[Is there] some miraculous difference between human neurons and those of c. elegans that makes this sort of research fundamentally useless? You really ought to get to informing those scientists that they’re wasting their time.
That would be awful. If I said it.
I’ve repeatedly said that scientific research is good, and let there be more. But AFAIK this has little to do with human beings *qua* human.
Well, the problem here is that you say something by implication and then deny the implication. It follows from your theory (insofar as I can discern it) that this sort of research is fundamentally worthless, insofar as it illuminates the basis of the human brain and the roots of human behavior. “Scientific research is good” is weaselly. You’re making substantial, empirical claims about the value of certain kinds of scientific research, including even the possibility of such fields as biochemistry, if biology and chemistry are forever to be separate disciplines. Follow your theory where it’s taking you.
Philosophy and even theology don’ need expensive equipment, and that’s reason enough not to give them the piles of cash needed for biological or physical research. It has nothing to do with their lack of worth.
I never implied that philosophy was worthless. Theology is another matter, though I surmise that I’m more amenable to it than most naturalists. But it must always be a sub-branch of philosophy. God doesn’t come first. His existence must be established.
(I should perhaps say here that I’m a naturalist who accepts the existence of some objects that many naturalists don’t, such as abstracta like numbers, and I’m quite willing to entertain the possibility that there are real moral truths).
If chemistry is irreducible to physics, that’s not a miracle; ...
Chemistry’s (purported) irreducibility to physics would not establish anything whatever about the existence or plausibility of libertarian free will, either. Yet you use it as such. It’s in the latter move that the miracles occur: in the gaps between human knowledge, of which the gap between chemistry and physics is one.
I should probably repeat here that this ‘irreducibility’ claim remains entirely fringe within the sciences. Most physicists and chemists I’ve read and heard believe that reducibility is basically established and complete, or that the two subjects are really only one, which amounts to the same thing.
Are you saying that non-naturalism, or even non-reductivism, of any sort, *entails* theism of some sort?
I’m saying that given the results from science non-reductivism is prima facie implausible. The responsible non-reductivists I’m aware of are typically adopters of some form of supervenience. The alternative seems to me typically the land of people who defend one version or another of theism (and its corollaries such as the immortality of the soul and libertarian free will, both of which are of central theological import to many if not all theists), because the alternative is otherwise obscure and unreasonable.
Since that is in fact the way you’re using non-naturalism and non-reductivism in the present discussion, I don’t see why you’d object.
Here’s one objection to ‘the will is ‘free’ because you’re doing what you want’ theory: there’s no way, using only this theory, for a court to decide between a sane but incorrigibly wicked man and an insane man. Both are doing what they want - both of their wills are in the free-fall of carrying out what they want - but only one is responsible. a libertarian definition easily explains it: the first man can decide otherwise, but just refuses to; the other man cannot change his mind.
Well, false on both counts. A sophisticated picture of free will can have it that for an act to be free it must be willed by a properly functioning brain. It’s for that reason that we say someone who does something under the effects of alcohol or drugs, or someone who is insane, is not acting freely. Their brain is not processing information in a way that makes their acts appropriately reasoned.
As to the libertarian claim: the purported ‘explanation’ is no explanation at all. It’s just hand-waving. Of course, we know how this goes from here. You’ll repeat there are explanations that aren’t causal explanations, and I’ll repeat that in this context that’s obscurantism masquerading as insight.