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Henry McLeod

Can Science explain everything in the universe without a God?

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Hi Strange -


 

---"Can you provide a reference to where I should "go and look"?

 

I have never heard of this "well-known philosophical fact", except from you. Is there a wikiepdia p;age on it? Or something on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy?"

 

Yes, the Stanford Enc. would be a good place to start. Just read some entries on metaphysics.

 

The information is everywhere. Try Kant. He puts this fact as 'All selective conclusions about the world as a whole are undecidable'. Bradley puts it as 'Metaphysics does not endorse a positive result'. But really we only have to stand back and look at academic metaphysics. It quickly becomes obvious that that it cannot falsify Kant's statement, for this is the whole motivation fro logical positivism, dialethism, mysterianism and other pessimistic theories. It would be hopeless trying to deny this fact. You can establish it for yourself without much trouble. Just try deciding a metaphysical question of your choice.

 

 

---"I am asking questions. As always you are evading them or giving vague, unhelpful answers. Like the following:

 

And how exactly would it do that (in ways that the scientific method cannot)?

 

What exactly would it tell us about evolutionary process?

What exactly would it tell us about the origin of the universe? Presumably it would tell us the universe has an origin? What else?

What exactly would it tell us about the nature of the universe?

What exactly would it tell us about why scientists cannot find [dark?] matter? (I assume that is what you are referring to as there is not normally any difficulty finding matter.)

What exactly would it tell us about "nonlocality and other weird phenomena"? And what do you believe is wrong with the current understanding of those things?

 

If you are going to say you don't know the answers to those questions, can you tell us how you can be so sure it will have such a far reaching effect?"

 

Do you really expect me to answer this list? I feel it is your responsibility to read a book or two. The literature is vast. Schrodinger is excellent on general issues, the physicist Ulrich Mohrhoff says a lot that is relevant about QM, Kant and Hegel deal with most of the logical issues, Francis Bradley proves that all positive metaphysical positions fail in logic, George Spencer Brown shows how this allows for the formulation of the universe to be described by a simple calculus, etc etc. If you want a good place to start I'll think about it. Everybody is different so its not an automatic choice.

 

It's up to you. I feel no desperate need to convert you.

Edited by PeterJ

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Where do circles exist in reality? are they even real? They must be supernatural unless you can show me a perfect circle in reality. It's strange how supernatural entities have such importance in science.

 

Worth a down vote but not a reply. I do like a good comedy.

 

Sorry, I was on the road at the time.

 

Why do things have to exist in reality? Or, more to the point, why does not physically existing in reality make them supernatural? It's a concept, an abstraction, an ideal. It's not like circles are the only example of abstractions in life.

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The information is everywhere. Try Kant. He puts this fact as 'All selective conclusions about the world as a whole are undecidable'. Bradley puts it as 'Metaphysics does not endorse a positive result'. But really we only have to stand back and look at academic metaphysics. It quickly becomes obvious that that it cannot falsify Kant's statement, for this is the whole motivation fro logical positivism, dialethism, mysterianism and other pessimistic theories. It would be hopeless trying to deny this fact. You can establish it for yourself without much trouble. Just try deciding a metaphysical question of your choice.

 

Isn't all philosophy undecidable? That is why it is philosophy and not science. I think philosophy in the sense of analysing problems and asking rigorous well-formed questions is an essential discipline. But when it comes down to individuals promoting their personal beliefs about the nature of reality, less so.

 

I find it odd that you are convinced that your metaphysics will change so many areas of science but are unable to explain how it will do this, or even justify your belief that it will.

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Peter, is there any chance you could make a more determined effort to distinguish between your words and the words of other posters. The resulting mish-mash of ideas is difficult to disentangle when you do not do so. It almost leads me to believe that the other symptoms of passive-aggressive behaviour I see in your posts may be real.

Do you really expect me to answer this list? I feel it is your responsibility to read a book or two.

I do not only expect you to answer this list, I demand that you do so. You have made assertions. Forum rules and general forum etiquette require that you support these assertions, or withdraw them. Personally, I shall be satisfied if you address this one:

What exactly would it tell us about evolutionary process?

