# Challenging the Worldview of Atheistic Materialism

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

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

**#161**

**ctressle wrote:**

Paisley wrote:You're asking me what is more elemental than mathematical absractions? I should be the one asking you this question. I'm not the materialist; you are. Evidently, you're still flip-flopping.Then you obviously misunderstood the question. I did not ask what mathematical abstractions are nor what they’re composed of nor what constitutes them nor anything regarding them directly. I asked for the word that may be used for phenomena that are

representedby our abstractions.I’m asking for a word for things external to our minds, those things that we.talkabout when we have mathematical abstractions in our mindRereadboth paragraphs that I kept,allof it.

Physical phenomena? I have explicitly stated in a previous post addressed to you that we conventionally call external phenomena *physical* while reserving the term *mental* for internal phenomena.

And the whole point I was making is there are no permanent physical "elements" or particles.

**ctressle wrote:**

Paisley wrote:What I will say is that "set theory" was Cantor's proof for the existence of God (apparently mathematicians are believers in platonic forms which inevitably leads them to a belief in the existence of God).Set theory is important for all of mathematics, but I believe the main motivation for set theory was arithmetic and calculus (I’m having trouble confirming this). In fact, set theory literally proves any arithmetic statement.

To begin with, Georg Cantor is the creator of set theory.

Georg Ferdinand Ludwig Philipp Cantor(March 3, 1845[1] – January 6, 1918) was a German mathematician.He is best known as the creator of set theory, which has become a fundmanental theory in mathematics.source: Wikipedia "Georg Cantor'

And I have already presented his motivation for creating the theory - namely, to prove that the actual infinite (God) exists. But now I am digressing. The point I was making is that mathematical abstractions don't exist independently of a mind that abstracts. You're going off on a different tangent.

To Cantor, his mathematical views were intrinsically linked to their philosophical and theological implications—he identified the Absolute Infinite with God,[44]and he considered his work on transfinite numbers to have been directly communicated to him by God, who had chosen Cantor to reveal them to the world.[45]source: Wikipedia "Georg Cantor"

TheAbsolute Infiniteis mathematician Georg Cantor's concept of an "infinity" that transcended the transfinite numbers.Cantor equated the Absolute Infinite with God.[1]source: Wikipedia "Absolute Infinite"

**ctressle wrote:**

Nevertheless, read the wiki article further as it talks about schools of thought i.e. intuitionism that opposed the ideas of infinity. And, there are multiple kinds of infinity in set theory. The number of real numbers |R| = c > the number of natural numbers |N| = w, for instance. Both w and c are infinity, but they are not equal.

I am quite aware that set theory postulates that there are multiple infinities with some infinities being greater than others. But set theory also presupposes an "infinity of infinities" (a.k.a. the Absolute Infinite or God).

In fact, Cantor's theorem implies the existence of an "infinity of infinities".source: Wikipedia "Georg Cantor"

**ctressle wrote:**

Cantor didn’t prove any god(s). Those were just his opinion; if you’re going to equate infinity, which is nothing more than an abstraction, to god, than I guess god is nothing more than an abstraction. Sounds like memetics to me.

You're now attempting to divert attention from my earlier point - namely, that mathematical abstractions don't exist independently of a mind that abstracts. And whether or not you believe Cantor proved the existence of God, the fact is that set theory is foundational to mathematics and his theory presupposes the Absolute Infinite (God).

Set Theory has come to play the role of a foundational theory in modern mathematics, in the sense that it interprets propositions about mathematical objects (for example, numbers and functions) from all the traditional areas of mathematics (such as algebra, analysis and topology) in a single theory, and provides a standard set of axioms to prove or disprove them. The basic concepts of set theory are now used throughout mathematics.source: Wikipedia "Georg Cantor"

**ctressle wrote:**

It is notnecessarilytrue that indeterminacy implies free will. You’re only using one definition among many given for the same word. Your quote simply yields different definitions that are not the same nor supporting one another. For consciousness yea sure go ahead and use def 1 a. But for quantum, maybe def 2 is better.When physicists or anybody for that matter speaks of quantum indeterminacy, what makes you think those individuals are using def 1 a?

Because there have been prominent physicists (e.g. Henry Stapp) who have used definition one to explain it.

