Home » Intelligent Design » Either I have lost my mind, or materialists have lost theirs

Either I have lost my mind, or materialists have lost theirs

With what is now known about the fine-tuning of the laws of physics for the production of a universe that “knew” we were coming (Freeman Dyson), and with what is now known about the sophisticated information-processing systems and technology found in even the simplest living cell (not to mention the human mind), it is incomprehensible to me that this evidence would lead any rational person to the conclusion that it all came about by chance and necessity, and not by design.

Either I have lost my mind, or materialists have lost theirs.

There is no third option.

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167 Responses to Either I have lost my mind, or materialists have lost theirs

  1. Even as some kind of game it would be weird. A universe of endless, incredibly variegated and subtle designs, “from top to bottom”, which….. are not designs? Coz…. coz…. ‘designs’ would predicate intelligence and purpose.. and … and a … ggggg….o..d

  2. Hi Gil,

    You haven’t lost your mind. The truth is that there has never been a better time in history to argue the case for Intelligent Design. Consider the ancient Greeks. They were very clever people, but they didn’t know if the universe had a beginning or not. Most of them thought it had been there forever. Now, as I mentioned in a recent post, we even have atheist cosmologists like Alexander Vilenkin saying, “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning” – and when he says that, he’s talking about the whole multiverse (including the most fundamental laws of Nature), and not just the observable universe. Unless you want to believe that the cosmos just popped into existence lawlessly, for absolutely no reason, the conclusion that it was made by someone or something is inescapable. And since the multiverse includes all the laws of Nature, this Maker must not be subject to any of them.

    The Greeks were inclined to point to the four seasons and the movements of the heavenly bodies as evidence of design, but they knew nothing about the exquisite fine-tuning of the universe, and even of the multiverse as a whole, which I referred to in the same post. We now have a very strong case that the cosmos was designed for intelligent life.

    The ancient Greeks thought that life was capable of being generated spontaneously from mud – including even mammals. We now know that spontaneous generation is a myth, and that there are good grounds for saying that abiogenesis as a result of unguided processes is impossible. Professor John C. Walton summarized the evidence very handily in a recent talk which I linked to in another post called, The Big Picture: 56 minutes that will change your life .

    Many of the Greeks (including philosophers like Aristotle) were inclined to think that species had been around forever, so there was no need to account for their origin.
    We now know that life on Earth had a beginning, and that species came into existence. If the first cell somehow evolved into all these life-forms, then it must have been packed with information – in other words, front-loaded.

    The Greeks had no settled opinions regarding an after-life either. Few of them looked forward to Heaven when they died, and many of their finest philosophers were materialists.

    Additionally, the Greeks were well aware of the problem of evil, which was pithily summarized by Epicurus in his famous trilemma . Their answers to Epicurus’ trilemma were far less intellectually sophisticated than the answers put forward by modern philosophers of religion.

    Yet curiously, very few of the Greeks were atheists, even though the evidence they had for the existence of a God or gods was much weaker than the evidence we have today. Paradoxically, though, atheism is flourishing as never before in human history. Go figure.

    What that suggests to me is that people do not form their opinions rationally, but in accordance with prevailing intellectual fads and the Zeitgeist.

    I just wish we’d known all this stuff before 1859. Who knows how history would have turned out then?

  3. It’s probably time for a quote.

    “Atheism is a crutch for those who cannot bear the reality of God.”
    – Tom Stoppard

  4. Stu7,

    It’s probably time for a quote.

    I think you meant to say:

    It’s probably time for a shameless quotemine.

    You misquoted Stoppard:

    “Atheism is a crutch for those who cannot bear the reality of God.”
    – Tom Stoppard

    The actual quotation is of a character in a Stoppard play, and here’s what he says:

    Archie:
    …It’s an interesting view of atheism, as a sort of crutch for those who can’t bear the reality of God…

    And here’s an excerpt from the preceding dialogue:

    Archie:
    … Religious faith and atheism differ mainly about God; about Man they are in accord: Man is the highest form of life, he has duties he has rights, etcetera, and it is usually better to be kind than cruel. Even if there is some inscrutable divinity behind it all, our condition for good or ill is apparently determined by our choice of actions, and choosing seems to be a genuine human possibility. Indeed, it is surely religious zeal rather than atheism which is historically notorious in the fortunes of mankind.

    George:
    I’m not at all sure that the God of religious observance is the object of my faith. Do you suppose it would be presumptuous to coin a deity?

    Archie:
    I don’t see the point. If he caught on, you’d kill for him, too.

    [bolding is mine]

  5. Hi vj,

    Yet curiously, very few of the Greeks were atheists, even though the evidence they had for the existence of a God or gods was much weaker than the evidence we have today. Paradoxically, though, atheism is flourishing as never before in human history. Go figure.

    The Greeks didn’t have the advantage of seeing hundreds of supernatural beliefs and explanations fall by the wayside as science advanced. Who today but the most benighted believes that mental illness is caused by demonic possession?

    These days, God is continually jumping to new gaps as he gets squeezed out of the old ones. Theists are in retreat, hoping to find at least one gap out there that won’t close in on Him.

  6. Yes perhaps it was a quotemine of sorts, but the “amended” version remains applicable nonetheless wouldn’t you say? Given the OP assertions surrounding fine-tuning (an unimaginable amount) and the reality of a first cause.

    Somewhat OT: I would disagree with some of the contentions made like: “Indeed, it is surely religious zeal rather than atheism which is historically notorious in the fortunes of mankind.”

    Moral relativism, the progeny of Atheism, is just as, if not more so, historically notorious in the fortunes of mankind than religious zeal.

  7. Champ states:

    ‘These days, God is continually jumping to new gaps as he gets squeezed out of the old ones. Theists are in retreat, hoping to find at least one gap out there that won’t close in on Him.’

    Do you really believe what you wrote Champ? This is certainly, from a scientific point of view, not true! While it is true that many unfounded quasi-Theistic imaginary superstitions have fallen by the wayside over the last few centuries, the fact is that many, many foundational Theistic presuppositions have been confirmed by the advance of science in stunning degree. Whereas, on the other hand, Atheistic Materialists have had to retreat further and further into larger and larger gaps of superstitious materialistic imagination! (i.e. multiverses, punctuated equilibrium, Origin of Life etc.. etc.. etc..).

    Notes to that effect:

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    William Shakespeare – Hamlet

    The artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy onto the scientific method has blinded many scientists to the inference of God as a rational explanation in these questions of origins. In fact, the scientific method, by itself, makes absolutely no predictions as to what the best explanation will be prior to investigation in these question of origins. In the beginning of a investigation all answers are equally valid to the scientific method. Yet scientists have grown accustomed through the years to the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy onto the scientific method. That is to say by limiting the answers one may conclude to only materialistic ones, the scientific method has been very effective at solving many puzzles very quickly. This imposition of the materialistic philosophy onto the scientific method has indeed led to many breakthroughs of technology which would not have been possible had the phenomena been presumed to be solely the work of a miracle. This imposition of materialism onto the scientific method is usually called methodological naturalism, methodological materialism, or scientific materialism etc… Yet today, due to the impressive success of methodological naturalism in our everyday lives, many scientists are unable to separate this artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy from the scientific method in this completely different question of origins.
    In fact, I’ve heard someone say, “Science is materialism.” Yet science clearly is not materialism. Materialism is a philosophy which makes the dogmatic assertion that only blind material processes generated everything around us, including ourselves. Materialism is thus in direct opposition to Theism which holds that God purposely created us in His image. Furthermore science, or more particularly the scientific method, in reality, only cares to relentlessly pursue the truth and could care less if the answer is a materialistic one or not. This is especially true in these questions of origins, since we are indeed questioning the materialistic philosophy itself. i.e. We are asking the scientific method to answer this very specific question, “Did God create us or did blind material processes create us?” When we realize this is the actual question we are seeking an answer to within the scientific method, then of course it is readily apparent we cannot impose strict materialistic answers onto the scientific method prior to investigation. No less than leading “New Atheist” Richard Dawkins agrees:

    “The presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more momentous hypothesis in all of science.” Richard Dawkins

    The best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    In fact when looking at the evidence in this light we find out many interesting things which scientists, who have been blinded by the philosophy of materialism, miss. This is because the materialistic and Theistic philosophy make, and have made, several natural contradictory predictions about what evidence we will find.
    These predictions, and the evidence we have found, can be tested against one another within the scientific method.

    Steps of the Scientific Method
    http://www.sciencebuddies.org/.....thod.shtml

    For a quick overview, here are a few:

    1. Materialism predicted an eternal universe, Theism predicted a created universe. – Big Bang points to a creation event. -

    2. Materialism predicted time had an infinite past, Theism predicted time had a creation. – Time was created in the Big Bang. -

    3. Materialism predicted space has always existed, Theism predicted space had a creation (Psalm 89:12) – Space was created in the Big Bang. -

    4. Materialism predicted that material has always existed, Theism predicted ‘material’ was created. – ‘Material’ was created in the Big Bang.

    5. Materialism predicted at the base of physical reality would be a solid indestructible material particle which rigidly obeyed the rules of time and space, Theism predicted the basis of this reality was created by a infinitely powerful and transcendent Being who is not limited by time and space – Quantum mechanics reveals a wave/particle duality for the basis of our reality which blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. -

    6. Materialism predicted that consciousness is a ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus has no particular special position within material reality. Thesism predicted consciousness preceded material reality and therefore consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even central, position within material reality. -

    7. 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) -

    8. Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind – Every transcendent universal constant scientists can measure is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. -

    9. 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 life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe. -

    10. 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.”. -

    11. 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 mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) -

    12. Materialism predicted a very simple first life form which accidentally came from “a warm little pond”. Theism predicted God created life – The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) -

    13. 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) – We find evidence for complex photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth -

    14. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse 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. -

    15. 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, then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. -

    16. Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man himself is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. -

    references for each of the 16 predictions:
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1ubha8aFKlJiljnuCa98QqLihFWFwZ_nnUNhEC6m6Cys

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy, 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 it is even very good at pointing us to Christianity:

    General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy & The Shroud Of Turin – (updated video with notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    Champ, thus the science is certainly firmly in the Theists camp and the Atheists has no friend in science and are regulated to superstition!!!! But of a more personal note, even though this scientific evidence is very good to have, the fact is that we each desperately need a personal touch from God to make Him personally real for each of us. God was there for me in a time of need, when I looked to him for guidance. Even though the experience was very subtle, I was blown away. Moreover, I can’t force you to ask God to reveal Himself in a personal way to you, but I can assure you that the amazing grace of God is there for all who will humble themselves and seek it!

  8. Stu,

    Yes perhaps it was a quotemine of sorts, but the “amended” version remains applicable nonetheless wouldn’t you say?

    In my experience, not very often. There are some atheists, like philosopher Thomas Nagel, who hope that God doesn’t exist (although in his case, I suspect that evidence trumps desire in terms of what he actually believes). But many (if not most) of us would have no problem believing in God if the evidence were there.

    I am certainly glad that the God of the Old Testament doesn’t exist, but I would be delighted to find instead that a good, loving God exists and that we’ll all spend eternity in bliss. I just don’t find it believable.

    I was quite happy as a Christian. I gave up my Christianity, and later my theism, reluctantly, when I could no longer justify them intellectually.

    Moral relativism, the progeny of Atheism, is just as, if not more so, historically notorious in the fortunes of mankind than religious zeal.

    Really? What atrocities are you aware of that were justified by their perpetrators on relativist grounds? How do they stack up against the atrocities committed on account of religious zeal?

  9. a few more notes:

    ,,,, the quantum wave state (superposition) is defined as infinite information, yet when it collapses to its particle state, it yields only a single bit of information:,,,

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    Zeilinger’s principle
    The principle that any elementary system carries just one bit of information. This principle was put forward by the Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger in 1999 and subsequently developed by him to derive several aspects of quantum mechanics.
    http://science.jrank.org/pages.....z17a7f88PM

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.” Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:

    ,,,moreover, encoded information, such as we find encoded in computers, and yes, such as we find encoded in DNA, is found to be a subset of ‘conserved’ quantum information:,,,

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 2011
    Excerpt: No heat, even a cooling effect;
    In the case of perfect classical knowledge of a computer memory (zero entropy), deletion of the data requires in theory no energy at all. The researchers prove that “more than complete knowledge” from quantum entanglement with the memory (negative entropy) leads to deletion of the data being accompanied by removal of heat from the computer and its release as usable energy. This is the physical meaning of negative entropy.
    Renner emphasizes, however, “This doesn’t mean that we can develop a perpetual motion machine.” The data can only be deleted once, so there is no possibility to continue to generate energy. The process also destroys the entanglement, and it would take an input of energy to reset the system to its starting state. The equations are consistent with what’s known as the second law of thermodynamics: the idea that the entropy of the universe can never decrease. Vedral says “We’re working on the edge of the second law. If you go any further, you will break it.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

    ,,,The following logical deduction and evidence shows that consciousness precedes the collapse of the ‘infinite information’ of the quantum wave state to the single bit of the ‘uncertain’ particle state,,,

    The argument for God from consciousness can be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either precedes all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”
    Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays “Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays”; Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.

    ,,,Wigner stated this in regards to his Nobel Prize winning work on Quantum Symmetries,,,

    Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: To express this basic experience in a more direct way: the world does not have a privileged center, there is no absolute rest, preferred direction, unique origin of calendar time, even left and right seem to be rather symmetric. The interference of electrons, photons, neutrons has indicated that the state of a particle can be described by a vector possessing a certain number of components. As the observer is replaced by another observer (working elsewhere, looking at a different direction, using another clock, perhaps being left-handed), the state of the very same particle is described by another vector, obtained from the previous vector by multiplying it with a matrix. This matrix transfers from one observer to another.
    http://www.reak.bme.hu/Wigner_.....io/wb1.htm

    ,,,i.e. In the experiment the ‘world’ (i.e. the universe) does not have a ‘privileged center’. Yet strangely, the conscious observer does exhibit a ‘privileged center’. This is since the ‘matrix’, which determines which vector will be used to describe the particle in the experiment, is ‘observer-centric’ in its origination! Thus explaining Wigner’s dramatic statement, “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”,,,

    ,,,It is important to note that the following experiment actually encoded information into a photon while it was in its quantum wave state, thus destroying the notion, held by many, that the wave function was not ‘physically real’ but was merely ‘abstract’. i.e. How can information possibly be encoded into something that is not physically real but merely abstract?,,,

    Ultra-Dense Optical Storage – on One Photon
    Excerpt: Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image’s worth of data into a photon, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.
    http://www.physorg.com/news88439430.html

    ,,,The following paper mathematically corroborated the preceding experiment and cleaned up some pretty nasty probabilistic incongruities that arose from a purely statistical interpretation, i.e. it seems that stacking a ‘random infinity’, (parallel universes to explain quantum wave collapse), on top of another ‘random infinity’, to explain quantum entanglement, leads to irreconcilable mathematical absurdities within quantum mechanics:,,,

    Quantum Theory’s ‘Wavefunction’ Found to Be Real Physical Entity: Scientific American – November 2011
    Excerpt: David Wallace, a philosopher of physics at the University of Oxford, UK, says that the theorem is the most important result in the foundations of quantum mechanics that he has seen in his 15-year professional career. “This strips away obscurity and shows you can’t have an interpretation of a quantum state as probabilistic,” he says.
    http://www.scientificamerican......vefunction

    The quantum (wave) state cannot be interpreted statistically – November 2011
    http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/1111.3328

    ,,,In my personal opinion, even though not hashed out in exhaustive detail yet, all this evidence is about as sweet as it can get in experimental science as to providing proof that Almighty God created and sustains this universe.,,,

    John 1:1-3
    In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.

    The Word Is Alive – Casting Crowns – music video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5197438/

  10. Spam, spam, spam, spam…

  11. Champ trying to defend the ‘moral superiority of Atheism asks:

    Really? What atrocities are you aware of that were justified by their perpetrators on relativist grounds? How do they stack up against the atrocities committed on account of religious zeal?”

    Atheist Atrocities Frightening Stats About Atheists – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP1KpNEeRYU

    The unmitigated horror visited upon man, by state sponsored atheism, would be hard to exaggerate,,, Here’s what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

    “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide]

    I BACKGROUND

    2. The New Concept of Democide [Definition of Democide]
    3. Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide
    II 128,168,000 VICTIMS: THE DEKA-MEGAMURDERERS

    4. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
    5. 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill
    6. 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State
    7. 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime
    III 19,178,000 VICTIMS: THE LESSER MEGA-MURDERERS

    8. 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
    9. 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State
    10. 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges
    11. 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State
    12. 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
    13. 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
    14. 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse
    IV 4,145,000 VICTIMS: SUSPECTED MEGAMURDERERS

    15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea
    16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
    17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia”

    This is, in reality, is probably just a drop in the bucket. Who knows how many undocumented murders there were. It also doesn’t count all the millions of abortions from around the world.
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

    Chairman MAO: Genocide Master
    “…Many scholars and commentators have referenced my total of 174,000,000 for the democide (genocide and mass murder) of the last century. I’m now trying to get word out that I’ve had to make a major revision in my total due to two books. I’m now convinced that that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin….”
    http://wadias.in/site/arzan/bl.....de-master/

    “for, as we have just seen, the ways of national evolution, both in the past and in the present, are cruel, brutal, ruthless, and without mercy.,,, Meantime let me say that the conclusion I have come to is this: the law of Christ is incompatible with the law of evolution as far as the law of evolution has worked hitherto. Nay, the two laws are at war with each other; the law of Christ can never prevail until the law of evolution is destroyed.”
    Sir Arthur Keith, Evolution and Ethics (1947), p. 15. (Note the year that this was written was shortly after the German ‘master race’ was defeated in World War II)

  12. champignon, spam spam spam is your only response to scientific evidence which falsifies your materialistic/atheistic belief? Champ do you know that if you do not fairly address the scientific evidence presented against you, that makes you no better than the religious dogmatists you constantly rail against? So are you a religious dogmatists Champ?

  13. Romans 1:19-20

    “19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

    Gil, I don’t think you have lost your mind at all.

  14. BA77,

    Your spam is irrelevant to the question, which was:

    What atrocities are you aware of that were justified by their perpetrators on relativist grounds? How do they stack up against the atrocities committed on account of religious zeal?

    By the way, look up the word ‘relativism’. It’s not synonymous with ‘atheism’.

  15. Champ, atheists hold that there are no objective moral absolutes, thus they are stuck with moral relativism for a moral basis! Or do you want to defend objective moral absolutes from a atheistic standpoint? Good luck with that endeavor, many, much brighter than you or I, have tried before;

    The Knock-Down Argument Against Atheist Sam Harris’ moral argument – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvDyLs_cReE

    Stephen Meyer – Morality Presupposes Theism (1 of 4) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSpdh1b0X_M

    Hitler & Darwin, pt. 2: Richard Weikart on Evolutionary Ethics – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_04-08_00

    Top Ten Reasons We Know the New Testament is True – Frank Turek – video – November 2011
    (41:00 minute mark – Despite what is commonly believed (of being ‘good enough’ to go to heaven, in reality both Mother Teresa and Hitler fall short of the moral perfection required to meet the perfection of God’s objective moral code)
    http://saddleback.com/mc/m/5e22f/

    Objective Morality – The Objections – Frank Turek – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5MWBsPf5pg

  16. BA77,

    By mentioning ‘Atheist Sam Harris’, who is not a relativist, you confirm my point: atheism and relativism are not synonymous.

    Thank you.

  17. Champ, as you so clearly illustrate, what someone believes to be true, and what is actually true are two very different things. So what if Harris, and apparently you when it suits you agenda, deny that atheists are moral relativists. The FACT, i.e. truth of reality, is that, no matter your protestations to the contrary, Atheists have no basis to ground objective morality.,,, I really don’t care one iota of the lies you or Sam Harris believes. What matters is that atheists have no objective basis for morality and are thus moral relativists, and thus explaining why they committed such unmitigated horror in the 20th century.

  18. Champ, no amount of scientific theories will ever make God unnecessary or superfluous. It doesnt matter if biological evolution or abiogenesis are true, or stellar evolution, planetary evolution and the multiverse hypothesis are true, none of that will make God unnecessary. Its just not necessary to posit that God works at the level of nature. God is not some plug we put into the gaps of our scientific understanding of how nature works. God is the ultimate existence which grounds all of reality. Whatever scientific theories we develope or discoveries we make are quite simply inconsequential as to Gods existence.

  19. In my experience, not very often. There are some atheists, like philosopher Thomas Nagel, who hope that God doesn’t exist (although in his case, I suspect that evidence trumps desire in terms of what he actually believes). But many (if not most) of us would have no problem believing in God if the evidence were there.

    Ok, but as the OP referred to — what do you make of the seemingly improbable amount of integrated fine-tuning, not only of an overarching nature, but at the infinitesimal level of reality; and then of course the all-important first cause.
    These certainly are interesting times to be alive given the significant strides we have made in our scientific understanding of the “world”.

    - One requirement is a strong nuclear force that binds atoms together. If the strength of this force were to decrease by just 1 part in 10,000 billion billion billion billion, the only element left in the universe would be hydrogen.

    - If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the Universe would have recollapsed before it ever reached its present state.

    - Another is the force of gravity.
    Imagine a ruler divided into one inch increments, stretched across the entire length of the universe, or 14 billion light years.

    So if the ruler represents the possible range for gravity.
    The setting for the strength of gravity just happens to be situated in the right place so that life is possible.

    If you were to change the force of gravity by moving the setting just one inch compared to the entire width of the universe — the effect on life would be catastrophic.

    The list goes on and on….

    I am certainly glad that the God of the Old Testament doesn’t exist, but I would be delighted to find instead that a good, loving God exists and that we’ll all spend eternity in bliss. I just don’t find it believable.

    So you’re open to the idea of a God (with proof) just not the God of the Bible.
    Surely you are basing that on your own subjective notion of morality. Yes you by all rights have the choice of rejecting “God”, but whether or not you find the God of the bible to be morally inadequate should really be irrelevant on whether or not there is actual evidence (fine-tuning, first cause, etc.) of a “creator” of any kind.

    I was quite happy as a Christian. I gave up my Christianity, and later my theism, reluctantly, when I could no longer justify them intellectually.

    And these days (not sure how long ago you turned to atheism)? How do the fairly recent revelations of fine-tuning square with your intellectual justification of atheism?

    For the record, I was in a somewhat similar position to yourself, on the fence as to whether God existed or not. Science done for me the exact opposite. Fine-tuning, evolution’s failings, first cause, OoL, etc. all point toward an external supernatural force.
    Whatever face you choose to put to it is another matter entirely but coming to any other conclusion, as the OP suggested, well quite frankly seems like a case of incredulity to me. I’m not pointing fingers though, rather it’s just that the inevitable conclusion seems overwhelming to me in terms of our basic understanding of the universe; and is more than likely why a man like Anthony Flew who “followed the evidence” turned to theism in these recent times of such significant scientific advancement.

  20. Rational people cannot come to opposite conclusions upon the same evidence with regard to supervening invisible causes without one or other being accused of having ‘lost their mind’?

    I guess I am “without excuse” (if rational) or nuts (in which case go judge someone else).

  21. Really? What atrocities are you aware of that were justified by their perpetrators on relativist grounds? How do they stack up against the atrocities committed on account of religious zeal?

    Sorry forgot about this..

    Well as BA77′s statistics reveal, there are more than enough tragic events throughout human history that are attributed to an atheistic worldview.

    Remember the original quote was: “Indeed, it is surely religious zeal rather than atheism which is historically notorious in the fortunes of mankind.”

    The stats suggest otherwise.

    And if you reject to being lumped into one “large atheistic grouping”, I reject being categorised into a group of “religious zealots”.

    Have their been evil people and groupings on both sides throughout history. Absolutely. Have their been benevolent and kind individuals and groups from both sides. Of course. Has man used particular worldviews or belief systems to achieve his own goals. Yes. But surely that is a reflection on the individual / group rather than the system.

  22. I was reading Romans the other day and came across verse 18 of chapter 1. “For God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who are suppressing the truth in an unrighteous way.”

    So people can know the truth but suppress it, lying to themselves and to others. The evidence is there, but they simply choose not to look at it. People can rationalize their aberrant behavior all they want, but it’s good to remember that setting their own standards of good and bad led to calamity in the case of Adam and Eve.

  23. Champ, this short video may help you see the ‘moral’ dilemma you face as a atheist;

    Description; A brilliant serial killer videotapes his debates with college faculty victims. The topic of his debate with his victim: His moral right to kill them.

    Cruel Logic – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qd1LPRJLnI

  24. Instead of constantly rabbiting, “Spam, spam, spam, spam,” champignon, why don’t you take the normal, simple, rational step of rebutting, point by point, the utterly compelling EMPIRICAL evidence bornagain77 has adduced in defence of Intelligent Design and theism. It is one of the most primordial purposes of these fora.

    YOU CANNOT. They are established science. DO YOU ACCEPT THAT OR NOT? You materialists simply refuse to comment on them, still less put the jigsaw peices together. Why would that be?

  25. kuartus,

    God is not some plug we put into the gaps of our scientific understanding of how nature works.

    Theists (including vjtorley in comment 2) do it all the time. If that’s not true of you personally, congratulations.

    God is the ultimate existence which grounds all of reality.

    And you know this how?

  26. Hi champignon,

    Thank you for your post. If you have a look at this PBS timeline for the history of mental illness, you’ll see that the Greeks didn’t believe mental illness was caused by demonic possession, as you allege. Hippocrates claimed that mental illnesses were caused by physical disease or an imbalance of bodily fluids called “humors.” (See here: http://www.humanistictexts.org.....c483367756 .) Hippocrates’ views were later adopted by Galen, the Roman physician, who elaborated on Hippocrates’ ideas and developed a powerful and influential school of thought within the biological tradition, which lasted well into the 18th century. Galen also had a great influence on medieval medicine.

