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Archived => Craig vs Krauss => Topic started by: Jason Dulle on April 13, 2011, 02:13:24 pm

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 13, 2011, 02:13:24 pm

I noticed that Krauss was quite clear in the debate regarding his disdain of philosophy. While he said he does not subscribe to scientism because he believes we can have knowledge outside of what science can tell us, he did make it clear that he does not think philosophical arguments can ever serve as evidence. It seemed clear that he required empirical evidence.  But as Greg Koukl likes to say, that’s like trying to weigh a chicken with a yardstick. It’s the wrong tool for the job.  Philosophy is the academic discipline best equipped to provide evidence for or against the existence of an immaterial entity.

I’m hearing more and more people respond as Krauss did these days.  How would you rebut it?  How would you demonstrate that philosophical arguments and conclusions do serve as evidence in debate (particularly regarding the existence of God)?  How would you go about showing that philosophy is indispensable to the task of discovering the truth?  

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: wes on April 14, 2011, 11:18:41 pm
Hey Jason,

Well, first I'd like to say that I agree with you that such reasoning is certainly becoming more prevalent among college students, as well as college professors.

I recently spoke with a atheist student at MNU here in the Johnson County Kansas area who denied that logic could be used in relation to the universe, because the universe "doesn't care" about human logic. Dr. Krauss's reasoning seemed to be along the same lines. Many times, these arguments also come with the example of quantam mechanics, which seem to break the law of contradiction.

But these attempts at undermining philosophy, and logic are futile, and in fact self-refuting. One only needs to point out, that to deny logic, one must utter a statement in logical form to deny it; and thus uses logic, to deny the validity of logic. Such a tactic is clearly self-defeating.

The same holds true for all aspects of philosophy. Many believe that philosophy is some other form of the sciences that can not be trusted, and is obscure in nature. But again, such people are simply confused. The truth of the matter, is that science, history, medicine, and any and all other bodies of knowledge presuppose the foundations of philosophy and as such rely on philosophical predispositions in order to do their research. A scientist cannot form an hypothesis, without presupposing logic. A mathematician cannot do algebraic equations without assuming that numbers accurately corollate to reality. An archeologist cannot make reasonable judgements about a particular societies ancient culture without assuming the basic functionality of his rational capabilities.

So what I am trying to say, is that Krauss's statement that "philosophical argument" cannot provide reliable evidence, is simply silly. Krauss cannot even determine if his so called "evidence" within science is reliable, without first assuming several philosophical predispositions. Such as; A.) His mental faculties are functioning properly (how does he know they are?) B.) That his physical faculties (5 senses) can be trusted to portray an accurate depiction of reality. C.) That his physical faculties are properly interacting with his mental faculties. D.) That logic is to be retained over illogic, that mathematical equations accurately correlate to reality, E.) That the reality he perceives, is the actual reality and not a fictional reality.

So as you can see, philosophy is what underpins all other bodies of knowledge. Which is why there is such a wide scope of disciplines in philosophy. Krauss is simply ignorant to the point, and is completely oblivious to the fact that while attacking philosophical argument, he actually confirms its necessity by assuming prior philosophical predispositions in order to argue in the way that he does.

Without first assuming certain philosophical truths, one would be left to utter skepticism in all aspects of life.



Wes


Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 15, 2011, 01:16:38 pm

Wes,

 

I agree.  Philosophy underpins everything.  It’s like the glasses on our nose through which we see the world.  People like Krauss are so used to them that he doesn’t even realize they are there.

 

But how would you show that philosophical arguments count as evidence?  I would do so by presenting a scenario that requires philosophy.  For example, if someone tells you, “I have a square circle in my glove box.  Do you want to see it?”, you don’t have to walk to their car to inspect the contents of their glove box (empirical evidence) in order to conclude that they are lying.  You know they are lying because the concept of a square circle is contradictory and incoherent.  In this case, the law of non-contradiction served as evidence to settle the debate, wholly apart from empirical evidence.  

 

I would also point out that philosophy is required to turn empirical facts into actual empirical evidence.  Facts do not come with their interpretations.  They provide the raw data necessary to draw conclusions, but the conclusions themselves can only be made via the use of philosophical reasoning.  For example, we observe stellar redshifts in the universe.  In itself, this is just a bare empirical fact.  But as we apply philosophical reasoning to this fact (reasoning that if objects are consistently moving away from each other, they must have been closer together in the past), suddenly it is transformed into empirical evidence for the conclusion that the universe was smaller in the past.

 

Here’s the point: If philosophical reasoning is what “transforms” empirical facts into actual empirical evidence, then philosophical reasoning is the “evidence-maker.”  If philosophical reasoning is necessary to generate evidence for any conclusion, then surely philosophical reasoning itself can serve as evidence.  I’m having a hard time articulating this, so hopefully it makes sense.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: wes on April 15, 2011, 02:42:34 pm
I think were just agreeing at this point.

The sad thing is that, philosophical rigor has gone out the window in favor of scientific elitism. The problem is the 2 fields work together, and what's more is that philosophy does not depend on science, but science depends on philosophy.

But good luck finding this on youtube, most responses include, "You know I just think philosophy is a bunch of garbage" (while uttering a statement in logical form), and I don't believe that philosophy can count as evidence, (while interperting the evidence with philosophical presuppositions.)

The current neo-atheistic community is simply ignorant. It's hard to find any that really challenge your thinking.



Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Alexander on April 19, 2011, 02:01:19 am
There is no such thing as philosophy-free science, however, philosophical arguments do not prove anything and it is a slippery slope to say that they are 'evidence.' Krauss made a good point in pointing out that Craig's arguments are indeed not scientific arguments and do not prove anything. Craig already knew this of course, but he often presents the Kalam Cosmological Argument as a quasi-scientific argument. This is one of the reasons it is not taken seriously by physicists.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 19, 2011, 02:38:13 am
If I was giving you directions to my house, and I said, "Make a left on Main St, and then a right left on Pine," and you objected that this cannot be right, what would you appeal to as evidence?  Surely it would be philosophical in nature, not empirical.  The fact of the matter is that philosophy does serve as evidence for topics within its purview, just as science serves as evidence for topics within its purview.  What I think people fail to grasp is that science and philosophy are different tools that help us discover different truths in different ways (although they do overlap).

Craig does not present the KCA as a scientific argument.  It is a philosophical argument.  What he does say is that scientific evidence supports one of the premises of the argument.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Alexander on April 19, 2011, 09:10:11 pm
jasondulle wrote:
Craig does not present the KCA as a scientific argument.  It is a philosophical argument.  What he does say is that scientific evidence supports one of the premises of the argument.


The problem is that to the lay person watching the debate, they do not understand this distinction. Craig knows that the KCA is not a scientific theory, but to the average person it sounds like it is, and he presents it as if it is good evidence when at best it is just an argument for a hypothesis.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 20, 2011, 01:02:41 pm
Alexander,

Do you have a rebuttal to offer to my first paragraph, or would you agree that philosophical reasoning can serve as evidence?  

You may be right that the average person may not understand that, but the average does not do much thinking and has little training in logic and critical thinking, so this should not be surprising.  But the issue you raised was not how the argument may be perceived by lay observers, but how Craig presents the argument, and what the physicists understand Craig to mean.  So we both agree that Craig does not claim it is a scientific argument, nor present it as such.  That being the case, I think we can both agree that physicists should take the argument seriously since they, unlike the lay observer of these debates, should be intellectually savvy enough to understand the distinctions Craig is making.  
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: brent arnesen on April 20, 2011, 01:17:22 pm
jasondulle wrote:

I noticed that Krauss was quite clear in the debate regarding his disdain of philosophy.


you guys keep repeating this.  You are insane if you think that was Krauss's point.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Thinking on April 20, 2011, 01:39:55 pm
I have a feeling Krauss's point was that if science and a philosophical position disagree, physical reality and science win out. I think we can agree reality wins out if our deepest philosophical conclusions are at odds with the world.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: brent arnesen on April 20, 2011, 01:51:24 pm
Thinking wrote: I have a feeling Krauss's point was that if science and a philosophical position disagree, physical reality and science win out. I think we can agree reality wins out if our deepest philosophical conclusions are at odds with the world.


Yes, I would suspect that that is closer to his point than having "disdain for Philosophy".
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 20, 2011, 02:07:42 pm
What value did Krauss assign to philosophy in the debate?  None.  Instead, he maligned Aristotelian logic.  And he didn't just say that empirical evidence trumps philosophical evidence.  He said philosophical reasoning does not count as evidence at all.  He spoke of philosophy as if it were mere speculation that should be taken with a grain of salt.  I would consider this a disdain of philosophy.  Someone who has respect for philosophy as a means of knowledge would not speak as Krauss did.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Alexander on April 20, 2011, 10:34:55 pm
jasondulle wrote: Alexander,

Do you have a rebuttal to offer to my first paragraph, or would you agree that philosophical reasoning can serve as evidence?  

You may be right that the average person may not understand that, but the average does not do much thinking and has little training in logic and critical thinking, so this should not be surprising.  But the issue you raised was not how the argument may be perceived by lay observers, but how Craig presents the argument, and what the physicists understand Craig to mean.  So we both agree that Craig does not claim it is a scientific argument, nor present it as such.  That being the case, I think we can both agree that physicists should take the argument seriously since they, unlike the lay observer of these debates, should be intellectually savvy enough to understand the distinctions Craig is making.  


I wasn't attempting to give a rebuttal, I was giving my opinion about how he presents the argument.

I don't think that Craig ever claims it to be a scientific theory, but I think he presents it as such, even if done unintentionally. Although I would find that unlikely since his presentations are extremely well thought out.

I don't know if I would say that physicists should take the argument seriously since it isn't a scientific argument and there really isn't much to work with. I would imagine that most physicists aren't going to do as well responding to philosophical arguments in a debate format due to the fact that these arguments can be thrown out in their day jobs. Philosophical arguments are great but they aren't the same thing as science and they aren't evidence.

I'm kinda jumping all over the place; my main point is that if the lay people of the audience understood that this is not a scientific argument and it is not taken seriously by the scientific community it would be less effective. It doesn't mean the argument is wrong, but it does mean that the argument doesn't prove anything and doesn't 'count' as evidence, which was the point of this thread.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: brent arnesen on April 21, 2011, 09:07:23 am
jasondulle wrote: What value did Krauss assign to philosophy in the debate?  None.  Instead, he maligned Aristotelian logic.  And he didn't just say that empirical evidence trumps philosophical evidence.  He said philosophical reasoning does not count as evidence at all.  He spoke of philosophy as if it were mere speculation that should be taken with a grain of salt.  I would consider this a disdain of philosophy.  Someone who has respect for philosophy as a means of knowledge would not speak as Krauss did.


Jason take a breather from your apologetics and watch the debate again.  You guys are constantly on the defense that you can never listen.

Meanwhile, Krauss maligned Aristotelian logic?  Oh no!  Because that's the only Logic we have!  Ph my God!  What will we do!??!  Help us Jesus!  Tell us what to think!
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 21, 2011, 10:23:27 am
So as you can see, philosophy is what underpins all other bodies of knowledge. Which is why there is such a wide scope of disciplines in philosophy. Krauss is simply ignorant to the point, and is completely oblivious to the fact that while attacking philosophical argument, he actually confirms its necessity by assuming prior philosophical predispositions in order to argue in the way that he does.


Perhaps, but do you understand the nature of the universe better than Krauss does? If you were sick would you look to philosophy or religion to prescribe a cure? Probably you would turn to medical science. Why in one case do you use science and in the other philosophy or religion?
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Fred on April 22, 2011, 07:27:00 am
My impression is that Krauss is rejecting pure rationalism - i.e. reason as a source of knowledge. As a scientist, he believes theories should be grounded in empirical evidence because very often, the evidence shows that reality operates differently than would be suggested by pure reason.  As examples, he refers to the rationalist expectation that heavier  objects would fall to earth faster than lighter objects, the surprising results of the quantum mechanics double slit experiment, and the existence of vacuum energy.

This, I believe, is what Krauss had in mind - but he did a poor job of articulating this in his debate.


Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 22, 2011, 12:42:56 pm
ooberman wrote: Jason take a breather from your apologetics and watch the debate again.  You guys are constantly on the defense that you can never listen. Meanwhile, Krauss maligned Aristotelian logic?  Oh no!  Because that's the only Logic we have!  Ph my God!  What will we do!??!  Help us Jesus!  Tell us what to think!

You didn't answer my question.  How was Krauss supportive of philosophy as a source of knowledge?  

You're right, Aristotelian logic is the only kind of logic there is, which is why Krauss' claim that science has shown some of it to be false, is ridiculous.  If I had 2 hours to relisten to the entire debate I would get the quotes for you, but I don't.  
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 22, 2011, 12:48:22 pm
Sandspirit wrote: Perhaps, but do you understand the nature of the universe better than Krauss does? If you were sick would you look to philosophy or religion to prescribe a cure? Probably you would turn to medical science. Why in one case do you use science and in the other philosophy or religion?

This is like saying, "When you want to measure the weight of a chicken you use a scale, so why would you turn to a yardstick to measure its height?"  Philosophy and science are different tools that use different approaches to answer different kinds of questions.  Of course science is what we would look to in order to find cures for physical ailments, but science is of little value if we are trying to determine if square circles are possible, or if free will exists.  These things are not susceptible to the scientific method.  The same is true of God.  Science can only tell us about the physical realm.  God is not a physical being, and thus science is the wrong tool to use if we wish to know whether God exists.  Philosophy, however, is equipped to deal with such metaphysical issues.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 22, 2011, 12:50:19 pm
fredonly wrote: My impression is that Krauss is rejecting pure rationalism - i.e. reason as a source of knowledge. As a scientist, he believes theories should be grounded in empirical evidence because very often, the evidence shows that reality operates differently than would be suggested by pure reason.  As examples, he refers to the rationalist expectation that heavier  objects would fall to earth faster than lighter objects, the surprising results of the quantum mechanics double slit experiment, and the existence of vacuum energy. This, I believe, is what Krauss had in mind - but he did a poor job of articulating this in his debate.

I would agree with Krauss in large part if this is what he had in mind, but I'm not convinced this is all he had in mind.  He went further by saying philosophy can never count as "evidence."  It's one thing to say that empirical evidence trumps philosophical evidence when the two conflict, but a wholly other matter to say that philosophical reasoning cannot even be admitted as evidence.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 22, 2011, 12:52:55 pm

I've been reflecting further on what is wrong with Krauss' apparent epistemological principle that “only empirical data is an acceptable form of evidence.”  This is a philosophical claim related to epistemology.  What empirical evidence could be offered to support this claim?  None.  How, then, could someone like Krauss persuade those who do not accept his philosophical principle that they ought to accept it?  He would either have to appeal to philosophy to show that the principle is rational, or he would have to acknowledge that there is no reason someone should accept his principle.  If the former, then he violates his own principle because he is using philosophical reasoning as evidence to support a philosophical claim.  If the latter, there is no reason to accept his principle, and thus no reason to think empirical data alone counts as evidence.

 

Furthermore, it is obvious that empirical data is not the only kind of evidence available.  If it were, then the vast majority of what we consider historical knowledge must be considered mere speculation since little of what we know about history can be proven empirically.  The same is true of moral values, logical laws, and mathematical principles.  Clearly we have knowledge of these things, and yet we lack empirical evidence for them.  Indeed, empirical evidence is not even possible for such things.  

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 22, 2011, 01:18:50 pm
This is like saying, "When you want to measure the weight of a chicken you use a scale, so why would you turn to a yardstick to measure its height?" Philosophy and science are different tools that use different approaches to answer different kinds of questions. Of course science is what we would look to in order to find cures for physical ailments, but science is of little value if we are trying to determine if square circles are possible, or if free will exists. These things are not susceptible to the scientific method. The same is true of God. Science can only tell us about the physical realm. God is not a physical being, and thus science is the wrong tool to use if we wish to know whether God exists. Philosophy, however, is equipped to deal with such metaphysical issues.
I was talking about how the universe works, physically. Krauss is one of the leading physicists of his generation and you and Craig and your friends seem to believe you know more than he does.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 22, 2011, 01:46:10 pm
Sandspirit wrote: I was talking about how the universe works, physically. Krauss is one of the leading physicists of his generation and you and Craig and your friends seem to believe you know more than he does.
No, you were asking why anyone would look to science for one thing, but philosophy/religion for another.  And I answered that the reason we would do so is because these are different disciplines designed to answer different types of questions using different tools.  It make sense to use science to find cures for physical ailments, but it doesn't make sense to use science to determine whether a non-physical entity exists.  That's like trying to use a yardstick to weigh a chicken.

