Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Looking into the basis of atheistic thought part two

During this holiday season I am primarily posting the works of others and crediting them.   I hope you will be interested in their content.   Kindly ignore any sophomoric comments that criticize my intellect, the intellect of the source and other sad ad hominem attacks and consider the content of the posts themselves.   Are they logical and do they make a point?   Do they cause you to think?  



Atheism Analyzed is the author of this particular post.   His motto?

"A former 40 year Atheist analyzes Atheism, without resorting to theism, deism, or fantasy.
***
If You Don't Value Truth, Then What DO You Value?"

If you get part way through, get mad and want to furiously rebut what is said, you are not using the full intellectual capacity of your mind.   Quit attacking the messenger and deal with the message.  That is the only way your comments will be worthwhile.   Just a comment on comments.   Knee-jerk reactions and canned "how to answer a creationist" comments are eventually recognized for what they are.

Any cartoons included were added by me, with attribution.   The content of following post is entirely from Atheism Analyzed otherwise.  Happy New Year!

The Non-Intentional Life

There are some constants in the Atheist / Naturalist [1] worldview, some givens that resemble absolute truths at least within the limits of their worldview. One of these is that the only valid path to knowledge, at least reliable knowledge of any value, is through the empirical scientific process. For them, knowledge from any other source is suspect or worse. This position leads directly to another level, which is the reverence for the principle of Cause and Effect as a universal truth, and as the basis for science, which, in turn, somehow leads them to Atheism. If there exists no supernatural ontology, then everything that exists is just as we see it in the universe – that is the basis of Naturalism and Atheism. It is a big “if”.

As a consequence of the dependence of Naturalism and Atheism on the universal validity of principle of Cause and Effect, certain corollaries become necessarily true, in order to support that conclusion. That these corollaries are true cannot be in doubt under this thought process, because the conclusion which they support has been declared true, an exercise in rationalization. Some of these corollaries follow.

First, life is not a definable substance, and is not different in any way from the individual components that comprise the thing that is said to live. “There is no essence of life, unless it is [the existence of ] DNA”: Massimo Pigliucci. Life is not exceptional to purely material existence, and is fully defined by material causality.

Next, in humans as in all material substance based constructs there is no exceptionality from other material substances. Cause and effect applies to all substances, including humans. This means that every aspect of human functioning is a material effect which has a material cause.

This in turn means that the human does not exhibit any action that is not pre-determined by a chain of causes that go back to the Big Bang. So there is no human ability to decide anything, because every action is determinate beyond the ability of any self-agency to modify. And self does not exist either, because for one thing, there is no reason for a non-agent to be an independent entity, a self. A rock is not a self any more than the boulder from which it split was a self. Self is not a material substance; it cannot exist under the materialist decree.

So humans are without self, without agency, and without intentionality in their actions. If humans think that they have – or are – these things, then they are harboring an illusion or delusion. (Delusion occurs if one believes an illusion). If you doubt that this is a consequence of Atheism / Naturalism, then read the sources at the end of this article.

The typical Atheist response to this state of non-Agency is that the delusion of self and agency works just fine, and is a fine way to live, believing that we have agency in the face of being saddled with Fully Causal Determinism. Some Atheists and Naturalists even claim that there is a small bubble of non-determinism which is available to us, even though Causal Determinism is a universal principle; this allows us a small degree of agency within the constraints of our environmental and genetic histories.

If these ideas are valid, what would be the consequences? Are our actions fully predetermined and without recourse for modification? Or conversely, do the laws of Cause and Effect stop at some short-field locus that actually allows us to have some very limited agency?



Oh please, not Anaheim!

Living Fully Causal and Without Self, Except for Self-Delusion.

How can we be self-deluded if there is no self to delude? To self-delude a self, requires a self, and the idea is therefore non-coherent. So that can’t be.

But maybe we are deluded, not by ourselves which do not exist, but by circumstances. What is it that gets deluded? There is no self; the conscious mind merely gets informed of the predetermined, fully caused actions of the neural electrochemical discharges. If the conscious mind is only a register of what has already happened deterministically, yet the conscious mind thinks that it performed those actions, then the conscious mind is, in fact, delusional. And that is necessarily true of all conscious minds. Every mind is delusional regarding its self and agency. And by necessary extension, all the products of the self and agency.

