Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Soul searching PART 2



The search for the soul has found succour with Near Death Experience (NDE) crew.  I thought that I would this time look at a piece of research that was on the souls of rats that was summarised in this article from The Economist  The NDE is a widely documented phenomenon reported by those who are dying, but cheat the coffin and return to life.  In their joy and gratitude at survival TWO claims of some (almost) post mortal perceptions are made.  These two perceptions enjoy remarkable consistency around the world despite different circumstances, dispersed locations, varied causes of extremis and diverse cultures/beliefs of the nearly dead.  This constancy of image does lend credit to the argument that the soul is emerging from the corpse.  The two NDE perceptions are illusions of either walking towards a bright light or floating above the room the nearly dead are nearly dying in and observing what goes on.  So there are two distinct figments but each has a global fan base.  
"The soul finds it's way home"by Alex Grey
 These two NDE images are used to justify the existence of the disembodied soul or one that departs the body upon death and then resumes a fairly human type existence outside the host body.  The last blog looked at a refutation of this form of soul. How could this disembodied soul see the light or the perspective as it floats above the room when it does not possess eyes to see the visions?  But these sorts of arguments are never really addressed by believers.  It is just assumed that the disembodied soul has the characteristics and advantages of residing in a live body with all of the miraculous cognitive and perceptual things a brain and body can do without the pains and aches that ordinarily accompany physical embodiment. 
The godless, sceptics and doubters see these visions in a very different light. We are medical materialists who see the NDE as merely the last, convulsive neurological symptoms of a traumatised or oxygen starved body and brain. The fact that people have visions often leads to a religious moment.  There was the famous psychological experiment colloquially known as the “Miracle of Marsh Chapel” when seminary students on LSD reported religious encounters.  The hallucinations were mistaken for the divinity. Similarly, the figments of the NDE cause similar claims of the numinous or divine and seem similarly bogus. 
And so we come to the experiment on the souls of rats by University of Michigan’s Jimo Borjigin.  Sadly, in the cause of godlessness, the researchers killed the rats and measured their brains as they died.  The small sample involved showed some neurological activity as death approached.  This sounds analogous to the sort of brain activity that might drive the NDE.  The brain reacts to the demise with a burst of activity and that activity creates illusions of floating or light.
Now of course, rats and humans are different.  It was a small sample.  But this is the first of many similar experiments I hope will come that explores the neurological activity of a dying animal, whether human or not, and this will shed light on the veracity or otherwise of the existence of the soul.  I expect that the materialists will triumph over the spiritualists as the science progresses.
What is your view?
Can the soul, when it departs the body, see or perceive and if so, how?
Where would such souls end up – transmigrating to other bodies or in an invisible heaven?
What do you think of the medical type explanations of a traumatised brain shooting out images with no evidence of a soul at all?
Over to you guys...

212 comments:

  1. MalcolmS10:10 PM

    "How could this disembodied soul see the light or the perspective as it floats above the room when it does not possess eyes to see the visions?"

    Er... because it's an hallucination/dream and not a "disembodied soul"??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is one of many fallacies committed by materialists/nominalists who regard "ideas" as not fully real. You need to grasp that an idea/concept, once formed, is a mental concrete.


      I have some bad news and some good news.
      The bad news is I was recently run over by a taxi
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_Kitty

      The good news is that as a reified piece of "mental concrete" I'm not only realler than really real as a result, I'm now even realler than realler than really real!

      Thank you foolosophy!

      Delete
  2. MalcolmS10:26 PM

    ".. this is the first of a[sic] many similar experiments I hope will come that explores the neurological activity of a dying animal, whether human or not, and this will shed light on the veracity or otherwise of the existence of the soul"

    Will it? How? Any causal relationship between "neurological activity" and consciousness[soul] appears light years away. However we already know soul exists since we know we possess consciousness.

    "I expect that the materialists will triumph over the spiritualists as the science progresses"

    How? It is consciousness/spirit/soul that makes science possible! If human beings were only matter science would be impossible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So soul is mind is consciousness is spirit is thinking and thats all you can say about it? ;)

      I've heard of these totalitarian notions before. Welcome to nobjectivist newspeak ... again


      "Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with it’s meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten...Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller.

      Even now, of course, there’s no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. It’s merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won’t be any need even for that. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect."

      - Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, p.49.


      Tree cheers for our resident thoughtpoliceman

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS6:52 PM

      Führer toolshead alias Genghis Khan alias Attila the Hun alias Napoleon Bonaparte alias Vlad Tepes: "I've heard of these totalitarian notions before"

      LOL Yeah, no surprise there :)

      Nineteen Eighty-Four the only book you've ever read? Must have had quite an effect!

      Not surprised you're an admirer of Winston Smith - such a pathetic creature but, then, class has never been your strong point has it?

      Personally, I prefer Equality 7-2521 a far more uplifting character.

      http://www.noblesoul.com/orc/texts/anthem/complete.html#A1.1

      Delete
    3. Führer toolshead alias Genghis Khan alias Attila the Hun alias Napoleon Bonaparte alias Vlad Tepes:

      Who? ;)

      Blah blah wank wank

      Hmmmm .. How does it go again?

      I have never looked up any of your links and have no intention of ever doing so.

      Oh yes, thats it.

      Sorry for the thoughtcrime Constable Twiddlesic ;)

      Delete
  3. None of the serious discussion on the subject is based on NDE's so there is not really much hear to respond to.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Where would such souls end up – transmigrating to other bodies or in an invisible heaven?"

    This is an incredibly complicated topic because you have to factor in all sorts of intermediate religious stages before you eventually arrive at your ultimate supernatural destination.

    These could include reprocessing in limbo, purgatory or, depending on your pre-death condition, according to one source, undergoing some kind of augmentation or restoration procedure so that you can be provided with the means to better experience your afterlife.

    Perhaps we can learn something from the resurrection of Jesus.
    Do gods or, at least, partial gods have souls?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS5:50 PM

      "This is an incredibly complicated topic because you have to factor in all sorts of intermediate religious stages before you eventually arrive at your ultimate supernatural destination"

      Oh, do you mean you have to make stuff up?

      Delete
    2. Perhaps I should have included the usual disclaimer -

      "I don't believe it myself"

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS12:52 AM

      Phew!

      Delete
    4. Howler Monkey v Attention Monkey?

      Its the rumble in the jungle!!!

      Dick- You need to be selling tickets!

      Delete
  5. Mal[sic]: It is consciousness/spirit/soul that makes science possible!

    I thought it was Aristotle?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS5:33 PM

      Terry: "I thought..."

      Really? I was not aware you thought!

      In fact, as a hard materialist/determinist, you used to claim that consciousness/spirit/soul was a myth.

      So I guess that's progress!

      Aristotle was certainly the pioneer of thinking and that makes science possible.

      Er.. can you hop?

      Delete
    2. Mal[sic]: Aristotle was certainly the pioneer of thinking and that makes science possible.

      Aristotle pioneered thinking?

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS12:19 AM

      Yes, especially its correct methodology.

      Delete
    4. Aristotle was certainly the pioneer of thinking and that makes science possible.



      "the" or "a"? Hmmmmm?

      http://dictionary.reference.com/

      ===========================
      the

      definite article

      (used, especially before a noun, with a specifying or particularizing effect, as opposed to the indefinite or generalizing force of the indefinite article a or an ): the book you gave me; Come into the house.

      ===========================
      a

      indefinite article

      not any particular or certain one of a class or group: a man; a chemical; a house.

      ========================

      Thats some real sneaky newspeaky you did there Mr Thoughtpoliceman

      Delete
  6. Julian Lennon posted this on Facebook today. I thought it was an Onion piece.

    http://www.social-consciousness.com/2013/10/russian-scientist-photographs-the-soul-leaving-the-body-at-death.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS8:10 PM

      From the link:

      "According to Korotkov, navel and head are the parties who first lose their life force (which would be the soul) and the groin and the heart are the last areas where the spirit before surfing the phantasmagoria of the infinite"

      So it is equating soul with 'life force.' But is it? A tree has 'life' but no soul/consciousness.

      Furthermore, it claims that the 'blue' of the Kirlian photograph is the "life force." How do they come to that conclusion? There is no explanation.

      Delete
    2. Hey, don't ask me, Malcolm. I think it's all frog shit. :)

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS8:43 PM

      I didn't ask you. I agree it's nonsense.

      Delete
    4. So Tricia, is that a technical term???

      Delete
    5. That it is, Dickie, that it is.

      Delete
  7. Again there is the flawed premise that soul beliefs are the same as immortality beliefs. As I pointed out before the Jewish scriptures have an identifiable soul concept centuries before they developed any idea of immortality.

    And the Upanishads have a soul concept - the Atman - at the same time that they explicitly say that there is no survival of the conscious mind after death.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS8:39 PM

      So, are you claiming soul is something other than consciousness?

      If so, what is it?

      Delete
    2. That is one of many fallacies committed by materialists/nominalists who regard "ideas" as not fully real. You need to grasp that an idea/concept, once formed, is a mental concrete.


      C'mon twiddles, figure it out

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS wrote: "So, are you claiming soul is something other than consciousness?"

      No, I am saying that a soul is not something that is necessarily seen as immortal.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS12:31 AM

      That's what it's not!

      So, what do you think it *is*?

      Delete
    5. It is the someone who is home. It is the "me" that I am aware of. When I comprehend something then it is that which I am aware of comprehending. When I decide to do something it is that which I am aware of deciding. When I feel pain or nausea it is that which I am aware of that is feeling pain or nausea.

      That is, I believe, the concept that "soul" or "Atman" or other concepts in other cultures capture whether or not they believe that this is something that survives death.

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS5:24 PM

      " When I comprehend something then it is that which I am aware of comprehending"

      If you change that to "that which is *doing* the comprehending" then I agree.

      Delete
    7. I am not sure I understand the change. I only have an ostensive referent for "understanding", not the knowledge of how it is "done", or even if it is something that is "done".

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS6:40 PM

      Consciousness/soul is the *subject.*

      Not "that which I am aware of comprehending" which is the *object.*

      Delete
  8. RalphH 20/107:18 PM

    “ Can the soul, when it departs the body, see or perceive and if so, how?” (Posted by Dick Gross at 9:25 PM)

    Dick, that depends on what one believes the soul to be. I believe, for example, that “the soul” is the very essence of the person themselves. IOW it’s the essence of our individual lives. All (human) souls belong to God and they are the potential of a particular rational understanding and free expression of life.

    The potential which exists first in the seed, builds a physical body that can be used in a physical environment to build a more substantial/spiritual body within (i.e. the building of character from choices between right and wrong/good and evil). As I quoted on the last blog “you are a soul; you have a body ..... the body is but the temporary clothing of the soul,” (George Macdonald)

    Just as the physical body is the organisation of physical elements to serve a specific purpose, so the spiritual body is the organisation of spiritual elements to form a character on the mental level. The mind which is also (initially) only in potential at birth (but influenced by heredity), is two fold. The ‘outer’/conscious mind is allied to the physical body; the inner mind or spirit is allied to the spirit/spiritual body (which, during our earth-life, is for the most part beyond/below or above consciousness).

    When the physical body has served it’s purpose/deteriorates or is damaged beyond repair it is simply left behind and there is a consciousness shift to the inner level. Even though there are no longer physical senses, there are corresponding spiritual senses that come into play with the consciousness shift. It is not so much the soul that leaves the body but the spirit of which the soul is the innermost essence.

    “Where would such souls end up – transmigrating to other bodies or in an invisible heaven?”

    Souls cannot “transmigrate”. The body (both physical and spiritual) is the product of a specific soul. When the physical body becomes superfluous it is of no further use except for recycling of atoms etc. With the shift in consciousness heaven (or hell, depending on what has been chosen) becomes visible.

    “What do you think of the medical type explanations of a traumatised brain shooting out images with no evidence of a soul at all?”

    Idle speculation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS7:03 PM

      "Dick, that depends on what one believes the soul to be"

      No Ralph, it depends on what the soul *is.*

      Belief is irrelevant.

