The Question that Stumps Atheists

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The Question that Stumps Atheists

Below is a link to an online video produced by PBS's TV series "Closer To Truth".  Here, producer Robert Lawrence Kuhn asks atheist philosopher Quentin Smith: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" What follows is Smith's painful struggle to weasel out of a trap that he initially sets up for himself. His response amounts to nothing more than unintelligible babbling. It is truly pathetic.

http://www.closertotruth.com/video/Why-is-There-Something-Rather-than-Nothing-Quentin-Smith-/984

 

"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:Below is a

Paisley wrote:

Below is a link to an online video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Paisley wrote:Below is a

Paisley wrote:

Below is a link to an online video produced by PBS's TV series "Closer To Truth".  Here, producer Robert Lawrence Kuhn asks atheist philosopher Quentin Smith: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" What follows is Smith's painful struggle to weasel out of a trap that he initially sets up for himself. His response amounts to nothing more than unintelligible babbling. It is truly pathetic.

http://www.closertotruth.com/video/Why-is-There-Something-Rather-than-Nothing-Quentin-Smith-/984

 

 

first of all, i'm not gonna watch the video.

 

second of all, there's a difference between "being stumped" and "considering a question unanswerable and, ultimately, irrelevant."

 

seriously, the last time this question bothered me, i was around nine years-old.  even at that age i had enough sense to know that "because god wants it" was a cop-out, and i come from a family of theists--and, oddly enough, i was a theist myself at the time.

 

 

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


cj
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Nothing has changed


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Oh boy, you're STILL going

Oh boy, you're STILL going on with this? -_-

Not only have you ignored all of our posts, but you insist that this question somehow justifies the existence of god. Again, even if we do concede that some "intelligent consciousness" exists, why attribute any other qualities to it? No, intelligence does not correlate with a deity, the supernatural, etc.

Furthermore, all you've done is "hazard" a guess at the "most fundamental question of existence". Do you realize think a guess is good enough for something as supposedly important as that? Please. Lastly, the question "Why does God exist instead of no God" also applies.

If anything, you should realize that this question also *ahem* "stumps" theists. I say "stumps" because the question is of dubious importance and really, there really is next to no answer to the question. Anybody can get stumped. All the theologian does is say "because you can't think of anything, this deity must exist and I must know it's true nature". Haha, what a joke.

"The Chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. Just no Character."

"He...had gone down in flames...on the seventh day, while God was resting"

"You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You should be taken outside and shot!"


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Jesus Christ Paisley. 

Jesus Christ Paisley.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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 seriously, i'd love to see

 

seriously, i'd love to see this question put to a theist of solid intellectual caliber--a real honest-to-god theorist, and see if they would give it the merit paisley relentlessly does.

hmmm...we'd probably have to rule out most of christendom for this one.  we might need to dig up some graves.  i might be curious to see karl barth's reaction.  but, no--in the end, i nominate the great jewish theologian, philosopher, psychologist, political scientist, novelist, and preserver of hasidic lore, martin buber.

i see the conversation going something like this:

 

 

 

PAISLEY: why is there something other than nothing?

 

 

 

 

BUBER: why shouldn't there be?

 

 

 

 

PAISLEY: ah!  because (rehashes stuff from about three different threads).

 

 

 

 

BUBER: oy...listen, mr. maven, the human condition is what it is.  if the torah can't go back any further than bereshit--not to mention my good friend mr. einstein--then what makes you think the human brain is capable of apprehending it at all?  i won't go into the breakdown of physics, but as the baal shem tov said, "a man should not look upon what is not granted to him."

 

 

 

 

PAISLEY: professor, i don't think you watched the video.

 

 

 

 

BUBER: what???  get outta here, ya little pisher!

 

 

 

[exit paisley]

 

 

 

BUBER: schmuck...

 

 

 

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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iwbiek wrote:first of all,

iwbiek wrote:

first of all, i'm not gonna watch the video.

That's a surprise.

iwbiek wrote:
 

second of all, there's a difference between "being stumped" and "considering a question unanswerable and, ultimately, irrelevant."

Well, it wasn't ultimately irrelevant if you found yourself asking it at age nine. That you haven't come to terms with it qualifies as evidence that you are "being stumped."

"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: Well, it

Paisley wrote:

 

Well, it wasn't ultimately irrelevant if you found yourself asking it at age nine. That you haven't come to terms with it qualifies as evidence that you are "being stumped."

 

the point i was making is that it's an immature question most intelligent people grow out of asking.  it's on the same level as "who would win in a fight, batman or spiderman?"

