and right. Which is exactly what we are seeing across our civilisation. KF

    PS: We can then apply a highly instructive moral yardstick that brings out a considerable body of moral knowledge: it is self-evidently wrong, evil, wicked to kidnap, bind, gag, sexually assault and murder a young child for one’s pleasure. This slice of the cake has in it a great many ingredients that then allow us to draw out a better way than the might and/or manipulation make ‘truth’/ ‘right’/ ‘knowledge’/ ‘justice’ etc we too often see all around us today. Of course, such an approach cuts directly across the fashionable opinions, the ongoing abortion holocaust and other marches of evil that are leading our civilisation over the cliff.

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Given the way radical relativism and subjectivism are pushed ever so hard nowadays, it is very interesting to see the lack of objectors ever so eager to show that the general point made in the OP is false. But of course, that’s weirdly consistently inconsistent: if one asserts that s/he is CERTAIN that one cannot be certain that there is justifiable certainty, that is obviously self-defeating. Even in the case (not originally on the table) of moral truth, to assert or imply that there is no knowable moral truth (or no moral truth to be known) then that is also a moral truth claim implicitly taken as certain. Going back to core structure and quantity embedded in the fabric of this or any other possible world, we have a demonstration on self-evident principles (law of identity) on the table. KF

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    H, I gave a first corrective to atheism (by linking); much more can be brought to bear as necessary or indicated. KF

  42. 42
    hazel says:

    KF, since 30 was addressed to me, I guess I took the last line about a corrective as also addressed to me. I see that perhaps you were just explaining your thoughts in general but not actually addressing anything I had said, so the “corrective” was not actually a suggestion to me in particular.

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    H, the book addresses especially the new atheists. KF

  44. 44
    hazel says:

    I see. They don’t interest me much, and I agreed with PZ Myer’s assessment, although I don’t know very much about the whole situation.

  45. 45
    ET says:

    Hazel- are you an atheist? Are you an evolutionist who thinks life’s diversity arose via blind and mindless processes such as natural selection and drift?

  46. 46
    hazel says:

    Hi ET. I only discuss my religious beliefs with people who I know personally, who I know care about me, and who are genuinely interested in a positive way. I wouldn’t discuss my personal religious beliefs with strangers in a public forum like this one.

  47. 47
    ET says:

    Atheism is a religion? Really? And no one asked you to discuss anything, hazel. A yes or no would have sufficed.

    What about the science part- Are you an evolutionist who thinks life’s diversity arose via blind and mindless processes such as natural selection and drift? Or do you consider that to be an unscientific position?

  48. 48
    hazel says:

    I originally started posting here because of the discussion about math, which branched out to discussions about consciousness and the mind, and about the general nature of the physical world. I don’t pay any attention to all the discussion about evolution that goes on here.

    Actually, for what it’s worth, I do find some of the articles News posts interesting, even though I often don’t find her commentary very interesting. That’s one of the reasons I keep paying attention to this site.

  49. 49
    ET says:

    Wow- way to avoid the questions. I never asked why you are posting here and yet you felt compelled to answer that unasked question.

    Very telling

  50. 50
    hazel says:

    Telling to explain, in response to your questions, what I am interested in and what I’m not? What does that tell you? 🙂

  51. 51
    Ed George says:

    SB@38, my point, although possibly not well worded, is that when one party enters a discussion (eg abortion) declaring that he or she is absolutely certain of their position, the “discussion” has ended. Rancor and emotion may remain, but the possibility of changing the other person’s mind has ended.

  52. 52
    ET says:

    hazel, Clearly you have reading comprehension issues as I never asked what you posted.

    Pathetic, really.

  53. 53
    hazel says:

    ET, pardon me for trying to have a conversation. I won’t make that mistake again. 🙂

  54. 54
    Ed George says:

    Hazel@53 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  55. 55
    hazel says:

    Ed, how do you put those emojis in a post? I’m always pleased when I get a “four smiley’s” response!

  56. 56
    ET says:

    LoL! @ hazel and he puppet Ed.

    I asked hazel two questions which she refused to answer. I don’t care about her feelings for Denyse. I don’t care why she is here. I never inquired about either of those subjects.

