• Wayfarer
    12.1k
    Hey didn’t mean to put you on the defensive, just a review I had noticed. But from it, I learned that Carroll does say in the beginning of that book, that there is ‘one world, the natural world’. But then, Carroll is one of the major public intellectuals advocating the ‘many-worlds interpretation’ of physics. Odd.
  • Manuel
    638


    No it's fine, I like to see these type of reviews, I tend to agree with them.

    Yeah, it is strange. He says something like the other worlds are part of the one natural world, something like that. But there's no way to test these other worlds.

    He has an interesting discussion with Goff about consciousness. Goff is panpsychist whereas Carroll is sympathetic to Dennett, but less extreme.
  • Wayfarer
    12.1k
    I don’t particularly agree with Goff but I’m nearer to his view than the other two. Actually in years passed he registered here to query a post I’d written about him.
  • Possibility
    2.1k
    I tend to prefer the term ‘arrange’, rather than ‘assemble’. I don’t think there’s necessarily a pre-determined purpose or reason for things to be brought together a certain way. But I do think there is an underlying logic.
    — Possibility

    As I don't hold to physicalism, I am sceptical of the effort to explain living things in terms of physical laws. I'm sceptical of the idea that the increase in order that we see with the evolution of life and the development of technological culture is literally balanced by an increase of entropy in the universe generally. As I mention below, I don't see how this is conceivably testable as an hypothesis.
    Wayfarer

    I understand your scepticism, and I didn’t say this equation was balanced. I’m talking about inefficiency. If you read my more recent reply to Gary, I think that life is highly efficient in maintaining order within itself, but the attention and effort required to maintain this order is ongoing, and so each organism does consume energy and expel waste. It is everything else we do to save ourselves time, money and discomfort, though, that lacks an awareness of how energy flows in the broader system.

    When we turn on the heater in our house, do we know how much energy it uses? If we have the option to simply add a layer of clothing instead, theoretically we can calculate the difference in energy use within the global system - but do we? Entropy is the number of macroscopic states that our blurred vision of the world fails to distinguish. To the extent that our efforts to maintain a suitable temperature are inefficient, generating heat we can’t use or don’t need, we are increasing entropy. I’m not a physicist or mathematician, but I do think this is conceivably testable.

    The related question I have is that, just as there is 'the arrow of time', there at least seems to be an 'arrow of complexity' i.e. more intelligent and self-aware beings have developed over time. However, this belief is rejected as orthogenetic by mainstream science.

    I would like, for example, to at least entertain the notion that the evolution of intelligent beings fulfils a natural purpose - that there is an inherent tendency in nature to evolve towards greater levels of self-awareness. However this too is rejected as taboo in evolutionary science on the grounds that it is teleological, it presumes a purpose when there can be no purposes with an intelligent agent. And the only intelligent agent that science knows of is h. sapiens.
    Wayfarer

    I’m wary that your related question may take us a little off topic. I think you and I have interacted before on this forum with regard to the notion of teleology and evolution, and may have also been in agreement in relation to Nagel’s book ‘Mind and Cosmos’. I will say that I agree with you on the apparent ‘arrow of complexity’ and inherent tendency towards greater levels of ‘self-awareness’.

    But I’m not sure that this necessarily translates to purpose. In his book, Nagel proposes a third alternative to the randomness vs purpose debate. I think there are hints to this third option throughout philosophy and science, including Kant’s ‘purposiveness without purpose’, the potentiality of QM, neuroscience’s interoception of affect and the notion of wu-wei in the Tao Te Ching. I think there is an underlying tendency in existence towards increasing awareness, connection and collaboration, as well as an overarching tendency to consolidate information through ignorance, isolation and exclusion. They have the potential to cancel each other out - and yet, here we are...
  • Wayfarer
    12.1k
    Indeed. Splendid response, thank you.
  • Manuel
    638


    Me neither. I don't quite follow his argument and what I can make out of it isn't persuasive.

