Saturday, November 04, 2006

Materialism Vanishes

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The Argument:Science works by paradigm shifts, paradigm shifts have occurred, and are still occurring, which include into naturalistic understanding idea that only 100 years ago would have been excluded as "magic" or as "supernatural." Thus we can see that scinece cannot be used to rule out the Sueprnatural becuause more and more it incorporates ideas of it into the naturalisitc schemeatta.


Many see a new Dualism emerging which is compatible with either SN or Naturalist assumptions.

Many atheists seem to think that science exclusive domain of atheism, and that it's function is to get rid of religion. But scinece is neutral, scinece is no more a creature of atheism than it is a creature of theism.Ontological judgements, that is ideas about the major sturcure of reality, are beyond the domain of science.
The argument turns on the basic historical fact that atheists have lost the ground uponwhich they dismissed God from science in the first place. In their book God and Nature Lindberg and Numbers demonstrate that the moment at which this happened was when La Place said "I have no need of that hypothesis," meaning the idea that God created the universe. What he meant was that God was not needed as an explaintion because we now have naturlistic cause and effect, which explains everything. But the atheist has cashed in cause and effect to over come the Big Bang. Materialists are now willing to consider ideas like the self caused universe, Hawkings unbounded condition which removes cause completely as a consideration; or based upon quantum theory they are willing to accept the notion that causality is an illusion, that the universe could just pop up out of nothing. With that committment they lose the ground upon which they first removed God from consideration.

Now perhaps they still do not need God as a causal explaintion, but in the Religious a pirori argument, and in the innate religious instrict argument I say that belief was never predicated upon a need for explaination in the first palce. Nevertheless, the fact still remians, the reason for dismissing God was the sufficiency of natural causation as explaination, with that gone there is no longer any grounds for dismissing consideration of God from the universe.

I will argue that more than that is going. There is a paradigm shift underway which demonstrates a total change in sceintific thinking in many areas and over many disciplines. That change demonstrates that the materialist concept is wrong; there is more to reality than just the material world. There are other aspects to the material world wich are non-deterministic, non-mechanistic, and which call into question the whole presupposition of excluding the supernatural from consideration.


1)Materialism is the antithesis of belief in God, it rules out any such belife on the grounds that a deterministic, reductionist, or mechanistic understanding of the natural world is all that is needed to explain the natrual world.


2) Materialism is wrong on all these counts; it is not based upon scientfic objective or "ultimate" proof, but is culturally constructed.


3) Materialism is simply inadequate--from the standpoint of modern physics.


4) Paraigm shifts in many different field have led to the includion of concepts that once would have been anti-materialist.


5) Therefore, materialism is inadequate and Reductionism is misguided (at best).


6) "Bigger" views of the universe have emerged, and are being accepted/developed by the academic community.


7)These "bigger universes" include fundamental mechanisms (non-mystical ones!) for mind to 'exist' and to interact with 'matter'.


8) materialism is wrong, therefore, the door is open to the possibility of God and the supernatural.

Now this argument doesn't prove the Christian God, it could open the possibility to a supernatural without God, or a Buddhistic concept of reality, but the step away form total materialism brins us closer to some sort of belief in God.


B. Paradigm Shifts.

1) Thomas S. Kuhn.


Kuhn's famous theory was that scientific thought works through paradigm acquisition, and that paradigms change when they can no longer absorb anomalies into the model and must account for them in some other way. This theory entails the idea that science is culturally constructed, but Kuhn was not "hard project," that is he did not think that science was totally a construct or that it didn't describe true states of affairs in the world. However, our ideas about science are culturally rooted and our understanding of the world in a scientific fashion is rooted in culture. For this reason he thought that science is not linear cumulative progress.




a. Scientific progress not cumulative.


"scientific revolutions are here taken to be those non-cumulative developmental episodes replaced in whole or in part by a new one..." (Thomas kuhn The Structure of scientific Revolutions," (92)



b. Paradigm Shifts.


"In section X we shall discover how closely the view of science as cumulating is entangled with a dominate epistemology that takes knowledge to be a construction placed directly upon raw sense data by the mind. And in section XI we shall examine the strong support provided to the same historiographic scheme by the techniques of effective science pedagogy. Nevertheless, despite the immense plausibility of that ideal image, there is increasing reason to wonder whether it can possibly be an image of science. After the pre-paradgim period the assimilation of all new theories and of almost all new sorts of phenomena has demanded the destruction of a prior paradigm and a consequent conflict between cometing schools of scientific thought. Cumulative anticipation of unanticipated novelties proves to be an almost nonexistent exception to the rule of scientific development.The man who takes historic fact seriously must suspect that science does not tend toward the ideal that our image of its cumulativeness has suggested. Perhaps it is another sort of enterprise."(Ibid,94)



c. P shift not based rationally upon data.

