Friday, August 15, 2014

A critique of scientism

Here. 

51 comments:

B. Prokop said...

Wow! I wish I could write (and think) like that. Thanks for pointing this one out, Victor.

I especially liked the passage:

"But this is like saying that colors are [unknowable/inaccessible] from the point of view of hearing, since hearing does not register color qualities, and thence inferring that colors are discredited. Why make hearing the measure of what can be perceived? Why make natural science the measure of what can be known?" (my emphasis)

And the closing paragraphs are pure gold!

B. Prokop said...

HERE is an example of how scientism can lead to the Death of Reason. Note the following sentence: However, there is no experiment that can irrefutably discredit [the multiverse theory's] validity. Hmmm... and here I was always taught the the very essence of something being "scientific" was the ability to disprove it. I guess in this case that's only sauce for the goose. But if you really, really want something to be true, well...

But the real howler is here: your perception of the world is never real. There you go, folks. The scientismist is so wedded to his insistence that science is the one-and-only path to true knowledge that he is ironically simultaneously willing to dump any possibility of ever obtaining true knowledge.

Ilíon said...

'Scientismist', while descriptive, seems a mouthfull. I call 'em 'scientistes' (a la Miss Piggy, The Artiste).

"There you go, folks. The scientismist is so wedded to his insistence that science is the one-and-only path to true knowledge that he is ironically simultaneously willing to dump any possibility of ever obtaining true knowledge."

The is the logically inevitable end-point of rejection of God.

B. Prokop said...

Ilion,

I also like your use of "!science!", but that's probably been copyrighted.

Ilíon said...

I got that from Matteo (of the apparently defunct blog 'Cartago Delenda Est', though he does still post a comment here from time to time), and then I added the italics.

Ilíon said...

"However, there is no experiment that can irrefutably discredit [the multiverse theory's] validity."

*By definition*, there is no experiment that can provide even the faintest ghost of a hint of evidence *for* "the multiverse" -- for, any purported evidence of such would, perforce, actually be a part of *this* universe, not of some other. So, of course, there is no experiment that can do the converse.

Ilíon said...

Let's see:

I invented 'DarwinDefender' (*) and 'DarwinDenier' (*) (after I got through laughing my ass off after some shocked, shocked! hedge-Darwinist called me a "Darwin denier", meant to evoke "Holocaust denier"). To this day, I do sometimes see some people referring to "Darwin defenders" ... which may, or may not, be an echo of my sarcasm.

I invented the phrase 'modern evolutionary theory' -- made in light of the quip about the Holy Roman Empire -- and explained more than once that I was mocking Darwinism/evolutionism for being neither particularly modern, nor evolutionary, nor having a real scientific theory. And *still* some of the DarwinDefenders at ARN, who *knew* all that, started using 'modern evolutionary theory' to refer to their non-theory.


(*) and the "scientific" classifications, 'Darwindefensor internetensis' and 'Darwindenegor internetensis'

B. Prokop said...

Well, now you're just showing off!

(But you never did respond to my comment over on your website about Jonah.)

Ilíon said...

I started composing a post (as in a full post, rather than a comment) to rip you a new one over you hypocrisy. Who knows when I'll finish it and post it ... I;m busy in real life, and despite what you all like to think, I don't at all enjoy having to take people to task.

B. Prokop said...

"to rip you a new one"

In your dreams, Ilion. I didn't need a full blown post to demolish your error. All it took was a lowly comment. (And he walked off whistling...)

Dan Gillson said...

"I started composing a post (as in a full post, rather than a comment) to rip you a new one over you hypocrisy." ... Why not just discuss Jonah? Why write one big ad hominem screed?

B. Prokop said...

No,Dan,I actually agree with Ilion on this one. He's got an apparently complicated case to make, and he wants to make sure he presents it properly and coherently.

Now as for my "side" on the issue, I don't feel a need for a lengthy exposition, because it's quite simple. To wit, just by referencing a character in one's speech, it does not imply that you believe the character to be historical (i.e., "real")

Ilion appears to believe that, since Jesus spoke of Jonah, then Jonah either must have really and truly existed and done those things recorded in the book bearing his name, or else Jesus was "lying".