    But of course I'll take panpsychism over consciousness deniers or people who downplay what it is.
  • 180 Proof
    3.4k
    Who said anything about the particular origin of life? Not I. You've confused my post on disorder with someone else's, Wayf. As for you "not buying it", that's okay for what it's worth – science "sells" defeasible, approximate, provisional truths whether or not you/we "buy" them. And that notorious Dalai Lama quote points out that 'intuitive practices' like Buddhism (or other ritualized woo) are constrained by and not independent of, or its claims more truth-bearing than, the natural sciences; so that, by implication, whereof the natural & formal sciences cannot yet speak, we must remain either mystagogic or metaphysical.
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    Naturalism assumes nature: it’s simply a ‘brute fact’ that life does exist, and its existence provides the only evidence which is admissible in the court of natural science. And that is as it should be. When it becomes disingenuous, is when people like Dawkins and Dennett try to extend that to the question of cause or ground which is excluded from their arguments as a matter of principle.Wayfarer

    Did you read what you wrote? If only a certain kind of evidence is properly admissible in a court, why is it disingenuous to exclude that which is impermissible in that court? And never mind disingenuous, it is a necessary obligation and job of the judges of the court to keep what is impermissible out, for the which in real courts judges are supplied with whatever they need to accomplish that, and properly so. Agreed?

    It is people who willy-nilly under the swell and sway of belief cannot stand the fact that the world does not operate on the basis of their belief, and so try to impose it. Belief is the murderer in the world, not science.

    Belief the jealous, envious, green-eyed monster that what it cannot eat, it strives to kill.
  • niki wonoto
    10
    What if nothing eventually can win against entropy? Does it then make everything meaningless?
  • ChatteringMonkey
    843


    What if nothing eventually can win against entropy? Does it then make everything meaningless?niki wonoto

    No, meaning isn't solely defined by ultimate outcomes... what we do in between also matters.
  • Wayfarer
    12.1k
    If only a certain kind of evidence is properly admissible in a court, why is it disingenuous to exclude that which is impermissible in that court?tim wood

    When it's relevant to the issue, but not admissible due to the legal rules. What I'm saying is that evolutionary biology and naturalism generally has certain rules of evidence - what should be considered admissable. And I'm asking, is the question 'why do living things exist?' out-of-scope for that method. I think it's arguable that the question is not intelligible from the viewpoint of science. And that, because this is not appreciated, it leads to a certain kind of very pervasive misunderstanding.
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    I think it's arguable that the question is not intelligible from the viewpoint of science. And that, because this is not appreciated, it leads to a certain kind of very pervasive misunderstanding.Wayfarer
    I can't quite make out which way you're headed, with this.

    If you mean the misunderstanding that theology (for example) is not and equally significantly cannot be any kind of science, to the end of trying to have religion (for example) understood as a science. Then amen. Is that it?
  • 3017amen
    2.9k
    And never mind disingenuous, it is a necessary obligation and job of the judges of the court to keep what is impermissible out, for the which in real courts judges are supplied with whatever they need to accomplish that, and properly so. Agreed?

    It is people who willy-nilly under the swell and sway of belief cannot stand the fact that the world does not operate on the basis of their belief, and so try to impose it. Belief is the murderer in the world, not science.

    Belief the jealous, envious, green-eyed monster that what it cannot eat, it strives to kill.
    tim wood

    Mr. Wood:

    I see you may need a little tough love here. You've made some wild suppositions, and either-or arguments that are at best, non-sequitur's.

    1. How does "the Judge" determine which "Naturalism" criteria is appropriate?
    2. If the "the Judge" has a belief system (Atheist/Christian) how does that effect their rulings?

    In this context, you have yet to define "Belief" other than your own arbitrary use of it. Please clarify?
  • Gary Enfield
    142


    Hi Niki

    Despite people's preference for emphasising entropy instead of recognising assembly/accumulation when it arises, something had to create the original 'accumulation' from which entropy started to spread energy out and/or increase general disorder.

    If you believe in the big bang - big crunch theory of existence, the big crunch will effectively re-assemble, using gravity. We can therefore say that Gravity is an assembling force wherever it is perceived.

    The current increase in the red-shift of galaxies might mean that we are already in that crunch phase, or it may, as is more commonly perceived, be interpreted as a breakdown of the bang-crunch mechanism - in which case there has been a spontaneous or random change to a previously eternal system.

    Alternate theories of origin have therefore been offered by scientists desperate to avoid spontaneity or randomness. They speculate, for instance, about hidden curtains of energy (conveniently beyond our view) that produce a big bang when they touch, but are kept apart when physical matter exists between them.

    In other words, they seek to describe a different eternal/cyclical process which is not affected by the perceived accelerating expansion of the universe.

    The point of me outlining these strategic factors is that if we are trying to be honest about what is possible - there is logic to say that your concerns may be unfounded in the long-term.

