Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby trulyenlightened » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:40 am

Topic 1: The Truth Surrounding Human Complexity

It is important that we first understand what we do know, before we can begin to understand what we don't know. The pattern of life is consistent and repetitious. Our existence will begin with the mating of two simple specialized cells. They will increase in complexity through growth and differentiation over time(anabolism). Once we reach the height of our metabolic complexity, we begin to slowly catabolize over time. In other words, we become less complex and less energy efficient. During this period of the cycle, new changes, new knowledge, new growth, new proficiencies, new languages, and new habits are very difficult to acquire. This decline in complexity and energy efficiency will eventually lead to the death of the organism. Everything that we observed as being complex, in reality, is based on underlying layers of simplicity. Cells are made up of simple organelles. Organs are made up of simple cells. Systems are made from simple organs. Brick homes(no matter how complex the design), are made from simple bricks. A complex musical score for a symphony, is composed of simple notes. An intellectual symposium is still composed of simple words. Even the most complex math is based on simple addition. It is through these underlying simple building blocks, that we can begin to understand the added complexities inherent in all natural phenomenon. This understanding is vital for our survival. And, the more we can learn, the better our chances for survival will be. Our physical senses follow this same cycle of simplicity, growth, maintenance, and decline.

We all know that what we see is not only inverted(upside down), but is initially colourless. Visual images are created when a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum(massless photons) stimulates the physical receptors on the retina of the eye. Low level excitation(white light) and high level excitation(colour). Each sensory signal is interpreted by the brain as a tiny visual portion of our objective reality. The more sensory input to the brain, the better the picture the brain can present. Unfortunately, there is not enough signals to give the truest image, so the brain must fill in the blanks. It's best guess, if you will. The level of functionality is determined by our genes. This truth can be easily seen in observing the effects of many visual maladies. This means that what we see is only a composite image, based on information the brain receives from simple specialized cells.

We all know that taste and olfaction(smell) are the result of stimulating specialized receptor cells on the tongue and the roof of the nose. They are both stimulated by only a few molecules on the tongue, or in the air. Of course molecules themselves don't have taste or smell. It is the brain that makes that interpretation. Again the differences in interpretation is also determined by our genes.

We all know that sound is only an audible vibration of pressure wave moving through the air(or another medium). This vibration of air is picked up by our outer, middle and inner ear(cochlea). These pressure waves cause different regions of the basilar membrane(thin to thick) to vibrate, and the hair cells(organ of Corti) to send its impulses to the brain. The brain then knows what area of the membrane is vibrating. This information is presented to our consciousness as different sounds and different pitches(music, sound, etc.). Therefore, what we perceive as sound or music, is only the representation of what areas of the basilar membrane is being stimulated. This can easily be duplicated in the lab. Again, our auditory sense is controlled by our genes.

Finally, our sense of touch is the brain's representation of the amount of compression on mechanoreceptors(Merkel's Disk, Pacinian Corpuscle, etc.). Again it is the brain and our language that interprets and represents all the information that it receives from its receptors. Anything that is not detected by these receptors, from a subjective perspective, simply do not exist.

My questions are, are we something greater than the sum of our parts? Or, are we only the outward manifestation of these parts? Are we really so complex, or just a composite of simple systems working together to survive? As we age, do our senses age with us? If so, can we still trust our brain's representation of our senses? How do you think our reality may be altered if our senses misfire? Do you think that Belief can have any effect on how the brain interprets sensory input? Are we all simply trapped in our own subjective perspective? Don

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby trulyenlightened » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:32 am

Topic 2: The Truth Surrounding Our Brain and Senses

Our brain is constantly undergoing two separate battles for total control of the body. One battle is direct control of the body by our genes(instinctive control). The other is conscious control by the higher centers of our brain. Will the body be controlled by its instinctive drives to only satisfy its basic physiological needs(food, sleep, water, air, procreation, shelter and clothing)? Or, will the body be controlled by its psychological apparatus(Id, ego, and superego) to satisfy its most basic psychological/sociological needs(safety, security, control, power, significance, certainty, love and connection)? Are we humans driven by instinct(genes) or consciousness(free will)? This battle goes on every day of our lives, and affects every decision we make. The more physiological needs we have, the more likely our genes will dominate and control our responses(ie., search for food). Even our higher centers of consciousness will be suppressed, or made irrelevant. Our psychological needs are fuelled by knowledge, comprehension, awareness, insight, logic, and answers. It is irrelevant from a psychological perspective, whether any of these attributes are true or false(cognitive dissonance). The more answers these areas of the brain(prefrontal and frontal lobes) receive from questions, the more our consciousness will dominate and control how the body will respond(decision making, free will) and avoid any conflicts. Therefore, how we actualize events in our reality is totally determined by the information we receive from our senses, and the genes we inherite from our ancestors. This battle can never be truly won by either side. Our higher centers cannot control our basic needs for survival, or can consciously control every movement of our body. But, neither can our genes control how we interpret questions based on their inherited genetic patterns. We can simply choose not to action. It is our senses that provide our only direct connection to objective reality. Since we can't see outside of ourselves, or mind-melt with another human, we are trapped within our own subjective perspective? What we experience can only be experienced by us and no one else. Therefore, I can only experience what exists in my own reality. This makes me unique, and a Universe unto myself.