As for how the universe works, of course we will look to science to answer that question.  But when Krauss ventures into talk about where the universe comes from, then he has left science and entered into philosophy.  As Craig said in the debate, there are no physics of non-being, so physics/science is incapable of answering the question of how and why our universe came into being.  The cause must be non-material by definition, which lands the question in the lap of the discipline which is specifically suited to deal with non-material questions.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 22, 2011, 02:00:48 pm

No, you were asking why anyone would look to science for one thing, but philosophy/religion for another. And I answered that the reason we would do so is because these are different disciplines designed to answer different types of questions using different tools. It make sense to use science to find cures for physical ailments, but it doesn't make sense to use science to determine whether a non-physical entity exists. That's like trying to use a yardstick to weigh a chicken.

As for how the universe works, of course we will look to science to answer that question. But when Krauss ventures into talk about where the universe comes from, then he has left science and entered into philosophy. As Craig said in the debate, there are no physics of non-being, so physics/science is incapable of answering the question of how and why our universe came into being. The cause must be non-material by definition, which lands the question in the lap of the discipline which is specifically suited to deal with non-material questions.
Actually I was talking about arrogance - the belief that amateur philosophers can lecture a leading physicist about how the universe works. Craig acted as though he had nothing to learn. When someone like Krauss says that 2+2 = 5 maybe you should listen because it just may be he knows more than you do.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Fred on April 22, 2011, 02:15:48 pm
What is the "philosophical evidence" for God?  KCA is an argument, not evidence.  
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 22, 2011, 04:55:38 pm

Quote from: Sandspirit
Actually I was talking about arrogance - the belief that amateur philosophers can lecture a leading physicist about how the universe works. Craig acted as though he had nothing to learn. When someone like Krauss says that 2+2 = 5 maybe you should listen because it just may be he knows more than you do.[/QUOTE]

 

Craig is not an amateur philosopher.  He is a professional philosopher.  And he was not lecturing a leading physicist about how the universe works.  Craig merely took him to task for using language in a equivocal way (his use of "nothing" when claiming that science can explain how something comes from nothing) when appealing to certain cosmological theories to explain the origin of contingent, physical reality.  Both men agreed that physics leads us to conclude the universe had a beginning.  There was no disagreement over physics for Craig to even dispute.  

 

You say Craig acted as though he had nothing to learn, but the same could be said of Krauss.  That doesn't get us anywhere.  Truth, not arrogance or humility, is what matters in debate.

 

Anyone who says 2+2=5 should be ignored because that is absurd.  I would love to see the accountant justifying ledgers that do not match up by insisting 2+2=4 in one, but 2+2=5 in the other.  Or perhaps I should give the store clerk 4 $1 bills to pay for a $5 item, and when she objects I'll respond, "But Dr. Krauss says 2+2=5."  The fact that Krauss said it doesn't give it any more credibility than if Krauss had said circles can be both circles and squares at the same time.  While physicists use math (just as they use logic), mathematics is a "branch" of philosophy, not science.  Why?  Because numbers and mathematical axioms are not physical.  So when Krauss begins to speak to mathematics he is speaking as a philosopher, not as a scientist.  Seeing that Craig is a philosopher, and he knows a thing or two about mathematics, he had every right to challenge Krauss' claim.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Fred on April 22, 2011, 08:09:24 pm
Anyone who says 2+2=5 should be ignored because that is absurd.  

There is a circumstance in which 2+2=5: a computer may store two numbers: 2.25 and 2.25000001, but display them with 0 decimal points of precision, rounded, as 2  When added together, the sum will be
4.50000001 which will be displayed as 5.  Lesson:  if you go with what SEEMS reasonable, you can still be wrong.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 23, 2011, 03:34:06 am

Anyone who says 2+2=5 should be ignored because that is absurd. I would love to see the accountant justifying ledgers that do not match up by insisting 2+2=4 in one, but 2+2=5 in the other. Or perhaps I should give the store clerk 4 $1 bills to pay for a $5 item, and when she objects I'll respond, "But Dr. Krauss says 2+2=5." The fact that Krauss said it doesn't give it any more credibility than if Krauss had said circles can be both circles and squares at the same time. While physicists use math (just as they use logic), mathematics is a "branch" of philosophy, not science. Why? Because numbers and mathematical axioms are not physical. So when Krauss begins to speak to mathematics he is speaking as a philosopher, not as a scientist. Seeing that Craig is a philosopher, and he knows a thing or two about mathematics, he had every right to challenge Krauss' claim.

Krauss specialises in quantum mechanics where the laws of physics do not operate in the same way as  they do in the macro world. Things can be and are particles and waves at the same time, things are in two different places at one time, particles appear to go backwards through time, particles spring into being without a cause. And yes I suppose in this world perhaps 2+2 could equal 5. I'm more interested in Krauss' opinion on that than I am in yours or Craig's.

Mathematics is used to make precise physical predictions about the physical world. It's used to build physical objects. Philosophy can only speculate about possibilities. Only at the fringes of mathematics where its predictions cannot be tested can it be likened to philosophy.

As Craig said in the debate, there are no physics of non-being, so physics/science is incapable of answering the question of how and why our universe came into being. The cause must be non-material by definition, which lands the question in the lap of the discipline which is specifically suited to deal with non-material questions.

This is a series of assumptions. An infinitely existing quantum soup could have been the proximate originator of our universe in which case science is entitled to talk about our beginnings.

Your God is just one of many possible ways our universe could have come into existence. Take a look at the Gnostic creation myth of Sophia if you want something really way out - I'm not saying it's true but there's no more reason to accept it or dismiss it than there is to accept or dismiss the Christian narrative.  

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Fred on April 23, 2011, 09:22:54 am
Sandspirit: Your God is just one of many possible  ways our universe could have come into existence.  

I agree, and I'll point out that Craig uses a semantic trick to (seemingly) win his debate.  He has a plausible argument (not a proof) that the universe has a cause, and with a wave of the hands he labels this cause, "God."  Next he starts heaping onto this, the attributes he thinks "God" possesses.  Some are more plausible than others (e.g. "powerful" makes sense "all-powerful" is a leap; "personal agent" fails completely).

Krauss, the amateur debater, failed to jump on this but he did make one comment that this "cause" of the universe, which Craig labels "God"  is the multiverse.  
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 25, 2011, 04:46:51 pm
fredonly wrote: There is a circumstance in which 2+2=5: a computer may store two numbers: 2.25 and 2.25000001, but display them with 0 decimal points of precision, rounded, as 2  When added together, the sum will be 4.50000001 which will be displayed as 5.  Lesson:  if you go with what SEEMS reasonable, you can still be wrong.
This is not at all the same as saying 2+2=5.  What you have showed is that 2.25+2.25=4.5 which, if it must be displayed as a whole number, will be rounded up to 5.  No one would dispute this, and no t-shirt needs to be made to make this point.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 25, 2011, 04:54:48 pm
Sandspirit wrote: Krauss specialises in quantum mechanics where the laws of physics do not operate in the same way as  they do in the macro world.
This is a red herring because neither I or Craig dispute this.  No one is complaining about Krauss' presentation of quantum mechanics.

Sandspirit wrote: Mathematics is used to make precise physical predictions about the physical world. It's used to build physical objects. Philosophy can only speculate about possibilities. Only at the fringes of mathematics where its predictions cannot be tested can it be likened to philosophy.

You've missed the point completely.  I noted that physicists use math.  It's integral to physics.  But numbers, mathematical axioms, and equations are not physical entities.  They are immaterial entities that physicists use to describe physical phenomenon.  As such, it is not the scientists who can tell us what mathematics is and how it works, but the philosopher.

Sandspirit wrote: This is a series of assumptions. An infinitely existing quantum soup could have been the proximate originator of our universe in which case science is entitled to talk about our beginnings.

Fine, but that's not the same thing as the absolute beginning of material reality.  That is the question that Craig is speaking to when he talks about the origin of contingent beings.  But since there was a beginning to physical reality (whether you want to identify it with this universe, or billions of universes prior to this one), ultimately one will get back to a state in which something is not preceded by something else.  And when you reach that stage, physics is no longer capable of providing answers because there are no physics of non-being.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jason Dulle on April 25, 2011, 05:00:34 pm
Quote from: fredonly
I agree, and I'll point out that Craig uses a semantic trick to (seemingly) win his debate.  He has a plausible argument (not a proof) that the universe has a cause, and with a wave of the hands he labels this cause, "God."  Next he starts heaping onto this, the attributes he thinks "God" possesses.  Some are more plausible than others (e.g. "powerful" makes sense "all-powerful" is a leap; "personal agent" fails completely). Krauss, the amateur debater, failed to jump on this but he did make one comment that this "cause" of the universe, which Craig labels "God"  is the multiverse.  
This makes me wonder if you've ever listened to Craig's presentation of the kalam argument.  Craig does not just label the cause of the universe God.  He argues for thinking that the cause of the universe is the God of theism.  He notes that as the cause of space, time, and matter, the cause must be spacesless, eternal, and immaterial.  Furthermore, since the physical constants are fine-tuned, the cause must be intelligent.  It must also be immensely powerful to bring all the energy of the universe into being out of no preexisting materials.  Finally, Craig argues that the cause must be personal because only a personal agent with freedom of the will could exist for eternity, and yet delay the effect of the universe's creation until a finite time ago.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Fred on April 25, 2011, 08:57:59 pm
         
Posted by fredonly
Quote:
I  agree, and I'll point out that Craig uses a semantic trick to  (seemingly) win his debate.  He has a plausible argument (not a proof)  that the universe has a cause, and with a wave of the hands he labels  this cause, "God."  Next he starts heaping onto this, the attributes he  thinks "God" possesses.  Some are more plausible than others (e.g.  "powerful" makes sense "all-powerful" is a leap; "personal agent" fails  completely). Krauss, the amateur debater, failed to jump on this but he  did make one comment that this "cause" of the universe, which Craig  labels "God"  is the multiverse.  
This  makes me wonder if you've ever listened to Craig's presentation of the  kalam argument.  Craig does not just label the cause of the universe  God.  He argues for thinking that the cause of the universe is the God  of theism.  He notes that as the cause of space, time, and matter, the  cause must be spacesless, eternal, and immaterial.  Furthermore, since  the physical constants are fine-tuned, the cause must be intelligent.   It must also be immensely powerful to bring all the energy of the  universe into being out of no preexisting materials.  Finally, Craig  argues that the cause must be personal because only a personal agent  with freedom of the will could exist for eternity, and yet delay the  effect of the universe's creation until a finite time ago.

I've listened to quite a few of his debates, and have read one of his books (the debate with Quentin Smith).  

And as an aside, I'll say that IMO Craig "wins" nearly all of his verbal debates. The book he co-wrote with Smith is a draw. He lost his debate with Bart Ehrman.

Regarding Craig's arguments that you mentioned, you're right that he "notes" that the cause of space, time, and matter must be spaceless,  and immaterial. One correction: he does not say it is eternal- he says it is timeless.  

The first semantic problem is with his argument supporting the first premise, that everything that "begins to exist" has a cause for existing. Few seem to notice that he gives no examples of anything "beginning to exist."  His examples are of transformations of matter and energy.  There is at most ONE thing that ever began to exist: the universe itself (and it's debatable about whether the universe actually DID begin to exist.)

There are problems with some of the characteristics he mentions, in particular "immaterial." It certainly does not follow from the argument, he just declares it.  It is no coincidence that this characteristic is consistent with "God."  This seems a semantic trick (not that Craig is being dishonest; I am convinced he is thoroughly sincere.  But he has a Christian bias).  To declare it "immaterial" already implies something like a supernatural realm or entity.

The fine-tuning argument is not deductive, it is an argument from ignorance, a 'god of the gaps' argument.  It's an assertion that assumes a key characteristic of "God."  Using the term, "fine tuning" has the semantic connotation that implies the act of a tuner.  (I know Craig didn't coin the term, but that's beside the point.  It still has semantic power that aids his argument).

Regarding "power" - this is another "God characteristic" that he's assuming.  It's not unreasonable to assume that if the universe was caused, that the cause possessed a higher level of energy than contained in the initial universe.  "Power" is an anthropomorphic term.

Finally, it is Craig's assumption that there is no "preexisting material" ties to his argument that the cause was "immaterial."   What's the basis for assuming the material of the universe did not exist in another form?  "Creation" is an assumption, not a deduction.

Even with the "creation" assumption, I see no rationale for the creative entity to be considered a "personal agent."  Craig doesn't say that only a personal agent exist for "eternity" - he says it existed timelessly.   Craig admits that God did not precede creation temporally. "Timeless" implies a frozen moment of time, that God was an unchanging, crystalline entity (Craig admits this).  How can an unchanging crystalline entity make a choice to create anything? The "choice" had to be imbedded in his unchanging existence -  so it was essentially fated.  What is "personal" about such an entity?      






Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 26, 2011, 03:49:15 am

Fine, but that's not the same thing as the absolute beginning of material reality. That is the question that Craig is speaking to when he talks about the origin of contingent beings. But since there was a beginning to physical reality (whether you want to identify it with this universe, or billions of universes prior to this one), ultimately one will get back to a state in which something is not preceded by something else. And when you reach that stage, physics is no longer capable of providing answers because there are no physics of non-being.

We don't know there was an absolute beginning to physical reality. We "know" or it's generally held to be true that the universe has a beginning. We don't know that the distinction between natural and supernatural is really meaningful. It's one of the implications of quantum physics (imo) that there's no brick wall between what we conceive of as matter and postulate as immaterial.

Please don't confuse me with someone who believes science is the answer but I do think that behind a comment like 2+2=5 from someone who studies the quantum world there may be illuminating information that should not be ignored for the sake of "winning" a debate.

A format where it's possible to stop an say, "hey that's really interesting, what do you mean?" would be far more useful than these gladatorial, sound-bite driven exchanges. And you can see the debate format mirrored in this forum where most exchanges are little more than exercises in point scoring (rather than meaningful enquiry).  

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Fred on April 26, 2011, 07:44:37 pm
 
We "know" or it's generally held to be true that the universe has a  beginning.
Although cosmologists tend to agree that the universe began at the big bang, they do not agree that this was an act of creation, with nothing preceding it.  In terms of what they consider "known" - they can take our universe back to Planck time, and no further.  Before that is unknown territory.  This, of course, creates a gap - one suitable for filling with a "god" if one chooses to do so.  But there are definitely hypotheses about the "before big bang" period, including a number of multiverse models.  


We don't know that the distinction between natural and  supernatural is really meaningful.
Yes, this seems to me to be a leap to insist there must be a "supernatural" to explain the "beginning to exist" of the natural world.  
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 27, 2011, 07:17:37 am
You've missed the point completely. I noted that physicists use math. It's integral to physics. But numbers, mathematical axioms, and equations are not physical entities. They are immaterial entities that physicists use to describe physical phenomenon. As such, it is not the scientists who can tell us what mathematics is and how it works, but the philosopher.


Did you have a particular philosopher in mind? And the question contains the problem because if you choose 10 philosophers at random it's certain you'll get up to 10 different explanations of "how mathematics works". Philosophers can't agree on anything so it's hard to see how philosophers can be relied upon to tell us how anything works even if they do view "non physical entities" as within their purview.  Call me old fashioned but if I want to know about mathematics I'll ask a mathematician.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Ian Smithers on April 27, 2011, 11:52:36 pm

Sandspirit wrote: Things can be and are particles and waves at the same time, things are in two different places at one time, particles appear to go backwards through time, particles spring into being without a cause. And yes I suppose in this world perhaps 2+2 could equal 5. I'm more interested in Krauss' opinion on that than I am in yours or Craig's.