    As for the gaps shrinking: it depends on what time period you’re looking at. That view is semi-plausible for the interval from 1687 (the year Newton’s Principia was published, which was unable to account for planetary motion without a little help from God now and then) to 1965 (the year in which the microwave background radiation was discovered, pointing to the Big Bang). Outside that time range, the “shrinking gaps” thesis breaks down. Too many exceptions arise when you go further back or forward in time: in the Middle Ages, many of the gaps we are aware of today (e.g. abiogenesis; a known finite age of the Earth) were absent (yes, there were people back then who thought it was eternal), while in the 21st century, scientists are a lot less sure that natural selection explains everything about evolution than they were in 1959, when the modern synthesis was consolidated. And of course, the problem of abiogenesis looms larger than ever.

    So I have to say that contemporary atheism is a puzzle.

  27. Of course Sam Harris is a relativist. All atheists are relativists since at the core they can only point to their own feelings as the basis of their morality. What else could they point to? Don’t say “scientific findings” because scientific findings only have value if you’ve already decided at a more fundamental level that a particular finding has value.

    The essence of Sam Harris’s morality is this, “I think that consciousness has value and should be protected and I hope you all agree with me.” That’s it! All of his jibber jabber boils down to that. But science didn’t tell him this. He subjectively decided that on his own. Serial killers and despots routinely disagree. No absolute standard they can point to. Relativism.

    The opposite of relativism is this: there is an absolute standard or goodness that exists regardless of what you and I think or feel (and we may be be judged against it someday.) And we need to try to find out what it is, or who is it. That’s absolutism.

    Sam Harris is a relativist.

  28. And you know this how?,

    Well it use to be, for centuries, inferred very strongly from Aquinas’s logic;, now we have direct evidence for Aquinas’s ‘first cause’ in Big Bang cosmology, and we have direct evidence for Aquinas’s ‘first mover’ from quantum mechanics; And as listed before, in what I personally consider a stunningly powerful new argument, we have a argument for God from consciousness which is also directly corroborated by quantum mechanics (Wheeler’s Delayed Choice & Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries)

  29. Let’s see,so far in the comments BA has posted twenty links,at ten minutes per link to view ,about three hours just to wade thru. Maybe Champ has a life

  30. Hi vj,

    …the Greeks didn’t believe mental illness was caused by demonic possession, as you allege.

    I didn’t allege that. I pointed out that unlike us, they “didn’t have the advantage of seeing hundreds of supernatural beliefs and explanations fall by the wayside as science advanced.” Our predecessors believed that demonic possession was the cause of mental illness, but we know that science has disproved this (and hundreds of other superstitions based on ignorance). The Greeks didn’t have this advantage, as science was still in its infancy. It’s not surprising that they were mostly theists.

    As for the gaps shrinking: it depends on what time period you’re looking at.

    I’m speaking of individual gaps:

    These days, God is continually jumping to new gaps as he gets squeezed out of the old ones. Theists are in retreat, hoping to find at least one gap out there that won’t close in on Him.

    You conclude:

    So I have to say that contemporary atheism is a puzzle.

    Quite the opposite. There hasn’t been even a single confirmed supernatural hypothesis in the history of science to date (but many that have been falsified). Given this dismal track record, it’s hardly surprising that atheism is so prevalent, particularly among scientists (only 7% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences believe in a personal God).

  31. What puzzles me is how people can think that Big Bang is an argument either for or against the existence of God.

    It seems to me utterly irrelevant to the question.

  32. Sounds like the antithesis of Lily Tomlin’s apercu:
    “Reality is a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs.”

    Just view atheism as a drug, and you have the materialist’s elliptical take on empirical evidence for ID and theism.

  33. I was watching a past debate on the internet between a well known Christian apologist and an well known atheist regarding the veracity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    One phrase the atheist kept using in regard to the choice between natural and supernatural causes for events was “We should choose…”

    It occurred to me that this consistent use of this phrase is powerful argument for free will.

    1. The atheist is assuming, that, not only is he able to make a rational choice based on the presentation of abstract ideas ( not physical stimuli, but intangible concepts which only exist in the realm of the transcendent ), but he firmly believes others are able to make choices based solely on concepts and ideas also.
    2. The atheist uses the term “should” in regard to this group of agents who can make choices. This implies a moral dimension to the decision. Morality may not prove free will, but the existence of a moral dimension to a decision suggests the agent has culpability for the answer. A culpability which only makes sense in light of free will.
    3. Finally the atheist uses the term “choose”. There is no indication that he thinks this is the result of natural processes. He attributes it to the wise, rational, weighing of intelligent agents he has implied to be a large number of people.

    It can reasonably concluded that this atheist believes whole-heartedly in free will. I just can’t for the life of me come up with a definition of free will as believed in by this atheist that is compatible with his atheism.

  34. OK vel, how about you or Champ address even just one of these 16 points;

    1. Materialism predicted an eternal universe, Theism predicted a created universe. – Big Bang points to a creation event. -

    2. Materialism predicted time had an infinite past, Theism predicted time had a creation. – Time was created in the Big Bang. -

    3. Materialism predicted space has always existed, Theism predicted space had a creation (Psalm 89:12) – Space was created in the Big Bang. -

    4. Materialism predicted that material has always existed, Theism predicted ‘material’ was created. – ‘Material’ was created in the Big Bang.

    5. Materialism predicted at the base of physical reality would be a solid indestructible material particle which rigidly obeyed the rules of time and space, Theism predicted the basis of this reality was created by a infinitely powerful and transcendent Being who is not limited by time and space – Quantum mechanics reveals a wave/particle duality for the basis of our reality which blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. -

    6. Materialism predicted that consciousness is a ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus has no particular special position within material reality. Thesism predicted consciousness preceded material reality and therefore consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even central, position within material reality. -

    7. 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) -

    8. Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind – Every transcendent universal constant scientists can measure is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. -

    9. 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 life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe. -

    10. 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.”. -

    11. 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 mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) -

    12. Materialism predicted a very simple first life form which accidentally came from “a warm little pond”. Theism predicted God created life – The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) -

    13. 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) – We find evidence for complex photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth -

    14. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse 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. -

    15. 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, then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. -

    16. Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man himself is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. -

    references for each of the 16 predictions:
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1ubha8aFKlJiljnuCa98QqLihFWFwZ_nnUNhEC6m6Cys

  35. bornagain,

    My question is for kuartus. I already know about your misreadings of cosmology and quantum mechanics.

  36. If mushroom, who seems to have been buried under bullsh*t/manure stronger than concrete, would just rebut the first two or three… or even two… or even one… you know? – I’m sounding like Lot – It would be really reassuring to know that BA77 and other ID proponents are not talking to thin air.

    How about you? Will you rebut any of the empirical evidence adduced by BA77?

  37. Sam Harris says he’s not a relativist and writes an entire book arguing against relativism and for an objective, science-based morality. Noted Sam Harris expert Mike1962 says that Harris is a relativist.

    Well, that settles it. Sam Harris is a relativist.

  38. I expect you have difficulty with “designless design’, too, JDH. Alas, prima facie, like supernatural grace, the revelation of such mysteries, it seems, is given to few.

    Or as the barrister, F E Smith, replied to the judge, who was weary of hearing Smith holding forth, and asked him what he thought he as sitting on the Bench for? “My Lord, it is not for me to seek to fathom the inscrutable workings of Divine Providence.”

    Perhaps in all humility, we should just accept that designless designs exist, and the free will/atheism conundrum you describe is only in your mind.

  39. Just one, champignon….

  40. Champ states: ‘I already know about your misreadings of (Big Bang) cosmology and quantum mechanics.’,,, REALLY???

    Well apparently I am not the only one ‘misreading’ the evidence from modern science:

    The best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discover Cosmic Background Radiation
    http://www.evidenceforchristia.....38;id=3594

    “There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”
    George Smoot – Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    “,,,the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world,,, the essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same.”
    Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – Pg.15 ‘God and the Astronomers’

    ,,, ‘And if your curious about how Genesis 1, in particular, fairs. Hey, we look at the Days in Genesis as being long time periods, which is what they must be if you read the Bible consistently, and the Bible scores 4 for 4 in Initial Conditions and 10 for 10 on the Creation Events’
    Hugh Ross – Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere; video

    “The Big Bang represents an immensely powerful, yet carefully planned and controlled release of matter, energy, space and time. All this is accomplished within the strict confines of very carefully fine-tuned physical constants and laws. The power and care this explosion reveals exceeds human mental capacity by multiple orders of magnitude.”
    Prof. Henry F. Schaefer

    “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” -
    Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University in Boston
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....beginning/

    The falsification for local realism (materialism) was recently greatly strengthened:

    Physicists close two loopholes while violating local realism – November 2010
    Excerpt: The latest test in quantum mechanics provides even stronger support than before for the view that nature violates local realism and is thus in contradiction with a classical worldview.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....alism.html

    This following study adds to Alain Aspect’s work in Quantum Mechanics and solidly refutes the ‘hidden variable’ argument that has been used by materialists to try to get around the Theistic implications of the instantaneous ‘spooky action at a distance’ found in quantum mechanics.

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    (of note: hidden variables were postulated to remove the need for ‘spooky’ forces, as Einstein termed them — forces that act instantaneously at great distances, thereby breaking the most cherished rule of relativity theory, that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.)

    Quantum Mechanics has now been extended by Anton Zeilinger, and team, to falsify local realism (reductive materialism) without even using quantum entanglement to do it:

    ‘Quantum Magic’ Without Any ‘Spooky Action at a Distance’ – June 2011
    Excerpt: A team of researchers led by Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences used a system which does not allow for entanglement, and still found results which cannot be interpreted classically.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....111942.htm

    Falsification of Local Realism without using Quantum Entanglement – Anton Zeilinger
    http://vimeo.com/34168474

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    Max Planck – The Father Of Quantum Mechanics – Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944)(Of Note: Max Planck Planck was a devoted Christian from early life to death, was a churchwarden from 1920 until his death, and believed in an almighty, all-knowing, beneficent God)

    The Mental Universe – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, Physicists shy away from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. A common way to evade the mental universe is to invoke “decoherence” – the notion that “the physical environment” is sufficient to create reality, independent of the human mind. Yet the idea that any irreversible act of amplification is necessary to collapse the wave function is known to be wrong: in “Renninger-type” experiments, the wave function is collapsed simply by your human mind seeing nothing. The universe is entirely mental,,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf

  41. Champ, what settles the fact that Harris, as well as all atheists, are moral relativists, is the fact that they cannot ground objective moral values in a materialistic worldview, it is not whether someone declares that they are not a moral relativist.,,, It is on par with Harris declaring himself to be the emperor of the world. Though Harris may very well believe himself to be emperor, his belief has no basis in reality, even if you and every other atheists in the world agrees that he is emperor of the world. It simply is not true of reality! :

    Notes:

    The primary reason why cannot ground objective morality within their worldview is that neo-Darwinists cannot maintain a consistent identity towards a stable, unchanging, cause for objective morality within their lives;

    The Knock-Down Argument Against Atheist Sam Harris’ moral argument – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvDyLs_cReE

    Please note how this ‘failure of consistent identity’ reason, for why atheists cannot ground a objective morality, strongly parallels the exact same reason why atheists cannot ground any claims they may have for absolute truth:

    Should You Trust the Monkey Mind? – Joe Carter
    Excerpt: Evolutionary naturalism assumes that our noetic equipment developed as it did because it had some survival value or reproductive advantage. Unguided evolution does not select for belief except insofar as the belief improves the chances of survival. The truth of a belief is irrelevant, as long as it produces an evolutionary advantage. This equipment could have developed at least four different kinds of belief that are compatible with evolutionary naturalism, none of which necessarily produce true and trustworthy cognitive faculties.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....onkey-mind

    What is the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism? (‘inconsistent identity’ of cause leads to failure of absolute truth claims for materialists) (Alvin Plantinga) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yNg4MJgTFw

    The following interview is sadly comical as a evolutionary psychologist realizes that neo-Darwinism can offer no guarantee that our faculties of reasoning will correspond to the truth, not even for the truth that he is purporting to give in the interview, (which begs the question of how was he able to come to that particular truthful realization, in the first place, if neo-Darwinian evolution were actually true?);

    Evolutionary guru: Don’t believe everything you think – October 2011
    Interviewer: You could be deceiving yourself about that.(?)
    Evolutionary Psychologist: Absolutely.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....think.html

  42. Well the Bible says the universe had a beginning- IOW the “God scenario” made a prediction that science verified.

  43. Well, supernatural grace is, indeed, given to many. It was intended ironically, but reading it again, nothing of the post even reaches the level of intelligible sarcasm.

    Still, that’s neither here nor there, as regards the curious silence of champignon and velikovsky in response to BA77′s so-called ‘spam’.

    One would have thought that someone choosing to visit this forum would be overjoyed to read about empirical evidence for ID and theism, yet not only are references to them ignored, but fuller descriptions of the evidence, which after all are really redundant, unless the respective points are rebutted by someone, are rancorously dismissed with lordly hauteur as ‘spam’. Such breath-taking interest in truth! You could see them jeopardising their careers in its pursuit, couldn’t you? Not.

    The reason of course is that that THEY CANNOT REBUT A SINGLE ONE of those empirical findings/’spams’.

    If we don’t ‘hold their feet to the fire’ on this, they will persist in their facile evasions sine die. Just one of those points should have been greeted by them with jubilation; particularly as atheists, who were shown to be barking up the wrong tree.

    Do they think, for instance, that the scientist who revealed the only possible scientific explanation for the Holy Shroud of Turin, was deluded or dishonest? If so, on what grounds?

    To a significant extent, their supernatural destiny could hinge on their attitude to the truth in this matter, yet it seems to be an empirical finding of no interest whatsoever to them, and they still want to hold forth as serious posters on this board.

  44. Well the Bible says the universe had a beginning- IOW the “God scenario” made a prediction that science verified.

    If the Bible had said “In the beginning was a Big Bang”, that might have a surface veneer of credibility. As it is, you make an eye-wateringly inane case for the predictive strength of Genesis 1 in opposition to any other creation story that doesn’t say “the universe has always been here”. Let’s consult the Bible on the matter, shall we?

    1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep

    The earth is up to 9 billion years younger than ‘the heavens’. And according to the Bible there was no light. That came next.

  45. To a significant extent, their supernatural destiny could hinge on their attitude to the truth in this matter, yet it seems to be an empirical finding of no interest whatsoever to them, and they still want to hold forth as serious posters on this board.

    My supernatural destiny is entirely my own business, thanks very much, but what you regard as an empirical finding – God exists, because look at all the stuff He has made – does not come close to anything that I would regard as an empirical finding. The existence of something is not a proof of a particular preference for cause – even if the proponent is utterly convinced that all ‘supernatural destinies’ hinge upon others sharing the recognition that he himself has come to.

    A bizarre world is painted whereby sincere conclusions are punished by damnation. Even if ’twere so, I would not change my sincere conclusion on THOSE grounds, for fear and not from intellectual honesty. What an odd way to evaluate matters.

  46. Champ back to this point;

    ‘God is the ultimate existence which grounds all of reality.’

    To which Champ asked:

    And you know this how?

    Before the breakthroughs of modern science in Big Bang Cosmology and Quantum Mechanics, we ‘knew’ this from logic; Here are the logical arguments I know of that preceded the empirical evidence for the Big Bang;

    The Creation Of The Universe (Kalam Cosmological Argument)- Lee Strobel – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3993987/

    William Lane Craig – Hilbert’s Hotel – The Absurdity Of An Infinite Regress Of ‘Things’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994011/

    Time Cannot Be Infinite Into The Past – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg0pdUvQdi4

    Aquinas and the Second Way:
    The second approach that Aquinas mentioned is similar to the first, but focuses on cause and effect rather than on potential motion being converted into actual motion. Every effect must have a cause, if you eliminate the cause you eliminate the effect. Once again, since an infinite series of cause and effect is irrational, the principle posits that there must be an original cause that in itself does not need a cause: hence God. Again, this does not posit the God of the Bible, or even a good and benevolent God for that matter, it only posits that a God exists who is the cause of all things and who is the effect of nothing.
    http://preacherwin.wordpress.c.....evelation/

    Here is the empirical evidence which verified those logical arguments for the ‘First Cause’ or for the ‘Uncaused Cause’:

    The Scientific Evidence For The Big Bang – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323668

    Evidence Supporting the Big Bang
    http://www.astronomynotes.com/cosmolgy/s7.htm

    Beyond The Big Bang: William Lane Craig Templeton Foundation Lecture (HQ) 1/6 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esqGaLSWgNc

    “Every solution to the equations of general relativity guarantees the existence of a singular boundary for space and time in the past.”
    (Hawking, Penrose, Ellis) – 1970

    “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” -
    Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University in Boston
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....beginning/

  47. This is the logical argument that preceded our discoveries from breakthroughs in Quantum Mechanics:

    Aquinas and the First Way (First Mover):
    Aquinas recognized that for motion to take place, there had to be something that interacts with it to cause it to move. For a ball to move, for example, it must be struck by another object, for example, the foot of a child kicking it. The ball has the potential to move, but that potential cannot reach its actuality until something else acts upon it. Aquinas argued then, that as the original object that was moved needed to have something act upon it to move, so too does the second object have something act upon it. The boy swings his leg, which moves his foot which in turn moves the ball. And the chain continues backwards from there. He also recognized that without a first mover, the chain of cause and effect must, by definition, go eternally back. Since that idea is absurd to the ordered mind and is not consistent with observable evidence, there must be a first mover upon which nothing is needed to act to cause him to move. This, in turn must be an infinite being outside of creation and hence is God.
    http://preacherwin.wordpress.c.....evelation/

    “The ‘First Mover’ is necessary for change occurring at each moment.”
    Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....first.html

    I find this centuries old philosophical/logical argument, for the necessity of a ‘First Mover’ accounting for change occurring at each moment, to be validated by quantum mechanics. One line of evidence, from quantum mechanics, arises from the fact that there actually is a smallest indivisible unit of time, Planck time, which directly contradicted the seemingly common sense contention that time was continuously ‘flowing’;

    Planck time
    Excerpt: One Planck time is the time it would take a photon travelling at the speed of light to cross a distance equal to one Planck length. Theoretically, this is the smallest time measurement that will ever be possible,[3] roughly 10^?43 seconds. Within the framework of the laws of physics as we understand them today, for times less than one Planck time apart, we can neither measure nor detect any change. As of May 2010, the smallest time interval that was directly measured was on the order of 12 attoseconds (12 × 10^?18 seconds),[4] about 10^24 times larger than the Planck time.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_time

    The ‘first mover’ of Aquinas’s argument was further warranted to be necessary from quantum mechanics since the possibility for the universe to be considered a self-sustaining ‘closed loop’ of cause and effect was removed with the refutation of the ‘hidden variable’ argument, as first postulated by Einstein, in quantum entanglement experiments.

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    (of note: hidden variables were postulated to remove the need for ‘spooky’ forces, as Einstein termed them — forces that act instantaneously at great distances, thereby breaking the most cherished rule of relativity theory, that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.)

    This proof was further solidified in 2010:

    Physicists close two loopholes while violating local realism – November 2010
    Excerpt: The latest test in quantum mechanics provides even stronger support than before for the view that nature violates local realism and is thus in contradiction with a classical worldview.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....alism.html

    And this proof was further extended in 2011 by Anton Zeilinger, and team, to falsify local realism (reductive materialism) without even using quantum entanglement to do it, i.e. extendended ‘non-local’ realism to the particles themselves, thus extendending the empirical evidence to be directly in line with Aquinas’s ‘First Mover’ argument:

    ‘Quantum Magic’ Without Any ‘Spooky Action at a Distance’ – June 2011
    Excerpt: A team of researchers led by Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences used a system which does not allow for entanglement, and still found results which cannot be interpreted classically.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....111942.htm

    Falsification of Local Realism without using Quantum Entanglement – Anton Zeilinger
    http://vimeo.com/34168474

    a further breakthrough in 2011 was here showing that quantum information is ‘conserved’:

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time – March 2011
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

  48. “My supernatural destiny is entirely my own business, thanks very much,”

    A puerile remark. In your dreams. Get over it, Kevin.

    “God exists, because look at all the stuff He has made.”

    No. Because of the evidence, we are fortunate enough to have had BA77 lay before us. Would you care to rebut ANY OF THE EXAMPLES OF EVIDENCE? Please feel free. It’s shut everyone else up.

    “The existence of something is not a proof of a particular preference for cause…”

    Gobbledegook. Well, slovenly writing, presumably reflecting your thought process.

    – even if the proponent is utterly convinced that all ‘supernatural destinies’ hinge upon others sharing the recognition that he himself has come to.”

    Your weird personalisation of the assent or rejection of even a putative truth, is indicative of where your interest in truth, as opposed to your clamorous emotional esurience, is located in your hierarchy of values. I can’t find it.

    Are you calling that Italian scientist a liar or a fool? You can have your own opinion, but not you own facts. Once you grasp that, let me know. In the meantime, don’t call me. I’ll call you.

  49. As well, preceding the fact that there must be a ‘First Mover’ for the movement of the particles themselves within this universe, there is now also shown to be a necessity for a sufficient ‘conscious’ cause (God/First Mover) to explain why quantum waves collapse to each unique point of conscious observation in the universe.

    Quantum mind–body problem
    Excerpt:Parallels between quantum mechanics and mind/body dualism were first drawn by the founders of quantum mechanics including Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, and Eugene Wigner
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....dy_problem

    Dr. Quantum – Double Slit Experiment & Entanglement – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4096579

    The Mental Universe – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, Physicists shy away from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. A common way to evade the mental universe is to invoke “decoherence” – the notion that “the physical environment” is sufficient to create reality, independent of the human mind. Yet the idea that any irreversible act of amplification is necessary to collapse the wave function is known to be wrong: in “Renninger-type” experiments, the wave function is collapsed simply by your human mind seeing nothing. The universe is entirely mental,,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.
    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bot.....choice.htm

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”
    Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays “Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays”; Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.

    Here is the key experiment that led Wigner to his Nobel Prize winning work on quantum symmetries:

    Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: To express this basic experience in a more direct way: the world does not have a privileged center, there is no absolute rest, preferred direction, unique origin of calendar time, even left and right seem to be rather symmetric. The interference of electrons, photons, neutrons has indicated that the state of a particle can be described by a vector possessing a certain number of components. As the observer is replaced by another observer (working elsewhere, looking at a different direction, using another clock, perhaps being left-handed), the state of the very same particle is described by another vector, obtained from the previous vector by multiplying it with a matrix. This matrix transfers from one observer to another.
    http://www.reak.bme.hu/Wigner_.....io/wb1.htm

    i.e. In the experiment the ‘world’ (i.e. the universe) does not have a ‘privileged center’. Yet strangely, the conscious observer does exhibit a ‘privileged center’. This is since the ‘matrix’, which determines which vector will be used to describe the particle in the experiment, is ‘observer-centric’ in its origination! Thus explaining Wigner’s dramatic statement, “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”

    Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.
    And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial…
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-designer/

    What drives materialists crazy is that consciousness cannot be seen, tasted, smelled, touched, heard, or studied in a laboratory. But how could it be otherwise? Consciousness is the very thing that is DOING the seeing, the tasting, the smelling, etc… We define material objects by their effect upon our senses – how they feel in our hands, how they appear to our eyes. But we know consciousness simply by BEING it!
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-411601

    Moreover, The argument for God from consciousness can be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

  50. It is also interesting to note that materialists, instead of honestly dealing with the obvious theistic implications of quantum wave collapse in quantum mechanics, will many times try to invoke something along the lines of Everett’s Many Worlds interpretation when dealing with quantum mechanics, in which the quantum wave is held to be abstract instead of real.

    Quantum mechanics
    Excerpt: The Everett many-worlds interpretation, formulated in 1956, holds that all the possibilities described by quantum theory simultaneously occur in a multiverse composed of mostly independent parallel universes.[39] This is not accomplished by introducing some new axiom to quantum mechanics, but on the contrary by removing the axiom of the collapse of the wave packet:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics

    Yet the ‘quantum wave packet’ is shown to be real, not abstract in the following;

    It is important to note that the following experiment actually encoded information into a photon while it was in its quantum wave state, thus destroying the notion, held by many, that the wave function was not ‘physically real’ but was merely ‘abstract’. i.e. How can information possibly be encoded into something that is not physically real but merely abstract?

    Ultra-Dense Optical Storage – on One Photon
    Excerpt: Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image’s worth of data into a photon, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.
    http://www.physorg.com/news88439430.html

    The following paper mathematically corroborated the preceding experiment and cleaned up some pretty nasty probabilistic incongruities that arose from a purely statistical interpretation, i.e. it seems that stacking a ‘random infinity’, (parallel universes to explain quantum wave collapse), on top of another ‘random infinity’, to explain quantum entanglement, leads to irreconcilable mathematical absurdities within quantum mechanics:

    Quantum Theory’s ‘Wavefunction’ Found to Be Real Physical Entity: Scientific American – November 2011
    Excerpt: David Wallace, a philosopher of physics at the University of Oxford, UK, says that the theorem is the most important result in the foundations of quantum mechanics that he has seen in his 15-year professional career. “This strips away obscurity and shows you can’t have an interpretation of a quantum state as probabilistic,” he says.
    http://www.scientificamerican......vefunction

    The quantum (wave) state cannot be interpreted statistically – November 2011
    http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/1111.3328

    Further notes on the ‘quantum wave packet’;

    Wave function
    Excerpt “wave functions form an abstract vector space”,,, This vector space is infinite-dimensional, because there is no finite set of functions which can be added together in various combinations to create every possible function.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....ctor_space

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    3D to 4D shift – Carl Sagan – video with notes
    Excerpt from Notes: The state-space of quantum mechanics is an infinite-dimensional function space. Some physical theories are also by nature high-dimensional, such as the 4-dimensional general relativity.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VS1mwEV9wA

    Thus the ‘necessary consciousness’ that is collapsing the wave packet to each central point of unique conscious observation in the universe, is found to be a ‘infinite dimensional consciousness’ which possesses the attribute of control over infinite information

  51. further notes:

    Centrality of Each Individual Observer In The Universe and Christ’s Very Credible Reconciliation Of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/17SDgYPHPcrl1XX39EXhaQzk7M0zmANKdYIetpZ-WB5Y/edit?hl=en_US

    Falsification Of Neo-Darwinism by Quantum Entanglement/Information
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1p8AQgqFqiRQwyaF8t1_CKTPQ9duN8FHU9-pV4oBDOVs/edit?hl=en_US

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    Verse and Music:

    Psalm 100:3
    Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;,,,

    Steven Curtis Chapman – God is God (Original Version) -
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz94NQ5HRyk

  52. 52

    For years I’ve wondered how the German people could have been deceived by the propaganda being espoused by the nazis, but since researching the Creation/I.D/Evolution debate, I’ve come to understand how it was done. Evolutionists are spreading propaganda as if it were ‘fact’ and the more outrageous the claims, the more (a large number) of the public believe them.

