Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Discussion Zone For Atheism

This post will serve as a permanent location for discussion of any and all aspects of Atheism. It will be on the Left Column.

135 comments:

Stan said...

I had not heard of Bahnsen before the video on evolution was presented as a discussion origin device. After watching that video, I discovered this video on Atheism, where he summarizes a debate with an Atheist. He makes many of the same points that I make here on this blog.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07RYgkItSvM

Stan said...

I repeat the first principle of Atheism:
Atheism is a Void, intellectually and morally.
Atheism is purely rejectionism, and provides no moral or intellectual guidance. This allows the new Atheist to experience a "great freedom", being no longer beholden to any code of morality or logical analysis. While the Atheist might subsequently adopt or create a personal "moral code" as well as some sort of personal logic, these are personal, subjective, and hold neither moral authority nor intellectual authority. It is possible for the Atheist to co-opt moral and intellectual principles from others, but the co-option is still personal, subjective and without any authority attached to it.

Thus Atheism provides a person with a highly plastic worldview containing temporary moral and intellectual principles which, being subjective, are subject to change at the Atheist's whim, and without notice.

At bottom, then, the Atheist is a situational consequentialist because whatever morals or logic is useful depends upon the situation at hand, and the vaporous nature of Atheist subjective principles allows the Atheist to modify those principles without consulting any conscience.

This is a natural and necessary outcome of Atheism.

Hugo Pelland said...

" I repeat the first principle of Atheism:
Atheism is a Void, intellectually and morally.
"
Atheism has no principle; it's the disbelief of the existential claim "God exists". You actually put it correctly in the next sentence:
" Atheism is purely rejectionism, and provides no moral or intellectual guidance. "
That is correct. But then you go back to:
" This allows the new Atheist to experience a "great freedom", being no longer beholden to any code of morality or logical analysis. "
If we agree that Atheism provides no guidance, it is necessarily false that Atheism allows, or prevents, anything at all. Again, Atheism relates to 1 thing and 1 thing only: belief in God.

" While the Atheist might subsequently adopt or create a personal "moral code" "
The problem here is that you say "subsequently ", as if Atheism was guiding anything. But you just said that Atheism does not do such guidance. Again, Atheism has no principle. Atheists can believe that there are objective moral truths; some do believe that, others don't. Atheism does not inform their beliefs.

"some sort of personal logic"
There is no such thing as 'personal' logic. Statements are logically valid, or not, and true, or not, objectively. Nothing to do with Atheism.

" these are personal, subjective, and hold neither moral authority nor intellectual authority."
Correct. Just like Theists' beliefs. Nobody has exclusive moral authority, or intellectual authority, or any kind of privilege access to truth. Atheists are not better, nor worse. Some individuals are better though, and some are worse...

"It is possible for the Atheist to co-opt moral and intellectual principles from others, but the co-option is still personal, subjective and without any authority attached to it."
Correct, but that applies to Theists too. So nothing to do with Atheism.

"Thus Atheism provides a person with a highly plastic worldview containing temporary moral and intellectual principles which, being subjective, are subject to change at the Atheist's whim, and without notice."
This mean nothing as Atheism is the consequence of one's woldview. As inditacted above, Atheism does not guide nor inform anything. Atheist's subjective opinions change, just like Theists' subjective opinions change. Timeless or past objective truths don't change, for instance, and that's what we are all trying to find out. We are all seeking truth; well, people who care about what's true at least...

Hugo Pelland said...

From another thread:
". Further, if Atheism doesn't start with a VOID, then it must start with content. If it starts with content, then you would have provided that content. Note that pure rejectionism is not content; it is an assault on content without reasons or reasoning. So it is quite clear that the Atheist VOID a) exists; b) applies universally to all Atheists; c) is without content, either of a moral nature or of an intellectual nature. Should you have objective evidence of a universal Atheist content existing instead of the universal VOID, then provide it for discussion. If you cannot do that, then admit it."

Atheism does not start with a VOID because it is a conclusion, not a starting point, for everyone. Yes, this is a universal claim; something that does apply to all. By definition, Atheists are people who don't believe in gods they have heard of. Basically, I disagree with people who say that 'we are all born Atheists' because, even though I get what they are trying to say, I think this is misleading. Someone who, somehow, has never heard of the concept of God must be labeled as a 'pure Agnostic'; someone who literaly knows nothing about God. This is not the same as Agnostic Atheists, which is the majority of Atheists, who claim that they don't know whether God exists, but don't believe God exists either. So the 'content' that Atheism starts with is simple and obvious: a definition of God. Atheists have all heard of some version of God, and don't believe that God exists.

However, we cannot generalize further than that. That's why it's not possible to directly address your statements about 'moral nature', 'intellectual nature', 'objective evidence of a universal Atheist content'. I fully admit I cannot provide 'that' specifically, because it does not exist. You're the one who should admit that it's impossible to link all Atheists like that, because Atheists come from diverse backgrounds and cannot possibly all know of the same God concepts. Atheists raised as Catholics did not stop believing for the same reasons as Atheists raised as Hindus, or Muslims or by Atheists parents. In all cases, there is some content that the Atheism is base on, not a void, but we cannot generalize that content further.

Regardless of their reasons for not believing, this is why Atheism is not, and cannot, start with a VOID. All Atheists reject something; not nothing. As you said: it's about rejection. Hence, it cannot possibly be 2 things at the same time; it cannot be based on 'nothing' and 'something' at the same time. Even if you disagree with Atheists, you should at least be able to accurately represent the position. Stating that Atheism is based on a void is not accurate.

Hugo Pelland said...

This was put on the Evolution thread, but it fits here actually, and I thought it was important so I will quickly address it but keep more of it for another time:

" My reply to Hugo is long and requires several comment blocks:
Hugo Pelland said...
”Finally, on a more personal note, perhaps I can explain what it means to me to be an Atheist, as it is, after all, a personal belief: Atheism does not relate to what we know but only to what we believe. Simply put, I don't believe in God and I am convinced that many of the versions of God I have heard of are definitely non-existent, with just a few options being still possible, but just unlikely. Here's how I would list it:

1) God - Sun: I don't believe that the Sun is God, nor are the stars, the constellations, etc... I don't think anybody alive today believes that either, but it used to be common. We just know better now.

2) God - Natural Events: I don't believe there is a God that controls the natural elements. Disaster such as tsunami, earthquakes or tornadoes hit randomly based on uncontrolled natural conditions. Some people today think that God may be in control of that, partially, but I think most people who believe in God don't blame Him for natural events like that. To me, it's just purely natural so I don't believe such God exists.”

I take these to be sarcasm. As if theism is just about stupid things.
"

No, this was not sarcasm at all. This was supposed to be a slow progression from "stupid" things to "serious" things. I don't see why you would label them as "stupid" though because these were actual beliefs of people who lived not that long ago, relatively speaking. Humans did seriously believe that the Sun was God; same with Volcanoes, Earthquake, Eclipses, etc...

Over time, the beliefs changed as people got to know more and more about the world that surrounds them. So yes, today, it sounds stupid. But a lot of the gods that people believe in today are also "stupid" beliefs. But it's not the Atheists that make the distinction... it's Theists. Theists are the ones who say 'these gods are stupid; by my God is not'. Atheists simply don't believe any gods exist.

The rest of the progression, which would take a lot more time to write, could look like this:
God as:
1) Sun
2) Natural Events
3) Actual person/animal/creature(s) living with humans
4) Miracle orchestrator, daily interaction
5) Active creator/sustainer of the universe
6) Life force being everything; karma balancer
...
X) Passive designer; not active in human affairs

So the idea is not to be sarcastic, or funny, or anything like that. It's a genuine list of possible definitions for God, some of which are still strongly believed by most of the human population. Atheists don't believe any of these exist, and it's up to the Theists to say why their version is supposedly correct, and in turn, the Atheists should explain why that specific version does not convince them. It's a 2-way discussion that has been going on for millennia...

Stan said...

Hugo says,
”If we agree that Atheism provides no guidance, it is necessarily false that Atheism allows, or prevents, anything at all. Again, Atheism relates to 1 thing and 1 thing only: belief in God.”

Atheism does far more than that. There are logically necessary conclusions that erupt from the rejectionist principle of “no God”. These conclusions cannot be suppressed using the common Atheist generalized denialism without proof.

IF [no God], THEN [subprinciple 1 through n], where:

1. Existence is all natural, meaning observable, with cause and effect as the determining force for change in time.

2. Universal entropy is the law of physics determining direction of change.

3. Despite subprinciple 2, evolution mysteriously creates massive information simultaneously with anentropic life, and creates new, complex features such as multiple interrelated organs connected with communication feedback control systems.

4. Humans are merely mammals which evolved accidentally and for no reason, and have no discernible value, teleologically or systemically to themselves or the universe.

5. Rationality according to Darwin (Darwin’s horrid doubt) and numerous other philosophers is not a given; it is not provable that any thought is rational except under empiricism, and then only contingently, with no guarantee. Empiricism is based on the presumption of the existence of universal laws which exist for no reason, and which are sustained for no reason.

6. According to the necessary principles of Materialism and Determinism, rational thought and agency are not possible. This is necessary because agency is defined as the property of a unit which involves self-determinism for actions; that necessarily contradicts universal Determinism. Since universal Determinism is necessary for Materialism and Atheism, then agency and rational thought must be rejected.

7. Given the necessary Atheist subprinciples of Determinism and Materialism, then the self-refutation of rationality is a necessary conclusion.

8. The abandoning of rationality, then, leads to accepting Just So Story Telling as an empirical standard rather than the prior standard of demonstrable, repeatable, falsifiable experimental contingent data. This is congruent with the above subprinciples, and is an example of the need for irrational conclusions to support Materialism and hence, Atheism.

9. Referring to the original concept (Atheism provides “no guidance”), Atheism actually does more than that. Atheism removes all constraints (hence, the magical “freedom” which Atheists experience). This allows, even necessitates that the Atheist construct his own moral code, if any. So it is not possible to know in advance what the moral code, if any, of any given Atheist might be… unless the code is enforced by the state, as has been done to death in the 20th century Atheist nations.

10. Since each Atheist makes up his own moral code, and since the average empathy for Atheists is that of psychopathy, then the moral code an Atheist devises is highly likely to be purely (or nearly) completely Consequentialist, with objectives (ends) and tactics (means) the values of which are determined purely by non-empathetic and self-derived desires of the individual Atheist. The ability to create moral code can be viewed as god-like, and hence to be extrapolated into elitism, then to Leftism and totalitarian elitism.

Stan said...

And now you agree:
”" these are personal, subjective, and hold neither moral authority nor intellectual authority."
Correct.”


But your next statement is the crux of your confusion:
”Just like Theists' beliefs.”

For this Truth Statement (a false Tu Quoque avoidance/Red Herring), you need proof. And since you, as an Atheist, claim in this very series of comments to be the possessor of rationality above and beyond any appeal to the empathy module of the brain, then certainly you will provide the logic and/or empirical material proof for this generality which you state as Truth.

But I’ll cut to the chase here: you cannot provide either logic or empirical material proof for this generality-as-Truth statement. So you will not. Instead you will very likely dissemble, because you have no other choice (well, except to ignore it, as you have ignored the questions of irrational necessary premises for Atheism). Here is your next generalization-as-Truth Statement:

”Nobody has exclusive moral authority, or intellectual authority, or any kind of privilege access to truth. “

Again you make a universal generalization which you cannot prove, either with logic or empirical material data.

Since these statements are not based in logic or empiricism, then they are purely emotional. As is the next:

”Atheists are not better, nor worse. Some individuals are better though, and some are worse...”

You have jumped from individually derived moral codes, if any, to presumptions of behaviors. The facts seem to be far, far different: Atheists have mass murdered hundreds of millions of people in just the last century. Appealing to their moral code, it was logical, it was evolutionary (“New Man/ubermenchen”), and it was implemented because it was “necessary” in terms of class, with zero empathy for the individual. In other words, it was considered “rational”, and with no need for empathy.

I’ll conclude this segment with the following:

"It is possible for the Atheist to co-opt moral and intellectual principles from others, but the co-option is still personal, subjective and without any authority attached to it."
Correct, but that applies to Theists too. So nothing to do with Atheism.”


First, you agree. Then you Tu Quoque a false equivalency as an excuse not to address the issue. It actually has everything to do with Atheism. Atheism and its false premises is the subject. You cannot Red Herring this off into the ditch in order not to address it. And finally, your comment on theists is without any proof, unlike the case against Atheism. Atheism has NO moral authority, and you agree. That is the point. You will have to PROVE your subsequent complaint about the moral authority of theists (a generalization, of course, since there are many types of theism) and show decisively that there is no theist moral position which has any higher authority.

So at this point you have the above challenges. You claim that Atheists are rational, only, and don’t need the empathy module of the brain. This leads to the above challenges for you to prove, either using logic or empirical, replicable, falsifiable, material proof.

Because I think that this segment gets at the heart of Atheism and its necessary consequences, I’ll stop here for a little while, and await your proofs for your assertions.

Go ahead and do that. I’ll wait.

Stan said...

Whereas the above addresses Atheism, the following addresses the specific avoidance of this specific Atheist conversation.

” "Thus Atheism provides a person with a highly plastic worldview containing temporary moral and intellectual principles which, being subjective, are subject to change at the Atheist's whim, and without notice."
This mean nothing as Atheism is the consequence of one's woldview.”


That is false, and here is why. If your worldview starts with Materialism and Determinism, that still does not produce Atheism because Materialism and Determinism can, in theory, be compatible with a creating intelligent agent. Atheism is NOT a consequence. Atheism is a choice to enter the VOID in order to acquire the exhilaration of freedom from rules, and the feeling of autonomy (which BTW contradicts Determinism). It is based on rejection-without-cause (neither logical nor empirical) for rejection: pure rejectionism. Rejectionism is of the form “I am unconvinced, and I need NO reasoning to explain why”.
This is your approach; you do not address any of the premises necessary for your Atheism; you do not expand on the statement, “Atheism is the consequence of one’s worldview”, as to what the details could possibly be. Instead, you claim that “this means nothing”, rather than detail how that could possibly be the case.

Atheism does not start with a VOID because it is a conclusion, not a starting point, for everyone. Yes, this is a universal claim; something that does apply to all. By definition, Atheists are people who don't believe in gods they have heard of.

You did not answer the question, nor did you address the issue. I’ll repeat it for you, in order to keep you on track:

” Further, if Atheism doesn't start with a VOID, then it must start with content. If it starts with content, then you would have provided that content. Note that pure rejectionism is not content; it is an assault on content without reasons or reasoning. So it is quite clear that the Atheist VOID a) exists; b) applies universally to all Atheists; c) is without content, either of a moral nature or of an intellectual nature. Should you have objective evidence of a universal Atheist content existing instead of the universal VOID, then provide it for discussion. If you cannot do that, then admit it."”

Did you respond to this? No. You dissembled. I think that I must shout: WHAT IS THE CONTENT OF ATHEIST REJECTION? Answer the above, or ADMIT THAT YOU CANNOT. Choose one, and do it: that is intellectually responsible. Ignoring it is not.

Stan said...

Hugo:
I’ll make this easier for you:

1. Atheists, including you, claim to be based in logic and evidence.

2. Atheists, including you, reject “God and/or gods”.

3. IF [God and/or gods are rejected using logic or evidence], Then [the logic is X, the evidence is Y].

4. X = the disciplined, valid deductive logic including premises which proves [the lack of God and/or gods] and which passes Reductio Ad Absurdum, reduces to First Principles and is not circular nor an infinite regression.

5. Y = the demonstrable, replicable, falsifiable experimental process and open data which shows (contingently) that there is no possible God and/or gods.

IF you reject God and/or gods, THEN you must have logic (X) and/or material empirical evidence (Y) to support your rejection; ELSE you have rejected God and/or gods based on something other than logic and/or material evidence, and that something is necessarily NOT logic OR material evidence, but is emotional in nature.

Give us X and/or Y. OR: admit that you cannot.
Based on your history here, I think I must repeat this, until it is answered.

Stan said...

I add this:
statement 3, above, is written from the perspective of analyzing Atheism. From the perspective of analyzing theism, the following would be the structure:

IF [logic = X and/or evidence = Y], THEN [it is True that: there exist no God/gods].

This is the structure which defines Atheism, yet X and Y are never given, because they cannot be.

Stan said...

Another addition (I just can't quit sometimes):
The logic statement for agnosticism is this:

IF [logic = U and/or evidence = V], THEN [it cannot be known if God/gods exist].

Agnosticism is NOT a subset of Atheism; declaring it to be a subset is irrational, since the conditions and terms are mutually exclusive.

Stan said...

Finally (I promise):
This from the evolution list, which correctly belongs here:
Hugo:
” Atheists don't believe any of these exist, and it's up to the Theists to say why their version is supposedly correct, and in turn, the Atheists should explain why that specific version does not convince them. It's a 2-way discussion that has been going on for millennia...”

First, this is an admission that agnosticism is not Atheism. Good. Moving on, the confusion about what theism consists of is a Red Herring. Either there is a creator for what exists, or there is not.

Nihil fit ex nihilo” From nothing, nothing comes.

This is basic Materialism, clear down to Quantum Field Theory. Yet the creation of something from nothing is the default position of Atheism, unless they create the infinite regression of unprovable multiple universes (another Atheist Just So Story machination which is emotionally created as a necessary story regarding physical existence, and accepted without evidence). Atheism is a bundle of internal contradictions.

Further, to decline the existence of a creating cause for the universe, which pre-existed the universe, or at least existed without the universe, and which was powerful enough to create the universe, including the base of rules for its physical existence, including the sustaining of existence from one moment to the next (creation of time as an enabling force), these are the issues surrounding the rejection of deity. All the rest is not, and is merely anti-intellectual chaff.

So the issue for Atheists is provide disciplined deductive logic, valid and grounded in first principles which conclusively proves the Truth statement: “It is true that there are no God/gods”, or empirical evidence giving contingent, replicable, falsifiable, non-falsified experimental process and data showing the impossibility of the existence of God or gods. The definition of God as deity is given above, and that is the issue to be conclusively disproven as a discovery of Truth.

In other words, the Atheist rejection is not accepted without the undeniable determination regarding why is it more rational to believe BOTH Materialism, AND “Nihil fit ex nihilo”, giving disciplined logic for that claim.

Hugo Pelland said...

Stan said:
"Hugo:
I’ll make this easier for you:

1. Atheists, including you, claim to be based in logic and evidence.

2. Atheists, including you, reject “God and/or gods”.

3. IF [God and/or gods are rejected using logic or evidence], Then [the logic is X, the evidence is Y].

4. X = the disciplined, valid deductive logic including premises which proves [the lack of God and/or gods] and which passes Reductio Ad Absurdum, reduces to First Principles and is not circular nor an infinite regression.

5. Y = the demonstrable, replicable, falsifiable experimental process and open data which shows (contingently) that there is no possible God and/or gods.

IF you reject God and/or gods, THEN you must have logic (X) and/or material empirical evidence (Y) to support your rejection; ELSE you have rejected God and/or gods based on something other than logic and/or material evidence, and that something is necessarily NOT logic OR material evidence, but is emotional in nature.

Give us X and/or Y. OR: admit that you cannot.
Based on your history here, I think I must repeat this, until it is answered.
"

Ok, let's just focus on that then.

1. Everyone is based in logic and evidence. EVERYONE. At times, we are right, and sometimes we are wrong. We need to try to find which is which.

2. Correct, that's the only thing all Atheists have in common. They don't believe in God and/or gods.

3. That means the same as #1 I believe.

4. No, not all Atheists believe in a literal lack of God and/or gods; they just don't believe in the one(s) they have heard of.

5. No, you used the wrong words. Nobody says that it's IMPOSSIBLE for gods to exist. If you find someone that says that, I will agree with you that this person is wrong.

(6.) Yes, there are reasons why people reject previously held beliefs, but we don't need to prove the opposite to explain why we don't believe something, which is what you are asking.

(7.) Yes, for some people it's very emotional. But this is true of beliefs in God too. You cannot generalize to everyone.

(8.) I cannot give you the X and/or Y you are asking for. I can tell you why I don't believe in the God I used to believe in, but would that mean anything to you? Do you really care to know why I don't believe in the Québécois Catholic version of the God I used to believe in when I was not even in my 20s yet?

What I can tell you though is why I reach the conclusion that Materialism is more likely true than Immaterialism. Because I think the primacy of material existence makes more sense as a starting assumption for defining existence. This contrasts with the primacy of consciousness, which assumes that a non-material existence exists first. That's where the discussion regarding Materialism makes sense and, even if it's related to Atheism, it's not directly related to God.

Stan said...

”Ok, let's just focus on that then.

1. Everyone is based in logic and evidence. EVERYONE. At times, we are right, and sometimes we are wrong. We need to try to find which is which.”


This is false. Emotions dominate much thinking, especially when thinking is not produced in a disciplined fashion and double-checked for fallacy, grounding, Reductio, etc. Fallacy and emotions dominate Atheist thought.

”2. Correct, that's the only thing all Atheists have in common. They don't believe in God and/or gods.”

It is more positive and thorough than you admit: Atheists reject.

”3. That means the same as #1 I believe.”

It is the modus ponens form of #1: a positive logic claim demonstrating the need for Atheists to produce the logic and evidence they possess that proves conclusively that there is no deity. If there is no conclusive logic or evidence, then the belief is not conclusive, yet if it is held as cant, then it is irrational. So the following obtains:
If there is logic and/or evidence which is conclusive, then there is no reason not to produce it.
If there is neither actual logic and/or evidence which is conclusive, then the belief is not rationally held. (Probability is not an argument, because the data inputs to this calculation are purely subjective – because if they are not subjective, then they are objective, measurable, and thus conclusive, not probabilistic).

”4. No, not all Atheists believe in a literal lack of God and/or gods; they just don't believe in the one(s) they have heard of.”

This is totally beside the point: for whatever concept they reject,
IF [rejecting concept Q], THEN [ X, as defined above].
Further, the concept of “creating deity” is not too complex for any Atheist understand and be familiar with; so your objection is a Red Herring.

”5. No, you used the wrong words. Nobody says that it's IMPOSSIBLE for gods to exist. If you find someone that says that, I will agree with you that this person is wrong.”

Um. “Nobody?” That is a universal generalization, yes? So your apparent position is that a creating deity is possible, but definitely, conclusively, does not exist? If that is the case, we have much to discuss. If that is not the case, then your statement seems false, egregiously so.

”Ok, let's just focus on that then.

1. Everyone is based in logic and evidence. EVERYONE. At times, we are right, and sometimes we are wrong. We need to try to find which is which.”


This is false. Emotions dominate much thinking, especially when thinking is not produced in a disciplined fashion and double-checked for fallacy, grounding, Reductio, etc. Fallacy and emotions dominate Atheist thought.

Stan said...

”2. Correct, that's the only thing all Atheists have in common. They don't believe in God and/or gods.”

It is more positive and thorough than you admit: Atheists reject.

”3. That means the same as #1 I believe.”

It is the modus ponens form of #1: a positive logic claim demonstrating the need for Atheists to produce the logic and evidence they possess that proves conclusively that there is no deity. If there is no conclusive logic or evidence, then the belief is not conclusive, yet if it is held as cant, then it is irrational. So the following obtains:
If there is logic and/or evidence which is conclusive, then there is no reason not to produce it.
If there is neither actual logic and/or evidence which is conclusive, then the belief is not rationally held. (Probability is not an argument, because the data inputs to this calculation are purely subjective – because if they are not subjective, then they are objective, measurable, and thus conclusive, not probabilistic).

”4. No, not all Atheists believe in a literal lack of God and/or gods; they just don't believe in the one(s) they have heard of.”

This is totally beside the point: for whatever concept they reject,
IF [rejecting concept Q], THEN [ X, as defined above].
Further, the concept of “creating deity” is not too complex for any Atheist understand and be familiar with; so your objection is a Red Herring.

”5. No, you used the wrong words. Nobody says that it's IMPOSSIBLE for gods to exist. If you find someone that says that, I will agree with you that this person is wrong.”

Um. “Nobody?” That is a universal generalization, yes? So your apparent position is that a creating deity is possible, but definitely, conclusively, does not exist? If that is the case, we have much to discuss. If that is not the case, then your statement seems false, egregiously so.

Stan said...

”(6.) Yes, there are reasons why people reject previously held beliefs, but we don't need to prove the opposite to explain why we don't believe something, which is what you are asking.”

Then your position cannot “possibly” pass Reductio Ad Absurdum if you don’t “need” to validate it. Therefore that position must be rejected under the principles of standard Aristotelian logic. If you do not choose to use standard Aristotelian logic, that is your privilege, but to sustain conversation you must explain a) why not; b) what your logic process actually is.

But you were not actually asked to prove the opposite. You were asked to produce logic and evidence (X and Y) which is used. So your #6 is not even relevant to the need for X and Y to be produced in support of Atheism.

”(7.) Yes, for some people it's very emotional. But this is true of beliefs in God too. You cannot generalize to everyone.”

First, IF it does NOT conform to logic, THEN it is emotionally erroneously held (there is no third option). Second, characteristics of belief in God is not the issue being discussed, so that reference is a Tu Quoque Fallacy. Third, IF a class has common features, THEN everyone in that class has those features AND the generalization not only applies, it is a True statement regarding that class.

Stan said...

”(8.) I cannot give you the X and/or Y you are asking for. I can tell you why I don't believe in the God I used to believe in, but would that mean anything to you?”

Red Herring. You have been given the fundamental parameters for a **creating deity**. Rejecting those parameters, using logic and evidence, is the subject of this blog. Perhaps you didn’t read far enough, there was a lot there. So I’ll repeat the fundamental definition of creating cause (deity) here:

**Further, to decline the existence of a creating cause for the universe, which pre-existed the universe, or at least existed without the universe, and which was powerful enough to create the universe, including the base of rules for its physical existence, including the sustaining of existence from one moment to the next (creation of time as an enabling force or force enabler), these are the issues surrounding the rejection of deity. All the rest is not, and is merely anti-intellectual chaff.**

”What I can tell you though is why I reach the conclusion that Materialism is more likely true than Immaterialism. Because I think the primacy of material existence makes more sense as a starting assumption for defining existence. This contrasts with the primacy of consciousness, which assumes that a non-material existence exists first. That's where the discussion regarding Materialism makes sense and, even if it's related to Atheism, it's not directly related to God.”

What you could tell me first, before we discuss materialism, is what your X and Y consist of for rejecting the above bare-bones definition of a **creating causal agent**, and then, after that, we can discuss your belief in “ex nihilo” existence.

Hugo Pelland said...

1. Everyone is based in logic and evidence. EVERYONE. At times, we are right, and sometimes we are wrong. We need to try to find which is which.”
"This is false. Emotions dominate much thinking, especially when thinking is not produced in a disciplined fashion and double-checked for fallacy, grounding, Reductio, etc."
Emotions do have an impact; a huge impact sometimes. But that's not the point. The original point of #1 was "Atheists, including you, claim to be based in logic and evidence" and that applies to everyone. Even if our emotions can have an impact, we are 'based' in logic and evidence. The simplest examples are the most common. Why do people stop at a red light? Is it because they feel like it's the right thing to do, or because they know that, logically, if they don't stop something bad might happen? The evidence is the red light and the logic is the process that leads to the conclusion: "I should stop". We go through life doing mostly that, even if we don't think explicitly about it.

