Sunday, January 19, 2014

The argument from mathematics

Here. 

34 comments:

Papalinton said...

It is interesting to note in the bibliography Saints and Skeptics has deferred to two christians and a deist as the source for his argument from mathematics. I also note Plantinga mentions Eugene Wigner in dispatches.

But I wonder how this argument would stack up with some genuine mathematicians of the likes of John Allen Paulos, Sir Roger Penrose, Alan Sokal or even Wigner himself for that matter, all of whom are decidedly not in the supernaturalist league?

BenYachov said...

You are such an idiot Paps.

1) You are surprised a philosophical argument for the existence of God is endorsed by three people who believe in some God concept? Since when do Atheists make serious arguments for the existence of God? WTF!!!!!

>I wonder how this argument would stack up with some genuine mathematicians of the likes of John Allen Paulos, Sir Roger Penrose, Alan Sokal or even Wigner himself for that matter, all of whom are decidedly not in the supernaturalist league?

2). It is a philosophical argument not an argument where one mathematically deduces threw some equation or calculation that some sort of God concept is true?

There are idiots, F****ing Idiots and then there is you Paps.

Papalinton said...

Ben
Your comments?
I rest my case.

Crude said...

Ben,

Don't waste your time arguing with a plagiarist and a liar.

That said...

I wonder how this argument would stack up with some genuine mathematicians of the likes of John Allen Paulos, Sir Roger Penrose, Alan Sokal or even Wigner himself for that matter, all of whom are decidedly not in the supernaturalist league?

People may hedge on Penrose. He's a non-theist, but he's also shown a track record of being able to buck scholarly consensus. I also recall he's explicitly a mathematical platonist.

Still, I agree.

BenYachov said...

>Don't waste your time arguing with a plagiarist and a liar.

I was bored.

I agree with you Penrose would be a good candidate because of his Platonist background. But he would be answering it philosophically as a Platonist not as a Scientist or a mathematician.

Paps has got the whole Positivism mojo fuzed in his brain.

Cheers Guy.

Papalinton said...

"Paps has got the whole Positivism mojo fuzed in his brain."

Contrast that with the intellectually challenged mental midgets who imagine that a three-day old dead and putrescine cadaver suddenly revivifying with nary an adverse physiological blemish and levitating, fully physical, as if a helium-filled balloon wafting in the breeze into the blue beyond to an undefined location in the stratosphere, somewhere out there, and that it actually happened. And what's more they imagine this as the core, the reason d'être for their very existence.

Here's a question: With a fully physical jesus floating around up there in heaven where does his shit actually fall, or does it just float around like space crap? Or does he just shit in his pants and no one's the wiser? Or is being in heaven akin to being in a cryostat where the need to shit is suspended?
[Yes it is crude imagery. But it is the effect that is needed. here. It must have the impact of a stinging clip over the head to shake the religiose from their somnambulant swoon]

If one person believed this, he/she would be sectioned to a mental institution.
If many believe this, it is called religion.

And I am so lucky. The toss of the coin for me fell on the side of Positivism.

Papalinton said...

And in follow-up Ben, here's one for you:

"In this age of illogical positivism, no one wants to sound negative."

:) ;o) :oD

im-skeptical said...

Papalinton,

"It is a philosophical argument not an argument where one mathematically deduces threw some equation or calculation that some sort of God concept is true?"

That's right. Don't you know that no amount of scientific knowledge or mathematical logic can defeat a philosophical argument? (Especially if the philosophy is Thomism, because Thomism rocks.) Your theistic personalism is showing. Sheesh!

Crude said...

Ben,

While we ignore the two liars, I wonder what Paul Davies would think of the view himself. He's another interesting wildcard.

In fact, I may even fire this off to some mathematicians I know and see what their responses are. If I do it, I'll post the results somewhere.

Probably on my own blog, so an actual conversation can take place, instead of having things instantly derailed by two liars desperate for attention. ;)

Papalinton said...

Comments from Thomist Ben and Thomist Crude. Classical Scholasticism at its deepest on display.

As I said earlier Skep, I rest my case.

I do remember reading an observation from Prof David Eller, internationally esteemed anthropologist, that captures the moment in the history of human affairs at least as we are experiencing it in the Western World today:

"There are three particular manners in which science threatens to achieve - or has already long ago achieved - a radical implosion and disintegration of religion, making it little more than one profane object among other profane objects and therefore something impossible to believe. These include the practice and method of scientific study, the process of theoretical explanation, and the procedure of comparison (especially cross-cultural comparison). Like the crowd listening to Nietzsche's madman, most people have not heard and cannot hear the news of the implosion of religion, of the impossibility of belief. However, he predicted that a time would come when we could hear it, and understand it, and survive it, and perhaps even celebrate it, and that time has come."