    It boggles the mind to see allegedly rational, logical people
    ACTUALLY believing the nonsense of darwinism.

  53. Axel,

    Instead of constantly rabbiting, “Spam, spam, spam, spam,” champignon, why don’t you take the normal, simple, rational step of rebutting, point by point, the utterly compelling EMPIRICAL evidence bornagain77 has adduced in defence of Intelligent Design and theism. It is one of the most primordial purposes of these fora.

    YOU CANNOT. They are established science. DO YOU ACCEPT THAT OR NOT? You materialists simply refuse to comment on them, still less put the jigsaw peices together. Why would that be?

    I usually don’t bother with bornagain77 because

    1) His spam tends to be irrelevant to the topic being discussed;

    2) When you engage him, he usually just responds with more spam instead of mounting a counterargument;

    3) He doesn’t understand the things he’s spamming about;

    4) He doesn’t understand the arguments that his opponent is making, so that on the rare occasions when he responds with a non-spam argument, it’s typically a non-sequitur;

    5) He gets upset and runs away when you catch him in an error.

    If you think I’m being overly harsh, take a look at this thread. BA77 butts into a conversation I’m having with Bruce David and spams us. When I ask him to address the actual argument I’m making, he scores an impressive own goal, gets upset, and runs away.

    I come to UD to 1) test my ideas against folks who are highly motivated to disprove them, 2) to enjoy the challenge of debate, 3) to learn what “the other side” is thinking, and 4) for sheer entertainment.

    BA77 is useless for #1 and #2. He’s useful for #3 for a while, but that trails off rapidly because he repeats himself so much. The only thing left is #4. BA77 can be amusing when he lets his true colors shine through (as with the bizarre triple and quadruple commas), but after a while it’s no longer worth mining these nuggets out of the mountains of spam.

    I gave BA77 a chance, but it just wasn’t worth it.

  54. Champ, seems that you are making excuses for not engaging the evidence. Moreover you are falsely accusing me of ‘not understanding the argument’ when I have in fact found you to be thoroughly misinformed of the evidence against your sophomoric atheistic position several times (every time?!!). As far as I can see you merely proclaim your position to be true with never any substantiating evidence and when confronted with solid evidence to the contrary you NEVER address it forthrightly, but merely ‘run away’ as you accused me of doing. Now I have addressed you in detail here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-418878

    Are you going to ‘run away’ again? Or are you going to honestly admit that your atheistic position is completely falsified?

  55. Any scientific papers coming out with grand claims of “New evidence of chance, undirected causes!”. Nope. Didn’t think so.

  56. Stu7,

    Well as BA77?s statistics reveal, there are more than enough tragic events throughout human history that are attributed to an atheistic worldview.

    Attributed to atheism by people like BA77. The real question is which (if any) atrocities were motivated by atheism in the way that the Crusades, 9/11, Heaven’s Gate, the Thirty Years’ War, and many others were motivated by religious zeal.

    Remember the original quote was: “Indeed, it is surely religious zeal rather than atheism which is historically notorious in the fortunes of mankind.”

    You were the one who changed the focus to relativism, not me:

    Moral relativism, the progeny of Atheism, is just as, if not more so, historically notorious in the fortunes of mankind than religious zeal.

    You continue:

    And if you reject to being lumped into one “large atheistic grouping”, I reject being categorised into a group of “religious zealots”.

    I’m not sure why you mention this. I didn’t call you a religious zealot, and neither did Stoppard.

    Anyway, this is all tangential. My purpose in this exchange was just to point out the egregious quotemine of Stoppard.

  57. Champignon, Atheism IS a religion, in that it seeks to answer life’s most important questions, like where we came from, where we are going, is there purpose and meaning to life. For you to deny that Atheism is a religion is for you to be thoroughly confused (as usual) as to exactly what a ‘religious worldview’ entails.

  58. champignon, please tell me, using your very own atheistic/materialistic worldview, (and not borrowing from Theism) exactly why it was morally wrong for Stalin and Chairman Mao to murder tens of millions of their own citizens;

    Cruel Logic – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qd1LPRJLnI

    Description; A brilliant serial killer videotapes his debates with college faculty victims. The topic of his debate with his victim: His moral right to kill him.

  59. Bornagain,

    In all sincerity, bless you for not spamming me this time.

    Champignon, Atheism IS a religion, in that it seeks to answer life’s most important questions, like where we came from, where we are going, is there purpose and meaning to life.

    No, it doesn’t. Atheism is the lack of a belief in gods. As Bill Maher put it the other day, “Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.”

    Watch the video. It’s funny.

  60. Champignon, you are clearly in denial. Shoot I’ve seen more blind faith from Atheists in their nihilistic worldview (religion) than I EVER seen from Christians!,,, Regardless, of you confusing what is self-evident (again) please address the evidence here and do not run away (again)!

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-418878

  61. And just how do you presuppose to bless me Champ??? Is your god of random chaotic chance going to bless me??? Which reminds me;

    This following experiment is really interesting:

    Scientific Evidence That Mind Effects Matter – Random Number Generators – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4198007

    I once asked a evolutionist, after showing him the preceding experiment, “Since you ultimately believe that the ‘god of random chance’ produced everything we see around us, what in the world is my mind doing pushing your god around?”

    The Mind Is Not The Brain – Scientific Evidence – Rupert Sheldrake – (Referenced Notes)
    http://vimeo.com/33479544

  62. Stu,

    Ok, but as the OP referred to — what do you make of the seemingly improbable amount of integrated fine-tuning…

    The fine-tuning argument is problematic because it is essentially a probabilistic argument, yet we don’t have the information we need to compute the relevant probabilities.

    The argument boils down to this: If the universe was created by an undirected process, the odds are extremely low that it would have the properties that it does — properties that enable life. Therefore it must have been designed to have those properties.

    But how can we establish that the odds are low? We would have to answer questions like the following:

    1. Are the parameters independent, or does setting the value of one parameter restrict the values that another parameter can take?

    2. What do the probability distributions look like? Are all possible values of a parameter equally likely, or are some values far more likely than others?

    3. How many universes are there?

    4. What are all the possible sets of parameter values that could support intelligent life? Not just life as we know it, but any kind?

    Answering the first three questions is especially problematic. We don’t have any experience in creating universes, so we can’t rely on that, and we don’t yet have a sufficiently complete theory of universe creation with which to answer the questions.

    So the fine-tuning argument ends up being another God-of-the-gaps argument: “We don’t yet know why the universe’s parameters have the values they do, so God must have done it.”

    So you’re open to the idea of a God (with proof) just not the God of the Bible.

    Right. The Bible contains too many errors and contradictions to be a trustworthy source of information about God. It was clearly not written by an omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent God.

    Surely you are basing that on your own subjective notion of morality.

    No. An evil God is a logical possibility. In fact, an evil God — or at the very least an indifferent one — is far more plausible than a good God, given the amount of evil and suffering in the world.

    And these days (not sure how long ago you turned to atheism)?

    It was a while ago. I started doubting Christianity at about fourteen, and had progressed to atheism by the time I got to college.

    How do the fairly recent revelations of fine-tuning square with your intellectual justification of atheism?

    Pretty well, given the objections I raised above to the fine-tuning argument.

  63. I’m essentially a very simple person. I just look at stuff and try to figure out what makes sense.

    By “losing one’s mind” I’m referring to not thinking rationally. It could be that inanimate matter spontaneously generated sophisticated, functionally-specified information and the associated hardware and software.

    It could be.

    It could be that the universe spontaneously popped out of a theoretical multiverse with all the laws of physics mysteriously fine-tuned for the eventual production of living systems.

    It could be.

    If the materialist is correct, and all that exists is the product of physicality and not mind, then I must have lost my mind (which is kind of a weird concept, since from a materialist’s point of view mind does not exist — it’s all matter in motion).

    The only logical conclusion I can reach, from a materialist’s perspective, is that my inference to design is a manifestation delusional thinking, as Richard Dawkins would propose.

    Everywhere I turn I find materialistic thinking to be infused with self-contradictory propositions, not to mention denial of the obvious implications of the discoveries of modern science, which, in my view, point evermore persuasively to design as the only reasonable and logical conclusion.

    I therefore reaffirm my original thesis: Either I have lost my mind, or materialists have lost theirs.

  64. @BA77,

    I realize from your google doc link that even this post does not rise above the apologetics-spam threshold, but it’s worth ticking through them, it’s an impressive array of mistakes and misconceptions:

    1. Materialism predicted an eternal universe, Theism predicted a created universe. – Big Bang points to a creation event. -

    Not. Materialism makes no such prediction. Materialism isn’t a scientific theory or hypothesis, but a philosophical conclusion, which holds that all of reality is reified as space/time/energy/matter (STEM). As such, it makes no predictions about the eternality of the universe. Per materialism, our universe could be created, but if it is, the creation would a be material phenomenon, whether personal or impersonal.

    And, the Big Bang doesn’t point to any creation event that is a problem for materialism. In a cascading universe model of the multiverse, the Big Bang is a local “bubble” in a “foam” of universes. This is not a conflict at all with materialism.

    FAIL on this one.

    2. Materialism predicted time had an infinite past, Theism predicted time had a creation. – Time was created in the Big Bang. -

    See #1 above. Materialism makes no such prediction. As for “time had a creation”, this is an incoherent concept. By definition, creation requires time. No change, no time. The theistic view, as you’ve stated it, is self-contradictory.

    FAIL on this one.

    3. Materialism predicted space has always existed, Theism predicted space had a creation (Psalm 89:12) – Space was created in the Big Bang. -

    An eternal universe and a non-eternal universe are both compatible with materialism. I think you, or the author of the apologetics bit there, remain confused about what materialism consists of entails, philosophically.

    FAIL on this one.

    4. Materialism predicted that material has always existed, Theism predicted ‘material’ was created. – ‘Material’ was created in the Big Bang.

    Maybe you are thinking of “Steady State Cosmology”, or something? Materialism demands nothing like this. Never mind that this is a false dichotomy as posed — matter and energy created in our local universe does not discount the eternality of a metaverse as an option.

    FAIL on this one.

    5. Materialism predicted at the base of physical reality would be a solid indestructible material particle which rigidly obeyed the rules of time and space, Theism predicted the basis of this reality was created by a infinitely powerful and transcendent Being who is not limited by time and space – Quantum mechanics reveals a wave/particle duality for the basis of our reality which blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. -

    There must be a “cdesignproponentists” problem at work here, and you’ve bungled a search/replace on some other term for materialism. Materialism just holds that reality is identical with STEM. Theism is not a model that generates the kind of predictions you are offering here, either. ‘Limited by time and space’ is another confused term, having to steal concepts from STEM (‘limited’ trades on concept of extension and dimensionality from STEM).

    FAIL on this one.

    6. Materialism predicted that consciousness is a ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus has no particular special position within material reality. Thesism predicted consciousness preceded material reality and therefore consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even central, position within material reality. -

    Materialism makes no such prediction. Materialism would only require that consciousness, if it is real, exists in the context of STEM. Quantum mechanics, of course, has revealed anything like what you say here. Contact your nearby university physics department and ask them, if you suppose it has.

    FAIL on this one.

    7. 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) -

    Materialism has not, does not, and cannot predict this. Again, you are confusing materialists with something else. GR and SR are completely compatible with materialism. Theism can’t even participate on questions like this, as it is incompatible with scientific epistemology whenever it postulates conjectures like “God is eternal and is outside of time”. It’s a divide by zero, it’s theology.

    FAIL on this one.

    8. Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind – Every transcendent universal constant scientists can measure is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. -

    Materialism does not make, and cannot make such a prediction. Materialism is a monist ontology, standing in contrast to dualism, an ontology which understands there to be a material and immaterial domain of reality. Many theists are dualists, but some forms of theism are monist, materialist. Pantheism, for example. I understand you are given to conflating your Christianity with theism.

    FAIL on this one.

    9. 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 life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe. -

    There’s a pattern emerging, here. Materialism makes no such prediction. I have friends who are materialists, who, for reasons unrelated to their materialism, believe that the universe is filled with a multitude of alien life forms, and also friends who believe we are either alone in the universe, or one of just a handful of habitats for complex life. I won’t bother to correct you on the statistics for hability/life-amenability.

    FAIL on this one.

    10. 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.”. -

    OK, let’s unpack this. Same error, first, as all the others: materialism makes no such prediction. Second, evolutionary theory does not predict or require the accumulation of nonprotein-coding DNA. Neither does it predict the absence of same. As for “fearfully and wonderfully made”, well that speaks to the level of seriousness being applied here to our knowledge and theories.

    FAIL on this one.

    11. 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 mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) -

    Materialism makes no such predictions. Materialism != evolutionary theory. And evolutionary does not lay “ultimate” responsibility for biological diversity on mutations. Evolutionary theory predicts the vast majority of mutations will be deleterious or neutral, and adaptive mutations rare. It’s another part of the process — selection — that provides the key element for adaptation, differentiation, diversity and speciation. It’s not seriously questioned where there are truly beneficial mutations.

    FAIL on this one.

    12. Materialism predicted a very simple first life form which accidentally came from “a warm little pond”. Theism predicted God created life – The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) -

    Materialism makes no such prediction.

    FAIL on this one.

    13. 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) – We find evidence for complex photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth -

    Materialism makes no such prediction. Perhaps you have confused evolutionary theory with materialism? And, given your citation of Genesis, you are apparently confusing theism with Christianity? In any case, this item also misundertands what it purports to argue against (and what it hopes to argue for, in this particular item).

    FAIL on this one.

    14. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse 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. -

    Materialism makes no such prediction. I’m not aware of any prediction of theism that says life must appear “abruptly” on a “fifth day”. Evolutionary theory does predict the growth of diverse and complex forms in fossils over time, but there is no prediction that anything will be “self-evident”. The “sudden appearance” of major phyla in what is called the Cambrian Explosion spanned 75 million years or more, and does not represent a conflict or problem for evolutionary theory.

    Not that this anything do with materialism. Or theism.

    FAIL on this one.

    15. 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, then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. -

    Materialism makes no such predictions. On evolutionary theory, ALL fossils are transtitional forms, as EVERY INDIVIDUAL is a transitional form (you are the transitional link between your parents and any children you may have, and have a different phenotype than any of them. The creationist idea of “transitional” reflects a basic misunderstanding of the theory. That said, many fossils exist which exhibit features common to types of organisms traditionally thought to be distinct. Darwinopterus, for example, is basal to pterodactyloids and rhamphorhynchoids. There are no fixed “types” per evolution. Even those groupings we are accustomed to thinking about as “types” have fossils that demonstrate structures common to disparate “types”.

    FAIL on this one.

    16. Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man himself is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. -

    Materialism makes no such prediction. Evolutionary theory makes no such prediction either. As for “suddenly appeared”, it’s not coherent on the terms you’ve offered. If, some hundreds of thousands of years ago, humans branched apart from some other lineage (apes), humans are no more recent than those apes. Both were “born” as distinct nodes in the clade at the same time, by definition. This is what “split” and “branch” imply. What you’ve said can’t be true as you’ve said it.

    FAIL on this one.

    So… there’s either just the routine spam reflex being indulged here in posting this, in which case you’re just not aware of the mistakes and confusion of the people you are copying from, or the mistakes and confusion are your own. Even if we look past the pervasive confusion about what materialism is and what it holds (and the same goes for your use of ‘theism’, by the way), the commitments and demands you assign to evolutionary theory are not even “n00b” level problems. I do appreciate that this comes across as more “by your hand” than the normal spam you dump in the channel, though. It takes a little more effort, which is good, and it attaches all those errors and mistakes more directly to you, which is good.

    Don’t forget to keep mentioning you’re an evangelical Christian, and you think this is how an evangelical Christian should approach these topics in your posts, thanks.

  65. @Gil,

    If the materialist is correct, and all that exists is the product of physicality and not mind, then I must have lost my mind (which is kind of a weird concept, since from a materialist’s point of view mind does not exist — it’s all matter in motion).

    “Matter in motion” doesn’t militate against the reality of the mind — it reifies the concept. Matter and energy are what makes mind real. I understand that coming from a dualist mindset, there is this reaction that the mind doesn’t exist on monism, and on dualist terms, it doesn’t. But you are committing to a category error in doing so; you are applying dualist semantics for “mind” to monism, and they don’t apply. A material mind is real *because* it doesn’t obtain in a supernatural/immaterial reality. If you consider materialism as true, just provisionally, so as to evaluate it on its own terms, there is no problem with the reality of mind. Your dualist understanding just doesn’t apply.

    This is one reason why I find it highly unlikely you were ever an active atheist/materialist. Even if you don’t embrace that view anymore, it’s clear from everything I’ve read from you that you have never understood that distinction. You could ‘switch sides’, but you would be familiar with the basic conceptual framework of materialism/monism.

    Think of this as another item in state’s evidence that your “former atheist credentials” are likely quite bogus.

    The only logical conclusion I can reach, from a materialist’s perspective, is that my inference to design is a manifestation delusional thinking, as Richard Dawkins would propose.

    I think it is delusional, but it’s neither remarkable nor particularly alarming. As a Christian, I had this same false dichotomy cultivated in the church culture: either I’m CRAZY, or God exists! I don’t *feel* crazy, ergo God exists! Boom.

    This is a way of exaggerating our mistakes to such an extent that we reject our mistakes as mistakes. It’s a caricature of what’s really happening.

    Humans are naturally superstitious. It has some evolutionary advantages, and it’s a side effect of having a strong ‘stance of intentionality’. So that doesn’t mean you are crazy, or have lost your mind. You’re just not using it in a rigorous or careful way. That’s not a great method for getting high-performance models and results, but it’s not something that will leave you unable to function. So, just consider that your common sense is a very crude tool, and is prone to errors small to gigantic, and science is a tool we have available for calibrating that judgment.

    A deer that is “paranoid”, skittering away at the sound of a snapping twig, for fear it might be a predator lingering in the brush, is not crazy. The vast majority of the time, the deer is not correct in suspecting there is a menacing predator behind that twig-snap, but on balance, it benefits the deer to “err on the side of safety”. It costs a modest amount of energy to be wrong and “run from nothing”. It’s a fatal error if it does not detect an actual mountain lion snapping a twig as it approaches.

    So that paranoia, that delusion, is natural, practical, and adaptive. You are similarly paranoid and ‘design-centric’. This is how evolution has developed your psychology, such that you create designs, see designs everywhere and have a hair-trigger “design identifier” that is prone to fire all the time with false positives for the same reason the deer runs away. If you are a “conspiracy theorist” and suspect your tribal rival is planning to kill you so that he might have your possessions and take your wife as his own, better for you to be “paranoid” and think it’s happening even when it’s not — over and over — than to be lax one time and be the victim of such a plot. People with a propensity to such “false negatives” tend to get weeded out of the gene pool.

    So it’s a gross miscalculation, a basic misread of what is going on around you, but you are in many ways naturally inclined to do it. If you choose to let your intuitions and superstitions be subject to OTHER mental tools you have — the ability to think skeptically, objectively and critically, you can engage in the team sport of knowledge building, and understand those proclivities and “blind spots”.

    Anyway, the “I’m right or I’m crazy” is lazy thinking, a false dichotomy. You may be just mistaken in very natural and expectable ways. Not crazy, but thoroughly wrong.

  66. eigenstate, you are thoroughly dishonest! i.e. A liar!

  67. bornagain,

    Nice rebuttal. Very persuasive.

  68. eigenstate, to further clarify in technical terms for you, your responses are complete and utter garbage!

  69. Touché! You’ve really got him on the ropes, BA!

  70. axel

    Still, that’s neither here nor there, as regards the curious silence of champignon and velikovsky in response to BA77?s so-called ‘spam’

    I would have thought eigenstate’s herculean effort would suffice.

  71. Just to show others just how completely dishonest you are eigenstate, you state in response to point number 1:

    ‘And, the Big Bang doesn’t point to any creation event that is a problem for materialism.’

    yet Stephen Hawking stated recently:

    A point of creation would be a place where science broke down. One would have to appeal to religion and the hand of God.” Stephen Hawking.

    Unfortunately neither Hawking nor you seem to be aware of the fact that materialism cannot even ground the scientific method in the first place. So it is hysterical that he is so self deceived by his materialistic worldview that he thinks it is the same thing as science, and would even equate the falsification of the materialistic worldview as the ‘breakdown’ of science!

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory & The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    http://vimeo.com/34468027

    The End Of Materialism? – Dr. Bruce Gordon
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as a 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 (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

    Epistemology – Why Should The Human Mind Even Be Able To Comprehend Reality? – Stephen Meyer – video – (Notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/32145998

    Why should the human mind be able to comprehend reality so deeply? – referenced article
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qGvbg_212biTtvMschSGZ_9kYSqhooRN4OUW_Pw-w0E/edit

    etc.. etc.. etc..

    You supposed rebuttals just get worse from there eigenstate!

  72. @BA77,

    eigenstate, you are thoroughly dishonest! i.e. A liar!

    I deny the charge, but note, for the record, that you’ve explicitly accused me of being a liar. I’m not one to get honked off at that kind of stuff, but will bookmark this for the next time kairosfocus supposes being contradicted somehow violates his sacred honor, and demands some form of cosmic satisfaction.

    Maybe you could pick one of the predictions of materialism you offered, and show where that prediction is entailed by materialism? That would be a good start on substantiating your charge.

    As it is, it’s instructive to see what kind of responses you post when you have to go off the spam-catalog. What happens when links to YouTube videos aren’t even relevant enough for your goals here?

    I grew up with lists like the one you are working from. These are “echo chamber” artifacts, and work the same way as the “creationist chestnuts” that get cycled around in evangelical circles filling in the faithful on “proofs of a young earth”, for example by realizing that the moon’s orbit would have closed to a point where it collided with the earth if the earth was old, or if the earth was old, the ocean should have WAY more salt than it does, etc.

    These are welcome faith builders and useful in sympathetic circles, but they fail spectacularly when you get them outside those sympathetic and credulous communities. They do not survive contact with science or skeptical thinking. Most of the time, it’s just not worth the effort to rebut — nobody outside the ‘circle of sympathy’ pays any heed — but this one was such a complete fail, it seemed worth a quick pass over the list.

    It didn’t even stumble into getting one right or squared with the terms it used. One might expect at least THAT by accident.

  73. Champ are you being the mindless atheistic lapdog again? It is truly pathetic that you would so quickly and willingly buy into such pathetic tripe from eigenstate, without even pausing to see if he were actually being forthright in his analysis!

  74. Maybe you could pick one of the predictions of materialism you offered, and show where that prediction is entailed by materialism? That would be a good start on substantiating your charge.

    Already Done! And I gladly stand behind my words, for you are indeed a liar!

  75. Champ: “Sam Harris says he’s not a relativist and writes an entire book arguing against relativism and for an objective, science-based morality. Noted Sam Harris expert Mike1962 says that Harris is a relativist. Well, that settles it. Sam Harris is a relativist.”

    What he does is argue against a “relativism” which is against his own view after he makes the bald declaration about what he considers to be valuable, namely that consciousness deserves to have it’s suffering reduced. Do you see the problem here? Obviously not.

    Again, his entire load of jibber jabber boils down to this: “I think the suffering of consciousness should be reduced and I hope you agree with me.” How does science establish that as an “objective morality”? It doesn’t and it can’t. Sam Harris’s philosophy springs from his own feelings about consciousness. He cannot point to an *absolute* standard out side of his own feelings for the basis of his philosophy. This is what Relativism *is*, despect Harris’s (and your) ridiculous claim to the contrary.

  76. Moreover you are falsely accusing me of ‘not understanding the argument’

    Explain the difference between local realism in physics and metaphysical realism. Then retract posts conflating the two.

  77. DrREC, well since I can empirically land non-local realism into a timeless state, I fairly comfortable with my grasp of the subject. But please do tell me of you mastery of the subject, I’ve been wanting to ask, Just what is your ‘non-local’ material basis that you materialists must appeal to so as to be the sufficient cause for quantum non-locality??? It’s worth a quarter admission to watch the dodge on this!

  78. @BA77,

    Just to show others just how completely dishonest you are eigenstate, you state in response to point number 1:

    ‘And, the Big Bang doesn’t point to any creation event that is a problem for materialism.’

    yet Stephen Hawking stated recently:

    A point of creation would be a place where science broke down. One would have to appeal to religion and the hand of God.” Stephen Hawking.

    You’re mistaking the Big Bang with a “point of creation” — “creation” implies “creator”. That’s not what Big Bang theory posits. And it’s not what Hawking holds, either. You’re convinced that the Big Bang is your “creation point” that you’ve made the mistake of conflating the two concepts.

