• TheMadFool
    10k
    I'd delegate that job to an intelligent designer!!!!fishfry

    You're avoiding the question which means you understood my point!
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    I'd delegate that job to an intelligent designer!!!!fishfry

    This is the heart of the matter. Those who deny an intelligent designer must concede that evolution is an intelligent design. Thus, those who deny the existence of a creator deity must concede that intelligent designer present = intelligent designer absent. Hence, the mind, no-mind equivalency paradox. For those who believe in an intelligent designer, there's no issue at all - the "intelligence" displayed by evolution matches perfectly with their belief.
  • fishfry
    2.4k
    You're avoiding the question which means you understood my point!TheMadFool

    I didn't feel like outlining the case against Darwinian evolution, which I know a little about. Was that your point?

    I'd delegate that job to an intelligent designer!!!!
    — fishfry

    This is the heart of the matter. Those who deny an intelligent designer must concede that evolution is an intelligent design. Thus, those who deny the existence of a creator deity must concede that intelligent designer present = intelligent designer absent. Hence, the mind, no-mind equivalency paradox. For those who believe in an intelligent designer, there's no issue at all - the "intelligence" displayed by evolution matches perfectly with their belief.
    TheMadFool

    Well God could have invented evolution, if that's your point. I've never been one to think that science disproves God. Whatever scientific theory you have, be it multiverse or eternal inflation or big bang or primordial quantum field à la Lawrence Krauss, you could say God did that. What science has done (some say) is to make the nonexistence of God possible. I don't personally get worked up over this issue. I'm a confirmed agnostic and decidedly non-passionate about the issue.

    the case against Darwinian evolution
    — fishfry

    What would that look like?
    TheMadFool

    Don't have time to enumerate the entire case nor do I remember it all, but look up David Berlinski ("The Devil's Delusion"), Michael Behe, and Stephen Meyer, three names that come to mind. Also see the Wiki article below. As I recall, and again this is just off the top of my head, some of the objections are the sheer unlikeliness of evolution, irreducible complexity (the famous bacterial flagellum), the fact that mutations almost always make things worse, the specificity of the genetic code, the Cambrian explosion, the lack of intermediate fossils, etc. I watched a bunch of these vids a while back. Like I say, not a big interest of mine, I power-watched a whole lot of these for a few days several months ago. Basically I must have watched one, and then Youtube's insane recommendation algorithm kept serving them up till I knew as much as I cared to about the subject, then forgot most of it.

    Bottom line is that there is some serious scientific doubt about classical Darwinian evolution. After all Darwin formulated his theory before we even knew about genes, let alone DNA and our modern understanding of biology. One can criticize the theory and look for refinements without going full God squad. On the other hand many of the critics do take the intelligent design or full religious view. I don't see how that helps anything. "God did it" is no answer to anything. It doesn't remove the need for scientific progress. I view God and science as "non-overlapping magisteria." Newton was religious and he was a heck of a scientist. I have no problem with that.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-overlapping_magisteria

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objections_to_evolution
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    the case against Darwinian evolutionfishfry

    What would that look like?
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    Is Enformationism your pet theory? I'm inclined to agree that everything is about information.TheMadFool
    Yes. It's my "pet" Thesis, and the foundation of my personal Worldview, which I am developing into a more complete philosophical theory. According to that thesis, everything is not just "about" information, everything in this world is Information. Information is the "universal substance" postulated by Spinoza, long before computers and Information Theory emerged. But what is Information, you ask? The most intuitive comparison is to causal Energy. Since Einstein equated Energy with Matter & Math (E=MC^2), we can now safely say that all of the Forces & Materials in the world are forms of general purpose Energy, which is a form of generic Information. :nerd:


    Information :
    Knowledge and the ability to know. Technically, it's the ratio of order to disorder, of positive to negative, of knowledge to ignorance. It's measured in degrees of uncertainty. Those ratios are also called "differences". So Gregory Bateson* defined Information as "the difference that makes a difference". The latter distinction refers to "value" or "meaning". Babbage called his prototype computer a "difference engine". Difference is the cause or agent of Change. In Programming it's 1s & 0s. In Physics it’s called "Thermodynamics" or "Energy". In Sociology it’s called "Conflict".
    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page11.html

    Enformationism :
    A worldview or belief system grounded on the assumption that Information, rather than Matter, is the basic substance of everything in the universe. It is intended to be a 21st century successor to the 19th century paradigm of Materialism. It's also an update for the ancient worldview of Spiritualism, which was an attempt to understand the phenomenon we now call Energy.
    http://enformationism.info/enformationism.info/
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    You don't believe transcendental numbers or signal-less noise were "designed by an intelligent designer", do you? :brow:

    Design does not presuppose a "designer". And only a designer (i.e. intentional agent) is "intelligent", not designs themselves (which is rank anthropomorphism). Design – any dynamic/evolving/dissipative process – presupposes such fundamentals as broken symmetries (non-random patterns of events) and a far-from-equilibrium entropy-gradient (positive energy densities). See cellular automata, etc.

    Btw, I don't "deny intelligent design"; I'd just like to see sufficient evidence that (A) "ID" explains anything – raise questions that it does not simultaneously beg – or (B) falsifies any scientific theories such as (currently formulated) neo-darwinian evolution. Otherwise, Fool, you're just barking at shadows on the woo wall of the proverbial platonic cave.
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    Well God could have invented evolution, if that's your point.fishfry
    Sorry to butt-in again . . . . but that is exactly the point of my Enformationism thesis. I didn't set-out to prove or disprove the existence of God. But since meaningful Information (the power to enform) is a product of intentional minds, I concluded that Aristotle's First Cause logically must have been a Mind of some kind. But, I long-ago lost faith in the humanoid deity of the Bible. So, when I refer to that unknown entity I use the ambiguous spelling "G*D", to indicate that it's not the traditional superhuman of most world religions. It's closer to the unconditional and unknowable "Tao" of Lao Tse.

    I have no problem with Darwin's theory of Evolution, as a means to explain the Origin of Species. Or of the general Big Bang theory of cosmic creation. But they don't even begin to explain the Origin of Energy or Life or Mind. So, I have proposed a hypothetical process that I call Intelligent Evolution. The "mechanism" of evolution is viewed as something like a program written by a Programmer, and encoded in the Singularity that preceded the Big Bang. Since this scenario is a product of my fallible mind, and not of infallible revelation, I refer to it as just another "Creation Myth" among thousands, but based on the latest scientific understanding of our world. In my blog, I have even addressed the logical question of "why would a god choose to create a world by such a slow and meandering procedure as Natural Evolution, instead of an instant, or seven-day miracle?" :nerd:

    Intelligent Evolution : A 21st Century Creation Myth
    http://gnomon.enformationism.info/Essays/Intelligent%20Evolution%20Essay_Prego_120106.pdf
  • fishfry
    2.4k
    The "mechanism" of evolution is viewed as something like a program written by a ProgrammerGnomon

    Who created the Great Programmer? All creation myths that depend on an 'original intelligence" have a regress problem.

    And secondly, as I pointed out, God or the Great Programmer doesn't explain anything. Say God did it. Ok, so what? Does that mean we stop doing science? Of course not. We do science to understand how the world works; or, as Newton would have put it, to better understand the glory of God's creation.

    Religion and science are two separate subjects; two non-overlapping magesteria. Religion tells you how to live your life. Science tells you why bowling balls fall down. I just don't see any conflict between them.

    And finally, as I can never resist pointing out, a programmatic explanation of the world is terribly restrictive. Programs, or algorithms, are quite limited in what they can do. A program can never solve the Halting problem; whereas God certainly can. Given a Turing machine and a given input, there is absolutely a fact of the matter as to whether that TM halts on that input. No computer program could ever determine the answer; yet the answer exists.