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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D33PPURPLE wrote:Oh boy,

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Oh boy, you're STILL going on with this? -_-

Not only have you ignored all of our posts, but you insist that this question somehow justifies the existence of god. Again, even if we do concede that some "intelligent consciousness" exists, why attribute any other qualities to it? No, intelligence does not correlate with a deity, the supernatural, etc.

Are you conceding this?

 

 

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


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iwbiek wrote:Paisley

iwbiek wrote:

Paisley wrote:
 

Well, it wasn't ultimately irrelevant if you found yourself asking it at age nine. That you haven't come to terms with it qualifies as evidence that you are "being stumped."

 

the point i was making is that it's an immature question most intelligent people grow out of asking.  it's on the same level as "who would win in a fight, batman or spiderman?"

Well, you say the same thing about the belief in God. However, that you spend an inordinate amount of your precious time debating the belief (and that you even identify yourself in relation to where you stand on the belief) undermines your argument.

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


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How 'bout those Blazers!

How 'bout those Blazers!


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Paisley wrote:D33PPURPLE

Paisley wrote:

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Oh boy, you're STILL going on with this? -_-

Not only have you ignored all of our posts, but you insist that this question somehow justifies the existence of god. Again, even if we do concede that some "intelligent consciousness" exists, why attribute any other qualities to it? No, intelligence does not correlate with a deity, the supernatural, etc.

Are you conceding this?

 

 

 

To be honest, I can't say. I'm not a philosopher, I don't know what's been said on the matter, and I don't even know how good the premises of the argument of "intelligent consciousness" really are. Every time I read a philosophy, it seems plausible and yet simultaneously absurd. What I'm getting at is that I'm in no position to argue whether or not this consciousness does exist, but EVEN IF I were to concede that the consciousness does exist, it means nothing in terms of spirituality--let alone theism.

"The Chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. Just no Character."

"He...had gone down in flames...on the seventh day, while God was resting"

"You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You should be taken outside and shot!"


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iwbiek wrote:seriously, i'd

iwbiek wrote:

seriously, i'd love to see this question put to a theist of solid intellectual caliber--a real honest-to-god theorist, and see if they would give it the merit paisley relentlessly does.

hmmm...we'd probably have to rule out most of christendom for this one.  we might need to dig up some graves.  i might be curious to see karl barth's reaction.  but, no--in the end, i nominate the great jewish theologian, philosopher, psychologist, political scientist, novelist, and preserver of hasidic lore, martin buber.

i see the conversation going something like this:

Just curious. Are you only atheistic in regards to Christianity. Or, does your atheism also extend to Judaism?

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


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D33PPURPLE wrote:Paisley

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Paisley wrote:

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Oh boy, you're STILL going on with this? -_-

Not only have you ignored all of our posts, but you insist that this question somehow justifies the existence of god. Again, even if we do concede that some "intelligent consciousness" exists, why attribute any other qualities to it? No, intelligence does not correlate with a deity, the supernatural, etc.

Are you conceding this?

 

To be honest, I can't say. I'm not a philosopher, I don't know what's been said on the matter, and I don't even know how good the premises of the argument of "intelligent consciousness" really are. Every time I read a philosophy, it seems plausible and yet simultaneously absurd. What I'm getting at is that I'm in no position to argue whether or not this consciousness does exist, but EVEN IF I were to concede that the consciousness does exist, it means nothing in terms of spirituality--let alone theism.

If you are conceding that "intelligent consciousness" is fundamental, then you are conceding to some kind of God-concept. Whether it is religiously or spiritually relevant is another issue. After all, deism is a God-belief, albeit, a belief in a deadbeat one.

"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:D33PPURPLE

Paisley wrote:

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Paisley wrote:

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Oh boy, you're STILL going on with this? -_-

Not only have you ignored all of our posts, but you insist that this question somehow justifies the existence of god. Again, even if we do concede that some "intelligent consciousness" exists, why attribute any other qualities to it? No, intelligence does not correlate with a deity, the supernatural, etc.

Are you conceding this?

 

To be honest, I can't say. I'm not a philosopher, I don't know what's been said on the matter, and I don't even know how good the premises of the argument of "intelligent consciousness" really are. Every time I read a philosophy, it seems plausible and yet simultaneously absurd. What I'm getting at is that I'm in no position to argue whether or not this consciousness does exist, but EVEN IF I were to concede that the consciousness does exist, it means nothing in terms of spirituality--let alone theism.

If you are conceding that "intelligent consciousness" is fundamental, then you are conceding to some kind of God-concept. Whether it is religiously or spiritually relevant is another issue. After all, deism is a God-belief, albeit, a belief in a deadbeat one.

