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Keith Johnson
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Hi Robin: I am a Christian and (a) I believe that my salvation though Christ is a literal fact and (b)I don't believe that God ever ordered people to commit genocide. here's why I think what I think. 1. I believe that God exists. There are quite a few reasons I believe that, but one of the big reasons for me is because we human beings experience awareness which doesn't seem at all consistent with the idea that reality is just matter/energy and the laws of physics. I can see how a sufficiently complex combination of atoms might BEHAVE as if it were conscious, sort of like how Map Quest can calculate the house to house directions, but I don't see how those unconscious atoms could ACTUALLY be aware of anything at all. Consciousness IS consistent with the idea of God who wants to have a relationship with sentient beings, not consistent with atheistic materialism. 2. God as portrayed by the Gospel of Christ fits my intuitions about God, love, right and wrong. 3. The basic story of Jesus' death and resurrection has a certain amount of historical support. Not as much as a lot of Christian apologists like to say (IMO) but some. For example, the gospel accounts make women the first witnesses of the empty tomb; a made up story wouldn't have put allegedly unreliable females as part of the proof that Jesus really rose from the dead. I'm not saying this is proof positive that jesus really did rise, but--here I allude to my expertise in mathematical probability:-)--I can produce a Bayesian argument to go from my original intuition to a pretty high probability that the Resurrection was real. 4. But the old testament descriptions of a Warrior God DON'T fit my basic intuitions about God. Consequently I cannot accept them as a description of God's authentic attitude.
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Hi Robin: It does seem surprising to me when people who are not experts in a field seem so confident that the vast majority in that field are wrong. Certainly experts can BE wrong, but I wouldn't go into a convention of heart surgeons and tell them they are wrong about by-pass surgery. your friend Keith
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Hi D: I don't want this to be a debate about global warming, so I'll not bother to mention that the vast majority of climate scientists agree that (a) the climate is warming and (b) human actions are involved (in fact it has to be because it is undeniable that the green house gases we are releasing into the atmosphere are a net absorber of solar energy). MY beef was with the suggestion that the President was exploiting an false claim of necessity to impose his nefarious policies on the nation. There is no evidence that Democratic support for government action to reduce green house emission is based on anything other than an honest belief that green house emissions pose a serious threat to humanity. Since things like cap and trade are legitimate way to address the costs that the unregulated market doesn't account for, there is nothing inherently tyrannical about implementing C & T. The only question is how much cost does green house emission impose, which is a technical scientific question, not a political one.
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Hi Daniel: A couple of points. 1. While necessity CAN be an excuse for something, it can also be a legitimate reason. It all boils down to whether or not the claimed necessity really IS necessary. 2. About cap and trade. Back in the olden days, cap and trade used to be a conservative, market based solution to pollution, contrasted with the mandated emission standards approach. The idea is standard market economics, pure Adam Smith. The market works (so say free marketeers)when the costs of something are reflected in the price; when producers have to pay the cost of production they have to add that cost into the price they charge and there is an incentive to reduce costs so producers make more profit. Pollution imposes a cost that producers DON'T have to pay because (absent government intervention) they just dump the pollution into the environment and society as a whole pays the price in a damaged ecosystem. In cap and trade, producers have to pay a price to pollute by paying for pollution permits, but they can sell those permits to others if they produce less pollution than they were permitted. This provides a market incentive to reduce pollution, utilizing the "invisible hand" to bring about change instead of just the (free marketeers claim) heavy hand of government mandates. Making people pay for the damage they cause is NOT tyrannical, not in the least.
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I know a lot of liberals and none of the people I know would say that disagreement with the President implies racism. None of the serious commentators on the left say such and (maybe more importantly) President Obama has explicitly disavowed such a sentiment. But I cannot help but think that a lot of the raging paranoia on the right IS motivated in part by racial prejudice. raging left wing paranoia is motivated by a different pathology, but it is also pathological. One of the worst problems of our political discourse these days is the idea that HONEST disagreement is impossible, that the only reason "they" disagree with "us" is that they are reprehensible traitors or greedy bastards. IMO the tea party anger is fueled by that kind of animus, and so was a lot of the anti-religious bigotry tossed about the extremist left. From my (biased) POV, the percentage of crazy right wingers is larger than the proportion of crazies on the left--much larger. But nuts on my side definitely exist and I demounce their nuttiness, both here and when I encounter it. But I denounce it very politely:-) your friend Keith
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hi Aaron; This is probably a nit picking thing but you wrote: Praising Obama is not impossible for a conservative like me. I honestly wish I could do it more, but that would require him pushing legislation and policies I support, which would lead him to alienate his natural supporters. It also might require him to push policies that he himself disagrees with. The thing is, people disagree about political policies. I don't think there's any reason for you to wish you could praise the President more often--there's only reason for you to wish that he agreed with you more often. This isn't a big deal, props to you for giving the President credit when you think it's due. That attitude is what's needed to help end the toxicity of present-day political discourse. But it seems to me implicit in your comment that it's a sad fact that we all cannot praise the President of the US. I think that's wrong. Unless you are saying that you generally think the President has behaved dishonorably. If that's your opinion then I'd just say you are flat out wrong:-) keith
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Hi Louis: Thus proof that miracles DO exist! :-) keith
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Hi Cin: KEITH: And what about spiritual things--do THEY always leave evidence?" CIN: Well first, they have to exist to even be able to leave evidence. Also, there is a question of existence if something is unobserved. "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Clicky if interested. KEITH: I'd say that things DO exist independent of their being observed. But see the point of my question. You claim that unless there is evidence for the existence of something the something probably doesn't exist. When I asked you to show this rule is true you claimed that whatever exists leaves evidence of its existence "even quarks". But clearly you would say you only have evidence that material things follow this principle which means you have no evidence to justify using that principle in spiritual matters. KEITH: "I don't get your point. [about death as the undiscovered country]" CIN: We know nothing about what happens after we die. It's complete speculation. KEITH: Here you assume that (let's say) The Q'uran is not a reliable source of truth wrt to the afterlife. This of course PRESUPPOSES the Q'uran is not from God since God would presumaby be a reliable source. your friend Keith