    All simulation arguments fail for this reason. There's no reason to believe that the universe is computable. Some people think it is, but there's no proof, nor is it even clear what such a proof would look like. Why should the creator of the universe be constrained by the limitations of algorithms?
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    Well God could have invented evolution, if that's your point.fishfry
    Sorry to butt-in again . . . . but that is exactly the point of my Enformationism thesis. I didn't set-out to prove or disprove the existence of God. But since meaningful Information (the power to enform) is a product of intentional minds, I concluded that Aristotle's First Cause logically must have been a Mind of some kind. But, I long-ago lost faith in the humanoid deity of the Bible. So, when I refer to that unknown entity I use the ambiguous spelling "G*D", to indicate that it's not the traditional superhuman of most world religions. It's closer to the unconditional and unknowable "Tao" of Lao Tse.

    I have no problem with Darwin's theory of Evolution, as a means to explain the Origin of Species. Or of the general Big Bang theory of cosmic creation. But they don't even begin to explain the Origin of Energy or Life or Mind. So, I have proposed a hypothetical process that I call Intelligent Evolution. The "mechanism" of evolution is viewed as something like a program written by a Programmer, and encoded in the Singularity that preceded the Big Bang. Since this scenario is a product of my fallible mind, and not of infallible revelation, I refer to it as just another "Creation Myth" among thousands, but based on the latest scientific understanding of our world. In my blog, I have even addressed the logical question of "why would a god choose to create a world by such a slow and meandering procedure as Natural Evolution, instead of an instant, or seven-day miracle?" :nerd:

    Intelligent Evolution : A 21st Century Creation Myth
    http://gnomon.enformationism.info/Essays/Intelligent%20Evolution%20Essay_Prego_120106.pdf
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    Sorry to butt-in againGnomon

    When did you butt out? How did you butt in without butting out? :rofl:
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    Who created the Great Programmer? All creation myths that depend on an 'original intelligence" have a regress problem.fishfry
    That is a typical short-sighted Materialist response to any notion of Transcendence. It assumes that the Programmer is a player in his own program, and subject to its rules. But the most reasonable solution to the eternal "regress problem" is to assume that the Programmer is self-existent. In my thesis, the "Creator" of our evolving world is not a humanoid deity existing in space-time, but an eternal principle existing in timeless Eternity and spaceless Infinity.

    Of course, there are no such unlimited things in our physical world, but we can imagine unreal concepts like "Zero" and "Infinity", which have proven to be quite useful in higher mathematics, such as Calculus. In fact, most mathematicians assume that the axioms of their trade are timeless. And most physicists assume, without evidence, that causal Energy and natural Laws are eternal, and not created in Big Boom explosions. Without causal power, and logical limits, our world would be chaotic.

    That's why materialist Multiverse proponents must assume, without evidence, that the Forces and Rules-for-their-application logically pre-exist any functioning world or mini-verse. The Multiverse theory itself takes for granted that there is something which transcends the beginning of our little pocket of space-time. In order for anything to exist in space-time, something must exist necessarily (i.e. not on our local clock).

    That's why my thesis takes as a logically necessary Axiom, that the power-to-be (exist) is eternal, or self-existent, and not limited to any particular instance of physical reality. My name for that power-to-exist is BEING. "To be, or not to be", does not apply to the Programmer, who is Being per se. :nerd:

    Self existent : existing independently of other beings or causes ; un-conditional ; non-contingent

    Necessary Existence : To say that a being necessarily exists is to say that it exists eternally in every logically possible world; such a being is not just, so to speak, indestructible in this world, but indestructible in every logically possible world

    BEING :
    In my own theorizing there is one universal principle that subsumes all others, including Consciousness : essential Existence. Among those philosophical musings, I refer to the "unit of existence" with the absolute singular term "BEING", as contrasted with the plurality of contingent "beings" and things and properties. By BEING I mean the ultimate “ground of being”, which is simply the power to exist, and the power to create beings.
    Note : Real & Ideal are modes of being. BEING, the power to exist, is the source & cause of Reality and Ideality. BEING is eternal, undivided and static, but once divided into Real/Ideal, it becomes our dynamic Reality.

    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page10.html
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    When did you butt out? How did you butt in without butting out? :rofl:TheMadFool
    The post was not addressed to me. So, I butted-in without giving you a chance to respond. For that breach of etiquette, I apologize. :yikes:
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    The post was not addressed to me. So, I butted-in without giving you a chance to respond. For that breach of etiquette, I apologize. :yikes:Gnomon

    No problemo!

    My responses are limited. [...] — Dr. Lanning's hologram (I Robot)
  • fishfry
    2.4k
    But the most reasonable solution to the eternal "regress problem" is to assume that the Programmer is self-existent.Gnomon

    Well then why can't the world be self-existent without the need for the Great Programmer?

    Sorry I'm not qualified to comment on the rest of your post, which clearly you've given a lot of thought to. It just seems to me that if you say the world didn't create itself but it was created by something that created itself, you haven't actually told me anything meaningful.

    That is a typical short-sighted Materialist response to any notion of Transcendence. IGnomon

    I don't necessarily regard myself as a materialist, but I don't find non-material explanations satisfying. Perhaps I am a materialist. Maybe short sighted too. I'm certainly near sighted, but that's a correctible refractive error. Maybe I need some philosophical spectacles.

    That's why materialist Multiverse proponents must assume, without evidence, that the Forces and Rules-for-their-application logically pre-exist any functioning world or mini-verse.Gnomon

    A criticism I myself have leveled at the physicists.

    In fact, most mathematicians assume that the axioms of their trade are timeless.Gnomon

    On the contrary, the modern axiomitization of set theory dates to Zermelo in 1908 and revised in 1922. And the categorical foundations are as recent as the 1940's. It's funny that many non-mathematicians believe that mathematicians think their discipline is flawless and eternal; while the mathematicians themselves, at least the small minority who have ever given the matter any thought, don't feel that way at all. Except for the ones who do. But your "most believe" formulation is surely false, since most haven't given the matter a moment's thought.


    I'll take a look, but I must admit most of these kinds of philosophical expositions make my eyes glaze. I think perhaps I am a short-sighted materialist. It's a perfectly sensible position to take in an otherwise inexplicable universe.
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    Religion tells you how to live your life. Science tells you why bowling balls fall down. I just don't see any conflict between them.fishfry
    Yeah, I agree ... until religion tries to justify "how to live your life" with bs fairytales about angels dropping bowling balls falling or a rib-woman who fell over from eating "forbidden fruit" and then, hammer those nails through human intelligence, excommunicates or burns at the stake anyone who instead prefers what science tells them about bowling balls. Religion just doesn't – cannot afford to especially since Gutenberg's printing press – stay in its ponzi lane.

    That is a typical short-sighted Materialist response to any notion of Transcendence.Gnomon
    Spinoza's pure immanence isn't "materialist". Neither is the rejection of transcendence by Absurdists (e.g. Nietzsche, Zapffe, Camus) nor by Schopenhauer "materialist'. I'm curious, Gnomon, how you account for these so-called "short-sighted responses" by non-materialists.

    NB: Btw, decades ago I became a "materialist" (classical atomist, then methodological naturalist) because I had already rejected "transcendence" (not the other way around). Go figure.
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    Well then why can't the world be self-existent without the need for the Great Programmer?fishfry
    Before the Big Bang theory became accepted by physicists and cosmologists -- including Einstein -- their unproven assumption was that the physical world had always existed in some form. One theory was the Steady-State or Continuous Creation postulation, in which new energy & matter was constantly emerging to replace that lost to Entropy. But when astronomers proved conclusively that the whole universe was expanding like a balloon, from a single point of space & time, the notion of a sudden creation act was no longer scientifically deniable. Ironically, the best alternative to the Big Bang theory is the various versions of Multiverse theories, which are merely updates to the old Continuous Creation concept. Moreover, just like the creation myth in Genesis, the Multiverse Myth has to be taken on faith, because there is no physical evidence to support it. :nerd:

    Continuous Creation :
    https://sc663henad.weebly.com/steady-state-theory.html

    Cosmic Constant : Einstein -- "my biggest blunder"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_constant

