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Monday, August 25, 2014

Any port in a storm!

This post will be far too large to post as a comment in the commbox at Victor Reppert's blog (which is its context). Plus, it makes a good post in its own right. It grows out of the insistence of one 'Dan Gillson' that my "*you* are the proof that God is" argument begs the question, starting here
"GIVEN the reality of the natural/physical/material world, IF atheism were indeed the truth about the nature of reality, THEN everything which exists and/or transpires must be wholely reducible, without remainder, to purely physical/material states and causes."

... That is where you beg the question. You haven't sufficiently established that atheism entails materialism. You've assumed something that you have no right (logically speaking) to assume. As I've pointed out to you, atheism is compatible with other monisms, e.g., Strawsonian Panpsychism, or Jamesian Neutral Monism. One can deny God, but hold that what we call matter is both mental and physical (Panpsychism), or that what we call matter is neither mental or physical (Neutral Monism).
[Note: he has "pointed out that atheism is compatible with other monisms" ... and I have pointed out, multiple times, that this dodge just doesn't work; that these "other monisms" are either incoherent or are just smoke-and-mirrors attempt at disguising eliminative reductionist materialism.]

My response was:
Ilíon: "GIVEN the reality of the natural/physical/material world, IF atheism were indeed the truth about the nature of reality, THEN everything which exists and/or transpires must be wholely reducible, without remainder, to purely physical/material states and causes."

Dan Gillson: " ... That is where you beg the question. You haven't sufficiently established that atheism entails materialism. You've assumed something that you have no right (logically speaking) to assume."

As I said previously, "... you will never identify this alleged question-begging. ... you're asserting that I'm begging the question ... and the evidence that I'm begging the question is your assertion that I am begging the question."

Also, as I said previously, "Based on past experience, it seems that when an 'atheist' claims that a theistic arguement begs the question, all he means is that it successfully moves from premise to conclusion ... and that he hates the conclusion."

For anyone can see the that the argument summarized above does not beg the question of God-denial entailing materialism; rather, materialism is just a logical consequence of denying the reality (and personhood) of God while affirming the reality of the physical world.

"Eastern-style" atheism -- which *denies* the reality of the physical world -- does not entail "materialism". But it still denies that *we* are real, and it's still absurd.

It's the denial of the reality and personhood of God that makes (all) atheisms absurd, not the materialism that some of them entail.

Further, the discerning reader will notice that materialism is really irrelevent to the thrust of the argument. Rather, it is the mechanistic determinism inherent in denying that the necessary being/entity is aWho, rather than a what, that shows atheism -- all atheims -- to be absurd.

Dan Gillson: "As I've pointed out to you, atheism is compatible with other monisms, e.g., Strawsonian Panpsychism, or Jamesian Neutral Monism. One can deny God, but hold that what we call matter is both mental and physical (Panpsychism), or that what we call matter is neither mental or physical (Neutral Monism)."

How many times do you expect I am required to point out to you the utter failure of this attempt to escape the logical entailments of God-denial?

How can one coherently "hold that what we call matter is both mental and physical (Panpsychism)" when there is no such thing as "the mental" (or "Mind") if there are no actual minds? But if your hypothetical Panpsychism God-denier wishes to posit that there is an actual mind (or minds) who is/are fundamental to reality, then is he not affirming the reality of God while denying the reality of God?

How can one coherently "hold ... that what we call matter is neither mental or physical (Neutral Monism)" and yet escape the mechanistic determinism inherent in denying that the necessary being/entity is aWho, rather than a what? How can one coherently call oneself a "monist" unless one holds that 'matter' and 'mind' are the same thing? But, there is no such thing as 'mind' unless there is an actual mind, an actually existing who (or Who). But, definitionally, atheism denies there is a non-contingent Who; and we know that whos (ourselves) are contingent.

The fatal problem of atheism is not matter, it is not materialism. The fatal problem of atheism is the determinism -- the denial of agency and of agent freedom -- which inheres in denying the Creator-God. There can be no "mental" unless there is a mind; there can be no agent freedom unless there is an agent.