But then the question of self arises again. Something has happened that causes non-entopic activities to occur in the wake of the activities of human mental faculties. If there is no core being that causes those non-entropic activities for which living things are known, then how are they caused (or are they delusions too)? And can I not think, consciously, in a manner to design, to create, to cause things to happen that could not otherwise happen without an agent’s causal force? And things which would not have happened without intentionality? Is the existence of these agent-caused intentional products not real (because there is no agency)? Exactly how delusional are we? And why would we be expected to share the same delusions with countless others, say when we board a plane or ride an escalator, or engage with communication devices? How are universally common delusions implemented - what is their cause? Is it more parsimonious to consider that we share a common, universal delusion, or that we share a common, universal reality?

Consider the other claims of Atheists and Naturalists, specifically the claim to be rational. If they claim universal delusion on the one hand, how can they claim rationality on the other? If they have no self, if they have no intentionality or agency, if their actions are fully causal with their conscious minds merely informed post hoc, how can they be rational? Even if the neural electrochemical discharge is declared the source of rationality, that also is fully caused, deterministic, and without any agency or intentionality, and moreover, why should a material mass of molecules have any non-deterministic capability, much less rationality and self-hood? The Atheist / Naturalist argument must apply to the neurons as well as to consciousness.

So unless the Atheists / Naturalists can produce an argument that provides an exception to their primary argument which universalizes determinism, an argument for a non-deterministic haven which endows themselves with agency even while surrounded with a fully caused and deterministic universe, then their argument fails. And paradoxically, if they do provide an argument for excepting themselves from determinism in order to allow their own rationality, then universal determinism cannot be a valid principle. Either way, full causal determinism fails.

Moreover, if we are merely deluded into the belief that any non-deterministic agency exists, then the reality that we think we have created is also a delusion. Therefore, if the principle of delusion of agency is valid, then delusion becomes a constant and consistent necessity, a state which we cannot differentiate from actual reality if there is any actual reality. Once again the Atheist / Naturalist claim of rationality cannot be valid if we all are deluded. The argument from delusion prohibits rationality.

Empiricism and the Question of Self, Agency and Delusion
Empiricism is an intentional activity; it is the sole source of valid knowledge according to the proponents of universal determinism, the Atheists and Naturalists. Yet that pairing of concepts self-contradicts. Again, without agency to design and perform the experimental analysis which characterizes empirical activity, there could be no meaningful knowledge product issuing from empirical activity. Once again there must be an exception to the principle of universal determinism in order for meaningful information or knowledge to come out of empirical activity. And once again, the principle of universal determinism cannot be valid if knowledge or meaning exists due to the exceptionalism of agent driven empirical activity. Unless of course, empiricism and its products are delusions. So either determinism does not apply to empiricism, or empiricism and knowledge are delusions. Either way, Atheism and Naturalism fail as rational worldviews, since they require both fully causal determinism AND empirical knowledge both to be valid simultaneously.

Why is delusion a part of the Atheist / Naturalist worldview? What are the rational (or non-rational) logic steps that produce the necessity of delusion?

The conclusion comes first by decree: There can be no non-material existence. The support for this conclusion is winnowed and selected for those items which do not contradict the conclusion.

For example the basic conclusion, full materiality of existence is decreed, not observed. Under the decree, certain things cannot exist, things which would invalidate the decree. So when those certain things are seen to exist after having been denied, they must be declared to be delusions.

This process is both non-rational and non-empirical. It is the product of a belief system, one that specifically denies parts of reality that conflict with the basic tenet of the belief. Any invalidating observations are thus delusions, especially if they cannot be defeated empirically.

So in this sense, both Atheism and Naturalism are religious-types of non-empirical belief systems, which actually deny certain aspects of observable reality as delusions, and which are based on faith in concepts derived by rationalization rather than valid logical processes. The fundamental concept – all existence is material only - is decreed rather than observed and it is not even observable, yet it is declared both true and the basis for what is called a rational worldview.

