Challenging the Worldview of Atheistic Materialism

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Challenging the Worldview of Atheistic Materialism

Atheists often make the argument there is no evidence for the existence of God. Personally, I think there is. However, for the purposes of this thread, I would like to take a different tack and put the atheist on the spot by asking him or her: "What evidence does the atheist have that the physical constitutes ultimate reality? Does the atheist really have sufficient evidence to maintain a purely materialistic worldview?"

Note: I realize that some atheists may object to idea that atheism implies materialism. If you are such an atheist, you need not apply. Clearly, you have a lurking God-belief.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Solipsism Roller Coaster: Now with extra loops!

Eloise wrote:

BMcD wrote:

But it's not solopsism. I'm not claiming that I'm the source of the information my mind is feeding me.

No, only that one cannot prove to themselves that any external source exists. If you can't believe anything you can't prove then the rational conclusion is solipsism, right?

BTW don't take this too seriously, my intentions in starting this were lighthearted but it seems to be getting a little heated here.

No no, it's fine. Not heated at all. Smiling

And you see, while I can't prove any external source exists, I also can't prove one does not... which feeds into the next bit.

Quote:

Quote:

I don't know. Unconscious and subconscious? I don't know. Those, two, could be data being fed into my conscious mind from an external source. The only thing I can claim to know is that I exist in some form. Any apparent data regarding the properties or qualities of that existance can all be falsehoods.

Lies are creations too. Sticking out tongue The thing is that by the first quoted statement you have identified only one possible creator for anything, lie or truths or whatever, and it is sentient.

As there is only one possible source of which one can assume to have evidence or vice versa there is no evidence of any other possible source, any alternative to solipsism not ultimately believable through evidence.

Yes, lies are creations, too. But I don't know, and cannot prove, that they're my creations. It's not that I've identified only one possible creator, it's that I've only identified one possible creator. That doesn't mean others don't exist. I can't prove they don't. I have no evidence that they don't. Thus, while any alternative to solipsism is not ultimately believable through evidence, belief in solipsism, ie: making an active assertion that there is no external agency, is also untenable, because I have no evidence that disproves the existence of an outside agency.

So, no, I can make no claim to be God. I can make no claim to anything save that I exist. I can infer nothing from my existence. The existence or nonexistence of God remains unknown.

In other words:

I have no evidence that anything beyond myself exists, and if nothing beyond myself exists, then I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. However, I have no evidence that nothing beyond myself exists, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me. Fortunately, I am not Sicilian (actually, I'm Neopolitan), and have seen The Princess Bride, so I know better than to choose either cup. Instead, I'll just fast forward to the bits where Inigo gets to confront the Six-Fingered Man!

Allo! My name is probably not Inigo Montoya! I claim no external knowledge, prepare to be whatever you happen to be!

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid


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Paisley wrote:Fish

Paisley wrote:

Fish wrote:
You've already said that.  So where is the nonphysical evidence of quantum events?

They do not have a physical cause. If they do not have a physical cause, then materialism is invalidated.

There must be evidence for quantum events, right?  What evidence do you have that they don't have physical causes?  So what evidence do you have that they occur  at all?


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nigelTheBold wrote:Here's a

nigelTheBold wrote:
Here's a simple summary of my metaphysical beliefs:

Any belief system must be congruent with observed reality. Any belief in a deity, or a supreme being, or a panentheistic guiding force, is based not on observation, but on a desire to hold beliefs that are orthogonal to observable reality. It is based on emotion, and on reasoning alone, without observation. As I stated before, that dog won't hunt.

It appears that you are saying that the only available avenue of knowledge is through the observation of the external world.

nigelTheBold wrote:
Further, belief in God does not lead to a cohesive, coherent view of the universe. The assumption of God is an unnecessary duality, where every phenomena must be interpreted in two ways -- naturalistically, and in light of God's involvement. This adds complexity and uncertainty. I'll have my friend Okham take up the rest of that argument.

Just FYI. Your friend  Okham was a Catholic monk and Okham's razor has its roots in Christian theology.

nigelTheBold wrote:
Finally: if you want to use quantum theory to topple materialism, be careful: quantum theory supports pantheism much more strongly than panentheism.

Quantum theory as it stands right now has already toppled materialism. And unless your "naturalism" holds the view that  consciousness is in some sense fundamental, then you have a materialistic worldview by default .

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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magilum wrote:Not presenting

magilum wrote:
Not presenting substance seems consistent with your position, so at least you're free of hypocrisy.

Man, you're on today. I think that's the second time I almost did a laughing spit-take with my coffee.

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Just FYI....

Paisley wrote:

Just FYI. Your friend  Okham was a Catholic monk and Okham's razor has its roots in Christian theology.

Hardly a surprise, considering the clergy made up the only social class with the requisite literacy rates and scholastic opportunities to indulge in philosophy at the time. The late 13th - early14th centuries in europe weren't what you might call a real golden age of enlightenment for the common man.

Also, just FYI, Ockham was a friar, not a monk. He resided in abbeys, at Oxford University, and in the Papal Court of Avignon before being charged with heresy and excommunicated, not in monasteries.

A subtle difference, I admit, and hardly relevant, but if you're going to be pedantic and grasp at the slenderest of straws to try to undercut reason and logic, the least I can do is set fire to them.

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Paisley wrote:It appears

Paisley wrote:
It appears that you are saying that the only available avenue of knowledge is through the observation of the external world.