As we age, our sense receptors age as well. We lose brain cells at a rapid rate, and these cells are not replaced. We lose hair cells in the inner ear(organ of Corti). We lose degrees of vision due to macular degenerative diseases, lens changes, and malfunctioning rods and cones. Taste buds atrophy at around 55 years(in women) and 65 years(in men). Basically, all of our sense receptors undergo degenerative changes due to ageing. Ageing also affects the properties and expression of our genetic material as well. This will obviously affect how the brain will represent reality to our conscious mind. This can easily be seen when the brain is under the effects of mind altering drugs or diseases. This can be seen in those with amputated limbs(phantom sensations). This can also be seen in Near Death Experiences. Many different states of consciousness can be induced, experimentally altered, controlled, and artificially stimulated. In other words, a 90yo would see reality much differently than a 20 yo, or a 5yo.

The only way to know for certain that reality is more than the product of our senses, is to step outside of our reality and look back inside. Or, if we can objectively demonstrate that any other realities exist outside of our own. Of course this is impossible, and would only mean that our reality is now a part of someone else's. But theirs is not a part of ours. Therefore, our reality is all that we can and will know, no matter what we wish to believe or think that we know. Don

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby PaulSacramento » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:10 am

Something drives us to know more, to WANT to know more.
There was no reason for Galileo to think there was anything other than the Geocentric view of the universe ( it answered all the questions and issue of his time) and yet, something drove him to think, to believe, that there was more.
If his reality was all that he could know, why did he want, need, to believe there was more? and there was !

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby Byblos » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:04 am

Topic 0: I don't mean to be dismissive but I really have no clue where you're going with topics 1 thru whatever, except extreme skepticism, that is. So unless you want to admit extreme skepticism right now and save us all a boat load of time and effort, I suggest we follow a different track, one in which our senses and power of reason are reliable enough to discover the world around us.

As I mentioned in the other thread, if you think I will be arguing infinite regress, therefore uncaused cause, you could not possibly be more wrong. I just wanted to get that straight right off the bat, in case you're formulating your posts on that basis.

So from what perspective am I coming from with this PSR thing. First, the definition of the Principle of Sufficient Reason is pretty basic: Everything must have an explanation. You can't get more basic than that, really so if you disagree with that we might as well just quit the conversation now. If you do agree, let's move on.

If everything must have an explanation, there are two possibilities:
1. Either the explanation is extrinsic (outside of the thing it explains), or
2. The explanation is intrinsic (self-explanatory)

So we've gone beyond the definition to list all the possibilities and, again, I don't think there's a third option here.

Now what can we say about the explanations themselves?
There are two types of explanations:
1. Either the explanation requires an explanation extrinsic to itself, in which case it is contingent on that extrinsic explanation, or
2. The explanation is fundamentally self-explanatory and, therefore absolutely necessary (not contingent on any other explanation)

And once again those are the only two possibilities.

I'm going to stop here for now and let you comment or ask questions for clarification. We'll see how things develop from there.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby B. W. » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:08 am

Byblos wrote:Topic 0: I don't mean to be dismissive but I really have no clue where you're going with topics....


This comment is for Byblos only:

Can skeptics really know where they are going?
-
-
-
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(by B. W. Melvin)

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby Byblos » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:12 am

B. W. wrote:
Byblos wrote:Topic 0: I don't mean to be dismissive but I really have no clue where you're going with topics....


This comment is for Byblos only:

Can skeptics really know where they are going?
-
-
-


:pound: :pound: :pound:
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby trulyenlightened » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:02 am

PaulSacramento wrote:Something drives us to know more, to WANT to know more.
There was no reason for Galileo to think there was anything other than the Geocentric view of the universe ( it answered all the questions and issue of his time) and yet, something drove him to think, to believe, that there was more.
If his reality was all that he could know, why did he want, need, to believe there was more? and there was !


I agree that it is not only the inquisitive nature of the human condition that drives our curiosity, but it is also an evolutionary necessity that is hard-wired for our survival. In this sense, we are no different than any other evolved primate or mammal. Curiosity is driven by change, and change is how we evolve and learn new skills. Complacency is how we stagnate, remain ignorant, and lose all desires to learn new skills. Before Galileo and Newton, we were shrouded in the mysteries of superstition. People believed in all sorts of demons, spirits, and superstitions that explained natural phenomenon. Back then, people simply followed the consensus of popular belief without question. When Aristotle was asked, "Why do objects fall to earth?", he answered, "because they yearn to unite with the earth". When asked, "Why do objects in motion slow down?", he stated, "..objects in motion slow down, because they get tired". These works of Aristotle held sway for over 2000 years, until the birth of modern physics(Galileo and Newton).

