Skip to comments.The Dawkins Challenge
Posted on 06/14/2012 6:58:55 AM PDT by C19fan
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It is used by all sentient rational beings to know and understand reality. It does not depend on who they are, or where they exist.
"I only reference the supernatural to point out the limitations of the scientific method."
If phenomena that carry a probability of being true that is zero is a limitation, then that is a good thing.
"Again, you use the word blueprint, which is completely different from the meaning of definition. A blueprint is a techical schematic, or more broadly used, a plan or symbolic representation of some key elements of a thing. The sense of the word is different than that of a definition in important ways."
Not of some key elements; it's a plan, or symbolic representation of the key elements of a thing.
Webster's: "2a : a statement expressing the essential nature of something"
2c : a product of defining.
"I stated there was anthropomorphism in your assumption that you could apply properties of sentient rational machines, as you call them, to a deity."
Deities are sentient rational beings, else they are inanimate objects like the sun, or moon. There is no other possibility.
“It is used by all sentient rational beings to know and understand reality. It does not depend on who they are, or where they exist.”
If they’re using the same method that man does, which is pure speculation, then they are making the same basic assumptions.
“If phenomena that carry a probability of being true that is zero is a limitation, then that is a good thing.”
Being true, and being demonstrable by the scientific method are not the same thing. To say otherwise is hubris.
“Not of some key elements; it’s a plan, or symbolic representation of the key elements of a thing.”
It may represent all the key elements, or it may not. The definition of a blueprint does not imply that it represents every key element.
“Webster’s: “2a : a statement expressing the essential nature of something”
2c : a product of defining.”
I’m glad Webster’s agrees with me, they don’t mention anything about a blueprint either. They mention a description (”a statement expressing”), exactly as I said. If you want a description of the essential nature of a deity, and it is beyond the scope of human knowledge to know the essential nature of such a thing, then naturally, the definition must come from the deity, not from man. Any other definition would, by necessity be imcomplete and insufficient.
“Deities are sentient rational beings, else they are inanimate objects like the sun, or moon. There is no other possibility.”
Again, this is anthropomorphism, trying to assign qualities of man to deity. We only have a very limited ability to know the nature of sentient, rational beings, since we only have a very limited variety of them to observe. So, you are essentially saying that God must be like us, which is anthropomorphic.
So you write a vacuous definition of the word faith. Then you make a declaration of what sentience allows for, but fail to provide an epistemological explaination of how sentience can be accounted for from brute matter and energy. You simply assert without accountablility. My question was not to request a definition of a word, but the epistemic explaination....and you offer no explaination. You have not, by scientific method, accounted for scientific method. You have not accounted epistemologically for sentinece, but you lay claim to the fact that it exists. You lay claim to accurate knowledge without giving any warrant for that acquisition. You lay claim to a term, 'rational capacity' but cannot materially account for rationality using scientific method. All of your assumptions are affirmed then you deny that they are assumed. YOu seem to be saying that 'only science is rational'....only science can give us this 'accurate knowledge' (I assume you mean warrants knowledge). You seem to be asserting that everything else is faith or belief and opinion. But if something cannot be quantified or tested by scientific method cannot be true or 'rational'. You seem to be saying only science is the only procurator of truth. So when I ask you to account for sentience...what is it made of...you give me an action which you assert is its exclusive domain. I ask you to physically account for rationality and logic, claiming it is the exclusive domain of science, but will not then, by scientific method account for these tools. So your basis for your 'belief' that science can prove these tools of science, in your next paraagraph, you simply assert "Yes they can" (scientist can prove the tools of science-the laws of logic, the Law of Causality, the Principle of Uniformity or the reliability of observations by running an experiment. So, now that we know that you believe you can prove the laws of logic, please do so. Remember in order to prove something you cannot use that 'something' to prove itself...that is what is called circular reasoning,...and as we all know circular reasoning or begging the question has no meaning at all. I am very interested in your claim to be able to do this regarding, not only logic, but the Law of Causality, the Principle of Uniformity and the scientific methodological explaination for the reliability of observation which you claim can be explained. Please no tautologies.