Mr Gillson made two posts as response --
Post #1 --
Ilion,

"For anyone can see the that the argument summarized above does not beg the question of God-denial entailing materialism; rather, materialism is just a logical consequence of denying the reality (and personhood) of God while affirming the reality of the physical world." ... It does beg the question because there is no further logical development of the point. Your argument takes materialism for granted. If you think otherwise, then copy/paste the portion of your argument in which you prove that materialism is a logical consequence of atheism.

"Further, the discerning reader will notice that materialism is really irrelevent to the thrust of the argument. Rather, it is the mechanistic determinism inherent in denying that the necessary being/entity is aWho, rather than a what, that shows atheism -- all atheims -- to be absurd." ... It's not irrelevant to your argument. In your argument materialism is the mediating step between atheism and determinism. You can't arrive at determinism without supposing a materialistic account of causation, but you haven't satisfactorily answered why atheism entails materialism. Indeed, you've begged the question.

"How many times do you expect I am required to point out to you the utter failure of this attempt to escape the logical entailments of God-denial? " ... As many times as it takes. I'm pretty thick.


Post #2 --
"How can one coherently "hold that what we call matter is both mental and physical (Panpsychism)" when there is no such thing as "the mental" (or "Mind") if there are no actual minds? But if your hypothetical Panpsychism God-denier wishes to posit that there is an actual mind (or minds) who is/are fundamental to reality, then is he not affirming the reality of God while denying the reality of God?" ... On a panpsychist conception, minds aren't fundamental to reality. Mentality and physicality are fundamental properties of matter, that is the base unit of matter (whatever that is) expresses both mental and physical properties.

"How can one coherently "hold ... that what we call matter is neither mental or physical (Neutral Monism)" and yet escape the mechanistic determinism inherent in denying that the necessary being/entity is aWho, rather than a what?" ... By saying that we don't, right now, know what 'matter' really is. We just see mental effects and physical effects, and we suppose that each of these effects originate from the same metaphysical cause.

"How can one coherently call oneself a "monist" unless one holds that 'matter' and 'mind' are the same thing?" ... Because 'matter' and 'mind' can be different properties subsisting in a singular reality.

"But, there is no such thing as 'mind' unless there is an actual mind, an actually existing who (or Who). But, definitionally, atheism denies there is a non-contingent Who; and we know that whos (ourselves) are contingent." A couple things: Firstly, your first sentence begs the question. Secondly, it depends on the atheism. An atheist can subscribe to theistic arguments, but reject divine personalities. One doesn't need to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

"The fatal problem of atheism is not matter, it is not materialism. The fatal problem of atheism is the determinism -- the denial of agency and of agent freedom -- which inheres in denying the Creator-God. There can be no "mental" unless there is a mind; there can be no agent freedom unless there is an agent." ... I don't think you've satisfactorily made your case yet. I'm happy to continue on, if you don't think it's a lost cause.
So, with the background laid out, here is my response to all that --

Ilíon: "For anyone can see the that the argument summarized above does not beg the question of God-denial entailing materialism; rather, materialism is just a logical consequence of denying the reality (and personhood) of God while affirming the reality of the physical world."

Dan Gillson: "It does beg the question because there is no further logical development of the point. Your argument takes materialism for granted. If you think otherwise, then copy/paste the portion of your argument in which you prove that materialism is a logical consequence of atheism."

I had already said, multiple times, that he would never identify nor demonstrate where or how the argument begs the question. I had already said, multiple times, that he would assert this, but never make an actual case. So, look at his most recent "case":
1) "It does beg the question because there is no further logical development of the point" -- What the Hell? When did that become part of the definition of question-begging?
2) "Your argument takes materialism for granted" -- The mere accusation again, raw;
3) "If you think otherwise, then copy/paste the portion of your argument in which you prove that materialism is a logical consequence of atheism" -- Oh, I see! Since he can't identify or demonstrate the question-begging that he just knows is there, he now demands that I demonstrate the lack of question-begging ... and for something that isn't even part of my argument.

