Refuting Atheism
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08-11-2010, 10:03 PM
RE: Refuting Atheism
Quote:Nice.


Thank you!

Quote:It's like if a Big Bang theory person and a God built this city in 6 days (and on rock n' roll)

That song is an affront to all that is good and decent in the world. I don't believe in God but that song makes me question the potential existence of Lucifer.

Quote:I'm just trying to explain subjectivism as I understand it. It's a square peg. Can't be put in a round hole. It needs to be understood on its own terms or not at all. But understanding it doesn't mean you have to accept it.

Well, that was sort of my point. Except that I don't understand it either. It seems like a lot of circular talk to me. But, and I've said this a few times now so at the risk of being repetitive, that's my problem.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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09-11-2010, 06:41 AM
 
RE: Refuting Atheism
(08-11-2010 09:47 PM)BnW Wrote:  
Quote:I don't know. We're on different pages.
I reached this conclusion like 2 weeks ago. I honestly don't understand your page, either. I really can't get my arms around the concept that things can be other than what they are.

No point in rehashing it again, though, ...

Yep, it's been pretty evident to me, too. Ghost and I are constantly talking around each other. He keeps missing my point and putting his own words around the points I make. But re-hashing these things is enjoyable and I find it fun to try to poke holes in what Matt is saying and see what his responses are. Evidently, I'm never going to succeed in "converting" him, but that's not important to me. I'm content with letting others make up their own minds about these dialogs, and perhaps our point/counter-point can stimulate others to do some searching outside the forum on their own to try to reconcile the arguments that Matt and I have been having. Isn't that worthwhile?
OK - now where were we at? Oh, yes ....

(08-11-2010 09:43 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, 2buckchuck.

...snip...

Evolution has placed no such premium on accuracy. For starters, if you can find accuracy or anything to do with accuracy anywhere in evolutionary theory, I'd like to see it.

It's called "survival of the fittest" - if your subjective interpretation of the sensory input you're receiving isn't reasonably accurate, you're not going to survive very long. Your saying that evolution ignores accuracy doesn't make it so.

(08-11-2010 09:43 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Second, evolution cares only about what is adaptive and what is maladaptive (and what is exaptive). It only cares about those things because adaptive things get selected and maladaptive things are self-eliminating. Adaptive is NOT a synonymn for accurate or better or more complex or any derrivative thereof.

I never said they were synonyms. Go back and read what I said. I specifically used both words because they're not synonymous!

(08-11-2010 09:43 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Adaptive simply means "it works".

From dictionary.com - adaptive (adjective): serving or able to adapt; showing or contributing to adaptation: the adaptive coloring of a chameleon. Apparently, you've put your own definition out here. An adaptation might or might not be successful. It's not evident to me that being adaptive is going to work - only if the concept behind the adaptation is accurate. If a chameleon were to change colors to dayglow orange, that wouldn't work very well, would it?

(08-11-2010 09:43 PM)Ghost Wrote:  What you're doing is saying that science is more accurate and more accurate is better and therefore more adaptive. But that's a mess.

No, that's not what I'm saying at all. Accuracy and adaptivity are not synonyms, so your syllogism is simply a clear demonstration of your own misunderstanding.

(08-11-2010 09:43 PM)Ghost Wrote:  ...snip...

As for what you're saying about flexibility... It strikes me that the frame you are operating within is that a given social reality is flexible. I can dig on that. But what I don't feel you're doing is traveling OUTSIDE of your given social reality. Do you know what I'm getting at?

Frankly ... no.

(08-11-2010 09:43 PM)Ghost Wrote:  I don't know. We're on different pages.

Evidently.
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09-11-2010, 07:44 AM
RE: Refuting Atheism
Quote:It's called "survival of the fittest" - if your subjective interpretation of the sensory input you're receiving isn't reasonably accurate, you're not going to survive very long. Your saying that evolution ignores accuracy doesn't make it so.

The concept of "survival of the fittest" isn't necessarily evolution, though. It is certainly not a phrase Darwin used,and it came sometime after him. Not all adaptations are positive and not all help survival. There is a reason something like 99% of all the species that ever walked the earth are extinct. And,some adaptations will kill in a single generation (but generally on an individual basis). So, "it works" is really a poor explanation of the concept, I think, because often times it doesn't "work".

Oh, and while it can at times be exasperating, I find these useful for the entertainment value. I've no expectation that my words of wisdom are going to convince anyone of anything. Perhaps I can inform, perhaps I can entertain, but I've no expectations of conversions. For me, though, this can serve as entertainment in its own right. I enjoy the debate and I never take these things overly seriously or personally.