You then claim logic contains proofs. But I did not ask what logic contains,...I asked what the physical makeup of logic is. You are the scientific naturalist, not me. Then you tell me what the act of observation relies on, saying, A=A (Law of Identity). But I did not ask you what observation relies on...I asked you what that law of logic physically is. You offered none. You did however prove my point by affirming that science relies on a law of logic. But, unless you prove otherwise you just said that science relies on a Philosophical concept (the Law of Identity) which you had previously denied that science relied on. Then you affirm that scientific observation applies to reality. If you affirm a physicalist worldview, and you presume a cloak of rational thought, but cannot account for rationality itself, by what scientific application or observation do you believe anything at all? How do you know your observations are warranted and true? I do not think you have thought through your assertions because, at your bedrock, physicalism or scientific naturalism cannot prove the laws of logic, yet you claim them for your very own even as you deny others the same....but, but, but 'I am doing it in the name of science', that is your only claim of validation and I am afraid you come up lacking in the epistemological department. In other words, just because you say it is so, does not make it so. Explain yourself without contradicting yourself is all that I have asked you to do.
Then you say, Causality depends on the conservation of energy and the action integral. There are no assumptions needed. I simply ask you, 'What causese you to say this?" Regress this assertion all the way back to mind, not just to neurotransmittors. I have no interest any longer in GABA or dopaminergic receptors or prostaglandin receptors....take it to mind and account for mind. What causes mind? The laws of physics and chemistry cannot account for mind or consciousness. Consciousness is perhaps the most important fact of our existence apart from that indefinable term life, itself. Matter is completely governed by the laws of physics and chemistry. Yet you are free to make your free will assertions as am I. But if everything is governed by the laws of nature should not the neurosynapses in your brain fire exactly the same as mine. Yet we have divergent conclusions regarding logic, reason, and rational thought and those epistemologies. That needs to be explained by the scientific naturalist,....not defined, I know the definintion,....it needs to be epistemically accounted for by the materialist...and if he cannot explain it he needs to abandon that conviction of mind. Your consciousness, your sentience, your self-introspection is a very private thing. I cannot force myself into it. However if it were governed by the laws of physics we should be able to devise an experiment which would allow such. A neuroscientist can know much more about my brain than I do, but he cannot possibly know more about my mind than I know. They are two different things.
Then you say the scientist assumes nothing. Quiet a bold and unambiguous statement. Does the scientist assume that logic will lead to a correct conclusion? Does the scientist assume that reason will guide him to a correct understanding? Does the scientist assume the Law of Identity as you stated just a few paragraphs prior to this one?
Then your next assertion is that machines made of matter we see represented on the periodic table can be sentient....they (machines) are capable of logic, reason, and rational thought. You say machines are sentient or are capable of selfintrospection and have the power of perception. You are basically saying what Ray Kurzweil said in the book, "The Age of Spiritual Machines". Yours and Kurzweils notions are the logical extension of the idea of Darwinian evolution. You basically say that when a machine becomes complex enough,...its structure becomes diverse enough it will 'evolove' to consciousness....that is they suddenly develope subjectivity, feelings, hopes, self-awareness, and introspection. All of those 0's and 1's take on what it means to be alive....a sort of Space Odessy 2001 notion. But you can give a machine all of the powers all of the 0's and 1's you wish that machine will only shuffle the symbols which mind had programmed into that machine. You and Kurzweil are peddling bad science and bad philosophy. Machines of the sort which you reference only perform directed algorithm. That is not thought. That is not sentience. That is not introspection, and it certainly is not rational that a thinking person make such a claim. Yes, you can place a blood sample in a sequential multiple analyzer and with the proper reagents get a chemical reaction and then photometrically or colorimetrically or use any other meter to determine a chemical level and then have that machine perform its preprogrammed function and asssign a number to that test. But that is not sentience. Those are not rational thoughts.
Now comes the most interesting questions of all regarding your statement, Obviously you're not aware that the various forms and particles of energy have properties, which are sentient. What makes you think that the interactions between particles should be referred to as brutish, rather than the fundamental elements of sentience and perception? Yes, I am unaware of particles and fundamental elements of sentience and perdception. I know of no neuroscientist, psychologist, neurologist, or cosmologist who is aware of such notions, so I am very, very interested in your explication of these particles and elements. I have spent the better part of 35 years studying these very notions and have not read nor spoken to anyone who makes these assertions as warranted true belief (knowledge). So, please, enlighten me.