It was Galileo's innovative, experiment-driven approach to science that made him a key figure of the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries. He all but disproved the Aristotelian physics and cosmological ideas that previously dominated the science throughout early Europe. If it were not for the appearance of Halley's comet in 1066, and 1082, Newton might not have been curious enough to find out where comets came from. He might not have stumbled onto the law of gravity, by wondering if the moon is also falling like an apple off a tree. He might not have created calculus, since the math at the time could not calculate the motion of objects falling through an inverse force field. He might not have met Edmond Halley, who sponsored the greatest book ever written by a human to explain the secrets of the heavens, "Principia". This book set in motion the physics of the Universe, and the Modern Scientific Revolution.

I'm not going to go through the circumstances and events that led to the contributions made by other great scientists. Suffice to say that their contributions were built upon the earlier foundational truths and discoveries. There will always be pioneers in all cultures confident enough to challenge the traditional beliefs, can think outside the box, and can ask the question, "HOW". There will always be free-thinkers that will demand the specifics that support sufficient reason, and not the rhetoric that form convoluted and self-serving logic. Don

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby abelcainsbrother » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:56 am

trulyenlightened wrote:Topic 2: The Truth Surrounding Our Brain and Senses

Our brain is constantly undergoing two separate battles for total control of the body. One battle is direct control of the body by our genes(instinctive control). The other is conscious control by the higher centers of our brain. Will the body be controlled by its instinctive drives to only satisfy its basic physiological needs(food, sleep, water, air, procreation, shelter and clothing)? Or, will the body be controlled by its psychological apparatus(Id, ego, and superego) to satisfy its most basic psychological/sociological needs(safety, security, control, power, significance, certainty, love and connection)? Are we humans driven by instinct(genes) or consciousness(free will)? This battle goes on every day of our lives, and affects every decision we make. The more physiological needs we have, the more likely our genes will dominate and control our responses(ie., search for food). Even our higher centers of consciousness will be suppressed, or made irrelevant. Our psychological needs are fuelled by knowledge, comprehension, awareness, insight, logic, and answers. It is irrelevant from a psychological perspective, whether any of these attributes are true or false(cognitive dissonance). The more answers these areas of the brain(prefrontal and frontal lobes) receive from questions, the more our consciousness will dominate and control how the body will respond(decision making, free will) and avoid any conflicts. Therefore, how we actualize events in our reality is totally determined by the information we receive from our senses, and the genes we inherite from our ancestors. This battle can never be truly won by either side. Our higher centers cannot control our basic needs for survival, or can consciously control every movement of our body. But, neither can our genes control how we interpret questions based on their inherited genetic patterns. We can simply choose not to action. It is our senses that provide our only direct connection to objective reality. Since we can't see outside of ourselves, or mind-melt with another human, we are trapped within our own subjective perspective? What we experience can only be experienced by us and no one else. Therefore, I can only experience what exists in my own reality. This makes me unique, and a Universe unto myself.

As we age, our sense receptors age as well. We lose brain cells at a rapid rate, and these cells are not replaced. We lose hair cells in the inner ear(organ of Corti). We lose degrees of vision due to macular degenerative diseases, lens changes, and malfunctioning rods and cones. Taste buds atrophy at around 55 years(in women) and 65 years(in men). Basically, all of our sense receptors undergo degenerative changes due to ageing. Ageing also affects the properties and expression of our genetic material as well. This will obviously affect how the brain will represent reality to our conscious mind. This can easily be seen when the brain is under the effects of mind altering drugs or diseases. This can be seen in those with amputated limbs(phantom sensations). This can also be seen in Near Death Experiences. Many different states of consciousness can be induced, experimentally altered, controlled, and artificially stimulated. In other words, a 90yo would see reality much differently than a 20 yo, or a 5yo.

The only way to know for certain that reality is more than the product of our senses, is to step outside of our reality and look back inside. Or, if we can objectively demonstrate that any other realities exist outside of our own. Of course this is impossible, and would only mean that our reality is now a part of someone else's. But theirs is not a part of ours. Therefore, our reality is all that we can and will know, no matter what we wish to believe or think that we know. Don



I have often said that in order to deny God a person must go outside reality into imagination,speculation and even LA LA LAND. I know it sounds harsh at first to people who claim to be so smart.They might be book smart but have no common sense. So this is what I see skeptics doing in order to avoid God,they are going outside reality instead of just accepting reality and all to deny God because reality points to their being a God even if there might not be any proof of God.Reality still points to God and so people who reject God must go outside reality in order to deny God.The problem they have is that when they go outside reality they are just engaged in imagination and speculation and entertain things they cannot really know is true.This is before we get into any evidence for God too. We must get non-believer skeptics to get back in reality which is very hard to do because they are off in LA LA LAND and have convinced themselves it is OK and good to speculate and imagine things they can't possibly really ever know is true.
Hebrews 12:2-3 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,despising the shame,and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2nd Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,lest the light of this glorious gospel of Christ,who is the image of God,should shine unto them.