      Delete
  9. RalphH 20/108:02 PM

    “The search for the soul has found succour with Near Death Experience (NDE) crew.” (Posted by Dick Gross at 9:25 PM)

    Dick, I’ve been interested in NDE’s for many years but have never known anyone who has experienced one. My first contact with the concept was when I went to a lecture by Dr Raymond Moody when I was living and studying in the US. Moody, a scientist with a medical background was one of the first investigators back in the 70’s. He was promoting his book ‘Life After Life’ (a condensation of which was a feature in the January 1977 Readers Digest magazine).

    Here’s what he says about the claim that NDE’s are merely hallucinations. “(quoting from an interviewee) It was nothing like an hallucination. I have had hallucinations before when I was given codeine in hospital. But that had happened long before the accident which nearly killed me. And this experience was nothing like those hallucinations, nothing at all like them”.

    Moody searched for historical parallels and listed four that he found in his book - the Bible, which talks about life after death but does not talk about the actual death process - Plato, in Book X of ‘The Republic” relates a near death experience - ‘The Tibetan Book of the Dead which describes the death process and an account by the Swedish scientist, philosopher and seer/theologian Emanual Swedenborg who claimed he had been taken through the complete process of dying (i.e it was not a regular NDE) so that he could describe it.

    An NDE is obviously not identical to a DE but one would expect there to be much in common.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS8:12 PM

      "An NDE is obviously not identical to a DE but one would expect there to be much in common"

      Why??

      They have nothing in common.

      A so called "DE" is not even an "experience."

      Almost being run over by a truck is a NDE.

      Delete
    2. RalphH 21/103:52 PM

      “*"An NDE is obviously not identical to a DE but one would expect there to be much in common"* (RH)



      Why??

      They have nothing in common. 



      A so called "DE" is not even an "experience."



      Almost being run over by a truck is a NDE.” (MalcolmS8:12 PM)


      Malcolm, I think there’s a big difference between a NDE and a 'near thing'. Just as there’s a big difference between competing in the final of an Olympic event and competing in the lead-up heats.

      An analogy of the difference between NDE’s and the DE could be the difference between competing in the final and actually winning the gold.

      With what have been termed NDE’s a person has begun the process of dying because the physical body has deteriorated ofrbeen damaged almost to the point where it can no longer receive life.

      I’m not sure how you figure a “"DE" is not even an "experience."” Even if one can’t or is not capable of recalling it, it is still “an experience” (something that happens).

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS8:10 PM

      RalphH: "With what have been termed NDE’s a person has begun the process of dying..."

      Barring accident the "process of dying" begins decades before death. So-called NDEs often do not result in death in which case they are a contradiction in terms. Where they do result in death there is nothing to report. The NDE is a nonsense concept.

      "... because the physical body has deteriorated ofrbeen[sic] damaged almost to the point where it can no longer receive life"

      Living beings do not "receive life." Even the cells from which they are derived [sperm/ovum] are alive.

      "I’m not sure how you figure a "DE" is not even an "experience."”

      Read Epicurus' statement - he had that question in mind :)

      Delete
    4. Dear Ralph,
      Thanks for making your contribution in this nest of atheists. The NDE is interesting and it is not easy to both dismiss as irrelevant as the godless wish to do or say it proves the afterlife as the godly might be tempted to do. It is still an open question.
      Dick

      Delete
  10. MalcolmS8:04 PM

    "Can the soul, when it departs the body, see or perceive and if so, how?"

    What's your evidence that it *does* depart the body Dick?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RalphH 21/104:04 PM

      “*"Can the soul, when it departs the body, see or perceive and if so, how?"* (Posted by Dick Gross at 9:25 PM)

      What's your evidence that it *does* depart the body Dick?” (MalcolmS8:04 PM)

      The “evidence” from Dick’s article are NDE’s. If you don’t want to believe the reports because you can’t (or are not willing to) reproduce one at will, you could treat it as a hypothetical, Malcolm.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS5:50 PM

      "you could treat it as a hypothetical, Malcolm"

      It would be an arbitrary hypothesis, Ralph, and I reject those.

      You should learn the difference between "evidence" and "belief" sometime.

      Delete
  11. Dick Gross: "The last blog looked at a refutation of this form of soul. How could this disembodied soul see the light or the perspective as it floats above the room when it does not possess eyes to see the visions?"

    Not really a refutation was it? That is simply argument from ignorance.

    Are there any objection to the idea that a disembodied soul might be able to have perceptions like this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS5:37 PM

      The principle objection is that there is no such thing as a "disembodied soul."

      The onus of proof for disembodied souls rests with those who assert they exist. So far they have not been forthcoming. In fact the majority of evidence suggests that soul is a product of living bodies and does not survive the death of the body.

      Delete
    2. RalphH 21/107:03 PM

      “The onus of proof for disembodied souls rests with those who assert they exist. So far they have not been forthcoming. In fact the majority of evidence suggests that soul is a product of living bodies and does not survive the death of the body.” (MalcolmS5:37 PM)

      Malcolm, I do not believe in “disembodied souls". My belief is that living bodies are a product of the soul and the human (and only the human because of it’s rational and free-will component) soul does continue to exist after the death of the physical body.

      Just above (5:50 PM) you suggested that I “should learn the difference between evidence and belief". I’m not aware of any evidence that “suggests that (the) soul is a product of living bodies and does not survive the death of the body.”

      Given that a soul is defined as ‘the fundamental essence”, how could it be “a product of living bodies”?

      How could a body be “living” prior to ‘producing’ a soul?

      What would be the point of producing a soul if the body was already living?

      Would you care to show what that ‘majority evidence’ is or is it merely your ‘belief’?

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS7:37 PM

      RalphH: "Given that a soul is defined as ‘the fundamental essence'..."

      I have not so defined it.

      I use the concept *soul* as a synonym for consciousness.

      "... how could it be “a product of living bodies”?... How could a body be “living” prior to ‘producing’ a soul?"

      It's obvious. A foetus/embryo is living but does not have consciousness/soul. After birth a baby is conscious - is ensouled.

      "How could a body be “living” prior to ‘producing’ a soul?"

      A tree does it across a lifetime.

      "What would be the point of producing a soul if the body was already living?"

      A "point" is not required. The body simply acts as its *nature* determines [law of identity]. A human being becomes conscious - a tree does not.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS7:41 PM

      RalphH: "My belief is that living bodies are a product of the soul and the human... soul does continue to exist after the death of the physical body"

      I am aware of, and have no interest in, your "belief"...

      ... but do you have any "evidence" for that statement?

      Delete
    5. The onus of proof for disembodied souls rests with those who assert they exist. So far they have not been forthcoming.

      Stop lying twiddlesic ;)

      Delete
    6. Dear Malcolm and Ralph, There is indisputable evidence that NDEs do exist. The question is what inferences can be drawn from them. Dick

      Delete
    7. RalphH 22/104:29 PM

      RalphH: "Given that a soul is defined as ‘the fundamental essence'..."

I have not so defined it.” (MalcolmS7:37 PM)

      Well Malcolm, that’s how the dictionary defines it (see Synonyms at dictionary.com and World English Dictionary #3 - on the same page. See also Etymology under Wiki entry.) ‘Soul‘ is a relative term that can apply to virtually anything under consideration - as this universal definition implies.

      The discussion here is about the ‘human soul’ which some people believe is immortal.



      “I use the concept *soul* as a synonym for consciousness.”

      I don’t think I’ve seen anyone agree with that definition.

      

“*"... how could it be “a product of living bodies”?... How could a body be “living” prior to ‘producing’ a soul?"* (RH)



      It's obvious. A foetus/embryo is living but does not have consciousness/soul. After birth a baby is conscious - is ensouled.”

      It’s not obvious to me - it looks to me as if you’ve invented the ‘fact’ to suit the theory and added a good sized dollop of circular thinking. We have no evidence (only your belief) that ‘the soul is consciousness’ . 



      “*"How could a body be “living” prior to ‘producing’ a soul?"* (RH)

      

“A tree does it across a lifetime.”

      ???! So are you saying that a tree ‘produces consciousness (your idea of a soul) over a lifetime’ whereas a human does so at birth when still a helpless baby? Makes no sense to me whatsoever.



      “*"What would be the point of producing a soul if the body was already living?"* (RH)



      A "point" is not required. The body simply acts as its *nature* determines [law of identity]. A human being becomes conscious - a tree does not.”

      To anyone following a rational line of argument a point (or purpose) is always required. If a body acts “as it’s *nature* determines”, something/some being must have predetermined it’s *nature*.

      Does/could *nature* or “identity’ just pop out of nowhere? ex nihilo nihil fit!

      IMO, consciousness is a result of having a particular identity/*nature*/design. It is not something ‘produced’ or added by the body, it is enabled by a particular type of soul.

      Trees (unless one is a Tolkien fan) do not have consciousness, animals have a consciousness of the physical world and humans additionally have (or are capable of having) a consciousness of the spiritual (inner mental) world - the ‘higher reality’ that distinguishes between right and wrong, good and evil.

      Delete
    8. RalphH 22/104:33 PM

      “RalphH: "My belief is that living bodies are a product of the soul and the human... soul does continue to exist after the death of the physical body"



      I am aware of, and have no interest in, your "belief"...” (MalcolmS7:41 PM)

      Fair enough, I guess that’s because it contradicts and negates yours.



      “... but do you have any "evidence" for that statement?”

      There are two ideas in my “statement. My rational evidence/explanation for the first is that one can’t really have an existant (a foetus/embryo or even the pre-existing seed) that lacks a ‘fundamental essence’/identity i.e a soul.

      There are centuries of anecdotal evidence for the second (an afterlife) and absolutely no evidence (scientific or anecdotal) showing that the life of an individual (as distinct from it’s body - which after all is merely a biological machine) does not continue after said body/machine has served it’s purpose and been jettisoned.

      Delete
    9. RalphH 22/104:43 PM

      “Dear Malcolm and Ralph, There is indisputable evidence that NDEs do exist. The question is what inferences can be drawn from them. Dick” (Dick Gross1:37 PM)

      You don’t need to convince me Dick. I’m a believer even though I have no personal, sensual confirmation. Inferences will of course be coloured by one’s beliefs (be they religious or secular) but they still need to make sense in the broader picture.

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS2:08 AM

      RalphH: "You don’t need to convince me Dick. I’m a believer even though I have no personal, sensual confirmation"

      Yep, that's how it's done! No *evidence* required!

      To those who *believe* no explanation is necessary! To those who *don't believe* no explanation is possible! Either way I don't explain!

      All you have to do is really, really, really, truly, truly, believe.

      You're a legend Ralph! Hallelujah!!

      Delete
    11. RalphH 23/107:07 AM

      “RalphH: *"You don’t need to convince me Dick. I’m a believer even though I have no personal, sensual confirmation"*

Yep, that's how it's done! No *evidence* required!” (MalcolmS2:08 AM)

      To me Malcolm this is a great example of your airing of one of your pet prejudices. My “I’m a believer” was tongue in cheek, punning on the fact that I am a God believer. You picked up on that OK but immediately twisted it into a reason versus belief argument.

      I don’t believe that there is any conflict or comparison between reason and belief. All people use reason (to some degree and more or less successfully) and all people have beliefs of one sort or another. If available, evidence can be used to confirm and/or strengthen belief or if it conflicts, to refute it.

      

“To those who *believe* no explanation is necessary! To those who *don't believe* no explanation is possible! Either way I don't explain!



      All you have to do is really, really, really, truly, truly, believe.”

      I hope that someday you learn the difference between faith and blind faith Malcolm. Reasonable faith or belief is good, it’s only blind faith (or belief) i.e. lacking reason, that is bad.

      For someone who rails against sceptics you really are an arch one.


      Delete
    12. MalcolmS7:46 AM

      "I hope that someday you learn the difference between faith and blind faith Malcolm"

      There is no difference.

      Man has only one means to knowledge, as distinct from belief, Ralph.

      It's called reason.

      Delete
    13. RalphH 23/104:53 PM

      “*"I hope that someday you learn the difference between faith and blind faith Malcolm"* (RH)

      

There is no difference.” (MalcolmS7:46 AM)

      Oh dear Malcolm, I have absolutely no faith in your assessment of my statement because it flies in the face of reason. Does “blind” have no meaning? Doesn’t the absence of ‘blind' as a descriptor in the first instance imply ‘not blind’.



