- Aug 2, 2011
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
I think we're close to being on the same page with regard to the above. I became more convinced that materialism (note that I do not equate this with atheism, though I do think they make good bedfellows) is a very weak position after I stopped reading science journalism as a means of attaining reliable information, and started wading through the actual science. It seems to me that science journalists vastly overblow the implications of neuroscience--though they are partly encouraged by a small but vocal group of brain scientists who are great at neuroscience but who are, importantly, lousy at philosophy. I can expand and provide examples on request. I decided to go the philosophy route because it seemed to me that's still where the real issues are to be found.
I'm not entirely sure what you're going for? Because you don't like the potential implications scientists apply in neuroscience, you're, basically, going to dismiss science as a whole? That's the equivalent of saying, well the atom bomb was a devastation, therefore I'm gonna dismiss the Theory of Relativity. If you'd like to provide examples, I wouldn't turn that down. This behavior strikes me as irrational. Why do you say materialism is a very weak position? It, at least, requires some evidence for claims before assertion, as opposed to many other fields which do not have any such restrictions.
I'm not sure the distinct is quite that clear. Philosophy that had nothing to do with reality (depending on what we mean by that word) probably won't get much traction. On the other hand, it's not clear to me that science is capable of deciding some fundamental questions about the nature of reality. Do we live in Russell's universe, or Berkeley's? Both have the same observational consequences, but they're definitely not the same universe. We have to decide which account to prefer on philosophical grounds
Well Berkeley declared material substance didn't exist - do you agree with that? What fundamental questions to reality do you want answered?
The reason I think philosophy creeps into the picture when we admit that there's no definitive test to tell whether a thing is designed or not is because that implies no observation we could make will decide the question for us. Atheists, for example, will then try to bring in principles of parsimony (Occam's razor, for instance)...but the claim that a principle of parsimony should be employed is a philosophical one. It may be good philosophy (or it may not be), but it's still philosophy.
Sure, however, it is still a claim about reality. I would also make the distinction that the PoP should be employed is philsophical, but the idea that it is employed is scientific.
Well, this is just to rework the same question. We know there are things that are designed. It's a fact, for example, that the computer I'm typing on is designed. But if it's not impossible for it to have just come together via unguided processes, then...
Begging the question. Irreducible complexity has been thoroughly shot down. It's an argument from ignorance and a "god of the gaps" fallacy. You should look up Kirschner (HMS) and Gerhart's (UC) work on facilitated variation.
Here's the point: take this computer as an analogy for the universe, just conditionally speaking (i.e. for the sake of deciding a principle, not as a positive fact). As it happens, it's a fact that the computer is designed. But if we didn't know that, and we had to just figure it out, it would always be possible for someone to claim that the computer is not designed. The problem is that this is incorrect. If we were in that situation, we'd be getting it wrong.
That's because we know differently. And, we know that these parts must be manufactured, etc. However, the universe has entirely natural things within it and has been shown to be possible without the invocation of a supernatural source. It seems to me, you're presenting a false analogy.
Now: I do not claim that the universe is necessarily designed. I agree there's no test we can make that will tell us. But that's the whole point. In such a situation, if we stick to only what tests may tell us, we run a risk of getting it wrong, and having no idea whether we've gotten it wrong or not.
But the scientific method is self correcting; religion is not - it guarantees accuracy from the start. Are we going to get everything right 100% of the time from now onwards? Almost a guarantee the answer is "no." But, for now, we are studying things using the most advanced technology yet and learning things that would've previously been unknowable and, hopefully, this trend will continue.
This is why talk of probabilities is so important. Again, if we're trying to figure out the computer, we might be able to calculate the probabilities it could come together without design. If the probability is very, very low, we might reasonably conclude it is designed.
The multiverse theory weighs on the actual probabilities. If the universe is a one-off, then it looks very probable that it was designed. Not certain, but I think it's a good bet. On the other hand, if the universe we have is the result of a nearly infinite sequence of previous trials, then probability becomes much less of a factor. It's extemely improbable that I'll win the lottery, but if I buy enough tickets, likely as not I'll win eventually.
The point the article seems to want to make is that the probability argument came up again from recent observations, and that the multiverse response is merely ad hoc. I'm not convinced it is. There may be other reasons to think there are multiverses, but I have to admit I'm not well-versed in the subject. Of course, if it is ad hoc, then that seems like bad philosophy to me.
If it is very, very low ≠ "goddidit." Also, why do you say if the universe is one-off, then it argues for design? That just tells me that the universe is all that we know about. You're drawing conclusions from something not really related. Ad hoc doesn't necessarily imply incorrectness; for evidence of this, just look at Einstein's cosmological constant.