I look forward to a helpful, direct, non-patronising response.

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I look forward to a helpful, direct, non-patronising response.

I suspect that Godot is bringing it.

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I suspect that Godot is bringing it.

 

Well, makes a change from "God did it".

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I suspect that Godot is bringing it.

I can hardly wait.

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Isn't all philosophy undecidable? That is why it is philosophy and not science. I think philosophy in the sense of analysing problems and asking rigorous well-formed questions is an essential discipline. But when it comes down to individuals promoting their personal beliefs about the nature of reality, less so.

 

I find it odd that you are convinced that your metaphysics will change so many areas of science but are unable to explain how it will do this, or even justify your belief that it will.

 

I feel that this represents a real bit of progress towards mutual understanding. Yes, you could say 'all philosophy is undecidable', although it would be a messy way of saying it. But undecidable is not the same thing as unsolvable!

 

What I'm trying to explain, by request, is that while everybody finds that metaphysical questions are undecidable, for nondualism they would be undecidable for a reason. Their undecidability would be explained by saying that the extreme views on which they are founded are wrong. This approach is not possible for a western academic philosopher unless they abandon the tradition and travel to the land of woo where all this is old hat.

. .

For an example, take the question of whether the universe 'begins' with Something or Nothing. To our intellect neither answer makes sense and both give rise to contradictions. The 'western' approach would be to throw our hands in the air and say that philosophy is hopeless and it is all just a battle of opinions. Kant calls it an 'arena for mock fights'. The 'eastern' approach would be stick with the logic and look for a better answer. For the specifically nondual view the approach would be to say that both of these extreme answers are conceptual fallacies, while the truth would be found by 'sublating' or reducing these conceptual categories.

 

I don't think metaphysics can change science but it would certainly change the metaphysical views of many scientists were they to study it. Metaphysics is to some extent the interpretation of various physical theories, at least where those theories have implications for metaphysics, but they are separate domains such that knowing a lot of physics does not help us much in metaphysics. .

 

Really it's just a matter of logic. There is no need to appeal to religion to make the case for nondualism since the case is made simply by the well-established failure of the alternatives. I see no sound intellectual reason to reject it until it is falsified.

 

Please don't keep asking me to explain things that would take a week. I can point at ideas but cannot be expected to explain them all. Imagine if a poster asked you to explain quantum mechanics and how you would reply. I'll do the best I can but also have a day job...

 

----"Peter, is there any chance you could make a more determined effort to distinguish between your words and the words of other posters. The resulting mish-mash of ideas is difficult to disentangle when you do not do so. It almost leads me to believe that the other symptoms of passive-aggressive behaviour I see in your posts may be real."

 

Oh yes. Apologies. Even in this post I got caught out by the way posts are aggregated.

 

--- "I do not only expect you to answer this list, I demand that you do so. You have made assertions. Forum rules and general forum etiquette require that you support these assertions, or withdraw them. Personally, I shall be satisfied if you address this one:"

 

I have no intention of answering a lengthy list of questions. I'm not paid enough and all the information is freely available. Ask me one clear question at a time and I will attempt to be helpful. It would work if you quoted one of these assertions and challenged it.

Edited by PeterJ

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--- "I do not only expect you to answer this list, I demand that you do so. You have made assertions. Forum rules and general forum etiquette require that you support these assertions, or withdraw them. Personally, I shall be satisfied if you address this one:"

 

I have no intention of answering a lengthy list of questions.

Tough. As I have already noted, forum rules and forum etiquette require that if you make assertions, you must support them when called upon to do so. Additional incentives include: demonstrating a genuine desire to participate in the discussion; avoiding the appearance of being arrogant.

 

 

I'm not paid enough and all the information is freely available.

You claim it is freely available. I am unaware of where it is located. I am not willing to invest the time to look for something you claim exists, but whose existence I doubt. You know what and where it is: provide it, or cease pretending to participate in the discussion.

 

Ask me one clear question at a time and I will attempt to be helpful. It would work if you quoted one of these assertions and challenged it.