    So again, hazel’s responses are indeed, very telling.

    And it is still very, very telling that Ed George and acartia post on different forums at the same time. Usually attacking me with the same old immaturity of an lost and whining child

  57. 57
    Ed George says:

    Hazel, four out of five is a very high score. 🙂

    Have you noticed that ET appears to have an unhealthy obsession with someone named acartia? I have no idea who he/she is, but I think I might like him/her. 🙂

  58. 58
    hazel says:

    Oops. Never mind: They are just 🙂 . What I wonder is if there are other combinations this software recognizes as an emoji?
    Maybe :-0 😉

  59. 59
    ET says:

    Wow. Only an acartia sock puppet would say I have an obsession. I think it is the lowest of the low for a known ID hater and science basher to come here and pretend otherwise. That person is on record it just chooses to provoke and not engage.

    You are acartia/ William spearshake and no amount of denial will change that. 😛 😛 😛

  60. 60
    hazel says:

    Aha. Another emoji that works. ???? I wonder what the keystrokes for that are?

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, why do you again project closed-mindedness by rhetorical suggestion and shift context from a demonstrative argument regarding things that are corollaries of a world being possible, to a debate on morals through a position that begs the question of warrant sufficient to ground knowledge? Do you not see that if you are unwilling to accept a demonstrative argument on the principle of identity, that certain types of structure and quantity are embedded in the fabric of any world, this raises serious doubts that any other type of warrant will ever suffice for you to acknowledge it? Further, do you not see the implication of being unwilling to take up the force of a demonstration by cutting Mobius strips, that structures and quantities are by direct observation embedded in our experienced world, that this raises serious doubts about responsiveness even to direct experience? In that context, as fair comment (I regret the pain but think it is necessary) it seems the issue is that you have projected to others. KF

    PS: In a future thread, I will take up moral truth and knowledge, but at this stage it may be more for the sake of record as to what is driving the way the broad discussions, debates, agendas etc in our civilisation are playing out. For sure, I am now convinced that the issue with say the design inference is not warrant but instead the increasingly manifest breakdown of the intellectual heart of our civilisation which leads too many to make a crooked yardstick our standard of straightness, uprightness, accuracy — utter, indefensible folly. The consequences of which are liable to be ruinous. On abortion the issue is simple: our unborn posterity living in the womb (who now are as we once were) are fully human and have a proper claim to the first of all rights, life. To rob them of life to the tune of 800+ millions in 40+ years under false colour of law, mounting at about a million more per week is utterly monstrous and corrosive. That corrosion is debasing not only our morals on many issues (sexual ones are only the most obvious) but as our minds are inescapably morally governed, it is debasing our minds. Which is suicidal for our civilisation.

  62. 62
    hazel says:

    ????????Does this work? How about these? ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    Nope, they didn’t.

    😎 Cool: I found a list of ones that work. Link

    That’s all for this digression.

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    ET, there is no need to allow EG to pull you into a polarisation spiral. Such atmosphere-poisoning distraction only serves the agenda of diverting focus from truly substantial matters. KF

  64. 64
    ET says:

    When we have people poisoning the well on those substantial matters, something must be said. I have said it.

    For the record I am not asking for anyone to be banned. I just want people to understand who they are really dealing with here. Because that matters- as does their intentions.

  65. 65
    Ed George says:

    KF@61, did you intend this comment for this thread? It seems a little off topic.

    To follow from my comment at 51, I am not saying that we can’t know things with absolute certainty, just that claiming this absolute certainty when trying to change someone’s view on something is counterproductive. For example, if you start a discussion with someone who is pro-choice with the claim that you are absolutely certain that abortion under all circumstances is evil, do you really think that you will change that person’s mind?

    However, if you approach the issue (whatever issue is involved) as a true discussion, finding common ground where it exists, you are more likely to be successful in changing minds. Blunt hammers may be effective at changing laws but they are usually ineffective at changing hearts. If you will permit me another example, the soviets used a blunt hammer to ban religion in the USSR, but they certainly had little affect on changing the religious beliefs of their citizens.