      “Man has only one means to knowledge, as distinct from belief, Ralph.

      It's called reason.”

      I have never claimed that faith is a “means to knowledge”. Faith (real faith that is not blind) is not a competitor of reason, it’s an adjunct. The two work together as a dualistic unit - they cannot exist without each other. Reason does not/cannot arise in a vacuum. It can only be based on something one has faith in - something one believes is axiomatic. Faith apart from reason is blind and meaningless.



      Delete
    14. MalcolmS9:06 PM

      RalphH: "I have never claimed that faith is a “means to knowledge”.... Reason does not/cannot arise in a vacuum. It can only be based on something one has faith in - something one believes is axiomatic"

      No, reason does not "arise in a vacuum" but does not arise from faith. It's entirely secular! Reason is the mental faculty possessed by human beings that identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses.

      NB Ralph - the evidence of the senses - nothing to do with faith. The "evidence" which you claim is not required and have no need to give! That's the difference between those who "go by reason" and those who simply "rationalise" the ideas you claim to get from so-called revelation/fantasy/faith/feeling but actually don't.

      Yes, reason *is* based on axioms. All "evidence of the senses" cannot be otherwise and, in that sense, is axiomatic. The evidence of the senses are the *given* of consciousness and its only contact with reality.

      Delete
    15. MalcolmS9:08 PM

      RalphH: "Oh dear Malcolm, I have absolutely no faith in your assessment of my statement because it flies in the face of reason. Does “blind” have no meaning? Doesn’t the absence of ‘blind' as a descriptor in the first instance imply ‘not blind’"

      Oh dear Ralph, you "misunderstand"/[obfuscate?] once more. My point is that *faith* does not lead to knowledge - any knowledge - whether "blind," pink or otherwise!

      Delete
    16. RalphH 25/103:47 PM

      “Oh dear Ralph, you "misunderstand"/[obfuscate?] once more. My point is that *faith* does not lead to knowledge - any knowledge - whether "blind," pink or otherwise!” (MalcolmS9:08 PM)

      I agreed with your/that “point” Malcolm. But you are evading the issue I raised i.e. that all faith is not “blind”.

      Your problem, as I see it, is that you have an extremely narrow (to the point of destroying it’s true meaning) concept of faith and you fail to see that you also have faith/confidence/trust (in something) which forms a basis for your reasoning in the way you do.

      Delete
    17. RalphH 24/108:55 PM

      “No, reason does not "arise in a vacuum" but does not arise from faith. It's entirely secular!” (MalcolmS9:06 PM)

      When I talk about faith, Malcolm, I’m not talking about ‘religious faith’ or some sort of esoteric knowledge. Faith is confidence or trust. One needs a confidence in one’s ability to reason and also in one’s ability to see beyond the appearances or fallacies of the senses.

      “Reason is the mental faculty possessed by human beings that identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses.”

      I sort of agree with that but would add that (what you have called) “material” is not willy-nilly “provided by the senses”. Many things that impinge the senses do not even make it as far as the reasoning process. We only become aware of those things which because of our particular loves pique our interest or arouse our emotions in some way.

      Our senses can only provide us with a very small impression of external reality which is seen through a subjective lens. Even when we multiple this input by the few billions of humans who have existed, it is still a drop in the ocean in comparison with the possible or potential knowledge of reality that is out there. And it’s still seen through multiple subjective lenses.

      Even divine revelation (if it exists) is still seen through these subjective lenses. 


      “NB Ralph - the evidence of the senses - nothing to do with faith. The "evidence" which you claim is not required and have no need to give!”

      I don’t claim sensual evidence is “not required”, I claim it needs interpreting and at times is beyond the capability and integrity of human reason to do so. IMO, faith (confidence, trust), although not a source of data is an integral part of the process of acquiring knowledge.


      “That's the difference between those who "go by reason" and those who simply "rationalise" the ideas you claim to get from so-called revelation/fantasy/faith/feeling but actually don't.”

      It’s just as doable to “rationalise sensual data to confirm whatever is subjectively wanted. It is also possible to reason about and from revelatory data.



      “Yes, reason *is* based on axioms. All "evidence of the senses" cannot be otherwise and, in that sense, is axiomatic.”

      An axiom is a self-evident concept/statement. Much of revelation also falls into that category. Although many have done so, one does not have to put one’s reason to sleep when interpreting it.

      “The evidence of the senses are the *given* of consciousness and its only contact with reality.”

      They are our contact with external reality but there is also an internal reality. The physical senses do not provide data of our inner world - the world in which our minds reside.

      Delete
    18. MalcolmS1:01 AM

      RalphH: "When I talk about faith, Malcolm, I’m not talking about ‘religious faith’ or some sort of esoteric knowledge. Faith is confidence or trust. One needs a confidence in one’s ability to reason..."

      If that's all you mean, then, I agree. A child is not born knowing how to use his rational faculty. Thinking is something he must learn over time. As he acquires that capacity he is obviously going to become more "confident" in its ability. If that's all you mean, then OK, but *you* generally use "faith" in a less secular sense than that!

      "... and also in one’s ability to see beyond the appearances or fallacies of the senses"

      Here I definitely disagree. Given good health and sobriety your sensory function [perception] is the closest a human being comes to infallibility. Your senses do not err and are not "fallacious" - although your reason in interpreting the evidence of the senses can err. What you receive via the senses cannot be otherwise!

      For example, when we look at a pencil half immersed in a beaker of water it appears 'bent' to the eye but 'straight' to touch. The point is that that is not a contradiction. Given the nature of light and its transmission through different media it could not appear otherwise. In fact it is the observation of such phenomena which give scientists the ability to figure out the laws of nature.

      Delete
  12. The general fallacy of the article is that it takes the fact that some thing is not evidence for a proposition, not only as evidence against that proposition but also as evidence for a rival proposition.

    It doesn't work. The fact that some A is not evidence for some P does not constitute evidence against P nor evidence for any rival proposition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS5:42 PM

      Scepticism is not an argument for anything. In fact it heralds the collapse of all argument.

      Delete
    2. If you mean Pyrrhonism then I agree. Especially those who are Pyrrhonists with other peoples arguments but uncritical noologists with their own.

      Delete
    3. lol

      You tell 'im robbsybobs ;)

      Delete
    4. Whoah!

      Came back to life there for a second....

      Delete
    5. MalcolmS11:52 PM

      No Robin, you are confused. Both scepticism and [Kantian] noologism are the opposite sides of the same false coin - the empiricist/rationalist distinction - a contradictory distinction which has bedevilled the history of philosophy. I advocate neither view.

      Delete
    6. Ping[sic], pong, ping[sic], pong.

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS - you have misunderstood me. It was not you who I was accusing of being a Noologist.

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS12:27 AM

      Thanks. Yes, I misunderstood you.

      Delete
    9. Nopeologist - someone who can recognise and reject complete and utter bullshit when they see it.

      Delete
    10. And what exactly is it that you think you have recognised as complete and utter bullshit in this instance?

      Delete

    11. MalcolmS - you have misunderstood me. It was not you who I was accusing of being a Noologist.

      Thanks. Yes, I misunderstood you.


      Damn hippies holding another love in in this thread.

      Wont someone think of the disembodied children? ;)

      Delete
    12. Tweety: And what exactly is it that you think you have recognised as complete and utter bullshit in this instance?

      Two overly eager philosophy undergraduates having a pissing contest to show how much they know about nothing?

      Delete
    13. "And what exactly is it that you think you have recognised as complete and utter bullshit in this instance?"

      Which instance would that be?

      Delete
    14. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    15. Terry wrote: "Two overly eager philosophy undergraduates having a pissing contest to show how much they know about nothing?"

      This is from someone who thinks that philosophy means using pure reason alone and not taking into account the limitations of human reason.

      And when I point out an example of one of the most famous philosophers who doesn't fit your daft definition you say "Well he wan't a philosopher then".

      And then you are mightily impressed when pop-philosopher Edward de Bono makes an extravagant claim based on complete inaccurate information about Aristotle.

      Just to read illiterate nonsense like that is enough to void the warranty on most respectable bullshit detectors.

      Delete
    16. howler monkey wrote: "Which instance would that be?"

      I thought you had a specific bullshit in mind when you made the comment.

      Delete
    17. Maybe you could try the technique out on the belief some people have that just because they don't want to find out about something therefore it must be bullshit.

      Delete
    18. "Maybe you could try the technique out on the belief some people have that just because they don't want to find out about something therefore it must be bullshit."

      The technique might also have something to do with recognising obfuscation when you see it.

      Delete
    19. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    20. howler monkey wrote: "The technique might also have something to do with recognising obfuscation when you see it."

      Feel free to demonstrate what it is that you imagine is obfuscation. Can't see anything that I have said that is not reasonably clear. If there is then I am happy to clear it up.

      Does the technique have detect making implied criticism and being evasive when asked for details???

      Apparently not.

      Delete
    21. "Feel free to demonstrate what it is that you imagine is obfuscation. ..."

      An MO that involves inventing nonsense, to provoke a reaction, and then disowning that nonsense, to create confusion, could have something to do with it.

      "Does the technique have detect making implied criticism and being evasive when asked for details???"

      Nope, I could never hope to compete with you when it comes to being evasive.



      Delete
    22. Where on earth have I ever been evasive???

      Details please, not vague hand-waving.

      And again - what do you imagine I have invented??? Again, details.

      I can show exactly where you are being evasive - you are claiming that something is "bullshit" or "obfuscation" and then failing to be specific when asked.

      Delete
    23. Where on earth have I ever been evasive???

      A revision of previous blogs will provide numerous examples.
      This site only has the last three blogs listed so I am unable to access details.


      "And again - what do you imagine I have invented???"

      All sorts of theological nonsense completely disconnected from reality and totally lacking in substance.
      Again, a revision of previous blogs will provide numerous examples.

      Delete
    24. In other words you are being evasive about backing up your claim that I am evasive.

      You can't even give me the gist of what you have in mind???

      And without evidence I can only conclude that you are inventing the stuff I allegedly invented.

      Delete
    25. So many of my conversations with atheists are like this.

      They imply that there is something terribly wrong with what I have said but there is some reason that they can't explain just which part of what I said this applies to and why.

      Apparently I have been evasive, but only on the blogs that are no longer available for view.

      Another old favourite is for them to say that if I can't see it for myself then I must be stupider than they thought and therefore it would not even be worth their time backing up their words.

      Delete
    26. Can't see anything that I have said that is not reasonably clear.

      I can

      This comment has been removed by the author.

      This comment has been removed by the author.

      I think something in your mind frightens you. Thats why you deny your own thoughts

      We could help you if you're actually prepared to man up a bit. Dont be like like twiddlesic though.
      He's well beyond redemtion ;)

      Delete
    27. "In other words you are being evasive about backing up your claim that I am evasive."

      I don't believe you ever got around to expanding on your "not fully god" theory.
      As previously requested, could you please enlighten us on how you identify a god who is complete from an incomplete god?
      That is, why would you consider someone, who wasn't omniscient
      and needed help to perform miracles, a god?


      You also might like to expand on your post-death restoration and development theories from last week.
      What about the mentally disabled?
      What process would apply to them?
      And, who exactly would provide these services?

      Delete
    28. Really howler monkey? Was that the best you could come up with?

      I hate to remind you that the Jesus debate you refer to was very long and you dropped out long before I did. You have a funny idea of “evasion”. I am not aware of any question that I was asked that I did not respond to in full.

      OK, let’s go through this nonsense:

      howler monkey wrote: “I don't believe you ever got around to expanding on your "not fully god" theory.

      I had forgotten that the other favourite form of bullshit among atheists was the straw man.

      I never propounded any “not fully god” theory. Instead I described the Christian belief that Jesus consented to live with human limitations during his incarnation. I remember that the atheists all managed to leave out the “during his incarnation” part, just as you are doing now.

      howler monkey wrote: As previously requested, could you please enlighten us on how you identify a god who is complete from an incomplete god?