I disagree. I can say something like "Fred pursued his ambition as singlemindedly as Ahab did the White Whale" without any necessity of believing either Ahab or the whale to be anything other than fictional characters. I'm not "lying" in making such a statement. Similarly, I can say that someone has an Achilles heel without believing Achilles to be an historical figure.

That's pretty much my entire case. So I feel no need to regard Jesus's referencing of various Old Testament figures as any indication of their historicity.

Dan Gillson said...

Ilíon may have a complicated case, but why have it centered on your hypocrisy? An argument's being wrong usually doesn't follow from its maker being a hypocrite. It's one thing if it's hypocritical to believe x if you believe y, but Ilíon usually doesn't make that case. He usually accuses his interlocutor of hypocrisy or dishonesty without identifying what makes the argument hypocritical or dishonest.

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "(And he walked off whistling...)"

Of course you will ... both now and after I complete and upload the post. For, after all, you're an intellectual hypocrite.

The observable, and documentable, fact that you are as little influenced as I-pretend-to-be-rational by evidence and argument counter to the false things you want to assert -- that your behavior, and assertions, and (ahem) arguments remain apparently unchanged -- is, after all, the basis of my accusation of your intellectual dishonesty.

As you well know, I don't call people intellectually dishonest because they disagree with me, or because they "prove" me wrong, but because thier behavior finally leaves me no other logical options to explain what they're doing (except, perhaps, as a stretch I am unable to make, stupidity).

Why, just the other day, I mentioned one of the observable facts of your behavior which demonstrates your intellectual dishonesty. You walked away whistling then, too, just as you will after I "rip you a new one".

In this regard, you're not really all that different from I-pretend. It's a difference of degree, rather than kind: just about *everything* falls within the ambit of his intellectual dishonesty; whereas for you, it's mostly limited to your Rah-Rah Catholicism (*), your science fetishism (**), and most strongly your political leftism.


(*) You can manage intellectual integrity with an atheist who disputed Christianity, but with a Protestant who denies certain (false) doctrines of Catholicism or affirms certain (true) doctrines that that make us Protestants (such as the 'solas'), you immediately lapse into intellectual dishonesty.

(**) You, yes you! are a "scientismist". While you don't have it as badly as, say, Niel DeGrass Tyson or I-pretend-to-be-rational, you do have it. And you need to get over it.

Ilíon said...

Dan Gillson: "... Why not just discuss Jonah? Why write one big ad hominem screed?"

You don't really know what 'ad hominem' means, do you?

As I said in response to his pointless taunt to which my "screed" will be the response, he "answered" the point I made by reference to Jonah by totally ignoring the point ... and declaring himslef to have vanquished me.

There is no *point* in "just discuss[ing] Jonah".

Ilíon said...

There is no complicated logic involved in looking up the links to specific examples of your intellectual dishonesty. It's just time-consuming (and I have internet access only when I'm home on the weekends or during lunch; plus, as mentioned already, I really don't enjoy having to rub your nose in it).

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "Now as for my "side" on the issue, I don't feel a need for a lengthy exposition, because it's quite simple. To wit, just by referencing a character in one's speech, it does not imply that you believe the character to be historical (i.e., "real")

Ilion appears to believe that, since Jesus spoke of Jonah, then Jonah either must have really and truly existed and done those things recorded in the book bearing his name, or else Jesus was "lying".
"

B.Prokop, meet William. You two should get along famously, since when being shown that *your own reasoning* will not stand up -- when shown that *you yourself* reject the very argument you yourself just made when the terms are substituted -- you respond by misrepresenting the person who has shown you that unwelcome fact.

B. Prokop said...

I'm quite mystified by the charge of hypocrisy. After all. wouldn't I be a hypocrite if I didn't express what I sincerely believed?

