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Thread: Underlying Presuppositions

  1. #111
    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Then you don't agree with Plantinga, that the evolutionary process wouldn't give us generally reliable beliefs, and in my link (post 67) he does link materialism/naturalism with epiphenomenalism.
    Having inaccurate beliefs would have terrible survival value. If the tiger is coming toward you, it's pretty vital to believe it is and respond accordingly. Any evolutionary process is going to select heavily and quickly against grossly inaccurate beliefs that affect survival, and in favour of beings who can reason more accurately and quickly.

  2. #112
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    Having inaccurate beliefs would have terrible survival value. If the tiger is coming toward you, it's pretty vital to believe it is and respond accordingly. Any evolutionary process is going to select heavily and quickly against grossly inaccurate beliefs that affect survival, and in favour of beings who can reason more accurately and quickly.
    But what if you ran from the tiger based on a false belief, like you thought he was a demon, or a ghost, or any other false reason one could think of - he would still survive. Or just run instinctively without a belief, like most animals would.
    “The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” C.S. Lewis

  3. #113
    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Then you don't agree with Plantinga, that the evolutionary process wouldn't give us generally reliable beliefs,
    You're kinda like that interviewer who spent an interview accusing the philosopher Jordan Peterson of all sorts of views he didn't hold. You tend to do that a lot. It's not a very endearing tactic seer.

    I offered you Plantinga's argument as an example of something to use if you're going to use presuppositional apologetics. I think its an excellent argument, otherwise I wouldn't have offered it, and it ties into a lot of deep and interesting problems to engage with, but I don't think you should use these arguments as silver bullet apologetics. Something that pressuppositional apologists tend to do a lot. There's a lot of sublety and complexify in Plantinga's argument, it goes right down to questions of theory of mind, what thoughts are, epistemology, bayes theorem, defeators, skeptical threat arguments, neurology, evolution, game theory.

    I think there's a lot to discuss. My mentioning possible answers to it doesn't mean I don't respect it. Or that I hold the opposite conclusion. It just means I think there's a lot of issues I think about with the argument.

    and in my link (post 67) he does link materialism/naturalism with epiphenomenalism.
    Only vaguely, in the end, in the sense that if your beliefs are different, then your neurology would be different and vice versa. The question then, is whether it is evolutionarily useful for our thoughts to reflect reality and thereby cause the right sorts of behavior.

    And while I suspect a counter argument could be made, that beliefs being true would tend to produce better behavior and that a functional madman (which is what Plantinga proposes) might not be as easy a concept to defend as he makes it seem, it still however isn't something I've seen anyone do. For that reason I think its a good challenge to give naturalists.
    Last edited by Leonhard; 02-09-2018 at 09:56 PM.

  4. #114
    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    Having inaccurate beliefs would have terrible survival value. If the tiger is coming toward you, it's pretty vital to believe it is and respond accordingly. Any evolutionary process is going to select heavily and quickly against grossly inaccurate beliefs that affect survival, and in favour of beings who can reason more accurately and quickly.
    The point is that you need to show a connection between beliefs being true, and our responses. You could imagine someone having an irrational response to an irrational thought that confers survival value. He runs away from the tiger because his natural response to seeing a friend is running away from it, and he thinks the tiger is his friend. Contrast this with someone who is afraid of tigers and runs away from things he's afraid of.

    There's a much larger combination of insane responses to insane beliefs that reacts in the appropriate way in that situation, than there's sane responses to a sane belief. Therefore sanity is much less likely to be true.

    That's the gist of the argument at least. And I've yet to see a good response to it.

  5. #115
    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    One of these is not like the others.
    True, that last one is far worse.



  6. #116
    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    You could imagine someone having an irrational response to an irrational thought that confers survival value. He runs away from the tiger because his natural response to seeing a friend is running away from it, and he thinks the tiger is his friend.
    In a specific case an irrational response can work by coincidence. But as soon as the entity encounters a novel situation it's not going to work and they're going to die - by running off a cliff to get away from a friend or whatever else.

    Whereas the entity that has an ability to reason accurately can respond effectively to novel situations and thus has improved survival value.

    While insanities that coincidentally correspond to survival behaviors in a specific context might be able to flourish during a particularly stable period for a species, the moment that the species is thrust into a new environment via forced migration or some other evolutionary selective pressure, the insane members of the species will die off as they have an insane response to the new environment, whereas the rational members of the species will be able to use their reasoning to help them adapt.