      That is, why would you consider someone, who wasn't omniscient
      and needed help to perform miracles, a god?”


      In other words you consider it an evasion when I don’t respond to a straw man version of what I said.

      I made this quite clear. The Christian belief is that Christ consented to live with human limitations during the incarnation. It says this quite explicitly in the Gospels, he could be hurt, he was frightened, he didn’t know some stuff, for example the day of his return.

      Now your question implies the premise that if God can become incarnate as a being with limitations then this implies that God himself would have limitations. As I pointed out before this is simply a non-sequitur.

      So I asked that if someone believed that there was a contradiction involved in an omniscient, omnipotent God being able to become incarnate then they should state the contradiction explicitly.

      Nobody could.

      Now I don’t have a dog in this fight but I went further and set out a little thought experiment to demonstrate that there was no contradiction. I asked questions about the thought experiment but nobody - including you - bought in.

      So what exactly did I evade???

      Delete
    29. "I never propounded any “not fully god” theory. Instead I described the Christian belief that Jesus consented to live with human limitations during his incarnation. I remember that the atheists all managed to leave out the “during his incarnation” part, just as you are doing now."

      “not fully god” was your terminology.
      I didn't invent it.

      "So what exactly did I evade???"

      The second part of my previous post.

      Delete
    30. howler monkey wrote: ”You also might like to expand on your post-death restoration and development theories from last week.:

      In the first place, you are supposed to be supporting your claim that I am evasive. Are you really telling me that failing to expand on something is the same as being evasive???

      In the second place I was not proposing a theory. Dick suggested that certain things were a problem to the idea of an afterlife. I merely challenged that they posed a problem. Again we come across an atheist bullshit tactic - shifting the burden. Dick made a claim - I challenged it.

      howler monkey wrote: ”What about the mentally disabled?
      What process would apply to them?”


      Did anyone ask this question? I don’t recall that they did.

      If not, then by what bizarre thought process are you terming this an evasion?

      If someone had asked then I would have said the same process as everyone else. If there were an afterlife then I would be happy to see my intellectually disabled son there just as he is.

      howler monkey wrote: ”And, who exactly would provide these services?”

      Is this a trick question? For theists I imagine that God is the one to do it.

      For atheists they probably have Google in mind. I imagine you would have to have done something really wicked to have your transhuman mind hosted by Microsoft.

      Delete
    31. howler monkey wrote: "The second part of my previous post."

      You mean the fact that I did not respond to your question within some undisclosed time limit is evasion? Oh please.

      You still have not identified any actual evasion.

      Delete
    32. "Is this a trick question? For theists I imagine that God is the one to do it."

      Why wait until the afterlife to make these adjustments?
      Why not prevent these complications from occurring in the first place?

      Delete
    33. I don't know.

      Now before you start, that is not an evasion. It is a plain fact - I don't know. As I have pointed out before I don't believe in an afterlife.

      But what inference do you draw from your questions?

      Is the fact that we don't know why something is done in a particular way evidence that it was not done in that way?

      Delete
    34. "Is the fact that we don't know why something is done in a particular way evidence that it was not done in that way?"

      There is no evidence whatsoever that anything remotely resembling the "something" you refer to has ever occurred.
      You are speculating about ridiculous conjecture.
      This way madness lies.

      Delete
    35. I was responding to Dick who was advancing arguments against the idea of an immortal soul and as such the burden of evidence was his.

      When it comes to my own claims about the existence of God then the burden is entirely mine and I accept that.

      I have discussed my reasons for believing that God is, on the whole, the best interpretation of the facts at hand. I am happy to revisit that again if anyone is interested, but the actual arguments I made were rather ignored last time so I don't expect much to come of it this time either.

      I suppose that madness might ensue from pursuing any sort of metaphysical conjecture - including Materialism - but I guess that if I was heading in that direction my psychiatrist would tell me.

      Delete
    36. Edward de Bono makes an extravagant claim based on complete inaccurate information about Aristotle.

      I actually don't think you can cite any evidence for your claims of extravagance and inaccuracy.

      Hell, you even needed me to come along and cite the original article for you.

      http://www.edwdebono.com/debono/guard.htm

      See?

      But you know what?
      Thats ok, because your claims are all just opinion.

      Tell us some more!

      Delete
    37. I was responding to Dick who was advancing arguments against the idea of an immortal soul and as such the burden of evidence was his.

      lol ... really?
      Dicks arguments may have been a bit silly, but how can you directly address a piece of utter silliness without somehow conceptualizing it?

      This way religion lies.
      Glad I dont bother my pretty little head with any of that stuff

      ... I guess that if I was heading in that direction my psychiatrist would tell me.

      Err well. I have actually brought this up with you....

      http://godlessgross.blogspot.co.nz/2013/10/soul-searching-part-2.html?showComment=1382515698182#c8856964534515180000

      See?

      I really think you should come in for another consultation.
      Don't forget to bring your chequebook

      Delete
    38. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    39. Zed wrote: "See?"

      No. You are being unclear about what you see as a lack of clarity.

      I believe that is the message that appears when a post has been deleted.

      You may have noticed that there is no edit function on these posts.

      Zed wrote: "I think something in your mind frightens you. Thats why you deny your own thoughts "

      I mentioned long ago on Dick's blog that atheists seem to have a tendency to mistake themselves for psychiatrists.

      Actually real psychiatrists don't talk like that. They only talk like that in bad movies and TV shows.

      Delete
    40. Zed wrote: "I actually don't think you can cite any evidence for your claims of extravagance and inaccuracy. "

      Incorrect as usual - I cited the primary text and Aristotle's own words which show that do Bono''s claim about what Aristotle said was rubbish.

      Zed wrote: "Thats ok, because your claims are all just opinion."

      Nope - that was a primary text - Aristotle's own words. De Bono's claim was illiterate rubbish and is starkly contradicted by the facts.

      If you cannot see that then you are pretty bloody hopeless.

      As for extravagance, are you seriously telling me that the claim that we would be 500 years more advanced if Socrates, Plato and Aristotle had not lived is not extravagant?

      Actually it is not even certain that Socrates did live, but that is another matter.

      Delete
    41. For example in the above I had left a "not" out. I deleted it and reposted it with the missing word inserted.

      So sue me.

      Delete
    42. howler monkey wrote: "“not fully god” was your terminology.
      I didn't invent it."


      As I recall it I said that he became fully God again after the resurrection. It was clumsy terminology as I think I said at the time.

      I clarified it at the time and even offered the thought experiment I mentioned before to demonstrate that he could be fully God even during the Incarnation.

      As I pointed out before, you dropped out of the discussion long before I did and I clarified the point a number of times.

      Is that really what you call evasion?

      Delete
    43. "Instead I described the Christian belief that Jesus consented to live with human limitations during his incarnation."

      "I suppose that madness might ensue from pursuing any sort of metaphysical conjecture.."

      "I clarified it at the time and even offered the thought experiment I mentioned before to demonstrate that he could be fully God even during the Incarnation."

      "As I pointed out before, you dropped out of the discussion long before I did and I clarified the point a number of times."

      It's all starting to make perfect sense.
      How could he possibly be fully god if he had human limitations?

      Delete
    44. You have gone back to implying that there is something wrong with what I said without exactly specifying what it is that is wrong.

      As I said that happens a lot in dicussions with atheists.

      Come back when you have a point.

      Delete
    45. Only finite beings have limitations.

      Delete
    46. We are going in circles, because I already said:

      Robin said: "Now your question implies the premise that if God can become incarnate as a being with limitations then this implies that God himself would have limitations. As I pointed out before this is simply a non-sequitur."

      You have simply gone back to re-stating your original claim without dealing with this implicit premise.

      Delete
    47. I've already made my point.
      If you can't see it, it's not my fault.
      This is what I meant when I referred to your obfuscation and evasion.

      Delete
    48. MalcolmS6:22 PM

      "Only finite beings have limitations"

      An infinite being's "limitation" is nonexistence.

      No entity/being can be infinite.

      Infinity is only sensible as a mathematical device.

      An unlimited series exists as a potential - not as an actuality.

      Delete
    49. There are a couple of parts to this.

      Firstly, what do you mean by “without limitations”? Do you mean that the inability to see to it that a logical contradiction obtains is a limitation?

      If so then you have defeated your own argument by adopting a silly definition because whenever you claim that such and such is a contradiction then by your own definition it is not a contradiction.

      So your argument is a non-starter unless you adopt the definition that theists use, that is to say that the inability to see to it that a contradiction obtains is not a limitation.

      The second point is that you have to be careful of equivocation. For example say that Bill can tear a certain piece of paper in half. Then he puts it into a time-lock safe that will not open for an hour. Now he cannot tear that piece of paper in half.

      Someone, on hearing this, might laugh and say that Bill is so weak that he can’t even tear this piece of paper in half.

      But of course they would be equivocating. Bill still has the absolute ability to tear the piece of paper in half but he does not has the situational ability. So it is both true and false that he can tear the piece of paper in half depending on what you specifically mean by the phrase.

      Now you may say that an unlimited being should not even be able to put something situationally beyond his abilities.

      Again we come across an absurd definition. If you say that it is a limitation be able to choose a course of action that rules out some alternative course of action then you are implying that a being would have to have a particular limitation in order not to have limitations.

      In other words your definition is contradictory. The ability to choose a course of action ruling out some alternative is not a logical contradictory ability and so an unlimited being would have that ability.

      The ability to choose a course of action and also choose the ruled out alternative is a logical contradiction and the inability to do this does not imply a limitation.

      So God can choose to create a Kingdom that will not pass away. Having chosen this he now cannot, even in priniciple destroy that Kingdom because doing so would imply that his original action had failed.

      But it is not a limitation that God could create a Kingdom that will not pass away and it is not a limitation that, having done so, he cannot destroy that Kingdom.

      Similarly God can choose to live an an incarnate being and for that being to have certain situational limitations. The fact that the incarnate God cannot, situationally, do some action does not imply that God has lost the absolute ability to do them any more than Bill has lost the absolute ability to tear that piece of paper in half.

      God has simply taken a particular decision that has ruled out certain alternatives.

      It is no contradiction then that the incarnate God cannot, situationally, do some things that he chose not to be able to do because the ability to choose this course of action and also the ruled out course of action is contradictory and therefore not a limitation.

      Delete
    50. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    51. howler monkey wrote: "I've already made my point.
      If you can't see it, it's not my fault."


      Indeed you have made the same point over and over again and each time I have pointed out where it is wrong.

      Repeating your original point does not make it true. You will either have to address my counter argument or else abandon the original point.

      howler monkey wrote: "This is what I meant when I referred to your obfuscation and evasion."

      Really? By "obfuscation and evasion" you mean that I don't uncritically agree with everything you say no matter how many problems I can see with it?

      And your fierce determination not to address or even to acknowledge my counter argument is not an evasion???

      We simply have a clash of definitions of "evasion".

      Delete
    52. "There are a couple of parts to this. ........."

      Phew! That sure is a long winded way to make a point that nobody but you could possibly understand.

      Delete
    53. MalcolmS7:50 PM

      Robin: "God can choose to live an an incarnate being and for that being to have certain situational limitations"

      Thereby destroying his own omniperfection.

      As Aristotle observed an all perfect being would have to be truly immutable. He could do absolutely nothing. Not even "choose."

      Delete
    54. Robin: “The second point is that you have to be careful of equivocation. For example say that Bill can tear a certain piece of paper in half. Then he puts it into a time-lock safe that will not open for an hour. Now he cannot tear that piece of paper in half.”

      Except that, being god, he has the ability to open a time-lock safe any time he chooses. The fact that he allows the time lock safe to remain closed until the end of the hour does not change his ability to reverse his earlier decision.

      God choosing to create a kingdom that will never fail, and then being unable to change that decision is a contradiction in omnipotence just as much as god being unable to create a rock so large he couldn’t lift it is and as much as god being able to place limitations on his power that he cannot reverse is. The idea that jesus was bound by human limitation and yet he was still an omnipotent god is a contradiction.

