Skip to comments.Materialist Poofery (the "emergent property" did it!)
Posted on 04/25/2009 7:33:14 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
25 April 2009
From time to time we see materialists raising the poof objection against ID. The poof objection goes something like this: An ID theorist claims that a given organic system (the bacterial flagellum perhaps) is irreducibly complex or that it displays functional complex specified information. In a sneering and condescending tone the materialist dismisses the claim, saying something like Your claim amounts to nothing more than Poof! the designer did it.
I have always thought the poof objection coming from a materialist is particularly ironic, because materialists have poofery built into their science at a very basic level. Of course, they dont use the term poof. They use a functional synonym of poof the word emergent.
What do I mean? Consider the hard problem of consciousness. We all believe we are conscious, and consciousness must be accounted for. For the ID theorists, this is easy. The mind is a real phenomenon that cannot be reduced to the properties of the brain. Obviously, this is not so easy for the materialist who, by definition, must come up with a theory that reduces the mind to an epiphenomenon of the electro-chemical processes of the brain. What do they do? They say the mind is an emergent property of the brain. Huh? Wazzat? That means that the brain system has properties that cannot be reduced to its individual components. The system is said to supervene (Im not making this up) on its components causing the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts.
And what evidence do we have that emergence is a real phenomenon? Absolutely none. Emergence is materialist poofery. Take the mind-brain problem again. The materialist knows that his claim that the mind does not exist is patently absurd. Yet, given his premises it simply cannot exist. So what is a materialist to do? Easy. Poof the mind is an emergent property of the brain system that otherwise cannot be accounted for on materialist grounds.
Evolution uses evidence.
That is why we have all those dug up bones in museums. That is why people do experiments. Darwin himself did experiments, and combined information on how long seeds would remain fertile with information on ocean currents gathered from ship captains all over the world. The results were published by the Royal Society. Given different concentration of species, why would there not be breadfruit plants in North America, but there are breadfruit plants in Tahiti?
Hypothesis: Breadfruit plant seeds would not be able to germinate after immersion in sea water for the length of time needed to reach North America.
Test: Calculate time required for a breadfruit plant to move by ocean currents from Tahiti to North America. Soak a sample of breadfruit plant seeds in sea water (in several of Darwin’s bathtubs, he had a large home). At intervals tale one out and plant it. Record the results of germination. If no germination is recorded after the calculated time, then the hypothesis is confirmed.
That is science. Not quote mining. Not whining about bias.
Predictions, experiments, and most importantly, evidence.
I would love to take you up to Las Vegas, and watch you use faith as your method at the craps table.
I wonder, do you have much experience with Dalton’s law of partial pressures? Do you know what happens when a scuba diver comes up from the depths?
Speaking as a practicioner of the scientific method, what do you say to the people who submit that the scientific method is irreparably flawed by methodoligical naturalism and should be rejected, but can't say what it should be replaced with?
Thank you. That's fascinating, I'd never heard of that.
It's not clear from what I can find just how little brain the person had, though. Most descriptions of the case I can find describe the patient as having little to no "cerebral cortex"--I can't tell how much of the rest of his brain the person had.
Also, what there was of the cerebral cortex was a thin layer pressed against the inside of the skull. According to one source, that means the outer layer of the brain, which is most associated with consciousness, may have actually been bigger than in a normal brain.
Anyway, I certainly wouldn't conclude from these cases that the brain is unrelated to consciousness, or that it's been demonstrated that consciousness is not in some way a property of the brain.
There's nothing like scientific hand-waving. OK, except for dogmatic empiricism, like, "we know that evolution happened, so..."
This is what John Lorber, the British neurologist that conducted the studies and examinations written about by Lewin, said about this specific case:
"I can't say whether the mathematics student has a brain weighing 50 grams or 150 grams, but it is clear that it is nowhere near the normal 1.5 kilograms."
I read that, but it's still unclear to me exactly what Lorber means by "brain." I see the term used for both the entire brain--brainstem, midbrain, and cortex--and sometimes just for the last. When I read B-Chan's post about "someone who was fully conscious despite having no brain tissue," I thought it meant no brainstem or midbrain either.
Also, from what I've read, it probably makes a difference whether someone is born with so little brain matter, or if the hydrocephalus squeezes their brain into a small space as they get older. In the latter case, it's less surprising that what's left can take over the functions of what gets destroyed.
In any case, it doesn't really say much about whether, evolutionarily speaking, consciousness was an emergent property of the development of the (healthy) human brain.
The swine flu has characteristics of both the pig flu and the human flu. It is mostly the swine flu, which generally does not infect humans. It recombined with the human flu and produced this new strain. This is a variant of the Spanish flu of 1918. From what I remember the flu virus has 9 strands of RNA and any combination may be packaged. Since this is an RNA based virus, there is a much higher mutation rate.
Most of the strains come from Asia because a lot of pigs and fowl are grown on farms in close proximity to humans. Strains from all three can recombine. producing a totally new strain.
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