 

Sorry bud, but by definition God must have spiritual relevance. You see, God is defined as a SUPERNATURAL SPIRIT. This has little correlation with an "intelligent consciousness". Of course, we can redefine the word "god" so it includes this concept, but then the word loses all meaning.

 

As you point out, since "intelligent consciousness" does not necessarily mean anything spiritual; the concept can exist outside the realm of spirituality and religion, meaning that the question is useless when you are trying to prove that some sort of God must exist. Way to kill your own argument.

 

 

"The Chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. Just no Character."

"He...had gone down in flames...on the seventh day, while God was resting"

"You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You should be taken outside and shot!"


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Your "god" that transcends

Your "god" that transcends time and space (lol), who created him? This is such a stupid question because we are not even close to approaching a good answer at this time.

My god is coconut flavored and licks lollipops he transcends time and space and yea um, transcends the dimension YOUR god is in, and bitch slaps your god randomly causing bout's of turrets.

It's why I didn't get involved in the other debate thread. Lets bang rocks together and see what happens dur.

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The Question that Stumps Atheists

The Question that Stumps Atheists is why Paisley does this over and over again.

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"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:The

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The Question that Stumps Atheists is why Paisley does this over and over again.

 

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


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Paisley wrote: Well, you

Paisley wrote:

 

Well, you say the same thing about the belief in God. However, that you spend an inordinate amount of your precious time debating the belief (and that you even identify yourself in relation to where you stand on the belief) undermines your argument.

 

what?  paisley, when's the last time you and i had an exchange?  at least a month ago?  i'm on here on average an hour a day tops (on days that i'm on at all, that is--i'm not on here everyday).  i frequently disappear for weeks or even months at a time.  most of my time on here is spent arguing the history of religions, political theory, and current events, or else just cracking jokes.  i very rarely concern myself with arguing the nonexistence of god.

and yes, my atheism is universal.  i just happen to have a great amount of respect for a lot of thinkers who, coincidentally, were jewish, e.g., spinoza, buber, gershom sholem, hannah arendt, marx, trotsky, sidney hook, chaim potok, jonathan z. smith, jon d. levenson, adin steinsaltz, jacob neusner, moshe idel, etc.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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Does proof exist

 

there ever was nothing? I don't see any nothing. There's no evidence of nothing from where we are sitting. I would argue it's impossible for a human being to even imagine nothing. What the fuck is nothing?

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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OK, let's say that that

OK, let's say that that question even makes any sense at all (it doesn't BTW).

 

Even so, if it does make sense, then there has to be an answer right? The problem that I see here is that that answer is itself something. I really don't care here if the answer is god or the flying spaghetti monster or even the extra-universal conspiracy of cats. Suffice to say that the answer is something.

 

Well, then the question can be restated to say why is is there that particular something?

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Cpt_pineapple wrote: 

Cpt_pineapple wrote:


 

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Nothing is nothing at all

 

The more I think about this stuff the more I decry the remote possibility of nothingness. Creationists are presupposing nothing based on empirical evidence of zero. There is no evidence of nothing. We may not even be able to perceive nothing. We have never, ever measured nothing. I think there is no nothing anywhere and I base my belief not only on our inability to find nothing but our inability to even imagine it. Nothing must be a contingent negative fact that can only based on a positive reality - the viewpoint of an observer, for example. All the contortions of multiple threads on this topic of why is there is something rather than nothing only prove this is not a question at all.

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Paisley wrote:iwbiek

Paisley wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

seriously, i'd love to see this question put to a theist of solid intellectual caliber--a real honest-to-god theorist, and see if they would give it the merit paisley relentlessly does.

hmmm...we'd probably have to rule out most of christendom for this one.  we might need to dig up some graves.  i might be curious to see karl barth's reaction.  but, no--in the end, i nominate the great jewish theologian, philosopher, psychologist, political scientist, novelist, and preserver of hasidic lore, martin buber.

i see the conversation going something like this:

Just curious. Are you only atheistic in regards to Christianity. Or, does your atheism also extend to Judaism?

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: 

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

 

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Atheistextremist wrote: The

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

The more I think about this stuff the more I decry the remote possibility of nothingness. Creationists are presupposing nothing based on empirical evidence of zero. There is no evidence of nothing. We may not even be able to perceive nothing. We have never, ever measured nothing. I think there is no nothing anywhere and I base my belief not only on our inability to find nothing but our inability to even imagine it. Nothing must be a contingent negative fact that can only based on a positive reality - the viewpoint of an observer, for example. All the contortions of multiple threads on this topic of why is there is something rather than nothing only prove this is not a question at all.