    But even that rebuttal is not needed. Your “prediction” fails at a more basic level:

    1. Materialism predicted an eternal universe, Theism predicted a created universe. – Big Bang points to a creation event. -

    Let’s just stipulate that that Hawking now believes in a supernatural creator, based on that quote (or some other reason). Now what? How does that bear on materialism?

    It doesn’t. In that case, Hawking would not be a materialist.

    If we instead allowed that Hawking somehow remained a materialist but holds that the Big Bang was a “point of creation”, by definition that creator would be a material entity, a material phenomenon. It would have to be, or else Hawking would not be a materialist, and we’d revert to the first stipulation above.

    But let’s stretch it in your direction even farther and just ignore the definitional problem and grant that Hawking is a materialist who believes the Big Bang is a “point of creation”. It doesn’t help you, because right beside him is Lawrence Krauss, who’s getting up a couple times a month and explaining the Big Bang as part of his model of the multiverse, generated by impersonal physical law.

    So where to go with that? Is Krauss not a materialist, then? Is he bound to Hawking’s views, however we might mangle them (or not)?

    Your ‘predictions’ are not grounded in the concepts you want to hang them on. Materialism doesn’t and cannot make the prediction you assert it makes. If it did, it would be some other concept.

  79. Me: Explain the difference between local realism in physics and metaphysical realism. Then retract posts conflating the two.

    Explain the difference between local realism in physics and metaphysical realism. Then retract posts conflating the two.

    4.2.2.1.2
    bornagain77

    “DrREC, well since I can empirically land non-local realism into a timeless state, I fairly comfortable with my grasp of the subject. But please do tell me of you mastery of the subject, I’ve been wanting to ask, Just what is your ‘non-local’ material basis that you materialists must appeal to so as to be the sufficient cause for quantum non-locality??? It’s worth a quarter admission to watch the dodge on this!”

    “I can empirically land non-local realism into a timeless state”

    Empirically? Go on please…. How have you empirically observed a timeless state? Are you immortal?

    Not to be harsh, but to someone who actually knows a thing or two about local realism (via Quantum Field Theory and the EPR paradox) you’re babbling.

  80. Mike,

    To be a moral relativist is to believe that morality is relative. Harris does not believe that morality is relative. Therefore Harris is not a moral relativist.

    Whether you think his position is consistent or not is beside the point.

  81. Hmm Eigenstate, obfuscation of the truth is what you like to do instead of following the truth? How sad!!! ,,, Well, I will leave to the unbiased readers to decide who is being forthright and who is being severely misleading and dishonest.

  82. @BA77,

    Bearing in mind that it’s a mistake to conflate Hawking with “materialism” in the first place, here’s a quote from Hawking’s recent The Grand Design, chapter 6, “location 1821″ (since this is being referenced on my iPad with the Kindle version of the book):

    Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.

    I can provide more quotes if needed. Hawking uses “creation” throughout the book, but in a secular, materialist sense. You are either confused about Hawking’s views, or quote mining in your citation above of Hawking. Moreover, Hawking’s views one way or the other do not support your claim in Prediction #1.

  83. DrREC, contrary to you exalted opinion of yourself, a opinion I’m sure you take great pride in, I don’t consider you to really know much of anything of importance in physics! ,,, And moreover, why should I go to all the trouble of laying out the logic for you when you will just dogmatically deny that it even matters just because of your a-priori commitment to atheism? Thanks but no thanks. Its late, I’m tired, and right now I could care less that you are determined to stay a atheist no matter what the evidence says!

  84. ba77,

    I think you both are honest,it is just that you are wrong.On the bright side you have lots of people who think like you to hang out with.

  85. oh goody obfuscation of obfuscation!,,, I’m done!

  86. BA77,

    Well, I will leave to the unbiased readers to decide who is being forthright and who is being severely misleading and dishonest.

    Not a good idea to leave it to the unbiased readers, BA. You won’t get the answer you’re hoping for.

  87. See what I mean, Axel?

    Eigenstate engages BA point by point, and instead of defending his position with an actual argument, BA gets upset, calls eigenstate a liar, spams him, and then runs away:

    oh goody obfuscation of obfuscation!,,, I’m done!

  88. Dr Rec,

    Sounds interesting,any introductory recommendations?

  89. What is the experimental observation of a “timeless state?”

    You claimed empirical proof of it.

    You clobber words, concepts, whole field of science together, without any regard for meaning or truth.

    You are the paragon of bullshittery.

  90. Matter and energy are what makes [sic] mind real.

    Huh?

    I find it highly unlikely you were ever an active atheist/materialist.

    Thanks for the psychoanalysis, and knowing more about me than I know about myself. You must have amazing psychic abilities. I understand that a lot of money can be made in that profession. You should look into it.

    Or perhaps you could become a philosopher and give helpful advice to people who are happier than you are, as Tom Lehrer once observed about Hen3ry in his introductory patter to the great classic We Will All Go Together When We Go.

    As further evidence of my impeccable former-atheist credentials, back in my atheist days I used to regale audiences with my performances of the entire Tom Lehrer repertoire, singing and accompanying myself at the piano. I often heard, “You sound more like Tom Lehrer than Tom Lehrer!”

    Lehrer is quoted as saying: “I used to think atheists were arrogant but now I am one and I like it.”

  91. I don’t care that Sam Harris says he’s not a moral relativist. He is one by the accepted definition of the term. See above.

  92. Mike,

    He is one by the accepted definition of the term.

    Which is? (References please, including evidence that the definition you supply is the “accepted” one.)

  93. @GilDodgen,

    Matter and energy are what makes [sic] mind real.

    Huh?

    You know, like… extended in space/time, like the rest of what you demonstrate and support as real. As it is, you have mind ‘existing’ as some kind of immaterial… “thing”. But “exist” and “thing” are both stolen concepts you must borrow from the natural world. If you wanted to demonstrate “non-exist” vs. “exist” for something (again, ‘something’ as a stolen concept), you’d not have any thing to ground (there I go again) your criterion upon (and again!).

    So, mind as a material phenomenon, as our way of referring to the high-level patterns and dynamics of the brain (music being played back is sound waves, but it’s not *just* sound waves in terms of its meaning and context for human listeners) makes mind real in way dualism can’t hope to… realize. It has grounded semantic and coherent concepts governing its use in our talking and thinking about it.

    Does that help?

    On the psychoanalysis, I think I’ve said this to you before, but there’s no psychoanalysis needed. I think I used a reference to the pronunciation of “Houston Street” in Manhattan, but here I’ll say that if someone were regularly harking back to the wonderful days they spent in the 1980s in beautiful Aspen, Colorado, but when asked about the ski areas there, failed to recall any skiing in or around Aspen, I wouldn’t need to probe that person’s psychology, I’d just understand that something doesn’t fit there, like your atheist past doesn’t seem to recall the prominent, central aspects of that storied era in your past. It’s not a matter of motivation or intention, it just has all the empirical patterns of posing.

    Saying “Huh?” where you did, in reference to the suggestion of mind-as-material is a good example of that incongruity. I’m not saying you weren’t an atheist or unbeliever in the straightforward “I don’t believe” or “I’m rebelling against God” sense. But reactions like this — and they come up often in your posts — just don’t fit with an atheist who’s been through the basics of materialism, or worldviews that eschew belief in gods or dualist notions of the supernatural.

    There’s no harm in being a “casual tourist of unbelief”. The friction from me is just your representation of it as something more than that. Why you would choose that, if that’s indeed what you’ve chosen, as a matter of psychology, doesn’t interest me, nor do I suppose I’m in a place to make headway on that even if I was interested. There’s just a series of goofs and basic errors you provide as cues that something doesn’t match up with your claims of a thoroughgoing and considered atheism.

    But kodus on the Tom Lehrer schtick. Comedy gold.

  94. I didn’t allege that. I pointed out that unlike us, they “didn’t have the advantage of seeing hundreds of supernatural beliefs and explanations fall by the wayside as science advanced.”

    And yet we’ve seen even more ‘scientific’ beliefs collapse than ‘supernatural’ ones. If you weren’t indulging in a false dichotomy we’d then be required to accept that supernatural beliefs are more reliable than ‘scientific’ ones. And thus that we ought point ourselves towards the supernatural.

    There are only two kinds of beliefs. Those you can verify by picking up the artifacts of correctness from the local Walmart. And religious ones.

  95. Interesting that supernatural beliefs get replaced with scientific beliefs, but not vice-versa.

    I repeat:

    There hasn’t been even a single confirmed supernatural hypothesis in the history of science to date (but many that have been falsified). Given this dismal track record, it’s hardly surprising that atheism is so prevalent, particularly among scientists (only 7% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences believe in a personal God).

  96. I suspect that evidence trumps desire in terms of what he actually believes). But many (if not most) of us would have no problem believing in God if the evidence were there.

    That’s Not Even Wrong territory. If your view engages a ‘truth’ about ethics or creation then it is a religion. And Atheism is no guard against this as it is an assertion about the supernatural. Agnosticism, to the degree that it dabbles in the same, is no different.

    Absent empiricism all ‘evidence’ is either confirmation bias or cultural trivia. (Which does not mean you shouldn’t believe whatever you like about what cannot be proven.)

  97. ba77:

    OK vel, how about you or Champ address even just one of these 16 points;

    I happen to neither, but these are good. Points (1) through (3), (9), (11), (12) and (16) ar a fair cop. Number (4) is a bye as it’s arguable as to what Materialist held what position.

    (5):

    Quantum mechanics reveals a wave/particle duality for the basis of our reality which blatantly defies our concepts of time and space.

    Copenhagen, IIRC. Do not confuse the philosophical conjurations with the math. This holds the same for (6)

    (7):

    Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe, Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time …

    Do not confuse the ignorance of scientists with fact. Seriously, do not do this. There are a number of flaws with the purported proofs of relativity on this count and you should do better than to take them uncritically. Besides which, none of the intersting ideas about a non-Euclidean geomtery for spacetime have anytyhing to do with actual spacetime or God. See Niels Bohr for details.

    (8)

    Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and life was ultimately an accident of time and chance.

    That’s neither here nor there. If Christianity is correct then Christianty is correct. If Atheism is correct then Atheism is correct. None of the notions of winning the lottery have any validity here. (Which goes for the point of the post as well.)

    (10)

    Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made …

    Nothing surprising or interesting here. Humans have always believed that our ignorance makes the infinite larger. See: Cantor.

    (13) through (15) You’re right, don’t get me wrong. But it’s meaningless. Especially about the punctuated equilibrium argumetn you use in (15). That the believers in the Cargo Cult of Science haven’t ginned on in the face of Gould and HGT is neither here nor there.

  98. The scope for quoting characters in plays as representing their author’s opinions is immense!

    I don’t believe Stoppard says much about his private life but I would guess he is either an atheist or very sceptical agnostic. After all he wrote the screenplay to the atheist film “The Golden Compass”.

  99. The evidence is there, but they simply choose not to look at it.

    “Pearls before swine”, as I saw in another post. There’s a gulf of difference between knowing the answer and being able to explain to someone what the answer is. And then show them.

    Without the show n’ tell you really can’t get uppity about things. Doesn’t mean you don’t have the right answer, but you cannot prove it to someone else. They will be what they will be, and they will believe what they will believe.

    Do what you can for you and them; and knock the dust off your sandals when you need.

  100. And yet we’ve seen even more ‘scientific’ beliefs collapse than ‘supernatural’ ones.

    Of course, because scientific propositions are propositions, not beliefs, and can be falsified..

    Supernatural ones cannot be. That doesn’t make them more true.

    Scientific propositions are falsified every day, and all scientific conclusions are provisional. That doesn’t mean that scientists change their minds every day, but it does mean that theories are subject to constant revision and refinement. Very few theories are abandoned completely, because theories, are models not reality itself, and even inaccurate models can be useful. Newton’s model of mechanics is used in engineering application is all the time, even we now it does not hold true on vast or infinitessimal scales.

    The rigor of science lies in the fact that it is the art of fitting models to data not the other way round. That means that it is always the model that has to change.

  101. Well Maus, to defend the points you found fault with:

    your first objection:

    ‘Quantum mechanics reveals a wave/particle duality for the basis of our reality which blatantly defies our concepts of time and space.

    Copenhagen, IIRC. Do not confuse the philosophical conjurations with the math.’

    Yet the wave state is found to be real, not abstract, here, thus overturning the notion that the wave function was merely abstract as is held in the Copenhagen interpretation:

    It is important to note that the following experiment actually encoded information into a photon while it was in its quantum wave state, thus destroying the notion, held by many, that the wave function was not ‘physically real’ but was merely ‘abstract’. i.e. How can information possibly be encoded into something that is not physically real but merely abstract?

    Ultra-Dense Optical Storage – on One Photon
    Excerpt: Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image’s worth of data into a photon, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.
    http://www.physorg.com/news88439430.html

    The following paper mathematically corroborated the preceding experiment and cleaned up some pretty nasty probabilistic incongruities that arose from a purely statistical interpretation, i.e. it seems that stacking a ‘random infinity’, (parallel universes to explain quantum wave collapse), on top of another ‘random infinity’, to explain quantum entanglement, leads to irreconcilable mathematical absurdities within quantum mechanics:

    Quantum Theory’s ‘Wavefunction’ Found to Be Real Physical Entity: Scientific American – November 2011
    Excerpt: David Wallace, a philosopher of physics at the University of Oxford, UK, says that the theorem is the most important result in the foundations of quantum mechanics that he has seen in his 15-year professional career. “This strips away obscurity and shows you can’t have an interpretation of a quantum state as probabilistic,” he says.
    http://www.scientificamerican......vefunction

    The quantum (wave) state cannot be interpreted statistically – November 2011
    http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/1111.3328

    Next you object:

    This holds the same for (6)

    (7):

    Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe, Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time …

    Do not confuse the ignorance of scientists with fact. Seriously, do not do this. There are a number of flaws with the purported proofs of relativity on this count and you should do better than to take them uncritically. Besides which, none of the interesting ideas about a non-Euclidean geometry for spacetime have anything to do with actual spacetime or God. See Niels Bohr for details.

    Yet the proofs for the time dilation held by General and Special Relativity are consistent from multiple lines of evidence:

    Experimental confirmation of Time Dilation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....nfirmation

    Time Dilation – General and Special Relativity – Chuck Missler – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/7013215/

    Time dilation
    Excerpt: Time dilation: special vs. general theories of relativity:
    In Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, time dilation in these two circumstances can be summarized:
    1. –In special relativity (or, hypothetically far from all gravitational mass), clocks that are moving with respect to an inertial system of observation are measured to be running slower. (i.e. For any observer accelerating, hypothetically, to the speed of light, time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop).
    2.–In general relativity, clocks at lower potentials in a gravitational field—such as in closer proximity to a planet—are found to be running slower.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

    Moreover, though you appeal to ideas of Niels Bohr in support of your view that I should not place too much weight on these observations within science confirming the time dilation of space-time, the fact that Neils Bohr very own notion of a ‘abstract’ wave function was recently shown to be false, by both observational and mathematical proofs, for his very own specialty of quantum mechanics, should at least count somewhat against Neils Bohr concepts in a field not his expertise.

    I seriously don’t understand your objection to 8 and find no merit for your objection;

    As to your objection to 10, If it is truly ‘neither here nor there’ then why in blue blazes are atheists, such as PZ Myers, fighting tooth and nail for as much junk DNA as they can deceive people into believing in?? You say ‘see Cantor’, but I find that statement itself to really be ‘neither here nor there’ as to addressing the persistent atheistic myth of Junk DNA. I think you may be confusing a larger scope of science with the day in day out reality of what is being debated between atheists and theists:

    As well your objection to 13 through 15, I agree though the points are not necessarily of falsification caliber, they are none the less very useful for establishing the pattern in science that atheists are at complete variance with.

  102. Dr Torley:

    Very interesting comment.

    I have not seen the word “Zeitgeist” for ever so long, but spirit of the age is so right on so many levels.

    KF

  103. Dr(The Dogmatist)REC states:

    You are the paragon of bullshittery

    Well, coming from the one whom I consider the reigning master of bullshittery, that would be a supreme compliment! :) LOL

    But I do try to keep up. By the way DrREC, do you own a Chevy or a Ford?

    Chevrolet Commercial – Mayan Apocalypse 2012
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxFYYP8040A

    here is some music to enjoy a Apocalypse in your Chevy with:

    Casting Crowns – Praise you in this storm
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGPS8sa-bRQ

  104. Well, I can.

    And for the moral dimension to decision-making.

    That fact that you can’t see it isn’t evidence that it doesn’t exist.

    We see it just fine.

    BTW, JDH, I gave you half an answser on another thread, but I’ve lost the link! If you respond here, and give me the link, I’ll finish it off. But I’d appreciate a response to the half-answer I already posted (especially as it may affect my response to the other half – the piece about the 2 rivers.)

    Thanks.

  105. HMM DrREC, you quote a paper by, of all people, Zeilinger to support your atheistic worldview? Perhaps you should take a closer look at Zeilinger’s views, which are Theistic, but not necessarily Christian, before you go trying to twist his views to accord with yours:

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
    http://www.metanexus.net/archi.....linger.pdf

    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ZPWW5NOrw

  106. Mike, how do you decide whether an action is right or wrong?

    And how do you decide whether it matters?

  107. I agree. A very good point. Atheism now is like someone standing on two icebergs in the sea at the same time. And these icebergs started moving in opposite directions.

  108. Chas- YOUR position has nothing-> no testable hypothesis and no positive evidence.

  109. Chas- YOUR position has nothing-> no testable hypothesis and no positive evidence.

    “My” (sic) position on the Big Bang? I thought you were saying the Bible concurs with science? So though you say “the “God scenario” made a prediction that science verified.”, you are now asserting that science has not, in fact, ‘verified it’, even in your hugely eccentric reading of Genesis? Make yout mind up, man!

  110. Thank you for proving my point. And thank you for proving that you are an obtuse evo.

  111. DrRec
    Thanks

    BA ,
    Back in form, I’ve always been curious, how do you keep track of your links? Per topic? What is a rough estimate of the number in your arsenal?

  112. So a Chevy Commercial and a Music video are your “experimental observation of a “timeless state?”

    You also haven’t explained the difference between local realism and metaphysical realism.

  113. Well DrREC, seeing as you despicably tried to highjack Zeilinger’s paper in support of your atheistic worldview, even though Zeilinger is a theist, I figured my time would be better spent talking to a brick wall, trying to convert the brick wall into becoming a wooden wall, than it would be trying to talk you out of your dogmatic pseudo-scientific atheism. I figure my odds are immensely better in the endeavor! :)

    Brick Wall
    https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AYmaSrBPNEmGZGM4ejY3d3pfMjg1c253dDRkMw&hl=en_US

    If successful I’ll build up to converting Taliban to Christianity.,,, But I’ll leave dogmatic atheists, such as you, to Jesus Himself, since that level of conversion will certainly require something on par with raising the dead! :)

  114. Thank you for proving my point.

    You have been somewhat incoherent as to what your point is.

    Is it
    a) The Bible predicted the Big Bang and science has confirmed it.
    b) The Big Bang, as a scientific position, has not been verified, regardless of what the Bible may say on the matter.
    c) Something else entirely.

    And thank you for proving that you are an obtuse evo.

    Evolution and cosmology. Two different subjects.

    (although chemical and stellar evolution are relevant to the latter. So I guess an “evo” may conceivably be someone who considers all three to be legitimate scientific positions. And ID isn’t “anti” any of them. Bad evo!).

  115. –eigenstate to BA77: “You’re mistaking the Big Bang with a “point of creation” — “creation” implies “creator”. That’s not what Big Bang theory posits. And it’s not what Hawking holds, either. You’re convinced that the Big Bang is your “creation point” that you’ve made the mistake of conflating the two concepts.”

    The big bang is, by definition, an singular event that requires an antecedent cause, which itself must be either [a] a first/causeless cause or [b] an effect of a first/causeless cause.

    There is, then, only one question to answer: Can the first/ causeless cause be a law or must it be an intelligent agent? We know that it cannot be a law because laws cannot produce novel or creative events; they can only do what they do. That leaves intelligent agency as the only other possibility.

    Obviously a novel or creative event requires a creator. There is no way around it. Any scientist, therefore, who claims that a contingent universe can exist without a necessary Creator is simply ignorant about or antagonistic toward reason’s rules.

  116. –eigenstate to Gil: “Matter in motion” doesn’t militate against the reality of the mind — it reifies the concept. Matter and energy are what makes mind real. I understand that coming from a dualist mindset, there is this reaction that the mind doesn’t exist on monism, and on dualist terms, it doesn’t. But you are committing to a category error in doing so; you are applying dualist semantics for “mind” to monism, and they don’t apply. A material mind is real *because* it doesn’t obtain in a supernatural/immaterial reality. If you consider materialism as true, just provisionally, so as to evaluate it on its own terms, there is no problem with the reality of mind. Your dualist understanding just doesn’t apply.”

    Actually, it is the other way around. You a committing a linguistic error in two ways:

    First, you attribute material qualities to mind, which has always been defined as an immaterial and eternal faculty of an immaterial and eternal soul. If there are no souls, then there are no minds (or wills)– only brains. To call the material brain a mind, then, or to suggest that matter in motion can generate a mind, is to distort the language and commit a logical error. Temporal matter in motion cannot produce immaterial eternity

    Second, you are confusing an organ (brain) with a faculty (mind). Neither can do what the other does. Physical organs are slaves to matter for the simple reason that they are part of the material world of physical cause and effect that is the primary determinant of their activity. A faculty, on the other hand, is endowed with powers that are absent from organs. Among many other qualities, faculties can change the direction of their goals or even reflect on themselves.

    In keeping with that point, matter can only follow in the direction that the laws of nature direct. It certainly cannot reflect on itself or anything for that matter. Obviously, only an immaterial mind can get the idea of a physical cosmos billions of light years across inside of itself.

    It makes no more sense to define a mind as a brain, or an extended brain, that it would be to define a soul as a body, or an extended body. Soul, because of its nature, cannot be grounded in body;, mind, because of its nature, cannot be grounded in matter. One may deny souls and minds to their hearts content, but they have no logical warrant for conflating the two or suggesting that one can be the cause of the other.

  117. correction: ..but [there can be no logical warrant] for conflating the two or suggesting that one can be the cause of the other.

  118. “My supernatural destiny is entirely my own business, thanks very much,”

    A puerile remark. In your dreams. Get over it, Kevin.

    Who in hell is Kevin? Any judging that may be coming is certainly not going to be conducted by you, or on any terms that you may decide, so, I say again, none of your business.

    “God exists, because look at all the stuff He has made.”

    No. Because of the evidence, we are fortunate enough to have had BA77 lay before us. Would you care to rebut ANY OF THE EXAMPLES OF EVIDENCE? Please feel free. It’s shut everyone else up.

    Do you know why? I don’t thnk anyone can be bothered. It really does not constitute ‘evidence’. BA77 chucks his quantum crap at any ‘materialist’ who may drift by, dancing around with a “put your dukes up” pugnacity. Now you are offering to hold his coat. Yawn. The difference between the ‘materialism side’ and the other is that you feel that there are no boundaries which humility might prevent you from transgressing in your all-science-encompassing make-stuff-uppery. I prefer to stick with what I can speak on with reasonable authority – evolutionary theory, molecular biology, phylogeny, biochemistry. I am not a quantum physicist. As a general comment, I would say that whatever this or that ‘materialist’ may or may not have predicted is simply immaterial. Science progresses by changing its mind, as well as by finding new stuff. It really is not a big deal. And (whisper it) I’m just some bloke on the internet. I am not ‘science made flesh’. You can’t get to ‘science’ through the few who can be bothered to come here and are allowed to continue posting.

    … am I to understand that some bloke on the internet has discovered PROOF of God through deep analysis of quantum physics? Wow. How could I be skeptical of such a claim? Do you understand his arguments? Could you precis them for a lay audience, or help him improve his presentation skills such that people don’t just think “oh, it’s ,,,,BA77 again”. Or do you just think his arguments are impressively impenetrable? I think he, and you, are most likely full of something, but clarity of thought and exposition is probably not it.

    “The existence of something is not a proof of a particular preference for cause…”

    Gobbledegook. Well, slovenly writing, presumably reflecting your thought process.

    Hark! The sweet sound of the internet blowhard.

    Are you calling that Italian scientist a liar or a fool?

    Italian scientist? There is more than one. You assume I have some detailed access to your own thought processes, or have followed your postings in detailed chronological order. I have no idea who you are talking about.

    You can have your own opinion, but not you own facts. Once you grasp that, let me know. In the meantime, don’t call me. I’ll call you.

    Toodles, big guy.

  119. despicably tried to highjack Zeilinger’s paper in support of your atheistic worldview

    Using scientific papers to support a viewpoint not held by the author is despicable? Wow. Or is this not a symmetrical position?

  120. The big bang is, by definition, an singular event that requires an antecedent cause, which itself must be either [a] a first/causeless cause or [b] an effect of a first/causeless cause.

    I will have to begin a campaign toward the recognition of definitions as descriptive tools. I’m all for precision and clarity in our definitions, but definitions are binding on reality. Reality is what it is, independent of what we suppose our definitions hold.

    As for the Big Bang: First, the multiverse model popular in modern physics does not provide for a single universe, but for a multitude of them, each with its own inception point (it’s own “bang”). So it’s not a unique phenomena in those frameworks. Those aren’t the only hypotheses, and they may not be correct (we can’t know by direct observation), but t=0 is not a “singular event” by definition.

    Second, in case you suppose that the beginning of our universe (and even ‘beginning’ is problematic as a term, but for lack of a better one we use it, analogically) was a singularity, so long as you understand that our universe was inflationary — and this is the resounding testimony of a wealth of evidence we have now accumulated — THERE CANNOT BE A BEGINNING, a singularity (where all mass and energy are accumulated in a single point). That is, for an inflationary universe, to reach t=0, you would have to go back an INFINITE length of time.