    It is convenient for people, recognising the current state of the universe, to place a general emphasis on entropy and increasing disorder, but strategically there had to be an accumulation at some point - which leaves open the possibilitiy / likelihood that it would happen again.

    That said, I agree with ChatteringMonkey when he/she said that what we do matters.

    As I posted before, we can see forces of accumulation, it's just that people don't want to label them that way. If we acknowledge gravity in this way, then why not Life?

    Individuals may come an go, but life as a whole has only ever increased in terms of size and complexity.
    I liked a phrase from one of my favourite authors (Finipolscie) who said
    "Thought is the only thing that can cause matter/energy to deviate from its inevitable chemical path".
    Collectively, a growing force of life may yet have a significant impact on physical events.
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    Sorry, 3017. I know your comments and questions, from you, to be either meaningless, or in service of motives I have reason to believe are hidden and dishonest.

    Not to mention I have asked you numerous questions you have not answered. All others take note.
  • 3017amen
    2.9k



    And never mind disingenuous, it is a necessary obligation and job of the judges of the court to keep what is impermissible out, for the which in real courts judges are supplied with whatever they need to accomplish that, and properly so. Agreed?

    It is people who willy-nilly under the swell and sway of belief cannot stand the fact that the world does not operate on the basis of their belief, and so try to impose it. Belief is the murderer in the world, not science.

    Belief the jealous, envious, green-eyed monster that what it cannot eat, it strives to kill.
    — tim wood

    Mr. Wood:

    I see you may need a little tough love here. You've made some wild suppositions, and either-or arguments that are at best, non-sequitur's.

    1. How does "the Judge" determine which "Naturalism" criteria is appropriate?
    2. If the "the Judge" has a belief system (Atheist/Christian) how does that effect their rulings?

    In this context, you have yet to define "Belief" other than your own arbitrary use of it. Please clarify?

    (Second time, please answer.)
  • Wayfarer
    12.1k
    If you mean the misunderstanding that theology (for example) is not and equally significantly cannot be any kind of science, to the end of trying to have religion (for example) understood as a science. Then amen. Is that it?tim wood

    More the fact that science is looked to to replace theology, when it starts from different premisses and asks different questions. That is how it develops into evolution as a religion. It's believed that if you take religion out of the picture then life is somehow self-explanatory in terms analogous to a chemical reaction - it's just a matter of understanding how it got started, which is a daunting problem, but not necessarily insuperable. But what that doesn't acknowledge is the initial decision made as part of the scientific method, which is to exclude factors which are not amenable to objectification and quantification, then, having excluded them, declaring there's no evidence that any such factors are significant. It's a result of looking at problems in a specific way, but then extending that to declarations that are a fortiori out of scope.

    Biblical fundamentalism clings to a literal belief that the Bible is a kind of scientific hypothesis - foolishly, in my view. But scientific materialism clings to the belief that it's literally false. I, for one, have never believed that the Biblical creation myth is literally true, so the fact that it's not literally true has never struck me as being significant. Yet the question is often implicitly viewed through that prism.

    Ernst Mayr, one of the architects of the modern [evolutionary] synthesis, has been one of the most outspoken supporters of the view that life is fundamentally different from inanimate matter. In The growth of biological thought, he made this point in no uncertain terms: ‘… The discovery of the genetic code was a breakthrough of the first order. It showed why organisms are fundamentally different from any kind of nonliving material. There is nothing in the inanimate world that has a genetic program which stores information with a history of three thousand million years!’

    The idea that ‘life is chemistry plus information’ implies that information is ontologically different from chemistry, but can we prove it? Perhaps the strongest argument in support of this claim has come from Hubert Yockey, one of the organizers of the first congress dedicated to the introduction of Shannon's information in biology. In a long series of articles and books, Yockey has underlined that heredity is transmitted by factors that are ‘segregated, linear and digital’ whereas the compounds of chemistry are ‘blended, three-dimensional and analogue’.

    Yockey underlined that: ‘Chemical reactions in non-living systems are not controlled by a message … There is nothing in the physico-chemical world that remotely resembles reactions being determined by a sequence and codes between sequences’.

    Yockey has tirelessly pointed out that no amount of chemical evolution can cross the barrier that divides the analogue world of chemistry from the digital world of life, and concluded from this that the origin of life cannot have been the result of chemical evolution. This is therefore, according to Yockey, what divides life from matter: information is ontologically different from chemistry because linear and digital sequences cannot be generated by the analogue reactions of chemistry.

