Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


Tour deals with the rhetorical tactics of a critic

HT Q, here is Dr Tour’s response to a critic’s rhetoric (with some addressing of substantial matters through interacting with an expert caught in the cross fire): It is sad to see that this had to be dealt with. As a point of reference, let us highlight first duties and principles of right reason, extending to those connected with the logic of cause and so too inductive reasoning — which includes inference to the best explanation (i.e. abduction). I trust, this will be useful. END PS, as the critic attacked Dr Tour personally as allegedly lying for Jesus (which does not seem to be warranted on the circumstances), it is relevant to add this on Dr Tour’s response to anti-Christian Read More ›

Talking to “science deniers”? How about a bit of self-reflection first?

Chivers, science editor at Unherd: "It’s mainly a book designed to tell readers that people they already think are dumb are, in fact, dumb. It is, really, How to Talk to A Contemptible Idiot Who Is Kind of Evil. " That won't be much use with serious problems science can help with. Read More ›

Human exceptionalism: You can be a good or a bad human but you can’t just be an animal

When we try to escape into being animals, all that happens is that we reason badly and become bad humans. And the moment we even bring reason into the discussion — well, that’s precisely what human exceptionalism is about! Read More ›

Logic & First Principles, 22: Is there room for fresh (hylemorphically shaped?) thinking on minds, souls and bodies?

In recent weeks, UD has been looking at the logic of being of minded intelligence, especially, embodied intelligence. One of the pivotal insights is outlined by Victor Reppert — pardon a bit of review: . . . let us suppose that brain state A [–> notice, state of a wetware, electrochemically operated computational substrate], which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief [–> concious, perceptual state or disposition] that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of Read More ›

Feser (and Ross) on the immateriality of the mind

Edward Feser has presented a lecture on the immateriality of the mind, which is worth listening to: The papers here and here will flesh out details. The core logic of the argument pivots on the principle of distinct identity, turned to how distinguishable entities are inherently different. Syllogistically: 1: Formal thought processes can have an exact or unambiguous conceptual content. However, 2: Nothing material can have an exact or unambiguous conceptual content. So, 3: Formal thought processes are not material. Worth pondering as we reflect on this season. Enjoy the Christmas season. END

Why is the objectivity of Mathematics an important (& ID-relevant) question?

In recent days, I have taken time to show that while subjects study the logic of structure and quantity (= Mathematics, in a nutshell), the body of knowledge — including axiomatised systems — is objective. Where, “objective” effectively means, tied to such a body of accountable warrant and to foundational self-evident facts that the substance of that body of knowledge is credibly an accurate description of facets of reality, as opposed to being dubious (though not necessarily false) figments of a subject’s imagination. Of course, while objectivity implies credible truth (truth being the accurate description of relevant reality) it cannot guarantee utter freedom from error or gaps; especially after Godel’s key incompleteness results. Why is that? For one, it has Read More ›

John Gray offers harsh words for Steven Pinker’s new book, Enlightenment Now: therapy for liberals

From John Gray at New Statesman, reviewing Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now: The Case for Science, Reason, Humanism, and Progress: To think of this book as any kind of scholarly exercise is a category mistake. The purpose of Pinker’s laborious work is to reassure liberals that they are on “the right side of history”. He is an evangelist for science – or, to be more exact, an ideology of scientism. Along with reason, humanism and progress, science features as one of the core Enlightenment values that Pinker lists at the start of the book. But for him science is more than a bunch of methods that are useful in conjecturing how the world works: it provides the basis of ethics and Read More ›

DI Fellow, David Berlinski: “There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics”

He continues (HT, BA77): >>Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time …. … Come again … DB: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with Read More ›

The core of Christian ethics (for those inclined to put God in the dock)

There is such a strong tendency to project all sorts of accusations against Christian ethics that I believe it is necessary to put the indisputable core of the Christian ethical tradition on the table, to clear the air. And so, Matt 5 – 7, ESV: >>The Sermon on the Mount 5 Seeing the crowds, he [Jesus] went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. The Beatitudes 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and Read More ›

WJM vs Popper and his supporters on error and progress

WJM often provides quite refreshing insights. Here, in the challenge of criticism thread, he responds to CR (and to Origenes), and in so doing, addresses Popper: WJM, 8: >> Popper’s answer is: We can hope to detect and eliminate error if we set up traditions of criticism—substantive criticism, directed at the content of ideas, not their sources, and directed at whether they solve the problems that they purport to solve. Who decides what a problem is? Who decides what constitutes an “error”? Who decides what form criticism should take? Who decides what it means for a criticism to be considered valid? Without self-evident truths to draw from, everything CR says is nothing but word salad that could be interpreted and Read More ›