Pointy eggs and whales (Evolution)

by dhw, Sunday, September 16, 2018, 09:15 (66 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW: The point beyond which we cannot experiment is the point at which all our discussions begin. First of all, just to clarify, DHW does not think YOU cannot make a choice. DHW himself cannot make a choice! I have no objection at all to anyone making a choice, provided their choice does not harm other people. “You must answer the question…” raises two points for me: 1) What is the question? 2) Nobody “must” answer any question, let alone one that is unanswerable!

TONY: Choosing not to make a choice is a choice. It's a choice not to have faith in anything.

Why in “anything”? We are talking about the specific subject of your God’s existence, but yes, I choose not to have faith in a designer or in chance because I find each of them equally difficult to swallow. But you are right: choosing not to make a choice is a choice. I don’t think this will get us very far.

DHW: You say the choice is between materialisticality and spirituality. I find this misleading, as is the surprising claim that science is our evidence. Science is only equipped to deal with the material world, and it is therefore highly debatable whether it can explain some of the things which are most precious to us as human beings and which are in some way connected to the unexplained phenomenon of consciousness (I include emotions, aesthetics, imagination, reason).

TONY: The fact that it can not explain so much, and never will be able to, is precisely why it is (admittedly in an unintuitive fashion) the best evidence.

The best evidence for what? For the existence of an unknown, sourceless spirit that spawns other unknown spirits before spawning material cells?

DHW: Nor can science explain certain psychic phenomena, such as those in which the person concerned acquires information which he/she could not possibly have known at the time. I myself have no idea whether materials are able to CREATE these forms of spirituality, or they are part of a different reality which does not depend on materials, or materials themselves have some form of innate mental aspect (panpsychism) which has gradually evolved, or there is one superspirit that created the whole shebang out of its own energy. Only the last of these is “religious”. The only way I shall ever know is if these “spiritual” elements of myself survive the death of the body.

TONY: If you will note, the point I was referring to is the point of faith. Faith is "he assured expectation of things though not beheld". In short, it is believing without seeing. Choosing not to believe is choosing not to have faith, even if you follow it with the statement that you are not choosing to disbelieve. That is why I said it is a false third option.

I have challenged your statement that science is the best evidence, and your answer is that faith is believing without seeing – the exact opposite of science. So for you clearly science is not the best evidence. And I have no idea why neither believing nor disbelieving is a false option.

DAVID: I'm with dhw. Choosing to be neutral is a valid option. It means abandoning the thought of first cause as a valid consideration.

Thank you for your first statement. No thanks for your second statement. My neutrality concerns the nature of the first cause: either it is your magical God or it is an impersonal universe that magically produced life. I find it impossible to choose between the two forms of magic.

GK: […]I actually don't care as much as I used to, the discoveries in the last ten years point the universe being life itself. we are just part of an endless series of events. the universe is quantum computing right now, in fact, it is quantum computing you and me. The question is "did it self-organize?" or "Does it have surroundings that formed it in the same manner the biosphere formed us?" both are unknowns, I accept that, but I do wonder.

dhw: I’m not sure what you mean by the universe having “surroundings”, or by the observation about the universe being life itself. For me the question is whether the universe and its materials self-organized, which included life itself, or there is some form of intelligence that did the organizing.

DAVID: Logically I strongly doubt inanimate material can self-organize into living matter. It is a matter of complexity. Life is so much more complex in organization than inanimate matter.

I should have been more specific with my “some form of intelligence”, because self-organizing does not preclude intelligence (I’m thinking of the atheistic form of panpsychism). I meant the single mind you call God.


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