"Fallacy and emotions dominate Atheist thought."
Do you mean:
a) Fallacy and emotions dominate all Atheists' thoughts, or
b) Fallacy and emotions dominate all thoughts related to Atheism?
I disagree with both of course, but I think the second one can be discussed, while the first one is just some generalization as to how Atheists think, in general. You definitely expressed statements close to "a)" before and that's why I insist on correcting that misconception. But if you just mean "b)", then it's point-by-point regarding the specific topic of Atheism, which is discussed here.

2. " It is more positive and thorough than you admit: Atheists reject. "
It does not matter what word you use; it's still just 'not' believing in something that they either used to believe themselves, or that they heard others talk about but never believed themselves. Calling it 'rejection' instead of 'disbelief' is just attaching a pre-conception to it; it's a form of emotional attachment to the notion that, to you, this is completely true when, in reality, it's just your opinion that diverges from Atheists' opinion.

3. "...the need for Atheists to produce the logic and evidence they possess that proves conclusively that there is no deity."
That 'need' does not exist. If someone does not believe in something, they should explain why they don't believe, I think, but they can also just say 'no, I am not convinced by your argument', and the situation is the same: there is still no need to prove that the opposite is true. It's not logical to ask proof of a negative when supporting a position claim. The problem is that you are not here to present that positive claim, as you often mention, and there is thus a disconnect between what you believe and what you think Atheists believe, since it cannot even be known what the differences of opinion is, yours being almost inexistent.

4. No, not all Atheists believe in a literal lack of God and/or gods; they just don't believe in the one(s) they have heard of.”
" This is totally beside the point: for whatever concept they reject"
Yes, it does sound like it's beside the point, because it's beside 'your' point, but it's still true. And that's precisely why 'your' point is false. You cannot claim that Atheism is false because Atheists don't address your demand, which is to give a "valid deductive logic including premises which proves [the lack of God and/or gods]".

Hugo Pelland said...

" Further, the concept of “creating deity” is not too complex for any Atheist understand and be familiar with; so your objection is a Red Herring."
The problem is not that the concept of "creating deity" is too complex, it's usually pretty simple; the problem is that it's ill-defined, vague, and lacking in explanatory power. Plus, it varies from believer to believer so, even if it is 'sometimes' very well defined, it does not mean that it applies to all Theists, and thus not all Atheists reject the same concept of a "creating deity".

5. " “Nobody?” That is a universal generalization, yes? So your apparent position is that a creating deity is possible, but definitely, conclusively, does not exist?"
Fine, 'almost' nobody, just to keep the door open... I am actually pretty sure you 'could' find someone who claims that it's IMPOSSIBLE for gods to exist. That person would be completely wrong and not taken seriously by 'almost' everybody.

You did not explain my position correctly, but close. I think it's possible that a creating deity exists, I don't know if such deity exists, and I see no reason at all to conclude it does exist. What I do believe strongly is that nobody has valid reasons to believe; beliefs in gods are not based on logic and evidence.

6. "Then your position cannot “possibly” pass Reductio Ad Absurdum if you don’t “need” to validate it."
I think what I explained above relates to this point. There are lots of details to explain and justify using reason and logic, or the principles of standard Aristotelian logic, if you prefer. That's why we are having this discussion!

7. " First, IF it does NOT conform to logic, THEN it is emotionally erroneously held (there is no third option)."
Yes, that's obvious. And it applies to both Theists and Atheists, who may or may not be correct, and may or may not have only emotional reasons for their religious beliefs, or lack thereof.

" Second, characteristics of belief in God is not the issue being discussed "
Point 7 was referring to the statement:
" have rejected God and/or gods based on something other than logic and/or material evidence, and that something is necessarily NOT logic OR material evidence, but is emotional in nature"
...which does relate to the characteristics of belief in God. Basically, even if ALL Atheists had rejected God purely because of emotional reasons, they could still, in theory, be correct. So it's true that the characteristics of beliefs do not matter, and I wonder why you bring it up, and then complain when I addressed it?

8. "You have been given the fundamental parameters for a **creating deity**. Rejecting those parameters, using logic and evidence, is the subject of this blog. Perhaps you didn’t read far enough, there was a lot there. So I’ll repeat the fundamental definition of creating cause (deity) here: "
I did read, but did not get to address it because there was a lot, that is correct yes, but also because it did not make much sense, frankly. But, let's dive into it this time:

Hugo Pelland said...

Fundamental definition of creating cause (deity)
" **Further, to decline the existence of a creating cause for the universe, which pre-existed the universe, or at least existed without the universe, and which was powerful enough to create the universe, including the base of rules for its physical existence, including the sustaining of existence from one moment to the next (creation of time as an enabling force or force enabler), these are the issues surrounding the rejection of deity. All the rest is not, and is merely anti-intellectual chaff.** "

The first long sentence is not grammatically correct. Not that I want to be a grammar nazy but it does not make sense. The beginning, simplified, starts with 'To decline the existence of god, which...' What comes after the 'which' describes that 'creating cause', but the problem with the sentence is that it never goes back to that beginning... Where is the rest of the 'to decline the existence of god, which is A-B-C, ...? Let me put it this way, if I take the beginning and add the rest, it looks like that:
- To decline the existence of a creating cause for the universe, which is A-B-C, these are the issues surrounding the rejection of deity. What does that mean?

However, I can tentatively try to answer some of it, assuming that the idea was to list some properties of the 'creating deity' and explain why I don't think it exists:
A) "Pre-existed the universe " assumes the universe did not always exist. That needs to be justified; yet we know that physics is silent on the subject so that's already 1 faulty assumption.

B) "powerful enough to create the universe " means nothing without an explanation as to what 'creating' a universe entails, which is not defined, because nobody can define what 'creating' a universe really means; we just don't know. It also assumes that some 'power' is required in the first place. The possible explanations include non-powerful causes too, or no cause at all, should the universe have always existed. 2nd and 3rd faulty assumptions.

C) "base of rules for its physical existence" assumes that there are actual 'rules'. However, what we, humans, call the "rules" of physical existence are actual descriptive, not prescriptive. Again, we don't know if rules truly exist or not. 4th faulty assumption.

D) "sustaining of existence from one moment to the next (creation of time as an enabling force or force enabler)" sounds simplistic to me, but I am not sure I get this right. The problem is that it seems to assume that there is such a thing as a universal time, which always go forward, and allows things to happen. What we know about the relativity of time makes me wonder what that statement really means, as we already know that this is not how it works. But I am not sure if I got this right...

"What you could tell me first, before we discuss materialism, is what your X and Y consist of for rejecting the above bare-bones definition of a **creating causal agent**, and then, after that, we can discuss your belief in “ex nihilo” existence."
So, to summarize, the issues I see with the above definition of a creating deity are:
- It assumes unproven conclusions, which actually directly relate to an already held belief in that creating deity.
- It provides no explanation at all for the creation of the universe, even if the deity is label as a 'cause'. For an explanation to be believed, it needs to have at least 'some' explanatory power. The creating deity presented here is said to exist, and have created the universe, but it does not even start to talk about 'how'. And the reason for this is obvious: the argument supporting the existence of the creating deity rest on an argument from ignorance. We currently don't know how the universe came to be the way it was at the Big Bang, so the implicit argument here is: what else could it be if not God?

Stan said...

Hugo says,
” Even if our emotions can have an impact, we are 'based' in logic and evidence.”

If by “based” you mean that we have “the capacity for” logic and evidence, then (since I agree with John Locke’s assessment in “Essay on Human Understanding”) that the capacity exists. But I do not agree that it is universally used in determining a worldview, because obviously there are worldviews which are entirely irrational, and therefore not based in logic/evidence.

"Fallacy and emotions dominate Atheist thought."
Do you mean:
a) Fallacy and emotions dominate all Atheists' thoughts, or
b) Fallacy and emotions dominate all thoughts related to Atheism?
I disagree with both of course, but I think the second one can be discussed, while the first one is just some generalization as to how Atheists think, in general.


Atheist worldview concepts, and their necessary related premises, are not justified by either logic or material evidence; they are purely rejectionist regarding logic and evidence which is provided to them, without providing either disciplined Aristotelian deductive logic which is valid, grounded, and passes Reductio, or objective material empirical evidence which validates their rejections. Rejectionism without valid cause being presented is a fallacy.

And here you engage in rejectionism:
” It does not matter what word you use; it's still just 'not' believing in something that they either used to believe themselves, or that they heard others talk about but never believed themselves. Calling it 'rejection' instead of 'disbelief' is just attaching a pre-conception to it; it's a form of emotional attachment to the notion that, to you, this is completely true when, in reality, it's just your opinion that diverges from Atheists' opinion.”

This is entirely beside the point. You have run the discussion off the cliff by claiming opinion, when in fact the argument is demonstrably valid and testable. The point is this: when asked for reasons or reasoning for positive claims of “disbelief”, Atheists tend strongly to defend their “disbelief” by rejecting even their basic intellectual responsibility for providing any reasons or reasoning at all. This is intellectually irresponsible and cowardly: the Atheist has no valid reasons or reasoning, or he would provide those; the concept of “I am just not convinced” is an intellectual failure to engage. By refusing to discuss the reasons or reasoning that would be required to “convince”, the rejection is empty of content. It demonstrates the emotional nature of Atheism because there is no –NO- logic or evidence being provided by the Atheist to support the rejectionist worldview. Rejection without reason is empty.

Stan said...

”"...the need for Atheists to produce the logic and evidence they possess that proves conclusively that there is no deity."
That 'need' does not exist. If someone does not believe in something, they should explain why they don't believe, I think, but they can also just say 'no, I am not convinced by your argument', and the situation is the same: there is still no need to prove that the opposite is true”


This is the argument for “empty response” to the presentation of logic and evidence: non-engagement is without content: empty. If the Atheist chooses an “empty” worldview, then he should admit that. But even if he doesn’t, it is obvious to the observer that “empty” is the case.

” It's not logical to ask proof of a negative when supporting a position claim.”

Red Herring. By accepting your absurd definition of Atheist belief (rather than what it actually is) we find that you still wander from the concept. Under your definition, mere disbelief rather than positive belief, it remains the intellectual responsibility of the Atheist to provide the logic/evidence in support of his rejection of the theist argument given. (It was given above, will you ever address it? Or merely argue that you don’t have to, because of your definition of Atheism for yourself and all Atheists?).

If you choose to stay on this blog, you cannot escape intellectual responsibility.

” The problem is that you are not here to present that positive claim, as you often mention, and there is thus a disconnect between what you believe and what you think Atheists believe, since it cannot even be known what the differences of opinion is, yours being almost inexistent.”

That is false, egregiously so. The basic concept of theism has been given to you, several times iirc, and certainly just above. You do not respond except with Red Herring rhetorical deviations to escape your actual intellectual responsibility for giving reasons/reasoning for your rejection.

Here’s what you are ignoring (March 28, above):
Stan said this:
” Either there is a creator for what exists, or there is not.

Nihil fit ex nihilo” From nothing, nothing comes.

This is basic Materialism, clear down to Quantum Field Theory. Yet the creation of something from nothing is the default position of Atheism, unless they create the infinite regression of unprovable multiple universes (another Atheist Just So Story machination which is emotionally created as a necessary story regarding physical existence, and accepted without evidence). Atheism is a bundle of internal contradictions.

Further, to decline the existence of a creating cause for the universe, which pre-existed the universe, or at least existed without the universe, and which was powerful enough to create the universe, including the base of rules for its physical existence, including the sustaining of existence from one moment to the next (creation of time as an enabling force), these are the issues surrounding the rejection of deity. All the rest is not, and is merely anti-intellectual chaff.”


We have been through all this before. You just double down on your refusal of any intellectual responsibility for your own position. Rejectionism is purely emotional, because it refuses its intellectual responsibility to respond to the assertion with logic/evidence in support of its own claim, which is that the assertion is false.

Stan said...

Here is the slippery response you gave:
” No, not all Atheists believe in a literal lack of God and/or gods; they just don't believe in the one(s) they have heard of.”
" This is totally beside the point: for whatever concept they reject"
Yes, it does sound like it's beside the point, because it's beside 'your' point, but it's still true. And that's precisely why 'your' point is false. You cannot claim that Atheism is false because Atheists don't address your demand, which is to give a "valid deductive logic including premises which proves [the lack of God and/or gods]".


I can and do claim that Atheism is not in possession of either logic or evidence to support the Atheist “lack of belief”, nor the true Atheist definition which is “there is no God”. You constantly prove this to be the case by your persistent dithering off into reasons why you don’t need to provide logic or evidence, rather than actually providing logic (reasoning) and/or evidence (reasons) for your position… even when your position is the loosest definition you can possibly create.

Therefore you obviously maintain a position which you cannot and do not defend in any manner, especially the vaunted Atheist possession of logic and evidence. Your defense is that you don’t need to engage. I.e., you can take a position with no need to defend it. That is anti-intellectualism, pure and simple.

” The problem is not that the concept of "creating deity" is too complex, it's usually pretty simple; the problem is that it's ill-defined, vague, and lacking in explanatory power.”

And here we go into excuse making, which might be the last refuge of intellectual irresponsibility. The concept has now been presented twice in this thread; either address it head-on in a responsible fashion, or I’ll take that as an admission that you cannot and will not do so.

The concept is defined; specific; fully explanatory as deduced.

” Plus, it varies from believer to believer so, even if it is 'sometimes' very well defined, it does not mean that it applies to all Theists, and thus not all Atheists reject the same concept of a "creating deity".


This is – brace yourself – a continuation of pure bullshit. You have been given the theist assertion used here, many, many times before. It exists in the articles in the right hand column of this blog. It was given above, prior to your current dissembly. I gave it again just above. It is a specific assertion. Your Red Herring here is rejected, again, because it serves only to protect you from addressing the issue head-on.

”“Nobody?” That is a universal generalization, yes? So your apparent position is that a creating deity is possible, but definitely, conclusively, does not exist?"
Fine, 'almost' nobody, just to keep the door open... I am actually pretty sure you 'could' find someone who claims that it's IMPOSSIBLE for gods to exist. That person would be completely wrong and not taken seriously by 'almost' everybody.”


Check the representative of a national Atheist organization in the Left Column under “honest Atheist”. Repeat, a national organization of Atheists. Your claim is rejected, again, and it is self-serving and not based in the reality of Atheism.

Stan said...

” You did not explain my position correctly, but close. I think it's possible that a creating deity exists, I don't know if such deity exists, and I see no reason at all to conclude it does exist. What I do believe strongly is that nobody has valid reasons to believe; beliefs in gods are not based on logic and evidence.


The theist deductive assertion is given. Acquinas assertions are available. Your claim of “not based in logic/evidence” is false. Only if you provide disciplined, valid and immutable refutations of these and other deductions, can you make this claim become credible.

You have provided no reasons for supporting your “lack of belief”; you have provided no logic or evidence which addresses actual arguments. You cannot do it, so your rejection is rejected.

”"Then your position cannot “possibly” pass Reductio Ad Absurdum if you don’t “need” to validate it."
I think what I explained above relates to this point. There are lots of details to explain and justify using reason and logic, or the principles of standard Aristotelian logic, if you prefer. That's why we are having this discussion!”


This is hardly a discussion. It devolves, like it always has, to trying to get you to take a position with actual premises/conclusions regarding the truth or fallacy of the theist assertion, and you will not do it. That is not a discussion; it is a demonstration of your worldview fragility and transparent emptiness.

”" Second, characteristics of belief in God is not the issue being discussed "
Point 7 was referring to the statement:
" have rejected God and/or gods based on something other than logic and/or material evidence, and that something is necessarily NOT logic OR material evidence, but is emotional in nature"
...which does relate to the characteristics of belief in God. Basically, even if ALL Atheists had rejected God purely because of emotional reasons, they could still, in theory, be correct. So it's true that the characteristics of beliefs do not matter, and I wonder why you bring it up, and then complain when I addressed it?”


Don’t try to pervert the statement I made: I will repeat it here with emphasis which hopefully will aid your comprehension of its meaning:

” characteristics of belief IN GOD is not the issue being discussed”

Don’t even try to extend this to cover your avoidance tactics. I’ll even try to simplify for you:

It is the characteristics of Atheist belief which IS the issue being discussed, and nothing else.

But of course you know this; your arguments just avoid it at all cost, because the cost for your worldview is very, very heavy.

Stan said...

And here you reverse course; let’s see where it takes you:

” "You have been given the fundamental parameters for a **creating deity**. Rejecting those parameters, using logic and evidence, is the subject of this blog. Perhaps you didn’t read far enough, there was a lot there. So I’ll repeat the fundamental definition of creating cause (deity) here: "
I did read, but did not get to address it because there was a lot, that is correct yes, but also because it did not make much sense, frankly. But, let's dive into it this time:”


Of course, whether it makes sense to you is of no concern to the validity of the assertion. What matters is whether you have the logic and/or evidence to immutably refute it.

”" **Further, to decline the existence of a creating cause for the universe, which pre-existed the universe, or at least existed without the universe, and which was powerful enough to create the universe, including the base of rules for its physical existence, including the sustaining of existence from one moment to the next (creation of time as an enabling force or force enabler), these are the issues surrounding the rejection of deity. All the rest is not, and is merely anti-intellectual chaff.** "

The first long sentence is not grammatically correct. Not that I want to be a grammar nazy but it does not make sense. The beginning, simplified, starts with 'To decline the existence of god, which...' What comes after the 'which' describes that 'creating cause', but the problem with the sentence is that it never goes back to that beginning... Where is the rest of the 'to decline the existence of god, which is A-B-C, ...? Let me put it this way, if I take the beginning and add the rest, it looks like that:
- To decline the existence of a creating cause for the universe, which is A-B-C, these are the issues surrounding the rejection of deity. What does that mean?”


Ah yes, the Grammar Nazi ruse. You cannot hide behind that error, which I admit. Your own admission, “existence of a creating cause for the universe, which is A-B-C”, indicates that you comprehend the assertion, and are using grammar to avoid it, the reason for avoidance being because you can’t figure out what it means. This is merely a rhetorical deviation, not a rational argument.

Wait. You have further avoidance mechanisms:
” However, I can tentatively try to answer some of it, assuming that the idea was to list some properties of the 'creating deity' and explain why I don't think it exists:

A) "Pre-existed the universe " assumes the universe did not always exist. That needs to be justified; yet we know that physics is silent on the subject so that's already 1 faulty assumption.”


Physics is NOT silent; the Big Bang theory is still prevalent, with all its crutches including the expansionary time. So your avoidance here is rejected for this reason: false assertion in the attempt to avoid addressing the issue.

Stan said...

” B) "powerful enough to create the universe " means nothing without an explanation as to what 'creating' a universe entails, which is not defined, because nobody can define what 'creating' a universe really means; we just don't know.”

Not a counter argument; merely asserting Radical Skepticism with a false base in Scientism. Given what science does know, in the same sense that evolution is known to be “True”, then the assertion holds. The release of mass/energy of sufficient size to create a universe which did not pre-exist, doesn’t happen every day, nor without a reason. Denial is not a reason; it is just denialism.

And FYI, deduction is how new knowledge is created; material knowledge is created by deduction-hypothesis-testing materially. Intellectual knowledge is created by deduction-hypothesis-testing under Aristotelian first principles and reductio.

Rejection of intellectual deduction based on lack of material knowledge is a fallacy: Category Error.

” It also assumes that some 'power' is required in the first place. The possible explanations include non-powerful causes too, or no cause at all, should the universe have always existed. 2nd and 3rd faulty assumptions.”

Here you eschew empiricism, and go directly for Radical Skepticism again. Give the disciplined logical deduction for a) non-powerful causes; b) no cause at all; c) the perpetual existence of the universe. Failing that, give empirical evidence for those claims. All you have done is to re-assert Radical Skepticism yet again. If that is your worldview, admit it, and we can be done with this.

” C) "base of rules for its physical existence" assumes that there are actual 'rules'. However, what we, humans, call the "rules" of physical existence are actual descriptive, not prescriptive. Again, we don't know if rules truly exist or not. 4th faulty assumption.”

Again abandoning the principles of empiricism, and executing an unrelated assertion.

I have not claimed that humans are prescribing rules for the universe; that is out of bounds and a ridiculous inclusion here.

You are making the claim that Cause and effect cannot be known true – the Hume claim that constant conjunction does not prove causation. However, “cause for effects” has not been accepted as being contingent by empiricism. So your claim is outside of empiricism. Under logic testing, Reductio Ad Absurdum, the following is the case: there being no proven “effects without causation”, and since effects without causes would negate logic, then the concept of effects without causes is irrational – unless logic itself is false.

Given that, then, at a minimum cause and effect is a rational principle by which events occur in the known universe. This is the basis for empirical testing for cause.

"sustaining of existence from one moment to the next (creation of time as an enabling force or force enabler)" sounds simplistic to me, but I am not sure I get this right.”

Stan said...

Try this:
Time is the mechanism which allows the movement of mass from point A to point B. Here is the justification:

Inertia is the real definition of mass:

F = ma;
Where a=f{(s) dt}

M = F/a = F/ f{(s) dt} (inertia)

If t = 0, then f{(s) dt} = 0,

And the inertia (mass) is infinite (cannot move), regardless of the force value of F.
In a universe which is stopped at a specific time, dt = 0, there is no movement. Time is required for rational values of inertia. Further, the direction of time is determined by entropy, which is logically assessed to be a universal principle, using the process above.

” The problem is that it seems to assume that there is such a thing as a universal time, which always go forward, and allows things to happen. What we know about the relativity of time makes me wonder what that statement really means, as we already know that this is not how it works. But I am not sure if I got this right...”

Relativity has nothing to do with the existence of time; time of moving object X appears different to stationary object Y, and becomes more complex when considering multiple objects moving in independent directions. Time does exist universally, it just doesn’t appear to move at the same rate when viewed relatively; entropy determines the direction and allows causality which is irreversible in material systems.

Stan said...

”"What you could tell me first, before we discuss materialism, is what your X and Y consist of for rejecting the above bare-bones definition of a **creating causal agent**, and then, after that, we can discuss your belief in “ex nihilo” existence."
So, to summarize, the issues I see with the above definition of a creating deity are:
- It assumes unproven conclusions, which actually directly relate to an already held belief in that creating deity.
- It provides no explanation at all for the creation of the universe, even if the deity is label as a 'cause'. For an explanation to be believed, it needs to have at least 'some' explanatory power. The creating deity presented here is said to exist, and have created the universe, but it does not even start to talk about 'how'. And the reason for this is obvious: the argument supporting the existence of the creating deity rest on an argument from ignorance. We currently don't know how the universe came to be the way it was at the Big Bang, so the implicit argument here is: what else could it be if not God?”


Gravity has no explanatory power under this form of Radical Skepticism, because there is no theory for “how” gravity exerts forces at a distance. The warping of space-time is not an explanation, it is a model of the effect. Therefore, if an explanation is the metric for acceptance, then gravity cannot be accepted.

The same goes for evolution, in spades; evolution is not even observed, it is extrapolated by opinion. Given that there is no actual known mutation which is responsible for any evolution, then evolution is without explanatory power except as science-fantasy.

As for the creation of a new universe, you give these reasons:
1. Radical Skepticism regarding the argument;
2. Not explanatory due to unknown mechanism: Radical Skepticism;
3. Argument from Ignorance. Here is the definition of that fallacy:

”There is no evidence for p.
Therefore, not-p.”


This is the argument YOU are making, to counter the actual argument, which you do not address. So this charge is both false, and it is a Red Herring to avoid direct logical analysis. Again this is Radcal Skepticism being used in avoidance mode.

” the implicit argument here is: what else could it be if not God?”

So make your case. Show your logic and evidence for reasons which disprove the need for the posited creating agent.

That is the whole point. You have rejected based purely on Radical Skepticism. You have not presented either a falsification of the logical argument, nor empirical evidence which refutes the argument. So your statement here is ironic, because you have stated the same challenge to you that I have stated all along.

So prove something either wrong or right, or go ahead and own your Radical Skepticism as your worldview.

You’re up.

Stan said...

The following is a response to an older comment by Hugo that got sidetracked into the spam folder:

Stan said:
"So the next issue becomes obvious: Atheism affects ALL aspects of life and culture."
There are some aspects of life and culture that relate to the belief in God, but there are also many that have nothing to do with it. 'Regardless' of their position on the existence of gods, humans can learn language, history, mathematics, reason and logic; they can interact with others, study for years, play sports, go on vacation, work, have children, enjoy time with their friends and family, etc, etc... A belief in God 'can' affect some of that, or none of that, but 'never' all of that: some of them cannot even possibly be affected by Atheism, such as the rules of a sport for example. Therefore, Atheism does not affect ALL aspects of life and culture. Your statement is demonstrably false.”


A natural consequence of the Atheist Void is Consequentialism, which becomes a default moral worldview unless a different moral worldview is created by the Atheist for himself, or if he adopts someone else’s moral principle set for himself. This is both necessary and sufficient; you are invited to prove otherwise.

”"We are all people who live right now in the same time in history on the same planet, and, for pretty much everyone who writes it afaik, actually in the same country. We ALL base our views on our real-life experiences, are influences by family, friends, colleagues, society in general, we ALL read stuff online, watch some videos, read books, go to places, etc... This is what makes us who we are, Theists and Atheists alike."
Stan replied:
" And that universal claim in the form of a truth statement does not apply to me; your universalization fails"

Which part does not apply to you? ”


I changed my worldview completely after I applied Aristotelian principles of logic to each of my prior Atheist presuppositions. My worldview is not like yours, which you outlined above as a Philosophical Materialist worldview into which you place ALL people.

” I re-included the paragraph to confirm that everything does apply, for sure, and I stand by every word. Let me list them, with some details added, and you tell me where I was wrong:
1) We are all alive, today, same time in history...
2) ...on the same planet...
3) ...within the same country (you for sure; others, I don't know).
4) Our views (opinions) are based on real-life experiences...
5) ...and other things.
6) Our views are influenced by, in part, our family...
7) ...friends...
8) ...colleagues (or were, if retired)...
9) ...society in general.
10) We all read stuff online, which also influences us.
11) We also watch videos...
12) ...read books...
13) ...visit places.
14) This is what makes us who we are, along with everything else we experience in our lives that was not explicitly listed.


The list – a sarcastic recreation of the preceding paragraph – is purely materialistic. It is an example of A. J. Ayers “logical positivism”, which is now rejected by A. J. Ayers himself. The failure is that only material influences on a persona are allowed into the discussion. Nonmaterial influences are eliminated. One such nonmaterial influence is rational analysis, and another is Truth. IF it is possible to analyze a subject rationally; IF it is possible to have an objectively True conclusion; THEN not all of reality is purely Newtonian. You can try to argue against this, but I can guarantee that you cannot deduce a purely material existence, without being ungrounded, nonvalid, and failing Reductio Ad Absurdum.

Stan said...

