Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Chesterton's AFR



bmiller said...

I distinctly remember that I too came to the conclusion that it must be trees that create the wind. I know I was less than 5 at the time also because we moved around the time of my 5th birthday.

Thought I was the only one.

One Brow said...

We don't infer the wind from the behavior of the trees, as you wish to infer the immaterial from the behavior of the material.

StardustyPsyche said...

"To treat the human mind as having an ultimate authority is necessary to any kind of thinking, even free thinking."
How absurd. This isn't an "argument" from reason, it is an absurd ad hoc assertion about reason

"This last paragraph is a clear statement of the Argument from Reason. If our thoughts and thought-patterns are accidental by-products of our brains' biochemistry or our personal psychologies then it becomes difficult to place any confidence in them."
Oh well, tough luck for us then. Life is full of difficulties, then you die.

"But obviously, this would apply to the thoughts that led us to believe that our thoughts and thought-patterns are accidental by-products. Thus, this position is self-defeating."
There is nothing self defeating in naturalism, properly formulated and expressed.

If one were to claim absolute certainty based on that which is admitted to not be absolutely certain that would be a self inconsistent position. Such a position is the common straw man of naturalism theists employ.

"The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears. Unless we can be sure that reality in the remotest nebula or the remotest part obeys the thought laws of the human scientist here and now in his laboratory -- in other words, unless Reason is an absolute -- all is in ruins"
Chesterton and Lewis were idiots.

They use the word inference yet they are very obviously ignorant of what that word means.

The conclusions of science are provisional, scientists know that, theists of their ilk apparently do not have a clue.

Life is full of uncertainty, yet we act. If these 2 dolts will only sit motionless unless they can be absolutely certain, fine, they can do so, the rest of us will go about our lives observing and reasoning and acting absent absolute certainty.

" Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based."
Uggghhh. The stupidity of these guys is getting unbearable, I can't go on after this. One becomes personally convinced of a proposition on the preponderance of evidence absent absolute proof and knowing all the while that convinced position is not absolutely provably true.

Ok, I can't take any more idiocy from Chesterton and Lewis, good night.

StardustyPsyche said...

Ok, so continuing on...
"Granted that Reason is prior to matter"
How does that make any sense? Where is this supposed reason? Is it some kind of ectoplasm floating about in space?

How could reason possibly be anything other than a process of material? What, where, and how else could it be?

"the light of that primal Reason illuminates finite minds"
I guess that is supposed to be some sort of eloquent language that appeals to somebody. There certainly is no rational, explanatory, or meaningful argument in that statement.

" If, on the other hand, I swallow the scientific cosmology as a whole, then not only can I not fit in Christianity, but I cannot even fit in science"
Well, at least the OP is half right. Christianity just does not fit with cosmology.

" If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on biochemistry, and biochemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of the atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees."
At least the OP admits an inability to understand. Agreed, he doesn't understand.

The author seems to be suffering from some sort of anthropocentric or egoistic perspective. What sort of significance would the author wish for, that the universe was created for the benefit of human kind?

Human beings are insignificant in how the universe progresses. We cannot stop or even slightly alter the ultimate fate of the universe and everything in it. We are exceedingly tiny by comparison to even one star, let alone a hundred billion hundred billion stars.

Our significance in the universe is fleeting and relative to each other, and for ourselves, for the brief moment each of is alive.

In one way, however, we are quite special, despite our insignificant size, because we are among the only sorts of places in the universe where the universe is aware of itself.

If those significances are not enough to satisfy the author, tough luck then, he will have to grow old and die unsatisfied, or numbing his egositic dissatisfaction with fantasies of gods and everlasting life and infinite powers, the rest of the universe could not care less.

StardustyPsyche said...

I realize you wrote a book on this subject, so perhaps you find my words easily dismissable, thinking you have already covered the subject in detail.

One account of Lewis as he responded to Anscombe:
"What he meant is that a process of reasoning is "veridical", that is, reliable as a method of pursuing knowledge and truth, only if it cannot be entirely explained by nonrational causes."

Reasoning simply is not absolutely reliable.
Knowledge simply is not absolutely reliable.
Truth simply is not absolutely determinable.

Reasoning can be faulty. Knowledge is incomplete and uncertain. Certainty of truth is not available to us.

Thus, the whole of what is called the argument from reason is based on a set of false notions, false notions that are not held in naturalism by anyone who has taken the time to properly form the assertions of naturalism.

I found this post of yours, yes 14 years old, so maybe you have modified your stances since then, but I imagine this remains representative:
" the naturalist must believe not merely that their own beliefs were not produced by irrational causes, they must maintain that the conclusion that evolution is true was produced, in the mind of Charles Darwin and in their own mind, as the result of a rational process."
The truth of evolution is a scientific conclusion. Science is, at base, provisional. Science does not produce absolute proofs, only provisional conclusions.

No claim is made, on naturalism, that evolution is absolutely true, only that so much of the theory is so highly verified that it is useful to provisionally accept the theory of evolution until such time as a better theory may be devised.

" Consequently the status of your own remarks as assertions is called into question by your own thesis that there are no beliefs, and that this is going to end up having a devastating effect on the very sciences on which you base your arguments."
This is again a strawman of naturalism and science. We have conclusions, or beliefs, or propositions we are personally convinced of, and on naturalism properly expressed those conclusions are self consciously provisional, and thus there is no self contradiction whatsoever in such a naturalist position.

David Duffy said...

C.S. Lewis to Joe Biden, "believe Lucy"

David Duffy said...

The DOJ needs to appoint a Special Council to look into all, not just Russian, foreign interference in our elections.

