Prolegomena to God Arguments: Transcendental Sigified

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This is a prelude to unveiling a new God argument I have been working on. The point here is that the God concept is endemic to modern thought.. 
Western thought has always assumed a logos, a first principle that gives meaning to all ambiguity and grounds all knowledge and norms. This concept has been embodied in many different ideas, collectively Jacques Derrida calls them “transcendental signifiers” (TS). These differing notions all point to a single idea, the one thing that is necessary and universal that orders and gives meaning to all signs and signification. That is the thing signified by the words used to mark it, the transcendental signified (TS). Humanity has been unable to find any matching candidate for this post in modern thought primarily because we gave up the idea of a logos. 

Modern science has a sort of truncated logos in the idea that empirical observations will eliminate all hypotheses until just the true one's are left and that will give us the understanding we seek. That will never happen because it cannot; science can't render first principles in areas like ethics and morality and it can't delve into the spiritual, the phenomenological, the existential or anything not immediately verifiable empirically. Postmodern thought has given up on the whole project. They reject the concept of truth itself and seek not to understand anything beyond their self referential language game. Yet in rejecting the concept of truth, and tearing down hierarchies, they create their transcendental signifier differance, (with an a)[1] Only the concept of God fits the parameters for the TS. God offers the best explanation for hierarchical ordering, thus offers the most likely correlate for TS. Or to put it another way, mind is the missing dimension that enables the TS to unite human experience of being with understanding. That in itself should warrant belief in God.

Human thought in general and Western thought in particular has always sought an ἀρχή, a first principle, a logos that will sum up everything and give meaning to reality. The Greek notion of the logos, which was always about finding a way to understand reality through observing the world: “...Heraclitus of Ephesus (540-480BC) succeeded best in giving mythos and logos a philosophical meaning in a new world structure and putting man in a position to find his rightful place in it. The problem...to establish the reality of observable phenomena, to uncover its governing force, and to teach man the proper way of relating himself to both.[2] The notion, in one form or another, was deeply rooted among the Greeks: the stoics, for example, used it to mean the divine animating principle pervading the universe.[3]William James, in The Varieties of Religious Experience, reflections upon Kant's notion of categories, “Ideas of pure reason,” that ground all our ideas and support all concrete knowledge even though they themselves are not given in sense data.[4]
...such ideas and others equally abstract, form the background for all our facts, the fountain-head of all the possibilities we conceive of...everything we know is what it is by sharing in the nature of one of these abstractions.We can never look directly at them for they are bodiless and featureless and footless, but we grasp all other things by their means and in handling the real world we should be stricken with helplessness in just so far forth as we might lose these mental objects, these adjectives, these adverbs and predicates and heads of classification and conception[5].
James argues that these abstract notions is one of the “cardinal facts” of our human existence. We can't escape them, we can't deal with life without them. He talks about Plato and Emerson as examples of thinkers whose grasp of such abstractions defined the nature of ideas in such a way as to both define thought and infuse ideas with a sense of the divine, “treat the moral structure of the universe as a fact worthy of worship.”[6] Such notions, such links between the concrete and the abstract are replete in human history. Around the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century James observes this kind of transcendentalism moving into a scientific venue. “Science in many minds is genuinely taking the place of religion.”[7] He finds schools of thought that saw the Greek gods as reflections of the abstract ideas. While in the current age we find scientists openly talking about science replacing religion or providing a short cut to God.

The rise of Christianity saw a clear interpretation of the logos. In the rise of modern science we saw the Christian thesis discorded but another logos was put in it's place, in the form of the laws of physics.
It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion…People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.[8]
So modern thought assumes these disembodied laws that are sort of the residue of God without the will or volition. Pierre-Simon Laplace reshaped science in the post Newtonian era, removing all the independent clock winding and repairing Newton had God doing in his system, and when Napoleon asked him why he left out talking about God in his science he supposedly answered “I have no need of that hypothesis.”[9] It was upon that basis that God was taken out of modern science and all the built in theological assumptions with it, based upon the explanatory power of cause and effect. From that point on there has been steady progression of putting aside thinking about ideas and final causes and assuming laws of physics just are. They are out there they make God unnecessary (supposedly) and though we don't know where they came from we don’t need to know.[10] As Alfred North Whitehead once observed"We are content with superficial orderings form diverse arbitrary starting points. ... science which is employed in their development [modern thought] is based upon a philosophy which asserts that physical causation is supreme, and which disjoints the physical cause from the final end. It is not popular to dwell upon the absolute contradiction here involved..”[11]