The process by which collapse selects an actuality from a set of possibilities is seen by Stapp as literally a process of choice, and not merely a random dice-throw.source: Wikipedia "Quantum mind"

**ctressle wrote:**

And I don’t know why you underlined my chaos theory/consciousness quote.

Because you said "I suppose conscious decision making is probably an example of chaos theory or the like." And I am saying conscious decision making is an example of indeterminacy.

**ctressle wrote:**

What makes this theory the only one, much less the only feasible theory for consciousness?

Please provide me with any other viable theory of consciousness based on classical mechanics. Incidentally, there are several quantum mind theories, not just one.

**ctressle wrote:**

And for someone who likes to quote wiki a lot, you sure don’t read very much of the articles do you?

I never said the quantum mind theories were experimentally validated. Also, you are simply quoting one objection to one proposal. And moreover, you are failing to mention that there is a counter-argument to the objection. I am familiar enough with Wikipedia's format to know that its articles have arguments and counter-arguments.

**ctressle wrote:**

All I’m saying is that you really shouldn’t jump the gun like that. Nobody can rightly make the conclusions you allegedly make, even the researchers in this very field themselves have to admit that it's not falsified norsupported

And all I'm saying is that quantum indeterminacy does not support atheistic materialism which, after all, is the subject matter of this thread.

#151Answer; We are all Equivocation-ists! My new favorite word for us god talkers!

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~rasoren/papers/Ambiguitydiscr.pdf

or google, "Equivocation-ists", see "Ambiguity, Discretion, and the Sorites"

Atheism Books.

#152Paisley wrote:Or... materialism could be nothing more than a manifestation of mathematical abstractions? Why specifically would that not be the case? Matter is mostly empty space anyways, the particles are incredibly tiny throughout. The particles themselves may not be much of anything. They're perceived presence is only due to fields, which are again made up of particles and mostly empty space.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that force fields are not made up of particles, but are nothing more than curvatures of such-and-such-dimensional space-time (i.e. 11-D from M-theory). Then, the forces of nature are indeed purely mathematical abstractions, and thus so are the corresponding effects on matter. Of course this doesn't knock your quoted objection, but is perhaps suggestive that maybe you're not totally as keen on this as you may think.

Now go back to the full particle picture. But wait... if M-theory or String theory is correct, then we have a similar thing. The particles are 1-D strings of energy, or perhaps higher-dimensional branes in M-theory. Energy being nothing more than a scalar that correlates to the vibration and other motions of said particles i.e. a mere number, and the particles being geometric surfaces, we again arrive at nothing more than purely mathematical abstractions.

Aside from your objections about quantum indeterminacy that has been dealt with by other members of this thread, it seems to me that at least if some variant of a String theory is correct, then observable reality a.k.a. materialism is nothing more than mathematical abstractions.

About your second objection... if particles are nothing more than geometric surfaces, then it just so happens that we evolved to be able to abstract about such things and that doesn't mean that materialism "whopps" out of our abstractions. I'm of the opinion that mathematics exists independent of human thought, that we discover math and that aliens would discover much the same. So just because we have these abstractions does not mean that the reality they represent is less so. Of course there are no mathematical spheres floating about that we can point to, but we can apply a concept i.e. number or set or permutation to a set of objects, and we can apply spheres to soap bubbles when modeling said phenomena. So what.

Well, so can aliens (most likely) and even computers now. Maybe I'm not being very articulate, but I don't want to digress into a semantics game either. There are concepts, and there is reality. But reality seems to be very mathematical in nature in and of itself, with or without humans. This is not reification, either.

I'm not quite sure about your third objection, that mathematical abstractions are not causally efficacious (ignore for the moment your second objection in explaining this to me to keep it simple ). Teachers talk about functions to their students as if numbers "go into" a function and a number "comes out"; formally, there's no moving or causing or anything there either (functions are merely sets... but that's another discussion).