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Hi Cin: KEITH: "I'm not asking you to say anything except how you get that Tinkerbell probably doesn't exist from the fact that you have never seen her." CIN: ...it's probably not true because things that exist leave evidence of their existence, even quarks. KEITH: Always? And what about spiritual things--do THEY always leave evidence? If you say yes then you agree they exist, if you say no then you agree that lack of evidence doesn't show they probably don't exist. KEITH: "You mean what properties do I believe God has that Tinkerbell does not? Being creator of heaven and earth for one. Existence for the other:-)" CIN:Like I said then, "...it's only what we believe about them that distinguishes one from the other." KEITH: No. There is s difference between being the creator of the universe and being a tiny flying girl who hangs out with Peter Pan whether or not I believe in either. KEITH: "Not always (or at least I'll bet you can't PROVE they always do)" CIN: I can't prove the sun always rises either. KEITH: Your point? Is it that you don't need proof for things you believe? KEITH: "What proof do you have that the rule applies to questions about the non-physical?" CIN: What proof do I have that the burden of proof applies to the non-physical? I can provide an example, "do you realize there is a leprechaun sitting on my shoulder? I observe that the burden of proof mitigates such claims." I'm not sure how one would go about proving such a thing. I'll ask your help in this. KEITH: What does mitigating a claim mean? It seems to me you just mean that IF you CHOOSE to apply the burden of proof rule you can avoid believing some false claims. KEITH: "But how does that show that if a claim has no evidence it PROBABLY isn't true?" CIN: ...it's probably not true because things that exist leave evidence of their existence, even quarks. Critters who leave no evidence of their existence are easily made up. Remember that leprechaun I claim is sitting on my shoulder? I think you'd agree with me that claim is probably not true. KEITH: I agree the Leprechaun probably doesn't exist. But the fact that requiring evidence helps you avoid believing some false claims doesn't demonstrate that claims that aren't supported by evidence are probably false. All I'm asking for is your demonstration. KEITH: "What proof (I ask again) do you have that the whatever cannot pass your rule is probably false?" CIN: I can provide an example, "do you realize there is a leprechaun sitting on my shoulder? I observe that the burden of proof mitigates such claims." I'm not sure how one would go about proving such a thing. I'll ask your help in this. KEITH: How does that show that whatever fails to meet the burden of proof is probably false? KEITH: "Because (I claim) I have demonstrated that the supernatural exists with my argument from objective morality and authentic choice." CIN: I think that the existence of the supernatural does not follow from the existence of subjective or objective morality. I think morality is perfectly natural. So, I don't see why we have to add magic to matter. KEITH: Thus, the discussion comes to and end, right? We are merely repeating ourselves. KEITH: "On naturalism all we ARE is bio-robots." CIN: But when we add magic, we become more than bio-robots, right? KEITH: Being more that bio-robots IS supernatural. KEITH: "...you haven't observed the reason they believe, all you do is speculate about their motivations." CIN: It's wishful thinking because death is the undiscovered country. KEITH: I don't get your point. KEITH: "A more open approach where you don't automatically disqualify the non-natural. Your approach makes theism automatically out of bounds." CIN: It does for me personally. If you want to believe that God gives everyone morality, guides evolution, or conducts the music of the spheres, I have no problem with that. I used to believe in magic (forces beyond natural) too. I'd like to believe that someday I'd be reunited with loved ones who've passed, but I just don't hold that belief. It's like wanting to believe 2+2=5. KEITH: Feel free to disbelieve whatever you want to. KEITH: "So you say that SOMETIMES being closed-minded is appropriate?" CIN: No one wants to be gullible. The point then is, according to you there is nothing in PRINCIPLE wrong with being close-minded as long as you are close-mined about the right stuff? your friend Keith
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Hi Cin: KEITH: I also wonder how you come to the conclusion that Tinkerbell probably doesn't exist." CIN: Like gods, Tinkerbell is supernatural. I trust my senses and those of others (enhanced by microscopes, telescopes, etc.) and they don't include Tinkerbell, Jehovah, or Thor. If you want me to say that the probability of Tinkerbell's existence is actually 50/50 because I can't prove Tinkerbell does not exist, I'd not be willing to do that for you. KEITH: I'm not asking you to say anything except how you get that Tinkerbell probably doesn't exist from the fact that you have never seen her. KEITH: "Not at all. God (if God exists) has very different properties than Tinkerbell (if she existed)." CIN: ...and what do you believe distinguishes Tinkerbell from God? KEITH: You mean what properties do I believe God has that Tinkerbell does not? Being creator of heaven and earth for one. Existence for the other:-) KEITH: "What rule are you talking about..." CIN: Why, the burden of proof of course! :)... KEITH: "...and what is your reason for believing the rule is true?" CIN: ...it's probably true because things that exist leave evidence of their existence, even quarks.... KEITH: Not always (or at least I'll bet you can't PROVE they always do), and not always very much evidence which is why criminals often get away with crimes. And the stuff you cited is physical stuff. What proof do you have that the rule applies to questions about the non-physical? CIN: Critters who leave no evidence of their existence are easily made up. For example, do you realize there is a leprechaun sitting on my shoulder? I observe that the burden of proof mitigates such claims. KEITH: In other words, if we choose to apply a burden of proof rule we can avoid falling for false claims. But how does that show that if a claim has no evidence it PROBABLY isn't true? CIN: As I said, if I don't think the Icelandic belief in the existence of fairies has merit then why should the existence of other supernatural beings have merit? I'm not going to make a special exemption to the rule for particular supernatural being(s). KEITH: Why should your position wrt one religious claim be the same as your position wrt to the other except that you CHOOSE to apply the burden of proof rule? What proof (I ask again) do you have that the whatever cannot pass your rule is probably false? KEITH: "About correlations between brain states and emotions: all that shows is that the brain is involved in the experience." CIN: So, why bother adding the supernatural into the mix? KEITH: Because (I claim) I have demonstrated that the supernatural exists with my argument from objective morality and authentic choice. My comment above just showed that your particular claim that the correlation between brain states and emotions proved that we were only physical beings. KEITH: "About moral BEHAVIOR among social animals--that doesn't prove the animals OUGHT to be moral, it just shows they tend to behave in ways we ASSOCIATE with morality." CIN: Like, the way you and I behave. Humans are apes and we share a lot of morality with our relatives. KEITH: No doubt but none of that proves that morality is a physical thing. Since I believe that other animals besides humans make authentic choices, this is further evidence that THEY ALSO are not just a collection of atoms. KEITH: "The afformentioned collection of atoms would just be doing what the laws of physics makes them do (within the random movement the uncertainty principle describes)" CIN: No, that's robotics. I know we disagree here, but I think it's perfectly natural to have a will, to love, to have morals. There is no need to add supernatural explanations for these things where none is needed, IMO. KEITH: On naturalism all we ARE is bio-robots. KEITH: "So you assert (now THAT'S quite an assertion)." CIN: No, sir. I've actually observed that many people believe in the afterlife without reason. That's wishful thinking. KEITH: First of all, even if SOME people believe without warrant in the afterlife out of wishful thinking, that doesn't prove that all do. Secondly you haven't observed the reason they believe, all you do is speculate about their motivations. KEITH: "You do not know that the assumption of methodological naturalism is the best method for discovering truth." CIN: Well, what do you think could be a better one for exploring reality? KEITH: A more open approach where you don't automatically disqualify the non-natural. Your approach makes theism automatically out of bounds. KEITH: "How do you know an argument is impossible if you haven't heard the argument?" CIN: If I know 2+2=4 and someone wants to argue otherwise, I don't have to hear the argument. KEITH: So you say that SOMETIMES being closed-minded is appropriate? KEITH: "I DO consider the possibility that I am wrong about the incompatibility of objective morality with atheism." CIN: Ah! So this issue is not self-evidently true. KEITH: Where do you get that? your friend Keith