The climate of opinion in modern physics, according to physicist Paul Davies, is still similar. Physicists assume the laws of physics “have some independent reality, prior to universe they describe,” not in terms of prescribing what nature has to do but in terms of being “base of explanatory chain.”[12] Davies argues that fine tuning of the universal constants is an embarrassment to modern physicists. They are embarrassed because it appears that the universe has been “fixed” to produce life. In order to cover the embarrassment modern physicists reduce physical laws to something less binding. “The Cambridge cosmologist Martin Rees, president of The Royal Society, suggests the laws of physics aren't absolute and universal but more akin to local bylaws, varying from place to place on a mega-cosmic scale.”[13] Davies goes on:


The root cause of all the difficulty can be traced to the fact that both religion and science appeal to some agency outside the universe to explain its law like order.....This shared failing is no surprise, because the very notion of physical law has its origins in theology. The idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws comes straight out of monotheism, which was the dominant influence in Europe at the time science as we know it was being formulated by Isaac Newton and his contemporaries. Just as classical Christianity presents God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, so physicists envisage their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships. Furthermore, Christians believe the world depends utterly on God for its existence, while the converse is not the case. Correspondingly, physicists declare that the universe is governed by eternal laws, but the laws remain impervious to events in the universe.[14]
But the model has lost coherence since they can't move away from the word “law” and yet the laws are said to be mere “descriptions.” They seek to avoid a law giver. Then they vacillate between resorting to prescriptive or descriptive laws. This will be discussed in much detail in chapter 4Modern scientific thought lacks the principle of grounding necessary to complete a correlate between our theoretical picture of the world an understanding what actually is because we have given up on the logos. We have a fragmented set of observations, laws and principles but no higher scheme uniting the fragments under single transcendental signifier:

And most cosmologists agree: we don't need a god-of-the-gaps to make the big bang go bang. It can happen as part of a natural process. A much tougher problem now looms, however. What is the source of those ingenious laws that enable a universe to pop into being from nothing? Traditionally, scientists have supposed that the laws of physics were simply imprinted on the universe at its birth, like a maker's mark. As to their origin, well, that was left unexplained.[15]
They are still assuming a framework at the top without knowing what that framework is. For those who have given up on the project of truth it's even worse.

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) is perhaps the closest thing to the major voice of postmodernism. If we were to try to sum up in one sentence a single idea emblematic of postmodernism we could not do better than to say postmodernism is the view that three are no meta narratives. Derrida, working in the philosophical heritage of Edmomnd Husseral. “Given this ontological critique, which Derrida claims pervades all of western philosophy, Derrida asserts a sort of post-metaphysical, post-foundational, perspective of reality that is not so much a new philosophy, but rather one that no longer naively accepts the arbitrary metaphysical claims of western thought.[16]  Derrida holds that western thought has always assumed a logos, or a transcendental signified. “For essential reasons the unity of all that allows itself to be attempted today through the most diverse concepts of science and of writing, is in principle, more or less covertly, yet always, determined by an historico-metaphysical epoch of which we merely glimpse the closure.”[17]

Rather than seeking to destroy all truth he seeks to show that the modern metaphysical referents to which the assumptions of logos pertain are inherently problematic.

To explain the meaning of the transcendental signified with reference to the article itself as well as my previous understanding of this concept, I can say that Derrida assumes that the entire history of Western metaphysics from Plato to the present is founded on a classic, fundamental error. This error is searching for a transcendental signified, an “ external point of reference” ( like God, religion, reason, science….) upon which one may build a concept or philosophy. This transcendental signified would provide the ultimate meaning and would be the origin of origins. This transcendental signified is centered in the process of interpretation and whatever else is decentered. To Derrida THIS IS A GREAT ERROR because... 1. There is no ultimate truth or a unifying element in universe, and thus no ultimate reality (including whatever transcendental signified). What is left is only difference. 2. Any text, in the light of this fact, has almost an infinite number of possible interpretations, and there is no assumed one signified meaning.[18]
For Derrida, as with Davies, there is nothing outside of the realm of signifier that we can latch onto and pull ourselves out of the quagmire of signs and signification. There is no touchstone of meaning outside of that realm because all meaning is based upon the shifting sands of signifier and differance.[19] So modern though is between a rock and hard place. We are either trapped in the world of signification where meaning is arbitrary and always differed to the next signifier which is also arbitrary, or we are stuck in the Cul-de-Sac of scientific reductionism