That's basically the positivist position, with the addition of reasonably supported inference.

Paisley wrote:
Just FYI. Your friend  Okham was a Catholic monk and Okham's razor has its roots in Christian theology.

... because that was the only show in town at the time. You could equally say that his ideas came about in spite of Christian theology.

Paisley wrote:
Quantum theory as it stands right now has already toppled materialism.

Quantum theory describes the sub-atomic behaviour of MATTER. How does that "topple" positivist materialism when it's part of the positivist understanding of the universe? Is there some wacky version of materialism that includes the Easter Bunny that I'm not aware of?

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HisWillness wrote:Is there

HisWillness wrote:

Is there some wacky version of materialism that includes the Easter Bunny that I'm not aware of?

Yes. It's called Qwantum Wabbit Theowy, first propounded by a Dr. E. Fudd. Smiling

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Eloise

Eloise wrote:

 

Non-commutativity is not just a mathematical law, it says something about the universe it is applied to.  Momentum is directional, it should commute with position, it just makes common sense from a physicalist point of view. 

 

Can you elaborate on this?


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Paisley wrote:magilum

Paisley wrote:

magilum wrote:
Evidence is monist by definition; the supernatural is not differentiable from the unknown, making any conclusions about it invalid, which is why science doesn't regard the supernatural at all. The scientific method can take a lot of little repeatable phenomena, and structure a hypothesis about how they may work; and all that may fit into a theory which can be tested in more elaborate ways, and used for practical things. You theists are working backward, trying to justify a non sequitur with random miscellaneous bullshit. 

In other words, you have no rational basis to support your worldview.  As such, you have no intellectual right to make the pretense of rationalism.

 

Magilum just explained the rational basis for his world view...and so you conclude that he has none?

 

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."

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Paisley wrote:Fish

Paisley wrote:

Fish wrote:
No.  Your initial post asked for evidence of the materialistic worldview, not a rational justification.

As has already been stated, all evidence is materialistic in nature.  The rational basis is derived from this fact.

This is not true. All evidence is not materialistic in nature.

materialism : a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter (source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

The prevailing scientific evidence based on quantum theory does not support materialism.  Quantum indeterminacy says that there are physical events without physical causes.

Scientific materialism is somewhat of a misnomer. Materialism is the metaphysical view that matter or the physical constitutes ultimate reality. Science does not make metaphysical pronouncements. Science simply attempts to explain observed phenomena in terms of cause and effect normally expressed in the language of mathematics. It does not say that all observed phenomena can be explained in physical terms.

 

You remind me of the cult movie "What the Bleep do we know?"  That movie made a similar point (if you can call it that).  The basic message was "Quantum mechanics is weird shit...new age phylosophy is weird shit.  Therefore they must be the same thing and equally valid.  That movie was designed more to confuse the viewer than to educate.  It is certainly true that on the fringes of quatum physics our concepts of what is normal "reality" gets kind of weird.  But it is still within the realm of theoretical and observable science.  New age crystal and tarot card mumbo jumo is not.  If your point is -Quantum physics is weird...therefore god exists- then you doing no better.

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."

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Paisley wrote:Fish

Paisley wrote:

Fish wrote:
What evidence of quantum events are nonphysical?

Quantum events are events without a physical cause.

 

An interesting admission comeing from a theist.  A common defense of creationism is that everthing must have a cause, therefore the universe had to have a creator.  But quantum mechanics kind of blows that out of the water doesn't it?  No first mover needed.

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."

-James Madison-


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BMcD wrote:HisWillness

BMcD wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

Is there some wacky version of materialism that includes the Easter Bunny that I'm not aware of?

Yes. It's called Qwantum Wabbit Theowy, first propounded by a Dr. E. Fudd. Smiling

Dat's entiewy mowe bewievabow.

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nigelTheBold wrote:Finally:

nigelTheBold wrote:
Finally: if you want to use quantum theory to topple materialism, be careful: quantum theory supports pantheism much more strongly than panentheism.

I just wanted to add a couple of points to your last comment.

1) I have stated before (either here or in another thread) that I subscribe to pantheism/panentheism. I allow myself the luxury to change theological views as I see appropriate. So, this is not really an issue.

2) Perhaps the most well-formulated form of philosophical panentheism is known as "process theology." Process theology is based on the process metaphysics of A. N. Whitehead (mathematician/philosopher and atheist turned theist) who formulated his metaphysics in light of the developments in quantum mechanics.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:nigelTheBold

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
Here's a simple summary of my metaphysical beliefs:

Any belief system must be congruent with observed reality. Any belief in a deity, or a supreme being, or a panentheistic guiding force, is based not on observation, but on a desire to hold beliefs that are orthogonal to observable reality. It is based on emotion, and on reasoning alone, without observation. As I stated before, that dog won't hunt.

It appears that you are saying that the only available avenue of knowledge is through the observation of the external world.

Yes -- observation of the external world, coupled with our ability to reason logically, the results of which are confirmed with further observation. Observation without logical reasoning is just data; logical reasoning without observation is just intellectual masturbation: fun, clean, and portable, but not nearly as satisfying as the real thing.

Do you have another epistemology that has proven effective? If so, I'd love to hear it.

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
Further, belief in God does not lead to a cohesive, coherent view of the universe. The assumption of God is an unnecessary duality, where every phenomena must be interpreted in two ways -- naturalistically, and in light of God's involvement. This adds complexity and uncertainty. I'll have my friend Okham take up the rest of that argument.

