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Materialism & Nihilism = Flimsy Philosophies

charleslb
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6/1/2011 7:45:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The Empirical and Logical Soundness of Materialism is Not All It's Cracked Up to Be!

Materialists (and that subset of materialists, nihilists) of course are known for priding themselves on the levelheaded groundedness of their anti-metaphysical metaphysics. The vaunted realism, empiricism, and logicality of the physicalist doctrine that reality consists only in materiality, in tangible stuff, in solid substances, is considered by staunch adherents of modern scientism, i.e. the modern materialistic worldview, to be beyond any reasonable doubt whatsoever. Indeed, it's hardly questioned at all by many modern minds.

However, this lack of critical questioning of materialism doesn't mean that the truth of materialism in incontestable, only that it's not really evenhandedly contested by its believers in the same no-holds-barred procedure that they employ to challenge and critique ideas they disagree with. When intellectuals who are not ideologically locked into matter-only-ism do apply the same critical philosophical methods to evaluating materialism, well, they find that it isn't really that difficult to show that materialists ironically don't stand on the solid ground they claim. Rather than being the point of view supported by hard data and logic, materialism, it turns out, is actually just another biased belief system!

It's just that our modern scientific "paradigm" has ingrained this particular biased belief system in itself, and given it its prestigious stamp of approval, therefore it enjoys a popular legitimacy that leads many educated people into its embrace. Nonetheless, materialism should not be equated with common sense, for that nebulous noetic gift of intuitive common sense that rationalists dismiss tells us otherwise, it tells us that reality is a bigger and more transcendental picture than its shallow surface of molecules & matter, flesh & blood.

Rather than being the intellectually intrepid investigative reporters of reality's underlying nature, materialists are mere superficialists, stopping their investigations and probings of reality at its most external and obvious level. Scientific materialists come to the first layer of the world, the material layer that we all encounter on a daily basis, and what do they do, they focus on it in a totally exclusive fashion, they rest content with focusing all their research and reasoning on exploring matter.

Okay, perhaps I should not say "rest content", to their credit practicing scientists do go deeper than the mere appearance of solid matter, they do discover the atomic and subatomic particles that make up physical objects. But their search for reality is entirely substance-oriented, they're only ever really looking for a preconceived materialistic holy grail, the ultimately small material particle or "string", or what have you. That is, they're always operating within their own physicalist bias, always taking a path dictated by it, formulating interpretations skewed by it. Hence, voilà, their views are never refuted, and seem to be thoroughly confirmed. But they are still derived from a reading of reality that's quite superficial.

A quite literal reading, you might say. Yes, the scientific mind-set is actually, and perhaps surprisingly, quite literalistic! Its empiricism really amounts to little more than a glorified mundaneness, to a rather prosaic perception and interpretation of reality. The scientific materialist in fact takes the world in as verbatim, so to speak, a manner as a fundamentalist takes his Bible. The family resemblance of the literalistic thought patterns of scientists and fundamentalists is especially obvious when atheistic scientists apply themselves to explaining the stories of the Old Testament, such as the plagues of Pharaoh's Egypt. What do they do, do they think outside the literalistic box and look for psychological or metaphorical explanations of these myths, no, not at all. What they do, rather, is look for ways that these mythological events could have literally taken place. They merely remove God from the equation, and then proceed to try to posit sciencey-sounding theories on how the water of the Nile might have appeared to turn to blood, etc.

This is just one relatively stark example of the fundamentalist literalism of the scientific-materialistic mentality. What it points up is that scientists seem to lack a sense of depth, of metaphor, of mystery. They may pride themselves on such a depth deficit, they may think that it's actually an intellectual virtue; that dealing in outward, literal facts, in a straightforward way is just a matter of being "objective", and that the objective approach is the best. But it's certainly arguable and sometimes undeniable that the "objective approach" doesn't always yield up the best, most valuable, or truest insights. For example, does scientifically speculating about how the parting of the reed sea might have been a historical happening really add any veracity and profundity to our understanding of that particular plot twist in Exodus?