      The concept of omnipotence itself is internally contradictory. The “logical possibility” dodge that you and other theists use is just a tactic to allow you to let god be able to do whatever you want him to be able to do and to say that he cannot do anything that it would be inconvenient for him to be able to do.

      Delete
    55. howler monkey wrote: "Phew! That sure is a long winded way to make a point that nobody but you could possibly understand."

      Actually there are very many people who understand these things.

      What it comes down to is that you didn't understand it.

      Well, I am sorry, I don't think any of this is particularly difficult so I am not sure how much more I can do.

      Delete
    56. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    57. boof wrote : Except that, being god, he has the ability to open a time-lock safe any time he chooses.

      Which is a point I addressed in the very next paragraph.

      boof wrote: God choosing to create a kingdom that will never fail, and then being unable to change that decision is a contradiction in omnipotence just as much as god being unable to create a rock so large he couldn’t lift it is and as much as god being able to place limitations on his power that he cannot reverse is. The idea that jesus was bound by human limitation and yet he was still an omnipotent god is a contradiction.

      Well, as I said to howler monkey, if you think there is a contradiction don’t just say so - demonstrate the contradiction. And state the definition of omnipotence with which you are doing so.

      boof wrote: “The concept of omnipotence itself is internally contradictory.

      Again, show me the contradiction, and state the definition with which you are doing so

      boof: ” The “logical possibility” dodge that you and other theists use is just a tactic to allow you to let god be able to do whatever you want him to be able to do and to say that he cannot do anything that it would be inconvenient for him to be able to do.”

      Logical possibility is a dodge??? So let’s get this clear so I am sure I am not misrepresenting you. Are you saying that a being cannot be omnipotent unless it can do logically impossible things?

      Delete
    58. Also, you pretty much ignored the distinction I made between absolute and situational ability. God can rule out his own situational ability and still retain the absolute ability. You are talking as though God would be ruling out his absolute ability.

      Disagree with me on this if you like, but don't ignore what is pretty much the main point of what I said.

      Delete
    59. “Which is a point I addressed in the very next paragraph.”

      No you didn’t. It would not even be situationally beyond the abilities of an omnipotent being because they could just reverse their previous decision. It is not that Bill could not tear the paper (even situationally), only that he chooses not to. The time-lock safe would not be a barrier to an omnipotent being.

      “Well, as I said to howler monkey, if you think there is a contradiction don’t just say so - demonstrate the contradiction. And state the definition of omnipotence with which you are doing so.”

      Omnipotence: There are no restrictions on what the being is able to do.
      The contradiction is that the ability to do certain things implies the inability to do others. Such as create a rock so big it couldn’t lift it. Create a being more powerful than itself.


      “Logical possibility is a dodge??? So let’s get this clear so I am sure I am not misrepresenting you. Are you saying that a being cannot be omnipotent unless it can do logically impossible things?”

      Yes. And so, no beings can be omnipotent.

      As an aside I have never understood why believers need their god to be omnipotent, but that is another issue.

      Delete
    60. boof wrote: Omnipotence: There are no restrictions on what the being is able to do.

      And so you are simply using another definition since the standard definition holds that the being's abilities are exhausted by logical possibility.

      So you are saying nothing at all about the theological definition of omnipotence, just about your personal definition.

      boof wrote: "Yes. And so, no beings can be omnipotent."

      On the contrary, under your definition all beings can be omnipotent since there cannot be any counter examples.

      A house fly is omnipotent because although it cannot do calculus or fly to the moon this is no problem under your definition. It can do anything and it cannot do calculus and so it has simply instantiated the contradictory state of affairs that your definition says it should be capable of. ex contradictione sequitur quodlibet

      Don't be surprised if you choose to adopt a semantically incoherent definition that you simply end up with an incoherent argument as I already pointed out in a post above.

      boof wrote: "As an aside I have never understood why believers need their god to be omnipotent"

      That is only your atheist prejudice that believers need God to be anything.

      Delete
    61. “…So you are saying nothing at all about the theological definition of omnipotence, just about your personal definition.”

      No I am saying that the theological definition is a dodge on the part of theologians. They simply declare that anything they don’t want god to be able to do is somehow “logically impossible” or “against god’s nature” or some such. That god simply chooses not to do this stuff. It all sounds like the eight year old claiming that they could do anything if they chose to, they just don’t feel like doing whatever they have bragged about doing.

      “house fly…It can do anything and it cannot do calculus and so it has simply instantiated the contradictory state of affairs that your definition says it should be capable of.”

      No, there is a restriction on what it can do, namely calculus. Therefore it is not omnipotent by my definition. As beings’ powers approached omnipotence they would run into logical contradictions and so could never reach omnipotence.

      “That is only your atheist prejudice that believers need God to be anything.”

      Really? So believers could live quite happily with a god who wasn’t omnipotent? Then why do they continually declare him to be omnipotent?

      Nonetheless, your “situationally restricted abilities” remains impossible for an omnipotent being as they could simply reverse their previous decision.

      Delete
    62. "I actually don't think you can cite any evidence for your claims of extravagance and inaccuracy. "

      Incorrect as usual - I cited the primary text and Aristotle's own words which show that do Bono''s claim about what Aristotle said was rubbish.


      Didnt see that. are you sure?

      Nope - that was a primary text - Aristotle's own words. De Bono's claim was illiterate rubbish and is starkly contradicted by the facts.

      I believe that Mr DeBono was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and has had many works published over the years.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_de_Bono#Published_works

      See?

      So your claim of illiteracy does ironically seem rather extravagant and inaccurate itself. Are you sure that you arent embellishing your claims to falsely support your opinion?

      It does after all stand in stark contradiction to the facts. ;)

      As for extravagance, are you seriously telling me that the claim that we would be 500 years more advanced if Socrates, Plato and Aristotle had not lived is not extravagant?

      "Its an interesting perspective

      Reading your comments I am reminded of another bizarre assertion(remember this?):

      There are moral facts

      As your psychiatrist I suggest you look up the difference between fact and opinion

      Delete
    63. Robin - "Actually there are very many people who understand these things."

      Really?

      Do they understand that the word "omnipotent" means ALL powerful and that it cannot be redefined simply to support weird theories you invented for the purposes of obfuscation?

      Do they understand that if a god is omnipotent then it must be able to destroy itself and therefore cannot be infinite?

      Delete
    64. Robin - "So God can choose to create a Kingdom that will not pass away. Having chosen this he now cannot, even in priniciple destroy that Kingdom because doing so would imply that his original action had failed."

      You are forgetting that God is also omniscient so such a situation would be impossible.

      Delete
    65. How does that change what I said? Which situation would be impossible? That the Kingdom would not pass away? Well that is entirely the point a Kingdom that would not pass away would not pass away.

      Delete
    66. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    67. howler monkey wrote: ”Do they understand that the word "omnipotent" means ALL powerful and that it cannot be redefined simply to support weird theories you invented for the purposes of obfuscation?”

      As I pointed out, it is atheists who wish to redefine the word to mean “powerless” or “non-existent”. As I pointed out before these atheist redefinitions fall over on their own internal contradictions.

      Let’s look at a common way of stating the standard definition of this word:

      A is omnipotent iff ( for all S if S is a logically possible state of affairs then A can see to it that S obtains )

      “obtains” merely means that the state of affairs is made actual.

      So I fail to see how you could get more “all” powerful than this. As I pointed out twice before, if you leave out the “logically possible” part then you simply get something that can be applied to anything and everything. If you try to say that it must not be able to select a course of action that would rule out some alternative then you have basically said that it cannot do anything at all.

      So I fail to see how zero powers is a good definition of all-powerful

      Let’s look at this definition in terms of some common arguments.

      For the state of affairs “there being an unliftable object” then if that is logically possible, as it seems to be, then an omnipotent being should be able to do it.

      For the state of affairs, “there being a lifted object”, similarly

      For the state of affairs “there being a lifted unliftable object” then clearly this is a contradiction - and so an omnipotent being cannot do it and it does not rule the being out from being omnipotent.

      howler monkey wrote: ”Do they understand that if a god is omnipotent then it must be able to destroy itself and therefore cannot be infinite?”

      They certainly understand that argument because it has been put often enough over the centuries.

      If this is applied to a contingent being then it implies that the being can destroy itself since there is no contradiction in a contingent being having ceased to exist.

      If we apply it to necessarily existing being then the state of affairs is “a being, for whom non-existence is impossible, having ceased to exist”.
      Clearly a contradiction and therefore the fact that a necessary being cannot make itself cease to exist does not rule itself out from being omnipotent.

      So basically you have simply proved that a contingent being cannot be omnipotent. Well nobody ever said it could.

      Note that if you are going to say the usual thing atheists say, that his is special pleading, then you will have to demonstrate this.

      “Destroy itself” is clearly a reflexive action and must necessarily be applied differently to different kinds of beings.

      And the property of necessary existence is not part of the omnipotence definition and has not been invented simply for this argument - it is core part of the definition of God.

      Delete
    68. "How does that change what I said? Which situation would be impossible? That the Kingdom would not pass away? Well that is entirely the point a Kingdom that would not pass away would not pass away."

      You have invented a hypothetical situation that is an exercise in futility and stupidity.
      You are implying that God would engage in foolish contradictory behaviour.

      Delete
    69. "As I pointed out, it is atheists who wish to redefine the word to mean “powerless” or “non-existent”. As I pointed out before these atheist redefinitions fall over on their own internal contradictions."

      This changes nothing.
      The literal meaning of omnipotence is still "all powerful".
      If this doesn't suit theologians, then they should come up with a different word that better suits their deceptive mind games.

      Delete
    70. howler monkey wrote: "This changes nothing.
      The literal meaning of omnipotence is still "all powerful".
      If this doesn't suit theologians, then they should come up with a different word that better suits their deceptive mind games."


      "All powerful" is exactly what it does say.

      What on earth are you saying that it leaves out?

      Are you saying that omnipotent must entail the ability to do logically impossible things?

      If so then please say so. Otherwise tell me what on earth you are implying that the definition leaves out.

      And your attempt to poison the well with unsupported invective like "deceptive mind games" is not a rational tactic at all.

      Delete
    71. Zed wrote: I believe that Mr DeBono was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and has had many works published over the years.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_de_Bono#Published_works

      See?


      I see.- so Rhodes scholarship trumps evidence.

      You appear to be saying that what Aristotle wrote in his own words in primary texts is not actually what Aristotle wrote.

      What Aristotle actually wrote is what someone has arbitrarily decided he wrote because that person is a Rhodes Scholar and has had stuff published?

      Nope. What Aristotle wrote is what he actually wrote and we have it in primary texts.

      I don't get what you don't get about that.

      Delete
    72. "Are you saying that omnipotent must entail the ability to do logically impossible things?"

      Why do you think God would be restricted by human logic?
      Are you God?

      Delete
    73. Nope - are you?

      Is logic "human"? Do you rule out, for example, that some alien being on an other planet might be able to follow the proof of the theorem that there is no smallest real number?

      By the way, do you think that "all powerful" would entail being able to determine the mass of the square root of two?

      Delete
    74. And as I said before, if you really want to insist that omnipotence must mean the ability to do the logically impossible then there can be no possible objection to God's omnipotence, can there?

      Delete
    75. "Nope - are you?"

      Not in this cosmos.

      "Is logic "human"?..........."

      More hypothetical nonsense?

      Delete
    76. "And as I said before, if you really want to insist that omnipotence must mean the ability to do the logically impossible then there can be no possible objection to God's omnipotence, can there?"

      You would need to prove that God exists before your question could be considered relevant.

      Delete
    77. howler monkey wrote: "More hypothetical nonsense?"

      More evasion. You brought up the idea that logic was "human", why is it "hypothetical nonsense" for me to question the premise of your question?

      Delete
    78. "...why is it "hypothetical nonsense" for me to question the premise of your question?"

      "..alien being on an other planet.." ????

      Delete
    79. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    80. howler monkey "You would need to prove that God exists before your question could be considered relevant."

      What? You can make any claim about what omnipotence means and what an omnipotent being would or would not be able to do without the assumption that God exists.

      And yet when I respond to same arguments it suddenly becomes necessary for God to exists before it can be considered relevent.

      Special pleading much?