Really, when you think about it, with his failure to identify the alleged question-begging in the original argument, his accusation of my begging the question has now devolved into the demand that I (and you) beg the question of whether the original argument begs its question.

As I said above, when an 'atheist' charges that a theistic argument begs the question, all he really means is that it successfully moves from premise to conclusion ... and that he hates the conclusion.

Consider the classic example of a sound and valid logical argument --
P1) All men are mortal;
P2) Socrates is a man;
C) Socrates is mortal.

Now, the conclusion is certainly implied by the premises -- it could not be otherwise and the argument still be a valid deductive argument; one might even say that the premises "contain" the conclusion. But the argument does not beg the question of whether Socrates is mortal.


So, to the argument that Mr Gillson (constantly and falsely) accues, though never demonstrates, of begging the question --

"GIVEN the reality of the natural/physical/material world, IF atheism were indeed the truth about the nature of reality, THEN everything which exists and/or transpires must be wholely reducible, without remainder, to purely physical/material states and causes."

Let's put this argument into the form of the "Socrated is mortal" syllogism --
P1) There is a real physical world comprised of time and space and matter/energy, including the spacial-and-temporal relationships between "bits of matter" -- this all men call 'nature';
P2) There is no Creator-God who creates-and-sustains in existence this real physical world; OR, to put it another way: there is no non-contingent personal entity/agent, who is ontologically-and-logically prior to 'nature', who freely causes the continuous existence of 'nature';
C) "everything which exists and/or transpires must be wholely reducible, without remainder, to purely physical/material states and causes."

As anyone can see, this argument no more begs the question than does the "Socrates is mortal" argument. Certainly, the conclusion is implied by the premises -- it could not be otherwise and the argument still be a valid deductive argument. But the argument does not beg the question of whether denial of the reality of the non-contingent "Necessary Being" -- who is a 'who' rather than a 'what' -- who is ontologically-and-logically prior to 'nature', who is the *cause* of 'nature', who freely *chooses* to cause 'nature' to exist, must resolve into rank mechanistic determinism -- which, in this context, is expressed as eliminative-and-reductionist materialism. There is no 'who' in P1), but only "purely physical/material states and causes"; P2) denies there is a 'Who' "behind" 'nature'; therefore, there can be no 'who' in C). That is, given the premises, the conclusion *must* deny that there is any agency -- that there are any agents -- anywhere.

But, we know that there *are* agent, for *we* are agents. Thus, we know that the conclusion of the argument is false. Thus, we know that the argument in not both sound and valid. Thus, one (and only one) of the following is, and must be, true:
1) the argument is sound, but invalid;
2) the argument is valid, but unsound;
3) the argument is both unsound and invalid.

Mr Gillson (as with every other God-denier I've ever encountered who attempts to take a shot at it) is asserting that the argument is sound, but invalid. That is, he is asserting that the premises are true, but that the conclusion is invalidly obtained. But -- again, as with every other God-denier I've ever encountered who attempts to take a shot at it -- he does not (and cannot) identify any flaw in the argument. He merely asserts that it is flawed ... and now demands that I prove the conclusion by some other argument.

Now, the truth of the matter is that the argument is valid, but unsound; that is, the conclusion does logically follow from the premises, but at least one of the premises is false.


Ilíon: "Further, the discerning reader will notice that materialism is really irrelevent [sic] to the thrust of the argument. Rather, it is the mechanistic determinism inherent in denying that the necessary being/entity is a Who, rather than a what, that shows atheism -- all atheims -- to be absurd."

Dan Gillson: "It's not irrelevant to your argument. In your argument materialism is the mediating step between atheism and determinism. You can't arrive at determinism without supposing a materialistic account of causation, but you haven't satisfactorily answered why atheism entails materialism. Indeed, you've begged the question."

