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Causal Philosophy - Are CDs Materialists?


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#1 mordecai_*

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 02:50 PM

So are modern christadelphians materialists?

What do christadelphians believe about cause and effect? Do they believe in newtonian/descartian notions of unbreakable chain of cause and effect back to a first cause? If this is the case then how can they demonstrate that "Free will" is compatable with determinism since all people would be functions of their inputs and outputs (which they have no control over i.e. the place and time you were born determines who you end up being since that is your growth environment).

Whats the underlying philosophy that is used to divide all possible true claims from fales ones?

When someone says they saw a ghost or heard from angels from another god what basis do you have for not thinking that such things could possibly be real when you believe in "spiritual" realities that are "immaterial" or "otherworldly". If you believe in the immateriality of god and other god derives beings then define what immaterial means how can something immaterial effect something that is material?

Cany anyone define what the "spirit" is? One can call the holy spirit "god's power" but that for all intents in purposes is impossible to define physically, and if its impossible to define physically does that mean we are free in rejecting it since god, gods power and spirit are inherently gibberish terms we cannot understand because we have no sense data of their physical existence?

#2 Evangelion

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 03:11 PM

So are modern christadelphians materialists?


Depends on how you're defining that term. I don't actually see a definition in your post.

What do christadelphians believe about cause and effect?  Do they believe in newtonian/descartian notions of unbreakable chain of cause and effect back to a first cause?


Can't speak for others, but I certainly don't.

If this is the case then how can they demonstrate that "Free will" is compatable with determinism since all people would be functions of their inputs and outputs (which they have no control over i.e. the place and time you were born determines who you end up being since that is your growth environment).


Ah, but you're speaking as if material cause and effect is wholly equivalent to (and even responsible for) mental and emotional cause and effect. Reality just isn't like that.

Human beings often act in appropriately to situations; their motives and causes aren't always logical, rational or even discernable. Free will is what makes this possible.

We're on pretty safe ground when we say things like "This rock will fall when I drop it", but there is no way that we can say "So-and-so will act in such-and-such a way when I do this..." with any guarantee of 100% certainty.

It is one thing to make predictions about cause and effect on the basis of known physical laws; it is quite another to claim that those physical laws are necessarily responsible for all human thought and action, and that all human thought and action can be traced back to a corresponding physical cause.

I'll give you a little more on this in a subsequent post.

Whats the underlying philosophy that is used to divide all possible true claims from fales ones?


Truth will be proved by an examination of internal and external evidence.

When someone says they saw a ghost or heard from angels from another god what basis do you have for not thinking that such things could possibly be real when you believe in "spiritual" realities that are "immaterial" or "otherworldly".  If you believe in the immateriality of god and other god derives beings then define what immaterial means how can something immaterial effect something that is material?


I would judge it by the same standards that I judge the Bible: internal and external evidence.

I would start with the external (ie. objective evidence) and work my way down to the internal (ie. logical and rational evidence.) I would then compare the two forms of evidence and see what I'd ended up with.

Can anyone define what the "spirit" is?  One can call the holy spirit "god's power" but that for all intents in purposes is impossible to define physically, and if its impossible to define physically does that mean we are free in rejecting it since god, gods power and spirit are inherently gibberish terms we cannot understand because we have no sense data of their physical existence?


No, I don't think anyone can define what the "spirit" is beyond saying that it is God's power. But who cares? I don't think that any further definition is necessary. (Why would it be?)

And I don't believe that we should reject anything that we can't define to the nth degree.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#3 Evangelion

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 03:15 PM

The determinist model is distinct from the Judeo-Christian and existentialist models, in that it allows for no concept of free will at all. Instead, every choice that an individual makes, can be explained by an examination of the phenomena acting upon him at the time.

Unlike the other two models, the decisions of a human being stem not from personal motive, but external influence. To know the cause, is to know the reason for the effect.

