Skip to comments.A Darwinist Mob Goes After a Serious Philosopher
Posted on 03/24/2013 8:51:28 AM PDT by dirtboy
s there a greater gesture of intellectual contempt than the notion that a tweet constitutes an adequate intervention in a serious discussion? But when Thomas Nagels formidable book Mind and Cosmos recently appeared, in which he has the impudence to suggest that the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false, and to offer thoughtful reasons to believe that the non-material dimensions of lifeconsciousness, reason, moral value, subjective experiencecannot be reduced to, or explained as having evolved tidily from, its material dimensions, Steven Pinker took to Twitter and haughtily ruled that it was the shoddy reasoning of a once-great thinker. **** him, he explained.
Here was a signal to the Darwinist dittoheads that a mob needed to be formed. In an earlier book Nagel had dared to complain of Darwinist imperialism, though in his scrupulous way he added that there is really no reason to assume that the only alternative to an evolutionary explanation of everything is a religious one. He is not, God forbid, a theist. But he went on to warn that this may not be comforting enough for the materialist establishment, which may find it impossible to tolerate also any cosmic order of which mind is an irreducible and non-accidental part. For the bargain-basement atheism of our day, it is not enough that there be no God: there must be only matter. Now Nagels new book fulfills his old warning. A mob is indeed forming, a mob of materialists, of free-thinking inquisitors.
It is bad for the lefts own culture war. Whose side is he on, anyway? Almost taunting the materialist left, which teaches skepticism but not self-skepticism,
(Excerpt) Read more at newrepublic.com ...
Thanks for posting this piece. I really like the author, I think we can call him a “liberal with sanity” like Ed Koch.
Today’s radical atheists are really quite a group. I don’t understand why they get themselves so worked up over stuff they don’t believe in.
But it’s only the God of the Christians and Jews that irritates them.
That world class moron Dawkins was actually asked about Allah the other day. He said he’d never thought much about him.
How mind bendingly S.T.U.P.I.D. is that?
To an atheist ALL Gods should be the same, some fake “god” that no sensible person could believe in. It makes sense for religious people to ponder the differences between religions, but not atheists.
He’s just a stinking, stupid coward. Yet he’s considered “an intellectual”.
The world is truly a pathetic place. I’m almost sure it wasn’t this pathetic years ago, but I could be wrong about that.
I have never witnessed an atheist tantrum. On the other hand theist tantrums are on display in every interaction, as here: "...cannot give up on Atheism regardless of its glaring, in your face, falsity."
You think something is false, fine, but in no way is the non-theistic world view glaringly false. If it were, it would not have so many intelligent, considered adherents. If you think it is false, it is up to you to put forward some convincing arguments in support, otherwise it is nothing more than a figurative stamping of feet. And, as Nagel says, there is really no reason to assume that the only alternative to an evolutionary explanation of everything is a religious one.
Here is a real insight few on either side of the divide will find comfort in.
The principal target of postmodernism was science, at least as perceived by scientists. With titles like “We Have Never Been Modern”, “Against Reason”, and “The Truth about THE TRUTH”, the pomo movement sought to demolish every sort of certainty, including in particular scientific certainty.
In the process it elevated premodern points of view, such as animism, to equal status, if anything had any status in this fundamentally nihilistic philosophy. It was great fun, though.
Perhaps you haven't read many of Dawkins' "arguments." They are little more than rhetorical barbs, so vapid that Michael Ruse says they make him ashamed to be an atheist. If your mind is open, you might read "Is God a Moral Monster?"
There are only two possible systems for creation of life, ethics, and order: supernatural, or natural. The two systems have been argued at length. Macroevolusionist Theory is on the ropes. Even Anthony Few saw that. If one chooses to reject the evidence for a supernatural origin, and pin their hopes on someday discerning another natural explanation we have no hint of at this time, then that's an emotional reaction. Personally, I don't have that kind of blind faith.