I like this line of reasoning, AE.  Very rational.

I think just a little clarification - measuring for a particular something and not finding it, does not mean there is nothing.  You will measure other things in your quest for that particular something.  You are specifically talking about a measurement of absolute nothing.  And I agree I can not conceive of absolute nothing or how anyone could measure it. 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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D33PPURPLE wrote:Paisley

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Paisley wrote:

If you are conceding that "intelligent consciousness" is fundamental, then you are conceding to some kind of God-concept. Whether it is religiously or spiritually relevant is another issue. After all, deism is a God-belief, albeit, a belief in a deadbeat one.

Sorry bud, but by definition God must have spiritual relevance. You see, God is defined as a SUPERNATURAL SPIRIT. This has little correlation with an "intelligent consciousness". Of course, we can redefine the word "god" so it includes this concept, but then the word loses all meaning. 

As you point out, since "intelligent consciousness" does not necessarily mean anything spiritual; the concept can exist outside the realm of spirituality and religion, meaning that the question is useless when you are trying to prove that some sort of God must exist. Way to kill your own argument. 

There is little correlation between the concept of God and "intelligent consciousness?" What drugs are you taking? If you believe that "intelligent consciousness" is fundamental or a brute fact of existence, then you obviously have a 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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Wheeeeeeeee.....

Paisley wrote:

D33PPURPLE wrote:

If you believe that "intelligent consciousness" is fundamental or a brute fact of existence, then you obviously have a God-belief. 

 

D33PPURPLE is going to heaven!

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Paisley, If you are

Paisley,

If you are wondering why you are getting this reaction, it is like someone coming up to you handing you a comic book of Superman, pointing out it depicts New York city, and then getting angry that the person tells you that it is a comic book.

They don't have to consider your OP because they have seen you pull this in other threads, not to mention the question has been bounced around long before you even thought of it. It has been beaten like a dead horse.

"Something vs nothing" is not the end goal of the believer's intent of getting someone to buy the absurd claim of a disembodied super brain with magical super powers, so therefore irrelevant.

It is a distraction and has nothing to do with the believers claim that a god exists. Toss a coin on "something vs nothing" and take your pick, it still would not make Allah/Jesus/Yahweh/Vishnu/Thor OR pink unicorns real.

There are lots of things I don't know and scratch my head over, but I don't let my brains fall out and default to absurdities being a possibility because I don't know everything.

But if one is going to claim a "something" and then go on to claim that this "something" is the cause of everything, then what was the cause of that "something" and then, what was the cause of that "something" and then what was the cause of that "something" and what was the cause of that "something" ect ect ect ect ect. It is called infinite regress.

We have had this argument long before you came here and long before this website was created.

 

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Paisley, Why does

Paisley, 

Why does consciousness have to be some sort of god-belief when you know for a fact that it cannot exist without some form of physical substrate (You have no evidence to contradict this)? I don't care whether you think consciousness is reducible to physical processes or not, I just want your rationale behind why you think it means anything beyond its existence since meaning is inherently subjective; it's all very much like a dog chasing its tail. 

 

(Not sure if you've ever heard this but there is a finite limit to prediction in this universe as we know it. To perfectly recreate and simulate the human brain on silicon it would take AT LEAST the amount of matter-energy contained in a typical human brain to simulate it (might depend on if you account for subatomic particles in your calculation). I'm sure their are shortcuts you could take with software to cut out a lot of wasteful processing but we're talking about complete replication of every reaction that takes place. Just to simulate every chemical reaction and process in one cell is enormous, add the interaction of several billion/trillion others and it quickly approaches and surpasses any computational ability we'll have globally for some time to come (l remember some articles that tried to weigh all the electrons the internet uses in one year). This goes back to your argument against a deterministic consciousness. A lot of us believe it may be possible but we also understand the limitations of such a framework for the possibility. I just don't see determinism and nondeterminism being mutually exclusive within the context of all of our observations - ie reality as we know it scientifically)

 

There is no such thing as "nothing" as we could ever know it because it's such a relative concept. Even if you found a vacuum under certain conditions that exhibited no virtual particles could it still be considered "nothing" since it exists and space-time with us and the very fact that we could measure its absence of anything at all? The concept of nothing is vacuous as any concept of god. Why don't you try to go to a theistic board and ask why there is god instead of nothing, you'll be hitting the same brick wall with this concept of nothingness I bet.