#153Paisley wrote:Posts: 1935 Joined: 2007-04-12 Online I didn't answer because it's on my tag.#154Cpt_pineapple wrote:"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead

#155ctressle wrote:I'm not saying that it isit is the case, then "materialism" in the sense you are using the term does not really qualify as metaphysical materialism. It's actually something quite different.

notthe case. ButifNotice that you will go on in the following and express your belief that the "forces of nature" and "energy" are purely mathematical abstractions (which are immaterial ideas - not reified objects - and have no existence independent of conscious intelligence).

ctressle wrote:ctressle wrote:ctressle wrote:Next, you seemingly attempt to do a flip-flop and argue that the mathematical abstractions merely represent something that is really physical.

ctressle wrote:Here's the issue. Conventionally speaking, we refer to the external or objective world as the physical and the internal or subjective world as the mental. In other words, we divide natural phenomena into two camps - namely, the physical and the mental. Science itself simply studies natural phenomena and attempts to represent causal relationships in the language of mathematics (at least, this is the methodology of physics). At any rate, science does not make metaphysical assertions.

However, those who advocate materialism are making a metaphysical assertion. And what they are advocating in specific is the view that an objective world exists independent of subjective experience. Furthermore, on this view, consciousness is simply an emergent property or epiphenomenon of the physical. Now, if physics reduces all physical phenomena to mathematical abstractions (which clearly are ideas and not physical phenomena in and of themselves), then the boundaries of what constitutes the physical and what constitutes the mental are being conflated. As such, this is no longer qualifies as materialism. In fact, it qualifies as something quite different - perhaps dualism, panpsychism, or even immaterialism or idealism!

ctressle wrote:A wave function may respresent the possibilites of a random process. But it does not actually determine which possibility is actualized. Those who make this argument are actaully ascribing mental properties to a mathematical abstraction. In particular, they are ascribing the mental property that is commonly referred to as "free will" - the conscious ability to choose one possibility among many.

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

#156Paisley wrote:Ok, elaborate on the difference please.

Paisley wrote:You’re right that I shouldn’t have called energy a mathematical abstraction like that. I must apologize, greatly, for the apparent ‘flip-flop’. This problem actually popped in my head, but I put it away hoping that, from the (albeit poor) way I was wording things in the first and second responses, that it would be

understoodthat what I meant by “mathematical abstraction” in the first response was actually that which isrepresentedby mathematical abstraction. I tend to err quite often, as I tend to rush and I have difficulty being articulate that well. Then again, I even admitted that I probably wasn’t too articulate.Obviously abstractions don’t exist outside human thought and physics doesn’t reduce everything to abstraction, be them mathematical or otherwise. Abstractions are nothing more than emergent phenomena of physical reality – in other words, neural connections in our brains.

But I must wonder: why was it that numerical systems were developed independently – aside from the obvious answer that they were practical in every case well duh but that answer is only intermediate. I want a completely reduced answer; perhaps it’s the answer to the question, "why isn’t any other “abstraction” just as practical for the exact same phenomena?" Same with calculus: it too was developed independently

threetimes, no less. Why? There seems to be something about reality that is “inherently” mathematical in nature, without there being humans. In perhaps a similar sense that water exists independent of humans who abstract it in their thoughts, and so here along we are discovering it, so too seems to be the case with mathematics. Or, at least, somethingrepresentedby our mathematics.To hopefully clarify: for lack of a better term, I used “mathematical abstraction” in my first response. Then I was trying to be more accurate in my second, that apparent ‘flip-flop’. Again, I apologize for I assumed – yes you made certain I see that I made an ass out of myself – that it would be understood what was meant .

Now, if you have a better expression for these elements of reality (‘elements’ in the set theory sense, not chemistry) that appear to be well represented by our mathematical abstractions, I would like to see it. Thank you in advance. And I’m not just talking about the motion of one object or the cardinality of a basket of apples etc… but “categorization” of seemingly distantly related or even unrelated objects into “motion”, “cardinality” etc…

Paisley wrote:Randomness is not necessarily chosen, either. It could just be some fundamental “thing” to reality that is the ultimate answer to the regression question of science. Or there could be something deeper. Automatically assuming that given random events are consciousness, just because you see conscious beings making choices “randomly” all the time, doesn’t qualify a given random event to be conscious. As was stated before I believe, chaos theory is another example. Though I suppose conscious decision making is probably an example of chaos theory or the like, I will for the sake of argument list three different examples of “randomness”:

Chaos theory

Consciousness

Quantum indeterminacy

Why would the third necessarily be equivalent in any way to the second?

