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Sam Harris vs. William Lane Craig
Posted: 25 April 2011 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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toombaru - 25 April 2011 01:55 PM

I am suggesting that all conceptual thought is magical thought.
The mind of man imagines separate objects and then attempts to describe how they relate to each other.
It mistakes its own descriptions for reality.
Thinking that science can answer the mind’s questions about it’s own pseudo-reality is no different than the thinking out of which
religion is born.
The human brain is far too complex for the human brain to understand and yet the mind struggles grasp its own essence.
It is no closer to doing that than it was ten thousand years ago.
Consciousness will never understand itself.


Sounds like you’re reifying perception, and/or presuming that in spite of consistent evidence, we can’t trust evidence is evidential. The “Mind In A Vat” pseudo-problem.

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 25 April 2011 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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SkepticX - 25 April 2011 02:21 PM
toombaru - 25 April 2011 01:55 PM

I am suggesting that all conceptual thought is magical thought.
The mind of man imagines separate objects and then attempts to describe how they relate to each other.
It mistakes its own descriptions for reality.
Thinking that science can answer the mind’s questions about it’s own pseudo-reality is no different than the thinking out of which
religion is born.
The human brain is far too complex for the human brain to understand and yet the mind struggles grasp its own essence.
It is no closer to doing that than it was ten thousand years ago.
Consciousness will never understand itself.


Sounds like you’re reifying perception, and/or presuming that in spite of consistent evidence, we can’t trust evidence is evidential. The “Mind In A Vat” pseudo-problem.


Reification (fallacy), fallacy of treating an abstraction as if it were a real thing.

Mind is a reification.
Consciousness is a reification.
Reification is a reification.

[ Edited: 25 April 2011 10:52 AM by toombaru]
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Posted: 01 May 2011 05:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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There is a spooky mysticism that is creeping in from the demon haunted world, and even Dr. Harris is ever so slightly chained down by it. I agree that there’s value in doing “inner work,” and using very extended sessions of naval gazing of various types as a path to enlightenment. But parts are parts.


Ref http://bigthink.com/ideas/3127  where he says “...I don’t know what the relationship is between consciousness and the physical world is and I don’t think anyone knows…”


I really am a big fan of Harris’s work, but this little speck of intractable agnostic-type mysticism is, with all due respect, rather disconcerting and indicative of a larger problem which is present in many people who are supposedly on the secular side of things.


Moving electrons are not “virtual.” Software causes real physical changes to the physical world. So do thoughts.


The mystical world view, with it’s highly annoying and infected protagonists such as Deepak Chopra, this world view also infects people who are more on the reasonably secular side of things. And assuming, as Dr. Harris does, that there will may be an afterlife of some sort, just because we are mystified by how our own brains work, and stating as the hard line agnostic does that “we don’t know and no one does know,” also goes too far.


Let’s keep searching and digging. The chains of mysticism can keep us from doing a proper interrogative search, and from opening up our minds to how the world really works.


The bottom line is that the power can go off. The software or wetware can come to a halt. End of line. That’s it. It’s no different than switching the power off on your spiffy new one-button-mouse operated Crapintosh computer, or whatever (my apologies to the Apple loving peanut gallery).


On a related note, here’s links to an incredible series of lectures by Daniel Dennett on the nature of consciousness:


Day 1:


Battles in the Brain


A consideration of the seemingly paradoxical nature and structure of the brain, including: intra-cerebral conflicts, ‘selfish neurons,’ and anarchic computer architectures.


Day 2:


My Body Has A Mind Of Its Own: So What Does It Need Me For?


If “conscious thought” is an evolutionarily recent and hugely expensive innovation, what pays for it?


Day 3:


How Brains Become Minds: The Role Of Cultural Software


An exploration of how culture in general and language in particular shape our minds, installing perspectives and values, and building the thousands of cognitive micro-habits that constitute both our competences and our disabilities.


Day 1 - part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_RvjOJPSc8

Day 1 - part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hrqnwy_Klrc

Day 1 - part 3:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rC7XyUybPU

Day 1 - part 4:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wep0emD-2wE

Day 1 - Part 5:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fliAU7QmXZA

Day 1 - Part 6:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnbSj1OMA8w

Day 1 - part 7:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFwuIUgEqKA

Day 1 - part 8:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRMlTNjyIaA

Day 1 - part 9:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHRco0I_eBg

Day 1 - part 10:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIAWopKi9e0


Day 2 - part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s2zOW7uhNg

the rest of the parts seem to follow mostly automatically


Day 3 - part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOJEv8C-sU

Day 3 - part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iaOIAGmzss

Day 3 - part 3:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lzdo4ataaqY

Day 3 - part 4:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OBiB5MjM88

Day 3 - part 5:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn1Srxr5LGs

Day 3 - part 6:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1g1dKv5u-R0

Day 3 - part 7:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XT_-NSfujw

Day 3 - part 8:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDotJ03o0yE

Day 3 - part 9:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rSZSFLT3RQ

Day 3 - part 10:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSxtiD207bg

Day 3 - part 11:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vNpGrZCJys
te both our competences and our disabilities.