Just FYI. Your friend  Okham was a Catholic monk and Okham's razor has its roots in Christian theology.

So? What's your point? That you get to avoid the discussion of the additional complexity of a God when no God is necessary?

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
Finally: if you want to use quantum theory to topple materialism, be careful: quantum theory supports pantheism much more strongly than panentheism.

Quantum theory as it stands right now has already toppled materialism. And unless your "naturalism" holds the view that  consciousness is in some sense fundamental, then you have a materialistic worldview by default .

No, it hasn't. It's toppled deterministic materialism. I don't think there are many logical positivists who would deny the fundamental indeterminate nature of the universe. Newtonian determinism is so 19th century.

String theory might reduce the universe to information, but string theory hasn't even been tested, let alone proven. This is the key fault of your logic, that materialism has somehow been compromised, just because the material universe may potentially be founded on geometry, using an hypothesis that is only one of many, and hasn't even been tested, and still doesn't even explain everything it set out to explain.

And you know what's really funny? Even if it turns out that our reality is based on pure mathematics (which has been speculated before), that still doesn't necessitate a God. Logical positivism survives. Why? Because it is observation of the real universe that led to those conclusions, and those conclusions are perfectly consistent with a naturalistic world that allows sapience.

Consciousness, should it actually exist (and isn't just a figment of our imagination), is based in information theory, the same way evolution theory is based in information theory, and the same way it appears quantum theory itself may be based in information theory. This in no way destroys materialism.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:nigelTheBold

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
Finally: if you want to use quantum theory to topple materialism, be careful: quantum theory supports pantheism much more strongly than panentheism.

I just wanted to add a couple of points to your last comment.

1) I have stated before (either here or in another thread) that I subscribe to pantheism/panentheism. I allow myself the luxury to change theological views as I see appropriate. So, this is not really an issue.

Yes. How convenient.

However, your description of your beliefs, and your defence of your beliefs, places you squarely in the panentheist camp.

Paisley wrote:

2) Perhaps the most well-formulated form of philosophical panentheism is known as "process theology." Process theology is based on the process metaphysics of A. N. Whitehead (mathematician/philosopher and atheist turned theist) who formulated his metaphysics in light of the developments in quantum mechanics.

Yes. Written long before our modern understanding of quantum mechanics.

The best current theistic interpretation of quantum theory is that the universe is itself a quantum computer, constantly calculating its own state. This rather excludes the possibility of a God that is distinct from the universe itself. It also means that when you die, you die. You have done your part in the calculation. It also means that you are no more significant than a rock, which is also constantly calculating its own state. This is the ultimate pantheism: we are all part of God, and we don't even know it. We are just calculations of ourselves, a infintesimal part of a much larger calculation that may or may not have a final outcome other than entropic heat death.

But I don't worry about that. Even if it is true, that is useless knowledge. It has no bearing on my existence, nor the existence of anyone else in the near or distant future. And there's no evidence for it, and may never be. And, just like your theism (whatever it might be), there is nothing to support you, other than your own personal belief, and the logical gameplay of others who have come before.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:1) I have

Paisley wrote:


1) I have stated before (either here or in another thread) that I subscribe to pantheism/panentheism. I allow myself the luxury to change theological views as I see appropriate. So, this is not really an issue.

Wait, you reserve the right to believe that what you believe is bullshit and believe something else whenever it's convenient, and you're saying we're irrational?

Yeeeah... ok.

Self-contradiction is one thing. Duplicitousness is another. Good day to you, sir.

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid


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nigelTheBold

nigelTheBold wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
Perhaps we could use the the term "scientific naturalism," then, since you don't like the term "scientific materialism." Then, we can say that all observed phenomena can be explained in naturalistic terms.

Thus, it is important to note that naturalism does preclude the possibility of an all pervading consciousness or conscious-will.

nigelTheBold wrote:
There's also evidence to support that quantum theory is incorrect, or at least, vastly incomplete. After several decades, we still have dozens of theories attempting to explain the fundamentals of quantum field theory. Quantum gravity is a mess. String theory, which seems to be the prevailing view, is as yet unprovable. (CERN may be able to correct that with the large hadron collider, so that might change in the next couple of years.) Even with that, the fundamental of matter hardly destroys the concept of natural materialism. As we learn what matter really is, we gain knowledge about what constitutes matter. We don't lose the concept of matter. Understanding a brick does not negate the house.

Quantum theory has not been falsified. Until then, it stands. Also, it is probably the most tested and verified theory known to science.

And according to quantum theory, the world is fundamentally indeterminate. Indeterminism is the view that not all events have a cause. Materialism is the view that everything is physical and that causes and events can be explained in physical terms. If a physical event does not have a physical cause, then materialism is invalidated.

Now, if you can't explain an event in naturalistic terms (as you define naturalism), then I would say your worldview leaves something to be desired.

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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BMcD wrote:Paisley

BMcD wrote:
Paisley wrote:
What you are saying is that your worldview does not permit you to take a metaphysical stance - rational or otherwise. As such, you bar yourself from participating in any metaphysical discussion. End of discussion.

No, what I'm saying is that my worldview neither endorses, nor explicitly rules out any stance whatsoever. You, on the other hand, seem to be going to great lengths to disqualify from the discussion any position you cannot refute.

Saying that your worldview "neither endorses nor rules out any stance" is tantamount to saying that your worldview "does not permit you to take a metaphysical stance." There is no difference.