You said:
"So when you say that Atheism is based on a void, I see nothing but an insult on all Atheists; a counter-productive claim that means absolutely nothing."
It is too bad that you take offense to truth statements; perhaps you need a safe place. "

First, I am not offended; I am telling you that you are wrong, and I am the one making a truth statement about your claims: they are nothing but insults. If someone tells me: "You're fat", it is an insult, no matter what I think of it.


What is important here is what you can prove regarding your Atheism and/or Atheism in general. The analysis of Atheism as starting with a VOID, which VOID is backfilled with personal opinion, stands. It is so obviously the case that even Atheists (such as you, yourself) make the same claim: Atheism is NOT a moral guide; Atheism is NOT a worldview. Of course not; it is a rejection of existing worldviews, a rejection performed without reasons or reasoning and containing no Truth content (a position hotly defended by Atheists), and immediately claimed to be based in logic and evidence (demonstrating the first noncoherence, with many more to come).

”Second, you are the one with a safe place: your blog. You control everything, you ban people, and you decide what gets published or not. I am not saying that's the wrong thing to do; you have good reasons for it, but let's not pretend here... I am the one who "jumps in the lion's den" when coming here to write.”

A safe place excludes dissent; here dissent is encouraged. Those who are banned are banned not because they dissent, but because their irrationality turns into hate mongering. If you feel this is a lion’s den, it is because the entire purpose of this blog is to analyze Atheism, including yours, as you present it. I suspect that that is the reason you come here, on the one hand, and yet you don’t like it, on the other hand.

Stan said...

”Or, in other words, regarding that second point... there are TONS of things I do not tell you because I know it would piss you off. And I am not talking about insults, that would just be wrong, no, I am talking about simple statements about what you write, what you believe and what is happening here on your blog. I self-censor myself a lot, in order to keep your "safe space" the way you like it.”

Ah. So you civilize your content against your own set of principles. Interesting. But your “safe space” comments are misplaced and misdirected. Dissent is welcome here, so long as it is civil, and preferably couched in terms of Aristotelian logic and empirical falsifiable evidence. That is always the objective, as you should know. But no Atheist who comes here provides either such disciplined logic or valid empirical evidence, despite the general Atheist claim to be sole possessor of both.

” It's your blog and I respect your right to run it the way you want. If I don't like it, I don't have to comment here... but it does not mean that everything you write is golden and must be respected.”

As always – ALWAYS – whatever you can prove, using logic and/or evidence, will be addressed. If you can prove otherwise than what any analysis here concludes, then do so. But your comments just above do not provide any progress toward that.

Stan said...

I’ll summarize here:
1. Atheism rejects existing worldviews (without reasons or reasoning being necessary, according to Atheists).

2. Atheism gives no guidance regarding any moral, logical or philosophical principles, or any other subject. Hence Atheism is a Void regarding those necessary aspects of worldviews.

3. A consequence of Atheism (not necessary, yet oddly, sufficient) is Consequentialism.

4. Consequentialism is an anti-moral set of tactics for accomplishing objectives. Determining which objectives are “Right” vs. “Wrong” is not addressed by Consequentialism. In fact, Friedrich Nietzsche famously demonstrated the material absence of “Right” and “Wrong” under Atheism.

5. Another consequence of Atheism is Philosophical Materialism, which also is not necessary, but oddly is sufficient for proof of Atheism, if one is a Philosophical Materialist.

6. Philosophical Materialism depends heavily on both some form of Logical Positivism and in conjunction with contingent empiricism. The application of Logical Positivism to empiricism is easily demonstrated to fail, rationally. Further, Philosophical Materialism cannot be proven using the principles of Philosophical Materialism; in other words, it is a philosophy which excludes itself from being a Truth claim (internal non-coherent).

7. Atheism makes these claims:
a) Atheism is based in logic and evidence.

b) Atheists have no responsibility of Rebuttal to provide either disciplined Aristotelian logic, or falsifiable empirical data in support of Atheist rejection.

8. Hence, Atheism is unable to defend itself, using its own principle set of the Atheist VOID; Philosophical Materialism; Aristotelian disciplined deductive logic; falsifiable empirical data.

9. All of the above are either observable facts, or conclusions derived from observable facts. If one is insulted by such things, it is not the fault of the analysis.

Hugo Pelland said...

Stan said:

"I do not agree that [logic and evidence] is universally used in determining a worldview, because obviously there are worldviews which are entirely irrational, and therefore not based in logic/evidence."

No, that's wrong; it's an exaggeration. A human being with an entirely irrational worldview would not survive. They would subject themselves to all sort of risky situations because they don't conclude that it's safe for them. Crossing the highway on foot might seem like a good choice to them, because it's the shortest path to their destination...

Hence, your statement is demonstrably inaccurate. What's correct is a more nuanced view: every worldview contains some true beliefs, some false beliefs, some opinions based on facts, some opinions based on misinformation, and a combination of a lot of other things. But all worldview have a basis in logic and evidence, at least partially. Even the least rational human being we can find has some true beliefs, such as the belief that they exist, need food and water to survive, and other simple things like that.

Now, to the summary of the last 10 comments:

" I’ll summarize here:
1. Atheism rejects existing worldviews (without reasons or reasoning being necessary, according to Atheists).
"

Atheism rejects the 'existence of god' as a proven fact; they don't necessarily reject entire worldviews, which Theists hold on to. For Atheists, God is just an idea, something people believe in, and not objectively demonstrable. That belief is part of their worldview, yes, but it's not what Atheists' worldviews are based on. It's just one belief, or lack thereof, among many other beliefs, opinions, knowledge, memories, experiences, and any other critical thinking exercises on all sorts of topics. This is what Atheism comes out of; not the other way around.

Basically, we don't just disagree on whether Atheism or Theism is most likely true; we also disagree on the importance and impact of the belief in gods. You insist that Atheism is a worldview, but not believing in God is actually just part of Atheists' worldviews, which vary greatly from Atheist to Atheist, even if lots of common patterns can be found. I started to watch a debate recently, only ~40min in, and the opening statement express these same ideas neatly.

More directly to the point of the quote: in order to discuss Atheism, which is the point of this sticky blog post, it necessarily follow that the reasons, or reasoning, behind Atheism are to be discussed. Yet, the statement here presents the opposite conclusion, even when this is what we are discussing here: the reasons and reasoning behind beliefs such as Atheism and Theism. In other words, the summary starts with a statement that Atheism has no reason behind it, while discussing the reasons behind Atheism. It looks like a misrepresentation in order to shut down any conversation.

Hugo Pelland said...

"2. Atheism gives no guidance regarding any moral, logical or philosophical principles, or any other subject. Hence Atheism is a Void regarding those necessary aspects of worldviews."

Correct; no guidance, no moral, no principles. But at least 1 other subject is related: Theism. Atheism is the rejection of Theism. Yes, it's just a rejection, but yes, it does have reasons, which we are discussing, or could be discussing, if you were to acknowledge that point 1 was wrong and that there are in fact reasons.

And yes, there are consequences, impacts, of being an Atheist, and yes, correlations with other beliefs. None of that has anything to do with the question 'Does God exist?' though. And none of that implies that Atheists have no moral compass, or cannot think logically, or cannot understand philosophical principles and apply them. Yes, Atheism is a void on all of that, but it does not imply anything else.

"3. A consequence of Atheism (not necessary, yet oddly, sufficient) is Consequentialism.
4. Consequentialism is an anti-moral set of tactics for accomplishing objectives. Determining which objectives are “Right” vs. “Wrong” is not addressed by Consequentialism. In fact, Friedrich Nietzsche famously demonstrated the material absence of “Right” and “Wrong” under Atheism.
"

Nietzsche's position, expressed here, is not an objective fact; it's just his opinion. There are tons of theories like his, which make similar claims; it's not a necessary consequence of not believing in God. Everybody has a sense of right and wrong, influenced by a lot of factors. We cannot deny, for instance, the fact that we all learned what was good or bad from our parents, first, as children. We never stopped and thought about whether our parents were right; it just became part of our worldviews, which we may or may not have revised later in life.

We also have instincts that make use physically feel ill when seeing something disgusting, wrong, or bad. As we grow up, we learn, and adjust our views on morality. Some of us believe there is such a thing as objective moral truths; others don't. I happen to believe in them, and I also don't believe in God. Hence, statement 4 is false as it is possible to have objective "Right" and "Wrong" under Atheism. And to be clear, this is not about me, it's just a common position among Atheists, and the reason why points 3 and 4 don't always apply.

Hugo Pelland said...

"5. Another consequence of Atheism is Philosophical Materialism, which also is not necessary, but oddly is sufficient for proof of Atheism, if one is a Philosophical Materialist."

The problem with this statement is that there is no 'proof of Atheism' to be presented; as Atheism rests on the lack of 'proof of Theism', along with reasons to reject these Theistic arguments.

However, the statement is correct in mentioning that it "is not necessary", as it is the same as 3-4; not all Atheists accept Philosophical Materialism, or even know that the heck it means... but I think, in this case, there is a strong correlation. When asked to explain their position on Philosophical Materialism, I think most Atheists will claim that they don't believe anything else but Nature exists. Some are clumsier than others in their descriptions, reasons, behind that belief, but it all boils down to what Philosophical Materialism is about: no belief in something outside, beyond, the Material-Natural-Physical world we live in. There, I agree.

Philosophical Materialism is the position that makes the most sense of the world we live in today. It's based on the assumption of material existence as basic objective existence, first, instead of the assumption of immaterial existence, of consciousness first, which is a simpler idea but lacking in explanatory power and prone to contradictions and ambiguous objectivity. See here for examples.

"6. Philosophical Materialism depends heavily on both some form of Logical Positivism and in conjunction with contingent empiricism. The application of Logical Positivism to empiricism is easily demonstrated to fail, rationally. Further, Philosophical Materialism cannot be proven using the principles of Philosophical Materialism; in other words, it is a philosophy which excludes itself from being a Truth claim (internal non-coherent)."
- Logical Positivism; Contingent empiricism. I honestly don't know what these refer to.
- Which principle of Philosophical Materialism cannot be proven?
- Next, philosophy is not up for grab. Basically, we are both using critical thinking right now to discuss. Again, we are not debating whether we are using reason. We both are. Everybody is to a degree; some better than other. Watch this for an argument on that topic.
- What's non-coherent in what is actually true under Philosophical Materialism; not what you imply, what is directly related to it?

And yes, my worldview does account for truth claims, and does support logical and rational principles. It's using these principles that I conclude that there is probably no God; and I am really confident that there is no God intervening right here, right now. This is a conclusion based on observations of the claims by people who do believe otherwise; it is not an assumption. Worldviews include a lot more than just belief in God, and Atheists are no different. Basically, we disagree on whether God exists, but also on whether it matters. Most of the time, I think it does not matter; other factors are way more important. Being able to use logic and reason is one of them; it has nothing to do with belief in God.

Hugo Pelland said...

"7. Atheism makes these claims:
a) Atheism is based in logic and evidence.
b) Atheists have no responsibility of Rebuttal to provide either disciplined Aristotelian logic, or falsifiable empirical data in support of Atheist rejection."


a) Just like anything else; Atheism can be based in logic and evidence, or not. Theism can also be based in logic and evidence, or not. It has no bearing on the truth of the positions, when logic and evidence is actually used to debate them.

b) False. Exact same thing again: any position is dependent on logic and evidence.

"8. Hence, Atheism is unable to defend itself, using its own principle set of the Atheist VOID; Philosophical Materialism; Aristotelian disciplined deductive logic; falsifiable empirical data.
9. All of the above are either observable facts, or conclusions derived from observable facts. If one is insulted by such things, it is not the fault of the analysis.
"

No content here; just re-hashing the points before, but there was already no content, no point, no argument, nothing regarding the truth of Atheism; it's just repeating the same empty sentences regarding Atheism instead of actually addressing any tangible points using logic and reason. It's not an insult, it's simply inaccurate. It's the worst representation of Atheism that can be made.

These claims are anything but an attempt to address the content of the beliefs that relate to Atheism. Nothing here relates to God. It's a very long way of dodging the questions, debate, and real points regarding Atheism.

Again, it's not an insult because it cannot be an insult as these statements are empty, or a void, ironically, which is what the main issue with Atheism is supposed to be. In other words, instead of discussing the reasons behind Atheism, it is said here that there are no reasons. Instead of discussing God, which is what Atheists don't believe in, there are only generalizations as to what Atheists may or may not believe besides God.

Hugo Pelland said...

***Summary:***

- Point 1 is demonstrably false.

- Point 2 is correct, but irrelevant to the truth of Atheism

- Point 3 is part of Point 4; it was just a sloppy way of splitting the statements

- Point 4 cites Friedrich Nietzsche's opinion, which is not common to all Atheists, and irrelevant to the truth of Atheism. Moreover, the comments on morality are just generalizations and ignore the various positions among Atheists, and Theists alike. It is possible to have objective "Right" and "Wrong" under Atheism.

- Point 5 also went into a generalization of Atheists, but did note that it may not always apply. The main issue was the notion of a 'proof of Atheism', which is not relevant as there is no such 'proof'. See here for examples of the primacy of material existence vs immaterial existence.

- Point 6 referred to specific positions which I may or may not agree with, so I have to reserve judgment on that one until further clarifications. However, it does seem to imply that Atheists fail to account for objective true statements, or the use of reason, which is false. Reason is not up for grab.

- Point 7 lists platitudes that have nothing to do with Atheism specifically. It's actually false regarding what Atheists claim regarding providing reasons for rejecting Theists' claims.

- Point 8 and 9 are more-or-less a conclusion of the other points. They present nothing new, nothing of value, nothing with any kind of reasoning behind them, and just show some more generalization about Atheism, just like the other 9 comments before that did, without actually addressing any specific points.

In short, nothing here relates to belief in gods, which is what Atheism is about. This is a really poor summary of what Atheism is about, why people are Atheists, or why people should 'not' be Atheists. There is no reasoning behind any of the points presented here as they are mostly based on false assumptions and misconceptions of what Atheism is, or what we can really know about reality.

Stan said...

Hugo says,
”No, that's wrong; it's an exaggeration. A human being with an entirely irrational worldview would not survive.”
You are confusing worldviews and behaviors; they are not the same. Like it or not, many people have entirely irrational worldviews which they do not incorporate into behaviors. Bertrand Russell commented on this very thing, regarding those who claimed that existence is ephemeral, imaginary (think today’s claims that we all live in a computer simulated hologram): Russell said that he noticed that they never stepped off curbs when a bus was coming; then he enjoined them to drive into a tree and report back on “existence”. The dichotomy between worldview and actual behaviors is rampant in the AtheoLeft, which claims “logic and evidence” as the basis for their worldview, yet have neither to present in its defense.

” But all worldview have a basis in logic and evidence, at least partially. Even the least rational human being we can find has some true beliefs, such as the belief that they exist, need food and water to survive, and other simple things like that.”

These are not views of the world, they are views of the self which are independent of the world.

So your objection fails.

” Atheism rejects the 'existence of god' as a proven fact;”

No one claims to have materially proven the existence of a deity. This is too restrictive, with the probable intent of placing Atheism into a defensive posture which it does not deserve. Moving on.

” That belief is part of their worldview, yes, but it's not what Atheists' worldviews are based on.”

Rejection of deity and moral authority is most definitely the basis upon which other elements of the Atheist worldview are founded. To claim otherwise is indefensible. All concepts of ethics, justice, mind, agency, endpoints of science, origins and culminations are dependent upon that. Behaviors are also affected by the Atheist influence on empathy, which is merely a choice amongst many possible responses.

Stan said...

” insist that Atheism is a worldview, but not believing in God is actually just part of Atheists' worldviews, which vary greatly from Atheist to Atheist, even if lots of common patterns can be found. I started to watch a debate recently, only ~40min in, and the opening statement express these same ideas neatly.”

You continually misrepresent my position. Atheism is the base (empty, as in VOID) upon which Atheists build their worldviews, which are totally self-derived and without any basis other than self-reference. The Atheist chooses principles for his worldview which are compatible with his desires and behavior preferences. So of course there is variation between Atheists. Inconsistency is not a virtue.

Matt Dillahunty makes it clear at ~ 1: 58 that there is no grounding for Atheism. In fact he claims that “you can’t get from Atheism to any other position without adding something to it”. That is saying that the Atheist creates his own positions gratuitously for himself and his own benefit, with no grounding. It’s interesting the Matt agrees with my position on the matter.

He goes further, on burden of proof (2:27): He uses a False Analogy to avoid any burden of proof from his own belief set, which he purposely smears into a false position of not-knowing, but rejecting anyway.

Moving on.

”…the summary starts with a statement that Atheism has no reason behind it, while discussing the reasons behind Atheism. It looks like a misrepresentation in order to shut down any conversation.”

It is the perpetual equivocation of the Atheist which shuts down the conversation. For example, any and all Atheists are invited to produce logic and or evidence which disproves the deduction that the inititiation of a one-off event which has rules governing the event in most if not all of its existential aspects, and which event results in a previously non-existing universe coming into existence and including the possibility of the development of intelligence, agency, consciousness despite the overarching rule of constant decay (entropy), requires 1) power; 2) intent/agency; 3) intellect.

This is specific and requires material reasons or logical reasoning for rejecting it. But that never comes, because the response is “well, that’s only one deity, there are other deity concepts”, or no response at all.

The conversation is totally open: it is the Atheist who doesn’t answer.

” Correct; no guidance, no moral, no principles. But at least 1 other subject is related: Theism. Atheism is the rejection of Theism. Yes, it's just a rejection, but yes, it does have reasons, which we are discussing, or could be discussing, if you were to acknowledge that point 1 was wrong and that there are in fact reasons.”

So far, point 1 is intact. No one, you included, have given no reasons and no reasoning for rejection. But there has been plenty of keyboard wear and tear in not doing that.

Stan said...

Here you contradict yourself:
” And yes, there are consequences, impacts, of being an Atheist, and yes, correlations with other beliefs. None of that has anything to do with the question 'Does God exist?' though. And none of that implies that Atheists have no moral compass, or cannot think logically, or cannot understand philosophical principles and apply them. Yes, Atheism is a void on all of that, but it does not imply anything else.”

At the end of the above, you ignore your own claims just above, and so you agree with me and Matt Dillahunty, that Atheism provides no basis or grounding for the Atheist worldview (which includes moral compass, logic, comprehension). Progress has been made. Moving forward.

” Nietzsche's position, expressed here, is not an objective fact; it's just his opinion. There are tons of theories like his, which make similar claims; it's not a necessary consequence of not believing in God.”

No one claims that it is “necessary”. The claim is that it is allowed under Atheism, it is common, and it has produced vast amounts of evil in just the last century and moving directly into this century. I repeat: it is allowed. So when it happens, it happens as a consequence of being allowed to happen under Atheism.

” Everybody has a sense of right and wrong, influenced by a lot of factors. We cannot deny, for instance, the fact that we all learned what was good or bad from our parents, first, as children. We never stopped and thought about whether our parents were right; it just became part of our worldviews, which we may or may not have revised later in life. ”

No argument there; Atheist parents produce Atheist progeny.

You have to justify the following:
” We also have instincts that make use physically feel ill when seeing something disgusting, wrong, or bad. As we grow up, we learn, and adjust our views on morality. Some of us believe there is such a thing as objective moral truths; others don't. I happen to believe in them, and I also don't believe in God. Hence, statement 4 is false as it is possible to have objective "Right" and "Wrong" under Atheism. And to be clear, this is not about me, it's just a common position among Atheists, and the reason why points 3 and 4 don't always apply. ”

There can be no objective moral truths without a moral truthgiver with the moral authority to declare those truths to be immutable; they are not laws of physics, chemistry, biology or any material existence; they are transcendental concepts which exist outside the machinery of the universe. So there can be no “objective” transcendental (an oxymoron) principle for no reason at all.

I suspect that neither you nor any Atheist can vocalize these “objective” transcendental principles in any fashion which demonstrates any necessity for considering them to immutable, beyond your personal authority. The common objection here is “sez who”?

Stan said...

”The problem with this statement is that there is no 'proof of Atheism' to be presented; as Atheism rests on the lack of 'proof of Theism', along with reasons to reject these Theistic arguments.”

The deduced conclusion has been given to you numerous times to the point of total frustration with this (perpetual) false claim. It has resided in the right side column for many years, now – untouched, ignored, and with claims like this. This claim is false.

” When asked to explain their position on Philosophical Materialism, I think most Atheists will claim that they don't believe anything else but Nature exists. Some are clumsier than others in their descriptions, reasons, behind that belief, but it all boils down to what Philosophical Materialism is about: no belief in something outside, beyond, the Material-Natural-Physical world we live in. There, I agree.”

So? Prove that the principle of Philosophical Materialism is True. Here’s a chance to use that “logic and evidence” which Atheists are so proud of.

Is this the proof?
”Philosophical Materialism is the position that makes the most sense of the world we live in today. It's based on the assumption of material existence as basic objective existence, first, instead of the assumption of immaterial existence, of consciousness first, which is a simpler idea but lacking in explanatory power and prone to contradictions and ambiguous objectivity”

So it is assumed first.

Then claims are made without substantiation for its superiority:
”lacking in explanatory power and prone to contradictions and ambiguous objectivity”

And then you give a link to a statement which goes directly against your own belief? The link claims that evidentialism is impossible under Naturalism (aka, Philosophical Materialism), meaning that no belief, including the Atheist belief that theism” is lacking in explanatory power and prone to contradictions and ambiguous objectivity”, cannot even be a valid belief. He concludes,

”If theism is true, then it is possible for beliefs to be based on evidence. Otherwise, it's metaphysically impossible.”

I think you slipped a cog or two.

Stan said...

”- Logical Positivism; Contingent empiricism. I honestly don't know what these refer to.”

Gosh. That’s a shame.

” Which principle of Philosophical Materialism cannot be proven?”

Well, there’s just the one. Here it is: No non-material existence exists.

So go ahead and provide material evidence (required due to the restriction of the principle) that proves that the principle is valid. I’ll help a bit:

IF[ X ], THEN[Philosophical Materialism = True]

Solve for X, and give justifications for each premise, subpremise, grounding, all using ONLY physical, material cases. Then show that the resulting argument is Physical only, and conforms to Philosophical Materialism’s claim.

” Next, philosophy is not up for grab. Basically, we are both using critical thinking right now to discuss.”

This has no meaning in the context of the discussion.

” What's non-coherent in what is actually true under Philosophical Materialism; not what you imply, what is directly related to it?”

Non-coherence:
Can’t prove that its one single principle is true, using that one single principle as a restriction.

Directly related:
Denial of agency; denial of consciousness, except as delusion; denial of morality; denial of intellect (Determinism and Darwin’s Horrid Doubt). Denial of human exceptionalism; Denial of the value of life; the emergence of the New Man; totalitarianism.



” And yes, my worldview does account for truth claims, and does support logical and rational principles. It's using these principles that I conclude that there is probably no God”

And yet you refuse to reveal you Atheist logical deductive reasoning. So this claim is empty.

” and I am really confident that there is no God intervening right here, right now. This is a conclusion based on observations of the claims by people who do believe otherwise; it is not an assumption.”

Unless you can produce the chain of logic which is “based on observations of the claims”, demonstrating the impeccable logic by which you reject these claims, then your claims here (numerous) are empty and without any reason or reasoning to be believed.

” b) False. Exact same thing again: any position is dependent on logic and evidence.”

Then cough it up: logic and evidence for your rejection of a) the above claim which is made over and over, and/or b) any other universal claim of theism which you used logic and evidence to reject.

And here we go with the denial of responsibility by rejecting the intellectual requirement for rebuttal:

Stan said...

” No content here; just re-hashing the points before, but there was already no content, no point, no argument, nothing regarding the truth of Atheism; it's just repeating the same empty sentences regarding Atheism instead of actually addressing any tangible points using logic and reason. It's not an insult, it's simply inaccurate. It's the worst representation of Atheism that can be made.”

And you still do not provide anything even similar to reasons or reasoning for proof of Atheism, or disproof of Theism. You merely claim that the demand for anything from Atheists is “inaccurate”, “empty sentences” etc.

All this keyboarding, and no reasons or reasoning have you produced.

” These claims are anything but an attempt to address the content of the beliefs that relate to Atheism. Nothing here relates to God. It's a very long way of dodging the questions, debate, and real points regarding Atheism.”

Atheism has no points: it is a VOID, remember? It is, as you prove time and again, merely rejection which is supported by NO reasons or reasoning whatsoever, and therefore is NOT based in either logic or material evidence for its support. So Atheism is a set of personally derived principles which have a VOID for a grounding basis, and no possible arguments which can prove its validity.

You have been given, many many times, the same deduction for the necessity of a deity, and you do not address it over and over.

” Again, it's not an insult because it cannot be an insult as these statements are empty, or a void, ironically, which is what the main issue with Atheism is supposed to be. In other words, instead of discussing the reasons behind Atheism, it is said here that there are no reasons.”

And you have given none; none; not a single one, no logical argument, no material evidence, nothing whatsoever. You merely confirm that there are no reasons or reasoning underlying Atheism, and you deflect with useless rhetoric.

When you PRODUCE either reasons or reasoning which prove Atheism to be valid and true, THEN we have something to discuss. But you do not do that. You just waste time.

” Instead of discussing God, which is what Atheists don't believe in, there are only generalizations as to what Atheists may or may not believe besides God.”

The only one preventing you from discussing whatever you reject – IS YOU!

” In short, nothing here relates to belief in gods, which is what Atheism is about. This is a really poor summary of what Atheism is about, why people are Atheists, or why people should 'not' be Atheists. There is no reasoning behind any of the points presented here as they are mostly based on false assumptions and misconceptions of what Atheism is, or what we can really know about reality.”

That is – brace yourself – a LIE. You have been given many many many chances to tell us what you reject and how you came to that conclusion using your logic and evidence, and you do not. You absolutely DO NOT.

If you could, you would have done so long before now. It is proper to conclude that you choose not to even think about the logic/evidence which underlies your rejection. You could have presented your arguments/evidence long ago. But you do not do that. Instead you merely claim that having that demanded of you is “empty sentences” and “without content”.

That position is becoming too cheap to even respond to any more.

Provide your argument.

Provide your evidence.

Prove that your Atheism is coherent, valid and immutable truth.

Prove that your Philosophical Materialism can be proved conclusively using Philosophical Materialism.

Don’t even bother with another long “rebuttal” of charges of “empty sentences” and “without content”. Either provide your evidence and logic, or bid us adieux.

Hugo Pelland said...

Two quick things; my full response will come much later, no idea when though...

1) Regarding the post I linked to, search for "Here is the simple argument for immaterialism:" and what follows. This is what I was referring to. It's an actual discussion regarding materialism vs immaterialism I had. Unfortunately, it stopped short because of a lack of follow-up from my companion.

I had another one, on that same blog,
which also stopped after clearly exposing the flaws in the Immaterialist's argument. Basically, this notion of immaterial existence versus material existence is the grounding by which one can come to different conclusion regarding God, or the supernatural, and other topics, which is relevant for the next quick point I want to raise to make sure I correctly address yours, next time I comment:

Hugo Pelland said...

2) You mentioned: "The deduced conclusion has been given to you numerous times to the point of total frustration with this (perpetual) false claim. It has resided in the right side column for many years, now – untouched, ignored, and with claims like this" but there are tons of them, and I am not aware of a single one containing an argument in favor of God's existence. Here's the list of ALL topics listed on the side of your blog; tell me which one I interpreted wrong in my super quick summary, or perhaps which one is the one that is the most "fatal" to Atheism, in your opinion.