    There is, then, only one question to answer: Can the first/ causeless cause be a law or must it be an intelligent agent? We know that it cannot be a law because laws cannot produce novel or creative events; they can only do what they do. That leaves intelligent agency as the only other possibility.

    We don’t know that, and have no reason to suppose such a constraint – and in fact have all sorts of well attested physical principles that contradict that point. If we point out instruments at a radioactive isotope and watch for decay events, it’s very predictable and clockwork for large statistical samples, and half-life reduction is highly regular, but for individual decay events, physics is highly creative, totally unpredictable as to the timing of each decay event.

    At the quantum level, you’re about as far wrong as you could be. Below Planck scales, the natural world is a seething frothy foam of creative events. At quantum levels, it’s thoroughly novel, and it’s only through apprehending natural as statistical ensembles, large aggregations of these events, that order and predictability arise. Not surprisingly, then, random quantum events are posited as the basis for the generation of entire universe, including, perhaps, our own.

    So, the testimony we have from physics is that random, novel events aren’t just known and observed, they are the fundamental building blocks of nature. The physical laws we use to create and deploy working models of nature integrate random, novel interactions at the lowest levels. Leading theoretical frameworks for the inception of our universe contemplate a “zero-energy” quantum flux as the catalyst for our entire universe. This is what Stephen Hawking and Lawrence Krauss and the like are pointing at when they assert that no God is needed for universe creation — it’s a random quantum event in the enclosing context, operating just as everyday physics does in the generated universe (this one).

    Intelligence is not the only possibility. It hasn’t even been shown to be A possibility. No theoretical framework exists for our physics that extrapolates out to a transcendent mind or intelligence. As a conjectural notion, anything goes, I guess, but that’s as far as intelligent agency goes. It is an explanation without a supporting model or framework. A superstition. Quantum cosmology may be incorrect, ultimately, but it’s anti-superstitious. It’s wholly mechanical, merely instrumental, 100% law-based. We can’t test it directly, but we can understand that explanation as being provisioned directly as an extension of our physical models that perform in this universe.

    Obviously a novel or creative event requires a creator.

    I think you will have to define
    There is no way around it. Any scientist, therefore, who claims that a contingent universe can exist without a necessary Creator is simply ignorant about or antagonistic toward reason’s rules.

    I think that’s correct, with the proviso that by “reason’s rules” you are think of something peculiar to StephenB. Physicists and scientists can’t make headway on natural knowledge in the intuitive and superstitious framework you call your ‘rules of right reason’. They are non-operative for demonstrative, natural knowledge building. So I’m sure most of that community is ignorant of StephenB’s “rules of right reason”, and it’s no loss on their part. Familiarity would just breed contempt, if my experience with those concepts and intuitions is any guide. If you suppose you can plumb the origins of the universe, and divine the nature of reality, all with your eyes closed, neither taking heed of the witness of nature, nor feeling a need for such, well, you get what you deserve with your “rules of right reason”, and all that cruel euphemism implies.

  121. @StephenB,

    Second to last paragraph should look like:
    I think you will have to define ‘novel’? What is your test for ‘novel’?

    There is no way around it. Any scientist, therefore, who claims that a contingent universe can exist without a necessary Creator is simply ignorant about or antagonistic toward reason’s rules.

  122. Stephen: I fully agree that a mind is not a brain. But that doesn’t make me not-a-monist.

    The classic formulation is that “mind is what the brain does”. But that’s too glib, I think. A mind is property of a person, and a person is an organism. I am not my brain, nor am I my legs or my arms. “I” is the name I give to myself as an organism, and my “mind” is the property of that whole, not of any one part, nor, IMO, of some added on bit of something else.

    The idea that a whole has properties not possessed by its parts (and indeed may lack properties possessed by its parts) is a perfectly familiar one. An ocean wave has properties not possessed by either the water or the air between which it forms the interface. But that doesn’t make it immaterial.

    We, as intelligent organisms, are capable of choosing our actions in line with both personal goals and ethical principles. Those capacities are properties of the organism as a whole, not of any one part. I don’t see why that should require the positing of some immaterial extra something.

    In fact, what would be the point of the doctrine of the resurrection of the body if it did? Monism seems to me to be a concept perfectly compatible with traditional theism tbh.

    In fact I learned it from a catholic theologian.

  123. 124
    EndoplasmicMessenger

    The Big Bang seems pretty well confirmed.

  124. @StephenB,

    Actually, it is the other way around. You a committing a linguistic error in two ways:

    First, you attribute material qualities to mind, which has always been defined as an immaterial and eternal faculty of an immaterial and eternal soul. If there are no souls, then there are no minds (or wills)– only brains. To call the material brain a mind, then, or to suggest that matter in motion can generate a mind, is to distort the language and commit a logical error. Temporal matter in motion cannot produce immaterial eternity

    Definitions are descriptive tools. The do not have metaphysical powers that shape reality. Nevermind that materialism is the oldest philosophical tradition in the western world (dates back to Epicurus and Democritus in 4thC BCE), and Epicurus’ materialism specifically focused on theory of mind, his Identity Theory of Mind which held that mind was bodily substance (see here for example). Even if we except your false claim, there, it wouldn’t matter, because “always been defined” exerts perfectly no bearing on reality. If the earth was always defined as “flat” or “square”, or supporting “corners of the earth”, that tradition would have no bearing whatsoever on facts of earth a (rough) sphere.

    So long as we understand that we redeploy words with new meanings and implications to accomodate new information and circumstances, this is not distortive at all. “Flat earth” definitions, like an “immaterial mind” are just fine as useful concepts of philosophy, but at odds with our accumulated knowledge, distortions of natural knowledge. That’s the way language evolves and interacts with new evidence and experience.

    I’m not sure what the reference to “immaterial eternity” connects to. “produce” and “immaterial” are incoherent together, as “produce” relies on stolen concepts from the material world. If something (material concept) is produced (material concept), you have a material something, by definition. “Produce” doesn’t have any semantics for “immaterial”, so far as I’m aware. If you don’t this, maybe you can suggest how we might test for something (material concept!) to “produced immaterially”.

    Second, you are confusing an organ (brain) with a faculty (mind). Neither can do what the other does. Physical organs are slaves to matter for the simple reason that they are part of the material world of physical cause and effect that is the primary determinant of their activity. A faculty, on the other hand, is endowed with powers that are absent from organs. Among many other qualities, faculties can change the direction of their goals or even reflect on themselves.

    “Slaves to matter?” What is this strange voodoo you speak of, here??? Organs ARE matter, configurations of cells aggregated as tissues that form a structural element of the anatomy of higher organism. A “faculty” is an ability. Walking is a faculty, as is thinking. Walking is no more superstitious or supernatural or immaterial than thinking is; it’s just a concept we deploy that describes those abilities. “Walking” like “thinking” is a phenomenon of action, a coordinated set of actions performed by the organism.

    These are not my definitions. These are just dictionary/descriptive usages. If you want to insist on some superstitious definition, then fine, but we are stuck, as these will produce what superstition and theology produce, nothing by way of performative knowledge, nothing to test, nothing predictive, nothing falsifiable, nothing distinguishable from its negation.

    Or, we can use terms with grounded semantics, and the system works. The epistemology holds, and we have heuristics that can contemplate hypotheses, test them, dismiss them, hone them and validate them based on models that use these grounded semantics.

    In keeping with that point, matter can only follow in the direction that the laws of nature direct. It certainly cannot reflect on itself or anything for that matter. Obviously, only an immaterial mind can get the idea of a physical cosmos billions of light years across inside of itself.

    OK, so “laws” here, in physics, are descriptive. The word is not used in a prescriptive sense — that is an exercise in personifying nature. We do understand that the descriptions we build, and the models we build that work, work because there are effective dynamics. Mass actually exerts an accelerating gravitational force on mass; it’s effective beyond its description.

    But either way, there is no warrant for the conclusion that nature cannot reflect on itself in some cognitive way. On the surface, that sounds like a pantheistic construct, which isn’t a view I find supported by the evidence, but it’s not something you can exclude as a possibility. Evolved humans, and other sentient creatures, wherever they might be, if they be, are just that, though, on naturalism: parts of nature contemplating and interacting in a cognitive way with nature. There’s no contradiction or logical problem there at all.

    Your “Obviously” there, then, is conspicuously out of place. Not only is that not obvious, it’s not even coherent. “Immaterial mind” is not even grounded, semantically, let alone “true” or factual as a concept. It’s not concrete enough to be judge ‘true’ or ‘false’. It’s a divide by zero. You have matter interacting with matter all around you everyday, and thus the pervasive precedent for naturalist understanding of mind as physical phenomenon; it’s just a richly textured and complex set of natural interactions, but not ontologically different from your hand hitting the desk. On the other hand, though, you find an inchoate concept — immaterial mind — obvious.

    It makes no more sense to define a mind as a brain, or an extended brain, that it would be to define a soul as a body, or an extended body.

    That’s another term that can be (and has been) put to good use with natural semantics. If you read the works of Douglas Hofstadter (Gödel, Escher, Bach, I Am A Strange Loop), you will find a very effective redeployment of ‘soul’ in materialist terms. Distinct from ‘mind’, which refers to cognition, ‘soul’ refers to the personality traits and features of mind that distinguish that person as an individual, intellectually. The semantics are clear, grounded, effective. It works.

    Soul, because of its nature, cannot be grounded in body;, mind, because of its nature, cannot be grounded in matter. One may deny souls and minds to their hearts content, but they have no logical warrant for conflating the two or suggesting that one can be the cause of the other.

    Materialists just deny that those definitions and understandings are meaningful or grounded in reality at all. The terms aren’t coherent in the first place, and where we understand (if vaguely) what is conceptually aimed at, the referents are imaginary, non-existant. Perfectly synonymous with ‘unreal’.

    So the warrant would just be repurposing those terms to definitions that are grounded in nature, concrete in their semantics.

    Words are descriptive tools. They serve us, we don’t serve them. So long as we can agree on the referents, the concepts they point to, we have the basis for good communication. Words do not confer reality upon reality, they are handy labels we use to coordinate invocation and manipulation of concepts. Conceptually, below the “naming” level of words, is where you’re getting wrapped around your axle. “Immaterial mind” is a good example of a “dangling term” — it has a spelling and is pronouncable and otherwise seems like a lot of other words that point to grounded concepts. But this one doesn’t. There’s no referent for that term. It can’t be shown, tested, described, falsified, engaged or otherwise distinguished from the competing (and I say identical) concept of “imaginary”.

  125. eigenstate states, after dancing around in a materialistic fantasy land trying to get around the overwhelming evidence for the Big Bang (just as materialists/atheists have been doing since Hubble’s discovery of a expanding universe in the 1920′s):

    ‘Physicists and scientists can’t make headway on natural knowledge in the intuitive and superstitious framework you call your ‘rules of right reason’. They are non-operative for demonstrative, natural knowledge building.”

    Yet contrary to eigenstate’s deeply, but falsely, held belief:

    Why should the human mind be able to comprehend reality so deeply?

    Science and engineering, as foreign as it may sound to some people, was born out of a purely Judeo-Christian worldview. To be certain, other cultures, during the history of the world, have given fits and starts to science and engineering, but never did these foreign cultures bring science and engineering to a robust maturity through a sustained systematic development. It was only in the Judeo-Christian worldview, and in that worldview alone, that modern science was brought to the sustainable level of maturity that it has now reached. Several resources are available that document this seemingly mysterious, yet undeniable, fact of history. Here are a few.

    Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
    Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47431.html

    The Origin of Science
    Excerpt: Modern science is not only compatible with Christianity, it in fact finds its origins in Christianity.
    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/aug.....rigin.html

    Christianity Is a Science-Starter, Not a Science-Stopper By Nancy Pearcey
    http://www.pearceyreport.com/a.....post_4.php

    Founders of Modern Science Who Believe in GOD – Tihomir Dimitrov
    http://www.scigod.com/index.ph.....File/18/18

    A Short List Of The Christian Founders Of Modern Science
    http://www.creationsafaris.com/wgcs_toc.htm

    Christianity and The Birth of Science – Michael Bumbulis, Ph.D
    Excerpt: Furthermore, many of these founders of science lived at a time when others publicly expressed views quite contrary to Christianity – Hume, Hobbes, Darwin, etc. When Boyle argues against Hobbe’s materialism or Kelvin argues against Darwin’s assumptions, you don’t have a case of “closet atheists.”
    http://ldolphin.org/bumbulis/

    Christianity Gave Birth To Each Scientific Discipline – Dr. Henry Fritz Schaefer – video
    http://vimeo.com/16523153

    Several more resources are easily available on the internet, and through Amazon, for those who would like to learn more about the Judeo-Christian founding of modern science and engineering. But the main thing I want to focus on in this article is on the particular question of ‘exactly why should it be that the Judeo-Christian worldview is so fruitful to science and engineering, whereas, in the other cultures in the history of the world, science and engineering were stillborn?’ I think Dr. Koons does an excellent job of summing up exactly why the Judeo-Christian worldview is so fruitful to modern science and engineering:

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    As well, Dr. Plantinga does a very good job in summing up exactly why the Judeo-Christian worldview is so fruitful to modern science and engineering here:

    Philosopher Sticks Up for God
    Excerpt: Theism, with its vision of an orderly universe superintended by a God who created rational-minded creatures in his own image, “is vastly more hospitable to science than naturalism,” with its random process of natural selection, he (Plantinga) writes. “Indeed, it is theism, not naturalism, that deserves to be called ‘the scientific worldview.’”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12.....wanted=all

    Here are some quotes reflecting that prevalent Judeo-Christian worldview present at the founding of modern science:

    To know the mighty works of God, to comprehend His wisdom and majesty and power; to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful workings of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance cannot be more grateful than knowledge.
    Nicolaus Copernicus

    “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. … This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called “Lord God” ??????????? [pantokratòr], or “Universal Ruler”… The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect.”
    Sir Isaac Newton – Quoted from what many consider the greatest science masterpiece of all time, his book “Principia”

    Even Albert Einstein, although he was certainly not thought of as a particularly religious person, reflects how the Judeo-Christian worldview influenced his overall view of reality in this following quote;

    “I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.”
    Albert Einstein

  126. But a more mysterious question to the issue, is the fact that this seemingly foreign, even outrageously bold, proposition of the rational intelligibility of the universe, that could even be dared to be comprehended by mere human minds, should be so successful as a proposition of thought. For why should it be that mere human minds, human minds who happened to have the audacity to believe that their minds were, of all things, created in the image of the Being Who had created the entire universe, would be so successful as to establishing a solid foundation for modern science, unless this seemingly outlandish idea of being made in God’s image were actually true? In other words, why should science be so successful unless the seemingly outrageous propositions underlying the foundation of modern science were actually true? Dr. Meyer reflects on the success of that outrageous proposition here in this video:

    Epistemology – Why Should The Human Mind Even Comprehend Reality? – Stephen Meyer – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/32145998

    Moreover, modern science has actually revealed that this outrageous proposition, (that the universe was created by a rational Mind, and that our mind is created in the image of that rational Mind, and that therefore we can comprehend the universe to a deep level), is confirmed on many levels by science. Here Eugene Wigner reflects on the effectiveness of mathematics for understanding reality:

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Granville Sewell, Professor of Mathematics at the University of El Paso, reveals that mathematics actually governs reality, not just passively describes reality, here;

    Finely Tuned Big Bang, Elvis In The Multiverse, and the Schroedinger Equation – Granville Sewell – audio
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4233012

    At the 4:00 minute mark of the preceding audio, Dr. Sewell comments on the ‘transcendent’ and ‘constant’ Schroedinger’s Equation which governs the basic actions of the universe;

    ‘In chapter 2, I talk at some length on the Schroedinger Equation which is called the fundamental equation of chemistry. It’s the equation that governs the behavior of the basic atomic particles subject to the basic forces of physics. This equation is a partial differential equation with a complex valued solution. By complex valued I don’t mean complicated, I mean involving solutions that are complex numbers, a+bi, which is extraordinary that the governing equation, basic equation, of physics, of chemistry, is a partial differential equation with complex valued solutions. There is absolutely no reason why the basic particles should obey such a equation that I can think of except that it results in elements and chemical compounds with extremely rich and useful chemical properties. In fact I don’t think anyone familiar with quantum mechanics would believe that we’re ever going to find a reason why it should obey such an equation, they just do! So we have this basic, really elegant mathematical equation, partial differential equation, which is my field of expertise, that governs the most basic particles of nature and there is absolutely no reason why, anyone knows of, why it does, it just does. British physicist Sir James Jeans said “From the intrinsic evidence of His creation, the great architect of the universe begins to appear as a pure mathematician”, so God is a mathematician to’.
    Granville Sewell PhD.

    i.e. the Materialist is at a complete loss to explain why this should be so, whereas the Christian Theist ‘naturally’ presupposes such ‘transcendent’ control of our temporal, material, reality,,,

    John 1:1
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    of note; ‘the Word’ is translated from the Greek word ‘Logos’. Logos happens to be the word from which we derive our modern word ‘Logic’.

    In this following video, Dr. Richards and Dr. Gonzalez reveal that the universe is ‘suspiciously set up’ for scientific discovery:

    Privileged Planet – Observability/Measurably Correlation – Gonzalez and Richards – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5424431

    The very conditions that make Earth hospitable to intelligent life also make it well suited to viewing and analyzing the universe as a whole.
    - Jay Richards

    Extreme Fine Tuning of Light, and Atmosphere, for Life and Scientific Discovery – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/7715887/

    This following video is in the same line of thought as the preceding videos:

    We Live At The Right Time In Cosmic History – Hugh Ross – video
    http://vimeo.com/31940671

    But, as impressive, suspicious, and persuasive, as the preceding ‘hints’ are that the universe was created by the Mind of God and can be understood by the mind of man, since we are made in God’s image, the deepest correlation, of our mind to the Mind of God, finds its most concrete proof of correlation from looking at consciousness itself through the lens of quantum mechanics. There are many famous quotes that throw a little light on just how surprised people are when the first encounter quantum mechanics. Here are a few.

    Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.
    Neils Bohr

    “The more success the quantum theory has, the sillier it looks”
    Albert Einstein

    And indeed, one of the prime reasons why quantum theory has looked so ‘silly’, to so many top scientists, is that consciousness is found to be integral, even central, in many of the experiments of quantum mechanics. This following quote nicely sums up exactly why consciousness would throw someone, who is used to thinking of reality in materialistic terms, for a complete loop, after looking at some of the experiments of quantum mechanics:

    What drives materialists crazy is that consciousness cannot be seen, tasted, smelled, touched, heard, or studied in a laboratory. But how could it be otherwise? Consciousness is the very thing that is DOING the seeing, the tasting, the smelling, etc… We define material objects by their effect upon our senses – how they feel in our hands, how they appear to our eyes. But we know consciousness simply by BEING it! – UD Blogger
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-411601

    Moreover, because of the correlation of our mind to the Mind of God, we can develop a very strong argument for God from consciousness, and even provide strong empirical proof for the argument:

    The argument for God from consciousness can be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either precedes all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Here is the empirical proof for the argument;

    Dr. Quantum – Double Slit Experiment & Entanglement – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4096579

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.
    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bot.....choice.htm

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”
    Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays “Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays”; Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.

    Here is the key experiment that led Wigner to his Nobel Prize winning work on quantum symmetries:

    Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: To express this basic experience in a more direct way: the world does not have a privileged center, there is no absolute rest, preferred direction, unique origin of calendar time, even left and right seem to be rather symmetric. The interference of electrons, photons, neutrons has indicated that the state of a particle can be described by a vector possessing a certain number of components. As the observer is replaced by another observer (working elsewhere, looking at a different direction, using another clock, perhaps being left-handed), the state of the very same particle is described by another vector, obtained from the previous vector by multiplying it with a matrix. This matrix transfers from one observer to another.

    i.e. In the experiment the ‘world’ (i.e. the universe) does not have a ‘privileged center’. Yet strangely, the conscious observer does exhibit a ‘privileged center’. This is since the ‘matrix’, which determines which vector will be used to describe the particle in the experiment, is ‘observer-centric’ in its origination! Thus explaining Wigner’s dramatic statement, “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”

  127. The classic formulation is that “mind is what the brain does”. But that’s too glib, I think. A mind is property of a person, and a person is an organism. I am not my brain, nor am I my legs or my arms. “I” is the name I give to myself as an organism, and my “mind” is the property of that whole, not of any one part, nor, IMO, of some added on bit of something else.

    The mind is not the brain. The mind is a property of the brain, and the connected body. The human mind is not a human mind as just a brain; a ‘brain in a vat’ does not have the physical sensors and stimuli that make the human mind what it is, or the neurotransmitters that exist by the millions in our gut.

    All of which I’m sure you are aware. But just so it’s clear all around, “mind” refers to the cognitive platform for humans, which is “headquartered” in the brain, but incorporates input and feedback from the entire body. A human brain, in isolation, cannot operate as a human mind.

  128. Thus, as audacious as this proposition is, the proposition that God created the universe, and that we are made in the image of God, and that we therefore can rationally understand, and comprehend, the universe to a deep level, has stunning confirmation for its validity on many levels of science. Moreover, on the other hand, the counter proposition that this universe was not created by God, and that we are not made in God’s image, and that there is no particular reason why we should comprehend reality, has some very strong arguments against it. In fact these arguments are so strong that they have rendered the atheistic position completely absurd. The following references reveal the bankruptcy of the atheistic mindset as to explaining why we should comprehend reality so deeply:

    ,,,This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Presuppositional Apologetics – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Further notes;

    Random Chaos vs. Uniformity Of Nature – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6853139

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory & The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    http://vimeo.com/34468027

    Last power point of preceding video states:

    The End Of Materialism? – Dr. Bruce Gordon
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as a 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 (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

    Atheistic materialism simply dissolves into absurdity when pushed to extremes and certainly offers no guarantee to us for believing our perceptions and reasoning within science are trustworthy in the first place. This absurdity extends all the way into Darwin’s evolutionary theory itself:

    Should You Trust the Monkey Mind? – Joe Carter
    Excerpt: Evolutionary naturalism assumes that our noetic equipment developed as it did because it had some survival value or reproductive advantage. Unguided evolution does not select for belief except insofar as the belief improves the chances of survival. The truth of a belief is irrelevant, as long as it produces an evolutionary advantage. This equipment could have developed at least four different kinds of belief that are compatible with evolutionary naturalism, none of which necessarily produce true and trustworthy cognitive faculties.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....onkey-mind

    What is the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism? (‘inconsistent identity’ of cause leads to failure of absolute truth claims for materialists) (Alvin Plantinga) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yNg4MJgTFw

    Can atheists trust their own minds? – William Lane Craig On Alvin Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byN38dyZb-k

    The following interview is sadly comical as a evolutionary psychologist realizes that neo-Darwinism can offer no guarantee that our faculties of reasoning will correspond to the truth, not even for the truth he is giving in the interview, (which begs the question of how was he able to come to that particular truthful realization, in the first place, if neo-Darwinian evolution were actually true?);

    Evolutionary guru: Don’t believe everything you think – October 2011
    Interviewer: You could be deceiving yourself about that.(?)
    Evolutionary Psychologist: Absolutely.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....think.html

    Here a Darwinian Psychologist has a moment of honesty facing the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness;

    Darwinian Psychologist David Barash Admits the Seeming Insolubility of Science’s “Hardest Problem”
    Excerpt: ‘But the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that I can’t even imagine what kind of empirical findings would satisfactorily solve it. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of discovery would get us to first base, not to mention a home run.’
    David Barash – Materialist/Atheist Darwinian Psychologist
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....52491.html

    “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”
    CS Lewis – Mere Christianity

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” -
    Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”
    J. B. S. Haldane ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.

  129. I tried to respond, but my answer got erased. Don’t know what was happening. I will try to answer your reply quickly.

    1. You proposed a computer program as an “agent with no free will who could make a rational decision”. This is an absurd argument. Computer programs do not make rational decisions. They are not even “agents” as they can not decide to run. The minute that computer programs make their own decisions is the day that I am out of a job.

    2. You had some problems with my definitions of “random” and “necessary” or “contingent” events, and my use of the word “correlation”. I admit sometimes I don’t use precise statistical vocabulary, but a random process is simply one which each trial is independent. Saying that the trials don’t correlate over time is essentially the same statement with different words, why the objection.

    With all respect Elizabeth, you have never answered adequately how rational choices can be made in a materialistic world. This is the main point. The only way you can conclude that a rational choice can exist in a purely materialistic world is to obfuscate the train of events with such non-meaningful words such as “emergent”. I would really like to understand your arguments, but each time I see your real, concrete, examples ( such as proposing that a computer or its program is an example of something that makes rational choices without having free will ) I find everything about the example wanting. Please feel free to try again, but I am convinced that you are only deceiving yourself. I am very sorry if this statement feels judgmental, but I think I should be able to understand a clearly made argument. I have yet to see something that is not either too vague to apply to real objects, or easily dismissed as just wrong.

  130. eigenstate proclaims his false beliefs as if true,,, and yet the actual verified empirical evidence contrarily states;

    The Mind Is Not The Brain – Scientific Evidence – Rupert Sheldrake – (Referenced Notes)
    http://vimeo.com/33479544/

    So Who are you going to believe? Eigenstate or your own eyes?

  131. BA77,

    You should watch the videos you post before you post them. I can see a relevant title match from your spam catalog — “The Mind Is Not the Brain” — but you’ve linked to this Sheldrake guy, the guy advancing “morphic fields”, “morphic resonance”, dog telepathy (IIRC) and other creative manifestations of crackpot pseudoscience.

    Thought that name was familiar.

    But by all means if you want to hold this up as the Christian, ID, or just BA77′s own personal theory of mind, be my guest. If someone were going to hack into your account and put up a post to discredit you, this would be a good choice of video for the trickster. That’s what you get for not checking what came up in your search box…

  132. eigenstate, I watched the video, contrary to your false accusations to the contrary (as is normal for you) and the evidence presented in the video stands on its on merits. For you to attack the man, without apparently watching the video or examining the evidence, is also par for the course for you and reveals that you could care less about the truth in this matter but only about your advancing your atheism no matter what evidence you have to ignore nor lie you have to tell in order to do so.