And you're right, I am going to disqualify an individual from a metaphysical debate if he refuses to take a position. You want the luxury of playing devil's advocate and scoffing at the views of others without placing your own views on the table. How convenient!

 

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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thingy wrote:There is no

thingy wrote:
There is no evidence that the physical constitutes ultimate reality, just as there is no evidence there is anything other than the physical.  There may well be, but until such a point that evidence is found, what is the point in giving anything beyond the physical any credence?

By saying there is no evidence other than the physical, you identify yourself as a physicalist (materialist) by default.

By refusing to acknowledge that quantum indeterminacy demonstrates evidence of the nonphysical, you expose your intellectual dishonesty.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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As I've said before, the

As I've said before, the indeterminacy is caused by the wave function, the wave function is physical, therefore the indeterminacy has a physical cause.


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HisWillness wrote:It's

HisWillness wrote:
It's physical. When you think about music, a different part of your brain is working than if you're thinking about accounting. Lots of evidence points to physical thoughts. If you have evidence of a non-physical ... anything, just let me know.

I'm glad to see you have resolved the mind/body problem. Perhaps you can now explain to me which types of external phenomena exhibit conscious-awareness and which do not.

HisWillness wrote:
Okay, so should I say "non-physical" instead of "supernatural"? Would that make you feel more comfortable?

I prefer that you explain to me what would qualify as evidence for either a supernatural or nonphysical cause in your natural physical world.

HisWillness wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Metaphysical questions ask "What is the "ultimate nature" of the phenomenal world?" The belief that nature is ultimately physical is just that - a belief.

Yeah, it's a belief. It's a belief based on tons of physical evidence. Physical evidence is still the only kind you can get. Metaphysical questions can ask all they want.

It's a belief that denies the evidence of quantum mechanics - upon which all the other evidence rests.

Incidentally, you have taken a metaphysical position by expressing a belief in the physical.

HisWillness wrote:
Paisley wrote:
As I have demonstrated in previous posts, the prevailing scientific evidence based on quantum theory does not support materialism - the view that matter or the physical is fundamental.
What? Quantum theory attempts to describe the interactions that make up matter. What else does it describe, magic? Fairy dust?

Quantum events are events without physical cause. As such, they are without physical explanation.

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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BobSpence1 wrote:I did not

BobSpence1 wrote:
I did not say that quantum events have a non-physical cause, at all. I said there 'without an apparent deterministic cause'. I do not call myself a 'physicalist', the only label I thought might apply to me was 'naturalistic'.

There are two possibilities:

1) Science is observing physical events without physical causes.

2) Science is observing physical events initiated by a nonphysical cause.

You say that you are not a "physicalist" and yet you seem to deny the possibility that science may be observing a nonphysical cause.

Also, an event that is probabilitistically determined still entails an element of indeterminism.

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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MrRage wrote:Damn strait. It

MrRage wrote:
Damn strait. It seems to me that Paisley is trying to use terms he/she hasn't defined (like physical) to try to "strawman" us into a certain position. I consider myself a 'naturalist' too.

I don't see what you're complaining about. The OP clearly states that this thread is addressed to those who subscribe to the worldview of atheistic materialism. So, what's all the fuss about Mr. Rage?

By the way, my gender is male.

MrRage wrote:
By that I mean all that exists is the universe and it's contents. (Of course this is modulo there being a meta-universe. If that's the case all that exists is the meta-universe and its contents.) So I'm a universist, as it were. So, not everything that is is material (i.e. matter&energy)? No shit. I don't think all matter&energy=universe. This stance, the "naturalist" or "universist" stance, is not consistent with any god that religions, such as Christianity, tend to promote, for those gods are often something other than the universe.

Two points:

1) You seem to allow for the possibilitiy of a multiverse, but not a universal mind. Why is that?

2) Whether "naturalism" is consistent with a particular religion is really irrelevant. Why does naturalism have to be inconsistent with some kind of God-belief?

Incidentally, I know many individuals who profess to be "naturalists" while simultaneously practicing Buddhism. 

 

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Bulldog wrote:What I want to

Bulldog wrote:
What I want to ask is where the hell do you people get these supposed facts regarding atheists.  Most of the atheists I know are no more materialistic than a xtian.

materialism 1 a: a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter b: a doctrine that the only or the highest values or objectives lie in material well-being and in the furtherance of material progress c: a doctrine that economic or social change is materially caused — compare historical materialism 2: a preoccupation with or stress upon material rather than intellectual or spiritual things ) (source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

I am using the term materialism as defined in definition "1a."

Bulldog wrote:
As far as the "lurking god-belief; I DON'T BELIEVE IN YOUR FUCKING gOD OR ANYONE'S FUCKING gOD, THERE IS NO PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE OF YOUR FUCKING gOD OR ANY FUCKING dOG FOR THAT MATTER!! CLEAR ENOUGH FOR YOU?  I'M AN ATHEIST, dOGDAMN IT!  It's not a religion, we don't believe in anything, we simply don't believe.

You clearly have issues, not to mention a lurking God-belief.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:What QM

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
What QM is is 'undeterminate'. That is we can only work in probabilities, in QM.

So tell me, if QM events are 'non-physical' or 'immaterial', then how can we predict them? How can we assign probabilites to them?

Quantum events are physical events without a physical cause. Actually, one interpretation of quantum mechanics states that consciousness collapses the wave function. I would call that a nonphysical cause.

