Rosenhouse Concedes Without Realizing It
|April 2, 2013||Posted by johnnyb under Intelligent Design, Philosophy, Physics, Science|
There is currently a discussion going on about Nagel’s new book, Mind and Cosmos between Ed Feser and Jason Rosenhouse. Feser takes Rosenhouse to task pretty well but there’s one thing that I think he overlooks – Rosenhouse actually winds up conceding the entire argument at the end.
At the end of his response to Feser, Rosenhouse says,
At most, philosophy can explore the consequences of certain assumptions about what matter can and cannot do. The trouble is that science is constantly changing our view of what matter is. The “material” out of which the world is made looks very different today than it did a century ago. It wasn’t that long ago that atoms were thought to be solid balls. Today they are vastly more complicated, to the point where even physicists have trouble wrapping their heads around what they do. Nowadays it is common to speak of the universe as having emerged from a quantum foam. Is quantum foam material? I don’t know.
The admission here, that Rosenhouse doesn’t seem to even realize that he’s making, is that materialism has only maintained its grip by redefining what it is at every turn – many times incorporating non-material ideas into materialism.
If “materialism” starts including ideas which were previously classified as “immaterial”, does that mean that the materialists were wrong or the immaterialists? It seems absurd to claim that materialism has been winning if it has been continually importing ideas from the immaterialists. That sounds a little backwards to me.
I wrote an article on this a while back. Newton imported non-local causation (previously in the immaterial camp). QM imported non-mechanical causation (previously in the immaterial camp).
At what point will the materialists realize that the only way that their idea of the universe still makes sense is by simply relabeling “immaterial” as “material”?
Part of this has come from a refusal by the materialists to make solid, specific claims about their position. If someone is a “materialist”, but can’t tell me what that means is true or is not true, to what extent does that position have any meaning at all?
For those are interested, at the Engineering and Metaphysics conference last year, I looked at the most workable definition of materialism by materialists and showed (a) why it was better than other definitions, (b) why under that definition we should not be materialists, and (c) how to integrate non-material causation into modeling.
Hopefully we will be coming out with a proceedings volume shortly so the material will be more polished and accessible for everyone.