Faith and Reason Mind Nature of reality

The Thought that Stops Thought

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Eric Hedin writes:

Do we believe that rational thought is possible?

We may at times reason badly, but we do not thereby mistrust the existence or efficacy of reason.

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There are those, however, who do dismiss reason. “There is a thought that stops thought,” wrote G. K. Chesterton.[i] It’s the idea that there is no fundamental basis for reason. Such a self-destructive thought is aided and abetted by thinking nature is all that there is. If nature is only particles in the void obeying mindless regularities, where in that scenario is there any room for rational inquiry?

The atheist rejects faith in God and holds that reality is limited to objective scientific reasoning within the constraints of the laws of nature and the material universe.

Perhaps not all who call themselves atheists are consistent atheists, but a consistent atheist would necessarily adhere to the view that the thoughts in his brain are only the result of interactions between charged particles governed by the laws of physics.

G. K. Chesterton wrote, “It is idle to talk always of the alternative of reason and faith. Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.”[ii] Thought itself requires a separateness from the mechanism of thinking. If naturalism is true, then our thoughts are not real in themselves; they are only random physical states of the molecules which make up the neurons of our brains. With such an assumption, we could not think. Our thoughts would only be interactions following the laws of nature, unguided by anything higher than the forces between atoms.

What becomes, then of “you”? Naturalism allows no identity of the individual beyond the probabilistic output of the three pound collection of atoms between our ears. “You cannot think if you are not separate from the subject of thought,” Chesterton continued. “Descartes said, ‘I think; therefore I am.’ The philosophic evolutionist reverses and negatives the epigram. He says, ‘I am not; therefore I cannot think.’”[iii]

Our minds, however, are unnatural in at least one important sense: they have the ability not only to comprehend nature, but also to transform nature’s elements into objects and machines that would never assemble themselves in that way. This fact is underscored by the common distinction between natural and artificial, between nature and artifice.

Years ago, I read something that brings the claims of naturalism into a stark light: Naturalism insists that hydrogen gas, given enough time, will turn into people. And since people make the technological marvels of our culture, we can extend this claim of naturalism to say that hydrogen gas, given enough time, will turn into cars, computers, and cathedrals. That’s one explanation on the table. The question is whether we are willing to consider another possibility, that mind is as much behind our finely tuned, unfolding universe as it is behind cars, computers, and cathedrals—the possibility, as C.S. Lewis put it, that “human thought is… God-kindled.”[iv] If so, then reason has a foundation far better than hydrogen gas, far better than particles in the void.


[i] G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (Hollywood, FL: Simon & Brown, 1908, 2010), 28.

[ii] Chesterton, Orthodoxy (2010), 28.

[iii] Chesterton, Orthodoxy (2010), 29.

[iv] C. S. Lewis, Miracles: A Preliminary Study (New York: Harper Collins, 1947, 2001), 44.

Excerpted and adapted from Canceled Science: What Some Atheists Don’t Want You to See, by Eric Hedin (Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2021), ch. 11.

72 Replies to “The Thought that Stops Thought

  1. 1
    jerry says:

    Perhaps not all who call themselves atheists are consistent atheists, but a consistent atheist would necessarily adhere to the view that the thoughts in his brain are only the result of interactions between charged particles governed by the laws of physics.

    There is no such thing as a consistent atheist.

    There has never been a logical argument for atheism. It is a belief based on assertions.

    How do I know? No one has ever presented a coherent rational for belief in it. If Stephen Hawkins could not do it, then assume it cannot be done.

    Several months ago Ross Douthat wrote an article on belief in the New York Times that generated about a 1000 comments against him. Not one was coherent. If readers of The NY Times cannot do it, assume no one can as they will have access to the best sources.

    Aside: if there are so many who believe in atheism, why? Namely there is no QED proof for a creator which then gives them leeway to not believe.

    So there is doubt. Then the question becomes why didn’t the creator provide a QED proof. No one here wants to address that. Instead this so called religious site rejects the largest religion of the world.

  2. 2
    whistler says:

    Jerry
    So there is doubt. Then the question becomes why didn’t the creator provide a QED proof. No one here wants to address that. Instead this so called religious site rejects the largest religion of the world.

    Until yesterday default position was faith in God(we don’t discuss which religion is true or false , we discuss the manifestation of faith throughout history ) .Atheism is a malfunction a mind virus that attach to any host who has “pride” . Today “pride” becomes a virtue and not the most venomous act of a human . All the horrors start with pride.
    Sometime people don’t have a clue what a wrong action is

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    From an atheist perspective religion could be viewed as a persistent delusion – a comforting delusion to be sure, which is why it’s persistent – but still what Marx referred to as the opium of the people. And opium is highly addictive. Addicts tell us that giving it up is painful to say the least.

    What is interesting is the vehemence with which the faithful attack a theory like evolution and especially any suggestion that human beings and the other apes are closely related. What does it matter? If the Christian God is the all-powerful being it is claimed then what is to prevent it from creating life that changes over time or that the centerpiece of creation – human beings – are a branch of the ape family. It looks to me that the way Egnor and his kind bristle at the very suggestion is a form of speciesism, driven by the same bigotry as racism. The same pride that some human beings take in themselves as being somehow better than the rest of the natural order.

    And isn’t Chesterton’s argument in part an exercise in “nothing buttery”?

  4. 4
    whistler says:

    Seversky
    From an atheist perspective religion could be viewed as a persistent delusion – a comforting delusion to be sure, which is why it’s persistent

    From an theist perspective atheism could be viewed as a persistent delusion – a comforting delusion to be sure, which is why it’s persistent

    What is interesting is the vehemence with which the faithful attack a theory like evolution

    What is interesting is the vehemence with which the atheists attack religion using a theory like evolution.
    😉

    PS: Everybody is worshiping something. This is an universal pattern. If is not God then something else will fill that place as the highest value a person could perceive(worship of science or an actor or an footballer or an musician or an politician…or yourself.)

  5. 5
    jerry says:

    From an atheist perspective religion could be viewed as a persistent delusion

    Maybe, but for one to attribute a delusion to another when they can not justify their own beliefs is extremely ironic.

    The last thing I want to do is discuss religion since my POV is that ID has nothing to do with a specific religion. However, ID while not pointing to a specific religion does point to the lack of acknowledging a creator as foolish if not stupid which is what an atheist is doing.

    We do not get any sincere objectors to ID here or anywhere. What we get are mocking and inane comments. Which actually is pointing to oneself as a trivial person. We most assuredly get trivial people commenting here.

        There is no such thing as a serious atheist.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    As to,

    “If naturalism is true, then our thoughts are not real in themselves; they are only random physical states of the molecules which make up the neurons of our brains. With such an assumption, we could not think. Our thoughts would only be interactions following the laws of nature, unguided by anything higher than the forces between atoms.”
    – Chesterton

    Besides our thoughts becoming unreal, a ‘person’ who is capable of having thoughts also becomes unreal, and/or illusory, under atheistic naturalism,

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? Dr. Dennis Bonnette – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “It turns out that if every part of you, down to sub-atomic parts, are still what they were when they weren’t in you, in other words every ion,,, every single atom that was in the universe, that has now become part of your living body, is still what is was originally. It hasn’t undergone what metaphysicians call a ‘substantial change’. So you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You are just carbon and neon and sulfur and oxygen and all these individual atoms still.
    You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    “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.,,,
    – Alex Rosenberg – Professor of Philosophy Duke University – The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    Thus, in a fairly amazing twist of poetic justice, in his claim that God does not really exist as a real person, the atheistic naturalist himself ends up claiming that he himself does not really exist as a real person, (i.e. he ends up denying he is a ‘real person’ with ‘real thoughts’).

    Yet as Rene Descartes, via his ‘method of doubt’, pointed out, he could doubt the existence of all things save for the fact that he existed as a real person in order to do the doubting in the first place, “As Descartes explained, “we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt….”

    Cogito, ergo sum
    Cogito, ergo sum[a] is a Latin philosophical proposition by René Descartes usually translated into English as “I think, therefore I am”.[b] The phrase originally appeared in French as je pense, donc je suis in his Discourse on the Method, so as to reach a wider audience than Latin would have allowed.[1] It appeared in Latin in his later Principles of Philosophy. As Descartes explained, “we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt….” A fuller version, articulated by Antoine Léonard Thomas, aptly captures Descartes’s intent: dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum (“I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”).[c][d] The concept is also sometimes known as the cogito.[2]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogito,_ergo_sum

    And from the conclusion that he could only be certain of the fact that he existed as a real person in order to do the doubting in the first place, Rene Descartes then went on to use that conclusion from his ‘method of doubt’ as a starting point to then argue for the existence of the person of God.

    René Descartes (1596—1650)
    Excerpt:
    5. God
    a. The Causal Arguments
    At the beginning of the Third Meditation only “I exist” and “I am a thinking thing” are beyond doubt and are, therefore, absolutely certain. From these intuitively grasped, absolutely certain truths, Descartes now goes on to deduce the existence of something other than himself, namely God.
    https://www.iep.utm.edu/descarte/#SH4a

    Dr. Antoine Suarez states the irresolvable dilemma for reductive materialists as such, (paraphrase) “it is impossible for us to be ‘persons’ experiencing ‘now’ if we are nothing but particles flowing in space time. Moreover, for us to refer to ourselves as ‘persons’, we cannot refer to space-time as the ultimate substratum upon which everything exists, but must refer to a Person who is not bound by space time. (In other words) We must refer to God!”