(As with most 'atheists') I don't think he even *attempts* to understand anything that upsets his atheistic apple-cart. But, even if he has made an honest attempt to understand, he doesn't appear to have managed it. So, given that he doesn't even fathom the argument (whether by honest failure or by disinclination), simple though the argument is, does anyone really think I'll be quaking in my boots because he is squawking that it begs the question? especially considering that he never shoulders the burden of proof of identifying the begged question? and further considering that he's now trying to shift his burden of proof to me as a burden of disproof?

It is *not* the case that "In [my] argument materialism is the mediating step between atheism and determinism". Nor is it the case that "You can't arrive at determinism without supposing a materialistic account of causation"

Rather, materialism is the logical entailment of mechanistic determinism applied to a material/physical world; materialism is the expression of determinism in a material/physical world-- deny the reality of the physical world while denying the reality of God (or his personhood) and you're still stuck with determinism, though of a sort that may hard for embodied beings such as ourselves to comprehend. If it helps, consider arithmetic: it is entirely non-physical and utterly deterministic.

And, ultimately, determinism is just an aspect of denying the personhood and/or agency of the Creator-God. What I mean by this is that even if a person acknowledges some sort of necessary "First Cause" that it pleases him to call 'God', but denies that this "First Cause" is a person/agent, then he is asserting that all of reality is deterministic. He is asserting that determinism, rather than agent freedom, is fundamental to reality. Into this category fall all who insist that 'God' is a "force" or a "principle" (this last being especially incoherent, for a principle is a concept, and there are no concepts if there are no minds who think them).

Look again at the argument -- "GIVEN the reality of the natural/physical/material world, IF atheism were indeed the truth about the nature of reality, THEN everything which exists and/or transpires must be wholely reducible, without remainder, to purely physical/material states and causes." -- the materialism arises from applying the denial that there is a Person who is fundamental to the nature of reality to the acknowledgement that the physical/material world in which one finds oneself is a real world. This problem can't be escaped by positing that 'personhood' is fundamental to the nature of reality, any more than by positing that 'mind' is fundamental to the nature of reality; for there is no 'personhood' if there is no actually existing person, just as there is no 'mind' if there is no actually existing mind. 'Personhood' and 'mind' are concepts, they are ideas; they do not exist independently of some actually existing mind who thinks them.

There are some modern physicists who advance the idea that reality is at root mathematical. For that sort of metaphysic, one could restate my argument as: "GIVEN the reality of the [mathematical] world, IF atheism were indeed the truth about the nature of reality, THEN everything which exists and/or transpires must be wholely reducible, without remainder, to purely [arithmetic/logical] states and causes." -- the determinism resides in the denial of God's personhood, not in the affirmation of matter.

Consider again this claim -- "You can't arrive at determinism without supposing a materialistic account of causation" -- in light of the argument (in syllogistic form) --
P1) There is a real physical world comprised of time and space and matter/energy, including the spacial-and-temporal relationships between "bits of matter" -- this all men call 'nature';
P2) There is no Creator-God who creates-and-sustains in existence this real physical world; OR, to put it another way: there is no non-contingent personal entity/agent, who is ontologically-and-logically prior to 'nature', who freely causes the continuous existence of 'nature';
C) "everything which exists and/or transpires must be wholely reducible, without remainder, to purely physical/material states and causes."
Notice: given the premises, there is no possibility of causation that is not determonistic, for the second premise denies this possibility. The determinism doesn't come from the first premise, but from the second; for the second premise denies that there is anything in reality, or in the nature of reality, not covered by the first premise.

It is the second premise that entails the conclusion we know to be false.



Ilíon: "How can one coherently "hold that what we call matter is both mental and physical (Panpsychism)" when there is no such thing as "the mental" (or "Mind") if there are no actual minds? But if your hypothetical Panpsychism God-denier wishes to posit that there is an actual mind (or minds) who is/are fundamental to reality, then is he not affirming the reality of God while denying the reality of God?"

Dan Gillson: "On a panpsychist conception, minds aren't fundamental to reality. Mentality and physicality are fundamental properties of matter, that is the base unit of matter (whatever that is) expresses both mental and physical properties."