 


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Does Paisley always

Does Paisley always completely ignore the point someone is trying to make, isolate one word in their rationalization, highlight it, bold it, and then tell them using that word proves her point?

I mean it's an effective way to back up your points, I guess. However, it's only effective if you address the overall point someone was trying to make instead of just throwing it in the trash and focusing on one phrase  to try to corner them.

I see rationalization after rationalization, then all of a sudden Paisley completely changes the subject by isolating a phrase. 

I would like to see you address some of the arguments made.  It would be interesting to see you responding solely to people's points rather than trying to set a bunch of booby traps.  Notice the arguments of the above people focus primarily on proving their point-- not twisting words around.  Try it.


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rdklep8 wrote:Does Paisley

rdklep8 wrote:

Does Paisley always completely ignore the point someone is trying to make, isolate one word in their rationalization, highlight it, bold it, and then tell them using that word proves her point?

 

yes.

 

 

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Di66en6ion

Di66en6ion wrote:

Paisley, 

Why does consciousness have to be some sort of god-belief when you know for a fact that it cannot exist without some form of physical substrate (You have no evidence to contradict this)? I don't care whether you think consciousness is reducible to physical processes or not, I just want your rationale behind why you think it means anything beyond its existence since meaning is inherently subjective; it's all very much like a dog chasing its tail. 

By the same token, you have no empirical evidence to suggest that the physical can exist without consciousness (since all empirical evidence ultimately depends on the consciousness of an observer for validation).

What I said in a previous post is that if  an individual believes that "intelligent consciousness" is a fundamental aspect of existence, then that individual has a God-belief. I don't see why an atheist should object to this, not unless he is harboring this belief. Of course, lurking God-beliefs are widespread in the so-called atheistic and naturalistic community.

Di66en6ion wrote:

(Not sure if you've ever heard this but there is a finite limit to prediction in this universe as we know it. To perfectly recreate and simulate the human brain on silicon it would take AT LEAST the amount of matter-energy contained in a typical human brain to simulate it (might depend on if you account for subatomic particles in your calculation). I'm sure their are shortcuts you could take with software to cut out a lot of wasteful processing but we're talking about complete replication of every reaction that takes place. Just to simulate every chemical reaction and process in one cell is enormous, add the interaction of several billion/trillion others and it quickly approaches and surpasses any computational ability we'll have globally for some time to come (l remember some articles that tried to weigh all the electrons the internet uses in one year).

If consciousness reduces to information processing, then what does complexity have to do with it? IOW, why would processing vastly more amounts of information or creating vastly more complex logic lead to the emergence of consciousness?

Di66en6ion wrote:

This goes back to your argument against a deterministic consciousness. A lot of us believe it may be possible but we also understand the limitations of such a framework for the possibility. I just don't see determinism and nondeterminism being mutually exclusive within the context of all of our observations - ie reality as we know it scientifically)

I never said that determinism and nondeterminism were mutually exclusive. I simply stated that indeterminism implies that some events occur without causation. If it is true that physical events are occurring without physical causation, then there is no physical explanation for how this happens. This seems to me to undermine materialism.

Di66en6ion wrote:

There is no such thing as "nothing" as we could ever know it because it's such a relative concept. Even if you found a vacuum under certain conditions that exhibited no virtual particles could it still be considered "nothing" since it exists and space-time with us and the very fact that we could measure its absence of anything at all? The concept of nothing is vacuous as any concept of god. Why don't you try to go to a theistic board and ask why there is god instead of nothing, you'll be hitting the same brick wall with this concept of nothingness I bet.

Agreed. Nothing is nothing. Therefore, I trust that you consider Lawrence Krauss' (physicist and avowed atheist) solution to "why there is something rather than nothing" to be unsatisfactory and question begging.

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No consciousness = nothing

Paisley wrote:

Below is a link to an online video produced by PBS's TV series "Closer To Truth".  Here, producer Robert Lawrence Kuhn asks atheist philosopher Quentin Smith: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" What follows is Smith's painful struggle to weasel out of a trap that he initially sets up for himself. His response amounts to nothing more than unintelligible babbling. It is truly pathetic.

http://www.closertotruth.com/video/Why-is-There-Something-Rather-than-Nothing-Quentin-Smith-/984

 

I say that something only exists as long as there is a consciousness around to experience the something.  If all conscious things were to die and cease to exist, then nothing would exist anymore until something arose and was able to think (cognito ergo sum).

The concepts of something and nothing are abstractions.  They are not real.