  66. 66
    StephenB says:

    Ed George

    I suspect that you are talking about issues that are often discussed here (eg, objective morality, ID, the origin of human rights, homosexuality, abortion, etc., etc.). For most of these, no we can’t be justifiably certain.

    (Here you seem to be saying that we *cannot* be certain about the moral law).

    I am not saying that we can’t know things with absolute certainty, just that claiming this absolute certainty when trying to change someone’s view on something is counterproductive.

    (Here you seem to be saying that we *can* be certain about the moral law but we should not tell others that we are certain for some reason). Which is it?

    Do you think we can be certain about the morality of abortion? An abortion is the deliberate killing of an innocent unborn child for reasons other that saving the life or physical health of the mother, which is almost always unnecessary.

  67. 67
    StephenB says:

    Ed George

    my point, although possibly not well worded, is that when one party enters a discussion (eg abortion) declaring that he or she is absolutely certain of their position, the “discussion” has ended.

    That statement makes no sense. It is on the basis of reason and evidence that I am certain that abortion is wrong. Without that knowledge, I would not try to convince anyone to be pro-life because I would have no reason to pursue the matter. No one says, “I am really not sure if killing innocent human beings in the womb is wrong, but please don’t do it anyway.”

    Rancor and emotion may remain, but the possibility of changing the other person’s mind has ended.

    If you refuse to acknowledge that abortion is wrong even when science has proven the humanity of the fetus, and even when the natural law has confirmed that all humans, regardless of their stage of development, have inherent dignity, then it is your unreasonableness, not my certainty, that brings the discussion to an end.

  68. 68
    Ed George says:

    SB

    Do you think we can be certain about the morality of abortion?

    Not in all circumstances. But I’ve already mentioned this.

  69. 69
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, When demonstrative warrant (especially from first principles of reason and the like) is on the table, the issue is not trying to persuade. The issue becomes, taking due notice of warrant on known duties to truth, right reason, prudence, etc. . If you think something is wrong with the demonstration, that requires counter-demonstration. In absence of such, demonstration is decisive. On the issue of abortion, it is not hard to see that the unborn child is a living human being with a right to life as the first right; that is the obvious point of common moral knowledge. The problem, then, is willful dehumanising of the unborn and corruption of institutions that should be protecting the most vulnerable, thus the enabling of holocaust; and that is very similar to the issue from the 1780’s on, on the slave trade and slavery system: a central, civilisation-tainting evil to be exposed, recognised and removed. KF

  70. 70
    ET says:

    Imagine 54 Las Vegas massacres a day. That is the level of carnage wrought by the abortion industry each day. And yet the same people who rail against guns are OK with abortions. What’s up with that?

  71. 71
    ET says:

    In a poisoned well scenario all demonstrative warrant on substantive matters are rendered impotent. It is the nature of the poison. And it is the intent of the poisoner.

  72. 72
    Ed George says:

    KF

    EG, When demonstrative warrant (especially from first principles of reason and the like) is on the table, the issue is not trying to persuade.

    When the majority disagree with what you consider to be demonstrative warrant, then trying to persuade is definitely the issue. You have failed to persuade others of this demonstrative warrant. Might I suggest that the reason that you and others have failed to persuade others of this demonstrative warrant is because of the way you and others present it.

    As I mentioned, confronting others and declaring that you are absolutely and unambiguously certain about something will do little to convince those who hold a different view.

  73. 73
    Ed George says:

    ET

    In a poisoned well scenario all demonstrative warrant on substantive matters are rendered impotent. It is the nature of the poison. And it is the intent of the poisoner.

    You are certainly correct, at least in part. However, have you never considered the possibility that some of the well poisoning is being unwittingly being carried out by those opposing abortion? Referring to abortion doctors and women having abortions as murderers only hardens their views against yours.

  74. 74
    StephenB says:

    SB: Do you think we can be certain about the morality of abortion?

    Not in all circumstances. But I’ve already mentioned this.

    You have not been at all clear. Remember the definition of an abortion: It is the purposeful and deliberate killing of an unborn child that is not wanted. It is not the incidental killing of a wanted child that is sometimes, though rarely, necessary to save the life or physical health of the mother.

