Tuesday, January 06, 2009

God: The Co-determinate and Atheist Deniel

The "co-determinate" is a term used in connection with Schleiermacher's notion of the feeling of utter dependence. Roy Williams in his great book Schleiermacher The Theologian, uses this term, which I think is an antiquated term for "correlate." The concept here being that we can't demonstrate God's existence directly because God is not given in sense data. We can point to and discuss the feeling of utter dependence (which is actually a form of mystical experince) of which Schleiermacher spoke. In in this context Williams states that God is the co-determinate of the feeling. What he is saying is that God correlates with the feeling of utter dependence, which in content is actually a feeling of ontologically contingency, or dependence upon God ontologically speaking. This is really a simple concept. It is not wonder, then, that atheists have had a great deal of trouble understanding it. I say that because they always try to approach it as some big hairy radical deal that's a fallacy in an do of itself. I expect the skeptic to question the argument, but to actually question it in a way that implies that there's some big logical problem with correlations is quite amazing. That they try to twist the argument totally out of proportion is just, as Dylan said, "sleepy time down south."

Before going into specifics let me draw a couple of analogies. First the idea of smoking as a cause of cancer. In 1963 (or so) the Surgeon General made the ruling that smoking might be the cause of cancer and thus a warning was printed in cigarette packs. That ruling was made not because they had direct scientific proof. In fact when the tobacco companies responded that science could not find a mechanism in tobacco smoke that causes cancer, they were right about that. They remained right about it until this century. For almost a quarter of a century the whole campaign and war against smoking rested totally upon statistical correlation. I used this fact to indicate that science takes correlational proof seriously as proof. It's not illogical to assume that if a correlation is tight enough causality is a logical inference. The atheist response has been "but the link has been proved." Now that is true, but only within this decade, and quite recently. That is typical. The fact that the link was proved and a mechanism found over 25 years latter doesn't in the least blunt the fact that for a quarter of a century science was willing to assume that is a fact based upon statistical correlation. This is all common knowledge. I remember when the Surgeon General made the announcement, even though I was a small child. I remember when cigarette adds were banned. A multi million dollar industry, probably a billion dollar industry was destroyed and taken down all on the basis of statistical correlation.

Anyone with half a brain should be able to conclude that science respects a good correlation; we may treat correlations as causality if (and only if) the correlation is tight enough. Another analogy, is that of the neutrino. Before I go into that let me point out that I am not arguing from analogy. I understand that the similarity to cases in these analogies is not proof of the existence of God. I am not saying that. The function of an analogy is to illustrate an idea, that exactly what I'm about here, nothing more. My argument does not proceed from arguing from analogy. But the fact is atheists treat the correlation of God to religious experinces as though there is no implication of God's reality in the experiences because, they think, there is no proof of causality in a correlation. But I am here illustrating the fact that their beloved priesthood of knowledge, the scientist, is willing to assume a strong correlation as rational warrant for a causal relationship.

The second example is that of the neutrino.

DONUT homeFermi National Acceleration Laboratory*:


Neutrinos didn't emerge onto the particle physics scene until 1930, when Wolfgang Pauli invented the neutrino to "save" conservation of energy, which was under threat from observations of beta decay in radioactive materials. Scientists such as Henri Bequerel and Marie and Pierre Curie performed the first studies into radiation starting in 1898. In the years that followed radiation was classified into 3 categories: alpha, beta and gamma. In studying beta radiation, scientists discovered a disturbing phenomenon. It seemed that when a nucleus underwent beta decay, which consisted of the emission by a neutron of an electron to create a proton, conservation of energy was violated. There was a missing amount of energy that could not be accounted for by their measurements or calculations. In 1930 Pauli made his hypothesis....

It was not until 1933 that Pauli admitted the possibility of a zero mass neutrino (the discovery of the neutron in 1932 by James Chadwick forced him to change the hypothesized particle's name to neutrino). Today we know that neutrinos have some unknown mass and that they move close to the speed of light. The first detection of neutrinos occurred in 1956 by Clyde Cowan and Fredrick Reines who found a convenient source of neutrinos--nuclear power plants. Power is created in nuclear plants when atoms undergo nuclear fission, a process of which the neutrino is a byproduct. Cowan and Reines employed a 400-L tank of cadmium chloride as their target. The neutrinos struck a proton inside the target, producing a positron and a neutron. That positron encountered an electron; the two annihilated each other, producing two gamma rays (or photons). The neutron was absorbed by a cadmium chloride atom, producing a photon at a 15-microsecond delay from the emission from the positron. Using this knowledge of the photon emission, Cowan and Reines were able to detect the electron neutrino.

Leon Lederman, Mel Schwartz, and Jack Steinberger followed with the detection of the muon neutrino in 1962. They fired a GeV beam of protons through a target creating pions, which decayed into muons and muon neutrinos. Thick shielding halted the muons but the neutrinos continued until they entered a detector where they produced muons, decaying into electrons and a photon that were observed in the spark chambers.

