Scientific discoveries are not tainted. How do you even get that idea? Because a field of inquiry stays within the boundaries of the physical universe, doesn't mean there aren't other things out there. Science doesn't touch religion because science cannot go beyond the physical. Implausibility is not a problem because, so far, 100% of our universe has been observed as physical. It's not that I deny that there might be something nonphysical, but the better question is, why would I accept it when 0% of our universe has been identified as nonphysical?
This is what I mean by “tainted,” it’s begging the question. It takes the conclusion, “All things are material” and injects it into the premise “There is a material cause for everything.” It automatically closes itself off to an immaterial causality. Thus, no matter what the theist argues, he is left at a disadvantage.
Furthermore, what you are proposing comes dangerously close to logical positivism, which has been proven to be a dead belief because it’s self-refuting. If you are saying that knowledge can only be constituted by what is observable, then I think I’ve found the problem in your reasoning.
Not everything is lost when it has been given up. There is such a thing as replication. In your analogy, nothing can be created, things can only be passed on. The physical manifestation of knowledge are quite clear in the robust growth of dendritic connections within the human brain. To learn something and retain knowledge then becomes a function of the size of the neural network. You say it's intangible, but why do you say so? You say it doesn't because you assume so. Learning and communication, creativity, etc, are functions of the brain. One doesn't have to give up anything like it is a resource. It's a difficult concept for first grasp, but do computers lose anything by sharing information wirelessly? No, then obvious computers must be nonphysical, or supernatural, dare I even say magical?
This is a straw man fallacy; you’re misrepresenting my argument, possibly because you may not understand it because I didn’t explain it that way.
The best way to explain it is to look at computers and ask, “Are computers immaterial?” Obviously they aren’t. So would this mean that information is also material? Not at all, because you’re committing the fallacy of equivocation; you’re assuming that because computers can pass information and computers are physical, information must also be physical. However, information is not an essential aspect of computers. In other words, one can conceivably have a computer that contains no information (via nothing being programmed onto it). In fact, your analogy turns on you and actually aids my position.
The question is, “What is information?” If information is material then we should be able to take it and put it under the microscope. The statement, “This is a material statement” should be able to fit under the microscope. But we can only do so when we give a physical manifestation to the idea “This is a material statement.” This is because (and this is where the clarification would have aided you in understanding what I was saying) ideas are inherently immaterial. While ideas can be presented in different physical aspects – and must if we are to share ideas – the idea itself is immaterial, which allows it to be put into different physical forms. For instance, right now you are reading this idea via the reflections of light, a purely physical process. Were we in person, you would know of the idea via sound waves being constructed in a certain way that makes the idea intelligible to you.
All of this indicates that the idea, in its essential self, is immaterial whereas it does require a material format in order to be understood and shared. However, the form of the idea can change, indicating that while the essential idea itself (the ding an sich
of the idea) remains unchanged, the form changed drastically.
That is what is meant when I say that an idea or knowledge is immaterial. To say, “Well this is all a process of the brain” is an incomplete statement. Yes, while the brain uses physical functions to interpret and process, there is nothing to indicate that the brain is the cause
of the processes rather than the effects of a cause. To assert otherwise is to beg the question.
Now before you turn this on me and say that I am assuming otherwise, let me state that I am not. Merely I am saying that you can’t use the conclusion I am attacking to support your premises. I am attacking x and stating that y used as a justification of x doesn’t work. This doesn’t mean you can turn around and uplift y to justify x, because that is begging the question.
Actually, it doesn't because the mind (or consciousness) is a function of the brain - a physical object. Without the brain, the consciousness cannot survive in the physical world. Now you dismissing naturalism because it cannot explain something is an argument from ignorance: we haven't learned everything about something, that thing must not be true. You on the other hand, say naturalism is not true, yet you cannot establish that supernaturalism IS true. Nobody has ever observed the soul, or angels/demons, fairies, psychics, magic, etc. So once again, the supernaturalistic explanation in a 100% physical universe is lacking evidence. It is because it lacks evidence that I find it false, not that I dogmatically defend naturalism.
Again, this is more question begging. You stated that consciousness is a product of the brain de facto
. But that’s what I’m debating, so you’re asserting the contention as a fact, meaning that it’s quite impossible to prove otherwise, hence the accusation of question begging.
As for an argument from ignorance, I don’t fall into that fallacy at all. I’m saying that it is impossible
for naturalism to explain certain things. This would mean that if we could ever explain consciousness as something that actually exists, naturalism couldn’t account for it by nature of what naturalism teaches. That’s not an argument from ignorance at all; rather the converse is true. To say, “Well we haven’t discovered it yet” is the actual argument from ignorance because it’s saying, “Yeah, we can’t explain it, but we will.” In other words, though there is no answer, nor any reason to believe that naturalism can by its nature beget an answer, you hold blind faith that an answer will come about (though any such answer would undermine naturalism). That is, by definition, the argument from ignorance.
What I’m arguing is that certain aspects of humans are beyond the explanatory powers of naturalism while they are predicted by cognitive realism. To simply assert that naturalism is true and use it as a defeater is circular – you might as well argue the Bible is infallible because the Bible says it’s infallible. It’s the same type of argument.