Now then, this same naively matter-of-fact tendency of mind can and does prejudice scientists and materialistic thinkers against intangible concepts such as ethics and values, against the whole poetico-mystical concept of the "meaning of life", and against any form of spirituality and transcendentalism. All of the above is marginalized and mocked by the stridently "realistic", supposedly sound-thinking devotee of the I-only-believe-what-I-can-physically-see-and-touch philosophy. This is because, for materialists, hewing to their prejudice and marginalizing and mocking whatever contradicts it is the only way to remain intellectually safe & snug in a worldview that they prefer for decidedly psychological reasons.

Say what? Well, if scientists were true to their zetetic creed, if they were engaged in an honest quest for truth, they'd have to admit and would muster the intellectual integrity to come to terms with the fact that Shakespeare's words, "there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy", very much apply to them. That materialism doesn't provide anything even approaching a complete view of reality, and that some tenets of the materialist philosophy simply don't hold up to severe scientific scrutiny, is a hard pill to swallow for dyed-in-the-wool materialists, and so they selectively cling to data and interpretations of data that don't rock their ideological boat. This is the only way they can ensure continued smooth sailing for their materialism. Well, another ploy is that they also reinterpret the concept of matter, but the point is that to keep playing their own literalistic game all they have to do is keep adjusting the rules.

But what are the psychological reasons for being a materialist? There are different ones of course. For instance, taking an all-subjective-and-spiritual-nonsense-be-damned materialistic position can make one feel quite tough-minded, quite possessed of a superiorly strong mental makeup that doesn't need crutches such as religion, or white canes such as morality. The pleasurably conceited feeling enjoyed by the ole ego can certainly sway people toward such a skeptically secular "scientific" stance, which is the essence of most people's materialism. Also, there's the cynicism that many today harbor toward religion and it's preachy proponents, which pushes them away from transcendentalism and in the direction of materialism, whether they identify with that technical label or not.

The conclusion is located directly below
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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6/1/2011 7:47:51 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Conclusion

But, once again, when people with open minds examine materialism's premises and ideological gestalt in good faith, they run into and have to acknowledge quite a few glitches in it. For example, there's the telling inability of materialistic scientists, thus far, to work out a satisfactory materialistic explanation of consciousness and solution for the mind-body problem. Then there's the over-simplicity of the materialistic understanding of causality. Materialistic thought is just way too crudely reductionistic, latching onto any grossly physical mechanism that mediates a phenomenon and pronouncing it to be an ultimate cause! Which leads us to Whitehead's criticism of materialism, that materialism commits the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. This fundamental fallacy of materialistic science again equals a kind of reductionism in which one boils intangible ideas and realities down to the properties of physical particles and things.

This is just a small sampling of the basic foibles and flaws of modern scientistic materialism. I didn't even mention the difficulties presented by quantum physics, which materialists facilely dispose of by simply redefining matter and what it means to be a materialist. Nor did I really go into Thomas Kuhn's analysis of how science is merely a self-confirming, rigidly structured worldview or "paradigm", and how intellectuals are trained to confine their scientific sleuthing and logic within its ideological parameters. Of course in our time this means confining one's cogitations and concepts within a very substantialist and materialistic outlook. Rather than being a solid and strong ontology then, materialism is a quite defective one that survives mostly because it's sheltered by today's prevailing paradigm, sheltered from genuine, deep, and free-ranging criticism, that is.

