Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
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15-05-2017, 11:40 AM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(15-05-2017 09:53 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(14-05-2017 12:37 PM)unfogged Wrote:  What the fuck is "the philosophy of human consciousness"?

It's a subset of the philosophy of mind, which is a real thing, and has whole books written about it (I just finished reading one a few weeks ago) -- although some, such as our own Bucky Ball, pooh-pooh the entire enterprise. However, I find it interesting to ponder such questions as how brains give rise to consciousness, and whether or not this is limited to biological brains (e.g., could a computer ever be conscious?).

I do agree that using it to try to prove God is ludicrous.

My question was meant to be more along the lines of how philosophy could possibly ever provide an understanding of what consciousness is or how it works. I can see it being a useful tool to suggest avenues of research but the impression I get from that article is that the author is happy to say "we think consciousness requires X so X must exist" with X being whatever god the reader chooses to insert.

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15-05-2017, 11:51 AM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(15-05-2017 08:32 AM)ColdComfort Wrote:  I'm not impressed with the article either. Such is the authority given to the natural sciences as the only method of reliable knowledge that this author, and others, try to enlist it to reach proofs of God with it which it cannot do.

I don't think much of ID either and in my circles of the Christian world not many do.

Francis Collins, head of the NIH has written a whole book on this subject.
"The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief."
In his book (which I have actually read) he debunks creationism and ID. He then offers as a solution, guided evolution. Evolution is true but God has guided evolution for his own purposes. He offers no hard evidence of such, no more than a proposition, a hypothosis. He has formed a foundation, BioLogos to push this idea.

He does not examine that idea critically. That part of his book is one page essentially. If God guides evolution, why so much predation, so many parasites, diseases, viruses et al?

Since Collins has a lot of personal prestige as a competent scientist, his hypothesis will have weight with some people. Its a god of the gaps sort of thing, but when that is all you have that is what you have.

Google BioLogos for his organization peddling this notion. Simple minded creationism is not the only theological effort out loose in the real world.

How much this influences anyone, I have no idea. But stuff like this is out there loose in the wild.

When I shake my ignore file, I can hear them buzzing!

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15-05-2017, 12:05 PM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(15-05-2017 11:40 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(15-05-2017 09:53 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  It's a subset of the philosophy of mind, which is a real thing, and has whole books written about it (I just finished reading one a few weeks ago) -- although some, such as our own Bucky Ball, pooh-pooh the entire enterprise. However, I find it interesting to ponder such questions as how brains give rise to consciousness, and whether or not this is limited to biological brains (e.g., could a computer ever be conscious?).

I do agree that using it to try to prove God is ludicrous.

My question was meant to be more along the lines of how philosophy could possibly ever provide an understanding of what consciousness is or how it works. I can see it being a useful tool to suggest avenues of research but the impression I get from that article is that the author is happy to say "we think consciousness requires X so X must exist" with X being whatever god the reader chooses to insert.


That is it exactly. It's the modern day ghost of Descarte's Ghost in the Machine. Since science is nowhere near being able to demonstrate how consciousness works, it leaves a lot of room for futile arguments from philosophy, metaphysics and out right woo to argue over. And there has been a lot of that going on over the last few decades. Not all are arguing for a theological conclusion, but some theists do find lots of gaps to stick God into.

The article's author has gathered a shopping bag full of bad arguments for God's existence like this, based more or less in scientific arguments. His blog article, which Newsweak reposted, and was picked up by Yahoo News, came to my attention because of Yahoo.

I find it an interesting subject because it is not something that aims at fundies or Bible literalists. How many people buy into this sort of approach, I have no idea.
But it is something to be aware of.

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15-05-2017, 12:53 PM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(15-05-2017 11:51 AM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:  
(15-05-2017 08:32 AM)ColdComfort Wrote:  I'm not impressed with the article either. Such is the authority given to the natural sciences as the only method of reliable knowledge that this author, and others, try to enlist it to reach proofs of God with it which it cannot do.

I don't think much of ID either and in my circles of the Christian world not many do.