Essentially the question reduces to "why is there consciousness?"  The best answer I have is that consciousness is an emergent property of the local solar system and billions of years of evolution.  It may arise in other places and times in the universe as well.  We don't know, we haven't found any other conciousness  Consciousness doesn't appear to have any other cause or purpose other than to dissipate energy in a complex way that follows the laws of Darwinian evolution.

If there were a "Creator" or "God" who set all this in motion, I'd really wish he'd make an account, post, and make you (Paisley) and of us all shut up already.

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Paisley,'Concepts' of the

Paisley,

'Concepts' of the 'physical' or the 'non-physical' both depend on mind, but the substance that inspires those concepts is primary. It is mind that depends on the pre-existence of something non-mental, more truly fundamental.

You are confusing the map (our description, our mental model of what we perceive) with the territory (the external reality that we causes us to perceive something in the first place). That is a really basic logical error.

You repeat the error of reading into what we have said about the origin of consciousness as implying that sufficient complexity automatically and inevitably will generate consciousness.

No. It requires a very specific type of complexity. It can evolve, ie be selected for, given an environment in which increased awareness and mental capacity can confer an increased ability to survive in a particular ecological niche. As it seems to have done to varying degrees among several species, such as dolphins, primates, some birds such as crows and parrots, and elephants, and to a lesser degree, Paisleys. Higher complexity is extremely well correlated with higher order awareness. We have zero evidence of minds not intimately connected with, and dependant on, specific kinds of complex material objects (ie brains).

You do not have the understanding to grasp Kraus' point. You repeat your persistent fallacy of reading into the words of people like Dennet and Kraus and Harris anything which can be 'interpreted' to support your hard-wired set of misconceptions of reality.

 

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rdklep8 wrote:Does Paisley

rdklep8 wrote:

Does Paisley always completely ignore the point someone is trying to make, isolate one word in their rationalization, highlight it, bold it, and then tell them using that word proves her point?

Always.

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Maybe this means

Paisley wrote:

By the same token, you have no empirical evidence to suggest that the physical can exist without consciousness (since all empirical evidence ultimately depends on the consciousness of an observer for validation).

 

the universe is only 10,000 years old after all - or even younger - since the universe has not existed prior to our recognition of its physical reality.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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I thought it was 6,000 years

I thought it was 6,000 years old, in Young Earth Creationism.

 

HMMMMM

 

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BobSpence1 wrote:No. It

BobSpence1 wrote:
No. It requires a very specific type of complexity. It can evolve, ie be selected for, given an environment in which increased awareness and mental capacity can confer an increased ability to survive in a particular ecological niche. As it seems to have done to varying degrees among several species, such as dolphins, primates, some birds such as crows and parrots, and elephants, and to a lesser degree, Paisleys.

 

Good thing I wasn't drinking right then bobSpence1. You nearly ended up owing me a glass of expensive whiskey.

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Lol

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:
No. It requires a very specific type of complexity. It can evolve, ie be selected for, given an environment in which increased awareness and mental capacity can confer an increased ability to survive in a particular ecological niche. As it seems to have done to varying degrees among several species, such as dolphins, primates, some birds such as crows and parrots, and elephants, and to a lesser degree, Paisleys.

 

Good thing I wasn't drinking right then bobSpence1. You nearly ended up owing me a glass of expensive whiskey.

 

 

Missed this...

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Well, Paisley, you did not

Well, Paisley, you did not comment on my post. Perhaps you missed it so I will again advance the same idea.

 

If there is a sensible answer to the question, then that answer is a thing. It is not nothing. I don't care if the answer is goddidit, or the magical panda. The point is that the answer is a thing in itself.

 

How do you figure that the idea of nothing is even a concept? If it is, then nothing is automatically something.

 

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Agreed. Nothing does not

Agreed. Nothing does not exist.


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TomJ wrote:I say that

TomJ wrote:

I say that something only exists as long as there is a consciousness around to experience the something.  If all conscious things were to die and cease to exist, then nothing would exist anymore until something arose and was able to think (cognito ergo sum).

The materialist believes that an objective, physical world exists independent of consciousness.

TomJ wrote:

The concepts of something and nothing are abstractions.  They are not real.

Essentially the question reduces to "why is there consciousness?"  The best answer I have is that consciousness is an emergent property of the local solar system and billions of years of evolution.  It may arise in other places and times in the universe as well.  We don't know, we haven't found any other conciousness 

You are now contradicting yourself. Does something exist independent of consciousness or not?

TomJ wrote:

Consciousness doesn't appear to have any other cause or purpose other than to dissipate energy in a complex way that follows the laws of Darwinian evolution.