Of such an opinion was Baron Holbach, who, in chapter 11 of System of Nature, argued thus: Man’s life is a line that nature commands him to describe upon the surface of the earth, without his ever being able to swerve from it, even for an instant… Nevertheless, in spite of the shackles by which he is bound, it is pretended that he is a free agent, or that independent of the causes by which he is moved, he determines his own will, and regulates his own condition.
Holbach believed that the “will”, or autonomy of human beings, is a modification of the brain, by which it is disposed to action, or prepared to give play to the organs. The will is necessarily determined by the qualities of the individual and the various stimuli acting upon him.

In consequence, he acts necessarily – his action is the result of the impulse he receives either from the motive, from the object, or from the idea which has modified his brain, or disposed his will. When he does not act according to this impulse, it is because some new cause, motive or idea, has modified his brain in a different manner, determining his will in a different way.

Holbach agrees that reflection, experience and reason will necessarily delay or suspend the action of an individual’s will – he merely refuses to place any more significance upon it than that which he would place on an inevitable action, such as a rock succumbing to gravity.

In other words, human beings always act according to necessary laws from which they have no means of emancipating themselves.

This model of determinism raises the question of responsibility within a moral system, for the principle argument of free will advocates is that morality is meaningless in the absence of autonomy.

Holbach is well aware of the problem, but dismisses it with two blunt sentences in chapter 11 of System of Nature:
Society has been believed interested in this system [that of free will as necessary for moral significance] because an idea has gone abroad, that if all the actions of man were to be contemplated as necessary, the right of punishing those who injure their associates would no longer exist.

At length human vanity accommodated itself to a hypothesis which, unquestionably, appears to distinguish man from all other physical beings, by assigning to him the special privilege of a total independence of all other causes, but of which a very little reflection would have shown him the impossibility.
There are several criticisms which might be levelled at Holbach’s determinism.

Firstly it is necessary to scrutinise his understanding of the extent to which humans are influenced by their environment – for when Holbach speaks of “nature” and “necessary laws” he is addressing only the system of physical causality which dominates every material object in our universe.

Thus, when he says that a man “chooses” to drink because he is thirsty, Holbach is quite right in saying that the motivation for the action came from an impulse which was in turn the result of a natural law. The man’s throat was dry; he was in need of fluid, therefore he was prompted to drink.

However, there is a world of difference between stating that a man should drink or needs to drink, and saying that he must drink because this is the only course of action before him.

I believe that Holbach is blurring the distinction between that which is necessary, and that which is arbitrary.

For example, in chapter 12 of System of Nature, he argues that the most common actions of a man – those which we would call his personality traits – are predetermined in him at birth, and represent an immutable set of laws from which we cannot reasonably expect him to deviate.

Holbach presents his reader with a number of personality types; the miser, the voluptuary, the choleric man, and the zealous enthusiast, and lists their various characteristics. His purpose in doing this is to demonstrate that, regardless of whether or not we condone the actions of our fellow human beings, they are never truly free, but always the necessary consequence of individual temperament, of received ideas and of personal opinion, strengthened by a lifetime of socialisation.

Holbach is asking his reader to accept the notion that our actions are as firmly regimented by our characters and personalities, as our bodies are by the laws of physics. This, to my mind, is a gross exaggeration.

The implications of Holbach’s conclusion are staggering. He has to accept that no criminal can ever be rehabilitated. He is required to ignore the many ways by which human beings have improved themselves over time, such as learning patience, practising virtue, or coming to a greater appreciation of others.
He will resist admonition on the basis that “This is how I am, and I can be no other way”, and he will certainly have profound difficulties with actions that appear to possess no discernible cause whatsoever.

In addition to this, it is necessary for him to explain which of the primary causes – nature or temperament – is the dominant of the two, for both are treated independently in System of Nature, and it is clear that Holbach considers them to be separate.

In the case of the man who craves water, it might be argued that he must drink of necessity – but how does one explain the actions of a person who does not drink, and even refuses to do so under great duress? Holbach’s only answer is that the temperament is now taking control, and the individual is either of a stubborn, recalcitrant or feeble-minded disposition.

But is this really sufficient? Does it prove a lack of self will, or merely show why such a person favours one choice of action over another? I argue the latter – Holbach, against all logic, favours the former.