Francis Collins, head of the NIH has written a whole book on this subject.
"The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief."
In his book (which I have actually read) he debunks creationism and ID. He then offers as a solution, guided evolution. Evolution is true but God has guided evolution for his own purposes. He offers no hard evidence of such, no more than a proposition, a hypothosis. He has formed a foundation, BioLogos to push this idea.

He does not examine that idea critically. That part of his book is one page essentially. If God guides evolution, why so much predation, so many parasites, diseases, viruses et al?

Since Collins has a lot of personal prestige as a competent scientist, his hypothesis will have weight with some people. Its a god of the gaps sort of thing, but when that is all you have that is what you have.

Google BioLogos for his organization peddling this notion. Simple minded creationism is not the only theological effort out loose in the real world.

How much this influences anyone, I have no idea. But stuff like this is out there loose in the wild.

I recommend this book to as many people as I can, outside of atheist circles.

However, I'm not entirely sure he thinks it's "God-guided evolution" in the sense that you appear to be describing it, here. A better way to put it might be that God set things up so that evolution would unfold according to God's Grand Plan™, which included our evolution (and that of parasites, etc.) by 100% natural, non-manipulated means. I got the impression that the only point wherein Collins was suggesting "guidance" was that God set the initial numbers, the universal constants by which all things interact, in such a way that we would be a preordained outcome.

I concur that this has zero real evidence other than a set of suggestive (to some) coincidences for "what sort of number-set does it take to produce a universe that can produce us?", but I don't think it accounts for Leonard Susskind's proposition that the universe may not be uniform and/or may be part of a multiverse, nor do I think it is necessary to presume-- or in this case, presuppose-- that even in a single universe, the high degree of coincidence necessary to produce us was the only outcome possible, or was in some way made to happen. We may well be Douglas Adams' puddle, marveling at how perfectly the pothole was made to fit our shape.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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15-05-2017, 03:00 PM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(15-05-2017 11:40 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(15-05-2017 09:53 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  It's a subset of the philosophy of mind, which is a real thing, and has whole books written about it (I just finished reading one a few weeks ago) -- although some, such as our own Bucky Ball, pooh-pooh the entire enterprise. However, I find it interesting to ponder such questions as how brains give rise to consciousness, and whether or not this is limited to biological brains (e.g., could a computer ever be conscious?).

I do agree that using it to try to prove God is ludicrous.

My question was meant to be more along the lines of how philosophy could possibly ever provide an understanding of what consciousness is or how it works. I can see it being a useful tool to suggest avenues of research but the impression I get from that article is that the author is happy to say "we think consciousness requires X so X must exist" with X being whatever god the reader chooses to insert.

Philosophy of Mind is subject really infested with woo woo.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panpsychism
...
Contemporary

The panpsychist doctrine has recently been making a comeback in the American philosophy of mind. Prominent defenders include Christian de Quincey, Leopold Stubenberg, David Ray Griffin, and David Skrbina.[1] In 1990, the physicist David Bohm published a paper named "A New theory of the relationship of mind and matter" promoting a panpsychist theory of consciousness based on Bohm's interpretation of quantum mechanics. Bohm has a number of followers among philosophers of mind both in United States (e.g. Quentin Smith) and internationally (e.g. Paavo Pylkkänen). In the United Kingdom the case for panpsychism has been made in recent decades by Galen Strawson,[14] Gregg Rosenberg and Timothy Sprigge.

In the philosophy of mind, panpsychism is one possible solution to the so-called hard problem of consciousness.[15] The doctrine has also been applied in the field of environmental philosophy through the work of Australian philosopher Freya Mathews.[16] David Chalmers has provided a sympathetic account of it in The Conscious Mind (1996). In addition, neuroscientist Christof Koch has proposed a "scientifically refined version" of panpsychism.[17]
....

Aren't you sorry you asked?

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15-05-2017, 03:35 PM
Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(15-05-2017 08:32 AM)ColdComfort Wrote:  But you misunderstand the arguments from a first cause:

1) Such arguments are not based on a sequence that involves time. Quite the contrary, in St. Thomas he famously denies that what he calls efficient causation can demonstrate whether the material universe had a temporal beginning or not.

