Mod+ 249. TIM FREKE ON SOUL CRUSHING SCIENCE

S

Sciborg_S_Patel

Thanks, I figured it out. I guess it's not entirely related, but I thought you had posted an excerpt from MavPhil's piece on Eben Alexander.
MavPhil is assuming that moral transformation might make a difference in the afterlife. It might make for a nicer life review, but it's not clear how much of a reward for moral living (whatever that exactly means) beyond that we could assume from the information available.

Assuming there is an afterlife, it seems like there's still a lot of mystery in what we can hope to expect beyond the Veil?
 
MavPhil is assuming that moral transformation might make a difference in the afterlife. It might make for a nicer life review, but it's not clear how much of a reward for moral living (whatever that exactly means) beyond that we could assume from the information available.

Assuming there is an afterlife, it seems like there's still a lot of mystery in what we can hope to expect beyond the Veil?
I wouldn't assume you're not already beyond the veil.
 
FDRS, I can't get that article to work from here in China, but I've got a few things to say about that quotation from the interview.

How does it follow from the fact that only matter exists that we should try to accumulate as many material things as possible in our lives? He then says it also follows from materialism that life is meaningless, selfishness is the way to go and environmental destruction is a good idea. This is all typical of people with an anti-materialist prejudice. I could just as easily say that everything is made of matter and therefore we should all play football, do flower arranging, kill ourselves, help the poor or explore outer space. There's just no connection here. Nothing follows about lifestyle, ethics or politics from the idea that everything is made of matter.
 
I actually want to get back to Sharon's point again, because it's really bothering me. She's saying that materialism doesn't actually explain the existence of unobserved objects or the coordination of our sensations, because we still need to know how the material world is being coordinated and maintained. Materialism just pushes the problem back rather than giving a real explanation. This is a really interesting point. Does anybody have any thoughts about it?
 
FDRS, I can't get that article to work from here in China, but I've got a few things to say about that quotation from the interview.

How does it follow from the fact that only matter exists that we should try to accumulate as many material things as possible in our lives? He then says it also follows from materialism that life is meaningless, selfishness is the way to go and environmental destruction is a good idea. This is all typical of people with an anti-materialist prejudice. I could just as easily say that everything is made of matter and therefore we should all play football, do flower arranging, kill ourselves, help the poor or explore outer space. There's just no connection here. Nothing follows about lifestyle, ethics or politics from the idea that everything is made of matter.
If the idea that everything is made of matter was the only tenet of materialism, you'd be correct. But you're building up a straw man with your redefinition of materialism.

Now, you don't believe that an individual's beliefs in general affect thinking and behavior? You don't think an individual's beliefs about the most fundamental aspects of reality, and hence life itself, affects that individual?

I don't think you really know what you're saying.
 
If the idea that everything is made of matter was the only tenet of materialism, you'd be correct. But you're building up a straw man with your redefinition of materialism.

Now, you don't believe that an individual's beliefs in general affect thinking and behavior? You don't think an individual's beliefs about the most fundamental aspects of reality, and hence life itself, affects that individual?

I don't think you really know what you're saying.
OK, well let's imagine your typical philosophical materialist. He (it usually is a he) thinks that everything is made of matter, including his friends, his feelings of love, and his consumer goodies and gadgets. Now, if this materialist is an intelligent and thoughtful person, he will value and like his friends and feelings of love more than his consumer goodies. Indeed, he will be aware of all the studies showing that accumulating consumer junk doesn't make you happy and that family, friendship and community are the key things. In other words, for him, some material things are much more valuable than others. So it in no way follows from his philosophical materialism that collecting consumer goodies is the way to go or that environmental destruction is to be pursued.

As for the idea that this version of materialism is too narrow, I guess you'll want to add in elements like no free will, no meaning, no value, no purpose, psychological egoism and so on. If you do that, then yeah I can agree with you that materialism is a bad thing, but that's hardly surprising, since you've just built all of that into the very definition of materialism!