Now I readily admit to the (unlikely) possibility that I may be wrong here, but that would be simply an error in reasoning, and not a matter of bad behavior (which includes hypocrisy). Most of the time, I understand Ilion's points, even when I disagree with them, but in this case I can't figure out what he's talking about.

B. Prokop said...

"[W]hen being shown that *your own reasoning* will not stand up -- when shown that *you yourself* reject the very argument you yourself just made when the terms are substituted -- you respond by misrepresenting the person who has shown you that unwelcome fact."

Huh? Plain English, please. What does that even mean? And what does it have to do with Jonah?

Ilíon said...

Dan Gillson: "Ilíon may have a complicated case, but why have it centered on your hypocrisy?"

Since you don't understand the matter (and seemingly have little interest in doing so, as see below), wouldn't it be better to just, you know, say nothing?

Dan Gillson: "An argument's being wrong usually doesn't follow from its maker being a hypocrite."

Since you don't understand the matter, wouldn't it be better to just, you know, say nothing?

Dan Gillson: "It's one thing if it's hypocritical to believe x if you believe y, but Ilíon usually doesn't make that case."

This Ilíon fellow that you guys love to misrepresent *never* engages in mind-reading. He makes his case on the things people *say*, on the arguments (and "arguments") they make.

Since you can't seem to control your urge dishonestly misrepresent this Ilíon fellow, wouldn't it be better to just, you know, say nothing?

Dan Gillson: "He usually accuses his interlocutor of hypocrisy or dishonesty without identifying what makes the argument hypocritical or dishonest."

This isn't true, and you surely know it.

I think what you're doing here is conflating instances when I do establish/demonstrate that that a person is intellectually dishonest (at least in regard to some issue) with the more common instances when I merely remind him of it and chide him for being so. What? Do *you* reestablish or redocument the fact that I-pretend-to-be-rational is intellectually dishonest every time you chide him for it?

Since you can't seem to control your urge dishonestly misrepresent this Ilíon fellow, wouldn't it be better to just, you know, say nothing?

When I person makes a faulty argument and/or one that it's pretty clear he will reject if the terms are substituted, and I substitute the terms to demonstrate to him that he rejects his own argument, and he does reject my use of the form of his argument even while continuing to assert the argument, *that* is a demonstration of his intellectual dishonesty.

Having *seen* that he is intellectually dishonest, I probably have no pressing need to further examine the argument itself. At that point, the issue, at least in dealing with him, becomes his intellectual dishonesty.

B. Prokop said...

"When I person makes a faulty argument and/or one that it's pretty clear he will reject if the terms are substituted, and I substitute the terms to demonstrate to him that he rejects his own argument, and he does reject my use of the form of his argument even while continuing to assert the argument, *that* is a demonstration of his intellectual dishonesty."

Help me out here, people! Does anyone know what he's talking about? I can make neither heads nor tails out of these sentences.

B. Prokop said...

It's almost like Ilion's been taking creative writing lessons from Linton. It's about as intelligible.

Dan Gillson said...

Ilíon,

I know Latin. I know what ad hominem means. I also know what the ad hominem fallacy looks like. Saying, "x is wrong, because x was said by a hypocrite," is an example of the ad hominem fallacy because one's moral character is irrelevant to the argument one is making, unless the argument being made relies on the moral character of the argument's maker. Now, I may be a fool, in your parlance, but I'm at least an educated fool. I'll tell you when I don't know what something means. I'm not completely incorrigible.

Off the top of my head, the only instances in which you've accused me of intellectual dishonesty is when my atheism is at issue. Summarizing what I can remember, you think that atheism entails x, y, z, and I don't. You that because I don't, I'm being intellectually dishonest, and I think that you're just begging the question. This is, however, a discussion for another time, when you're less busy perhaps.

Dan Gillson said...

Ugh ... there should be the word think in between the words, you and that.

Dan Gillson said...

Also, my response would make more sense if it were before your most recent response.

Dan Gillson said...