    I don't necessarily regard myself as a materialist, but I don't find non-material explanations satisfying.fishfry
    I apologize, if my descriptive, not pejorative, label offended you. Some on this forum prefer the label "Physicalist". But most of us are Materialists in practical matters. We assume that the wooden table in front of us is solid matter. But Quantum Physics asks us to believe that 99% of that table is empty space, and even the atoms of wood are in constant motion. The reason you find Meta-physical explanations un-satisfying is that the evidence is purely subjective. But then, your personal subjective mental image of reality is the only reality you have any direct experience of. Most of the "objective facts" presented by Science -- especially those of Quantum "reality" -- must be taken on faith in the abstruse "knowledge" of the researchers. I've never seen a Quark, have you? :joke:

    That's why materialist Multiverse proponents must assume, without evidence, that the Forces and Rules-for-their-application logically pre-exist any functioning world or mini-verse. — Gnomon
    A criticism I myself have leveled at the physicists.
    fishfry
    But still, you prefer their Physical "assumptions" to any Meta-Physical "conjectures", no? Most people are not familiar with the subject matter of Aristotle's second volume, commonly known as The Metaphysics. :cool:

    Meta-physics :
    The branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value.
    1. Often dismissed by materialists as idle speculation on topics not amenable to empirical proof.
    2. Aristotle divided his treatise on science into two parts. The world as-known-via-the-senses was labeled “physics” - what we call "Science" today. And the world as-known-by-the-mind, by reason, was labeled “metaphysics” - what we now call "Philosophy" .
    3. Plato called the unseen world that hides behind the physical façade: “Ideal” as opposed to Real. For him, Ideal “forms” (concepts) were prior-to the Real “substance” (matter).
    4. Physics refers to the things we perceive with the eye of the body. Meta-physics refers to the things we conceive with the eye of the mind. Meta-physics includes the properties, and qualities, and functions that make a thing what it is. Matter is just the clay from which a thing is made. Meta-physics is the design (form, purpose); physics is the product (shape, action). The act of creation brings an ideal design into actual existence. The design concept is the “formal” cause of the thing designed.
    5. I use a hyphen in the spelling to indicate that I am not talking about Ghosts and Magic, but about Ontology (science of being).

    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page14.html

    But your "most believe" formulation is surely false, since most haven't given the matter a moment's thought.fishfry
    Perhaps, "most assume without question" would suit you better, than "most believe". It's true, that Russell and Whitehead attempted to validate mathematical axioms once & for all. But then their dream of certainty was undermined by Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem, among other Uncertainty principles. Math is supposed to be the bedrock foundation of Science. Yet we now know, but prefer not to accept, that all of our knowledge is conditional. And that includes both Physical and Meta-Physical knowledge.

    philosophical expositions make my eyes glazefishfry
    The Enformationism thesis is non-academic and non-professional. So its "exposition" may not be as dense & dull as a lot of philosophical arguments. It does however, present a lot of terminology coined specifically for a novel non-traditional worldview. that's why it has both an internal Glossary of Terminology, and a more extensive blog-glossary to explain those neologisms in ordinary language. :smile:

    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/index.html
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    Spinoza's pure immanence isn't "materialist". Neither is the rejection of transcendence by Absurdists (e.g. Nietzsche, Zapffe, Camus) nor by Schopenhauer "materialist'. I'm curious, Gnomon, how you account for these so-called "short-sighted responses" by non-materialists.180 Proof
    I often refer to Spinoza's theory of Universal Substance as a forerunner of my own Enformationism thesis. But, I also note that Spinoza lived long before the Big Bang theory put a damper on early astronomer's unproven assumptions that the physical world is eternal, and self-existent. Now, even "short-sighted materialists" have been forced to postulate the existence of something that transcends our space-time world. Which we now know had a sudden beginning (along with space-time itself) from some prior ghostly Singularity, that either "gave birth to" or "created" our universe, depending on your preference of descriptive terminology. Moreover, as I noted above to the only scientific alternative to "creation from nothing" is the Multiverse conjectures, which are merely updates of the discredited notion of Continuous Creation.

    Therefore, I stand by my description of Materialist or Non-transcendental theories to explain the conditional existence of our universe. Which are all dependent on some implicit creative act that preceded the Big Bang. And that includes the Inflation theory -- instantaneous emergence from a transcendent (pre-existent) quantum field -- which seems even more like a magical "voila", than the explosion of a non-dimensional Singularity. :cool:

    PS__ I don't waste much time on the writings of Nihilists and "Absurdists", who seem to reject both Science and Philosophy, in their cop-out from a rational approach to understanding the world, in which "they live and breathe and have their being". At least, Mysterians don't ridicule the power of the human mind that raised us from hooting apes to tweeting geeks. :joke:

    Absurdism : the belief that human beings exist in a purposeless, chaotic universe.

    scientific assumptions :
    Nature is orderly, and the laws of nature describe that order. ...
    We can know nature. ...
    All phenomena have natural causes. ...
    Nothing is self evident. ...
    Knowledge is derived from acquisition of experience. ...
    Knowledge is superior to ignorance.
  • fishfry
    2.4k
    Before the Big Bang theory became accepted by physicists and cosmologists -- including Einstein -- their unproven assumption was that the physical world had always existed in some form. One theory was the Steady-State or Continuous Creation postulation, in which new energy & matter was constantly emerging to replace that lost to Entropy. But when astronomers proved conclusively that the whole universe was expanding like a balloon, from a single point of space & time, the notion of a sudden creation act was no longer scientifically deniable. Ironically, the best alternative to the Big Bang theory is the various versions of Multiverse theories, which are merely updates to the old Continuous Creation concept. Moreover, just like the creation myth in Genesis, the Multiverse Myth has to be taken on faith, because there is no physical evidence to support it.Gnomon

    Nothing you said was responsive to my point. There is no difference between an eternal universe and an eternal creator that creates a short-lived universe. No philosophical difference. Name-checking various contingent physical theories is irrelevant IMO.


    Perhaps, "most assume without question" would suit you better, than "most believe". It's true, that Russell and Whitehead attempted to validate mathematical axioms once & for all. But then their dream of certainty was undermined by Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem, among other Uncertainty principles. Math is supposed to be the bedrock foundation of Science. Yet we now know, but prefer not to accept, that all of our knowledge is conditional. And that includes both Physical and Meta-Physical knowledge.Gnomon

    You have no idea what "most mathematicians" believe. And if R & W are your idea of mathematicians, you are making the same mistake made by many philosophers, which is to imagine that mathematics is what philosophers of math were doing in 1900. Or even 1930. "Most assume without question?" No. Most give the matter no thought at all, not even enough to assume anything without question. You are simply making a statement without evidence and without knowledge of what most mathematicians do. It should be noted that out of all mathematicians, the percentage that have ever given foundational questions the slightest thought must be well less than 1%.

    It's an eternal problem on any philosophy forum that discussions of math are invariably about foundational issues; and even then, only foundational issues as they were understood before 1950, say. Before Category theory started taking over algebra, logic, and geometry. But 99% of working mathematicians don't do foundations. Nobody ever talks about group theory here, or differential geometry, or the Riemann hypothesis. If there was more discussion of those topics, this would be a math forum and not a philosophy forum. But at least nobody would accuse differential geometers of making assumptions about Russell and Whitehead.


    I don't necessarily regard myself as a materialist, but I don't find non-material explanations satisfying.
    — fishfry
    I apologize, if my descriptive, not pejorative, label offended you.
    Gnomon

    Oh not at all. I took it as descriptive and probably accurate. And funny.

    Some on this forum prefer the label "Physicalist". But most of us are Materialists in practical matters. We assume that the wooden table in front of us is solid matter. But Quantum Physics asks us to believe that 99% of that table is empty space, and even the atoms of wood are in constant motion. The reason you find Meta-physical explanations un-satisfying is that the evidence is purely subjective. But then, your personal subjective mental image of reality is the only reality you have any direct experience of. Most of the "objective facts" presented by Science -- especially those of Quantum "reality" -- must be taken on faith in the abstruse "knowledge" of the researchers. I've never seen a Quark, have you? :joke:Gnomon

    Why would you be asking a short-sighted materialist such a question? :-) Of course there are tables and chairs. And quantum physicists. That the world can contain both is evidence of Walt Whitman's point: "Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

    I find metaphysical explanations unsatisfying is because they don't explain anything. Why do bowling balls fall down? God did it. That's unsatisfying. Of course to be fair, Newton's law of gravity was criticized on exactly the same grounds. He could describe gravity, but he could not explain it. In the end science itself tells us what but not why. Maybe God and the quantum field are two names for the same thing.