Woah, hold on, have you actually looked at the evolutionary perspective on consciousness, or have you just said there is none because you personally haven't seen it? There are tons of resources out there on human consciousness. Properly defining it would be particularly nice, however depending on who you ask, consciousness may also be only an illusion. Until we can better understand the brain, there can be no consensus of what consciousness is, or where it comes from. That means you cannot say that there IS a supernatural aspect until you demonstrate it, and I cannot say that there is definitely none. I can however say that because everything else in the entire universe is physical, that consciousness is probably as well, if it even exists. Call that an assumption if you like, but it is far meeker than the assumption you're making.
Admittedly, I am not an expert on the philosophy of mind. However, it does compose a major section of my degree and graduate studies, so while I’m not an expert, I am familiar with it. Notably, I am familiar with the works of Jaegwon Kim, Roderick Chisholm, John Searle, Daniel Dennett, Frank Jackson, Thomas Nagel, and others. My understanding of naturalism in relation to philosophy of the mind comes from them, so if you disagree with my summation of the naturalistic argument, you should take it up with the naturalists.
As for taking on meek assumptions, again your creating a fallacy (composition). You’re assuming that because some parts of the universe are physical, all of existence itself has to be physical as well. Yet, consciousness is but one defeater for such a fallacious way of thinking; simply waving it off as an illusion doesn’t work because such a teaching is self-defeating (one must be conscious in order to say that it’s an illusion).
The idea of consciousness as an illusion comes from the view that only material states can be validated in the third person (as an observer). Since consciousness is a first person activity, logical positivists have proposed the theory that consciousness is an illusion since it can’t be properly observed and tested via the scientific method. The illogical and self-defeating nature of logical positivism aside, such a stance is a priori
preposterous. Let me explain.
You can search through any textbook in chemistry or physics and you will not discover anything that explains consciousness as a part of matter. We do not see any other aspect of the material universe begetting consciousness. This is compounded by our own debate – you are arguing that my beliefs are false. But let me ask you, is the moon false? Is the Sun false? Are atoms false? The answer is that they are neither true nor false. But if consciousness is an illusion then ideas are matters of material consideration, which in turn means that ideas cannot be true or false; they can simply be (such as the moon, atoms, or the Sun). To assert otherwise is a case of special pleading.
In order to explain anything about humans, we must do so in a personal fashion and not a mechanistic manner. If Peter desired to stab Paul, then we would explain this in a personal manner and not a mechanistic manner. We wouldn’t say that Peter’s desire was a mechanistic response (with exception to self-defense, but let us say that Peter killed Paul because he didn’t like Paul’s tie) because if we did say that Peter’s act was mechanistic, then how could we properly send him to prison or hold him accountable for his crime? After all, the real fault lays with Paul for wearing a tie that would incite people to murder; but then again, if consciousness is an illusion then Paul only chose that tie because biology had guided him to choose that tie, so there was no real choice involved.
So from just an a priori
view of humanity, we know that consciousness isn’t an illusion because we experience it on a daily basis. While that might make the logical positivists and empiricists cringe, I simply point them back to their corners and tell them to explain their self-refuting epistemology before they come out of their rooms.
Because why would you think anything else? This whole universe is occurring inside your brain. And after that brain dies, every single function of the personality, emotions, cognitions, sensations and physical motor functions cease. This is not an opinion, but a verifiable fact. Every aspect of a body can be removed and replaced, yet the person keeps themselves, yet if that brain were removed, even select parts of it, the human would cease being that human.
I agree that the brain is essential to human survival, but this doesn’t prove that the brain is the central aspect of everything. An engine is essential to the survival of a car, but for the car to operate and drive correctly it needs a driver, who doesn’t need the car. Thus, the driver is essential to the proper function of the car, but the car is not essential to the proper function of the driver. This would be akin to the dualistic argument for human persons (though it might frustrate Aquinas).
But my explanation is covered above.
And you saying that the unknown is NOT physical is an argument from ignorance. Because we don't know something, you cannot say it is material or supernatural. I can say that everything else so far, without exception, has been material. Personally, I'm putting my bet on material.
More straw man and question begging. What I am saying is that it is beyond the explanatory power of naturalism to explain certain aspects of human existence. I’m saying that certain aspects of human existence contradict naturalism and therefore naturalism can never truly explain it. Now, if naturalism is false, then supernaturalism must be true (in some form). When you have an either/or and it is proven to be an either/or with no third option, if one option is eliminated as a viable way to describe reality, the other option must be true by processes of elimination.
To be honest, I really don’t have the time to go through the rest of the post. As it stands, even if I did I would merely be using longer sentences to justify my claims and I fear you would come back and take it one line at a time (thus ignoring the broader context).
Generally, I have no problem going back and forth so long as the discussion is friendly, concise, and going somewhere. As it is, I fear the first part won’t happen (since your PM’s have been less than cordial), we already know the second part isn’t occurring, and we’re both beginning to repeat ourselves. So I leave you the final word, but I would implore you to go out there and look up Richard Swinburne’s “Evolution of the Soul.” Please, read books, not the internet.