The upshot of all of this is that when modern rationalistic people think about the nature of reality, their linear logic proceeds from materialistic presuppositions and presumptions that are actually quite weak, but that don't appear that way because they've intellectually grown up within an insulated materialistic thought world. Sure, the views they arrive at feel convincingly like common sense, and the literalistically straightforward reasoning they engage in to reach their views is technically valid – but not sound, because their foundational beliefs are a highly faulty and largely fraudulent orthodoxy. Yes Virginia, although there's no Santa Claus or Old Testament Jehovah, materialism is all wet, there is a wee bit more to existence than mere matter in motion, than Big Bangs and tiny hard particles; the ultimate truth of everything is a transcendental mystery that makes the hypotheses of materialists look like babyish intellectual foolery.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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6/1/2011 7:59:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
By the way, I was not trying to be polemical, just blunt. I apologize if I've offended anyone here.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Merda
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6/1/2011 8:05:40 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 7:59:57 PM, charleslb wrote:
By the way, I was not trying to be polemical, just blunt. I apologize if I've offended anyone here.

I'm a materialist and a nihilist in some sense and I'm still not going to read that monster of a post. So I doubt too many others will read it.
My manwich!
headphonegut
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6/1/2011 8:12:21 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I thought conclusions were supposed to be short
crying to soldiers coming home to their dogs why do I torment myself with these videos?
TheSkeptic
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6/1/2011 9:44:49 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I see why people have so much beef against charleslb - he is painstakingly superfluous. You aren't writing an introduction to a chapter in a philosophy text Charles, nor are your conjectures about possible psychological explanations of materialists motivation and bias relevant or worth reading.

But I'm not entirely annoyed by charles, as I do agree with the sense that many are too fond of a hard, reductionist metaphysical approach - it reeks of scientism, which is unfortunate given the plethora of cogent arguments concerning science (you mention Kuhn, a notable figure to at least be accustomed to in the philosophy of science).

The most disappointing part of your rant is that you barely provide any discussion - go deeper into the supposed problems with physicalist accounts of consciousness. or the the accounts of casuation. I'd be easily willing to defend a physicalist account of either one.
Justin_Chains
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6/1/2011 10:14:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
This is a great forum and I agree with Charles.

I ask this to materialists... Tell me how consciousness springs from life unguided?

Humans may even one day in the future learn how to create consciousness from matter, but this will prove nothing except that it still takes consciousness to create consciousness.

So again, show me how consciousness can come into existence all on it's own. Then maybe, just maybe, you will have a little solid ground to walk on. Until then, you walk ungrounded and your belief system falls just as short as many others.
Merda
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6/1/2011 10:56:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 10:14:27 PM, Justin_Chains wrote:
This is a great forum and I agree with Charles.

I ask this to materialists... Tell me how consciousness springs from life unguided?

Humans may even one day in the future learn how to create consciousness from matter, but this will prove nothing except that it still takes consciousness to create consciousness.

So again, show me how consciousness can come into existence all on it's own. Then maybe, just maybe, you will have a little solid ground to walk on. Until then, you walk ungrounded and your belief system falls just as short as many others.

So our belief is ungrounded because you don't understand it?
My manwich!
Justin_Chains
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6/1/2011 11:26:22 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
No, you misunderstand. I understand materialist beliefs without problem. My point is that your belief system is just as ungrounded as any other belief system.

A belief system is just that, a BELIEF system. If it were fact then it wouldn't be a belief.

Calm down... Don't get your feathers all ruffled. Believe what you want.

To each his own.
Cliff.Stamp
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6/1/2011 11:41:51 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 10:56:27 PM, Merda wrote:

So our belief is ungrounded because you don't understand it?

Tim, consciousness can not come from unconsciousness, this is obvious from the definition of unconsciousness.
Cliff.Stamp
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6/1/2011 11:43:22 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 10:14:27 PM, Justin_Chains wrote:

Tell me how consciousness springs from life unguided?

There are actual research papers on this exact subject in the literature, have you even done a basic literature survey before you formed your conclusion?
Merda
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6/1/2011 11:46:46 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 11:41:51 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 6/1/2011 10:56:27 PM, Merda wrote:

So our belief is ungrounded because you don't understand it?

Tim, consciousness can not come from unconsciousness, this is obvious from the definition of unconsciousness.