By the way, quantum indeterminancy is only one element of quantum mechanics that suggests the primacy of conscousness. There are others - e.g. quantum duality and quantum entanglement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eloise wrote:QM defies

Eloise wrote:
QM defies Newtonian mechanics by being indeterminate. In simplest terms the uncertainty principle makes short work of the idea of making universal physical predictions from a handful of distinct information. In general material monists will by default presuppose that QM fits a Newtonian universe, this isn't really anyones fault either, this theory is never what a person being introduced to it expects it to be. QM, in reality, looks not even remotely like what we think the world is.

Agreed. There's been a paradigm shift.

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Fish wrote:There must be

Fish wrote:
There must be evidence for quantum events, right?  What evidence do you have that they don't have physical causes?  So what evidence do you have that they occur  at all?

Quantum indeterminancy is one of the defining characteristics of quantum theory.

"Quantum indeterminacy is the assertion that the state of a system does not determine a unique collection of values for all its measurable properties. Indeed in the quantum mechanical formalism, for a given quantum state, each one of these measurable values will be obtained non-deterministically in accordance with a probability distribution which is uniquely determined by the system state." ( source: Wikipedia "Quantum indeterminancy" )

 

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BMcD wrote:Hardly a

BMcD wrote:
Hardly a surprise, considering the clergy made up the only social class with the requisite literacy rates and scholastic opportunities to indulge in philosophy at the time. The late 13th - early14th centuries in europe weren't what you might call a real golden age of enlightenment for the common man.

Also, just FYI, Ockham was a friar, not a monk. He resided in abbeys, at Oxford University, and in the Papal Court of Avignon before being charged with heresy and excommunicated, not in monasteries.

A subtle difference, I admit, and hardly relevant, but if you're going to be pedantic and grasp at the slenderest of straws to try to undercut reason and logic, the least I can do is set fire to them.

Thanks for pointing out my error. I stand corrected. William of Ockham was a Fransican friar, not a Catholic monk.

monk : a man who is a member of a religious order and lives in a monastery; also : friar  (source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary) friar : a member of a mendicant order  (source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary) mendicant : 2often capitalized : a member of a religious order (as the Franciscans) combining monastic life and outside religious activity and originally owning neither personal nor community property : friar (source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary) The only reason I pointed it out is because I find it ironic that atheists resort to a principle developed in theological discourse to argue against theism.

 

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:As I've

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

As I've said before, the indeterminacy is caused by the wave function, the wave function is physical, therefore the indeterminacy has a physical cause.

Mathematical functions are physical?

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Paisley wrote:Cpt_pineapple

Paisley wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

As I've said before, the indeterminacy is caused by the wave function, the wave function is physical, therefore the indeterminacy has a physical cause.

Mathematical functions are physical?

 

You did see the electrons diffraction pic right?

 

That's the wave functions interacting and interfering with each other. They wouldn't be able to do that if they weren't physical.

 


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HisWillness wrote:Quantum

HisWillness wrote:
Quantum theory describes the sub-atomic behaviour of MATTER. How does that "topple" positivist materialism when it's part of the positivist understanding of the universe? Is there some wacky version of materialism that includes the Easter Bunny that I'm not aware of?

Materialiasm is the view that all physical events have physical causes.

materialism : a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter (source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

According to quantum theory, the world is fundamentally indeterminate. This means that some physical events are without physical causes.

indeterminism : 1 a : a theory that the will is free and that deliberate choice and actions are not determined by or predictable from antecedent causes b: a theory that holds that not every event has a cause (source: Webster-Online Dictionary)

Now, what part aren't you grasping?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rocas511 wrote:You remind me

Rocas511 wrote:
You remind me of the cult movie "What the Bleep do we know?"  That movie made a similar point (if you can call it that).  The basic message was "Quantum mechanics is weird shit...new age phylosophy is weird shit.  Therefore they must be the same thing and equally valid.  That movie was designed more to confuse the viewer than to educate.  It is certainly true that on the fringes of quatum physics our concepts of what is normal "reality" gets kind of weird.  But it is still within the realm of theoretical and observable science.  New age crystal and tarot card mumbo jumo is not.  If your point is -Quantum physics is weird...therefore god exists- then you doing no better.

You call this a well thought out argument?

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Paisley wrote:The only

Paisley wrote:

The only reason I pointed it out is because I find it ironic that atheists resort to a principle developed in theological discourse to argue against theism.

*sigh*

Oh! The irony! How ironic that, considering that western culture is dominated by Christian beliefs, that certain scientists and deep thinkers were Christian! I'm dying in irony!

Why do you think he was charged with heresy? Or is that more of your irony?

And you've still not presented a case, other than that of quantum indeterminacy, which we've all agreed exists. What we don't agree with is that it should change how we do science. After all, it is empiricism that led to quantum theory in the first place. That is, by observing the universe, we learned that the universe is infinitely more cool than we originally thought.

There's still no evidence whatsoever that this leads naturally to an overmind, a higher being, a God. None. Nadda. Zip. And you cling the quantum theory as if it's a life vest, but really it's a rock. It doesn't support your conception of God in the least. It is, at best, a last-ditch rationalisation.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Rocas511 wrote:An

Rocas511 wrote:
An interesting admission comeing from a theist.  A common defense of creationism is that everthing must have a cause, therefore the universe had to have a creator.  But quantum mechanics kind of blows that out of the water doesn't it?  No first mover needed.