And yeah, of course I agree that ideas sometimes matter and can influence people's behaviour. Examples of this would be the idea that animals are mindless machines and we're not, that we have souls and black slaves don't, or that there's eternal punishment waiting for you if don't believe X. The question is, do metaphysical theories like materialism, idealism and panpsychism have a big influence on people's behaviour. I suspect not. But almost everybody here disagrees with me.

The difference between me and most people here is that they think ALL ideas matter a great deal whereas I think only SOME do. Indeed, I would also argue this is one of the main differences between New Age/paranormal thought and professional philosophy. Professional philosophers (even religious ones like Plantinga and Van Inwagen) realize that some issues in philosophy are of merely 'intellectual' interest.
 
MavPhil is assuming that moral transformation might make a difference in the afterlife. It might make for a nicer life review, but it's not clear how much of a reward for moral living (whatever that exactly means) beyond that we could assume from the information available.

Assuming there is an afterlife, it seems like there's still a lot of mystery in what we can hope to expect beyond the Veil?
Any idea of a "reward and punishment" based afterlife seems to me a huge step back towards the primitive concept of a vengeful God. There are several problems with heading in that direction. One is that oversimplification can lead to the following of a set of fixed rules, rather than simply living. Another is that one may act in some particular way, not because it is truly an appropriate response to a current situation, but because of some expectation of a future reward.

An alternative way to consider how we should live is to ignore any expectation that an afterlife will be separate from the current life. Regard it as a simple continuity. Similarly, the idea that each of us are isolated, separate individuals can be replaced with an idea of interconnectedness, that we are all aspects of a larger whole, much as our fingers while apparently separate, are part of a larger body.

Thus the focus remains on what we can do, right here and now, today, to make a positive contribution to the whole, simply because anything we do will ripple outwards and affect both others and ourselves. This places very much more emphasis on being part of things, and in effect already being part of the afterlife too, rather than drawing lines and boundaries which separate and divide.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

If the idea that everything is made of matter was the only tenet of materialism, you'd be correct. But you're building up a straw man with your redefinition of materialism.

Now, you don't believe that an individual's beliefs in general affect thinking and behavior? You don't think an individual's beliefs about the most fundamental aspects of reality, and hence life itself, affects that individual?
I think of materialism as one might a virulent disease like rabies. Some people might simply be carriers, and continue to live as if morality and free will were real under their paradigm. Others will begin the descent into moral degeneracy, as indicated by various studies.

We might also look at the excuse of biological determinism offered by some when instances of culturally approved sexual assaults come to light. Of course the idea that rape - or anything else for that matter - is evil is a cultural conception under materialism. There is no "ought" in matter after all, nothing proscriptive to be found in scientific descriptions.

Thus materialist evangelism is a gamble that, in perpetuity, believers in its paradigm will continue to act in accordance with secular humanist principles despite accepting that there are no moral truths and no way to "do otherwise" in any situation. At best, the caveat to this is the preservation of moral action via laws, though it seems to me said laws would have be increasingly draconian to have an effect in the long run.

The only reason I can think of that would justify the gamble of materialist evangelism is the belief that secular humanism is somehow the default wiring that immaterialism obfuscates/overrides. Yet even Harris has to turn to moral realism - Nagel's "obvious good" - when he argues for a science based morality.