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby PaulSacramento » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:59 am

trulyenlightened wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Something drives us to know more, to WANT to know more.
There was no reason for Galileo to think there was anything other than the Geocentric view of the universe ( it answered all the questions and issue of his time) and yet, something drove him to think, to believe, that there was more.
If his reality was all that he could know, why did he want, need, to believe there was more? and there was !


I agree that it is not only the inquisitive nature of the human condition that drives our curiosity, but it is also an evolutionary necessity that is hard-wired for our survival. In this sense, we are no different than any other evolved primate or mammal. Curiosity is driven by change, and change is how we evolve and learn new skills. Complacency is how we stagnate, remain ignorant, and lose all desires to learn new skills. Before Galileo and Newton, we were shrouded in the mysteries of superstition. People believed in all sorts of demons, spirits, and superstitions that explained natural phenomenon. Back then, people simply followed the consensus of popular belief without question. When Aristotle was asked, "Why do objects fall to earth?", he answered, "because they yearn to unite with the earth". When asked, "Why do objects in motion slow down?", he stated, "..objects in motion slow down, because they get tired". These works of Aristotle held sway for over 2000 years, until the birth of modern physics(Galileo and Newton).

It was Galileo's innovative, experiment-driven approach to science that made him a key figure of the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries. He all but disproved the Aristotelian physics and cosmological ideas that previously dominated the science throughout early Europe. If it were not for the appearance of Halley's comet in 1066, and 1082, Newton might not have been curious enough to find out where comets came from. He might not have stumbled onto the law of gravity, by wondering if the moon is also falling like an apple off a tree. He might not have created calculus, since the math at the time could not calculate the motion of objects falling through an inverse force field. He might not have met Edmond Halley, who sponsored the greatest book ever written by a human to explain the secrets of the heavens, "Principia". This book set in motion the physics of the Universe, and the Modern Scientific Revolution.

I'm not going to go through the circumstances and events that led to the contributions made by other great scientists. Suffice to say that their contributions were built upon the earlier foundational truths and discoveries. There will always be pioneers in all cultures confident enough to challenge the traditional beliefs, can think outside the box, and can ask the question, "HOW". There will always be free-thinkers that will demand the specifics that support sufficient reason, and not the rhetoric that form convoluted and self-serving logic. Don



So much wrong here that it hurts my head...
You don't seem to be able to make a point or express a view without taking a pot shot and religion.
That Galileo and Newton WERE religious and that religion was a driving factor for them ( they believed that the universe had a WHY and not just a HOW and hat is what drove them) seems to have been lost on you.
Sure people were superstitious and some still are, what about it?
The great scientists of the past believe that there was an order, a purpose to things and that they could discover it and that has not changed, for if it had, we would not have anymore science.
If people did NOT believe that things around as CAN be:
Observed
Tested
Repeated
Falsified
Then we would NOT have science at all ( at least not real science).

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby trulyenlightened » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:48 am

Byblos wrote:Topic 0: I don't mean to be dismissive but I really have no clue where you're going with topics 1 thru whatever, except extreme skepticism, that is. So unless you want to admit extreme skepticism right now and save us all a boat load of time and effort, I suggest we follow a different track, one in which our senses and power of reason are reliable enough to discover the world around us.

As I mentioned in the other thread, if you think I will be arguing infinite regress, therefore uncaused cause, you could not possibly be more wrong. I just wanted to get that straight right off the bat, in case you're formulating your posts on that basis.

So from what perspective am I coming from with this PSR thing. First, the definition of the Principle of Sufficient Reason is pretty basic: Everything must have an explanation. You can't get more basic than that, really so if you disagree with that we might as well just quit the conversation now. If you do agree, let's move on.

If everything must have an explanation, there are two possibilities:
1. Either the explanation is extrinsic (outside of the thing it explains), or
2. The explanation is intrinsic (self-explanatory)

So we've gone beyond the definition to list all the possibilities and, again, I don't think there's a third option here.

Now what can we say about the explanations themselves?
There are two types of explanations:
1. Either the explanation requires an explanation extrinsic to itself, in which case it is contingent on that extrinsic explanation, or
2. The explanation is fundamentally self-explanatory and, therefore absolutely necessary (not contingent on any other explanation)

And once again those are the only two possibilities.

I'm going to stop here for now and let you comment or ask questions for clarification. We'll see how things develop from there.


The point of the first topic was to demonstrate that all things that appear inherently complex, is really based on many underlying layers of simplicity. These underlying layers are seen in all biological organisms. I was also trying to demonstrate that even the most complex biological processes are trapped in Nature's cycle of birth, growth, metabolism, catabolism and death. I then applied this cycle to the information we receive from our physical senses, and then to our brain's best-guess representation to our psyche. Any way, unless there was a specific question you have about the topic, let's just move on.

Speaking of skepticism, I am always skeptical of people claiming that everyone else makes the same mistake, except them. The red flag is immediately raised. Your perspective is obviously presuppositional, which clearly uses an argument from ignorance as your mantra. The flag also goes up whenever I hear that there are only two choices in any false dichotomy. Since I don't hear any specific objections or questions, I'll just give my own take again on Aquinas's proofs of the existence of a God. Please correct me if I stray to far from 400BC logic(Aristotle), as interpreted by a 13th century priest, doctor, and philosopher(Aquinas).