[ Edited: 01 May 2011 06:47 AM by birdman]
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Posted: 01 May 2011 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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birdman - 01 May 2011 09:54 AM

There is a spooky mysticism that is creeping in from the demon haunted world, and even Dr. Harris is ever so slightly chained down by it.

 

The mind’s entire world is composed of conceptual relationships.
It becomes frightened when confronted with that which it doesn’t or can’t understand.
In order to relieve the stress that accumulates when it becomes frightened it will invent an answer to assuage the fear.
Personally I don’t believe in the demon haunted world.
My own stress seems to respond better to the thought that trickster-fairies are creeping in.

[ Edited: 01 May 2011 12:22 PM by toombaru]
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Posted: 07 June 2011 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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Unfortunately, Sam Harris did not directly address Craig’s argument that if God exists, then we have an objective basis for moral values and duties, and if he does not exist, then we do not.  I was waiting and waiting for him to say something direct and succinct to counter his argument, but was ulitmately disappointed.  My own response to this (and you may comment if you think I am off course here) is that if God is goodness incarnate, and is merciful, wise, kind, loving, etc. and it is that that we base objective morality upon, then the actual existence of such a being is not required.  We can conceive of love, kindness, mercy, wisdom and goodness, and that is all that we would need to use as the highest standard of morality.  These traits do not have to actually reside in some creature, but the fact that we can conceive of them, that we know that cruelty and dishonesty are less than our ideal conception of goodness is enough to use as a basis for moral values and duties.

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Posted: 07 June 2011 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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Positivist - 07 June 2011 02:00 PM

  ...My own response to this (and you may comment if you think I am off course here) is that if God is goodness incarnate, and is merciful, wise, kind, loving, etc. and it is that that we base objective morality upon, then the actual existence of such a being is not required.  We can conceive of love, kindness, mercy, wisdom and goodness, and that is all that we would need to use as the highest standard of morality.  These traits do not have to actually reside in some creature, but the fact that we can conceive of them, that we know that cruelty and dishonesty are less than our ideal conception of goodness is enough to use as a basis for moral values and duties.


Golly. Got it in one.

Nice goin’, newbie!

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Posted: 07 June 2011 12:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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Positivist - 07 June 2011 02:00 PM

Unfortunately, Sam Harris did not directly address Craig’s argument that if God exists, then we have an objective basis for moral values and duties, and if he does not exist, then we do not.  I was waiting and waiting for him to say something direct and succinct to counter his argument, but was ulitmately disappointed.  My own response to this (and you may comment if you think I am off course here) is that if God is goodness incarnate, and is merciful, wise, kind, loving, etc. and it is that that we base objective morality upon, then the actual existence of such a being is not required.  We can conceive of love, kindness, mercy, wisdom and goodness, and that is all that we would need to use as the highest standard of morality.  These traits do not have to actually reside in some creature, but the fact that we can conceive of them, that we know that cruelty and dishonesty are less than our ideal conception of goodness is enough to use as a basis for moral values and duties.

 

To base the study of observed human behavior on the presence or absence of demons,witches or faries would seem to be downright silly.
Anytime one factors in the presence or absence of God into anything, all rationality is lost.

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Posted: 11 June 2011 02:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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I thought Sam embarrassed Craig, as did that gal in the Q&A session, and as Craig did to himself when he refused to respond to that question about homosexuality.

It was a guy wasn’t it? And the question wasn’t really about homosexuality, it was highlighting the refusal of religion to change - even if God did exist and had some new revelation, religion (Craig at least) wouldn’t listen. And how does one choose which revelations are the ‘right’ ones, etc. Made a complete mockery of religion in a very short time - good stuff.

But unfortunately there was a ‘no go area’ revealed in Sam’s position too, by that guy who asked the question on miracles. Sam didn’t really answer this, and when the questioner tried to point this out the moderator silenced him. Surely :
-miracles do not exist (therefore the questioner was lying or gullible or delusional), or
-things that scientific theories say shouldn’t happen do happen, but science can’t explain them, or
-science will explain everything one day even if it can’t now, therefore miracles are nothing to get excited about.

If it was any of these, why did Sam not say so?
Or if it was anything else, why did Sam not say that?

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Posted: 11 June 2011 08:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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cacheton - 11 June 2011 06:30 AM

I thought Sam embarrassed Craig, as did that gal in the Q&A session, and as Craig did to himself when he refused to respond to that question about homosexuality.

It was a guy wasn’t it? And the question wasn’t really about homosexuality, it was highlighting the refusal of religion to change - even if God did exist and had some new revelation, religion (Craig at least) wouldn’t listen. And how does one choose which revelations are the ‘right’ ones, etc. Made a complete mockery of religion in a very short time - good stuff.