Jacob Gabriel Hale asserts that Cornelius Van Til (1895-1987) has the answer. Van Til was a Philosopher and Reformed Theologian best known for the transcendental Argument for God (TAG).[20] Hale compares Derrida to Van Til. Both understand modern thought to be trapped in the same dead end seeking a logos but unable to connect with it. While Derridia's answer is to give up on logos and tear down hierarchies and be stuck like a character in a Becket play, Van Til understands God as the true presupposition to logic[21]. Thus Van Til fills in the blank of the logos with the Christian Logos. The Christian intellectual tradition has always regarded God as the basis of logic probably going back to the Greeks and their idea of logos. It's a concept very reminiscent of St. Augustine in his association of God with truth.

Augustine expresses the concept of the super-essential Godhead many times and in many ways. Augustine was a Platonist. In that regard perhaps his greatest innovation was to place the Platonic forms in the mind of God. That is a major innovation because it trumps the Neo-Platonistic following after Plotinus, who conceived of a form of the forms. In Augustinian understanding the equivalent of the “the one” the form that holds all other forms within itself is the mind of God. Augustine never made an argument for the existence of God because for him God was known with certainty and immediacy. God is immediately discerned in the apprehension of truth, thus need not be “proved.” God is the basis of all truth, and therefore, cannot be the object of questioning about truth, since God is he medium through which other truths can be known.[22] Paul Tillich reflects upon Augustine’s concept:

Augustine, after he had experienced all the implications of ancient skepticism, gave a classical answer to the problem of the two absolutes: they coincide in the nature of truth. Veritas is presupposed in ever philosophical argument; and veritas is God. You cannot deny truth as such because you could do it only in the name of truth, thus establishing truth. And if you establish truth you affirm God. “Where I have found the truth there I have found my God, the truth itself,” Augustine says. The question of the two Ultimates is solved in such a way that the religious Ultimate is presupposed in every philosophical question, including the question of God. God is the presupposition of the question of God. This is the ontological solution of the problem of the philosophy of religion. God can never be reached if he is the object of a question and not its basis.
Augustine says God is truth. He doesn’t so much say God is being as he says God is truth. But to say this in this way is actually in line with the general theme we have been discussing, the one I call “super-essential Godhead,” or Tillich’s existential ontology. Augustine puts the emphasis upon God’s name as love, not being. Since he was a neo Platonist he thought of true reality as beyond being and thus he thought of God as “beyond being.” This makes no sense in a modern setting since for us “to be” is reality, and to not be part of being would meaning being unreal. But in the platonic context, true reality was beyond this level of reality and what we think of as “our reality” or “our world” is only a plane reflection of the true reality. We are creatures of a refection in a mud puddle and the thing reflected that is totally removed from our being is the true reality. It was this distinction Tillich tried to preserve by distinguishing between being and existence.[23] 

Augustine looked to the same passage in Exodus that Gilson quotes in connection with Aquinas. Augustine’s conclusions are much the same about that phrase “I am that I am.” This is one of his key reasons for his identification between God and truth. He saw the nature of God’s timeless being as a key also to identifying God with truth. The link between God and truth is the Platonic “one.” Augustine puts the forms in the mind of God, so God becomes the forms really. The basis of this identification is partly God’s eternal nature. From that point on it’s all an easy identification between eternal verities, such as truth, eternal being, beauty, the one, and God. The other half of the equation is God’s revelation of himself as eternal and necessary through the phrase, for very similar reasons to those listed already by Gilson, between I am that I am and being itself (or in Augustine’s case the transcended of being). “He answers, disclosing himself to creature as Creator, as God to man, as Immortal to mortal, eternal to a thing of time he answers ‘I am who I am.’”[24]





Sources


[1] John D. Caputo, The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida, Bloomington, Indiana: University of aindiana Press, 1997 2. Difference is not God but it functioms as aTS

[2] Alexander Sissel Kohanski, The Greek Mode of Thought In Western Philosophy. Rutherford, Madison, Teaneck: Fairleigh, Dickinson University press, London, Toronto :Associated University Presses, 1984, 27.

