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Thread: The Great Contradiction

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    Veteran Member Wiploc's Avatar
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    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”

    ― J.B.S. Haldane, Possible Worlds
    It seems to me immensely unlikely that my mind is a mere product of magic. For if my mental processes were determined wholly by a magic, eccentric, and self-contradictory stranger, I would have no reason to suppose my beliefs are true. They might be sound magically, but that wouldn't make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be the product of a magic-throwing god.

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    Veteran Member Wiploc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post

    Freewill is assumed and yet argued against in atheistic reasoning.
    Many atheists argue for free will. Many theists argue against it. Don't characterize arguments against free will as "atheistic."

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    Veteran Member Wiploc's Avatar
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    The QUOTE button isn't working for me, so I won't be quoting or attributing as much or as well as usual. This is in response to post 43 by Remez.

    Haldane’s point is from a naturistic viewpoint (foundational to atheism) there is no thinking.
    That's not Haldane's point, and naturalism is not foundational to atheism.

    Buddhists, for instance, are mostly atheists, but they aren't naturalists.

    I'm firmly in the strong atheist camp, but I'd have to do research and introspection to learn whether I'm a naturalist.

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    Veteran Member Wiploc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Again, none of that makes any sense to me whatsoever.
    Asserting free will is asserting creation ex nihilo.
    That's absurd. I have free will, and creation ex nihilo seems to me absurd.

    I do not assert creation ex nihilo when I assert free will.

  5. Top | #85
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    The QUOTE button isn't working for me, so I won't be quoting or attributing as much or as well as usual. This is in response to post 43 by Remez.

    Haldane’s point is from a naturistic viewpoint (foundational to atheism) there is no thinking.
    That's not Haldane's point, and naturalism is not foundational to atheism.

    Buddhists, for instance, are mostly atheists, but they aren't naturalists.

    I'm firmly in the strong atheist camp, but I'd have to do research and introspection to learn whether I'm a naturalist.
    Both Lion and Remez have a tendency to declare what atheists believe and why then try to argue against their strawman. Neither can be depended on to directly address what atheists actually post.

  6. Top | #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby
    I think we can be pretty sure it arises from brain activity somehow.
    "Arises from". So it becomes something else than brain activity. That's one reason why I share Haldane's incredulity.

    "I agree with Haldane" didn't mean agreement with whatever his philosophy was. I only meant I share the incredulity about consciousness being equivalent to brain activity. The details of that don't matter at all. Not in this theism vs atheism forum. I'm just noting the Haldane quote isn't problematic for atheism and, as I said, that's my only point.

    This is important ... don't mistake taking supernaturalism as the default alternative to what scientists say. Someone doubting science all-encompassing abilities isn't necessarily an ache for supernaturalism or religion. That's the loop the theists are stuck in.

    The stuff presented about determinism and free will is just part of the theist's inverse argument for theism by "reverse apologetics" - the idea is if they can ram holes in "atheistic reasoning" then theistic reasoning becomes the default alternative: 'Here is a reason that materialism is false, so naturalism tumbles too, so the ground has fallen out from under atheistic reasoning, so supernaturalism is a rational alternative, so therefore my faith in supernatural beings is not a blind faith'.

  7. Top | #87
    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    Lion I hope this helps.

    Let me first begin this response with an acknowledgement that I’m sure we both agree wtith…. that god of the gaps philosophy (gotg) does exist and is wrong.
    Sure. And the simple way to rebut GOTG reasoning is to either;
    A) Remove the gap or B) use a different place-holder word other than God.

    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    When you DON”T HAVE REASON for some gap of understanding you simply ASSUME god did it.
    The assumption is not so much that God did it but that someone or something did it.
    The argument from First Cause or Intelligent Design isn't God-Of-The-Gaps reasoning.
    And atheism doesn't have any quarrel with agency or contingency unless that prior cause happens to be called divinity.
    Atheists would be overjoyed if the origin of life on Earth was shown to be the result of aliens and panspermia.