There is no purpose whatsoever in Darwinian evolution. And consciousness, on the materialist view, is causally inert. In fact, the materialist cannot explain why consciousness was naturally selected by evolution.

 

 

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


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BobSpence1

BobSpence1 wrote:

Paisley,

'Concepts' of the 'physical' or the 'non-physical' both depend on mind, but the substance that inspires those concepts is primary. It is mind that depends on the pre-existence of something non-mental, more truly fundamental.

I know "concepts" are dependent upon the mind that conceptualizes. However, you believe that consciousness itself is an "abstraction." An abstraction cannot exist independently from a mind that abstracts.

BobSpence1 wrote:

You are confusing the map (our description, our mental model of what we perceive) with the territory (the external reality that we causes us to perceive something in the first place). That is a really basic logical error.

And you are denying that consciousness has any causal influence on the environment. Of course, the measurement problem in QM suggests that consciousness has a causal role.

BobSpence1 wrote:

You repeat the error of reading into what we have said about the origin of consciousness as implying that sufficient complexity automatically and inevitably will generate consciousness.

You believe that consciousness can be adequately explained in terms of information processing. If that is so, then you have failed to provide me with an explanation why I should not infer that the operating system on my personal computer is presently experiencing subjective awareness even as I type in this sentence.

BobSpence1 wrote:

No. It requires a very specific type of complexity. It can evolve, ie be selected for, given an environment in which increased awareness and mental capacity can confer an increased ability to survive in a particular ecological niche. As it seems to have done to varying degrees among several species, such as dolphins, primates, some birds such as crows and parrots, and elephants, and to a lesser degree, Paisleys. Higher complexity is extremely well correlated with higher order awareness. We have zero evidence of minds not intimately connected with, and dependant on, specific kinds of complex material objects (ie brains).

This is incorrect. On the materialist worldview, consciousness is causally inert. As such, it cannot confer any survival benefit whatsoever. Therefore, you have no explanation for why consciousness was naturally selected.

BobSpence1 wrote:

You do not have the understanding to grasp Kraus' point. You repeat your persistent fallacy of reading into the words of people like Dennet and Kraus and Harris anything which can be 'interpreted' to support your hard-wired set of misconceptions of reality. 

Krauss argued that something emerged from nothing. Dennett is an eliminative materialist (i.e. he denies the reality of subjective experiences). And Harris promotes spirituality and mysticism. I have provided sources to back all these claims.

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


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

By the same token, you have no empirical evidence to suggest that the physical can exist without consciousness (since all empirical evidence ultimately depends on the consciousness of an observer for validation).

 

the universe is only 10,000 years old after all - or even younger - since the universe has not existed prior to our recognition of its physical reality.

How exactly does this refute the point I made above?

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


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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Well, Paisley, you did not comment on my post. Perhaps you missed it so I will again advance the same idea.


If there is a sensible answer to the question, then that answer is a thing. It is not nothing. I don't care if the answer is goddidit, or the magical panda. The point is that the answer is a thing in itself.


Okay. Then I trust you find atheist philosopher Quentin Smith's and physicist Lawrence Krauss' answer (i.e. that something did emerge from nothing) to be unsatisfactory and unintelligible.

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

How do you figure that the idea of nothing is even a concept? If it is, then nothing is automatically something.

You obviously understood the concept else you would not have stated: "It is not nothing....The point is that the answer is a thing in itself." So, I fail to see why you are asking the question.

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


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What if reality is recent?

Paisley wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

Paisley wrote:

By the same token, you have no empirical evidence to suggest that the physical can exist without consciousness (since all empirical evidence ultimately depends on the consciousness of an observer for validation).

 

the universe is only 10,000 years old after all - or even younger - since the universe has not existed prior to our recognition of its physical reality.

How exactly does this refute the point I made above?

 

It doesn't and wasn't meant to. But if there is no empirical evidence to suggest the physical can exist without consciousness and consciousness is the province of humans, then maybe this reality is after all, only a recent development. 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Paisley wrote:BobSpence1