Evolution
- 3-part, nothing to do with God

PRINCIPLES OF ATHEISM
- First Principle of Atheism; Atheism is a VOID, nothing about God. Misrepresents Atheism.
- Second Principle of Atheism; Post on morality, nothing about God. Misrepresents Atheism.
- Third Principle of Atheism; Misrepresents Atheists' beliefs, generalizations. Nothing about God.
- Fourth Principle of Atheism; Baseless insult on Atheists as incapable of using logic. Nothing about God.
- Fifth Principle of Atheism; More or less the same as the 4th. Still nothing about God.
- Sixth Principle of Atheism; Same, again.
- Atheism, Communism and Mass Slaughters; Examples of evil Atheists. No impact of its truth; nothing about God.
- Atheism and the Culture Wars; Confuses politics (Left-Right) with Atheism (God belief).
- Atheism and Social Justice; Same as the previous.

Compendium of Rational Principles
> The Principles of the First Principles; straight-forward principles, nothing about God
> The First Principles: The Bedrock of Logic and Rational Thought; good principles, but misrepresentation of the Materialist position. Nothing about God.
> Details of the First Principles of Logic; same as previous.
> The Mathematics of Reason: The First Principles According to George Boole; simple principle, nothing about God.
> The Principles of Evidence; some good points about evidence, some wrong points about how it applies to the natural world. Nothing about God.
> The In Side of Evidence; complain that Atheism is wrong, not a support 'for' Theism. Nothing about God.
> The Scientific Method; nothing about Atheism.
> Is There Truth and How Could I Know?; great description of the process behind finding truth. But nothing to justify Theism.
> Is There Wisdom? Seems to me that this is a denial of objective reality, so that's the most interesting post so far as this is a crucial basis for philosophical arguments. We did not discuss it before I think.
> Axiom, Part I; definitions, nothing about God.
> Axiom, Part II; same as above.
> Axiom Stacking and Worldviews; same again.
> The Intellectual Link Between Atheism and the Left; justifications for the mix of Atheism and Politics. I disagree but, anyway, not about God.
> If You Don’t Value Truth, Then What Do You Value?; Similar to other posts, nothing about God, misrepresentation of Atheism in order to "debunk" it.
> Beyond; more of the same again, on the process of critical reasoning. Nothing about God.
> Positive Character Traits; well that one was hilarious. You should read it and try to follow it more yourself, I think you forgot your own principles... The 2009-Stan would not find your 2016 content to be out of line with your principles I believe.
> Reference Material on Logic; references.

CHALLENGES TO RATIONAL ATHEISTS:
- CHALLENGE TO EVOLUTIONISTS; skipped, not Atheism.
- CHALLENGE TO ATHEISTS, I; there is a tiny piece of argumentation here, in the form of a spiritual experience as evidence for God. I would argue that yes, this is 'some' evidence. But that's it, nothing else here about God...
- CHALLENGE TO ATHEISTS, II; lots of questions, but just about morality. Nothing about God.
- CHALLENGE TO ATHEISTS, III; more questions, still nothing about God.

Hugo Pelland said...

So, in short... I honestly don't know what you are talking about when you get angry at me for not responding. If you want to discuss Atheism seriously, please mention specific points. There are tons of links here, as I just listed to prove the point, and some date back to as far as 2008, and I am not sure you even agree with all of that. It seems, for instance, that you are way more extreme in your hatred for the AtheoLeft than ever before. I wonder if that prevents you from wanting to talk about the topic of Atheism at all... I don't know!

Stan said...

Then you have not read my response, where I gave it yet again. But you have gone to considerable trouble to defend your reasons for not knowing what theism is, or even present what it is that you have rejected in order to call yourself an Atheist. Your excuse now is the same form as before: too much; too many; can't know what to discuss: too many gods, have to know which one we're on about; too many articles to read, here, I'll list them.

Since I actually gave you the definition of a fundamental deity for you to refute in this very thread, twice, with the latest not more than 24 hours ago, I consider this complaint most likely to be mere obfuscation, possibly posturing. However, leaving that alone, I suppose I must repeat it again, here, which I shall do by copying the text from above:

On April 2, 2016, I said this:
"Further, to decline the existence of a creating cause for the universe, which pre-existed the universe, or at least existed without the universe, and which was powerful enough to create the universe, including the base of rules for its physical existence, including the sustaining of existence from one moment to the next (creation of time as an enabling force), these are the issues surrounding the rejection of deity. All the rest is not, and is merely anti-intellectual chaff.”

You rejected this due to *GRAMMAR*. You said "universe is not defined"; cause is "Not explanatory", asserting the standard Atheist Category Error. etc. Obfuscations in perpetuity. No actual chain of logic.

Then on April 17, this:
First Hugo:
"”…the summary starts with a statement that Atheism has no reason behind it, while discussing the reasons behind Atheism. It looks like a misrepresentation in order to shut down any conversation.”

Then Stan:
It is the perpetual equivocation of the Atheist which shuts down the conversation. For example, any and all Atheists are invited to produce logic and or evidence which disproves the deduction that the inititiation of a one-off event which has rules governing the event in most if not all of its existential aspects, and which event results in a previously non-existing universe coming into existence and including the possibility of the development of intelligence, agency, consciousness despite the overarching rule of constant decay (entropy), requires 1) power; 2) intent/agency; 3) intellect."

Twice given, your first response was pure equivocation with no refutation of the logic; your second response is that you don't even know what to respond to.

Stan said...

I am moved to provide an insight into the pursuit of truth, if that is what one is about.

First:
Science is voluntarily materialistic, attempting to provide descriptions of relationships between material effects (physically measurable), and their material causes (also physically measurable). These mislabeled "laws" of material existence are actually not truths; they are contingently known factoids which are subject to overturn as investigations and technology progress.

As Popper pointed out, no posited non-material effect or cause can be investigated using material methods (claims to the contrary are Category Errors), and science can neither test nor say nothing about them, certainly not the validity or non-validity of the non-material claim. Popper's demarcation of falsifiability is the method of determination for which subjects are addressable by science and materialist methodology, and which are not.

Further, even falsification is subject to the Inductive Problem in the sense that no amount of replication of a falsification can prove conclusively that an issue is "absolutely" false. The falsification itself might be false and might be overturned later on. This is why the "truth" of an issue cannot be known, but if a material contingent finding is assumed to be truth and is called "Truth", then that is false.

Second:
Aristotelian deductive logic will produce truth when the criteria for creating a valid argument are met. These criteria include the following: proper valid argument format; true premises which are grounded in First Principles rather than circularity or infinite regression; passing an analysis by Reductio Ad Absurdum. When these criteria are in place and pass the testing, then the conclusion of the argument is unassailably valid and true.

If each premise which supports the argument passes Reductio Ad Absurdum, and if the final argument also passes, then the argument is immutably true (assuming they are properly formed and valid, of course). Compare this result to the contingent output of science, which is restricted to material subjects, and never produces truth due to its purely contingent nature.

It can be seen that science is interesting, but not EVER the essence of truth; disciplined Aristotelian deductive logic is the essence of truth.

Stan said...

Nastika
First off, I am going to move this conversation over to the Atheism Conversation Zone at the top of the Left hand column for easier access.

Your first argument is this:
” You are asserting a plane of existence not palpably in evidence, thus the burden of proof is on you.”

The term “palpable” means to physically feel a material “thing”. Thus you have again asserted your demand for a physical proof of a non-physical entity. That, again, is the logic fallacy of Category Error.

You make this claim:
” I claim magic unicorns romping about the far side of the moon telepathically control our fates (they hide in moon caves whenever they magically sense the presence of a spacecraft overhead). You may reasonably reject my claim of magic unicorns on the far side of the moon until such time as I provide some evidence for them. Your god speculation is no better than my unicorn assertion.”

What you provide here is not dialectic, it is pure rhetorical fallacy: False Analogy. It is of this form:
“BECAUSE the argument X which I create is a stupid argument, THEN the argument Y which I compare X to is also a stupid argument”.

This false use of analogy always fails because there is no actual analysis of either X or Y. So the declaration of the falseness of Y is an empty assertion, made with no evidence, no analysis, but made with the intent to insert bias rather than carefully considered deductive logic.

Assuming that you think this to be a rational position: You have provided no deductive path by which you arrived at your assertion. If you were to do so, then we could discuss it. As it stands, it is an empty assertion with no attempt made to justify it either logically or empirically.

That is not the case with basic theism, because there is a deductive path which can be discussed. But first, the Atheist must be open to a discussion which actually does present evidence for analysis, using disciplined deductive logic using Aristotelian principles. Would you care to discus that?

Stan said...

” More oxymoronic imagination. If your god is not made of something then she is absolutely nothing at all, and absolutely nothing at all has a real hard time poofing a universe into existence. Sorry, Aristotelian physics is entirely unimpressive to a modern thinker. The efficient cause being the non-material cause is hardly validated by modern physics.”

This places you directly into the perpetual negation (full denialism) of reality mode. Absence of material existence is not the same as absence of existence. The “meaning” you impute to your statements (regardless of their truth or falseness) has reality, yet has no physical existence. There are many other examples, but I think that it is apparent that you will deny that anything which is not tactile can exist. Of course, if that were the actual case, then there would be no need for Popper’s demarcation, would there?

And no one here is claiming Aristotelian physics; Aristotelian deduction is the logic which supports modern empirical physics, and that is an established material process. So if you deny the validity of Aristotelian deductive logic, then you are perforce a science denier, too.

” "(which condition doesn’t seem to bother Atheists at t = 0)"
Ok, but that does not give us any science at t=0, only a very general notion at that time, and a great deal of science thereafter.”


This comment cements your Philosophical Materialism/Scientism, both of which are anti-rational. Would you care to discuss that?

” Nobody knows. There are no scientific theories, much less experimental observations to answer that question.The operative phrase being “best we have”. We don’t have it right yet. So, the best we have is wrong. By “wrong” if mean it in the sense the Newton was “wrong”. Newton was correct to a high degree of accuracy, but he was fundamentally wrong as a true description of the ultimate underlying reality.”

This is not explanatory; it is “science of the gaps”. This answer would not suffice for any discussion of evolution with evolutionists. Or if you think it would, then you are an evolution-denier as well.

” Nobody has a true description of the ultimate underlying reality. That remains hidden from all human beings. I applaud and deeply respect the work of those who get us a bit closer to this goal at each step.”

So you applaud the quantum physicists of the Copenhagen Quantum Physics, who have stated categorically that all existence is, at its base, consciousness of a universal, necessary being? Do you wish to discuss this?

” Indeed, I might be god and you might be a figment of my divine imagination. I cannot prove that is not the case, and neither can you. But, I have no positive evidence for that speculation, so I consider it to be infinitesimally likely.”

Given all your lack of proof and inability to prove, then you cannot know much at all, if anything. Except that you know that science produces the only truth, rather than contingent data; you know that you know that; except that you cannot prove that you are not a hologram or a brain in a vat. So you think that you exist, but you don’t know that. And that proves that there is no God.

Got it.

Stan said...

First off, I am going to move this conversation over to the Atheism Conversation Zone at the top of the Left hand column for easier access.

Can't find it, give me the link.


Seriously?? OK.
http://atheism-analyzed.blogspot.com/2016/03/discussion-zone-for-atheism.html

The term “palpable” means to physically feel a material “thing”. Thus you have again asserted your demand for a physical proof of a non-physical entity. That, again, is the logic fallacy of Category Error.

“Non-physical entity” is an oxymoronic term. It is an incoherent notion. If it isn’t made of something, some kind of energy, some kind of spacetime, something other than absolutely nothing at all, then it is absolutely nothing at all and can thus have no properties at all, much less intelligence and the power to create a universe.


You cannot prove that, using material evidence. And under your hypothesis, material evidence in the form of mass/energy would be absolutely required in order to be objective knowledge. So it would have to have been derived from empirical testing, so demonstrate that please.

While you do that, consider that your idea of non-coherence is purely a concept, in other words it is not found in the form of mass/energy, space/time – it is a little bit of “meaning” in your mind.

There are no lumps of “the concept of incoherence” to be found anywhere in the universe. Nor can it be refined from minerals, nor created artificially. The “concept of incoherence” is a non-physical entity. So if that does not exist, then your argument fails due ironically to internal non-coherence.

”This comment cements your Philosophical Materialism/Scientism, both of which are anti-rational. Would you care to discuss that?

We just don’t have any science at t=0. Quite apparently the true nature of the underlying reality is beyond my senses and comprehension at present, as is the case for all human beings that have ever lived. Science is simply the best tool we have for getting closer and closer to that ultimate truth.


So you applaud the quantum physicists of the Copenhagen Quantum Physics, who have stated categorically that all existence is, at its base, consciousness of a universal, necessary being? Do you wish to discuss this?

??? The Copenhagen Interpretation is about specific properties, measurement, and collapse of the wave function. You just tossed in the bit about “universal consciousness” ad hoc.”

Then you are unaware of their positions, I take it. Here are a few:

“Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
Erwin Schrödinger

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
Max Planck

“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

Stan said...

Moving on:
Given all your lack of proof and inability to prove, then you cannot know much at all, if anything. Except that you know that science produces the only truth, rather than contingent data; you know that you know that; except that you cannot prove that you are not a hologram or a brain in a vat. So you think that you exist, but you don’t know that; you could be a delusion daemon. And that proves that there is no God.

”I have evidence and logic based upon certain provisional postulates for my position, and I demand likewise from others. You can believe in magic pixies if you want., which are just as likely as your god or any other “supernatural” claim.”

Then you are selectively skeptical, which disproves your prior position. Please choose just one position; it is not possible to have a coherent discussion with someone whose position changes according to whim.

”My senses seem to be basically reliable, so I provisionally postulate that they are. Building upon that postulate reality is detectable and assertions about the nature of various aspects of reality are falsifiable, or at least they should be falsifiable at least in principle to be considered more than idle speculation.”

This position presupposes that your senses (which you believe – presuppose - to be reliable) can sense all that exists, and further presupposes that nothing which your senses detect can exist. Further, the language of “reality” is presupposed to apply only and entirely to whatever your presupposed reliable senses actually detect. This is four presuppositions which you cannot prove. Four presuppositions in the primary premise of your argument indicates a serious bias toward a presupposed conclusion, and a serious lack of ability to support that conclusion.

” Science is simply the best tool we have for getting closer and closer to that ultimate truth.”

You have already asserted that your “reality” can contain only (exclusively) mass/energy in space/time. Therefore, there can be no “ultimate truth” regarding a cause for mass/energy, space/time, which is not composed of mass/energy, space/time. That is non-coherent.

Further the scientific pursuit of something which is NOT mass/energy, space/time is also non-coherent because science cannot detect anything which is not composed of mass/energy, space/time.

So far, this entire concept is based on the blatant fallacy of Category Error.

Further you have ignored the use of deduction in science, and the use of deduction to determine the truth value of disciplined argumentations. And you have not made an actual argument, you have merely referred to the possibility that you have one (apparently based in presuppositions of your own devising, rather than being grounded in first principles).

So go ahead and elaborate your argument in terms of logic.

Nastika said...

Then you are unaware of their positions, I take it. Here are a few:
Irrelevant, the below statements are not part of the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, and are merely indications of the segmentation of the human brain. Even those doing highly respectable work in science are susceptible to pronouncements of woo.


“Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”Erwin Schrödinger
A truly absurd statement from an otherwise brilliant man.

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”Max Planck
More woo.

“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
Still more woo.

Newton had a lot of crackpot ideas too. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t a mathematical and scientific genius, just means that a single brain can have both rational and mystical segments.

You have already asserted that your “reality” can contain only (exclusively) mass/energy in space/time. Therefore, there can be no “ultimate truth” regarding a cause for mass/energy, space/time, which is not composed of mass/energy, space/time. That is non-coherent.
Further the scientific pursuit of something which is NOT mass/energy, space/time is also non-coherent because science cannot detect anything which is not composed of mass/energy, space/time.


Yes, that is what I said, closer and closer. I have no expectation of arriving at a final absolute truth.
That’s all that has ever been shown to be, the material. What would “immaterial” even mean? “Immaterial” is an incoherent notion.

Then you are selectively skeptical, which disproves your prior position. Please choose just one position; it is not possible to have a coherent discussion with someone whose position changes according to whim.

I have not shifted my position at all. You insist on labeling each statement as belonging to some recognized school of thought. I really do not care about labels or schools of thought.

Nastika said...

This position presupposes that your senses (which you believe – presuppose - to be reliable) can sense all that exists, and further presupposes that nothing which your senses detect can exist. Further, the language of “reality” is presupposed to apply only and entirely to whatever your presupposed reliable senses actually detect. This is four presuppositions which you cannot prove. Four presuppositions in the primary premise of your argument indicates a serious bias toward a presupposed conclusion, and a serious lack of ability to support that conclusion

For the sake of brevity and to avoid the constant charges of not providing logic or evidence, I will forward some arguments supporting my scientific view with logic, by the absurdity of the contrary. Scientifically by reason applied to observation, but keeping in mind that a scientific proof is not an absolute proof. Also my assertion is of one fundamental set, not on fundamental substance.

1. Determinism - The contrary is absurd. Intrinsic randomness is the absurd notion that things just go poof for absolutely no reason at all, by no cause.

2. Mind and intelligence are physical states - The contrary is absurd, what else is there but the material? If it isn’t something then it is absolutely nothing at all. Absolutely nothing at all has no properties at all, much less intelligence. If it is something then it is material, what else could it be? The term “immaterial” is utterly incoherent, vague, and meaningless.

As for the mind specifically, where would it come from if not brain function? Some ethereal cloud of soulstuff floating about in the head? Some kind of ghost cloud in the brain? I often wonder how anybody can take that kind of thing seriously.

There has never been a scientifically documented separation of mind and brain. Brain injuries and brain surgery and drug effects show that mind is a function of the brain. When the brain is altered then mind is altered in a corresponding way.

3. Life arise from non-living matter - Still working on it…but we have some good beginnings in the form of self replicating molecules. Turns out that certain molecules are alive.

4. Intuition is material - Intuition is undoubtedly accounted for by subnetworks of information processing in our brains that are continually performing pattern matching and correlation calculations of stored data with sensory data and issuing correlation scores in the form of emotions or feelings that the data processing subnetworks of consciousness monitor and factor into decision making processes. No fairies or gods or ethereal soulstuff required.

Final note, There have been thousands of proposed gods, spirits, or whatever invoked to account for unexplained phenomena. You and I can make up some more if we wish, and I just did. The fact that I can make them up just as easily as the author of some old books did brings to light their fictional nature.

But these are not just any unicorns mind you, these are super duper magic unicorns that you can’t see, but they are really super powerful because whenever they romp about in unison their rhythms produce a universe, and that is how we got here. Also, they are mind readers, so watch out about all those nasty idea that pop into your head or the magic unicorns are gonna send you to a place where they stomp on your head for all eternity.

Also, these are immaterial unicorns, they have all these super duper powers but they really are made of nothing at all, yet they account for our existence because they are outside of time and eternal, yet the can act in our time sequence of events history and then go romping back out of time in their immaterial plane of existence that exists but is not really made of anything.

See, I have just solved all the mysteries of the universe! It’s immaterial timeless eternal super powerful magic unicorns.

Ridiculous? Indeed. Such speculations composed of oxymoronic phrases and meaningless assertions are ridicule ‘ous. But I try to avoid ad hominem and stick to criticisms of the ideas, not you or anybody else as individuals.

Stan said...

”Then you are unaware of their positions, I take it. Here are a few:

Irrelevant, the below statements are not part of the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, and are merely indications of the segmentation of the human brain. Even those doing highly respectable work in science are susceptible to pronouncements of woo.”


Far too cheap a shot. This is a dismissal without any facts attached in the form of empirical refutation or deductive disproof. Purely rhetorical and without intellectual content. These are the conclusions of the quantum physicists, whether you like it or not. And your use of the standard immature insult, “woo” indicates a deeply held bias which is not amenable to any valid contrary arguments. In other words, religiously held, and defended with insults and deprecations, not with deduction or empiricism; cult-think.

“Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”Erwin Schrödinger
A truly absurd statement from an otherwise brilliant man.

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”Max Planck
More woo.

“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

Still more woo.

Same comment as above: Far too cheap a shot. This is a dismissal without any facts attached in the form of empirical refutation or deductive disproof. Purely rhetorical and without intellectual content.

Stan said...

Newton had a lot of crackpot ideas too. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t a mathematical and scientific genius, just means that a single brain can have both rational and mystical segments.

Same as above: Far too cheap a shot. This is a dismissal without any facts attached in the form of empirical refutation or deductive disproof. Purely rhetorical and without intellectual content.

You have already asserted that your “reality” can contain only (exclusively) mass/energy in space/time. Therefore, there can be no “ultimate truth” regarding a cause for mass/energy, space/time, which is not composed of mass/energy, space/time. That is non-coherent.

Further the scientific pursuit of something which is NOT mass/energy, space/time is also non-coherent because science cannot detect anything which is not composed of mass/energy, space/time.

Yes, that is what I said, closer and closer. I have no expectation of arriving at a final absolute truth.
That’s all that has ever been shown to be, the material. What would “immaterial” even mean? “Immaterial” is an incoherent notion.


You have not addressed any example given you. You merely make empty assertions, one after another. You are not presenting either deductive refutation or empirical proof for your concepts. You merely declare your position to be true, over and over, with no case being made for why anyone should believe you. Your main argument is dismissal as “woo”, which is the cheap tactic of insult rather than intellect.

Then you are selectively skeptical, which disproves your prior position. Please choose just one position; it is not possible to have a coherent discussion with someone whose position changes according to whim.

I have not shifted my position at all. You insist on labeling each statement as belonging to some recognized school of thought. I really do not care about labels or schools of thought.


Your first position is that all you can know is that you exist and that your “senses are accurate”. Then you make knowledge claims outside of that set of boundaries. That is inconsistent, and it is non-coherent. Nothing you have said constitutes any reason to think that you can know anything at all under your skepticism of which you are so proud – unless you contradict your own skepticism, which you do and claim no contradiction. That tactic is anti-rational.

Stan said...

”This position presupposes that your senses (which you believe – presuppose - to be reliable) can sense all that exists, and further presupposes that nothing which your senses detect can exist. Further, the language of “reality” is presupposed to apply only and entirely to whatever your presupposed reliable senses actually detect. This is four presuppositions which you cannot prove. Four presuppositions in the primary premise of your argument indicates a serious bias toward a presupposed conclusion, and a serious lack of ability to support that conclusion

For the sake of brevity and to avoid the constant charges of not providing logic or evidence, I will forward some arguments supporting my scientific view with logic, by the absurdity of the contrary. Scientifically by reason applied to observation, but keeping in mind that a scientific proof is not an absolute proof. Also my assertion is of one fundamental set, not on fundamental substance.

1. Determinism - The contrary is absurd. Intrinsic randomness is the absurd notion that things just go poof for absolutely no reason at all, by no cause.”


Then everything which you think or write is predetermined all the way back to the Big Bang. That means that it has no meaning outside of the predetermined conjunction of electrical discharges which are controlled by determinism, not by any intellectual or conscious forcing by you. In fact, intellect and consciousness are self-deceptions, and thus your self-image is a deception. You are merely a carrier for predetermined processes over which you have no control.

Further, your presupposition is that the contrary to determinism is randomness. This ignores that there is observable order in non-deterministic thought, non-deterministic behaviors, and non-deterministic creativity. These observations, available to your reliable senses, falsify determinism conclusively. That’s because determinism is controlled by entropy, not creativity.

This point is essential, so please address it – without ridicule, if you can muster that.

2. Mind and intelligence are physical states - The contrary is absurd, what else is there but the material? If it isn’t something then it is absolutely nothing at all. Absolutely nothing at all has no properties at all, much less intelligence. If it is something then it is material, what else could it be? The term “immaterial” is utterly incoherent, vague, and meaningless.

There are many non-material existences, such as “meaning”, “information”, “Ideas”, and your stories are also non-material as well. The “concept of coherence” is non-material so your usage of the term is an example of non-coherence, because you use it to deny its own existence. And that is non-coherent.

If intelligence is material, then it is fully determined by the four forces of physics (Weak, Strong, Electromagnetic, gravity). There is no path from any of these forces to intellect, consciousness or even life (as opposed to inert, dead minerals). If determinism is conclusively universal and total, then there is no non-entropic, non-predetermined activity in the brain. So there is no mind. Thus, the deception visited upon you is complete, and you are hallucinating and can do nothing else.

“What else could it be” is the question that demonstrates that you do not know, and cannot know, what it is or what it could be. “Nothing” is not an answer because it is incomplete. The only answer that a true Materialist can give is “nothing material”. In other words “no thing”, physically. You should correct your view of that.

Stan said...

As for the mind specifically, where would it come from if not brain function? Some ethereal cloud of soulstuff floating about in the head? Some kind of ghost cloud in the brain? I often wonder how anybody can take that kind of thing seriously.

You are full of Atheist claptrap, and are not looking for any answers to your false questions. Rather than spout internet Atheist terms like “soulstuff”, how about answering this question: how does computer hardware generate the software which dances throughout its circuits? [answer: it does not]. Where does the “meaning” in the software come from – the hardware? [answer: no] If there is no software from external intelligence, then of what use is the hardware, sitting there by itself, existing deterministically, executing tight wait loops, or stalled at an address [more likely randomly walking through memory space until it encounters a reason to bind up]?

So is software to be denigrated with the insult, “soulstuff”, because it is generated by the non-determnistic mind of some invisible engineer somewhere?

Of course all analogies fail at some point. In this case, the brain exceeds the operation of the computer hardware, and the software of the mind is far, far more complex – UNLESS of course you insist that the brain merely deterministically operates on predetermined positions of electrons, none of which could ever be controlled by any force generated by the human because they are controlled purely by the four forces of physics [What else could it be?].

”There has never been a scientifically documented separation of mind and brain.

Again the blatant fallacy of Category Error. If there were a separation, then material science could not document it.

Brain injuries and brain surgery and drug effects show that mind is a function of the brain. When the brain is altered then mind is altered in a corresponding way.”

Yes, corrupting the hardware does affect the proper operation of the software. In no way does this disprove the concept of separation. In fact the existence of hyper-hydroencephalytics (people who have little discernible grey matter in their cranium) with math degrees materially falsifies this objection.

”3. Life arise from non-living matter - Still working on it…but we have some good beginnings in the form of self replicating molecules. Turns out that certain molecules are alive.”

Unless you present some facts for support of your assertion, it is to be considered empty and blatantly false. The attempt to produce any enzyme or DNA or RNA or metabolic system have consistently and repeatedly failed despite decades of laboratory attempts. That is, “any” of those molecules, much less those molecules which contain the necessary information for life in a single cell, and much less still, replicators of the necessary interrelated factors for a single living cell.

Stan said...

”4. Intuition is material - Intuition is undoubtedly accounted for by subnetworks of information processing in our brains that are continually performing pattern matching and correlation calculations of stored data with sensory data and issuing correlation scores in the form of emotions or feelings that the data processing subnetworks of consciousness monitor and factor into decision making processes. No fairies or gods or ethereal soulstuff required.”