      Delete
    81. MalcolmS8:10 PM

      howler monkey: "You would need to prove that God exists before your question could be considered relevant"

      Actually, he has a point Robin.

      There is no point in applying logic to the non-existent since nothing follows.

      Delete
    82. howler monkey wrote: "..alien being on an other planet.." ????

      Why is that any more hypothetical than the claim that logic is "human"?

      Delete
    83. MalcolmS wrote: "Actually, he has a point Robin.

      There is no point in applying logic to the non-existent since nothing follows.
      "

      Even if that were true - why is it OK for atheists to apply logic to something they consider non-existent, but not me?

      As I say, special pleading.

      If you guys consider that you cannot apply logic to somehing until you have proven it exists then the same must apply to you.

      Incidentally, and as I have said a number of times, it is nonsense to say that you cannot apply logic to something until you prove it exists.

      Delete
  13. MalcolmS6:18 PM

    Ralph, I think you overrate death.

    Epicurus(341 to 270 BC) nailed the "problem" in the ancient world when he said:

    "Accustom yourself to believe that death is nothing to us, for good and evil imply awareness, and death is the privation of all awareness; therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not by adding to life an unlimited time, but by taking away the yearning after immortality. For life has no terror; for those who thoroughly apprehend that there are no terrors for them in ceasing to live. Foolish, therefore, is the person who says that he fears death, not because it will pain when it comes, but because it pains in the prospect. Whatever causes no annoyance when it is present, causes only a groundless pain in the expectation. Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not. It is nothing, then, either to the living or to the dead, for with the living it is not and the dead exist no longer."

    Legions of pimply faced priests, rabbis, mullahs and mystics have not improved on that one.

    All that matters is *life* - death is irrelevant.

    Best you start enjoying your life, Ralph, you may not have much left!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RalphH 21/109:33 PM

      “Ralph, I think you overrate death.” (MalcolmS6:18 PM)

      On the contrary Malcolm, I think you do. Death is like passing from one room into another; like going from downstairs, upstairs; like finishing one chapter and starting another. It’s by making death the cut off point, the finale that one makes a big deal of it.

      Epicurus says,

      “... death is the privation of all awareness”. Evidence please! This is merely an assumption. The physical body being dead does not mean that the person is dead.

      “therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable” Rubbish! How can the sure knowledge that the present enjoyment will suddenly, permanently stop make the present ‘more enjoyable’. How could the knowledge that it need not stop but become better make it less enjoyable.

      “For life has no terror; for those who thoroughly apprehend that there are no terrors for them in ceasing to live.” There is no way to know this “thoroughly”/for certain so it is utter foolishness to base one’s foreseeable life on the assumption and belief that it will cease with no repercussions for reprehensible activity.


      “Foolish, therefore, is the person who says that he fears death, not because it will pain when it comes, but because it pains in the prospect.” It would only pain “in the prospect” if one didn’t know what to expect and expected the worst because of the dire quality of the former life.

      “Death, therefore, the most awful of evils ..... and the dead exist no longer.” Merely assumption based solely on sensual evidence. What makes death ‘the most awful evil’? - it’s merely a fact of life, just as birth is at the other end.

      “Legions of pimply faced priests, rabbis, mullahs and mystics have not improved on that one.”

      Aha! But what about those without “pimply face(s)”?

      “All that matters is *life* - death is irrelevant.”

      One could make the argument that ‘death’, like ‘nothing’ doesn’t actually exist - that in fact all there IS is life and life is eternal. 


      Delete
    2. MalcolmS9:52 PM

      RalphH: "Epicurus says, ... death is the privation of all awareness. Evidence please! This is merely an assumption. The physical body being dead does not mean that the person is dead"

      My evidence is quite clear! There is a corpse devoid of consciousness - as devoid as it was in the former embryo/foetus prior to birth of the same person. Consciousness no longer exists in that entity.

      You are the one claiming "consciousness has gone somewhere."

      You are the one who requires evidence for that position.

      You are the one who can provide no evidence and cowardly substitutes "belief" for this lack of evidence.

      Please stop wasting people's time!

      Delete
    3. RalphH 22/104:49 PM

      "RalphH: *"Epicurus says, ... death is the privation of all awareness. Evidence please! This is merely an assumption. The physical body being dead does not mean that the person is dead"

*

      “My evidence is quite clear! There is a corpse devoid of consciousness - as devoid as it was in the former embryo/foetus prior to birth of the same person. Consciousness no longer exists in that entity.” (MalcolmS9:52 PM)

      I totally agree that ‘the body‘ is dead, Malcolm but you haven’t established that the body is the person. If you had both of your legs amputated tomorrow would you be any less a person? Would your intelligence and love of life decrease by say 30% (commensurate with the volume of body lost)?

      If you had to have an organ transplant (or even use an artificial lung or heart) would you be any less of a person? Is Stephen Hawking less of a person because he has been handicapped physically for most of his life?

      

“You are the one claiming "consciousness has gone somewhere."“

      Consciousness doesn’t ‘go‘ anywhere. One is conscious of what one is focusing on. When one is focusing on the body and the things of the external/physical world that is what one is conscious of. When one is solely focusing on the things going on inside one’s mind it’s a different story.

      

“You are the one who requires evidence for that position.”

      I don’t “require evidence”. I just need for my ideas/concepts to make sense. You’re the one ‘requiring‘ evidence and yet you don’t set the same standard for yourself.



      “You are the one who can provide no evidence and cowardly substitutes "belief" for this lack of evidence.”

      Neither, if I’m not mistaken, can you provide any evidence of your belief. The only time I’m cowardly is when I have to go to the dentist.

      

“Please stop wasting people's time!”

      How is it wasting people’s time to challenge their beliefs?

      Delete
  14. MalcolmS10:53 PM

    Dick Gross: Dear Malcolm and Ralph, There is indisputable evidence that NDEs do exist. The question is what inferences can be drawn from them"

    I respectfully disagree that NDEs "exist" although it is true that experiences occur which some *claim* are NDEs. There is a big difference. Claim is not proof. The onus of proof rests with the NDEists.

    How do you distinguish between a dream and an NDE? How do you distinguish between an hallucination and an NDE? How do you distinguish between coming out of/going under an anaesthetic and an NDE? How do you distinguish between Plotinus' alleged experience of *ecstasy* and an NDE? You can't!

    Furthermore, such alleged NDEs have been reported ad nauseam by people who have not died - so they are NOT NDEs! Where people do die they are not around to report them! Alleged NDEs are a contradiction in terms and should be treated accordingly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS10:57 PM

      One more thing Dick.

      I remember discussing "eternal life" with Ralph on a Canberra Times blog many years ago. He was claiming that he[and I] was a candidate for eternal life and that this was all so exciting! I then asked him what he was doing at the time of the Napoleonic wars and when Moses was crossing the Red Sea. Of course I got no answer :)

      Beware of phony religionists and snake oil salesmen.

      Delete
    2. RalphH 23/107:15 AM

      “I respectfully disagree that NDEs "exist" although it is true that experiences occur which some *claim* are NDEs. There is a big difference. Claim is not proof. The onus of proof rests with the NDEists.



      How do you distinguish between a dream and an NDE? How do you distinguish between an hallucination and an NDE? How do you distinguish between coming out of/going under an anaesthetic and an NDE? How do you distinguish between Plotinus' alleged experience of *ecstasy* and an NDE? You can't!” (MalcolmS10:53 PM - in response to Dick’s comment)


      Maybe you missed the quote I gave from Dr Raymond Moody (RalphH 20/108:02 PM) explaining one subject’s refuting that what he experienced was an hallucination, Malcolm.

      Moody further said, “A person who has been through an experience of this type has no doubt whatsoever as to it’s reality and it’s importance. ..... The people I have interviewed are functioning, well balanced personalities. They do not tell their experiences as they would dreams but rather as real events that actually happened to them. .......

      I have studied many examples of psychologically and neurologically inspired hallucinations. (Moody was/is a psychiatric doctor and is not ‘religious’). Although certain aspects of the NDE are sometimes reproduced, none is as complete or as real, or in any way as emotionally involving, as the dying experience. ...... I am left, not with conclusions or evidence or proofs, but with something that is less definite - feelings, questions, analogies, puzzling facts to be explained.”

      I think it would be quite educational for you to read Moody’s book rather than just assume. At the time he wrote he had interviewed about 150 people. Since then there has been an explosion of NDE’s because modern medical practice can now bring many back from the brink of death with amazing regularity.

      
“Furthermore, such alleged NDEs have been reported ad nauseam by people who have not died - so they are NOT NDEs! Where people do die they are not around to report them! Alleged NDEs are a contradiction in terms and should be treated accordingly.”

      I think you’re confused here. It’s their not having died that makes them NDE’s. If they’d died, they’d be DE’s and they wouldn’t be able to report them.

      Delete
    3. RalphH 23/107:23 AM

      “I remember discussing "eternal life" with Ralph on a Canberra Times blog many years ago. He was claiming that he[and I] was a candidate for eternal life and that this was all so exciting! I then asked him what he was doing at the time of the Napoleonic wars and when Moses was crossing the Red Sea. Of course I got no answer :)” (MalcolmS10:57 PM)

      I remember blogging with you on the Canberra Times well enough Malcolm but have no recollection of such a question. Maybe I was having computer problems or something. So I’ll answer you now, if only to show that I’m not “phony” and don’t deal in snake oil.

      The essential attribute of eternal is that it has no beginning and no end because it is not constrained by/is beyond time. There is and can be only one only one entity/being that is eternal (in this sense). All else is created by and from this entity/being so it has a beginning in time, but if a created being becomes attached to the creator (by a reciprocal arrangement) that life continues ‘going forward‘ - it cannot go back to a time prior to it’s creation.

      So the answer is simply, “I just wasn’t around then.” It is theoretically possible to meet up with Moses or Napoleon and have a chat but unlikely because both parties would need to be desirous of meeting and it seems unlikely that these two (being rather famous and well known) would want to meet up with everyone who wanted to say,”Hi”.


      Delete
    4. MalcolmS7:41 AM

      "It’s their not having died that makes them NDE’s"

      LOL That's what faith does to you Ralph!

      Their "not having died" means that their "experience" was nowhere near death and, therefore, NOT an NDE :)

      Delete
    5. MalcolmS8:21 AM

      RalphH: "So the answer is simply, “I just wasn’t around then.”"

      Exactly my point.

      So, your life is not, and never can be, eternal. In fact *all* life is mortal. All life is lived in the face of an alternative: death - which can come at any time. This is the fundamental difference between living things and inanimate things.

      This may come as a big shock to you but the only thing which is eternal is matter/energy which has always existed, exists now and always will exist. Matter/energy can change its form but cannot become nothing - nor can it come ex nihilo from nothing.

      Of course you'll never understand that until you discover reason!

      Delete
    6. RalphH 23/104:44 PM

      “So, your life is not, and never can be, eternal. In fact *all* life is mortal. All life is lived in the face of an alternative: death - which can come at any time. This is the fundamental difference between living things and inanimate things.” (MalcolmS8:21 AM)

      Again Malcolm we come up against the distinction between the body and the mind. The life of the body can never be eternal. It is a finite object existing for a time in a finite/constantly changing world.

      The mind however is not subject to the destructive natural forces of the world. If the mind is irrevocably ‘attached’ to the body it (or whatever aspects of the mind are attached to it) will ‘die’ along with the body.

      If however certain aspects of the mind extend beyond the confines of the body, there is every possibility that these could be eternal, requiring only a more durable ‘body’ to contain them (the Bible, for example, suggests such a body - 1Corinthians 15:44)

      “This may come as a big shock to you but the only thing which is eternal is matter/energy which has always existed, exists now and always will exist. Matter/energy can change its form but cannot become nothing - nor can it come ex nihilo from nothing.”

      This may come as an even bigger shock to you but there’s no way you could know that it’s “the ONLY thing” that is eternal or that it “always existed”. That’s a full-blooded assumption/opinion.

      Your second sentence (re matter/energy) looks familiar though and makes sense.



      “Of course you'll never understand that until you discover reason!”

      I discovered “reason” long time ago and it serves me very well thank you.