    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    It happens and has happened throughout history. But all should be aware that it is just as wrong and prevalent to assume a nature of the gaps (notg) philosophy.
    Yep. Better to stay focussed on the actual existence of those gap(s) and consider which possible explanation fills that gap best. Presuppositional atheists/materialists dogmatically insist on anything BUT God.

    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    But
    It is also true that many skeptics have FALSELY accused theists of that errant reasoning. For if the skeptic ignores the inferences/reasons being provided by the theist and instead arbitrarily opts to mislabel or ignore the provided theistic reasoning as purely assumption then the error lies with the skeptic.
    Right.
    And if atheists are going to use the label GOTG to dismiss every single theistic position then they shouldn't be surprised when they get called out for doing their own godlessness-of-the-gaps. The mysterious ways of "random chance" is NOT a better explanation than teleology. "Spontaneous" is not a better placeholder word than God.

    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    This is important. For many false narratives by the skeptic toward the theist spin off this pseudo philosophy. Eg: You shut down science/understanding when you assume god into the gaps. God is not an understanding just an assumption. Skeptic epistemology is more virtuous because we can admit that we don’t know. Etc.
    I’m pretty sure several more examples are about to present themselves following this post.
    Yes, as I said, it is a virtue (intellectual honesty) to admit it when you don't know.
    But it is the opposite of intellectual honesty to think that just because you don't know, therefore nobody else does either.


    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post

    With that on the table let me begin…………
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    It's an intellectually honest admission of ignorance when atheists say "we don't know". But all I can hear is...materialism works in mysterious ways.
    Is it?
    Or
    Is it?

    Careful....Lion………Think about it.

    There are two levels of inference going on there that skeptics are lazily conflating.

    Level 1. Obviously it is honest at the level of not being certain, to assert we don’t know.
    Theists are not denying that.
    But ……
    To arbitrarily extend that honest level 1 admission
    To a level 2 pseudo philosophy …….that it then remains honest to arbitrarily deny/ignore all positive reasonable inference about what we don’t know…..is in no way honest. To charge gotg here in this thread, in the face of all the reasoning that has been provided, is pure ignorance and/or DISHONESTY.
    Not all atheist counter apologetics involves bad faith accusations of GOTG reasoning against their opponents.
    And not all accusations of GOTG are unwarranted either.

    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    It is lazy. It is close minded. If skeptics arbitrarily don’t like the direction your reasoning is going they philosophically shut it down your reasoning and ignorantly allege gotg. They do so by hiding behind the honestly of level 1. Years ago (here) I coined it IDKism. It cloths them in virtue as they create disparaging names…like sky daddy etc. It’s a security blanket, that full of holes and with that false blanket of security they reason that they shut down the conversation and falsely believe they have prevailed. And remember, skeptics like to proclaim that theists are the ones stunting reasoning.
    Yep. Well said. Here, have one +Rep

    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    Observe these quick three references all from the same page……..

    And……………..
    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    Lion, whatever problems there are for science or philosophers or anyone in your list, there remains this problem for theists: God isn't an explanation.
    And…………….
    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    ..., snip ...

    So the hard problems are all on the atheist side of the debate. They are your problems.
    Of course they are. For the theist, anything that isn't obvious is attributed to god or can be found in the holy book... No further attempt at understanding is necessary or maybe even sinful.
    ….overtly demonstrate their IDKism.

    They arbitrarily ignore our reasoned inferences. Then ignorantly default our position to assumption. And then falsely charge us with gotg. And being as virtuous as they are, they conclude your REASONING trumped.
    LOL
    Yep. Observe the most frequently used IDKism - free will.
    Atheist : Free will must be an illusion because I dislike your definition of free will and therefore you must be wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    This thread is replete with our purported reasoning. They have forgotten that they have even engaged in attempting to defeat it. But in the end they lazily and arbitrarily ignore our reasoning and mislabel it to be assumption in order to end the conversation by lobbing their harmless spit ball of gotg.