You cannot provide any proof of that; it is pure conjecture which is stated as if it is “undoubted” truth. You accept any material story-telling which is presupposes the material existence of things which you cannot produce for us to examine, materially. Thus it is a story, and has no truth value. And even the concept of intuition is falsified IF determinism is in control of the charge flow in the brain. So your concept of determinism contradicts your story of how intuition is created. If it cannot exist, then it cannot be created. But in rational reality, that’s OK because each of those can be easily falsified.

Final note, There have been thousands of proposed gods, spirits, or whatever invoked to account for unexplained phenomena.

No gods at all are hypothesized here; this is a Red Herring/Straw Man, created to deflect the argument away from the actual subject, which is Atheism, Materialism, and Determinism. What is examined here is the logic and evidence for the Atheist Materialist worldview and theories of emergence and existence. Being material as is the necessary definition under Atheism, then they should be falsifiable using material techniques on material evidence. Yet there is no material evidence being presented, because there is no possible material evidence which could exist for NON-material existence.

Further, the evidence of material-only life, consciousness, intellect, intuition, etc. is in the form of story-telling, not in the necessary form for material investigation of material things. Stories are, in fact, not material, and are not material evidence, ever.

”You and I can make up some more if we wish, and I just did. The fact that I can make them up just as easily as the author of some old books did brings to light their fictional nature.

An admission of intellectual culpability, AND the non-existence of actual material evidence in favor of either determinism, Atheism, or Materialism. More rhetoric and time-wasting.

Stan said...

But these are not just any unicorns mind you, these are super duper magic unicorns that you can’t see, but they are really super powerful because whenever they romp about in unison their rhythms produce a universe, and that is how we got here. Also, they are mind readers, so watch out about all those nasty idea that pop into your head or the magic unicorns are gonna send you to a place where they stomp on your head for all eternity.

So you stoop to juvenile ridicule in your absence of actual data. Ridicule is defined as the refuge of the small intellect which has no actual information in support of his worldview.

See, I have just solved all the mysteries of the universe! It’s immaterial timeless eternal super powerful magic unicorns.

Ridiculous? Indeed. Such speculations composed of oxymoronic phrases and meaningless assertions are ridicule ‘ous. But I try to avoid ad hominem and stick to criticisms of the ideas, not you or anybody else as individuals.


If you wish to hold an actual intelligent conversation, why not address the actual issues, which are the abject failures of determinism, Atheism, and Materialism to be supported by anything other than your ridicule, and their intellectual falsification which I have presented. You have not “criticized ideas” because you have not even addressed them. You merely write them off, because you essentially assert that Materialism/determinism is a first principle which must be accepted, when it is not. If Materialism and determinism are true, then you must prove it. And the proof must be material in nature, if Materialism is actually true. But you cannot do that, because it is a fallacy of Category Error (pointed out repeatedly above): there can be NO material evidence that supports the NON-existence of NON-material entities.

If you choose to engage intellectually, I will continue with you. If you continue to belittle with ridicule, then it’s adios, I am done.

Nastika said...

Your first position is that all you can know is that you exist and that your “senses are accurate”

In the sense of absolute knowledge, knowledge with a probability of 1, yes, and I said so.

Then you make knowledge claims outside of that set of boundaries. That is inconsistent, and it is non-coherent

No, I made the clear statement of certain working provisional postulates and my knowledge claims are based on those postulates and are therefore also provisional, as I said.

Nothing you have said constitutes any reason to think that you can know anything at all under your skepticism of which you are so proud – unless you contradict your own skepticism, which you do and claim no contradiction. That tactic is anti-rational.

It would be if that were my stance, which it is not. My only absolute certainties are derivatives of my self-awareness and are thus very limited. All the rest of my conclusions are provisional and based on my working provisional acceptance of the basic reliability of my senses, as I have already said in a variety of statements you apparently did not read or perhaps simply did not recognize as such.

Then everything which you think or write is predetermined all the way back to the Big Bang. That means that it has no meaning outside of the predetermined conjunction of electrical discharges which are controlled by determinism, not by any intellectual or conscious forcing by you. In fact, intellect and consciousness are self-deceptions, and thus your self-image is a deception

Meaning is relative to other things that exist. There is no absolute meaning relative to something outside of all existence because by definition there is nothing outside of all that exists.

You are merely a carrier for predetermined processes over which you have no control.
Yes, ultimately, that is true, but individually we have the sense of agency in our decision making processes.

Further, your presupposition is that the contrary to determinism is randomness. This ignores that there is observable order in non-deterministic thought, non-deterministic behaviors, and non-deterministic creativity. These observations, available to your reliable senses, falsify determinism conclusively. That’s because determinism is controlled by entropy, not creativity.

Two more notions that are supported by nothing more than some vague feelings of human sensibilities.
We have the sense of our own agency but on closer examination we act according to our wants and our choices which well up from within quite apart from this sense of agency.

Determinism also extends to moral relativism, the notions of responsibility and consequences are merely social mechanisms by which we influence the behavior of each other.

Nastika said...

If intelligence is material, then it is fully determined by the four forces of physics (Weak, Strong, Electromagnetic, gravity). There is no path from any of these forces to intellect, consciousness or even life (as opposed to inert, dead minerals)

Sure there is. FMRI is just one way we can correlate thought processes with just the forces you mention. Chemistry is primarily a function of the electromagnetic force, and certainly chemistry has a great deal to do intelligence, consciousness and life. EEG and EKG have been around a long time, charting brain and other body functions. I really have no idea where you are coming from on this point.

If determinism is conclusively universal and total, then there is no non-entropic, non-predetermined activity in the brain. So there is no mind. Thus, the deception visited upon you is complete, and you are hallucinating and can do nothing else

True, there is no evidence for a mind as a separate entity. What we call mind is easily accounted for by brain function.

You are full of Atheist claptrap, and are not looking for any answers to your false questions. Rather than spout internet Atheist terms like “soulstuff”, how about answering this question:

That is one of the questions I'm seeking. What is this ethereal “mind” made of? Absolutely nothing at all? Some kind of unknown material? Some unknown dimensions? What?

The soul has often been depicted just as I describe it, some kind of ghostly cloud co-inhabiting the body that lifts away and floats up to heaven when we die. I am not the one making this up, there are countless depictions of just that. Don’t blame me for repeating this often made description.

Nastika said...

how does computer hardware generate the software which dances throughout its circuits? [answer: it does not]. Where does the “meaning” in the software come from – the hardware? [answer: no] If there is no software from external intelligence, then of what use is the hardware, sitting there by itself, existing deterministically, executing tight wait loops, or stalled at an address [more likely randomly walking through memory space until it encounters a reason to bind up]?

Software is simply a particular arrangement of hardware. In principle, you could take the most complicated hardware/software system, say the computer you are using right now including every bit of software installed on it and realize (construct, or build, or synthesize) all of it using just simple inverter and 2 input gates. You could use just a single type of gate, the NAND gate which has both the AND and INVERT functions built in.

Software is simply a convenient means of changing the hardware arrangements of a computer. What we think of as software is realized in memory locations, which are hardware elements.

Software, like the mind, is not some ethereal entity floating around independent of hardware. Software is always realized in hardware. Program execution is hardware function of the hardware logic circuits acting in sequence with the hardware storage of the desired logical configuration, either as dedicated logic circuits or a data execution architecture as is usually the case in modern computers.


So is software to be denigrated with the insult, “soulstuff”, because it is generated by the non-determnistic mind of some invisible engineer somewhere?
Of course all analogies fail at some point. In this case, the brain exceeds the operation of the computer hardware, and the software of the mind is far, far more complex – UNLESS of course you insist that the brain merely deterministically operates on predetermined positions of electrons, none of which could ever be controlled by any force generated by the human because they are controlled purely by the four forces of physics [What else could it be?]
.

So where is this mind? What is it made of? How does it connect with the brain? If it can interact with the brain why can’t we measure it directly? It connects to the physical world but we cannot use physical means to measure it? Sorry, your notion of “mind” is incoherent.

Unless you present some facts for support of your assertion, it is to be considered empty and blatantly false. The attempt to produce any enzyme or DNA or RNA or metabolic system have consistently and repeatedly failed despite decades of laboratory attempts.

Didn’t say there was. Just said there are self replicating molecules and they are therefore alive.

You cannot provide any proof of that; it is pure conjecture which is stated as if it is “undoubted” truth. You accept any material story-telling which is presupposes the material existence of things which you cannot produce for us to examine, materially. Thus it is a story, and has no truth value. And even the concept of intuition is falsified IF determinism is in control of the charge flow in the brain. So your concept of determinism contradicts your story of how intuition is created. If it cannot exist, then it cannot be created. But in rational reality, that’s OK because each of those can be easily falsified.

The brain is a massively parallel, dynamically changing data processing distributed network than can be analyzed as a distributed network of subnetworks. Intuition is easily accounted for as the data processing actions and output of subnetworks in the brain. Likewise, conscious reasoning is made up of other subnetworks in the brain and what we call feelings are just the signaling method from one data processing group to another data processing group.

Phoenix said...

@Stan

Please bare with me as I try to articulate my thoughts intelligibly.

Intuition vs Conscious Reasoning

Intuition is defined as "the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning."

Reasoning: the process of thinking about something in a logical way in order to form a conclusion or judgment."
: the ability of the mind to think and understand things in a logical way"

With those definitions in mind, it seems that intuition would favor Atheist precepts much more than "conscious reasoning". Simply because Atheists could argue that intuition processes takes place at a subconscious level and the individual only becomes aware of it moments later.
Now, this argument cannot apply to conscious reasoning since we are by definition aware of the deliberation taking place in "real time". That is, we are aware of our alternatives, the reasons we choose them and the consequences of our choices. If this takes place at a subconscious level too then we are deluded into thinking we have free will and what exactly is the source of this delusion? The brain? What else has the brain deluded us into believing? It seems the brain is a natural deceiver without us even interfering.

Lastly and most importantly, Atheists might argue that the processes of conscious reasoning takes place at a subconscious level but this would imply that Free Will does exist... albeit subconsciously.

Hope I made sense.

Stan said...

”Nothing you have said constitutes any reason to think that you can know anything at all under your skepticism of which you are so proud – unless you contradict your own skepticism, which you do and claim no contradiction. That tactic is anti-rational.

It would be if that were my stance, which it is not. My only absolute certainties are derivatives of my self-awareness and are thus very limited. All the rest of my conclusions are provisional and based on my working provisional acceptance of the basic reliability of my senses, as I have already said in a variety of statements you apparently did not read or perhaps simply did not recognize as such.”


This does not contradict the previous: you merely assume that your senses are reliable; you cannot know that with any certainty, if you take into account that you might be a brain in a vat, and that your sensing apparatus is controlled by outside sources who feed you false sensory inputs leading you to believe in the existence of a false reality.

Your “self awareness” cannot go beyond the realization that you think, but the reality which you think about could well be a false, fabricated sensory illusion which you assume to be an actual reality.

So, due to your skepticism, you cannot logically presuppose any of your sensory observations to be valid, much less true, even provisionally. Of course, you have not stated what provisions you think apply to your sensory observations. Perhaps you already know that your sensory observations cannot be said to be true, nor can any conclusions based on those observations be said to be true.

Given that skeptical limitation on your ability to have absolute certainty of anything beyond your ability to think within a suspect environment, then your knowledge base of objective facts is limited to that one fact, and no more. And even that one fact – that you think – is actually not objective, it is subjective. So the sum of your knowledge base is this: one subjective concept, about which you “think” you have absolute certainty.

”Meaning is relative to other things that exist. There is no absolute meaning relative to something outside of all existence because by definition there is nothing outside of all that exists.”

This is a prime example of the fallacy of Equivocation (subtly modifying the definitions of words to fit into a false argument). Your use of the word “exist” is taken (by you) to mean “to exist materially”. This artificially limits the term, without actually saying what the limitation is. Then you use that false definition to create a false syllogism which you use to create a pretend proof that there is no non-material existence. Here is the complete and honest syllogism you have foisted off as a truth statement, even though you have admitted, above, that you cannot know what is true, except that you think within a suspect environment:

IF [meaning requires (a) a relation to a physical object, AND (b) non-material existence is defined as no physical objects],
THEN [no meaning exists regarding non-material existence]

But first:
1. You have no proof of the validity of part (a) of the premise. In fact, the syllogism is a meaning-bearing codification of digitized pixels which have no meaning of their own. The pixels are merely carriers for the non-material “meaning” imbued by apprehension of the syllogism; the syllogism is a non-material entity: “meaning”. “Meaning” is itself a non-physical entity which we apprehend as being conveyed using multiple physical carriers for interpersonal transmission. There is no “jar full of meaning”. There are no “lumps of meaning”. There are no “molecules of meaning”.

2. In fact, the (non-physical, meaning-bearing) syllogism is specifically about non-physical existence, and has meaning specifically regarding non-physical existence.

To make the non-physical argument that non-physical existence has no meaning is internally contradictory. So the argument is self-refuting (non-coherent).

Stan said...

”You are merely a carrier for predetermined processes over which you have no control.

Yes, ultimately, that is true, but individually we have the sense of agency in our decision making processes.”


Another fallacy of Equivocation: EITHER all your motions, thoughts, internal actions and reactions are made deterministically OR they are not. No “sense of agency” can overcome that. Any “sense of agency” would have to be a predetermined delusions, because agency cannot exist if determinism is universal. You are slip-sliding the definition of “ universal determinism” enough to make it seem that it is BOTH universal AND not universal, because it is observable that we have agency. So this is how the fallacy of Equivocation creates internal contradictions (X > exclusively X AND X+Y).

”Further, your presupposition is that the contrary to determinism is randomness. This ignores that there is observable order in non-deterministic thought, non-deterministic behaviors, and non-deterministic creativity. These observations, available to your reliable senses, falsify determinism conclusively. That’s because determinism is controlled by entropy, not creativity.

Two more notions that are supported by nothing more than some vague feelings of human sensibilities.
We have the sense of our own agency but on closer examination we act according to our wants and our choices which well up from within quite apart from this sense of agency.”


False, demonstrably so, and here is the demonstration: I ask you to raise your hand. You think about this request, and ask yourself what the deterministic “want” which wells up within you will allow you to actually do. You raise your hand.

Did you raise your hand because you wanted your hand in the air due to some sort of pre=determined set of electron conjunctions in your synapses beyond your control? Or did you voluntarily respond to the request?

If you did not raise your hand, did you not raise it because of some sort of pre-determined set of electron conjunctions in your synapses beyond your control? Or did you decide to refuse the request?

IF [Determinism is universal] THEN [ Your actions are responsive only to pre-determined sets of electron conjunctions in your synapses AND you have no voluntary control].

And:
IF [your actions are controlled voluntarily] THEN [Determinism is not universal, and is not a law of physics].

Finally:
IF [Determinism is NOT a law of physics], THEN [Physical empiricism cannot be useful in determining physical behaviors, because physical behaviors are not predictable using deterministic experimental validation techniques].

So the fundamental essence of your position is that Determinism is, to your perception, a law of physics, and that means that all of your outputs of motion and speech are not voluntarily produced by any internal agency within your self, but are merely predetermined by the chain of cause and effect from the initial cause of the universe to the output from your electron conjunctions by motion or speech. Thus there can be no “meaning” endowed by conscious agency within yourself which even resembles free choice or agency.

What is more congruent with observation and thus existentially realistic is that there are two categories of material existence, one of which is purely deterministic, and the other of which is non-deterministic.

Stan said...

” Determinism also extends to moral relativism, the notions of responsibility and consequences are merely social mechanisms by which we influence the behavior of each other.”

That cannot be the case, unless what you actually mean is IF determinism is a universal law, THEN there is neither personal responsibility nor concepts of responsibility, nor possible changes which can be made to personal behaviors, nor any ability to even speculate about morals at all, much less whether they are relative or not. None of that can happen under the physical law of determinism clear back to the first cause of the existence of the universe.

This leads directly to the idea of argument grounding, be it infinite regress, circular, or First Principles. All of your arguments so far are purely circular, depending solely upon the authority of yourself and your admittedly contingent observations via suspect input channels.

” If intelligence is material, then it is fully determined by the four forces of physics (Weak, Strong, Electromagnetic, gravity). There is no path from any of these forces to intellect, consciousness or even life (as opposed to inert, dead minerals)

Sure there is. FMRI is just one way we can correlate thought processes with just the forces you mention. Chemistry is primarily a function of the electromagnetic force, and certainly chemistry has a great deal to do intelligence, consciousness and life. EEG and EKG have been around a long time, charting brain and other body functions. I really have no idea where you are coming from on this point.”


All of this is merely conjunction, not explanation. The same analysis of the signal states can be done on computers using the engineering tools of logic analyzers and processor emulators; this has no bearing on the meaning (intelligence) of the software, nor the (intelligent) source for the software.

Also, there is no algorithm which translates from electromagnetic force to intellect. Your example does not prove that there is any such algorithm; it merely assumes that there could be one, and that therefore there is one. The fMRI cannot distinguish whether the electrical currents in the brain are either cause or effect. But if there is actually any agency, then they are effects, not causes. If there is any agency, then the mind causes the current flow, just as agency causes the electron flow in computers which do nothing without causation due to instruction by agents with intelligence and volition.

Stan said...

” If determinism is conclusively universal and total, then there is no non-entropic, non-predetermined activity in the brain. So there is no mind. Thus, the deception visited upon you is complete, and you are hallucinating and can do nothing else

True, there is no evidence for a mind as a separate entity. What we call mind is easily accounted for by brain function.”


That was not even the subject of the prior three sentences. You apparently have not understood the consequence of your position that Determinism is universal. So your acceptance of those sentences means that whatever you say has no grounding in intellect, it is grounded in pure incontrovertible, deterministic fate provided by necessary effect of prior causation, without any possibility of interference by agency.

” You are full of Atheist claptrap, and are not looking for any answers to your false questions. Rather than spout internet Atheist terms like “soulstuff”, how about answering this question:

That is one of the questions I'm seeking. What is this ethereal “mind” made of? Absolutely nothing at all? Some kind of unknown material? Some unknown dimensions? What?”


You are not seeking, you are dictating material boundaries to existence. And that hermetic container has led you to ridicule the obvious non-material existences which surround you, including your own status as a “living” thing. There is no substance called “life”. Yet life exists. Whatever it is, is non-material.

Actually the “unknown substance” which forms non-material existence was postulated by Bertrand Russell. Russell could not chuck the idea that any part of existence must be formed of materials, therefore, there must be an undiscovered invisible and non-palpable material “substance” which is the “stuff” of non-material entities. This was his form of dualism – a purely material dualism where one type of material is tangible, and another, second, type of material is not tangible. Two distinct and separate types of existence.

Under String Theory (an unprovable theory of parallel materialism) there are eight more co-existant dimensions in which we live but cannot detect with our materially limited senses nor with our material sensors. It is not known, and cannot be known what exists in the other 8 dimensions which String Theory postulates. Living in eleven dimensions is not conceptual in our three dimensions, but is conceivable by accepting the simple concept that existence, taken in toto, is not bounded by our limitations in dimensional apprehension. There is no hermetic box in which is created by our senses that limits existence to the dimensions of space/time as we can see it.

” The soul has often been depicted just as I describe it, some kind of ghostly cloud co-inhabiting the body that lifts away and floats up to heaven when we die. I am not the one making this up, there are countless depictions of just that. Don’t blame me for repeating this often made description.”

That is not a position which is taken here, so that argument is non-applicable. The only argument being made here is that there are certain observables which are not accountable under Materialism. That being the case, then there is a non-material existence and that falsifies the unprovable intellectual restriction to the hermetic materialist box.

Stan said...

” Software is simply a particular arrangement of hardware.”

This statement is absurd. Software can be transmitted by various carriers without losing intellectual content. Hardware cannot.

” In principle, you could take the most complicated hardware/software system, say the computer you are using right now including every bit of software installed on it and realize (construct, or build, or synthesize) all of it using just simple inverter and 2 input gates. You could use just a single type of gate, the NAND gate which has both the AND and INVERT functions built in.”

Yes, it undoubtedly could be done, although it would be slower and require more circuitry. However, that factoid has absolutely NO bearing whatsoever on your prior statement that software is actually hardware. Software can be hardwired into ROM as is done for boot code and in microcontrollers for specific repetitive functions; that doesn’t mean that it is generated by the ROM, nor does it mean that all software is ROM or some other circuitry with code predesigned into it. The general principle computer cannot, by definition, be built specifically to run one single set of code. Code is temporary and is placed into read/write memory, which is volatile (RAM).

” Software is simply a convenient means of changing the hardware arrangements of a computer. What we think of as software is realized in memory locations, which are hardware elements.

Software, like the mind, is not some ethereal entity floating around independent of hardware. Software is always realized in hardware. Program execution is hardware function of the hardware logic circuits acting in sequence with the hardware storage of the desired logical configuration, either as dedicated logic circuits or a data execution architecture as is usually the case in modern computers.”


The statement above is gibberish to hardware engineers such as myself. Software started out as holes punched in cards, completely independent of computer hardware. Software is the intellectual output of intelligent agents, existing as mental constructs well before becoming attached to any hardware. Software is not, as you apparently claim, a product of the hardware. Rather it is a set of non-physical logic conditions to which the hardware is subjected. The hardware either is active (“alive”) and responds using circuitry which is common to any and all logic instructions given it, or it is not active (“dead”) and the software, which still exists independently of the hardware, is not executable.

The software contains “meaning” only to the intelligent agents who create it and access it. The hardware is oblivious to meaning and to consequences of the meaning, and it does exactly what the software tells it to do. The fact that a “dead” computer does not execute software has no bearing on the existence of the software externally to the hardware, nor the intelligent source of the software external to the hardware.

It is this obvious separation of hardware and software that allows the “singularity” enthusiasts to hope for the ability to download their minds into computers, and ultimately into androids. Both the mind and software are not identical to hardware.

Stan said...

” So where is this mind? What is it made of? How does it connect with the brain? If it can interact with the brain why can’t we measure it directly? It connects to the physical world but we cannot use physical means to measure it? Sorry, your notion of “mind” is incoherent.”

You can measure mind and its effects when you have the ability to track the current flow within every neural circuit in the brain in total accuracy. But just like gravity, measurement of it cannot demonstrate its source or cause. And that is the case for all physical measurements. The force can be measured, but the source of the force is unknown and likely unknowable. Electromagnetism is useful as a cause for many things electrical and electronic. Yet the cause for electromagnetism is not known, because the composition of electrons is not known, only their effects are known. The strong and weak forces are not palpable, either, but are known only by their effects – and actually are presumed to exist due to anomalous behaviors which are not explained without these hypothetical forces.

” Unless you present some facts for support of your assertion, it is to be considered empty and blatantly false. The attempt to produce any enzyme or DNA or RNA or metabolic system have consistently and repeatedly failed despite decades of laboratory attempts.

Didn’t say there was. Just said there are self replicating molecules and they are therefore alive.”


It is obvious what you said. Here’s the conclusion regarding your statement: it is empty of content until you provide proof of (a) self replication (b) containing metabolic functions for continued life, (c) the ability to discover energy sources for itself, convert the energy to metabolic use, apply the energy toward continued genetic reproduction, (e) genetic information for all this, and (f) the transfer of materials and information from parent to offspring which are viable.

Your definition is an assertion without any content: empty. Your denial was instructive.

Stan said...

” The brain is a massively parallel, dynamically changing data processing distributed network than can be analyzed as a distributed network of subnetworks. Intuition is easily accounted for as the data processing actions and output of subnetworks in the brain. Likewise, conscious reasoning is made up of other subnetworks in the brain and what we call feelings are just the signaling method from one data processing group to another data processing group.”

Repeating your story is not an argument which satisfies any demands for specific causal activity. “Easily accounting for” is a propaganda tactic of rhetoric, wherein confidence in an empty statement is meant to confer legitimacy to the statement on the authority of the author of the statement. Without causal mechanisms, your statement remains just a science fiction story, where certain elements must be assumed to have occurred in order to accept the narrative. By asserting a narrative which conjoins “feelings” with undefined “subnetworks” in words, you hope for the verbal conjunction to be accepted as a physical conjunction, without having to prove, materially, that such is the case. This, you hope to project, is the explanation, in the same form as Kipling’s Just So Stories are explanatory – no data or physical analysis required.

Now, rhetoric aside, the argument does not work. No matter how many networks you posit, whether serial or parallel, no matter how many “processing groups” you postulate, those things do not serve as precursors to “feelings”, or “intuition”, or “consciousness”, or “reasoning”, unless and until you can make the specific causal connective path between circuitry and qualia (what it is like to experience). There is no physicist (or philosopher) who will commit to a specific set of causal mechanisms which translate circuit activity to qualia, and there is no experiment which is deduced to produce such causation. So I suspect that you will not be doing that either.

” With those definitions in mind, it seems that intuition would favor Atheist precepts much more than "conscious reasoning". Simply because Atheists could argue that intuition processes takes place at a subconscious level and the individual only becomes aware of it moments later.”

This sounds like the homunculus proposition, which is that the intelligence driving the human is actually a part of the brain which is intelligent and an agent. This homunculus is like a separate person which observes, reacts and then notifies the deluded conscious mind, which thinks, delusionally, that it made the decisions and performed the action of agency. So the conscious mind controls nothing and is perpetually deluded. However, the homunculus does not act deterministically, because the output still is non-deterministic, decision-based cause/effect.

If I have misunderstood your point, we can try again. However, the view that humans are not causal agents in their own right goes against all observation to the contrary.

Stan said...

” Now, this argument cannot apply to conscious reasoning since we are by definition aware of the deliberation taking place in "real time". That is, we are aware of our alternatives, the reasons we choose them and the consequences of our choices. If this takes place at a subconscious level too then we are deluded into thinking we have free will and what exactly is the source of this delusion? The brain? What else has the brain deluded us into believing? It seems the brain is a natural deceiver without us even interfering.”

Under Radical Skepticism, that is the case. Yet we can observe that, as you say, ” we are aware of our alternatives, the reasons we choose them and the consequences of our choices”. Perhaps it is the consequences, which are observable, that show that agency exists because we can observe non-deterministic results that occurred resulting from choices made by the mind. And we chose to pursue the action which caused the consequences; then we caused the chosen action to physically occur. We can also choose to believe that all of that is a delusion due to Radical Skepticism, OR we can choose to believe the opposite of that, based on tactile evidence.

” Lastly and most importantly, Atheists might argue that the processes of conscious reasoning takes place at a subconscious level but this would imply that Free Will does exist... albeit subconsciously.”

And this argument again would refute “universal determinism”, and render empiricism and logic to be useless, since determinism has to be a universal law if there is only one type of existence: material. If that existence is not purely deterministic, then cause and effect cannot be trusted, and Hume was right. But if determinism is universal within the material category, AND if agency and free will exist in another category which is not material or deterministic, then those two categories explain both the world of dead mineral physics, and the separate world of life and agency.

And those are the divisions of science: physics and chemistry study mineral laws; Biology studies living entities which do not follow the laws of mineral existence in much of their cellular and composite being.