    Nothing: God’s new Name – Antoine Suarez – video
    Paraphrased quote: (“it is impossible for us to be ‘persons’ experiencing ‘now’ if we are nothing but particles flowing in space time. Moreover, for us to refer to ourselves as ‘persons’, we cannot refer to space-time as the ultimate substratum upon which everything exists, but must refer to a Person who is not bound by space time. i.e. We must refer to God!”)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOr9QqyaLlA

    In short, we cannot hold ourselves to be ‘real persons’ with ‘real thoughts’ unless we first hold ourselves to be ‘souls’ with ‘immaterial minds’,

    “It is because we, (as souls), have a faculty of (immaterial) mind that we are capable of having concepts, thoughts, beliefs,,, things like that.”,,,
    – J.P. Moreland – Is the Soul Immortal?
    https://youtu.be/QzbdT0GxAdk?t=209

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Shoot, besides thoughts, and persons, becoming unreal and illusory under Darwinian materialism, even the supposedly simple concept of ‘species’ itself becomes impossible for Darwinists to explain within their reductive materialistic framework.

    As Logan Paul Gage states in the following article, ”In Aristotelian and Thomistic thought, each particular organism belongs to a certain universal class of things. Each individual shares a particular nature—or essence—and acts according to its nature. Squirrels act squirrelly and cats catty. We know with certainty that a squirrel is a squirrel because a crucial feature of human reason is its ability to abstract the universal nature from our sense experience of particular organisms.”,,, ” this denial (of true species) is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge.”

    Darwin, Design & Thomas Aquinas
    The Mythical Conflict Between Thomism & Intelligent Design by Logan Paul Gage
    Excerpt:,,, In Aristotelian and Thomistic thought, each particular organism belongs to a certain universal class of things. Each individual shares a particular nature—or essence—and acts according to its nature. Squirrels act squirrelly and cats catty. We know with certainty that a squirrel is a squirrel because a crucial feature of human reason is its ability to abstract the universal nature from our sense experience of particular organisms.
    Denial of True Species
    Enter Darwinism. Recall that Darwin sought to explain the origin of “species.” Yet as he pondered his theory, he realized that it destroyed species as a reality altogether. For Darwinism suggests that any matter can potentially morph into any other arrangement of matter without the aid of an organizing principle. He thought cells were like simple blobs of Jell-O, easily re-arrangeable. For Darwin, there is no immaterial, immutable form. In The Origin of Species he writes:
    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    Statements like this should make card-carrying Thomists shudder.,,,
    The first conflict between Darwinism and Thomism, then, is the denial of true species or essences. For the Thomist, this denial is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge. As philosopher Benjamin Wiker observes in Moral Darwinism, Darwin reduced species to “mere epiphenomena of matter in motion.” What we call a “dog,” in other words, is really just an arbitrary snapshot of the way things look at present. If we take the Darwinian view, Wiker suggests, there is no species “dog” but only a collection of individuals, connected in a long chain of changing shapes, which happen to resemble each other today but will not tomorrow.
    What About Man?
    Now we see Chesterton’s point. Man, the universal, does not really exist. According to the late Stanley Jaki, Chesterton detested Darwinism because “it abolishes forms and all that goes with them, including that deepest kind of ontological form which is the immortal human soul.” And if one does not believe in universals, there can be, by extension, no human nature—only a collection of somewhat similar individuals.,,,
    https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=23-06-037-f

    And you don’t have to take Logan Paul Gage’s word for it. In 2019, a Darwinist honestly admitted that “The most important concept in all of biology, (i.e. species), is a complete mystery”

    What is a species? The most important concept in all of biology is a complete mystery – July 16, 2019
    https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-species-the-most-important-concept-in-all-of-biology-is-a-complete-mystery-119200

    And as the following 2020 article pointed out, Darwinists simply have no rigid, ‘one size fits all’, demarcation criteria for what actually constitutes a species.

    At New Scientist: Questioning The Idea Of Species – Nov. 2020
    Excerpt: Take the apparently simple organising principle of a species. You might have learned at school that a species is a group of individuals that can breed to produce fertile offspring. But this is just one of at least 34 competing definitions concocted over the past century by researchers working in different fields.,,,,
    https://uncommondescent.com/darwinism/at-new-scientist-questioning-the-idea-of-species/

    And as Logan Paul Gage pointed out in his article, even Charles Darwin himself honestly admitted that he did not have a rigid definition for what a species actually was when he stated, “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience,”

    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    – Charles Darwin

    As should be needless to say, if your supposedly scientific theory can’t even tell us exactly what a ‘species’ actually is, well then, so much for your claim that you have scientifically explained the ‘origin of species’. i.e. Scientifically speaking, your claim is worse than useless, and as Wolfgang Pauli might have put it, your supposedly scientific theory is, ‘Not even wrong’.

    Darwinists, with their reductive materialistic framework, (and in direct contradiction to their blusterous, constantly repeated, claims to the contrary), simply have no realistic clue how any species may achieve its particular ‘biological form’, much less do they have any clue, (much less do they have any actual empirical evidence), as to how any distinct ‘biological form’, i.e. distinct species, may morph into another distinct ‘biological form’, i.e. into another distinct species.

    On the problem of biological form – Marta Linde-Medina (2020)
    Excerpt: Embryonic development, which inspired the first theories of biological form, was eventually excluded from the conceptual framework of the Modern Synthesis, (neo-Darwinism) as irrelevant.,,,
    At present, the problem of biological form remains unsolved.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12064-020-00317-3

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

    In conclusion, the reductive materialism of Atheistic Naturalism, time and time again, fails in its explanatory power at every level you look at it. There is simply no ‘biological form’ within the universe, (or even the macroscopic ‘form’ of the universe itself), that can ever be explained by reference solely to microscopic descriptions, and/or the behavior of, material particles. i.e. reductive materialism

    And this catastrophic failure for the explanations of reductive materialism lie at a very deep level.

    As the following extension of Godel’s incomplete into quantum physics proved, “the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”

    Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015
    Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,,
    It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,
    “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-12-q.....godel.html

    Undecidability of the Spectral Gap – June 16, 2020
    Toby Cubitt, David Perez-Garcia, and Michael M. Wolf
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1502.04573.pdf

    Verse:

    Psalm 139:13-14
    For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

  8. 8
    BobRyan says:

    Even atheists must admit rational thought occurs with humans. There would be no response to threads like this without rational thought. The letters typed show intent of thought that forms words with specific definitions. Sentences are formed by rules of the English language. The sentences show intent to make a given point by rational thought, or at least the perception of rational thought through emotion.

    Man is the only creature to have rational thought. It is the reason we choose alternatives to man’s inhumanity to man, which is something else that cannot be found in other creatures.

  9. 9
    Origenes says:

    Seversky @

    Chesterton: “If nature is only particles in the void obeying mindless regularities, where in that scenario is there any room for rational inquiry?”

    “If naturalism is true, then our thoughts are not real in themselves; they are only random physical states of the molecules which make up the neurons of our brains. With such an assumption, we could not think. Our thoughts would only be interactions following the laws of nature, unguided by anything higher than the forces between atoms.”

    This is a killer argument against naturalism. Naturalism cannot enclose rationality. Case closed.

    Seversky pretends that Chesterton’s argument boils down to the faithful attacking evolution and wants to discuss the resemblance between apes and humans. But that’s not what this argument is about. This argument is much more profound: it unequivocally shows that naturalism is a non-starter; that it is an irrational position.

  10. 10
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    If naturalism is true, then our thoughts are not real in themselves; they are only random physical states of the molecules which make up the neurons of our brains. With such an assumption, we could not think. Our thoughts would only be interactions following the laws of nature, unguided by anything higher than the forces between atoms.

    This is entirely false. It does not follow from the non-existence of a personal God that our thoughts lack content or correspondence. Only someone wholly ignorant of basic logic could say something so inane.

    Naturalism cannot enclose rationality.

    Of course it can. Whatever are you talking about?

  11. 11
    chuckdarwin says:

    If nature is only particles in the void obeying mindless regularities, where in that scenario is there any room for rational inquiry?

    I can’t tell whether this is Chesterton or Hedin’s observation. However, rationality is found in the regularities themselves. The author doesn’t claim that fundamental particles act unpredictably or chaotically (i.e., irrationally), but according to rules. We determine these rules by observation and measurement. How else would we have discovered these regularities?
    The implication that only “believers” are capable of rational thought is, itself, completely irrational….

  12. 12
    DarelRex says:

    “Such a self-destructive thought is aided and abetted by thinking nature is all that there is. If nature is only particles in the void obeying mindless regularities, where in that scenario is there any room for rational inquiry?”

    Perhaps *that* is the thought that stops all thought.

