Sunday, May 21, 2017

I'm Not Making This Up You Know

Oh, for Pete's sake.  Do you think I would lie about something while telling you where to find it so you could check it?  In my paraphrase I used a different multiplication fact but other than that it's exactly as I said it was.

Suppose we concede the most extravagant claims that might be made for natural law, so that we allow that the processes of the mind are governed by it; the effect of this concession is merely to emphasise the fact that the mind has an outlook which transcends the natural law by which it functions.  If, for example, we admit that every thought in the mind is represented in the brain by a characteristic configuration of atoms, then if natural law determines the way in which the configurations of atoms succeed one another it will simultaneously determine the way in which thoughts succeed one another in the mind.  Now the thought of “7 times 9" in a boy’s mind is not seldom succeeded by the thought of “65.”  What has gone wrong?  In the intervening moments of cogitation everything has proceeded by natural laws which are unbreakable.  Nevertheless we insist that something has gone wrong.  However closely we may associate thought with the physical machinery of the brain, the connection is dropped as irrelevant as soon as we consider the fundamental property of thought – that it may be correct or incorrect.  The machinery cannot be anything but correct. We say that the brain which produces “7 times 9 are 63" is better than a brain that produces “7 times 9 are 65"; but it is not as a servant of natural law that it is better. 
Our approval of the first brain has no connection with natural law; it is determined by the type of thought which it produces, and that involves recognising a domain of the other type of law – laws which ought to be kept, but may be broken.  Dismiss the idea that natural laws may swallow up religion; it cannot even tackle the multiplication table single-handed.

Arthur Stanley Eddington Science And The Unseen World:  p. 56

Update:  Poor Simps, he doesn't get that you can make more than one deduction from a general statement that our minds are a product of physical determinism.  That the religious faith of materialist-atheists can be used to claim the impossibility of free choice, free thought, of the significance of religion as a hold over of material causation working through natural selection (a claim that was made in Darwin's inner circle almost immediately after it was published) that morality was a mere holdover of natural selection (Darwin, himself said so in The Descent of Man)* and that the same leads to the claim that, in fact, all of human thought has no more significance than  mere appearance and delusion.  As I pointed out this morning, that consequence of the materialist-atheist doctrine that our minds - as well as everything else - is a product of physical causation even impeaches the idea that causation is more than a product of random physical events in our minds and cannot have more truth value than religion or morality or anything else that can, baselessly and without any evidence, be attributed to material causation.

When your ideological system is monistic, that holds that it covers, literally, every single thing in the universe, including our minds and thoughts and the products of those thoughts, you'd better be careful about what that ideology is because, as in this case IT MIGHT JUST EAT UP ITS OWN INTELLECTUAL FOUNDATION.

I didn't say that the idea that the mind is a product of material causation, that there is no transcendent quality in anything destroys the idea that morality is real, binding and durable, it's materialists going back centuries and millennia who said that.  That atheists in the 21st century are ignorant of the literature of materialist-atheism doesn't shock me, they're a pretty ignorant lot.   Simps is hardly a very smart example of the ideology, but the smart ones don't tend to be much more informed.

Frankly, I wonder if you could do the calculation if most atheists aren't people in the soft sciences and humanities who figure being an atheist is some kind of cheap and easy replacement for the math and science knowledge they were too lazy or uninterested in to get.  It's sort of scientistic religion on the cheap for a lot of them.

* In fact before that because the Victorian intellectual Frances Cobb wrote a long essay about the dangerous consequences of that claim by Darwin, which he dismissed with breezy and sexist arrogance in The Descent of Man.  

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