Oh, indeed: "On a panpsychist conception, minds aren't fundamental to reality", for a 'panpsychist' is just an everyday run-of-the-mill eliminative materialist (and there is no other kind) who, for some reason or another, doesn't want to acknowledge his eliminative materialism.

What does it even mean to say that "On a panpsychist conception ... [of reality, m]entality and physicality are fundamental properties of matter, that is the base unit of matter (whatever that is) expresses both mental and physical properties"? Why, it means nothing at all, the sentence (if we can even call the string of words a 'sentence') is literally meaningless; its purpose is to blow smoke to disguise or hide the truth that the 'panpsychist' is asserting materialism while denying that he is doing so.

If the sentence is to have any meaning at all, then whatever these "mental" properties of "the base unit of matter" are, they are not "physical" properties; for the mere structure of the sentence demands this. So, let's look at the last clause again: "... that is the base unit of matter (whatever that is) expresses both [non-physical] and physical properties" But, 'physical' encompasses 'matter', so what out hypothetical panpsychist is saying is: "... that is the base unit of [some physical entitiy] (whatever that is) expresses both [non-physical] and physical properties"

If I substute some other word for the words 'mentality' and 'mental' thusly: "On a panpsychist conception ... [of reality, gubd]ality and physicality are fundamental properties of matter, that is the base unit of matter (whatever that is) expresses both [gubd]al and physical properties" does the sentence really become any less meaningful than the original? Not at all.

While the individual words can be analyzed for meaning, string them together as here and it all falls apart into meaninless mush.

If the sentence is to have any meaning at all, then whatever these "mental" properties (or "gubdal" properties, it's all the same) of "the base unit of matter" are, they are not "physical" properties. But, if the sentence is to have any coherent meaning, then these "gubdal" properties can have no relationship to any actually existing "gubds" (or "minds", it's all the same), since, after all, "On a panpsychist conception, [gudb]s aren't fundamental to reality". These alleged "mental" (or "gubdal") properties are abstracted away -- which action is, itself, an activity of minds -- from any actually existing minds (or "gubds"), existing independently of, and logically prior to -- and, in fact, causally prior to -- any minds (or "gubds")



[to be continued]


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'The Media' will have a lot to answer for come Judgment Day

Jim Goad: Murder by Cherry-Picking -- "I lived in Los Angeles during the Rodney King beating and subsequent riots. I heard the media continually refer to “four white police officers,” although technically, one of them was Mexican. And it wasn’t until a year or two ago when I learned that on the night he was beaten, King had two friends with him who obeyed police orders and emerged without a scratch. Fifty-eight people died in those riots, but I doubt anything nearly as catastrophic would have happened if the public had been aware that it wasn’t a tale of rabid Nazi cops attacking a lone meek non-belligerent descendant of slaves. By omitting crucial factual details to sustain a prefabricated moral narrative, the press seemed to enable [deliberately stirred up] mass murder."

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Mental Dilemma of the Materialist

William J Murray at UD: The Mental Dilemma of the Materialist -- Mr Murray explains something I have (as also so many other, greater minds in the past two or three centuries) frequently commented upon: to try to convince you to believe his irrational insistence that "your mind" (*) is an epiphenomenon of your brain, a "buzz in the brain" as it were, a materialist must appeal the the very thing he denies and wishes you to disbelieve, namely the truth that "your mind" and your thoughts are not caused by, are not an effect of, your brain.


(*) "your mind" is not something you have and might potentially lose, like a hand or foot. "Your mind" *is* you; and you are not your brain, any more than you are your foot.

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Just two examples

Here are just two recent examples illustrating the fact that the various elements of the leftist coalition will *never* be satisfied, and will *never* leave you alone ... until you bow to their god (who is themselves).