Ilíon,

"Since you don't understand the matter (and seemingly have little interest in doing so, as see below), wouldn't it be better to just, you know, say nothing? ... Yes, it probably would have.

"Since you don't understand the matter, wouldn't it be better to just, you know, say nothing? ... Yup.

"This Ilíon fellow that you guys love to misrepresent *never* engages in mind-reading. He makes his case on the things people *say*, on the arguments (and "arguments") they make." True, you don't mind read. False, by definition you rule out the possibility that atheists can be intellectually honest. Therefore, your assessments of other people's intellectual honesty sometimes aren't based on what they say.

"I think what you're doing here is conflating instances when I do establish/demonstrate that that a person is intellectually dishonest (at least in regard to some issue) with the more common instances when I merely remind him of it and chide him for being so." ... Probably, but in some cases you call people intellectually dishonest when you haven't sufficiently established the fact.

Dan Gillson said...

"When [a] person makes a faulty argument and/or one that it's pretty clear he will reject if the terms are substituted, and I substitute the terms to demonstrate to him that he rejects his own argument, and he does reject my use of the form of his argument even while continuing to assert the argument, *that* is a demonstration of his intellectual dishonesty." ... Well, no, not really. It must be a materially valid substitution for it to count. (I started writing more on this, but it was incredibly disjointed, so I quit.)

B. Prokop said...

Thanks, Dan. I think I got it now. I don't recall what "substitution" Ilion made, so I can't respond to his charge of inconsistency. Perhaps he'll link to it?

You, yes you! are a "scientismist".

Really? How can this be, since I have repeatedly and consistently maintained that science is merely one of many ways to arrive at the truth (recall my toolbox analogy). The very definition of scientism is to insist that empirical evidence and the scientific method are the One and Only valid methodology for arriving at true knowledge. Quite the opposite of what I believe.

Papalinton said...

It's not really a critique of scientism. It's simply an attempt to shield an increasingly discredited religious proposition from further scrutiny. Crosby represents humanity's archetypal hallucinatory proclivity towards all manner of specter, phantom, wraith, spirit, presence; and apparition that wafts in and over the natural/supernatural divide at will, enabling a miracle here, mounting a catastrophic tsunami there, all with the purpose of testing one's faith. He imagines the ineffable, the mysterious, the sacred are all a measure of reality. Even after 2,000 years Crosby still has all his work ahead of him. And time is surely running out.

What Crosby fails to perceive let alone understand is the change in people's worldview is not a result of any incursion of scientism but the abject failure of theism as an explanatory tool. Crosby's bleating is about the personal loss he is experiencing as his realizes more and more people are convinced that his theosophical approach is no longer top dog as a universal explanatory tool.

Max Weber, best sums up this trend towards a more robust, epistemologically sound and verifiable paradigm which he described as " ..a process of rationalisation, disenchantment and the "disintegration of religious world views" that resulted in modern secular societies and capitalism."

In effect, the culture wars between that which some, like Crosby, pejoratively caricature as 'scientism', and others that increasingly challenge the musty mental cloisters of theism, is no better exemplified than in this, Crosby's little monograph. More broadly, Crosby rues the thought that his projection of supernaturalism is indeed a figment of his imagination and that the sciences [the hard, the soft and all manner of in-between] in all its diversity share a common and consistent narrative that what configures as the supernatural seem in all likelihood to be an illusion. Philosophy and studies in the Theory of Mind seem also to err towards there being some form of survival advantage in generating the illusion as a filter through which we relate to the world.

Apart from the mean and narrow religious perspective, I think what irks religionists the most is that scientism, as opposed and a direct challenge to, theism, is more fully and properly embraced as Dr Michael Shermer has recently defined it [scientism]; ".. as a worldview that encompasses natural explanations, eschews supernatural and paranormal speculations, and embraces empiricism and reason."

Internationally renowned philosopher Daniel Dennett, in response to religious criticism of his book "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon", adroitly noted: "When someone puts forward a scientific theory that [religious critics] really don't like, they just try to discredit it as 'scientism'". Crosby's little piece is no less so.