[3] Cambridge Dkctiomary of Philosophy. London: Cambridge University Press, 2nd Edition, 1999, 45.,

[4] William James,The Verities of Religious Experience, a Study In Human Nature: Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902. London, New York, Bombay: Longmans, Green, and Co, 1905 56

[5]Ibid.
[6] Ibid., 57.
[7]Ibid.

[8]Paul Davies, “Physics and The Mind of God: the Templeton Prize Address,” First Things, August 1995, on line version URL:https://www.firstthings.com/article/1995/08/003-physics-and-the-mind-of-god-the-templeton-prize-address-24 accessed Nov 25, 2016

[9]Taner Edis, The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Physics. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books; 2nd Printing edition ,June 1, 2002, 107.
Edis is professor of physics at Truman State University.

[10] Ibid.
[11] Alfred North Whitehead, Science and The Modern WorldNew York: Free Press, 1925, (1953), 76.
[12] Paul Davies “When Time Began” New Scientist (oct 9 2004) 4.

[13]__________, “Yes The Universe Looks like a fix, But ;that doesn't mean God fixed it,” The Guardian, Monday (25 June 2007) 19.07 ED on line copy, URL:
[14]Ibid.

[15]__________, “Stephan Hawking's Big Bang gaps,” The Guardian. (Saturday 4 September 2010) 03.30 EDT

[16]Jacob Gabriel Hale, “Derrida. Van Til, And the Metaphysics of Postmodernism,” Reformed Perspectives Magazine, Volume 6, number 19 (Junje 30 to July 6, 2004) Third Medellin Ministries, on line Resource URL
[17] Jaques Derrida, The End of the Book and the Beginning of Writing, New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovonovitch, trans. Gayatri Spivak 1967 in Contemporary Critical Theory, ed. Dan Latimer, 1989, p.166

[18]Ayman Elhallaq. “Tramscemdemtal; Signiofioed as the basis of Deconstruction theory,” Literary Theory in Class,

[19] Hale, op cit,
Derrida intentionally spells “difference” with an “a” to remind the reader that the meaning signifier is  not based upon an essential correspondence between signifier and signified but is arbitrary and meaning is always referenced by another word that is itself arbitrary. His overall point is that there is no ultimate meaning,

[20] Michael R. Butler.“The Transcendental Argument for God's Existence,” online resourse, URL:http://butler-harris.org/tag/, viewed 7/3/15.
Mike Butler is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Faculty at Christ College, Lynchburg, Virginia.

[21]Ibid

[22] Donald Keef, Thomism and the Ontological Theology: A Comparison of Systems. Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1971,140.

[23] Paul Tillich, Theology of CultureNew York: Oxford University press,1964 12-13.


[24] Carl Avren Levenson, John Westphal, editors, Reality: Readings in Phlosophy. Indianapolis,Indiana:Hackett Pulbishing company, inc. 1994, 54
“…St. Augustine’s view that God is being itself is based partly upon Platonism (“God is
that which truly is” and partly on the Bible—“I am that I am”). The transcendence of time as a condition of full reality is a central theme…[in Augustine’s work].”

Comments

Anonymous said…
Joe: That will never happen because it cannot; science can't render first principles in areas like ethics and morality and it can't delve into the spiritual, the phenomenological, the existential or anything not immediately verifiable empirically.

In fact we have nothing that will give us more than opinions in those areas.

However, the big problem here is that you are comparing apples and oranges. We should be comparing science to theology and seeing which is better. Or we should compare a single unified theory with God and see which works best as a TS.

You say science will never give us the answer (I think that unlikely but you may be right), but that in no way indicates that there is no single unified theory that is the answer, but forever beyond science.

Joe: Only the concept of God fits the parameters for the TS.

It is pretty much set up like that, though, so no big surprise.

But is it really true? In what sense can you say God "gives meaning to all ambiguity"? Can you give an example of an ambiguity that God has given meaning to?

Joe: Or to put it another way, mind is the missing dimension that enables the TS to unite human experience of being with understanding.