The 2+2=5 thing is just to do with floating point accuracy.  It's just a joke, and Krauss showed it as WLC said that mathematical truths like 2+2=4 do not change, and suddenly become 2+2=5, or something along those lines.  WLC was obviously talking on a general, casual level.  Just like everyone does when they talk about these things using analogies like 1+1=2 and so on.  No one stops them and says, "Well... not always, I mean if you are only showing whole numbers, and in fact they are floating point numbers larger than 2.49-> then ... blah blah etc".  I don't know why people are jumping all over this 2+2=5 thing, as Kraus intended it as a joke, and perhaps because it's a technical joke people don't get it.  I don't know.  It doesn't swing one way or another though.

In regards to the particles and quantum mechanics stuff, my understanding of this is that there is odd behaviour on the sub-atomic level.  However, there are distinctions which should be made, and as per usual, these distinctions are very, very rarely made:

Particles do not appear and disappear without any cause, a transferal of energy causes particles to appear from the quantum vacuum, and then when the energy dissipates, the particle returns (it is assumed).

Scientists very rarely study individual particles, they study particle states as this yields more information.

In regards to a particle appearing in the same place at the same time that is an oversimplification.  This is an interpretation of a quantum mechanics hypothesis. (ie Everything exists in all possible positions in the probability plane, until actually observed - an internet video took this and warped it to make it seem more sci-fi).

Additionally, nearly all of these things are in fact, hypothesies, they are not established and there are many interpretations.  In popular-level media, people seem to just adopt these things, and to them the word hypothesis and theory mean the same thing, in addition the following the statements mean the same thing:

"Particles may exist in multiple places at once."
"Particles do exist in multiple places at once."

The first one, becomes the second one, almost effortlessly I've noticed.  So we go from a view of quantum mechanics, to a popular-level hypothesis, to a popular-level fact/truth.  So watch out for words like, "may", "theorise", "perhaps", "believe" and so forth.  As those are all uncertain terms, which get turned into concrete so, so easily by popular level media, and their readers.

Also if it's not from a science journal, then it's more than likely just casual hype.  

Another point is that particles do not travel backwards in time, in actuality.  This was a mathematical trick implemented by scientists Dirac and Feynman, in order to allow theorists to more easily understand the observed behaviour.  Think of it like x = y * 0.5, where instead you rewrite it as 2x = y ; that's a simplistic example, but you get the idea.  This is part of what WLC mentioned, in that mathematically infinities are used to help us with our theorems and hypothesies, but they don't actually exist in real life.  Which is really crazy to me that Krauss, being a physicist of all things, just didn't get that!

So as said, there are distinctions which need to be made, and they are very rarely made.  I can appreciate ooberman's comment which is that people do get defensive and that prevents them from seeing the actual arguments, but it's my mind that this debate with Krauss was actually almost pointless, as Krauss didn't have an understanding of these distinctions as well as WLC did, which made it very confusing for the listeners.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 28, 2011, 02:27:14 am
Additionally, nearly all of these things are in fact, hypothesies, they are not established and there are many interpretations. In popular-level media, people seem to just adopt these things, and to them the word hypothesis and theory mean the same thing, in addition the following the statements mean the same thing:

"Particles may exist in multiple places at once."
"Particles do exist in multiple places at once."



I agree that almost every explanation for quantum mechanics is a hypothesis. Physicists, including Krauss, acknowledge that they don't understand the quantum level. The particle/wave duality behaviour I think is well established as a behaviour via the two slit experiment although there's no explanation for the behaviour itself. It is clear however, precisely because quantum events cannot be explained, that matter and therefore our reality is far stranger than we like to believe as we go about our day to day business. I don't really see how a philosophy based on simplistic syllogisms can help us to unravel these issues.

Another point is that particles do not travel backwards in time, in actuality. This was a mathematical trick implemented by scientists Dirac and Feynman, in order to allow theorists to more easily understand the observed behaviour. Think of it like x = y * 0.5, where instead you rewrite it as 2x = y ; that's a simplistic example, but you get the idea. This is part of what WLC mentioned, in that mathematically infinities are used to help us with our theorems and hypothesies, but they don't actually exist in real life. Which is really crazy to me that Krauss, being a physicist of all things, just didn't get that!


How do you know for sure that particles don't travel backwards in time when this is disputed among physicists. You can't on the one hand claim that everything said about quantum mechanics is a hypothesis except the things you want to be true. And how exactly can WLC and your good self be so certain that infinities don't exist in real life? Sure you can believe it to be true but trying to squash all the possibilities inherent in our existence into a watertight set of logical boundaries just seems silly.


Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Ian Smithers on April 28, 2011, 02:30:52 am
Sandspirit wrote: I agree that almost every explanation for quantum mechanics is a hypothesis. Physicists, including Krauss, acknowledge that they don't understand the quantum level. The particle/wave duality behaviour I think is well established as a behaviour via the two slit experiment although there's no explanation for the behaviour itself. It is clear however, precisely because quantum events cannot be explained, that matter and therefore our reality is far stranger than we like to believe as we go about our day to day business. I don't really see how a philosophy based on simplistic syllogisms can help us to unravel these issues.
What issues are you referring to?
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 28, 2011, 02:53:44 am
What issues are you referring to?


The nature of reality, the mysteries of existence, all of which WLC seems to believe he already has sufficient information about.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Ian Smithers on April 28, 2011, 03:13:48 am
Sandspirit wrote:
What issues are you referring to?


The nature of reality, the mysteries of existence, all of which WLC seems to believe he already has sufficient information about.

Well once again, and this is what a previous poster mentioned to you, philosophy doesn't have a monopoly on these issues, it's a tool in the toolbox.

I really don't know where this idea has come frome, that one shoe fits all.  You are mixing several things up here.  The mysteries of existence is about as vague of a term as I can possibly think of, you may as well have said, 'everything.  That's like asking for information on something, and someone just sends you a link to 'the internet'.

In respects to the nature of reality, I think that's where philosophy has it's strong point, as it deals specifically with logical truths, and thought experiments, all of which are useful in opening up lines of inquirey within other fields, to investigate our reality.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 28, 2011, 03:27:49 am

Well once again, and this is what a previous poster mentioned to you, philosophy doesn't have a monopoly on these issues, it's a tool in the toolbox.

I really don't know where this idea has come frome, that one shoe fits all. You are mixing several things up here. The mysteries of existence is about as vague of a term as I can possibly think of, you may as well have said, 'everything. That's like asking for information on something, and someone just sends you a link to 'the internet'.

In respects to the nature of reality, I think that's where philosophy has it's strong point, as it deals specifically with logical truths, and thought experiments, all of which are useful in opening up lines of inquirey within other fields, to investigate our reality.


The mysteries of existence is indeed a vague term and our knowledge of the nature of our existence is equally vague. I'm coming to the conclusion that philosophy obfuscates rather than clarifies, and in the case of Dr Craig it's just a means of "proving" something he already "knows" to be true beyond doubt. And this is why his arguments are so satisfying for his followers and largely meaningless for those who don't share his particular faith.  
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Ian Smithers on April 28, 2011, 03:45:51 am

Sandspirit wrote: The mysteries of existence is indeed a vague term and our knowledge of the nature of our existence is equally vague. I'm coming to the conclusion that philosophy obfuscates rather than clarifies, and in the case of Dr Craig it's just a means of "proving" something he already "knows" to be true beyond doubt. And this is why his arguments are so satisfying for his followers and largely meaningless for those who don't share his particular faith.
If you feel it obfuscates rather than clarifies, then I would say your understanding of philosophy is limited.  Which is odd as you must surely use philosophy every single day in your life, as do we all.  Philosophy touches science, mathematics, logic, law, language, aesthetics.  In fact essentially almost any academic subject you can think of, has an element of philosophy.  So either you scored very, very badly in all your subjects, or you actually have no issues with using philosophy at all, unless it's to do with God.  Then BAM! bias-central, can't use philosophy here, as it just obfuscates things and is totally negligable as an evidential claim.

Color me shocked.  No really.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 28, 2011, 03:54:38 am

If you feel it obfuscates rather than clarifies, then I would say your understanding of philosophy is limited. Which is odd as you must surely use philosophy every single day in your life, as do we all. Philosophy touches science, mathematics, logic, law, language, aesthetics. In fact essentially almost any academic subject you can think of, has an element of philosophy. So either you scored very, very badly in all your subjects, or you actually have no issues with using philosophy at all, unless it's to do with God. Then BAM! bias-central, can't use philosophy here, as it just obfuscates things and is totally negligable as an evidential claim.

Color me shocked. No really.


I'm aware that philosophy is used habitually and yes I still think it obfuscates rather than clarifies.

On WLC, I'm simply pointing out that he doesn't touch anyone with his arguments except those within his own circle of belief and certainty.

Do you actually want to discuss and exchange or just score points?

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Ian Smithers on April 28, 2011, 04:39:40 am

Sandspirit wrote: I'm aware that philosophy is used habitually and yes I still think it obfuscates rather than clarifies.
Then how do you explain the enlightenment era, and all the progress we have made?  Clearly it doesn't obfuscate.

Sandspirit wrote: On WLC, I'm simply pointing out that he doesn't touch anyone with his arguments except those within his own circle of belief and certainty.
Says...?  You.  How do you know this?

Sandspirit wrote: Do you actually want to discuss and exchange or just score points?
I'm pretty OK with just scoring points at the moment.  Busy day and all that.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: TheQuestion on April 28, 2011, 05:02:06 am
Sandspirit wrote: m aware that philosophy is used habitually and yes I still think it obfuscates rather than clarifies.

You're confusing philosophy with sophistry.  See, philosophy is great, and sophistry is evil.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 28, 2011, 05:02:31 am
Then how do you explain the enlightenment era, and all the progress we have made? Clearly it doesn't obfuscate.


I'm not sure when we look back on the 20th century we can claim to have made much progress. We have better ways of killing and better ways of patching up maimed and injured people but is this progress?

Says...? You. How do you know this?


I admit I haven't carried out a survey with a representative sample but if your frame of reference includes a personal God with certain characteristics Craig's arguments will probably make sense, if however your worldview excludes this God Craig's arguments are unlikely to mean anything.

Take the evidence for the resurrection as an obvious exaple. If you don't believe in God the idea that Craig's "facts" can be explained by God's intervention is excluded apriori. The claim means nothing.

Then there's the strange phenomena that always follow the debates. Both sides always claim victory. From the reactions you can see in the internet it's hard to see any movement on either side. Of course it's possible that there are people out there carefully considering the arguments and being shifted in Craig's direction but I doubt it.

Personally, and I'm not an atheist, I find Craig's approach quite bizarre, but maybe that's just me.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Ian Smithers on April 28, 2011, 06:02:30 am
Sandspirit wrote: I'm not sure when we look back on the 20th century we can claim to have made much progress. We have better ways of killing and better ways of patching up maimed and injured people but is this progress?
I think the enlightenment has brought about massive improvements, especially on the moral and ethical front, and as you say in our scientific knowledge.  The reason the enlightenment has been so tremendously successful, is because it's combined all these disciplines, prior to that, everything was kept separate and so progress was minimal, and even hindered.  Free thought has brought around a great deal of overlap where entire disciplines have been merged in other fields so they could benefit from their work and understanding.  Which is where the toolbox and tools analogy is especially true, as we recognised different tools suit different tasks.  Which is why I think rejecting philosophy (even if I grant that you actually believe that and I'm sorry, as presumptive as it may sound I simply don't think you actually live out that claim) is impossible.

Sandspirit wrote: I admit I haven't carried out a survey with a representative sample but if your frame of reference includes a personal God with certain characteristics Craig's arguments will probably make sense, if however your worldview excludes this God Craig's arguments are unlikely to mean anything.
Well I would say that this is untrue.  Some of WLC's arguments are religiously neutral, they are merely asserting an intelligent design, again I would say check out the AV section, which has a huge array of topics in it, and listen for yourself.  Some deal with specific issues like the Christian God, others are merely based on intelligent design, and others still are about lower level issues such as morality and ethics.  The logic used is deductive, and all you need to do to show that the argument presented is false, is disprove one of the antecedants.

Sandspirit wrote: Take the evidence for the resurrection as an obvious exaple. If you don't believe in God the idea that Craig's "facts" can be explained by God's intervention is excluded apriori. The claim means nothing.
I think you misunderstand this argument.  The argument isn't that God exists, and so clearly God resurrected Jesus (bear in mind this is about as far from religiously neutral as you can get) the argument is that given what we know, in terms of the historical evidence - ie, the empty tomb, the eyewitness accounts, the context in respects to the culture and history of the people living at those times and so forth, the best explanation is that God raised Jesus.  If not God, then a divine being, WLC simply moves to God since within the context of these accounts he believes the identity of this being as Yaweh.  The best explanation is judged on specific merits, like explanatory power, scope, tests of embarrassment and honesty, simplicity and the like.  Which are tests we use for any explanation to be accepted, not just religious claims.

Sandspirit wrote: Then there's the strange phenomena that always follow the debates. Both sides always claim victory. From the reactions you can see in the internet it's hard to see any movement on either side. Of course it's possible that there are people out there carefully considering the arguments and being shifted in Craig's direction but I doubt it.
Well in this case I tend to agree, I get essentially tired of the cheerleading, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't respond, if someone simply states that such and such won, we can ask why they think they, what about this argument, that argument and so on.  As with everything, on the surface it all sounds pretty reasonable and straight foward, but on closer examination things become clearer.  If drcraigvideos would stop banning people from his channel, then perhaps I could discuss with them without getting interrupted.

Sandspirit wrote: Personally, and I'm not an atheist, I find Craig's approach quite bizarre, but maybe that's just me.
Well no saying he is for everyone that's for sure.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 28, 2011, 07:02:14 am
I think the enlightenment has brought about massive improvements, especially on the moral and ethical front, and as you say in our scientific knowledge. The reason the enlightenment has been so tremendously successful, is because it's combined all these disciplines, prior to that, everything was kept separate and so progress was minimal, and even hindered. Free thought has brought around a great deal of overlap where entire disciplines have been merged in other fields so they could benefit from their work and understanding. Which is where the toolbox and tools analogy is especially true, as we recognised different tools suit different tasks. Which is why I think rejecting philosophy (even if I grant that you actually believe that and I'm sorry, as presumptive as it may sound I simply don't think you actually live out that claim) is impossible.


I think our apparent moral and ethical progress is actually an offshoot of material progress. When we have physical comfort and plenty of food we behave better (in our own backyard). A few hundred years ago we burned witches for superstitious reasons, now we slaughter for enlightened reasons, supposedly to defend freedom (but actually to defend our standard of living). I don't see this as progress.

Of course in the broadest meaning of the term none of us can escape from philosophy - but I try to keep it to a minimum. Of course I have hypotheses about life but I'm careful to make these only working hypotheses that are constantly subject to revision and sometimes complete rejection. I want to minimise the filter through which my experiences and perceptions have to pass.

Well I would say that this is untrue. Some of WLC's arguments are religiously neutral, they are merely asserting an intelligent design, again I would say check out the AV section, which has a huge array of topics in it, and listen for yourself. Some deal with specific issues like the Christian God, others are merely based on intelligent design, and others still are about lower level issues such as morality and ethics. The logic used is deductive, and all you need to do to show that the argument presented is false, is disprove one of the antecedants.


This is exactly my point - the gulf that separates the atheist from the theist. Most atheists would not see a claim of intelligent design as religiously neutral. The possibility of a "supernatural realm" is completely alien. Life is just what-you-see-is-what-you-get and nothing more. And in this frame of reference WLC's logic is meaningless.

Personally, I don't use the term intelligent design because in its normal usage it suggests some kind of anthropomorphic being. I think there is some kind of intelligence behind existence but I think trying to define it (philosphically) is counterproductive.

I think you misunderstand this argument. The argument isn't that God exists, and so clearly God resurrected Jesus (bear in mind this is about as far from religiously neutral as you can get) the argument is that given what we know, in terms of the historical evidence - ie, the empty tomb, the eyewitness accounts, the context in respects to the culture and history of the people living at those times and so forth, the best explanation is that God raised Jesus. If not God, then a divine being, WLC simply moves to God since within the context of these accounts he believes the identity of this being as Yaweh. The best explanation is judged on specific merits, like explanatory power, scope, tests of embarrassment and honesty, simplicity and the like. Which are tests we use for any explanation to be accepted, not just religious claims.


