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Thread: Can Atheism Account For Rationality

  1. #161
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zara View Post
    It is forceful in terms of being a reason to do so and so, and since we are rational beings, rationality, not causality, makes a demand on us to act in accordance to our rational nature.
    Your language is odd to me. We are rational beings because we are sentient and have the ability to reason using the basic principles of logic. We may or may not actually engage that reasoning correctly for a variety of psychological and even physical reasons. I don't experience "rationality" making demands on me. Indeed, it can't "make demands" at all. "Rational" is an adjective. "Rationality" is a noun, but not a thing that has its own existence - something else has to be "rational." So all of this is a bit odd to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zara View Post
    I am just following the Kantian thought, "concepts without intuitions are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind." My response reflected both sides, it wasn't clear - sorry.
    So what does this philosophy tell you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zara View Post
    Again, I am just following the Kantian concept / intuition requirement for thought - where the former is a priori to the possibility of experience as such. We use the categories to make sense of intuitions, as one unified experience. Those categories are an a priori part of possibility space. They also have their own rules around moral demands on us - i.e., having a (rational) mind means we have a duty to act rationally according to our rational nature - which when it comes to our will, means moral activity.
    So I guess I am officially lost. We have a rational nature - but our nature does not "impose a duty." It is simply our nature. It describes what we are like, what our characteristics are. Your philosophy sounds like the Christian notion that people have a duty to follow the purpose of the creator. I don't believe in a creator being, and don't share this sense of "duty."

    Beyond that observation, I think I have officially lost track of what this discussion is about. Do you want to start over and articulate your position from its very beginning?
    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

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  2. #162
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Of course they are all driven by genetics if materialism is true - what else is there?
    Well, genetics dictates how my body is constructed, so it certainly sets some constraints. But then there is the entire experience of mind, and there is experience - there is the "software" that rides on the hardware determined by genetics.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    I'm not sure what you think wouldn't be determined, even with an infinite number of possible results?
    It depends on whether or not determinism is the correct model. I don't experience as such, and science provides us several examples of places where determinism seems to break down, at least at the quantum level. And we have the phenomenon of emergent properties, which we are only just now beginning to explore. So, basically, you're making a lot of assumptions we don't know to be true.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Of course the calculators would be determined to give the answers they do.
    Yes, a calculator is a simple device that operates on Boolean logic gates. Barring a malfunction, it follows the laws of mathematics. I'm not sure what point you think you've made.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    I'm not making Plantinga's argument per se, but jumping on a side issue. And no, you can not take steps to reduce error, you have no choice in the matter. You could not decide that 2+2=5 was in error any more than the wrongly programmed calculator could. As Darfius said we don't choose what to think or how to act we just obey the dictates of our biological natures.
    Yes - finite beings can be wrong, and can not know they are wrong. You have the same problem, Seer. As soon as knowledge and thought and rationality can be imperfect, certainty becomes impossible - both in your worldview and mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Well we are speaking of determinism vs. free will. And no I'm not arguing for perfect knowledge but if determinism is true there is nothing to break the causal chain. Free will would break the chain. We are not slaves to antecedent conditions.
    So you are making an assumption - that determinism is true and is true because causality is an unbroken chain. Good luck showing that to be true.

    And, BTW, the theistic worldview falls apart under Plantinga's argument as well.
    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

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  3. #163
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    You mean like what people like Sam Harris are Steve Pinker are proposing? Are they smoking something too Shuny?

    What Neuroscience Says about Free Will

    We're convinced that it exists, but new research suggests it might be nothing more than a trick the brain plays on itself


    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com...out-free-will/
    You did notice the "might be" in that article, right? And its speculative nature?
    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

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  4. #164
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Carp if you are determined to believe that 2+2=5 how is that rational?
    Seer - if you are programmed by an evil creator to think the creator is actually good, how is that rational?

    We always have a gap between ourselves and reality: the gap is the brain and sensory equipment we use to perceive reality. If it is malfunctioning, we may not know it and we may behave irrationally. And we might even think ourselves to be rational. Until you have evidence that we actually are, I'll accept that we're not. The rationality I'm using seems to be sufficient to keep me alive and functioning. And the rational principles we are using are consistent with one another and useful in understanding this reality. Until I have a practical reason to think they are flawed, I'll take them and move on.
    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

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  5. #165
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by little_monkey View Post
    I agree with most of what you say. But I believe you did not understand my initial post to seer. The reason I chose the self-referential statement "this sentence is false" is to bring out the idea that logic has limited applicability. It was first discovered by Bertram Russell and that eventually led to Godel's incomplete theorem. However my intention to seer was to dispel this ridiculous idea that theists proclaim not only on this forum but on so many others that logic is somehow God's laws, when in fact it is a human construct, and it shouldn't surprise anyone that it is limited and fails to encompass many realities. Perhaps my communication was less than efficient.
    I guess I'm still struggling with "logic is a human construct." The implication of accepting that statement at face value seems to be that we can simply decide, at some point, that the Law of Identity is suspended, which seems to me to be somewhat irrational. Yes, humans (or more generally "sentient beings") are the ones who symbolically represent the principles on which the universe operates. I 100% agree with that. And our representation, if it doesn't accurately capture the reality it represents, can break down. Or it can be misapplied. If that is what you are saying, then we are in agreement.
    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

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  6. #166
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    I guess I'm still struggling with "logic is a human construct." The implication of accepting that statement at face value seems to be that we can simply decide, at some point, that the Law of Identity is suspended, which seems to me to be somewhat irrational. Yes, humans (or more generally "sentient beings") are the ones who symbolically represent the principles on which the universe operates. I 100% agree with that. And our representation, if it doesn't accurately capture the reality it represents, can break down. Or it can be misapplied. If that is what you are saying, then we are in agreement.
    Yeah, Logic as a "language" of reason is man-made, but the principals it uses are not. They are discovered, like math. Algebra is a man-made "language" of mathematics, but the principals and numbers are self existing, part of the reality. We may not know all of the principals fully or correctly but that doesn't change reality.