Humanism + Materialism seems like dubious marriage to me. Humanism, after all, has its own faith based tenets (see intrinsic rights) that are unobservable in a materialist paradigm. Science - when identified solely with the materialist paradigm - seems as troubling for secular humanism as it does for any other political group, for reasons given by an aforementioned Benjamin Cain post:

Just as philosophical speculations can appear juvenile next to an ironclad scientific theory, so too a painting, a song, or an intimate relationship seems preposterous in light of the mechanistic facts of nature. But postmodern scientists are typically neoliberals and so they play the game of the double standard. Secretly, they may worry about the apocalyptic implications of naturalism; perhaps they even soothe themselves by blaming hapless philosophy for cultural nihilism and hyper-irony, as if philosophers weren’t just channeling the upshot of scientific naturalism. But scientists aren’t saints, so they tend not to embrace the posthuman, which is to say antihuman, perspective from which phenomena are stripped of all meaning and purpose except for the horror made plain to anyone with aesthetic detachment. Scientists cling to their neoliberal humanistic values and sacred ideas in spite of the antihuman implications of naturalism. Moreover, they need to preserve the infantilizing culture of the uninformed masses, so the peons can continue to support the scientific enterprise, the latter being self-destructively all-important to the scientists’ higher culture.
 
OK, well let's imagine your typical philosophical materialist. He (it usually is a he) thinks that everything is made of matter, including his friends, his feelings of love, and his consumer goodies and gadgets. Now, if this materialist is an intelligent and thoughtful person, he will value and like his friends and feelings of love more than his consumer goodies. Indeed, he will be aware of all the studies showing that accumulating consumer junk doesn't make you happy and that family, friendship and community are the key things. In other words, for him, some material things are much more valuable than others. So it in no way follows from his philosophical materialism that collecting consumer goodies is the way to go or that environmental destruction is to be pursued.

As for the idea that this version of materialism is too narrow, I guess you'll want to add in elements like no free will, no meaning, no value, no purpose, psychological egoism and so on. If you do that, then yeah I can agree with you that materialism is a bad thing, but that's hardly surprising, since you've just built all of that into the very definition of materialism!

And yeah, of course I agree that ideas sometimes matter and can influence people's behaviour. Examples of this would be the idea that animals are mindless machines and we're not, that we have souls and black slaves don't, or that there's eternal punishment waiting for you if don't believe X. The question is, do metaphysical theories like materialism, idealism and panpsychism have a big influence on people's behaviour. I suspect not. But almost everybody here disagrees with me.

The difference between me and most people here is that they think ALL ideas matter a great deal whereas I think only SOME do. Indeed, I would also argue this is one of the main differences between New Age/paranormal thought and professional philosophy. Professional philosophers (even religious ones like Plantinga and Van Inwagen) realize that some issues in philosophy are of merely 'intellectual' interest.
Since you're into pro philosophy, have you read any Alex Rosenberg?

I don't think anybody is building those things you mention into materialism, but rather they are logical conclusions that can be drawn from materialism. Because some materialists live their lives as if materialism weren't true doesn't really do much for me as far as arguments go. People shouldn't have to deceive themselves in order to find solace in existence.

All I can do is refer you back to my original reply. I think it's still valid.

All this speculation is pretty worthless anyway. The reason I'm personally opposed to materialism is because it's not true. Pretty simple.
 
http://www.forbes.com/sites/billfre...ckrakers-question-the-big-science-status-quo/


Bad Science Muckrakers Question the Big Science Status Quo
...
Among the American public, trust in professional scientists and scientific journals is declining.
...
Oransky is raising awareness of the impact that competition for grants and career advancement is having on the quality of the science being produced. Far from being above the fray and immune to corrupting influences, “Scientists are just as human as anyone else,” says Oransky. And increasingly, “People are starting to see scientists the way they really are.”
...
Oransky cites a famous paper by Dr. John Iaonnidis, “Why most published research findings are false,” that shows the inherent biases and the flawed statistical analyses built into most “hypothesis driven” research, resulting in publications that largely represent “accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”
...
Stossel says his eyes were opened in 1987, when he was asked to serve on the scientific advisory board of Biogen (now Biogen IDEC), a fledgling biotech startup that went on to become a tremendous success. “I realized how fundamentally honest business people are compared to my academic colleagues, who’d run their grandmothers over for recognition.”
...
He notes that, “95 percent of the scientific papers retracted for falsification, fabrication, or plagiarism have no commercial connection.”
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

Thanks for that Jim.