Again, the gulf that separates the two camps. Bart Ehrman made the point that from a strictly historical pov miracles are the least likely explanation for anything. The atheist wants documented evidence, preferably a You Tube video and a TV documentary series. It doesn't matter how coherent the argument is. If you remove God as a possibility He cannot be part of the explanation. The atheist will simply say, "there must be some other explanation that we don't know about."

From my own pov I don't accept the Christian narrative and consequently I can't accept the argument.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Ian Smithers on April 28, 2011, 09:38:24 am
Sandspirit wrote: I think our apparent moral and ethical progress is actually an offshoot of material progress. When we have physical comfort and plenty of food we behave better (in our own backyard). A few hundred years ago we burned witches for superstitious reasons, now we slaughter for enlightened reasons, supposedly to defend freedom (but actually to defend our standard of living). I don't see this as progress.
I think that's too vague.  Witches were burned for superstitious reasons, but we do not kill for superstitious reasons in modern times.  There are wars, but there were wars in medieval times too - so I think it's erroneous to link witches to modern day wars.  Unless you are thinking of something more analogous when you say 'slaughter' which is a term that almost begs the question.

Sandspirit wrote: Of course in the broadest meaning of the term none of us can escape from philosophy - but I try to keep it to a minimum. Of course I have hypotheses about life but I'm careful to make these only working hypotheses that are constantly subject to revision and sometimes complete rejection. I want to minimise the filter through which my experiences and perceptions have to pass.
I don't see what is broad about the disciplines I listed, these are foundational to present day life and function on both the high and low level.  You say that you can revise or reject hypothesies, which is not different from what the Christian does.  Philosophy isn't a filter, it's a tool.

Sandspirit wrote: This is exactly my point - the gulf that separates the atheist from the theist. Most atheists would not see a claim of intelligent design as religiously neutral.
That's because they're willingly ignorant and prideful.  But to be less dramatic and insulting about it, what is not religiously neutral about an intelligent designer?

Sandspirit wrote: The possibility of a "supernatural realm" is completely alien. Life is just what-you-see-is-what-you-get and nothing more. And in this frame of reference WLC's logic is meaningless.
What logic are you talking about specifically?  I get this weird feeling from reading your replies, as you make these very general and vague statments, and on the surface it sounds good, but the devil is in the details I find.  I don't agree the supernatural realm as a concept is completley alien, if it is, I just think that person is either very sheltered, or extremely bad at history.  Mankind, since we could write and record our lives, has been fascinated with the supernatural, so there is nothing that is not familiar to us, as a concept.

Sandspirit wrote: Personally, I don't use the term intelligent design because in its normal usage it suggests some kind of anthropomorphic being. I think there is some kind of intelligence behind existence but I think trying to define it (philosphically) is counterproductive.
Why?

Sandspirit wrote: Again, the gulf that separates the two camps. Bart Ehrman made the point that from a strictly historical pov miracles are the least likely explanation for anything. The atheist wants documented evidence, preferably a You Tube video and a TV documentary series.
I always find this amusing, and sometimes I am mean about it.  The atheist wants nothing of the sort, because the atheist will continually move the goalposts.  The reason I say this, is because in our modern day world, with all our technology, we cannot even recontruct what happened yesterday with any degree of certainly.  I mean hell, two planes crashed into sky-scrapers in America, and still no one really knows what happened.  So this idea of a YouTube video, or some pictures, or miraculous revelation, means absolutely nothing.  Because those who do not want to believe, never will believe, and it's really that simple.  I've spoken to so many, so many, many, many atheists, and each and every one of them has what I call the lowest common denominator - which is the one thing that is stopping their belief.  Some have the same issue, some not, but it isn't often 'evidence'.  The evidence is there, it's more how we think as people, how we use the tools we have to interpret our reality, and how we draw conclusions.  One thing I really like about WLC, is that he shows how preposterous the atheist view is, much like as I mentioned earlier, on the surface it sounds plausible, but the devil is in the details.  So this talk of wanting undeniable evidence seems to skip over the 'deny' part, because there is a will involved in that, and for the most part atheists don't even give themselves a chance.

Sandspirit wrote: It doesn't matter how coherent the argument is. If you remove God as a possibility He cannot be part of the explanation. The atheist will simply say, "there must be some other explanation that we don't know about."
Then the atheist is caught violating the logic that he clings to so dearly.

Sandspirit wrote: From my own pov I don't accept the Christian narrative and consequently I can't accept the argument.
Fair enough.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 28, 2011, 02:46:38 pm
I think that's too vague. Witches were burned for superstitious reasons, but we do not kill for superstitious reasons in modern times. There are wars, but there were wars in medieval times too - so I think it's erroneous to link witches to modern day wars. Unless you are thinking of something more analogous when you say 'slaughter' which is a term that almost begs the question.


Given the carnage of the 20th century I think it's difficult to argue that we've progressed in any way. We are remarkably good at coming up with rationalisations for barbarism. We can drop a couple of atomic bombs on Japan without feeling the slightest twinge of cultural guilt. People still die of starvation and epidemics while we pour vast resources into the stupifyingly idiotic entertainment industry. Is this progress? If humanity were seriously focussed on ending hunger and poverty, which is possible potentially, I'd be happy to talk about progress. But no, we're just as brutal when needed and indifferent in general as we ever were.

I don't see what is broad about the disciplines I listed, these are foundational to present day life and function on both the high and low level. You say that you can revise or reject hypothesies, which is not different from what the Christian does. Philosophy isn't a filter, it's a tool.


I don't think I do anything differently in principle to what a Christian or anybody else does though I'm much less attached to my ideas than most people. Philosophy abstracts from and thereby simplifies a very complex reality. I try to avoid giving too much credence to my own simplifications and, crucially, I try to accept contradictions when they appear, because contradiction is a part of reality, at least when viewed from our perspective. Logic of course always wants to resolve or eliminate contradiction but perhaps we just have to live with the fact that, for example, killing someone in self-defence is both right (protecting our own life) and wrong (taking a life).

That's because they're willingly ignorant and prideful. But to be less dramatic and insulting about it, what is not religiously neutral about an intelligent designer?


Firstly I have a question. You are judging people here. Is this okay for a Christian? I know some Christians say it isn't okay to judge.

I would say that your judgement, in general, isn't true and if you really want to engage with the enemy you need to understand this. For an atheist an intelligent designer is not at all neutral, it suggests a supernatural realm. Between different religions it can be seen as neutral. But for an atheist it's a statement that existence extends beyond the material - that which is knowable with the senses - and this is automatically rejected.

What logic are you talking about specifically? I get this weird feeling from reading your replies, as you make these very general and vague statments, and on the surface it sounds good, but the devil is in the details I find. I don't agree the supernatural realm as a concept is completley alien, if it is, I just think that person is either very sheltered, or extremely bad at history. Mankind, since we could write and record our lives, has been fascinated with the supernatural, so there is nothing that is not familiar to us, as a concept.  


The supernatural realm is alien to atheists. When they draw parallels between God and the flying spaghetti monster it's simply an expression of the belief that if you can't bang your head against something it doesn't exist.

I happen to think that we may not need dualism, body and soul, and that instead there ¡s a continuum between the finite and the infinite, the material and the immaterial, rather than a counterposition.

Why?

Trying to define conceptually that which defies definition in this way is counterproductive. Self-reflective consciousness is obviously limited and it's an act of self-deception to believe we can come up with some definitive explanation concerning the nature of our existence conceptually.

I always find this amusing, and sometimes I am mean about it. The atheist wants nothing of the sort, because the atheist will continually move the goalposts.


Perhaps, but possibly so will you. Do you really want to engage? Of course this risks having to entertain doubt. As far as I can see neither side is willing to do this.

Then the atheist is caught violating the logic that he clings to so dearly.


No, not at all, and this is where you completely fail to understand the pov of your opponents, perhaps because you view them as opponents.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Ian Smithers on April 28, 2011, 06:48:57 pm
Sandspirit wrote: Given the carnage of the 20th century I think it's difficult to argue that we've progressed in any way. We are remarkably good at coming up with rationalisations for barbarism. We can drop a couple of atomic bombs on Japan without feeling the slightest twinge of cultural guilt. People still die of starvation and epidemics while we pour vast resources into the stupifyingly idiotic entertainment industry. Is this progress? If humanity were seriously focussed on ending hunger and poverty, which is possible potentially, I'd be happy to talk about progress. But no, we're just as brutal when needed and indifferent in general as we ever were.
I don't disagree with what you are saying in essence.  But you drew a connection to burning witches and modern day wars, whereas the connection would be between medieval wars, and modern day wars.  The fact that we no longer punish people for superstitious beliefs, is progress - no?

Sandspirit wrote: I don't think I do anything differently in principle to what a Christian or anybody else does though I'm much less attached to my ideas than most people. Philosophy abstracts from and thereby simplifies a very complex reality. I try to avoid giving too much credence to my own simplifications and, crucially, I try to accept contradictions when they appear, because contradiction is a part of reality, at least when viewed from our perspective. Logic of course always wants to resolve or eliminate contradiction but perhaps we just have to live with the fact that, for example, killing someone in self-defence is both right (protecting our own life) and wrong (taking a life).
Well if you use logic, you use philosophy.  This is what I don't understand, you talk on a very high level, and it sounds fine, until I ask for specifics, and then you admit to using philosophy just like everyone.  But then two seconds later you say you don't hold it in any high regard... well in that case, STOP USING IT!

Sandspirit wrote: Firstly I have a question. You are judging people here. Is this okay for a Christian? I know some Christians say it isn't okay to judge.
Well I think there is a distinction to be made in that Jesus specifically said not to be hypocritical when he referred to not judging others.  Specifically to beware of the plank in your own eye, rather than the speck in your brother's eye.  He never said we cannot form conclusions, or that we can never point out the speck, or that we can never form an opinion about someone or something.  In fact there are also verses in the Bible from God commanding us to judge in honesty and righteousness.  When I say that, and I do use a generalisation here granted, most atheists are willingly ignorant and prideful, I am drawing a logical conclusion from my observations of their behaviour and my interactions with them.  In many situations, it seems that the mere thought of agreeing with a Christian, is tantamount to intellectual suicide for them.  In respects to being prideful, I say this because even when you have them caught, so comprehensively, they will not retract their statement or assertion.  The irony of this, is that more often than not, the things I end up catching them on, are so absolutely inconsequential to their cause or worldview, that the only explanation for them hanging on so tightly, is pride.  They aren't wrong.  They are never wrong.  They will never retract anything, and never consider any argument if it lets a divine foot in the door.  Again, generalisation, not all atheists are like this, I sort of speak of the internet/loud-mouth/YouTube variety.

Sandspirit wrote: I would say that your judgement, in general, isn't true and if you really want to engage with the enemy you need to understand this. For an atheist an intelligent designer is not at all neutral, it suggests a supernatural realm.
Like I said, the only possible explanation that ID suggests supernatural to an atheist, is because the captain of their brainship is drunk at the wheel.  Why they insist on injecting supernatural into something which makes no supernatural claims, is a mystery.  Or, in my case, not much of a mystery at all really.

Sandspirit wrote: The supernatural realm is alien to atheists. When they draw parallels between God and the flying spaghetti monster it's simply an expression of the belief that if you can't bang your head against something it doesn't exist.
Well this shows the ludicrous thinking they subscribe to.  First of all, the FSM is an arbitrary analogy, it's amusing on a high level, but it doesn't hold up on the low - and this is purely as an analogy.  All these contrived and ad-hoc analogies, like tea-cups orbiting planets, invisible sentient computers, unicorns, fairies and the FSM fail on the fundamental level.  Because when you rob something of all the attributes that make it that thing, it's not longer analogous.  You can't say that God is like believing in a sentient, disembodied, personal, timeless, invisible computer.  Because what you just described, sounds an awful lot like God.

Sandspirit wrote: Perhaps, but possibly so will you. Do you really want to engage? Of course this risks having to entertain doubt. As far as I can see neither side is willing to do this.
I don't understand this viewpoint.  Why would I entertain doubt of something so real to me?  Do you entertain doubt that you breathe oxygen?  Do you entertain doubt that you are a human being?  I mean, there comes a point where there is no room or reason for doubt, and the atheist knows this too, and I think this is rational and reasonable.  The issue is, are there good reasons for what the atheist believes, AND, are they consistent.  On this front, I don't think so, I feel I can show consistency in the Christian worldview, which I hold to, but the atheist is often caught violating their own beliefs.

Sandspirit wrote: No, not at all, and this is where you completely fail to understand the pov of your opponents, perhaps because you view them as opponents.
Well they are opponents, their worldview is the antithesis of mine, and has no meaning, no hope and no purpose.  So they certainly are opponents for the purposes of discussing these worldviews.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 29, 2011, 04:46:02 am
The fact that we no longer punish people for superstitious beliefs, is progress - no?


Of course that is progress but two things: firstly, the body count in the period since the enlightenment is pretty staggering (remember the French Revolution, liberty, equality, fraternity and madame guillotine?) Secondly, if you live in Iran or North Korea or Saudi Arabia etc you may not feel that much progress has been made since the middle ages. So, overall I don't think we deserve a pat on the back.

Well if you use logic, you use philosophy. This is what I don't understand, you talk on a very high level, and it sounds fine, until I ask for specifics, and then you admit to using philosophy just like everyone. But then two seconds later you say you don't hold it in any high regard... well in that case, STOP USING IT!


I don't see how it's possible to stop using logic and philosophy completely given the way we are made, the way we think, the way we interact with the world. So I accept that I'm stuck with it. But I don't have a high regard for the results of reasoning in this way. I'm not looking for a logical system to explain life, the universe and everything because I think that what can be explained in this way is very limited. So I'm aware that I speculate about the nature of our lives but I try not to allow those speculations harden into "facts" that will exclude or filter perceptions that contradict the "facts". And sometimes I have perceptions that I merely allow to rest in my consciousness without explanation, because I have no explanation, I don't try to shoe horn them into a theory.

It makes sense to me (there you go, another philosophical statement).

Well I think there is a distinction to be made in that Jesus specifically said not to be hypocritical when he referred to not judging others. Specifically to beware of the plank in your own eye, rather than the speck in your brother's eye. He never said we cannot form conclusions, or that we can never point out the speck, or that we can never form an opinion about someone or something.


I agree with this sentiment. It's impossible not to form judgements but we need to be honest and self-reflective about what those judgements say about ourselves.

I don't understand this viewpoint. Why would I entertain doubt of something so real to me? Do you entertain doubt that you breathe oxygen? Do you entertain doubt that you are a human being? I mean, there comes a point where there is no room or reason for doubt, and the atheist knows this too, and I think this is rational and reasonable. The issue is, are there good reasons for what the atheist believes, AND, are they consistent. On this front, I don't think so, I feel I can show consistency in the Christian worldview, which I hold to, but the atheist is often caught violating their own beliefs.


Just a shot in the dark. I'm not saying you do have doubts, I don't know you, but I do think if you want to persuade your opponents it's not enough to batter down their arguments. You have to understand how they experience the world.

The thing I suppose that I find the most confusing about the Reasonable Faith project is that WLC says that his belief in God is essentially experiental and not based on reason and rationality. If this is so why do you expect to be able to move people towards Christianity by showing inconsistencies in their arguments. At bottom I don't think belief is rational which is why when you knock down an argument you don't get a conversion or even so much as an admission that an argument is a bad one.

I'd just add that your description of atheists is pretty much the way they'd describe you.

Well they are opponents, their worldview is the antithesis of mine, and has no meaning, no hope and no purpose. So they certainly are opponents for the purposes of discussing these worldviews.