Sure, but that would be the human mind.

Joe: But the model has lost coherence since they can't move away from the word “law” and yet the laws are said to be mere “descriptions.” They seek to avoid a law giver. Then they vacillate between resorting to prescriptive or descriptive laws.

Even prescriptive laws of nature do not require a law maker. The laws of nature are very different to the laws of a nation. Not only is there no law maker for nature, there are also no law courts to judge, and no police to enforce; no punishment for offenders or indeed any offenders.

Joe: They are still assuming a framework at the top without knowing what that framework is.

Because the evidence points to just that. It is like finding a corpse with a gunshot wound and concluding a murder without knowing who the murderer was.
Joe Hinman said…
I think I committed a mistaken by jamming too much stuff into the post, we need to move back and look at the basics idea, I'll attempt to be more clear about my point.

After all, this a prolegamina, meaning, the initial ideas that need sorting out before the real discussion can begin. This is not the argumet,I have not made the argument yet, that comes next week.

The crux of what I';m saying ca be understood by isolating two parts of the paper. The first part is this:

James argues that these abstract notions is one of the “cardinal facts” of our human existence. We can't escape them, we can't deal with life without them. He talks about Plato and Emerson as examples of thinkers whose grasp of such abstractions defined the nature of ideas in such a way as to both define thought and infuse ideas with a sense of the divine, “treat the moral structure of the universe as a fact worthy of worship.”[6] Such notions, such links between the concrete and the abstract are replete in human history. Around the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century James observes this kind of transcendentalism moving into a scientific venue. “Science in many minds is genuinely taking the place of religion.”[7] He finds schools of thought that saw the Greek gods as reflections of the abstract ideas. While in the current age we find scientists openly talking about science replacing religion or providing a short cut to God.

The rise of Christianity saw a clear interpretation of the logos. In the rise of modern science we saw the Christian thesis discorded but another logos was put in it's place, in the form of the laws of physics.

______________Quote:
It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion…People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.[8]
_____________end Quote.

So modern thought assumes these disembodied laws that are sort of the residue of God without the will or volition. Pierre-Simon Laplace reshaped science in the post Newtonian era, removing all the independent clock winding and repairing Newton had God doing in his system, and when Napoleon asked him why he left out talking about God in his science he supposedly answered “I have no need of that hypothesis.”[9] It was upon that basis that God was taken out of modern science and all the built in theological assumptions with it, based upon the explanatory power of cause and effect. From that point on there has been steady progression of putting aside thinking about ideas and final causes and assuming laws of physics just are. They are out there they make God unnecessary (supposedly) and though we don't know where they came from we don’t need to know.[10] As Alfred North Whitehead once observed: "We are content with superficial orderings form diverse arbitrary starting points. ... science which is employed in their development [modern thought] is based upon a philosophy which asserts that physical causation is supreme, and which disjoints the physical cause from the final end. It is not popular to dwell upon the absolute contradiction here involved..”[11]

Joe Hinman said…
One thing you said that is really germane and should be discussed:

PixEven prescriptive laws of nature do not require a law maker. The laws of nature are very different to the laws of a nation. Not only is there no law maker for nature, there are also no law courts to judge, and no police to enforce; no punishment for offenders or indeed any offenders.


(1)I am not going to argue that laws require a law giver,

(2) True natural laws are not like laws passed by a government but that does not make them unlaw-like clearly what is being described is a law-lilke regularity.

(3) W/O arguing law require a law giver--science does alternate between descriptive and law-like when the need arises--it seems that Mind more fully explains the hierarchical order in than random events.

Without understanding the role of mind you have no exclamation, yet you still still try to keep a first principle but to separate it from mid which what makes it work.





Joe: They are still assuming a framework at the top without knowing what that framework is.

Pix:Because the evidence points to just that. It is like finding a corpse with a gunshot wound and concluding a murder without knowing who the murderer was.

If you found a body with a gun shot wound you not just say:O we have no reason to think he was killed it;s just their for no reason just a brute fact"
18th-19th century thinkers tried to cut off the personal nature of God but retain the power of God to create and order then pretend like this is a real explanation. It fails to explain; not explanatory. Unsatisfying
Anonymous said…
Joe: W/O arguing law require a law giver--science does alternate between descriptive and law-like when the need arises--it seems that Mind more fully explains the hierarchical order in than random events.