  133. –eigenstate: “Definitions are descriptive tools. The do not have metaphysical powers that shape reality.”

    The problem is what unethical people do with the descriptive tools. Epiphenominal materialists (monists) try to have it both ways by manipulating the language so that they can appear to be rational, acknowledging the existence of minds, while arguing on behalf of that which is irrational, characterizing minds to brains. On the one hand, they reduce everything to matter; on the other hand, they use the language of non-matter when reductionism is shown to be irrational.

    –“Even if we except your false claim, there, it wouldn’t matter, because “always been defined” exerts perfectly no bearing on reality. If the earth was always defined as “flat” or “square”, or supporting “corners of the earth”, that tradition would have no bearing whatsoever on facts of earth a (rough) sphere.”

    My claim is not false. The problem would be if, after we had defined the meaning of a sphere, and applied it to earth, someone would come along and argue that the earth is really a square because, as it turns out, the meaning of sphere has been changed to square. This is exactly what the epiphenominalst does with the words brain and mind.

    If I define a mind as an immaterial faculty of an immaterial soul, then redefining it as matter is a linguistic trick calculated to obfuscate. To the claim that immaterial minds exist, the materialist can respond honestly in only one way: He must say, “In my judgment, minds don’t exist.” It would be dishonest and illogical for him to say that minds do, indeed, exist, except that they are grounded in matter. By extension, it would be dishonest and illogical to say that the soul is grounded in the body.

    – “Slaves to matter?” What is this strange voodoo you speak of, here??? Organs ARE matter, configurations of cells aggregated as tissues that form a structural element of the anatomy of higher organ.

    Why do you emphasize what is obvious and ignore what is relevant? Physical organs are slaves to physical laws. They have no power to redirect those laws, counteract them, or refuse to obey them. This is news to you? Or is this the part of the discussion where you claim not to know the meaning of the word “obey” in the present context.

    - “Immaterial mind” is not even grounded, semantically, let alone “true” or factual as a concept.”

    Is this the famous, “why-whatever-do-you-mean-by-spirit” ploy so favored by materialists?

    –“Materialists just deny that those definitions [soul, mind] and understandings are meaningful or grounded in reality at all.”

    Well, of course they do. It is the means by which they avoid arguments.

  134. Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA & Protein Folding – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    Quantum Action confirmed in DNA by direct empirical research;

    DNA Can Discern Between Two Quantum States, Research Shows – June 2011
    Excerpt: — DNA — can discern between quantum states known as spin. – The researchers fabricated self-assembling, single layers of DNA attached to a gold substrate. They then exposed the DNA to mixed groups of electrons with both directions of spin. Indeed, the team’s results surpassed expectations: The biological molecules reacted strongly with the electrons carrying one of those spins, and hardly at all with the others. The longer the molecule, the more efficient it was at choosing electrons with the desired spin, while single strands and damaged bits of DNA did not exhibit this property.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....104014.htm

    Falsification Of Neo-Darwinism by Quantum Entanglement/Information
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1p8AQgqFqiRQwyaF8t1_CKTPQ9duN8FHU9-pV4oBDOVs/edit?hl=en_US

    It is very interesting to note that quantum entanglement, which conclusively demonstrates that ‘information’ in its pure ‘quantum form’ is completely transcendent of any time and space constraints, should be found in molecular biology on such a massive scale, for how can the quantum entanglement ‘effect’ in biology possibly be explained by a material (matter/energy) ’cause’ when the quantum entanglement ‘effect’ falsified material particles as its own ‘causation’ in the first place? (A. Aspect) Appealing to the probability of various configurations of material particles, as Darwinism does, simply will not help since a timeless/spaceless cause must be supplied which is beyond the capacity of the material particles themselves to supply! To give a coherent explanation for an effect that is shown to be completely independent of any time and space constraints one is forced to appeal to a cause that is itself not limited to time and space! i.e. Put more simply, you cannot explain a effect by a cause that has been falsified by the very same effect you are seeking to explain! Improbability arguments of various ‘special’ configurations of material particles, which have been a staple of the arguments against neo-Darwinism, simply do not apply since the cause is not within the material particles in the first place! Yet it is also very interesting to note, in Darwinism’s inability to explain this ‘transcendent quantum effect’ adequately, that Theism has always postulated a transcendent component to man that is not constrained by time and space. i.e. Theism has always postulated a ‘living soul’ for man that lives past the death of the body.

    Genesis 2:7
    “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    moreover a very high level of information processing is suddenly missing upon death:

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Steve Talbott
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

    yet quantum information is shown to be conserved:

    Quantum no-deleting theorem
    Excerpt: A stronger version of the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem provide permanence to quantum information. To create a copy one must import the information from some part of the universe and to delete a state one needs to export it to another part of the universe where it will continue to exist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....onsequence

    moreover we find:

    Are humans really beings of light?
    Excerpt: “We now know, today, that man is essentially a being of light.”,,, “There are about 100,000 chemical reactions happening in every cell each second. The chemical reaction can only happen if the molecule which is reacting is excited by a photon… Once the photon has excited a reaction it returns to the field and is available for more reactions… We are swimming in an ocean of light.”
    http://viewzone2.com/dna.html

    Coast to Coast – Vicki’s Near Death Experience (Blind From Birth) part 1 of 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e65KhcCS5-Y

    Quote from preceding video: ‘I was in a body and the only way that I can describe it was a body of energy, or of light. And this body had a form. It had a head. It had arms and it had legs. And it was like it was made out of light. And ‘it’ was everything that was me. All of my memories, my consciousness, everything.’ -
    Vicky Noratuk

    The Scientific Evidence for Near Death Experiences – Dr Jeffery Long – Melvin Morse M.D. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4454627

  135. also of interest:

    Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their Near Death Experiences (NDEs). 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. (of note: This ‘anomaly’ is also found for deaf people who can hear sound during their Near Death Experiences(NDEs).)
    http://findarticles.com/p/arti....._65076875/

    A neurosurgeon confronts the non-material nature of consciousness – December 2011
    Excerpted quote: To me one thing that has emerged from my experience and from very rigorous analysis of that experience over several years, talking it over with others that I respect in neuroscience, and really trying to come up with an answer, is that consciousness outside of the brain is a fact. It’s an established fact. And of course, that was a hard place for me to get, coming from being a card-toting reductive materialist over decades. It was very difficult to get to knowing that consciousness, that there’s a soul of us that is not dependent on the brain.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ciousness/

    Neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander’s Near-Death Experience Defies Medical Model of Consciousness – audio interview
    http://www.skeptiko.com/upload.....xander.mp3

  136. [There is, then, only one question to answer: Can the first/ causeless cause be a law or must it be an intelligent agent? We know that it cannot be a law because laws cannot produce novel or creative events; they can only do what they do. That leaves intelligent agency as the only other possibility.]

    —eigenstate: “We don’t know that, and have no reason to suppose such a constraint – and in fact have all sorts of well attested physical principles that contradict that point.”

    We do know that. The point cannot be contradicted.

    –”If we point out instruments at a radioactive isotope and watch for decay events, it’s very predictable and clockwork for large statistical samples, and half-life reduction is highly regular, but for individual decay events, physics is highly creative, totally unpredictable as to the timing of each decay event.”

    Unpredictability does not equal acausality. No event, not even a quantum event, can be uncaused.

    —”At the quantum level, you’re about as far wrong as you could be”

    The laws of logic do not cease to be the laws of logic either at the macro-level or the micro level. Evidence does not inform the rules of right reason; the rules of right reason inform evidence.

  137. @StephenB,

    Unpredictability does not equal acausality. No event, not even a quantum event, can be uncaused.

    I wasn’t talking about causality, and neither were you. You said:

    We know that it cannot be a law because laws cannot produce novel or creative events; they can only do what they do.

    (emphasis mine)

    Nature produces novel, creative events at an uncountable rate, at immense scales (trillions and trillions of these events occurring all the time). My example didn’t address causation (although there’s apparently some problems with your understanding of causation and quantum events, but one problem at a time), but the novelty of events all around us, just nature doing its thing.

    As I said above, quantum cosmology, a prominent idea in modern physics, understands our whole universe to be the result of one of these quantum events.

  138. –Liz: “The idea that a whole has properties not possessed by its parts (and indeed may lack properties possessed by its parts) is a perfectly familiar one. An ocean wave has properties not possessed by either the water or the air between which it forms the interface. But that doesn’t make it immaterial.”

    An immaterial mind, or anything alleged to exist in the spirit world, does not, by definition, have parts. Only physical things have parts. That is one reason why the brain and mind are substantially different. A mind that has no parts cannot die because a whole without parts cannot disintegrate; a brain that does have parts can and (as we know) will die. If, on the other hand, the mind had parts, it would not be substantially different from the brain and would die right along with it.

    –”In fact, what would be the point of the doctrine of the resurrection of the body if it did [require an immaterial mind]? Monism seems to me to be a concept perfectly compatible with traditional theism tbh.

    In fact I learned it from a catholic theologian.”

    From a Catholic point of view, a person, while physically alive, is a composite of body and soul. At death, the immaterial soul is separated from the material body, just as the mind is separated from the brain. In a sense, this is, again from a Christian perspective, unnatural since both body and soul were meant to be a unit. The separation is part of the death experience. Accordingly, If an immaterial soul could not live on without a body, it would make no sense to say that a glorified body is re-united to the soul at the end of time? Similarly, if the soul and body did not, as it were, miss each other, or if the soul could be complete without the body, there would be no reason to re-unite them.

  139. @StephenB,

    The problem is what unethical people do with the descriptive tools. Epiphenominal materialists (monists) try to have it both ways by manipulating the language so that they can appear to be rational, acknowledging the existence of minds, while arguing on behalf of that which is irrational, characterizing minds to brains. On the one hand, they reduce everything to matter; on the other hand, they use the language of non-matter when reductionism is shown to be irrational.

    I understand from reading many of your posts now that statements that contradict your intuitions you understand to be irrational. That would explain the conspiracy theory reasoning you invoke here. Maybe you can link me to an example of where you’ve got your materialist victim in “irrational reductionism” with respect to theory of mind, so people can judge for themselves. I predict your example will support my working hypothesis that you equate contradiction of your intuition with “irrational”, that your opponent is irrational precisely insofar as they disagree with what you intuitively know to be rational.

    My claim is not false. The problem would be if, after we had defined the meaning of a sphere, and applied it to earth, someone would come along and argue that the earth is really a square because, as it turns out, the meaning of sphere has been changed to square. This is exactly what the epiphenominalst does with the words brain and mind.

    No, you’ve misunderstood the basis for repurposing the word. The repurposing is corrective, providing utility for the word by “repairing the referent”. In this case, the referent for the symbol “mind” being pointed at a material property of the human body, it’s cognitive activity as a material phenomenon, in lieu of the untenable idea of “mind” as a supernatural substance, if you’ll pardon my stealing the concept of ‘substance’ for that purpose, not knowing what else to use, there. “Mind” is still “what does the thinking”, but the details are updated to reflect new knowledge.

    In the case of changing the meaning of “sphere” to the meaning of “square” (perhaps you meant ‘cube’? Same problem either way, I think), since definitions are just descriptive tools, such a change would put the label “sphere” for the earth at odds with its underlying geometry.

    “Sphere” is just a label. If you map “sphere” to [solid with six identical square faces at right angles], to what we refer to now as “cube”, that works if we can get those we communicate to share this convention, but the referent of the label has changed; spheres, that is, [objects that are round with a surface defined by a radius rotated in all directions around a center point] are not [solid with six identical square faces at right angles], so we would need to change our usage to preserve the same referential semantics.

    Which is just to say that a rose is a rose, by any other name. The goal for the scientist is to be descriptive in ways that closely approximate natural reality, meaning that no matter what term you use “sphere” or something else, the term should point at a concept that applies => [object that are round with a surface defined by a radius rotated in all directions around a center point]. Even “sphere” is just approximate, the earth is, as I understand it, but bulges a little near the equator. Whatever the case, what matters is the concept, the geometry you are referring to. With “mind”, if we are referring to “the means of human thought and self-conception (‘I’)”, we are referring to a material phenomenon of human cognition, not something “immaterial” — again, having to borrow the idea of “thing” to apply to “immaterial”.

    If I define a mind as an immaterial faculty of an immaterial soul, then redefining it as matter is a linguistic trick calculated to obfuscate.

    Words are descriptive tools. They serve us, not the other way around. We can overload words all we like, and communicate effectively so long as we have a convention for agreeing on which meaning is used in what context. So you can define “mind” however you like. The definition is not a problem AS a definition. It’s problematic as term for a concept we actually want to use in building knowledge. The LABEL is not the problem, it’s the underlying concept which is incoherent. That’s why I can’t be bothered what you label it (as long as we can keep it straight) — it’s a conceptual problem you have here, your referent is incoherent.

    “Faculty”, for example, connotes an ability, power, capability. These are material concepts, and we have a wealth of experience-based examples that ground the semantics for “ability”. But “immaterial” ostensibly operates outside ANY and ALL of those contexts, so we have nothing in which to ground “faculty”. It’s the same problem we grapple with when asked to consider “the smell of the color nine”. The terms themselves are meaningful as standalone terms. They are incorrect in the structure “smell of the color nine”. “Immaterial faculty” has the same problem. it’s not a labeling problem, it’s a concept fail.

    To the claim that immaterial minds exist, the materialist can respond honestly in only one way: He must say, “In my judgment, minds don’t exist.” It would be dishonest and illogical for him to say that minds do, indeed, exist, except that they are grounded in matter. By extension, it would be dishonest and illogical to say that the soul is grounded in the body.

    It’s not dishonest at all. She simply understands that your definition is conceptually problematic, and is using a definition that has concrete and coherent semantics. It’s neither dishonest or illogical, it’s just pragmatic use of language. “Soul”, for example, is incoherent semantically, and imaginary insofar as it points to something “immaterial” or “supernatural”. It’s a concept fail, and except for keeping the archaic understanding of that word handy (for understanding supernaturalists in a debate, say, or reading religious texts, etc.), “soul” is a great word to use in the way Douglas Hofstadter uses it. It’s just a practical upgrade for the word, conceptually, and insofar as I can accept this new convention along with others, we can communicate effectively with this new meaning for the term.

    Quick review: words are descriptive tools. They point at concepts. They serve us. We don’t serve them. Communication works when there is convention on usage, and no particularly meaning is “normative”.

    Why do you emphasize what is obvious and ignore what is relevant? Physical organs are slaves to physical laws. They have no power to redirect those laws, counteract them, or refuse to obey them. This is news to you? Or is this the part of the discussion where you claim not to know the meaning of the word “obey” in the present context.

    I just find the personification of matter peculiar, is all. I use “mass and energy obey physical law”, which is analogical language too, but “slave” suggests some kind of oppressive dynamic which is strange here. But no matter, I don’t need to bother with peculiar language. Bigger fish to fry!

    Is this the famous, “why-whatever-do-you-mean-by-spirit” ploy so favored by materialists?

    Yes, but not in just a “give me more words” sense. It’s the show-me-the-referent version of that ploy, a question of the concept you are pointing at with the term. How do we substantiate, examine, test, model the referent there, or in any way distinguish it from the concept pointed to by the word ‘imaginary’ or ‘unreal’ or ‘nonexistent”?

    Well, of course they do. It is the means by which they avoid arguments.

    And well they do. There’s no arguing with incoherent concepts. If you can describe it, test it, apply it, observe it, or interact with it in ways that are subject to the witness of our senses and experience, there is grounds upon which to move forward. But if you can’t ground your semantics, if you can’t provide operational concepts, there’s nothing to argue about, only incoherence to get us chasing our tails.

    I’m happy to look at operating definitions for “immaterial mind”, if you’ve got one. That’d be remarkable, and fascinating to apply, and to test out. But I’ve never had anyone take me up on such an offer, or even lay out how those concepts would be grounded, tested, made operational, even if they never got around to doing it. So I won’t hold my breath, but if you can actually provide a model, some conceptual grounding for your terms, it would be super interesting to see how those tests worked out, and what we might learn from them.

  140. 141

    eig: “I’m happy to look at operating definitions for “immaterial mind”, if you’ve got one.”

    We could start with:

    A thing that possess self-awareness (I), that acts on or can have an effect on material properties but does not possess any material properties such and such…

    And we can build an op definition from there.

    Once we have an unambiguous OPD, we can start our journey for some evidence or any indication of this thing.

    Stop 1) QM.

    First problem in the quest.

    Is the wave function real?

  141. —eigenstsate: “Nature produces novel, creative events at an uncountable rate, at immense scales (trillions and trillions of these events occurring all the time). My example didn’t address causation (although there’s apparently some problems with your understanding of causation and quantum events, but one problem at a time), but the novelty of events all around us, just nature doing its thing.”

    We are not talking about nature, a concept that is a lot more ambiguous than the ones you have been characterizing as unusable for want of clarity. The subject was the “laws” of nature, which are [subjectively understood, descriptions and [objectively understood, regularities]. These laws cannot do anything other than what they have always done and cannot, therefore, produce anything new or novel. That should be evident. The law of gravity, for example, cannot suddenly become bored with its role and decide to change its relationship to nature. If it could, it wouldn’t be a law. That is why a law cannot produce a universe out of nothing. If nature does produce a novelty, it arises either from intelligent agency or the combination of law and chance. Law, by definition, and by itself, cannot produce a novelty or create anything. In any case, nature AS novelty cannot arise from law. This point is unassailable, though, as you have demonstrated, not unavoidable.

    —“I predict your example will support my working hypothesis that you equate contradiction of your intuition with “irrational”, that your opponent is irrational precisely insofar as they disagree with what you intuitively know to be rational.”

    On the contrary, I have always been very clear about the minimum and objective standards for rationality. To say that these standards are objective means that they are not a product of my “intuition.” It would be more accurate to say that they test the validity of my intuition. Anyone who denies or even discounts the law of non-contradiction or its derivative law of causality, for example, fails to qualify as a rational person. Note, we are not discussing intelligence. There are many intelligent people who are not rational. As an example, anyone who finds creative ways to argue that a universe can arise without a cause is not a rational person, though possibly quite intelligent. Ironically, materialists, who bristle at the prospect of an objective standard for rationality do, invariably, provide their own subjective standards and, predictably, they vary from materialist to materialist.

    –“I just find the personification of matter peculiar, is all. I use “mass and energy obey physical law”, which is analogical language too, but “slave” suggests some kind of oppressive dynamic which is strange here. But no matter, I don’t need to bother with peculiar language. Bigger fish to fry!”

    It’s simply a matter of style. In this case, the word “slave” implies lack of freedom, which is a reasonable description of an organ’s inability to do what an intelligent agent can do. A faculty can, among other things, use nature’s laws; an organ, by contrast, can only obey them. The language of freedom, expressed as a personification of nature, dramatizes the difference, which is quite real.

    –“Yes, but not in just a “give me more words” sense. It’s the show-me-the-referent version of that ploy, a question of the concept you are pointing at with the term. How do we substantiate, examine, test, model the referent there, or in any way distinguish it from the concept pointed to by the word ‘imaginary’ or ‘unreal’ or ‘nonexistent”?”

    It is not necessary to know everything that one can know about a word to reasonably understand and systematically build on its meaning. Plato’s Republic was, in large part, an attempt to define justice. That doesn’t mean we can’t discuss the word as an abstract concept. In this sense, materialists simply run away from words like “spirit,” or “non-matter” not because the terms are incomprehensible or unserviceable, but because they do not serve the cause of materialism. Indeed, I have never met a competent philosopher, professional or amateur, who didn’t understand what those words mean or how to use them in a rational argument. So, your protests seem like evasions to me.

    In spite of the extended length of your posts, you have yet to address the first cause argument. In keeping with that point, if you reject the law of causality, just let me know and I will abandon the entire enterprise with no extravagant references about your status as a rational person.

    —“And well they do. There’s no arguing with incoherent concepts. If you can describe it, test it, apply it, observe it, or interact with it in ways that are subject to the witness of our senses and experience, there is grounds upon which to move forward. But if you can’t ground your semantics, if you can’t provide operational concepts, there’s nothing to argue about, only incoherence to get us chasing our tails.”

    The laws of non-contradiction and causality are both abstract concepts that cannot be tested. We do not reason our way to them; we reason our way from them. Do you reject them on the grounds that they cannot be tested? Were you under the impression that contemporary findings in science can render them obsolete? If so, I will be happy to explain why this cannot be the case.

  142. @eigenstate

    I think this is a pretty good conversation so far between you and StephenB. I would have a lot more respect for you though if you would apologize here for your mistake. StephenB was quite right to say a “law” cannot “…produce novel or creative events.” Your switch from “law”, a well defined term, to “nature”, a meaningless term because it has no definition, was very clumsy and should be humbly admitted as a mistake.

    But I would like to ask you an honest question. If mind is nothing but a property of the brain, what is your model for the mind controlling the body.? You may have a good model for this. But what is it. I can not think of a non-life analogy. You may have one, and your belief in “mind” as only a property of matter may make it over this hurdle.

    I also can’t understand how your idea of mind as a “property of matter” can encode things for the future which have absolutely no possibility of being connected by physical law.

    For example: I can use my mind right now to affect an event 2 years from now. I can wire up a button to a bomb that will explode my house. I can decide in my mind that I will push that button precisely ( down to the second ) two years from now.

    that is a large effect on the real, concrete, non-abstract world, brought about by the actions of my mind. What is your model for a mere, “property of matter” being able to do that?

  143. I would second that.

    StephenB, your comments as usual are very insightful. As a casual onlooker, I can see the usual turn about tactics comming into play when things get a little tough!

  144. @JDH,

    Here’s what StephenB said that prompted the part of my response you are objecting to:

    I think this is a pretty good conversation so far between you and StephenB. I would have a lot more respect for you though if you would apologize here for your mistake. StephenB was quite right to say a “law” cannot “…produce novel or creative events.” Your switch from “law”, a well defined term, to “nature”, a meaningless term because it has no definition, was very clumsy and should be humbly admitted as a mistake.

    There is, then, only one question to answer: Can the first/ causeless cause be a law or must it be an intelligent agent? We know that it cannot be a law because laws cannot produce novel or creative events; they can only do what they do. That leaves intelligent agency as the only other possibility.

    (my emphasis)

    Here, and your response buttresses the importance of the point I was raising, we have “argument by definition”, by which I mean that StephenB is pronouncing what nature fundamentally can or cannot do because of our *descriptions* of nature’s operation. Laws are descriptive, and do not “enforce” anything on nature. If nature “produces novel and creative events” — and manifestly, it does, everywhere, all the time — it’s folly to suppose our desired understanding of “laws” makes any difference one way or another. Nature can’t “only do what [laws] can do”, where laws are something StephenB understands by his “rules of right reason”. Nature does what it does, completely apart from that, and couldn’t give an impersonal fig about StephenB’s attempts to put nature in the small, simplistic, naïve little box he wishes to cram it into.

    This is a key distinction for science, and scientific epistemology, and the empiricism that epistemology relies on. “Nature” here is ‘what happens’ and ‘what appears’. “Laws” are our limited, but increasingly more sophisticated attempts to identify descriptive rules and principles that match ‘what happens’ and ‘what appears’. It’s important to point out, because StephenB has made a crucial mistake, confusing the map for the territory here, in insisting that “nature can’t be that way” because it doesn’t obey his demands that proceed from HIS definition of law.

    My focus on the “territory”, on nature, and distinguishing that from our “maps”, the descriptive models we build as a way to apprehend nature, was not a mistake. If you think it is, still, after reading this, then I’ve not gotten a key distinction here across, and the map is still getting confused with the territory. StephenB just likes his maps this peculiar, simplistic way. And he wants to insist that’s how the territory really is and how it really must be — it just cannot be otherwise, in his view (cf his “we reason from…” mantra). But the territory is what it is, and his predilection for simplistic and self-serving maps doesn’t have any bearing on the territory.

    But I would like to ask you an honest question. If mind is nothing but a property of the brain, what is your model for the mind controlling the body.? You may have a good model for this. But what is it. I can not think of a non-life analogy. You may have one, and your belief in “mind” as only a property of matter may make it over this hurdle.

    I have to be careful about the “mind/brain” identity thing. The brain is the nexus of the mind, where cognition all comes together, but the mind is not, and cannot be just the brain. A brain in a vat is not a human mind, as a human mind necessarily integrates the sensory and cognitive infrastructure of the whole body.

    That said, the model is a natural, physical framework that understands all cognition to be mediated by human physiology, our neurological infrastructure. We integrate stimuli from out side the brain (visual percepts sourced from the brain, “gut feelings” which really are often sourced in the gut through the enteric nervous system, etc.), and our cognitive processing produces beliefs, emotions, and internal or external responses.

    The decision-making process, that which has “mind controlling the body”, is a natural, physical function of the brain working its inputs and internal processes as mind. By analogy, it’s an “operating system”, that like a computer operating system, draws on connected physical resources (disk drive, random access memory, serial I/O, etc.) that resolve against a constantly (re-)computing algorithm, which, depending on the values for its state machines, drives output, “control”, responsive actions.

    For a computer, the operating system is a toy, in terms of scale and complexity, compared to the human mind. But the dynamics are analogous enough to make that example useful for pedagogical purposes. The human mind, in terms of scale and complexity, would necessitate us thinking about the whole internet and all its parts and pieces and inputs and outputs, and even then, I think the mind would surpass such comparisons.