Who is it that said that and argued with everyone over the forums? I remember something about it a month ago or so.
My manwich!
Cliff.Stamp
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6/1/2011 11:47:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 7:47:51 PM, charleslb wrote:

I didn't even mention the difficulties presented by quantum physics

Which are what exactly?
Cody_Franklin
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6/2/2011 2:21:44 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 7:45:45 PM, charleslb wrote:
The Empirical and Logical Soundness of Materialism is Not All It's Cracked Up to Be!

Materialists (and that subset of materialists, nihilists) of course are known for priding themselves on the levelheaded groundedness of their anti-metaphysical metaphysics. The vaunted realism, empiricism, and logicality of the physicalist doctrine that reality consists only in materiality, in tangible stuff, in solid substances, is considered by staunch adherents of modern scientism, i.e. the modern materialistic worldview, to be beyond any reasonable doubt whatsoever. Indeed, it's hardly questioned at all by many modern minds.

I'll be the first to say that, with regard to philosophy, my "expertise", if you will, is primarily in the realm of ethics and politics. I don't really get into metaphysics much. At the same time, I don't know if nihilists are always necessary classified as materialists. To the extent that some truths are purely a priori, like logic, mathematics, and causality, I'm uncertain as to the degree to which a pure materialist can function. It's possible that you could classify these a priori truths, especially causality, as categories of existence, and therefore within the plane of the physical, but that's an argument in itself. Within the realm of the physical, however, science is consistently successful in increasing our knowledge base.

However, this lack of critical questioning of materialism doesn't mean that the truth of materialism in incontestable, only that it's not really evenhandedly contested by its believers in the same no-holds-barred procedure that they employ to challenge and critique ideas they disagree with.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

When intellectuals who are not ideologically locked into matter-only-ism do apply the same critical philosophical methods to evaluating materialism, well, they find that it isn't really that difficult to show that materialists ironically don't stand on the solid ground they claim. Rather than being the point of view supported by hard data and logic, materialism, it turns out, is actually just another biased belief system!

First, that's because you can never really get rid of epistemic uncertainty. Any intellectually honest scientist will tell you that science doesn't promise absolute guarantees with anything it delivers, no matter the amount of evidence and experimental validation and such.

Second, it's only "biased" insofar as it interprets things in a particular way. You can't use empiricist methods to test the legitimacy of empiricism, and there are a couple of reasons for that. One, you have to presuppose that empiricism is true in order to use it to test itself, which renders the whole argument pointless. Two, you can't measure the legitimacy of empiricism or materialism based on data alone, because data is meaningless unless you have a coherent theory by which to interpret the data. It's like asking someone to prove logic with logic. You obviously can't do it because you have to assume logic to deal with any part of the world. Logic is a way for our brain to organize and make sense of external phenomena and propositions--it's an inherent means of understanding that you can't escape without ceasing to function.

It's just that our modern scientific "paradigm" has ingrained this particular biased belief system in itself, and given it its prestigious stamp of approval, therefore it enjoys a popular legitimacy that leads many educated people into its embrace. Nonetheless, materialism should not be equated with common sense, for that nebulous noetic gift of intuitive common sense that rationalists dismiss tells us otherwise, it tells us that reality is a bigger and more transcendental picture than its shallow surface of molecules & matter, flesh & blood.

http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org...

The problem is that you're asking us to accept "common sense" as if it's some consistent, inherent mode of understanding that all of us have. The problem is not only that it's inconsistent, both among agents and within a particular agent, but also that we have some kind of inherent knowledge programmed into us prior to birth just waiting to be accessed, which is insanely difficult to even begin to prove. The challenge I made to this claim before, which went unanswered, is that this "common sense", i.e. intuition, that you're appealing to, is actually more likely to be internalized attitudes and ways of thinking left over from our early years before we really started molding ourselves (and being molded) into autonomous individuals.