Your next paragraph references faith, the defence of faith, and then you claim without reason is BS. Of course it is a tautology to assert being unreasonable is unreasonable (or BS). That type of circular reasoning gets us nowhere. In your attempt to disparage faith you only achieve disparaging your assertions with feckless tautologies waisting 'man-hours'.
Next you assert that physics is enough to assert explanation of your positions. Yet you use that little metaphysical tool called mind. It seems physics is not suficient. Your claim the use of that metaphysical tool of rational thought. It seems physics is not enough. You use numbers in science. Numbers, as you must know, are metaphysical concepts. It seems physics is not enough. You use abstract thought and sentience. Its seems physics is not enough. You seem to assert that you know what is right and what is wrong...what is a waist of time and what is prudent use of time...a product of mind. It seems physics is not enough. You assert free will in making your claims. What is the physical makeup of free will. It seems physics is not enough. You seem to make many truth claims. But truth is a metaphysical abstract concept. It seems physics is not enough. You concluded that the logical extension of physicalism where I said that in accordance with metaphysical naturalism (physicalism) to say you love your wife is no different than saying you have an itch, is "ridiculous". So in order to make that assertion you must know what 'love' is. But what is the physical makeup of love? It seems that physics is not enough. To assert that it is ridiculous implies that you know it is wrong and not right. Yet in the physicalists worldview what is 'wrong' and what is 'right' requires a spatial extension of matter. So what is right and what is wrong in the physicalists world. What is your standard. Is it every man to his own view. Is it as Dostoyevsky said, all things are permitted. Is there no right or wrong without a metaphysical standard? If so, what is the standard. Is there no standard to measure right and wrong? If you asset there is what is its temporal-spatial makeup?
This is ridiculous. You claim it has no meaning, therefore it has no meaning! Rubbish!
So this is what you have? You call names, give silly definitions, claim elements and particles are sentient...and I am ridiculous. Make an argument. Give me your epistemic explainations. What are the ontologies of your proclaimations. Or are you just throwing it all in a pot and stirring and seeing what you come up with? While you claim reason, logic, and rational thought as your very own you cannot account epistemically for any of those tools which you profess to be the keeper of. All of those out here who examine metaphysical reality are ignorant and illinformed, yet you give no single logical defence of your position. Your tool of calling names..ridiculous....irrational....arbitrary BS....and the rest. Those are your terms of scientific aprobrium. Those represent your explication of your warranted belief in scientific method?
Cogito ergo sum.
Cogito, ergo Deus est.
Yes it does.
"Im glad Websters agrees with me"
No, they don't. You said your god defined himself and I pointed out that he could not have, because one must exist before they define themselves. Note 2c, which you just posted to me: "2c : a product of defining."
"the definition must come from the deity, not from man."
Description, not definition. Point out where your deity described himself as being supernatural.
"We only have a very limited ability to know the nature of sentient, rational beings, since we only have a very limited variety of them to observe"
Limited is relative, nevertheless the limits are not sufficient to prevent them from being known, understood and being made.
"you are essentially saying that God must be like us, which is anthropomorphic."
Which god? Muhumed's character?
No it doesn't.
"1: a photographic print in white on a bright blue ground or blue on a white ground used especially for copying maps, mechanical drawings, and architects' plans "2: something resembling a blueprint (as in serving as a model or providing guidance); especially : a detailed plan or program of action "
Nothing in there saying that it must represent every key element of a thing. Try again.
"You said your god defined himself and I pointed out that he could not have, because one must exist before they define themselves."
So, your real argument is just that you don't think a God can exist, and therefore He couldn't define Himself? That's a belief, not a truth.
"Note 2c, which you just posted to me: "2c : a product of defining.""
So what? God defines Himself, producing the definition, the product of His defining.
"Description, not definition. Point out where your deity described himself as being supernatural."
