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A Darwinist Mob Goes After a Serious Philosopher
New Republic ^ | 3/8/13 | LEON WIESELTIER

Posted on 03/24/2013 8:51:28 AM PDT by dirtboy

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Almost taunting the materialist left, which teaches skepticism but not self-skepticism

Classic.

1 posted on 03/24/2013 8:51:28 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy
The Heretic - Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him?
2 posted on 03/24/2013 8:53:59 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy

The God haters are not very tolerant.


3 posted on 03/24/2013 8:57:12 AM PDT by Lets Roll NOW (A baby isn't a punishment, Obama is)
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To: dirtboy

Modern philosophy is an intellectual desert. Postmodernism has been deconstructed to the point of empty parlor room word games.

I used to think that Postmodernism might be fading away, but what could come after such vapidness?

Maybe this is the start of a new beginning.


4 posted on 03/24/2013 9:01:57 AM PDT by Shadow44
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To: dirtboy

bm


5 posted on 03/24/2013 9:05:22 AM PDT by Para-Ord.45
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To: dirtboy
The clay became man at the moment in which a being for the first time was capable of forming, however dimly, the thought of “God”. The first Thou that—however stammeringly—was said by human lips to God marks the moment in which the spirit arose in the world. Here the Rubicon of anthropogenesis was crossed. For it is not the use of weapons or fire, not new methods of cruelty or of useful activity, that constitute man, but rather his ability to be immediately in relation to God. This holds fast to the doctrine of the special creation of man ... herein ... lies the reason why the moment of anthropogenesis cannot possibly be determined by paleontology: anthropogenesis is the rise of the spirit, which cannot be excavated with a shovel. The theory of evolution does not invalidate the faith, nor does it corroborate it. But it does challenge the faith to understand itself more profoundly and thus to help man to understand himself and to become increasingly what he is: the being who is supposed to say Thou to God in eternity.

— Joseph Ratzinger

6 posted on 03/24/2013 9:06:31 AM PDT by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
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To: dirtboy
the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false

Absolutely! However, if the materialism is true there would be no way to know that it is true because Reason would then be invalid and merely the epiphenomenon of blind irrational forces i.e chemical reactions, eletromagnetic waves etc. Reason, in order to be valid, MUST be independent of nature. This was very clearly explained in C.S. Lewis's book "Miracles."

Clear thinking Atheists know this but just cannot give up on Atheism regardless of its glaring, in your face, falsity. So they throw tantrums instead.

7 posted on 03/24/2013 9:06:48 AM PDT by HerrBlucher (Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of Creation)
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To: dirtboy

bttt


8 posted on 03/24/2013 9:10:30 AM PDT by sphinx
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To: HerrBlucher
HerrBlucher (Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of Creation)

Amen to your tagline. Seems apropos on this thread. Let the materialists argue among themselves. It "matters" not. Dust to dust.

9 posted on 03/24/2013 9:14:52 AM PDT by Albion Wilde (Liberalism: knowing you're better than everyone else because of your humility. -- Daniel Greenfield)
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To: dirtboy
Almost taunting the materialist left, which teaches skepticism but not self-skepticism Classic.

Yep - just as "An unexamined life is not worth living" displays how worthless the Left is - they examine everyone but themselves.

10 posted on 03/24/2013 9:21:39 AM PDT by trebb (Where in the the hell has my country gone?)
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To: dirtboy
A mob is indeed forming, a mob of materialists

To be a materialist, one has to believe that

1) omething came from nothing
2) natural law, symmetry, order, and beauty came from primordial disorder
3) organization came from utterly random primordial disorganization
4) consciousness,free will, and reason came from matter
5) life came from from non-life or inanimate chemicals
6) anthrropic coninidences came from chance
7) man, from pond scum
8) human knowledge and human values came from a universe without absolutes and without absolute truth

11 posted on 03/24/2013 9:23:13 AM PDT by mjp ((pro-{God, reality, reason, egoism, individualism, natural rights, limited government, capitalism}))
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To: Fightin Whitey

bimp


12 posted on 03/24/2013 9:32:48 AM PDT by Fightin Whitey
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To: Vaquero

Bookmarked!