Rather than being the intellectually intrepid investigative reporters of reality's underlying nature, materialists are mere superficialists, stopping their investigations and probings of reality at its most external and obvious level. Scientific materialists come to the first layer of the world, the material layer that we all encounter on a daily basis, and what do they do, they focus on it in a totally exclusive fashion, they rest content with focusing all their research and reasoning on exploring matter.

Okay, perhaps I should not say "rest content", to their credit practicing scientists do go deeper than the mere appearance of solid matter, they do discover the atomic and subatomic particles that make up physical objects. But their search for reality is entirely substance-oriented, they're only ever really looking for a preconceived materialistic holy grail, the ultimately small material particle or "string", or what have you. That is, they're always operating within their own physicalist bias, always taking a path dictated by it, formulating interpretations skewed by it. Hence, voilà, their views are never refuted, and seem to be thoroughly confirmed. But they are still derived from a reading of reality that's quite superficial.

Regarding your thesis, the primary issue is that, even if we accept your argument, there's no reason to accept your claim about a "deeper level of reality" other than because you say so. It boils down to large ipse dixit, and I don't think any intellectually-inclined individual is just going to take you at your word, especially given the criticisms of epistemic intuitionism and metaphysical transcendentalism.
Cody_Franklin
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6/2/2011 2:21:47 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 7:45:45 PM, charleslb wrote:
A quite literal reading, you might say. Yes, the scientific mind-set is actually, and perhaps surprisingly, quite literalistic! Its empiricism really amounts to little more than a glorified mundaneness, to a rather prosaic perception and interpretation of reality. The scientific materialist in fact takes the world in as verbatim, so to speak, a manner as a fundamentalist takes his Bible.

And? That's not an argument against materialism. It's a fallacious appeal to consequences that says "if you accept materialism, the world becomes mundane and boringly literalistic; therefore, you should reject materialism". It's basically an argument to suggest that we should choose our epistemology based on what maximizes our sense of awe and childlike wonder about the universe, which I think is a really poor claim (despite the fact that, even accepting your argument, science actually provides a LOT of wonder about this crazy awesome universe of ours).

The family resemblance of the literalistic thought patterns of scientists and fundamentalists is especially obvious when atheistic scientists apply themselves to explaining the stories of the Old Testament, such as the plagues of Pharaoh's Egypt. What do they do, do they think outside the literalistic box and look for psychological or metaphorical explanations of these myths, no, not at all. What they do, rather, is look for ways that these mythological events could have literally taken place. They merely remove God from the equation, and then proceed to try to posit sciencey-sounding theories on how the water of the Nile might have appeared to turn to blood, etc.

I don't think the biblical parallel helps your argument any. Honestly, there are a lot of good arguments against weird metaphorical takes on the Bible. Informally, I'd just say that the whole "B-but this a metaphor" business is just deus ex machina theism that gives apologists the leeway to explain away the really bizarre stuff in the Bible, but it also gives them the liberty to do so selectively, so that they only have to provide a coherent-sounding narrative in cases where people aren't buying scripture as it's written.

This is just one relatively stark example of the fundamentalist literalism of the scientific-materialistic mentality. What it points up is that scientists seem to lack a sense of depth, of metaphor, of mystery. They may pride themselves on such a depth deficit, they may think that it's actually an intellectual virtue; that dealing in outward, literal facts, in a straightforward way is just a matter of being "objective", and that the objective approach is the best. But it's certainly arguable and sometimes undeniable that the "objective approach" doesn't always yield up the best, most valuable, or truest insights. For example, does scientifically speculating about how the parting of the reed sea might have been a historical happening really add any veracity and profundity to our understanding of that particular plot twist in Exodus?

That depends. If you're examining the Bible as an alleged historical text, then yes. Yes it does. If you're doing away with God and looking at the Bible as a series of stories and fairy tales, probably not. Thankfully, the truth of a metaphysical theory isn't based on how profound, wondrous, or metaphorically rich it is.