Though if business people are more honest than scientists I suspect society is in more hot water than I originally thought....though in my own experience with clinical research it's not far from truth in at least a few cases.

I'm also wary of anyone claiming the problem is too much regulation. From what I've seen of doctors obtaining "informed" consent, there's a great need for increased improvement in how subjects of experiments are treated.
 
All this speculation is pretty worthless anyway. The reason I'm personally opposed to materialism is because it's not true. Pretty simple.
I'm sorry, but I find that very hard to believe. It this was a purely philosophical or intellectual desire for the truth then you'd be on some philosophy forum arguing about whether emergentist materialism or panpsychism is the more plausible theory of consciousness and the world. Instead, you seem to be worried that people who buy books by Harris or Rosenberg are going to stop believing in libertarian free will, the afterlife and objective moral values, and that this will result in society going to hell in a hand basket.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

This was posted on Kastrup's forum, seems like it might be a good (but long) read. Also seemed related to the thread topic:

What is science? : How Yoga Helps Us Understand Science

The intent of this essay is to explore how the Hindu experience of yoga can help us better understand Western science. My comments at the start of Part 7 capture the spirit of this work:

“While I am sometimes critical of the West, it must be recognized that what is going on here is the attempt to have the two world views shed light on each other. It may not be an equal illumination from both perspectives, but both contribute to illuminating a synthesis that transcends either.”

That’s the intent in a nutshell. As with my previous works, this one too is about building bridges; about unifying and synthesizing what otherwise seem to be disparate and unrelated world-views, in this case yoga and science.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

Thought you guys might appreciate this Mohrhoff comment, left at Radin's site:

"Usually they are not satisfied with evidence. They want extraordinary evidence for what they regard as extraordinary claims. I usually respond by pointing out just how extraordinary the claims of the materialist mainstream are. Certain regularities in our experience of the world are held (i) to describe all there really is and (ii) to account for the very experience from which the regularities are abstracted. How extraordinary that something can (i) exist by itself, out of relation to any consciousness or experience, and (ii) exist for someone! How can something that exists by itself be experienced? How can there be consciousness of what exists by itself? Even more extraordinary is the claim that what exists by itself is adequately described by mathematical symbols and equations. Isn’t mathematics a creation of the human mind? And is not this mind a creation of matter and evolution? How extraordinary, then, that matter should be governed by mathematical laws! And how extraordinary that mathematical laws describing certain regularities in our experience should be the very laws governing all that really exists! Where is the extraordinary evidence for all that?"
 
And how extraordinary that mathematical laws describing certain regularities in our experience should be the very laws governing all that really exists!
That objection applies to certain theories of idealism too. Math is a tool used by consciousness to create the physical, but math is not necessarily going to be useful in explaining consciousness itself.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

Science fictions: Is the scientific endeavour always a bold and noble quest for truth? Not when it is writing its own history

There’s no point getting too po-faced about the commandeering of Newton’s almost certainly apocryphal falling apple to represent science in the Paralympic opening ceremony. But what Newton’s definitive biographer Richard Westfall says about that story warns us how these populist fables can end up giving a distorted view of science. He says that it ‘vulgarises universal gravitation by treating it as a bright idea. A bright idea cannot shape a scientific tradition.’ Besides, how many of those munching apples at the ceremony could have explained why, if the moon is indeed just like an apple, the apple falls but the moon does not? Anecdote can anaesthetise thought rather than stimulate it.
Like Newton, Bacon’s role in this alleged rationalistic triumph of enlightenment (another occult image) is complicated and ambiguous in ways that don’t fit the popular modern story. Take the otherwise admirable article by Will Hutton in The Guardian last May on the ‘Take the Flour Back’ protests against field trials of genetically modified wheat in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. He portrayed the scientists at the Rothampsted Research centre as inheritors of Bacon’s ‘passionate advocacy of the scientific method — allowing nature to be harnessed for humankind’s betterment’. In ‘standing by the logic of where intellectual inquiry takes them’, despite harsh opposition, they were also like Galileo under house arrest.