    At this point, one would expect to hear from Yockey how did linear and digital sequences appear on Earth, but he did not face that issue. He claimed instead that the origin of life is unknowable, in the same sense that there are propositions of logic that are undecidable. This amounts to saying that we do not know how linear and digital entities came into being; all we can say is that they were not the result of spontaneous chemical reactions. The information paradigm, in other words, has not been able to prove its ontological claim, and that is why the chemical paradigm has not been abandoned.

    What is information? Marcello Barbieri.

    Please understand I'm not coverly defending intelligent design arguments, but that, along with Mary Midgley, Thomas Nagel, Raymond Tallis, and other secular philosophers, I believe there's a fundamental conceptual issue underlying the scientific attitude to this question.
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    I will consider your new questions after you have answered my old questions.
  • 3017amen
    2.9k


    And never mind disingenuous, it is a necessary obligation and job of the judges of the court to keep what is impermissible out, for the which in real courts judges are supplied with whatever they need to accomplish that, and properly so. Agreed?

    It is people who willy-nilly under the swell and sway of belief cannot stand the fact that the world does not operate on the basis of their belief, and so try to impose it. Belief is the murderer in the world, not science.

    Belief the jealous, envious, green-eyed monster that what it cannot eat, it strives to kill.
    — tim wood

    Mr. Wood:

    I see you may need a little tough love here. You've made some wild suppositions, and either-or arguments that are at best, non-sequitur's.

    1. How does "the Judge" determine which "Naturalism" criteria is appropriate?
    2. If the "the Judge" has a belief system (Atheist/Christian) how does that effect their rulings?

    In this context, you have yet to define "Belief" other than your own arbitrary use of it. Please clarify?

    (Third request, please answer.)
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    @Wayfarer
    all we can say is that they were not the result of spontaneous chemical reactions.
    And that known? And how? Because on the assumption that it originated somehow not on earth or of or from earth, still, it arose somewhere, somehow. And that's the underlying challenge, it seems to me. It's all science, though not all the answers yet known, or it's all supernatural and inexplicable - which latter case in no way obviates a need for sense and science. That is, even if it's God, that really solves no problems
  • Wayfarer
    12.1k
    Because on the assumption that it originated somehow not on earth or of or from earth, still, it arose somewhere, somehow. And that's the underlying challenge, it seems to me. It's all science, though not all the answers yet known, or it's all supernatural and inexplicable - which latter case in no way obviates a need for sense and science. That is, even if it's God, that really solves no problemstim wood

    I say there’s an ontological discontinuity here. (If you know what that means, you’re ahead of about 99% of posters.) And do look at the dichotomy that is burned and branded into your evaluation of this problem; it’s one or the other, either something knowable to science, or Mysticism and Ancient Superstition. One would hope that philosophy can navigate this Charybdis without being sucked into the whirlpool.
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    it’s one or the other, either something knowable to science,Wayfarer
    Flensed, rendered, boiled, it comes down to is or isn't. Life is attributable to causes that either are or are not. If they are, then they're at least in principle knowable. If not, then not. But it's hard to see how something that is, that is knowable and known, was caused by something that wasn't and isn't.

    And do look at the dichotomy that is burned and branded into your evaluation of this problem; it’s one or the other,Wayfarer
    You omitted an option. Call it the scientific option. The "I don't know" option.

    Perhaps the difference in views here is that I (try to) stick with the I don't know, at least until I know. Or in full form, because I do not know, therefore I do not know. The other view being because I do not know, therefore I know. Corollary: because I know from what I do not know, then what I know is not constrained by anything known, and thus what I know can take any fantastic form or shape, and being unconstrained by criteria of knowing, must be true (if I say it is). And of course what those guys over there playing the same game claim is true, cannot be, because I say so.

    No ontological discontinuity here. Too modest for it on one side. Madness on the other.

    For clarity's sake. Nothing theological as any kind of original cause. It's madness to think so. (Theology as idea a proximate cause of all kinds of things, especially madness.)
  • Wayfarer
    12.1k
    Theology as idea a proximate cause of all kinds of things, especially madness.tim wood

    I have never found it to be so, but I'll leave it.
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    Maybe I should have said religion. If so my bad and I accept the correction.