Doughy Dispute: Atheist Group Threatens Lawsuit Over Church Discount

Host a same-sex wedding on your property or pay a $13,000 fine

Moreover, *you*, Mr and Mrs America, enable this leftist cultural warefare against your own future, because you implicitly accept their premises and you constantly give way to their cynical hypocrisy.


edit:
Here is 'the Gay Patriot' commenting on the $13,000 fine for declining to host a "gay" "wedding" -- Wedding Cake Fascists Strike Again


My point with my comments to Nick below is to agree with him (and possibly extend what he means) that these continuously out-cropping outrages are not really about "religionus liberty", but are, rather, far more basic than that: the real issue is freedom of association ... concerning which the "conservatives" surredered to the leftists 60 years ago (which is before I and most of you were even born).

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Talk about not having eyes to see

Here is a comment made on Mr Wright's blog that I wish to share -- Comment by BobTanaka
I hate to be a damper, but I really want to know: how are we certain this is the Consecrated Host? Is it possible that the Satanists kept the real Host and gave back an unconsecrated one in its place? We’re obviously not dealing with honorable or honest men here.

Does anyone know?
Indeed: how does one distinguish the alleged physical body of Christ, that is, the alleged (actual) meat and blood of the consecrated elements (*) from mere bread and wine that hasn't been consecrated?


(*) I mean the physical thing which is asserted to actually become by consecration the actual flesh and blood of the Christ, rather than the mystical Body of Christ, which is the Communion of All Saints, of all the Redeemed throughout all history past and yet to be.


Edit:
Just in case it's not clear: I can rejoice with the Catholics that the Host was recovered and that the Satanists promise to not filch one again ... because it's important to them ... while still believing that the whole raft of their beliefs attached to the Sacrements (and priests and prelates) is absurd and, indeed, anti-Christian.

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On Chesterton's great idiocy

John C. Wright: Distributionism vs Plutoyperetonism -- this could have been written by me; except, of course, that Mr Wright is a better, and more disciplined, writer than I am.

The 'distributionism' and (most of) the 'social teaching' of The One True Bureaucracy that so many Catholics are so enamored of (note, Mr Wright is himself Catholic) is just socialism ... and statist slavery ... with a differnet mask than it wore in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.

Baptizing socialism doesn't make it Christian and doesn't remove its need to destroy its host society (and the lives of the people) in order to power the short-term illusion that it's finally(!) working.

What we call 'captialism' and/or 'the free market' *just is* the inevitable outworking of freedom and morality grounded in Biblical religion. To hate 'free-market capitalism', as so many Catholics who like to think themselves intellectuals do, and as most of their prelates do (with a vegence), is to hate human liberty ... and Christianity.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Now we know what leftists *really* think of 'gays'

... or, Now we know where 'gays' stand in the leftist hierarchy of victimhood.

Ace of Spades: What if There Was a Coordinated Group Terror and Murder Campaign Against Gays Living In America, and The Media Didn't Report It?

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sartorially Inappropriate

I've seen several references to this incident -- New Jersey vet says military T-shirt led to denied entry at Six Flags amusement park -- which leads to an observation/comment:

Some years ago -- right out in public (*) -- a saw a guy walking around with a tee-shirt on which was printed a life-size photo (***) of a guy performing auto-fellatio (**). What do you think are the odds that Six Flags would deny him entry?

(*) not in San Francisco, not at some parade of perversion, but at a computer show at which anyone might being children

(**) Talk about an education! Who would have thought of that? Who would have thought it possible?


(***) Two photos, actually. On the back of the shirt was a photo of the far too nimble guy taken from behind, and on the front was a picture taken not from behind. As I said, talk about an education.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Putting the 'fun' in funeral

Laura Rosen Cohen: New From Pallywood: Hamas putting the "FUN" in Funerals!

What's really funny is that Western leftists *still* eat up this shit out of "Pallywood".

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Political/Economic Systems Contrasted and Explained

gothelittle:
Yes. This is the way I explain it:

In Capitalism, the People are in charge.

In Mercantilism, the corporations control the people through the government.

In Fascism, the government controls the people through the corporations.

In Communism, the government throws out the corporations and controls the people directly.
Only *one* of those four is rightist, the others are leftist.

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