    But those are matters of scale, questions of degree in terms of complexity, connectedness, parallel processing, discrete and fuzzy/spiking logic, etc. It’s all biology and physics, being biological and physical. The sense of “I” and “self” as both “disembodied” and “free” are practical adaptations that enable us to think in abstract and meta-representational ways, adaptations that are hugely advantageous for our surviving and thriving. We can think on a high level, due to that “trick”, and focus on designs, schemes, concepts, plans, abstractions. The cost of that is a “low level blindspot”; we’d not be able to function due to the sheer overload of ennui if we were consciously aware of what we are “choosing” to do, moment by moment, and why.

    I also can’t understand how your idea of mind as a “property of matter” can encode things for the future which have absolutely no possibility of being connected by physical law.

    Didn’t grok that, sorry. The “no possibility of being connected by physical law” didn’t parse for me, here. Maybe your following comments will make this more clear to me.

    For example: I can use my mind right now to affect an event 2 years from now. I can wire up a button to a bomb that will explode my house. I can decide in my mind that I will push that button precisely ( down to the second ) two years from now.

    Ok, I get the plan, there, but what’s the problem? In a natural model, this choice would, if you intend to carry it out (!!!), require committing the button pushing task to memory (or taking other actions to remind you: Outlook To-Do Entry on 2/7/2014: “Detonate my house by pushing the red button behind the dishwasher at precisely 12:43pm!”). Memory is not problematic as a natural process/phenomenon, is it?

    Still not seeing the problem here. Maybe you can point to where you think a natural paradigm runs into trouble in fulfilling your two year plan to blow up your house (!!!).

    that is a large effect on the real, concrete, non-abstract world, brought about by the actions of my mind. What is your model for a mere, “property of matter” being able to do that?

    The inputs driving the decision (!) are natural, the decision-making process itself is natural (thought), the planning for execution is natural (memory), and the execution of the plan (!) is natural (brain to arm->hand-finger: PUSH THE RED BUTTON NOW!).

    Maybe it helps to use a robotic example, as a means of teasing out what you think to be a problem. If I build a robot and program it to wait 2 years, then navigate to the target button, and use its robotic arm to push the button at the target time, why would that be a problem? Is the problem just deciding to DO something like that in the first place? Because as a matter of execution, a machine made from current technology could do this — be invested with the instructions that get stored/saved for two years, with a routine running that will cause that directive to “wake up” two years hence and get to the task of blowing up your house (!!!).

    That doesn’t seem a problem just from a robotic version of the scenario. Why is that a problem for humans, if my robot can accomplish this in a straightforward way?

  145. Eigenstate: “And, the Big Bang doesn’t point to any creation event that is a problem for materialism. In a cascading universe model of the multiverse, the Big Bang is a local “bubble” in a “foam” of universes. This is not a conflict at all with materialism.”

    The above so-called model can never be other than imagination gone wild, so IS in conflict with serious philosophical discourse. It CAN be a debate tool pretending to be more (fancy sounding browbeater?) than it is. One should not have to offer why this is. But there being no chance such fantasies can ever be verified, they can only exist in the imagination, not ever as science.

  146. @StephenB,

    We are not talking about nature, a concept that is a lot more ambiguous than the ones you have been characterizing as unusable for want of clarity. The subject was the “laws” of nature, which are [subjectively understood, descriptions and [objectively understood, regularities]. These laws cannot do anything other than what they have always done and cannot, therefore, produce anything new or novel. That should be evident.

    We only understand through using a map of the territory. We don’t know, directly, the intrinsics of nature. We reverse engineer those constraints and dynamics as best we can, through science. So that means our maps change, and sometimes substantially, even as we understand that the territory remains the territory, same as it ever was. A “law” that stipulates that “nature cannot generate novel or creative events”, when it fails as part of an applied model, gets overthrown with something more effective in modeling. That doesn’t mean that NATURE changes, but that our map has changed, and (hopefully) improved.

    If one is inclined to confuse the map with the territory, that will look like an approach that sees “nature changing”. If we develop principles regarding novel events as fundamentals in physics, indeterminate events, then saying “laws don’t do that” is just spitting in the wind. Our descriptions change and adapt towards better performance, and to accomodate new tests and evidence.

    The law of gravity, for example, cannot suddenly become bored with its role and decide to change its relationship to nature. If it could, it wouldn’t be a law.

    See this is indicative of a persistent confusion about “laws” in this context, this equivocation between descriptive rules and the fundamental dynamics of nature. A law of gravity, in the descriptive (scientific) sense of “law” can and will be discarded unceremoniously if new data and models are developed that overthrow it. That’s how science works. If gravity is to be rethought, and that is not an abstract problem for science, because our current “map” of the “territory” regarding gravity is woefully inadequate and demonstrably broken when attempts are made to harmonize it with quantum physics, then our “map” will change as we develop better information about the territory through experimentation, testing, and analysis. The law (descriptive sense) WILL change its relationship with nature — it will be superceded in our usage by something more performative.

    Again, that doesn’t imply that nature itself (not the descriptions, the physical dynamics laws and model attempt to describe) changes.

    That is why a law cannot produce a universe out of nothing.

    That depends on what you mean by ‘nothing’, ‘nothing’ be a subtle concept given to overloading and equivocation. In the science/physics sense of the term (a vacuum, having no discrete mass/energy), the evidence-driven models we have suggest that a universe can, and will come “out of nothing”, the product of quantum fluctuations in that vacuum.

    If you mean by “nothing” a “philosophical nothing”, then “law” does not apply, nor does any claim from physics, as physics does not integrate that concept into its epistemology. It’s not a natural concept.

    Either way, though, what you say cannot be the case. Both senses are problematic.

    If nature does produce a novelty, it arises either from intelligent agency or the combination of law and chance.

    “Chance” in this context IS law. Indeterminism and probabilistic phenomenon are fundamentals in physics, as fundamental (and arguably more, all regularities are statistical aggregates of these probabilities) as whatever predictabilities or regularities you want to point to. It’s useful for us to distinguish between “law” (regularity, predictable) and “chance” (‘unpredictable’ works for our purposes, here), but these are both fundamental dynamics of nature. They are both “physical principles”.

    Law, by definition, and by itself, cannot produce a novelty or create anything. In any case, nature AS novelty cannot arise from law. This point is unassailable, though, as you have demonstrated, not unavoidable.

    Again, nature isn’t the least bit moved by your arguments of definition. It is what it is, regardless of the paradigm and definitions you’d like to thrust upon it. If nature produces novel, creative events, then it produces novel, creative events. Do you suppose complaining that nature can’t do that because “that’s against the definition of ‘law’!” is going to change anything at all?

    Again, maybe you should just provide your working definition of ‘novel’, or ‘creative’, and we can use that to apply it to actual physics, and see what the evidence, observations and performative models have to say on this question. Then it’s StephenB’s definitions against the witness of nature by its operation, and people can decide which the find more compelling.

  147. –Liz: “The idea that a whole has properties not possessed by its parts (and indeed may lack properties possessed by its parts) is a perfectly familiar one. An ocean wave has properties not possessed by either the water or the air between which it forms the interface. But that doesn’t make it immaterial.”

    An immaterial mind, or anything alleged to exist in the spirit world, does not, by definition, have parts.

    Which is why I’m wouldn’t describe the mind is immaterial, any more than I’d describe a wave as immaterial, even though it is neither water nor air, but the pattern of the interface. It is the result of material processes, even though it does not, itself, have substance. It has properties, however.

    Only physical things have parts. That is one reason why the brain and mind are substantially different. A mind that has no parts cannot die because a whole without parts cannot disintegrate; a brain that does have parts can and (as we know) will die. If, on the other hand, the mind had parts, it would not be substantially different from the brain and would die right along with it.

    Well, obviously you are entitled to your view. Obviously I disagree. I don’t think minds have “parts” exactly, because they don’t have substance, just as an ocean wave has no substance, but I do think that minds can be said to have properties.

    –”In fact, what would be the point of the doctrine of the resurrection of the body if it did [require an immaterial mind]? Monism seems to me to be a concept perfectly compatible with traditional theism tbh.

    In fact I learned it from a catholic theologian.”

    From a Catholic point of view, a person, while physically alive, is a composite of body and soul. At death, the immaterial soul is separated from the material body, just as the mind is separated from the brain. In a sense, this is, again from a Christian perspective, unnatural since both body and soul were meant to be a unit. The separation is part of the death experience. Accordingly, If an immaterial soul could not live on without a body, it would make no sense to say that a glorified body is re-united to the soul at the end of time? Similarly, if the soul and body did not, as it were, miss each other, or if the soul could be complete without the body, there would be no reason to re-unite them.

    Well, the catholic theologian I learned it from disagreed. He used to gently mock the idea of the soul “as a kind of helium-filled balloon, that we are handed some time before our birth, and carry with us until we let it go death”.

    He was a lovely man, but I’m sure you would have found a lot to disagree with him about :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_McCabe

  148. Which is why I’m wouldn’t = Which is why I wouldn’t

    oops

  149. —eigenstate: “Here, and your response buttresses the importance of the point I was raising, we have “argument by definition”, by which I mean that StephenB is pronouncing what nature fundamentally can or cannot do because of our *descriptions* of nature’s operation. Laws are descriptive, and do not “enforce” anything on nature.” If nature “produces novel and creative events” — and manifestly, it does, everywhere, all the time — it’s folly to suppose our desired understanding of “laws” makes any difference one way or another.”

    One cannot, without abandoning all reason, escape the fact that the laws of nature (understood (subjectively as a “description” of regularity), and (objectively as the “existence of regularity”) do exist. Because of his prior commitment to materialist ideology, eigenstate simply cannot accept rational component of objective reality. Notice, for example, this comment: “Laws are descriptive, and do not ‘enforce’ anything on nature.” Can you grasp the radical subjectivism inherent in that comment– as if nature’s laws were solely a function of our mind’s description –as if the objective reality of the law’s power on nature didn’t exist? This is what materialistic monism does to the powers of human reason.

    Objectively, these laws EXIST as regularities and subjectively we UNDERSTAND them as regularities, describing them as “laws.” To suggest that we cannot draw rational conclusions based on that understanding is simply one more example of the same anti-intellectual posture that discounts reason’s rules. To claim that our understanding of these laws makes no difference raises anti-intellectualism to a new level.

    –“Nature can’t “only do what [laws] can do”, where laws are something StephenB understands by his “rules of right reason”. Nature does what it does, completely apart from that, and couldn’t give an impersonal fig about StephenB’s attempts to put nature in the small, simplistic, naïve little box he wishes to cram it into.”
    Once again, and even after several correctives, eisentage seeks to create confusion by conflating the words “nature” and “law,” trying to make it appear as if I had said that nature is limited to laws when, of course, I said that laws were limited to regularity. As a bonus, he informs us that I “cram nature in a box,” when I point out that laws cannot also NOT be laws–that a thing cannot, at the same time, and under the same formal circumstances, be what it is and also be something else [law of non-contradiction].

    –“This is a key distinction for science, and scientific epistemology, and the empiricism that epistemology relies on. “Nature” here is ‘what happens’ and ‘what appears’. “Laws” are our limited, but increasingly more sophisticated attempts to identify descriptive rules and principles that match ‘what happens’ and ‘what appears’. It’s important to point out, because StephenB has made a crucial mistake, confusing the map for the territory here, in insisting that “nature can’t be that way” because it doesn’t obey his demands that proceed from HIS definition of law.”

    Can you perceive the confusion inherent in this statement? It is based on the assumption that the rules of right reason are solely subjective, that is, that they are limited to our thinking, and do not necessarily apply to the rational world outside of our consciousness. Hence, if I point out that, according to our mental “map,” Jupiter cannot exist and not exist at the same time, the materialist responds by saying, “That’s just fine for “your” map, but the territory just may well allow Jupiter to exist and not exist at the same time. Stop putting nature in a box.”

    At the root of this error is the illogical notion that our rational minds do not correspond to a rational universe. In other words, eigenstate is saying that the territory is not only different from the map, something we already knew, but also that the terriroty can defy reason in a way that the map cannot, something all rational people know to be false. Logic tells us that if it rains, the streets will get wet. Eisengate thinks that, in the real world, that same relationship between cause and effect need not exist. Logic tells us that a brick wall cannot just appear in front of our moving automobile unless something or someone puts it there. Eisengate thinks that a brick well, in principle, could well appear uncaused—like a quantum event—or a universe—or anything. So, what’s the bottom line? For eisengate, the laws of nature need not be laws exclusively—they can be laws and also be something else—they can act like people and choose to do something else, like create—even out of nothing. Can anyone understand why I hesitate to discuss science with those who discount reason’s rules?

    So, now we pose the question: Why does eisengate refuse to acknowledge the law of non-contradiction and the law of causality? Why does he think a law can be a law and also be something else? Why does he think that evidence can inform the rules of logic when he should know that the rules of logic inform evidence? The reason is simple: If he acknowledges reason’s rules, and the relationship between reason’s rules and evidence, he must concede the same point that he has been avoiding. A contingent universe cannot arise from a law, it requires an antecedent cause, which, in turn, must either be the first/causeless cause, or the effect of a first/causeless cause. We all know where that one is going. Since his ideology leaves no room for the truth, the truth must be denied, and reason, the vehicle by which we arrive at truth, must be abandoned. It’s as simple as that.

  150. Stephen,

    Could you use blockquote tags when quoting others in your comments? It would make your comments much more readable.

    I’ve been asking others to do this, as well.

  151. @junkdnaforlife,

    We could start with:

    A thing that possess self-awareness (I), that acts on or can have an effect on material properties but does not possess any material properties such and such…

    Ok, let me unpack this — which I think is a good effort on your part, all things considered — to show you what I see as the conceptual poverty of this whole effort.

    1. “Thing”. “Thing” is a concept stolen from the natural world. Thing is as generic as it gets in our language, something like “object” (the maximally general term in the programming languages I use) but the semantics are nevertheless grounded in our concept of existence — some configuration of mass/energy that is extended in space/time. And note that “configuration”, “mass”, “energy”, “extended” and “space/time” all have grounded semantics in support of that concept.

    But to start with your definition, we have IMMEDIATELY violated your “immaterial” adjective. Either what you are defining with “thing” IS immaterial, in which case “immaterial mind” is self-contradictory, or your use of “thing” has no conceptual grounding. Or, it is conceptually grounded, and I’m just ignorant of what makes a “thing” a “thing” vs. a “non-thing” in an immaterial domain.

    2. “Possess”. Another stolen concept. This is a stark problem in light of StephenB’s claim in this thread that an “immaterial thing” cannot have parts. Now, I’m not holding you to StephenB’s claims, those are his problems, but the discrepancy is the issue to consider. Is StephenB right, and “parts” is an undefined/inapplicable concept in the immaterial domain?

    Beats me.

    And it beats you, too. And it beats StephenB, too, even if he can’t quite come to grips with that problem. Because there is no model, no paradigm, no fundamentals from which to start in the “immaterial domain”. There is no way (so far as I’m aware) that any “immaterial thing” can be shown to “possess” or “not possess”, or even “be” or “not be”. That’s profoundly problematic, and it points up the pervasiveness of stolen concepts in the way supernaturalists speak about these ideas. There’s no “there” there (yet another stolen concept, I know!).

    3. “Self-awareness”. Another divide by zero on immaterialist terms. On natural terms we can provide semantic cargo for this term to carry. An organism incorporates sensors and perceptual machinery which provide input into the brain. The brain, in integrating the inbound percepts into some model which correlates that with a response is “aware”. It is processing input.

    On immaterialist terms, though, there’s no mechanism for awareness — no sensors, no inputs, no stimuli — and nothing to be AWARE OF. That’s a nice symmetry, I admit: no use gearing up with “immaterial sensors” when there’s no “thing” to “sense” because it’s all immaterial, but as efficient as that may be, the result is that you are left, once again, borrowing concepts from the natural world that have NO REFERENTS in the context you are applying them to.

    I can go on. The same divide by zero happens with “acts” and “effect”, and the “have an effect on material properties” is extra-problematic: having an effect on material properties is WHAT WE MEAN BY “MATERIAL”. Any such “thing” would be a real (material) thing by virtue of having material effects. That is the conceptual criterion we use for “material” (gravity, for example, is not “extended in space/time” in the way a ‘thing’ might be, but it is a qualified part of materialist ontology by virtue of having material effects).

    Immaterialist prose imports meaningful concepts from the material domain, and maps them on to… nothing. And maybe that’s Ok because “immaterial” means “nothing”? Or maybe not, and immaterial just doesn’t have any positive grounds at all, but is just the negation of ‘material’. If so, then that negation makes all the terms that get imported misplaced, unanchored, referent-less, semantically empty.

    There is no model for any of this, so far as I’m aware, no epistemology. No tests, no accountability, no feedback, no way to check inputs or outputs at all. I was raised as a Christian, and spent decades reading, listening, thinking about theology, from Augustine and Aquinas to Kreeft and Plantinga (it wasn’t until I started paying attention to William Lane Craig that the strong clues that the Emperor had no Clothes emerged). There’s all manner of ornate, baroque, festooned prose about the mechanics and dynamics of the “immaterial world”. But once you press and actually test those mechanics, dynamics and semantics, the whole thing collapses as a house of cards. There’s no grounding for any of it, immaterially.

    And yes, I understand the prejudice of asking for “grounding”, another good example of the point I’m making. There’s not even a meta-concept in which to anchor (oops, there I go again) or attach (OK, I give up!) our concepts of immateriality.

  152. @groovamos,

    The above so-called model can never be other than imagination gone wild, so IS in conflict with serious philosophical discourse.

    That is not the case. String theory, the best candidate physics has for unifying macro and quantum physics into one coherent model, produces universes by… well, by the metaverse-full.

    See, for example of this model applied in Lee Smolin’s “Fecund Universe” proposal and Leonard Susskind’s “Cosmic Landscape”. The universe generation in these models are the product of the applied physics from string theory. They may not be correct, and string theory itself is still, by most measures, unfalsifiable itself, and thus only theoretic in terms of our epistemology.

    But, these are frameworks that proceed directly from the physical theories. You don’t have to do anything to get cascading universes, or get starry-eyed about anything. You just need to work out the implications of those frameworks.

    It CAN be a debate tool pretending to be more (fancy sounding browbeater?) than it is. One should not have to offer why this is. But there being no chance such fantasies can ever be verified, they can only exist in the imagination, not ever as science.

    If you take some to get familiar with these frameworks, you will see that universes being generated by the billions is not a contrivance from the model, but the prediction and implications of those models. Verification is problematic in principle, although the history of science suggests we ought not be to fatalistic about scientific ways to indirectly test some of these ideas at some point in the future; there may be ways that our universe interacts or indirectly reflects aspects of predictions from those frameworks that are both novel and can be verified by our own observations.

    But even if I stipulate that that it’s completely non-verifiable in principle, it’s still got characteristics that separate it from and commend it above god hypotheses. As I said, it’s the extrapolation of well attested, performative physics models we have established in this universe. That’s something, even if it’s incorrect, it’s a kind of “educated guess” in a way that the god hypothesis is not.

    And it’s parsimonious. It provides an explanatory framework for the existence of our universe that does not need, nor can it use “god” as part of its “explanatory capital”. This is economy, and the extension of the physics we already have, not needing the ‘multiplication of entities’ in gratuitous ways that the god hypothesis represents by comparison.

  153. 154

    eig: “to show you what I see as the conceptual poverty of this whole effort.”

    Ok, granted you think it is conceptual poverty, but I posted this as an open definition. I need you to add to it, if it is impoverished, feed it something. To eliminate our ideological premises, consider this is a team that received funding to first come up with an operational definition of what an immaterial mind might entail, and then look for evidence, indications etc.

    Your smackdown came here:

    A thing

    I managed to get the word “A” in. How should we proceed? Should we just give the grant money back?

  154. champignon: Good point. I should probably be doing that. Thanks.

  155. aqueels, thanks for reading.

  156. JDH, I am glad you have picked up on the problem. Also, I like your question to eigenstate.

  157. @junkdnaforlife,

    Ok, granted you think it is conceptual poverty, but I posted this as an open definition. I need you to add to it, if it is impoverished, feed it something. To eliminate our ideological premises, consider this is a team that received funding to first come up with an operational definition of what an immaterial mind might entail, and then look for evidence, indications etc.

    That’s an interesting way to respond, kudos. I’ve not been the recipient of angel sed funding or A-round funding for that kind of startup, but as a long time Christian, and one frequently engaged in apologetic and witnessing contexts, I have spend a good amount of time in my years thinking about just that — how to ground the concepts for these terms I had come to use as part of my vocabulary.

    The closest I came on that was to invoke “supernatural” and “immaterial” as analogous to the real world programmer and physical computers, where “our reality” was the computer simulation running on a real computer. If you accept, provisionally, the idea that all of our experience of this local reality is a huge, unimaginably complex and sophisticated computer simulation (something a bit like the set up for the movie The Matrix, but not just like that), then “immaterial” would mean, conceptually, “anything external to our local runtime environment, our local virtual machine”. The human (or not) programmer, in some “real space” would be “supernatural”, transcendant upon the virtual machine we exist in, the program that is resolving all of our physics, all our sensory inputs, interactions, etc.

    I admit to that being unsatisfactory — it’s postulating a “hyper-material” material context, and using that as the basic for grounding concepts like “supernatural”, and is thus “going the wrong way” — but it’s good to remember that at the end of the day I WAS unable to ground those concepts in ‘faith friendly’ ways, and this is the best I could do. For what it’s worth, I can’t recall anything that “whiffed” in a more noble way. Maybe someone can offer a better attempt than I.

    Anyway, back to the “computer simulation” metaphysics. IF you accept the “we’re in a computer simulation” paradigm for the moment, two questions arise:

    1) How could we discover or arrive at such concepts in the first place?
    2) How could we test or verify those concepts, once we adopt them?

    On 1), I think the idea of our universe being one huge virtual machine emerges as an “inside out” jump. We develop virtual machines in our world, and this provides the catalyzing idea: perhaps WE are in a big virtual machine. That idea is not any empirical warrant for supposing we are ourselves contained in a virtual environment like we create, it’s just an idea.

    On 2), testing and verification are likely impossible as a practical matter. Our “Programmer God” could create “virtual gods” who are terrifying deities in terms of their powers to alter and control resources and constraints in our world, but they are necessarily “virtual” in the same way we are — runtime elements in a computing context in a virtual machine. Nothing would “jump out of the system”, or more precisely, even if the programmer could interact with us via some interface (speaking into a microphone so as to render those sounds in our virtual machine), we would have no way to verify its “supernaturality”, to verify that it was from “Programmer World”, and not just another part of the simulation.

    That’s the hard knocks of transcendence. As I said above, it’s an inadequate paradigm in lots of ways.

    But, this framework is not without redeeming qualities, and in just the area we are talking about. An “immaterial mind”, on this view, would be grounded in concrete semantics. “Mind” would embrace its use of stolen concepts of “mind” in this world, and posit a real, “extended in space/time” (and remember the premise here is that THIS world exists in a virtual machine, meaning space/time is virtualized) context for its existence. Made out of matter, consuming resources, “wired” as a logical mesh of discrete connections.

    It doesn’t take long in thinking about this attempt to see that it quickly looks fractal or recursive: we project what we know “upward”, transcendentally; the minds we know in our local context are the basis for the minds we imagine in “Programmer World”. I’ve kept my concepts grounded, but in doing so, I’ve only introduced a form of recursion, the container becoming the contained, with nothing different ontologically, but just a nesting of reference frames.

    On one hand, that seems to go somewhere because the “Programmer” is “outside”, transcendant. AND, the concepts for my terms remain grounded, only because I’ve copied them from this word, and extrapolated our “local physics” upward to our “enclosing metaphysic”.

    On the other hand, that just signals regress, of course, and worse, it’s — gasp! — materialism. It’s the projection of our local ontology upward (and in this example, downward, as we could devise virtual machines that are simulations that we are the “gods” of).

    That’s as far as I ever got. I had either grounded concepts, and a uniform ontology (materialism), or I had dualism and lots of easy desirable answers, but no grounding for my immaterial concepts. I had to pick one or the other. The conceptual void that is left if you DON’T steal concepts is one of those realizations that caused me to confront the role of my intuitions and superstitions in what I claimed was my right reasoning, and the poverty of the supernatural domain as a feature of the reality I embraced as a Christian.

  158. @StephenB,

    One cannot, without abandoning all reason, escape the fact that the laws of nature (understood (subjectively as a “description” of regularity), and (objectively as the “existence of regularity”) do exist. Because of his prior commitment to materialist ideology, eigenstate simply cannot accept rational component of objective reality. Notice, for example, this comment: “Laws are descriptive, and do not ‘enforce’ anything on nature.” Can you grasp the radical subjectivism inherent in that comment– as if nature’s laws were solely a function of our mind’s description –as if the objective reality of the law’s power on nature didn’t exist? This is what materialistic monism does to the powers of human reason.

    Nature is what it is. It doesn’t delegate to our “laws” — laws in the prescriptive sense, like a law passed by a legislative body — where it becomes effective. Nature operates as it operates, and we build models to describe it, explain it and predict its behavior. Those descriptions are human artifacts — maps. Nature is the territory, and it’s not bound to operate according to our notion of what a map should look like.

    Maybe it’s easiest to use “models” as the human-constructed, descriptive parts of this discussion, and “nature” for the physical world, operating as it does, independent of any models or descriptions. That would keep the confusion down, I think.

    Per that, our models are descriptive, a construct of human minds, the “map”. Nature is the “territory”.

    Objectively, these laws EXIST as regularities and subjectively we UNDERSTAND them as regularities, describing them as “laws.” To suggest that we cannot draw rational conclusions based on that understanding is simply one more example of the same anti-intellectual posture that discounts reason’s rules. To claim that our understanding of these laws makes no difference raises anti-intellectualism to a new level.

    You are equivocating here on “laws”. Let’s use “models” and “nature” so we can keep our maps and territories distinguished here, OK? Epistemologically, we affirm knowledge where we have models that perform empirically. Nature remains what it is, but our models change, and improve where we are able to adjust them to match our observations and pass our tests better than previous versions. Our understanding of our models does not change the nature of reality — the map changes, the territory is what it is.