There is also a problem with the way in which Holbach’s determinism fails to address morality. In chapter 11 of System of Nature, he writes:Is man the master of desiring or not desiring an object that appears desirable to him? Without a doubt it will be answered no; but he is the master of resisting his desire, if he reflects n the consequences. But, I ask, is he capable of reflecting on these consequences, when his soul is hurried along by a very lively passion, which entirely depends upon his natural organisation, and the causes by which he is modified?
This peculiar idea has, at its conclusion, a somewhat comic state of affairs.

For, according to Holbach, every human being is a boiling Vesuvius of barely-suppressed desires, capable of erupting at any moment, but not sufficiently strong to resist the power of emotional persuasion which accompanies each and every act.

Imagine the scene – a thirsty man spies a glass of water on the table. Trapped in his water-lusting body, he wrestles furiously with the natural laws which cause him to crave it – but, just when success is imminent, he succumbs to the tempting fluid, won over by a deep-seated longing for self-gratification.
He gulps down the water, no free agent, but a slave to nature and temperament.

Does this truly constitute an adequate explanation of the many processes involved in human decision-making? I suggest not. Human beings are simply too complex, too unpredictable, and their actions too arbitrary, for a logical system of deterministic prediction to give an answer for everything that they do.

Furthermore, Holbach’s reasoning, as I understand it, concludes that human beings cannot be held responsible for immorality because they are predetermined by the evils of society, to perform acts of violence, theft and perjury, etc.

To me this is simply insufficient, and merely raises other questions such as the source of evil and the ability of formerly “wicked” people to lead new and productive lives.

:popcorn:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#4 pantrog_*

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 12:06 PM

This is very similar to skeptics/mordecais' discussion on free will during the 'omnisience' thread.

Does this truly constitute an adequate explanation of the many processes involved in human decision-making? I suggest not. Human beings are simply too complex, too unpredictable, and their actions too arbitrary, for a logical system of deterministic prediction to give an answer for everything that they do.


Ok Holbach seems a bit of a hard determinist.

E. how would you characterize the mechanism of human decision making - tell us your view of the 'ghost in the machine'.

#5 Mercia2

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 12:51 PM

Everything that is natural is symbolic of what is spiritual, and the patterns of the natural reveals the Plan of God in relation to the spiritual. This is what the early church fathers believed, and it is what I have come to realise. That the natural represents the spiritual is a Biblical fact as revealed in many places, Abraham in some places symbolically represents God, as does Noah in Genesis, their are many other examples.

So the mysteries of the creation (life) reveals by example (observation) the spiritual, so from the errors of the natural man (i.e scientists) in negating God we learn the following - 1. We are not be men of assumption, as extrapolating materialistic assumptions inveribly leads to error in regard to the spiritual (the unseen, i.e Gods and angels); this is what has happened in the world. And the mystery of creation (life) teaches us not to be men who generalise and extrapolate any one given theory or we will lead ourselves into error (this is how God takes the wise in their rash materialistic assumptions). As the natural man, is naturally a reductionist by nature and linear thinker, so God has purposed that no single materialistic assumption extrapolated (generalised) can or will reveal the mystery of life (creation). That biological evolution is a fact on certain levels, only acts to reveal that the spiritual creation of God (the third temple is to be a TYPE of man) is a 7 thousand micro evolutionary process. One may call that process a learning process, and that the natural mirrors the spiritual, but their is more to it than that. Spiritual revelation has been (unfolding) and evolving in a sense, from the natural (OT times) to the spiritual (NT times), this cannot be denied, even by the most stubborn, so then it follows that any materialistic/natural conclusion relating to mans ultimate fate will be wrong.

As for the philosophers of the ages, all philosophy concerning the supernatural, that is built upon the assumption of men is, even when observational is pointless, and worth nothing, as the foundations (assumptions) in which all subsequent theories are built are wrong at the core, (Christadelphians have made these errors in their theology because of such assumptions) - especially in what treats of the spiritual (Satan/demons/the Holy Spirit).