Phoenix said...

WOW !!! I will have to re-read these posts a couple more times.

Phoenix said...

Meaning is relative to other things that exist. There is no absolute meaning relative to something outside of all existence because by definition there is nothing outside of all that exists.

How about mathematical concepts or even logic. for example, we know what a modus ponens syllogism is without referencing physical objects.

1) Ψ => Φ

2) Ψ

c) Φ

jcruz said...

Also, there is no algorithm which translates from electromagnetic force to intellect. Your example does not prove that there is any such algorithm; it merely assumes that there could be one, and that therefore there is one. The fMRI cannot distinguish whether the electrical currents in the brain are either cause or effect. But if there is actually any agency, then they are effects, not causes. If there is any agency, then the mind causes the current flow, just as agency causes the electron flow in computers which do nothing without causation due to instruction by agents with intelligence and volition.

Yes our thoughts are algorithmic, we are machines that take in data (input), process it and produce a result (output) based on the information we receive.
Intelligence has a strong genetic component and and intelligence levels probably depends on how effectively information travels through the brain and a “intelligence centre” is now thought to be unlikely. See this study http://www.livescience.com/1863-theory-intelligence-works.html

You can measure mind and its effects when you have the ability to track the current flow within every neural circuit in the brain in total accuracy. But just like gravity, measurement of it cannot demonstrate its source or cause. And that is the case for all physical measurements. The force can be measured, but the source of the force is unknown and likely unknowable. Electromagnetism is useful as a cause for many things electrical and electronic. Yet the cause for electromagnetism is not known, because the composition of electrons is not known, only their effects are known. The strong and weak forces are not palpable, either, but are known only by their effects – and actually are presumed to exist due to anomalous behaviors which are not explained without these hypothetical forces.


Their is no need to hypothesise a separate mind, brain function accounts for the mind, if you damage the brain you damage the mind/personality. A “soul” is not needed, it is redundant and unnecessary. It’s no different to “hypothesising” that the brain is controlled by aliens. There is no need for it, their is no evidence for, it is highly complex and raises even more questions.

That cannot be the case, unless what you actually mean is IF determinism is a universal law, THEN there is neither personal responsibility nor concepts of responsibility, nor possible changes which can be made to personal behaviors, nor any ability to even speculate about morals at all, much less whether they are relative or not. None of that can happen under the physical law of determinism clear back to the first cause of the existence of the universe.

It’s obvious to anyone who has thought about it. We take in information and then give a result based on our goals/values. This explains the so called free will.

The only argument being made here is that there are certain observables which are not accountable under Materialism. That being the case, then there is a non-material existence and that falsifies the unprovable intellectual restriction to the hermetic materialist box.

Anything beyond the physical is either metaphysical or magical. If it describes the principles of everything within reality, it’s metaphysics. If it tries to go beyond the principles of reality, then it’s magical. It’s that simple.

The mind must be either physical or explained as a necessary component of an ontology. The only other option is magic.Since you have not offered an ontological alternative. I can only assume that when you try to go beyond physics, you are trying to go into the territory of magic.

Disbelief in magic is not superstition: on the contrary, it is a firm grip of reality that does not allow for any deceptive flights of fancy (belief in non-causal entities, true contradictions, etc.)

jcruz said...


Unless you present some facts for support of your assertion, it is to be considered empty and blatantly false. The attempt to produce any enzyme or DNA or RNA or metabolic system have consistently and repeatedly failed despite decades of laboratory attempts.

Life” is just the label we give to a particular collection of atoms that do certain things, – it’s not magical.

So the conscious mind controls nothing and is perpetually deluded.

Evolution has made us good at avoiding things which are harmful to us. For example if someone throws a brick at your head it helps if you have the ability to see it coming and move out of its way to avoid being hit by it.

With those definitions in mind, it seems that intuition would favor Atheist precepts much more than "conscious reasoning". Simply because Atheists could argue that intuition processes takes place at a subconscious level and the individual only becomes aware of it moments later.

Consciousness is explained by brain function, all abilities of the mind depend on brain structures and function. A soul is not needed. It’s like hypothesising that if your car breaks down it was caused by a alien in outer space pointing a disabling beam at your car. A Believer in such an alien could also claim if you find that a flat/faulty battery caused the car breakdown this doesn’t disprove the “hypothesis” of the aliens and their disabling beam – since they just sent a signal to the battery which caused it to malfunction.

Meaning is relative to other things that exist. There is no absolute meaning relative to something outside of all existence because by definition there is nothing outside of all that exists.

“Meaning” and “purpose” is a product of consciousness, imagine a universe just full of rocks with no conscious beings in it. Is their any meaning in such a universe? No because “meaning” is assigned to things by a mind.Purposes and meanings are given to things by a mind, there is no such thing as objective purposes or meanings.

How about mathematical concepts or even logic. for example, we know what a modus ponens syllogism is without referencing physical objects.

How is this an example of “non material”? A theist is a person who believes in a creator God or gods (x), Stan believes in a creator God (Y) therefore Stan is a theist. (X) Where in this is the “without referencing physical objects”?

jcruz said...

Why has my previous post been deleted? Could it be because it provides proof that intelligence has a biological basis?

http://www.livescience.com/1863-theory-intelligence-works.html

Hugo Pelland said...

This entire discussion all comes down to the definition of what we consider to be 'existence'. For the materialists, the starting assumption is that there is such a thing as an 'objective' real material existence, which we define as what our senses can touch/feel/experience. By 'objective', it means that it does not depend on the opinion of those who can touch/feel/experience that material existence. Existence is what it is, regardless of what one thinks it is. We cannot prove that this material existence is real, and not just an illusion, and that's why we must call it an assumption; i.e. we can never truly get rid of the hard solipsism philosophical problem, but we can ignore it as an impractical hypothesis that would only prevent us from discussing anything 'real'.

On the other hand, for the immaterialists, the assumption is that there is such a thing as non-material existence, be it objective or not, that is real and independent of that material existence we experience. The non-material existence is assumed to exist, a priori, regardless of the material existence. It's because of this assumption that the immaterialist makes the mistake of telling the materialists that they cannot prove that the material is all there is: they already assumed it is not the case. Note the difference with the materialists' position: it does not assume that there is no non-material existence, it only starts with the material and, so far, has been unable to justify why such non-material existence exists. Or, even worse, it seems that it's not even coherent to define such a thing as non-material existence: the immaterialist, being alive as part of the material world, has to define everything they talk about in terms of the material. They cannot even have a proper word for that type of existence, they cannot say what it is; they can only say what it's not: material.

Hugo Pelland said...

There are dozens of examples here in this thread to better explain the difference between the 2 viewpoints and where immaterialism fails. For instance, Phoenix pointed out:
" How about mathematical concepts or even logic. for example, we know what a modus ponens syllogism is without referencing physical objects.
1) Ψ => Φ
2) Ψ
c) Φ
"
This is a valid question; one of the toughest to explain in terms of material terms... or is it? Because what is non-material here? Concepts are ideas that thinking machines capable of abstract thinking think about; i.e. what humans and perhaps advanced machines can conceptualize. Logic is the tool that humans use, as it is a reflection of the material world we live in, where things are what they are, they are not what they are not, and they are either something or not, but not both nor neither. Syllogism is the label we use to describe that process, and any representation we use to discuss it outside of our private minds has to be in the form of a physical object: symbols typed on a computer in this case.

Basically, there is nothing non-material here, as we being non-material means to not exist, except in the minds of the immaterialist who thinks that there must be some non-material existence. Because of that assumption, all sorts of flawed reasoning are attempted, in order to try to show that A, or B, or C, are things that cannot be accounted for in the material world, a simple failure on the part of the immaterialists to recognize that there is, in fact, a material grounding for everything they can think of. The only way to "think" about non-material things is to say just that: it's not material. But what is it then? Well, nothing... because again, all the examples of non-material things are actually just labels used by the immaterialists to try to prove their assumption that there is such non-material existence, only because they defined it as such. They can only list what these things aren't, but never what they are. God is the ultimate example, being not material, not natural, not within time, not limited by material existence, not composed of material stuff, etc... basically, not-something, and never something. Because things that exist are something, not not-a-thing, and God most certainly does not exist, and hence is not a thing.

Paul Basson said...

"IF [meaning requires (a) a relation to a physical object, AND (b) non-material existence is defined as no physical objects],
THEN [no meaning exists regarding non-material existence]"

-The symbols, words and their meaning are themselves material. If you use words to describe that relationship the words themselves are material. I can program a computer to make decisions based on that relationship and as those decisions are being made dynamically in a tiny fraction of a second the process is entirely material.

"It is obvious what you said. Here’s the conclusion regarding your statement: it is empty of content until you provide proof of (a) self replication (b) containing metabolic functions for continued life, (c) the ability to discover energy sources for itself, convert the energy to metabolic use, apply the energy toward continued genetic reproduction, (e) genetic information for all this, and (f) the transfer of materials and information from parent to offspring which are viable."
–Working on it. That’s a very difficult scientific problem. But some progress has been made. There are presently a number of self replicating molecules that have been synthesized, so humans have already been able to make living things out of non-living things.

"You can measure mind and its effects when you have the ability to track the current flow within every neural circuit in the brain in total accuracy. But just like gravity, measurement of it cannot demonstrate its source or cause. And that is the case for all physical measurements. The force can be measured, but the source of the force is unknown and likely unknowable. Electromagnetism is useful as a cause for many things electrical and electronic. Yet the cause for electromagnetism is not known, because the composition of electrons is not known, only their effects are known. The strong and weak forces are not palpable, either, but are known only by their effects – and actually are presumed to exist due to anomalous behaviors which are not explained without these hypothetical forces."
–Ok, please provide equations of mind/brain similar to equations of matter/gravity.
.

Nastika said...

Scratch that username, not mine. I forgot to switch accounts before posting.

"Now, rhetoric aside, the argument does not work. No matter how many networks you posit, whether serial or parallel, no matter how many “processing groups” you postulate, those things do not serve as precursors to “feelings”, or “intuition”, or “consciousness”, or “reasoning”, unless and until you can make the specific causal connective path between circuitry and qualia (what it is like to experience). There is no physicist (or philosopher) who will commit to a specific set of causal mechanisms which translate circuit activity to qualia, and there is no experiment which is deduced to produce such causation. So I suspect that you will not be doing that either."
-Traditionally intuition has been described as part of the subconscious. Very obviously the brain continues to function even when we are unconscious. Intuitions are simply the conclusions of the subconscious portions of brain function communicated to our self awareness brain functions in the form of a feelings.

"And this argument again would refute “universal determinism”, and render empiricism and logic to be useless, since determinism has to be a universal law if there is only one type of existence: material. If that existence is not purely deterministic, then cause and effect cannot be trusted, and Hume was right. But if determinism is universal within the material category, AND if agency and free will exist in another category which is not material or deterministic, then those two categories explain both the world of dead mineral physics, and the separate world of life and agency."

–Just like a robot can avoid driving itself off a cliff. The robot has no ultimate control because it is pre-programmed to act deterministically. Yet, the control algorithm is written in the form of making decisions in response to sensory information.

The robot has no free will, yet it makes decisions to avoid harm

Stan said...

Hugo says,
”On the other hand, for the immaterialists, the assumption is that there is such a thing as non-material existence, be it objective or not, that is real and independent of that material existence we experience. The non-material existence is assumed to exist, a priori, regardless of the material existence. It's because of this assumption that the immaterialist makes the mistake of telling the materialists that they cannot prove that the material is all there is: they already assumed it is not the case.”

That is not the case; the definition of Materialism is that the material is precisely ALL that exists. You are attempting to slide your own scale of agnosticism into a position which is black and white. Here is a quote from plato.stanford.edu on Naturalism (I prefer the term materialism, because deity could be natural, and that is not accepted under naturalism):

” A central thought in ontological naturalism is that all spatiotemporal entities must be identical to or metaphysically constituted by physical[3] entities. Many ontological naturalists thus adopt a physicalist attitude to mental, biological and other such “special” subject matters. They hold that there is nothing more to the mental, biological and social realms than arrangements of physical entities.”
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/naturalism/#OntNat

Now for this:
” Note the difference with the materialists' position: it does not assume that there is no non-material existence, it only starts with the material and, so far, has been unable to justify why such non-material existence exists.

Actually the justification exists, is deduced with disciplined, valid logic, and is ignored but never refuted by radical Materialists.

”Or, even worse, it seems that it's not even coherent to define such a thing as non-material existence:…

It’s rich to see an appeal to coherence by a materialist. Materialism is self-refuting as has been demonstrated on this blog probably hundreds of times, and which is completely ignored by visiting materialists. One more time, what the hell:

Materialism requires that material techniques be used to prove Materialism. Two fallacies: self-reference; Category Error.

Stan said...

More from Hugo:
”…the immaterialist, being alive as part of the material world, has to define everything they talk about in terms of the material.”

Not so. “Life” is a non-material existence which is observable primarily as the occurrence of agency, which is lost at “death”, whereupon the previously living entity rejoins the totally material existence and is subject once again to the four forces of physics only, and has no agency just like all mineral existence.

”They cannot even have a proper word for that type of existence, they cannot say what it is; they can only say what it's not: material.”

Also not the case; “life”; “agency”; “consciousness”; there are many observable existences which have no correlate in material “thingness” and cannot be observed as physical lumps under microscopes as well as are not driven by the four forces of physics. Materialists can deny this only by asserting radical denialism. They can produce no logic, and no empirical evidence to the contrary. So their denialism is absolutely in the service – not of rational conclusions – but of ideological protection.

” " How about mathematical concepts or even logic. for example, we know what a modus ponens syllogism is without referencing physical objects.
1) Ψ => Φ
2) Ψ
c) Φ"
This is a valid question; one of the toughest to explain in terms of material terms... or is it? Because what is non-material here? Concepts are ideas that thinking machines capable of abstract thinking think about; i.e. what humans and perhaps advanced machines can conceptualize. Logic is the tool that humans use, as it is a reflection of the material world we live in, where things are what they are, they are not what they are not, and they are either something or not, but not both nor neither. Syllogism is the label we use to describe that process, and any representation we use to discuss it outside of our private minds has to be in the form of a physical object: symbols typed on a computer in this case.

Basically, there is nothing non-material here, as we being non-material means to not exist, except in the minds of the immaterialist who thinks that there must be some non-material existence”


You have given us a perfect example of the materialist fallacy: IF [it is not material] THEN [it does not exist].

And btw, this defines materialism (aka Philosophical Materialis, aka Naturalism), contrary to the slippery definition you insisted upon, above. You have betrayed your actual concept of the material being the limit of existence.

So you presume, without demonstration of the material existence of your examples, that concepts, abstractions, logic, syllogisms, and meaning are all physical lumps and nothing more, because nothing more can exist, by definition of Materialist existence.However, pixels on a screen have no meaning of their own. If you claim the contrary, then you must be prepared to analyze each pixel for its material chunk of meaning which contributes to the overall lump of meaning that we can see under a microscope.

Then I will sell you this jar full of meaning which I keep on my desk for just these occasions.

Stan said...

Hugo again,
”Because of that assumption, all sorts of flawed reasoning are attempted, in order to try to show that A, or B, or C, are things that cannot be accounted for in the material world, a simple failure on the part of the immaterialists to recognize that there is, in fact, a material grounding for everything they can think of.”

Everything thing is material, remember? Not grounded, it is actually 100% material, according to your own statement, just above. You cannot have it both ways, claiming that because X is allegedly grounded in B, that therefore X actually is B, and not X, AND claiming that X is actually B because B is all that exists.

This is logically absurd.

Further, the epistemology of the First Principles has no grounding in material existence; the Non-Contradiction Principle is not material in any fashion. Yet it is the grounding for logic. That and the principles of Tautology and Excluded Middle.

”The only way to "think" about non-material things is to say just that: it's not material. But what is it then? Well, nothing... because again, all the examples of non-material things are actually just labels used by the immaterialists to try to prove their assumption that there is such non-material existence, only because they defined it as such. They can only list what these things aren't, but never what they are.”

Again, not so. Non-material existence is describable because it is obvious. Life contains and depends upon forces which are not the four forces of physics, but are directed forces toward functional ends. These directed forces are apparent in living cells, and are absent in dead cells which are materially the same as living cells.

”God is the ultimate example, being not material, not natural, not within time, not limited by material existence, not composed of material stuff, etc... basically, not-something, and never something. Because things that exist are something, not not-a-thing, and God most certainly does not exist, and hence is not a thing.”

This bit of hocus pocus doesn’t prove what you must think it does. It merely proves that if god exists, that god is not a material thing, and that under materialism nothing else ever exists – by definition, not by material proof or logical support. And the assertion that a god does not exist is without any support. So there is no logical point being made. Once again being composed of material stuff is declared and defined as the sole existence. It is declared by fiat, not by evidence.

Stan said...

Hugo and Nastika,
I've posted an article regarding Materialism and Meaning:
http://atheism-analyzed.blogspot.com/2016/04/materialism-and-meaning.html

I'll respond to Nastika later, as I have time.

Stan said...

"IF [meaning requires (a) a relation to a physical object, AND (b) non-material existence is defined as no physical objects],
THEN [no meaning exists regarding non-material existence]"

-The symbols, words and their meaning are themselves material. If you use words to describe that relationship the words themselves are material. I can program a computer to make decisions based on that relationship and as those decisions are being made dynamically in a tiny fraction of a second the process is entirely material.


Meaning is NOT material. Your computer does not look for meaning to process. Your computer processes binary bits which to the programmer are instructions, but to the computer they are merely states being processed deterministically by rote.

"It is obvious what you said. Here’s the conclusion regarding your statement: it is empty of content until you provide proof of (a) self replication (b) containing metabolic functions for continued life, (c) the ability to discover energy sources for itself, convert the energy to metabolic use, apply the energy toward continued genetic reproduction, (e) genetic information for all this, and (f) the transfer of materials and information from parent to offspring which are viable."

–Working on it. That’s a very difficult scientific problem. But some progress has been made. There are presently a number of self replicating molecules that have been synthesized, so humans have already been able to make living things out of non-living things.”

"You can measure mind and its effects when you have the ability to track the current flow within every neural circuit in the brain in total accuracy. But just like gravity, measurement of it cannot demonstrate its source or cause. And that is the case for all physical measurements. The force can be measured, but the source of the force is unknown and likely unknowable. Electromagnetism is useful as a cause for many things electrical and electronic. Yet the cause for electromagnetism is not known, because the composition of electrons is not known, only their effects are known. The strong and weak forces are not palpable, either, but are known only by their effects – and actually are presumed to exist due to anomalous behaviors which are not explained without these hypothetical forces."

–Ok, please provide equations of mind/brain similar to equations of matter/gravity.


You obviously did not understand what I wrote. You can measure force, but not source. When the source is the mind, and the mind causes an arm to lift, you can measure electron flow and muscle contraction, but not the source of the volition. Your demand is counter to what I wrote, and is a demand that I satisfy Materialist requirements, which I assert cannot be satisfied. Because that is a purely Materialist requirement for the relationship of mind to brain, then it is up to the Materialist to do so. If the mind is material, then YOU write the equations and show the measurements of the lump of mind-material that exists in the cranium which is not merely neurons conducting electrochemical signals.

Stan said...

”Now, rhetoric aside, the argument does not work. No matter how many networks you posit, whether serial or parallel, no matter how many “processing groups” you postulate, those things do not serve as precursors to “feelings”, or “intuition”, or “consciousness”, or “reasoning”, unless and until you can make the specific causal connective path between circuitry and qualia (what it is like to experience). There is no physicist (or philosopher) who will commit to a specific set of causal mechanisms which translate circuit activity to qualia, and there is no experiment which is deduced to produce such causation. So I suspect that you will not be doing that either."

-Traditionally intuition has been described as part of the subconscious. Very obviously the brain continues to function even when we are unconscious. Intuitions are simply the conclusions of the subconscious portions of brain function communicated to our self awareness brain functions in the form of a feelings. ”


Not explanatory as a function of material chunks of substance. Does not even pretend to address the issues raised. Merely a repetition of dogma which is so general that it has no intrinsic meaning.

”"And this argument again would refute “universal determinism”, and render empiricism and logic to be useless, since determinism has to be a universal law if there is only one type of existence: material. If that existence is not purely deterministic, then cause and effect cannot be trusted, and Hume was right. But if determinism is universal within the material category, AND if agency and free will exist in another category which is not material or deterministic, then those two categories explain both the world of dead mineral physics, and the separate world of life and agency."

–Just like a robot can avoid driving itself off a cliff. The robot has no ultimate control because it is pre-programmed to act deterministically. Yet, the control algorithm is written in the form of making decisions in response to sensory information.

The robot has no free will, yet it makes decisions to avoid harm ”


This is an absurd observation which has no bearing on what was written just above. I have totally wasted my time, because you either do not comprehend, or you feign non-comprehension as you go completely off the tracks. You are wasting my time.

Hugo Pelland said...

Stan said:

"1. Hugo insists that Materialism has a variable definition, which changes in the middle of an argument."

No, you are changing the meaning of materialism in the middle of an argument, or a discussion.

"2. Hugo's definition goes outside of the original definition of material as "mass/energy"."

No, concrete things are mass/energy. Conceptual things are not mass/energy. Materialism states that all that exist is material (the shortcut stops here) AND that conceptual things depend on material things for their existence.

"3. Hugo insists that I misrepresent and redefine Materialism due to his own personal definition."

No, you just don't understand Materialism but, to be fair, it's getting better!

"4. Hugo's definition boils down to this (he'll likely claim this to be a misrepresentation too, so prepare yourself for that): Sure, there are entities which have no mass/energy, but there are other entities which do have mass/energy, and they which relate, always, universally, to those without; therefore those entities without mass/energy are material. "What else can they be", he asks, looking for a material connection to non-material existences."

Very close actually. But you put a few words the wrong way: there are entities which do have mass/energy, and the others (the non-material ones) always relate, universally, to those with mass/energy; therefore those entities without mass/energy are "material" in the philosophical sense: non-material things depend on material things for their existence.

" Ergo material stuff is all that exists, and humans cannot talk abut anything that is not mass/energy, because if it is not material it is incoherent. QED."

No, we can 'talk' about things that are not mass/energy, but we always do it using representation of things that are mass/energy. The most basic building blocks of our thinking process rely on abstraction of real concrete things, i.e. material things. This might be the most important thing here, so keep that in mind as we go through the rest.

Hugo Pelland said...

"Hugo says,
” Yes Stan, I will continue to blame you for misrepresenting unfortunately, as you now confused, purposely or not, a shortcut for a contradiction; something that has already been explained regarding the primacy of material existence.”

After reading this three times, I conclude that I have no idea what you are trying to say. Moving on.
"

That was one of the most important points, so I will re-phrase. When I say that 'material existence is all there is', it is actually a shortcut for what I have written above, and before. It actually means that 'material existence is all there is and all the non-material stuff we think about is actually existing only because there is material stuff for the non-material stuff to refer to'. The point you did not understand was that this is not a contradiction; it's just a shortcut. You see this as a contradiction because you think that I say both 'all that exist is material' and 'some non-material things exist', which look like a contradiction, but only because the first part is simplified.

"It’s not a philosophical question at all. It is purely a question of false limits to reality. I.e., it is an observable fact."

It is. It's probably the toughest question that humans have asked themselves since the beginning of time. We are thinking machines and wonder: is this thinking I am doing part of reality? A consequence of reality? Part of something bigger? Will the thinking process completely stop when I die? Is there some God that can read my thoughts? And so on... these questions are all related to the nature of reality, to whether the material world is all there is or not.

"Here are the facts: Meaning exists; Meaning has no substance of a mass/energy type. Claiming that existence does not include meaning and non-mass/energy items is false; therefore, Materialism – which claims the contrary – cannot be true; Therefore Materialism is false."

This is an over-simplification; a refusal to actually address the issue of Materialism. Nobody claims that we can measure the length of a though, or weigh the number Pi. These things do exist and they are not material in the literal sense. This does not disprove Materialism; it's just stating the obvious. But philosophical questions are anything but obvious. They would not be debated for centuries if they were that simple...

Hugo Pelland said...

"”You say that many things are not grounded in the material but that is precisely what we disagree on.

No, that’s a misrepresentation of my position. I claim that grounding is not an issue, it is a Red Herring.
"

I claim that grounding IS the issue. So it's not a Red Herring; it's you trying to avoid the tough questions. As I just explained above, you don't seem to fully understand what Materialism is about. It's getting better but if you insist that grounding is a Red Herring, it means you are not even trying to discuss. The next line makes it obvious:

"The fact is that there are existences which are essential, yet which have no physical existence. You admit to that."

No, if I said something like that, it was a mistake. I don't agree with the notion that there are existences which are essential, yet have no physical existence. The things that have no physical existence would also not exist without physical existence. That's the whole point of Materialism. If there were no physical existence, there would also be no non-physical existence; hence, there is no such thing as an 'essential' non-material thing.

"The presence of non-material, essential existences renders Materialism false."

This is where the assumption of the primacy of consciousness comes in. You assume that there are these things that are essential, that do exist, and are non-material, regardless of material existence. You don't want to call that 'primacy of consciousness' as you noted a bit later, because of some reference to Quantum mechanics, but this has nothing to do with this. It's about assuming that there is some non-material realm, and it's usually labeled it as ' primacy of consciousness' because of the fact that we are thinking machines that have this strong feeling of detachment from our material body. Our thoughts are what we consider to be non-material and, if we assume such things as 'thoughts' can and do exist, regardless of the material world, then this is an assumption about existence: it assumes that there is such a non-material realm, it assumes that consciousness is a basic building block for existence. It's the primacy of consciousness.

Hugo Pelland said...

" Hence, it's still technically possible that some non-material existence also exists, on its own, but what would that be?”

It does no good to answer your question, because you already have rejected the answer which you have already been given without providing any material proof to support your rejection.
"

No, you have not mentioned what non-material things would be. Not what 'they are NOT', I am asking for 'what they ARE'. The only thing you say is 'non-material', which is something they are NOT. What are they? In a way, I did give the right answer for you already: they are abstract objects and the products of thinking mind(s). That's why it works under the primacy of consciousness.

" my actual position which is not based on the assumption of the primacy of consciousness, and which is the demonstrable existence of non-material, essential entities which have no mass/energy"

You have not demonstrated that non-material essential entities exist. You assume they do. You say it yourself; they are basic principles which you build your arguments from. You don't have arguments 'for' them. Plus, you do define them using material terms; you have to because you're a human.

"Non-material existence is evidentiary, demonstrable, and incontrovertible using the standards of logic."

You have never done that because you cannot do it. You have to assume that logic works first, but how can you even define logic if not by making some references to the material world? How can you have a purely non-material set of logical statements without the material world? That's the biggest problem with the assumption that are essential non-material entities: they are not even defined on their own. You have to use some form of material grounding.

Hugo Pelland said...

Steve11 said:

" Science has no answer as to why we perceive ourselves and have the ability to construct abstractions. "

True. But it does not mean that it's 'magic' or some form of actual non-material process. It can be purely natural, purely material, and an emergent property of the brain. This fits with the fact that all of your thoughts are compositions of things you have actually perceived in your real life. This relates to something else Stan commented on below regarding squared-circles and other impossible objects. We can only truly think of concepts that can be decomposed into other concepts, other thinking building blocks, which are themselves eventually falling back to concrete material objects.