[b]The first argument from motion[/b]

"Nothing can move itself.
If every object in motion had a mover, then the first object in motion needed a mover.
This first mover is the Unmoved Mover, called God."

From the "Michelson-Morley Experiments", we've learned that motion is NOT an intrinsic property of a thing. Just what exactly does this mean? First we learned that light is not affected by objects moving through the "aether", but is the same speed for any observers, from any reference point. Secondly, space is not a fixed substrate for existence. Finally, it was Einstein's Special Relativity that conclusively put this argument for motion to rest. Unfortunately for St. Thomas, relativity means that motion is no longer a property of one thing. Motion is a property of at least two things(the observer and the object). There can be no “unmoved mover” since all motion is now known to be relative to the observer, and not to some unmoving reference. Aquinas's starts with a false premise, since everything IS in motion, and there are NO stationary reference points. Let's move on.

[b]The second argument of Causation of Existence[/b]

"There exists things that are caused by other things.
Nothing can be the cause of itself.
There can not be an endless regression of objects causing other objects to exist.
Therefore, there must be an uncaused first cause called God."

Again, Aquinas only had the philosophy of Aristotle to work with. We have since learned that matter is continually being formed as particles and antiparticles, and is continually annihilated when a particle meets an antiparticle. There are no things that are caused or created by other things. "Stuff" only changes in form and there is nothing being “caused to exist”. Particles pop in and out of existence, all the time. St. Aquinas's premise here is simply irrelevant, and has no footing in reality.

The third argument of Contingent and Necessary Object

"Contingent beings are caused.
Not every being can be contingent.
There must exist a being which is necessary to cause contingent beings.
This necessary being is God."

This argument suggest that there must be an initial being that started everything. Unfortunately, this argument is tautological and circular(contingent beings are caused, and the cause is its contingency. It will simply go round and round without end.The premise that some being caused the universe does not mean that that being is not a contingent being(dependent on another being, and so on). Even if “God” and His creations believe that the “God” is not a contingent being, that does not mean that it is so. Also, If the universe is truly eternal, and just goes through cycles of bang, expansion, contraction, Crunch, then it is manifest that the universe itself is not a contingent entity.

The fourth argument of Degrees and Perfection

"Objects have properties to greater or lesser extents.
If an object has a property to a lesser extent, then there exists some other object that has the property to the maximum
possible degree.
So there is an entity that has all properties to the maximum possible degree.
Hence God exists."

This argument of perfection or "maximum possible degree" as a variant property in objects, is somewhat elusive. All objects have variable properties inherent in the object. All objects can be change to a greater or lesser degree, without changing the essence of the object(Uranium). Because objects have different and unique properties that define them, does not infer that there is an object that manifests the maximum degree of all of these properties. This is merely an error in composition, and a category(God) mistake.

The fifth argument of Intelligent Design

"Among objects that act for an end, some have minds, whereas others do not.
An object that acts for an end, but does not itself have a mind, must have been created by a being that has a mind.
So there exists a being with a mind who designed all mindless objects that act for an end.
Hence, God exists."

Most will agree that all healthy adult humans have minds. How about infants? Their actions are restricted to reflexes and very simple responses. The human mind requires self consciousness, and appears to require the ability to use the tokens of some form of language. This does not appear until much later in childhood. Perhaps at “the age of reason". Are there other minds besides humans? Can we measure sentience on a continuous scale of mindfulness? I'm afraid when we measure sentience as a measure of information processing efficiency, all biological organisms fail miserably as being intelligent. The mind appears to evolve from mindless to mindful. It also appears that the mind only forms with appropriate social contact. St. Thomas’ first premise is wrong, and everything that leads from that is irrelevant.

Now this was my simple take on the arguments from Aristotle, Descartes, Aquinas, Eddy, or anyone else who chooses to argue the existence of a Deity from ignorance, gap-filling, false equivocating, and making up false conclusions. Without objective evidence, the premises are statements that only sound good and sound logical. I also do not wish to continue arguing against the 4th century logic of the time. It would almost be intellectually insulting. Since I haven't read Eddy's take, maybe you can paraphrase or contrast his position. Your basic explanation of the Principle of Sufficient Reason should be, that everything must have a reason/explanation, and a cause. But close enough! Were you making some point, or just more editorializing? Don

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby trulyenlightened » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:20 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
trulyenlightened wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Something drives us to know more, to WANT to know more.
There was no reason for Galileo to think there was anything other than the Geocentric view of the universe ( it answered all the questions and issue of his time) and yet, something drove him to think, to believe, that there was more.
If his reality was all that he could know, why did he want, need, to believe there was more? and there was !