    It apparently doesn’t occur to the (supposedly rational) Chesterton that the particles might be arranged in very complex ways to perform rational analysis. That could have been done very purposely by entities outside our universe, or could have been generated by mutation-selection evolution (if that process actually does generate such things) — but either way, there is no need for us to be “more” than that, in order to be capable of rational thought.

    Darwinists commit the fallacy of question begging when they cite the obvious existence of complex life as evidence that mutation-selection evolution could have generated it — but likewise, when anyone cites the obvious human capability for rational analysis as evidence that humans must be “more than” an extremely sophisticated arrangement of atoms, that question too is being shameless begged.

  13. 13
    Origenes says:

    PyrrhoManiac1:

    It does not follow from the non-existence of a personal God that our thoughts lack content or correspondence.

    That is not the argument. Try again.
    – – – – – – – –
    Chuckdarwin:

    … rationality is found in the regularities themselves. The author doesn’t claim that fundamental particles act unpredictably or chaotically (i.e., irrationally), but according to rules.

    Obeying mindless rules doesn’t make rationality.
    Chesterton again:

    If nature is only particles in the void obeying mindless regularities, where in that scenario is there any room for rational inquiry?

    If naturalism is true, our thoughts are produced by mindless particles obeying mindless physical laws. IOW our thoughts are produced by stuff that is not at all interested in rationality and has no overview of any kind. So, if naturalism is true, then rational inquiry is not possible.

  14. 14
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @13

    If naturalism is true, our thoughts are produced by mindless particles obeying mindless physical laws. IOW our thoughts are produced by stuff that is not at all interested in rationality and has no overview of any kind. So, if naturalism is true, then rational inquiry is not possible.

    Naturalism says that there is nothing supernatural: that all that exists is somehow continuous with the world of ordinary sense-experience. Hence it excludes Platonic forms, a transcendent God, and real abstracta.

    To say that our thoughts are produced by mindless stuff obeying physical laws is to say that our thoughts lack content — they aren’t about anything, they lack what philosophers call “intentionality” — and that they cannot correspond to how things are, they lack truth-value (can be neither true nor false).

    Hence I was quite correct to say “It does not follow from the non-existence of a personal God that our thoughts lack content or correspondence”.

  15. 15
    Origenes says:

    PyrrhoManiac1 @

    To say that our thoughts are produced by mindless stuff obeying physical laws is to say that our thoughts lack content — they aren’t about anything …

    Under materialism, thoughts lacking content, not being about anything, is just one more affixed problem. Chesterton, as I understand him, stresses the crucial point that, under materialism, thoughts are produced by blind processes lacking all basic requirements WRT rationality.
    His argument is conclusive. Naturalism is a non-starter, an irreparable irrational theory.

  16. 16
    chuckdarwin says:

    Origenes/13
    You (and the author) keep using the term “mindless” to describe particles and laws. Laws are not “mindless” (unless they are enacted by MAGA legislators). Laws are invariant predictions of how “particles” (matter) will act in a given situation. The mistake lies in conflating “natural” with “mindless.” Equating the natural world with a “mindless” world demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the natural world. Matter acted in a lawful manner long before “minds” arrived on the scene.

  17. 17
    Origenes says:

    Chuckdarwin:

    The mistake lies in conflating “natural” with “mindless.

    Surely, there is no mistake in pointing out that naturalism is an irrational position. “Mindless” here simply refers to the fact that both particles and physical laws are operating in total disconnect from rationality. If our thoughts are produced by mindless particles in the void mindlessly obeying physical laws, then rationality does not exist.
    Hope that helps.

  18. 18
    Caspian says:

    Jerry @1 “There is no such thing as a consistent atheist.”
    In speaking of a consistent atheist, I was referring to someone whose worldview is internally consistent with the tenets of atheism. Whether or not one judges that worldview to be consistent with reality is another matter.

  19. 19
    Caspian says:

    Jerry @1: “Then the question becomes why didn’t the creator provide a QED proof.”
    Much could be said about this, but it is fair to say that there is enough evidence for God if one is open to belief and there is enough hiddenness of God to freely reject him if one is not open to belief. So, God has designed the way things are to enable each of us to have a free choice with respect to what we believe. Such is consistent with love.

  20. 20
    Caspian says:

    PM1 @10: I appreciate your response to the main point of the post. However, just negating it doesn’t really amount to a counter-argument.
    You say,
    “This is entirely false. It does not follow from the non-existence of a personal God that our thoughts lack content or correspondence. Only someone wholly ignorant of basic logic could say something so inane.
    Naturalism cannot enclose rationality.
    Of course it can. Whatever are you talking about?”
    The argument you negate is that if only natural forces exist, rationalism is non-existent.
    Why would this be the case?
    It would be like imagining that a computer came into existence by natural forces, and then expecting it to also become sentient by natural forces.
    Natural forces lead to predictable outcomes. Even within the quantum world, probabilistic outcomes can be predicted. Our rationality is not predictable; if it were, we are deluded robots.

    Random or chaotic systems are just terms for systems in which the outcomes are difficult to predict, due to lack of knowledge of the initial conditions, or in cases where the outcome is very sensitive to slight changes in the initial conditions. Neither situation is a substitute for anything resembling rationality.
    If our rationality is a function of something non-physical, meaning an impartation of a spiritual nature from God, then something other than forces between atoms is at work. It’s slightly akin to having a programmer at the keyboard of the computer, or it’s like having a live DJ on the air with the radio show, or it’s like interacting with a living human being rather than a cadaver.
    I hope you can see past my lame examples to believe that a person is more than a body run by a computer made of meat.

  21. 21
    chuckdarwin says:

    Origenes/17
    Defining “naturalism” as accepting only physical explanations for physical phenomena, it is hardly an “irrational position.” In fact, it is the only testable position…..

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    As to PM1:

    “If naturalism is true, then our thoughts are not real in themselves; they are only random physical states of the molecules which make up the neurons of our brains. With such an assumption, we could not think. Our thoughts would only be interactions following the laws of nature, unguided by anything higher than the forces between atoms.”

    PMI: “This is entirely false. It does not follow from the non-existence of a personal God that our thoughts lack content or correspondence. Only someone wholly ignorant of basic logic could say something so inane.”

    “Naturalism cannot enclose rationality.”

    PMI: “Of course it can. Whatever are you talking about?”

    A fatal flaw in the Atheistic Naturalist’s (PMI’s) claim that rationality can be grounded within Naturalism is that logic itself, (and therefore logical reasoning), is profoundly immaterial in its foundational essence.

    As Dr. Egnor noted, “logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction?,,, The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well,,,, Even to define naturalism is to refute it.”

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
    The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

    Another fatal flaw for Atheistic Naturalists, a fatal flaw that renders their worldview profoundly irrational, is their denial of the reality of free will.

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html
    Of note: Martin Cothran is author of several textbooks on traditional logic
    https://www.amazon.com/Martin-Cothran/e/B00J249LUA/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

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

    The supposedly ‘scientific’ denial of the reality of free will, i.e. agent causality, by Atheistic Naturalists, leads to some rather bizarre situations for the atheist.

    For instance, “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/

    To further illustrate just how insane the Atheistic Naturalist’s position is, in their denial of free will, atheists are forced to hold that, “You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.”

    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. If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/09/do_you_like_set/

    If denying that you are the author of your very own writing is not an irrational position for a person to hold, then nothing else is to be considered irrational.

    Moreover, nobody, not even atheists, actually live their lives as if they had no free will,

    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.
    https://www.sott.net/article/260160-The-Heretic-Who-is-Thomas-Nagel-and-why-are-so-many-of-his-fellow-academics-condemning-him

    Even leading Darwinian atheists themselves have honestly admitted that it impossible for them to actually live their lives as if they did not have free will,

    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

    Even Richard Dawkins himself admitted that it would be ‘intolerable’ for him to live his life as if his atheistic materialism were actually true and that he had no free will, i.e. no moral agency,

    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

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    In what should be needless to say, if it is impossible for you to consistently live your life as if your worldview were actually true, (and as if you don’t actually have free will in some real and meaningful sense), then your worldview can’t possibly reflect reality as it really is, but instead your worldview must 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.
    – per answers for hope

    And indeed, scientifically speaking, the Atheist’s denial of free will does not ‘reflect reality as it really is’. Neuroscience itself, despite the atheist’s denial to the contrary, shows that we most certainly do have free will,

    Michael Egnor Shows You’re Not A Meat Robot (Science Uprising EP2)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQo6SWjwQIk

    Michael Egnor: Is free will a dangerous myth? – October 6, 2018
    Excerpt: 4.,,, the neuroscientific evidence unequivocally supports the existence of free will. The first neuroscientist to map the brains of conscious subjects, Wilder Penfield, noted that there is an immaterial power of volition in the human mind that he could not stimulate with electrodes. The pioneer in the neuroscience of free will was Benjamin Libet, who demonstrated clearly that, while there is an unconscious material predisposition to acts as shown by electrical brain activity, we retain an immaterial “free won’t,” which is the ability to veto an unconscious urge to act. Many experiments have followed on Libet’s work, most of which use fMRI imaging of brain activity. They all confirm Libet’s observations by showing what is at most a loose correlation between brain activity and volition (for example, nearly half the time the brain activity that precedes the act is on the wrong side of the brain for the activity to determine the will)—the looseness of correlation being best explained as evidence for libertarian free will. Modern neuroscience clearly demonstrates an immaterial component to volition.
    Harari is wrong about free will. It is not a myth. Free will is a real and fundamental aspect of being human, and the denial of free will is junk science and self-refuting logical nonsense.
    https://mindmatters.ai/2018/10/is-free-will-a-dangerous-myth/