The color example I gave above serves that point pretty well. We know 'UV' light exists and some birds can see it; but we have no way of imagining, of thinking about what it feels like to see UV light. We can only imagine, say, some sort of flashy purple... but it's still not the real thing, even if we knot it really does exist. So not only can we not think about certain things we know exist, but we also definitely cannot think of literally non-material things.

So the best we can do is combining abstract representations of material things and create non-material things in thoughts.

" Why would we expect a better record as we think on abstractions that have no material means of confirmation at all? "

If we have no material means of confirmation at all, then we have no means of confirmation at all. This is why I always say that I keep the door open: there could be purely non-material things, we just don't have... means of confirmation.

"the default position should be that specific meanings that appear in our thoughts should not be given the attribute of reality, other than as a thought."

You are correct here; there is no reason to think that what we think about necessarily point to something that exists. It can or cannot be the case. And with that, you just supported the Materialist position. Yet, you reject it, because you avoided the tough question: when such 'meanings' appear in our thought, how can we describe them? Are they really completely foreign to our sense and perception, or are they the aggregate of pre-existing thoughts, thinking blocks, which do represent things we perceived before?

Hugo Pelland said...

Stan said:
"The concept that “absolute truth” has a “meaning” which is without mass/energy, and refers to nothing which has mass/energy, and also is immutable throughout space and time, and even is consistent with pre-existence before mass/energy, space/time is an example which cannot be conflated with material existence."

It's immutable throughout space and time, which is material... so you cannot even define it without referring to material existence. That's my point. What can be "absolutely true" when nothing material exists? Truth itself? But again, what is true if just truth exist? It would be true that truth exist, but nothing would be true, as there would be nothing to be true.

You often mention the reduction test; you should apply it here... it makes no sense to talk about 'Truth' on its own, it makes no sense to talk about 'meaning' on its own. Something needs to be true; something needs to have meaning. And these things, they are either direct material things, or other non-material things which are also eventually falling back to the material existence in order to have any 'meaning' or 'truth' value.

"But I’m certain that you will not accept that, and will find a new definition of one of the terms in order to claim primacy of your worldview."

Why didn't you think of what I might say then? You knew something would come, but you did not know what. Isn't that evidence that you have no idea what you are talking about? Plus, I am not claiming that my worldview has some sort of 'primacy' over another worldview. And I have to wonder here... are you stating that silly remark on purpose, just to make a joke? Or did you really misunderstand everything I am writing so badly that you think I am claiming superiority somehow? After all, you clearly stated that you are not interested in discussion difficult philosophical questions; it's all simple and straight-forward to you. So if someone pretends to be superior, it's clearly you.

Sorry for the commentary; you insert so many it's hard to always avoid them. Anyway,moving on...

Hugo Pelland said...

"Mathematicians discuss these non-material things all the time, and presumably they are humans. Boole proved all three of the First Principles by starting with non-material mathematics."

They always refer back to material things to build their mathematical tools. Humans cannot do otherwise as they can only think about what they have previously perceived, materially, and combine these things to think of other things, a lot of other things. When you say that Boole started with non-material mathematics, this makes no sense. He had to start with concrete things, even if they are just symbols, that mean something to him and others.

"Those items have no material qualities, no mass/energy, are independent of space/time, and are true in all universes which are rational. Mathematics is discovered, not “developed”. The non-material relationships exist whether they have been discovered or not. And yes, humans talk about them because they exist."

Mathematics being discovered and not developed is interesting because it brings up another point of confusion: objectivity. Under the assumption of the primacy of material existence, it is possible to have relationships, described with abstract concepts, which are not dependant on the subjective thinking process of a specific human, or set of people. Note that this is why I try to be very careful when I give the definition of Materialism (...non-material things depend on material things for their existence).

I don't say that non-material things depend on the 'thinking' of someone, or something, else. I state that non-material things depend on 'any' kind of material things to exist. Without human beings around, say when the solar system was formed, 'truth' does exist anyway. When nuclear fusion started in the core of the Sun, it suddenly became 'true' that the Sun is a star fusing hydrogen into helium. That true statement was true back then, even if nobody was around to think about it, and that 'truth' is a form of non-material existence. But could such non-material existence exist without material existence?

" Expressing Truth with a symbol, say T, or Theta, or a picture of a pig, whatever, absolutely does not make Truth a material entity."

Correct. 'Truth' is not a material entity, and this fits perfectly with what I just explained. Merely stating that 'Truth' exists, as a non-material thing, does not disprove Materialism. Yet more examples:

" Minus one is not a material number. You cannot produce “minus one” elephant in the material way that you can produce one elephant. So “minus one” is an abstraction, not a material entity."

'Minus one' does not have a concrete representation, but how could we talk about it without talking about 'one', which does have a material representation? This is probably the simplest yet most obvious example.

Hugo Pelland said...

"Certainly. It would be :: not material. The examples are many and varied. Your attempts to make them material are without merit, because you cannot produce (you agree) any mass/energy which corresponds to the non-material entities which we discussed above."

You are stating what they are 'not'. You are not stating what they 'are'. And again, there is no example you can come up with. You can list more if you want... but it always boils down to what you can think about and, since you are a human, you cannot think of things that you have never perceived. Hence, all the examples you are going to give will be built with mental building blocks which are, ultimately, referencing concrete material things.

" If materialism is valid and true, then determinism is necessarily true also and thus the brain is a deterministic “meat machine”, the function of which is dependent upon the material initial conditions prior to each neuronic electrochemical discharge. This quasi-infinite regress of deterministic operation eliminates not only abstract thought of a logical nature, but all rational thought, period. It also eliminates free will, agency, and coordinated operation of the meat machine which is the body. So the materialist explanation is eliminated, forthwith. And that passes Reductio Ad Absurdum; try it, and if you disagree, then explain the details."

Freewill is an entirely complete different topic. It's also very complicated and has been the topic of debates for centuries... But it's true that under Materialism, we are no completely free. It does not mean that we don't choose though, and it certainly doesn't mean that rationality is out the window. Logic can be inferred from material existence. Things are what they are. They are not what they are not. They cannot be both something and not something at the same time. That's what we perceive, what we build our thoughts of. The Immaterialist assumes that rationality is purely non-material, one of the things that are just assume to exist independently of the material world, in order to "prove" materialism false. But it's really just 2 things: an argument from ignorance (we don't know how the brain can do that, hence it's non-material) and assuming the conclusion (non-material things such as rationality exists, hence non-material things exist and materialism is false).

Well, that took 1 hour... enough for a while.

Stan said...

Hugo,
Because of the following statement, I will make one observation and stop. Your definition is irrational and it is not possible to have a rational conversation with a person who insists on irrational definitions which he claims are the standard rather than the actual standard:

"No, concrete things are mass/energy. Conceptual things are not mass/energy. Materialism states that all that exist is material (the shortcut stops here) AND that conceptual things depend on material things for their existence."

This definition places you out of the rational zone. There is no point in continuing to give you contrary examples, because you redefine them irrationally. That means that you can change logic by redefining terms, and that has been your main thrust in all your comments lately, including abortion, where your redefinition is deemed the necessary Truth of the matter, when it is merely changing the definition and nothing more. So there is no point in discussing this with you, because your logic is inverted by your redefinitions.

Steve 11 said...

No one understands the nature of thoughts in reality. This makes them candidates, with no presupposition either way, for immaterial categorization.

"Mathematicians discuss these non-material things all the time, and presumably they are humans. Boole proved all three of the First Principles by starting with non-material mathematics"

This proves that humans can think about abstract concepts, some of which are sound and some which are not, and that they exist as thoughts. People use their thoughts to arrive at proofs in order to establish consistency between one abstraction and another. I have not yet heard any means by which this consistency would elevate meaning beyond its existence as a thought in a mind. There is just no signature, material or otherwise, for that - only for the coding of thoughts on media, and subsequent de-coding by humans into thoughts. This has nothing to do with inability to "grasp" or "conceive" or "perceive" their self-evident existence. It has to do with justification for what you can honestly claim to know with certainty.

However, the fact that humans assert many different meanings to the same concepts is completely consistent with the concept that meaning exists only as thoughts.

Thoughts are the magic, meaning is the red herring.

Stan said...

Thinking about this from a meta-narrative vantage, it becomes apparent, Hugo, that you are beholden to nothing. Everything is relative to what you need at the moment. Logic is subject to redefinitions; morality is subject to spurious definitions; reality is subject to spurious logic and spurious definitions, all of which are subject to your own personal superior authority to assert new definitions without recourse to rationality, and your need to stall out an argument with irrationality.

Thus you have assumed the role of the New Man; the superior, elite, evolved ubermench who has the ability to redefine reality to suit your own terms. After all, like truth, reality is totally subjective anyway so, like Nietzsche, you can assume control of reality as well as truth, and redefine it as necessary for the moment.

This is a perfect example of having emerged from the Atheist VOID into a newly undefined world and experiencing the freedom of being completely untethered in a world awaiting your control.

I expect you to deny all of this, and to continue to behave exactly as if it is true.

Stan said...

So if you want to discuss the philosophy of Atheism at the meta-narrative level, then let's do it. But having to deal with spurious, amorphous redefinition is not part of my ideal day.

Hugo Pelland said...

Steve 11 said...
"No one understands the nature of thoughts in reality. This makes them candidates, with no presupposition either way, for immaterial categorization"

There are 2 important things here:
1) We may agree that we don't fully understand how we get to perceive our own thoughts, but it's not like we have no idea at all either. We know the brain's chemistry influences how we think, and also that how we think influences how we act.
2) If we don't presuppose either way, then it means that we can, in fact, start with either the material as a basis for existence or the immaterial. Starting with the material, I am arguing, we find that what we talk about as 'thoughts' is really nothing more than an abstraction of our experiences of the material. Some prefer to start with the immaterial as a definition for existence, which I find irrational as it defines existence as what it's not, instead of what it is. But it's easier, because we know that we are thinking, and you referenced that below...

" I have not yet heard any means by which this consistency would elevate meaning beyond its existence as a thought in a mind. This has nothing to do with inability to "grasp" or "conceive" or "perceive" their self-evident existence. It has to do with justification for what you can honestly claim to know with certainty."

You're denying objectivity. Meaning is not just a thought in a mind; there would be no objective meaning if that were the case. I gave an example above: before any living things were capable of thoughts, the fact that the Sun fuses hydrogen into helium was true. That's a form of immaterial concept that existed, but with nobody around to thinking, as far as we know at least.

What we don't have is meaning purely about immaterial things. It's possible, in theory, but I argue that we, as material beings, have no way of even thinking about such things. Our thoughts are all, exclusively, the product of material experiences, which we are capable of thinking about abstractly.

But we are able to do so much combination of these abstract building blocks that people argue that this abstract thinking is a realm of its own. And the next step is to even consider that abstract world as a basic existence: the primacy of consciousness. Again, it's just easier to think about that as existence itself, as we cannot deny our own thinking.

"However, the fact that humans assert many different meanings to the same concepts is completely consistent with the concept that meaning exists only as thoughts."

Meaning exists only as thoughts, but it does not mean that meaning can, or does, exist independently of material existence. That's what the debate surrounding Materialism is about.

"Thoughts are the magic, meaning is the red herring."

Calling thoughts 'magic', or as 'purely immaterial', is the red herring. The question is not about whether immaterial things, which we already know exist, exist; the question is about whether these same immaterial things, or other immaterial things, could/do exist regardless of the material world. As human beings, I don't see how we can get to a definite 'yes', and I strongly believe that the most likely answer is 'no', for the reasons listed here.

Hugo Pelland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hugo Pelland said...

Stan said...

" Your definition is irrational:
"No, concrete things are mass/energy. Conceptual things are not mass/energy. Materialism states that all that exist is material (the shortcut stops here) AND that conceptual things depend on material things for their existence."
...your logic is inverted by your redefinitions."

Fine, let's use your definitions:

1) There are material things, which are found in the form of mass/energy, space/time.
2) There are immaterial things, such as concepts, which are not found in the form of mass/energy, space/time.
3) Materialism says #2 is false.
4) But we know #2 is true, hence Materialism is false. QED.

So, I am not a materialist anymore, and you are right, there is thus nothing to talk about.
Thank you for the explanations Stan.

Stan said...

Um. That does not sound like you Hugo. Is that sarcasm? It's hard to tell, but you never fail to double down, so the above response seems out of character, unless...

But assuming that your statement is not sarcasm, it appears that we agree that there are some observable entities which do not possess mass/energy.

Good. Now we can address your claim, which is that non-material entities cannot exist without a correlate in material existence. Let's iconize:

Let A: non-material existence;
Let B = material existence;

Posit 1: A is a subset of B;

But "non-material" cannot be a subset of "material"; they are mutually exclusive. Posit 1 cannot be the case.

Posit 2: A is an epiphenomenon of B;

But A does not always occur for every B; so there is no epiphenomenal causality.

Posit 3: [B] + [conscious focus on B] produce A;

This is true; however it is not the only solution:

Posit 4: [conscious creation of abstraction] + [conscious focus on abstraction] produce A.

This one, posit 4, is the case which deserves our attention and discussion. If it is true, then there exists non-material actions which do not reference material existence. And it will lead to the following posit:

Posit 5: There exist, even in the absence of conscious attention, non-physical entities which are valid and true irrespective of mass/energy, space/time, multiverse, or any other material existence. (Examples include matrix math, and th various transform maths which have been discovered; the meaning of the abstraction, "life", which has no physical essence; comprehension of transmitted meaning which goes beyond the Shannon entropy of physical carriers and modems, and beyond the reach of physical entropy.)

If you're still willing, have at it.
If you're signing off, adios, go in peace.

William said...

It's imposible that all what exist is material; it's imposible that all the universe is only material.
Only 5% of the universe is material.

yonose said...

Hello Stan!!!

IT is interesting and ironic to note that, there are so many atheists and nihilists who just fit that very same proposed stereotype. Sounds like an accurate -albeit as always, not perfect, like you and me- model!!

Kind Regards.

Stan said...

Yonose, Hello!
Good to see you checking in - how's your education getting along?
Stan

Stan said...

Yes. It's interesting that Philosophical Materialism goes back to before Dark Mass and Dark Energy were defined as constituting most of the universe. And the materialists stick with the old everything = mass/energy, because that's all they've got in favor of materialism. But according to modern science, mass/energy and human perception is trivial compared to the undetectables and imponderables.

And further, materialists are claiming here, that nothing else can even be thought about because if it is not mass/energy, then it is incoherent and well, just beyond them.

Steve 11 said...

"[conscious creation of abstraction] + [conscious focus on abstraction] produce A."

Can you elaborate more on how this stuff escapes our thoughts into external reality, other than by physical coding onto media and mental de-coding therefrom?

I also notice there was no filter on the soundness of the abstraction ... was this intentional and, if so, are all abstractions equally real?

Stan said...

Steve 11,
Take the Jane Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice. The situation and characters first existed only in the mind of Jane Austen. And they have been encoded into several different languages, including binary code. The existence of the situation and characters is not materialized by the translations; the situation and characters are still non-physical entities. This non-physical existence is coherent with regard to its depiction of physical entities, nonetheless, the entire novel is non-physical with regard to situation and characters.

Now take transform math. This was a discovery by the use of the mind to manipulate non-physical symbols. It references nothing in the physical world, yet it is also coherent.

Now, consider dreams, which exist only in the mind of the dreamer. They can be either coherent or non-coherent.

All of these can be transcribed onto physical media, but that is not necessary in order to understand that they all exist non-materially.

Also, abstractions are not "real" in the materialist sense of "real", because they exist outside the materialist definition of "reality", which refers to only mass/energy within space/time. It is true that they exist, but not in the materialist's artificially truncated definition of physical reality.

Finally, if an abstraction is defined as "having no physical referent" then it is entirely possible for an abstraction to exist, non-physically, and have no meaning attached to it. That is still coherent in the sense that even some physical objects have no meaning attached (what is the meaning of that tree over there? Of aluminum?).

Hugo Pelland said...

Stan said:
"Um. That does not sound like you Hugo. Is that sarcasm? It's hard to tell, but you never fail to double down, so the above response seems out of character, unless..."

Obviously, yes, it was sarcasm... *sheesh* as you would say! And why would you say that it does not sound like 'me', when I explicitly told you that I am often self-censoring myself? As I said, you write a lot of commentary and it's hard to ignore all of them, and stick only to the topic at hand. This was just a bit of fun :-)

Plus, I do have to stop writing completely soon, and I can explain why shortly but, in the meantime, the answer was interesting so perhaps there is a bit more to explore here:

" it appears that we agree that there are some observable entities which do not possess mass/energy."

Well, not sure what you mean by 'observable'. I was tempted to say right away that 'yes', I never disagreed with this statement, but I don't think you literally mean 'observable' in the material sense, as you are talking about entities which do not possess mass/energy and are thus not observable with our senses. Since the topic of Materialism is about existence, I would say "some entities, which do not possess mass/energy, exist". Materialism is not about whether such things exist or not; it's about whether they exist despite the material world, or because of the material world.

"Now we can address your claim, which is that non-material entities cannot exist without a correlate in material existence."

They 'could' exist, but we have no way of proving they do. Hence, the conclusion that they probably don't exist at all, or that if they do, we are not justified in believing they exist due to a lack of evidence. Again, it's not about whether it's 'possible' for non-material entities to exist independently of the material world, it's about whether we are justified in believing they do exist. They certainly could, but I don't believe they do exist; you believe they do exist, and I don't think you have good reasons to support that belief.

" Let's iconize:
Let A: non-material existence;
Let B = material existence;
"

Sure, and the question will then be, is there an existing member of 'A' that can be defined without any reference to 'B'. Let's see if any of the Posits below actually address that question:

" Posit 1: A is a subset of B;
But "non-material" cannot be a subset of "material"; they are mutually exclusive. Posit 1 cannot be the case.
"

Stating that they are mutually exclusive is affirming the conclusion of immaterialism: there are at least some member of 'A' that are completely independent of any 'B'. Under materialism, on the other hand, the proposition is that the existence of all 'A' is defined with respect to 'B', as in the existence of 'A' depend on the existence of 'B', as far as we can tell. It does not make it impossible for some 'A' to exist independently of 'B', but there is no coherent way to describe such members of 'A'.

Hugo Pelland said...

" Posit 2: A is an epiphenomenon of B;
But A does not always occur for every B; so there is no epiphenomenal causality.
"

There is always an 'A' for any 'B'; there are way more members of 'A' than of 'B' since the most basic existence under materialism is 'B', and then we get 'A' that either point to other 'A', or 'B'. As soon as we start with the existence of the material, we already have some 'A' in the form of truth statements. If a material thing exists, then it is true that this thing exist. It cannot both exist and not exist; it has to either exist or not exist. From the start we get the basic laws of logic straight out of the assumption that material existence exists. So yes, there is always at least some 'A' that occurs for every 'B', by definition.

" Posit 3: [B] + [conscious focus on B] produce A;
This is true; however it is not the only solution:
"

Not true. Objective truth does not require a conscious focus to be truth, by definition. If it is true that 'X' exists, as a member of 'B', then it is true regardless of whether there is a conscious focus on 'X'. The existence of members of 'A' is not dependant on the consciousness of any being. Their existence, however, depends on the existence of 'B' as far as we know since we (the conscious beings who are talking about them) require members of 'B' to make sense of any member of 'A'.

This is another hint at the underlining assumption of the immaterialist position: the primacy of consciousness. It is assumed that there is such a thing as consciousness, a piori, as some form of existence. Then, the focus of that consciousness is what produces members of A, or even Bs under some theories.

" Posit 4: [conscious creation of abstraction] + [conscious focus on abstraction] produce A."

The explanation here is the same as for Posit 2 and 3. It is not the case that conscious focus is required to produce members of A, and it has not been demonstrated, unless assumed from the start, that members of A can and do exist without references to members of B.

" This one, posit 4, is the case which deserves our attention and discussion. If it is true, then there exists non-material actions which do not reference material existence."

It is not the case that there exists non-material actions which do not reference material existence. You are a human using material references as mental building blocks. Even if what you think about has no direct references to the material world, these building blocks can always be reduced to mental building blocks that do refer directly to the material. I'll circle back to the examples that were discussed above because I know this is where we completely disagree.

" And it will lead to the following posit:
Posit 5: There exist, even in the absence of conscious attention, non-physical entities which are valid and true irrespective of mass/energy, space/time, multiverse, or any other material existence.
"
This 'could' be true, but also 'could' be false. You have not demonstrated why it is the case that it 'could' be true and certainly not demonstrated that it 'is' true.

Hugo Pelland said...

***Now on to the many many examples throughout this thread:***

Matrix math: It does not really matter what kind of math we are talking about; it all boils down to the same thing. Mathematics, from our point of view, starts with basic building blocks, such as numbers, which have a direct representation in the material world. Even purely symbolic, more advanced math, depends on these first symbols, these initial quantities to make any sense. So what does it mean to have 1 thing without any 'material thing'? The argument could be that this 'thing' is a 'non-material thing' itself, a member of 'A' from above', so we need to look at them, because what would these 'non-material things' be?

Meaning: Meaning is either attached directly to material things, as in the words here on this web page have meaning, or to non-material things, such as the meaning of a sentence that we can think of in our minds. If we think about something like 'All kiks are bigger than kaks', it does not mean anything with respect to material existence; there are no 'kiks' nor 'kaks'. But can we make sense of this sentence without any reference to the material world? I don't think so. The meaning of 'All' means a collection of all members of a group, the meaning of 'bigger' is obviously a reference to the size of material things, and the made-up words kiks and kaks are just that: made-up words. Could we make up words without already having some language, and could we have language without the material world?

Language: Humans develop languages as a mean to communicate between themselves. A single person would have no need for language; they would just perceive things, think about them, and construct all sort of abstractions based on these observations. Some would point to material things, others would point only to other abstractions. But, when 2 or more humans want to exchange these ideas, these thoughts, they must use something external to them: a language. That language is non-material itself; it's not the ink on the paper that's the language, it's the meaning of these patches of ink. But the language could not exist without the references to the material world to make any sense. Words refer to material things, or non-material things, such as other words or concepts or ideas, etc... which in turn may or may not refer to material things, so we can keep going with more examples.

Life: This example is odd in my opinion since it seems to be confusing 2 concepts: the definition of an actual living thing and the more poetic view of what "life" is for us, humans. The former is straight-forward, a living thing is some organism that is exchanging energy with its environment in some active form; I am paraphrasing but that's the general, simple, idea. The latter reference to "life" is more of a collection of personal experiences, memories, interactions with others, etc... whatever makes up the content of our own personal story on Earth: our life. This is yet again nothing more than a label, a very useful and complex one, but a label nonetheless. It represents what it means to be human, to have a life... as a material being.

Information: This is exactly the same as meaning; literally. It's a different word only because 'information' is somewhat more neutral. The size of an object is not really what it means for that object to be an object; the size is the size and that's it. But, it's still the same principle that applies here: information is first and foremost based on material things, unless we decide to assume that there is such non-material things in the first place.

Hugo Pelland said...

Purely abstract things: We are able to theorize some purely abstract things, such as 'nothing', but this is where we actually reach the limit and are forced to face the truth: we cannot literally think about these non-material things; we can only use existing mental building blocks to explain what they 'could' be, were they to actually exist. On the other thread, a few examples were discussed, but the only answer you gave was:

"I find that I can think of most of those things, except for those internal contradictions which are logically non-coherent (square circle). What you insist must be thought of is this: material manifestations of those non-material entities. For you, if it is not physical, then you can’t think about it. (But actually you can). "

I insist that no, we actually cannot. And no, it is not about having a material manifestation of those non-material entities. This does not make sense as I keep insisting on how we have a lot more non-material entities than material entities, and that we can make up non-material entities that have no material manifestation. Hence, this is a complete misunderstanding of the position I am presenting here. Again, it's about the non-material entities being described using other non-material entities which do have direct material representations.

Since we disagree, let me add more details using the same examples and how we actually construct their mental representation:

Infinity: We cannot literally think of an 'infinite' thing, we can only try to imagine a finite thing that happens to be so long, or so big, that it 'would' be infinite. This might be the simplest example since it's so easy to define, yet impossible to truly think about. It reveals a lot about how our brains work; we think of mental building blocks that are put together in our minds to form complex thoughts, but these simple building blocks are all we have to work with. Hence, when thinking about infinity, we can do no better than combining these blocks and trying to imagine them going on to infinity, without really thinking about infinity directly, as we cannot even be certain infinity exists.

Undetectable material things: We cannot literally think of colors that we have never seen; we understand that birds can 'see' UV light or the Earth's magnetic field, but we can only try to picture what that might be by combining the colors we already see. It's easy for us to imagine what it might feel like to see UV light; we can simulate it by using a black light and shining it on an object. But this is exactly the same thing that happens in our minds when we think of things we have never perceived; we combine existing things to create an abstract representation of what these other things, which we have never seen/heard/felt, are.

Hugo Pelland said...

Illogical things: We cannot literally think of impossible objects, such as a squared circle. We can describe it, in words, like I just did, but cannot picture it in our minds. There is really no difference here with things we perceive, or not, and things that can exist logically, or not. This link supports the idea that logic is based on the material world we experience. In the material world, things are what they are, they are not what they are not, and they are either something, or not that thing, but never both. This is why we cannot think of a squared circle as this implies 1 object with 2 representations, which we cannot perceive nor think about. Quantum mechanics reveal another aspect of thoughts where we reach the limit of our understanding and perceptions. It seems to us that, under some conditions, an electron can be at 2 locations at the same time. But when we try to detect such weird aspect of reality, it does not work; we never directly observe such non-logical state of existence.

Thinking speed: We cannot think faster than a certain speed, being limited the circuitry in our physical brains. This is not really an example of a thing we cannot think of, literally, but more about the connection between he physical brain and the abstract thinking process. The material brain imposes a limit on how fast our mental building blocks can be swap in-and-out of our consciousness. We cannot count in our head faster than a certain speed, even if it's much faster than saying the words out loud. This makes perfect sense under materialism as the brain is the cause of these thoughts. It also work under immaterialism, but only because it has to acknowledge the fact that we are material and immaterial, under the theory.

Others' experiences We cannot think of what it feels like to be someone else, to truly like something we don't like, to truly feel something we have never felt. We can try to imagine, again by just combining our pre-existing knowledge of what it feels like to do something we have done before. There was yet another thread I linked to that discussed this, with respect to the philosophical thought experiment of Mary's room.

Nothing: We cannot literally think of '0', or 'nothing', or 'emptiness'; we only think of these as the absences of things. There is no way that we can, in our minds, think of literally nothing. There are actually meditation techniques that attempt to reach some state and the best anyone can do is 'not think about anything', which is not the same as 'thinking about nothing'. Such techniques allow for what people call spiritual experiences, as there are no simple ways to describe the feelings of not thinking but rather simply observing. In such state of mind, people are conscious of their own thoughts popping into their consciousness. They are doing nothing but perceiving the material world through their senses, and even perceiving their own thoughts coming into consciousness. The material explanation is that the thoughts are coming from the material brain. The immaterial explanation is that, because the existence of an immaterial realm is assumed, the thoughts come from such realm. Both are possible scenarios; the former just has better explanatory power and does not require the assumption of a form of existence that cannot even be defined on its own; immaterial existence is 'not' material; it's defined as what it's not, not what it is, because we cannot do better.