"The choice [between paradigms] is not and cannot be determined merely by the evaluative procedures characteristic of normal science, for these depend in part upon a particular paradigm, and that paradigm is at issue. When paradigms enter as they must into a debate about paradigm choice, their role is necessarily circular. Each group uses it's own paradigm to argue in that paradigm's defense...the status of the circular argument is only that of persuasion. It cannot be made logically or even probabilistically compelling for those who refuse to step into the circle." (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (96).


Kuhn is not alone in these observations, major scientific thinkers have questioned scientific 'pretense of objectivity' thoughout the century:


This 'bigger' aspect can also be seen in Rosenberg's 'liberal naturalism' [CS:JCS:3.1.77]:


"The question of scientific objectivity becomes more compelling when one considers that doubts about the reductive paradigm are by no means new. William James (1890), Charles Sherrington (1951), Erwin Schrodinger (1944, 1958), Karl Popper and John Eccles (1977)--among others--have insisted that the reductive view is inadequate to describe reality. This is not a fringe group. They are among the most thoughtful and highly honored philosophers and scientists of the past century. How is it that their deeply held and vividly expressed views have been so widely ignored? Is it not that we need to see the world as better organized than the evidence suggests?

"Appropriately, the most ambitious chapter of this section is the final one by Willis Harman. Is the conceptual framework of science sufficiently broad to encompass the phenomenon of consciousness, he asks, or must it be somehow enlarged to fit the facts of mental reality? Attempting an answer, he considers the degree to which science can claim to be objective and to what extent it is influenced by the culture in which it is immersed. Those who disagree might pause to consider the religious perspective from which modern science has emerged.

"There is reason to suppose that the roots of our bias toward determinism lie deeper in our cultural history than many are accustomed to suppose. Indeed, it is possible that this bias may even predate modern scientific methods. In his analysis of thirteenth-century European philosophy, Henry Adams (1904) archly observed: "Saint Thomas did not allow the Deity the right to contradict himself, which is one of Man's chief pleasures." One wonders to what extent reductive science has merely replaced Thomas's God with the theory of everything."


2) Paradigm Shifts in last 30 years change materialist conceptions.


a. Medicine.



Medical paradigm shift *Medical Schools and Doctors accept Healing more readily.

Christian Science Monitory, Monday, Sept. 15, 1999

http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/1997/09/15/us/us.6.html "Research Starts to Bridge GAp Between Prayer and Medicine.


"The growing dialogue between the disciplines of faith and medicine, was probed this past weekend at the Religion Newswriters Association's annual meeting here. Increasingly, medical institutions are exploring the role of prayer in healing. Three years ago, only three US medical schools in offered courses on spirituality and health. Today, there are 30."


This quotation is old, it's now 120 schools or so.

*Most Doctors Have experience with healing and medical opinion changing.

Ibid.

Larry Dossey, author of several books on the subject, says that he, like most doctors, has witnessed "miracle cures." But the quality of research on the subject varies greatly.

US TOO International, Inc.

Prostate Cancer Survivor Support Groups

US TOO Prostate Cancer Communicator Article
Volume No. 1, Issue No. 6 (January ­ June, 1997)
Survivor's Corner - Issue 6


"I am motivated to write about the healing power of prayer because many men I talk with are not only asking questions about prostate cancer statistics but have a feeling of being depressed after being diagnosed. Some are in a quandary as to what to do if PSA rises after treatment."

"A recent article was titled, "Physicians believe in the power of prayer," and stated that 269 doctors were surveyed and 99% said they were convinced that religious belief can heal."We've seen the power of belief," said Dr. Herbert Benson, author of Timeless Healing which offers scientific evidence that faith has helped to cure medical conditions. Prayer helps and the prayers of others can help in your recovery and healing."

* Good Studies Exist, Skeptics Pick On Worst Studies. Ibid. Skeptics, [Larry Dossey] says, tend to point to the weakest studies. Good scientific method, he says however, requires the medical community to look at the best work to "see what it shows us." Dr. Dossey adds that "I'm not trying to hold prayer hostage to science. I don't think prayer needs science to validate it."




b. Cosmology (end of cause and effect).

Physicists are now embroiled in integrating metaphysical notions into science and in atheists assume them as though they were fact. The self causing universe, something from nothing, multiple universes, all beyond the pale of scientific investigation, all assumed as totally proven facts by the materialists.