Observational Philosophy is interesting, but when it treats of the spiritual it is also based upon assumptions, and is chaff (*useless). The only worthwhile conclusions are those based on a knowledge of what assumptions our theories are to be based upon (in this context). After it has been proved to you on a personal level (through revelation by God) that the Christianity of the Bible is true (taking into account the errors of Babylon), which are also revealed (by the Bible) should the atheist care to look into the matter, then we can base all our theories on the following assumptions:

1. God created the natural and the spiritual (based upon what has been revealed in the Bible)
2. the natural is symbolic of the spiritual (based upon what has been revealed in the Bible)
3. observation and study of the natural creation will reveal the plan of God in the Spiritual Creation/evolution of man (based on what has been revealed in the Bible).
4. The future has already happened (based on what is revealed in the Bible).
5. Their is more than one dimensional surrounding us' (we have angels around us as ministering spirits that are not made from atoms, and cannot be perceived from our perspective/dimension, but they can perceive us), and they can have influence over us. Again based on what the Bible reveals by extension.
6. Based upon the fact Jesus could also appear and disappear in closed rooms after His resurrection, offers enough proof to the materialist who extrapolates in this regard - he is wrong.

7. On a personal level, 1982 I had two in depth and long conversations with an angel of Christ at a papal mass in the UK in which I was shown images of where I would later be living, in what context and why I turned back to God, when I asked for the Holy Spirit (after following the instruction given in Luke 11:13) and who I would meet and have to deal with - Now, this entire experience involved 1. a non material being/man - identical to a man in voice tone and expression (emotions expressed through such expressions), 2. yet one who had no observable physical body, 3. had total and instant control over my emotions (when he touched me I went from terrified to perfectly fine - instantly), 4. could lift me from the floor from a sensation within my solar plexus area (I fell to the floor with my hands on my head when I was shown Revelation 17:4), 5. place images in my mind as clear as television pictures of the future (which he did when he told me who I would meet) and what I would have to do when the "veil was lifted" about this event in my adult life (which was the moment I obeyed Luke 11:13), and 6. who had read something in 1982, that I would not write until 1998, which he talked with me about in 1982.

On a personal level I know for a fact this happened, though such is impossible to relay to others, apart from the fact my family are also aware of it, and that I stated out loud "the Chernobyl nuclear reactor will explode in 1986" infront of dozens of adults who knew what was happening to me (and two of those people wrote it down). That was in 1982 (again all because the angel was quoting back to me from a book I would not write until 1998); and it came to pass four years later (in 1986 the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded) and my grandmother who had wrote down what the angel said through me in 1982, revealed the phyical proof to my family in 1986 (when it happened). So from my personal experience, I can also extrapolate my philosophy/theology from personal proof * through experience (based upon what the above experience revealed by extension). Yet atheists and pagans (and materialists who are offended by what happened to me), can only extrapolate from (assumptions), and unless God has enlightened a man, those assumptions are usually wrong, as they are based upon what we can already perceive, weigh and measure (materialistically), which God has (intentionally) hidden from the wisdom (the science) of natural man - as implied (if not overtly stated) in the book of Corinthians. The fact that God has (intentionally) hidden the spiritual from mankind is also evident in the way in which the Bible has been wrote (the hidden sense is the spiritual sense), sometimes called the symbolic sense. The biblical stated fact that God has purposfully concealed spiritual realities from the natural man is an assumption that science never builds its theories upon, but is as I know from personal experience (and from observing the errors of the Christadelphians in this regard - i.e no spirits/no demons etc) an observable fact - because of what God has revealed to me on a personal level.
Of course materailstic atheists make the same errors based upon the similar materialistic assumptions the Christadelphians have made in relation to the spiritual (demons/spirits/Holy Spirit etc), only atheists take those same errors of materialistic assumption and take them even further (negating God), but the same errors of Christadelphianism on a smaller level, are the same profound atheistic errors made due to materialistic assumptions in the world (the science and wisdom of natural man).