There is a difference.

Science has proposed models that nature approximates too. Newtonian physics was a model, relativity a better one. They are descriptive.

It is my view that there is an underlying prescriptive law that nature follows, and to which relativity is an approximation.

Can you explain how mind explains the hierarchical order?

Joe: Without understanding the role of mind you have no exclamation, yet you still still try to keep a first principle but to separate it from mid which what makes it work.

So again I must ask you to explain using the role of mind.

Joe: If you found a body with a gun shot wound you not just say:O we have no reason to think he was killed it;s just their for no reason just a brute fact"

What a scientist would do is to investigate it as fully as possible.

Joe: 18th-19th century thinkers tried to cut off the personal nature of God but retain the power of God to create and order then pretend like this is a real explanation. It fails to explain; not explanatory. Unsatisfying

This is what it is all about. How we explain. I think we can explain much of the universe without the role of the mind, and indeed, I think science does just that. We will see if you will offer your explanation about how mind explains the hierarchical order.

Pix
Joe Hinman said…

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Joe: W/O arguing law require a law giver--science does alternate between descriptive and law-like when the need arises--it seems that Mind more fully explains the hierarchical order in than random events.

Pix: There is a difference.

Science has proposed models that nature approximates too. Newtonian physics was a model, relativity a better one. They are descriptive.


Sure but Newton still explained the over all reality of the world by appeal to God. That's the point of course we can explain the bits and pieces that are empirical because they are observable but that leaves us with a dead end. It can't be take any further back in the process. That's why I called it a cul-de-sac


Pix:(?)It is my view that there is an underlying prescriptive law that nature follows, and to which relativity is an approximation.[not sure wo said this]

Pix:Can you explain how mind explains the hierarchical order?

It's organized complex hierarchical order based upon many organizing principle around which explanations revolve. Mind is the best principle of ordering we know. The more complex and efficient a system the more likely it is to be the product of mind. I know that is a problematic statement because the human mind is the most complex and efficient thing we know (one of them), It would beg the question to assert that the brain is a product of mind. Yet, mid seems to be the product of brain so that may be reason to assert that mind is required. For example physicists are still proposing mind-like ordering principles to explain the whole. At that point I suggest you read Neagel's Mind and Cosmos Try to read with open mind he is an atheist he is not proposing God or denying evolution.

Joe: Without understanding the role of mind you have no explaination, yet you still still try to keep a first principle but to separate it from mind which what makes it work.

Pix:So again I must ask you to explain using the role of mind.

Reason is the product of the process, yet if you don't take reason seriously as standing at the top of the system and producing things because it is an organizing principle, then reason is written off as meaningless, and reality is deterministic.

Joe: If you found a body with a gun shot wound you not just say:O we have no reason to think he was killed it;s just their for no reason just a brute fact"

Pix:What a scientist would do is to investigate it as fully as possible.

which would mean allowing for the assumption that someone shot him. The thing is you could not-- knowing what we know about guns just assert that he was not shot and bullet wounds just appear out of nowhere for no reason.Of course you would have to entertain the possibility that the shot was accidental but you could not assert that his would was not inflicted by a gun, or that no human agent was involved.


Joe: 18th-19th century thinkers tried to cut off the personal nature of God but retain the power of God to create and order then pretend like this is a real explanation. It fails to explain; not explanatory. Unsatisfying

Pix:This is what it is all about. How we explain. I think we can explain much of the universe without the role of the mind, and indeed, I think science does just that. We will see if you will offer your explanation about how mind explains the hierarchical order.

I am not satisfied by dead ends.
Joe Hinman said…
One more important point needs to be made: I don't argue we can roe God, That is speaking to the issue above,skeptics demand proof but they are required to give any. Now that;s fair because the believer advances the argument so he/she has the burden of proof.

But it's equally fair that if we don't argue proof but we assert rational warrant for belief based upon bet evidence we do;t have that burden of proof and yet we have reason to believe.
The Pixie said…
Joe: Sure but Newton still explained the over all reality of the world by appeal to God. That's the point of course we can explain the bits and pieces that are empirical because they are observable but that leaves us with a dead end. It can't be take any further back in the process. That's why I called it a cul-de-sac

The appeal to God was dropped long before relativity.