What this means is that no evidence would suffice the atheist because his worldview precludes him from accepting any. The psychological term for such an attitude is called "denial." The philosophical term is "intellectual dishonesty."

 

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Paisley wrote:nigelTheBold

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
Perhaps we could use the the term "scientific naturalism," then, since you don't like the term "scientific materialism." Then, we can say that all observed phenomena can be explained in naturalistic terms.

Thus, it is important to note that naturalism does preclude the possibility of an all pervading consciousness or conscious-will.

Not specifically, nor necessarily (hence the wiggle room for those who are agnostic). However, for those who require the least bit of proof other than "quantum magic," yes.

Paisley wrote:

Quantum theory has not been falsified. Until then, it stands. Also, it is probably the most tested and verified theory known to science.

And according to quantum theory, the world is fundamentally indeterminate. Indeterminism is the view that not all events have a cause. Materialism is the view that everything is physical and that causes and events can be explained in physical terms. If a physical event does not have a physical cause, then materialism is invalidated.

Now, if you can't explain an event in naturalistic terms (as you define naturalism), then I would say your worldview leaves something to be desired.

Hardly the most tested and verified. That distinction would probably go to Newtonian dynamics (which, despite being superceded by quantum theory, still holds within the domain of "things much larger than an atom" and "things not too massive, or going very fast&quotEye-wink, thermodynamics, or evolution. Quantum theory is well-tested, but is also incomplete, even within its current domain. Although there's a lot of research into quantum theory, most of it is wasted, as it's split between half-a-dozen competing theories. So, it's not really wasted, as we're figuring out what it's not, and one of them might even be correct. Me, I'm not holding out for any of the string theory variants. They are way too complex for their own good, and keep getting off in the weeds. I'm with the physicists who believe when we finally come up with a cohesive quantum theory, it'll be simple and elegant. Just because that's the way the universe works. And that's the foundation of self-organization, which I believe is essential for understanding the universe.

Quantum theory explains quantum events quite nicely, thanks. They are indeterminate, but within a specific, definable wave form. It's just as explicable today as gravity was for Newtonian mechanics. There's a really great field of information theory called "chaos." It's not as in-vogue as it was a few years ago, but the results of some of the study of chaos was quite interesting. That fact that even chaos has a sort of orderliness to it is not only intrigueing, it's downright fascinating.

So far, you're argument is, "Quantum events are mysterious, and so you can't explain them, and so there must be God." What you are arguing is still a God of the gaps, a deity based on ignorance. You think that using quantum theory, the most mysterious of our modern research, makes God inevitable. It doesn't, and you haven't explained how it does.

Nor have you explained how our current ignorance disallows materialism, except by defining materialism as "Newtonian determinism." Which, as I and others have explained, it isn't.

Ignorance has often been used as an excuse to believe in God. I'm pleased to see this age-old tradition tooling up for the early twentieth century.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Paisley wrote:Rocas511

Paisley wrote:

Rocas511 wrote:
An interesting admission comeing from a theist.  A common defense of creationism is that everthing must have a cause, therefore the universe had to have a creator.  But quantum mechanics kind of blows that out of the water doesn't it?  No first mover needed.

What this means is that no evidence would suffice the atheist because his worldview precludes him from accepting any. The psychological term for such an attitude is called "denial." The philosophical term is "intellectual dishonesty."

So, do you go by Mr. Pot, or Mr. Kettle?

Actually, philosophically, we would say that worldview precludes the necessity of a God. Which it does. There's nothing hypocritical about that. That's why I am a hard atheist, because I do believe reality actually precludes the necessity, or even possibility, of God.

And psychologically, we call it, "Acceptance." We accept that there is no Santa Claus. That there is no God. That sexy women don't date geeks unless the geek is rich. That metaphysics is used by people who wish to delude themselves. And so on.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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nigelTheBold wrote: And

nigelTheBold wrote:

 

And psychologically, we call it, "Acceptance." We accept that there is no Santa Claus. That there is no God. That sexy women don't date geeks unless the geek is rich. That metaphysics is used by people who wish to delude themselves. And so on.

Well stated Nigel.  As a former Christian I can't help but say "amen" to your consistently excellent rebuttals to this insufferably arrogant prick.

( and please, keep twisting the knife.... )

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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nigelTheBold wrote:Yes --

nigelTheBold wrote:
Yes -- observation of the external world, coupled with our ability to reason logically, the results of which are confirmed with further observation. Observation without logical reasoning is just data; logical reasoning without observation is just intellectual masturbation: fun, clean, and portable, but not nearly as satisfying as the real thing.

Do you have another epistemology that has proven effective? If so, I'd love to hear it.

The problem is that your methodology hasn't allowed you to investigate the internal world of subjectivity. 

nigelTheBold wrote:
So? What's your point? That you get to avoid the discussion of the additional complexity of a God when no God is necessary?

I guess you're right. An all pervading consciousness (God) is not necessary when your wordview allows you to blindly accept the irrationality of uncaused events and physical phenomena emerging form nothing.

nigelTheBold wrote:
No, it hasn't. It's toppled deterministic materialism. I don't think there are many logical positivists who would deny the fundamental indeterminate nature of the universe. Newtonian determinism is so 19th century.

"Indeterminate materialism" is an oxymoron.

nigelTheBold wrote:
String theory might reduce the universe to information, but string theory hasn't even been tested, let alone proven.