*No Physics to explian something from nothing.



John Mather, NASA's principal investigator of the cosmic background radiation's spectral curve with the COBE satellite, stated: "We have equations that describe the transformation of one thing into another, but we have no equations whatever for creating space and time. And the concept doesn't even make sense, in English. So I don't think we have words or concepts to even think about creating something from nothing. And I certainly don't know of any work that seriously would explain it when it can't even state the concept."[John Mather, interview with Fred Heeren on May 11, 1994, cited in his book Show Me God (1998), Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, p. 119-120.]
That is describing the excepted theory, that the universe seems to pop up from nothing, yet physicists just accept it and assume that its possible even with no physics to explian it. That is a total paradigm shift.

*Multiverse is unscientific metaphysics.

Sten Odenwald, Gaddard, Nasa: http://image.gsfc.nasa.gov/poetry/ask/a11215.html

"yes there could be other universes out there, but they would be unobservable no matter how old our universe became...even infinitly old!! So, such universes have no meaning to science because there is no experiment we can perform to detect them."


Some physicists, such as Oldenwald, are aware of this, but that doesn't stop the the materalists from continuing the assumption. So if it is religious metaphysics its bad, but if its metaphysics the materialist can use it's "ok."



c.Consciousness--re-entry of dualism.

There is a revolution in thought about consciousness underway that may include several paradigm shifts at once. It includes an interdisciplinary mix of Philosophers, psychologists, cognitive sciences, physicists, and other disciplines. Some of the more radical theories being advanced by physicists include the notion that consciousness is Quantum, that it is located non-spacilly and non-physically. see the consciousness argument for further details. But the most exciting aspect of this controversy is the fact that it has led to a reemergence of dualism. Glenn Miller does an excellent job researching this topic, most of his evidence comes form the Journal of Consciousness Studies. He also does a good job of putting into persecutive the new dualism and its implications: : http://www.webcom.com/ctt/hmosoul.html


"Now, given this turbulence, re-evaluation, and re-definition going on the field, what is the status of DUALISM?

"Well, the first thing that comes to MY mind is that 'dualism' simply changed its public relations firm and won acceptance!

Strangely enough, the way this was accomplished was simply by defining reality 'bigger'. As one allows consciousness or mind INTO 'nature' as a fundamental 'thing' itself (with causal powers), the dual-worlds were simply collapsed into one 'bigger' world that has both elements in it! Dualism (in most, but not all, senses of the term) was simply given a new name, such as "naturalistic dualism" (Chalmers) or "liberal naturalism" (Rosenberg). No one puts this as clearly as Todd Moody, in responding to someone's 'fear of dualism' [JCS:2.4.371]:

"It's true that I am not troubled by this, in part because I don't find such a sharp line of demarcation between dualistic and materialistic metaphysics in the first place. If we cannot escape the conclusion that the physical description of the world is incomplete (as Elitzur states and many others agree), the main thing is to try to find a more complete one and not worry about whether it resembles previous versions of materialism or dualism"

The New York Times,April 16, 1996Arizona Conference Grapples With Mysteries of Human ConsciousnessBy SANDRA BLAKESLEE[T] UCSON, Ariz.
http://www.as.wvu.edu/~tmiles/myster.html

"The next major group of consciousness seekers might be called modern dualists. Agreeing with the hard problem, they feel that something else is needed to explain people's subjective experiences. And they have lots of ideas about what this might be.According to Chalmers, scientists need to come up with new fundamental laws of nature. Physicists postulate that certain properties -- gravity, space-time, electromagnetism -- are basic to any understanding of the universe, he said. 'My approach is to think of conscious experience itself as a fundamental property of the universe,' he said. Thus the world has two kinds of information, one physical, one experiential. The challenge is to make theoretical connections between physical processes and conscious experience, Chalmers said.Another form of dualism involves the mysteries of quantum mechanics. Dr. Roger Penrose from the University of Oxford in England argued that consciousness is the link between the quantum world, in which a single object can exist in two places at the same time, and the so-called classical world of familiar objects where this cannot happen.Moreover, with Hameroff, he has proposed a theory that the switch from quantum to classical states occurs inside certain proteins call microtubules. The brain's microtubules, they argue, are ideally situated to perform this transformation, producing 'occasions of experience' that with the flow of time give rise to stream of consciousness thought.The notion came under vigorous attack."


Glenn Miller.

