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Old 01-22-2010, 12:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LogicIsYourFriend View Post
So the whole thing is saying that naturalism is irrational because one cannot trust the accuracy of his senses/cognitive faculties? I don't see how that has anything to do with naturalism, given your definition:

"Naturalism = the view that there is no God or gods, no souls, nothing supernatural. There is only the natural world, composed of natural objects, natural kinds and natural properties, etc. All objects are thus "physical'' objects."
The conclusion doesn't immediately follow from the definition of naturalism--there's quite a bit of argument involved. But to be more precise, this is the point of the argument: one has reason to doubt one's cognitive faculties, if one believes naturalism and evolution. (That is, the conclusion is not simply that "your cognitive faculties are unreliable.")
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Old 01-22-2010, 02:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
The above posts answer pretty well the challenge you throw out.

The question of knowledge is one often thrown out.

How can we be sure there isn't something more?

How can we be sure of what we know?

The scientific method is the best we have for answering questions. It is constantly reappraising so is not dogmatic. It has to meet the rigours of repeatability, publication and peer - review so the scientist has to 'show their work' rather than just make claims and expect them to be taken on faith.

It does not claim to know everything. However, what it does not know remains somewhat anecdotal. Someone claiming that meditation makes him feel better, Faith in Allah improved his batting average or going to church helped him to get a job all are open to question. We really cannot take such claims seriously because the implications conflict at the very least.

We can't simply dismiss them but we have regard them as unproven. And what is unproven is not yet worthy of belief. That may offend those who begin with the belief and then look round for evidence to support it, but it is the only logical way of thought.

Believing in something without good evidence is not logical. Not believing in something which has no good evidence for it is logical.

There is no good evidence for any god. Not believing in any god is therefore logical.

Atheism is logical. Theism isn't.
Life comes from arbitrary accidental random happenstance; this is logical to you?
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Old 01-22-2010, 02:46 AM
 
Location: South Wales, Yes, I'm, back!
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Yes, I understand that it isn't an attack on evolution or natural selection, but an objection to the naturalist view of there is no reason to suppose that a god exists.

But it still comes down to the same problem, the way 'belief' is used. Sure it can be defined as what wwe believe, but it appears that empirical verification is being left out of the equation.

I can accept the point that there is no guarantee that what beliefs we have can be relied upon to be right because natural selection is no neccessarily going to leave us with truth - finding abilities rather than survival abilities.

On the other hand, one can argue that the survivability of a species may depend on gettiing it right rather than wrong. however, even if it is true that beliefs as untested beliefs cannot be relied upon to be correct, the element of verification has to be factored in, especially as we have the mental faculties to do it.

Thus the equivocation (whether one calls it using the same term to mean two different things or switching meanings along the line, it comes to the same thing) is really an important factor in the argument. And a proposition that uses (not to say is based on) an equivocation has to be suspect.

That's even without Plantinga's assumption that a naturalist view would not have the assurance that a god could guarantee correct beliefs is no proof or evidence that there is actually anything better than the naturalist view. This is still no good reason to believe that a god exists.

So the further explanation just seems to make Plantinga wrong on two counts not just one.
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
The conclusion doesn't immediately follow from the definition of naturalism--there's quite a bit of argument involved. But to be more precise, this is the point of the argument: one has reason to doubt one's cognitive faculties, if one believes naturalism and evolution. (That is, the conclusion is not simply that "your cognitive faculties are unreliable.")
Can I get a show of hands of non-believers who seriously think that their cognitive abilities are 100% reliable? Everyone who feels that any thought that pops into their head is perfectly true without need for examination or testing please step up and let us know, because this argument is directed at you.

The rest of us can safely ignore it, since the author has a lot of work to do to get from the current conclusion of "there might possibly be some unknown probability that you're not always 100% right" to what he's actually trying to prove.
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:46 AM
 
Location: South Wales, Yes, I'm, back!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonrise View Post
Life comes from arbitrary accidental random happenstance; this is logical to you?
No. But then that is not what the naturalist viewpoint theory says. That is a creationist strawman.

The theory is that it all came about for reasons, inevitable proceses based on the inherent laws of matter. But there is no evidence for it having been planned in advance which is what Creationism claims.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:00 AM
 
Location: South Wales, Yes, I'm, back!
16,166 posts, read 8,188,395 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCfromNC View Post
Can I get a show of hands of non-believers who seriously think that their cognitive abilities are 100% reliable? Everyone who feels that any thought that pops into their head is perfectly true without need for examination or testing please step up and let us know, because this argument is directed at you.

The rest of us can safely ignore it, since the author has a lot of work to do to get from the current conclusion of "there might possibly be some unknown probability that you're not always 100% right" to what he's actually trying to prove.
One thing I have learned is that our senses cannot always be relied upon. Nor can our cognitive facilities be trusted. 'Common sense' as it is so often trotted out, is one of the worst argument for believing anything.

Even discounting the tendency to regard as 'common sense' anything our inerited or acquired prejudices have come to accept, the perceptions we have are often misleading.

When I studied up about the flat earth thing (during which I learned that the church did not teach that the world was flat: Waits for objective atheist of the month award) I read about the experiment to prove (or not) curvature of the earth on Old Bedford canal (Wallace and Hamden) The old bargee who assisted remarked 'Well, I been working this canal for years and I can tell you that I know it's flat.' (or words to that effect).

His comments were perfectly good common sense, and given that Science itself says that water will always be level, that should settle the matter, shouldn't it?

But he was actually wrong. There was nothing wrong with his eyes or brain but he was wrong. Science proved it and it took a long while before the only people who would insist that the earth was flat were those who simply denied all the evidence.