    Can you perceive the confusion inherent in this statement? It is based on the assumption that the rules of right reason are solely subjective, that is, that they are limited to our thinking, and do not necessarily apply to the rational world outside of our consciousness.

    The law of non-contradiction is not dependent on empirical observations, by your own affirmation. We reason “from” it, not “to” it, remember? That “from” means its not corrigible by our observations. If that logical principle was corrigible by evidence, it is something we would reason “to”. That doesn’t mean we can’t apply them to our experience, but such a principle is tautological, analytic. Any application is impervious to the feedback available from our experience.

    Hence, if I point out that, according to our mental “map,” Jupiter cannot exist and not exist at the same time, the materialist responds by saying, “That’s just fine for “your” map, but the territory just may well allow Jupiter to exist and not exist at the same time. Stop putting nature in a box.”

    Yeah, that’s not a good actual example given the huge size of Jupiter, but this the witness of quantum physics; this is the principle of superposition. LNC is transcendental to speaking and conceptualizing any {a|~a}, but that’s just a tool for thinking and communicating. Nature isn’t bound by our notions of LNC to fit into that neat little box. Here’s the way Bill Valicella (Maverick Philosopher) put it in a post I recall from last year that articulates this well:

    That’s right, I am defending LNC as a transcendental, not a transcendent principle, and for two reasons. First, I believe that LNC is well-nigh unassailable if presented as a transcendental a priori condition of the possibility of (i) meaningful discourse and (ii) experience of the objects of Sellar’s manifest image or of Kant’s phenomenal world, with (i) being more unassailable than (ii). Second, the transcendental defense is all I need to turn aside what I take to be your conclusion from the Cleland experiment, namely, that there are macro-objects of direct perceptual acquaintance that serve as counterexamples to LNC. To show that LNC applies beyond our thought and beyond our experience to whatever lies beyond our thought and experience, if anything, is not so easy. One cannot just dogmatically assume that a law of thought is automatically a law of reality, especially since this has been denied by any number of philosophers. Aristotle in Metaphysics Gamma, 3, 4, attempts a proof by retortion of LNC, but as far as I can see, all he establishes is that LNC is a necessary condition of meaningful thinking and speaking, not that its validity extends beyond thought and speech and their objects to things in themselves.

    (emphasis mine)

    This is the map|territory distinction. And his objection sounds like it’s aimed right at your claims, here, right? I’m not citing Valicella as an authority, but rather as a crisply put framing of the problem. For superposition in quantum physics, we aren’t necessarily committed to setting aside the LNC, even if it doesn’t work on a basic (classical) level of understanding the physics. Problems applying the LNC may just be symptomatic of contextualizing the problem; “particle|wave” may not be the exclusive characters of a particle that we suppose they are.

    But as it is, quantum superposition as a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics confounds the LNC. The particle exists simultaneously in all its possible states.

    As I understand you, nature IS beholden to the LNC, without qualification. This is the resolution of the rational mind rational universe axioms you advance. My position is that the LNC, as a measure of the operation of nature, is precisely as effective as its utility in performative models. It’s as right as we can show it to be in building models that work, no more and no less. This doesn’t deny, or diminish the LNC, it only understands it as a tool, rather than some metaphysical imperative to which Nature is subordinated.

    At the root of this error is the illogical notion that our rational minds do not correspond to a rational universe.

    Our minds do not “correspond” per se, but our models can, and do. We can, and do build models that demonstrably predict and model various aspects of Nature. But I am not aware of any metaphysical “all or nothing” axiom. Our models correspond as closely to Nature’s behavior and principles as we can show they do. The “correspondence level” is not a given, it’s only shown by how well our models predict, explain and surpass potent falsification tests.

    In other words, eigenstate is saying that the territory is not only different from the map, something we already knew, but also that the terriroty can defy reason in a way that the map cannot, something all rational people know to be false.

    What cannot be rationalized, what cannot be modeled, defies our reason. Science moves from the inside out, from minimal, rudimentary knowledge to more robust and sophisticated models, but there’s no guarantee entailed in having a human mind that all of nature will conform to the LNC or be comprehensible by any “rules of right reason”.

    Logic tells us that if it rains, the streets will get wet. Eisengate thinks that, in the real world, that same relationship between cause and effect need not exist.

    What do our models tell us? Causation is key feature of our models. It works, and performs. But causality is not a magic wand or a guarantee. We don’t have a model for the causation of the timing for individual decay events for radioactive isotopes, for example. That phenomenon has defied causal models for individual events, thus far.

    Logic tells us that a brick wall cannot just appear in front of our moving automobile unless something or someone puts it there. Eisengate thinks that a brick well, in principle, could well appear uncaused—like a quantum event—or a universe—or anything. So, what’s the bottom line? For eisengate, the laws of nature need not be laws exclusively—they can be laws and also be something else—they can act like people and choose to do something else, like create—even out of nothing. Can anyone understand why I hesitate to discuss science with those who discount reason’s rules?

    Nature is what it is. Our models change, and our descriptions of the principles at work change as those models change. That doesn’t make Nature different, it makes our models different. This is an epistemology that is accountable to experience, corrigible with respect to extra-mental experience. If a particular reasoning tool doesn’t perform against our experience, our map does not and cannot accurately reflect the territory to the extent that it fails.

    I do understand your hesitation to discuss science. Your tools aren’t means to an end, they ARE the end, in your view. If you value your understanding of the way the world must be, in simplistic terms, over the performance of models that are judged by experience and empirical tests, well, there’s really not much science can offer you. It works both ways. If I am talking with a person who is committed to axioms that defeat and thwart development and apprehension of performative models of the world around us, there’s not much to say. Such a person is incorrigible by the evidence, unpersuaded by superior performance of one model versus another.

    So, now we pose the question: Why does eisengate refuse to acknowledge the law of non-contradiction and the law of causality?

    These are both important and useful tools for reasoning. To the extent they aid and facilitate development of better and performative models, they are essential tools.

    Why does he think a law can be a law and also be something else? Why does he think that evidence can inform the rules of logic when he should know that the rules of logic inform evidence?

    Our reasoning toolkit aids in interpreting the evidence (again, models). These rules do not inform, if that means influence or change the evidence. Nature is what it is. Our logic is as good as the results it produces in our models.

    The reason is simple: If he acknowledges reason’s rules, and the relationship between reason’s rules and evidence, he must concede the same point that he has been avoiding. A contingent universe cannot arise from a law, it requires an antecedent cause, which, in turn, must either be the first/causeless cause, or the effect of a first/causeless cause. We all know where that one is going. Since his ideology leaves no room for the truth, the truth must be denied, and reason, the vehicle by which we arrive at truth, must be abandoned. It’s as simple as that.

    If you close yourself in a dark room, and take no input from outside, your intuitions cannot be falsified. No one, and no thing, no evidence can make a dent in your ‘truth’. It’s a tautological framework.

    As soon as you suppose that your logic, your tools are only as good as the results they can demonstrate, then everything changes. All the traditional heuristics have their place, and are used heavily in the models we develop. But Nature is what it is, and our intuitions about how intelligible the world MUST BE according to those tools don’t change Nature at all (so far as we can tell). This is just the problem of dogma redux.

  159. 160

    eig: “anything external to our local runtime environment, our local virtual machine”.

    Ok, now what about runtim env, how would you define runtime environment, physics, space-time, vector space ?

  160. Yeah, that’s not a good actual example given the huge size of Jupiter, but this the witness of quantum physics; this is the principle of superposition. LNC is transcendental to speaking and conceptualizing any {a|~a}, but that’s just a tool for thinking and communicating. Nature isn’t bound by our notions of LNC to fit into that neat little box.

    Do you think it would help your case if I chose a smaller planet? How about a little red ball situated on your dining room table? According to your testimony, Jupiter (or the little red ball) can both exist and not exist at the same time. You also believe that effects can spring up without causes.

    Aristotle in Metaphysics Gamma, 3, 4, attempts a proof by retortion of LNC, but as far as I can see, all he establishes is that LNC is a necessary condition of meaningful thinking and speaking, not that its validity extends beyond thought and speech and their objects to things in themselves.

    The law of non-contradiction cannot be demonstrated; it is the means by which we demonstrate. One either accepts it as a self evident principle of reason or one does not. Obviously, you do not, for reasons we have already established. If you accepted reason’s rules, you would be compelled to acknowledge a causeless cause of the universe. Hence, you deny causality altogether as a means of escaping reality.

    For superposition in quantum physics, we aren’t necessarily committed to setting aside the LNC, even if it doesn’t work on a basic (classical) level of understanding the physics. Problems applying the LNC may just be symptomatic of contextualizing the problem; “particle|wave” may not be the exclusive characters of a particle that we suppose they are.

    If you are not trying to set aside the law of non-contradiction, then why are you looking for examples that are calculated to do that very thing? In any case, a quantum superposition between multiple POSSIBLE end states does not violate the law of non-contradiction.

    But as it is, quantum superposition as a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics confounds the LNC. The particle exists simultaneously in all its possible states.”

    To exist actually is not the same thing as existing potentially. A given child exists actually at a height of 4’ 6” and potentially at a height of 5’9.” Do you therefore, conclude that he can exist at both heights at the same time? All this is irrelevant, however, because you reject the law of non-contradiction across the board, which is why you claim that a law of nature can also not be a law of nature. So, we are not talking exclusively about quantum waves or particles. For you, the law of non-contradiction is negotiable–anytime, anywhere.

    Our minds do not “correspond” [to reality] per se, but our models can, and do.

    If our minds do not correspond to reality, then how do you know enough about reality to know that our minds do not correspond to it?

    What do our models tell us? Causation is key feature of our models. It works, and performs. But causality is not a magic wand or a guarantee. We don’t have a model for the causation of the timing for individual decay events for radioactive isotopes, for example. That phenomenon has defied causal models for individual events, thus far.

    You don’t understand the difference between not being able to identify a cause and making the irrational claim that no cause exists? I can now readily understand why you think a brick wall can appear in front of your car on the highway without a cause.

    This is an epistemology that is accountable to experience, corrigible with respect to extra-mental experience. If a particular reasoning tool doesn’t perform against our experience, our map does not and cannot accurately reflect the territory to the extent that it fails.

    If your map tells you that a physical law can also not be a physical law, or that it can morph into anything your imagination conceives, then you are using the wrong map. Naturally, this is a choice. One can choose to use a reasonable map or one can choose to use an unreasonable map. Evidence cannot inform or invalidate reason’s rules because reason’s rules are the means by which we interpret evidence reasonably.

    I do understand your hesitation to discuss science.

    You misunderstand. I will happily discuss science with any reasonable person, that is, anyone who knows the difference between scientific models, which attempt to explain reality in causal terms, and the underlying metaphysical standards, which define the law of causality being applied. In large part, science is a search for causes. Accordingly, why debate the possible cause(s) of a given effect with someone who thinks, as you do, that effects can occur without any cause at all. That would be like trying to identify a murderer who put 27 stab wounds in a victim’s back with a forensic scientist who believes that wounds can appear without a cause.

  161. @StephenB,

    Do you think it would help your case if I chose a smaller planet? How about a little red ball situated on your dining room table? According to your testimony, Jupiter (or the little red ball) can both exist and not exist at the same time. You also believe that effects can spring up without causes.

    Smaller is better, but even the ball is big enough, it’s not appreciably different than a huge planet. Here’s an example of a macro object (albeit a very, very small one) being put in superposition.

    The law of non-contradiction cannot be demonstrated; it is the means by which we demonstrate. One either accepts it as a self evident principle of reason or one does not.

    It’s a reasoning tool. It’s as useful and effective as the results it produces. If you can’t build a model that performs as well as, say, modern quantum mechanical models, because you supposes quantum superposition and other weird aspects of QM are at odds with your understanding of the LNC, you are giving up model performance — knowledge about the world around you, including the ability to predict and explain fundamental phenomena — for your tools. Your tools are supposed to serve you.

    None of this is all-or-nothing. It’s good to remember that the only way superposition gets identified as problematic for rigid notions of the LNC is by invoking and relying on the LNC in the first place. That is, in order for a contradiction to be identified as such, LNC has to support the analysis. A particle that is problematic in terms of particle|wave duality is only problematic if we understand that “waveness” is somehow exclusive of “particicleness”, and “particleness” is somehow exclusive of “waveness”. Unless we can support the “exclusive” relationship of “waveness” and “particleness” there is no putative contradiction to worry about.

    Or, as a college professor once told a class I was in: “You need the LNC to show a problem with the LNC.” LNC is transcendentally necessary to locate even apparent contradictions or violations. So, the problem is not the abandoning of the LNC, that causes a complete halt. Indeed, the LNC is a crucial tool invoked to identify areas of our experience where LNC runs into trouble. That’s not a problem, so long as we realize that, — *cough, cough* — the LNC is not magic, or some kind of cosmic jedi mind trick. It’s just a tool we use in reasoning.

    Obviously, you do not, for reasons we have already established. If you accepted reason’s rules, you would be compelled to acknowledge a causeless cause of the universe. Hence, you deny causality altogether as a means of escaping reality.

    Causality is cool. It’s so pervasive that we hardly notice it. But it’s not magic, it’s just a tool for reasoning. And causality is problematic in quantum mechanics. The Uncertainty Principle is not just a philosophical challenge to the classical notions of causality, it is an empirical problem, by which I mean that QM only works as a predictive model when it is PREDICATED on acausality. If you believe, pace “rules of right reason”, that quantum events MUST have causal antecedents, then any causal model you plug in will break QM. QM in that sense, requires acausality, the probabilistic intedeterminacy of fundamental events to achieve the predictions and results it produces.

    So, you can hold fast to your simplistic and brittle notions of causality, faith in its magical powers, or you can endorse the models that perform (and they perform stupendously, to levels of precision unmatched by other theories) based on integrating acausality for events into the framework.

    Pick one.

    If you are not trying to set aside the law of non-contradiction, then why are you looking for examples that are calculated to do that very thing? In any case, a quantum superposition between multiple POSSIBLE end states does not violate the law of non-contradiction.

    I’m not looking for counter-examples. They find me, through science. But no matter how they are found, problems with the LNC exist, and can’t be avoided as problems if you are going to accept evidence and experience as reflective of our extra-mental reality. Our brains can’t integrate sensory input apart in violation of the LNC; we cannot see the same ball being “red” and “not-red” at the same time. This, as above, is an example of where the LNC gets applied to good ends, but is useful in understanding conflicts with the LNC. If our sensory inputs are rectified under LNC, the LNC becomes problematic as the result of models that are built from LNC-abiding observations and experiences. This is the case with QM.

    We cannot “see the superposition”. Observation forces the collapse of the wave function into a discrete state. But the model only works (predicts, performs) if we integrate superposition for contexts where there no discrete state (no EIGENSTATE). So while we can’t “see” the superposition, it must obtain in order for the probabilities to work out as we observe. That’s a subtle, but crucial point. Superposition isn’t just abstract potential, as in “might be”; quantum superposition entails that the particle EXISTS in all possible states, simultaneously, until it has to resolve under measurement. That is not “exists as a potential” in some sense that equivocates on “exists” (using “exists” in the sense that for a fair die, “the potential exists to roll a ’3′”), but physically exists.

    That’s a problem for the LNC, unless one accepts that a natural object – the same object – can exist in all possible states at the same time. These states are, per our understanding of ‘state’, discrete and exclusive; state A is NOT state B (and vice versa). But object X in superposition simultaneously exists in state A and state B.

    The way you phrased your comment there suggests you haven’t grasped the problem. Superposition is not a “choice” between (your word) multiple possible states. It is the the simultaneous existence of the object in multiple states. This is a good example where a rigid, magical view of the LNC limits understanding, and thwarts reasoning toward knowledge.

    To exist actually is not the same thing as existing potentially. A given child exists actually at a height of 4’ 6” and potentially at a height of 5’9.” Do you therefore, conclude that he can exist at both heights at the same time? All this is irrelevant, however, because you reject the law of non-contradiction across the board, which is why you claim that a law of nature can also not be a law of nature. So, we are not talking exclusively about quantum waves or particles. For you, the law of non-contradiction is negotiable–anytime, anywhere.

    This is not what quantum mechanics holds. In your example, there are two different states separated by a time differential. That’s not a problem. In the case of a photon in superposition, the two different states obtain AT THE SAME TIME. That photon still exists while in superposition, and is both 4’6″ and 5’9″ tall and EVERY OTHER POSSIBLE HEIGHT (to use the values from your example), all at the same time. Would you say that the same child, existing at both the height of 4’6″ and 5’9″ at the same time is a problem? And every other possible height for that child at the same time as well? If so, then you have grabbed a toehold on the problem here.

    Your dogma stunts your reasoning. Your belief in the magic powers of simplistic rules closes off understanding and knowledge. And note that in showing this, I don’t eschew the LNC, I use it and use it forcefully. The LNC is a “form of intelligibility”, a powerful tool, but it’s not axiomatically universal, and Nature is not bound to be exhaustively intelligible by its light. Nature is what it is.

    More anon…

  162. @StephenB,

    If our minds do not correspond to reality, then how do you know enough about reality to know that our minds do not correspond to it?

    We deploy models, of course. It begins before we are born, and we hone and develop them as we grow and learn from our experience. We can identify areas of ignorance, questions and puzzles for which we do not have knowledge, by reference to areas where we can demonstrate knowledge. If we can explain, predict, and account for our observations with our model (in a way that is falsifiable), we have demonstrable knowledge insofar as those explanations and predictions hold.

    This is “correspondence”.

    By contrast, where we are not able to explain, predict, and build falsifiable models that account for our observations, we do not have knowledge.

    This is “non-correspondence”, or more precisely “lack of corresponence”. A falsified model, as opposed to the absences of any model, would be “non-correspondence”.

    You don’t understand the difference between not being able to identify a cause and making the irrational claim that no cause exists? I can now readily understand why you think a brick wall can appear in front of your car on the highway without a cause.

    I understand the difference. Again, you are mistaken on the role indeterminacy plays in quantum physics. It’s not a matter of saying “we don’t know what the cause may be”. QM depends on a positive element of acausality. That is, it requires pure probabilisms. Any cause, any determiner that is more specific than pure probabilistic chance, BREAKS THE MODEL. That’s one of the main reasons physicists regard QM as exceedingly weird — the model works and the predicts are stupendously precise and accurate WHEN acausality is the predicate for the events.

    And it isn’t a matter of just equiprobability. Given the same starting conditions, the outcome is indeterminate, non-repeatable. That’s as acausal as acausal gets.

    Imagine rolling a pair of fair dice, over and over. For real dice can hold in your hand and roll, we might say the die are “equiprobable” in that they have (roughly) uniform geometry for each of the six faces. But an actual roll does not have an equiprobable outcome; if you know the beginning position, trajectory, angular momentum, weight, surface friction, and all the other physical variables for the roll, the roll becomes predictable before the die has landed.

    QM isn’t like that, per our observations. Not only are the “dice fair”, but there is no way, in principle, to “predict the roll”. It’s fundamentally acausal in resolving discrete values. If we could “find the missing reason”, our whole performative model wouldn’t work, for it’s inherently a product of that fundamental probabilism.

    If your map tells you that a physical law can also not be a physical law, or that it can morph into anything your imagination conceives, then you are using the wrong map. Naturally, this is a choice. One can choose to use a reasonable map or one can choose to use an unreasonable map. Evidence cannot inform or invalidate reason’s rules because reason’s rules are the means by which we interpret evidence reasonably.

    Your use of “law” is highly problematic. Using “models” and “Nature” per above to avoid the confusion in your usage, I don’t have any reason to understand Nature to be changing into something else. But I do understand that my models, and the principles invoked in those models, are subject to change with the introduction of new evidence, and the development of more sophisticated and effective models.

    As for choosing the wrong map, I don’t determine the reasonability of my map based on my intutions about how the map must look, I judge the map by its performance, it’s ability to navigate, predict and manipulate the territory. It’s a results-based model for judging maps, based on our experience with using those maps, not an intuitive or a dogmatic insistence that the map be this way or that, evidence and results notwithstanding.

    You misunderstand. I will happily discuss science with any reasonable person, that is, anyone who knows the difference between scientific models, which attempt to explain reality in causal terms, and the underlying metaphysical standards, which define the law of causality being applied. In large part, science is a search for causes. Accordingly, why debate the possible cause(s) of a given effect with someone who thinks, as you do, that effects can occur without any cause at all. That would be like trying to identify a murderer who put 27 stab wounds in a victim’s back with a forensic scientist who believes that wounds can appear without a cause.

    I don’t see any reason to debate the (a)causality of quantum events for the sake of debating. The wonder of science is that that is not needed, nor helpful toward a scientific conclusion. What matters in science is the performance of the model, the results you get when using a model. And while causality is a pervasive feature of all scientific models, QM included, it’s transcendentally necessary that any model must terminate in unknown, unspecified causes. Else you have an infinite regress of causes needed for any given model.

    In the case of QM, we have something even strong than “unknown”, a positive place for acausality as the basis for the probabilism that makes it all work. While science certainly aims at identifying causal relationships, matching effective causes with effects, science aims at performative models, which is not just a “search for causes”.

    Your stabbing murderer example, again, just highlights the conceptual difficulty you are having with QM. Nature behaves in fundamentally different, and alien-to-human ways at sub-atomic scales. The way things work at the “bloody knife” scale is NOT how things work at the Planck scale. Because of the enormous cardinality of any macro object you have human experience with — like a knife — Nature has a robust causal fabric that attends your senses at your scale. This is the result of probabilities aggregated into enormous ensembles, predictable at your scale for the same reason “7″ is predictable as the most common roll of 10 trillion rolls of a pair of fair dice.

    If you insist on the intutions that evolution has equipped you with, and generally serve you well at the scale in which you operate, you simply won’t be able to grasp other fundamental aspects of Nature that others have struggled with, and rendered intelligible, predictable, explainable. It involves more flexibility and sophisticated use of our reasoning tools than the kind of brittle, magical thinking you are set on maintaining. That’s your choice, but you are serving your tools, as you have things situated now. If you let your tools serve you, and facilitate knowledge, performative, demonstrable knowledge, you will understand far more than you currently do about the world around you.

  163. I wish eigenststate well and hope that he finds his way back to rationality. However, based on his responses, I don’t think that he will make it.

    This dialogue has been a useful exercise, though, because it dramatizes the primary reason why ID proponents can’t reach Darwinists and their brainwashed victims with evidence and rational arguments. What you have witnessed here is, by no means, unusual. The intellectual and moral lights are going out for Western Civilization and one of the core problems is postmodern subjectivism, an unnatural and destructive philosophy of mind that renders its victims incapable of abstract reasoning.

    If we strip down most of the objections to ID, we will find, at the core, a commitment to this kind of militant anti-intellectualism posing as sophistication, characterized by a denial of reason itself. Until we confront that problem and teach people how to think, rational arguments will be of no avail.

  164. 165

    eig: “Observation forces the collapse of the wave function into a discrete state.”

    This is based on your specific interpretation of the wave function — Copenhagen. And Born7′s favorite, Copenhagen’s red headed step child– von Nuemann.

    And as you know, many hold that the collapse is an illusion altogether.

  165. StephenB, eigenstate,

    I confess to only having skimmed your discussion, so forgive me if I misrepresent either of your positions.

    With that caveat, a few comments:

    1. I think that sacrificing the law of non-contradiction is more of a problem than eigenstate acknowledges, because once you allow for contradictions, the truth of any proposition (and its negation) follows from the principle of explosion. Thus any model that allows contradiction fails to conform to our observed reality, in which some propositions are true and others are false.

    2. This is okay, because I don’t think that quantum mechanics forces us to abandon the LNC anyway. However, it does force us to abandon the law of the excluded middle (LEM). Let me explain.

    In the Cleland experiment, the paddle can be in three distinct states:

    1) moving,

    2) not moving, and

    3) in a superposition of moving and not moving.

    I maintain that a paddle in state 3 is not in state 1 and not in state 2. In other words, there is a difference between

    3) saying that the paddle is in a superposition of moving and not moving, and

    4) saying that the paddle is both moving and not moving.

    #4 would be a contradiction, but it’s not true. #3 is not a contradiction and it is true. Thus there is no need to abandon the LNC in order to accommodate superposition.

    On the other hand you cannot say that the paddle is either moving or it’s not moving; there is a third possibility: that the paddle is in a superposition of moving and not moving. Thus we do have to sacrifice the LEM in order to accommodate superposition.

    3. I absolutely disagree with StephenB about causality being derivative of the LNC. Causality is not a principle of reason. It is an empirical observation at best, subject to all the limitations of inductive inference. Prior to QM, we seemed to be able to find a cause for every event, so we inferred that every event has a cause. Now we have observed phenomena that falsify this inference. The status of causality was, and is, a fact about the world, not a self-evident axiom of reason.

    If causality is derivative of the LNC, as StephenB claims, then assuming acausality should lead to contradictions. I don’t think Stephen has demonstrated this, and I don’t think he can.

    Causality is not a self-evident axiom of “right reason”.

  166. Rather than demonstrate that causality is derivative, which would be very time consuming and unsatisfactory for most observers, I will grant, for the sake of argument, that it is NOT inextricably tied to the Law of Non-contradiction. That is no problem since it can stand on its own as a first principle of right reason.

    First, I will begin by asking the obvious question cited above: Can a brick wall appear suddenly, and with no cause, in front of a automobile traveling 60 mph? If not, why not?
    This is, to be sure, a yes or no question followed by an explanation. This question is primarily for Champ since, eisengate, by virtue of his denial of LNC, will feel free to say Yes AND no.

    Stay with me for about five or six rounds of questions. I will, if necessary, get to quantum mechanics. However, we can get nowhere if you do not answer my questions.

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