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Hi Cin: "CIN: Exactly! Fairies would have evolved. They wouldn't be magical. I doubt we'd even describe them as fairies. KEITH: Which is why the possibility of fairy existence says nothing about the merits of supernaturalism." CIN: I don't know, Keith. It seems just saying that all fairies and gods, no matter who they are, be they Tinkerbell, Thor, or Jehovah, are highly improbable makes more sense than arguing that beings like these exist. KEITH: I certainly don't agree with you about the probability of God's existence, but I also wonder how you come to the conclusion that Tinkerbell probably doesn't exist. I expect your reason will boil down to gut. CIN: I do not distinguish between one supernatural being and another because it's only what we believe about them that distinguishes one from the other. KEITH: Not at all. God (if God exists) has very different properties than Tinkerbell (if she existed). CIN: If I don't think the Icelandic belief in the existence of fairies has merit then why should the existence of other supernatural beings have merit? I'm not going to make a special exemption to the rule for particular supernatural being(s). KEITH: What rule are you talking about and what is your reason for believing the rule is true? KEITH: Of course people have wills, that's why naturalism is false; our lives cannot be reduced to matter plus physics (i.e. naturalism) CIN: Can you give me just one example where something can't? Even the emotion of love is physical. If you (or I) have a brain scan while viewing a photo of someone we love, the parts of our brain that light up are rich in the chemicals oxytocin and dopamine. Morality? That can be found in nature as well. Especially, in social animals. KEITH: About correlations between brain states and emotions: all that shows is that the brain is involved in the experience. It gives you no reason at all to suspect that there is no spiritual entity that experiences stuff THROUGH the physical organ analogously to how you can see through a telescope without BEING the telescope. About moral BEHAVIOR among social animals--that doesn't prove the animals OUGHT to be moral, it just shows they tend to behave in ways we ASSOCIATE with morality. And it doesn't show that their behavior is the result of authentic choices, but if it is then it is NOT the result of naturalistic forces--we don't choose the laws of physics. KEITH: "I can and do argue that we are MORE than just a collection of atoms. We have physical bodies that's true and those bodies are composes of atoms, but WE are more than just that." CIN: I don't think that we are, though I'll allow for a TINY chance that we might be. KEITH: if we are not then whatever it is our bodies/brains do it doesn't count as making authentic decisions. The afformentioned collection of atoms would just be doing what the laws of physics makes them do (within the random movement the uncertainty principle describes) CIN: However, I refuse to assert that we are more than atoms, i.e. insert the supernatural, into what is natural. I think the addition of the supernatural into nature is unnecessary. KEITH: i didn't assert that either. I asserted that we make authentic choices, the rest follows. KEITH: "Supernaturalism allows for the possibility that an afterlife is more than wishful thinking." CIN: Supernaturalism itself is wishful thinking. Especially, the afterlife. KEITH: So you assert (now THAT'S quite an assertion). CIN: Naturalism is simply recognizing what we actually know. Supernaturalism is everything we don't know about nature: the god of the gaps, if you will. KEITH: No it's not (not even methodological naturalism inasmuch as it says that we SHOULD only assume natural causes) You do not know that the assumption of methodological naturalism is the best method for discovering truth. CIN: "X being nature, the statement "nature alone exists" is the same as "X + 0" which is how you defined naturalism in post # 51. I'm not seeing your point." KEITH: One is an assertion the supernatural does not exist. The other is simply a lack of belief that the supernatural exists. CIN: If all you mean by naturalism is agnosticism wrt the supernatural then I do not claim it is false--obviously you yourself are agnostic about the supernatural. The only knowledge you claim is that is is PROBABLY false. How do you get that? KEITH: "you seriously would not consider an argument that the earth is super young (as in listen to and actually evaluate the argument if someone made it)? Really? Why not?" CIN: No. I wouldn't consider that argument any more than someone who argues that they are Napoleon. Why waste my time? I don't have an open mind to impossible arguments. KEITH; How do you know an argument is impossible if you haven't heard the argument? CIN: Now, let me ask you again, why are you "very willing" consider arguments for what you KNOW to be impossible? You don't even admit to the possibility of atheism being compatible with objective morality. I'd hardly call that open minded. KEITH: On the theory that I know I can be wrong about just about anything, I DO consider the possibility that I am wrong about the incompatibility of objective morality with atheism. I am willing to hear out any argument in favor of the claim. But nothing I have heard seems persuasive in the least so I continue to believe what I think is true. There is nothing closed-minded about it. It's not like won't even "waste my time" LISTENING to arguments because I've already decided on what's true the way you have wrt Young Earth creationism. How is THAT not closed-minded? KEITH: "If taking a position on something equals being close-minded, well I wouldn't use that adjective." CIN: Straw man argument, IMHO. Taking a position on something does not equate to being closed minded. Making up your mind about something does. KEITH: You mean like you are wrt Young Earthism? CIN: You are closed to even the possibility that atheism and objective morality are compatible so how can one argue with you about it? I am not that way even in regard to the supernatural. KEITH: But you are that way wrt Young Earthism? your friend Keith
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Hi Cin: KEITH: "In naturalism fairies could also exist, it's just that they'd be a physical phenomenon." CIN: Exactly! Fairies would have evolved. They wouldn't be magical. I doubt we'd even describe them as fairies. KEITH: Which is why the possibility of fairy existence says nothing about the merits of supernaturalism. KEITH: "On naturalism you don't do something BECAUSE you wanted to do it, you actions merely reflect the working of physical law." CIN: No, Keith. You are describing robots. People can actually think. They have a will. Since people have a will, they can make choices. All this is perfectly natural. KEITH; Of course people have wills, that's why naturalism is false; our lives cannot be reduced to matter plus physics (i.e. naturalism) KEITH: "Supernaturalism DOESN'T require people to be merely a collection of atoms. Supernaturalism allows for us to be something more than just matter." CIN; Well, we ARE made of atoms. I don't think you can argue that. KEITH: I can and do argue that we are MORE than just a collection of atoms. We have physical bodies that's true and those bodies are composes of atoms, but WE are more than just that. CIN: I think supernaturalism allows for wishful thinking about an afterlife but that's about it. KEITH: Supernaturalism allows for the possibility that an afterlife is more than wishful thinking. KEITH: "Please explain what the difference is between "naturalism = nature" and "naturalism = nature alone exists" which is how I define naturalism." CIN: Post #51 under "If naturalism is "X alone exists" KEITH: X being nature, the statement "nature alone exists" is the same as "X + 0" which is how you defined naturalism in post # 51. I'm not seeing your point. KEITH: "I am very willing to consider such arguments." CIN: Why would you consider arguments for the impossible? I wouldn't consider arguments for a 6,000 year old Earth. I KNOW it is far older. When you say "consider" do you actually mean "humor?" KEITH: you seriously would not consider an argument that the earth is super young (as in listen to and actually evaluate the argument if someone made it)? Really? Why not? KEITH: "The skepticism you demand of me would preclude any belief being warranted, thus it would preclude the EXISTENCE of knowledge. If that's how you want to use the word, well to each his own." CIN: What are you talking about? I simply don't agree with your assertions about the nature of morality. For my part, I'm reluctant to make an argument from a position of ignorance. KEITH: You complained that because I have taken a position wrt the nature of morality then I am close-minded. You contrasted that with your being open to the notion that God exists. If taking a position on something equals being close-minded, well I wouldn't use that adjective. your friend Keith