Hopefully you will show how your approach leads further.

Joe: [not sure wo said this]

Me. It is not unique to me, but I do not know how widespread it is.

Joe: It's organized complex hierarchical order based upon many organizing principle around which explanations revolve. Mind is the best principle of ordering we know. The more complex and efficient a system the more likely it is to be the product of mind. I know that is a problematic statement because the human mind is the most complex and efficient thing we know (one of them), It would beg the question to assert that the brain is a product of mind. Yet, mid seems to be the product of brain so that may be reason to assert that mind is required.

On what basis do you say "Mind is the best principle of ordering we know"? You should check out the ordering involved in making a snowflake, and see if a human is capable of ordering 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 things in specific positions. I think not.

You say "The more complex and efficient a system the more likely it is to be the product of mind.", but is that seriously the best guide to whether something is the product of a mind? For one thing, what does efficiency mean for a system that is not designed? You seem to be building the conclusion in. How are you measuring complexity? Is a system with 10 people ten times as complex as a system with one person, for example?

Joe: For example physicists are still proposing mind-like ordering principles to explain the whole. At that point I suggest you read Neagel's Mind and Cosmos Try to read with open mind he is an atheist he is not proposing God or denying evolution.

Fringe physicists maybe, I doubt it is a mainstream view, despite what you seem to be suggesting.

Joe: Reason is the product of the process, yet if you don't take reason seriously as standing at the top of the system and producing things because it is an organizing principle, then reason is written off as meaningless, and reality is deterministic.

False dichotomy. We all agree reasoning has meaning and is an organising principle and can produce things. The question is whether there is any need to invoke reasoning by any external, non-human agency.

Joe: which would mean allowing for the assumption that someone shot him. The thing is you could not-- knowing what we know about guns just assert that he was not shot and bullet wounds just appear out of nowhere for no reason.Of course you would have to entertain the possibility that the shot was accidental but you could not assert that his would was not inflicted by a gun, or that no human agent was involved.

Right. You look at the evidence (position of the gun and wound, footprints, DNA), and use them to build a picture of what happened. This is what science does, Joe. If it points to an unknown killer, then the conclusion is an unknown killer.

Pix: This is what it is all about. How we explain. I think we can explain much of the universe without the role of the mind, and indeed, I think science does just that. We will see if you will offer your explanation about how mind explains the hierarchical order.

Joe: I am not satisfied by dead ends.

So you have no explanation, do you?
The Pixie said…
Joe: One more important point needs to be made: I don't argue we can roe God, That is speaking to the issue above,skeptics demand proof but they are required to give any. Now that;s fair because the believer advances the argument so he/she has the burden of proof.

The skeptic demands evidence, not proof!

Preferably evidence according to the scientific method.

Joe: But it's equally fair that if we don't argue proof but we assert rational warrant for belief based upon bet evidence we do;t have that burden of proof and yet we have reason to believe.

What is fair is presenting your hypothesis in a way that indicates how confident we can be that it is true. If you read scientific papers they will say that "the evidence points to this", or "we speculate that", or "suggesting the other".

Here is a classic example from the conclusion of Origin of Species: "To my mind it accords better with ..."

This idea that you can claim some supporting evidence gives you a "rational warrant" to be convinced it is true is just nonsense. More specifically, a nonsense invented by theists to make their faith appear to be based on reason.
Joe Hinman said…
The Pixie said...
Joe: One more important point needs to be made: I don't argue we can roe God, That is speaking to the issue above,skeptics demand proof but they are required to give any. Now that;s fair because the believer advances the argument so he/she has the burden of proof.

The skeptic demands evidence, not proof!

false popular to say but they are inconsistqnt

Preferably evidence according to the scientific method.


false.I have 52 arguments a ton of evidence

Joe: But it's equally fair that if we don't argue proof but we assert rational warrant for belief based upon bet evidence we do;t have that burden of proof and yet we have reason to believe.

What is fair is presenting your hypothesis in a way that indicates how confident we can be that it is true. If you read scientific papers they will say that "the evidence points to this", or "we speculate that", or "suggesting the other".

that's the illusion of technique. you are not ready to understand because you really do want empirical proof, otherwise you would be content with a subjective standard,

Here is a classic example from the conclusion of Origin of Species: "To my mind it accords better with ..."