    Little Monkey's "this statement is false" doesn't disprove the law of the excluded middle. How is it false? As a sentence it is grammatically correct. Therefore it is truly a statement. It just happens to be stating it is false. It truly states it is false, so the statement is true in that regard. It is not a false statement. It is merely a true statement that is stating a lie.
    Last edited by Sparko; 06-25-2019 at 06:24 AM.

  7. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Your language is odd to me. We are rational beings because we are sentient and have the ability to reason using the basic principles of logic. We may or may not actually engage that reasoning correctly for a variety of psychological and even physical reasons. I don't experience "rationality" making demands on me. Indeed, it can't "make demands" at all. "Rational" is an adjective. "Rationality" is a noun, but not a thing that has its own existence - something else has to be "rational." So all of this is a bit odd to me.
    One aspect of our way of making sense of the world is reason. It is pure reason because we know that this faculty is a priori, i.e., independent of senses. We know this because, according to Kant, we can deduce it from the possibility of experience - where that faculty must already be active for us to be sentient (the unity of apperception) and have that ability to understand the world conceptually and reason. We can make mistakes in reasoning about things, when we try to make high-order sense of empirical concepts - through science. When it comes to deploying concepts, like 'chair', we are prevented from making mistakes by intersubjective agreement about what intuition, empirical phenomenon, is and is not a chair.

    By making a demand on us, I mean that to meet our own rational criteria, our background commitment to ordering the world rationally that flows from a priori ideas, we need to act in a certain way. Not doing so looks wrong in light of that standard.

    Take heed that The Critique of Pure Reason is a 700 page book judged to be one of the most difficult in philosophy - so, I am skipping around a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    So what does this philosophy tell you?
    I'm not sure what you mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    So I guess I am officially lost. We have a rational nature - but our nature does not "impose a duty." It is simply our nature. It describes what we are like, what our characteristics are. Your philosophy sounds like the Christian notion that people have a duty to follow the purpose of the creator. I don't believe in a creator being, and don't share this sense of "duty."
    For Kant, being rational beings with a rational will, here as practical reason, means that we ought to act in a certain way - we must treat other rational beings in the same way we would treat ourselves because they are also rational. He sums this up as the categorical imperative, the third form of which basically states: "the idea of the will of every rational being as a universally legislating will."

    That categorical imperative is simply a reflection of our rational will, which can always make a demand on us to act in accordance with its harmony with other rational wills. We are however, also human animals - which have their own interests, interests which clash with the impepative above. Humans however, are not necessarily determined according to a universal determinism in Kant. This is because determinism is epistemic not metaphsically understood. The categories force the world to appear determined to us, however, that is merely how we must think the world, it is not necessarily how the world is. Since the rational mind is part of that world, it is possible to act according to ones duty, always.

    Kant does hope for a God. However, that is merely a rational hope - which he also believes we ought to hold for some complicated argument I won't get into. Kant is very much of the opinion that as a fact of knowledge God is an empty transcendent category - and that we cannot know if God exists. With a similar determination for the soul.

    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Beyond that observation, I think I have officially lost track of what this discussion is about. Do you want to start over and articulate your position from its very beginning?
    I don't know either - this is where we are.
    Last edited by Zara; 06-25-2019 at 06:48 AM.

  8. #168
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Well, genetics dictates how my body is constructed, so it certainly sets some constraints. But then there is the entire experience of mind, and there is experience - there is the "software" that rides on the hardware determined by genetics.
    If materialism is true the "mind" is just the brain. If there is a mind our thoughts are merely epiphenomenonal with no causal effect on the process. And all that is just as determined as any physical process.

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epiphenomenalism/



    It depends on whether or not determinism is the correct model. I don't experience as such, and science provides us several examples of places where determinism seems to break down, at least at the quantum level. And we have the phenomenon of emergent properties, which we are only just now beginning to explore. So, basically, you're making a lot of assumptions we don't know to be true.
    We are not really arguing whether determinism is true or not, I'm arguing that if it is, we are not rational in any classic sense of the word.

    Yes, a calculator is a simple device that operates on Boolean logic gates. Barring a malfunction, it follows the laws of mathematics. I'm not sure what point you think you've made.
    Is a calculator that is badly programmed and gets consistently wrong answers rational? Of course not.


    Yes - finite beings can be wrong, and can not know they are wrong. You have the same problem, Seer. As soon as knowledge and thought and rationality can be imperfect, certainty becomes impossible - both in your worldview and mine.
    No Carp, we are speaking of free will or determinism. If we are free to rationally judge and make choices we can self-correct. I don't see how self-correction is possible in determinism. What would that even look like, how does the bad calculator self-correct? How could it possibly know it was in error?


    So you are making an assumption - that determinism is true and is true because causality is an unbroken chain. Good luck showing that to be true.
    That is the argument Carp, determinism vs free will. And determinism is where science is going. But if you know how that causal chain could be broken feel free to tell us.

    And, BTW, the theistic worldview falls apart under Plantinga's argument as well.
    How so?
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

  9. #169
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    You did notice the "might be" in that article, right? And its speculative nature?
    It is more than speculative if you follow up on the studies. They have actual evidence.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    It is more than speculative if you follow up on the studies. They have actual evidence.
    Actual evidence does not necessarily conclude anything as absolutely true.

    If this was even marginally true you would accept the science of evolution.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 06-25-2019 at 07:09 AM.
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