As for me, neither do I have that kind of blind faith, nor any other kind.
Are you going for humor here? I reject your artificial binary choice, as should anyone willing to give the matter honest and unfettered consideration.
Also, I doubt I will devote any time to the book you suggest as it appears that the book is intent on destroying an argument I would never make, and as such would not offer anything relevant to me.
I will only say that both sides seem to insist on defining terms in such a way as to devalue the arguments of the other side. It's really simple, if you control the definitions, you control the outcome of the debate - and destroy any chance of deeper understanding in the process.
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
I did, go back and read my post.
Sorry, but I can not spot them...
Not so! Reason is and must be part of any necessary and sufficient definition of Nature.
Nature is far grander and more wonderful than your absurd caricature of it.
I find nothing whatsoever either original or compelling in your post.
You are certainly correct that it is not original, it is the core argument in C.S. Lewis's book "Miracles." Lewis made this argument in response to materialist philosophy which holds that "the only thing that exists is matter or energy; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance, and reality is identical with the actually occurring states of energy and matter."
If all phenomena, including consciousness, are the result of irrational material interactions that would include Reason, and therefore Reason would not be valid.
However, if Reason stands on its own, independent of natural forces i.e. it is supernatural, then it has the potential of being valid. Now if you want to redefine nature such that consciousness is not included in the definition, and that it is the result of something other than material interactions, you are simply restating the supernaturalist argument and refuting materialism.
I’m definitely not getting involved, I think of that old Mark Twain quote...
When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
I simply do not subscribe to either of these reductionist philosophies.
If Lewis defines materialism as you say: “the only thing that exists is matter or energy; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance, and reality is identical with the actually occurring states of energy and matter,” then obviously he can savage the materialist position to the point of devastation, and so he should. The materialist description of reality is nonsense.
Similarly, Lewis’ positing of natural and “supernatural” realities is equally subject to devastating critique, the same critique that has been applied to every dualistic philosophy espoused since time began: dualism always fails because of it cannot account for the interaction problem.
That’s why I don’t subscribe to either extremist position. Neither is an efficient descriptor of reality, and thus is almost certainly not a true descriptor of reality.
That wasn’t Lewis’s definition, it was websters.
Supernaturalism is not dualistic. Supernaturalism posits that Mind has always existed and created nature, and holds nature in existence. The supernatural interacts with creation first by being the source of Reason, and secondly, though rarely, in the form of miracles (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). Deists believe in the supernatural but do not believe that it ever interferes with nature.
If naturalism/materialism and supernaturalism are both false then what is the third philosophical worldview?
Webster or whosoever. I care not.
Supernaturalism IS dualistic. The characteristics of mind: immaterial, eternal, undefiled. The characteristics material nature: dense, transient, sullied.
The postulate that mind “contains” nature or predates it is obvious claptrap, a kludge meant to bridge the unbridgable.
The alternative to both these is a natural world that partakes of a total set of characteristics which while knowable are not easily known, and which are neither eternal or transient, immaterial or material, pure or sullied, but which transcends all these imperfect attempts at description.
Call it what you like, this worldview at least has the imprimatur of age.
Well, dualistic and dualism are two different things. Yes the created material world is inherently different than the supernatural Mind that created it, and if you want to call that dualistic then fine. The simple fact that they are different does not make the concept "claptrap."
"Dualism", in the philosphical sense, is a system which would explain the universe as the outcome of two eternally opposed and coexisting principles, conceived as good and evil, light and darkness, or some other form of conflicting powers. This concept was condemned as heresy by Emperor Theodosius I in 382.
With respect to your proposed third philosophical worldview, what Philosophers have promoted this worldview as you have defined it, and what are their key supporting arguments? It sounds to me just like just another way of describing Naturalism, which we have both dismissed as bunk.
To keep this exchange from going on ad infinitum, I will make this my last response. Thanks for the interesting discussion.