Stan said...

Hugo,
I’m going to respond to the concepts of the arguments you make and to the structure of those arguments, rather than go on with the conversational approach, taking each item point by point.

You really have just two concepts to offer: 1) non-physical entities cannot exist without some referent which is material (mass/energy); 2) any non-physical entity which does not have a material referent is non-coherent and cannot be thought about.

First let’s discuss coherence:
Coherence and non-coherence are both concepts without any material referent. They both refer to the structure of arguments and not to the content of arguments, and are totally independent of the content. And arguments can be purely non-physical, without any material referent, such as are the epistemological First Principles which refer only to truth, and their use in grounding other epistemological arguments.

The claim of non-coherence is the use of a specific non-physical existence to declare that non-physical entities are meaningless without reference to specific photons/protons. The claim of non-coherence discusses the logic and meaning within non-physical entities, and there is no physical entity attached in any fashion. This is internally contradictory. If the claim is true, then the claim also is non-coherent:

IF [when a non-material claim has no physical referent],
THEN [that non-material claim is non-coherent].
But,
The premise has no physical referent:
IF [the non-material claim is made with no physical referent that:{when a non-material claim has no physical referent}];
Then [that non-material claim is non-coherent].
The claim is obviously self-referencing and non-coherent. It cannot be accepted as a logical argument.

Another way to state it:
1. This statement, S1, has characteristic A, and not characteristic B.
2. S1 claims that statements with characteristic A, and not characteristic B are non-coherent.
3. Therefore S1 is non-coherent, since it is self-referencing and internally contradictory.

And it follows that if it is not a valid claim, then it also is not a valid universal claim. So the claim, statement S1, is a) false, and b) irrelevant.


Mutual Exclusivity
Next, it should be obvious that set [X] and set [NOT X] are, by mathematical definition, mutually exclusive by tautology, contra your claim. And if X is a null set (X=0, therefore X doesn’t exist) THEN [NOT X] still exists AND it exists as a universal set (independent of mass/energy, space/time). These are mathematical principles, true irrespective of mass/energy, space/time or number; they are not ontological arguments.

Finally, by claiming that non-physical statements can exist without referring to physical material referents a single claim is being made. The additional claim that “but such statements are always non-coherent” is a separate claim, which has been added both gratuitously and without any hope of proof, either deductive or material. Further, it cannot be a valid claim since that would be self-referencing and contradictory.

Stan said...

Now to examine your attempts to refute:

Purely abstract things:

” "I find that I can think of most of those things, except for those internal contradictions which are logically non-coherent (square circle). What you insist must be thought of is this: material manifestations of those non-material entities. For you, if it is not physical, then you can’t think about it. (But actually you can). "

I insist that no, we actually cannot.”


Then you must prove the exact limits of what I and every other human can think about, how you know the limits of what I and every other human can think about, and why it proves your claim to be immutable truth. Do you do that in your refutations? Well, you don’t do it right off; you resort to your own examples as presumably demonstrating how we cannot think of certain entities. [post script: you don’t do it later, either].

” Hence, this is a complete misunderstanding of the position I am presenting here. Again, it's about the non-material entities being described using other non-material entities which do have direct material representations.”

As explained in logically valid terms above, that position is false and irrelevant. It also is a Red Herring misdirection away from the actual truth, which is simpler, and is this: that non-physical, non-material entities exist, period. Therefore the materialist claim that only mass/energy space/time exists is false.

” Even purely symbolic, more advanced math, depends on these first symbols, these initial quantities to make any sense”

This is of course, exactly false. Symbolic math does two things: it eliminates references to specific numbers; it makes it easier to recognize logical relationships which are universal in nature, i.e., independent of mass/energy, space/time - and number.

Stan said...

Language
” Could we make up words without already having some language, and could we have language without the material world?”

Obviously, someone did, in fact, make up words before there could be any language, and “language” followed the natural logic of IF/THEN, as well as containing subject and predicate, as do all languages.

”…the language could not exist without the references to the material world…”

A trivial point having no weight in the argument, being based merely on the fact that language is a human derivation for explaining and living the material world, and ignoring the additional use of language for identifying, creating, analyzing and communicating non-material concepts. Language is neither necessary nor sufficient for the existence of non-physical entities (like language), so using it as an argument is completely non-productive. Language is non-material, and language can and does have referents to non-material existence as well as material existence. Even modern science has purely non-material referents: Quantum fields. Probability waves. Entropy. Punctuated Equilibrium. Force. Phase angle. Maxwell’s equations. Vacuum. Ideal models. Intelligence. Sanity. In fact, modern science debates whether the material world even exists, given its dependency upon a hierarchy of sub-existences which terminate in non-physical existence.

Life
” …our life. This is yet again nothing more than a label…”

So. There is no essential difference between living and dead, then, except for the label placed on the organism? Denying that a living thing has an essence which is different from those same molecules which are not living as of the moment of “death” is a typical Atheist necessary commitment to an irrational conclusion in defense of a presupposed ideological premise.

Of course there is a difference between a living person and a dead person. Because the essential difference is a non-physical, non-measurable, non-Materialist something, then the Atheist must immediately deny its actuality in order to prevent it from having value. Because if “life” exists as a non-physical essential, and has natural value due to possession of that essence, then Atheist Materialism cannot be the case (nor can evolution). So it is best for the preservation of the dogmas to deny that life is different from non-life – after all, all the material components exist in both the living and the recently dead. Sooo that means that they are identical, as far as Materialists can know. [note 1]

Stan said...

The remainder of your objections are of these forms:

” We cannot literally think of…”
” We cannot think of what…”
” We cannot think of what it feels like to be…”
” …we cannot literally think about these non-material things;”

By “we”, of course, you mean “you”. After all, you admit that you cannot think of what it is like to be me. So you cannot know what I can or cannot think about without referencing yourself (subjective extrapolation). However, your own thinking appears artificially restricted by your presupposed “First Principle, which is the primacy of mass/energy. Not everyone has that bottleneck.

But the primacy of mass/energy is not a First Principle. It is not self-evident and it must be proven, but cannot be. It is even obvious under scientific observations that mass/energy cannot be the primary existence, because physical particles do not even exist until they are formed out of non-material existence by observation. This is what you have to disprove, amongst other things.

But claiming an “inability to think about” something is no argument for its non-existence. It merely states that you cannot understand it under your set of limiting principles.

For example, your position that you cannot think about “nothing” or zero. Zero is a specific number. It inhabits the sequence,… -2,-1,0,+1,+2… and it has precise arithmetic valuation as an integer. It can be defined as the Null Set; the bottom ordinal of real numbers, the balance point of +/- infinities, the inflection point of a curve transitioning from rising to falling, the optimum alignment of a great many things from rifles to front ends of automobiles to radio station tuning. You should give zero a chance! It’s a great number.

On the other hand, the obvious non-coherence of your argument, demonstrated above, is a decisive argument against its value as a logical position.

Notes:
1. Atheist ethicists have maintained that it is ethical to “remove” life from humans who are incapable of discerning the value of what they are losing. This presupposes that cogent people know that they have a life essence and that it has value. AND that life – contra death - does, in fact, have both a natural essence and a natural value which is gained at conception and lost at death. That alone falsifies Materialism and Atheism.

Steve 11 said...

'You're denying objectivity. Meaning is not just a thought in a mind; there would be no objective meaning if that were the case. I gave an example above: before any living things were capable of thoughts, the fact that the Sun fuses hydrogen into helium was true. That's a form of immaterial concept that existed, but with nobody around to thinking, as far as we know at least."

I think you're trying to make me jump from:
- physical entities and processes exist outside of our thoughts
to:
- Abstractions thought about within minds exist outside of them, other than as coded language and other physical media

I can't change the compositions and processes abstracted by the Sun by giving them a new name, nor by changing language, or assigning new attributes to them, real or imagined. I can only code my thoughts, which may or may not influence the thoughts of others as to how they abstract these processes within THEIR minds.

Here is what we can all agree exist:

a) Codifications as to the sun abstraction;
b) Thoughts on the sun abstraction, sourced from other thoughts, or sourced from de-coding physical media;
b) The compositions and processes, if any, that are the targets of the abstraction(s)

Could anything other than minds de-code and use these abstractions, some of which possess the attribute of soundness and potential consistency, and some of which have corresponding physical entities or processes? I have no clue, and neither does anyone else.

How do the abstractions escape our thoughts and otherwise exist? I have heard, as yet, no process which describes this, other than:
"It is true that they exist, but not in the materialist's artificially truncated definition of physical reality."

The claim that the materialist incorrectly fails to include abstractions, outside of minds, presupposes they exist, outside of minds.

Stan said...

I have to interpret what you say above, and put it in simple terms. Here's my take:

Your actual claim is that no abstraction can possibly exist except in a mind.

You base this on your idea that abstractions exist first in a mind, but cannot escape that mind in order to exist (materially, of course). This conclusion seems necessary to protect materialism, and it will have to be made with the assumption that the mind is an algorithm based in fixed mass/energy in the form of neurons; in other words, pre-existing embedded ROM code. But that is impossible, if intellect exists; algorithmic operation cannot create.

And abstractions exist before they are in the mind. Symbolic mathematical transforms are discovered, not created. When a mind discovers a pre-existing transform, then the mind can document it, publish it, and it can be used by others.

Of course the materialist makes the claim, yet cannot prove, that no abstraction exists, outside the mind, and then makes the further claim that it must be proved materially that non-material abstractions exist, non--materially.

Because Materialism is logically flawed at every point, it is Materialism which is untenable, unless logic is not a requirement for the underpinning of one's worldview. This seems to be the case, because Materialists never accept the glaring logic fallacies which are the necessities for materialism, specifically the Category Error of requiring physical evidence for non-physical entities, and the internal contradiction of making a claim of truth which has no proof, either logical or material, which is the central claim of Materialism.

So it is obvious that logic is defenestrated in order to preserve the actual worldview, which is self-elevation under Atheism. Because if Materialism and Evolution are both logical failures, then Atheism has no correlate in rational space or physical space. If Atheism is untenable, then the Atheist cannot be more intellectual, more wise, more moral. Thus the Atheist loses elitism.

There are only a few reasons to be Atheist. Logical analysis of Atheism is not one of them. Materialism and Evolution are the props which hold Atheism against total collapse, intellectually. They both are false, logically. That leaves the emotional prop, personal elitism, morally and intellectually. But the three -legged stool cannot stand, and neither can false elitism - except under force.

Thus, both Materialism and Evolution are legally declared Truth, and the state schools force indoctrination of both into hapless children. University instructors are culled if they do not fully accept Materialism and Evolution. Intellectual defectors are removed from any post of influence.

The state jealously protects itself from any attacks on its internal Atheism, and the state of morality, justice, and rationality in government as a result is obvious. Irrational worldviews do not generate rational responses. The irrational Atheist worldview allows and engenders the Nietzschean Will To Power, The New Man, Progressivism (hatred of non-Atheism), and the entire 20th century history of the world shows exactly that.

Atheists must deny or ignore all of the evidence against Atheism, in order to maintain their Atheist "elitism".

Steve 11 said...

"Your actual claim is that no abstraction can possibly exist except in a mind."
No. I'm saying that any claim, both as to existence and non-existence, is sufficiently nebulous as to be untestable.

The immaterial test for the existence of abstractions as thoughts in the mind is compelling - the perception of one's own thoughts. I think materialism lacks explanatory power, at the moment, for this, although it does leave room for physical processes yet undiscovered, with attributes yet unknown.

The material test for some of the material targets of those abstractions, such as parts of things (abstracted in different languages using various techniques, like fractions, decimals, percents) is compelling - empirical observation of the natural world.

There is no non-presuppositional test at all for the existence of immaterial abstractions outside the brain. Claiming they are discovered is not a test, but rather the assertion of a discoverability attribute that presupposes existence.

Stan said...

Steve11 says,
"Your actual claim is that no abstraction can possibly exist except in a mind."
No. I'm saying that any claim, both as to existence and non-existence, is sufficiently nebulous as to be untestable.


There is no elephant testifying before Congress at this time. I believe that to be falsifiable and testable, and demonstrably valid and true. Please show otherwise.

”The immaterial test for the existence of abstractions as thoughts in the mind is compelling - the perception of one's own thoughts.”

Agreed.

” I think materialism lacks explanatory power, at the moment, for this, although it does leave room for physical processes yet undiscovered, with attributes yet unknown.”

Either thoughts are material, physical “things in themselves”, and thus they are physically discoverable by opening the cranium, or they are not. “Attributes unknown” is the same mystical appeal to dualism which Bertrand Russell made in his attempt to define a “different kind” of substance in order to avoid a different kind of existence which would void his worldview.

”The material test for some of the material targets of those abstractions, such as parts of things (abstracted in different languages using various techniques, like fractions, decimals, percents) is compelling - empirical observation of the natural world.”

This presupposes that all abstractions have material targets when in fact they do not. The abstract concept, “truth”, has no physical correlate, because it relates to the characteristic of any argument regarding any subject, including itself. E.g.:

It is not true that there is no truth; this is proven by the Reductio Ad Absurdum test for the contrary, which is “It is true that there is no truth”, which is self-referencing and self-contradictory; self-contradiction, if allowed, would lead to irrationality.”

”There is no non-presuppositional test at all for the existence of immaterial abstractions outside the brain. Claiming they are discovered is not a test, but rather the assertion of a discoverability attribute that presupposes existence.”

Discoverability of non-material abstractions – especially coherent abstractions such as mathematical transforms - does presuppose prior existence, but it does not presuppose prior physical existence. It also presupposes a rational and coherent prior cause for both coherence itself (non-random), and the coherence of the mathematical abstract relationship.

Midas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Midas said...

Atheism, unlike Christianity or Mormonism, is NOT a belief “system”. You are treating it as such. There is no unified organization and no doctrine.

For example, a person can be celibate for any number of reasons. It’s not a lifestyle choice. I’m just not in a relationship with a deity. But I do not share a doctrine with Sam Harris for example. I differ with him on many huge points.

I feel you are being intentionally ignorant on this point. I am not advocating that someone join the club, because there is no club. Although it is self evident to me that there is not a higher power, I simply see no evidence that any god is real. That’s it. Period.

Why is this so hard for you to understand?

Midas said...

STAN;

There is no such thing as Atheist doctrine or belief system. If I say that Zeus is the one true god and if you do not subscribe to that belief then you are an ATHEIST to that particular belief system.

But that does not mean I get to apply other attributes to you, such as you only accept empirical evidence or that you have a dogmatic relationship to science. Rather, it means that when it comes to believing that Zeus is god, you are an Atheist to that belief.

Why is this so hard for you to understand?

Stan said...

Midas,
Beliefs have consequences. People with common beliefs are subject to common consequences. Those consequences which are common to Atheists are not common to non-Atheists (the exception being Islam). By having a common set of consequences specific to Atheism, Atheists are differentiable from western non-Atheists. That characteristic places Atheists into a common class of their own.

Atheism is an enabler of further characteristics which are common to most Atheists, and which are much less common to western non-Atheists. Those characteristics include elitist Leftism which self-anoints as moral authority and intellectual authority, which authority condescends to non-atheists, and ultimately allows for population control a la evolution in order to improve humanity - a moral mandate, self-derived and imposed with force.

Why is this so hard for you to understand?

Midas said...

Why is this so hard for you to understand?

Because your not attacking Atheism but Anti theism. Please learn the difference as it will help clear your confusion on this.
Antitheism is active opposition to theism. The term has had a range of applications. In secular contexts, it typically refers to direct opposition to organized religion or to the belief in any deity, while in a theistic context it sometimes refers to opposition to a specific god or gods.”
Antitheism has been adopted as a label by those who regard theism as dangerous or destructive. Christopher Hitchens offers an example of this approach in Letters to a Young Contrarian (2001), in which he writes: “I’m not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antitheism

Stan said...

This particular "labelling game" is a distinction without a difference. The fact is that every Atheist enters into a VOID when she rejects all authority, and experiences the joyous freedom of total self-autonomy in all its aspects. The consequences of the Atheist journey are common to all Atheists, regardless of what stage of the journey they currently occupy. Labelling the stages, and claiming that they fall outside of Atheism is false set theory. Hitchens was an Atheist at the stage of virulent hatred for his cartoon caricature of religion, a hatred of his own straw man.

So your attempt to redefine the issue mid-stream is not accepted; you'll have to actually refute the charges by facing them head-on.

Steve 11 said...

"There is no elephant testifying before Congress at this time."
I was referring to claims as to abstractions outside the mind, rather than to all possible claims about anything, in the text you referenced. Will make that explicit next time, and, in the meantime, agree with your elephant test!

"This presupposes that all abstractions have material targets when in fact they do not."
I was trying to convey that abstractions that happen to have physical targets are grounded in physical reality, and that there is a test for physical things. I was not trying to convey that the mind could only make abstractions that are based on physical reality. There is just no test for this, either way. However, restricting myself again only to those things that have actual tests, physical reality appears, at least, to have a great deal of influence on our thought patterns, making it difficult to identify with certainty those abstractions that never had any physical reality as a basis.

"It is true that there is no truth”, which is self-referencing and self-contradictory; self-contradiction, if allowed, would lead to irrationality.”
Agreed. There are at least two ways of dealing with that - asserting that truth is true, or asserting truth merely as a lexical basis in thought for a logical system. I've never been comfortable with the assertion "it is true that there is truth", either, as it appears to me self-referencing and circular.

"Discoverability of non-material abstractions – especially coherent abstractions such as mathematical transforms - does presuppose prior existence, but it does not presuppose prior physical existence."
Agreed.

"It also presupposes a rational and coherent prior cause for both coherence itself (non-random), and the coherence of the mathematical abstract relationship."
Does this create a rule that anything that is coherent must be created or caused by something that is coherent, in infinite regress? Or are there exceptions, and, if so, what test would you apply to verify the rule is not arbitrary?

Stan said...

"I was not trying to convey that the mind could only make abstractions that are based on physical reality. There is just no test for this, either way. However, restricting myself again only to those things that have actual tests, physical reality appears, at least, to have a great deal of influence on our thought patterns, making it difficult to identify with certainty those abstractions that never had any physical reality as a basis."

OK, but I'm not sure what that has to do with the existence of abstractions not grounded in material existence.

"There are at least two ways of dealing with that - asserting that truth is true, or asserting truth merely as a lexical basis in thought for a logical system. I've never been comfortable with the assertion "it is true that there is truth", either, as it appears to me self-referencing and circular."

It is not self-contradictory, though, and because of that it passes Reductio Ad Absurdum. Since it is congruent with the First Principles AND it passes Reductio, it is deductively a valid and true statement.

However, there is a more fundamental issue: the principles of deduction and the First Principles are declared valid and true purely by being self-evident. There is no other proof, except that the contrary to those principles results in complete non-coherence in both thought and in understanding principles of the universe. So if the presumption of the validity of Reductio Ad Absurdum is made, then the others fall into place.

""Discoverability of non-material abstractions – especially coherent abstractions such as mathematical transforms - does presuppose prior existence, but it does not presuppose prior physical existence."
Agreed.

"It also presupposes a rational and coherent prior cause for both coherence itself (non-random), and the coherence of the mathematical abstract relationship."
Does this create a rule that anything that is coherent must be created or caused by something that is coherent, in infinite regress? Or are there exceptions, and, if so, what test would you apply to verify the rule is not arbitrary?"


There are the standard three possibilities which attach to all arguments regarding their grounding: a) infinite regression; b) circularity; c) grounding in First Principles or absolute source.

Choice a) is impossible to prove and is usually considered an invalid possibility. Choice b) is not seen to apply to this argument. Choice c) remains, but is declared not a possibility in a purely Material existence with no other existence being possible.

So either there is no such grounding for this argument, or choice c) must apply. If choice c) applies, then either the argument is grounded in First Principles (which it is not), or there is a material source for all coherence, or there is a non-material source for coherence.

Materialists are ideologically forced to claim that there is some sort of material basis for coherence, but are unable to identify it. Non-materialists point out that coherence is itself non-material, and thus has a non-material source.

So in the final analysis, materialism claims that all existence is coherent due to determinism and the necessity of the four forces of physics to be the sole causal actors. But if coherence is non-physical and has a non-physical source, then all of material existence is under the influence of non-physical existence due to being coherent.

Further, humans are not coherent in the fashion of deterministic response to the four forces of physics. And since material existence is coherent, then humans are not totally controlled by the coherent laws which apply to material existence. So humans are connected to something outside of material existence, which allows them to have free will and agency (the existence of which are both denied by many Atheist philosophers).

This is a lot; I'll stop here.

Midas said...

I repeat the first principle of Atheism:
Atheism is a Void, intellectually and morally.
Atheism is purely rejectionism, and provides no moral or intellectual guidance. This allows the new Atheist to experience a "great freedom", being no longer beholden to any code of morality or logical analysis. While the Atheist might subsequently adopt or create a personal "moral code" as well as some sort of personal logic, these are personal, subjective, and hold neither moral authority nor intellectual authority. It is possible for the Atheist to co-opt moral and intellectual principles from others, but the co-option is still personal, subjective and without any authority attached to it.


When you make a moral statement what do think you are doing? “I don’t want to live in a world full of needless random acts of violence and terror”. What do you think that is? It’s you stating how you want or prefer the world to be. Therefore morality is about preference.

Morality is well being of conscious creatures. Well being is difficult to define. It's like the concept of physical health. What does “healthy” mean? Well, it means not vomiting, not being in excruciating pain and not running a fever. The distinction between a healthy person and a person on there death bed is very clear and not arbitrary. Likewise when talking about morality we are talking mental wellbeing/ health and the health of society. Its clear that a society like Afghanistan under the Taliban which throws acid in the face of little girls for learning to read is less healthy/moral than a society that doesn’t do that. Ok, and notice that no one is ever tempted to attack the philosophical underpinnings of medicine with questions like, “Well, who are you to say that not always vomiting is healthy? What if you meet someone who wants to vomit, and he wants to vomit until he dies, ok? How could you argue that he is not as healthy as you are?”

In short, Morality is defined as “actions which increase the well being of conscious creatures”. And if you don’t think morality is about the well being of conscious creatures then I don’t think you know what you are talking about.

Stan said...

When you make a moral statement what do think you are doing? “I don’t want to live in a world full of needless random acts of violence and terror”. What do you think that is? It’s you stating how you want or prefer the world to be. Therefore morality is about preference."

If that is what you think is the Truth about morality, then there is no such thing as morality because every person has a right to his own preferences which consist of both subjective chosen proclivities, and fixed traits inherent within the individual, such as not liking chocolate. And so there is no possible way to know what the preferences of any stranger you meet might be from acute traditional liberalism or libertarianism, to hegemonic racism and Progressive eugenics against your own race or tribe. All can be called moral under your understnding morals = preferences.

But in the very next paragraph you nullify your own notion by declaring that morality necessarily involves "increasing the well being of conscious creatures", which is not necessarily the preference of all conscious creatures.

So if the second part takes precedence, having been written somewhat later than the first part, then the first part cannot be the case except in your own specific case, IFF you really believe that what morality is really about is "increasing the well being of conscious creatures".

But here's the problem which Atheists and Leftists have in common when it comes to understanding morality. Morality for Atheists and Leftists is something which should be applied to the whole of civilization, and that the self-endowed elites who self-authorize themselves to be the moral arbiters of what the moral principles will be which the entire civilization should obey and never, ever dissent from.

But that very definition is false. Here's why. Morality has traditionally been about Objective Rules which apply to the individual. The purpose is to strengthen the character of the individual into preconceived and objective notions of honesty, fairness, and recognition of universal individuality and rights. The character of a newborn infant is as open and blank as is his knowledge base. Yet that newborn infant has innate capabilities of both grasping and following principles of character development, just as he has of grasping and following principles of logic development and knowledge development. [John Locke].

Stan said...

The focus is on the individual as a "becoming": becoming a moral person of high character even when no one is looking; becoming a discerning person when observing both material existence and life; becoming knowledgeable in the characteristics of other people, other civilizations, other thought processes; becoming discriminating in choosing logical answers regardless of whether the conform to her old worldview.

The moral portion of this cannot be entrusted to either personal preference, nor can it be entrusted to the diktat of elite social engineers. The only moral authority which actually has true authority for determining the principles for moral character development is an external and unchangeable source which is better than humans.

Without such a source, there is no actual morality. For Atheists, their "morality" is merely - as you say - their preference and/or their application of their preference to all of civilization. It is vanishingly rare for an Atheist to prefer to develop principles ONLY for herself; Atheists always want their "moral principles" to be encoded into law via Secularism (the phony pseudonym for Atheism).

And that is why Cloward-Piven, Alinsky, and the Frankfort School of Cultural Marxism are the pseudo-moral vehicles being used in the "Long March Through the Institutions": to install both anti-rationalism and anti-morality into the laws for Civilization.

"In short, Morality is defined as “actions which increase the well being of conscious creatures”. And if you don’t think morality is about the well being of conscious creatures then I don’t think you know what you are talking about."

And vice-versa, for the reasons given above.

Phoenix said...

"In short, Morality is defined as “actions which increase the well being of conscious creatures”. And if you don’t think morality is about the well being of conscious creatures then I don’t think you know what you are talking about."

Seems like a noble intention. Just increase the well-being of society.
However, since societies consist of indivduals and this Atheist has admitted that each individual gets to choose his own moral principles, thus the end result would never be achieved because there would be too many cases where the indivduals personal principles clash, especially with no objective standard as a benchmark.

Stan said...

Internal contradictions occur when attempting to dictate the meaning of "well being". First, sez who? (who has the moral authority?). Second, does the individual's opinion count, or just the dictates of the "moral authority"? Third, personal character development is not pursued and is actually hampered and reversed, as can be seen in the dictated laws of Islam and the cultures within street gangs and revolutionary guerrilla groups.

Who gets to decide on the metrics for "increased well being"? Well being is sufficiently foggy and nebulous as to be pretty much anything which the elite define it as. This leads to moral dichotomies between dictated cultural moralities and self-managed personal-character moralities.

An example of moral metric dichotomy: equal opportunity to pursue well being for oneself with risk of failure vs. dictated equal outcomes where no one need fail. Which metric satisfies the dictate of "increasing the well being of conscious creatures"? The equal opportunity morality satisfies personal autonomy and freedom. The equal outcome morality satisfies the Leftist notion of total imposed fairness.

The Left has always proven itself to be the representative of crony government and corruption in the form of wealth theft from the public coffers. This is the modus operandi of all top-down power distributions. The most recent failure is Venezuela, pillaged by Chavez to the tune of many billions of dollars. Russia has Putin and his criminal cronies in their pay to play thefts. The USA has the Clintons, in cash for favorable government actions.

Freedom, personal responsibility and non-feudalism is the exception in human history. The feudal leftist dictator-king-warlord and his peasants is the standard human condition throughout the ages. We have hardly even emerged into freedom before we are threatened - internally - with forces to return us to economic and personal captivity.