Let the Culture Wars continue.








Ilíon said...

B.Floundering: "Help me out here, people! Does anyone know what he's talking about? I can make neither heads nor tails out of these sentences. ... It's almost like Ilion's been taking creative writing lessons from Linton. It's about as intelligible."

Are you claiming to be too stupid to understand clearly written English once the sentence-structure gets more complex than Dick and Jane?

B. Prokop said...

Dan helped me out here. Apparently you're referring to some sort of substitution you made at an earlier point in this conversation which I do not now recall nor can I find.

B. Prokop said...

And now I am off (immediately, in fact) on a two-week visit to my brother, during which time I will have no access to a computer. So you can take your time in composing your "screed"! I'll catch up when I return.

Ilíon said...

Dan Gillson: "I know Latin. I know what ad hominem means. I also know what the ad hominem fallacy looks like. Saying, "x is wrong, because x was said by a hypocrite," is an example of the ad hominem fallacy because one's moral character is irrelevant to the argument one is making, unless the argument being made relies on the moral character of the argument's maker."

It's no doubt pure happenstance, but I *never* argue in that form. *Whew*

But wait! You accused me of "writ[ing] one big ad hominem screed" ... concerning a post I haven't yet written and you haven't even read. To repete myself, I'm not so sure you know what 'ad hominem' means.

Dan Gillson: "Now, I may be a fool, in your parlance, ..."

'Fool' is just a word meaning "intellectually dishonest person". You know that. And if you think about it, you knew that long before I explicitly pointed it out. Think about how people generally use the word: they are making a moral assertion about the person they are calling a fool.

[announcer voice]Previously on Dan Gillson:[/announcer voice] "He usually accuses his interlocutor of hypocrisy or dishonesty without identifying what makes the argument hypocritical or dishonest."

Dan Gillson: "Off the top of my head, the only instances in which you've accused me of intellectual dishonesty is when my atheism is at issue."

Not only does this contradict your previous statement, but it also isn't true. Your very first post on VR's blog, and all subsequent ones for a couple of years, was nothing but a pointless-and-trollish personal attack on me. On the basis of your behavior, I called you intellectually dishonest from day one. You've since apologized (*) for your prior behavior, and so I no longer call you intellectually dishonest for that.

(*) I don't recall seeing *any* non-trollish post from you until shortly before you apologized for having been a troll. There was a time before that when you admitted, by which I mean gleefully boasted, that your only purpose here was to troll me. I sometimes wonder if that self-examination played some role in your change of heart.

Ilíon said...

Dan Gillson: "Off the top of my head, the only instances in which you've accused me of intellectual dishonesty is when my atheism is at issue. Summarizing what I can remember, you think that atheism entails x, y, z, and I don't. You [think] that because I don't, I'm being intellectually dishonest, and I think that you're just begging the question."

You *know* that I'm not begging the question. You *know* that I have demonstrated that God-denial inexorably entails "x, y, z". You also know that prominent 'atheists' acknowledge this, at least out of one side of their mouths when it serves their purpose.

Ilíon: "This Ilíon fellow that you guys love to misrepresent *never* engages in mind-reading. He makes his case on the things people *say*, on the arguments (and "arguments") they make."

Dan Gillson: "True, you don't mind read. False, by definition you rule out the possibility that atheists can be intellectually honest. Therefore, your assessments of other people's intellectual honesty sometimes aren't based on what they say."

These assertions ["by definition you rule out the possibility that atheists can be intellectually " and "Therefore, your assessments of other people's intellectual honesty sometimes aren't based on what they say"] aren't true ... and you *know* they aren't true. Just look at what you said above: "Summarizing what I can remember, you think that atheism entails x, y, z, and I don't. You [think] that because I don't, I'm being intellectually dishonest, and I think that you're just begging the question."