I agree that it is not only the inquisitive nature of the human condition that drives our curiosity, but it is also an evolutionary necessity that is hard-wired for our survival. In this sense, we are no different than any other evolved primate or mammal. Curiosity is driven by change, and change is how we evolve and learn new skills. Complacency is how we stagnate, remain ignorant, and lose all desires to learn new skills. Before Galileo and Newton, we were shrouded in the mysteries of superstition. People believed in all sorts of demons, spirits, and superstitions that explained natural phenomenon. Back then, people simply followed the consensus of popular belief without question. When Aristotle was asked, "Why do objects fall to earth?", he answered, "because they yearn to unite with the earth". When asked, "Why do objects in motion slow down?", he stated, "..objects in motion slow down, because they get tired". These works of Aristotle held sway for over 2000 years, until the birth of modern physics(Galileo and Newton).

It was Galileo's innovative, experiment-driven approach to science that made him a key figure of the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries. He all but disproved the Aristotelian physics and cosmological ideas that previously dominated the science throughout early Europe. If it were not for the appearance of Halley's comet in 1066, and 1082, Newton might not have been curious enough to find out where comets came from. He might not have stumbled onto the law of gravity, by wondering if the moon is also falling like an apple off a tree. He might not have created calculus, since the math at the time could not calculate the motion of objects falling through an inverse force field. He might not have met Edmond Halley, who sponsored the greatest book ever written by a human to explain the secrets of the heavens, "Principia". This book set in motion the physics of the Universe, and the Modern Scientific Revolution.

I'm not going to go through the circumstances and events that led to the contributions made by other great scientists. Suffice to say that their contributions were built upon the earlier foundational truths and discoveries. There will always be pioneers in all cultures confident enough to challenge the traditional beliefs, can think outside the box, and can ask the question, "HOW". There will always be free-thinkers that will demand the specifics that support sufficient reason, and not the rhetoric that form convoluted and self-serving logic. Don



So much wrong here that it hurts my head...
You don't seem to be able to make a point or express a view without taking a pot shot and religion.
That Galileo and Newton WERE religious and that religion was a driving factor for them ( they believed that the universe had a WHY and not just a HOW and hat is what drove them) seems to have been lost on you.
Sure people were superstitious and some still are, what about it?
The great scientists of the past believe that there was an order, a purpose to things and that they could discover it and that has not changed, for if it had, we would not have anymore science.
If people did NOT believe that things around as CAN be:
Observed
Tested
Repeated
Falsified
Then we would NOT have science at all ( at least not real science).


I will re-read my topic and see where I have taken a swipe at religion. Maybe I am misunderstanding you. Are you suggesting that all the great scientist of the past were all motivated by their beliefs, to search for the order and purpose within natural phenomenon? I simply disagree. Most of the great scientist were not that spiritually motivated. Their motivation was certainly far less Ecclesiastic. I also disagree that without this search for order or purpose, there would be no more science. Especially considering that most scientific discoveries happened BY ACCIDENT or was INADVERTENTLY UNEXPECTED.

It is irrelevant whether these scientist were religious or not. What IS relevant is what these scientists discovered or invented, not what they believed in. Belief will always be a subjective mental construct. Discoveries and new inventions will always be objective constructs. Science is only concerned if it works, nothing more and nothing less. Don

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby trulyenlightened » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:31 am

abelcainsbrother wrote:
trulyenlightened wrote:Topic 2: The Truth Surrounding Our Brain and Senses

Our brain is constantly undergoing two separate battles for total control of the body. One battle is direct control of the body by our genes(instinctive control). The other is conscious control by the higher centers of our brain. Will the body be controlled by its instinctive drives to only satisfy its basic physiological needs(food, sleep, water, air, procreation, shelter and clothing)? Or, will the body be controlled by its psychological apparatus(Id, ego, and superego) to satisfy its most basic psychological/sociological needs(safety, security, control, power, significance, certainty, love and connection)? Are we humans driven by instinct(genes) or consciousness(free will)? This battle goes on every day of our lives, and affects every decision we make. The more physiological needs we have, the more likely our genes will dominate and control our responses(ie., search for food). Even our higher centers of consciousness will be suppressed, or made irrelevant. Our psychological needs are fuelled by knowledge, comprehension, awareness, insight, logic, and answers. It is irrelevant from a psychological perspective, whether any of these attributes are true or false(cognitive dissonance). The more answers these areas of the brain(prefrontal and frontal lobes) receive from questions, the more our consciousness will dominate and control how the body will respond(decision making, free will) and avoid any conflicts. Therefore, how we actualize events in our reality is totally determined by the information we receive from our senses, and the genes we inherite from our ancestors. This battle can never be truly won by either side. Our higher centers cannot control our basic needs for survival, or can consciously control every movement of our body. But, neither can our genes control how we interpret questions based on their inherited genetic patterns. We can simply choose not to action. It is our senses that provide our only direct connection to objective reality. Since we can't see outside of ourselves, or mind-melt with another human, we are trapped within our own subjective perspective? What we experience can only be experienced by us and no one else. Therefore, I can only experience what exists in my own reality. This makes me unique, and a Universe unto myself.