Dan Gillson said...

This isn't really an argument from mathematics, it's an argument from design. Mathematics only factors in S & S's argument as a way in which we can know that the universe is supposedly designed, not as the basis upon which we determine whether God exists; mathematics a corollary of a designed universe, not a premise for it.

BenYachov said...

@Crude

You will forgive me if I take one more potshot if only for shits and giggles.


Skeptizoid writes:
>That's right. Don't you know that no amount of scientific knowledge or mathematical logic can defeat a philosophical argument? (Especially if the philosophy is Thomism, because Thomism rocks.) Your theistic personalism is showing. Sheesh!

That is correct. It's like claiming the Second Law of Thermodynamics defeats evolution which is an old Young Earth Creationist canard. It's a double category mistake to treat a law of physics as a metaphysical principle & to apply it to biology.

No philosophy can be defeated by any empirical science. Philosophy is about modeling and interpreting the results of science so in principle no results can contradict it's own interpretation.

Philosophy can only be defeated by philosophical critique and other philosophy.

Those who believe differently have Dawkins' manhood stuck in their ear to the point where he is literally bonking their brains out and not in the fun way.

@Crude

Now for some intelligence.

>I wonder what Paul Davies would think of the view himself. He's another interesting wildcard.

He is sort of a Deist/Panentheist/almost Classic Theist type who believes in Einstein's God. I've seen him on Youtube opposite Greene answering Hawkings philosophically inept nonsense. He rejects all revealed religion but knows enough philosophy to take natural Theology seriously & to blow off Gnu nonsense.

@Dan (who enters the room and raises the collective Atheist IQ in a significant manner in spite of the enormous drain by two other parties)

>This isn't really an argument from mathematics, it's an argument from design.

Yes but I would qualify it in terms of Final Causality design not Paley Mechanistic design.

The idea substances move toward a final goal(like an electron orbiting a Proton) vs some irreducible complexity thingy.

Cheers.

BenYachov said...

One parting shot.


>contrast that with the intellectually challenged mental midgets who imagine that a three-day old dead and putrescine cadaver suddenly revivifying with nary an adverse physiological blemish and levitating.......


I reply Gnu Atheism-“the belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense.”

Dan Gillson said...

Ben,

I think S & S's argument is more similar to Paley's Argument from Design than you think. We are being asked to infer the existence of a mathematician-designer from the fact that the language of the laws of the universe seems to be mathematics. Paley's argument almost exactly the same way: we are asked to infer an intelligent designer from the fact that the world seems to be intelligible.

Nicola said...

I'm Skeptical

In reply

http://www.saintsandsceptics.org/six-poor-reasons-for-rejecting-miracles/


Dan

No, there are significant differences between our arguments and Paley's argument from analogy.

http://www.saintsandsceptics.org/how-to-consider-the-evidence-for-theism/

Dan Gillson said...

Nicola,

Your overall aim might be much different than Paley's, but the article "The Argument from Maths in Seven Quick Points" is awfully Paley-o-lithic, especially when it claims things like, " Our universe is not only ordered; it seems to have been so ordered by a mathematician of the highest order using deep, advanced mathematics! This is the hall-mark of design." Throughout the essay, you're asking the reader to infer from the facts that mathematics exist, and that human beings can understand complex mathematics that there is a God who is the mathematician-designer. You're essentially arguing God used mathematics as a contrivance for us to confirm his existence, which is essentially what Paley's argument boils down to.

Dan Gillson said...

... vis-à-vis design. (That should be tacked onto the end of the last sentence of my comment. Sorry.)

BenYachov said...

Dan

I disagree.

Your problem is obvious. You equate final causality with design in the mechanistic artifice sense & thus have too much of a knee jerk tendency to put all "design" concepts under Paley's umbrella.

But all things considered I would say you at least make an honest intellectual effort unlike others here who refuse to drop their positivism.

The Universe is rational in it's behavior like Math which is odd & that with the first four ways shows God.

You are free naturally and will likely disagree.

But that is my take away here.

BenYachov said...

OTOH if you are saying Nicola's version of the argument from Math has mechanistic presuppositions
mixed in with it well then you might be right(or wrong we will let Nicola answer).

Thus it's my fault for my knee jerk tendency to see all Theism threw the lens of Classic Theism.

im-skeptical said...

Nicola,

You haven't addressed the point I raised. First we saw arguments for the mathematical regularity of the universe as evidence for design. Then we see arguments that this mathematical regularity is just an illusion - that miracles exist. "However, it seems to us that the modern prejudice against miracles is not very rational."

