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the presumption of naturalism
Posted: 05 February 2008 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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StephenLawrence - 05 February 2008 01:25 AM

It’s the 64 thousand dollar question. I don’t think we can say that natural causes are all the explanations we need, without addressing it, because that is just missing out the question which there is reason to doubt has a natural explanation.

I believe there are natural explanations for everything leaving out this question too.

Stephen

At least there’s a natural explanation for why we ask each other meaningless questions ...
wink

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Posted: 05 February 2008 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Bryan - 05 February 2008 09:46 AM
StephenLawrence - 05 February 2008 01:25 AM

It’s the 64 thousand dollar question. I don’t think we can say that natural causes are all the explanations we need, without addressing it, because that is just missing out the question which there is reason to doubt has a natural explanation.

I believe there are natural explanations for everything leaving out this question too.

Stephen

At least there’s a natural explanation for why we ask each other meaningless questions ...
wink

Yes!

This is actually why I doubt that the question why is the universe here is meaningful. It is just not what questions why are all about, if we look at the reasons why asking them has evolved.

But although this is what I think, I don’t have anything well worked out enough to believe this with any degree of certainty and I can’t feel it, I can only think it, for now.

Stephen

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Posted: 06 February 2008 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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StephenLawrence - 05 February 2008 01:25 AM
mckenzievmd - 04 February 2008 05:28 PM

Again, I think the question of “why” is meaningless in the first place,

That is where I place my bet too!!

In which case any answer is meaningless too and so cannot be used as any form of justification for what is in the universe and why it is here. I agree! Bang goes a few arguments for “god” and good riddance grin

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Posted: 06 February 2008 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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faithlessgod - 06 February 2008 10:48 AM
StephenLawrence - 05 February 2008 01:25 AM
mckenzievmd - 04 February 2008 05:28 PM

Again, I think the question of “why” is meaningless in the first place,

That is where I place my bet too!!

In which case any answer is meaningless too and so cannot be used as any form of justification for what is in the universe and why it is here. I agree! Bang goes a few arguments for “god” and good riddance grin

That approach fallaciously begs the question.  You can’t “bet” that there’s no meaning and use that assumption to undermine an argument that uses the reverse assumption as a premise.  Though certainly you can reject the premise as questionable.  Just watch it that your subsequent argument doesn’t make it look like you’re a hypocrite (don’t assert meaning while denying meaning).

Whether or not arguments for god are sound depends on the objective truth of the premises, not our personal judgment of such.

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Posted: 07 February 2008 02:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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faithlessgod - 06 February 2008 10:48 AM
StephenLawrence - 05 February 2008 01:25 AM
mckenzievmd - 04 February 2008 05:28 PM

Again, I think the question of “why” is meaningless in the first place,

That is where I place my bet too!!

In which case any answer is meaningless too and so cannot be used as any form of justification for what is in the universe and why it is here. I agree! Bang goes a few arguments for “god” and good riddance grin

Yes this is true, so I think what is needed is an argument which demonstrates that the question “why is the universe here?” is meaningless.

If on the other hand one thinks the question is meaningful and presumes there is a natural cause, I think that is a presumption which cannot be justified.

Stephen

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Posted: 10 February 2008 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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No Member, not so fast! It is up to theists to bear the burden of showing there is the supernatural ,not beg the question of it. We naturalists take what is given, arguing that it suffices to explain matters whereas the ignostic challenge shows God -talk is so incoherent. The Ockham, which scientists use in not using God in their explanations, shows no use for Him,even if He were coherent. So try to show that ,say, natural selection is not its own boss, needing outside direction. The theistic evolution fallacy shows that one cannot combine dysteological selection with teleological God. Selection as its own boss has no purposes or goals or preordained outcomes.  And furthermore to see planned outcomes argues in a circle.
My threads intertwine. I’m an anti-theist like Hitchings! However, as a fallibilitst I see no reason that theists have to jettison their beliefs if they find my reasoning faulty.
  Doug, moght interlude here!

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 10 February 2008 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Griggsy -

You can certainly combine a teleological Creator with a non-teleological selection, insofar as the mechanism itself may have some kind of purpose, but the workings of the mechanism are independent of that purpose.  For example, you create a watch to tell time, then there’s a nuclear war, all time-telling organisms are dead, and your watch survives.  It no longer tells time, because there is nothing to tell time to, but it still does exactly what it did, independently of the time-telling.  The only pre-ordained outcome is deterministic (i.e., a result of the way the watch was put together), and non-teleological.

I think that you have to assume that any teleology will not be an inherent quality of anything, part of its essence, or anything like that.  Teleology depends on a purpose, which in turn depends on there being a being for which that purpose can obtain, or it collapses into plain old determinism.  The telos of an acorn may be an oak tree, but that doesn’t mean that there is some “purpose” to an acorn, unless someone wants a tree.  Likewise, a “purposeless” evolution could be a kind of clockwork universe model, with God setting the spring, then relaxing for a few billion years.

Another analogy.  You want a garden, so you go buy a bunch of random seeds - flowers, vegetables, grasses, shrubs, maybe an acorn or two.  You go to your plot of land, and just throw seeds all over the place, randomly.  Then you wait, and a garden grows.  Some plants do well, some do not, but you don’t prune or water, you just let it go.  There is a purpose to the garden, in that you wanted to make a garden.  But there is no purpose to the carrots growing where they grow, or weeds edging out grass, or bald patches where nothing took.  It all may be traceable back to your original purpose, in that there would be no carrots at all if you hadn’t gotten the seeds and thrown them there, but there is no specific purpose to why there are carrots later on, or any purpose to why they grew in one spot and not in another.  That is, there will be a kind of evolution to the garden, and the garden might be seen as purposive, but the actual process of the evolution of the garden has no purpose.

Another: let’s say you go for a walk for your health.  Where you walk, the places you go and pass by, has no purpose, but the walk itself does.

I don’t subscribe to the idea that there is any such purpose to the universe or any need to hypothesize a Creator much less believe in one, but I don’t think that teleological and non-teleological processes are so contradictory, even in the case of evolution versus God.  The distinction between the two, teleological and non-teleological, is conceptual, a difference in how you look at things, not an actual difference between things themselves.  Put differently - what is the difference, in principle, between believing in an effective, causing telos and believing in a rain god?

Stephen -

The question is not meaningless, but there is no simple answer.  It is probably best, when you have a question that seems like it ought to have an answer, but does not, to question the question.  Certainly, some questions are in bad faith, or so difficult to parse that the procedure isn’t worth it - “Why purple monkey dishwasher?” “Have you stopped beating your wife?” and so on.  But “Why does the universe exist?” is no one of those.  It may lead you to believe that the person asking the question is steeped in error, but that does not mean that the question is meaningless.  Off the bat, I’d have to ask “What do you mean by ‘why’?” and then see if the question is malformed.

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Posted: 11 February 2008 08:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Rsonins the contradiction remains! One assumes that creator- begging the question as theists ever do. Selection is its own boss as science so shows- no god need apply!
Stephen is right : see

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 11 February 2008 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Merely positing that a Creator created something is not a contradiction.  In fact, since the way that people usually posit a Creator is not a falsifiable proposition, it cannot produce a contradiction.

But the contradiction you said existed is not the positing of a Creator, but between a thing that is made with a purpose and the purposelessness of the various things that thing does.

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Posted: 11 February 2008 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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One argues in a circle assuming God. The contradiction is that selection- form of causalism- shows no   preconcieived plans period while the creator notion impliiies plans.; so we are in agreement on that.
Thanks Rosonin. Perhpas others can add to this needed discussion1

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 11 February 2008 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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One argues in a circle assuming God. The contradiction is that selection- form of causalism- shows no   preconcieived plans period while the creator notion impliiies plans.; so we are in agreement on that.
Thanks Rosonin. Perhpas others can add to this needed discussion!

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 13 February 2008 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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rsonin - 10 February 2008 01:30 PM

Stephen -

The question is not meaningless, but there is no simple answer.  It is probably best, when you have a question that seems like it ought to have an answer, but does not, to question the question.  Certainly, some questions are in bad faith, or so difficult to parse that the procedure isn’t worth it - “Why purple monkey dishwasher?” “Have you stopped beating your wife?” and so on.  But “Why does the universe exist?” is no one of those.  It may lead you to believe that the person asking the question is steeped in error, but that does not mean that the question is meaningless.  Off the bat, I’d have to ask “What do you mean by ‘why’?” and then see if the question is malformed.

Rsonin,

When I say meaningless I wonder if I am using the wrong word? I’ll explain what I meant by meaningless.

If someone said what is the purpose of evolution, I would say that may well be a meaningles question. The reason is that purpose only occurs once you have sentient beings who can imagine various possible futures, and select one of those as their goal. This can’t apply to a blind process.

Perhaps it is similar with the question “why is the universe here?” By why I mean what is the explanation.

When we give a natural explanation in answer to a questions why, we answer in terms of what is there and the way it works.

I speculate that just as purpose does not exist without conscious beings with goals, reasons why or explanations, do not exist if they are not in terms of what is there and the way it works.

Stephen

[ Edited: 13 February 2008 07:57 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 13 February 2008 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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StephenLawrence - 13 February 2008 07:49 AM

Rsonin,

When I say meaningless I wonder if I am using the wrong word? I’ll explain what I meant by meaningless.

If someone said what is the purpose of evolution, I would say that may well be a meaningles question. The reason is that purpose only occurs once you have sentient beings who can imagine various possible futures, and select one of those as their goal. This can’t apply to a blind process.

Perhaps it is similar with the question “why is the universe here?” By why I mean what is the explanation.

When we give a natural explanation in answer to a questions why, we answer in terms of what is there and the way it works.

I speculate that just as purpose does not exist without conscious beings with goals, reasons why or explanations, do not exist if they are not in terms of what is there and the way it works.

Stephen

Hear, hear!

I would add one first needs to be clear as to when purpose based explanations make sense and apply and hence when questions prompting for purpose based answers are meaningful. The question of “why is the universe here?” (rather than there grin ) is not yet meaningful until one clarifies this.  So I would say this is not a speculation. Until one can show that it makes sense for purpose to apply it is, tentatively, meaningless.

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Posted: 13 February 2008 11:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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faithlessgod - 13 February 2008 09:47 AM
StephenLawrence - 13 February 2008 07:49 AM

Rsonin,

When I say meaningless I wonder if I am using the wrong word? I’ll explain what I meant by meaningless.

If someone said what is the purpose of evolution, I would say that may well be a meaningles question. The reason is that purpose only occurs once you have sentient beings who can imagine various possible futures, and select one of those as their goal. This can’t apply to a blind process.

Perhaps it is similar with the question “why is the universe here?” By why I mean what is the explanation.

When we give a natural explanation in answer to a questions why, we answer in terms of what is there and the way it works.

I speculate that just as purpose does not exist without conscious beings with goals, reasons why or explanations, do not exist if they are not in terms of what is there and the way it works.

Stephen

Hear, hear!

I would add one first needs to be clear as to when purpose based explanations make sense and apply and hence when questions prompting for purpose based answers are meaningful. The question of “why is the universe here?” (rather than there grin ) is not yet meaningful until one clarifies this.  So I would say this is not a speculation. Until one can show that it makes sense for purpose to apply it is, tentatively, meaningless.

Hi Faithless,

I think my first post was written in a misleading way, sorry. I was using purpose as an analogy.

The question what is the purpose needs to be explained in terms of a goal or a function. So it may be meaningless to talk about the purpose of the earth goung around the sun, as the question cannot be answered in terms of goal or function.

The question what is the explanation for the universe being here needs to be answered in terms of what exists and how it works. It may be meaningless to talk about why the universe is here, as the question can’t be answered in terms of what exists and how it works.

Stephen

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Posted: 13 February 2008 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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StephenLawrence - 13 February 2008 11:52 AM

Hi Faithless,

I think my first post was written in a misleading way, sorry. I was using purpose as an analogy.

The question what is the purpose needs to be explained in terms of a goal or a function. So it may be meaningless to talk about the purpose of the earth goung around the sun, as the question cannot be answered in terms of goal or function.

The question what is the explanation for the universe being here needs to be answered in terms of what exists and how it works. It may be meaningless to talk about why the universe is here, as the question can’t be answered in terms of what exists and how it works.

Stephen

Sorry to disappoint you Stephen but we are still agreeing grin Who disagrees with this?

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