No, because again, you're just trying to shift the argument to a theological one in order to avoid addressing the original point. It's getting tiring.
"Limited is relative, nevertheless the limits are not sufficient to prevent them from being known, understood and being made. "
It's necessary to know the limits of any endeavor to gain knowledge, otherwise you may assume that you can know things through those means which are beyond the scope of your investigation. That's the whole crux of my original point. Science can only study one type of sentient, rational machine, and can only assume that any knowledge gained from that study will apply to anything else (again, another assumption of the scientific method, that properties of a subset reflect all the properties of a larger set). That places a definite limit on the type of statements and conclusions that you are trying to draw.
"Which god? Muhumed's character?"
Again, I've already said I'm not going to take your bait and shift to a theological argument, stop trying to confuse the issue.
OPPROBRIUM - sorry. Misspellers of the world - UNTIE!!!!!!!!
Let’s make this simple, since our discussion is devolving to discussing things only tangential to the original dispute. You seem to have a problem with the word God, so let’s simply talk about supernatural vs natural phenomenon. I’ll rephrase my original point as an either/or proposition, so there should be no confusion or need to argue semantics.
A. It is within the scope of science to demonstrate evidence of the supernatural.
B. It is not within the scope of science to demonstrate evidence of the supernatural.
Pick one or the other, no arguing semantics or dancing around the issue. I pick B.
No. No assumptions are made. Science is based on Bayesian probabilities.
"Does the scientist assume that reason will guide him to a correct understanding?
No. He knows it.
" Does the scientist assume the Law of Identity as you stated just a few paragraphs prior to this one?
No. He knows and understands it and chooses to believe it based on the logical consequences of not believing that it is absolutely true.
"I have no interest any longer in GABA or dopaminergic receptors or prostaglandin receptors....take it to mind and account for mind. What causes mind? The laws of physics and chemistry cannot account for mind or consciousness."
Why ask for an answer which you reject a priori? Mind is a machine that provides for the functions of mind. The machine is based on the physics of the world it exists in-whether you like it, or not.
Re: "This is ridiculous. You claim it has no meaning, therefore it has no meaning! Rubbish!
"So this is what you have? You call names, give silly definitions, claim elements and particles are sentient...and I am ridiculous.
Particles are sentient. They are observers, whether you like it, or not. If they are brutes, it's because they threaten your worldview. Notice that you left out what you said that my reply referred to. It was your logic I referred to as rubbish, not you.
"So you write a vacuous definition of the word faith."
No it's not vacuous, you just don't like it.
You are not a very good engineer.
"So, your real argument is just that you don't think a God can exist, and therefore He couldn't define Himself? That's a belief, not a truth. "
No. I believe that men define gods, because they don't know any. Besides that, no one can define themselves. they can describe themselves, but not define themselves.
Re: Point out where your deity described himself as being supernatural."
" No, because again, you're just trying to shift the argument to a theological one in order to avoid addressing the original point.
You brought up the deity, supernatural, god, ect..., you just refuse to acknowledge it.
Re: "Which god? Muhumed's character?"
" Again, I've already said I'm not going to take your bait and shift to a theological argument, stop trying to confuse the issue.
You're tangled in your own net.
Which supernatural, pink elephants, or little greys?
"B. It is not within the scope of science to demonstrate evidence of the supernatural.
Science doesn't generate, or demonstrate evidence for something. Either it's observable, or it's not.
"Pick one or the other, no arguing semantics or dancing around the issue. I pick B."
I just have to assume you won’t pick a proposition and defend it because you can’t, otherwise you wouldn’t be arguing semantics. Good day.
With origins in the 17th century.
Take a careful look at what you say. Take a look at your series of tautologies.
Tell you what. I will let the reader of your post and my posts stand in stark contrast to each other.
It is hard to resist not commenting on your statement that "science is based on Bayesian probability". That is a remarkable statement. I will let it go at that. It is not important I rejoin such a statement. I will let the reader make an assessment. It is unsetteling to know that science, according to you, does not rely on logic.
You missed something.
Re: "Science is based on Bayesian probability."
That is a remarkable statement. ... It is not important I rejoin such a statement.
It should learn it though.