The belief in Atheism / Naturalism is not based in empiricism or rational analysis, it is based in something else: a desire for it to be true.

[Note 1] I use the term "naturalism" here, despite its confusing meanings. While I prefer "philosophical materialism", naturalism is commonly used in some of the "mind" literature, so I will use it here, too.

Sources For Further Reading:

Pinker, Steven; “How the Mind Works”; 1997, WW Norton & Co.

Schwartz, Jeffrey and Sharon Begley; “The Mind and The Brain”; 2002, Harper.

Clark, Thos; “Encountering Naturalism”; Center For Naturalism, 2007.

Huemer, Michael; “Skepticism and the Veil of Perception”; Rowman & Littlefield, 2001.

Martin, Michael; Atheism, A Philosophical Justification; Temple University Press, 1990.

“The Cambridge Companion to Atheism”; Michael Martin Ed.; Cambridge University Press, 2007.

“British Philosophy and the Age of Enlightenment”; Stuart Brown, Ed.; Routledge History of Philosophy Volume 5; Routledge, 1996.

Reason & Analysis; Bland Blanshard; Paul Carus Lectures Series 12; 1962; Open

Does he have a sense of humor?

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Once again: nice copy/paste job Radar!

radar said...

Thank you. I thought so.

radar said...

Question...were you destined to make that same lame comment again by random processes that force you to do what you do by evolved uncontrollable urges or did you actually think about it first? Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Question...why would I put time and effort in debating you over an article you didn't even write yourself? If I would feel any need to reply to the content of the article I'd take it up with the author himself, not someone who simply copy/pasted it on his blog.

That's what I meant with my original repy, Radar: if you want a serious discussion, you'll have to put in some effort yourself first. No payoff for laziness, sorry!

By the way: this is exactly what your cherished 'creation scientists' do: they don't want to put effort in experimenting, doing tests, submitting themselves to peer-review and criticism or defending their theories at scientific meetings, yet they do expect to be taken seriously as scientists.

Doesn't work that way, sorry!

WomanHonorThyself said...

hello my friend..ignoring the ad hominum as always!.informative as always God bless and .NEW YEAR HUGSSSSSS!

radar said...

BS, anonymous! I do make plenty of posts that are my own content. I attribute when I copy the work of another. Furthermore, when something is presented here I find that those of you who cannot argue against the evidence resort to ad hominem comments and then perhaps ask some questions that are not part of the post. Evasion, anyone? SOP for some of you.

radar said...

The reason ID and creationist science has abandoned "regular" scientific organizations is the same reason Christians left the Catholic Church in the middle ages or fought vigorously to change it. It is the same reason refugees poured in from Europe before the Hitler War Machine took over Germany and began marching across Europe. It is the same reason millions broke down and crossed over the Berlin Wall. Freedom abhors censorship and loves truth. Darwinism is held together by censorship, propaganda and a LOT of lies. It cannot last much longer.

Thus, ordinary scientists are more often investigating spurious claims like the "artificial life" and "arsenic bacteria" and seeing the fraudulent claims for what they are. Within a post or two I will prove that Darwinists continue to lie purposely and I am sure it will backfire.

Hank said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hank said...

It would be helpful to distinguish between metaphysical naturalism (a belief or faith that only material or natural phenomena exist) vs. methodological naturalism (methods that are appropriate for explanations that rely on only material or natural phenomena).

Anonymous said...

"BS, anonymous! I do make plenty of posts that are my own content."

I wasn't talking about your other posts. It was about this one. By the way, you have quite the reputation of running away from hard questions (Brave Sir Radar, you know?) that you're not really in a posision to lecture anyone about evading questions.

"Freedom abhors censorship and loves truth. Darwinism is held together by censorship, propaganda and a LOT of lies."

You mean lies like those of John Harnett? He lied to you and deceived you. Why doesn't that open your eyes, Radar? Afraid of the truth?
(also: Harnett is the perfect example that having a Ph.D doesn't necessarily mean that everything you say is valid)

anonymouse said...

