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the presumption of naturalism
Posted: 13 February 2008 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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faithlessgod - 13 February 2008 12:31 PM
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?

Glad we are agreeing, just wanted to be sure we were agreed on what we agreed grin

Stephen

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Posted: 19 February 2008 02:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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The trouble with natural explanations, which is hard to swallow, is that they seem to boil down to “That’s the way it is” don’t they?

Stephen

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Posted: 19 February 2008 03:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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StephenLawrence - 19 February 2008 02:00 AM

The trouble with natural explanations, which is hard to swallow, is that they seem to boil down to “That’s the way it is” don’t they?

Stephen

The trouble with supernatural explanations, which are too easy to swallow, is that provide over-simplistic pseudo-meaningful non-explanations for the unwashed masses grin

The cost, apart from being wrong, is that they destroy the wonderful appreciation of how the universe really works, which is far more elegant and meaningful than anything I have heard from a supernatural explanation!

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Posted: 25 February 2008 04:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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faithlessgod - 19 February 2008 03:41 AM
StephenLawrence - 19 February 2008 02:00 AM

The trouble with natural explanations, which is hard to swallow, is that they seem to boil down to “That’s the way it is” don’t they?

Stephen

The trouble with supernatural explanations, which are too easy to swallow, is that provide over-simplistic pseudo-meaningful non-explanations for the unwashed masses grin

The cost, apart from being wrong, is that they destroy the wonderful appreciation of how the universe really works, which is far more elegant and meaningful than anything I have heard from a supernatural explanation!

I agree with you.

It’s just I and I suspect many have a yearning for explanations which include why it is, the way it is.

Explanations feel incomplete without this.

Stephen

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Posted: 25 February 2008 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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StephenLawrence - 25 February 2008 04:37 AM

I agree with you.

It’s just I and I suspect many have a yearning for explanations which include why it is, the way it is.

Explanations feel incomplete without this.

I have just started calling this the “Argument from Purpose”. Many if not most “why” questions that are answerable do not need “purpose” as part of the explanation. It is a mistake to confuse meaning and purpose and is a relic of theistic thinking, even among some who have otherwise correctly rejected such beliefs. As we know methodological naturalism has been the most effective system to date to answer why questions. grin

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Posted: 25 February 2008 07:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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faithlessgod - 25 February 2008 05:09 AM
StephenLawrence - 25 February 2008 04:37 AM

I agree with you.

It’s just I and I suspect many have a yearning for explanations which include why it is, the way it is.

Explanations feel incomplete without this.

I have just started calling this the “Argument from Purpose”. Many if not most “why” questions that are answerable do not need “purpose” as part of the explanation. It is a mistake to confuse meaning and purpose and is a relic of theistic thinking, even among some who have otherwise correctly rejected such beliefs. As we know methodological naturalism has been the most effective system to date to answer why questions. grin

Hi Faithlessgod,

I’m not talking about purpose. For me it is very hard to get over the there must be a purpose hurdle but there is good reason to think one should. Purpose has evolved in some conscious beings who can look at potential futures and set goals. There is no reason to attribute purpose to the universe.

To try and show what I mean I’ll use gravity as an example. An apple drops to the floor and a child says why is that? Ah that is gravity we say but all we have done is named the force that the child can see at work. We could give the child Newton’s formula but then all we’ve done is measured it. We could tell the child about bending spacetime but all we’ve done is told the child about what is there and the way it behaves.

What we don’t seem to be able to do is explain why it is there and why it behaves like that. I don’t mean for what purpose, I mean what is the explanation for it’s being there and being like that.

As I say the answer seems to boil down to because that’s the way it is.

Stephen

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Posted: 25 February 2008 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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StephenLawrence - 25 February 2008 07:08 AM

To try and show what I mean I’ll use gravity as an example. An apple drops to the floor and a child says why is that? Ah that is gravity we say but all we have done is named the force that the child can see at work. We could give the child Newton’s formula but then all we’ve done is measured it. We could tell the child about bending spacetime but all we’ve done is told the child about what is there and the way it behaves.

What we don’t seem to be able to do is explain why it is there and why it behaves like that. I don’t mean for what purpose, I mean what is the explanation for it’s being there and being like that.

When said this way these are still questions requesting a non-existent purpose. If the question is why does the apple fall down, gravity is a perfectly adequate answer. If you apply regress to each answer you will eventually hit “because that is the way it is”. Still this does not prevent the preceeding why questions from being suitably answered. That is the way that it is grin

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Posted: 28 February 2008 04:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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faithlessgod, you are right and Leibniz is wrong. We don’t need a sufficient reason- no divine one. Thanks everyone.  Rem B.Edwards in “Reason and Religion…” alleges that we beg the question in assuming that ours is simpler while the god-notion is complex.  He says the god-notion explains just as well. He overlooks that that notion reqires ad hoc assumptions which are debatable and god did it makes no sense. He notes that we note that we have nature as a given but declares that idealists maintain that that depends on mind.  I don’t see that as an objection.
  Fellow skeptic, John L.Schellenberg alleges that we naturalists have a fulty plank in relying on science as it ever changes, but that is its glory!

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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: 29 February 2008 02:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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When an explanation invokes God, what is the difference between that and “what’s just the way it is”?

Apples fall because space-time is warped in the presence of matter, and that’s just the way it is.

Apples fall because space-time is warped in the presence of matter, and God made it that way.  Why did God make it that way?  That’s just the way He made it—i.e., that’s just the way it is.

The advantage of Naturalism is that it leaves out the unnecessary steps in that description.  You can add God, or the flying spaghetti monster, or Kant’s categories, or Schopenhauer’s will, or Hegel’s Idea, or whatever else you want to add, but it still only pushes the question of “why?” around, rather than answering it.  Ultimately, the question of “why”, if it is not really a question of “how”, is a spurious question.  It doesn’t have an answer, because it is not a legitimate question.  You may as well ask why the apple exists at all, why does it exist as an apple, why are you able to perceive it, why, why why - to no end.  There is no purpose to apples or appleness or falling apples or children who ask “why” (and children ask “why” in a way that does not always presuppose purpose).

Compare idealist versions of the thing-in-itself.  They can never answer what the thing-in-itself is, because they have invented it in order to meet a demand of an idealist system, and not because they have any actual knowledge of the thing-in-itself - knowledge they deny is even possible.  So why say that it exists?  Why is it not enough that the apple is there in front of you, and had (or, for a pragmatist, is even constituted of) whatever properties you can perceive or infer about it and relations it has to other objects, but you must insist that there is some mysterious, nebulous “apple-in-itself” that is the cause of these perceptions and inferences and properties and relations?  Why must there be a noumenon when the phenomenon works just fine on its own?

It seems like “purpose” just a left over from when human beings insisted that the world was filled with spirits and ghosts and daemons and gods.  Now we know a little something about space-time and why an apple will move when it is near some massive object in space-time - the “why” you should be asking is “why do we need a gravity-spirit or gravity-daemon called ‘purpose’ to make gravity work, when it works just as well on its own?”

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Posted: 29 February 2008 03:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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There seem to be too many of us agreeing here. Albeit a rare thing in forums and not to be scoffed at but where is our opposition on this? grin

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Posted: 01 August 2010 04:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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Had Europe heeded the sages Democritus, Leucippus, Thales of Miletus,Strato Lampsacus and Carneades, I daresay we’d be millennia ahead in our science and technology. Here Aristotle and Christinsanity harmed them. They advocate excluding any teleology from science as Nature only presents teleonomy-no desired outcomes. Thus to add teleology as though it was in a separate category begs that question as all teleological arguments - probability,fine-tuning, from reason and design- do.
Why make then the new Omphalos argument as a supernaturalist does when s/he states that yes,certainly Nature presents no teleology, because He hides Himself. That’s John Hick’s
epistemic distance argument which Schellenberg eviscerates: He hides Himself such that He cannot exist.
  Why should idealism defeat this as Edwards alleges that it might do so?
      John Shook and Doug Smith,my on-line friends, might enlighten us more on all this!
Thankfully, all is well such that again I can grace these pages!
  Checkout the blog Carneades Thales Strato @Atheist Bloggers.com
  Blessings and good will to all!
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[ Edited: 01 August 2010 04:29 PM by Carneades Thales Strato of Ga. [griggsy ] ]
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[size=6][/“size][color=redLife is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning>” Inquiring Lynn
      ” God is in a worse condition than the Scarecrow, who had a body to which a mind could enter whilst He has neither. He is that married bachelor. No wonder he is ineffable. ” Ignostic Morgan
” Religion is mythinformation.” An Englishlman.
  ” Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.” Griggsy[/color]

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Posted: 04 August 2010 10:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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I have a great deal of faith in naturalism, because it has never let anyone down.

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Posted: 05 August 2010 04:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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rsonin, then theologians would join the ranks of the unemployed!
qutsemne, amen and indeed! And that trust rises out ouf experience- empiricism rather than the castle-building in the ari of the comedian-theologians!
faithlessgod, amen and indeed!  Supernaturalists like William Sahakian beg the question and speicilal plead when they prattle that we naturalists pose the many-questions fallacy in asking what made and what designed Him. No, it is they who special plead and beg the question of His attributes that would exempt Him from those pertinent question So much for casuistry!
Yes, we inhabit teleneomous Existnce.
Stephen, amen and indeed, for it is a non-sequitur to prattle that as the Unverse bestows no purpose, therefore we are forlorn; as we make our own, to which no Deity can add!

[ Edited: 31 October 2010 06:44 PM by Carneades Thales Strato of Ga. [griggsy ] ]
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[size=6][/“size][color=redLife is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning>” Inquiring Lynn
      ” God is in a worse condition than the Scarecrow, who had a body to which a mind could enter whilst He has neither. He is that married bachelor. No wonder he is ineffable. ” Ignostic Morgan
” Religion is mythinformation.” An Englishlman.
  ” Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.” Griggsy[/color]

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Posted: 10 August 2010 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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How much evidence is required to be recorded for you to believe a non-natural cause has occurred in the past?  For example, I read a paper in which a christian attacked: there were witnesses to the resurrection of Christ, and that it was the pre-assumption of a naturalism invalidated the witnesses, but the witnesses are evidence against naturalism.  How can naturalism invalidate the evidence against it by the assumption that naturalism is true, he asked? Regardless of your opinion about the truth of that statement, the whole line of reasoning raises the fair question: if there was a single non-natural event how would you believe it if it occurred in the past?  And this can be going forward in the internet age, but the point is that it is past, singular, and non-natural and the observer is looking back.  For me the answer is I won’t believe it.  The one-off non-natural cause cannot be believed: any amount of recorded evidence will always look flawed given enough time.  You would go to repeat it under the now natural rules and the result would always seem flawed based on what you now observe.

It was at this time that I both adopted a rule of “Concurrency” and the phrase “I have faith in Naturalism.”  My rule of concurrency is I require the universe to be the same at all times in respect to naturalism.  I can’t abide by a world in which miracles can happen, but never in my life time, and the reason would seem to be no deeper than a self-centering.  And as for my faith in Naturalism, as I have already said, I feel quite strongly that it is not logical as much as just observing that it has never let anyone down.  Both of these are rooted in historic observation rather than any particularly deep logic.  How many times in human history have clearly false events been testified to happen elsewhere or else-when.  “This happened where you couldn’t observe it” has been the first goto line of every piece of falsehood ever invented.  Likewise, every dead or near dead historic culture that has postulated a supernatural cause has been regarded as mistaken by cultures that followed it, on the other hand ever culture that has postulated a natural cause has been born out. I would seem to be in good company, but, I still can’t believe this is any deeper than inductive reasoning, rather than the preferred deductive reasoning.

I was just curious if people really believed they could believe in non-natural cause one-off events that happened in the past if presented with “evidence”; the problem is that any imagined “evidence” cannot survive a pre-assumption of naturalism.  People often answer this question by indicating a repeatable non-natural event that they are eye-witnesses for, but the source of ones rejection of non-repeatable, non-observed by yourself, non-natural cause is trickier.  It would seem to be more aesthetic and pragmatic than anything deeper.  Which might be discordant with my presented philosophy, but I believe represents the limits of what we can know.

[ Edited: 10 August 2010 07:53 AM by qutsemnie ]
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Posted: 31 October 2010 07:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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qutsemmie, no one has ever produce any evidence that those were non-other than credulous folk, and since no evidence has arisen to evidence otherwise, we can safely surmise, without begging the question, that indeed that they were thus, based on the total evidence. Whenever we skeptics investigate matters, invariably no evidence arises for any miracles whatsoever! Therefore, you are within your epistemic rights to answer thusly. Hume’s colloralary about miracles to this presumption, begs no questions but demands rather that people produce real evidence that such as James Randi, Michael Shermer and Paul Kurtz would perforce have to acknowledge to miracles. Skeptics use a methodological naturalist inquiry in such matters, knowing what frauds and misperceptions and whatever else for which to look whilst such as physicists and other scientists could not detect fraud or - the real thing!
    Now, we provisional methodological naturalists [ PMN], the majority of methodological naturalists, would accept the supernatural and the paranormal as true were there, in principle, evidence for them whilst the, minority, accommodationists and even PZ Meyers rule out a priori in advance- both with their initial methodological naturalism [IMI]. Therefore, creationists and ID’ers correctlly state that that rules them out no matter what.
  The former adhere to what I find ontological naturalism to be and to the skeptical approach.
  To this I add the ignostic proviso that the purveyors of the the supernatural that they must adduce coherent, non-contradictory evidence for His attritutes. All this seems to sandbag the supernaturalists, but we cannot let them get away from their false suppositions about reality with their Heaven, Hell, free will, omnipotence, the Trinity, reincarnation and any other matter as befits the particular religion, Quoting revealed books just begs the question.
We have the empiricism of history on our side! Doctors perform ” miracles” that eviscerate any claims by any faith-helaers! Their supposed successes rest on misdiagnoses, misperceptions, psychosomatism and other natural matters.
  Yet, do I after all sandbag the supernaturalists? How do we make both ontological and methodological naturalism better?
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[ Edited: 31 October 2010 07:22 PM by Carneades Thales Strato of Ga. [griggsy ] ]
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[size=6][/“size][color=redLife is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning>” Inquiring Lynn
      ” God is in a worse condition than the Scarecrow, who had a body to which a mind could enter whilst He has neither. He is that married bachelor. No wonder he is ineffable. ” Ignostic Morgan
” Religion is mythinformation.” An Englishlman.
  ” Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.” Griggsy[/color]

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