Nevermind here that you're wrong about me begging the question. The point *here* is that even if I *were* begging the question, your very claim that I am makng a (faulty) argument, and on the conclusion of that argument further concluding that since everyone who denies the reality of the Creator-God is necessarily also asserting all the logical entailemets of that denial -- among which is the absurdity that we do not (for we cannot) reason -- that therefore all persons who deny the reality of the Creator while also claiming to be rational, or who pretend (for, by the logic of their own assertion of nature of reality, logical-and-rational argument is impossible) to be logically-rationally arguing for God-denial, are engaging in intellectual dishonesty.

It never ceases to amaze me that people "prove me wrong" by, well, proving me right.

Ilíon said...

Dan Gillson: "Probably, but in some cases you call people intellectually dishonest when you haven't sufficiently established the fact."

And I don't believe I do. But even if I had, have I *ever* been wrong once I do decide to call someone intellectually dishonest?

I think the real issue (behind this assertion) is that I have a far lower tolerance for it than you do, and consequently I call it far sooner than you would.

Ilíon: "When [a] person makes a faulty argument and/or one that it's pretty clear he will reject if the terms are substituted, and I substitute the terms to demonstrate to him that he rejects his own argument, and he does reject my use of the form of his argument even while continuing to assert the argument, *that* is a demonstration of his intellectual dishonesty."

Dan Gillson: "Well, no, not really. It must be a materially valid substitution for it to count. (I started writing more on this, but it was incredibly disjointed, so I quit.) "

Without reference to whatever it is you mean by "materially valid ", if the substitution of terms does not change the form of the argument (which includes the relationship between terms), then the substitution is valid ... for it is the same argument.

Therefore, just as I said, if a person rejects his own argument even as he continues to assert it, then he is *demonstrating* that he is intellectually dishonest. He is demonstrating the he will say *anything* so long as it seems to advance the claim we wished to assert.

Dan Gillson said...

Ilion,

I am too busy to respond to you in detail. (My wife and I are trying to get a dilapidated hotel in the Bahamas up and running ... ). I will have to address your points as they crop up in later posts.

Greg said...

Is this a "critique of scientism" or a "critique of B. Prokop/ilion" from ten blog entries ago?

And Papa, you make this too easy. If religious and superstitious thought can be explained away due it having an evolutionary origin/survival benefits then so too can our "scientific" thought. Which makes it a lousy example of knowledge, if by knowledge we mean an acquaintance with truths and facts.

Simply put, even if supernaturalism is "figment of his imagination," the theist can at least consistently and rationally affirm his position. The defender of scientism, on the other hand, cannot defend the rationality of the sciences without violating his first principle.

Ilíon said...

"Is this a "critique of scientism" or a "critique of B. Prokop/ilion" from ten blog entries ago?"

I suppose you'd have to ask B.Prokop about that, since he introduced the critique, and he's out of touch for a while. Still, critiquing Ilíon does seem to be a perennial favorite.

Ilíon said...

Dan Gillson: "I will have to address your points as they crop up in later posts."

Oh, come on! We all know you'll do no such thing. What you'll do is the same thing you did above -- accuse me of question-begging, but never quite get around to identifying any begged questions.

Based on past experience, it seems that when an 'atheist' claims that a theistic arguement begs the question, all he means is that it successfully moves from premise to conclusion ... and that he hates the conclusion.

Dan Gillson said...

No, I think that you're begging the question because your conclusion assumes your premise, but as I said, I am doing a lot right now, so we'll have to postpone this particular discussion until later.

Ilíon said...

"No, I think that you're begging the question because your conclusion assumes your premise ..."

I should *hope* that my conclusion assumes my premise.

I expect that you meant to assert the opposite -- in which case, since "assuming one's conclusion" is the very definition of begging the question, all you've said is "I think that [your argument assumes your conclusion] because [(I assert that) you're begging the question]".

That is, you're asserting that I'm begging the question ... and the evidence that I'm begging the question is your assertion that I am begging the question.


"... but as I said, I am doing a lot right now, so we'll have to postpone this particular discussion until later."

It will never happen; you will never identify this alleged question-begging.

Dan Gillson said...