I find this rather dogmatic. I think it was Rabbi Julia Neuberger who made the observation that divisions along faith/non-faith lines were artificial because believers and non-believers often share the same values. Freedom of speech, assembly, conscience etc are surely things that should be defended in common.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Ian Smithers on April 29, 2011, 07:09:17 am
Sandspirit wrote: Of course that is progress but two things: firstly, the body count in the period since the enlightenment is pretty staggering (remember the French Revolution, liberty, equality, fraternity and madame guillotine?) Secondly, if you live in Iran or North Korea or Saudi Arabia etc you may not feel that much progress has been made since the middle ages. So, overall I don't think we deserve a pat on the back.
Well I don't mind talking about wars, however why is progress only limited to assessing conflict?  I addressed the witch example, as I didn't think the analogy was accurate, but since we agree on that, we can move on to conflict.  In this regard I think I may be tempted to agree with you.  I certainly feel that not much progress has been made on that front, and in some cases I think we've even gone backwards.  But progress isn't limited to assessing conflict only, surely you agree with that?

Sandspirit wrote: I don't see how it's possible to stop using logic and philosophy completely given the way we are made, the way we think, the way we interact with the world. So I accept that I'm stuck with it. But I don't have a high regard for the results of reasoning in this way. I'm not looking for a logical system to explain life, the universe and everything because I think that what can be explained in this way is very limited. So I'm aware that I speculate about the nature of our lives but I try not to allow those speculations harden into "facts" that will exclude or filter perceptions that contradict the "facts". And sometimes I have perceptions that I merely allow to rest in my consciousness without explanation, because I have no explanation, I don't try to shoe horn them into a theory.
Well that's fine, I think that's a very rational way to treat information and determine truths about reality.  But it seems that you feel I don't do this?  Or that Christians don't do this?  I can't even remember in all honesty what brought this up now.  But I guess my point is that I think it's good to be open to new information, and I feel confident that my Christian worldview does not violate this.

Sandspirit wrote: I agree with this sentiment. It's impossible not to form judgements but we need to be honest and self-reflective about what those judgements say about ourselves.
Sure, if I came across kind of trolly that was probably because I was, although you were not the target of that, so if you felt I responded unkindly I do apologise for that.

Sandspirit wrote: Just a shot in the dark. I'm not saying you do have doubts, I don't know you, but I do think if you want to persuade your opponents it's not enough to batter down their arguments. You have to understand how they experience the world.
Sure I don't disagree with that.

Sandspirit wrote: The thing I suppose that I find the most confusing about the Reasonable Faith project is that WLC says that his belief in God is essentially experiental and not based on reason and rationality.
I don't think that's quite correct.  I think his personal experience is the root of it, however as he himself has said, there are multiple reasons why he believes as he does. I think what Reasonable Faith is trying to show, is that overall faith in God can be rational as well as reasonable.

Sandspirit wrote: If this is so why do you expect to be able to move people towards Christianity by showing inconsistencies in their arguments. At bottom I don't think belief is rational which is why when you knock down an argument you don't get a conversion or even so much as an admission that an argument is a bad one.
I think the idea behind showing the inconsistencies, is to show that ultimately the foundation of the atheistic worldview, is actually non-existent.  It's self-contradictory.  At that point, you don't need to then jump into faith in God, but the atheist needs to recognise that his worldview, does not provide him with the best explanations for our reality, nor does it provide him with purpose or ultimate meaning.  The issue is that atheists of course live with purposes and meaning, and so I think we can start to demonstrate that there is a much more fulfilling way to live, without sacrificing your intelligence or rationality.

Sandspirit wrote: I'd just add that your description of atheists is pretty much the way they'd describe you.
Oh sure I don't doubt that.  In fact one of my most memorable er...memories - great sentence there, was of a particular atheist I was talking with over on ChristianForums.  He was actually quite mean-spirited and was very harsh in his views and allegations.  At that time I had a specific format to all my posts, I simply said, "Hello, [body], All the best." and kept it as neutral as possible, whilst engaging in the subject at hand.  Now that entire thread ended badly, either he or I stopped responding, but 14 months later I got a PM.  Now at that point I simply had no idea who this person was, but the PM essentially thanked me for everything I had said to him, that he was going through a really tough time in life, and I was a 'consummate gentlemen' (first time someone has called me that).  After some clarification I realised who he was and that he had become a Christian.  So regardless of what people think, and how they may act initially, I just remember that.  Because ultimately you really cannot tell how these things play out, and (on my worldview) I just trust in God.

I've had other people PM me and confess they are just lurkers, but a lot of what I said in such-and-such a thread, resonated with them.  I don't doubt that sometimes I talk complete nonsense, I've certainly gone back and read some things I've written and thought, "Wow... why did I say that, that's just rubbish." but that's just life really, you live you learn.

Sandspirit wrote: I find this rather dogmatic. I think it was Rabbi Julia Neuberger who made the observation that divisions along faith/non-faith lines were artificial because believers and non-believers often share the same values. Freedom of speech, assembly, conscience etc are surely things that should be defended in common.
I would completely agree with her words.  But the atheistic and Christian views speak to all of those things, and so when I talk about God, and am immediately shunned or rejected or mocked about that belief, without even the time to consider it or hear my reasons, then I think her words lose some of their power.  I do my best to inject that sense of respect, and certainly I have more than one discussion going with quite friendly and well-mannered atheists at present who do likewise.  I wish there were more, I really do.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Ian Smithers on April 29, 2011, 07:12:53 am
Oh, by the way, I just started reading On Guard, one of WLC's books, and in the opening by Lee Strohbel, he mentions that one of the first debates where WLC gained some prominence, 7700+ people attended.  At the end the attendees were asked to turn in anonymous ballots, and 82% of the non-Christians in attendence concluded that the evidence offered for Christianity was the most compelling.  In addition, 47 non-Christians walked in, and after hearing both sides, walked out as confessing Christians.  So I think these debates do have an impact, more so if one of those 47 becomes a pastor, or a philosopher like WLC.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Fred on April 29, 2011, 04:39:19 pm
Oh, by the way, I just started  reading On Guard, one of WLC's books, and in the opening by Lee  Strohbel, he mentions that one of the first debates where WLC gained  some prominence, 7700+ people attended.  At the end the attendees were  asked to turn in anonymous ballots, and 82% of the non-Christians in  attendence concluded that the evidence offered for Christianity was the  most compelling.  In addition, 47 non-Christians walked in, and after  hearing both sides, walked out as confessing Christians.  So I think  these debates do have an impact, more so if one of those 47 becomes a  pastor, or a philosopher like WLC.

I am always suspicious of statistics.  How many of the 7778 were truly agnostic/atheist?  What question was actually asked on the ballot? Was it worded as stated by Strobel, or was it worded more like "who won the debate?"   Of the 47 converts, what did they walk in with?  Were they simply unwilling to affirm God, and all it took was a compelling argument to tip them over to the camp of believers?  Did they stay converted?  Did they explore further?  

That being said, I agree wholeheartedly that Craig gives a compelling argument and he is a master debater.  He wins most of his debates. Still, anyone who converted on the sole basis of listening to a single debate, without exploring his arguments for themselves, seems like someone who is either gullible or lazy (lazy in that they would let Craig's opponent do their thinking for them).  I say this irrespective of whether Craig is correct. It's just that there are good counters to all the superficial arguments one can hear in his debates. I know from reading Craig that he indeed goes considerably deeper, and can counter the counters*, but you absolutely don't get that to that level of intellectual exploration in a 2 hour debate - you can only scratch the surface.

* and Craig's counters can be countered...and so on....the philosophical arguments are complex.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Ian Smithers on April 30, 2011, 04:43:33 am

Quote from: fredonly
I am always suspicious of statistics.  How many of the 7778 were truly agnostic/atheist?
That sounds a bit like the 'no true Scottsman' fallacy to me.

 

Quote from: fredonly
What question was actually asked on the ballot? Was it worded as stated by Strobel, or was it worded more like "who won the debate?"
I don't think they asked who won the debate, I don't know for sure, but Strohbel says they were asked which side did they feel had the most compelling arguments.

 

Quote from: fredonly
Of the 47 converts, what did they walk in with?  Were they simply unwilling to affirm God, and all it took was a compelling argument to tip them over to the camp of believers?  Did they stay converted?  Did they explore further?
No idea as to the first question, in regards to the others I would imagine it was a mixed bag, perhaps some were on the brink already, and just needed something specific addressed, perhaps others were won over, but went on to investigate more.  From my own experience, it was part (A) part (B) sort of thing, but of course in regards to the attendees I can't say for sure as those details just aren't given.

 

Quote from: fredonly
That being said, I agree wholeheartedly that Craig gives a compelling argument and he is a master debater.  He wins most of his debates. Still, anyone who converted on the sole basis of listening to a single debate, without exploring his arguments for themselves, seems like someone who is either gullible or lazy (lazy in that they would let Craig's opponent do their thinking for them).
I think in many respects the debates are good to show that the arguments are strong and sound, what people take from the debates is likely very varied depending on the person.  I know that WLC has mentioned his arguments often resonate most deeply with people who are in logical fields, such as engineers for example.  I myself fall into that category as I'm a programmer.  I really like that there is a logical streak to these lines of inquiry, however I know for instance my parents don't follow WLC at all, they are far more interested in the historical background and the emotional side, which is just much more suited to their personality.

 

Quote from: fredonly
I say this irrespective of whether Craig is correct. It's just that there are good counters to all the superficial arguments one can hear in his debates. I know from reading Craig that he indeed goes considerably deeper, and can counter the counters*, but you absolutely don't get that to that level of intellectual exploration in a 2 hour debate - you can only scratch the surface.

* and Craig's counters can be countered...and so on....the philosophical arguments are complex.

Yeah pretty much, I actually wish a lot of the debates would take the format of a brief opener and rebuttal, and then a Q&A period where the debaters get to cross-examine each other, as that to me has always been the most interesting moments in the few debates I've seen where this happens.  The audience Q&A could almost fall away entirely, because it's always the same silly questions imho.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on April 30, 2011, 04:50:07 am
Well I don't mind talking about wars, however why is progress only limited to assessing conflict? I addressed the witch example, as I didn't think the analogy was accurate, but since we agree on that, we can move on to conflict. In this regard I think I may be tempted to agree with you. I certainly feel that not much progress has been made on that front, and in some cases I think we've even gone backwards. But progress isn't limited to assessing conflict only, surely you agree with that?


I think the single most important factor in assessing moral progress is our record in respecting life. When times get tough or we feel threatened (as nations or social groups) we kill in large numbers without so much as a second thought. The 20th century is a century dominated by wars and mass extermination, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, "ethnic cleansing" in the Balkans ... it was a truly horrific hundred years even while we were providing a car for everyone, air travel around the globe and consequently seemingly destroying our fragile environment. This may sound harsh but I think it's what a visitor from outer space would see first.

I would add that it's one of those paradoxes of human existence that we sometimes pour time and money into saving a single yachtsman in trouble at sea or tracking down a murderer who has taken only one life when at other times we kill in cavalier fashion.

Would the real human being please stand up?

Well that's fine, I think that's a very rational way to treat information and determine truths about reality. But it seems that you feel I don't do this? Or that Christians don't do this?


I don't know how open you are to new ideas or information. Certainly you have some beliefs that will not be easily dislodged, this though is hardly confined to Christians. About ten years ago I spent some time talking to a couple of Mormon women. They were very open and curious despite having an almost immovable core belief - so the two things, flexibility and certainty, can coexist. I have to add that as far as mormons go those two women seem to be the exception (in my experience).

Sure, if I came across kind of trolly that was probably because I was, although you were not the target of that, so if you felt I responded unkindly I do apologise for that.


No damage done, don't worry.

I don't think that's quite correct. I think his personal experience is the root of it, however as he himself has said, there are multiple reasons why he believes as he does. I think what Reasonable Faith is trying to show, is that overall faith in God can be rational as well as reasonable.


Okay, but he believed before he created the philosophy. I don't have a problem with that but I'm far more interested his experience than his evidence. Visceral experiences that change people's ways of seeing, even though difficult to articulate, give far more insight into the nature of our lives than any intellectual argument can.

I think the idea behind showing the inconsistencies, is to show that ultimately the foundation of the atheistic worldview, is actually non-existent. It's self-contradictory. At that point, you don't need to then jump into faith in God, but the atheist needs to recognise that his worldview, does not provide him with the best explanations for our reality, nor does it provide him with purpose or ultimate meaning. The issue is that atheists of course live with purposes and meaning, and so I think we can start to demonstrate that there is a much more fulfilling way to live, without sacrificing your intelligence or rationality.


Well, the foundation of the atheistic world view isn't non-existent. It's how a great many people experience the world. A philosophy can be as clever and as persuasive as you like but if it doesn't gell with your experience you won't accept it (unless you have secondary social reasons for doing so). People process the information life throws at them in different ways. Christopher Hitchens believes there are some people who just can't accept the idea of God, and he's one of them. And I'd say that Hitchens is a very morally driven man.

Incidentally I thought the Craig/Hitchens debate was the most interesting because it was such a mismatch and neither of the debaters seemed to have the faintest idea what the other was talking about.

Now at that point I simply had no idea who this person was, but the PM essentially thanked me for everything I had said to him, that he was going through a really tough time in life, and I was a 'consummate gentlemen' (first time someone has called me that). After some clarification I realised who he was and that he had become a Christian. So regardless of what people think, and how they may act initially, I just remember that. Because ultimately you really cannot tell how these things play out, and (on my worldview) I just trust in God.


Yes, it's one of those aspects of life that fascinates me, how one individual finds another - at first glance an encounter can seem quite random but if you pay attention you begin to detect connections and purpose not apparent on the surface.

I would completely agree with her words. But the atheistic and Christian views speak to all of those things, and so when I talk about God, and am immediately shunned or rejected or mocked about that belief, without even the time to consider it or hear my reasons, then I think her words lose some of their power. I do my best to inject that sense of respect, and certainly I have more than one discussion going with quite friendly and well-mannered atheists at present who do likewise. I wish there were more, I really do.


Fair enough, but this forum can be quite a prickly place too (on both sides). I think patience and curiosity are the keys to discussion.

On you post about the WLC meeting, I read the opening chapter of "On Guard" on the website where this anecdote is related. I'd echo some of fredonly's concerns and would need more info before I could comment on its significance. I would though be interested to hear accounts of or from people who were swayed by the debates or WLC's books.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Fred on April 30, 2011, 12:26:39 pm
Posted by digitalos
Originally Posted by fredonly
Quote:
I am always suspicious of statistics.  How many of the 7778 were truly agnostic/atheist?
That sounds a bit like the 'no true Scottsman' fallacy to me.
Good point, that's the way it is worded.  This really ties to my later comments: are they merely people who do not affirm God, and simply needed a nudge, or are they the sort who are interested in doing to work to seek the truth.    But it's true, that the entire spectrum of agnostics fit the label.  My point is: the statistics are meaningless without more information.

Originally Posted by fredonly
Quote:
What  question was actually asked on the ballot? Was it worded as stated by  Strobel, or was it worded more like "who won the debate?"
I  don't think they asked who won the debate, I don't know for sure, but  Strohbel says they were asked which side did they feel had the most  compelling arguments.

I looked in the book and it doesn't say what the question was.  All we have is the Strohbel's description.  My point is that Strohble, himself not an especially deep thinker from what I've read of his (my purely subjective evaluation), is being a cheerleader of Craig's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredonly
Quote:
That  being said, I agree wholeheartedly that Craig gives a compelling  argument and he is a master debater.  He wins most of his debates.  Still, anyone who converted on the sole basis of listening to a single  debate, without exploring his arguments for themselves, seems like  someone who is either gullible or lazy (lazy in that they would let  Craig's opponent do their thinking for them).
I  think in many respects the debates are good to show that the arguments  are strong and sound, what people take from the debates is likely very  varied depending on the person.  I know that WLC has mentioned his  arguments often resonate most deeply with people who are in logical  fields, such as engineers for example.  I myself fall into that category  as I'm a programmer.  I really like that there is a logical streak to  these lines of inquiry, however I know for instance my parents don't  follow WLC at all, they are far more interested in the historical  background and the emotional side, which is just much more suited to  their personality.

