Saturday, April 5, 2014

Statement And Response

Schadenerd 3 hours ago
I have deep respect for Jerry - his book on evolution is the one I recommend to all beginners, and I am a regular reader of his blog. The criticism of Kripal and pseudoscience is fair  and necessary - however some bits here kinda stuck out as a sore thumb, and should have been avoided IMO:

"Finally, when the brain expires, so does consciousness."

This bit should have been avoided here IMHO. There is no way of knowing that - but of course, I share Jerry's belief that there is no reason to presume that consciousness could last beyond death. However, this is still an assumption nonetheless.

Also I want to emphasize on the difference between philosophical and methodological naturalism - methodlogical naturalism, as in the one used in scientific inquiry, is an axiom adopted for pragmatic purposes, i.e. to quote Barbara Forrest: "methodological naturalism means that for one to do science, one must look for empirical evidence and natural explanations, and not rely on faith and the supernatural"

This must not conflated with philosophical naturalism (despite this being a position I hold), which is distinct from methodological naturalism.

I also don't like lumping of opponents of "scientism" altogether - there are people who criticize scientism like Massimo Pigliucci for eg. - and are far from "woo heads" regardless of whether you agree or disagree with them on that. I'm one of "them" as well, and yes I am a scientific skeptic, hence more frustrating to read those jabs here.

thinkingcriminal 31 minutes ago

I agree that methodological naturalism is how science is supposed to be done, though I think Eddington's definition of that as a "tidiness of mind" is more accurate than Forrest''s.  I disagree with the assertion that that is how science is actually done, all of the time.  There are huge swaths of science that are heavily involved with the promotion of extra-scientific, frequently evidence free assertions of materialist ideology.  I think that is obvious in the creation of things like "the" multi-verse which is obviously motivated from a rather desperate attempt by materialists to keep from having to deal with what people conclude about fine tuning.  Instead of merely asserting a scientific suspension of belief is necessary WITHIN SCIENCE, they feel a need to create jillions of universes and all kinds of attendant entities such as Boltzmann brains in order to pretend that those would put the final nail in the coffin of God.   Of course that is not going to work, the commonly believed aspect of God, that God is all powerful would mean that God is quite capable of creating infinite numbers of universes for reasons that God doesn't choose to share with the speaking inhabitants of one world in one of those universes.

But there is no reason for a believer to make that assertion because the far more parsimonious observation that there is no real evidence of a multi-verse is entirely possible.   And that is nothing to the twists and gyrations that ideological materialists go through over such issues as the absolute beginning of the universe and time, insisting on the validity of the second law of thermodynamics when it suits their materialism and setting up impossible definitions of the universe (including whatever it  was that the universe "was" before the Big Bang) as being infinite in the past but, somehow, not having wound down to heat death in the infinite past.

And, as can be seen in this discussion, materialist ideology within science has given rise to the ultimate in decadence, the assertion that consciousness is an illusion, that all of our thoughts are determined by chemistry and physics.  Of course they don't generally include ideas they like, such as science in that because it couldn't but impeach the status of scientific ideas as an objective representation of the universe if that were the case.   They invent explanatory myths in order to turn our consciousness, our thinking, our behaviors into positive adaptations that persisted because they imparted a reproductive advantage, without any evidence, at all, that that was the case.   There can't be because no one observed our remote ancestors "behaving" in the ways asserted, no one consulted them to get a report of their thinking or experience, and no one was there to collect statistics as to how many successful descendants our ancestors who performed those "behaviors"  and think those thoughts left as opposed to those members of their species who didn't perform those behaviors and think those thoughts.

They also assert that consciousness is an emergent expression of physical objects without taking into account what those objects could be, where they are, how they could be generated in real time by DNA and cellular chemistry to make the physical entities that really are our thoughts so as to comprise the experienced experience of thinking and consciousness.  And, most seriously of all for science and any other academic address of the external world and universe, they don't have any way to explain how the DNA and cellular chemistry would know how to make exactly the right proteins and biological structures to embody the millions of thoughts and sensations that people have so as to be an embodiment of the world and universe external to the brain-only brains they propose can do all of this.   Each and every transient thought we have would have to exist in a physical form before our experience of thoughts or contemporaneously with them.  Somehow the perception of something would have to exist as a physical entity within the brain even as the structure is being built that is the thought of it.  I am extremely skeptical that proteins are manufactured and folded, in exactly the right form, fast enough to account for the experience of thought, including the creation of ideas that have never been thought before, ideas about things which have never existed and will never exist in the universe.

And, don't forget, since natural selection is supposed to explain all of this, even the most "maladaptive" ideas and "behaviors" would have to be generated by the same mechanism as produces the positive adaptations and that ability, to produce maladaptive ideas would have had to be retained by natural selection when any sensible consideration would force you to wonder why that ability was retained when its products should have weeded it out of the genome by now.

I've challenged atheists to show where religion has been SUCCESSFULLY inserted into the formal literature of science over and over again and they have not been able to produce an instance when it was not detected and expelled.   I can show, over and over again how materialist ideology has been successfully inserted into the formal literature and belief of science without any objection that it is an illicit insertion of philosophical materialism where it doesn't belong.

Note:  I seem to be blocked from commenting at The New Republic again, the same claim that "It seems you're attempting to post malinformed content."   I told you, they even use Stalinist style language to suppress ideas they don't like.

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