    As indicated, you have said that we cannot be certain about the morality “in all circumstances.” so I am asking you to clarify: [a] Under which circumstances can you be certain about the morality of abortion and [b] under which circumstances can you not be certain?

  75. 75
    Barry Arrington says:

    Ed

    ‘confronting others and declaring that you are absolutely and unambiguously certain about something will do little to convince those who hold a different view

    There is something to what you say Ed, but probably not what you think. Suppose “John” says killing innocent little babies is wrong and he is absolutely and unambiguously certain about that. Suppose Bob says, nope, I am in favor of slaughtering them by the millions. I suspect Bob is not going to be persuaded by John. That is not because John is wrong. He isn’t. And that is not because John “confronted” Bob with his error. After all, when someone is a moral monster, it is necessary to confront them.

    The reason Bob is not open to persuasion has nothing to do with John, his message, or how he presents his message. The reason Bob is not open to persuasion is because his conscience is seared. He is in favor of killing innocent babies after all.

    Now there might be some in the mushy middle. And it is true that John should not be offensive as he presents the truth. But nothing it to be gained by pretending that he is less than certain that killing innocent babies is monstrous.

  76. 76
    StephenB says:

    Ed George

    Might I suggest that the reason that you and others have failed to persuade others of this demonstrative warrant is because of the way you and others present it.

    We haven’t failed to persuade others. More and more people are recognizing the evil of abortion and the polls/surveys show it. I can provide plenty of evidence to support that assertion. The more that the facts about abortion are known, the more people are rejecting it.

    This would have happened much earlier, but the abortionists and the media have suppressed this information for decades. None of the major networks will show the picture of an aborted fetus, nor will they describe one of the two major “procedures” by which the fetus is killed.

    So your argument that people like us do not persuade others by being certain about our position is refuted by the facts.

  77. 77
    kairosfocus says:

    EG,

    First, the main issue of demonstrative warrant that has been on the table for weeks (as can readily be seen) is concerning the Wigner Math-Physics gap.

    Where, let me add: this is manifest, despite your hermeneutics of suspicion and associated projections. It is in this context that it was suggested that it is certain that we cannot be justifiably certain. Accordingly, in the OP for this thread, I have taken time to headline the ladder of degrees of certainty. Which includes that theoretical, explanatory, inferential constructs in science are inherently provisional and are subject to observational tests, which may be of much higher warrant, moral certainty. Which has been defined so side tracking on hot button topics by exploiting the term “moral” is at best distractive.

    Where also, after weeks, it is clear from the balance on merits that there is no reasonable alternative to the principle of distinct identity. Indeed, to continue to object, you have had to implicitly use it at every stage just to compose objections. For, you have relied on distinct glyphs and underlying ASCII code strings which depend on distinction. The principle is not in doubt, proper responsiveness to it is.

    The PS to the OP clips the latest outline of the consequences of this principle, that pivots on the point that any distinct possible world must be unique, having in it some core characteristic, A, which marks it as different from neighbouring possible worlds. Once that is so, world partition follows, W = {A|~A}. Which, immediately manifests the successive properties, nullity, unity, duality, thus also reflecting the succession 0,1,2; thus too we recognise already embedded structures and quantities that are necessary aspects of the logic of being involved in a possible world. Possible, of course, as it is possible of being (even if not actual).

    Consequently, we see that we may freely draw out the von Neumann succession, thence the natural counting numbers N. Thereafter, the relationships we may develop among members of N allow us to see the further implicit presence of Z [thus, vectors], Q, R [thus, abstract continuum and space], C. All of this follows on logical consequences and structural relationships that are a commonplace.

    Nor is this embedding merely a matter of an abstract logical model. From gear trains to right angle triangles with Pythagorean properties to the concrete exercise of making and cutting a Mobius strip that demonstrates world-embedded topological effects that are usually surprising, to many other phenomena, we have every good reason to see and recognise that considerable, rationally intelligible structure and quantity is intrinsic to our common world and to any possible one. For telling instance, you and others have been invited to set up a Mobius strip and demonstrate its peculiar properties to yourself, which have independence from what you or I may wish or expect or understand. The unresponsiveness to date to such a challenge speaks for itself.