    But science has one big advantage: It makes specific, measurable predictions. That makes science preferable to God as an explanation.

    You ask if I think quarks exist. Yes I do. They exist in the sense that we can do experiments that confirm our mathematical theories that posit them. That's what existence ultimately comes down to. We do an experiment, we invent a conceptual and mathematical model that involves an atom or an electron or a quark, we do more experiments that confirm the theory. That's physical existence. And even a carpenter knows that chairs aren't really chairs. You have to cut up a tree and shape the wood into something you call a chair. You don't even need quantum fields to make the point that everyday objects aren't "really" that object, but rather assemblages of more primitive objects.
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    Nothing you said was responsive to my point. There is no difference between an eternal universe and an eternal creator that creates a short-lived universe.fishfry
    Apparently, you missed the distinction between a random accidental event as the beginning of our world, and a programmed intentional act of creation. If that makes "no difference" to you, then you are wasting your time with science & philosophy. You'd do better to just "eat, drink, and be merry . . . for tomorrow we die". For me, it's the difference between a meaningless absurd universe, and a world that grows & matures like a living organism.

    As for the "short-lived" creation, I must ask, relative to what? Compared to your individual life, the span of the universe is close to infinite. But when compared to a timeless Creator, this experiment in living & thinking is a mere momentary blip in eternity. mentioned the "rejection of transcendence by Absurdists". They must have been appalled by the new science of Quantum Theory, which seemed absurd compared to the intuitive Classical worldview. But those who actually study, and engage with, the Quantum realm are excited by the opportunity to explore "strange new worlds". Instead of retreating into pessimism, they view this opportunity almost like a vacation trip to exotic locales. It allows us to momentarily "transcend" our mundane classical reality, and to experience a "higher" ideality. Does String Theory seem realistic to you? :joke:

    You have no idea what "most mathematicians" believe. And if R & W are your idea of mathematicians, you are making the same mistake made by many philosophers, which is to imagine that mathematics is what philosophers of math were doing in 1900.fishfry
    I suppose then, that you do have an idea of "what most mathematicians believe". You claim to know that "most give the matter no thought at all". Does that defect make you feel superior to B. Russell and A.N. Whitehead? What do you know that they didn't, a century ago? What novel philosophical insights to reality are revealed in non-linear or differential geometry? Have you found a topological path around the roadblock of the Incompleteness and Uncertainty principles? If not, what's your point? :chin:

    I find metaphysical explanations unsatisfying is because they don't explain anything.fishfry
    Apparently, you think Meta-Physics is a perverse attempt to "explain" the mechanisms of Matter. But Aristotle's purpose in his second volume, was not to explain Physics, but to set out some principles of Logic & Reason, in order to explain the mysterious workings of the human mind. Now 2500 years later, physical science has made great progress in inventing gadgets like Cell Phones and Nuclear Weapons. But the Quantum Leap from objective neurons to subjective consciousness remains a "hard question". Aristotle's Physics is completely out-of-date. But his Meta-Physics is still debated by scientists and philosophers. Science is good at explaining the mundane Mechanisms of things, but not so much for explaining the sublime Meaning of inter-relationships.

    You admit that "In the end science itself tells us what but not why". But, if you are not interested in "why" questions, why are you posting on a feckless philosophy forum, instead of discussing Physics and Formulas? :nerd:

    But science has one big advantage: It makes specific, measurable predictions. That makes science preferable to God as an explanation.fishfry
    If you are only interested in measurable "how" explanations, this is the wrong forum for you. Can science measure Morality? Can it predict the overthrow of US Democracy by a mendacious Autocrat? Can physics explain why people fall for Fascism? Maybe a better understanding of the human mind can help us to understand the "whys" & "wherefores" of this crazy mixed-up world. But then, the simple notion of a Programmer of this Cosmos will not explain all of our questions. But if we can understand better how & why the "Program" works as it does, we may alleviate some of our existential angst. :cool:

    PS___I'm currently reading a book by physicist Carlo Rovelli, Helgoland. And he takes a rather metaphysical approach to understanding the apparent absurdities of Quantum Physics. He advocates a different path to explaining its counter-intuitive aspects in terms of "the relational interpretation of quantum theory". And that is exactly the point of the Enformationism thesis. What's philosophically important is not physical objects but the metaphysical relations between them.
  • fishfry
    2.4k
    Apparently, you missed the distinction between a random accidental event as the beginning of our world, and a programmed intentional act of creation. If that makes "no difference" to you, then you are wasting your time with science & philosophy. You'd do better to just "eat, drink, and be merry . . . for tomorrow we die". For me, it's the difference between a meaningless absurd universe, and a world that grows & matures like a living organism.Gnomon

    When the ad hominems start I always know I'm in the presence of a superior mind. Teach me, oh wise one.

    As for the "short-lived" creation, I must ask, relative to what?Gnomon

    Finite compared to infinite. Was the Great Programmer always there? How's that any different from a universe that's always there?

    Compared to your individual life, the span of the universe is close to infinite.Gnomon

    And when someone uses the phrase, "close to infinite," I know I'm in the presence of someone who hasn't given five minutes thought to their own words. Can you name me a finite quantity that is "close to infinite?" A quantity is either infinite or not. The concept of "close to infinite" is incoherent. We often see it used by physicists who likewise have not given the matter sufficient thought.

    But when compared to a timeless Creator, this experiment in living & thinking is a mere momentary blip in eternity.Gnomon

    Well then you PERFECTLY WELL AGREE with my phrasing of "relatively short-lived." You argue yourself into a huff and finally end up agreeing with exactly what I said.

    You are worked up about something I said, and I'm not sure what. I'm on record as one, being agnostic about God; and two, being highly non-passionate about the subject. It's something that registers near zero on my interest and emotion scale. You are the only one worked up about this.

    However please do note that the Great Programmer is distinctly more restricted than God, because the GP, if I can call him/her that, is limited to writing algorithms; and as Turing showed us, algorithms can solve a very small subset of the overall collection of problems. All simulation theories are flawed in this way. God can solve the Halting problem but the GP can not.

    ↪180 Proof mentioned the "rejection of transcendence by Absurdists". They must have been appalled by the new science of Quantum Theory, which seemed absurd compared to the intuitive Classical worldview. But those who actually study, and engage with, the Quantum realm are excited by the opportunity to explore "strange new worlds". Instead of retreating into pessimism, they view this opportunity almost like a vacation trip to exotic locales. It allows us to momentarily "transcend" our mundane classical reality, and to experience a "higher" ideality. Does String Theory seem realistic to you? :joke:Gnomon

    I don't know. I don't even feel like I'm in this conversation. Something I said pushed your buttons, and that was not my intention. I only stated my opinions. I don't even have a thesis to argue. I have very little interest in the topic except to explain to simulationists that algorithms are severely limited in what they can do. See Turing 1936, he laid it all out.

    I suppose then, that you do have an idea of "what most mathematicians believe". You claim to know that "most give the matter no thought at all". Does that defect make you feel superior to B. Russell and A.N. Whitehead?Gnomon

    Statistically very few mathematicians work in foundations. A group theorist or topologist generally feels like they are working on group theory or topology. They don't typically tend to reflect much on whether these things are "real." Russell and Whitehead are long gone, and even foundations have advanced far beyond 1900.

    What do you know that they didn't, a century ago? What novel philosophical insights to reality are revealed in non-linear or differential geometry? Have you found a topological path around the roadblock of the Incompleteness and Uncertainty principles? If not, what's your point? :chin:Gnomon

    You're gonna blow a gasket, man. Do you understand you're arguing with someone who's not arguing back?