13 posted on 03/24/2013 9:38:04 AM PDT by 22cal (Forgiven, not perfected)
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To: dirtboy

keeper.


14 posted on 03/24/2013 9:41:13 AM PDT by Zeneta (No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.)
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To: HerrBlucher
Absolutely! However, if the materialism is true there would be no way to know that it is true because Reason would then be invalid and merely the epiphenomenon of blind irrational forces i.e chemical reactions, eletromagnetic waves etc. Reason, in order to be valid, MUST be independent of nature.

Ditto bump

15 posted on 03/24/2013 9:42:19 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas
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To: HerrBlucher

Thanks for posting the source of the materialism vs. reason paradox.


16 posted on 03/24/2013 9:47:10 AM PDT by Zeneta (No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.)
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To: Vaquero

Thank you for posting that on this fine Palm Sunday morning up here in Alaska.


17 posted on 03/24/2013 9:49:34 AM PDT by redpoll
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To: mjp

Well said!!


18 posted on 03/24/2013 10:21:52 AM PDT by mick (Central Banker Capitalism is NOT Free Enterprise)
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To: dirtboy

it is always thrilling to watch the left become unhinged over something. there is so much to learn by watching them! any astute watcher would realize just how narrow-minded and close-minded they really are. they have memorized their talking points and beyond that, there is no reasoning to be done, so they mock, denigrate, profane, and retaliate against the supposed offender. we should encourage the ‘mocked’ to just step back and let the left carry on. what they accidentally do, is to cause some to wake up to reality.


19 posted on 03/24/2013 10:21:55 AM PDT by Shery (in APO Land)
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To: Vaquero

Should be a Doctor of the Church someday. Totally unappreciated by the modern world. His writings are brilliant.


20 posted on 03/24/2013 10:44:20 AM PDT by SMCC1
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To: dirtboy

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.


21 posted on 03/24/2013 11:24:35 AM PDT by jocon307
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To: HerrBlucher
Clear thinking Atheists know this but just cannot give up on Atheism regardless of its glaring, in your face, falsity. So they throw tantrums instead.

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.

22 posted on 03/24/2013 11:34:22 AM PDT by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: Shadow44

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.


23 posted on 03/24/2013 12:11:16 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: John Valentine
I have never witnessed an atheist tantrum.

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.

24 posted on 03/24/2013 12:29:34 PM PDT by mikeus_maximus
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To: mikeus_maximus
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.

25 posted on 03/24/2013 12:39:46 PM PDT by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: mikeus_maximus
There are only two possible systems for creation of life, ethics, and order: supernatural, or natural.

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.

26 posted on 03/24/2013 12:48:35 PM PDT by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: dirtboy

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks dirtboy.

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


27 posted on 03/24/2013 1:15:58 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: SunkenCiv
I don't want to get involved in this but there is nothing in Darwin's theory that predicts US. Man is so outside of both Darwin and Lyell that there may be an Uncaused, Cause, who knows.
28 posted on 03/24/2013 1:27:23 PM PDT by Little Bill (A)
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To: John Valentine
If you think it is false, it is up to you to put forward some convincing arguments in support

I did, go back and read my post.

29 posted on 03/24/2013 1:37:41 PM PDT by HerrBlucher (Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of Creation)
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To: HerrBlucher

Sorry, but I can not spot them...


30 posted on 03/24/2013 1:41:50 PM PDT by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: HerrBlucher
After correctly rejecting blind reductionism, you offer this unsupported conclusion: "Reason, in order to be valid, MUST be independent of nature."

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.

31 posted on 03/24/2013 1:48:02 PM PDT by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: sauropod

read


32 posted on 03/24/2013 1:58:48 PM PDT by sauropod (I will not comply)
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To: John Valentine
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.

33 posted on 03/24/2013 2:18:53 PM PDT by HerrBlucher (Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of Creation)
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To: Little Bill

I’m definitely not getting involved, I think of that old Mark Twain quote...


34 posted on 03/24/2013 2:47:44 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: SunkenCiv

When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.