As we age, our sense receptors age as well. We lose brain cells at a rapid rate, and these cells are not replaced. We lose hair cells in the inner ear(organ of Corti). We lose degrees of vision due to macular degenerative diseases, lens changes, and malfunctioning rods and cones. Taste buds atrophy at around 55 years(in women) and 65 years(in men). Basically, all of our sense receptors undergo degenerative changes due to ageing. Ageing also affects the properties and expression of our genetic material as well. This will obviously affect how the brain will represent reality to our conscious mind. This can easily be seen when the brain is under the effects of mind altering drugs or diseases. This can be seen in those with amputated limbs(phantom sensations). This can also be seen in Near Death Experiences. Many different states of consciousness can be induced, experimentally altered, controlled, and artificially stimulated. In other words, a 90yo would see reality much differently than a 20 yo, or a 5yo.

The only way to know for certain that reality is more than the product of our senses, is to step outside of our reality and look back inside. Or, if we can objectively demonstrate that any other realities exist outside of our own. Of course this is impossible, and would only mean that our reality is now a part of someone else's. But theirs is not a part of ours. Therefore, our reality is all that we can and will know, no matter what we wish to believe or think that we know. Don



I have often said that in order to deny God a person must go outside reality into imagination,speculation and even LA LA LAND. I know it sounds harsh at first to people who claim to be so smart.They might be book smart but have no common sense. So this is what I see skeptics doing in order to avoid God,they are going outside reality instead of just accepting reality and all to deny God because reality points to their being a God even if there might not be any proof of God.Reality still points to God and so people who reject God must go outside reality in order to deny God.The problem they have is that when they go outside reality they are just engaged in imagination and speculation and entertain things they cannot really know is true.This is before we get into any evidence for God too. We must get non-believer skeptics to get back in reality which is very hard to do because they are off in LA LA LAND and have convinced themselves it is OK and good to speculate and imagine things they can't possibly really ever know is true.


Was there an area in my topic that you consider as being La La Land, or is outside of reality? What area in my topic do you feel that I can't support? Why do you feel that I am purposely trying to avoid or deny God? What is wrong with free thinking? What point are you trying to make? Don

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby Byblos » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:32 am

trulyenlightened wrote:
Byblos wrote:Topic 0: I don't mean to be dismissive but I really have no clue where you're going with topics 1 thru whatever, except extreme skepticism, that is. So unless you want to admit extreme skepticism right now and save us all a boat load of time and effort, I suggest we follow a different track, one in which our senses and power of reason are reliable enough to discover the world around us.

As I mentioned in the other thread, if you think I will be arguing infinite regress, therefore uncaused cause, you could not possibly be more wrong. I just wanted to get that straight right off the bat, in case you're formulating your posts on that basis.

So from what perspective am I coming from with this PSR thing. First, the definition of the Principle of Sufficient Reason is pretty basic: Everything must have an explanation. You can't get more basic than that, really so if you disagree with that we might as well just quit the conversation now. If you do agree, let's move on.

If everything must have an explanation, there are two possibilities:
1. Either the explanation is extrinsic (outside of the thing it explains), or
2. The explanation is intrinsic (self-explanatory)

So we've gone beyond the definition to list all the possibilities and, again, I don't think there's a third option here.

Now what can we say about the explanations themselves?
There are two types of explanations:
1. Either the explanation requires an explanation extrinsic to itself, in which case it is contingent on that extrinsic explanation, or
2. The explanation is fundamentally self-explanatory and, therefore absolutely necessary (not contingent on any other explanation)

And once again those are the only two possibilities.

I'm going to stop here for now and let you comment or ask questions for clarification. We'll see how things develop from there.


The point of the first topic was to demonstrate that all things that appear inherently complex, is really based on many underlying layers of simplicity. These underlying layers are seen in all biological organisms. I was also trying to demonstrate that even the most complex biological processes are trapped in Nature's cycle of birth, growth, metabolism, catabolism and death. I then applied this cycle to the information we receive from our physical senses, and then to our brain's best-guess representation to our psyche. Any way, unless there was a specific question you have about the topic, let's just move on.


I have no issue whatsoever with the idea of simple-to-complex, considering one of the most fundamental premises for God is absolute simplicity.

trulyenlightened wrote:Speaking of skepticism, I am always skeptical of people claiming that everyone else makes the same mistake, except them. The red flag is immediately raised. Your perspective is obviously presuppositional, which clearly uses an argument from ignorance as your mantra. The flag also goes up whenever I hear that there are only two choices in any false dichotomy.


Right back at ya. You can raise all the red flags in Russia but they amount to nothing unless you back them up with a third choice, if you had one.

trulyenlightened wrote:Since I don't hear any specific objections or questions, I'll just give my own take again on Aquinas's proofs of the existence of a God. Please correct me if I stray to far from 400BC logic(Aristotle), as interpreted by a 13th century priest, doctor, and philosopher(Aquinas).