    Apparently, you think Meta-Physics is a perverse attempt to "explain" the mechanisms of Matter. But Aristotle's purpose in his second volume, was not to explain Physics, but to set out some principles of Logic & Reason, in order to explain the mysterious workings of the human mind. Now 2500 years later, physical science has made great progress in inventing gadgets like Cell Phones and Nuclear Weapons. But the Quantum Leap from objective neurons to subjective consciousness remains a "hard question". Aristotle's Physics is completely out-of-date. But his Meta-Physics is still debated by scientists and philosophers. Science is good at explaining the mundane Mechanisms of things, but not so much for explaining the sublime Meaning of inter-relationships.Gnomon

    Ok. What of it, exactly? I've surely never expressed any such sentiments on this site.

    You admit that "In the end science itself tells us what but not why". But, if you are not interested in "why" questions, why are you posting on a feckless philosophy forum, instead of discussing Physics and Formulas? :nerd:Gnomon

    You're going to wear out your smiley button.

    If you are only interested in measurable "how" explanations, this is the wrong forum for you. Can science measure Morality? Can it predict the overthrow of US Democracy by a mendacious Autocrat? Can physics explain why people fall for Fascism? Maybe a better understanding of the human mind can help us to understand the "whys" & "wherefores" of this crazy mixed-up world. But then, the simple notion of a Programmer of this Cosmos will not explain all of our questions. But if we can understand better how & why the "Program" works as it does, we may alleviate some of our existential angst. :cool:Gnomon

    How many times can you do this before your smileys repeat? Pigeonhole principle I think.

    PS___I'm currently reading a book by physicist Carlo Rovelli, Helgoland. And he takes a rather metaphysical approach to understanding the apparent absurdities of Quantum Physics. He advocates a different path to explaining its counter-intuitive aspects in terms of "the relational interpretation of quantum theory". And that is exactly the point of the Enformationism thesis. What's philosophically important is not physical objects but the metaphysical relations between them.Gnomon

    I"m happy for you. Nice chatting with you, all the best. I wish I could have a more interesting conversation with you, but your own passion for ... something or other ... is blinding you to the points I'm making, and upsetting you besides. I hope you can find peace in this life that doesn't involve converting me to a point of view that you're not articulating very well.

    ps -- Ok let me see if I can shed a little bit of light. You wrote:

    You admit that "In the end science itself tells us what but not why". But, if you are not interested in "why" questions, why are you posting on a feckless philosophy forum, instead of discussing Physics and Formulas?Gnomon

    Now first, I have often made the point myself that science tells us what but not why. I know this, and I've explained it to others many times.

    Then you say that I am not interested in the why. If you can find anywhere I've ever said that, please find it and quote it. Because I never did.

    I did say that I do not find "God did it" helpful in the least, because it explains nothing. And I find "The Great Programmer did it" even LESS persuasive, because algorithms are severely limited in their problem solving capabilities.

    From those opinions of mine, you have extrapolated things I never said, and accused me of all manner of things, such as being in interested in eating, drinking, and being merry. Are you some sort of ascetic? I think you are way off the mark in almost every word you wrote in your most recent post to me.
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    When the ad hominems start I always know I'm in the presence of a superior mind. Teach me, oh wise one.fishfry
    What did you interpret as an ad hominem? Is "missed the distinction" a personal attack? I'll have to be more careful in stating any disagreement, to avoid cracking your "thin shell". Ooops! There I go again. :joke:

    Finite compared to infinite. Was the Great Programmer always there? How's that any different from a universe that's always there?fishfry
    First, according to modern Science, the knowable universe cannot be infinite, since it had a specific origin. Any speculations about an a priori infinite Multiverse are just that : conjectures with no evidence. So my conjecture of a pre-existing Programmer is just as valid as any other. A popular question asked of Astronomers is "what existed prior to the Big Bang?". And their guess is usually "more of the same". Which is not a conclusive answer, but a "turtles all the way down" non-conclusion. Simply "being there" does not explain why the world works as it does, and gives no hint of where it's going.

    Second, did our universe write its own program? Do, you think the Chance + Choice evolutionary algorithm was an accident? If not, does the self-existent universe do what it does with an intended goal in mind, or is its evolution totally random? It's the signs of teleology that allow me to infer the necessity for a Programmer. If you're interested, those "signs" are discussed in the Enformationism thesis and in the BothAnd Blog. :nerd:

    "Turtles all the way down" is an expression of the problem of infinite regress.

    And when someone uses the phrase, "close to infinite," I know I'm in the presence of someone who hasn't given five minutes thought to their own words.fishfry
    Ouch! Was that remark an ad hominem? "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". :gasp:

    Something I said pushed your buttons, and that was not my intention. I only stated my opinions.fishfry
    My buttons are hard to push, because my emotions are well-balanced. My intention here is to share opinions. And I enjoy having my ideas challenged. That's what philosophy is all about. But in a text only format, it's all to easy to offend others by challenging their certainty. That's why I use a lot of smilies & emojis : to indicate that I mean no offense. If I step on your toes, it's either because they were in the wrong place at the right time, or because I'm clumsy, but not malicious. :blush:

    You're gonna blow a gasket, man. Do you understand you're arguing with someone who's not arguing back?fishfry
    Yes. You seem to be playing rope-a-dope, by making evasive maneuvers. But I get that a lot, from those who have no answers to hard questions. Besides, I'm not boxing with you, but merely using you as a sparring partner to develop my own skills. As long as you're willing to play the game, I can do this all day. :wink:

    Rope-a-dope : a boxing tactic of pretending to be trapped against the ropes, goading an opponent to throw tiring ineffective punches.

    You're going to wear out your smiley button.fishfry
    See above.

    I hope you can find peace in this life that doesn't involve converting me to a point of view that you're not articulating very well.fishfry
    Apparently, you don't understand the purpose of a philosophy forum. It's not intended to reinforce your own beliefs & biases, but to have them tested by others, who don't share your point of view. I don't have any religion to convert you to. And I don't think the Programmer will send you to Hell if you don't believe as I do.

    Site Guidelines :Don't start a new discussion unless you are:
    a) Genuinely interested in the topic you've begun and are willing to engage those who engage you.


    but your own passion for ... something or other ... is blinding you to the points I'm making, and upsetting you besides.fishfry
    I could say the same about you. But I won't. I do indeed have a "passion" for my personal worldview, and like to share it with others. That's why I responded to the OP : "In other words, and here's where it gets interesting, mindless evolution through random mutation is exactly what a mind which is as intelligent as us would do given the way things were, are, will probably be." The "intelligent mind" behind the evolutionary algorithm is what I call "The Programmer". But, obviously, you take exception to any suggestion of intelligence in Evolution. Preferring instead to believe that this world is a cosmic accident. Is that true, or another ad hominem? :yum:

    I did say that I do not find "God did it" helpful in the least, because it explains nothing.fishfry
    Do you have another answer to the "why" of our existence, that explains everything? Or do you prefer the attitude of Nihilism? "It just is, and always has been", explains nothing. How would you describe your personal worldview? If you would be less evasive, and more forthcoming, perhaps I could avoid stepping on your toes. If you are not interested in "why" questions, why are you posting on a Philosophy Forum? Philosophy "explains nothing" about the physical world, but focuses on understanding the meta-physical aspects of the world. :cool:

    "The problems that metaphysics attempts to solve are existential, essential, and origin-al. But philosophy covers these and more. . . . We could say: metaphysics ⊆ philosophy, but vice versa is not true." ___ Quora
  • fishfry
    2.4k
    What did you interpret as an ad hominem? Is "missed the distinction" a personal attack? I'll have to be more careful in stating any disagreement, to avoid cracking your "thin shell". Ooops! There I go again. :joke:Gnomon

    You typed in a lot of words so you deserve a response. Since (looking ahead) you regard this as friendly sparring, I'll respond in kind. Just up front I need to reiterate two things, to provide some context.

    * Regarding the ultimate nature of the world, I have no opinion, no beliefs, and little philosophical interest. That is, I am ignorant and apathetic. I don't know and I don't care. That's why this conversation is puzzling to me. You have strong feelings about this subject, so surely you'd have more fun talking to someone who has equally strong but perhaps different opinions. What's the fun arguing football with someone who doesn't follow football, right? Ok.