This is why Christians, who are defiled by materialistic assumptions (i.e the non existence of demons etc); do not realise they are as deceived when they make such assumptions, as the materialistic scientists are when they make their assumptions about God (or His non existence as they would see it, proven by extrapolating materialistic assumptions, and over generalising) which is what many of us have done.

Observable traits of the natural man that deceive him as to spiritual realities are as follows:
1. a materialistic rationalisation of the spiritual (involves reductionism)
2. Linear extrapolations based upon materialistic assumptions
3. Reductionism of the spiritual to the level of the material.
4. Generalising and extrapolating on one linear level.
5. Assuming the spiritual (God etc) can be revealed through the natural (the intellect of man). Despite what Christadelphians say, the intellectuals have largely rejected Christianity (and God), and the reason they have done so is reflected in points 1 to 5 (above). And their entire error can be summed up in one word - reductionism. And on other word - materialism. Therefore materialism and reductionism is the greatest enemy to spiritual Truth. Any man who extrapolates the former, and employs the latter, is a man that has deceived himself as to spiritual realities and who will in turn deceive many of likemind.

This is because they have reduced the spiritual to the level of the natural (what can be understood on that one level alone) from the assumption only one level exists (now disproved by quantam physics), and have ignored oppossing/conflicting evidence, reduced cause and effect into one mode of understanding (and negated primary cause), and have used language to reflect their reductionist/replacement model (i.e as if Nature is a person that selects). The context in which God then purposefully deceives this class (as revealed in 1 Corinthians), and the context in which their is a "powerful delusion" to deceive those who are "wise in their own eyes" (the wisdom of this world) is in the context of the spiritual that appears to mirror the natural, so that the context of the deception can be summed up in one word - reductionism.

Any 'Christian' who is bringing (any) of the above traits of the natural man to the Word of God, and using them to extrapolate a theology will also be deceived by God in all that treats of the spiritual (in the Word). They will also tend to be literalists (as biblical literalists are materialist reductionists in the world). This is the problem with Christadelphianism.
The Bible opposes literalist reductionists that extrapolate materialistically (from materialistic assumptions), and as this class are called "scientists" in the world, and this same class have prospered materialistically in their knowledge, but are spiritually ignorant, so likewise the same applies when we adopt their methods for interpretting the Word (we become deceived due to our materialistic assumptions we begin with) and the linear extropalation of the Bible we then employ to uphold our materialistic assumptions. Yet the Bible (like every living thing) has two modes of understanding that must first be observed (and which is the correct assumption to begin with). Science only extrapolates in one.

The bible reflects life.
Life contains a natural/literal and spiritual/symbolic (the latter is concealed). Just as it is in the world.

In the Word, the spiritual (often called symbolic sense) is concealed (HIDDEN) within the natural/literal sense of the Bible, just as the spiritual is HIDDEN from the natural man (science). It is these lessons the literalists (or materialists) MUST learn from the (example of Gods Word). Any theology that says a man is just a soul (without a spirit that is quickened by Christ and survives the death of the body) is in error. As the whole nature of the Bible reveals the HIDDEN spiritual sense or symbolic sense is a reality that (if made immortal by God) will survive the death of the natural. That is why Jesus (the SPIRITUAL or symbolic sense) of the Old Testament "made flesh" said the (the spiritual sense of the Bible) i.e his words are "spirit and they are life", and why, like the spiritual man, the Words of God will never pass away.

Thus, as one becomes more spiritually aware (mature) we start to see that the Bible contains an inner spiritual glory that will never die (these words will never pass away) just as the man quickened by Jesus perceives the same inner glory in himself, and realises too that he will never pass away. For God has quickened his spirit and revealed all these things unto him. That which is intentionally concealed from the natural man, is fully manifest to the spiritual man. Through the enlightening power of God (His Holy Spirit).

Russell.


http://members.cox.n...thday/index.htm

Edited by Mercia2, 05 June 2005 - 01:49 PM.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#6 Evangelion

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 01:02 PM

Does this truly constitute an adequate explanation of the many processes involved in human decision-making? I suggest not. Human beings are simply too complex, too unpredictable, and their actions too arbitrary, for a logical system of deterministic prediction to give an answer for everything that they do.