That is a good example of the limitations of our perceptions and beliefs but also of how science can show us truths that ordinarily our evolved perceptions could not. Science deserves to be trusted, somewhat, and Plantinga's proposition, leaving the scientific method out of the reckoning, is flawed through short - sightedness, or so it seems to me.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Ok everyone, here's a more complete presentation of the argument. This will only be a summary (perhaps overly simplified), as I understand it. It's really long for a post, and I apologize for the length! But the argument is complicated. Enjoy!



Naturalism = the view that there is no God or gods, no souls, nothing supernatural. There is only the natural world, composed of natural objects, natural kinds and natural properties, etc. All objects are thus "physical'' objects.


If naturalism is true, then nothing has orchestrated evolution--evolution would trace back to brute forces of nature, unguided.
The correct conclusion here is that nothing supernatural has orchestrated evolution. But the emotional appeal to believers is good apologetics, so I won't object too much.

Quote:
This shows that the probability of having reliable belief-forming mechanisms, given naturalism and evolution, really comes down to the relation between behavior and belief. And there are four mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive possibilities for the way belief and behavior can relate. Here they are:
I'd feel better if this exhaustive list didn't exclude a number of ideas about belief formation already discussed in this thread. This seems to assume that beliefs are never tested against reality - which is great for Christian apologetics trying to reinforce believers' faith-based ideas. The approach isn't all that convincing to people who routinely test what they believe against the natural world, though.

Quote:
(1) Epiphenomenalism. Beliefs are not related to behavior. Beliefs are produced by the brain, but do not have any causal efficacy with respect to the body (beliefs are only effects, but not causes). On this view, P(R/N & E) would have to be estimated as quite low.
This assumes that the processes which produce belief are unrelated to the rest of brain function. It could be that the processes which produce beliefs are strongly related to those which generate actions which can be selected for. This would be the case if beliefs are thought reliable only if they correlate well to external observations - that is, verifying belief through observation and experimentation are just as important to the brain as idly thinking about them. In this case, P(R/N & E) would have to be estimated as fairly high and thus this whole argument collapses.

Now it's up to Plantinga to produce concrete evidence that this is not the case. Links to peer-reviewed scientific studies of brain function would be ideal here.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:20 AM
 
4,823 posts, read 3,663,257 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
One thing I have learned is that our senses cannot always be relied upon. Nor can our cognitive facilities be trusted. 'Common sense' as it is so often trotted out, is one of the worst argument for believing anything.
Yep, I agree. There has been a lot of scientific research showing that our senses and beliefs can't be trusted. And it's not that we're not sure, the objective conclusion is that they can't.

There are way too many examples to list. Placebos are known to cause people to observe things which aren't happening - and even observers who know this is the case can't stop this from happening. Police and lawyers know that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. In the audio world, components which look more expensive sound better when you can see the equipment you're listening to.

And through investigation, we've developed methods to get around these limitations in our senses. We use double blind studies to evaluate medicine. We favor physical evidence over eyewitness testimony in a trial. The entire peer-review system of science exists because people don't always get it right.

As usual, Christian apologists and philosophies of science are hundreds of years behind the times. Here's an argument which feels that it's a ground-breaking discovery to point out that our senses aren't perfect. Meanwhile, naturalists have already discovered this, know in detail cases where they are more or less reliable, and have come up with methods to work around this problem and produce useful results. So the idea that we can't always trust our beliefs might be a "defeater" for naturalism in the world of idle philosophy, but back in the real world it's just an unfortunate fact of life that we have to deal with to get things done.
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
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But right from the git-go, you make an erroneous statement, Matrix:

Quote:
"If naturalism is true, then nothing has orchestrated evolution--evolution would trace back to brute forces of nature, unguided. But this generates, or at least should generate, certain questions about the reliability of our cognitive faculties (memory, perception, reason). If we grant naturalism, how do we know that the majority of our beliefs produced by our cognitive faculties are true? How do we know our belief-forming faculties are reliable? After all, evolution is primarily interested in survival, not true belief.

This question, and the doubt that it should raise (at least initially), is connected to the origin of our cognitive faculties. For on the naturalistic account, on first glance, it would seem there is no surety, no security, no essential reason why an uncaring, unguided process would (or could) endow us with reliable cognitive faculties. This is how I frame the argument, as beginning with this general, but significant, question (and I think Plantinga does too). The question should lead any thoughtful person to acknowledge there is a potential difficulty here for naturalism."
You are confusing our definition of "directed" or "unguided" with how the DNA system works. Given that we have, and are beholding to, DNA as our basic system, this provides a sort of built-in guidance system by the very logic of it's ability to continue in a mutated form, assuming it's not lethal. The ability to sustain endless mutations, and then by the organism's simple presence , test them for "fit", is a clever situation.

That fit can (and did!) result in recognition of the advantages of abstract thought and precognition. That also forms the basis of our probably false overlay of "faith" and theism. After all, our brains, our "selves" are looking now for better explanations, given our inherited sense of curiosity, which also gave us caves, fire, spears, TV, the H-Bomb, etc.

That does not mean, or require, a designer for the original DNA concept, because it's so inherently simple, albeit elegant, such that it only needs to exist to move forward in complexity. This is due entirely to the endless opportunities to be tested once some new version emerges, again and again.
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:50 AM
 
4,657 posts, read 5,577,786 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
No. But then that is not what the naturalist viewpoint theory says. That is a creationist strawman.

The theory is that it all came about for reasons, inevitable proceses based on the inherent laws of matter. But there is no evidence for it having been planned in advance which is what Creationism claims.
How can you have "reasons" without planning; and who or what did the reasoning? Your post is a verbal mobias strip.
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