35 posted on 03/24/2013 2:57:45 PM PDT by Little Bill (A)
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To: Little Bill

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jethro+tull+to+be+sad+is+a+mad+way+to+be


36 posted on 03/24/2013 4:33:59 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: HerrBlucher

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.


37 posted on 03/24/2013 4:49:59 PM PDT by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: John Valentine

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?


38 posted on 03/24/2013 5:36:18 PM PDT by HerrBlucher (Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of Creation)
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To: HerrBlucher

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.


39 posted on 03/24/2013 7:49:32 PM PDT by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: John Valentine
Supernaturalism IS dualistic. The characteristics of mind: immaterial, eternal, undefiled. The characteristics material nature: dense, transient, sullied.

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.

40 posted on 03/24/2013 9:24:16 PM PDT by HerrBlucher (Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of Creation)
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To: jocon307
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?

I don't follow. I go weeks, months, years withouth thinking about Allah. Does that make me stupid?

To an atheist ALL Gods should be the same, some fake “god” that no sensible person could believe in.

Is that much different than you though? There are hundreds of gods you deem "fake" and don't invest any energy in. When was the last time you sat around thinking about Ra or Thor or Zeus?

It makes sense for religious people to ponder the differences between religions, but not atheists.

Ah, I think I see what you're driving at. Unfortunately, this isn't how it works. Study after study shows that atheists know more about religion than those who believe in those religions. Atheists' bible literacy far outpaces Christian biblical literacy. It's just the way it is.

But back to your point, Dawkins, to his credit, actually "takes on" Islam as much as he does any other religion. (In England, where it's rampant, it's more of a hot-button topic.) I think his saying, "I don't think about a long dead fake prophet" was sort of a rib. Like totally diminishing the god of over a billion people.
41 posted on 03/25/2013 10:39:56 AM PDT by whattajoke (Let's keep Conservatism real.)
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To: whattajoke

I really don’t think you are right about Dawkins. I also sincerely doubt you are right about the Bible literacy of atheists, but what do I know, I’m an RC so my Bible literacy is quite low.

Ra, Thor and Zeus are rather defunct as gods. I don’t think that’s a good example at all.

I’d advise you to give some thought to Allah, and his followers. There a goodly number of them who want to chop YOUR head off right now. They don’t really care what you believe in, or what you think about. I mean, they feel that way about me too, and everyone here, and every over at the NY Times and most other places.

That’s actually a much more pressing issue that Mr. Dawkins, or atheism, or most other things.


42 posted on 03/26/2013 4:55:13 PM PDT by jocon307
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To: John Valentine

Perhaps it is a semantic problem.

One possible way to look at supernatural is not an either or.

It can be include and transcend. As reason includes the purely physical and transcends it; the spiritual includes reason and transcends it.

There are things that can be known by science, but not all; there are things that can be known by reason, but not all..

Each as sphere including the previous, but more - transcending and including.


43 posted on 03/30/2013 10:00:15 PM PDT by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: D-fendr
Perhaps it is a semantic problem.

Perhaps to a degree, but mainly it's an ontological problem. It's the container problem: can a container be made of the same stuff it contains? If so, what contains the container?

44 posted on 03/31/2013 2:27:13 AM PDT by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: dirtboy

Bump!


45 posted on 03/31/2013 6:09:05 PM PDT by Huber (And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. - John 1:5)
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To: John Valentine
Artificial binary choice? The only alternative is that life, ethics and order somehow have both a natural and supernatural creative origin-- the logical equivalent of being half pregnant. Perhaps you'd care to explain exactly how that's logically consistent.
46 posted on 05/03/2013 10:35:11 AM PDT by mikeus_maximus
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To: mikeus_maximus

The alternative is to reject the entirely arbitrary, even whimsical, distinction that is made between “natural” and “supernatural”, a distinction with no reality at all. It is a purely linguistic construct.

Rearity is reality, and it defies reductionst absurdities, despite your willingness to entertain them.


