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The Appeal Of Atheism?


Mudcat

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So you read up to page 370 and considered it with an open mind in conjunction with the his previous prepratory work "Consciousness Explained"?

You just jumped to 370 for a sound bite. Very revealing.

I asked specifically for a detailed, causally specific path from particles to mind, and I get instead "Of course mind is brain."

Of course we don't need a detailed, causally specific path from particles to mind. The sheer assertion of materialism does all the work for us.

I will eventually get to each of the other books that I can get access to, and see if any of them contain the detailed, causally specific path from particles to mind, but so far, it's been exactly what I said it was going to be - a source bluff - with all that reveals about your integrity.

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Which is why it's a faith claim to believe that they will eventually find a materialistic answer to things we don't know today.

That's not what I said! I said I, personally, don't know. Then on top of that even if I did make a claim that scientists will continue to make discoveries I can back that up with evidence!

The faith comes in believing scientists will continue to fill in gaps.

It would be faith if there was not evidence that scientists are filling in the gaps. Yet, they are filling in the gaps, Jason. Do you really dispute this?

I disagree. My "default" position is not to go back to God - I go back to God when the evidence of my experiences directs me there.

Were you raised as a Christian and taught that God created the Earth and humans? Or did you search for answers outside of indoctrination (not using the term in a derogatory manner here -- we're all indoctrinated) and come to the belief that God was responsible?

I don't believe God created humans and the Earth because I don't have any better explanation - I believe God created humans and the Earth because I have received a spiritual witness that He did so. Positive evidence, in other words, not a "fill in the gaps" or "revert to default" attitude.

Then you need to share that evidence with the rest of the world and you may need to look up why faith is a virtue.

Jason, here's the thing, for me. I don't think there's anything wrong with faith per se. We all use faith to some extent in our lives, I'd wager. I know I do -- I have thoughts all the time that are wishful thinking. I think, "everything will work out", "I can fix this", "just keep going 'cause it always gets better".... :P Now, those are just wishful thinking sort of lala thoughts and I do them all the time! I'm just saying that when you attribute faith to scientific discoveries that this is not appropriate and I don't understand why someone that (I would think) would see faith as a virtue would apply it to something that one disagrees with.

Log, I'm waiting for you to tell me what you think the mind is and what the brain does.

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I asked specifically for a detailed, causally specific path from particles to mind, and I get instead "Of course mind is brain."

The answer is not on page 370. That's after the analysis (at which point the "of course" is fairly justified).

Read the rest of Consciousness Explained, and DDI (IN ORDER).

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That's not what I said! I said I, personally, don't know. Then on top of that even if I did make a claim that scientists will continue to make discoveries I can back that up with evidence!
But that was my point - the claim that scientists will continue to make discoveries is itself a faith claim.
It would be faith if there was not evidence that scientists are filling in the gaps. Yet, they are filling in the gaps, Jason.
And as I said earlier, it's only blind faith that has no evidence backing it up.
Do you really dispute this?
No I don't, but it's irrelevent to the argument. Whether I believe a faith claim is irrelevent to whether it is a faith claim.
Were you raised as a Christian and taught that God created the Earth and humans? Or did you search for answers outside of indoctrination (not using the term in a derogatory manner here -- we're all indoctrinated) and come to the belief that God was responsible?
Both. I was raised a Christian, and I searched for answers outside of what I was taught as a child and came back to the belief that what I had been taught was in fact correct.
I'm just saying that when you attribute faith to scientific discoveries that this is not appropriate and I don't understand why someone that (I would think) would see faith as a virtue would apply it to something that one disagrees with.
I'm pointing out the inconsistency in decrying faith when one's own philosophy depends on it. Materialism is inherently contradictory because it values the scientific method while requiring someone to believe in an unproven and unfalsifiable proposition - that there exist natural, materialistic answers for all enigmas.

I believe faith is a virtue and rely on it. They deride faith yet must rely on it. My position is consistent where theres is not.