But unfortunately there was a ‘no go area’ revealed in Sam’s position too, by that guy who asked the question on miracles. Sam didn’t really answer this, and when the questioner tried to point this out the moderator silenced him. Surely :
-miracles do not exist (therefore the questioner was lying or gullible or delusional), or
-things that scientific theories say shouldn’t happen do happen, but science can’t explain them, or
-science will explain everything one day even if it can’t now, therefore miracles are nothing to get excited about.

If it was any of these, why did Sam not say so?
Or if it was anything else, why did Sam not say that?


Could define what you mean by “miracle”?

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Posted: 14 June 2011 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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toombaru - 11 June 2011 12:04 PM

Could define what you mean by “miracle”?

The questioner was referring to miracles of a religious nature I think - I remember something to do with blood created which was subsequently tested and found to be identical to real blood, Turin shroud etc. Personally I am more interested in how someone like Sam tackles the unanswered questions in science when confronted with them, things like migratory behaviour, placebo effect, morphogenesis and the like. I would not call these miracles, but if the mechanistic theory is correct, they maybe should be called miracles.

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Posted: 14 June 2011 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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cacheton - 14 June 2011 04:31 PM
toombaru - 11 June 2011 12:04 PM

Could define what you mean by “miracle”?

The questioner was referring to miracles of a religious nature I think - I remember something to do with blood created which was subsequently tested and found to be identical to real blood, Turin shroud etc. Personally I am more interested in how someone like Sam tackles the unanswered questions in science when confronted with them, things like migratory behavior, placebo effect, morphogenesis and the like. I would not call these miracles, but if the mechanistic theory is correct, they maybe should be called miracles.


Are you calling anything that the mind cannot explain a miracle?
It really understands nothing about light, gravity, electricity or magnetism.
It can describe their effects…....but it has no idea what they actually are.

No one who has studied the research on the shroud of Turin believes in its authenticity.

As for the blood, if such a thing were to actually occur, I’m sure that those inclined to religious thought would be able to research it and substantiate their belief and The Amazing Randy would have to cough up a million dollars.

And I’m sure that the Templeton Foundation would pay anyone a large sum for any proven miracle.

A miracle would require the influence of an outside agency or creative force that had the power to alter the infinite chain of causation.
Any intentional change in the status quo would indicate a change of mind or a flaw in the original plan.
Can you see where this is going?

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Posted: 15 June 2011 01:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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toombaru - 14 June 2011 07:16 PM

Can you see where this is going?

No, sorry, you have lost me.

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Posted: 15 June 2011 01:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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Positivist - 07 June 2011 02:00 PM

We can conceive of love, kindness, mercy, wisdom and goodness, and that is all that we would need to use as the highest standard of morality.  These traits do not have to actually reside in some creature, but the fact that we can conceive of them, that we know that cruelty and dishonesty are less than our ideal conception of goodness is enough to use as a basis for moral values and duties.

First however you would have to get everyone to agree that morality should be based on these - those that thrive on cruelty and dishonesty would not agree.
Then you would have to get everyone to agree on what love, kindness, mercy and goodness actually are.
Also, does being able to conceive of something give it validity? One surely has to address the question of where things we ‘conceive of’ actually come from.

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Posted: 15 June 2011 08:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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cacheton - 15 June 2011 05:41 AM
Positivist - 07 June 2011 02:00 PM

We can conceive of love, kindness, mercy, wisdom and goodness, and that is all that we would need to use as the highest standard of morality.  These traits do not have to actually reside in some creature, but the fact that we can conceive of them, that we know that cruelty and dishonesty are less than our ideal conception of goodness is enough to use as a basis for moral values and duties.

First however you would have to get everyone to agree that morality should be based on these - those that thrive on cruelty and dishonesty would not agree.
Then you would have to get everyone to agree on what love, kindness, mercy and goodness actually are.
Also, does being able to conceive of something give it validity? One surely has to address the question of where things we ‘conceive of’ actually come from.


Indeed.
One can only conclude that there can be no agreement on “things” that have no substantial reality.
We can compare notes on ladders….....but not love.

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Posted: 30 June 2012 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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Hi,


I note that some here count this debate a win to Sam.  While I don’t fall on the side of the angels on this debate, I truly think that in terms of a debate, Sam lost.


I’ve noticed a few tricks that WLC consistently deploys and was more than a bit disappointed that Sam failed to comprehensively demolish the Argument from Morality.


In the hope that, in future debates, something can be done about WLC’s use of debates to run apparent rings around more rational speakers, I’ve tried to eke out the errors in his various arguments.


I’m probably not the first, and I hope I won’t be the last, but if I can help to get fully prepared debaters to stand against WLC then I’ll have done my bit.


Please take a look at When Morality Arguments are Bad.  Any constructive criticism would be much appreciated.


neopolitan

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