"It is very difficult to avoid this conclusion of 'emergent dualism' (chortle, chortle)with all the proposals floating around (reviewed above). The mind as 'immaterial'--in the sense of classical matter--is also accepted as a brute fact! Consider some of the statements and concessions (bold, my emphasis; italics, their emphasis):"

The introductory chapter in CS:TSC (p.1) opens with this statement: "This volume begins with a series of philosophical chapters devoted mostly to the explanatory chasm between reductionist mechanisms and the subjective phenomenon of conscious experience. The chasm is do daunting that many support 'dualism', the notion that the mind is distinct from the brain and merely interacts with it."

Erich Harth, (Univ. of Syracuse, Dept. of Physics) [CS:TSC:611ff] notes that dualism is "not quite as dead as some would have us believe" (p.619), and then goes on to show that the most common objection to old-style dualism just doesn't wash [p.620]:

Miller

"Physicists, predictably [in a quantum wave probability sense, of course..;>)], are very open to this interpenetration of mind/matter: Compare the free-floating quote of noted physicist Feynman:" "Mind must be a sort of dynamical pattern, not so much founded in a neurobiological substrate as floating above it, independent of it" [cited in CS:DP:24]

Hameroff's model [CS:JCS:108] claims to be both reductionist AND dualist:

"As a model of consciousness, quantum coherence in microtubules is reductionist in that a specific molecular structure is featured as a site for consciousness. It is seemingly dualist in that the quantum realm (which is actually intrinsic to all of nature) is seen to act through microtubules."

Atmanspacher gives his view that the dual-world is just this 'bigger' one-world [JCS:1.2.168-9]:

"One of the hot topics in this respect concerns the question of whether material reality and its non-material counterpart can indeed be considered as independent from each other as the concept of Cartesian dualism assumes. The most precise and best formalized indications for a negative answer to this question can be found in quantum theory."

"Two important concepts that present evidence against any ultimate relevance of the corresponding dualism are the concepts of complexity and meaning. In addition to quantum theory, these concepts reflect tendencies to bridge the Cartesian cut from both realms, that of physics as well as that of cognitive science..."

Grush and Churchland [CS:JCS:2.1.10-29] express amazement at how many 'intellectual materials' seem to have 'strong dualist hankerings' (p.27). They talk about these 'residual dualist hankerings' as being a rather widespread phenomenon.

An interesting possible example of this is in Hodgson' book The Mind Matters. In the review of the book [JCS:2.1.93], Squires makes this comment:

"Often I find in this book that the author is almost saying that within a person there is something that is in its essence not physics, but then he realises that this is dualism, which he feels should be avoided, so he tries to escape. These escapes are unsatisfactory."

Chalmers actually refers to his position as 'naturalistic dualism' and says that it does qualify as a type of dualism, but an innocent dualism [e.g. CS:JCS:2.3.210]

McGinn notes that "recent philosophy has become accustomed to the idea of mental causation" [CS:JCS:2.3.223]




d. Psychology of Religion.

See the Religious Instrict argument where I show that a whole discipline arose, transactional analysis, based upon Abraham Maslow's theoires of mystical experince. Documentation on that page demonstates that phychology no longer approaches religion as suspect, but understands it as healthy and normative for human being, and approches unbelief as suspect. There are also studies presented showing the benfits of religion for metal health.,



3) New laws of Physics.



In the NYT Quote from Chalmers above he proposes coming up with a new law of physics to explain the basic property of nature known as "consciousness." He is not the only one to propose this, as one can see from quotations of physicists in the consciousness argument. When theorists start proposing new laws of physics one can be fairly sure that a paradigm shift is underway. This is even more the case when the new law of physics is proposed to explain something that the old paradigm had reduced practically out of existence. The old reductionist/materialist paradigm reduced consciousness to mere epiphenomenal status and located it as brain function. It is the inadequacy of this understanding which has led some scientists to call for a new law!

4 comments:

Quo Vadis said...

Meta, are you saying that the Cosmological Argument as argued by Aquinas and others, which deduces the existence of God as the necessary first cause of the universe, is wrong?

J.L. Hinman said...

I am having trouble seeing where you got that idea?

(this is me, Meta, I prefur to be known by my real name now).

Quo Vadis said...

Joe,

The gist of your post is that emerging scientific understandings do not conflict with the idea of the existence of God and even support it. I took it you were endorsing these new understandings.

I re-read your section on cause and effect in science. Now I take it you are not endorsing the specific idea of a self-caused universe, but saying that those who accept the idea give up the reason for rejecting the idea of the existence of God.

I do not think that this does justice to the argument made by the other side. The argument was never that God did not exist because it is possible to explain the existence of the universe without him. The argument was that God's existence was not shown by the existence of the universe because it was possible to explain the existence of the universe without it. This was an argument against the cosmological argument (as made by Aquinas and others). There is no contradiction between believing in a self-caused universe and rejecting the cosmological argument.