400BC logic and a 13th century logical interpretation of the 400 BC logic is still logical today and will always be logical unless you can show where the logic fails. And I assure you neither you (as enlightened as you are) nor anyone else has done so to this day.

trulyenlightened wrote: [b]The first argument from motion[/b]

"Nothing can move itself.
If every object in motion had a mover, then the first object in motion needed a mover.
This first mover is the Unmoved Mover, called God."

From the "Michelson-Morley Experiments", we've learned that motion is NOT an intrinsic property of a thing. Just what exactly does this mean? First we learned that light is not affected by objects moving through the "aether", but is the same speed for any observers, from any reference point. Secondly, space is not a fixed substrate for existence. Finally, it was Einstein's Special Relativity that conclusively put this argument for motion to rest. Unfortunately for St. Thomas, relativity means that motion is no longer a property of one thing. Motion is a property of at least two things(the observer and the object). There can be no “unmoved mover” since all motion is now known to be relative to the observer, and not to some unmoving reference. Aquinas's starts with a false premise, since everything IS in motion, and there are NO stationary reference points. Let's move on.


No let's not move on, considering the only enlightenment that is evident is through the flashlight you hold upon your face. Once again, you're arguing a straw man for an infinite regress of motion, which is absolutely NOT what the argument is. Now either you want to enlighten yourself a bit more, if at all possible, or you want to keep bathing in your ignorance, in which case we can certainly move on.

In the remote chance you want to learn something, the argument from motion concerns itself with the here and now, with an essentially ordered causal series, i.e simultaneous events, not temporal ones. I will keep hammering this point until your either get it and stop the straw man arguments or you quit.


trulyenlightened wrote:Now this was my simple take on the arguments from Aristotle, Descartes, Aquinas, Eddy, or anyone else who chooses to argue the existence of a Deity from ignorance, gap-filling, false equivocating, and making up false conclusions.


And your take is not only fallacious but so sophomoric that a philosophy 101 student could have poked holes in it the size of the universe. You disappoint.


trulyenlightened wrote:Without objective evidence, the premises are statements that only sound good and sound logical. I also do not wish to continue arguing against the 4th century logic of the time. It would almost be intellectually insulting.


To dismiss out of hand logic and reason and then claim enlightenment is the absolute height of both hypocrisy and
idiocy. I have a feeling this conversation will not last very long but I'm hoping you wake up from delusion.

trulyenlightened wrote:Since I haven't read Eddy's take, maybe you can paraphrase or contrast his position. Your basic explanation of the Principle of Sufficient Reason should be, that everything must have a reason/explanation, and a cause. But close enough! Were you making some point, or just more editorializing?


And yet again, you make am ignorant fool of yourself, or perhaps it is your wishful thinking that I restate the argument in terms of 'everything needing a cause'. Because then you will certainly fall back on the most idiotic straw man responses ever uttered, i.e. 'well if everything must have a cause, then who caused God?' Except it is not just a slip of the tongue or an attempt at avoiding such a response that the argument does not state 'everything must have a cause'. It is that an uncaused cause is the logical and necessary conclusion to a set of premises, not a presupposition or a claim. You have so much to learn grasshopper.

TE, do yourself a favor and take a step back because every sentence you wrote in your last post above proves beyond any doubt that you literally have no clue what you're talking about nor do you understand the subject matter. I am willing to spend the time to enlighten you but you must be willing to learn. I doubt you will but one can hope.
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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby PaulSacramento » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:56 am

I will re-read my topic and see where I have taken a swipe at religion. Maybe I am misunderstanding you. Are you suggesting that all the great scientist of the past were all motivated by their beliefs, to search for the order and purpose within natural phenomenon? I simply disagree. Most of the great scientist were not that spiritually motivated. Their motivation was certainly far less Ecclesiastic. I also disagree that without this search for order or purpose, there would be no more science. Especially considering that most scientific discoveries happened BY ACCIDENT or was INADVERTENTLY UNEXPECTED.

It is irrelevant whether these scientist were religious or not. What IS relevant is what these scientists discovered or invented, not what they believed in. Belief will always be a subjective mental construct. Discoveries and new inventions will always be objective constructs. Science is only concerned if it works, nothing more and nothing less. Don


It is not relevant WHY a scientist discovers things? invents things?
It is not relevant why Galileo felt the need to dispel the Geocentric view, especially since, at the time, there was no real reason to doubt it?
Sure you can have that opinion ( doesn't seem to make any sense to me, but hey, have at it), though I don't think that the likes of Galileo and Newton would have though that.

I think that it is very important to understand WHY things are, as much as HOW as a matter of fact ( if not more).

You think that most scientific discoveries happen by accident or are unexpected?
You have data for this I assume?

IMO, scientific discoveries happen because people believe something ( hypothesis) and then set about trying to prove it.
Sure there are times that something gets discovered along the way and that is great.
Add to that also the fact that what may be discovered, if it be science, must be:

Observable
Testable
Repeatable
Falsifiable.

Why is that by the way?

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Re: Skepticism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Postby PaulSacramento » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:00 am

The moment someone says that the unmoved mover or uncased cause argument is a "god of the gaps" argument, you know they have NO UNDERSTANDING of that argument at all.


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