Pauli descibes his reasoning in asserting an unproven hypotheis (the nutrino)

I have hit upon a desperate remedy to save the "exchange theorem" of statistics and the law of conservation of energy. Namely, the possibility that there could exist in the nuclei electrically neutral particles, that I wish to call neutrons, which have spin 1/2 and obey the exclusion principle and which further differ from light quanta in that they do not travel with the velocity of light. The mass of the neutrons should be of the same order of magnitude as the electron mass and in any event not larger than 0.01 proton masses. The continuous beta spectrum would then become understandable by the assumption that in beta decay a neutron is emitted in addition to the electron such that the sum of the energies of the neutron and the electron is constant...

Now I'm sure atheists are saying "that's just the way science works. State a hypothesis and test it." Of course it is, and that's fine. But the problem is that's pretty much what has been done in regard to mystical experince. Religious believers have been a mot more definite about their hypothesis than Pauli was about his, but it's the same thing really, and with very similar results. The only real difference is the scientist can eventually get "absolute" proof (in a scientific sense) when the question is a an empirical one, but we can't get this kind of certainty of God. Nevertheless, we can be as certain, thanks to the M scale, as physicists were of Neutrinos at the time that Mel Schwartz, and Jack Steinberger did their works. Of course I'm not advocating understanding religious belief as scientific hypothesis, but the basic logic of the co-determinate is the same. One can clearly see that the logic of the co-determinate of which is speak is not a fallacy, formal or informal, it si not the same saying "I believe it so that proves it." It is not a radical move that I invented. It's the normal way correlations have been used to assume causality since modern science began. It's the use of the term "co-determinate" that gives atheist the idea that this is some new brand of logic I invented. If I called it "the correlate" they would probably not say that, and that's all it is. In that case they would turn around and say "correlations are not proof of causality." No, they are not, but on the hand I did not claim to prove it. I only claimed that it's reasonable to draw a conclusion from the assocaition!

Here's an even more interesting twist: Since the work in 1962 science assumed that Nutrinos were proved, but they didn't have direct proof until much latter:

Fermi lab: Phyiscs at Fermilab

Discoveries at Femrilab: The Tau nutrition

An international collaboration of scientists at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced on July 21, 2000 the first direct evidence for the subatomic particle called the tau neutrino, the third kind of neutrino known to particle physicists. They reported four instances of a neutrino interacting with an atomic nucleus to produce a charged particle called a tau lepton, the signature of a tau neutrino.

The "detection" of muon was in 1962 and yet it says the first direct evdience of the subatomic particles called tau neutrinos wasn't until 2000. I know these are different particles that are coming out of a different stage in the process. But the fact remains,t he original hypothesis was merely an attempt to explain the actions of certain particles in a certain context, theory was manufactured to fit the apparent case. The theory was latter born out with empirical proof.

Much the same thing has happened with respect to the scientific study of religious experience. First people has such experinces for thousands of years. They developed an explanation for them (God, the divine, the supernatural). With that explication there evolved a complicated economics of metaphor that emerged as a means of understanding that which is beyond understanding. Then after all that fuss the hypothesis is partially corroborated with empirical scientific techniques (such as the M scale). What has been corroborated is that the process works as we would expect it to in living up the exceptions derived form our teachings on the divine. Real experinces that are truly effecting the brain, produce real measurable concrete change in life and a valuable way of life that revolutionizes the lives of those having these experinces, and dramatic and positive way. Thus the scientific findings corroborate that the experiences conform to what the divine is suppossed to do. But we should be surprised since that understanding is derived from the experinces themselves, but now that process is proved valid through science.

While atheists reading this are trowing things at the screen and shouting "It doesn't prove the origin of it!" Remember, I never claimed "proof!" But why is it not reasonable to assume that the origin is the divine, since it conforms to our ideas of what it suppossed to be? After all that is literally exactly what the supernatural actually was in its original conception. Thus it is a reasonable construel. I never said it was "proof" (except in the practical sense, close enough to proof to place confidence in the hypothesis). In response to this some atheists have lunched an old familiar tactic from message boards, ridicule of a hypothesis by use of reduction to absurdity. So they will say there's a high correlation between global warming and pirates, therefore, global warming causes piracy. This is suppossed to prove the fallacy and stupidity of asserting a "co-determinate." Reductio Ad Absurdum is not necessarily the the best advised course for an argument. It is totally fallacious to think that just becasue one can construct a false assocaition based upon absurdities doesn't mean a logically valid assocaition is illogical. The logic of the argument within the argument is what must determine weather or not an association is logical. This relates back to the soundness of an argument. All they are saying at this point is "that's not sound," but their only reason for thinking so is that they don't like the conclusion I'm drawing. They cannot tell me why the argument is unsound without jacking my claims to the level of proof. But I don't claim proof.

Here's how the exchange recently went on my message boards, discussin the argument with several atheist friend's whose imput I value highly: Qunatum Troll, Fleet Mouse and La Canuck, this is La Canuck.

