Joined: Jan. 2006
So your answer to my providing you with references is to be bloody rude and undeservingly patronsing yet again. Interesting. Like I said, what do you want as evidence? The relevant sociological studies demonstrating the relativist nature of morals? The logicial and philosophical demonstrations that Platonic essences such as "perfect love" etc are simply fallacious? It's all in those (and other) books and publications. Why do I need to cut and paste a list of books? It's a pretty eclectic list Skeptic, one that has evolved rather than been designed. Ask a philsophy prof if they'd start at those specific books and I'd guarantee you they'd come up with a different list. Anyway your accusation of "group think" is HILARIOUS! Any list that includes the bible and George Smith's "Atheism: The Case Against God" is not an homogenous list! I'm too stupid? Erm manifestly not, Skeptic! Rather the stupid is being exded by someone who cannot even read a simple list of book titles for basic comprehension!
Incidentally, there's a little more to philsophy than opinion. Things like propositional logic, the coherence of an argument (i.e. does one thing flow from another etc), small insignificant things like these. It really is hilarious to be accused of a) not reading books I own and have read, and being stupid by someone who clearly demonstrates his own ignorance and stupidity with every post. If you'd bother to go back and read any of the posts I've written Skeptic you'd understand the distinctions I've been making, as it is, you make the same errors and erroneous assertions you did at the start of the thread and frankly, you look a fool for doing so. So in this vein, I have a question: Is pure mathematics just opinion, Skeptic?
That aside. Your example (The one BWE quotes from Sep 01) about faith generating new knowledge is bullshit yet again:
|faith can be used as a means to acquire knowledge if tenets for the faith are extrapolated to address new questions. Abortion is not addressed as such in the Bible but an understanding of the murder concept allows abortion to be addressed. New knowledge is thus gained using faith alone.|
Explain how this is different from a lawyer reading a law text about current statutes on murder and deriving new legislation from it for abortion (in the case of this example abortion is a hitherto unlegislated for phenomenon). The point is you are describing a REASONED process. As of course you'll know having completely read and understood my arguments, there is a distinction I've been making since post one that might be relevant here.
An example might help you. I was once sat in one of the regular chemistry symposia I go to and a young chap was speaking about this new cyclisation reaction he'd developed (I'm sorry I forget his name and my notes are at work). He claimed, very quietly since Jack Baldwin was sat in the front row, that this cyclisation proceeded by a proposed mechanism that violated Balwin's rules (if you don't know what Baldwin's rules are, look them up). At the end of the talk, dear old Sir Jack (who if you know anything about him is a bluff cove of the first water. And that's an understatement) shot up out of his chair and proceeded to write a very complex mechanism on the blackboard by which this new cyclisation reaction could go, containing several ring opening and ring closing processes all allowed by Baldwin's rules. Now there are of course a variety of spectroscopic and kinetic methods by which one could determine which of these mechanisms (if it was either of them) operates during that reaction, but at the time (and to date AFAIK, I'd have to check) none of this work had been done. The point is very simple: you are making a mechanistic claim analogous to the one this young chap did, i.e. that you have a reaction with a mechanism that violates known principles or uses new ones. This may well be the case but it falls to you to demonstrate this by whatever means you can (bearing in mind the caveat that one can never truly PROVE a mechanism of a reaction, one can only eliminate alternatives). Baldwin's point was that there was no need, in that initial phase where no mechanistic data was forthcoming, to claim a novel mechanism which violated known chemical behaviour. The same applies to your example of "faith". We know the reason based mechanisms that people use to develop moral precepts and legal matters (to name but two examples), if you are claiming a familiar looking process is genuinely novel then that is a claim that falls to you to support in some manner. Hence why I asked the question I did. Granted, it might be the case that you HAVE discovered a new mechanism, BUT simply asserting you have when that mechanism is so familiar is insufficient, the scales of evidence are not weighed in your favour, it's not a level paying field. On the one hand we have a huge quantity of empirical, philosphical and logical data supporting a particular type of mechanism (or a limited set of mechanisms) for phenomena like the one you describe (but not exactly the same), and on the other hand you have nothing but your assertion that it is not going to fall into that known category. You need to provide data to support that claim. Something you can easily do if you have it. Something I KNOW you're going to obfuscate and weasel out of because you and I KNOW you don't have it. Forgive me is, as usual, I have no hope that you will see this distinction.