This idea that you can claim some supporting evidence gives you a "rational warrant" to be convinced it is true is just nonsense. More specifically, a nonsense invented by theists to make their faith appear to be based on reason.

why are you unable to read English? I just said I don't argue for proof but for warrant,what's wrong with you?

Joe Hinman said…

Blogger The Pixie said...
Joe: Sure but Newton still explained the over all reality of the world by appeal to God. That's the point of course we can explain the bits and pieces that are empirical because they are observable but that leaves us with a dead end. It can't be take any further back in the process. That's why I called it a cul-de-sac

The appeal to God was dropped long before relativity.

No it was never dropped, that's what all these churches are doing here, That's why Oxford and the Queen have something to do with churches. there is an arrogant elate that pretend to speak for high culture but clearly they do not

Hopefully you will show how your approach leads further.

what did i say this is? Prolegomina?

Joe: [not sure wo said this]

Me. It is not unique to me, but I do not know how widespread it is.

Joe: It's organized complex hierarchical order based upon many organizing principle around which explanations revolve. Mind is the best principle of ordering we know. The more complex and efficient a system the more likely it is to be the product of mind. I know that is a problematic statement because the human mind is the most complex and efficient thing we know (one of them), It would beg the question to assert that the brain is a product of mind. Yet, mid seems to be the product of brain so that may be reason to assert that mind is required.

Pix--On what basis do you say "Mind is the best principle of ordering we know"? You should check out the ordering involved in making a snowflake, and see if a human is capable of ordering 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 things in specific positions. I think not.

snow flakes come out of a di polar restrict so they are deterrent by a ordering principle but they don't do much. their actual stricture is complex but they are not really filling a high order niche,

pix--You say "The more complex and efficient a system the more likely it is to be the product of mind.", but is that seriously the best guide to whether something is the product of a mind?

the problem is I have not made the argument yet you trying to second guess that it's the typical design argent.. It's not a design argument it's a transcendental argument,


Pix-- For one thing, what does efficiency mean for a system that is not designed? You seem to be building the conclusion in. How are you measuring complexity? Is a system with 10 people ten times as complex as a system with one person, for example?

why are you assuming I'm going to make a design argument? It's simply obvious that something a mind designed with intent for a purpose is more efficient than an accident that is simply obvious,that does not mean that I'm going to argue that the world looks designed,



Joe: For example physicists are still proposing mind-like ordering principles to explain the whole. At that point I suggest you read Neagel's Mind and Cosmos Try to read with open mind he is an atheist he is not proposing God or denying evolution.

Fringe physicists maybe, I doubt it is a mainstream view, despite what you seem to be suggesting.

Joe: Reason is the product of the process, yet if you don't take reason seriously as standing at the top of the system and producing things because it is an organizing principle, then reason is written off as meaningless, and reality is deterministic.

False dichotomy. We all agree reasoning has meaning and is an organising principle and can produce things. The question is whether there is any need to invoke reasoning by any external, non-human agency.

not true, that;s under assault it flys in the face of deterministic view which is largely coning to win the day. you defend a course of action with logic and then the deterministic shows a gene that makes you do it suddenly the reasons become unimportant, just rationalization.

You see this kind of thinking when atheists argue that we are imposing meaning on the universe,


Joe Hinman said…
Joe: which would mean allowing for the assumption that someone shot him. The thing is you could not-- knowing what we know about guns just assert that he was not shot and bullet wounds just appear out of nowhere for no reason.Of course you would have to entertain the possibility that the shot was accidental but you could not assert that his would was not inflicted by a gun, or that no human agent was involved.

Right. You look at the evidence (position of the gun and wound, footprints, DNA), and use them to build a picture of what happened. This is what science does, Joe. If it points to an unknown killer, then the conclusion is an unknown killer.

Until the question of origin is raised or God is brought in then you don't do that,you ignore the evidence, you will do anything not to look at the evidence,

Pix: This is what it is all about. How we explain. I think we can explain much of the universe without the role of the mind, and indeed, I think science does just that. We will see if you will offer your explanation about how mind explains the hierarchical order.

Joe: I am not satisfied by dead ends.

So you have no explanation, do you?

Obviously that is being saved for the argument,

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