That is exactly what I did. Do you have reading comprehension difficulties? I could leave it like that. Or could take the time to point you to the post where I did so - post #179. Or, I can be even more helpful and repeat the request verbatim. Here it is.

 

Personally, I shall be satisfied if you address this one:

 

Quote

What exactly would it tell us about evolutionary process?

I look forward to a helpful, direct, non-patronising response.

 

 

 

I still look forward to that. Your last effort failed on all counts.

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This approach is not possible for a western academic philosopher unless they abandon the tradition and travel to the land of woo where all this is old hat.

 

This sounds like the worst sort of Orientalism. I would politely request that you tone down this grossly offensive attitude.

 

 

For an example, take the question of whether the universe 'begins' with Something or Nothing. To our intellect neither answer makes sense and both give rise to contradictions. The 'western' approach would be to throw our hands in the air and say that philosophy is hopeless and it is all just a battle of opinions.

 

No the "western" (let's say scientific) approach is to see if there is any evidence that will decide between these two choices. There are, by the way, plenty of areas in science where the correct answer is "mu"; i.e. the question has no answer (and possibly even no meaning). So your dismissal of "western" ideas as being stuck in this dualistic mode appears to be incorrect.

 

 

For the specifically nondual view the approach would be to say that both of these extreme answers are conceptual fallacies, while the truth would be found by 'sublating' or reducing these conceptual categories.

 

Which leads to what, exactly? Again you make vague claims that we can dismiss the two extremes but provide no clue as to what to replace it with. (And what does "sublate" even mean?)

 

 

I don't think metaphysics can change science

 

So you have changed your mind?

 

As a reminder, you previously said: "it would shed light on evolutionary processes and answer questions about the origin and nature of the universe. It would explain why science cannot find matter when they go looking for it, and in my opinion would help to make sense of nonlocality and other weird phenomena."

 

Those sound like pretty significant scientific contributions.

 

 

Imagine if a poster asked you to explain quantum mechanics and how you would reply.

 

Well guess what. It happens. And people do their best to provide summary answers appropriate to the forum. And provide specific references to more detailed information (not just a dismissive and [deliberately?] unhelpful "go and read something somewhere").

 

 

Oh yes. Apologies. Even in this post I got caught out by the way posts are aggregated.

 

I will try not to mention the apparent negative correlation between rational discussion and the ability to use the quote function, instead I will just point you to this: http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/82164-the-quote-function-a-tutorial-in-several-parts/

(See, specific. Not just "go and read the instructions".)

 

 

I have no intention of answering a lengthy list of questions. I'm not paid enough and all the information is freely available. Ask me one clear question at a time and I will attempt to be helpful. It would work if you quoted one of these assertions and challenged it.

 

You were asked one simple question based on your assertion that "it would shed light on evolutionary processes".

 

So, there you go: one clear question which is a challenge to a quoted assertion. But feel free to keep avoiding it. And then say you are too busy keep posting here. Until you come back in a few months and the whole damn cycle starts again.

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I'm sorry, but this bit of the thread just keeps reminding me of a line from the Hitchhikers' guide to the galaxy

 

"Also of note that when others visited the planet where Veet Voojagig claimed to have lived, all they found was a small asteroid inhabited by "a strange old man who repeatedly claimed that nothing was true, though he was later found to be lying.""

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Amazing. Oh well. I should know better by now on this forum. I know teenagers who have a better grasp of philosophy than these contemptuous comments reveal, and who certainly have more interest.

 

I'll leave you in peace to wander around the issues forever. Don't say I didn't try.

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Yes, you seem to stop posting whenever pushed for answers. And then pop up again a few months later with the same vague unsupported claims.

Amazing. Oh well. I should know better by now on this forum. I know teenagers who have a better grasp of philosophy than these contemptuous comments reveal, and who certainly have more interest.

 

I'll leave you in peace to wander around the issues forever. Don't say I didn't try.

Actually, I will say it.

You didn't try.

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Amazing. Oh well. I should know better by now on this forum. I know teenagers who have a better grasp of philosophy than these contemptuous comments reveal, and who certainly have more interest.