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Hi Chacha: Your estimate of 30 -40 million illegal aliens in the US is far beyond what reputable sources estimate. Keith
Toggle Commented Oct 8, 2009 on 10 lies Obamacare told me at two or three . net
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Hi Cin: KEITH: "If there is only one Fairy, and this fairy is the creator of heaven and earth, well maybe." CIN: Or, it could be a pantheon of fairies, like the Greek and Norse god's. You just can't even make an educated guess so everything is left to the imagination. KEITH: For me, everything is left to my experience during prayer and worship and scripture study. Your point seems to be that a lot of silly possibilities are left open on supernaturalism, but the same is true for naturalism. In naturalism fairies could also exist, it's just that they'd be a physical phenomenon. KEITH: "If naturalism is true then collections of atoms do not make decisions about how they behave..." CIN:If they form a human brain, they sure DO make decisions about how they behave as a human person. People ARE atoms. This is also true in supernaturalism, like it or not. KEITH; You can choose to CALL that decision making, but on naturalism all yu9or actions are is a physical effect. On naturalism you don't do something BECAUSE you wanted to do it, you actions merely reflect the working of physical law. Supernaturalism DOESN'T require people to be merely a collection of atoms. Supernaturalism allows for us to be something more than just matter. KEITH: "You were wrong about the validity of the argument. My argument was A implies B, C implies not-B, A is true, therefore B is true, therefore C is false. THAT is a perfectly valid argument." CIN: Only if you define naturalism as you do. I do not define naturalism as you though I consider myself a naturalist. I make no assertions as your definition does. KEITH: Clearly you DO make assertions, you made several in your responses to me. You could hardly respond at all without making some assertions. You say you don't define naturalism the way I do. You elaborate on that below. I'll comment then. KEITH: "Naturalism is the notion that all reality is matter plus the laws of physics." CIN: An accurate paraphrase of what you said above is, Naturalism = Nature. Nature IS "matter plus the laws of physics." That is why... Naturalism = Nature(X) + 0 Supernaturalism = Nature(X) + "something beyond nature"(Y) and NOT naturalism = "X alone exists." That is an assertion I DO NOT MAKE! Einstein did. Dawkins doesn't. I'd say that all three of us hold to naturalism though. KEITH; Please explain what the difference is between "naturalism = nature" and "naturalism = nature alone exists" which is how I define naturalism. KEITH: "I do not agree with the implication in your remark, that coming to a conclusion about something means you are close-minded." CIN: Put it in a different light. In one respect, I am more open minded about God than you are about morality. I have not reached the point of denying the possibility of God but it sounds as if you've reached the point of denying that objective morality and "nature only" is even possible. KEITH: That you are less certain about God's non-existence than I am about moralities objectiveness doesn't make you more open-minded on the issue. The degree of open-mindedness isn't a function of how convinced you are now, it is a function of how willing you are to CONSIDER arguments against your POV. I am very willing to consider such arguments. CIN: It's not as if you have knowledge about this. No one does. The difference I see is that you make the assertion without any knowledge and I don't. KEITH: One definition of knowledge is "warranted belief in something that is true". I suspect that my warrant for believing in objective morality is every bit as strong as your warrant for believing that you came into existence prior to last Thursday (as opposed to popping into existence last Thursday with false memories of previous life). The skepticism you demand of me would preclude any belief being warranted, thus it would preclude the EXISTENCE of knowledge. If that's how you want to use the word, well to each his own. your friend Keith
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Hi Cin: KEITH: Neither of those "failures to preclude something ridiculous counts against the position. CIN: Gods and fairies; there is no difference except what people believe about them. They could be one and the same for all you know. KEITH: If there is only one Fairy, and this fairy is the creator of heaven and earth, well maybe. KEITH: "Here's what atoms have to do with it: on naturalism all we ARE is collections of atoms." CIN: I don't see how that negates the possibility of free will. Atoms make up everything, including animals and people. They physically combine, each combination unique, to make brains which have a will, can think, experience, emote and choose. We know that thought, emotion, memory, etc. are tied to the physical, to the material, because one can influence them physically. Just because that is so, does not preclude a free will. KEITH: sure it does. If naturalism is true then collections of atoms do not make decisions about how they behave, collections of atoms do what the laws of physics say (which includes some degree of random movement according to the uncertainty principle. KEITH: "All I need to do is to show that something that DOES exist is incompatible with nauralism." CIN: I noted many times why we disagree on that premise. You are simply asserting objective morality exists. We do not know that it does for there is no way to tell. And no, I don't view it as self-evident as you do. There are significant objections to every premise of your argument, making it unsound. Also, I think it's invalid and I explained why. We don't even agree on the definitions, which is really a show stopper since that effects the argument's validity. KEITH: You were wrong about the validity of the argument. My argument was A implies B, C implies not-B, A is true, therefore B is true, therefore C is false. THAT is a perfectly valid argument. KEITH: "Supernaturalism has to be the OPPOSITE of naturalism to be an antonym. And it is." CIN: It's not. For naturalism and supernaturalism to truly be antonyms, supernaturalism would have to be the belief that all reality is supernatural just as naturalism is the belief that all reality is natural. KEITH: Naturalism is the notion that all reality is matter plus the laws of physics. The negation of naturalism (i.e. supernaturalism) is the idea that matter plus the laws of physics is NOT all there is to reality. "CIN: Even though non-theism and objective morality are incompatible? KEITH; Indeed. I didn't realize that back then, I hadn't thought deeply about the question." CIN: This confirms my thoughts, you've already made up your mind. KEITH: I never denied that I had made up my mind. All I said was that I am open to arguments to the contrary, as opposed to being close-minded. I do not agree with the implication in your remark, that coming to a conclusion about something means you are close-minded. your friend Keith