Bacon did indeed propose what might be called a scientific method. It was so complex and convoluted that he never finished describing how it worked, it was never used by anyone, and James I was probably right to remark that, like the peace of God, it ‘passes understanding’. Besides, Bacon advocated science not as an intellectual adventure but as an engine for state power. His descriptions of modified organisms created by a secretive brotherhood of science are exactly the stuff of the eco-warriors’ nightmares. Bacon was important in the development of science; it is precisely that importance which is obscured by turning his views into some kind of timeless truth.
 
Okay, I am ready to be more understanding of Science, but not of scientists.

I just watched a video which made me realize the problem is not science, the problem is scientists....
Cross posting because science doesn't have to be soul crushing. Religion and science should not be at war. There are examples of where they work together. The intelligent design movement is one example.

I would say not, one reason - the Discovery Institute which funds a lot of research (by Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, Douglas Axe et al.) and education programs on intelligent design gets substantial funding from evangelical Christian foundations and individuals.

From an historical perspective, it is sadly, bafflingly, ironic that we have come to such a state where academic and scientific freedom have been turned on their heads to the extent that scientists who are critical of Darwinism have to go to religious organizations for funding.

However science and religion do not have to be opposed to each other, should not be opposed to each other, and it is unfortunate that the division ever came about. To the ancient Greeks there was no separation. Maybe it is a good thing that now at least in this area science and religion can work together.
Here is another example of religion and science complimenting each other. It is a fact sheet produced by the Magis Center of Reason and Faith outlining the evidence from the big bang and the fine tuning of the universe that the universe was created by a transcendent creator....

http://www.magiscenter.com/pdf/Magis_FactSheet.pdf
By Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., PhD.
The Magis Center of Reason and Faith is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to explaining the consistency between science and spirituality in contemporary physics. In the past ten years, implications of transcendence in physics, philosophy of mathematics, and metaphysics have become more pronounced. Indeed, no other decade in history has revealed more or better evidence for God. So what is this evidence?
...
As you will see from this fact sheet, if you put all this evidence together, it strongly leads to the conclusion that the universe was created by a trans-universal (supernatural) power. The evidence also indicates that this transuniversal power is highly intelligent. Fred Hoyle, one of the world’s most prominent astrophysists and an ardent atheist, completely changed his mind when he examined some of this evidence.
...
While this information is readily available to those who know where to look, very few people are aware of these breakthroughs in our ability to understand Creation scientifically. The Magis Center is working on a wide range of initiatives designed to deliver this information to the public, from documentaries to academic curricula and new media. This fact sheet provides a brief overview of the argument for a Creator combining physics and basic logic.
...


I'll also point out that parapsychologists can be guilty of crushing souls too.
http://deanradin.blogspot.com/2014/...howComment=1397862223769#c8247669098282307934
Dean Radin said...
...
the primary anomalies associated with NDEs are reports of veridical perceptions that could not have been known or inferred from the perspective of the patient.
...
the OBE aspects of NDEs do not necessarily imply an actual separation from the body, and hence NDEs can be interpreted as a particularly vivid form of clairvoyance in brains that are not operating normally
(Anyone who thinks clairvoyance is the primary anomaly of a phenomenon where a person with no electrical activity in the brain is conscious, doesn't fully understand the phenomenon.)


http://deanradin.blogspot.com/2014/...howComment=1397671552280#c7109696302339332504
But until we find evidence that memory is not brain-centric, and that it too can persist without a body, then the question about precisely *what* survives remains unresolved.
 
Last edited:

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
Sign post: Atheist-science crushing God: coming soon.

The Fine Tuned Universe is going to destroy all hope of a Godless universe.

Have a nice day!
 
Top