Ah a programmer, like I am - at least at the core.  I did programming for many years, now I'm in IT management.  (Hmm. do you work for an oil company by any chance?  If so, get back to work!)  Like you, I admire Craig's logic.  To the best of my knowledge, he gives the most rational reasons to be a theist of anyone.  If you're looking for a logical reason to believe in God, read Craig.  I do not, however, believe that his argument is as logically compelling as it appears on the surface.  He proves God is possible; he does not prove God is likely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredonly
Quote:
I  say this irrespective of whether Craig is correct. It's just that there  are good counters to all the superficial arguments one can hear in his  debates. I know from reading Craig that he indeed goes considerably  deeper, and can counter the counters*, but you absolutely don't get that  to that level of intellectual exploration in a 2 hour debate - you can  only scratch the surface.

* and Craig's counters can be countered...and so on....the philosophical arguments are complex.

Yeah  pretty much, I actually wish a lot of the debates would take the format  of a brief opener and rebuttal, and then a Q&A period where the  debaters get to cross-examine each other, as that to me has always been  the most interesting moments in the few debates I've seen where this  happens.  The audience Q&A could almost fall away entirely, because  it's always the same silly questions imho.



I wholeheartedly agree. This occurs briefly during some of the debates, and they are always the best part.  But the very best approach is the detailed type that can only be done in books.  The only book of Craig's that I've read is his debate with Quentin Smith. It's outstanding.  I believe he has others of this format.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Ian Smithers on April 30, 2011, 11:45:10 pm

fredonly wrote: Good point, that's the way it is worded.  This really ties to my later comments: are they merely people who do not affirm God, and simply needed a nudge, or are they the sort who are interested in doing to work to seek the truth.    But it's true, that the entire spectrum of agnostics fit the label.  My point is: the statistics are meaningless without more information.
Well I think it's a big jump to say they are meaningless.  I mean if we take one sample, and say that every single one was an agnostic, who was seeking the truth - then... what?  I mean, that doesn't mean anything more to me, than if every single one of them was an atheist who was also seeking the trueh.  So I don't personally think the statistics were meaningless, I think we could get more meaning from them with more information but I've not found it thus far (not that I've looked either, so it may be out there).


fredonly wrote: I looked in the book and it doesn't say what the question was.  All we have is the Strohbel's description.  My point is that Strohble, himself not an especially deep thinker from what I've read of his (my purely subjective evaluation), is being a cheerleader of Craig's.
I don't know how you get to that conclusion.  A cheerleader is typically someone who doesn't care for the quality or success of the team, just that they like the team.  I don't think that description fits Strobel, as he has to write the forward to the book and I'm not sure how he is going to do that without being enthusiastic and endorsing WLC, this however doesn't mean he is a cheerleader.

fredonly wrote: Ah a programmer, like I am - at least at the core.  I did programming for many years, now I'm in IT management.  (Hmm. do you work for an oil company by any chance?  If so, get back to work!)  Like you, I admire Craig's logic.  To the best of my knowledge, he gives the most rational reasons to be a theist of anyone.  If you're looking for a logical reason to believe in God, read Craig.  I do not, however, believe that his argument is as logically compelling as it appears on the surface.  He proves God is possible; he does not prove God is likely.
Heh no I'm an indie-game developer, I'll leave running oil companies to BP since they do such an awesome job.

From my side I think WLC proves that God is the most likely explanation, I think of course God being possible is central to that as the entire foundation would collapse if God wasn't logically possible.  I actually think the 'most likley explanation' is pretty much his central argument, you don't think it's sound though?

fredonly wrote: I wholeheartedly agree. This occurs briefly during some of the debates, and they are always the best part.  But the very best approach is the detailed type that can only be done in books.  The only book of Craig's that I've read is his debate with Quentin Smith. It's outstanding.  I believe he has others of this format.
Oh I've not seen that one, I have so little time at the moment that I mostly just stream video debates whilst working, or occasionally watch some at lunch.  I need more hours in the day.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Ian Smithers on May 01, 2011, 12:12:32 am

Excellent, I just mis-pressed some keys, and lost my reply.  So, I will do it again, but it may be briefer.

Sandspirit wrote: I think the single most important factor in assessing moral progress is our record in respecting life. When times get tough or we feel threatened (as nations or social groups) we kill in large numbers without so much as a second thought. The 20th century is a century dominated by wars and mass extermination, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, "ethnic cleansing" in the Balkans ... it was a truly horrific hundred years even while we were providing a car for everyone, air travel around the globe and consequently seemingly destroying our fragile environment. This may sound harsh but I think it's what a visitor from outer space would see first.
My reply to this was that I wasn't only talking of moral progress, as the enlightenment speaks to our scientific progress as well, but sure I don't disagree with you here.

Sandspirit wrote: I don't know how open you are to new ideas or information. Certainly you have some beliefs that will not be easily dislodged, this though is hardly confined to Christians. About ten years ago I spent some time talking to a couple of Mormon women. They were very open and curious despite having an almost immovable core belief - so the two things, flexibility and certainty, can coexist. I have to add that as far as mormons go those two women seem to be the exception (in my experience).
Well I do try to live my life by the Bible as I feel it's a guidebook to relationships, both with God and other people.  My favourite verse, or close to one of them is 1 Thessalonians 5:21 "Test everything. Hold on to the good." as it suggests to me that God wishes us to reason, use our minds to discover the world He has made for us, but to only retain those things which are just and good.

Sandspirit wrote: Okay, but he believed before he created the philosophy. I don't have a problem with that but I'm far more interested his experience than his evidence. Visceral experiences that change people's ways of seeing, even though difficult to articulate, give far more insight into the nature of our lives than any intellectual argument can.
Ah right, well I mean you can try and e-mail him if you want and ask, I think perhaps in that respect you may be barking up the wrong tree, as often whilst personal experience is rational, it often cannot be conveyed as evidential claims, unless well supported, and much of relationships, whether between man and God, or man and man, cannot be well evidenced.  I think there were some podcasts on the site about his early years, which he does sometimes talk about in his debates and lectures.

Sandspirit wrote: Well, the foundation of the atheistic world view isn't non-existent. It's how a great many people experience the world. A philosophy can be as clever and as persuasive as you like but if it doesn't gell with your experience you won't accept it (unless you have secondary social reasons for doing so). People process the information life throws at them in different ways. Christopher Hitchens believes there are some people who just can't accept the idea of God, and he's one of them. And I'd say that Hitchens is a very morally driven man.
I think you are confusing two things.  I said the foundation is non-existent, nothing else.  So people can of course claim unbelief, and live morally good lives and so forth, but, there is no foundation for them to do so.  When you examine it and get right down to the details of why people act the way they do, what makes that right or wrong, or what governs their beliefs, I feel the atheist view is a tangled web of contradictions and double-standards.  It's the foundation that is what WLC attacks, not whether these people like Hitchens are morally good people, or live good lives.  It's that they are doing so and claiming so on a view that doesn't support their actions or claims.

Sandspirit wrote: Fair enough, but this forum can be quite a prickly place too (on both sides). I think patience and curiosity are the keys to discussion.
Sure I don't disagree, but it's unfortunate the loudest are the ones most often heard, in my experience.

Sandspirit wrote: On you post about the WLC meeting, I read the opening chapter of "On Guard" on the website where this anecdote is related. I'd echo some of fredonly's concerns and would need more info before I could comment on its significance. I would though be interested to hear accounts of or from people who were swayed by the debates or WLC's books.
I would be interested as well.  Although the pattern I notice is that if any atheist is swayed, they are immediately discredited.  In fact, I visit some atheist forums which allow theists to post in specific places, and in one I visited, there was an atheist who was pro-life, he was busy discussing with some others, but I really felt that they were attacking him.  In fact they had changed his forum account so that he could only post in the theist area (which had a name like Make Believe Land) and when I posted on this thread some points about the abortion issue which he agreed with, there was no reply from the atheists other than, "The person you are agreeing with is one of them in case you didn't notice.".  Which really blew me away, firstly on how quickly they turned against one of their own, in that regard, and secondly how my opinion and view was just immediately discredited due to my foundation for those views.  So certainly I would be interested to read/hear more on the statistics from that and more debates, as I believe it's not a rare practice to cast ballots.  I just am wary of falling into the no true Scottsman fallacy, from either side, ie "No true Christian would become and atheist." and likewise.

Excellent, made it to the end without wiping my post again.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on May 01, 2011, 06:36:03 am
Excellent, I just mis-pressed some keys, and lost my reply. So, I will do it again, but it may be briefer.


Really frustrating!!

I think you are confusing two things. I said the foundation is non-existent, nothing else. So people can of course claim unbelief, and live morally good lives and so forth, but, there is no foundation for them to do so. When you examine it and get right down to the details of why people act the way they do, what makes that right or wrong, or what governs their beliefs, I feel the atheist view is a tangled web of contradictions and double-standards. It's the foundation that is what WLC attacks, not whether these people like Hitchens are morally good people, or live good lives. It's that they are doing so and claiming so on a view that doesn't support their actions or claims.


This touches on the earlier point about experience and evidence. Our experience and the way we interpret it is probably the most significant element in why we we believe one thing or another. Of course a WLC argument is a part of our experience as is the conversation with the girl at the supermarket checkout. Every day hundreds, maybe thousands, of discreet events chip away at our consciousness. If large numbers of people come to believe something then the existence of the belief is telling us something significant about our existence. There is a reason why so many people can believe that a chrismatic preacher with a message of love was tortured and brutally murdered. The simple fact that this is a credible scenario tells us much about our lives. Of course the literal details of a belief are not true because a lot of people believe it but the moral and poetic content of the belief is almost certainly worth listening to.

Similarly with regard to atheism and what it expresses, a sense of isolation and bewilderment in a hostile universe, the idea that human comfort comes from solidarity and support, and, I think, that morality flows from this solidarity has a very real foundation in how a very significant proportion of the population grapple with the meaning or lack of meaning in their brief existance. Atheism expresses one aspect of what it means and feels like to be human.

I do believe that because the experiences I describe cannot be codified they shouldn't be deemed less important than empirical evidence or evidence thrown up by logical enquiry.

And another couple of thoughts on this. Intellectually atheism is at a disadvantage in a philosophical debate with a theist because atheism doesn't have the end of the story. But the incompleteness of the atheist argumant doesn't make it invalid or without foundation. The argument is simply this: In the past earthquakes, floods, shooting stars etc were explained as supernatural events requiring a God or Gods. Over the last 200 years or so science has investigated many of these events and found that they have  natural cause. God is not needed to explain how these things happen. Further in the course of scientific investigation no evidence has been found indicating the existence of the supernatural.

Now, at this point in the argument it's of course invalid to say, therefore there is no God, although many atheists do do this in practice. It is however possible to continue the argument by saying, it seems entirely possible that as science uncovers more and more information about matter and energy, in line wit discoveries so far, we will discover a completely natural cause for the begining of space/time that has no need of a creator.

In fact in the Harris/Craig debate a girl put this to Craig in relation to morality. She asked him if it were possible in the future we could discover a natural reason for morality just as we have discovered a natural reason for so many other things. Craig didn't deal with this question well, in fact he claimed not to have heard it properly at first, and then rather pushed it aside.

So I don't think the atheist argument is as weak as it sometimes appears in these debates, although I don't agree with it.

My own feeling is that the natural/supernatural dichotomy is a false one but that's another very long discussion.

One final point (while I'm here) I think we have to recognise any explanation we give for how and why anything exists is provisional because what we don't know almost certainly outweighs what we do know. It irks me when Craig describes the attributes of God in such detail and with such certainty. I always think, "how do you know?" Can Craig or anyone explain why God created humans by initiating a process lasting 14 billion years culminating in evolution where almost all species die out in a cosmic second. I'm not saying this didn't happen but I think unless you can say why it was done in this extraordinary way (was it the best way, the only way?) you need to be humble and uncertain in ascribing attributes to God.        
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Clarence E. Causey III on June 16, 2011, 08:36:59 pm
jasondulle wrote:

I noticed that Krauss was quite clear in the debate regarding his disdain of philosophy. While he said he does not subscribe to scientism because he believes we can have knowledge outside of what science can tell us, he did make it clear that he does not think philosophical arguments can ever serve as evidence. It seemed clear that he required empirical evidence.  But as Greg Koukl likes to say, that’s like trying to weigh a chicken with a yardstick. It’s the wrong tool for the job.  Philosophy is the academic discipline best equipped to provide evidence for or against the existence of an immaterial entity.

I’m hearing more and more people respond as Krauss did these days.  How would you rebut it?  How would you demonstrate that philosophical arguments and conclusions do serve as evidence in debate (particularly regarding the existence of God)?  How would you go about showing that philosophy is indispensable to the task of discovering the truth?  


It would be interesting to ask Krauss how he would apply that standard to other areas in our society, especially our legal system, where empirical evidence is often lacking in the court room, and where the system itself is almost completely underpinned by philosophy.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Alexander on July 17, 2011, 02:57:03 pm
What's wrong with requiring empirical evidence?
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Clarence E. Causey III on July 17, 2011, 08:59:46 pm

Alexander wrote: What's wrong with requiring empirical evidence?

Absolutely nothing.  But empirical evidence, by itself, can't "prove" anything without the aid of logic and philosophy.  I would be willing to bet that Dr. Krauss would have no problem at all accepting the strong possibilty that life exists elsewhere in the cosmos........but where's the emperical evidence for such a wild notion ?

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Sandspirit on July 18, 2011, 03:24:10 pm
But empirical evidence, by itself, can't "prove" anything without the aid of logic and philosophy.


We need both philosophy and empirical evidence (at least in the form of experience) to demonstrate anything. Philosophy devoid of an empirical starting point and conclusion is worthless - as demonstrated by the ontological argument which is meaningless hot air.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Alexander on July 18, 2011, 08:25:53 pm
gleaner63 wrote: Absolutely nothing.  But empirical evidence, by itself, can't "prove" anything without the aid of logic and philosophy.  I would be willing to bet that Dr. Krauss would have no problem at all accepting the strong possibilty that life exists elsewhere in the cosmos........but where's the emperical evidence for such a wild notion ?


Life on other planets is a hypothesis, and saying that it is probably true is not such a big deal. Now, if he were to claim that these aliens had visited earth, he knew what planet they came from, and other details that we don't have empirical evidence for...then there would be a problem.

If you were to have a debate titled, "Is there evidence for alien lifeforms," you would have to say that there isn't, even if you believe it is out there.

I'm also not so sure that I would assume this is a position he would hold (I have no idea if he does or doesn't), because he has been very critical of string theory and multiverse theories due to a lack of empirical evidence.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Clarence E. Causey III on July 21, 2011, 06:58:21 pm

Alexander wrote: Life on other planets is a hypothesis, and saying that it is probably true is not such a big deal.

I think that's true, and the reason most people think it's no big deal is because as long as ET is "out there", it seems to be a low-impact event/idea. I think it was C. S. Lewis who mused that a type of divine quarantine might exist, thus keeping us forever apart.

Alexander wrote: Now, if he were to claim that these aliens had visited earth, he knew what planet they came from, and other details that we don't have empirical evidence for...then there would be a problem.


Only we can't be sure all the evidence has been released to the general public.  Former Astronaut Gordon Cooper is on record stating that he filmed a landed UFO from his aircraft and that the film was confiscated.  Dr. James Allen Hynek has stated that while he was involved with Project Blue Book, he was sure the best UFO cases were routed elsewhere.  My best guess is some things are being withheld.

Alexander wrote: If you were to have a debate titled, "Is there evidence for alien lifeforms," you would have to say that there isn't, even if you believe it is out there.


That's correct.  So far no one can produce a smoking gun.  But most Ufologists make a cumulative case based on many lines of evidence.

Alexander wrote: I'm also not so sure that I would assume this is a position he would hold (I have no idea if he does or doesn't), because he has been very critical of string theory and multiverse theories due to a lack of empirical evidence.


Those scientists who work in fields similar to Dr. Krauss, especially astronomers, tend to grant the existence of ET a very high probability.  I think the main reason is the belief that all life needs to get started are the "right conditions".  Given the age of the uinverse, and it's size, to believe the Earth is the only abode of life in the universe would be nearly incomprehensible.
[/QUOTE]
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Alexander on August 18, 2011, 04:03:52 pm
gleaner63 wrote:
Only we can't be sure all the evidence has been released to the general public.  Former Astronaut Gordon Cooper is on record stating that he filmed a landed UFO from his aircraft and that the film was confiscated.  Dr. James Allen Hynek has stated that while he was involved with Project Blue Book, he was sure the best UFO cases were routed elsewhere.  My best guess is some things are being withheld.