This is a "What if?" Besides, I don't see how information theory changes anything. My guess it will only bolster my worldview of pantheism/panentheism.

nigelTheBold wrote:
This is the key fault of your logic, that materialism has somehow been compromised, just because the material universe may potentially be founded on geometry, using an hypothesis that is only one of many, and hasn't even been tested, and still doesn't even explain everything it set out to explain.

And you know what's really funny? Even if it turns out that our reality is based on pure mathematics (which has been speculated before), that still doesn't necessitate a God. Logical positivism survives. Why? Because it is observation of the real universe that led to those conclusions, and those conclusions are perfectly consistent with a naturalistic world that allows sapience.

Are you saying that logical positivism will permit you to entertain the metaphysical belief of "reified abstract objects" (mathematical functions with ontological reality)?

 

nigelTheBold wrote:
Consciousness, should it actually exist (and isn't just a figment of our imagination), is based in information theory, the same way evolution theory is based in information theory, and the same way it appears quantum theory itself may be based in information theory. This in no way destroys materialism.

Please don't tell me you are seriously questioning the existence of conscious-awareness itself. This sounds like behaviorism run amok.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote: The problem

 

 

The internal world of subjectivity ?  

What is the "internal world of subjectivity"  and how does one go about investigating this world ?

Perhaps you could provide us with a step by step process ?

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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nigelTheBold wrote:The best

nigelTheBold wrote:
The best current theistic interpretation of quantum theory is that the universe is itself a quantum computer, constantly calculating its own state. This rather excludes the possibility of a God that is distinct from the universe itself. It also means that when you die, you die. You have done your part in the calculation. It also means that you are no more significant than a rock, which is also constantly calculating its own state. This is the ultimate pantheism: we are all part of God, and we don't even know it. We are just calculations of ourselves, a infintesimal part of a much larger calculation that may or may not have a final outcome other than entropic heat death.

It seems that this God theory made an impression upon you. What's the title of the book and who's the author?

nigelTheBold wrote:
But I don't worry about that. Even if it is true, that is useless knowledge. It has no bearing on my existence, nor the existence of anyone else in the near or distant future. And there's no evidence for it, and may never be. And, just like your theism (whatever it might be), there is nothing to support you, other than your own personal belief, and the logical gameplay of others who have come before.

I play games because their fun. I suspect you do the same. Is there any other reason to participate in a debate forum?

I subscribe to mystical theology. It is not simply game play (although it can be fun). It has practical results. I engage in spiritual practice to explore alter states of consciousness with the ultimate of goal of union with God. 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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BMcD wrote:Wait, you reserve

BMcD wrote:
Wait, you reserve the right to believe that what you believe is bullshit and believe something else whenever it's convenient, and you're saying we're irrational?

Yeeeah... ok.

Self-contradiction is one thing. Duplicitousness is another. Good day to you, sir.

There's no duplicity here. I am willing to modify my beliefs as I receive more information or gain new spiritual insights. That is the rational thing to do.

 

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Paisley wrote: I engage

Paisley wrote:

 

 I engage in spiritual practice to explore alter states of consciousness with the ultimate of goal of union with God. 

By doing what ?  How do you unite with your "god" ?   ..by meditating...or dying ?

Explain your altered states of consciousness.   Elaborate, there's no need for secrecy.

 

 

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:You did

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
You did see the electrons diffraction pic right?

 

That's the wave functions interacting and interfering with each other. They wouldn't be able to do that if they weren't physical.

Do you know how the picture was formed? My guess it was by one photon emitting at a time upon a phosphor screen and collectively they form a wave.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:Cpt_pineapple

Paisley wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
You did see the electrons diffraction pic right?

 

That's the wave functions interacting and interfering with each other. They wouldn't be able to do that if they weren't physical.

Do you know how the picture was formed? My guess it was by one photon emitting at a time upon a phosphor screen and collectively they form a wave.

 

Utterly fascinating..

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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Paisley wrote:Cpt_pineapple

Paisley wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
You did see the electrons diffraction pic right?

 

That's the wave functions interacting and interfering with each other. They wouldn't be able to do that if they weren't physical.

Do you know how the picture was formed? My guess it was by one photon emitting at a time upon a phosphor screen and collectively they form a wave.


 

1) Those aren't photons, they're electrons.

2) /facepalm

 


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nigelTheBold wrote:Oh! The

nigelTheBold wrote:
Oh! The irony! How ironic that, considering that western culture is dominated by Christian beliefs, that certain scientists and deep thinkers were Christian! I'm dying in irony!

Why do you think he was charged with heresy? Or is that more of your irony?

Because of his belief in apostolic poverty, not because of his principle of parsimony.

nigelTheBold wrote:
And you've still not presented a case, other than that of quantum indeterminacy, which we've all agreed exists. What we don't agree with is that it should change how we do science. After all, it is empiricism that led to quantum theory in the first place. That is, by observing the universe, we learned that the universe is infinitely more cool than we originally thought.

My goal in this thread is to dismantle materialism, not science.

If you agree that the world is fundamentally indeterminate, then you believe in "uncaused events." I think your friend "William of Ockham" would take issue with this because he not only subscribed to the "principle of parsimony" but also to the "principle of sufficient reason."