Ok Holbach seems a bit of a hard determinist.


About as hard as they come. :yep:

E. how would you characterize the mechanism of human decision making - tell us your view of the 'ghost in the machine'.


I think we are influenced by internal and external forces. I also believe that we often act inappropriately to them (but hey, that's free will for you!)

I define external forces as situations, information we receive through our senses (ie. physical feelings, the evidence of our eyes, various sounds and scents, etc.) and other people (including their ideas.)

I define internal forces as our free will and mental analysis combined with our emotional and physical responses (ie. love, hate, fear, pain and the bodily reactions which accompany them, such as sweating, inability to speak and palpitations of the heart, etc.

One of the most amazing things about human beings - indeed, a characteristic which places us above the animals - is our ability to deny and disobey "instinct."

Human beings are not obliged to obey the "fight or flight" call of the hypothalamus. Humans are not obliged to obey the survival instinct (we are perfectly capable of self-destruction; indeed, we seem particularly motivated by a desire to save the life of another - or even to take others with us as we go!) Human beings are not obliged to obey the procreation instinct.

And so on and so forth.

To me, the defiance of instinct - combined with the sheer unpredictability of human beings; particularly our capacity for illogical and irrational response - precludes any suggestion that our decision-making process is limited to a simple formula of cause and effect.

Yes, there are certain forms of human behaviour which - when studied closely - can be learned, predicated and subsequently exploited.

Derren Brown is arguably the master of behavioural prediction techniques - but even he will admit that they only work when the environment of the individual in question is carefully contrived and controlled, and/or the information that they receive, carefully restricted to a very small and very specific sphere.

:popcorn:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#7 pantrog_*

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 01:23 PM

I also believe that we often act inappropriately to them (but hey, that's free will for you!)


But doesn't this model assume that we are consciously aware of all the influences -you can't exclude the possibility that we may not be aware of forces acting on our cognitive function. In such a case we may still be puppets of such influences - we may just not be aware of it.

I define internal forces as our free will and mental analysis combined with our emotional and physical responses (ie. love, hate, fear, pain and the bodily reactions which accompany them, such as sweating, inability to speak and palpitations of the heart, etc.


But are the decisions made by molecules, structures, atoms ... or something else?

One of the most amazing things about human beings - indeed, a characteristic which places us above the animals - is our ability to deny and disobey "instinct."


As above - maybe we just think we can because we are not entirely aware of the influences on us. It would also be very difficult to prove empirically that higher primates/dolphins/whales do not over-rule such instincts for 'higher purposes'.

Just getting the mind-reading head-gear on wales is a little tricky.

#8 Evangelion

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 01:49 PM

I also believe that we often act inappropriately to them (but hey, that's free will for you!)


But doesn't this model assume that we are consciously aware of all the influences -you can't exclude the possibility that we may not be aware of forces acting on our cognitive function. In such a case we may still be puppets of such influences - we may just not be aware of it.


No, it is not reliant upon any such assumption. Indeed, the very existence of influences to which we are not entirely conscious is to my mind further evidence that our actions cannot be easily reduced to a simple matter of "cause and effect" - for how can we be dogmatic about causes of which we are not fully conscious?

If, on the other hand, you are suggesting that all our decisions are caused by influences of which we are not conscious (thereby providing a mere illusion of free will) I would have to say that this is mere speculation.

"It's the invisible demons that made me do it!"

"What invisible demons? I can't see any invisisible demons!"

:whistling:

I define internal forces as our free will and mental analysis combined with our emotional and physical responses (ie. love, hate, fear, pain and the bodily reactions which accompany them, such as sweating, inability to speak and palpitations of the heart, etc.


But are the decisions made by molecules, structures, atoms ... or something else?


They are made by a complex combination of matter and energy which we call our brains. Sometimes the decision is automatic (ie. reflexive and instinctive, such as the knee-jerk or recoil of the hand from a hot surface); sometimes the decision is a conscious one (ie. arrived at by a process of systematic thought - which may take anything from a long periond of time to less than a milisecond, depending on the nature of the decision and the amount of time available.)