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Hi Cin: KEITH: "My argument doesn't lead to the conclusion that fairies exist." CIN: You conclude that "something beyond nature" exists; what we call "the supernatural." This can include magic, fairies, Santa, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and anything else one can imagine. Just take your pick. At least naturalism doesn't allow for all these nonsensical critters. Your argument does. KEITH: My argument does not preclude the existence of fairies, that is true, the same as naturalism doesn't preclude the possibility that the President was born in Kenya. Neither of those "failures to preclude something ridiculous counts against the position. KEITH: "I am talking about stuff like the spontaneous decay of a radioactive atom or the trajectory of an atom moving through space." CIN: So, what did you mean when you said "A random action is no more chosen than is a determined action." Maybe you are right and a random action is indeed not chosen but can you provide an example of someone making a random action that is not chosen so i know what you are talking about? If you are referring to atoms, then what do atoms have to do with the word "chosen?" They are just atoms, after all. KEITH: Here's what atoms have to do with it: on naturalism all we ARE is collections of atoms. KEITH: "Nature is not the same as naturalISM. Naturalism says that all reality is matter plus the laws of physics." CIN: Naturalism is inextricably tied to nature. All naturalism is, is the belief that only nature exists. Everything is natural. All supernaturalism is, is the belief that nature plus the supernatural exists. To show that NATURALISM is false, you must either show that nature itself is false [which you can't] or you must show that the supernatural co-exists with nature. It's not an either or thing. Your argument is invalid. It's a false dichotomy because nature(naturalism) and the supernatural can co-exist. KEITH: All I need to do is to show that something that DOES exist is incompatible with nauralism. This I did (I claim) when I (claim I) showed that the existence of objective morality is inconsistent with naturalism. KEITH: "I disagree entirely that naturalism is compatible with supernaturalism. The words are antonyms." CIN: No, for naturalism and supernaturalism to truly be antonyms, supernaturalism would have to be the belief that all reality is supernatural as naturalism is the belief that all reality is natural. KEITH: Not true. Supernaturalism has to be the OPPOSITE of naturalism to be an antonym. And it is. Naturalism is the idea that only the natural exists, supernaturalism is the negation of that, i.e., that there exists something other than the natural. KEITH: "5. If A then B (that is to say, if objection morality exists then authentic choice exists)... Of course. I didn't say that IF there's authentic choice THEN there's objective morality. Subjective morality is compatible with agent choice." CIN: So this premise could also have been, If subjective morality exists, then authentic choice exists. KEITH: I don't know that it could have been. If so then even the existence of SUBJECTIVE morality implies naturalism is false. Naturalism would need no morality to exist at all to survive the argument. KEITH: "WE are quibbling over the term "supernaturalims", specifically about the ISM part. I really don't know what YOU mean by the term. What I mean is the negation of naturalism." CIN: I know what you mean but your argument is invalid here. Supernaturalism is not a negation of naturalism. They are not antonyms. Naturalism = Nature(X) + 0 Supernaturalism = Nature(X) + "something beyond nature"(Y) Naturalism IS nature and nothing else, just nature: (X) + 0 = (X). To show naturalism is wrong, you'd have to show (X)+(Y):co-existence OR (-X) a negation of Nature(naturalism). Your argument is: nature is false(-X) therefore, nature(X)+(Y)supernatural. KEITH: You have misstated the negation. If naturalism is "X alone exists" then the negation IS "X is NOT the only thing that exists". KEITH: Even before I was a theist I believed in objective morality. CIN: Even though non-theism and objective morality are incompatible? KEITH; Indeed. I didn't realize that back then, I hadn't thought deeply about the question. your friend Keith
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Hi Cin: Let me try again to clarify what I am saying about naturalism and choice and how the uncertainty principle is irrelevant to the issue. Consider a collection of atoms. On the classical Newtonian view, future movement of every atom is precisely caused by previous interactions between atoms. If you knew the exact location and velocity of every atom you could derive from the laws of physics the exact behavior of the collection of atoms. I contend that THAT would be incompatible with authentic choice. But of course such determinism doesn't fit with the Uncertainty Principle. On the uncertainty principle, the behavior of the collection of atoms isn't entirely caused by the interactions between atoms. There is a degree of acausality to the way the atoms will move in the future. But the only thing that means is that SOME part of the behavior was NOT caused by the collection of atoms, that while the laws pf physics determine the general location and velocity of the atoms in the collection, the precise location is a random event. On naturalism, what we are IS a collection of atoms. Inasmuch as our atoms are following the laws of physics we didn't CHOOSE the behavior. And inasmuch as our atoms are randomly located within the margin provided by the Uncertainty Principle we didn't choose the behavior either. The only way you can get Free Will and Choice out of naturalism is if you define "free will" according to compatiblism. I don't use the phrase that way. your friend Keith
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Hi Cin: CIN: That fairies, in part, is the conclusion of your argument. Fairies are indeed, "something beyond nature." KEITH: My argument doesn't lead to the conclusion that fairies exist. KEITH: "The laws of physics include the uncertainty principle, which is to say that there is some degree of indeterminancy, some degree of randomness, but random actions are not determined actions, chosen actions ARE determined." CIN: Again, this means that naturalism and free will are compatible. Actions are not completely determined; set in stone from the instant of the big bang, because of the uncertainty principle. That means our actions are our own. KEITH: That doesn't follow at all. CIN: That doesn't make them random actions. Can you provide an example of a "random action" someone can make so that I know what you are talking about when you say this? KEITH; I am talking about stuff like the spontaneous decay of a radioactive atom or the trajectory of an atom moving through space. On determinism the exact location of the atom is fixed from the beginning, on quantum indeterminism where it ends up exactly is a matter of chance. Being a matter of chance is incompatible with being DETERMINED by choice. KEITH: "I can see I am going to have to spell it out for you (note the patronizing tone of this)." CIN: Noted. Feel better? Now, let's go through your argument. This helps but I think you are going to have to spell your argument out even more... KEITH; I feel the same. I believed I need to let you know that I was offended by the way you presented your case, what you do with that is your business. THE ARGUMENT: 1. Definition: A = objective morality exists CIN: [does it? What if it's subjective? What if it's a combination? Some morality is objective: boiling babies for pleasure is wrong. Some morality is subjective: based on social norms] KEITH: It is valid for you to questions the premises of my argument. I listed the argument to demonstrate that the logic of my argument was valid. I do not agree with you that some morality is subjective. ARGUMENT: 2. Definition: B = authentic choice exists CIN: [does it? What if every action is determined by a chain of cause and effect and choice is just an illusion?] KEITH: Another fair question, but I believe we DO have choice. Again, since this is a premise of my argument, whether or not the premise is true doesn't affect the LOGICALLY VALIDITY of the argument. CIN: 3. Definition: C = naturalism is true [I think it is, at least partly. We know that naturalism, "nature," exists. So if the existence of matter is self evident, that means naturalism is true. From Wiki, "Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. It ranges in scale from the subatomic to the cosmic." KEITH: Nature is not the same as naturalISM. Naturalism says that all reality is matter plus the laws of physics. CIN: An alternative would be the supernatural co-existing with the natural, in another dimension or something, where natural entities can't perceive the supernatural ones. I think that's highly improbable but I don't assert supernaturalism doesn't exist.] ARGUMENT; 4. Definition: supernaturalism = not-naturalism [The inverse of this, naturalism = not-supernaturalism, is not true. It's possible they co-exist.] KEITH: I disagree entirely that naturalism is compatible with supernaturalism. The words are antonyms. ARGUMENT: 5. If A then B (that is to say, if objection morality exists then authentic choice exists) CIN: [I don't think B follows from A. Is not a morality that is subjective, that reflects social convention, also an authentic choice as long as it's determined by the individual and not a chain of causality?] KEITH: Of course. I didn't say that IF there's authentic choice THEN there's objective morality. Subjective morality is compatible with agent choice. But objective morality is not compatible with LACK of authentic choice. ARGUMENT: 6. If C then not-B (if naturalism is true then authentic choice does NOT exist. CIN: [There's no way -B follows from C here. Just because matter follows the laws of physics does not mean free will doesn't exist. Everything we know of follows the laws of physics. Our brains follow the laws of physics. If you are like Einstein, and believe that all choices were predetermined in the first instant of the big bang, then there would be no free will. However, the uncertainty principle makes that very unlikely. The uncertainty principle doesn't make our choices "random." The uncertainty principle simply breaks the chain of causality from the first instant of the big bang thereby making our choices authentic; not predetermined by prior cause. KEITH: You are misunderstanding the implications of the uncertainty principle IMO. But here you are just denying a PREMISE of my argument. Whether or not the premise is true doesn't affect the logical validity of the argument. ARGUMENT: 7. A is true (Objective morality exists) CIN: [Maybe it does, either partly or wholly. This is an assertion on your part though and it has no foundation. I don't think it's self evident, it's rather debatable as evidenced by the amount of philosophical debate on the matter over the millennium.] ARGUMENT: 8. Therefore B is true (follows from "if A then B") CIN: [What you have in parenthesis is just repeating #5 so I have the same comments about it] KEITH: Strictly speaking, I didn't repeat (5). (5) said that A => B. This statement says B is true. The logical chain is A & [A => B], therefore B. ARGUMENT: 9. Therefore C is false (follows from the contrapositive of "If C then not-B") in other words, naturalism is false, therefore not-naturalism is true. BY definition (4) this means supernaturalism is true. CIN: [This would be valid if it was not a false dichotomy, IMO. I think that naturalism and supernaturalism are not mutually exclusive. We know that matter exists. Matter is not supernatural. At most, one can argue that natural and supernatural coexist. The alternative would be that there are only natural things and no supernatural things.] KEITH: WE are quibbling over the term "supernaturalims", specifically about the ISM part. I really don't know what YOU mean by the term. What I mean is the negation of naturalism. CIN;: here are some things that I disagree with more than others but they include objections about the validity of your argument as well as the soundness. keith: For my argument to be invalid, it has to be that the conclusion doesn't follow from the premises. All you have done so far is to challenge the premises. Please show me where GIVEN MY PREMISES the argument goes wrong. It seems to me the logic was perfect and perfectly simple: A => B, C => not-B, A is true, therefore B is true, therefore C is false. KEITH: "...here you claim that if ANYONE doesn't agree that something self-evident then it is not self-evident. By that principle, self-evidence can be refuted by finding a schizophrenic to disagree with the most obvious truth." CIN: How about some of the greatest minds in history: Einstein, Hume, Spinoza, etc.? Are all of them schizophrenics? KEITH: What is your point with this question? That THEY don't agree with me about the self-evidence of objective morality? All I was saying HERE was that your construal of self-evidency produces absurd results IMO. CIN: There is even an entire branch of moral philosophy called "moral relativism" that holds the opposite is true, all morality is subjective. KEITH; Yes. Those people do not agree with me that objective morality is self-evident. I don't see the problem, people disagree all the time. KEITH: "There is no reason to assume that people cannot disagree about what things are self-evident." CIN:Indeed, to a mad man it's self evident that he is Napoleon. I'd certainly disagree with him. KEITH; What is the point of this comment (that I agree with you about, so long as the mad man isn't named Napoleon:-) KEITH: "In other words, you and I disagree about what is self-evident." CIN: Yes, you are in the theist's camp and I'm in the skeptic's camp. Along with objective morality, you also believe God's existence is self-evident and I don't. I bring that up because I know that you believe god's existence is somehow tied to morality, though you can't say exactly how. Apparently, that too is self-evident but only to theists. KEITH: Even before I was a theist I believed in objective morality. KEITH: "For example, you surely think it's self evident that I am not open minded about the existence of objective morality." CIN: You mean "non-existence of objective morality." And no, that's not self evident. Maybe you are open-minded, but you just don't act like it with me. You continue to be mystified that I don't believe your assertion of 7. A is true (Objective morality exists). Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, maybe morality is a combination of subjective and objective. KEITH: It's not your disbelief in (7) that mystifies me. It is your previously stated disbelief in (5). CIN: Your friend, Cineaste. P.S. You may not like my tone sometimes, but don't ever think that I'm mocking when I call myself your friend. KEITH: I never thought otherwise, friend Cin. Really. your friend Keith
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KEITH: Naturalism claims reality is limited in a certain way, it doesn't allow for certain possibilities. My argument proves that naturalism is false, leaving open those possibilities. CIN: Like fairies. KEITH: What is your point with that comment? "CIN: If our actions are not determined, then why wouldn't our actions be choices? KEITH: Because actions that are chosen ARE determined--by the chooser." CIN: And if they are determined, at least in part by people and not for us by the physical, that means free will can co-exist with naturalism. KEITH: No, because on naturalism, all you have is matter following the laws of physics. The laws of physics include the uncertainty principle, which is to say that there is some degree of indeterminancy, some degree of randomness, but random actions are not determined actions, chosen actions ARE determined. KEITH: "It does when there are only two alternatives." CIN: It's like saying, "If evolution is false, then creationism is true." KEITH: It's not like saying that at all. It's more like saying that IF an unplanned origin of the universe is false then a PLANNED universe must be true. CIN: ...Also, if there really were only two choices then the inverse of your argument would be true as well, that if supernaturalism were false, then naturalism would be true. KEITH: Exactly! CIN: That does not follow either. There is ALWAYS the possibility of the supernatural because it's impossible to show either way. I think you set up a false dichotomy. I'd say you are wrong. There is a PERFECT dichotomy between naturalism and supernaturalism. If naturalism is false then what do you think would BE an alternative to supernaturalism? KEITH: "I am am beginning to tire of your patronizing tone Friend Cin. You are wrong about the logical structure of my argument..." CIN: You cannot hear my tone. You can't tell if I was being honest or patronizing. KEITH: I assume you were being both. That part about your trying to help me was a patronizing comment. CIN: : You mistook me, Keith. I'm honestly trying to get to a valid argument because I'd rather debate your premises, which are unsound IMO, than argue structure. But, the validity of an argument must be verified before we get into the premises. With that, I can offer you my help because I don't think your argument is valid. You are literally thinking in black and white, IMO. Like, night is false, therefore day is true. You can see what is wrong with that argument. KEITH: I can see I am going to have to spell it out for you (note the patronizing tone of this). Here goes: 1. Definition: A = objective morality exists 2. Definition: B = authentic choice exists 3. Definition: C = naturalism is true 4. Definition: supernaturalism = not-naturalism 5. If A then B (that is to say, if objection morality exists then authentic choice exists) 6. If C then not-B (if naturalism is true then authentic choice does NOT exist. 