    In further scientifically demonstrating that the atheist’s denial of the reality of free will does not “reflect reality as it really is’, in quantum mechanics we also find that, via their free will, “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.,,,”

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Excerpt: This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

    As newly minted Nobel Laureate Anton Zeilinger stated, “what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”

    “The Kochen-Speckter Theorem talks about properties of one system only. So we know that we cannot assume – to put it precisely, we know that it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement. Not always. I mean in certain cases. So in a sense, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    – Anton Zeilinger –
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4C5pq7W5yRM#t=437

    Moreover, the belief in the reality of free will, especially the free will of God, (via ‘contingency”), played a central role in founding of modern science in medieval Christian Europe,

    “That (contingency) was a huge concept (that was important for the founding of modern science). The historians of science call that ‘contingency’. The idea that nature has an order that is built into it. But it is an order that is contingent upon the will of the Creator. It could have been otherwise. Just as there are many ways to make a timepiece, or a clock,,, there are many different ways God could have ordered the universe. And it is up to us not to deduce that order from first principles, or from some intuitions that we have about how nature ought to be, but rather it is important to go out and see how nature actually is.”
    – Stephen Meyer – 5:00 minute mark – Andrew Klavan and Stephen Meyer Talk God and Science
    https://idthefuture.com/1530/

    ‘Without all doubt this world…could arise from nothing but the perfectly free will of God… From this fountain (what) we call the laws of nature have flowed, in which there appear many traces indeed of the most wise contrivance, but not the least shadow of necessity. These therefore we must not seek from uncertain conjectures, but learn them from observations and experiments.”,,,
    – Sir Isaac Newton – (Cited from Religion and the Rise of Modern Science by Hooykaas page 49).
    https://thirdspace.org.au/comment/237

    Moreover, when we rightly allow the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, (as the Christian founders of modern science originally held with the presupposition of ‘contingency’), and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands with the closing of the “freedom-of-choice” loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), then rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead bridges the infinite mathematical divide that exists between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics and provides us with an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”

    Oct. 2022 – And although there will never be a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’ that bridges the infinite mathematical divide that exists between quantum mechanics and general relativity, all hope is not lost in finding the correct ‘theory if everything’.,,,,
    https://uncommondescent.com/cosmology/from-iai-news-how-infinity-threatens-cosmology/#comment-766384

    Verse:

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

  24. 24
    jerry says:

    In speaking of a consistent atheist, I was referring to someone whose worldview is internally consistent with the tenets of atheism.

    I have no idea what you mean.

    I don’t know what “worldview” implies for an atheist so as to judge if it is consistent with atheism. Certainly people who claim they are atheist are all over the place politically, and socially.

    So, God has designed the way things are to enable each of us to have a free choice with respect to what we believe. Such is consistent with love

    I have no idea how love fits in but why the knife edge?

    It is definitely based on free choice and it definitely meant to create doubt but why? I believe this is the key question and designed this way. I fail to see how love is a main part of the answer

    Also why are people so easily swayed and why is it so hard to believe? My experience with the world is that few people believe but another larger group will go along for emotional reasons because it is good that they should believe.

  25. 25
    chuckdarwin says:

    The CNS is composed of neural and glial cells, not “meat.”

  26. 26
    Origenes says:

    Chuckdarwin @

    Defining “naturalism” as accepting only physical explanations for physical phenomena, it is hardly an “irrational position.” In fact, it is the only testable position…..

    Naturalism is a metaphysical claim about the entirety of reality — our thoughts included. And testable or not, naturalism is a non-starter in the world of rationality.

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    CD: “Defining “naturalism” as accepting only physical explanations for physical phenomena, it is hardly an “irrational position.” In fact, it is the only testable position…..”

    “it is the only testable position”? Really???

    I beg to differ. Besides the fact that assuming naturalism/materialism to be true drives science into catastrophic epistemological failure,,

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist (who believes Darwinian evolution to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris, Coyne), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. the illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who also must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the hopelessness of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is simply too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must also hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    April 18, 2021 – Defense of each claim
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/philosopher-mary-midgeley-1919-2018-on-scientism/#comment-728595
    August 2022 – Moreover, to put a cherry on top of all this, empirical science has now proven, via the falsification of ‘realism’ by Leggett’s inequality, that material particles themselves, (which Darwinist materialists hold to be the ultimate foundation for all of reality), are not ‘real’.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/at-evolution-news-recognizing-providence-in-the-history-of-life-is-a-hint-about-our-own-lives/#comment-763046

    ,,, Besides the fact that assuming naturalism/materialism to be true drives science into catastrophic epistemological failure, the Naturalistic/materialistic philosophy and Theistic philosophy make, and have made, several contradictory predictions about what type of scientific evidence we will find.
    These contradictory predictions, and the scientific evidence that we now have in hand, can be tested against one another to see if either Naturalism/materialism or Theism is true.

    1. Naturalism/Materialism predicted space-time energy-matter always existed. Theism predicted space-time energy-matter were created. Big Bang cosmology now strongly indicates that time-space energy-matter had a sudden creation event approximately 14 billion years ago.

    2. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the universe is a self sustaining system that is not dependent on anything else for its continued existence. Theism predicted that God upholds this universe in its continued existence. Breakthroughs in quantum mechanics reveal that this universe is dependent on a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause for its continued existence.

    3. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that consciousness is an ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus should have no particularly special position within material reality. Theism predicts consciousness precedes material reality and therefore, on that presupposition, consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even a central, position within material reality. –

    4. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe. Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time. – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9) –

    5. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and that life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind. Scientists find the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. Moreover it is found, when scrutinizing the details of physics and chemistry, that not only is the universe fine-tuned for carbon based life, but is specifically fine-tuned for intelligent life like human life (R. Collins, M. Denton).-

    6. Naturalism/Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe. Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex organic life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe (G. Gonzalez; Hugh Ross). –

    7. Naturalism/Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11). Geochemical evidence from the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth indicates that complex photosynthetic life has existed on earth as long as water has been on the face of earth. –

    8. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the first life to be relatively simple. Theism predicted that God is the source for all life on earth. The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) –

    9. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse animal life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. –

    10. Naturalism/Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record. Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within that group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. –

    11. Naturalism/Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man (our genus ‘modern homo’ as distinct from the highly controversial ‘early homo’) is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. (Tattersall; Luskin)–

    12. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the separation of human intelligence from animal intelligence ‘is one of degree and not of kind’ (C. Darwin). Theism predicted that we are made in the ‘image of God’- Despite an ‘explosion of research’ in this area over the last four decades, human beings alone are found to ‘mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities.’ (Tattersall; Schwartz). Moreover, both biological life and the universe itself are found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    13. Naturalism/Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. –

    14. Naturalism/Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) –

    15. Naturalism/Materialism predicted morality is subjective and illusory. Theism predicted morality is objective and real. Morality is found to be deeply embedded in the genetic responses of humans. As well, morality is found to be deeply embedded in the structure of the universe. Embedded to the point of eliciting physiological responses in humans before humans become aware of the morally troubling situation and even prior to the event even happening.

    16. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that we are merely our material bodies with no transcendent component to our being, and that we die when our material bodies die. Theism predicted that we have minds/souls that are transcendent of our bodies that live past the death of our material bodies. Transcendent, and ‘conserved’, (cannot be created or destroyed), ‘non-local’, (beyond space-time matter-energy), quantum entanglement/information, which is not reducible to matter-energy space-time, is now found in our material bodies on a massive scale (in every DNA and protein molecule).
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/15i87oT7IkCI0W0Hxg5mZ_8FP23MG_GTFrR0zvgKH9zU/edit

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy (methodological naturalism), from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact modern science is even very good at pointing us to Christianity as the solution to the much sought after ‘theory of everything’

    Oct. 2022 – And although there will never be a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’ that bridges the infinite mathematical divide that exists between quantum mechanics and general relativity, all hope is not lost in finding the correct ‘theory if everything’.,,,,
    https://uncommondescent.com/cosmology/from-iai-news-how-infinity-threatens-cosmology/#comment-766384

    Verse:

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

  28. 28
    Origenes says:

    If nature is only particles in the void obeying mindless regularities, where in that scenario is there any room for rational inquiry?

    BOOM!!

  29. 29
    jerry says:

    where in that scenario is there any room for rational inquiry?

    And along come pretty little niche so rationale is busting out all over.

    The consciousness niche and rationality niche were there waiting to create. All it took was the make believe niche.

    In reality, niches destroy not create something new. UD is full of niches, one is the fools niche for which there is great competition.

    Aside: I recently saw Carousel which is the source of the metaphor.