Yes, some things are being held, but things like what I mentioned it? I doubt it and if you are going to claim so you have to show some evidence for it. You can keep saying if if if, but none of this gives us reason to accept such statements and my original point remains intact.


That's correct.  So far no one can produce a smoking gun.  But most Ufologists make a cumulative case based on many lines of evidence.


What evidence is that? Ufology is a lot different than the scientific search for alien life.

Those scientists who work in fields similar to Dr. Krauss, especially astronomers, tend to grant the existence of ET a very high probability.  I think the main reason is the belief that all life needs to get started are the "right conditions".  Given the age of the uinverse, and it's size, to believe the Earth is the only abode of life in the universe would be nearly incomprehensible.


Yes, but again...saying that based on these factors there is likely other life out there is different than saying you know what the life form is, where it is from, etc, and without some extraordinary evidence there would be no reason to take such claims seriously.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Clarence E. Causey III on August 18, 2011, 06:13:40 pm

Alexander wrote: Yes, some things are being held, but things like what I mentioned it? I doubt it and if you are going to claim so you have to show some evidence for it. You can keep saying if if if, but none of this gives us reason to accept such statements and my original point remains intact.

Okay.  The government withholds "things", no one disputes that.  Do you?  According to Gordon Cooper, the film of a landed UFO that he shot from his aircraft was confiscated upon his landing and never returned to him.  According to a fomer Air Force NCO (who appeared on Larry King Live), his film of an alledged UFO was also confiscated.  Unless you can make a case that both of these gentlemen are just lying, their testimony stands.  To paraphrase someoone else, if the government was a character witness at your murder trial you wouldn't anything to do with them.

Alexander wrote: What evidence [for UFOs] is that?


Eyewitness accounts.  Physical landing traces.  Films and photographs.  Radar confimation.  Gun camera footage.  Air Force documents....

Alexander wrote: ]Ufology is a lot different than the scientific search for alien life.


How so exactly?  According to you and others, not a single shard of evidence exists for the existence of *any* type of life beyond the Earth. If that's true, what then is the basis for SETI?

Alexnader wrote: Yes, but again...saying that based on these factors there is likely other life out there is different than saying you know what the life form is, where it is from, etc, and without some extraordinary evidence there would be no reason to take such claims seriously.


I know of no such standard of evidence as the "extraordinay evidence" that you cite.  Where exactly did you get that?


Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Alexander on August 22, 2011, 05:15:15 pm
gleaner63 wrote: Okay.  The government withholds "things", no one disputes that.  Do you?  According to Gordon Cooper, the film of a landed UFO that he shot from his aircraft was confiscated upon his landing and never returned to him.  According to a fomer Air Force NCO (who appeared on Larry King Live), his film of an alledged UFO was also confiscated.  Unless you can make a case that both of these gentlemen are just lying, their testimony stands.  To paraphrase someoone else, if the government was a character witness at your murder trial you wouldn't anything to do with them.


Of course I don't deny that. I work for the government and I'm required to withhold a lot of information from the public on a regular basis, but none of it is very interesting. And no, I can't prove that someone is lying (especially considering the fact that I've never heard of him). But what I am supposed to do when he comes out and says, "I had evidence but it was taken from me..." Am I to believe him? What he says might be true, but if that is his story there is nothing I can do. Not to mention that a video of a UFO is just that, a video of an unidentified flying object. If the government doesn't want a video of a flying object, aka aircraft, to be seen by the public it is not usually because the aircraft was flown here by an alien species from another planet. I've seen government aircraft in the past that if I were to take pictures of (or video), they would be confiscated, and if I were to describe them to the public I could be in serious trouble. This isn't because they are from alien invaders, it is because they are classified.


Eyewitness accounts.  Physical landing traces.  Films and photographs.  Radar confimation.  Gun camera footage.  Air Force documents....


Can you show me? Because I have honestly never seen evidence of this type that was compelling in the slightest, and I mean that sincerely.


How so exactly?  According to you and others, not a single shard of evidence exists for the existence of *any* type of life beyond the Earth. If that's true, what then is the basis for SETI?


You are twisting my words. I'm saying that there isn't any good evidence that I have seen. A video flashing lights might in fact be a video of an alien spacecraft but it isn't good evidence because it could be just about anything, most of which are not alien spacecraft. SETI is searching for life outside of our planet because it stands to reason that there is likely some out there somewhere. Again, it is very different to say that we are trying to find life if it is out there, versus saying that there is life out there and it visited us or I have a video of it.


I know of no such standard of evidence as the "extraordinay evidence" that you cite.  Where exactly did you get that?


Where did I get what? Where do I get the idea that such amazing claims need good evidence to support them?
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Clarence E. Causey III on August 22, 2011, 09:20:53 pm
Alexander wrote: [Of course I don't deny that. I work for the government and I'm required to withhold a lot of information from the public on a regular basis, but none of it is very interesting.


So you agree that if aliens exist, and the government knows about them, there exists the distinct possibility such information is classified at the highest level possible?  That's all I'm trying to illustrate here.

Alexander wrote: And no, I can't prove that someone is lying (especially considering the fact that I've never heard of him).


When considering the testimony of *any* witness, the first thing to consider is the credibility of the witness; Gordon Cooper, former Astronaut and Air Force pilot passes the credibility test.  Saying you've "never heard of him" means absolutely less than nothing.

Alexander wrote: But what I am supposed to do when he comes out and says, "I had evidence but it was taken from me..." Am I to believe him?


Why *wouldn't* you believe him?  In your mind, is everyone a liar until they prove otherwise?

Alexander wrote: What he says might be true, but if that is his story there is nothing I can do.


So you reject the story merely on the basis that you don't like it?

Alexander wrote: Not to mention that a video of a UFO is just that, a video of an unidentified flying object.


A video that showed a craft that, structurally at least, didn't match any thing known to an Air Force fighter pilot.

Alexander wrote: If the government doesn't want a video of a flying object, aka aircraft, to be seen by the public it is not usually because the aircraft was flown here by an alien species from another planet. I've seen government aircraft in the past that if I were to take pictures of (or video), they would be confiscated, and if I were to describe them to the public I could be in serious trouble. This isn't because they are from alien invaders, it is because they are classified.


I took a picture of an F/A-18 Hornet at NAS Lemoore, California in 1986, and my film was confiscated.  As you probably know, the F/A=18 wasn't classified.  So, there are other reasons for not wanting the public to see things.  If what Cooper saw was merely a classified AC, it would have been simpler to just tell him that.

Alexander wrote: Can you show me? Because I have honestly never seen evidence of this type that was compelling in the slightest, and I mean that sincerely.


There are any number of sources available online, including most of Project Bluebook, and data complied by NICAP and MUFON.  All you have to do is look.  As far as books, my two best suggestions are "The Hynek UFO Report" by Dr. James Allen Hynek, formerly of Northwestern and Ohio State University and the civilian rep for Project Blue Book.  Hynek was a skeptic turned believer.  Also check out "Unconventional Flying Objects" by Paul Hill, former professor and NASA scientist.  You ca get those for a few bucks each .

Alexander wrote: You are twisting my words. I'm saying that there isn't any good evidence that I have seen. A video flashing lights might in fact be a video of an alien spacecraft but it isn't good evidence because it could be just about anything, most of which are not alien spacecraft. SETI is searching for life outside of our planet because it stands to reason that there is likely some out there somewhere. Again, it is very different to say that we are trying to find life if it is out there, versus saying that there is life out there and it visited us or I have a video of it.


Sorry about that....didn't mean to twist what you were saying.

Alexander wrote: Where did I get what? Where do I get the idea that such amazing claims need good evidence to support them?


I understand, and I appreciate your civility.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Alexander on August 23, 2011, 05:18:57 pm
gleaner63 wrote:
So you agree that if aliens exist, and the government knows about them, there exists the distinct possibility such information is classified at the highest level possible?  That's all I'm trying to illustrate here.


No. Not that it would mean anything I agreed. The information I am not allowed to release to the public is because it is classified for safety reasons. I see no reason to suspect that if the government came across some actual proof of aliens (a video of a UFO isn't proof unless it's a damn good video) they would suppress that information.


When considering the testimony of *any* witness, the first thing to consider is the credibility of the witness; Gordon Cooper, former Astronaut and Air Force pilot passes the credibility test.  Saying you've "never heard of him" means absolutely less than nothing.


Being in the military I can tell you that being a pilot or holding a high ranking position means jack squat about your credibility. What I would focus on is if we were to assume that what he says is true, what does it really mean? It means that the government took a video of an aircraft that he doesn't know about. And what does that mean? It means that it was most likely a video of an aircraft that is not known to the public and has to be kept classified. There are a lot of such aircraft.


Why *wouldn't* you believe him?  In your mind, is everyone a liar until they prove otherwise?


You misunderstood what I meant. If I can't examine the evidence myself, even if I believe the evidence actually existed, there really isn't much I can do. I can't assume the evidence is any good.


So you reject the story merely on the basis that you don't like it?


Uh, no. I reject it because there is nothing I can do with it. A videotape exists, but I can't see it. Ok then. There is a video of an aircraft out there somewhere. Great.


A video that showed a craft that, structurally at least, didn't match any thing known to an Air Force fighter pilot.


Like I said, there are a lot of aircraft like this. The military has a lot of different types of planes and aircraft that cannot be released to the public or members of the military that aren't directly involved with them, and they are also experimenting with new types of aircraft that I would imagine no one knows about if they aren't involved with their development. This isn't as exciting, but it is the most likely explanation.


I took a picture of an F/A-18 Hornet at NAS Lemoore, California in 1986, and my film was confiscated.  As you probably know, the F/A=18 wasn't classified.  So, there are other reasons for not wanting the public to see things.  If what Cooper saw was merely a classified AC, it would have been simpler to just tell him that.


Yes, there are other reasons, and they usually have nothing to do with conspiracies or alien invaders. Pictures of shot up military vehicles are not classified but I still can't post them on the internet.


There are any number of sources available online, including most of Project Bluebook, and data complied by NICAP and MUFON.  All you have to do is look.  As far as books, my two best suggestions are "The Hynek UFO Report" by Dr. James Allen Hynek, formerly of Northwestern and Ohio State University and the civilian rep for Project Blue Book.  Hynek was a skeptic turned believer.  Also check out "Unconventional Flying Objects" by Paul Hill, former professor and NASA scientist.  You ca get those for a few bucks each .


I'll look into it, but when I have done so in the past I was usually not very convinced.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Clarence E. Causey III on August 23, 2011, 07:51:18 pm
Alexander wrote: No. Not that it would mean anything I agreed. The information I am not allowed to release to the public is because it is classified for safety reasons. I see no reason to suspect that if the government came across some actual proof of aliens (a video of a UFO isn't proof unless it's a damn good video) they would suppress that information.


Are you aware of a document prepared for the US government called "The Brookings Report"?  If you aren't, google it and read it.  It contains recommendations on why it might be a good thing for a government to withhold knowledge of ETs from the general public.  You might not agree with it, but it's a good read.

Alexander wrote: Being in the military I can tell you that being a pilot or holding a high ranking position means jack squat about your credibility.


I have to disagree with you.  Military pilots don't get those jobs a security clearances because they are goofballs and unreliable.

Alexander wrote: What I would focus on is if we were to assume that what he says is true, what does it really mean? It means that the government took a video of an aircraft that he doesn't know about. And what does that mean? It means that it was most likely a video of an aircraft that is not known to the public and has to be kept classified. There are a lot of such aircraft.


True.  But Gordon Cooper would have been in a much better position to know than the general public, don't you think?  Also, are still any classified AC from that era that match Cooper's description?

Alexander wrote: You misunderstood what I meant. If I can't examine the evidence myself, even if I believe the evidence actually existed, there really isn't much I can do. I can't assume the evidence is any good.


So any evidence that you can't personally examine, it is automatically bad evidence?

Alexander wrote: Uh, no. I reject it because there is nothing I can do with it. A videotape exists, but I can't see it. Ok then. There is a video of an aircraft out there somewhere. Great.


See my prior comment.

Alexander wrote: I'll look into it, but when I have done so in the past I was usually not very convinced.


I understand.  What I think you might find interesting from Hynek's book is his journey from a skeptic to a believer, and the evidence that finally convinced him.  Hill's book is interesting mainly due to it's technical side.  IMHO, the two best books on the subject and both written by highly qualified people.  Anyway, nice talking with you, and I'd be interested in your opinions on the the books, even if you don't find them compelling.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: pinkey on August 23, 2011, 08:32:49 pm

Isn't it the case that Physics relies heavily on Mathamatics, and Mathamatics relies on Logic as it's foundation. And Logic really is philosophy. It strikes me as a little odd how some then say that Logic is useless when attempting to let the universe tell us what it is like.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Alexander on August 23, 2011, 09:49:25 pm
pinkey wrote:

Isn't it the case that Physics relies heavily on Mathamatics, and Mathamatics relies on Logic as it's foundation. And Logic really is philosophy. It strikes me as a little odd how some then say that Logic is useless when attempting to let the universe tell us what it is like.



Sure, but logic isn't really the "evidence." The evidence is the premises that have been discovered scientifically.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Alexander on August 23, 2011, 09:57:53 pm
gleaner63 wrote:
Are you aware of a document prepared for the US government called "The Brookings Report"?  If you aren't, google it and read it.  It contains recommendations on why it might be a good thing for a government to withhold knowledge of ETs from the general public.  You might not agree with it, but it's a good read.


I'll look into it.


I have to disagree with you.  Military pilots don't get those jobs a security clearances because they are goofballs and unreliable.


Simply having this clearance and position doesn't make him credible. It makes him credible if he is talking about his area, but it does not make him credible about UFOs or whether or not he is honest.

Alexander wrote: What I would focus on is if we were to assume that what he says is true, what does it really mean? It means that the government took a video of an aircraft that he doesn't know about. And what does that mean? It means that it was most likely a video of an aircraft that is not known to the public and has to be kept classified. There are a lot of such aircraft.


True.  But Gordon Cooper would have been in a much better position to know than the general public, don't you think?  Also, are still any classified AC from that era that match Cooper's description?


Not necessarily. And I have no clue, I'm not in a position to know that type of information.


So any evidence that you can't personally examine, it is automatically bad evidence?


Well yeah...if the "evidence" only exists in the words of the person describing it, it is no different than if it doesn't exist at all. If I had a legit alien living in my house with me, it wouldn't be very good evidence and wouldn't be worth your time if I only tell you about it but don't let you see it. I'm not saying that any evidence that I can't personally example is bad evidence, but if no one can examine it, as is the case here, then it is worthless.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Clarence E. Causey III on September 03, 2011, 01:05:17 am

Alexander wrote: Well yeah...if the "evidence" only exists in the words of the person describing it, it is no different than if it doesn't exist at all. If I had a legit alien living in my house with me, it wouldn't be very good evidence and wouldn't be worth your time if I only tell you about it but don't let you see it. I'm not saying that any evidence that I can't personally example is bad evidence, but if no one can examine it, as is the case here, then it is worthless.

What type of evidence wold you have to see, or would you require, to prove that some UFOs are actually piloted vehicles from another solar system?

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Alexander on September 05, 2011, 11:40:14 pm
gleaner63 wrote:

What type of evidence wold you have to see, or would you require, to prove that some UFOs are actually piloted vehicles from another solar system?



Something beyond the mere say so of a man, that is for sure. For the people who claim to go into UFOs or that they were abducted, if they can't provide video evidence of this then they would need to grab something from the UFO that could be examined, or if the aliens gave them information that isn't yet known to human beings on earth. Eye witness testimony is the least reliable form of evidence, especially in such a case as UFOs.

I certainly don't consider a man telling us that he had a video of a of a UFO (aka a aircraft that he wasn't able to identify) to be evidence, much less good evidence.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Clarence E. Causey III on September 09, 2011, 09:18:05 pm
gleaner63 wrote:   What type of evidence wold you have to see, or would you require, to prove that some UFOs are actually piloted vehicles from another solar system?