      Delete
    7. RalphH 23/104:47 PM

      “LOL That's what faith does to you Ralph!

Their "not having died" means that their "experience" was nowhere near death and, therefore, NOT an NDE :)” (MalcolmS7:41 AM)

      Malcolm, how can it be “nowhere near” when the subject (death experience) is qualified with the term NEAR. Confusion seems to be the order of the day in your anti-language world.

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS8:18 PM

      RalphH: "Malcolm, how can it be “nowhere near” when the subject (death experience) is qualified with the term NEAR"

      For the very simple reason that death was NOT "near"! All recovered to tell their stories. Why would you call them NDEs when they were not "near death"? How could they know they were NDEs when they have never experienced death before?? You are begging the question.

      Delete
    9. RalphH 25/102:21 PM

      RalphH: "Malcolm, how can it be “nowhere near” when the subject (death experience) is qualified with the term NEAR"

“For the very simple reason that death was NOT "near"!” (MalcolmS8:18 PM)

      I find that a very strange interpretation of the facts Malcolm. Many, if not most, of these experiences occur on the operating table, many have been pronounced clinically dead (others in a situation where death would not be unexpected). Other experiences occur during an horrific accident where survival is something of a miracle. Yet you see this as not being ‘near death’!
      
“All recovered to tell their stories.”

      Surely their recovery does not exclude them from having been ‘near death’?

      “Why would you call them NDEs when they were not "near death"?”

      You’ve said nothing to establish that they weren’t.

      “How could they know they were NDEs when they have never experienced death before??“

      I find that an illogical question. If someone had “experienced death before” they wouldn’t be around to experience a NDE at a later date and compare the two. Further, the situations (operation, accident) are strong indications that that is what is being experienced.

      “You are begging the question.”

      You can believe that if you want ( and I think you’d have to want pretty hard) but a NDE is an extremely logical interpretation of what has occurred. 


      Delete
    10. MalcolmS11:47 PM

      RalphH: "Surely their recovery does not exclude them from having been ‘near death’?"

      That is precisely what it excludes. The alleged NDE most decidedly occurs during life and is not followed by death.

      NDE, as you contrive it, is a complete contradiction in terms.

      Delete
    11. RalphH 25/106:42 AM

      “NDE, as you contrive it, is a complete contradiction in terms.” (MalcolmS11:47 PM)

      I’m completely flummoxed by your ‘reasoning’, Malcolm? How then do you “contrive it”?

      So far as I’m concerned dying is a process - whereby the body has deteriorated or been damaged so severely that life can no longer flow into it and animate it.

      If something (first aid or medical intervention) occurs to restore the damage sufficiently there can be a reversal of the process even though it may have been nearly complete i.e ‘near death‘. What and where is the contradiction?


      Delete
    12. MalcolmS7:29 AM

      One more point Ralph.

      The body is not some dead piece of meat that "life flows into" and requires "animation"! It has been "alive" since conception and will remain alive until death! Even the sperm and ovum were alive before the embryo was formed! Stop ascribing supernatural qualities where none exist! You are simply talking nonsense!

      Delete
    13. RalphH 26/101:53 PM

      “The body is not some dead piece of meat that "life flows into" and requires "animation"! It has been "alive" since conception and will remain alive until death! Even the sperm and ovum were alive before the embryo was formed! Stop ascribing supernatural qualities where none exist! You are simply talking nonsense!” (MalcolmS7:29 AM)

      Malcolm, if you knew for certain that there is nothing supernatural (i.e. that is not circumscribed by laws other than natural laws) there would be some justification for your calling my ideas nonsense. But there is no such certainty - it’s simply your opinion based on your belief.

      Why are you so dead set (pun intended) against anything supernatural? It’s not as if there is nothing unexplained or unexplainable from Nature or by natural means. I think you’re just ‘jumping the gun’ because that’s the way you want it to be.

      The sperm could be said to have a life of it’s own because it has activity but the ovum is a part of the mother. The soul of the new being is contained within the sperm/seed directing it’s amalgamation with the egg and the succeeding building of the new body (i.e. the soul is present overseeing this growth long before the birth and consciousness.

      The physical body is a “piece of dead meat” once the connection with the spirit is broken (as it is temporally during an NDE/out of body experience and of course permanently once the body is ‘dead’ - which occurs because the soul is no longer animating it from within.

      The animating force is love (it’s love that makes the world go round, philosophically as well as romantically). The primary or ruling love resides in the soul (the very individual essence) and the derivative loves in the spirit.

      There are expressed through or by means of the physical body while it needs to interact with the natural/physical world but directly through the body of the spirit in the afterlife.

      Haven’t you heard the terms ’kindred spirits’ and ‘a meeting of minds’? I’ve never heard of kindred bodies.

      Delete

    14. Of course you'll never understand that until you discover reason!

      According to one of your nobjectivist chums, "reason" isnt sufficient for a proper understanding of economics

      From:
      http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140161/alan-greenspan/never-saw-it-coming

      What went wrong? Why was virtually every economist and policymaker of note so blind to the coming calamity? How did so many experts, including me, fail to see it approaching? I have come to see that an important part of the answers to those questions is a very old idea: “animal spirits,”...

      and

      The economics of animal spirits, broadly speaking, covers a wide range of human actions and overlaps with much of the relatively new discipline of behavioral economics. The study aims to incorporate a more realistic version of behavior than the model of the wholly rational Homo economicus used for so long.

      Even Thorstein Veblen gets a positive mention. Whats going on?

      While the rest of us are well used to seeing the "animal spirits" of the vaguely self aware comment-bot twiddlesic on display, I wonder if, now that an original member of the randian collective ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivist_movement#The_Collective ) is admitting there is more required to describe to human behaviour than great rambling wiffle-farts about rationality, can we expect to finally see the nobjockey make some well overdue adjustments to his dogma?

      After all, its just more mental concrete.

      Stay tuned.

      Delete
    15. MalcolmS5:02 PM

      Earth to flyingtoolshead: Greenspan gave up Objectivism 50 years ago. Arrived at the Planet of Loonies yet?

      Delete
    16. Arrived at the Planet of Loonies yet?

      Yep. At least it sure looks that way.

      lol

      Delete
    17. MalcolmS6:22 PM

      *And* you still recognise your name :)

      Delete
    18. So does that alien loony ... what's his name.....?

      Oh yeah
      Twiddle[sic] the nobjockey. lol

      giddyup... ;)

      Delete
  15. Tweety: … the actual arguments I made were rather ignored last time …

    That’s not true. Mal jousted with you a bit. But that’s because, like you, he relishes any opportunity to show off his rational prowess. If you want more love, try arguing less and exploring more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sylvester wrote: "That’s not true. Mal jousted with you a bit. But that’s because, like you, he relishes any opportunity to show off his rational prowess. If you want more love, try arguing less and exploring more."

      You, on the other hand said that two of the arguments were the worst you had ever heard even before I had a chance to post them.

      Psychic are you?

      The one I did post, you completely ignored and substituted a completely different argument (about a sausage I recall) and pretended I had said that.

      When I asked you if you thought this was in any way a rational tactic you said yes, in fact you said it was the "standard opening gambit" for some other type of argument that I have not heard of.

      You blamed the whole silly process on someone called Gould.

      Terry wrote: "..like you, he relishes any opportunity to show off his rational prowess.."

      Again this is a favourite evasion tactic among atheists. If I don't show the reasons why I believe as I do people say that I am believing on faith alone or that I don't examine my own beliefs.

      On the other hand if I show my reasons for believing you pretend that I only do so to show off my rational prowess, even though I have never claimed any rational prowess.

      You atheists have a dodge for everything, don't you?

      Sylvester wrote: "If you want more love, ..."

      Why would I want that?

      Sylvester wrote: "...try arguing less and exploring more."

      I doubt that you even know what it means to explore.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS7:18 PM

      "Sylvester"?!?!

      Two idiotcats on the one site! Spare me!

      Yet even hunting in packs they are too stupid to catch Tweety!

      ROFLMAO

      Delete
    3. Mal[sic]: Yet even hunting in packs they are too stupid to catch Tweety!

      A ‘pack’ of cats? Or were you thinking of cards?

      Delete
  16. After all that effort I am taking the weekend off. See you all later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies


    1. After all that effort I am taking the weekend off. See you all later.

      lol What effort?

      You may have noticed that there is no edit function on these posts.


      Called honesty aint it?

      Delete


    2. Robin7:36 PM
      After all that effort I am taking the weekend off. See you all later.


      Robin2:43 AM blah blah
      Robin2:53 AM blah blah
      Robin2:55 AM blah blah
      Robin3:13 AM blah blah
      Robin6:05 AM blah blah


      Weren't you supposed to be taking the weekend off?

      As your psychiatrist I believe its important for you to keep your word ;)


      Delete
    3. Robin: … if I show my reasons for believing …

      That’s what you think. But what you’re really doing is justifying your belief. A fossil would be a reason for believing. All you’ve given us is a rational argument. And a rational argument has the same status as a reasoned opinion.

      Despite what you say, you are clearly ignorant of anything neuroscience has to say about the limits of human reasoning. Aristotle would be mightily disappointed in his groupie.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS5:39 PM

      Sylvester: "All you’ve given us is a rational argument"

      Pity there was no reciprocation.

      ".. you are clearly ignorant of anything neuroscience has to say about the limits of human reasoning"

      Neuroscience has little to say of importance on the matter. Epistemology has much to say on such "limits" - thanks to the excellent start it received from Aristotle.

      Delete
    5. Mal[sic]: Neuroscience has little to say of importance on the matter. Epistemology has much to say on such "limits".

      You’ve got your head in the sand. Epistemology might have much to say (after all, it’s full of windbags like you and your avian friend) but it’s all misguided nonsense, and of as little value as theology is (although theology can at least claim to have a bigger audience).

      Only a fool would ignore what science is telling us about how our brains work. Contrary to what you learned in your Monday Philosophy for Seniors classes, there are no absolute foundations, a priori knowledge doesn’t exist, formal logic doesn’t describe how we reason and process information, decision theory, confirmation theory and predicate calculus do not explain how we solve problems, inductive logic doesn’t exist, and formal semantics is a load of bollocks.

      What you need more than anything else is to spice up your life with some Tuesday Science for Seniors classes.

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS4:58 PM

      Sylvester: "Only a fool would ignore what science is telling us about how our brains work"

      No doubt!

      However I made no mention of "brain." I suggest you reread what I actually said and this time exercise control over the only thing you can control: consciousness. *What* you think determines what brain does. Thinking is volitional.

      Er... and this time do try to keep your *mind* in focus.

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS5:02 PM

      Sylvester: "... there are no absolute foundations"

      All the foundations [axioms] of philosophy are absolute. Anything which exists is an absolute.

      "a priori knowledge doesn’t exist"

      I agree.

      "formal logic doesn’t describe how we reason"

      On the contrary! Logic is the *method* we must use if reasoning is to result in knowledge - of that we have no choice. Logic is the science of non-contradictory identification.

      "inductive logic doesn’t exist"

      Induction is the method of all great scientists: Darwin, Galileo, Newton, etc. who progressed from empirical observation to general principles [laws]. Its denial by modern alleged philosophers of science has ended the 'age of science.' Modern "scientists" who start with arbitrary hypothesis and attempt to "disprove" same can make no discovery - they are not fit to sweep the streets.

      Delete
    8. ...exercise control over the only thing you can control: consciousness.

      lol. Ok I only have time to pick one. Here it is.

      So how many months have you been awake now Twiddly[sic] McFiddly[sic]?

      rofl

      Delete
    9. Mal[sic]: *What* you think determines what brain does. Thinking is volitional.

      Yeah, and Earth is flat.

      Mal[sic]: Induction is the method of all great scientists: Darwin, Galileo, Newton, etc. who progressed from empirical observation to general principles [laws].

      Yes, yes, we’ve heard that fifty times already. But so what? The fact that they used inductive reasoning (as does every other human) says nothing about its reliability. The evidence tells us that in the process of inductive reasoning we use shortcuts (such as the availability heuristic, illusory correlations, the representative heuristic and confirmation bias) that cause us to make errors. Think of them as Mal[functions].