  30. 30
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @20

    It would be like imagining that a computer came into existence by natural forces, and then expecting it to also become sentient by natural forces. Natural forces lead to predictable outcomes. Even within the quantum world, probabilistic outcomes can be predicted. Our rationality is not predictable; if it were, we are deluded robots.

    This contains, I think, the main idea that I disagree with: that “natural forces lead to predictable outcomes”. If that were right, then I can see how the rest of what you say might follow.

    I think this is wrong because it relies upon a certain version of reductive materialism. Specifically, it assumes that biological phenomena can be reduced to physical ones. But I don’t think that they can be.

    Physical phenomena are, for the most part, governed by entailing laws: once we know the laws that describe the behavior of a system, and we know the boundary conditions of that system, we can predict how the system will change over time.

    But life is not like that. The boundary conditions are not given in advance. There are no entailing laws that prestate what ecological niches will emerge. Life is fundamentally unprestatable. (For more, see No entailing laws, but enablemement in the evolution of the biosphere, The world is not a theorem, and for the daring, the magisterial and incomparable Life Itself by Robert Rosen.

    If life itself is fundamentally different from non-biological systems in that it is not governed by entailing laws, then we should reject a conception of “nature” that is based on physics alone.

    The next step would be conceptualize cognition in biological terms, focusing on the importance of anticipation. Biological cognitive systems build maps of the environment and of the organism’s body in relation to that environment for the sake of achieving organism-specific goals and satisfying organism-specific needs. These maps allow organisms to anticipate, from what is given here-and-now, what will be available at different times and places. These maps needed to be updatable based on what happens to the organism — in other words, organisms needed to be able to learn. The evolution of learning was a huge leap forward in kinds of neurocognitive systems.

    What language allows us to do, I think, is that it gives us a format in which to encode our neurobiological map-based inferences, make those inferences available to others, who can then issue corrections based on their neurobiological inferential maps. That is: argumentation drove the evolution of human rationality: arguments about where to hunt, where to camp, how to build an efficient and weather-resistant shelter, etc.

    In other words, I don’t think there is any obstacle to a naturalistic account of rationality, if one begins with what naturalists themselves actually think naturalism is, and not with what their opponents think that naturalism is.

  31. 31
    whistler says:

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist (who believes Darwinian evolution to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris, Coyne)

    If somebody claims that he is “a neuronal illusion” means also that every statement he make is an illusion(including the statement about him being a neuronal illusion) therefore is like begging(unintentionally) for not being believed. Self-contradiction.

    PyrrhoManiac1
    If life itself is fundamentally different from non-biological systems in that it is not governed by entailing laws, then we should reject a conception of “nature” that is based on physics alone.

    PyrrhoManiac1
    I don’t think there is any obstacle to a naturalistic account of rationality,

    :))) Talking about self-contradiction.

  32. 32
    asauber says:

    “I don’t think there is any obstacle to a naturalistic account of rationality”

    PM1,

    Of course you don’t. It would be like saying “I don’t think there is any obstacle to ID or Flying Pasta Monsters, or Zeus, or Something From Nothing.” Your entire post is gobbeldy-gook, and it doesn’t demonstrate anything.

    Andrew

  33. 33
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @31

    If somebody claims that he is “a neuronal illusion” means also that every statement he make is an illusion (including the statement about him being a neuronal illusion) therefore is like begging(unintentionally) for not being believed.

    Not that it matters much, but I never made any claims here about the self being a neuronal illusion. (I do not find such claims altogether coherent, since they tend to end up in a weird sort of materialistic Cartesianism.)

    Talking about self-contradiction.

    What contradiction do you observe here?

    @32

    Of course you don’t. It would be like saying “I don’t think there is any obstacle to ID or Flying Pasta Monsters, or Zeus, or Something From Nothing.” Your entire post is gobbeldy-gook, and it doesn’t demonstrate anything.

    My post demonstrates that if one were to begin with the ideas that naturalists themselves endorse, rather than with the silly caricature invented by Chesterton, one has all the resources necessary to show how rationality makes sense within a naturalistic worldview.

  34. 34
    jerry says:

    if one were to begin with the ideas that naturalists themselves endorse, rather than with the silly caricature invented by Chesterton, one has all the resources necessary to show how rationality makes sense within a naturalistic worldview.

    Nonsense

    Only in the land of Make Believe. As said above, gobbledygook.

  35. 35
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @34

    Nonsense

    Only in the land of Make Believe. As said above, gobbledygook.

    Well, I don’t quite know what to say. I’ve made a careful study of the history of naturalism, including Lucretius, Spinoza, Hume, Marx, Nietzsche, and Dewey. I keep up with developments in cognitive neuroscience, theoretical biology, history of philosophy of biology, and evolutionary theory. Are you seriously suggesting that someone who has taken the time to understand naturalism is less reliable than someone who has constructed a silly little caricature based on what they imagine naturalism is?

  36. 36
    jerry says:

    Are you seriously suggesting that someone who has taken the time to understand naturalism is less reliable than someone who has constructed a silly little caricature based on what they imagine naturalism is

    Yes.

    You presented a lot of nonsense. It’s like you had a Bingo card with a lot of unrelated words on it that sounded esoteric and you covered them all.

    As said, gobbledygook.

    If you actually understood naturalism, you would be able to explain it in simple terms. And then how it could possibly lead to life, then rational thought and discourse.

  37. 37
    Alan Fox says:

    If you actually understood naturalism, you would be able to explain it in simple terms.

    Simple enough for Jerry to understand? Not sure about that.

  38. 38
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    36

    If you actually understood naturalism, you would be able to explain it in simple terms. And then how it could possibly lead to life, then rational thought and discourse.

    If there’s something specific that you didn’t understand, by all means say so. I can’t do anything with “it’s all nonsense to me!”

  39. 39
    jerry says:

    If there’s something specific that you didn’t understand, by all means say so

    it’s all nonsense

    So start over with simple ideas. That may work if there is anything really there. My guess by your answer that there is nothing there.

  40. 40
    asauber says:

    “Are you seriously suggesting that someone who has taken the time to understand naturalism is less reliable than someone who has constructed a silly little caricature based on what they imagine naturalism is?”

    I’m not sure there’s much to understand. Naturalism is ambiguous. So, whatever you prefer.

    Andrew

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1,

    I give you as a key case in point, one certain Sir Francis Crick (1994: The Astonishing Hypothesis), raising a first level of the problem:

    . . . 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.

    KF

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, One certain William Provine, similarly:

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

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

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

  43. 43
    jerry says:

    My problem is with the notion of emergence or essentially, it just happened. This is part of the Rosen book. For which I only read the reviews. No one could really explain the book.

    If such thing as emergence is real, then it must still be happening and one could point to what has emerged at various times in history. But there is nothing to point too. And why not today?

    There must also be a mechanism for emergence. Biology is full of mechanisms that obey the laws of physics. Why should emergence not obey these laws too?. Biological systems are complicated and there is no theory on how they arose. To say that they emerged is just question begging.

    Life is incredibly complex and unfathomable, the essence of the Rosen book. I agree. How it arose/emerged/happened is a mystery though.

  44. 44
    Origenes says:

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

    ; and 6) rationality does not exist.

    It follows that, given that naturalism is true, Charles Darwin understood nothing, since blind particles in the void mindlessly obeying physical laws understand nothing.

  45. 45
    Caspian says:

    PM1@ 30:
    I appreciate your thoughts. Part of what you said is:
    “This contains, I think, the main idea that I disagree with: that “natural forces lead to predictable outcomes”. If that were right, then I can see how the rest of what you say might follow.
    I think this is wrong because it relies upon a certain version of reductive materialism. Specifically, it assumes that biological phenomena can be reduced to physical ones. But I don’t think that they can be.”
    In some sense, I agree with you. I don’t think that the “biological phenomena” of a living creature can be entirely reduced to physical explanations. However, I would not suggest that they can be explained by some sort of emergent phenomenon (something that “emerges” from the physical once the arrangement of atoms gets complex enough). This sounds like a belief in magic. Moreover, it (the emergent phenomenon) cannot violate known laws of nature.
    I would argue that known laws of physics preclude the natural development of the systemic complexity of atoms that we find in even the simplest living organism. So, the origin of living things must have a metaphysical cause (consistent with God). Further, the origin of thought, consciousness, selfhood, would come from a metaphysical source (or a spiritual source), not from physical phenomenon that emerges from physical arrangements of matter.

  46. 46
    bornagain77 says:

    It is their presupposition of ‘Pure chance, absolutely free but blind’, instead of God, as the creator of all things that precludes Atheistic Naturalism from ever being rational.