I don't see how you can argue coherently for both of these things. Either the universe exhibits mathematical regularity or it doesn't. Pick your choice and defend that. Your current position - the universe exhibits mathematical regularity except when it doesn't, and both the regularity and the non-regularity are evidence of the existence of God - is in need of some re-thinking. What it says to me is that you see virtually anything as evidence in favor of what you already believe. But your objective (presumably) is not to convince believers. It is to convince me.

Perhaps it would be worth taking a close look at the individual arguments and try to identify weaknesses in them. I don't think they're particularly strong. If you'd like, choose one of them, and I will provide my critique

Papalinton said...

"No philosophy can be defeated by any empirical science. Philosophy is about modeling and interpreting the results of science so in principle no results can contradict it's own interpretation."

Is this boy for real?
The above statement seems to have come right from the pages of the Thomistic manual of Christian Apologetics. Ineffable, unknowable, subjective, unverifiable, untestable, irrefutable.

A nice place for a god to slink into.

im-skeptical said...

And you thought I was just kidding.

BenYachov said...

Skept.
So many levels of wrong. You must stop listening to Paps. He will lower your IQ.

>First we saw arguments for the mathematical regularity of the universe as evidence for design. Then we see arguments that this mathematical regularity is just an illusion - that miracles exist.

The Universe is not a thing but a set of things. God causes these things to exist and maintains their existence & they behave according to the natures given to them. Miracles occur when God from all eternity wills to directly actualize a potency in a substance beyond it's essential nature to do so. Like causing a bush to burn without being consumed. Or causing a hot fire to directly freeze water.

Miracles are not natural phenomena. That is the result of things in nature acting on other natural things to actualize potencies beyond their essential capacity to do so.

They predispose the Designer from all eternity has chosen to cause a miracle.

So what this has to do as an argument against the math proof is anyone's guess?

>Either the universe exhibits mathematical regularity or it doesn't.

Fallacy of the false either/or.
Well it does because the Creator causes it to be so.
This is true regardless if we believe the Creator at times causes things to be in Act beyond their nature or like Aristotle or some Classic Theist/Deists He doesn't do any of these things at all.

So this is just asinine Gnu sophistry.

BenYachov said...

>Is this boy for real?

Any Atheist philosopher worth his salt would agree with me. Only a fundamentalist Positivist like yourself would say different.

Which is why it was Atheist Philosophers who told Lawrence Krauss that he was wrong to claim Science defines what we mean by Nothing.

>The above statement seems to have come right from the pages of the Thomistic manual of Christian Apologetics. Ineffable, unknowable, subjective, unverifiable, untestable, irrefutable.

No I could deny any God concept is true tomorrow & I would believe no different.

Clearly some people have their d***s shoved too far into a Kangaroo 's pouch they don't understand the difference between data vs modeling data & or interpreting the data.

I don't deny any of the data I just don't model it in a Positivist way because Positivism is incoherent and false by it's own standards.

Wow Paps after all this time you are still too stupid to figure any of this out?

Your atheism is gay & by Gay I don't mean homosexuals or other fun lovable campy types who come over the house teach you to dress in a fashionable way and dish with you all night.
Since that would be cool.

No by gay I mean the fact you still haven't taken me up on my offer to trade the awesome conservative PM of your country for the suck arse President of mine.

That is so gay.

Papalinton said...

"Any Atheist philosopher worth his salt would agree with me. Only a fundamentalist Positivist like yourself would say different."

True to form, you're wishing for a miracle on this claim, Ben, with a prayer, a couple of Hail Marys and fingers tightly crossed behind your back. Your abiding philosophers of the likes of Feser and Hart, together with the Plantingas and Polkinghornes, are but insignificant and inconsequential outliers in the global philosophy world. Contemporary philosophers have rightly moved on by jettisoning indiscriminate, and highly problematic and unstable theo-crap that once underwrote crass supernatural superstition. They have turned to a significantly more sophisticated, contemporary and intellectually robust epistemological framework that self-initiates intrinsic error-correcting mechanisms mandating whatever claim made to an obligatory engagement with the test of falsifiability and peer review. Apologetical theo-philosophy has never sought to incorporate this epistemological filter [falsifiability] through which the swill of supernatural superstition could have been drained off along with the night-soil. But no, with religion new ideas indiscriminately swirls among the proliferation of old ideas, without intellectual discretion. Religious scholarship grew fat and bloated on its own interpretation of a previous interpretation of an earlier re-interpretation [the very foundational methodology of Apologetical exegesis] of the mix of old and new ideas sans substantive evidence, facts or proofs.




BenYachov said...

Like I said can't understand the difference between data vs modeling data & or interpreting the data.