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS11:28 PM

      Sylvester: "The fact that they used inductive reasoning (as does every other human) says nothing about its reliability"

      Induction was extremely reliable for the great scientists because they knew how to use it. It was the 'age of reason' - remember? Induction was the method which made them great! Ask yourself why sometime!

      Better read "The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics" by Harriman or continue to wallow in your contemporary ignorance. It invalidates exactly what you are claiming! As a sceptic all you get are the Humean sense data trotting by and you can do nothing with them. Can't integrate them into concepts and then principles [laws] can you? Stupid Sylvester the sceptical scientist! You ain't gonna make it dopey. Don't give up the government job!

      Delete
    11. Mal[sic]: Better read "The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics" by Harriman or continue to wallow in your contemporary ignorance.

      Nah, I’ll give that a pass, old fart. No interest in anything your objectivist theologian has to say about science. Only interested in the science itself. And you should be thankful. Without us scientists you wouldn’t have those neat electronic gadgets to control your wheelchair.

      Delete
    12. MalcolmS3:44 AM

      Sylvester: "Only interested in the science itself"

      Fallacy of the stolen concept.

      You haven't a clue about science and won't until you discover the inductive process. Harriman is a PhD in physics AND philosophy and his book is going gang busters in the general[non-Objectivist] physics community. But on second thoughts you should give it a miss - it's a little too cerebral for you.

      "Without us scientists you wouldn’t have those neat electronic gadgets..."

      Don't put yourself in such exalted company - they were the discovery of inducers. You wouldn't know if your arse was on fire.

      Delete
    13. Yeah Terry.

      Arse fires are a science in nobjectivist land.

      So there!

      roflmfao

      Delete
    14. Mal[sic]: Harriman is a PhD in physics AND philosophy and his book is going gang busters in the general[non-Objectivist] physics community.

      Refer me to the evidence of his PhDs. As far as I can tell he has a masters degree in both subjects. He’s less qualified than any of my employees.

      In any case, who is he? None of my physicists have ever heard of him. Or his book. The only references to him on the Internet are by nobjectivists like you. He’s the editor of the Ayn Rand journals. Who’s going to take him seriously except an old fart like you.

      Delete
    15. Terry wrote: ”That’s what you think. But what you’re really doing is justifying your belief.”

      Let me get this straight. You think that reasoning powers are limited and yet you are utterly convinced that you personally have the ability know what I think better than I do.

      And you don’t see any contradiction in that?

      That is why I call you an asymmetric Pyrrhonist. You are a Pyrrhonist when it comes to other people’s beliefs you are an unreconstructed Noologist when it comes to your own.

      We all know about the limits of human reasoning. It is just that you do not appear to have realised that this also applies to you.

      Terry wrote: ”A fossil would be a reason for believing. All you’ve given us is a rational argument. And a rational argument has the same status as a reasoned opinion.”

      No, a fossil doesn not, in itself present reason for believing anything other than that you have perceived a fossil.

      Evidence does not somehow obviate the necessity for reasoning. You need to reason about the evidence before you can draw any conclusion from it.

      Terry wrote: ”Despite what you say, you are clearly ignorant of anything neuroscience has to say about the limits of human reasoning.”

      Here is a good example of what you are proposing to replace the reasoned argument. Basically your statement above is a vague appeal to science, a vague and unsupported boast of superior scientific knowledge and a vague implication that there is some unspecified conclusion that might be drawn from what you have just said and the even vaguer implication that this conclusion might support to whatever point you have, supposing you ever get around to making one.

      If I am going to draw any conclusions from science I will need to know the specific hypothesis that has been supported and I will want to ensure that the conclusions I draw from that fact actually follow from it.

      Terry wrote: ”Aristotle would be mightily disappointed in his groupie.”

      Still sticking to your straw Aristotle Terry? Not even a hint of curiosity about what the real Aristotle might have said?

      You are basically still assuming that Aristotle thought that human reason was perfect although you have no basis for that belief.

      If Aristotle had thought that human reasoning and perception were perfect then he would not have felt the need to write a single word.

      The imperfection of human reasoning and perception are the very premises from which he is working. His system of logic is a tool to help overcome the inherent limitations of our mental faculties. His ideas of an inductive process on empirical data are based on the fact that our perceptions are not reliable.

      As I said before he might have been embarrassed about the stuff he got wrong but he would have been mighty proud that his little suggestions about how to overcome the limitations of human reasoning bore such fruits as quantum physics and - yes - neuroscience.

      That is because he knew that fact that there are limitations on our perceptions and reasoning abilities was reason to be more careful about how we think - not less careful.

      Delete
    16. Zed wrote: "Called honesty aint it?"

      Hmm.. a vague implication that I was being dishonest without anything to back it up.

      Being a theist in mainly atheist blog I naturally get criticised for anything and everything however minor it will be.

      For example if I say I am taking a break and then decide to post a little more there will be some atheist obsessively cross-checking time stamps.

      There is not edit function and so I delete, make a correction and then repost.

      Ah but then some other atheist will turn up and criticise me for correcting my own typos and implying that this is dishonest.

      As I said, it is all part of being a theist in a mainly atheist blog.

      Delete
    17. MalcolmS4:52 PM

      Terry, the worth of Harriman will not come by consulting your peers. You need to judge his work. In exactly the way that the value of Galileo, Newton or Darwin was their respective discovery and not the opinion of their peers.

      You have consistently argued that philosophy is irrelevant to science and that all "scientists" do is sit around waiting to "falsify" the latest assertion. Harriman eloquently demonstrates you are quite incorrect on both counts.

      There is a [non-Objectivist] review of the book here:

      http://books.slashdot.org/story/11/01/10/1433246/The-Logical-Leap-Induction-In-Physics

      Other Harriman sites here:

      http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2010-summer/david-harriman.asp

      http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2006-summer/19th-century-atomic-war.asp

      http://www.thelogicalleap.com/?page_id=89

      Delete
    18. MalcolmS5:59 PM

      Robin: "His ideas of an inductive process on empirical data are based on the fact that our perceptions are not reliable"

      Actually our "perceptions" are reliable. Perception is the *given* of consciousness. It's where we start. Objects appearing smaller in the distance, a straight pencil appearing bent when half immersed in water and mirages are not examples of "unreliability." In fact such perceptions cannot be otherwise. Perception is *automatically* as it must be.

      Where we can err is the "higher" abstract/conceptual/thinking part of consciousness. That's where we need induction, deduction, inference and the laws of logic - because our thinking is not *automatically* correct.

      Delete
    19. Actually I agree, Malcolm, what I meant was that our individual perceptions or not reliable predictors of what can be objectively measured.

      Our perceptions are what they are.

      Delete
  17. MalcolmS6:12 PM

    RalphH: "Malcolm, if you knew for certain that there is nothing supernatural (i.e. that is not circumscribed by laws other than natural laws) there would be some justification for your calling my ideas nonsense. But there is no such certainty - it’s simply your opinion based on your belief"

    That's false and I have answered it numerous times before. *You* are the one who asserts the existence of a supernatural world - the onus of proof rests with you. I have no evidence whatsoever for such an existent. My atheism is not based on "opinion." It's based on the total lack of "evidence" given by theists over centuries. I am justified in my position - you are not!

    The rest of that post is fantasy in a similar vein!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS6:15 PM

      Or, you can look at it another way Ralph. What do you mean by “the supernatural”? Supposedly, a realm that transcends nature. What is nature? Nature is existence - the sum of that which is. It is usually called “nature” when we think of it as a system of interconnected, interacting entities governed by law. So “nature” really means the universe of entities acting and interacting in accordance with their identities. What, then, is “super-nature”? Something beyond the universe, beyond entities, beyond identity. It would have to be: a form of existence beyond existence - a kind of entity beyond anything man knows about entities - a something which contradicts everything man knows about the identity of that which is. In short, a contradiction of every metaphysical essential.

      There is no way to prove a “super-existence” by inference from existence; supernaturalism can be accepted only on faith.

      Delete
    2. RalphH 27/102:24 PM

      “Nature is existence - the sum of that which is.” (MalcolmS6:15 PM)

      What a limited, limiting concept Malcolm. It’s nothing more than a massive assumption and totally unprovable.

      “There is no way to prove a “super-existence” by inference from existence; supernaturalism can be accepted only on faith.”

      Says you. If existence that we can sense with our physical senses is the totality of existence than it and everything of it must be eternal. But our sensual experience proves that this is not so. We see things beginning to exist and ceasing to exist all the time.

      That’s the nature of Nature - a realm of time and space - a temporal changing world. Eternal is not a function of time - likewise infinite is not a function of finite. It’s the other way round.

      Eternal is not a “super-existence”. The core of existence is eternal but the things of the world, of Nature (which are created by and come forth from that core), are not - they’re temporal.

      We can’t physically sensate that eternal core but we can infer it using our minds which are not confined to the data input of the senses but can soar into higher abstract levels of thought and feeling picturing a mental image of that which is beyond our limited, current consciousness.

      Delete
    3. RalphH 27/103:25 PM

      “That's false and I have answered it numerous times before. *You* are the one who asserts the existence of a supernatural world - the onus of proof rests with you.” (MalcolmS6:12 PM)

      I don’t think “onus of proof” is even an issue. I won’t be changing my mind because I can’t produce the sort of ‘proof’ you’re demanding. I don’t believe that sensual proof applies to something that is far removed from the sensual.

      “I have no evidence whatsoever for such an existent.”

      That’s because you’re looking for and wanting the wrong sort of evidence. The supernatural isn’t “an existent”. IMO there is a hierarchy of existence (as I’ve said before). There is eternal existence (i.e that which exists in and of itself having no beginning and no ending). There is existence that has a beginning and an ending. The physical body is an example. We have undeniable sensual proof of it’s conception, birth and death .

      Lastly there is existence that has a beginning but no end. The human spirit (the inner level of the human mind) is an example but there is no way of proving it sensually. It just makes rational sense that it would be so because the physical forces that bring about the deterioration and demise of the physical body have no effect on the mind.

      “My atheism is not based on “opinion.”"

      My theism is, and I make no apology for that fact.

      “It's based on the total lack of "evidence" given by theists over centuries.”

      I don’t believe anything concrete can be based on a lack of evidence.

      “I am justified in my position - you are not!”

      You ‘feel’ justified but that’s OK because so do I.

      “The rest of that post is fantasy in a similar vein!”

      If it is fantasy (and I don’t believe that it is), I’d much rather have my fantasy than yours because with yours, you end up as dead as a post with no possible future whatsoever - hardly the grounds for hope in the future or any impetus to improve one’s life.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS5:22 PM

      RalphH: "The supernatural isn’t “an existent”"

      Yes, that was my point.

      The supernatural is non-existent.

      Thanks for your whole-hearted agreement.

      Delete
    5. The supernatural is non-existent.

      That is one of many fallacies committed by materialists/nominalists who regard "ideas" as not fully real. You need to grasp that an idea/concept, once formed, is a mental concrete.

      You really dont understand yourself do you



      Delete
    6. RalphH 28/101:20 PM

      “RalphH: "The supernatural isn’t “an existent”"

      Yes, that was my point.

      The supernatural is non-existent.

      Thanks for your whole-hearted agreement.” (MalcolmS5:22 PM)

      Well, I guess I laid myself open to that one Malcolm. Amazing what one can ‘prove’ by playing with words rather than attending to the argument. Sorry - no agreement. I was trying (and obviously failed), by using your language, to make the point that spiritual things are not an add-on to (or unexplained activity of) physical things (the only alternative if one denies an ‘inner’ pathway).

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS5:07 PM

      RalphH: "Well, I guess I laid myself open to that one Malcolm"

      Yes, as usual.

      "I was trying (and obviously failed), by using your language, to make the point that spiritual things are not an add-on to (or unexplained activity of) physical things"

      Yes, you failed. "Spiritual things" such as consciousness, ideas, emotions, concepts, etc are not possible without an intact living brain even though they themselves are not physical. A related but very important point is that "spiritual things" are not supernatural - they are perfectly natural and of thisworld!

      Delete

Followers