I do not claim to understand the precise nature of the mechanics involved; I do not believe that anyone does.

All I know is that a small, grey lump of flesh and blood - powered by nutrients, oxygen and electricity - is responsible.

One of the most amazing things about human beings - indeed, a characteristic which places us above the animals - is our ability to deny and disobey "instinct."


As above - maybe we just think we can because we are not entirely aware of the influences on us. It would also be very difficult to prove empirically that higher primates/dolphins/whales do not over-rule such instincts for 'higher purposes'.


I think it's perfectly true that that unknown causes (ie. causes of which we are not conscious) often play a part in our decisions. I do not believe, however, that they constitute the only cause of our decisions.

For me, it is enough to recognise that human beings have constantly demonstrated their ability to override instinct in ways that animals can never achieve by themselves.

Now of course, animals can override instinct under certain conditions - but only if humans train them to do so.

Just getting the mind-reading head-gear on wales is a little tricky.


Hey, you leave the Welsh out of this! :P
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#9 Mercia2

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 01:53 PM

I think it's perfectly true that that unknown causes (ie. causes of which we are not conscious) often play a part in our decisions. I do not believe, however, that they constitute the only cause of our decisions.

This is good because it is anti-reductionist - one of the traits of the natural man is not only to reduce, and extrapolate in a linear fashion, but to generalise as well (its all related). To generalise is to simplify. Religion does this as well for dogma more easily received and achieved.

I also agree, its not the (only) cause.

Edited by Mercia2, 05 June 2005 - 01:58 PM.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#10 mordecai_*

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 04:39 PM

The problem still comes through though is that free will itself can be impaired by physical abnormalities in brain structure, certainly CD's believe in mental diseases in where the structure of the brains molecules or hormones/chemnicals generated to sustain the brains operation are re-redirected and the persons behaviour changes. For instance the person who had half of his brain removed could no longer store permanent memories therefore each day whenever somebody he had never seen before came into his room he had no recollection of who they were and had to start from scratch.

The fact is the structure of peoples minds effect their ability to process information and make decisions, and it is ultimately the structure of the mind that determines how information is processed, therefore physical structures and their arrangement determines the flow of thought and the chain of reasoning, and a person may not be aware that his reasoning is flawed simply because his brain has not the proper structural functions.

The fact is CD's still can't get away from form determines function of cause and effect.

What evangelion is describing is non-linear behaviour, but non-linear behaviour is still ultimately causal. Strict determinism is linear, but there is still non-linear determinism which still makes free will an illusion, because all people are still functions of inputs and outputs beyond their control (i.e. no one picks their families, geography, religions, etc to which they are born).

#11 mordecai_*

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 04:47 PM

Whats the underlying philosophy that is used to divide all possible true claims from fales ones?


Truth will be proved by an examination of internal and external evidence.

You still haven't told me how you SEPERATE what qualifies as evidence, how do you seperate your personal subjective experiences and judgement from objective ones like, the moon exists? You see without belief that natures laws are unchanging you can't disregard demon belief on objective grounds, only theological ones.

Then theres the question of why do you reject other gods for instance? Obviously you couldn't just use the bible to reject other gods because those other gods also have equal probability of omnipotence and is capable of decieving you (after all gods personalities are learned from books, which therefore cannot be fixed or known as objective). For instance one book that claims to be from god says that contradiction is a valid measure of truth while another says it is not. The problem is dealing with supernatural gods, how could you know they could be effecting your reasoning right now? If you say because I believe in the bible god, thats not enough thats circular reasoning. You dont know if the bible god even exists, you just think he does, so what stops a god from causing you to think that the bible god exists because say, he doesn't like you?

Edited by mordecai, 05 June 2005 - 04:55 PM.


#12 Evangelion

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 04:59 PM

The problem still comes through though is that free will itself can be impaired by physical abnormalities in brain structure, certainly CD's believe in mental diseases in where the structure of the brains molecules or hormones/chemnicals generated to sustain the brains operation are re-redirected and the persons behaviour changes. For instance the person who had half of his brain removed could no longer store permanent memories therefore each day whenever somebody he had never seen before came into his room he had no recollection of who they were and had to start from scratch.