Paisley wrote:
BobSpence1 wrote:
Paisley,'Concepts' of the 'physical' or the 'non-physical' both depend on mind, but the substance that inspires those concepts is primary. It is mind that depends on the pre-existence of something non-mental, more truly fundamental.
I know "concepts" are dependent upon the mind that conceptualizes. However, you believe that consciousness itself is an "abstraction." An abstraction cannot exist independently from a mind that abstracts.
I answered this in another of your threads:
BobSpence1 wrote:
I never described consciousness as an 'abstract pattern'. 'Pattern' is already an abstraction. I typically refer to it as some kind of process, which does have something in common with 'pattern', but implies something more dynamic, ie progressing along the time dimension, and I have referred to 'patterns' as simple examples of referents which are neither actual material entities nor supernatural realities, to demonstrate the false dichotomy you keep insisting on between 'materialism' and everything else.
That is not describing consciousness as an 'abstraction'. The concept of pattern or process itself is an abstraction, but when applied to describe something specific, such as consciousness, it is a description of something which itself is not an 'abstraction'.The relationship between physical objects which would be described by some abstract concept, such as 'complexity', most certainly doesn't require a mind to exist.This is one of your more stupid misconceptions, a version of the codified fallacy of TAG.
Quote:
BobSpence1 wrote:
You are confusing the map (our description, our mental model of what we perceive) with the territory (the external reality that we causes us to perceive something in the first place). That is a really basic logical error.
And you are denying that consciousness has any causal influence on the environment. Of course, the measurement problem in QM suggests that consciousness has a causal role.
No again.Consciousness is a manifestation of a process which, among other things, is modelling the external world, which directly contributes to our conscious perception of reality. This process allows some prediction, which can trigger more 'intelligent' responses to our environment. Our conscious experience is tightly coupled to the underlying fully conventionally 'physical' processes. That is clear. But the exact relationship between conscious decisions and the underlying process is not quite clear - is the conscious aspect purely a byproduct of the underlying decision circuitry, or does it contribute in some more direct way to the overall process?Regardless, the tight coupling means that evolution certain supports the emergence of the basic process.
Quote:
BobSpence1 wrote:
You repeat the error of reading into what we have said about the origin of consciousness as implying that sufficient complexity automatically and inevitably will generate consciousness.
You believe that consciousness can be adequately explained in terms of information processing. If that is so, then you have failed to provide me with an explanation why I should not infer that the operating system on my personal computer is presently experiencing subjective awareness even as I type in this sentence.
Because of what I have already said, it requires a specific type of processing pattern, which is not required by current computers. Why do you find that so hard to grasp? You might as well query that, since mouse brains are composed of the same basic stuff as ours, why aren't they just as aware and intelligent as we are?
Quote:
BobSpence1 wrote:
No. It requires a very specific type of complexity. It can evolve, ie be selected for, given an environment in which increased awareness and mental capacity can confer an increased ability to survive in a particular ecological niche. As it seems to have done to varying degrees among several species, such as dolphins, primates, some birds such as crows and parrots, and elephants, and to a lesser degree, Paisleys. Higher complexity is extremely well correlated with higher order awareness. We have zero evidence of minds not intimately connected with, and dependant on, specific kinds of complex material objects (ie brains).
This is incorrect. On the materialist worldview, consciousness is causally inert. As such, it cannot confer any survival benefit whatsoever. Therefore, you have no explanation for why consciousness was naturally selected.
I covered that above.
Quote:
BobSpence1 wrote:
You do not have the understanding to grasp Kraus' point. You repeat your persistent fallacy of reading into the words of people like Dennet and Kraus and Harris anything which can be 'interpreted' to support your hard-wired set of misconceptions of reality. 
Krauss argued that something emerged from nothing. Dennett is an eliminative materialist (i.e. he denies the reality of subjective experiences). And Harris promotes spirituality and mysticism. I have provided sources to back all these claims.

Something emerging from nothing, in Kraus' terms, does not imply any dualistic ideas, or in any way imply the necessity of a 'mind as 'cause'. Dennett does not deny that subjective experiences exist. Harris does not promote the religious aspects of mysticism, just the possible psychological benefits of some of the disciplines and practices involved. 'Spirituality' he addresses as an essential aspect of our mental world, not in the sense implying the reality of a separate soul or any other religious ideas. I have provided more sources to put your quote-mining in context.

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I'm stumped

I'm stumped

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Paisley wrote:There is no

Paisley wrote:

There is no purpose whatsoever in Darwinian evolution. And consciousness, on the materialist view, is causally inert. In fact, the materialist cannot explain why consciousness was naturally selected by evolution.

You do not understand evolution then.  It was selected for because consciousness gave an advantage to large multicellular organisms with complex nervous systems such as reptiles and mammals.   Bacteria and simpler forms of life never have consciousness because their nervous systems aren't complex enough for it. 

Show me an example of a consciousness that doesn't have a complex nervous system and/or that wasn't evolved by Darwinian evolution.  You can't.  And if you can, get that consciousness to log into this forum and reveal the secrets of the Universe.  Please.

Remember how you figured out there is no Santa? Well, their god is just like Santa. They just haven’t figured out he’s not real yet.