    In short, the issue is not failure of the warrant provided or flaws in reasoning or observation.

    The resistance and unresponsiveness which led to appeals to contrary opinion in absence of a counter-demonstration and the demand, persuade “us,” speak of contrary controlling ideas, an ideological challenge thus a worldview issue. Obviously, what has been tagged Mathematical Platonism — but really should be pondered on terms of the evidence that structure and quantity pervade our world from its roots and the demonstration that some such properties are intrinsic to any possible world — cuts across major worldview commitments of our time. Suspect no 1 being evolutionary materialistic scientism and its fellow travellers. Linked, being nominalism, radical relativism and subjectivism. Where, we know separately, that each of these is fatally self-referentially incoherent.

    Of course, there has been appeal to “majority” perceptions, i.e. to ideological dominance. Actually, on Mathematics, the dominant view is some form of Mathematical Platonism (in the sense that certain mathematical entities hold objective albeit abstract reality), whether that has been fully articulated or not. In Physics, the centrality of momentum, energy and angular momentum is not in doubt, and yet each of these is in itself an intangible, abstract quantity tracing to cumulative effects of forces acting in space and time; bringing to bear the even more abstract relationships between rates and accumulations.

    Any entity or configuration that is capable of initiating or sustaining forced ordered motion is or contains energy. That sort of operational definition is a key tell.

    So, clearly the issue on the merits has a decisive balance. A core collection of of structure and quantity manifestly, observably and demonstrably is embedded in our world and is intrinsic to the logic of being of a distinct possible world. The challenge we face onward is to live with it.

    Living with such implies our duties to truth, right reason, prudence and much more.

    Which in turn manifests how even our thought-life is pervaded by the inextricable entanglement of is and ought. In turn, such requires that we regulate our response to pathos, ethos and logos so that we form and reform our opinions on the merits of fact and logic, rather than strength of feelings, blind adherence to authorities, presenters or groups we identify with, etc.

    Now, various issues have been raised that threaten to divert the thread. Having already pointed out the core premise that the right to life is a first right for us all, the only real “question” is whether the unborn child in the womb is a member of our race. To ask such is already to imply its answer as the child in the womb is as we all once were. Willful dehumanisation, manipulation and power have been used to suppress truth and the manifest law of our nature. This has led to enabling holocaust, a central evil of our times. There have credibly been 800+ million victims in 40+ years, currently mounting at about a million more per week.

    This indicts us.

    It is high time for us to stop, recognise and turn from great evil.

    Coming back, the problem is, that if ideological commitment is resistant to demonstration and easily carried out experiments, it will resist almost anything else until it is overwhelmed by something like taking our civilisation over a cliff.

    That, is sobering.

    KF

  78. 78
    kairosfocus says:

    SB,

    Yes, once they see the facts and are exposed to evident reason, many will be — have been — persuaded.

    That is a sign of hope and it manifests how we intuitively know that we have duties to truth, right reason, prudence, justice and right behaviour. Though, as you pointed out, consciences can be seared, hot-ironed so to speak. Where, given the inextricable intertwining of reason, responsibility and moral government in our inner lives, searing one’s conscience inevitably debases one’s mind. Carried far enough, we are dealing with the reprobate. Where, it is manifestly unsound to cede intellectual, moral and cultural leadership to the conscience-seared.

    We have to turn back from the cliff’s edge.

    Before, it is too late.

    Where, too, the deliberate suppression of unwelcome truth regarding the unborn speaks volumes and is a warning.

    Perhaps, the current case of a media-fed lynch mob pouncing on high school boys who attended the 46th March for Life, leading to the emerging prosecutions for threats and lawsuits for defamation may just may help tip the balance.

    But if mathematics and first principles as well as experiments with paper, glue and scissors will not move some people, nothing will.

    That’s why I now conclude that we must begin to see that the dogs will bark but the caravan should not be distracted by that fact if there is no warrant apart from barking at the caravan. If the barking were to be warning of a real danger, a different response would be indicated.

    The evidence is, our civilisation is heedlessly playing with the crumbling edge of a cliff.

    We don’t even know how much time we have to act to get ourselves on sounder ground.

    KF

Leave a Reply