Appoint some aging dimwit Democrat as the Special Council (Jimmy Carter) to develop the narrative that the Dems are running the investigation. Make sure the actual investigators are ruthless partisans (Andrew McCarthy, Giuliani) and have them go out and destroy anyone associated with Joe Biden. Tap their phones, dig through their bank accounts, pull out their divorce records, do whatever it takes to accuse, expose, ruin anyone who talks to Joe Biden. Oh, and two years later tell us how other countries might be interfering with our elections.

StardustyPsyche said...

I found this in a book review:
"Darwinists attempt to use science to show that our world and its inhabitants can be fully explained as the product of a mindless, purposeless system of physics and chemistry. But Lewis claimed in his argument from reason that if such materialism or naturalism were true then scientific reasoning itself could not be trusted. "

On naturalism scientific reasoning itself cannot be absolutely trusted.
On naturalism all scientific conclusions are provisional, subject to later modification, and not considered to be absolute proofs.

Thus, the supposed argument from reason is actually an argument against a strawman.

Accusations that naturalism entails a "flat contradiction", or is somehow self contradictory, or self defeating are assertions against a strawman.

On naturalism we, each of us, use our potentially faulty senses in combination with our potentially faulty reasoning to arrive at provisional and potentially inaccurate scientific conclusions.

There is not a shred of self contradiction in naturalism. We all know that I can speculate that I am god and you are a figment of my divine imagination, or that the universe was created 1 second ago, or any number of such idle speculations formulated to be non-disprovable. Fine, if one wishes to live life thinking that life truly is but a dream, then go ahead and row your boat merrily merrily merrily down the stream, up to you.

The rest of us will remain personally convinced of the basic reliability of the human senses, the axioms of logic, and therefore the findings of science, all the while fully aware of merry non-disprovable speculations, all without the slightest speck of self contradiction in our scientific naturalism world view.

oozzielionel said...

Agnosticism hides behind the confident assurance of not knowing. It can only be true if there is no knowing. Unfortunately, the world keeps rewarding us for getting things right. We get caught into behavior that rewards correct answers. In fact, we are ethically compelled to act on the basis of our potentially inaccurate conclusions. We are even encouraged to "believe" the science. We thought we could get away from dogmatism, but it keeps coming back.

finney said...

Did you see or respond to David Kyle Johnson's paper on the AFR? He seems to be addressing both your and Lewis's arguments.

One Brow said...

This seems to be a quiet thread on roughly the same topic.

bmiller said...
Metaphysically, can a collection of different processes operating in different ways over different times on different physical media (i.e., different atoms) be considered to have a distinct existence?

I'm assuming that you answered this question to yourself in the negative. That's why I posted what I considered problematic implications if this were true. I'm confused by your answers.

For me, the answer is negative. I don't find your proposed implications particularly problematic.

This statement seems to indicate that an entity does retain a distinct existence over change, but that would contradict the idea that an entity loses its distinct existence due to change.

My point was that "distinct existence" and "same entity" are both at the extreme ends of the spectrum, and I don't see wither as being correct. In traditional logic terms, they are contrary, not contradictory, when applied to a phenomenon.

Regardless of your misunderstanding of my notion of personhood, if changes cause something to cease to have it's distinct existence there are different beings in existence moment to moment as "it" changes. So the response indicates that a person actually is a distinct entity that exists substantially over time with changes that don't result in it losing it's identity.

I apologize for any misrepresentation of your notion of personhood (which was my best recollection of Feser's descrtion). Again, I reject the need to choose between the two poles of "distinct entity" and "the same thing".

I don't know about that. I'm unaware of any accepted scientific model that is based on a bootstrap mistake at it's foundation.

Ultimately, all of them are. When we discover the errors, we replace the models with better models. For example, the replacement of Newton's laws of motion with relativity. Eventually, relativity will be replaced with something better.

Good example. The computer is certainly obeying the laws of physics. Wanting a computer screen to function in a particular way is not a question of physics.

Yes, my point exactly.

Any time two or more possible actions/reactions exist, and one of them is enacted, a decision has been made.

If a rock is falling to the ground and is stopped by a table did it decide to stop falling?

What was the other possible action/reaction of the rock?

Hal said...

Off topic comment:

I wonder why it is that many discussions on the web become atomized?

By "atomized" I mean that each poster in the discussion will respond to the previous post by breaking it up into sections of one or maybe two or three sentences and commenting on each section.

I have to admit to doing the same thing myself. But I've come to find myself more and more uncomfortable with the practice. Seems to me that the it ends up distorting the arguments being discussed. Sentences taken out of their original context can be more readily misunderstood. So you end up with a 'not seeing the forest for the trees' effect. This not only makes it easier for the posters to talk past each other - it also makes it more difficult for the readers to follow the course of the discussion.

StardustyPsyche said...

Breaking up and quoting sections focuses the discussion and clarifies which specific points are being responded to.

For example, above I made a number of points against the AFR. You can respond however you wish, or not at all, up to you, of course. But given the column inch separation at this point in the thread some sort of reference to the points being refuted might well be helpful.

In some threads there is a sort of exponential chain reaction effect where each point leads to 2 more points, making the thread quickly unwieldy. In that case selecting specific points of most interest acts as a sort of control rod.

The AFR is a misnomer more than any sort of serious argument. This so-called argument starts with a transparently simplistic strawman of naturalism and then proceeds to argue against a non-assertion.

One Brow said...


You are correct, and StardustyPsyche is also correct. There is a trade-off between keeping the contents in context, but making the response difficult to parse, versus making it clear which point you are objecting to and why, but losing the overall thread.