    * I do have one strong opinion in this regard; which is that whether or not God exists, I'm certain that a Great Programmer doesn't exist. Why? Because the world is not computable. I've mentioned this to you a couple of times and you haven't responded, so perhaps you are not sure what I mean. I'll talk about it more as I go on. That's something I do know a bit about and do have definite and strong opinions about.

    Now, what did I regard as an insult? You said I don't belong on a philosophy forum if I don't care much about the ultimate nature of reality. Well "don't care" is a little strong. It's just not one of my top five or ten interests in life. Now when you said I don't belong on this forum because of that, I took it as a personal attack. But of course Hanlon's razor says: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. And I believe that's what applies here. Philosophy includes things like ethics, philosophy of math and science, political philosophy, philosophy of art, and so forth. Those are just some of the section headings on this very website. Clearly one can care about some of those topics without having a high interest in metaphysics. So you are just ignorant of philosophy, and imagining that what little philosophy you know is all of philosophy. I should have taken that into account.

    Ok I sparred a little by calling you stupid and ignorant, but I must say to you, my heart really isn't in it. I have no idea why you're even talking to me about this stuff, about which you have a high interest and I don't. But I'll soldier on, apparently by your request. I do hope I've made my point that there are many interesting areas of philosophy that do not involve the "why" of the world.

    First, according to modern Science, the knowable universe cannot be infinite, since it had a specific origin.Gnomon

    I'm perfectly well aware of that. That's why I distinguished between God, who is infinite, and the contingent world, which is (most likely) not. And in the end, you completely agree. Yet you seem to be arguing that I've got it wrong. Again, your conversational style leaves me baffled. I say something you're in perfect agreement with and you argue with me strenuously.

    Any speculations about an a priori infinite Multiverse are just that : conjectures with no evidence. So my conjecture of a pre-existing Programmer is just as valid as any other.Gnomon

    Yes this is perfectly true. I never said otherwise. On the contrary, I was completely agreeing with you. The world is finite, and God, whether existent or not, is certainly infinity. I made that distinction. Which you agree with. And now want to "correct" me on. I don't get it.

    But I do need to once again call attention to your technical error. God and the Great Programmer are factually distinct. The Programmer is restricted to implementing that which is computable. And computable things are a tiny subset of all the things there are. Turing made this point in 1936 and it's still well-understood today. Perhaps you are not conversant with this distinction. God can solve the Halting problem. The Great Programmer can not. So your speculation that the world may be the work of a Programmer carries a hidden assumption, one that you do not seem to be conversant with: namely, the claim that the world is computable. I hold the opposite, and THAT is something on which I can argue with passion.

    A popular question asked of Astronomers is "what existed prior to the Big Bang?". And their guess is usually "more of the same". Which is not a conclusive answer, but a "turtles all the way down" non-conclusion. Simply "being there" does not explain why the world works as it does, and gives no hint of where it's going.Gnomon

    Not sure what this refers to or what I'm intended to take from it.

    Second, did our universe write its own program? Do, you think the Chance + Choice evolutionary algorithm was an accident? If not, does the self-existent universe do what it does with an intended goal in mind, or is its evolution totally random? It's the signs of teleology that allow me to infer the necessity for a Programmer.Gnomon

    But I am on record as an agnostic. I don't imagine I'm clever enough to know or even make a good guess at the ultimate nature of the world. Of course for religious people, cleverness is not needed, only faith. I haven't got that either. I'm an agnostic. Does that trouble you? If so, why?

    Additionally I am not very passionate about my agnosticism. The religious zealot and the professional atheists (Sam Harris et. al.) have passion. Agnostics mostly don't, I imagine. Surely I don't. Again, you think this disqualifies me from philosophy. Not so. I can argue passionately about math or politics. Just not metaphysics.

    If you're interested, those "signs" are discussed in the Enformationism thesis and in the BothAnd Blog. :nerd:Gnomon

    Well that's my point. You have a personal metaphysics and a blog. I commend you your discipline, focus, and passion. But then I must be a very disappointing conversational partner. I have no convictions and little interest. Not even a blog.

    And when someone uses the phrase, "close to infinite," I know I'm in the presence of someone who hasn't given five minutes thought to their own words.
    — fishfry
    Ouch! Was that remark an ad hominem? "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". :gasp:
    Gnomon

    Nice deflection. I'll repeat the question I asked you. Can you name a quantity or a thing that is "close to infinite?" I claim the phrase is incoherent. A big number like a million or a billion or a zillionty-zillion is still a finite number. Collections that are bijectively equivalent to a proper subset of themselves are infinite; all others are finite. "Close to infinite" is like a little pregnant. You either are or you aren't. There's no "close to" possible. Would you care to justify or retract your usage of the phrase? All in the interest of intellectually honest sparring, I hope.

    My buttons are hard to push, because my emotions are well-balanced. My intention here is to share opinions. And I enjoy having my ideas challenged.Gnomon

    Ahem. "Wouldn't you at least have to have some ideas?" he said half-heartedly. With a straight line like that, my response was practically compulsory. And frankly you haven't expressed any specific ideas other than the one you're clearly wrong about, the Programmer. May I ask you, do you understand my point about the difference between God and the Programmer? It's rather important, because it affects simulation theory and "mind uploading" and other related trendy ideas floating around among the "artificial intelligensia" in somebody's immortal phrase.

    That's what philosophy is all about.Gnomon

    So YOU say. But philosophy of math, philosophy of art, philosophy of science, of literature, of ethics, etc., are not about metaphysics. Are you committing the fallacy of thinking that the only things that matter are the things you know and care about?

    But in a text only format, it's all to easy to offend others by challenging their certainty.Gnomon

    Would it be harder to offend others if you posted pictures? The site allows for the uploading of images, you can do that if you're so inclined. But even here you're wrong, it's easy to offend with pictures. Don't you agree? What are you saying here, it doesn't even make sense.


    That's why I use a lot of smilies & emojis : to indicate that I mean no offense.Gnomon

    I was noting that you always seem to use a different one. At some point you must run out and you'll be forced to repeat. That's a thing in math called the pigeonhole principle.

    If I step on your toes, it's either because they were in the wrong place at the right time, or because I'm clumsy, but not malicious. :blush:Gnomon

    Awwww shucks. I take that as a conciliatory gesture. Much appreciated. LOL.

    Yes. You seem to be playing rope-a-dope, by making evasive maneuvers.Gnomon

    No not at all. I'm responding to you directly. But I have little interest in metaphysics, and no hard opinions. That must obviously be frustrating to you. I can see that.

    But I get that a lot, from those who have no answers to hard questions.Gnomon

    The True Believers and the professional atheists must hate hate hate the agnostics. "Um, I guess I really don't know what is the ultimate nature of the world." What an absolutely terrible thing to say, right?

    But you know, you have several times avoided the question I've asked you. Do you understand the distinction between God and the Programmer, and can you justify your believe that the world is programmable? That's actually the only metaphysical topic I have a strong opinion on.


    Besides, I'm not boxing with you, but merely using you as a sparring partner to develop my own skills. As long as you're willing to play the game, I can do this all day. :wink:Gnomon

    Well here I am. But seriously, you haven't said much.

    Rope-a-dope : a boxing tactic of pretending to be trapped against the ropes, goading an opponent to throw tiring ineffective punches.Gnomon

    Ah the great Rumble in the Jungle match between Ali and Foreman. Except that Foreman could hit hard. You are just kind of slapping at me. I don't even need to rope-a-dope. I don't see anything to argue with.

    Apparently, you don't understand the purpose of a philosophy forum.Gnomon

    I think we've established that YOU are the one to whom that applies. They call that projection.

    It's not intended to reinforce your own beliefs & biases, but to have them tested by others, who don't share your point of view.Gnomon

    But that's the problem here. It's not only that I don't share your point of view. It's that I can't figure out your point of view; and secondly, I don't have much interest in metaphysics. I truly don't know whether there's a God. I'm pretty sure there can be no Programmer. And, this being the single subtopic on which I have an opinion, I wish you'd engage with it.