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The answer is not on page 370. That's after the analysis (at which point the "of course" is fairly justified).

Is this an admission that your sources do not, in fact, contain the detailed, causally specific path from particles to mind which I asked you for, but rather contain solely an argument that there exists such a path? As it stands, your claim is still an open problem in the philosophy of mind. Clearly, others would agree your claim to knowledge of a path from particles to mind is a lie.

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Is this an admission that your sources do not, in fact, contain the detailed, causally specific path from particles to mind which I asked you for, but rather contain solely an argument that there exists such a path? As it stands, your claim is still an open problem in the philosophy of mind. Clearly, others would agree your claim to knowledge of a path from particles to mind is a lie.

Your talking about qualia not intelligence.

Are you going to defend pre-existent intelligences and spirit or argue about the ontological status of qualia?

You need to specify what you mean by mind. Are we talking about intelligence or "raw feels"?

If you want to say that mind is not matter for the same reason that information is not matter or for the same reason that a piece of software is not a piece of matter then that's fine but it doesn't contradict naturalism.

What positive assertion are you even defending? If you can't spell that out then what the heck are you in this fight for.

Are you defending the introduction of notions of spirits and pre-existent intelligences or are you just throwing in with the (mostly atheistic ) philosophers such as Chalmers who think that qualia represent a residual conceptual mystery. If the latter, then you are a long way from anything particularly religious or LDS. One wonders what is the point. Do you identify qualia with intelligence? That would be very odd. Is qualia related to spirit? How? Just equating every supposed mystery on the table?

It should be noted in passing that "Most contemporary philosophers are physicalists" according to the SEP. In anycase, I do not know of one single philosopher or scientist who thinks that the activities we associate with intelligence (thinking, deciding, problem solving, perception, etc) are not the result of, or manifestation of the activity of the brain.

Humans have primitive intuitions about "minds" that are there because, during our recent evolution, we had to think about ourselves without the benefit of modern cognitive science and neurology. Ancient humans didn't even know that the brain had anything to do with thinking (something you seem to doubt yourself).

The intuitions are strong. So much so that were the mind body problem solved right down to this little qualia thing, it would still be up against that intuition and there would endlessly be deniers just like there are still relativity deniers.

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But that was my point - the claim that scientists will continue to make discoveries is itself a faith claim.

No, it's not! If they are indeed making discoveries and I can back this up with evidence it is not a faith claim. For instance, if I say, "I have class tomorrow" this is not faith. This is a belief based on good evidence! Is it possible it will not come to pass? Yah. Yet, there is evidence to support my belief that it will come to pass.

And as I said earlier, it's only blind faith that has no evidence backing it up.

That's a distinction that you're making. Yet, the meaning of faith is quite clear and this conversation got old, for me, a while ago.

No I don't, but it's irrelevent to the argument. Whether I believe a faith claim is irrelevent to whether it is a faith claim.

What? If you don't dispute that scientists are making new discoveries then you must have some sort of reasonable evidence to base this belief on. That is my point! It's not a faith claim if there is evidence to support the belief, Jason.

I'm pointing out the inconsistency in decrying faith when one's own philosophy depends on it. Materialism is inherently contradictory because it values the scientific method while requiring someone to believe in an unproven and unfalsifiable proposition - that there exist natural, materialistic answers for all enigmas.

That is not a faith claim. If there is reasonable evidence for belief (even if faulty!!!!) then it's not based on faith.

I can't continue with this. Yet, thank you for the conversation.

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About the brain and since log never answered me.

I have never come across a group of people that didn't think the brain was responsible for thoughts, consciousness, behavior, etc... I mean, never. I have asked a few times what people are getting at with the "other stuff" and no one has really answered.

Tarski posted a link a while ago that I read in junior high psychology class. I've taken courses since then that reiterate that it's a no duh that the brain is responsible for what we're talking about by many in the pertinent fields. I've kept up with the literature and am not someone really well read on scientific discoveries, yet, have a fairly good grasp on the latest (and not so latest) material on the brain. I've also worked with kids that had lead poisoning, had brain damage from accidents, etc... and it's fairly simple to see just from a lay person perspective how the brain is the organ responsible for who we are.

So, I admit I'm approaching this with a thought process I've always had. I learned early on about brain damage and the effects and later on I learned more indepth about the brain and behaviors and thoughts at different stages of my education. It never occurred, to me, that the mind was not connected to the brain. So, I'm asking with complete sincerity for someone to explain what the extra spirit stuff is and why it's there and how it works. I have never heard of such a thing.

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No, it's not! If they are indeed making discoveries and I can back this up with evidence it is not a faith claim. For instance, if I say, "I have class tomorrow" this is not faith. This is a belief based on good evidence! Is it possible it will not come to pass? Yah. Yet, there is evidence to support my belief that it will come to pass.
And if you go to class tomorrow then you do so because you have faith that your teacher and class will be there wiating for you. It's an unprovable supposition that they will be there until you arrive and see, but they have been in the past, so you expect they will again. You exercise faith that they will be there when they said they would.
That's a distinction that you're making. Yet, the meaning of faith is quite clear and this conversation got old, for me, a while ago.
I'm not forcing you to continue to discuss it.
What? If you don't dispute that scientists are making new discoveries then you must have some sort of reasonable evidence to base this belief on. That is my point! It's not a faith claim if there is evidence to support the belief, Jason.
I disagree. Only bind faith is based on no evidence at all.

People have faith in their religion or science because they have seen past evidence that it works, and therefore exercise faith that it will continue to work in the future.

That is not a faith claim. If there is reasonable evidence for belief (even if faulty!!!!) then it's not based on faith.
Again, I disagree. Reasonable evidence alone is not enough to prove something beyond the need for faith. To no longer require an exercise of faith something must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. It must be irrefutable.
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So, your 'faith' that the sun will rise tomorrow is equivalent to the Scientologist's faith that

75 million years ago Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners, stacked them around volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Their souls then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living and continue to do this today
?

Forgive me if I don't buy your insane definition of "faith".

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So, your 'faith' that the sun will rise tomorrow is equivalent to the Scientologist's faith that...
Not exactly - there is probably much more evidence that the sun will rise tomorrow.
Forgive me if I don't buy your insane definition of "faith".
How does it differ from yours?
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Jason, the way you're using the word faith then very few beliefs would not be faith in our everyday lives. Do I have faith that I will continue breathing 30 seconds from now? I could choke on something or a fireball could zoom out of the sky and wipe me out. It's faith that the road will still be paved tomorrow? I mean, it's possible that tonight a major earthquake could destroy the road in front of my home and then massive flooding will wipe away all remnants. Is it faith to think my house will still be here tomorrow? Faith to think that the election will continue tomorrow?

Faith that Palin will be a Republican tomorrow? She could switch parties, yanno!

Faith does not come into play if there is lack of proof of something it hinges on evidence! Reasonable evidence for something does not require faith.

Okay, I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall and I will refrain from further replies. Have faith I won't be back. :P

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Jason: My definition/s allow for different senses of the word, while yours inappropriately blurs them together in a way that flatters religion. For the last few pages, you have been identifying religious faith with anything that is not a priori knowledge. That's wrong.

I'm glad you admit there's much more evidence for tomorrow's sunrise than there is for Scientologists' spiritual claims. Will you refrain, then, from claiming that empirical knowledge and spiritual claims are necessarily equivalently credible?

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Jason, the way you're using the word faith then very few beliefs would not be faith in our everyday lives.
Exactly. There are very few things in our lives that we have absolute knowledge of. We must excercise faith for all the rest.
Do I have faith that I will continue breathing 30 seconds from now? I could choke on something or a fireball could zoom out of the sky and wipe me out.
Yes, that is faith.
It's faith that the road will still be paved tomorrow? I mean, it's possible that tonight a major earthquake could destroy the road in front of my home and then massive flooding will wipe away all remnants.
Yes, that is faith.
Is it faith to think my house will still be here tomorrow?
Yes, that is faith.
Faith to think that the election will continue tomorrow?
I think you mean "the presidential campaign" but yes, that is faith.
Faith that Palin will be a Republican tomorrow? She could switch parties, yanno!
Yes, that is faith.
Faith does not come into play if there is lack of proof of something it hinges on evidence! Reasonable evidence for something does not require faith.
No, faith does not come into play only when you have sure knowledge. The presence of reasonable evidence still requires a measure of faith. Only irrefutable evidence removes the need for faith.
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Jason: My definition/s allow for different senses of the word, while yours inappropriately blurs them together in a way that flatters religion. For the last few pages, you have been identifying religious faith with anything that is not a priori knowledge. That's wrong.
I disagree. Believing in anything that is not self-evident or for which you have irrefutable evidence requires at some point that you decide you have enough evidence to rationally act without being entirely certain you are correct. In other words, a leap of faith.
I'm glad you admit there's much more evidence for tomorrow's sunrise than there is for Scientologists' spiritual claims. Will you refrain, then, from claiming that empirical knowledge and spiritual claims are necessarily equivalently credible?
No. Some spiritual claims are based on empirical knowledge. Joseph Smith saw God, Jesus Christ, and angels, and translated ancient records through the power of God. Those were empirical experiences for Joseph, and his spiritual claims are grounded on them.

The spiritual claims of Latter-Day Saints are based on empirical knowledge - the reception of a spiritual wittness that has been repeated in many, many members when they fulfilled the conditions that witness was contingent upon.

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I think you mean "the presidential campaign" but yes, that is faith.

That's not what I meant, yet, that works just as well.

Jason, we won't agree. I shall miss this never ending fun of "naha" "umhum" "naha" "umhum" :P

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I disagree. Believing in anything that is not self-evident or for which you have irrefutable evidence requires at some point that you decide you have enough evidence to rationally act without being entirely certain you are correct. In other words, a leap of faith.
Fine. If you're going to stretch the definition of religious faith to include anything that isn't 100% certain, then I'm going to stretch the definition "theist" to include "people who eat babies". Fair's fair, right?

Anyway, back to the main point: you claim to be a theist. Why, then, do you eat babies?

No. Some spiritual claims are based on empirical knowledge. Joseph Smith saw God, Jesus Christ, and angels, and translated ancient records through the power of God. Those were empirical experiences for Joseph, and his spiritual claims are grounded on them.
Well, Joseph at least CLAIMED these experiences. (By the way, Smith's experiences cannot be properly categorized as "empirical", for they cannot be objectively observed.) It's possible that he did not actually have them. Even if he did have them, that wouldn't prove that Mormonism is true, any more than Mohammed's visions prove Islam, or loopy Pentecostal lady's spiritual impressions prove her religion, or an acidhead's hallucinations prove he is God.
The spiritual claims of Latter-Day Saints are based on empirical knowledge - the reception of a spiritual wittness that has been repeated in many, many members when they fulfilled the conditions that witness was contingent upon.

See above: "spiritual" feelings are neither empirical nor reliable.

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Fine. If you're going to stretch the definition of religious faith to include anything that isn't 100% certain, then I'm going to stretch the definition "theist" to include "people who eat babies". Fair's fair, right?
Uh, I guess. What religion exactly do you think eats babies?
Well, Joseph at least CLAIMED these experiences. (By the way, Smith's experiences cannot be properly categorized as "empirical", for they cannot be objectively observed.)
Yes, they could have been objectively observed, had you been there.
It's possible that he did not actually have them. Even if he did have them, that wouldn't prove that Mormonism is true, any more than Mohammed's visions prove Islam, or loopy Pentecostal lady's spiritual impressions prove her religion, or an acidhead's hallucinations prove he is God.

See above: "spiritual" feelings are neither empirical nor reliable.

Yes they are, on both counts. How do you know they aren't?
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