Friday, July 14, 2017

"The fact you are unwilling to examine the philosophical foundations of what you do does not mean those foundations are not there; it just means they are unexamined."

I've got a lot to do this afternoon and I don't have time to write a detailed refutation to your claim by confirming that all of those materialists I named this morning operate by ignoring the philosophical consequences of their claims for the very validity of their claims, but, luckily, I read an interview that means you don't have to take my word for that practice by their materialist-ideological colleagues in science do exactly that, the eminent physicist and cosmologist George Ellis said it very well:

Horgan: Krauss, Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson have been bashing philosophy as a waste of time. Do you agree?

Ellis: If they really believe this they should stop indulging in low-grade philosophy in their own writings. You cannot do physics or cosmology without an assumed philosophical basis. You can choose not to think about that basis: it will still be there as an unexamined foundation of what you do. The fact you are unwilling to examine the philosophical foundations of what you do does not mean those foundations are not there; it just means they are unexamined.

Actually philosophical speculations have led to a great deal of good science. Einstein’s musings on Mach’s principle played a key role in developing general relativity. Einstein’s debate with Bohr and the EPR paper have led to a great of deal of good physics testing the foundations of quantum physics. My own examination of the Copernican principle in cosmology has led to exploration of some great observational tests of spatial homogeneity that have turned an untested philosophical assumption into a testable – and indeed tested - scientific hypothesis. That’ s good science.

In fact, if you read the article at the link, Ellis addresses one of the very issues I included in my criticism of materialist assertion:

Horgan: Einstein, in the following quote, seemed to doubt free will: "If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will." Do you believe in free will?

Ellis: Yes. Einstein is perpetuating the belief that all causation is bottom up. This simply is not the case, as I can demonstrate with many examples from sociology, neuroscience, physiology, epigenetics, engineering, and physics. Furthermore if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.

I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense. Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say.

Ellis is a physicist who is being addressed about science so he addresses the consequences of being a materialist for science, I think the consequences of materialism inserted into the general culture have even more specific and dangerous political and legal consequences.  I will write more about that tonight if I have the chance, tomorrow if I don't. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm always impressed by people ignorant in another field, who decide that field is worthless and a waste of time.

    Philosophy is the study and pursuit of wisdom. So Hawkings and Co. have no use for wisdom, apparently. It's obvious in both their scientific achievements, and more so in their public (i.e., non-scientific) pronouncements and achievements. Interesting how they are known more for their popular works than their actual efforts. Tell me again what popular works Einstein or Bohr wrote (or Godel, for that matter), and what the achievements of Hawking and Tyson are that are on par with Einstein or Bohr.

    Trashing other fields of human intellectual endeavor and achievement is a poor way to elevate yourself and what you have achieved.