    I don't have any religion to convert you to. And I don't think the Programmer will send you to Hell if you don't believe as I do.Gnomon

    Sending to Hell is not computable. The Programmer couldn't do that even if they existed.

    Site Guidelines :Don't start a new discussion unless you are:
    a) Genuinely interested in the topic you've begun and are willing to engage those who engage you.
    Gnomon

    Ahhhhhhhhh. Enlightenment. I see your problem. I see your problem! You know how when you're puzzled by something you don't understand, and it suddenly all becomes clear? I just had such a moment.

    Sit down, take a deep breath, and read carefully:

    I am not the OP

    Perhaps you think I am, and that's why you're complaining that I don't have a strong interest in the topic. But you see, I am not the OP. Did you make a little mistake here?

    It's several pages ago, but I seem to remember that I made some minor, offhand remark to the OP, and you have read into that much more than what was on the page. But I could be wrong, I did not go back to check. I do know that I did not start the thread, hence what you quoted does not apply to me in any way.


    but your own passion for ... something or other ... is blinding you to the points I'm making, and upsetting you besides.
    — fishfry
    I could say the same about you.
    Gnomon

    You could not. I have no passion for metaphysics. I am honestly -- I am not joking or being snarky -- I am honestly confused by this conversation. I've been perfectly honest about my beliefs and interests.

    But I won't. I do indeed have a "passion" for my personal worldview, and like to share it with others.Gnomon

    I get that. If you'd state your worldview perhaps I could whip up a little intelligent conversation at my end. After all this I still don't get your point, except to note that you don't seem to understand the limitations of a Programmer, restricted to that which is computable.

    That's why I responded to the OP : "In other words, and here's where it gets interesting, mindless evolution through random mutation is exactly what a mind which is as intelligent as us would do given the way things were, are, will probably be."Gnomon

    Yes ok. And you understand I am not the OP. I probably didn't read your post. How did we get here?


    The "intelligent mind" behind the evolutionary algorithm is what I call "The Programmer".Gnomon

    Yes and this is a technical error because computability is distinctly limited.

    But, obviously, you take exception to any suggestion of intelligence in Evolution.Gnomon

    I'm just floored, man. What have I ever said on this site to give you such an impression?

    In fact last week on this site, or maybe a couple of weeks ago, I enumerated the arguments against Darwinian evolution. I named-checked Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, and David Berlinski. I am familiar with the argument of irreducible complexity. I am all over the miraculous bacterial flagellum. I don't believe or disbelieve in intelligent evolution, but I'm actually more familiar than most people with the arguments for it, and the arguments against classical Darwinian evolution.

    What on earth are you talking about? Excuse my French but you are just making shit up. You have decided that I have a certain set of beliefs and you are arguing with me about them, but they are not my beliefs. You're just making all this up.

    Preferring instead to believe that this world is a cosmic accident. Is that true, or another ad hominem? :yum:Gnomon

    It's just another belief of yours about things you think I believe but don't. You know, you are not making any points with me by going off in these directions, attributing to me beliefs I've never expressed.

    I did say that I do not find "God did it" helpful in the least, because it explains nothing.
    — fishfry
    Do you have another answer to the "why" of our existence, that explains everything?
    Gnomon

    No, I have no answer. And I am generally puzzled at those who think they do. I find both the religious believers and the militant professional atheists equally baffling. What makes them so certain? At least the religious types can sometimes invoke their own personal experience of faith. What do the atheists have? Is that a faith-base position too?

    I'm agnostic. I don't know. I truly don't know. But as it happens I DO know a bit about the arguments on each side. The arguments interest me. The anti-Darwinists interest me.


    Or do you prefer the attitude of Nihilism? "It just is, and always has been", explains nothing.Gnomon

    That's not what nihilism is. I'd call that a humble and self-aware recognition that I have no idea what is the ultimate nature of the world. My interests seem to lie in the are of pointing out the logical flaws of those who think they do. The God squad, the atheists, the Simulationists and Uploaders. People who are so very sure about things that nobody can possibly be sure about.

    How would you describe your personal worldview?Gnomon

    As it happens there is a name for what I believe. New mysterianism.

    New mysterianism—or commonly just mysterianism—is a philosophical position proposing that the hard problem of consciousness cannot be resolved by humans. The unresolvable problem is how to explain the existence of qualia (individual instances of subjective, conscious experience). In terms of the various schools of philosophy of mind, mysterianism is a form of nonreductive physicalism. Some "mysterians" state their case uncompromisingly (Colin McGinn has said that consciousness is "a mystery that human intelligence will never unravel"); others believe merely that consciousness is not within the grasp of present human understanding, but may be comprehensible to future advances of science and technology.

    I apply this to the mind and to the universe. I think such knowledge is above our pay grade. Like a caterpillar on a leaf on a branch on a tree in a forest. The caterpillar knows night from day, things it likes to eat from things that like to eat it. It knows, deep in its genes, that someday it will ascend to become a beautiful butterfly. It has a metaphysics. But it can't know what we know. Its brain and nervous system are limited by nature. As is ours. The universe is vast, we live on a small rock and crawled out of caves only 100,000 years ago. We don't know the ultimate nature of the world and we cannot know and we will never know.

    That is my belief. Thanks for asking.


    If you would be less evasive, and more forthcoming, perhaps I could avoid stepping on your toes.Gnomon

    I have not been evasive in the least. You just don't like my answers.

    If you are not interested in "why" questions, why are you posting on a Philosophy Forum?Gnomon

    Philosophy of math, philosophy of science, political philosophy, philosophy of art, ethics, philosophy of language ... and those are just some of the topic headings on this site. Will you please stop showing how little you know about philosophy? It's amazing that you'd make such a weak point. You're right, I originally felt personally insulted, but now I realize that you simply have so little understanding of most of philosophy that you just can't help yourself.

    Do you take this point? That philosophy encompasses so much more than metaphysics? And that you are confusing your own interests with the totality of everything? Why are you making such an elementary error?


    Philosophy "explains nothing" about the physical world, but focuses on understanding the meta-physical aspects of the world. :cool:Gnomon

    Then it's an abject failure. Because we can not understand the metaphysical aspects of the world. I'm perpetually baffled by those who think we can, and by those who actually believe that they do. That's ignorance and arrogance wrapped up in a dangerous package.

    "The problems that metaphysics attempts to solve are existential, essential, and origin-al. But philosophy covers these and more. . . . We could say: metaphysics ⊆ philosophy, but vice versa is not true." ___ QuoraGnomon

    Quora? Jeez that's scraping the bottom of the metaphysical barrel. Have you been to Quora lately? But now at last I see that you have agreed with my point. Metaphysics is a proper subset of philosophy. Why, then, should someone with a not-very-strong interest in metaphysics not nevertheless be on a philosophy forum? After all this, you see my point.

    If I may ask ... why did you make this elementary rhetorical error? To claim that someone doesn't belong on a philosophy forum if they are uninterested in metaphysics; only to finally agree that metaphysics is only a part of philosophy?

    I'll score this round for me. Remember, Ali knocked Foreman senseless. But then again, Foreman went on to successfully market a line of kitchen grilling gadgets. So there's that.

    Sigh. I've always believed that each of us has so many keystrokes in our fingers, and this was a mighty load to little effect.