Quote:
The principle of sufficient reason states that anything that happens does so for a definite reason. ( source: Wikipedia "Principle of sufficient reason." )

If you believe in "uncaused" events, then you are in violation of the "principle of sufficient reason." I can only hope that an RRS (Rational Response Squad) officer will soon police this thread and issue you a citation for a flagrant display of irrationality.

nigelTheBold wrote:
There's still no evidence whatsoever that this leads naturally to an overmind, a higher being, a God. None. Nadda. Zip. And you cling the quantum theory as if it's a life vest, but really it's a rock. It doesn't support your conception of God in the least. It is, at best, a last-ditch rationalisation.

What kind of evidence would suffice as a nonphysical cause or intentional act of will?

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:Fish

Paisley wrote:

Fish wrote:
There must be evidence for quantum events, right?  What evidence do you have that they don't have physical causes?  So what evidence do you have that they occur  at all?

Quantum indeterminancy is one of the defining characteristics of quantum theory.

"Quantum indeterminacy is the assertion that the state of a system does not determine a unique collection of values for all its measurable properties. Indeed in the quantum mechanical formalism, for a given quantum state, each one of these measurable values will be obtained non-deterministically in accordance with a probability distribution which is uniquely determined by the system state." ( source: Wikipedia "Quantum indeterminancy" )

 

An assertion is not evidence. 

You continue to refuse to point to any evidence that quantum events occur at all.  So are you saying that there is no evidence for quantum events?  What evidence do you have that anything behaves this way?


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Paisley wrote:nigelTheBold

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
The best current theistic interpretation of quantum theory is that the universe is itself a quantum computer, constantly calculating its own state. This rather excludes the possibility of a God that is distinct from the universe itself. It also means that when you die, you die. You have done your part in the calculation. It also means that you are no more significant than a rock, which is also constantly calculating its own state. This is the ultimate pantheism: we are all part of God, and we don't even know it. We are just calculations of ourselves, a infintesimal part of a much larger calculation that may or may not have a final outcome other than entropic heat death.

It seems that this God theory made an impression upon you. What's the title of the book and who's the author?

I wasn't really that impressed, other than the shear chutzpah of the concept, and the fact that it makes much more sense than the other searches for God through quantum theory.

Basically, look for anything by Seth Lloyd. One is Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On the Cosmos. He's an enjoyable read, at the least. I think you'll like him.

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
But I don't worry about that. Even if it is true, that is useless knowledge. It has no bearing on my existence, nor the existence of anyone else in the near or distant future. And there's no evidence for it, and may never be. And, just like your theism (whatever it might be), there is nothing to support you, other than your own personal belief, and the logical gameplay of others who have come before.

I play games because their fun. I suspect you do the same. Is there any other reason to participate in a debate forum?

Touché.

(There's also the whole thing of engaging another person with a differing viewpoint in an intelligent and thought-provoking conversation while maintaining an open mind. But not everybody digs it the most.)

Paisley wrote:

I subscribe to mystical theology. It is not simply game play (although it can be fun). It has practical results. I engage in spiritual practice to explore alter states of consciousness with the ultimate of goal of union with God. 

You are at your best when you just come out and say what you believe. Your basic attacks on atheism are a bit tiring, in that you seem to be unable or unwilling to even try to understand, or respond in a meaningful way to, the better responses (which are not mine by any stretch of the imagination). I feel this interferes with any kind of true discussion or debate, so I think I will recuse myself from this discussion.

I will sincerely and honestly say: Good luck in your ultimate goal. If there is a God, and he is quite like your understanding of Him, I hope the union with Him is all you hope it will be.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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nigelTheBold

nigelTheBold wrote:

 

 

 .......I hope the union with Him is all you hope it will be.

....but don't hold your breath based upon that assumption Paisley.  Thanks for enlightening we materialistic  atheists about our meaningless lives.  I shall file away your own special panentheistic / pantheistic nonsense with all the other theistic bullshit that has been dumped on this forum.   Now please, go and wallow in your perceived absolute truth while you seek to unite with your god. 

And once again, thanks for nothing.

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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Paisley wrote:I'm glad to

Paisley wrote:
I'm glad to see you have resolved the mind/ody problem. Perhaps you can now explain to me which types of external phenomena exhibit conscious-awareness and which do not.

Why? So you can fill the gaps with god? Anything I don't have an explanation for is automatically god? Listen to yourself.

Paisley wrote:
I prefer that you explain to me what would qualify as evidence for either a supernatural or nonphysical cause in your natural physical world.

There is none. The assertion that quantum mechanics implies a non-physical cause is complete nonsense. Speculation is not evidence - even if you're a Nobel prize laureate.

Paisley wrote:
It's a belief that denies the evidence of quantum mechanics - upon which all the other evidence rests.

Now I'm sure you're high. Quantum mechanics is an explanation of phenomena (to use the word you're comfortable with). There is no mention in any description of quantum theory of a non-physical world. None. It all rests on trying to understand the physical.

Paisley wrote:
Incidentally, you have taken a metaphysical position by expressing a belief in the physical.

Incidentally, metaphysics is to physics what astrology is to astronomy. What has metaphysics ever really helped us with? Anyone?

Paisley wrote:
Quantum events are events without physical cause. As such, they are without physical explanation.

Quantum events are phenomena. Speculating as to their cause is a good start, but it does not imply that they are without a physical explanation. Why do you immediately jump to the non-physical to explain things that are physical? That's just not reasonable.

Here's something to help you bone up on the only real controversy in quantum theory (which is still an explanation of the interaction between physical entities, no matter how many times you say it isn't):

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-relational/

 

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence