Naturalism vs. Super-Naturalism

ryancobb
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Naturalism vs. Super-Naturalism

 Hello all:

If y'all have discussed this topic elsewhere, please point me to the relevant thread!

The question of naturalism strikes me as being the most divisive issue between theists and atheists. (Cue "Thank you, Captain Obvious" responses)  Atheists, obviously, think naturalism is true, while the vast majority of theists think some sort of super-naturalism is true.   So there is no confusion, allow me to define my terms. I would define a naturalist as one who thinks the natural world is “the whole show.” The whole, interlocking event we call Nature is just what there is. It would be possible to believe in some sort of god in this scheme. However, this god would still be part of the show—a naturalistic god, who must follow the laws of Nature, the same as anything else. But I think it safe to say most naturalists are atheists. A super-naturalist simply thinks something exists besides nature. (Or, it might be better to say “beyond” or “behind” nature.) This something is not part of nature. It is not caught up in the natural system; it is separate or other. I also think it safe to say most super-naturalists think this something created nature. Exactly how the super-natural relates to the natural is nebulous. Deists, for example, might claim that no interaction occurs between the natural and the super-natural. A Christian theist would argue that the Super-natural (i.e. God) can and does affect Nature.  I think the question of naturalism causes much unnecessary friction. Consider the question of miracles. If naturalism is true, then no miracles could occur. We can rule out miracles from the start. If everything is a part of nature, then nothing can interfere with nature. Indeed, nothing exists which could possibly do a miracle. It would be pure nonsense to refer to an event as miraculous. So, an atheist thinks a Christian simply stupid for believing any miracle might have occurred, when really they simply have a fundamental philosophical disagreement.  Finally, the point of the thread:                1)      Are you a naturalist or a super-naturalist?                2)      Why do you hold that position?          3)      Do you agree with my categorization of your position? (E.g., if you are a super-naturalist, have I wrongly described your beliefs?)  Thanks,Ryan P.S. This thread might go better in the philosophy forum. Please feel free to move it!

P.P.S.  I suck at forum code! Sorry!

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1) Naturalist.2)

1) Naturalist.

2) Super-naturalism seems very incoherent to me. I define "nature" as "all which exists." If something exists, I consider it to be a part of nature -- whether it "follows the rules" or not. The only rules I think something would need to follow are the rules of logic, specifically ontological logic. Therefore, if the supernatural exists, then it must be natural -- a contradiction. I do entertain the possibility of other universes with different rules apart from ours -- but if they exist they are still natural, still somehow observable, and still explainable.

3) I think that your categorization "atheists, obviously, think naturalism is true" is false. Many atheists are "spiritual," aka. they don't believe in a God, but believe in some sort of super-natural mumbo jumbo. Some atheists also believe in things like ghosts or karma. Atheism is simply the disbelief in a deity. It doesn't entail that you must be a naturalist. The inverse is also true. Naturalistic pantheists, for instance, believe in a natural god. However, I would agree that most atheists are naturalists, and most theists are supernaturalists.


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I think that both,

I think that both, worldviews are natural, just the "supernatural" is bigger. It's our senses that draw the line, but senses can be expanded and improved, to include more of the natural world. The "supernatural" world has it's own nature, in some sense  different to our nature, but in other senses similar. For more info, see esoteric literature.

1)      Are you a naturalist or a super-naturalist?
- well, you'd say that I'm a supernaturalist. My idea of nature is broader.

2)      Why do you hold that position?
- because I feel the "supernatural" matter floating around me, all the time, for all my life, even in this moment. I have also a long history of paranormal experiences just like many people I know. My position is held strictly empirically, not by belief.

3)      Do you agree with my categorization of your position? (E.g., if you are a super-naturalist, have I wrongly described your beliefs?)
- I don't agree. My favorite, verified explanatory theory says
, that there is no natural-supernatural duality. There is a gradual spectrum of matter, spectrum of worlds, one less dense than another, all occupying the same space. Again, esoteric books provide more info.

As for the definition of miracles, they are purely subjective. Only our cultural standards of what is possible and what not allows us to consider some events as miraculous. Our civilization doesn't yet know all natural laws, this is why some seem to be miraculous.

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1) Naturalist2) There simply

1) Naturalist

2) There simply is no proof of anything supernatural. What we call supernatural at one point in history might be considered natural today. People tend to desire an explanation of things and if they can't find one a god or gods provides an all inclusive answer and provides comfort. One of the most irritating things to me is when a theist will say "Well if there is no god how can you explain X" There is much we don't understand and no one will be able to explain in my lifetime but I have confidence that some point in the future humans will understand more. As for miracles, I saw Criss Angel walk on water. He must be supernatural. Miracle is just another name for something you can't explain but somewhere in there is an explanation. (And if anyone can explain that walking on water trick let me know, it is the only one I can't figure out and everything I find on the net isn't convincing) Even when you see something you believe is impossible there is a rational explanation somewhere.

3) Your categories are as good as any. categorization can never be perfect because there will always be exceptions.

 

 

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Materialistic naturalism is

Materialistic naturalism is an untenable position for many reasons.  I'll give two.

(1) It is a statement of omniscience.  How could any finite being know that nature is all that there is?  The claim that everything is natural is a synthetic a posteriori statement.  There is no connection between the subject (everything) and the predicate (natural) that can be justified by the principle of non-contradiction.  Moreover, it is at least logically conceivable that there could exist something that is unnatural, such as God.  Therefore, in order to know that everything is natural, you would have to have travelled across the entire universe yourself in order to observe that to be true and make the connection between the subject and the predicate. 

(2) If everything is natural, then there would be no knowledge at all.  Knowledge would be reducible to something material, which would in turn subject knowledge to the natural causal chain of events.  But then to what extent can we say that we know anything?  Knowledge would simply be the result of some natural process, which itself is understood a posteriorically.  Thus we end up making knowledge claims without any universal grounds, which would ultimately be required for us to know.  Knowledge could not exist. 

 

 


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Materialistic Naturalism is

Materialistic Naturalism is the only valid and teneble answer to existence. The very term "supernatural" is broken and incoherent. This will explain further: http://www.rationalresponders.com/supernatural_and_immaterial_are_broken_concepts

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Vastet wrote:Materialistic

Vastet wrote:
Materialistic Naturalism is the only valid and teneble answer to existence. The very term "supernatural" is broken and incoherent. This will explain further: http://www.rationalresponders.com/supernatural_and_immaterial_are_broken_concepts

I have no problem with citing sources.   But are you capable of any of the following:

(1) Stating your own views and justifying them in your own words and *then* citing your sources.

(2) Citing any sources that do not come from the RRS website.  Have you read any books on these issues?  Have you studied these in any classroom?  Or did you learn everything you know about these topics from this website? 

In dealing with you, you've already neglected to respond me and opted to cite another poster.  And now you are citing articles written by members of this website.  Do you have ANYTHING else?


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1) Yep. I'll let you know

1) Yep. I'll let you know when I am posting on a PC and can do so to my satisfaction.
2) Yes, yes, yes, and no.
Let me know when you can do more than make unsupported assertions, straw man arguments, and ad hominem attacks. It might be slightly more interesting.

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Begging the question

"Supernatural - defined as 'not nature' or 'above nature' or 'beyond nature'. So again, what's left over for it to be? " --From the above link

 

I think the above argument begs the question, by assuming "nature" is all there is.  The super-naturalist argues there is at least one thing separate from nature.  The naturalist argues there are zero objects separate from nature (not nature=empty set).  But the author assumes the naturalist position above, even saying something to the effect that if you don't have nature, there is nothing the super-natural could possibly be.  The author sets up a classic "P or ~P" (objects can exist apart from nature or objects cannot exist apart from nature), but then assumes ~P.  Notice he makes no separate argument for ~P, other than stating nothing can exist apart from nature, which was the point he was trying to prove.

 

 

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. --Michael Crichton


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Luminon, I think you're a naturalist

"Our civilization doesn't yet know all natural laws, this is why some seem to be miraculous." --Luminon

Isn't this simply naturalism?  And, if both worldviews are "natural," doesn't that make you a naturalist?

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. --Michael Crichton


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Beyond saving--What counts as "proof" of super-naturalism?

Beyond Saving--What would you consider proof of super-naturalism?

 

And, Lord of Rock, do you think there is proof for the super-natural other than negative (i.e., either naturalism or super-naturalism is true, naturalism is untenable, therefore super-naturalism is true)?  Don't get me wrong, it's logical, I'm just curious what you think it is possible to discover about the super-natural.

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. --Michael Crichton


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Lord_of_Rock wrote:(2) If

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

(2) If everything is natural, then there would be no knowledge at all.  Knowledge would be reducible to something material, which would in turn subject knowledge to the natural causal chain of events.  But then to what extent can we say that we know anything?  Knowledge would simply be the result of some natural process, which itself is understood a posteriorically.  Thus we end up making knowledge claims without any universal grounds, which would ultimately be required for us to know.  Knowledge could not exist. 

What are some naturalistic responses to this?  If naturalists are correct in assuming super-naturalism is a broken concept, and super-naturalists can show naturalism untenable, are we just sunk? Sad

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. --Michael Crichton


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theotherguy wrote: 2)

theotherguy wrote:

 

2) Super-naturalism seems very incoherent to me. I define "nature" as "all which exists." If something exists, I consider it to be a part of nature -- whether it "follows the rules" or not. The only rules I think something would need to follow are the rules of logic, specifically ontological logic. Therefore, if the supernatural exists, then it must be natural -- a contradiction. I do entertain the possibility of other universes with different rules apart from ours -- but if they exist they are still natural, still somehow observable, and still explainable.

 

O.G., aren't you assuming super-naturalism to be false in the way you define "nature"?  Obviously, if you are a naturalist, you will think nature is all there is, but this to me does not seem to be a reason to think nature is all there is. 

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. --Michael Crichton


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ryancobb wrote:Beyond

ryancobb wrote:

Beyond Saving--What would you consider proof of super-naturalism?

 

That is a difficult question to answer because I can't envision anything that is truly supernatural. As I pointed out in my post even something that appears supernatural to me at the moment can easily have a natural scientific explanation. I'm not sure it would be possible to prove the supernatural. In fact, it seems to me by definition it is impossible to prove the existence of the supernatural because if you could prove it exists, wouldn't it be natural? 

 

All I can say is that what is often called supernatural is routinely disproven and people just make up something else supernatural. I just think when supernatural claims are disproven time after time it is unlikely that the millionth claim is true.

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Beyond Saving wrote:In fact,

Beyond Saving wrote:

In fact, it seems to me by definition it is impossible to prove the existence of the supernatural because if you could prove it exists, wouldn't it be natural? 

 

I think this is an excellent point.  We could probably devote a whole new thread to this idea.  It would be interesting to see a super-naturalist scheme of how the super-natural relates to the natural.  I guess the only difficulty is not assuming the super-natural cannot be proven because we have implicitly assumed naturalism. 

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. --Michael Crichton


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1)Naturalist.  

1)Naturalist.

 

2)Because the supernatural is not actually an answer for anything at all.

 

Seriously, quite a few of the so-called proofs for god fail due to the question of “who/what made god?”. However, there is a problem with that logic. Specifically, if it is not an infinite regress, then there must eventually come a point where stuff just happened.

 

Just for shits and giggles, let's say that

 

a. There is a god and he made the natural world as we know it. Also,

 

b. That there is no regression past that point.

 

OK, now tell me where god lives and where he put the universe? Seriously, that is a problem for the supernatural view. Think about this for a moment, if I build a shed in my back yard, I can define that as not part of my house (and god can call the universe apart from heaven by related thought). However, the shed is still in my world and I am in my world through no miraculous agency. Such must hold true for god as well.

 

Carrying the idea of who made god back one more step (or ten steps or a few million steps) does not remove this problem. Eventually, one must come to a point where there is a world that just happened. That world must, by any reasonable definition, be the true natural world.

 

Really, whoppie! So god has a magical universe making machine in his workshop. Still, god is embedded in whatever larger reality that the workshop, the universe machine and our universe also exist inside of. So even with a postulated “higher being” we still have a naturalistic world to deal with.

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1)Naturalist.  

Double post...


 

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Obviously people didn't

Obviously people didn't actually read the thread linked to, or they'd have seen the answers to those questions. Fact of the matter is that assuming or positing something other than the natural is begging the question. Not the other way around.

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ryancobb wrote:"Our

ryancobb wrote:

"Our civilization doesn't yet know all natural laws, this is why some seem to be miraculous." --Luminon

Isn't this simply naturalism?  And, if both worldviews are "natural," doesn't that make you a naturalist?

Maybe, but what I really want to say, is a denial of this "war of the words". I don't like playing with meanings. If I say "all that exists is natural", then the meaning of "natural" is stretched into absurdity. I think it's silly to do that. I must agree with that definition, because it's unfalsifiable, it's a tautology. But I don't agree with using tautologies.

It seems to me like that someone is trying this tactics, 'erase the heretic's name and his soul will perish'. Or, take the word 'supernatural' from the people, and they will stop reporting ghosts and UFO. Is there any other reason why our wise skeptics do try this tactics on us?

In a serious discussion, 'natural and supernatural', rather means 'familiar and unfamiliar'. It respects the subjectivity and relativity of knowledge and experience. Also, "natural" can be used as an opposite to "synthetic" or "man-made".

According to esoteric scheme of the world, 3 lowest lines of the graph are considered natural by all people, 4 next are currently only partially known (some space radiation, for example), and 42 remaining will be considered supernatural by majority of people for a long time. So much for a definition. I have encountered phenomena from most of the scheme, this is why it's familiar to me. But not "natural", that would be if I'd have a control on these levels. It is a difference in being aware of something and having a total control over it. That's how I understand these terms.

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???

Vastet wrote:
Obviously people didn't actually read the thread linked to, or they'd have seen the answers to those questions. Fact of the matter is that assuming or positing something other than the natural is begging the question. Not the other way around.

 

My mistake. I was hasty.  I suppose you are referring to this gem:

"Related Counter Argument: "Materialism begs the question that all there is, is matter."

My Response: You've got it backwards: you're begging the question that there IS something beyond materialism in order to make this very charge. Those who build their case for immateriality by arguing that materialism rules out their claim a priori implicitly concede that there is no way to build a positive case for your claim. "

The author here has made a mistake.  Question begging would be arguing in this way:

Let P represent the sentence: "Naturalism is true."

Let Q represent the sentence: "Super-naturalism is true."

1. P v Q     (assumed)

2. Q-->~P (assumed)

3. Q           (assumed)

4. ~P         (From 2 and 3, modus ponens)

Therefore,

5. Q           (From 1 and 4, disjunct elimination)

I've begged the question in the above argument by assuming super-naturalism is true.  It is (hopefully) the only contentious assumption in the argument.  I'm saying naturalists often make the same argument, but simply assume P instead of Q.   Either argument is bad, and both are worthless in defending a position.

My point is, we must have a reason for selecting p over q.  The author does beg the question, because he provides no evidence for his claim that naturalism is true, other than the fact that super-naturalism is incoherent (Why? Because naturalism is true! )  If you don't think the argument is question-begging, riddle me this: what premise, distinct from his conclusion, does the author provide to support his position?

 Do super-naturalists ever argue as above? Yes!  But that doesn't relieve naturalists of their responsibility to defend their position.  If the question of naturalism vs. super-naturalism is open, then we must have reason to choose one over the other.  If it is a closed question for you, you must have a reason for your choice.  That's the purpose of my question 2 above.  I want to know why someone chooses one over the other. 

 

 

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. --Michael Crichton


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Luminon wrote:In a serious

Luminon wrote:


In a serious discussion, 'natural and supernatural', rather means 'familiar and unfamiliar'. It respects the subjectivity and relativity of knowledge and experience. Also, "natural" can be used as an opposite to "synthetic" or "man-made".

According to esoteric scheme of the world, 3 lowest lines of the graph are considered natural by all people, 4 next are currently only partially known (some space radiation, for example), and 42 remaining will be considered supernatural by majority of people for a long time. So much for a definition. I have encountered phenomena from most of the scheme, this is why it's familiar to me. But not "natural", that would be if I'd have a control on these levels. It is a difference in being aware of something and having a total control over it. That's how I understand these terms.

So is something natural something you have control over, or something familiar to you?

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. --Michael Crichton


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ryancobb wrote:So is

ryancobb wrote:

So is something natural something you have control over, or something familiar to you?

This is only of many meanings. I must say, if natural is "all that exists" then it loses meaning, we simply can say "existing". I emphasize a relativity of the "natural" concept. This concept is usable for rather small, relative division of the world, not for big, abstract things like "all that exists".

Something can be natural to me but not to majority of people. It can be divided even further, something can be familiar to me, but not necessarily natural. For example, I used to smoke cigarettes so they're familiar to me, but I stopped a few years ago and smoking is not natural to me anymore.

Anyway, I don't like these linguistic games. I prefer intuitive understanding of what's going on. It's so comfortable Smiling

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Hello, welcome to the forum.

Hello, welcome to the forum.

ryancobb wrote:
1)      Are you a naturalist or a super-naturalist?

I'm a naturalist. I'm not sure what a super-naturalist is.

ryancobb wrote:
2)      Why do you hold that position?

Everything that I've ever grasped with my senses has been natural. Additionally, natural is defined in terms of what we can explain and comprehend. Therefore, show me something supernatural that I can comprehend, and I'll gladly change my position. Oh wait, then it would be natural, wouldn't it? Oops, hehe.

ryancobb wrote:
3)      Do you agree with my categorization of your position? (E.g., if you are a super-naturalist, have I wrongly described your beliefs?)

Good enough for me.

ryancobb wrote:
P.P.S.  I suck at forum code! Sorry!

Quote Function

Lord_Of_Rock wrote:
(1) It is a statement of omniscience.  How could any finite being know that nature is all that there is?

Look up the difference between methodological and metaphysical naturalism.

Lord_Of_Rock wrote:
(2) If everything is natural, then there would be no knowledge at all.

A dubious assertion.

Lord_Of_Rock wrote:
Knowledge would be reducible to something material,

What's wrong with that?

Lord_Of_Rock wrote:
which would in turn subject knowledge to the natural causal chain of events.  But then to what extent can we say that we know anything?

To the extent that when I put my hand on a hot stove, my hand hurts. I need no confirmation beyond that.

Lord_Of_Rock wrote:
Knowledge would simply be the result of some natural process, which itself is understood a posteriorically.

Okay.

Lord_Of_Rock wrote:
Thus we end up making knowledge claims without any universal grounds, which would ultimately be required for us to know.  Knowledge could not exist.
 

Yes, it would not exist in the sense that we could never be 100% sure.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:(1) It is

butterbattle wrote:
Look up the difference between methodological and metaphysical naturalism.

That's cute.  Are you learning about these in your intro to philosophy class?

I already know the difference.  Both operate under the presupposition that nature is all that there is.  Metaphysical naturalism is the belief that nature is all that exists.  Methodological naturalism is the assumption of metaphysical naturalism in scientific inquiries only, which thereby trivializes any fundamental differences between the two insofar that they both by necessity exclude the possibility of supernatural explanation, since they both accept that all knowledge ultimately derives from scientific investigation.  Thus, there is zero probability that the methodological naturalist is going to accept any supernatural phenomena as being such.  Probably the most fundamental difference is that the methodological naturalist is typically more disingenuous in his approach, pretending that the possibility is left open for supernaturalism, much like a weak atheist will claim that s/he is open to the possibility of God yet will spend the majority of his or her days dissecting any cogent theist argument until it can be refuted.

Quote:
A dubious assertion.

It's not an assertion.  I support my claim in the very next sentence.  But I would guess that you are just responding to my post without reading it all the way through.

Quote:
What's wrong with that?

I discuss that in the very next sentence.  Once again, are you reading my post all the way through before responding to it?

Quote:
To the extent that when I put my hand on a hot stove, my hand hurts. I need no confirmation beyond that.

If knowledge is a material entity, then you really could not claim to know that the stove caused your hand to get hurt.  In fact, you could not even claim to know that there is a stove or that you have a hand.  Your "knowledge" would simply be some material entity which itself is shaped by some prior physical event, possibly unrelated to the action of your hand touching the stove.  There would be practically no correlation between physical actions and the knowledge that you presuppose to be produced by them.  Your knowledge would simply be a contingent factor of physical processes, which means that you putting your hand on the stove could conceivably give way to you extrapolating a completely false proposition based on that event.


Quote:
Okay.

Did you even understand what I've just stated?

Quote:
Yes, it would not exist in the sense that we could never be 100% sure.

Which is self-refuting, since you could never be sure if you could never be sure.


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P exists, and has been

P exists, and has been empirically defined and observed. Hence it is not begging the question to assume P. Q does not enjoy the same status, and even mentioning it is begging the question. Assuming it is even worse. The author made no mistake.

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Regardless what one thinks

Regardless what one thinks of naturalism, where was "supernatural" actually defined and shown to a viable alternative?


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The Scientific Method

As far as I can tell, the most coherent definition of the Supernatural is "that which science cannot possibly explain," while the Natural is "that which science can possibly explain."

 

Of course, science uses the scientific method, which consists of collecting evidence through observation.  Thus anything that creates an observable effect can be examined by the scientific method, and is thus natural.

 

The only possibility for supernatural stuff is stuff that creates no observable effect, which means that if the supernatural is real then it is ultimately meaningless.

 

Thus, I am a naturalist.

Questions for Theists:
http://silverskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/03/consistent-standards.html

I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.


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Alright, I can already tell

Alright, I can already tell this discussion is going to make me tear my hair out. 

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

That's cute.  Are you learning about these in your intro to philosophy class?

Nah. Philosophy 100 didn't cover this when I took it. I'm going to take Intro to Logic (120) in about a month though.

Quote:
I already know the difference.  Both operate under the presupposition that nature is all that there is.  Metaphysical naturalism is the belief that nature is all that exists.  Methodological naturalism is the assumption of metaphysical naturalism in scientific inquiries only, which thereby trivializes any fundamental differences between the two insofar that they both by necessity exclude the possibility of supernatural explanation, since they both accept that all knowledge ultimately derives from scientific investigation.  Thus, there is zero probability that the methodological naturalist is going to accept any supernatural phenomena as being such.

I hate semantics. Define supernatural.

I believe that all knowledge of the world is acquired through a mixture of our senses and logic. Scientific investigation is the most unbiased and reliable method of applying these faculties. I think it is definitely possible, even likely, that there are things in the world that we can't understand. However, correct me if I'm wrong, but 'supernatural,' by being "beyond natural," seems to literally be defined by what we can't explain and can't comprehend. Thus, argueing for the validity of "supernatural explanations" is like an oxymoron to me. So, I don't operate under the presupposition that nature is all that there is. More precisely, I believe that all that can be investigated is all that is worth investigating, a very pragmatic approach perhaps.

Quote:
Probably the most fundamental difference is that the methodological naturalist is typically more disingenuous in his approach, pretending that the possibility is left open for supernaturalism, much like a weak atheist will claim that s/he is open to the possibility of God yet will spend the majority of his or her days dissecting any cogent theist argument until it can be refuted.

Aaaww, you're a meany, aren't you?

Quote:
It's not an assertion.  I support my claim in the very next sentence.  But I would guess that you are just responding to my post without reading it all the way through.

I didn't say it was a naked assertion. 

Quote:
If knowledge is a material entity, then you really could not claim to know that the stove caused your hand to get hurt.  In fact, you could not even claim to know that there is a stove or that you have a hand.  Your "knowledge" would simply be some material entity which itself is shaped by some prior physical event, possibly unrelated to the action of your hand touching the stove.  There would be practically no correlation between physical actions and the knowledge that you presuppose to be produced by them.  Your knowledge would simply be a contingent factor of physical processes, which means that you putting your hand on the stove could conceivably give way to you extrapolating a completely false proposition based on that event.

Yep, I could be a brain in a vat. Either way, it still hurts, which is all the evidence I need. 

Quote:
Did you even understand what I've just stated?

Something along the lines of, "If intelligence, conscience, morality, etc. are merely characteristics of complex physical processes, then I will be really, really sad." Haha, here's what you wrote:

"Knowledge would simply be the result of some natural process, which itself is understood a posteriorically."

Close enough, right? Of course, I added that part at the end, but I thought it was fitting...   

Quote:
Which is self-refuting, since you could never be sure if you could never be sure.

Yuck! Is this a paradox? I'm glad I'm not a philosophy major, fencing with shadows. Hey, it's kind of like the quote, "All generalizations are false, including this one." 

Anyways, I think you're right, but it just doesn't bother me. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Lord_of_Rock wrote:Quote:To

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Quote:
To the extent that when I put my hand on a hot stove, my hand hurts. I need no confirmation beyond that.

If knowledge is a material entity, then you really could not claim to know that the stove caused your hand to get hurt.  In fact, you could not even claim to know that there is a stove or that you have a hand.  Your "knowledge" would simply be some material entity which itself is shaped by some prior physical event, possibly unrelated to the action of your hand touching the stove.  There would be practically no correlation between physical actions and the knowledge that you presuppose to be produced by them.  Your knowledge would simply be a contingent factor of physical processes, which means that you putting your hand on the stove could conceivably give way to you extrapolating a completely false proposition based on that event.

Knowledge can be destroyed via brain damage so physical damage affects the knowledge. This is a fact.

I can write a computer program that can take an image and distinguish individual objects like a stove?  The computer is entirely material.   So to say that knowledge cannot by part of the material reality is false.

Sounds made up...
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Facepalm

Vastet wrote:
P exists, and has been empirically defined and observed. Hence it is not begging the question to assume P.

Riddle me this: how does one empirically observe a philosophical position?  That's like saying I mathematically calculated my epistemic position.  Naturalism is a position one brings to experience--one will interpret experience in terms of naturalism.  Science does not, and cannot, prove naturalism, because "Is naturalism true?" is not a scientific hypothesis. 

 

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. --Michael Crichton


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Magus wrote:Knowledge can be

Magus wrote:

Knowledge can be destroyed via brain damage so physical damage affects the knowledge. This is a fact.

I can write a computer program that can take an image and distinguish individual objects like a stove?  The computer is entirely material.   So to say that knowledge cannot by part of the material reality is false.

 

I don't want to de-rail my own thread, but do you really think a computer "knows" anything?

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. --Michael Crichton


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ryancobb wrote:Magus

ryancobb wrote:

Magus wrote:

Knowledge can be destroyed via brain damage so physical damage affects the knowledge. This is a fact.

I can write a computer program that can take an image and distinguish individual objects like a stove?  The computer is entirely material.   So to say that knowledge cannot by part of the material reality is false.

 

I don't want to de-rail my own thread, but do you really think a computer "knows" anything?

How would you determine that a computer that solves problems doesn't know something and a human who solves problems does?

Sounds made up...
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Chinese room

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room

John Searle says it best, Magus.  I would argue computers don't solve problems, either. 

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. --Michael Crichton


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Lord_of_Rock

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Materialistic naturalism is an untenable position for many reasons.  I'll give two.

(1) It is a statement of omniscience.  How could any finite being know that nature is all that there is? The claim that everything is natural is a synthetic a posteriori statement. There is no connection between the subject (everything) and the predicate (natural) that can be justified by the principle of non-contradiction.  Moreover, it is at least logically conceivable that there could exist something that is unnatural, such as God.

You just provided an argument for all things fictional to exist. Congratulations.

Of course it's logically conceivable the Santa could exist! Of course it's logically conceivable that wood elves exist! Don't discount the existence of wood elves!

Lord_of_Rock wrote:
But then to what extent can we say that we know anything?  Knowledge would simply be the result of some natural process, which itself is understood a posteriorically.

There really needs to be a fallacy ab teenagero. Because, you know, what can we really know? I mean really?

Let me get some coffee first. It might make me care.

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ryancobb

ryancobb wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room

John Searle says it best, Magus.  I would argue computers don't solve problems, either. 

It has always amazed me that anyone can take that old "Chinese Room" thing seriously - it proves absolutely nothing, except that John Searle is so hostile to the idea of 'Artificial Intelligence' he cannot see how pointless it is. Using a person to perform the mechanical task of applying the rule book is an unnecessary distraction which confuses the issue. A relatively simple device or program could do the same thing if the words were entered via a keyboard - but that would just make the pointlessness of the scenario more obvious.

Rather than showing that computers cannot possibly emulate human thought processes, it simply shows that humans can also emulate "mindless" tasks as well as a computer. By showing that you can translate Chinese by just following a book of rules without needing to understand the language, he has only shown that such a task is not an adequate test of AI.

The fact that other people keen to seize on anything that reinforces their conviction that 'true' AI is inherently impossible find this scenario important shows that he has at least have a good insight into the psychology involved when people uncritically accept something which supports their presuppositions. I have found it difficult to take Searle seriously after reading about this.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

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HisWillness wrote:You just

HisWillness wrote:

You just provided an argument for all things fictional to exist. Congratulations.

Of course it's logically conceivable the Santa could exist! Of course it's logically conceivable that wood elves exist! Don't discount the existence of wood elves!

Santa Clause is defined as that big Jolly man who lives in the North Pole.  Therefore, all I have to do to prove that he does not exist is to travel to the North Pole and see that there is nobody there.  If you are defining him differently, let me know and I'll tell you if I can prove to you that he does not exist.

Whereas the claim that everything is material is a claim about the entire universe of discourse, which would require you to travel a million miles across to universe to observe everything in order to verify materiality.

Quote:
There really needs to be a fallacy ab teenagero. Because, you know, what can we really know? I mean really?

Let me get some coffee first. It might make me care.

I really don't care if you care or not.

I'm just saying, that if materialistic naturalism is true, then knowledge does not exist. 


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ryancobb

ryancobb wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room

John Searle says it best, Magus.  I would argue computers don't solve problems, either. 

This made me think of that Simpsons episode where Smithers turned on the computer and got a pixelated image of Mr. Burns saying, "you are really good at turning me on".

Under the materialist worldview, the computer was actually sexually aroused by Smithers.


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Lord_of_Rock wrote:I'm just

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

I'm just saying, that if materialistic naturalism is true, then knowledge does not exist. 

Maybe with 'reductionist' materialism, but that is irrelevant to modern scientific naturalism. Also depends how you define 'knowledge' - it is a slippery term.

The philosphical definition "justified, true belief" is absurd question begging. We cannot 'know' which if any of our beliefs are definitely 'true'.

It is better defined by the degree of confidence we have in the truth of the 'information' that the 'knowledge' specifies. It is simply one end of the spectrum of concepts we hold in in our minds, the other end being somewhere in the region of tentative assumptions. It really should not be used in rigorous debate, especially since new discoveries can instantly change the accepted truth value of a particular belief, even if the person is not aware of it, and his whole mental state which stores that 'knowledge' remains exactly as it was before.

It makes it difficult to talk about people in the past 'knowing' things which we now 'know' to be mistaken, even though in many contexts the ultimate truth value of any belief is not relevant to understanding what and why people behave as they do.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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BobSpence1 wrote:Maybe with

BobSpence1 wrote:

Maybe with 'reductionist' materialism, but that is irrelevant to modern scientific naturalism. Also depends how you define 'knowledge' - it is a slippery term.

I really do not know what you define "modern scientific naturalism" to be, but if you accept that everything is natural yet some things are immaterial, then feel free to expound on that because I'm really interested to know how that would work.

"Knowledge" is only a slippery term if you make it so. 

As far as I'm concerned, it has been clearly defined:

http://creationwiki.org/images/d/dd/Knowledge.gif

Quote:
The philosphical definition "justified, true belief" is absurd question begging. We cannot 'know' which if any of our beliefs are definitely 'true'.

That is a self-refuting statement.  The stability of your very discourse will automatically assume something known with 100% certainty.  You already postulated a knowledge claim regarding that which we cannot know and in the very next paragraph, you state with implicit certainty that we have a dual spectrum of concepts and tentative assumptions.  The very structure of the thought process necessitates that we have some conceptual apparatus which includes universal a priori propositions, whether or not we can articulate them in English or any other language.  If everything is material, then even what we perceive to be our a priori categories of the understanding would be physical objects subject to laws of nature which are themselves a posteriori assumptions. 


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Lord_of_Rock

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Maybe with 'reductionist' materialism, but that is irrelevant to modern scientific naturalism. Also depends how you define 'knowledge' - it is a slippery term.

I really do not know what you define "modern scientific naturalism" to be, but if you accept that everything is natural yet some things are immaterial, then feel free to expound on that because I'm really interested to know how that would work.

To quote myself from a post on another thread

 

'Immateriality' is a (negative) concept that obviously exists, just like 'number', 'height', 'weight', 'equality', 'velocity', 'complexity', 'law', 'logic', 'contradiction', stupidity', etc.

Just another way of saying not every noun refers to a physical object. Others describe concepts, processes, attributes, qualities, etc, which may or may not be directly attributes of physical objects.

 

Quote:

"Knowledge" is only a slippery term if you make it so. 

As far as I'm concerned, it has been clearly defined:

http://creationwiki.org/images/d/dd/Knowledge.gif

Except we don't know empirical 'truths' with 100% certainty, so that leaves what should be regarded formally and strictly as 'knowledge' not definable.

Quote:

Quote:
The philosphical definition "justified, true belief" is absurd question begging. We cannot 'know' which if any of our beliefs are definitely 'true'.

That is a self-refuting statement.  The stability of your very discourse will automatically assume something known with 100% certainty.  You already postulated a knowledge claim regarding that which we cannot know and in the very next paragraph, you state with implicit certainty that we have a dual spectrum of concepts and tentative assumptions.  The very structure of the thought process necessitates that we have some conceptual apparatus which includes universal a priori propositions, whether or not we can articulate them in English or any other language.  If everything is material, then even what we perceive to be our a priori categories of the understanding would be physical objects subject to laws of nature which are themselves a posteriori assumptions. 

Wrong.

We do not need 100% certainty of anything.

We only need 'working assumptions' to allow us to proceed - "as if" something is true.

Subsequent experience and new information will allow us to either increase our confidence in particular assumptions or maybe abandon them and adopt assumptions which appear to work better. Yes, we have to have initial assumptions, but that doesn't mean they can't be modified in the light of experience.

Your conception of the implications of "materlalism" just demonstrate ignorance, which is understandable, as you appear to be so wedded to a supernatural world-view.

I could adopt your approach and suggest you need to study the alternatives seriously, but that is probably pointless in practice, either way, when the world-views are so different.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Lord_of_Rock wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

You just provided an argument for all things fictional to exist. Congratulations.

Of course it's logically conceivable the Santa could exist! Of course it's logically conceivable that wood elves exist! Don't discount the existence of wood elves!

Santa Clause is defined as that big Jolly man who lives in the North Pole.  Therefore, all I have to do to prove that he does not exist is to travel to the North Pole and see that there is nobody there.  If you are defining him differently, let me know and I'll tell you if I can prove to you that he does not exist.

What? Santa's workshop is invisible, silly. He's magic. Or supernatural, if you like. Don't go proving that Santa doesn't exist -- you'll upset the children.

Lord_of_Rock wrote:
Whereas the claim that everything is material is a claim about the entire universe of discourse, which would require you to travel a million miles across to universe to observe everything in order to verify materiality.

This is a tired and old straw man. What I'm saying is that nobody is arguing that the materialist has exhaustive knowledge. That would be ridiculous, as you point out. I certainly don't claim exhaustive knowledge, and unless I missed it, nobody else here has.

To say that we're limited to the natural actually has fun side: anything we discover is also natural. So let's say we find Santa's invisible cottage one the north pole. Turns out the empiricist is willing to take that as a natural phenomenon. The problem with "supernatural" isn't that it's undiscovered, it's that it doesn't make any sense. Supernatural doesn't mysterious or undiscovered, it means a massive inconsistency. Like water flowing uphill -- that would be "supernatural".

Look, if we found that there were some kind of etherial super-being somehow, and we had empirical evidence, then I guess we wouldn't be arguing whether or not such a thing exists. We could argue about the details of the evidence maybe (because that would be the scientific way to go) but if we established existence, then it wouldn't be an issue.

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

I'm just saying, that if materialistic naturalism is true, then knowledge does not exist. 

What you're saying is that if materialistic naturalism means that every materialist claims exhaustive knowledge, then it's nonsense. That's true. You're attacking a position that nobody has taken.

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Lord_of_Rock wrote:I really

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

I really do not know what you define "modern scientific naturalism" to be, but if you accept that everything is natural yet some things are immaterial, then feel free to expound on that because I'm really interested to know how that would work.

Sorry, what was immaterial, ideas? Of course, ideas need a brain, which is material, so ...

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BobSpence1 wrote:To quote

BobSpence1 wrote:

To quote myself from a post on another thread

'Immateriality' is a (negative) concept that obviously exists, just like 'number', 'height', 'weight', 'equality', 'velocity', 'complexity', 'law', 'logic', 'contradiction', stupidity', etc.

Just another way of saying not every noun refers to a physical object. Others describe concepts, processes, attributes, qualities, etc, which may or may not be directly attributes of physical objects.

That is not what immateriality is.

"Immateriality" denotes the objective existence of objects that are not extended in space.  Nouns can refer to physical objects, non-physical objects, fictional objects, self-refuting objects, etc.  It has nothing to do with arbitrary linguistic referential points.  Even if you adopt a subjective idealist worldview, you would still admit the appearance of the objective existence of immaterial objects outside of your consciousness and not simply that you merely refer to things that are not material, but may be material in reality.

Quote:
Except we don't know empirical 'truths' with 100% certainty

Agreed.

Not all truths are empirical.

Quote:
Wrong.

We do not need 100% certainty of anything.

Then you are not 100% certain that I am wrong.

Quote:
We only need 'working assumptions' to allow us to proceed - "as if" something is true.

That's a statement of certainty.

Quote:
Subsequent experience and new information will allow us to either increase our confidence in particular assumptions or maybe abandon them and adopt assumptions which appear to work better. Yes, we have to have initial assumptions, but that doesn't mean they can't be modified in the light of experience.

Then are you claiming that consciousness and experience have no necessary preconditions?  That everything is contingent and potentially alterable?

For example, could you demonstrate to me how "P & ~P is impossible" is a contingent proposition, other than by saying that the truth value would change if different meanings were assigned to the symbols?

Quote:
Your conception of the implications of "materlalism" just demonstrate ignorance, which is understandable, as you appear to be so wedded to a supernatural world-view.

You haven't demonstrated why I'm wrong.  You've just made assertions.

 


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HisWillness wrote:What?

HisWillness wrote:

What? Santa's workshop is invisible, silly. He's magic. Or supernatural, if you like. Don't go proving that Santa doesn't exist -- you'll upset the children.

Fair enough.  But there is a fundamental difference between universal and singular propositions.  The only universal propositions that we can prove to be true are a priori propositions. The proposition that everything is natural is an empirical proposition.  Any universal empirical proposition is unprovable for the same reason:  We cannot observe the entire universe.

Obviously, you are falling back on the idea that God-belief is not substantiated by any evidence and that atheists are unable to disprove his existence is a moot point because we have the burden of proof.  Right?  Was that the point of your Santa example and the whole "invisible" thing?

Quote:
This is a tired and old straw man. What I'm saying is that nobody is arguing that the materialist has exhaustive knowledge. That would be ridiculous, as you point out. I certainly don't claim exhaustive knowledge, and unless I missed it, nobody else here has.

Materialist naturalism is the claim that everything is material.  So yes, they are claiming exhaustive knowledge. 

Metaphysical naturalism makes that claim outright, while methodological naturalism assumes it for scientific inquiries, which trivializes any fundamental differences insofar that their worldview doesn't permit knowledge to be acquired in any other manner.

"As defined by philosopher Paul Draper, naturalism is "the hypothesis that the natural world is a closed system" in the sense that "nothing that is not a part of the natural world affects it." More simply, it is the denial of the existence of supernatural causes. In rejecting the reality of supernatural events, forces, or entities, naturalism is the antithesis of supernaturalism."

"As a substantial view about the nature of reality, it is often called metaphysical naturalism, philosophical naturalism, or ontological naturalism to distinguish it from a related methodological principle. Methodological naturalism, by contrast, is the principle that science and history should presume that all causes are natural causes solely for the purpose of promoting successful investigation. The idea behind this principle is that natural causes can be investigated directly through scientific method, whereas supernatural causes cannot, and hence presuming that an event has a supernatural cause for methodological purposes halts further investigation."

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/nontheism/naturalism/

Quote:
Look, if we found that there were some kind of etherial super-being somehow, and we had empirical evidence, then I guess we wouldn't be arguing whether or not such a thing exists. We could argue about the details of the evidence maybe (because that would be the scientific way to go) but if we established existence, then it wouldn't be an issue.

So the only evidence you'll accept for God is that which comports with the scientific method, which excludes God by necessity (see methodological naturalism)? 

Just because you are unconvinced does not mean the evidence is not there.  Would you say that there is no evidence for evolution because there is dissent among natural scientists and creationists?


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HisWillness wrote:Sorry,

HisWillness wrote:

Sorry, what was immaterial, ideas? Of course, ideas need a brain, which is material, so ...

And what peer reviewed publication can you show me which states that during the course of our frontal lobe activity, there is an emergence of invisible entities that we call "morals"?  Or during the course of parietal lobe activity emerges invisible mathematical principles?


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Lord_of_Rock

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

To quote myself from a post on another thread

'Immateriality' is a (negative) concept that obviously exists, just like 'number', 'height', 'weight', 'equality', 'velocity', 'complexity', 'law', 'logic', 'contradiction', stupidity', etc.

Just another way of saying not every noun refers to a physical object. Others describe concepts, processes, attributes, qualities, etc, which may or may not be directly attributes of physical objects.

That is not what immateriality is.

"Immateriality" denotes the objective existence of objects that are not extended in space.  Nouns can refer to physical objects, non-physical objects, fictional objects, self-refuting objects, etc.  It has nothing to do with arbitrary linguistic referential points.  Even if you adopt a subjective idealist worldview, you would still admit the appearance of the objective existence of immaterial objects outside of your consciousness and not simply that you merely refer to things that are not material, but may be material in reality.

That still seems to be based on reference to physical reality, namely space. Sounds like an electron, which is also conceived of as essentially point-like. That definition doesn't seem adequate to define objects that are not accessible to scientific investigation, which only requires that an thing have some consistent perceptible or measurable influence on physical existence. So that definition doesn't work. You would have to at least add no location in space as well.

In philosophical/metaphysical contexts, 'immaterial' usually refers to minds and ideas in those minds, in contra-distinction to things composed of ordinary matter. I have no problem with this. My list would certainly fit in there. 'Mind' is not a material object in itself, but it is a process intimately connected and bound to a particular physical object. It has no 'extension in space', any more than does 'happiness', or 'desire', etc. 

The sort of thing you seem to be referring to has always struck me as actually still hung up on materialism, just some sort of 'immaterial' material, rather than acknowledging that these things, like mind, etc, are not objects in any meaningful sense, they are a truly different category, like process, etc, referents to the truly 'immaterial', even if intimately connected to or generated by matter/energy processes.

Quote:

Quote:
Except we don't know empirical 'truths' with 100% certainty

Agreed.

Not all truths are empirical.

Quote:
Wrong.

We do not need 100% certainty of anything.

Then you are not 100% certain that I am wrong.

And neither can you be 100% certain you aren't wrong. Non-empirical truths are basically deductive and definitional, therefore we can be 100% certain of them, but without some empirically testable input propositions, they are just word-play. All else is speculation.

You can of course construct statements like "I am certain that we are not able to be 100% certain about the nature of reality or the existence of God", so you have to careful about the structure of the statements to which you are assigning certainty or lesser confidence.

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We only need 'working assumptions' to allow us to proceed - "as if" something is true.

That's a statement of certainty.

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Subsequent experience and new information will allow us to either increase our confidence in particular assumptions or maybe abandon them and adopt assumptions which appear to work better. Yes, we have to have initial assumptions, but that doesn't mean they can't be modified in the light of experience.

Then are you claiming that consciousness and experience have no necessary preconditions?  That everything is contingent and potentially alterable?

For example, could you demonstrate to me how "P & ~P is impossible" is a contingent proposition, other than by saying that the truth value would change if different meanings were assigned to the symbols?

I did not claim in any sense the words I underlined in your response, or that "everything is contingent and potentially alterable". Your example is a basic tenet of logic, therefore explicitly excluded from such contingency. It is not an 'empirical truth'.

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Your conception of the implications of "materlalism" just demonstrate ignorance, which is understandable, as you appear to be so wedded to a supernatural world-view.

You haven't demonstrated why I'm wrong.  You've just made assertions.

Ok so its my assertions vs. yours.

Any reference to God is assertion of the truth of an unproveable proposition.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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Lord_of_Rock
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BobSpence1 wrote:You would

BobSpence1 wrote:

You would have to at least add no location in space as well.

I meant the same thing.

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In philosophical/metaphysical contexts, 'immaterial' usually refers to minds and ideas in those minds, in contra-distinction to things composed of ordinary matter. I have no problem with this. My list would certainly fit in there.

Minds, ideas, mental states (anger, happiness, sadness, etc.), God, angels, etc. 

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'Mind' is not a material object in itself, but it is a process intimately connected and bound to a particular physical object. It has no 'extension in space', any more than does 'happiness', or 'desire', etc. 

Then you are saying that the immaterial mind is an emergent property of the brain.  Is there any scientific evidence for that?

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And neither can you be 100% certain you aren't wrong.

Can you not see the absurdity of your position?

You admit that you are not sure that I am wrong but then you say that I am not sure that I am right.  And yet you affirm that you are certain about a dichotomy between right and wrong, which implicitly affirms the law of excluded middle whose validity you admit to not being 100% certain of. 

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Non-empirical truths are basically deductive and definitional, therefore we can be 100% certain of them, but without some empirically testable input propositions, they are just word-play. All else is speculation.

So then we can be 100% certain of certain things, which, as Kant demonstrates but which you haven't mentioned, would include the grounds for non-empirical truths themselves, themselves logically necessary but not true by definition.

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I did not claim in any sense the words I underlined in your response, or that "everything is contingent and potentially alterable". Your example is a basic tenet of logic, therefore explicitly excluded from such contingency. It is not an 'empirical truth'.

I am agreeing that we cannot know empirical truths with 100% certainty.

But you are the one who stated that we do not need 100% certainty of anything.

But now you are affirming that we do, since experience requires a conceptual apparatus that is not derived from experience in order to allow the codification for empirical principles.

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Any reference to God is assertion of the truth of an unproveable proposition.

I haven't even offered any proofs yet.


BobSpence
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Lord_of_Rock

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Quote:
'Mind' is not a material object in itself, but it is a process intimately connected and bound to a particular physical object. It has no 'extension in space', any more than does 'happiness', or 'desire', etc. 

Then you are saying that the immaterial mind is an emergent property of the brain.  Is there any scientific evidence for that?

Yes, massive amounts.

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And neither can you be 100% certain you aren't wrong.

Can you not see the absurdity of your position?

You admit that you are not sure that I am wrong but then you say that I am not sure that I am right.  And yet you affirm that you are certain about a dichotomy between right and wrong, which implicitly affirms the law of excluded middle whose validity you admit to not being 100% certain of. 

I did not say I am unsure of "the law of excluded middle". It is not a contingent fact, it explicitly follows from the necessary assumptions or axioms of binary (true/false) logic. It really is a corrolary of the basic 'Law of Non-contradiction'. I think of it not so much as a 'law' in the scientific sense, but an essential requirement for the propositions to which basic binary logic can be applied. They must be stated in such a way that only two outcomes are valid. If a proposition allows for a middle state, it has to be re-formulated, or multi-valued logic used.

And by definition of the terms, of course there is a dichotomy between 'right' and 'wrong'. That doesn't mean that we can necessarily be certain about the appropriate label to apply to any particular action, but we can be 100% certain that if an action is judged 'right', that absolutely implies that refraining from the action must be 'wrong', for logical consistency.

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Non-empirical truths are basically deductive and definitional, therefore we can be 100% certain of them, but without some empirically testable input propositions, they are just word-play. All else is speculation.

So then we can be 100% certain of certain things, which, as Kant demonstrates but which you haven't mentioned, would include the grounds for non-empirical truths themselves, themselves logically necessary but not true by definition.

No, wrong again.

We can be 100% certain that the results of valid arguments in deductive systems such as logic and mathematics are 100% consistent with the axioms of the system, but that neither implies or requires that those axioms actually correspond to reality.

All that logic can demonstrate is whether some conclusion is or is not consistent with the initial assumptions. Only observation of reality itself can check the initial assumptions, if not with absolute proof necessarily, but at least to assess the confidence we are warranted in regarding them. If the conclusion is not consistent with some other well established observation, then the logical argument tells us that either (or both) the initial assumptions and the conflicting observation are mistaken in some way.

The classic case is in Euclidean Geometry, and the axiom in question is that stating that there is only one line thru a point parallel to another line, ie such that the lines will never meet. That only applies if space is 'flat'. Positive curvature, as in the surface of a sphere and its higher dimensional versions implies that there are no lines which will never meet, while negative curvature, as in a 'saddle' surface, implies that there are many lines which meet that requirement. Our universe, at least in the vicinity of significant mass, appears to be positively curved, following from General Relativity.

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I did not claim in any sense the words I underlined in your response, or that "everything is contingent and potentially alterable". Your example is a basic tenet of logic, therefore explicitly excluded from such contingency. It is not an 'empirical truth'.

I am agreeing that we cannot know empirical truths with 100% certainty.

But you are the one who stated that we do not need 100% certainty of anything.

But now you are affirming that we do, since experience requires a conceptual apparatus that is not derived from experience in order to allow the codification for empirical principles.


 

We do not need 100% certainty.

"if there is movement in the grass over there, and there is no wind, it probably means there is an animal hiding there, so I should be careful, because I know their are lions around, and they kill creatures like me, and I don't like that idea, because it seems to be unpleasant". No 100%'s require there.

Experience does require a basic apparatus to gather and organize the data, but that in no way requires 100% certainty or accuracy, merely adequate for the purpose.

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Any reference to God is assertion of the truth of an unproveable proposition.

I haven't even offered any proofs yet.

OK  - I didn't think you had presented any, but I couldn't be sure that something you said was intended at least tangentially as a proof, since I find many of your responses almost pure non-sequiturs, so there is definitely a communication problem here.

I would be curious if you think there are good arguments for God, but I am not gonna hold my breath for a proof...

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Lord_of_Rock wrote:Fair

Lord_of_Rock wrote:

Fair enough.  But there is a fundamental difference between universal and singular propositions.  The only universal propositions that we can prove to be true are a priori propositions. The proposition that everything is natural is an empirical proposition.  Any universal empirical proposition is unprovable for the same reason:  We cannot observe the entire universe.

Why do you have to be so goofy about this? I've already put it down in writing several times, and in the simplest terms: if we discover something, it's part of the natural world. If you want to say that everything that is undiscovered is supernatural, that's fine.

Lord_of_Rock wrote:
Obviously, you are falling back on the idea that God-belief is not substantiated by any evidence and that atheists are unable to disprove his existence is a moot point because we have the burden of proof.  Right?  Was that the point of your Santa example and the whole "invisible" thing?

Actually, I was pointing out the use of the "true Scotsman" fallacy, or the tendency to move the goalpoasts, but that too.

How is it unreasonable to you that the universe continues to operate as it has for at least 250 recorded years of rigorous science? How is it unreasonable that mathematics consistently shows us the way, time and again?

Even with low-grade retail electronics like we're using to communicate, there's still a fair amount of consistency in the behaviour of the universe at the very small and very large levels. It keeps working the way that it does, over and over again, and somehow you want there to be another something else (about which you can have no information, strangely) instead.

Lord_of_Rock wrote:
Materialist naturalism is the claim that everything is material.  So yes, they are claiming exhaustive knowledge.

 

When an empiricist naturalist says that everything is material, that's because anything would be accepted as material if it presented itself. Within that framework, of course everything's material! Anything that shows up IS!

So please stop. Yes, that's an assumption. It's an assumption that the universe keeps working the way it has. Otherwise, engineers, astronauts, plumbers and electricians would have a much more complicated job. Yes, we all know that any fictional character you present could be shown to possibly exist. Centaurs, the Tooth Fairy, and whatever other Rama Rama Ding Ding nonsense you want to conjure up could possibly exist.

But what are you suggesting? That we entertain a supernatural something? Look at it reasonably: what exactly would supernatural things do? How would we interact with them? Could we ever gain any information at all? What exactly do we know about the supernatural?

Maybe I can save you the time. We know exactly nothing. Zero. Zilch. So when you suggest a supernatural, one can only wonder why.

Lord_of_Rock wrote:
So the only evidence you'll accept for God is that which comports with the scientific method, which excludes God by necessity (see methodological naturalism)?

What other kind of evidence do you suggest I entertain? Wild conjecture? Bald assertions? Appeals to emotion?

Cut the nonsense; what do you mean by "supernatural"?

Lord_of_Rock wrote:
Just because you are unconvinced does not mean the evidence is not there.  Would you say that there is no evidence for evolution because there is dissent among natural scientists and creationists?

Dissent? You mean controversy about the mechanics of evolution at certain levels? That's just scientific debate -- that's how it's done.

What do creationists do? I mean, other than rationalize away legitimate scientific inquiry in favour of anything written in a 2,000 year old book?

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BobSpence1 wrote:Yes,

BobSpence1 wrote:

Yes, massive amounts.

For example? 

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I did not say I am unsure of "the law of excluded middle". It is not a contingent fact, it explicitly follows from the necessary assumptions or axioms of binary (true/false) logic. It really is a corrolary of the basic 'Law of Non-contradiction'. I think of it not so much as a 'law' in the scientific sense, but an essential requirement for the propositions to which basic binary logic can be applied. They must be stated in such a way that only two outcomes are valid. If a proposition allows for a middle state, it has to be re-formulated, or multi-valued logic used.

And by definition of the terms, of course there is a dichotomy between 'right' and 'wrong'. That doesn't mean that we can necessarily be certain about the appropriate label to apply to any particular action, but we can be 100% certain that if an action is judged 'right', that absolutely implies that refraining from the action must be 'wrong', for logical consistency.

Okay. 

Now in light of your point that we do not need 100% certainty, can you explain how empirical observation and codification is possible without a priori principles such as the law of excluded middle?

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No, wrong again.

We can be 100% certain that the results of valid arguments in deductive systems such as logic and mathematics are 100% consistent with the axioms of the system, but that neither implies or requires that those axioms actually correspond to reality.

What do you mean, "correspond with reality"?  The law of non-contradiction states that nothing can both be and not be at the same time.  Are you saying that in reality, a rock could possibly be, at the same time, a non-rock?

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All that logic can demonstrate is whether some conclusion is or is not consistent with the initial assumptions. Only observation of reality itself can check the initial assumptions, if not with absolute proof necessarily, but at least to assess the confidence we are warranted in regarding them. If the conclusion is not consistent with some other well established observation, then the logical argument tells us that either (or both) the initial assumptions and the conflicting observation are mistaken in some way.

I'm not disagreeing that logic alone can't produce knowledge.  My only point was that we need 100% certainty in order to even begin abstracting propositions from the external reality that we experience.  You have affirmed that we can be 100% certain that logic will be consistent within its own system, which is required for us to take any experience of a particular and codify it in a language or mode of discourse.

Therefore, the relationship between us and the objects that we are sense are actually mediated by knowledge that we already have.  For example, we have the innate ability to discern substance, accident, unity, plurality, etc.  These are all judgments that objects are subjected as soon as they are given to us.  More essentially, these are conceptual realities, themselves universally necessary and not derived from experience.

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We do not need 100% certainty.

"if there is movement in the grass over there, and there is no wind, it probably means there is an animal hiding there, so I should be careful, because I know their are lions around, and they kill creatures like me, and I don't like that idea, because it seems to be unpleasant". No 100%'s require there.

Let's see:  We have 100% certainty of the consistency of logic.  We have 100% certainty of the spatiality and temporality of the distinct materials, both accounting for the possibility of physical events such as the one in your example.  We have 100% certainty of the existence of the self.  We have 100% certainty that objects will adhere to a structure of substance, accident, relation, modality, quantity, etc. 

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OK  - I didn't think you had presented any, but I couldn't be sure that something you said was intended at least tangentially as a proof, since I find many of your responses almost pure non-sequiturs, so there is definitely a communication problem here.

I would be curious if you think there are good arguments for God, but I am not gonna hold my breath for a proof...

Too many to mention.


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HisWillness wrote:Why do you

HisWillness wrote:

Why do you have to be so goofy about this? I've already put it down in writing several times, and in the simplest terms: if we discover something, it's part of the natural world. If you want to say that everything that is undiscovered is supernatural, that's fine.

What do you mean "discover"?  As in, if something is perceived with any one of the five senses, then it is discovered?

Lord_of_Rock wrote:
How is it unreasonable to you that the universe continues to operate as it has for at least 250 recorded years of rigorous science? How is it unreasonable that mathematics consistently shows us the way, time and again?

I'm just saying that materialistic naturalism is irrational.  What's the problem?

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Even with low-grade retail electronics like we're using to communicate, there's still a fair amount of consistency in the behaviour of the universe at the very small and very large levels. It keeps working the way that it does, over and over again, and somehow you want there to be another something else (about which you can have no information, strangely) instead.

Actually, I have a lot of information, as it was revealed in scripture. 

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When an empiricist naturalist says that everything is material, that's because anything would be accepted as material if it presented itself. Within that framework, of course everything's material! Anything that shows up IS!

So please stop. Yes, that's an assumption. It's an assumption that the universe keeps working the way it has. Otherwise, engineers, astronauts, plumbers and electricians would have a much more complicated job. Yes, we all know that any fictional character you present could be shown to possibly exist. Centaurs, the Tooth Fairy, and whatever other Rama Rama Ding Ding nonsense you want to conjure up could possibly exist.

The uniformity of nature has nothing to do with materialistic naturalism. 

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But what are you suggesting? That we entertain a supernatural something? Look at it reasonably: what exactly would supernatural things do? How would we interact with them? Could we ever gain any information at all? What exactly do we know about the supernatural?

A supernatural thing would create the world ex nihilo, create man in his image, and offer man salvation even after man decides to rebel and falls under his righteous condemnation. 

Such a thing would lay the foundations for ethics, rationality, and essentially all of existence.  It would also offer everlasting life for those who choose to put their faith and trust in him.

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Maybe I can save you the time. We know exactly nothing. Zero. Zilch. So when you suggest a supernatural, one can only wonder why.

Because only the supernatural can account for the larger spheres of life that science has nothing to do with, such as the value and sanctity of human life, the purpose of existence, and absolute morality. 

Of course, if you deny that any of these things exist, then it is a moot point to you.  But God really has no obligation to reveal himself to you within your parameters. He does not bow to you.

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What other kind of evidence do you suggest I entertain? Wild conjecture? Bald assertions? Appeals to emotion?

1. Argument from Cosmological Necessity

2. Everything Has to have a Reason

3. Fire in the Equations

4. Fine Tuning

5. From Religious Instinct

6. From Religious a priori

7. From Mystical experience

8. Thomas Reid Argument

9. Argument from the Sublime

10. Existential Argument.

11. Feeling of Utter Dependence

12. Hartshorne's Modal Argument

13. From Perfection.

14. Plantinga's Possible Worlds

15. Reity

16. Transcendental Signifier

17. Tillich's Ground of Being.

18. Metacrock's Version of Ground of Being.

19. Reverse Quantum

20. Garrett's Argument from Logical Necessity.

21. Argument from Consciousness.

22. Moral Argument.

23. Argument from Moral Judgment and Abstract Values.

24. The Berkeley_Goswami Argument.

25. Argument From Temporal Begining.

26. Eligance of God hypothesis.

27. Hartshorne's Deep Empiricism.

28. Near Death Experience.

29. Why anything at all?

30. Positive Epistemic Status.

31. Confluence of Proper function and Reliability.

32. Argument From Induction.

33. Rejection of Universal Skepticism.

34. Hick's Argument from Personal Origin.

35. Materialism Vanishes

36. Argument from Logical Necessity

37. God Pod

38. Miracles

39. Argument from Arbitrary necessity

40. Modes of being

41. Cumulative Case.

42. Koon's Cosmological Argument.

http://www.doxa.ws/meta_crock/listGodarguments.html

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Cut the nonsense; what do you mean by "supernatural"?

Not subject to the laws of nature.

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What do creationists do? I mean, other than rationalize away legitimate scientific inquiry in favour of anything written in a 2,000 year old book?

Just pointing out that simply because people disagree on an issue does not mean that the proof is insufficient.  It just means that some people have not accepted the proof.