47 posted on 05/03/2013 1:09:48 PM PDT by John Valentine (Deep in the Heart of Texas)
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To: dirtboy; Alamo-Girl; TXnMA; YHAOS; MHGinTN; metmom; wmfights; D-fendr; Diamond; hosepipe; ...
But when Thomas Nagel’s 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 life—consciousness, reason, moral value, subjective experience—cannot 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.”

Jeepers, I wonder if Professor Pinker even read Nagel's deeply engaging and closely reasoned book. Had he done so, he probably would have noticed a couple of "interesting points" raised there to which he could have responded in rebuttal. Instead, he takes an ad hominum meat-ax to Professor Nagel.... (This tells me Pinker is not a serious thinker, whatever else he may be.)

Pinker is professor of language, cognitive science, and evolutionary psychology at MIT. Nagel is professor of philosophy at NYU. Note: Neither is a biologist or any other kind of natural scientist. Yet the former is a disciple of Neo-darwinist orthodoxy. The latter, a self-described atheist, is not.

Neo-darwinist theory has been spectacularly successful at the level of microbiology. But Nagel raises the issue: To what extent do empirical findings of microbiology extrapolate to the system at large, such as to give a "complete" description of the system — in this case, the universe — in purely naturalistic, or materialist, or physicalist terms? He is "almost certain" that Neo-darwinist theory cannot do this.

The obvious problems that Neo-darwinism tries to obviate is the origin of life and the emergence/evolution of mind. [Folks like Dawkins, Pinker, Dennett, et al., evidently think it's perfectly acceptable to obviate what one cannot explain.] Thus a "bigger picture" than the one that sees only physico/chemical reactions according to physical laws as fully explaining the biological and psychological dimensions of the universe is critically needed.

Here we enter into the terrain of scientific cosmology. [The physicists and mathematicians are already there. So far the ones reluctant to join this party tend to be the evolutionary biologists.... To me, they are the "bitter clingers" of a decaying doctrine that would prefer to be sucked into a black hole than to live to see the coming paradigm shift in science.]

Nagel picks at a few good scabs, bound to upset the "bitter-clingers" who put all their hopes in Darwin, and none at all in human common sense and experience — not to mention Reason. (Darwin's theory is absolutely hapless to address where "reason" came from, or to explain what in Nature it can possibly refer to.)

Nagel first of all goes right after scientific reductionism:

Physico-chemical reductionism in biology is the orthodox view, and any resistance to it is regarded as not only scientifically but politically incorrect. But for a long time I have found the materialist account of how we and our fellow organisms came to exist hard to believe, including the standard version of how the evolutionary process works. The more details we learn about the chemical basis of life and the intricacy of the genetic code, the more unbelievable the standard historical account becomes.... But it seems to me that, as it is usually presented, the current orthodoxy about the cosmic order is the product of governing assumptions that are unsupported, and that it flies in the face of common sense....

The great advances in the physical and biological sciences were made possible by excluding the mind from the physical world. This has permitted a quantitative understanding of that world, expressed in timeless, mathematically formulated physical laws. But at some point it will be necessary to make a new start on a more comprehensive understanding that includes the mind. It seems inevitable that such an understanding will have a historical dimension as well as a timeless one. The idea that historical understanding is part of science has become familiar through the transformation of biology by evolutionary theory. But more recently, with the acceptance of the big bang, cosmology has become a historical science. Mind, as a development of life, must be included as the most recent stage of this long cosmological history, and its appearance, I believe, casts its shadow back over the entire process and the constituents and principles on which the process depends....

...[T]he coming into existence of the genetic code — an arbitrary mapping of nucleotide sequences into amino acids, together with mechanisms that can read the code and carry out its instructions — seems particularly resistant to being revealed as probable given physical laws alone. — Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos, p. 5 ff. [Italics added for emphasis.]

Nagel suspects that reductionist materialist approaches to the understanding of nature, and particularly of biological nature, do not, and cannot rise to the explanatory challenge. As Nagel puts it, "my guiding conviction is that mind is not just an afterthought or an accident or an add-on, but a basic aspect of nature."