"I expect that you meant to assert the opposite -- in which case, since "assuming one's conclusion" is the very definition of begging the question ..." ... HA!. My bad. I've been staring at spreadsheets all day. My mind is completely fried.

"It will never happen; you will never identify this alleged question-begging." ... I honestly can't find the discussion of which I'm thinking on Google, otherwise I'd link to it.

Dan Gillson said...

Found it!

"GIVEN the reality of the natural/physical/material world, IF atheism were indeed the truth about the nature of reality, THEN everything which exists and/or transpires must be wholely reducible, without remainder, to purely physical/material states and causes." ... That is where you beg the question. You haven't sufficiently established that atheism entails materialism. You've assumed something that you have no right (logically speaking) to assume. As I've pointed out to you, atheism is compatible with other monisms, e.g., Strawsonian Panpsychism, or Jamesian Neutral Monism. One can deny God, but hold that what we call matter is both mental and physical (Panpsychism), or that what we call matter is neither mental or physical (Neutral Monism).

Rasmus Møller said...

Dan Gilson,

bringing forward Panpsychism and Neutral Monism does not seem to affect the argument noticably; one could expand the part after "THEN" to include "OR" references to those two monisms, which anyway seem to be concocted as purely semantic nonsense-alternatives.

I suppose that they are intended to serve as placeholders for reflecting ridicule, as the atheist might want to compare them to "soul/spirit" for explanatory value.

Victor Reppert said...

I think one of these third options" is what I think Thomas Nagel is going for.

Ilíon said...

Rasmus Møller: "bringing forward Panpsychism and Neutral Monism does not seem to affect the argument noticably; one could expand the part after "THEN" to include "OR" references to those two monisms, which anyway seem to be concocted as purely semantic nonsense-alternatives."

Exactly (and as I've pointed out multiple times)

Ilíon said...

Ilíon: "GIVEN the reality of the natural/physical/material world, IF atheism were indeed the truth about the nature of reality, THEN everything which exists and/or transpires must be wholely reducible, without remainder, to purely physical/material states and causes."

Dan Gillson: " ... That is where you beg the question. You haven't sufficiently established that atheism entails materialism. You've assumed something that you have no right (logically speaking) to assume."

As I said previously, "... you will never identify this alleged question-begging. ... you're asserting that I'm begging the question ... and the evidence that I'm begging the question is your assertion that I am begging the question."

Also, as I said previously, "Based on past experience, it seems that when an 'atheist' claims that a theistic arguement begs the question, all he means is that it successfully moves from premise to conclusion ... and that he hates the conclusion."

For anyone can see the that the argument summarized above does not beg the question of God-denial entailing materialism; rather, materialism is just a logical consequence of denying the reality (and personhood) of God while affirming the reality of the physical world.

"Eastern-style" atheism -- which *denies* the reality of the physical world -- does not entail "materialism". But it still denies that *we* are real, and it's still absurd.

It's the denial of the reality and personhood of God that makes (all) atheisms absurd, not the materialism that some of them entail.

Further, the discerning reader will notice that materialism is really irrelevent to the thrust of the argument. Rather, it is the mechanistic determinism inherent in denying that the necessary being/entity is aWho, rather than a what, that shows atheism -- all atheims -- to be absurd.

Dan Gillson: "As I've pointed out to you, atheism is compatible with other monisms, e.g., Strawsonian Panpsychism, or Jamesian Neutral Monism. One can deny God, but hold that what we call matter is both mental and physical (Panpsychism), or that what we call matter is neither mental or physical (Neutral Monism)."

How many times do you expect I am required to point out to you the utter failure of this attempt to escape the logical entailments of God-denial?

How can one coherently "hold that what we call matter is both mental and physical (Panpsychism)" when there is no such thing as "the mental" (or "Mind") if there are no actual minds? But if your hypothetical Panpsychism God-denier wishes to posit that there is an actual mind (or minds) who is/are fundamental to reality, then is he not affirming the reality of God while denying the reality of God?