2) Does all causation imply time as in 'put milk and ice cream in a blender you get a milkshake'? Many philosophers, atheists or not, do not think so. Thomas Nagel, an atheist, believes some sort of teleological view of causation is needed to explain evolution especially the evolution of consciousness. Thus the cause is simultaneous with the effect or the effect temporally precedes the cause. As in the child is father to the man.

3) You can of course argue that the material universe is eternal but then it merely remains a brute fact. Unexplainable by reason.

1. I don't particularly care what Aquinas had to say. Trying to prove a god through logic is singularly unimpressive.

2. Your milkshake metaphor makes no sense in this context. Plus, cause must precede effect. Again, this implies time. Where there is no time, cause and effect make no sense.

3. Not really. There is no empirical evidence for the Judeo-Christian god or indeed any god at all. Using a god to explain the existence of the universe begs the question of the existence of the god. Following the principle of Occam's razor where one doesn't multiply factors unnecessarily, instead of postulating that an eternal god created the universe, we remove the unproven factor of the god and may conclude that the universe itself is eternal.

As far as Nagel being an atheist, several have made that claim, ignoring his praise for religion and the enthusiastic embracing of his writing by creationists.
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15-05-2017, 04:24 PM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(15-05-2017 03:35 PM)Rachel Wrote:  
(15-05-2017 08:32 AM)ColdComfort Wrote:  But you misunderstand the arguments from a first cause: ...[snip]...

Plus, cause must precede effect. Again, this implies time. Where there is no time, cause and effect make no sense.

I think you're missing his point. The classical "first cause" arguments (i.e., those given by Aristotle and Aquinas) are using a different definition of "cause" than the one we normally attach to the word. Aristotle defined four different causes, and at least three of them are non-temporal -- they have nothing to do with time. The First Cause is not first in a temporal sequence -- it's first in the sense of primacy, i.e., it is the "ground" for everything else. I make no claims as to whether or not these arguments actually work (I don't think they do), but you misunderstand them if you think they're talking about temporal cause and effect. They're not.
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15-05-2017, 04:41 PM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
On the topic of a first cause.
Show me a point in the past when the energy of the universe didn't exist.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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15-05-2017, 04:52 PM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(15-05-2017 03:35 PM)Rachel Wrote:  1. I don't particularly care what Aquinas had to say. Trying to prove a god through logic is singularly unimpressive.

2. Your milkshake metaphor makes no sense in this context. Plus, cause must precede effect. Again, this implies time. Where there is no time, cause and effect make no sense.

3. Not really. There is no empirical evidence for the Judeo-Christian god or indeed any god at all. Using a god to explain the existence of the universe begs the question of the existence of the god. Following the principle of Occam's razor where one doesn't multiply factors unnecessarily, instead of postulating that an eternal god created the universe, we remove the unproven factor of the god and may conclude that the universe itself is eternal.

As far as Nagel being an atheist, several have made that claim, ignoring his praise for religion and the enthusiastic embracing of his writing by creationists.

1. St. Thomas doesn't try to prove the existence of a First Cause by logic alone. He, in fact, denies the validity of the ontological arguments current in his day. Like Aristotle he starts with an empirical fact: some things change. So on to two.

2. I agree that causation implies time and didn't say anything to the contrary. Causation is an explanation of change.

3. Nagel says he's an atheist. Teleology doesn't necessarily lead to theism. I haven't argued that it does. I was just responding to an argument that had as one of it's premises that a cause must always precede it's effect.
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15-05-2017, 05:00 PM
RE: Newsweek - Scientists Prove God Exists?
(15-05-2017 04:41 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  On the topic of a first cause.
Show me a point in the past when the energy of the universe didn't exist.

Again, the first cause argument (unless it's the Kalam version) isn't concerned with the past. It claims that the first cause, whatever that might be, is "causing" (in the sense of "sustaining") everything there is right at this moment, and continuously at every moment. It has nothing to do with time or temporal cause and effect.
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