Now then, this same naively matter-of-fact tendency of mind can and does prejudice scientists and materialistic thinkers against intangible concepts such as ethics and values,

No it doesn't. An increasing number of scientists are looking at establishing a "science of morality".

against the whole poetico-mystical concept of the "meaning of life"

Life doesn't have any inherent meaning.

and against any form of spirituality and transcendentalism.

I would argue that "prejudice" against spiritualism/transcendentalism is probably established for good reason: it relies on people just telling you to believe stuff, assuring you that it's true in the absence of any evidence or good argument, and often in spite of evidence and arguments to the contrary. That's what your metaphysics and epistemology basically boil down you: you assert that there simply are inherent values, teleological purpose, creativeness, etc. in the nature of the universe without any proof whatsoever. Consequently, you have to rely on intuitionist epistemology to support your thesis by requesting that we basically have faith that what you're telling us is true, even if biased science suggests that nothing is further from the truth, and even if our hallowed intuition is inconsistent and unreliable.

All of the above is marginalized and mocked by the stridently "realistic", supposedly sound-thinking devotee of the I-only-believe-what-I-can-physically-see-and-touch philosophy. This is because, for materialists, hewing to their prejudice and marginalizing and mocking whatever contradicts it is the only way to remain intellectually safe & snug in a worldview that they prefer for decidedly psychological reasons.

Say what? Well, if scientists were true to their zetetic creed, if they were engaged in an honest quest for truth, they'd have to admit and would muster the intellectual integrity to come to terms with the fact that Shakespeare's words, "there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy", very much apply to them. That materialism doesn't provide anything even approaching a complete view of reality, and that some tenets of the materialist philosophy simply don't hold up to severe scientific scrutiny, is a hard pill to swallow for dyed-in-the-wool materialists, and so they selectively cling to data and interpretations of data that don't rock their ideological boat. This is the only way they can ensure continued smooth sailing for their materialism. Well, another ploy is that they also reinterpret the concept of matter, but the point is that to keep playing their own literalistic game all they have to do is keep adjusting the rules.

So, you criticize them for being to stubborn to accept that they're wrong, but then criticize them again when they admit that they're wrong and "adjust the rules" by reformulating parts of their theory?

But what are the psychological reasons for being a materialist? There are different ones of course. For instance, taking an all-subjective-and-spiritual-nonsense-be-damned materialistic position can make one feel quite tough-minded, quite possessed of a superiorly strong mental makeup that doesn't need crutches such as religion, or white canes such as morality. The pleasurably conceited feeling enjoyed by the ole ego can certainly sway people toward such a skeptically secular "scientific" stance, which is the essence of most people's materialism. Also, there's the cynicism that many today harbor toward religion and it's preachy proponents, which pushes them away from transcendentalism and in the direction of materialism, whether they identify with that technical label or not.

The conclusion is located directly below

Even if I grant the fallacious appeal to motive, it doesn't disprove arguments against spiritualism et al. What you're doing is equivalent to Marxists who practice polylogism, arguing that they don't have to engage arguments predicated upon "bourgeois" logic.
tvellalott
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6/2/2011 2:29:11 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 11:41:51 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 6/1/2011 10:56:27 PM, Merda wrote:

So our belief is ungrounded because you don't understand it?

Tim, consciousness can not come from unconsciousness, this is obvious from the definition of unconsciousness.

I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE!
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tvellalott
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6/2/2011 2:29:51 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 11:46:46 PM, Merda wrote:
At 6/1/2011 11:41:51 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 6/1/2011 10:56:27 PM, Merda wrote:

So our belief is ungrounded because you don't understand it?

Tim, consciousness can not come from unconsciousness, this is obvious from the definition of unconsciousness.

Who is it that said that and argued with everyone over the forums? I remember something about it a month ago or so.

RESPONSE: I'll give you a clue.
"Caitlyn Jenner is an incredibly brave and stunningly beautiful woman."