How can one coherently "hold ... that what we call matter is neither mental or physical (Neutral Monism)" and yet escape the mechanistic determinism inherent in denying that the necessary being/entity is aWho, rather than a what? How can one coherently call oneself a "monist" unless one holds that 'matter' and 'mind' are the same thing? But, there is no such thing as 'mind' unless there is an actual mind, an actually existing who (or Who). But, definitionally, atheism denies there is a non-contingent Who; and we know that whos (ourselves) are contingent.

The fatal problem of atheism is not matter, it is not materialism. The fatal problem of atheism is the determinism -- the denial of agency and of agent freedom -- which inheres in denying the Creator-God. There can be no "mental" unless there is a mind; there can be no agent freedom unless there is an agent.

Dan Gillson said...

Ilion,

"For anyone can see the that the argument summarized above does not beg the question of God-denial entailing materialism; rather, materialism is just a logical consequence of denying the reality (and personhood) of God while affirming the reality of the physical world." ... It does beg the question because there is no further logical development of the point. Your argument takes materialism for granted. If you think otherwise, then copy/paste the portion of your argument in which you prove that materialism is a logical consequence of atheism.

"Further, the discerning reader will notice that materialism is really irrelevent to the thrust of the argument. Rather, it is the mechanistic determinism inherent in denying that the necessary being/entity is aWho, rather than a what, that shows atheism -- all atheims -- to be absurd." ... It's not irrelevant to your argument. In your argument materialism is the mediating step between atheism and determinism. You can't arrive at determinism without supposing a materialistic account of causation, but you haven't satisfactorily answered why atheism entails materialism. Indeed, you've begged the question.

"How many times do you expect I am required to point out to you the utter failure of this attempt to escape the logical entailments of God-denial? " ... As many times as it takes. I'm pretty thick.

Dan Gillson said...

"How can one coherently "hold that what we call matter is both mental and physical (Panpsychism)" when there is no such thing as "the mental" (or "Mind") if there are no actual minds? But if your hypothetical Panpsychism God-denier wishes to posit that there is an actual mind (or minds) who is/are fundamental to reality, then is he not affirming the reality of God while denying the reality of God?" ... On a panpsychist conception, minds aren't fundamental to reality. Mentality and physicality are fundamental properties of matter, that is the base unit of matter (whatever that is) expresses both mental and physical properties.

"How can one coherently "hold ... that what we call matter is neither mental or physical (Neutral Monism)" and yet escape the mechanistic determinism inherent in denying that the necessary being/entity is aWho, rather than a what?" ... By saying that we don't, right now, know what 'matter' really is. We just see mental effects and physical effects, and we suppose that each of these effects originate from the same metaphysical cause.

"How can one coherently call oneself a "monist" unless one holds that 'matter' and 'mind' are the same thing?" ... Because 'matter' and 'mind' can be different properties subsisting in a singular reality.

"But, there is no such thing as 'mind' unless there is an actual mind, an actually existing who (or Who). But, definitionally, atheism denies there is a non-contingent Who; and we know that whos (ourselves) are contingent." A couple things: Firstly, your first sentence begs the question. Secondly, it depends on the atheism. An atheist can subscribe to theistic arguments, but reject divine personalities. One doesn't need to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

"The fatal problem of atheism is not matter, it is not materialism. The fatal problem of atheism is the determinism -- the denial of agency and of agent freedom -- which inheres in denying the Creator-God. There can be no "mental" unless there is a mind; there can be no agent freedom unless there is an agent." ... I don't think you've satisfactorily made your case yet. I'm happy to continue on, if you don't think it's a lost cause.

Ilíon said...

Any port in a storm! (which post is intended to grow)

Ilíon said...

Row reignites over distance of Pleiades star cluster -- Hell! They can't even agree (*) upon how far away are the Pleiades, much less the Perseus Arm of the Galaxy or the Pinwheel Galaxy.

(*) and I emphasize 'agree', because even if they did all totall yagree, the agreed-upon distance still could not be *known* to be true, because the computations are built upon disputable assumptions.