As if recognizing that distinction where somehow "Apologetical theo-philosophy"?

No Kangaroo boy it is merely philosophy of Science.

im-skeptical said...

"Philosophy is about modeling and interpreting the results of science"

"they don't understand the difference between data vs modeling data & or interpreting the data"

"I don't deny any of the data I just don't model it in a Positivist way"

Methinks you have absolutely no idea what data modeling is. Or science, either, for that matter.

BenYachov said...

>Methinks you have absolutely no idea what data modeling is. Or science, either, for that matter.

Says the Positivist wannabe moron who thinks the existence of God is a scientific question.

You might as well talk about the atomic weight of Natural Selection and be done with it.

That would make about as much sense.

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

You still have no idea what data modeling is.

"I don't deny any of the data I just don't model it in a Positivist way because Positivism is incoherent and false by it's own standards."

In this nonsensical statement, you use the word 'model' when you really mean 'interpret'. That would make grammatical sense (despite your utter rejection of empirical information in favor of imaginary phantom beings).

BenYachov said...

>You still have no idea what data modeling is.

I am talking about philosophical modelling. Interpreting the meaning of the data.

Really would it kill you too learn philosophy?

>You still have no idea what data modeling is.

"I don't deny any of the data I just don't model it in a Positivist way because Positivism is incoherent and false by it's own standards."

Correct I don't assume only empirical knowledge is the sole meaningful knowledge. If only because that concept can't be proven true empirically.

Why is the rejection of Positivism controversial? A.G. Flew at the height of his Atheism rejected it. I would too if I became an Atheist.


>In this nonsensical statement, you use the word 'model' when you really mean 'interpret'.

That is what modeling means in the context of philosophy. If you studied philosophy you would know that.

I am talking philosophy. Since when do I discuss anything else?

>That would make grammatical sense (despite your utter rejection of empirical information in favor of imaginary phantom beings).

I don't believe in phantom beings. I believe in the Ground of all Being.

You still after all this time have learned nothing.

BenYachov said...

"No philosophy can be defeated by any empirical science. Philosophy is about modeling and interpreting the results of science so in principle no results can contradict it's own interpretation."

How could I be more clear skept?

BenYachov said...

I can't defeat either materialism or positivism by Science anymore then you can use science to refute the 5 ways.

Only on the battlefield of philosophy can this be fought.

Nowhere else. This is true regardless if any God concept is true or not.

im-skeptical said...

"How could I be more clear skept?"

First of all, you should learn grammar and spelling. That might help to clarify things that you have failed to communicate in proper English.

Second, we discussed placing labels on people unfairly. You said you're fair about it, but that's exactly what you are doing.

Finally, your placement of philosophy above empirical knowledge is erroneous. Since I don't regard myself as a scientific positivist, I don't see it the way you imagine I do. But neither do I place empirical evidence in a subordinate position. There are no areas of investigation that are "by definition" off limits to science. You can't just slap a label of 'metaphysical' on something and declare that science can't touch it.

BenYachov said...

>First of all, you should learn grammar and spelling. That might help to clarify things that you have failed to communicate in proper English.

I would be the last person to ever claim my English and Spelling didn't often suck out loud. But where have I done that here? What I said was very clear. I am talking about Philosophy not science.

>Second, we discussed placing labels on people unfairly. You said you're fair about it, but that's exactly what you are doing.

I would never label a Platonic Atheist a materialist just because he is an Atheist and some Atheists are materialist.

>Finally, your placement of philosophy above empirical knowledge is erroneous.

The irony of this statement is that it is itself a philosophical claim not a scientific view. Second philosophy isn't above empirical knowledge it is prior to it. There is a difference.

>Since I don't regard myself as a scientific positivist, I don't see it the way you imagine I do.

Yet you use the language and assumptions of the Positivists? Like assuming science can prove or disprove philosophy?

Dennett said"There is no such thing as philosophy-free science, just science that has been conducted without any consideration of its underlying philosophical assumptions."

>But neither do I place empirical evidence in a subordinate position. There are no areas of investigation that are "by definition" off limits to science.

How is this not Positivism/Scientism again? Also taken at face value your claim would lead to the absurd conclusion that it's not off limits to measure the atomic weight of Natural selection.
It's not a question of what is allowed but what is coherent and not a category mistake.

How do you not get this?

>You can't just slap a label of 'metaphysical' on something and declare that science can't touch it.

How can science detect if something is metaphysical or not? Can I use a particle accelerator? How about a genome sequencer?

Sorry buddy but it is the domain of philosophy to figure all this out not science.

Category mistakes all around.

Jezz man would it kill you to learn philosophy?

It doesn't mean you have to believe in God if that is what is scaring you?