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Cody_Franklin
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6/2/2011 2:35:59 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 7:47:51 PM, charleslb wrote:
Conclusion

But, once again, when people with open minds examine materialism's premises and ideological gestalt in good faith, they run into and have to acknowledge quite a few glitches in it. For example, there's the telling inability of materialistic scientists, thus far, to work out a satisfactory materialistic explanation of consciousness and solution for the mind-body problem.

Not true. You might try reading I am a Strange Loop by Hofstaedter.

Then there's the over-simplicity of the materialistic understanding of causality. Materialistic thought is just way too crudely reductionistic, latching onto any grossly physical mechanism that mediates a phenomenon and pronouncing it to be an ultimate cause!

No it doesn't. Obviously they have to watch out for the post hoc fallacy, in addition to the difficulty of abduction (used in the sense of trying to infer causes from given effects, rather than of the alien variety).

Which leads us to Whitehead's criticism of materialism, that materialism commits the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. This fundamental fallacy of materialistic science again equals a kind of reductionism in which one boils intangible ideas and realities down to the properties of physical particles and things.

Like what?

This is just a small sampling of the basic foibles and flaws of modern scientistic materialism. I didn't even mention the difficulties presented by quantum physics, which materialists facilely dispose of by simply redefining matter and what it means to be a materialist.

Materialists get to define materialism, so that isn't a criticism.

Nor did I really go into Thomas Kuhn's analysis of how science is merely a self-confirming, rigidly structured worldview or "paradigm", and how intellectuals are trained to confine their scientific sleuthing and logic within its ideological parameters. Of course in our time this means confining one's cogitations and concepts within a very substantialist and materialistic outlook. Rather than being a solid and strong ontology then, materialism is a quite defective one that survives mostly because it's sheltered by today's prevailing paradigm, sheltered from genuine, deep, and free-ranging criticism, that is.

A solid and strong ontology as opposed to what? I've already delivered fine criticisms of transcendentalism and intuitionism--on multiple occasions, in multiple threads--and I have not yet encountered a compelling argument for accepting your metaphysics or your epistemology (though, given that they go hand in hand, rejecting one provides a good starting place for rejecting the other).

The upshot of all of this is that when modern rationalistic people think about the nature of reality, their linear logic proceeds from materialistic presuppositions and presumptions that are actually quite weak, but that don't appear that way because they've intellectually grown up within an insulated materialistic thought world.

Not really. Almost categorically, scientific materialism works very, very well from a pragmatic standpoint. It achieves useful, consistent, repeatable results, and is very well-supported compared to a transcendental metaphysics and intuitionistic epistemology, both of which basically require blind and unquestioning trust (in this case, trust in your assertion that what you're saying is true) in whatever proposition is put in front of them. Perhaps we'll eventually realize that materialism has absolutely unresolvable problems, but, if I had to take my choice between intuitionistic transcendentalism and rigorous scientific materialism, I think know which one more accurately explains the nature of our universe.

Sure, the views they arrive at feel convincingly like common sense, and the literalistically straightforward reasoning they engage in to reach their views is technically valid – but not sound, because their foundational beliefs are a highly faulty and largely fraudulent orthodoxy. Yes Virginia, although there's no Santa Claus or Old Testament Jehovah, materialism is all wet, there is a wee bit more to existence than mere matter in motion, than Big Bangs and tiny hard particles; the ultimate truth of everything is a transcendental mystery that makes the hypotheses of materialists look like babyish intellectual foolery.

Honestly, I don't think that you can criticize scientific materialism and embrace mystical transcendentalism while also claiming that there isn't a God: you wouldn't have any room to stand on.
Cliff.Stamp
Posts: 2,169
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6/2/2011 11:50:49 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/2/2011 2:37:35 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
This is sort of a sidebar, and I hope this isn't taken the wrong way, but this is kind of how I see your metaphysics and epistemology:

I never would have guessed you were a Juggalo.
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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6/2/2011 12:25:54 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 11:41:51 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 6/1/2011 10:56:27 PM, Merda wrote:

So our belief is ungrounded because you don't understand it?