    “It necessarily follows that chance alone is at the source of every innovation, and of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution: this central concept of modern biology is no longer one among many other possible or even conceivable hypotheses. It is today the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. And nothing warrants the supposition – or the hope – that on this score our position is ever likely to be revised. There is no scientific concept, in any of the sciences, more destructive of anthropocentrism than this one.”
    -Jacques Monod, Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology

    As Wolfgang Pauli himself pointed out, the presupposition of ‘Pure chance, absolutely free but blind’ makes evolutionary biologists “very irrational”, because they are using the word ‘chance’ no ‘longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability’, but instead they are use the word ‘chance’ in such a way that it becomes “more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”

    “As a physicist, I should like to critically object that this model has not been supported by an affirmative estimate of probabilities so far. Such an estimate of the theoretical time scale of evolution as implied by the model should be compared with the empirical time scale. One would need to show that, according to the assumed model, the probability of de facto existing purposeful features to evolve was sufficiently high on the empirically known time scale. Such an estimate has nowhere been attempted though.” (p. 27)
    “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”
    – Wolfgang Pauli – Pauli’s ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science – Harald Atmanspacher – (pp. 27-28) – 2006
    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c374/50c4ef317ac03685450b6dce4acff47295fa.pdf

    The key difference between ‘pure chance’ and miracles being, of course, there is no reason, nor rationale, to ever be found for why something happens by ‘pure chance’, while there is always a reason, or rationale, for why God does a ‘miracle’.

    As Dr. Bruce Gordon explains, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as an explanatory principle. Yet, In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose. Therefore, Scientific materialism, (Naturalism), is epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

    The End Of Materialism?
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as an explanatory principle.
    * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
    * Scientific materialism is epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.
    – Contemporary Physics and God – Part 2 – Dr Bruce Gordon – video (25:17 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/ff_sNyGNSko?t=1517

    This reliance on pure chance, i.e. “random miracles as an explanatory principle”, by Atheistic Naturalists, and thus their denial that there is any ultimate purpose reason and/or rationale to be found for why the universe and life exist, is more than a small problem for atheistic naturalists.

    In short, in his reliance on completely free ‘pure chance’ as the ultimate explanation of the universe and life, the atheistic naturalist is forced to forsake teleological explanations altogether,

    tel·e·ol·o·gy
    noun
    PHILOSOPHY
    the explanation of phenomena in terms of the purpose they serve rather than of the cause by which they arise.
    “no theory of history can do without teleology”
    THEOLOGY
    the doctrine of design and purpose in the material world.

    As Dr. Egnor explains, “It is purpose that must be denied in order to deny design in nature. So the mind, as well as teleology, must be denied.”

    Teleology and the Mind – Michael Egnor – August 16, 2016
    Excerpt: From the hylemorphic perspective, there is an intimate link between the mind and teleology. The 19th-century philosopher Franz Brentano pointed out that the hallmark of the mind is that it is directed to something other than itself. That is, the mind has intentionality, which is the ability of a mental process to be about something, rather than to just be itself. Physical processes alone (understood without teleology) are not inherently about things. The mind is always about things. Stated another way, physical processes (understood without teleology) have no purpose. Mental processes always have purpose. In fact, purpose (aboutness-intentionality-teleology) is what defines the mind. And we see the same purpose (aboutness-intentionality-teleology) in nature.
    Intentionality is a form of teleology. Both intentionality and teleology are goal-directedness — intentionality is directedness in thought, and teleology is directedness in nature. Mind and teleology are both manifestations of purpose in nature. The mind is, within nature, the same kind of process that directs nature.
    In this sense, eliminative materialism is necessary if a materialist is to maintain a non-teleological Darwinian metaphysical perspective. It is purpose that must be denied in order to deny design in nature. So the mind, as well as teleology, must be denied. Eliminative materialism is just Darwinian metaphysics carried to its logical end and applied to man. If there is no teleology, there is no intentionality, and there is no purpose in nature nor in man’s thoughts.
    ,,, A pencil falling to the floor behaves teleologically (it does not fall up, or burst into flame, etc.). Purposeful arrangement of parts is teleology on an even more sophisticated scale, but teleology exists in even the most basic processes in nature. Physics is no less teleological than biology.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2016/08/teleology_and_t/

    Yet, although the atheistic naturalist is forced to forsake teleological, purposeful, explanations, (lest they give credence to the explanations of Intelligent Design), it is simply impossible for biologists to do their research without illegitimately resorting to teleological, i.e. purposeful, explanations.

    As J.B.S. Haldane himself honestly admitted, “Teleology is like a mistress to the biologist; he dare not be seen with her in public but cannot live without her.”

    “Teleology is like a mistress to the biologist; he dare not be seen with her in public but cannot live without her.”
    – J. B. S. Haldane

    In the following article, Stephen Talbott challenges Darwinists to, “pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness (i.e. teleology)”

    The ‘Mental Cell’: Let’s Loosen Up Biological Thinking! – Stephen L. Talbott – September 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Many biologists are content to dismiss the problem with hand-waving: “When we wield the language of agency, we are speaking metaphorically, and we could just as well, if less conveniently, abandon the metaphors”.
    Yet no scientist or philosopher has shown how this shift of language could be effected. And the fact of the matter is just obvious: the biologist who is not investigating how the organism achieves something in a well-directed way is not yet doing biology, as opposed to physics or chemistry. Is this in turn just hand-waving? Let the reader inclined to think so take up a challenge: pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness 1.
    One reason this cannot be done is clear enough: molecular biology — the discipline that was finally going to reduce life unreservedly to mindless mechanism — is now posing its own severe challenges. In this era of Big Data, the message from every side concerns previously unimagined complexity, incessant cross-talk and intertwining pathways, wildly unexpected genomic performances, dynamic conformational changes involving proteins and their cooperative or antagonistic binding partners, pervasive multifunctionality, intricately directed behavior somehow arising from the interaction of countless players in interpenetrating networks, and opposite effects by the same molecules in slightly different contexts. The picture at the molecular level begins to look as lively and organic — and thoughtful — as life itself.
    http://natureinstitute.org/txt.....ell_23.htm

    Denis Noble also notes that “it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language”.

    “the most striking thing about living things, in comparison with non-living systems, is their teleological organization—meaning the way in which all of the local physical and chemical interactions cohere in such a way as to maintain the overall system in existence.
    Moreover, it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language—words like “goal,” “purpose,” “meaning,” “correct/incorrect,” “success/failure,” etc.”
    – Denis Noble – Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics of the Medical Sciences Division of the University of Oxford.
    – per the best schools

    This working biologist agrees with Talbott and Noble’s assessment and states, “in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.”

    Life, Purpose, Mind: Where the Machine Metaphor Fails – Ann Gauger – June 2011
    Excerpt: I’m a working biologist, on bacterial regulation (transcription and translation and protein stability) through signalling molecules, ,,, I can confirm the following points as realities: we lack adequate conceptual categories for what we are seeing in the biological world; with many additional genomes sequenced annually, we have much more data than we know what to do with (and making sense of it has become the current challenge); cells are staggeringly chock full of sophisticated technologies, which are exquisitely integrated; life is not dominated by a single technology, but rather a composite of many; and yet life is more than the sum of its parts; in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.
    Furthermore, I suggest that to maintain that all of biology is solely a product of selection and genetic decay and time requires a metaphysical conviction that isn’t troubled by the evidence. Alternatively, it could be the view of someone who is unfamiliar with the evidence, for one reason or another. But for those who will consider the evidence that is so obvious throughout biology, I suggest it’s high time we moved on. – Matthew
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....nt-8858161

    And as the following 2020 study found, “teleological concepts cannot be abstracted away from biological explanations without loss of meaning and explanatory power, life is inherently teleological.”

    Metaphor and Meaning in the Teleological Language of Biology Annie L. Crawford – August 2020
    Abstract:
    Excerpt: However, most discussions regarding the legitimacy of teleological language in biology fail to consider the nature of language itself. Since conceptual language is intrinsically metaphorical, teleological language can be dismissed as decorative if and only if it can be replaced with alternative metaphors without loss of essential meaning. I conclude that, since teleological concepts cannot be abstracted away from biological explanations without loss of meaning and explanatory power, life is inherently teleological.
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/biologists-cant-stop-using-purpose-driven-language-because-life-really-is-designed/

    In fact, whereas “teleological concepts cannot be abstracted away from biological explanations without loss of meaning and explanatory power”, the ‘purposeless’ concept of evolution itself can be readily jettisoned from, and/or replaced in, research papers without negatively effecting the actual scientific research of the papers.

    As the late Philip Skell pointed out, “In the peer-reviewed literature, the word “evolution” often occurs as a sort of coda to academic papers in experimental biology. Is the term integral or superfluous to the substance of these papers? To find out, I substituted for “evolution” some other word – “Buddhism,” “Aztec cosmology,” or even “creationism.” I found that the substitution never touched the paper’s core.”

    “In the peer-reviewed literature, the word “evolution” often occurs as a sort of coda to academic papers in experimental biology. Is the term integral or superfluous to the substance of these papers? To find out, I substituted for “evolution” some other word – “Buddhism,” “Aztec cosmology,” or even “creationism.” I found that the substitution never touched the paper’s core. This did not surprise me. From my conversations with leading researchers it had became clear that modern experimental biology gains its strength from the availability of new instruments and methodologies, not from an immersion in historical biology.,,,
    Darwinian evolution – whatever its other virtues – does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology.”
    Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. – Why Do We Invoke Darwin? – 2005

    In fact, stripping the ‘narrative gloss’ of evolutionary concepts from research papers actually makes the science of the papers, “healthier and more useful.”