#157Cpt_pineapple wrote:I don't think Einstein is advocating CCC. Quite the opposite. It was a rhetorical question. But what I want to know is what are you advocating?

Cpt_pineapple wrote:They are? Mathematical abstractions (probability waves) are not reified objects. They do not exist independently of a mind that abstracts.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:I previously quoted a source that says that "decoherence" does not actually solve the measurment problem unless it is combined with the "many-worlds" interpretation.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:Once again, this is not part of the standard interpretation. Also, physicists are divided as to whether "informational states" can be described in terms of entropy. Many believe that the term "information" (not unlike mathematical abstractions) is semantically meaningless unless conscious intelligence is informed of the content of the information.

Decoherence or the information theory interpretation of QM actually provides support for a conscious universe (this is a pantheistic concept, certainly not an atheistic one).

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

#158ctressle wrote:You're asking me what is more elemental than mathematical absractions? I should be the one asking you this question. I'm not the materialist; you are. Evidently, you're still flip-flopping.

What I will say is that "set theory" was Cantor's proof for the existence of God (apparently mathematicians are believers in platonic forms which inevitably leads them to a belief in the existence of God).

ctressle wrote:What?

The very definition of indeterminacy implies the exhibition of free will.

Moreover, the quantum mind theories (based on the probability wave function) are the only feasible scientific explanations for consciousness.

#159Geezz Paisley, how does one know the non-material ? "Faith?". And don't go saying meditate unless you can give us a demonstration. Some ESP would be nice !

As entertaining, knowledgeable and talented as you are, I don't understand your "healing", "world view" message. I am god as you btw .....

Shouting religion dogma is "

", I basically agree with ... but your argumentative style withabsurdEVERYONE, and the free thinkers and "science" fans here is , umm? , not solove lovemotivated I detect (as Karma) ..... but I do share your righteous indignation and that of pissed off Jesus/Buddha too .... ( sorry I'm lost for words again, where's my rum an QM dvd s )(!) ... Seems you'd be quite "helpful" picking on religious fundys ... "Pantheists" are a huge fun improvement .... over god of abe shit

Anyway, really P, thanks for caring, and hanging ..... and yeah,

L O V EAtheism Books.

#160Paisley wrote:Then you obviously misunderstood the question. I did not ask what mathematical abstractions are nor what they’re composed of nor what constitutes them nor anything regarding them directly. I asked for the word that may be used for phenomena that are

representedby our abstractions. I’m asking for a word for things external to our minds, those things that wetalkabout when we have mathematical abstractions in our mind.Rereadboth paragraphs that I kept,allof it.Paisley wrote:Set theory is important for all of mathematics, but I believe the main motivation for set theory was arithmetic and calculus (I’m having trouble confirming this). In fact, set theory literally proves any arithmetic statement. Nevertheless, read the wiki article further as it talks about schools of thought i.e. intuitionism that opposed the ideas of infinity. And, there are multiple kinds of infinity in set theory. The number of real numbers |R| = c > the number of natural numbers |N| = w, for instance. Both w and c are infinity, but they are not equal.

Cantor didn’t prove any god(s). Those were just his opinion; if you’re going to equate infinity, which is nothing more than an abstraction, to god, than I guess god is nothing more than an abstraction. Sounds like memetics to me.

Paisley wrote:It is not

necessarilytrue that indeterminacy implies free will. You’re only using one definition among many given for the same word. Your quote simply yields different definitions that are not the same nor supporting one another. For consciousness yea sure go ahead and use def 1 a. But for quantum, maybe def 2 is better. When physicists or anybody for that matter speaks of quantum indeterminacy, what makes you think those individuals are using def 1 a?And I don’t know why you underlined my chaos theory/consciousness quote.

Paisley wrote:What makes this theory the only one, much less the only feasible theory for consciousness? And for someone who likes to quote wiki a lot, you sure don’t read very much of the articles do you?

All I’m saying is that you really shouldn’t jump the gun like that. Nobody can rightly make the conclusions you allegedly make, even the researchers in this very field themselves have to admit that it's not falsified nor

supported.