When you say, "in the Religious a pirori argument, and in the innate religious instrict argument I say that belief was never predicated upon a need for explaination in the first palce," are you not denying the cosmological argument which deduced the existence of God as a necessary first cause of the universe? Is not the cosmological argument for the existence of God predicated upon a need for explanation?

Also, I think you are mis-stating the position of others or using a great deal of hyperbole when you say, "The self causing universe, something from nothing, multiple universes, all beyond the pale of scientific investigation, all assumed as totally proven facts by the materialists."

The language of "totally proven facts" does not sound like that used by the scientists I know of, who generally state their opinions as contingent theories that best explain the available evidence.

Thanks,

QV

J.L. Hinman said...

The gist of your post is that emerging scientific understandings do not conflict with the idea of the existence of God and even support it. I took it you were endorsing these new understandings.

that's basically the jist of the argument. I am not necessarily supporting these new ideas. But in general I do. There is, however, more to the argument than that. I'm saying that science is coming to support these ideas too, and most of them were ideas that would have been rejected as supernatural one hundred years go.

The point is that the ideas of the SN ar gradually being absorbed into the paradime of naturalism. Thus naturalism is becoming meaningless and we are on our way to grand paradigm shift.



I re-read your section on cause and effect in science. Now I take it you are not endorsing the specific idea of a self-caused universe, but saying that those who accept the idea give up the reason for rejecting the idea of the existence of God.

I am saying that "final cause" is not the only way to think about the cosmological argument. The Cos argument is not about causes but about necessity and contingency; that invovles cause and effect, but is not necessraily preidcated upon it.

Of cousre i believe that a self caused anything is pure idocy. The very concept of paradoxical and logcially contradicts itself. The point is not about self cause but prior condtions. God being the condition prior to all. And by "prior" I do not mean chronologically prior to ontolgoically.

I do not think that this does justice to the argument made by the other side. The argument was never that God did not exist because it is possible to explain the existence of the universe without him.

Yes it sure as hell has been!


The argument was that God's existence was not shown by the existence of the universe because it was possible to explain the existence of the universe without it.


The difference in that and the previous statement is merely smeantic. You show one you show the other.




This was an argument against the cosmological argument (as made by Aquinas and others). There is no contradiction between believing in a self-caused universe and rejecting the cosmological argument.

why would anyone want to believe in a self casued universe? Aqinas did not reject the cos argument, he rejected the ontological argument.



When you say, "in the Religious a pirori argument, and in the innate religious instrict argument I say that belief was never predicated upon a need for explaination in the first palce," are you not denying the cosmological argument which deduced the existence of God as a necessary first cause of the universe?



Well, sure, but since I've jazzed up the argument with a new version that is not contingent upon causes then It's like I'm rejecting the cosmoloigcal prnicple itself. I'm rejecting the old version of the arugment but I'm replacing it with a new one anyway, so it's irrelivant.




Is not the cosmological argument for the existence of God predicated upon a need for explanation?


Good questions. Depends upon what You mean by "explaination." The whole of my argument on that score states that Athists want a scientific explaination for things, so just automatically assume that God arugment must emody a scientific expalianation. One of the their chief arguments against God arguments as a whole is that they are not empirical, and thus lack the explainitory power of a scientific explaition. I am saying that God arguments are existential expalinations not attempts at science. They do not have to be emprical becasue they do have to emody the kind of certainty we look for in scinece becasue they are not seeking to expalin thigns on that level. They are seeking expain on the level of one's own personal existential question thats' why the ultimate payoff for God arguments is faith and not certainty.




Also, I think you are mis-stating the position of others or using a great deal of hyperbole when you say, "The self causing universe, something from nothing, multiple universes, all beyond the pale of scientific investigation, all assumed as totally proven facts by the materialists."


I dont' think so. I can show you on almost any board where atheists argue attitudes embracing these things as though they are fact. HRG on CARMath always indicated to me that multiverse is a proven fact. He would quote a physicists. I looked up the guy's site and he listed the idea in a section called "just for fun>" But Hans continues to sepak as though it's provne. Since Hans claims to be a phsycist and has credentials in physics I assume this is a valid idea of phsyciists. Unless he's just the pretender I think he is.

The language of "totally proven facts" does not sound like that used by the scientists I know of, who generally state their opinions as contingent theories that best explain the available evidence.

Yea the one's who publish and do the real work. I was speaking of the dilataunts who claim to be qualtified but just do the arguing on message boards.

Thanks,