 

I'll leave you in peace to wander around the issues forever. Don't say I didn't try.

You did not try. Earlier you said this:

 

"Ask me one clear question at a time and I will attempt to be helpful."

 

This was after I had asked you one clear question. I then repeated that question. Your response - you run away.

 

Sometimes it is appropriate to accept the official warnings that rightfully stem from attacks on the person. You sir are behaving like a coward and a charlatan. Will you now show me to be wrong in my assessment by actually responding to my request? Or, will you refuse to do so, thereby proving my assessment to be correct?

 

Your choice.

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Amazing. Oh well. I should know better by now on this forum. I know teenagers who have a better grasp of philosophy than these contemptuous comments reveal, and who certainly have more interest.

 

I'll leave you in peace to wander around the issues forever. Don't say I didn't try.

 

Pathetic. And cowardly. I suspect you are unable to explain your vague ideas because you don't know as much as you pretend to. (That and the fact they are just vague ideas.)

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Sorry, I was on the road at the time.

 

Why do things have to exist in reality? Or, more to the point, why does not physically existing in reality make them supernatural? It's a concept, an abstraction, an ideal. It's not like circles are the only example of abstractions in life.

 

I was given the question of there existing a problem in reality in which we cant find the answer to naturally, Well it seems alot of our answers are not "natural" if they are using things not actually seen in reality or "nature", but man made concepts. God is as much a concept, an abstraction or an ideal as a circle is. i could very well describe god in those terms if i so wished. infact i could encompass god as all of those abstract, conceptual or ideological things we've made up to answer "real" questions. I think i'll do that.

 

P.S anything that doesnt exist within nature is "supernatural" by definition? as in mutually exclusive.

Edited by DevilSolution

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Well it seems alot of our answers are not "natural" if they are using things not actually seen in reality or "nature", but man made concepts.

Like every concept in physics ever?

 

The point is that these concepts should have some bearing on observables.

 

God is as much a concept, an abstraction or an ideal as a circle is. i could very well describe god in those terms if i so wished. infact i could encompass god as all of those abstract, conceptual or ideological things we've made up to answer "real" questions. I think i'll do that.

The big difference is that I can actually meaningfully study a circle. I can make conjectures about circles and then sit down and see if I can prove them or disprove them or find counter examples etc. How can I do that with a God? Something that different people think are very different things?

 

P.S anything that doesnt exist within nature is "supernatural" by definition? as in mutually exclusive.

I will just take the definition from the Oxford dictionary

 

Supernatural. (Of a manifestation or event) attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature: a supernatural being.

Now, do we need to include manifestation or event in this definition? That is, do we not need 'observed phenomena' in the definition?

 

If we do not, then we may have to include mathematics as supernatural, or we need to widen our definition of 'laws of nature'. I rather widen our definition of 'laws of nature' as mathematics has a lot of structure and it seems you cannot just do what you want. There are some rules in mathematics. I would not like to think of mathematics as 'supernatural' and suggest some equivalence with my work and that of Derek Acorah!

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I was given the question of there existing a problem in reality in which we cant find the answer to naturally, Well it seems alot of our answers are not "natural" if they are using things not actually seen in reality or "nature", but man made concepts. God is as much a concept, an abstraction or an ideal as a circle is. i could very well describe god in those terms if i so wished. infact i could encompass god as all of those abstract, conceptual or ideological things we've made up to answer "real" questions. I think i'll do that.

 

P.S anything that doesnt exist within nature is "supernatural" by definition? as in mutually exclusive.

 

We are part of nature, so why is a man-made concept not natural?

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We are part of nature, so why is a man-made concept not natural?

 

That just falls back into "the original cause" argument, which as ive already demonstrated leads to a pantheistic view of the universe.

 

Like every concept in physics ever?

 

The point is that these concepts should have some bearing on observables.

 

 

The big difference is that I can actually meaningfully study a circle. I can make conjectures about circles and then sit down and see if I can prove them or disprove them or find counter examples etc. How can I do that with a God? Something that different people think are very different things?