    No Harm, No Foul — What If Darwinism Were Excised from Biology? – December 4, 2019
    If Darwinism is as essential to biology as Richard Dawkins or Jerry Coyne argues, then removing evolutionary words and concepts, (“Darwin-ectomy”), should make research incomprehensible. If, on the other hand, Darwinism is more of a “narrative gloss” applied to the conclusions after the scientific work is done, as the late Philip Skell observed, then biology would survive the operation just fine. It might even be healthier, slimmed down after disposing of unnecessary philosophical baggage.,,,
    So, here are three papers in America’s premier science journal that appear at first glance to need Darwinism, use Darwinism, support Darwinism, and thereby impart useful scientific knowledge. After subjecting them to Darwin-ectomies, though, the science not only survived, but proved healthier and more useful.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2019/12/no-harm-no-foul-what-if-darwinism-were-excised-from-biology/

    Thus, teleological, i.e. purpose based, language is found to be absolutely essential for doing biological research, whereas ‘evolutionary language’ is found to be a superficial ‘narrative gloss’ that can be readily stripped away, and/or jettisoned, from the research papers without negatively effecting the actual science in the papers. In fact, and again, stripping away evolutionary language actually makes the science of the papers, “healthier and more useful.”

    If Darwinists are to maintain that their words actually mean anything, and if they are to maintain that they are being ‘rational’ in their reasoning, then this a ‘hard falsification’ of their theory that they should readily accept.

    It is found that the very words that Darwinian biologists themselves are forced to use when they are doing their research falsifies Darwinian explanations, and validates the teleological explanations of Intelligent Design.

    Matthew 12:37
    for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

  47. 47
    jerry says:

    The most remarkable molecule in the universe is the result of emergence.

    That is water. I understand that no one can explain how joining two hydrogen atoms to an oxygen creates the amazing properties of water.
    ——————-
    Teacher: Johnny, what is the chemical formula for water?

    Johnny: H I J K L M N O

    Teacher: That’s ridiculous. Where did you ever hear that?

    Johnny: From you. You said yesterday that the formula for water was H to O.

  48. 48
    Origenes says:

    The concept of emergentism does nothing to change the naturalistic core belief that causality fundamentally lies with mindless particles in the void obeying physical laws. Emergent properties are hypothesized to be not fully explainable by physics, but, nevertheless, their full dependence on the physical layer on which they sit is not in question. It follows that an ‘emergent mind’ must act in full accord with whatever the mindless particles in the void are instructed to do by mindless physical laws.
    Conclusion: emergentism offers no pathway to rationality — mindless particles in the void rule supreme.

  49. 49
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @45

    don’t think that the “biological phenomena” of a living creature can be entirely reduced to physical explanations. However, I would not suggest that they can be explained by some sort of emergent phenomenon (something that “emerges” from the physical once the arrangement of atoms gets complex enough). This sounds like a belief in magic.

    I can understand why it might seem like ‘magic’. Let me explain why I disagree.

    The root idea of emergence is “the whole is different from the sum of its parts”: specifically, the whole has causal powers that are distinct from the causal powers that belong to each of its parts, taken individually.

    I think that this is not only true, but it is necessarily true given a correct understanding of causality itself. Causation is a relation: a causal power is the realization of a difference between things. (As a trivial example: oxygen causes iron to rust because of the relational difference between the orbitals in the atoms, such that iron tends to become iron oxide in the presence of oxygen.)

    Once we see that causation is always about a relational difference, then it becomes rather easy to see that different kinds of organization will bring forth different causal powers. These causal powers will include the power to bring forth new kinds of organization.

    What’s needed to naturalize teleology is to combine this generic account of emergence with a specific idea about the levels of complexity that emergence can bring about.

    There are, I think, at least three distinct levels: (1) basic thermodynamic systems, which tend to maximize entropy over time unless additional energy is put into the system; (2) self-organized far-from-equilibrium thermodynamic systems, which tend to resist entropy over time if the system is set up with background parameters; (3) teleological systems, which tend to resist entropy over time by virtue of generating their own parameters.

    We know that systems of class (2) can emerge from systems of class (1). (Ilya Prigogine got the 1977 Nobel Prize in chemistry for demonstrating this.) So the $64,000 question is, can systems of class (3) emerge from systems of class (2)?

    Moreover, it (the emergent phenomenon) cannot violate known laws of nature.

    Right, but notice that “cannot violate” is very different from “can be predicted from” or even “are entailed by”. The only constraint that the naturalist would insist upon is that no emergent phenomena (teleology, intentionality, normativity) can violate the laws of fundamental physics — no violation of the laws of quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, or general relativity. (Or any successor theory to any or all of those.)

    That’s perfectly consistent with also insisting that the laws of fundamental physics do not allow us to predict the behavior of emergent phenomena.

    I would argue that known laws of physics preclude the natural development of the systemic complexity of atoms that we find in even the simplest living organism.

    If self-organizing far-from-equilibrium systems can emerge spontaneously from equilibrium thermodynamics (and we know that they can), why can’t teleological systems emerge spontaneously from self-organizing far-from-equilibrium systems?

    As I see it, here’s the fundamental issue at contention: is the difference between a teleological system and a self-organizing but non-teleological system the same kind of difference as the difference between a self-organizing non-teleological system and a system that tends towards equilibrium?

    I might be wrong in thinking that the answer to that question is “yes”. If I’m wrong, then that would strengthen the case for ID. But I don’t think it’s irrational to think that the answer is “yes”, which means that naturalism is not an irrational position to hold.

  50. 50
    asauber says:

    “The root idea of emergence is “the whole is different from the sum of its parts”

    This isn’t scientific. It’s poetry.

    Andrew

  51. 51
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @49

    “The root idea of emergence is “the whole is different from the sum of its parts”

    This isn’t scientific. It’s poetry.

    It’s part of a branch of philosophy called metaphysics, and I gave a very brief argument for why we should accept it, based on a very brief statement of how I think we should think about causation.

    If you want to say that metaphysics has no place here, and that it’s just about science and nothing else, then I’ll allow you and KF to argue about positivism and scientism.

  52. 52
    Origenes says:

    PM@

    If self-organizing far-from-equilibrium systems can emerge spontaneously from equilibrium thermodynamics (and we know that they can), ….

    Starting with a vigorously shaken mixture of oil and water, oil aggregates and separates from the water. Behold … “self-organization”.

    … why can’t teleological systems emerge spontaneously from self-organizing far-from-equilibrium systems?

    Why can’t oil separated from water not produce a teleological system, you ask? Because it lacks the ability to make a plan?

  53. 53
    AnimatedDust says:

    PM1

    What emerged first, the penis or the vagina? Pick your mammal species. Show your work.

    Also describe how a purposeless unguided process made dual purposiveness emerge in the penis, a mechanism for elminiating liquid waste as well as for the delivery of cellular material outside the body.

    Again, show your work.

  54. 54
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @52

    Starting with a vigorously shaken mixture of oil and water, oil aggregates and separates from the water. Behold … “self-organization”.

    Ha ha, very funny.

    Except also no, that’s not at all what self-organizing systems are. I’m referring to what are also called dissipative structures (see also
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33287069“>here. They’ve been known and studied for about fifty years now.

  55. 55
    Caspian says:

    PM1 @ 45
    Please see my post for today, commenting on the difference between self-organization as highlighted in Prigogine’s work and the complex functional information required for a living organism.
    The suggested causal powers of emergence that you mention don’t seem to arise naturally, although I would again agree with you that once a living organism is brought into existence (for the sake of argument, by whatever means), then it represents a system of which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Perhaps this is explainable by what we don’t know about nature, but it seems to contradict what we do know about nature. Therefore, I believe that life, consciousness, and the human mind are evidence of something that can reasonably be described as having a supernatural source.

  56. 56
    Alan Fox says:

    What emerged first, the penis or the vagina?

    Neither. First was the cloaca

  57. 57
    AnimatedDust says:

    AF@56. Non-responsive. Stick with the question. AND SHOW YOUR WORK.

  58. 58
    Alan Fox says:

    Stick with the question. AND SHOW YOUR WORK.

    Good grief, another commenter with allcapsitis!.

    Did you follow my link?

  59. 59
    AnimatedDust says:

    I did. It does not address my question.

  60. 60
    Origenes says:

    … self-organizing far-from-equilibrium systems can emerge spontaneously ….

    Naturalism attempts to have mindless particles in the void obeying mindless regularities to perform behavior as if it is informed by rationality, without that being actually the case. IOW it wants irrational particles to mimic rational behavior – to create the illusion of rationality. It wants mindless particles to perform a behavior that is, from the outside, indistinguishable from behavior that would stem from an embodied person who is factually rational.

    Suppose this naturalistic attempt is somehow successful, what’s being achieved? “Rationality is just an illusion, it’s just blind particles fooling us [arguendo assuming that there is something like ‘us persons’ who can be fooled]”?
    This would undercut their own position.
    As I have stated before, the naturalistic attempt to explain rationality is a non-starter.