  7. #117
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Look at it this way, most animals survive just fine without beliefs of any kind. And if epiphenomenalism is true, which is now widely accepted, beliefs play NO CAUSAL role in your choices or decisions. Those are biologically predetermined. Your neurology is all that counts, conscious beliefs play no part.

    To quote Patricia Churchland:

    Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in the four F's: feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing. The principle chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive.... . Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism's way of life and enhances the organism's chances of survival. Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost.

    Or to quote Darwin:

    But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?"
    You appear to be making the same errors you made in previous posts.

    First - you are completely discounting the survival value of truth, so eliminating the possibility of evolution selecting for it.

    Second - you are assuming you know all there is to know about consciousness. We have only scratched the surface here. We do know that complex systems (like the brain) exhibit emergent properties not completely explainable by recourse to the physics and biology. We do not fully understand the feedback mechanism between body/mind, yet you are declaring it must be a specific way. I don't see how you could defend that assertion.

    Third - you are quoting one person who is obviously making the same mistakes as you (as you did with Plantinga), and another who was one of the originators of evolutionary theory, but certainly not the last word. We have learned much since Darwin wrote his books and proposed his theory. Quote mining just doesn't make for much of an argument.
    Last edited by carpedm9587; 02-10-2018 at 02:11 AM.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

  8. #118
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    The point is that you need to show a connection between beliefs being true, and our responses. You could imagine someone having an irrational response to an irrational thought that confers survival value. He runs away from the tiger because his natural response to seeing a friend is running away from it, and he thinks the tiger is his friend. Contrast this with someone who is afraid of tigers and runs away from things he's afraid of.

    There's a much larger combination of insane responses to insane beliefs that reacts in the appropriate way in that situation, than there's sane responses to a sane belief. Therefore sanity is much less likely to be true.

    That's the gist of the argument at least. And I've yet to see a good response to it.
    A mind that does not perceive reality accurately and cannot reason on it accurately may occasionally do the right survival thing by accident and for the wrong reason, but not consistently and continuously. You're asking people to assume that, quite by accident and for completely wrong reasons, a "mind" can consistently choose the "best survival choice." That very proposition would seem to fail on the face of it. It's like suggesting that someone with a completely incorrect understanding of mathematical principles can consistently and repeatedly arrive at the correct mathematical answer. Now and then, by accident, perhaps. But not consistently and repeatedly for a lifetime.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

  9. Amen Starlight amen'd this post.
  10. #119
    tWebber MaxVel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    A mind that does not perceive reality accurately and cannot reason on it accurately may occasionally do the right survival thing by accident and for the wrong reason, but not consistently and continuously. You're asking people to assume that, quite by accident and for completely wrong reasons, a "mind" can consistently choose the "best survival choice." That very proposition would seem to fail on the face of it. It's like suggesting that someone with a completely incorrect understanding of mathematical principles can consistently and repeatedly arrive at the correct mathematical answer. Now and then, by accident, perhaps. But not consistently and repeatedly for a lifetime.
    As I understand it, the point of the argument is not that every one of our beliefs is irrational, nor is it that all irrational beliefs have equal survival value.

    I think the thrust of the argument is that if naturalism and evolution are both true, then there is no necessary connection between our beliefs and reality. And that means we have a potential defeater for all beliefs we hold. We can't say " This belief is true, because those who hold it have had evolutionary success" since evolution doesn't select for true beliefs, but for beliefs that lead to survival.

    If unguided evolution is what made our belief-forming faculties, then what it made was faculties that increased the chance of survival, not faculties that formed only beliefs that were true.

    How do we then choose which beliefs are true and actually reflect reality; and which beliefs are false, but help us survive?
    ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

  11. Amen Adrift, Cerebrum123, Leonhard amen'd this post.
  12. #120
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    First - you are completely discounting the survival value of truth, so eliminating the possibility of evolution selecting for it.
    But what would be the survival value of truth if truth was not necessary for survival? Beliefs are abstract, and as far as we know animals don't have them and survive just fine.

    Second - you are assuming you know all there is to know about consciousness. We have only scratched the surface here. We do know that complex systems (like the brain) exhibit emergent properties not completely explainable by recourse to the physics and biology. We do not fully understand the feedback mechanism between body/mind, yet you are declaring it must be a specific way. I don't see how you could defend that assertion.
    Carp, just about every study, I referenced a number of them, says that there is no feedback loop, it just does not happen. That is where science is going.
    “The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” C.S. Lewis

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