Plus then he adds insult to injury, by averring that teleology is implicit in biology. Teleology, that is Final Cause — a/k/a purposes or goals operative in natural processes and in Nature as a Whole — has been abolished by science since Francis Bacon. Yet, not only Nagel, but other noteworthy scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers, think it's time to bring teleology back into scientific respectability.

Pretty good for an atheist, huh???

A little later (p. 16), Nagel adds

Science is driven by the assumption that the world is intelligible. That is, the world in which we find ourselves, and about which experience gives us some information, can not only be described but understood. That assumption is behind every pursuit of knowledge, including pursuits that end in illusion. In the natural sciences as they have developed since the seventeenth century, the assumption of intelligibility has led to extraordinary discoveries, confirmed by prediction and experiments, of a hidden natural order that cannot be observed by human perception alone. Without the assumption of an intelligible underlying order, which long antedates the scientific revolution [no kidding!!! Go back to first-millennium B.C. Greece for the fundaments of this understanding], those discoveries could not have been made. [Ibid., itals added for emphasis.]

Well, that's how Nagel basically gets the ball rolling in this fascinating book. Thus he tells us that Neo-darwinist theory is at least "incomplete." Also he will have no truck with devotees of Intelligent Design. (The idea of a "designer" seems to give him the willies. I gather if the "designer" were God, Nagel wouldn't trust him.) As for alternative cosmological theories that have the capacity of accounting for life and mind in Nature, he finds that monist, dualist, and emergent theories don't really cut it either.

He has his own modest proposal. But I won't tell you what it is. Rather, I urge you to read Nagel's book.

Whether or not you agree with his findings, you will learn a lot — from an honest thinker who is genuinely in pursuit of the Truth of the universe, while still having a very strong desire for its ultimate explanation to be capable of being cast in purely "naturalist" terms.

dirtboy, thank you so much for posting this fine essay. It only just came to my attention today. Really Good Stuff!!!

48 posted on 08/31/2013 5:29:03 PM PDT by betty boop
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To: mjp

That’s a really nice summary of it.

If only THEY could see the absurdity of their position.


49 posted on 08/31/2013 5:32:44 PM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: betty boop; TXnMA; metmom; dirtboy
What an outstanding essay-post, dearest sister in Christ, and as usual so complete I have little to add!

Here we enter into the terrain of scientific cosmology. [The physicists and mathematicians are already there. So far the ones reluctant to join this party tend to be the evolutionary biologists.... To me, they are the "bitter clingers" of a decaying doctrine that would prefer to be sucked into a black hole than to live to see the coming paradigm shift in science.]

That paradigm shift will surely come because the physicists and mathematicians were invited to the table by the biologists themselves. (Much to their chagrin no doubt.)

I suspect the biologists presumed their invitees would follow the biologists' methodology of fitting new observations into established theory (dogma, in effect) - even if it must be kluged to fit. But to physicists science is all about the theory. And mathematicians require proof, not dogma.

As H.H. Pattee said:

Many biologists consider physical laws, artificial life, robotics, and even theoretical biology as largely irrelevant for their research. In the 1970s, a prominent molecular geneticist asked me, "Why do we need theory when we have all the facts?" At the time I dismissed the question as silly, as most physicists would. However, it is not as silly as the converse question, Why do we need facts when we have all the theories? These are actually interesting philosophical questions that show why trying to relate biology to physics is seldom of interest to biologists, even though it is of great interest to physicists. Questioning the importance of theory sounds eccentric to physicists for whom general theories is what physics is all about. Consequently, physicists, like the skeptics I mentioned above, are concerned when they learn facts of life that their theories do not appear capable of addressing. On the other hand, biologists, when they have the facts, need not worry about physical theories that neither address nor alter their facts. Ernst Mayr (1997) believes this difference is severe enough to separate physical and biological models: "Yes, biology is, like physics and chemistry, a science. But biology is not a science like physics and chemistry; it is rather an autonomous science on a par with the equally autonomous physical sciences."

The Physics of Symbols

Philosophers like Nagel are not inclined to blueprint fitting methodology either...

50 posted on 08/31/2013 7:52:04 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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