Matt - despite your protestations to the contrary, I think you do take these things seriously at times. I'm sure that's just me completely not understanding you again, though. The expletives, the protests - I'm sure it's all from a happy place. The offer for the 6 pack of "lighten up" still stands.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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09-11-2010, 10:11 AM
 
RE: Refuting Atheism
(09-11-2010 07:44 AM)BnW Wrote:  
Quote:It's called "survival of the fittest" - if your subjective interpretation of the sensory input you're receiving isn't reasonably accurate, you're not going to survive very long. Your saying that evolution ignores accuracy doesn't make it so.

The concept of "survival of the fittest" isn't necessarily evolution, though. It is certainly not a phrase Darwin used,and it came sometime after him. Not all adaptations are positive and not all help survival.

I didn't say, per se, that "survival of the fittest" = evolution. Evolutionary theory is far more complex than that. But it's pretty clear (at least to me) that if an adaptation (be it genetic or based on a mental model of reality) isn't going to enhance the survival chances for individuals, then it's "maladaptive" for those individuals. If the individuals who make negative adaptations are typical within that species, then the species is threatened with extinction.

As for when the phrase came into use within the timeline of evolutionary science, I don't really know for sure or care very much. It expresses something important about responses to the environment (i.e., the objective reality experienced by living things) - I agree fully that not all adaptations to that environment are positive or of value in survival. If humans consistently interpreted their sensory input in a seriously inaccurate way, I maintain we wouldn't have survived to the present. That would be evolution in action, no?
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09-11-2010, 09:56 PM
RE: Refuting Atheism
Hey, 2buckchuck.

There's a difference between you and me. I understand objectivist thought. It's not too tricky. So you don't have to explain it to me. Do you understand subjectivist thought? Not, do you accept/reject it, do you understand it? If you do, then we shouldn't be arguing (unless you think my interpretation of subjectivist thought is off kilter). If you don't, then ask yourself if you care to. If you do, allow me to explain. If you don't, then stop tearing what I write apart.

Quote:...if your subjective interpretation of the sensory input you're receiving isn't reasonably accurate, you're not going to survive very long.

Supposition.

The only thing it needs to do is to give you some way to usefully interact with the world. It needs to be advantageous. There is no requirement beyond that.

I'm aware of the idea of survival of the fittest. The difficulty with that concept is that fit is very easy to conflate with strong or good or better. Take the sloth. It's all but useless. But it is perfectly fit for its environment.

"Negative adaptations" is a made up term with zero meaning.

Maladaptions are self-eliminating. But inaccurate (and I only use that term in the sense of scientifically accurate, not to say that scientific ideas are objectively accurate and that as a necessary consequence, all non-scientific ideas are objectively inaccurate) models of the universe (all models being inaccurate but hey) are not necessarily maladaptive.

There was a tribe in the Amazon that said their people came from a small waterfall up the river they lived on. To us, it's utterly silly and wholly inaccurate. But it forms the basis of a very much adaptive belief system that has allowed them to be fit for hundreds if not thousands of years.

One's interpretation of sensory input does not have to be objectively accurate in order to be adaptive and or useful. That's the core to understanding all of this. The other important idea is that our interpretations of sensory input, because they are mediated, because they are abstracted, cannot be objectively accurate.

If anywhere in your understanding of what I'm saying lives the idea of functioning sensing vs malfunctioning sensing, then that's far from what I'm saying. Everything I'm saying is based on the premise that people are sensing what is around them equally well. The difference lies solely in how they interpret those signals.

As for adaptation, I'm not going to argue. If you really can't see how an adaptive trait or behaviour is one that works then that's your business.

The question here is not do adaptations help and do maladaptions hinder. If you wanna have that argument, take it up with anyone evolutionary scientists. He'll tear you apart. The question is, "can different and even contradictory interpretations of the world, or interpretations that, say, science would deem inaccurate, be adaptive?" You say no. I say yes. I base it on a very simple premise. An adaptation allows an organism to better cope with their environment. It works. In the case of worldviews, a "scientifically inaccurate" worldview has every chance of being adaptive. How do we know this. Because science has only been around a few hundred years while modern humans have been around 70 000 - 120 000 years depending on who you ask. THE VAST MAJORITY OF HUMANS that have lived for that time have done so WITHOUT the benefit of science.

I can't remember the man's name (I saw him on Charlie Rose) but this man did a study at Harvard about what traits were shared by successful corporations, or rather, what traits made them successful. What he discovered was that when it comes to an organisation (a social group) it is utterly irrelevant what their views are or how they organise themselves. The only thing that matters is that the people that make up the group stick to the plan, whatever it is. It is coherent social agreement that makes an organisation successful. Again, how a social group views the world is irrelevant. That they all agree and therefore act accordingly and that it is useful enough to be adaptive is the only thing that matters.

Hey, BnW.

An adaptation, by definition, is something that allows something to better deal with their environment, to adapt to their environment. Adaptations are not positive forever because environments change, particularly during punctuated equilibrium. Adaptations can quickly become maladaptions. But all adaptations are positive, or better stated, advantageous.