Re: argument from sign

Post by Metacrock on Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:21 pm

LACanuck wrote:

Metacrock wrote:that feeling and its association is the reason why we have religion, that's the basis for belief that's been around for 65,000 years. Its' always been taken so, it's the basis of what we talk about religion at all. it's the underlying bottom reason for belief.

there's absolutely not reason to construe it as God given its history and associations.

La Canuck:Do you have a citation for the 65,000 year claim? More out of interest than anything nefarious. :)

Metacrock:yes, several. but i have to get into my book file to see it. QT could probably get up faster. He has copies my ms.**

(note: here I will give some sources below)**

La CanuckBut having a sense of something bigger than we are causing us to feel warm and fuzzy can be explained using evolutionary arguments.

Metacrock: no so far

La Canuck: And the conversion of 'something bigger' to religion and god is not a challenging path to walk either. So making a claim that the 'something bigger' has no other reasonable explanation that the existance of god does not stand up to detailed examination.

Metacrock: No that's fares. All you are doing is applying standard reductionism to lose the phenomena. O this is important to me, so I'll just pretend it's not there and then make the argument based upon reducing what really happens to soemthing I want to deal with. That's the basis of the strategy you are using.

that's one of the things that makes me so angry. the dishonest nature of atheism, you can't accept that other people have their own experiences. you are trying to control what other people feel and to expalin it away so that what is important to them becomes just bull shit only what's important to you can remain as "fact."

I get more and more angry ever time I think about it.

Metacrock wrote:It has always been sufficient since long before the bible. it's the basis of why religion exists. its' is the supernatural. this is litterateur what the supernatural originally was.

the correlation is 350 studies. it's as strong as smoking and cancer.

La Canuck: How many of the 350 studies consider the possibility that a high concentration of seratonin receptors is strongly correlated to a high score on the M-scale? I've asked this question in the past and haven't seen an answer. Unless the studies do account for this, the conclusions of the studies are put into question.

Metacrock: serotonin argument is crap. I know you are proud because it's your baby, but I have disprove it several times. you did not answer any of the 5 tie breakers I argued. you totally sloughed the very concept without answering any of them.

Griphiths who did the study you first first sited, is a friend of Hood's. He accept mystical experince, he is not one of these reductionists who reduces everything to chemicals. Hood reacts to that argument with a yawn. No offense.

On the one hand I do admire your brightness for spotting that. It may not be a bad argument it may be something to follow up. But it hardly some big deal breaker. no not in any way. you have to at least comment on the tie breakers before I will even consider it has having deal breaking potential.

La Canuck: So no, the correlation is not nearly as strong as smoking and cancer.

Metacrock:you don't know what a correlation is then. Because that has nothing to do with disproving the causality. The correlation is as tight because it's there. you want to interject an unproved counter causality that's nothing unique and is taken out by my previous responses other arguments about chemical determinism.

(addendum:I also want to point out--this was not part of that post--why does it have to be as strong as cancer and smoking to be a valid hypothesis in which to place confidence? The correlation of smoking and cancer is extremely tight).

but no! you have the magic bean. you have the big deal atheist excuse not to believe just like with all God argument, any possibility however remote and ridiculous becomes an iron clad disproof because it is remotely possible!

The cigarettes in the rat studies had cork in the tabaco, so I could make the American Spirit argument and say the corrolation on smoking and cancer is gone. Because it' could be that natural tabaco doesn't cause cancer.

Metacrock continues:It' the notion that we cant' make a logical construable whereas you make them all the time. the discussion you had on evolution the other day, here in the other thread, thats' all you did was construe. but when you guys do it it's science and that's ok.

when we do it its some little made up fallacy like "reason for belief" "fallacy of believing in something."

La Canuck:Actually, the problem I've always had is that you move from one correlation (thinking of god = warm and fuzzy) to another (thinking of god = god exists) as if they were one and the same. As I said, there are other explanations for the first correlation besides the conclusion that you draw.

Metacrock: this is another thing that makes me angry. you are a smart guy, but in God argument you just throw that away and say a lot things that are just not smart. like this. I have never said. I said it's a rational construe. get it?

rational construe that means it's rational to construe that way. I did not say it proves it i said it's rational to construe that way. now may times/

The source used on the fermilab website:
*An international collaboration of scientists at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced on July 21, 2000 the first direct evidence for the subatomic particle called the tau neutrino, the third kind of neutrino known to particle physicists. They reported four instances of a neutrino interacting with an atomic nucleus to* produce a charged particle called a tau lepton, the signature of a tau neutrino.

**sources on religious experience among neanderthals scroll toward bottom of that page. More and better sources will be in my book.

fifty years with the cult site at Rosaring

British Archaeology: When Burial begins. The issue with burial is that sites such as that of Shandadar show early burial with medicinal herbs and mushrooms. Where there are mushrooms among ancient man (or prehistorical pre homo spieans) we can be sure there was mystical experience. The healing powers of mushroom are not that obvious. they have always been used for the effects of the sylosycibin. These are gestures toward the afterlife, and belief in afterlife marks religious experince.

Gods of pre historic man

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