As for your "you base those assumptions on faith" charge, this as usual is purest bullshit, yet again! Hooray! Do you know what, I'm not going to bother expaining why, I've already done it if you'd bothered to read, I'll let the Wilkins do it, he does it better than I do. The principle is contained within:
|Physicists on science|
Category: Logic and philosophy • Philosophy of Science • Sermon
Posted on: November 25, 2007 5:00 AM, by John S. Wilkins
I have a rule (Wilkins' Law #35, I think) that if any scientist is going to draw unwarranted metaphysical conclusions, it will be a physicist, and in particular a cosmologist. Witness Paul Davies in the New York Times.
Davies wants to argue something like this:
Premise: there are laws of the universe and we cannot explain the existence of laws
Premise: the assumption that laws are to be found is the basis for doing science
Conclusion: Ergo, science rests on an act of faith
Can anyone spot the enthymeme? That's very good, children. You spotted the easy mistake. Davies moves from "assume that there are laws" to "make an act of faith", as a number of the advanced students in other classes did. Assumptions are not acts of faith, they are the starting point for an act of reasoning. Well done.
But did you spot the difficult mistake? Anyone? Bueller?
OK, let me take you through it.
Suppose I say something like this - "Fido is a black Labrador". I describe and name Fido for you. Is it an assumption that names exist in the physical world? Descriptions? Does the act of naming Fido mean that we must now explain the essence of Fidoness? Or, for that matter Labradority? Of course not. To say that would be to confuse the name or description with the thing named or described. This is what Alfred North Whitehead once called the "fallacy of misplaced concreteness", also known as the Fallacy of Reification (by me, anyway). Take words and declare them properties of the universe.
Now, what does Davies say? He says "there are laws of the universe" that rely on a belief in the rationality of the universe. But like Fido, the universe just is - it has a structure (which is what extreme physics tries to explain). We describe this structure in terms of laws. Sure, we assume that the universe has a structure, for without that assumption we cannot gather knowledge (imagine if the sun rose when it felt like it, or pigs flew), but the description of laws is just a provisional summary of what we now know. Just as there is no Fidoness other than the dog standing in front of you, there is no "lawfulness" out there in the universe, just a structured world. We find out that structure, but we no more need to make an act of faith to do this than we need to believe that 1 plus 1 will equal 2; it is a necessary presumption in order for the business of science to get going, but it is most definitely not a metaphysical foundation.
That's not to say you couldn't make it a metaphysical foundation if you liked, and clearly Davies likes, but it need not be. To say other wise is to confuse the knowledge with the thing known (or, in philosophese, epistemology for ontology).
It's a common mistake made by scientists (and more than a few philosophers and others). I find it in taxonomy, where people argue over the "reality" of a taxon when they are in fact discussing the warrantability of a diagnosis of a taxon. But nullius in verba as the motto of the Royal Society has it. Nothing in words Take no one's word. As Maynard Smith used to say to lunchers in his cafeteria, "Are you discussing words, or the world? If it is the world, I will stay, but if it is words, I will go".
Let us go, and leave the confused physicist to his own meanderings.
Like I have said tirelessly since almost the first page of this thread, if, Skeptic, you'd bothered to read what I've written for some basic modicum of understanding you wouldn't keep erecting strawmen like the one in your post on "blue feels cold", nor would you keep assuming some asinine hostility to faith etc, nor would you be able to honestly and continually restate the same drivle as if it weren't already shown to be logically fallacious wishful thinking and blind assertion on your part.
Oh and when are you going to get around to justify your claim that I have made any argument based just on my say so? The longer you leave it Skeptic, the more people will know you to be a demonstrated liar and charlatan.