    Spit ball
    LOL that's what it looks like to me as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by remez View Post
    That is what we are up against.
    Again
    I hope that helps.
    and............
    Happy New Year.
    Thanks. Same to you.

  8. Top | #88
    Content Thief Elixir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Both Lion and Remez have a tendency to declare what atheists believe and why then try to argue against their strawman.
    That's one of the primary reasons I regard religious navel-gazers as a waste of time in discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lion
    Atheists would be overjoyed if the origin of life on Earth was shown to be the result of aliens and panspermia.
    Great example right there; a rational person would be overjoyed if the origin of life on earth was conclusively explained and SHOWN to be ANYTHING. Certainly any atheist I know* would be wonderstruck and delighted if it was conclusively SHOWN to be the result of a tri-omni superbeing. But for navel-gazing religious subscribers to first-cause religiosity (presupposers), if it is shown to be anything other than whatever (God) they presuppose, their entire worldview is shattered. Nothing other than their particular god can even be entertained as a possibility.

    Disproving the existence of a tri-omni being is a silly idea on the face of it. Such a being could control exactly what you see, what you believe, what you think, what you say, how you feel - why bother to even consider it, except to provide comfort against the things we don't know, an omnipresent excuse to stop trying to explain things?

    Sorry, kids; explaining things has proven the most propitious endeavor of human history, and is in large part what defines our species.


    * Fair disclosure: I'm what most would call a "soft atheist", i.e. not an atheist at all. I do believe that religions are malevolent bullshit though.

  9. Top | #89
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby
    I think we can be pretty sure it arises from brain activity somehow.
    "Arises from". So it becomes something else than brain activity. That's one reason why I share Haldane's incredulity.

    "I agree with Haldane" didn't mean agreement with whatever his philosophy was. I only meant I share the incredulity about consciousness being equivalent to brain activity. The details of that don't matter at all. Not in this theism vs atheism forum. I'm just noting the Haldane quote isn't problematic for atheism and, as I said, that's my only point.

    This is important ... don't mistake taking supernaturalism as the default alternative to what scientists say. Someone doubting science all-encompassing abilities isn't necessarily an ache for supernaturalism or religion. That's the loop the theists are stuck in.

    The stuff presented about determinism and free will is just part of the theist's inverse argument for theism by "reverse apologetics" - the idea is if they can ram holes in "atheistic reasoning" then theistic reasoning becomes the default alternative: 'Here is a reason that materialism is false, so naturalism tumbles too, so the ground has fallen out from under atheistic reasoning, so supernaturalism is a rational alternative, so therefore my faith in supernatural beings is not a blind faith'.
    Again, I think I agree with pretty much all of that. It hasn’t been entirely clear to me exactly what remez, for example, was doing, but as I said before I stopped engaging with him, it did strike me as being garbled, mostly (including the Haldane quote) irrelevant to the OP, and I did suspect something along the lines of what you say in your last paragraph there, but you have articulated it quite nicely and better than I could have put it.

    Tangentially, I don’t know if I would say that consciousness IS (necessarily) something other than brain activity, although I admit this was implied in what I myself said about it arising from brain activity. But as you say, the details of that don’t matter here, for the reasons you give, and because there is no contradiction involved in what Haldane said (the suggestion that there is strikes me as being a detour from, or attempted riposte to, the OP, or both of those things).

    And in any case I’m still of the opinion that Haldane’s conclusion was faulty (did not follow).
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 12-31-2019 at 11:47 PM.

  10. Top | #90
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    This is important ... don't mistake taking supernaturalism as the default alternative to what scientists say. Someone doubting science all-encompassing abilities isn't necessarily an ache for supernaturalism or religion. That's the loop the theists are stuck in'.
    Nicely put, imo, and as you say, important.

    Having read around a bit, I get the impression, as I said before, that Haldane has been credited with having leaned towards pantheism in the essay that quote is from. I don’t know enough about his philosophies to know if he would ever have agreed that that label was accurate for any part of his worldview at any time, but I suppose I can see how it could be seen as such.

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