"It is the same reason refugees poured in from Europe..."

Because they have been systematically oppressed by christians for centuries and saw a new, even more horrible round of oppression looming in the future?

Come on, it's not the *exact* same reason, is it?

highboy said...

I love how these anonymous posters act like its a waste of time to debate radar but its not a waste of time to post multiple comments on every thread that all say the same thing. These guys are precious.

Anonymous said...

"I love how these anonymous posters act like its a waste of time to debate radar but its not a waste of time to post multiple comments on every thread that all say the same thing."

Well, of course it is a waste of time to debate Radar, highboy. You know that very well. If not, just check the archives of this blog and notice how Radar time and time again runs away from tough questions asked, only to regurgitate the same argument a few weeks later.

Indeed: why would anyone waste time debating someone like Radar?

highboy said...

"Indeed: why would anyone waste time debating someone like Radar?"

Why would anyone continuously post comments on a thread if they think its a waste of time?

Anonymous said...

"Why would anyone continuously post comments on a thread if they think its a waste of time?"

Because it isn't. Read carefully: I said DEBATING Radar is a waste of time. Posting comments here for the humorous and entertaining reactions it produces (like yours) isn't.

highboy said...

"Because it isn't. Read carefully: I said DEBATING Radar is a waste of time. Posting comments here for the humorous and entertaining reactions it produces (like yours) isn't."

and if your life is that boring and pathetic that something like that would give you entertainment far be it for me to get in your way. The amused feeling is mutual.

Chaos Engineer said...

I'd posted a comment to the original article on Atheism Analyzed last week. I guess I'll try to set a good example by not copy-and-pasting it here.

The gist of it was: (1) The guy over at Atheism Analyzed is misunderstanding what atheists believe about the existence of the "self". (2) After reading "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat", I'm no longer able to believe that the "self" is something that's independent of the physical body.

I guess we could discuss it if anybody's interested.

Jon Woolf said...

That's interesting. I've tried four times to post a comment on this thread, and four times it's vanished without a trace. I don't have anywhere near this much trouble commenting on any other Blogger blog. What have you been up to, Radar?

radar said...

Debating Radar? How many times have I devoted an entire post to answering and 'debating' a commenter? Jon Woolf, for one, has been featured many times. I do not debate every subject for the simple reason that over the course of the last few years I have slowly narrowed the focus down to a few key issues. Until Darwinists give me something tangible in reply, I will keep hammering away at these main points and supplement them with additional evidence.

What I now find interesting is that more and more ordinary science sites are issuing findings without throwing on the Darwinist wrapper. Could it be that real science is beginning to ignore the whole thing and carry on real research?

Chaos, you say that atheism is being misrepresented? That the self cannot be separate from the body? Then how is it that the mind can travel through time? Recently I read in www.physorg.com
that certain parts of the brain are excited and active when someone remembers events from the past or speculates on events from the future. While man cannot traverse time, his mind can do so and not only remember actual events but imagine various alternatives.

What Darwinist can show me that such astract thoughts could be evolved and by what means and for what purpose? Oops. There we go. Darwinism always speculates that organisms "adapt" some feature that helps them survive better. Yet they think the whale left the sea and then came back? How do organisms accomplish these things? It is magical thinking!

I am willing to talk about the self and whether it is confined to a body. Go ahead, chaos, give us a start.

No, Jon, I am not erasing comments.

Anonymous said...

"and if your life is that boring and pathetic that something like that would give you entertainment far be it for me to get in your way. The amused feeling is mutual."

If you can be amused without having a pathetic and/or boring life, why can't I?

Jon Woolf said...

OK. I'll try again, with a pared-down version of what I tried to post this morning.

OK, I'll criticize the substance. At least 75% of the post you reproduce above is nonsense. It starts being nonsense at this point:

"This in turn means that the human does not exhibit any action that is not pre-determined by a chain of causes that go back to the Big Bang... "

This conflates two distinct and unrelated philosophical positions, atheism and determinism. It implies that one must be a determinist in order to be an atheist, and vice versa. In fact, many atheists believe in free will, and many religious folk believe in determinism. Thus, the attempt to connect atheism and determinism is nonsense. Since the rest of the piece is based on this basic conceptual error, it's also nonsense.

radar said...

Any atheist who believes in the Neo-Darwinist creed is either deluded or mistaken if he thinks he believes in free will. Jon Woolf is a perfect example of someone who cannot see the contradiction of his life. You cannot believe in a random process that has poofed all time and matter and energy and life and information into place by pure chance and then claim to make "decisions" and be the owner of a "free will." If you are right about Darwinism then you are running on pure instinct and innate evolved responses to situations without one iota of will to exert upon those responses. You are an evolved animal chained to your inevitable fate.

As soon as you claim to have a mind outside the natural body you have brought that supernatural issue out to play and "the Divine Foot" gets stuck in the door.

Yes, you can be an atheist and not be a determinist. But you cannot be an atheist who believes in naturalistic materialism and believe in free will, logically. But of course you would not be able to argue a point without a functional mind, which thereby falsifies your naturalistic materialism.

radar said...

Man...all you Darwinists out there managed to avoid reading a wide variety of authors during your time here on Earth. The situation we find ourselves in right now was predicted by Ayn Rand back in the 1950's, a time where Statist politics is the engine driving science rather than evidence and logic. I can easily show the readers how casually the Darwinist/AGW crowd deals with evidence. In fact, sometime this weekend I will in illustrate the point.

The public does not specialize in the sciences. Therefore the academics and scientists of the ruling paradigm and government agencies and the news media can get away with publishing nonsense and putting bald-faced lies on display for decades before enough ordinary folks see what is happening and begin to take action.

You think a notational error by a guy named Hartnett is in any way comparable to multiple decades of scientists and teachers propagandizing kids with the Haeckel Embryo Chart?! Give me a break...Lies and propaganda are the substance of Darwinism. When you ask one to give us an explanation for information or life or existence they mumble and talk about "interesting studies being done" or mention a falsified boilerplate posted on talkorigins or someplace like that.

I am telling you, the public is going to get this figured out before long and you Darwinist people will go down in history as the scientific equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition...or maybe the Flat Earth society?

Jon Woolf said...

"You cannot believe in a random process that has poofed all time and matter and energy and life and information into place by pure chance and then claim to make "decisions" and be the owner of a "free will." "

Correction: you can't do that. But I'm not bound by your limitations. I do accept evolutionary theory, and yet I can prove that determinism is false.

On the other hand, I'm not an atheist, so perhaps I'm not the best example...

radar said...

Ah Woolf, Woolf...do you have any position at all you can defend? Or do you have a field of expertise?

If you are not an atheist, why do you try to defend the position? I guess you are the answer to the question, "does he have a sense of humor?"

If you believe in God, you sure do have an odd kind of faith. It is not in any way based on Biblical absolutes, so it must be your own personal concoction. But that means in the end you are depending upon your own intellect to be your "salvation." A perilous position...

One of the sorriest states I can imagine is to be a Theistic Evolutionist. You deny the power of the God to both create and communicate with His creation and you accept a hypothesis that is antithetical to God. The prefix "a" means "lack of" or "against."

amoral = without morality.
atheist = without or against the concept of God.
atheopath = a hater of God
apathetic = without feelings or care

Darwinism is an atheistic concept. Darwin knew it. Darwinists love to try to fool religious people and tell them that you can keep "your God" and believe in evolution, too. Well, the whole idea of evolution is preposterous anyway, but it is completely atheistic as well. God did not decide to use millions of years of suffering and death to allow life to make itself, give me a break! Adam and Eve do not work as allegorical characters and Jesus is of no use unless Genesis is an accurate historical record. Serious Bible students eventually come to realize this.

Jon Woolf said...

You're still making a basic logical error, Radar. Well, a lot of them, but on this subject, one in particular.

"Adam and Eve do not work as allegorical characters..."

Unless you know something about märchen, in which case the tale of Adam and Eve in the Garden becomes an elaborate but fairly straightforward coming-of-age story.