7. A is true (Objective morality exists) 8. Therefore B is true (follows from "if A then B") 9. Therefore C is false (follows from the contrapositive of "If C then not-B") in other words, naturalism is false, therefore not-naturalism is true. BY definition (4) this means supernaturalism is true. There is nothing at all invalid about the logical form of the argument. KEITH: "...but thinking would be impossible if you NEVER took ANYTHING to be self-evident and if unless someone can give you a good reason to see that you are wrong about what is self-evident you have no reason to reject it." CIN: It's self-evident that all men are mortal. It is NOT self evident that objective morality exists. That's why there are people who say, "Man is the measure of all things." KEITH; here you claim that if ANYONE doesn't agree that something self-evident then it is not self-evident. By that principle, self-evidence can be refuted by finding a schizophrenic to disagree with the most obvious truth. There is no reason to assume that people cannot disagree about what things are self-evident. KEITH: "That's what objective morality is to me and you haven't given me reason to think otherwise." CIN: As I said before, "Well, actually I agreed with you when you said, "It seems to me there is no way to objectively settle the issue of the existence of objective morality. That's all I was saying." So, you won't hear an argument from me about that." That's why I think you are not open-minded about the existence of objective morality. You've made up your mind about it. You even go so far as to say it's self-evident. Me, I don't know if it exists or if it doesn't. It seems to me that it co-exists with subjective morality. So, I don't agree with your first premise, not because I haven't argued against the existence of objective morality, but because you present no arguments for it other than to be mystified about how I don't believe your premise. KEITH: In other words, you and I disagree about what is self-evident. I would claim that there are things that YOU think are self-evident that I don't. For example, you surely think it's self evident that I am not open minded about the existence of objective morality. Otherwise, please offer a logically valid argument to support your belief that I am close-minded on the topic. your friend Keith
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Hi Cin: I looked up your wikireference. It distinguishes between METHODOLOGICAL naturalism vs. ONTOLOGICAL naturalism. We have been of course discussing the ontological version. Keith
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Hi Cin: KEITH: "I call that something "supernaturalism". You seem to object to that terminology but I don't see why." CIN:I don't think I can be any clearer. Haven't I said that "something beyond nature" is incredibly vague? That it can mean anything that the imagination can conjure? That is like me asking where is your car and you answer "Earth?" That "something beyond nature" can includes everything from Superman to a universal mysticism and everything in between? Yet, you can't give me any specifics. I think it's because you have no specifics, right? What exactly is this "something beyond nature" to which you refer? KEITH: Your car location analogy is correct, Cin. That's my point. Naturalism claims reality is limited in a certain way, it doesn't allow for certain possibilities. My argument proves that naturalism is false, leaving open those possibilities. KEITH: "You keep going on about the uncertainty principle but that's entirely beside the point. ...either way none of our actions would be CHOICES." CIN: If our actions are not determined, then why wouldn't our actions be choices? KEITH: Because actions that are chosen ARE determined--by the chooser. KEITH: : "Science is not the same thing as naturalism. Science is an epistemological process, naturalism is an ontological claim." CIN: Actually Keith, naturalism is both. Wiki reference if interested. KEITH: I'll look up what wikipedia says but our experi3nce only established the epistemological effectiveness of science. KEITH: "I'd say that if naturalism isn't true then reality must be MORE than what naturalists claim. If reality were EQUAL to naturalism then naturalims would be true. I have no idea what you could even MEAN by a claim that reality is less than naturalism, so that leaves "more than naturalism". CIN: This is all irrelevant. You're argument is, "naturalism is false, therefore supernaturalism is true." [Keith: That indeed is my argument.] It can be summed up like this... 1. A is false. Therefore, B is true. I'm sorry to say, that just doesn't logically follow. It's invalid. Just because A is false does not mean B is true. KEITH: It does when there are only two alternatives. That was the point of the stuff you called irrelevant--to show that the choice is between naturalims and (the vaguely defined) supernaturalism. CIN: You need to have premises for "B is true." All you have are premises, unsound ones I might add, that "A is false." My suggestion, try again with a valid structure like Modus Ponens. I'm sorry to keep harping on this but we are not going to get anywhere if your argument is invalid. I'm trying to help you, Keith. KEITH; I am am beginning to tire of your patronizing tone Friend Cin. You are wrong about the logical structure of my argument I am guessing because you keep making unwarranted and unexamined assumptions about what is entailed by supernaturalism. KEITH: "Objective morality exists: This is a PREMISE of my argument, something that I take to be self evidently true." CIN: That's all well and good but it's NOT self evidently true. For example, this guy I spoke with a few posts ago, also named Keith said this about objective morality, "It seems to me there is no way to objectively settle the issue of the existence of objective morality." I happened to agree with that Keith. He makes a lot of sense. KEITH; There is no conflict between saying that something is self evident and saying there is no way to objectively demonstrate it. The latter just means that if someone is goofy enough to deny the self-evident there is nothing I can do about it:-) I am kind of kidding in this last part, but thinking would be impossible if you NEVER took ANYTHING to be self-evident and if unless someone can give you a good reason to see that you are wrong about what is self-evident you have no reason to reject it. That's what objective morality is to me and you haven't given me reason to think otherwise. your friend Keith
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Hi Cin: CIN: I thought your argument was naturalism is false, therefore supernaturalism is true. Remember, you said, "Combining both of those premises entails naturalism is false, which entails supernaturalism is true." And again, that's invalid. Also, even if it was valid, it's unsound because you haven't shown naturalism is false. Here is what I have so far... KEITH; That indeed is my argument. Either naturalism is true or it is false. I claim that on my argument it is false. I claim that means there must be something beyond naturalism, I call that something "supernaturalism". You seem to object to that terminology but I don't see why. Below you say that even if naturalism is false that doesn't necessitate "something beyond" naturalism. I have to know what you mean by "something beyond". I'd say that if naturalism isn't true then reality must be MORE than what naturalists claim. If reality were EQUAL to naturalism then naturalims would be true. I have no idea what you could even MEAN by a claim that reality is less than naturalism, so that leaves "more than naturalism". Below you present my argument. Let me respond; THE ARGJMENT SAYS: 1. Objective morality exists. CIN RESPONDS: (you simply assert this) KEITH ANSWERS: This is a PREMISE of my argument, something that I take to be self evidently true. I know that you and others dispute this premise but it still seems true to me and I have never seen a good reason to reject it. ARGUMENT: 2. By definition the existence of objective morality requires agents who can make actual decisions about how to behave. CIN: (do you mean supernatural agents or people or