    Point being that more people have killed more people on religion's account than anything else. Maybe the XXth century excepted - depends on fascism and communism being religions or not.
  • Wayfarer
    12.1k
    Point being that more people have killed more people on religion's account than anything elsetim wood

    More than Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung? I don't think so. Religious wars are a stain on history, no doubt about that, but there have been many mass atrocities committed for reasons other than religion. But the point at issue is philosophical, not religious, as such. The fact that it has become associated with religion, is one of the reasons that the philosophical issue is so hard to discern. Culture tends to force everyone into one of two apparently irreconcilable categories - either hard-nosed, materialist science, or superstitious, gullible religion. But some are saying there is a third way.
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    From your referenced site:

    "It has come to our attention that THE THIRD WAY web site is wrongly being referenced by proponents of Intelligent Design and creationist ideas as support for their arguments. We intend to make it clear that the website and scientists listed on the web site do not support or subscribe to any proposals that resort to inscrutable divine forces or supernatural intervention, whether they are called Creationism, Intelligent Design, or anything else."

    So even in broad terms, what you got? To be clear, my stance is science v. non-science. If anyone has an issue with 19th century science v. modern science, that's fine with me. Now perhaps be good enough to make your case clear either in a couple of categorial statements or a well-crafted whether-this-or-that statement. We might be both on the same side, and no sense in arguing then.
  • Wayfarer
    12.1k
    "Thought is the only thing that can cause matter/energy to deviate from its inevitable chemical path".Gary Enfield

    if I were to replace 'thought' with 'reason' then I would agree with this proposition. But if you say that thought and reason are the consequence of a material process, then we're on opposite sides of the debate.

    This is because h. sapiens can 'see reason' i.e. recognise the reason for things, and the meaning of things, and can act in accordance with reason, which can't be explained in terms of determinism or material necessity.
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    Sure, ideas, no problem. "Cause" is a slippery word, but I don't think we're sliding yet.

    And thought and reason grounded in a material process itself grounded in a material - a brain. I am not going to pretend to be able to account for how mind becomes from its ground in (a) brain. But if not that, there, then what, where?
  • Wayfarer
    12.1k
    And thought and reason grounded in a material process itself grounded in a material - a braintim wood

    There's where we differ. Everyone believes that - it's obvious, it simply must be the case. Well, I say it's mistaken, that it's a deep and pervasive mistake. And because of the way we've 'constructed' the world, then it's impossible to think of any alternatives. We're in a 'thought-world' which dictates how we see the issue.

    I'm of the view that nothing is truly physical. Why? Because the nature of matter itself is uknown. This is proven by the fact that having built the largest and most complex apparatus in the history, science still doesn't understand the composition of the very simplest object in the universe, namely, the hydrogen atom. They harder they look, the bigger the questions become. They want to build a ring the size of the moon's orbit around the earth. I wonder if they did whether the questions would get even bigger. So nothing is 'really physical' or 'only physical', because nobody knows what 'physical' is.

    As a consequence we're living in a world of assumed meanings, where we designate and label our experience according to notions of what is real that are culturally constructed. I agrree that it's devilishly hard to see through that - but that is what philosophy is about.

    Anyway, I'm glad to be able to bring it to this point, even though I know there's no way you'll agree. But it's worth articulating where the difference really lies. (I have to log out for the day.)
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    As a consequence we're living in a world of assumed meanings, where we designate and label our experience according to notions of what is real that are culturally constructed. I agree that it's devilishly hard to see through that - but that is what philosophy is about.

    Anyway, I'm glad to be able to bring it to this point, even though I know there's no way you'll agree. But it's worth articulating where the difference really lies. (I have to log out for the day.)
    Wayfarer

    But we do agree! But also we differ. I live in a world of reality as reality seems to me, but none-the-less real for the seeming. You, apparently, deny that reality. Whereas I would agree only that you can if you care to deny a reality in favor of another, depending on context and usage. By this I mean exactly that for me a chair is to sit in, which I am doing in this chair here, while I acknowledge that an atomic(?) scientist might inform me that it's really almost entirely profoundly empty space but more or less uniformly filled with molecules and atoms, which, on the basis of how they work, allow me to have my chair.

    And if molecules and atoms not enough, then something. And if something isn't enough, meaning nothing, then that leaves the phenomenon of my sitting in this chair here to be accounted for, and if not that, then perhaps we retreat all the way back to Cartesian consciousness, and at that point it's the chair or the demon. Take your pick - but ultimately something. Yes? No?
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