    I say again honestly, I have no idea what this is about. Except that you are wrong about the Programmer. If there is a God, and I am agnostic on whether there is or isn't; but if there is, God can not possibly be only a Programmer. Because the world is not computable. In fact the most interesting parts of the world are not computable. Mind, for one. Roger Penrose agrees with me on that.
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    Apparently, you don't understand the purpose of a philosophy forum. It's not intended to reinforce your own beliefs & biases, but to have them tested by others, who don't share your point of view.Gnomon
    :up:

    If you are not interested in "why" questions, why are you posting on a Philosophy Forum?
    Ah, okay, so you can use "why" appropriately to address persons. However "why questions" otherwise addressed to nonpersons (e.g. the universe) or mysteries (e.g. g/G) are based on assumed category mistakes; also, the latter merely beg the questions and the former anthropomorphize the addressee. Philosophy can only describe and conceptualize ideas about experience, personal existence and the world one finds oneself embedded in with other embeds. Speaking for myself, one reason to post on TPF is to point out, in good Pyrrhonian (rodeo clowning) fashion, the promiscuous errors in "thinking" which expect philosophy to provide (free of infinite regresses no less!) answers, solutions or "ultimate explanations".
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    * Regarding the ultimate nature of the world, I have no opinion, no beliefs, and little philosophical interest. That is, I am ignorant and apathetic. I don't know and I don't care.fishfry
    That's why we don't really have much to talk about. I responded to your original post, because it seemed to have something to do with the OP. But since then, you have indicated that both of us are wasting our time talking past each other. So, thanks for the exercise, but both of us have more important things to do. :cool:

    PS__Regarding the implications of a God programming this world, I remain agnostic, since for me it's just a philosophical metaphor to explain why the world works as it does. When we talk about Minds & Consciousness, we have no choice but to discuss Meta-physics in terms of Meta-phors. For the record, I have no personal contact with any supernatural beings.
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    However "why questions" otherwise addressed to nonpersons (e.g. the universe) or mysteries (e.g. g/G) are based on assumed category mistakes;180 Proof
    Actually, as I noted in my last reply to Fishfry, the nonperson (g/G) is a metaphor that philosophers have used for millennia in reference to holistic concepts that are beyond our personal sensory experience, but not beyond the reach of human Reason. The "category mistake" that is common with metaphors is to confuse the part with the whole.

    For example, we speak confidently of "The Universe", as-if we know what we are talking about. But no-one on this planet has ever experienced that holistic entity. All we know about The Cosmos is a conceptual model that has been gradually assembled by sages & scientists, from fragments of empirical data. And even those bits of information are limited to our finite cosmic light horizon. Consequently, when we talk about "The Universe", we don't really know what we are talking about. We are just using models and metaphors to convey our subjective ideas & opinions. And that is the sense in which I use the terms "Programmer" and "G*D". :smile:


    G*D :
    An ambiguous spelling of the common name for a supernatural deity. The Enformationism thesis is based upon an unprovable axiom that our world is an idea in the mind of G*D. This eternal deity is not imagined in a physical human body, but in a meta-physical mathematical form, equivalent to LOGOS. Other names : ALL, BEING, Creator, Enformer, MIND, Nature, Reason, Source, Programmer. The eternal Whole of which all temporal things are a part is not to be feared or worshipped, but appreciated like Nature.
    I refer to the logically necessary and philosophically essential First & Final Cause as G*D, rather than merely "X" the Unknown, partly out of respect. That’s because the ancients were not stupid, to interpret what we now call "Energy" as purposeful agencies, but merely shooting in the dark. We now understand the "How" of Nature much better, but not the "Why". That inscrutable agent of Entention is what I mean by G*D.

    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page13.html

    Cosmos often simply means "universe". But the word is generally used to suggest an orderly or harmonious universe, as it was originally used by Pythagoras in the 6th century B.C. Thus, a religious mystic may help put us in touch with the cosmos, and so may a physicist.
    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cosmos

    Logos :
    In Enformationism, it is the driving force of Evolution, Logos is the cause of all organization, and of all meaningful patterns in the world. It’s not a physical force though, but a metaphysical cause that can only be perceived by Reason, not senses or instruments.
    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page14.html
  • fishfry
    2.4k
    Regarding the implications of a God programming this world, I remain agnosticGnomon

    Why do you so studiously avoid the only substantive thing on which we disagree and that I have a definite opinion on?

    When I talk about Turing's limits on computation, and why God and the Programmer are two distinct things, and that a Great Programmer is distinctly weaker than God, do you know what I'm talking about? It's an important point. You need to understand it for your own work whether you talk to me about it or not. Penrose has made the argument that the mind is not computable, and he's speculated that quantum effects in the physical structures of the brain might be what allows us to transcend the limits of computability. It's very important for you to know about this stuff. You say the implications of "God programming this world," showing that you do not comprehend this subject. When you say God programs the world, you are placing massive restrictions on what God can do. God, by definition omnipotent, is not restricted by computability or programming. I see you don't get this but -- again, for your OWN work -- it's imperative that you do. Not for me, for you.

    But again, if you are agnostic, why did something I said get you to respond to me with such ... well, interest, passion, anger, whatever word you like. I said something that triggered you. Why else would you repeatedly say I don't belong on this forum, only in the end to completely agree with everything I said? What was it all about?

    Anyway God is not limited by computation, and the sooner you spend an afternoon Googling around about the subject, the sooner your own work will become sharper. As long as you think the world is programmed, you are making a powerful metaphysical assumption without even realizing it. The world might be created by God, the world might be programmed by God, or there might be no God. That is three things, not two. I suspect that you still don't get that.
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    But again, if you are agnostic, why did something I said get you to respond to me with such ... well, interest, passion, anger, whatever word you like. I said something that triggered you. Why else would you repeatedly say I don't belong on this forum, only in the end to completely agree with everything I said? What was it all about?fishfry
    Nothing you said "got to me", and nothing "triggered my anger". To the contrary, I got the impression that you were offended by my reference to the "G word", or to my use of the term "metaphysical". Personally, I don't care what you believe about Gods or UFOs. And I have no religious Faith to foist on you. I continued sparring with you though, because that's what I do on this forum. I have dialogs with many posters who don't agree with my worldview. But we are usually able to have calm, rational philosophical communication -- up to a point. And those who do get riled-up tend to gag on the notion of Meta-Physics.

    So, I must ask why you continue to reply to my posts, even though both of us have said that we have nothing further to talk about. Apparently, something "got under your skin". And I suppose it's because your definition of "Metaphysics" is radically different from my definition of "Meta-Physics". FWIW, I'll give you my definition again, below. :grin: :joke: :cool:

    PS__I never said that you "don't belong on this forum". I merely asked why you post on a philosophical forum, when you only want to talk about physical (empirical) evidence. Philosophers are theorists -- they don't do empirical research. Abstract, theoretical entities, such as gods & ghosts & neutrinos & dark matter, are "super-sensual" (i.e. no-one has ever seen or touched a chunk of Dark Matter, because "it's just a theory"). And reasonable people remain "agnostic" about things that seem plausible but can't be verified by personal experience. :smile:

    PPS__Dark Matter has measurable effects on the physical world even though it is invisible --- just like the ancient weather "gods" and the "angels" that pushed planets around. They were like "Dark" Agents of change. :joke:

    PPPS__ I can go on like this as long as you hold-up your end of the dialog. :halo:

    See! -- "no blood, no foul".

    What is the difference between Philosophy and Metaphysics? "
    . . . . the difference between philosophy and metaphysics is that philosophy is an academic discipline that seeks truth through reasoning rather than empiricism while metaphysics is the study of a supersensual realm or of phenomena which transcend the physical world.
    https://wikidiff.com/philosophy/metaphysics

    Meta-Physics :
    The branch of philosophy that examines the logical nature of reality, including the relationship between Matter & Mind, Substance & Attribute, Fact & Value, and Quanta & Qualia.
    1. Often dismissed by materialists as idle speculation on topics not amenable to empirical proof.
    2. Aristotle divided his treatise on science into two parts. The world as-known-via-the-senses was labeled “physics” - what we call "Science" today. And the world as-known-by-the-mind, by reason, was labeled “metaphysics” - what we now call "Philosophy" .
    3. Plato called the unseen world that hides behind the physical façade: “Ideal” as opposed to Real. For him, Ideal “forms” (concepts) were prior-to the Real “substance” (matter).
    4. Physics refers to the things we perceive with the eye of the body. Meta-physics refers to the things we conceive with the eye of the mind. Meta-physics includes the properties, and qualities, and functions that make a thing what it is. Matter is just the clay from which a thing is made. Meta-physics is the design (form, purpose); physics is the product (shape, action). The act of creation brings an ideal design into actual existence. The design concept is the “formal” cause of the thing designed.
    5. I use a hyphen in the spelling to indicate that I am not talking about Ghosts and Magic, but about Ontology (science of being).
    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page14.html
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