 

 

I will just take the definition from the Oxford dictionary

 

 

Now, do we need to include manifestation or event in this definition? That is, do we not need 'observed phenomena' in the definition?

 

If we do not, then we may have to include mathematics as supernatural, or we need to widen our definition of 'laws of nature'. I rather widen our definition of 'laws of nature' as mathematics has a lot of structure and it seems you cannot just do what you want. There are some rules in mathematics. I would not like to think of mathematics as 'supernatural' and suggest some equivalence with my work and that of Derek Acorah!

 

Not every concept in physics relies on some abstract portion of mathematics, but if it does, then it could be argued the answer is supernatural, as the means by which the answer was concluded didnt come from the "natural" world but some ideological world we created.

 

We can debate semantics of nature and supernatural, but as ive stated they at the very minimum are mutually exclusive. If it is not one, then it must be the other.

Its up to you if you wish to extend the "laws of nature" to include things that are not natural because thats easier to do? But thats not the empirical truth.

Edited by DevilSolution

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That's just getting silly.

If acts of God are supernatural and He made the Universe then everything is supernatural.

If you take a loose enough definition, it stops being meaningful.

 

"We can debate semantics of nature and supernatural, but as ive stated they at the very minimum are mutually exclusive. If it is not one, then it must be the other."

Good point.

Now, show me something that's actually supernatural.

Or stop going on about it as if it has some importance.

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That's just getting silly.

If acts of God are supernatural and He made the Universe then everything is supernatural.

If you take a loose enough definition, it stops being meaningful.

 

"We can debate semantics of nature and supernatural, but as ive stated they at the very minimum are mutually exclusive. If it is not one, then it must be the other."

Good point.

Now, show me something that's actually supernatural.

Or stop going on about it as if it has some importance.

 

i never once mentioned an act of god, if you have read any of my recent posts you'd see i have defined a circle as supernatural as it does not exist in nature. Why is that silly?

 

And again your first argument falls into "the first cause" argument which essentially boils down to accepting a pantheistic view of the universe or the door is open for other forces beyond the realm of our comprehension....

Edited by DevilSolution

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i never once mentioned an act of god, if you have read any of my recent posts you'd see i have defined a circle as supernatural as it does not exist in nature. Why is that silly?

 

Because you are redefining the word 'supernatural' in a way that is not useful. "If I define circles as supernatural and squares as unicorn poop then ..."

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Not every concept in physics relies on some abstract portion of mathematics, but if it does, then it could be argued the answer is supernatural, as the means by which the answer was concluded didnt come from the "natural" world but some ideological world we created.

Can we have some example please.

 

We can debate semantics of nature and supernatural, but as ive stated they at the very minimum are mutually exclusive. If it is not one, then it must be the other.

So what is a clear example of something 'supernatural'?

 

Its up to you if you wish to extend the "laws of nature" to include things that are not natural because thats easier to do?

The point is that just about every mathematician would not like mathematics to be classified as 'supernatural'.

 

But thats not the empirical truth.

By empirical truth you mean based on observations of nature?

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i never once mentioned an act of god, if you have read any of my recent posts you'd see i have defined a circle as supernatural as it does not exist in nature. Why is that silly?

 

And again your first argument falls into "the first cause" argument which essentially boils down to accepting a pantheistic view of the universe or the door is open for other forces beyond the realm of our comprehension....

"i never once mentioned an act of god,"

And nobody said you did.

I mentioned it as an analogy.

If you choose the "right definition" you can make the discussion pointless.

 

 

 

and this bit

"And again your first argument falls into "the first cause" argument which essentially boils down to accepting a pantheistic view of the universe or the door is open for other forces beyond the realm of our comprehension...."

makes no real sense.

You seem to have forgotten that science doesn't think it's finished yet.

It's entirely possible that we will find a cause which doesn't involve pantheism.

One possible example would be if science actually found a God.

 

The point is that "beyond our comprehension" is a set that's shrinking all the time.

 

And may I join the chorus of people asking you to show us something that actually is supernatural?

You don't seem to have done that.

Edited by John Cuthber

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