Tim, consciousness can not come from unconsciousness, this is obvious from the definition of unconsciousness.

Please don't tell me you're pulling a Fatihah.

*facepalm*
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Merda
Posts: 322
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6/2/2011 12:27:55 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/2/2011 12:25:54 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 6/1/2011 11:41:51 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 6/1/2011 10:56:27 PM, Merda wrote:

So our belief is ungrounded because you don't understand it?

Tim, consciousness can not come from unconsciousness, this is obvious from the definition of unconsciousness.

Please don't tell me you're pulling a Fatihah.

*facepalm*

Fatihah! That's who it was!
My manwich!
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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6/2/2011 1:59:44 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
In my original post I look at the "family resemblance" of the literalism of science and religion, but I remissly forgot to point out that, irony of ironies, in a totally counterclockwise turn of things, it's actually science's preoccupation with the letter, the letter of nature's laws, to the utter neglect of beneath-the-surface spiritual meanings, that has infected modern religion and made so many churchgoing folks so gosh darn fixated on the letter of scripture, so gosh darn literal-minded! Mm-hmm, science and its way of thinking is the dominant, normative ethos in the air of our culture today, and the influence that breeds literalism has flowed from science down to religion, not the other way around.

Yep, it's not so much the Bible-thumpers and TV preachers as the scientific-materialistic flatlanders at whose doorstep we should lay the contemptible blame for creating the literal mind-set of modernity. And it's definitely from this intellectual trend of modernity, not from the Middle Ages, that the fundamentalist's annoying belief in a non-dynamic, static interpretation of holy writ, and in Biblical inerrancy stems. Quite paradoxically then, we can thank the matter-of-factual atheists of science for the closed-mindedness of strict-constructionist evangelicalism.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Justin_Chains
Posts: 623
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6/2/2011 2:05:00 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 11:43:22 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 6/1/2011 10:14:27 PM, Justin_Chains wrote:

Tell me how consciousness springs from life unguided?

There are actual research papers on this exact subject in the literature, have you even done a basic literature survey before you formed your conclusion?

Cliff, once they prove that consciousness springs from matter....Let me know (although I don't see how that would be even slightly possible). Until then, defend your stance on your own with your own logic and intelligence, instead of talking of some article in your defense that you do not even attempt to quote from. If you want to post me a specific link, then do so and I will read it.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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6/2/2011 2:32:52 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 9:44:49 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
I see why people have so much beef against charleslb - he is painstakingly superfluous. You aren't writing an introduction to a chapter in a philosophy text Charles, nor are your conjectures about possible psychological explanations of materialists motivation and bias relevant or worth reading.

But I'm not entirely annoyed by charles, as I do agree with the sense that many are too fond of a hard, reductionist metaphysical approach - it reeks of scientism, which is unfortunate given the plethora of cogent arguments concerning science (you mention Kuhn, a notable figure to at least be accustomed to in the philosophy of science).

The most disappointing part of your rant is that you barely provide any discussion - go deeper into the supposed problems with physicalist accounts of consciousness. or the the accounts of casuation. I'd be easily willing to defend a physicalist account of either one.

Thank you for intelligently applying the skepticism you apparently pride yourself on ("apparently" because your screen name is "TheSkeptic") to science itself. I fear that many modern skeptics are simply too enamored of science to honestly look at its foibles.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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6/2/2011 2:35:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/1/2011 10:14:27 PM, Justin_Chains wrote:
This is a great forum and I agree with Charles.

I ask this to materialists... Tell me how consciousness springs from life unguided?

Humans may even one day in the future learn how to create consciousness from matter, but this will prove nothing except that it still takes consciousness to create consciousness.

So again, show me how consciousness can come into existence all on it's own. Then maybe, just maybe, you will have a little solid ground to walk on. Until then, you walk ungrounded and your belief system falls just as short as many others.

You ask a good pointed question, one that materialists use their intelligence to wiggle away from and dismiss, as they have no real answer.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.