both?) KEITH: At this point in the argument there'd been no mention of supernatural anything. All I was talking about was the existence of agents who can make actual decisions. I assert that we people are among that set of deciding agents--we make decisions. ARGUMENT:3. If reality were nothing but matter following the laws of physics (i.e. if naturalism were true) there would not be any authentic decisions--all of your actions would be like rocks falling under the effect of gravity. CIN: (this is determinism which is very unlikely because of the uncertainty principle) KEITH: You keep going on about the uncertainty principle but that's entirely beside the point. Nothing I said above conflicts with the uncertaintly principle. Determinism vs. indeterminism is irrelevant to my point. if reality were purely deterministic then our behaviors woould be mechanically produced and not the result of our choices. If reality were purely INDETERMINANT then our actions would be random and stil lwould not be the result of any choosing. Modern physics holds that there is some degree of randomness within the laws of physics, but either way none of our actions would be CHOICES. ARGUMENT: 4. Those premises entail that naturalism is not true, therefore there is something beyond what naturalism claims is true. By definition this means supernaturalism. CIN: (Invalid, if naturalism is not true that does not necessitate "something beyond" Also, science (naturalism) does work. You are typing on a computer after all.) KEITH: Science is not the same thing as naturalism. Science is an epistemological process, naturalism is an ontological claim. your friend Keith
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hi Daniel: It is not the case that the huge number of people who disbelieve in evolution have learned enough science and examined the evidence for evolution and found it lacking. And it's not the case that the moneyed people who balked at financing a film ABOUT evolution did so because THEY learned enough science and carefully examined the evidence. The entire episode you describe is AN EXAMPLE of the politicalization of science, or maybe the money people just think the film will be boring. your friend Keith
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Heya Keith, KEITH: I have to say I was not impressed." CIN: I had a million to one odds that you would be. :) I thought the video was very direct. I don't understand your reply though. How is it that if you don't believe in supernatural somethings beyond nature that everything is morally permissible? That sounds really sketchy. KEITH: It was a safe bet because I am old, smart and have encountered most of the main arguments already. So I probably would have been impressed already before I heard THIS guy make the argument:-) If I see a NEW argument I might be more impressed. But as to your question, let me make sure I am clear: I am not saying that BELIEF in the supernatural is necessary for objective morality. I am saying that if the supernatural doesn't exist then everything is morally permissible. KEITH: "Assuming as I do that choosing things is incompatible with my actions being determined by the laws of physics (being in part random quantum events), then every choice we make is something beyond naturalism." CIN: However, our actions are not determined. The uncertainty principle makes a deterministic universe highly improbable. KEITH: On quantum mechanics there is a degree of randomness to the way matter behaves but that doesn't rescue choice. A random action is no more chosen than is a determined action. KEITH: ..every choice we make is something beyond naturalism. CIN: Except when we choose to drink and drive, take Prozac, etc. It's all too clear that our choices, which according to you are supposed to be "beyond naturalism" are influenced by substance. KEITH: I'd say that alcohol affects your perceptions and judgment, no doubt (I do have some experience in this area). When the drunk decides to make advances to the woman who would not interest him if he were sober, this is because of his impaired judgment. In a sense he is facing a different set of choices than the sober man who recognizes the negative consequences of pursuing the woman. The sober man has a fuller understanding of the costs of the pursuit and chooses NOT to suffer those costs. The drunk is blind to those costs and plunges full speed ahead. But I would say the drunk STILL has some degree of choice. If he did not then his actions would not be morally significant (although the choice to drink in the first place might be). KEITH: "...you probably assume that supernuralism HAS to mean things like ghosts or mind reading or spell casting and stuff like that." CIN: When you use language as incredibly vague as "something beyond naturalism" well, the only limit to that is your imagination. When I ask you for specifics I get more of the same, "it's something beyond naturalism." Well ya, that's the definition. :P KEITH: Incredibly vague? it IS the definition! Supernaturalism means nothing more than the existence of SOMETHING beyond naturalism! KEITH: "Any gaps in our knowledge [of naturalism] COULD be filled by our imaginations..." CIN: Yes, that's the proverbial "God of the gaps."... KEITH: I am talking about NATURALISM of the gaps. Naturalism is just as prone to gapism as supernaturalism is. KEITH: "But if my argument is sound..." CIN: Not even valid. KEITH: so you say... KEITH: "That would apply to naturalism too so long as we don't already KNOW all the laws of nature." CIN: The main point is this; even if we know nothing at all about the laws of nature, that doesn't necessitate "something beyond nature." ... KEITH: That's not my argument. My argument is about MORALITY, not gaps in our scientific knowledge. CIN: Even if we don't know how the presents under the tree got there, that doesn't necessitate the existence of "something beyond nature." Like Santa. :) KEITH: But my argument doesn't suggest such. your friend Keith your skeptical friend, Cineaste
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Hi Cin: 1. First things first: I just finished listening to "Atheism is compatible with objective morality". I have to say I was not impressed. Here is why. His argument was SUPPOSED to be a rebuttal to the theist claim that on atheism there is no objective right or wrong. I assume you agree that a response of the form "there is too!" would NOT be a legitimate ARGUMENT to support the claim that that on atheism there can be an objective morality. But that's really all the argument the video supplied. It offers utilitarianism, which is the principle that we OUGHT to do what promotes the greatest good for the greatest number. But that itself is an ethical principle, and it would not be exempt from whatever problems atheism would provide to any other ethical system. Offering utilitarianism does nothing to address the theistic claim that on atheism anything (even anti-utilitarianism) is morally permissible. Now the guy in the video can claim whatever he wants. He can claim that the proper moral principle is utilitarianism and that this moral principle would hold even if naturalism is true. But he hasn't presented an ARGUMENT to that effect so I see no reason to be persuaded by his claim. 2. About humans as supernatural beings: I don't see why you mock that idea. Assuming as I do that choosing things is incompatible with my actions being determined by the laws of physics (being in part random quantum events), then every choice we make is something beyond naturalism. Every choice we make would be BY DEFINITION a supernatural act. The reason you think that's nuts is because you don't believe in the supernatural and you probably assume that supernuralism HAS to mean things like ghosts or mind reading or spell casting and stuff like that. 3. About supernaturalism just meaning something beyond naturalism, about that leaving open a gap we can fill with our imaginations. That would apply to naturalism too so long as we don't already KNOW all the laws of nature. Any gaps in our knowledge COULD be filled by our imaginations (science fiction writers do it all the time even thought they usually write as if naturalism is true). The fact is, I BELIEVE that there is the supernatural being known as God. But my argument doesn't IMPLY God's existence. But if my argument is sound then we can properly conclude that God is more likely to exist than if naturalism were still a viable option. This is because a whole set of atheistic possibilities are eliminated. your friend Keith
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