1 : originating in or based on observation or experience empirical data
2 : relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory an empirical basis for the theory
3 : capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment empirical laws
Someone has apparently posted a link to the year long challenge to atheist-materialists I posted three years ago daring them to come up with the most basic explanation of how the popular "brain-only" model of our minds could possibly work. The challenge was a short series of questions based on a popular atheist premise.
If, as materialists claim, our minds, our thoughts our ideas are the epiphenomena of physical structures built by our brains and chemical and/or electrical action within those structures:
1. How, even before such structures existed within anyone's brain could that brain know that it needed to build or make a new structure to BE a specific idea, a specific representation of an aspect of external reality?
Remember, according to the atheist-materialist "brain-only" doctrine, the actual idea to be made present in the brain wouldn't be there before such a structure to be that idea was built in the brain.
2. How would it know what the right structure to be the physical cause of that idea should be before the idea was there to inform the brain how to build it?
3. How would it know how to make the right structure to be that idea and not a structure that would be a different, or "wrong" idea that wouldn't fit reality before the idea was in the brain to inform that process?
4. Since "trial and error" was one of the atheist-materialist resorts, how could you account for the experience of virtual instantaneous creation of ideas within any given scheme?
"Trial and error" takes time and it faces the problem that if the wrong structure had been built, it would be the only "thing" representing the idea to be made that would be there in the brain. How would it know it had erred or performed its construction job correctly? Resorting to trial and error doesn't move you one step closer to an explanation.
Any answer to these questions would have to account for the actual experience we have of coming up with ideas we'd never had before IN REAL TIME, NOT IN THE UNREAL TIME OF THEORETICAL MUSING AND ABSTRACT MODEL MAKING THAT DOESN'T TAKE THE TIME ELEMENT INTO ACCOUNT. Atheists' claim that they hold their ideas up to the exigencies of empiricism makes their resort of conveniently leaving out the experience of the nearly instantaneous time it takes to think a new thought especially disqualifying.
You can make the same temporal demand of the other atheist stand-by, the incantation of "DNA" like a magic charm. All DNA does is create chains of amino acids - which takes longer than our nearly instantaneous experience of thought - and that's not to include the absolute necessary step of protein folding to turn the amino acid chain into a form that will be biologically active, something, itself, fraught with difficulties. Even a relatively rapid process of that takes minutes instead of seconds and its known action can't be the result of trial and error as that process would take longer for any protein sequence than the expected age of the universe.
And any claim that "because DNA" (one of the few attempts at an answer during the entire year I made the challenge) would face the same problem posed in the questions, how would "DNA" know how to do any of those things before the idea was present in the brain to instruct it how to do it or even that it needed to do it.
Any proposed solution to this, it would seem, insoluble problem for the most common faith holding of atheists concerning our minds has to meet their own basic claim of high fidelity to our own experience of thinking. And no atheist scheme for that, no scheme of neuro-science or cognitive-science can even answer the first of these questions, how, under the "brain-only" doctrine would the brain even know it needed to make such a structure before the idea, itself was present in the brain to inform it that it needed to make such a structure.
It is the conceit of atheist materialism going back to the beginning that it passes the test of empirical knowledge, that it is based only in what can be observed and experienced. Well, the extravagant claims they make and have suckered most people with, especially those who have been educated in materialist dogma through a distortion of science DON'T PASS THAT TEST BECAUSE THEIR DOGMA DOESN'T ACCOUNT FOR OUR EXPERIENCE OF THOUGHT. The very minds that are the way in which empirical knowledge is had can't be made to fit into their dogma.
In thinking about this, this morning, I have come to conclude that materialism and the atheism that it depends on, when looked at rigorously is like those old images of a snake eating its own tail. As Rowan Williams and Marilynne Robinson discussed in that conversation I posted Tuesday noted, there has been a mighty effort on the part of the intelligentsia to debunk and demote human minds over the past centuries, though they didn't mention it specifically, all of that has been done in service to materialist, really atheist ideology.
What becomes of the conceit of materialist-atheist-scientism, of its claimed fidelity to the principles of empiricism when the very organ of that act, the minds that are the basis of all our experience, all of our observation, the very stuff of empiricism, is debunked and debased in service to their goal of proving that God doesn't exist?
Atheist-materialist scientism is the most decadent and degenerate of ideologies that debases its own foundational claims, its own version of virtue. The political and other ideologies based in it have to share at least that aspect of their foundation. There are further debasements and decadent feature that can be tacked on but I think it is that foundational decadence that makes it even easier for the moral depravity and decadence of so many of those epiphenoma of atheist-materialist-scientism to infect and rot those out. I do think that Nazism and Marxism are the prime examples in real life of that phenomenon, "enlightenment" capitalism, as well. It's a wonder that the champions of empiricism never seem to want to notice that.