  61. 61
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @60

    Naturalism attempts to have mindless particles in the void obeying mindless regularities to perform behavior as if it is informed by rationality, without that being actually the case. IOW it wants irrational particles to mimic rational behavior – to create the illusion of rationality. It wants mindless particles to perform a behavior that is, from the outside, indistinguishable from behavior that would stem from an embodied person who is factually rational.

    We would need to distinguish between some closely related questions if we are to avoid hopeless confusion.

    1. Can we be reasonably assured that the physical universe, considered independently of all finite minds, has any causal and modal structure at all?

    2. Can metaphysical naturalism explain why the physical universe has any detectable causal and modal structure at all?

    3. Does the causal and modal structure of the physical universe allow for emergence?

    4. Does the causal and modal structure of the physical universe allow for the kind of emergence that would be necessary for the emergence of real teleology in the absence of supernatural intervention?

    5. Do the natural sciences (biology, psychology) give us sufficient detail that one can construct a rough-grained account from the emergence of life to the evolution of mindedness, intentionality, and rule-governed rational thought and conduct?

    To these questions, I think “yes” is a reasonable answer to all of them except for (2). But, I don’t think that it’s coherent to explain the causal and modal structure of the universe in terms of supernatural origins, either.

    I think that this is one of those points at which the principle of sufficient reason hits a brick wall: we can know that the physical universe has the detectable causal and modal structure necessary for the emergence of rational animals capable of constructing increasingly reliable maps of that causal and modal structure, but we cannot really know why it has that structure.

  62. 62
    jerry says:

    No, the reasonable answer is no to most.

    Definitely 1 is yes but 2, 4 and 5 are no.

    Whatever emergence that happens in 3 is trivial for life. For example, water is amazing but has nothing to do with OOL. So is this a no? I believe it would count as a no.

    Minds are the only explanation for any emergence at all including water. Some creator made the laws that led to water.

    If one wants to keep talking about emergence, they should provide meaningful examples. They should be reproducible.

  63. 63
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @62

    No the reasonable answer is no to most.

    Well, at least we’ve identified what the issue is. Progress?

  64. 64
    Origenes says:

    We would need to distinguish between some closely related questions if we are to avoid hopeless confusion.

    Confusion about what?

    1. Yes
    2. No. In particular physical laws cannot be explained.
    3. Emergence of what?
    4. No, as I have argued.
    5. No, as I have argued, starting with mindless particles, one can, at a very maximum, get to the illusion of rationality.

  65. 65
    Origenes says:

    Questions for PyrrhoManiac1

    1. Does rationality require a person who is in control of his thoughts?
    2. Do you agree that, under naturalism, all events are caused by laws of physics and can be traced back to events long before we were born?
    3. Do you agree that we neither control laws of physics nor events long before we were born?

  66. 66
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @65

    1. Does rationality require a person who is in control of his thoughts?

    No, I don’t think so. I think that rationality requires a person who is responsible for what they say and for what they do. This involves acknowledging that what they say and do is governed by rules, both epistemic and ethical. And this also requires the ability to recognize when they have violated those rules and to make amends. It also requires the ability to recognize when others have violated those rules and to tell them to make amends.

    I think of this as being different from “being in control of one’s thoughts”, although certainly anyone who has been socialized as a rational being will have some capacity of self-regulation. This involves noticing which thoughts and feelings are appropriate to the situation and which are not, and how to express them in ways that are healthy and respectful. For example, one can notice that a thought is not grounded in the reality of a situation but driven by fear or anger, and thereby refrain from acting on the basis of that thought.

    I don’t know if that’s what you mean by “being in control of one’s thoughts,” but that’s what I think rationality involves.

    2. Do you agree that, under naturalism, all events are caused by laws of physics and can be traced back to events long before we were born?

    No, I wouldn’t say this at all. Firstly, the laws of physics are descriptions of causal powers and not themselves causal powers, so laws of physics can’t cause anything.

    Secondly, naturalism entails rejecting anything that violates the laws of fundamental physics. But that’s all. More specifically, it says that nothing can happen that would violate the laws of thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and/or general relativity.

    I don’t think that knowing all the laws of fundamental physics would allow us to determine everything that could happen in the universe. That’s part of the point of emergentism: genuine unpredictable novelties can occur because the space of possibilities cannot be prestated in advance.

    3. Do you agree that we neither control laws of physics nor events long before we were born?

    Yes, but given my answers to (1) and (2), this is not quite the “gotcha!” that you were hoping for.

    I don’t see how there would be any violation of the laws of fundamental physics in the idea that people (for the most part) can and should be held responsible for what they say and do, and can and should hold themselves responsible for what they say and do.

  67. 67
    Origenes says:

    PyrrhoManiac1 @

    Origenes: 1. Does rationality require a person who is in control of his thoughts?

    No, I don’t think so.

    Utterly baffling. I should probably stop reading right here.

    I think that rationality requires a person who is responsible for what they say and for what they do.

    So, according to you, a rational person does not control what he says or does, but, nevertheless, he is responsible for what he does not control.
    – – – – – –
    Ok. I have tried, but I really don’t want to read the rest of your answer, because this is already too much for me to take in. So, this is where our discussion ends. Have a good day sir.

  68. 68
    Upright BiPed says:

    .
    lol

  69. 69
    Alan Fox says:

    I really don’t want to read the rest of your answer, because this is already too much for me to take in.

    lol indeed. I thought the prosecution was always careful not to pose questions to which they did not know the answer.

  70. 70
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @67

    So, according to you, a rational person does not control what he says or does, but, nevertheless, he is responsible for what he does not control.

    I never asserted that we are not in control of our thoughts. I said that I don’t know what “being in control of one’s thoughts” means, and quite frankly I have reservations about the concept of control here.

    We can (to some extent) control what we say and do. But very often, at least this is my experience, thoughts and feelings arise and disappear with little guidance. I can deliberately set myself to solving some problem, but the ideas that get generated in the ‘brainstorming’ process must themselves be examined, tested, explored, etc. Sometimes the ideas work out, and sometimes they don’t. At any rate I don’t experience myself as being the creator of all the ideas that I come up with — sometimes they really do seem to come ‘out of nowhere’: inspiration, creativity, sudden epiphanies are real phenomena (at least in my experience), and I’m trying to describe the experience of thinking.

    Feelings, emotions, and moods are quite different, in large part because here we’re dealing with the less-than-rational dimension of subjective mental life. Consider all the times that we get suddenly angry with someone for no discernible reason, only to realize much later that the anger was not directed at them but because of some association between how they acted in that moment and how one was treated by an older sibling many years ago.

    (There are many cases like this that one could vary with respect to the moods involved and the kinds of underlying unresolved issues of childhood and upbringing that are entangled with those moods.)

    So the question, “do we control our thoughts?” does not seem to be the right kind of question to ask, if what we’re trying to do is explain the nature of human rationality.

  71. 71
    Origenes says:

    PM1 @70

    We can (to some extent) control what we say and do.

    Indeed.

    But very often, at least this is my experience, thoughts and feelings arise and disappear with little guidance.

    Sometimes we loosen our control over our thoughts and engage in daydreaming.

    I can deliberately set myself to solving some problem …

    This is important. When necessary, we strengthen our grip, our focus. 13 x 67 = ? Perhaps one can say that we (even) control the extent to which we control our thoughts.

    … but the ideas that get generated in the ‘brainstorming’ process must themselves be examined, tested, explored, etc. Sometimes the ideas work out, and sometimes they don’t.

    True. Note that, also here, one can, at will, intensify one’s focus/control in order to get to a thorough examination of a particular brainstorm-idea.

    At any rate I don’t experience myself as being the creator of all the ideas that I come up with — sometimes they really do seem to come ‘out of nowhere’: inspiration, creativity, sudden epiphanies are real phenomena (at least in my experience), and I’m trying to describe the experience of thinking.

    All this is true. And there is definitely something mysterious about ‘thinking’. I have often wondered how it is possible for us to engage in impromptu speaking; to spontaneously form sentences. Why is it not necessary for us to carefully arrange each word one by one in a painstakingly slow process? Somehow, when we talk (and think), we are being assisted by a mysterious process that speeds things up dramatically.
    However, for me it is clear as day that I am in control when I speak or write. So, this mysterious assistance is an aspect of me and certainly not another person. I say exactly what I want to say. And when a word comes up which is out of tune with my intent (when the ‘assistance’ fails, so to speak) I immediately notice that something is off and look for a better term.

    So the question, “do we control our thoughts?” does not seem to be the right kind of question to ask, if what we’re trying to do is explain the nature of human rationality.

    Here we completely disagree. Without control over one’s thoughts, one cannot be rational. If something other than you is in control over “your” thoughts, it’s game over, then you are disconnected from “your” thoughts; from rationality. It is that simple.

  72. 72
    Origenes says:

    1. If naturalism is true, then all our actions and thoughts are consequences of events and laws of nature in the remote past before we were born.

    2. We have no control over circumstances that existed in the remote past before we were born, nor do we have any control over the laws of nature.

    3. If A causes B, and we have no control over A, and A is sufficient for B, then we have no control over B.

    Therefore

    4. If naturalism is true, then we have no control over our own thoughts and actions.

    Therefore, assuming that rationality requires control,

    5. If naturalism is true, we are not rational.

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