Alexander wrote: Something beyond the mere say so of a man, that is for sure.
That seems reasonable, although a possible flaw might be that it's the experience itself, because it is so far removed from the ordinary (the knowledge and experience of a 21st Century human), that a type of possibly unwarranted bias is introduced that can't be overcome.  As an example, my guess is the Aztecs had no knowledge of Europeans, or even that such a landmass existed (or even a theory about the two).  And so would these Aztecs have been correct, since these things were unknown to them, to rule them out?  


Alexander wrote:   For the people who claim to go into UFOs or that they were abducted, if they can't provide video evidence...


Couldn't that video evidence be faked?

Alexander wrote: ...of this then they would need to grab something from the UFO that could be examined...


Such as what?

Alexander wrote: or if the aliens gave them information that isn't yet known to human beings on earth.

What type of info?

Alexandere wrote:   Eye witness testimony is the least reliable form of evidence, especially in such a case as UFOs.


If you're going to dismiss eyewitness testimony, that means tossing out as "unreliable" about 99% of everything we typically call "history".

Alexander wrote: I certainly don't consider a man telling us that he had a video of a of a UFO (aka a aircraft that he wasn't able to identify) to be evidence, much less good evidence.


It would qualify as evidence, though maybe not as "proof".

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Clarence E. Causey III on September 09, 2011, 09:26:27 pm

Alexander wrote: ...Well yeah...if the "evidence" only exists in the words of the person describing it, it is no different than if it doesn't exist at all. If I had a legit alien living in my house with me, it wouldn't be very good evidence and wouldn't be worth your time if I only tell you about it but don't let you see it. I'm not saying that any evidence that I can't personally example is bad evidence, but if no one can examine it, as is the case here, then it is worthless.

Yeah, I certainly *wish* the public would have been allowed to examine the footage (assuming it exists).  I haven't watched the Gordon Cooper interview in a while and I don't recall, but I'm assuming it was gun camera footage (I think he said he made two passes at the object).  I'm speculating but fairly sure the gun camera could be activated without firing the guns.  Might have caused an "interstellar incident" otherwise.

Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jack on September 26, 2011, 11:01:05 pm
pinkey wrote:

Isn't it the case that Physics relies heavily on Mathamatics, and Mathamatics relies on Logic as it's foundation. And Logic really is philosophy. It strikes me as a little odd how some then say that Logic is useless when attempting to let the universe tell us what it is like.

Mathematics does not rely on logic, although some mathematics may be said to rely on logic. Logic should be considered on par with mathematics. The fact that we can formulate a consistent logic which does not include the law of excluded middle should be a good indication to you that mathematics may stand on its own.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Fred on September 27, 2011, 07:37:18 am
noseeum wrote:
Quote from: pinkey

Isn't it the case that Physics relies heavily on Mathamatics, and Mathamatics relies on Logic as it's foundation. And Logic really is philosophy. It strikes me as a little odd how some then say that Logic is useless when attempting to let the universe tell us what it is like.

Mathematics does not rely on logic, although some mathematics may be said to rely on logic. Logic should be considered on par with mathematics. The fact that we can formulate a consistent logic which does not include the law of excluded middle should be a good indication to you that mathematics may stand on its own.

Of course Mathematics utilizes logic!  Mathematical proofs uses the laws of inference.  
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jack on September 28, 2011, 06:55:36 pm
Broadly speaking you're right. However, I think if you carefully define logic and mathematics you will see they are both simply abstract constructs. Do we need logic in order to have numbers? We might need logic in order to prove a particular arithmetic or number set is consistent, but then how do we prove that logic is consistent? With set theory? At the most fundamental level, I think logic is empirically verified by the way the universe behaves, just as the natural numbers are.

EDIT: obviously this view has problems given quantum indeterminacy, but then, on my view, I am not required to say that logic is consistent throughout the universe.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Fred on September 28, 2011, 09:49:07 pm
noseeum wrote: Broadly speaking you're right. However, I think if you carefully define logic and mathematics you will see they are both simply abstract constructs. Do we need logic in order to have numbers? We might need logic in order to prove a particular arithmetic or number set is consistent, but then how do we prove that logic is consistent? With set theory? At the most fundamental level, I think logic is empirically verified by the way the universe behaves, just as the natural numbers are.

EDIT: obviously this view has problems given quantum indeterminacy, but then, on my view, I am not required to say that logic is consistent throughout the universe.

Mathematics is more than numbers. It includes axioms that are logically derived.  Higher mathematics (calculus, abstract algebra, topology, real analysis...) are all derived by logic, and continued advancement in mathematics is via mathematical proofs, which rely entirely on the rules of logic.    

Logic is not merely empirically verified, it is proven at its most basic level using truth tables - which exhaustively list all possibilities.  

You are suggesting that logic is contingent, but this is wrong.  Logic is necessary.  A truth is necessary if its negation entails a contradiction.  Clearly, the negation of any valid logical argument will be a contradiction.

Admittedly, this necessity argument relies on logic to prove itself.  But there's also a pragmatic argument: if logic is not necessary, then that means it is not universally valid.  But this means any and all logical arguments can't be trusted, and no truths can ever be derived.  If you make a logical argument against the necessary truth of logic, then your argument is self-defeating.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jack on September 28, 2011, 11:27:55 pm
Mathematics is more than numbers.
Yes, but not all of mathematics relies on logical proofs in the way you mention them.

Higher mathematics (calculus, abstract algebra, topology, real analysis...) are all derived by logic, and continued advancement in mathematics is via mathematical proofs, which rely entirely on the rules of logic.    
I agree. And this is enough to verify that science relies on logic. However, if we make observations which are better described by a three valued logic than a two valued logic, then we should accept that. We don't need to through logic out altogether just because it isn't useful in one area.

Logic is not merely empirically verified, it is proven at its most basic level using truth tables - which exhaustively list all possibilities.  
I could prove addition in the same way. I just need to list the natural numbers (as many as I can or want to) and put them in a table showing that addition works. Its not a practical way to do it, but I could do it for sufficiently small numbers.

You are suggesting that logic is contingent, but this is wrong.  Logic is necessary.  A truth is necessary if its negation entails a contradiction.  Clearly, the negation of any valid logical argument will be a contradiction.
This does seem to be either circular or tautologically true by definition. Don't get me wrong, it seems like a highly sensible solution. I am just not convinced we can show it beyond any doubt.

But there's also a pragmatic argument: if logic is not necessary, then that means it is not universally valid.  But this means any and all logical arguments can't be trusted, and no truths can ever be derived.
No it doesn't. Logic can be valid under some circumstances, and not under others. If you wanted to show logic was not valid in any circumstances, you could not do that by simply showing us one case where it isn't (as in those people who say that quantum mechanics disproves logic). An exception does not imply a rule.

My view is simply more sceptical than yours. I don't see why I need to affirm that logic is necessary. I can see that logic is at least contingently valid in any area of discourse which I take as important.

By the way, which particular logic do you refer to when you say that mathematics is reliant on logic? There are many forms of logic (predicate, modal etc.) and I don't they are all necessary in the sense you mean.
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Fred on September 29, 2011, 01:26:36 pm
noseeum wrote:
Logic is not merely empirically verified, it is proven at its most basic level using truth tables - which exhaustively list all possibilities.  
I could prove addition in the same way. I just need to list the natural numbers (as many as I can or want to) and put them in a table showing that addition works. Its not a practical way to do it, but I could do it for sufficiently small numbers.
You can't prove addition by listing it in tables unless you also apply inductive logic.

noseeum wrote:
You are suggesting that logic is contingent, but this is wrong.  Logic is necessary.  A truth is necessary if its negation entails a contradiction.  Clearly, the negation of any valid logical argument will be a contradiction.
This does seem to be either circular or tautologically true by definition. Don't get me wrong, it seems like a highly sensible solution. I am just not convinced we can show it beyond any doubt.
I agree that you can't prove logic is true, because if it's not true, the proof would be meaningless.  However, it is self-evident that truth tables of the basic rules of inference indeed exhaust the possibilities, and therefore prove that these rules are true. You can reject self-evidence if you like, but this seems like nihilism.  If self evidence is that untrustworthy, you can't even be confident of your own existence; you must reject cogito ergo sum.  But in short, I'm willing to simply say that I accept the truth of logic, that it is a fundamental premise of my world-view.  


noseeum wrote:
But there's also a pragmatic argument: if logic is not necessary, then that means it is not universally valid.  But this means any and all logical arguments can't be trusted, and no truths can ever be derived.
No it doesn't. Logic can be valid under some circumstances, and not under others.
I gave you my basis for assuming logic is necessarily true, which includes the admittedly subjective basis of "self-evident."  What is your basis for asserting it is contingent?  If you have no basis, it is ad hoc and arbitrary.

noseeum wrote: If you wanted to show logic was not valid in any circumstances, you could not do that by simply showing us one case where it isn't (as in those people who say that quantum mechanics disproves logic). An exception does not imply a rule.

I don't follow you.  If you want to make a case for logic being contingent, it would be perfectly acceptable to provide a single example in which it is invalid -  if that were possible.  


noseeum wrote:  
Quote from: fredonly
If there is any context in which logic is not true, then logic is not true by necessity; it is contingent.


My view is simply more sceptical than yours. I don't see why I need to affirm that logic is necessary. I can see that logic is at least contingently valid in any area of discourse which I take as important.

The necessity/contingency dichotomy is relevant in some philosophical discussions. If logic itself is contingent, this implies that absolutely NOTHING is necessary; it makes the term meaningless.


noseeum wrote: By the way, which particular logic do you refer to when you say that mathematics is reliant on logic? There are many forms of logic (predicate, modal etc.) and I don't they are all necessary in the sense you mean.

I was really referring to the basic rules of logic, (modus ponens, and the formal interpretations of operators AND, OR, and NOT), which are at the core of propositional logic - but used in other forms of logic as well.  Any valid form of logic could conceivably be used in math, but I'd guess the most commonly used forms in math are propositional, predicate, and inductive logic.    
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jack on September 29, 2011, 07:53:43 pm
I think what is happening here is that you're talking about epistemology while I'm talking about something more like objectivity. I'm not a realist about mathematics or logic, they are abstract and their relationship to the real world is entirely contingent on the properties of the real world, not the other way around. I agree that logic is self evident, but it is only self evident because that's the way the world works. If reality was different, then (if conscious creatures could somehow be around to think about it) then logic might not be self evident.

So then when it comes to epistemology, the fact that logic is self evidently true reflects the fact that yes, logic is true within all of our experience. I don't see that I'm disadvantaged in any way by saying this. I can still know I exist through logic as well.

Back to objectivity, and I notice that our epistemic reasons for holding particular mathematical constructs doesn't say anything about the consistency of such mathematical constructs, or how those constructs might relate to reality. As far as I can see, numbers are just as fundamental a part of reality as the law of excluded middle, neither one relies on the other. We do rely on logic, in practice, in order to describe these things though. However some very simple number systems are just as self evident as logic laws I think.

We do need inductive logic to prove arithmetic, but 1+1=2 is self evidently true. I guess that doesn't give you the whole concept of addition, but it does give you what it says, self evidently, or at least as self evidently as true =/= false.

I suppose what I'm saying is that I'm sceptical about necessary truths, but only so far as I am sceptical about logic. I am not particularly sceptical of logic, I am sure it works throughout the known universe (and I even find it implausible that it isn't true in the unknown universe either). So maybe absolutely nothing is necessary. I am still justified in saying things are relatively necessary, and that statement covers everything known to man (with the possible exception of crazy quantum causality, which I don't understand).
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Fred on September 30, 2011, 07:58:21 am
 

I've been pondering this, and have come up with a proof that logic is necessary:

 

1.  1.  Logic is true in this world (assumption)

 

2.  2.  The necessary/contingent dichotomy is derived through sound logic in this world (a necessary truth is one whose negation entails a contradiction; necessary = true in all worlds)

 

3.  3. The negation of #1 is a contradiction (logic cannot be both true and untrue)

 

4. 4. Therefore logic is necessary (which entails that logic is true in all worlds)

The key assumption is #2.  Do you disagree with it?



Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Jack on October 17, 2011, 07:43:50 am
fredonly wrote:  

I've been pondering this, and have come up with a proof that logic is necessary:

 

1.  1.  Logic is true in this world (assumption)

 

2.  2.  The necessary/contingent dichotomy is derived through sound logic in this world (a necessary truth is one whose negation entails a contradiction; necessary = true in all worlds)

 

3.  3. The negation of #1 is a contradiction (logic cannot be both true and untrue)

 

4. 4. Therefore logic is necessary (which entails that logic is true in all worlds)

The key assumption is #2.  Do you disagree with it?



 
Hi. Sorry its taken me so long to respond.

Yes I agree with #2. The problem is that the argument is still circular, because it assumes a meaning of "true in all possible worlds." I assume that you take this to mean that if something is true in all possible worlds, then it is necessary and not contingent, which is what we're arguing about.

I don't disagree that the statement is perfectly valid. I just am not very comfortable with some forms of modal logic, because I am unsure of how far reaching they are. I'm not convinced that by adding concepts such as necessary and possible, we are really adding any more insight into reality than already have using classical propositional logic. If this was true, then all "necessary" means is that something is logically valid, just like saying that P is true for some proposition P. I am not very well read on modal logic, but I think I am a modal fictionalist, which you can read about here (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/fictionalism-modal/).
Title: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: Alexander on October 30, 2011, 11:29:13 pm
gleaner63 wrote:
That seems reasonable, although a possible flaw might be that it's the experience itself, because it is so far removed from the ordinary (the knowledge and experience of a 21st Century human), that a type of possibly unwarranted bias is introduced that can't be overcome.  As an example, my guess is the Aztecs had no knowledge of Europeans, or even that such a landmass existed (or even a theory about the two).  And so would these Aztecs have been correct, since these things were unknown to them, to rule them out?  


I do have a bias for actual evidence. The Aztecs, having no way of knowing about Europeans, would have no reason to believe in these Europeans. What would they base this belief on? Let's say a young Aztec girl says she was visited by Europeans, but she was the only one who saw them and now they have already left so you can't see them for yourself, you would be completely justified in not believing her. So, how could this young Aztec provide evidence of this encounter? She could show people things that she got from the Europeans that Aztecs didn't have, such as rifles. This wouldn't prove her correct, but it would be very compelling and demand you take her more seriously. But, if she simply said she met some people from another world but now they are gone, there wouldn't be much reason to take her seriously.

Alexander wrote:   For the people who claim to go into UFOs or that they were abducted, if they can't provide video evidence...


Couldn't that video evidence be faked?


Yes, and you probably wouldn't be able to conclusively prove your case with just video evidence, but it would at least give us something to examine.

Alexander wrote: ...of this then they would need to grab something from the UFO that could be examined...


Such as what?


Literally anything. When talking about a civilization from several light years away anything they have would be something special to examine. Their most common tools and objects would likely be mind blowing to us for various reasons, and likely made in ways completely foreign to us.

Alexander wrote: or if the aliens gave them information that isn't yet known to human beings on earth.

What type of info?


Anything that could be tested or falsified that humans don't yet know about. Carl Sagan used the example of asking them for the solution to Fermat's Last Theorem (although this wouldn't work anymore since we have since found the solution).


Alexandere wrote:   Eye witness testimony is the least reliable form of evidence, especially in such a case as UFOs.


If you're going to dismiss eyewitness testimony, that means tossing out as "unreliable" about 99% of everything we typically call "history".


Eyewitness testimony for everyday occurrences is more reliable, and typically when talking about history it isn't just eyewitness testimony, and if it is it is more than just the word of a single individual. However, an average eyewitness can somewhat reliably tell us something about everyday occurrences. An average eyewitness cannot tell us about such an extraordinary event.


Alexander wrote: I certainly don't consider a man telling us that he had a video of a of a UFO (aka a aircraft that he wasn't able to identify) to be evidence, much less good evidence.


It would qualify as evidence, though maybe not as "proof".


I suppose you could call that evidence if you wish, but it isn't good or compelling evidence that should be taken seriously.
Title: Re: Can Philosophy Count as Evidence?
Post by: dcherchenko on February 13, 2014, 10:13:06 pm
Check this out: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZdtCKC2mUaKxL0_1Zf5BMO-un5ccKnad_JeLxXE3mIw/edit