"...and Jesus is of no use unless Genesis is an accurate historical record."

[shrug] Well, if you choose to see things that way, then I suppose you've got yourself a real problem, because Genesis isn't an accurate historical record, and serious students of history know it.

Jon Woolf said...

Oh, one other thing:

"God did not decide to use millions of years of suffering and death to allow life to make itself, give me a break!"

Certainly. Would you prefer an arm or a leg? How about an illusion or two? You're quick enough to criticize others when they suggest they know what a god would or wouldn't do, yet here you are doing the same thing. Who are you to say such a thing for certain?

highboy said...

"Well, if you choose to see things that way, then I suppose you've got yourself a real problem, because Genesis isn't an accurate historical record, and serious students of history know it."

Flat out false. That is one of the most sweeping generalisations you've made yet and its totally unsupported. While some scholars object to certain timelines of events of if the events happened at all, there isn't even close to a consensus as to the reliability of the oral tradition of not only Genesis but the entire Old Testament. If your main thought has to do with simply the creation account than please continue but you've more than once now made blatant speculations as to the reliability of parts of the Bible and have thus supported none of them.

radar said...

Jon, I do not depend on my own reasoning but rather the words from that Old Testament for my truths. I do not make them up. So, I take the Bible literally as have millions before me. Also, the historical records in the Bible have been supported by archaeological digs and the genealogical records of people around the world in various cultures. Not only have historians depended upon the Bible for an understanding of the BC world but Christians depend on it as well as foundational to the existence of the Messiah, Jesus Christ and His message and mission and accomplishments. Jesus Himself quoted extensively from the Old Testament including the creation story, references to Adam and Eve and the Flood. So you order Jesus, you get Old Testament with that, there is no ala carte.

Jon Woolf said...

"Jon, I do not depend on my own reasoning"

Mistake number one.

After all, under your own theology, your reason is a precious gift from your God. Why would he give you a gift and then forbid you to use it?

When all is said and done, your mind is the only thing you have that is truly and completely yours. Use it. Don't let others use it for you. Not nobody, not nohow.

highboy said...

Its funny how radar gets accused of cutting and running all the time for arguments when Jon now has been called out repeatedly for making wild and baseless statements and then simply ignores requests to support them. But I guess the cult following of anonymous posters aren't interested.

Anonymous said...

"Its funny how radar gets accused of cutting and running all the time for arguments when Jon now has been called out repeatedly for making wild and baseless statements and then simply ignores requests to support them."

Its funny how Jon gets accused of cutting and running all the time for arguments when Radar now has been called out repeatedly for making wild and baseless statements and then simply ignores requests to support them.

Only difference: Radar has been doing this for years. Not a squeak from you all that time...

highboy said...

"Only difference: Radar has been doing this for years. Not a squeak from you all that time..."

and not a squeak from you now. So your point is....? Or is this "we do it but you did it first so na na" argument something that usually works for you?

Anonymous said...

No the point is (and you know this very well) that you're attacking a person and not a point.

If you really cared about someone backing up his statements with verifiable facts you should be confronting Radar constantly.

highboy said...

So like I said, you have no point. Thanks for coming out.

Anonymous said...

LOL highboy, you're such a funny guy.

I like you!

Anonymous whatsit said...

Highboy, has Jon made any baseless statements with regard to creationism or the theory of evolution?

AFAIK you have some beef with Jon over a side issue (one that happens to be remarkably similar to analogous statements made by Radar some time ago), but when it comes to the theory of evolution, old Earth/young Earth and the like, Jon has posted many facts and questions that have proven impossible for Radar to answer.

It's not the simple "he said"/"she said" equivalence that you pretend here.

Anonymous said...

I'm puzzled by the cartoon at the end of this post. So a good fundie wears tight pants, uncomfortable shoes, a buzz cut and doesn't put his hands in his pockets?

And since when is putting one's wallet on a chain a sign of atheism?

???

Bizarre.

Alternative interpretation: fundies have to somehow manufacture humor. Ah, now it makes sense.