Adaptations and by extension the entities that possess them (be they biological or cultural) are selected because of the advantage conferred.
Quote:Let it also be borne in mind how infinitely complex and close-fitting are the mutual relations of all organic beings to each other and to their physical conditions of life; and consequently what infinitely varied diversities of structure might be of use to each being under changing conditions of life. Can it, then, be thought improbable, seeing that variations useful to man have undoubtedly occurred, that other variations useful in some way to each being in the great and complex battle of life, should occur in the course of many successive generations? If such do occur, can we doubt (remembering that many more individuals are born than can possible survive) that individuals having any advantage, however slight, over others, would have the best chance of surviving and of procreating their kind? On the other hand, we may feel sure that any variation in the least degree injurious would be rigidly destroyed. This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest.
-Charles Darwin, “The Origin of Species”, page 98

That which works persists, that which does not is self-eliminating.

I'm willing to recant what I said before about "it works". I'm willing to amend it to, an adaptation is advantageous:
That which is advantageous persists, that which is not is self-eliminating.

As for taking things seriously, telling me I don't understand science is just an ignorant thing to say and one that I really can't respond to. So I dismissed it.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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10-11-2010, 07:13 AM
 
RE: Refuting Atheism
(09-11-2010 09:56 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, 2buckchuck.

There's a difference between you and me. I understand objectivist thought. It's not too tricky. So you don't have to explain it to me. Do you understand subjectivist thought? Not, do you accept/reject it, do you understand it? If you do, then we shouldn't be arguing (unless you think my interpretation of subjectivist thought is off kilter). If you don't, then ask yourself if you care to. If you do, allow me to explain. If you don't, then stop tearing what I write apart.

Me too dumb to understand subjectivist thought. Me give up.
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10-11-2010, 10:30 AM
RE: Refuting Atheism
Hey,2buckchuck.

Quote:Yep, it's been pretty evident to me, too. Ghost and I are constantly talking around each other. He keeps missing my point and putting his own words around the points I make. But re-hashing these things is enjoyable and I find it fun to try to poke holes in what Matt is saying and see what his responses are. Evidently, I'm never going to succeed in "converting" him, but that's not important to me. I'm content with letting others make up their own minds about these dialogs, and perhaps our point/counter-point can stimulate others to do some searching outside the forum on their own to try to reconcile the arguments that Matt and I have been having. Isn't that worthwhile?

Don't play the martyr. I was responding directly to this. I'm not missing your point. I already understand your position. I'm trying to explain subjectivism. If you already understand it then I don't understand what we are arguing about. If you don't, I'm asking if you want to. Because if you want to, I'm more than happy to explain. If you don't care to understand, then I have no desire to argue. If you want to undermine what I'm saying, you can just keep me mired in devil's advocate arguments until the end of time. That's what I want to avoid.

I do owe you an apology. By opening with "there is a difference" I was implying that you not understanding subjectivism was a foregone conclusion. That wasn't fair. I am sorry.

This is for everyone. Subjectivism is very important to me and I will teach anyone who is willing to learn. But if you're not willing to learn, or worse, only willing to undermine, I have no patience for it.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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10-11-2010, 11:31 AM
RE: Refuting Atheism
Maybe this link will be helpful.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subjectivism

I don't know if it's been posted yet, but maybe you could explain exactly what points in that article you hold with, Ghost. Then 2buck can ask questions based on that.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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11-11-2010, 11:52 AM
RE: Refuting Atheism
Hey, Unbeliever.

Well, I have to admit to a very bad habit. I use the term subjectivism colloquially.

What I believe in is closer to a mixture of subjectivism, relativism, perpectivism, George EP Box's statement, "all models are wrong, some are useful," socially constructed reality, semiotics, memetics, Darwinism and a scientific understanding of the human mind and how it perceives, abstracts and models the universe.

Just saying subjectivism is easier. Lazy, but easier.

The easiest summation of what I agree with is that there may or may not be an objective reality (although I lean towards the idea that there is one called ACTUALITY that exists completely independently of our understanding of it); however, the human mind is incapable of knowing it (actuality) objectively and instead uses abstracted models of actuality to understand the universe, models that are social agreements and that can differ from culture to culture. Sure. That works. Too tired to call that difinitive Big Grin

How bout this? The world that exists in our mind is a flawed, virtual, non-difinitive, culturally specific representation of actuality that exists independently of actuality. We exist in actuality but we interact with it virtually.

How bout this? Our mental models are the joystick, not the game.

Here's some good links:
Good primer on subjectivism
Good simple definition of subjectivism
Good simple deinition of relativism
Good simple definition of perspectivism

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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11-11-2010, 12:00 PM
RE: Refuting Atheism
No need to explain it to me; I think we've had this conversation before. I understand and largely agree with your philosophical stance on this issue. Since 2buck now has a more complete definition of what it is that you're arguing for, though, the conversation can hopefully move forward.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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