The fact is the structure of peoples minds effect their ability to process information and make decisions, and it is ultimately the structure of the mind that determines how information is processed, therefore physical structures and their arrangement determines the flow of thought and the chain of reasoning, and a person may not be aware that his reasoning is flawed simply because his brain has not the proper structural functions.


I know of no mental disease which removes free will.

What are you talking about?

The fact is CD's still can't get away from form determines function of cause and effect.


Eh?

What evangelion is describing is non-linear behaviour, but non-linear behaviour is still ultimately causal.  Strict determinism is linear, but there is still non-linear determinism which still makes free will an illusion, because all people are still functions of inputs and outputs beyond their control (i.e. no one picks their families, geography, religions, etc to which they are born).


Our capacity for non-linear behaviour proves that we do not live in a deterministic universe.

What you describe as "non-linear determinism" - "(i.e. no one picks their families, geography, religions, etc to which they are born)" - other people simply call "chance."

It's not properly "deterministic" in the philosophical sense.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#13 Mercia2

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 05:10 PM

The fact is the structure of peoples minds effect their ability to process information and make decisions, and it is ultimately the structure of the mind that determines how information is processed, therefore physical structures and their arrangement determines the flow of thought and the chain of reasoning, and a person may not be aware that his reasoning is flawed simply because his brain has not the proper structural functions.

Not so, thought and emotion changes the structure of the brain, not the other way around.

Stress changes also show this effect at work - http://www.salesbrai.....our Brain.htm

Edited by Mercia2, 05 June 2005 - 05:19 PM.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#14 Mercia2

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 05:17 PM

and learning/thought...

http://my.webmd.com/...le/79/96364.htm

Edited by Mercia2, 05 June 2005 - 05:19 PM.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#15 Evangelion

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 05:20 PM

Whats the underlying philosophy that is used to divide all possible true claims from fales ones?


Truth will be proved by an examination of internal and external evidence.


You still haven't told me how you SEPERATE what qualifies as evidence, how do you seperate your personal subjective experiences and judgement from objective ones like, the moon exists?


If it's (a) tangible, (b) rational, © logical, it's evidence.

Irreducible complexity - that's evidence.

Specified order - that's evidence.

Inability of science to explain the origins of the universe - that's evidence.

The record of history - that's evidence. (David Rohl has done some excellent work here.)

The record of archaeology - that's evidence. (David Rohl again.)

Ancient manuscripts - they're evidence. (David Rohl again; see also The Admonitions of Ipuwer, in which Rohl finds evidence for the ten plagues of Egypt.)

My beliefs aren't taken from dreams, visions, supernatural experiences or some vague, indefinable "feeling" inside. They're taken from the conclusions I reach on the basis of the same evidence that I'd expect an atheist to examine.

You see without belief that natures laws are unchanging you can't disregard demon belief on objective grounds, only theological ones.


My refusal to believe in the existence of demons has nothing to do with the question of whether or not nature's laws are unchanging. Nature's laws are totally irrelevant to the issue.

Then theres the question of why do you reject other gods for instance?  Obviously you couldn't just use the bible to reject other gods because those other gods also have equal probability of omnipotence and is capable of decieving you (after all gods personalities are learned from books, which therefore cannot be fixed or known as objective).  For instance one book that claims to be from god says that contradiction is a valid measure of truth while another says it is not.


I know of no religious book which has predicted future events with certainty, as the Bible has.

I know of no religious book so well supported by archaeology and history as the Bible is.

I know of no religious book with greater internal consistency (despite being compiled over so great a period and with so many contributors.)


The problem is dealing with supernatural gods, how could you know they could be effecting your reasoning right now?  If you say because I believe in the bible god, thats not enough thats circular reasoning.  You dont know if the bible god even exists, you just think he does, so what stops a god from causing you to think that the bible god exists because say, he doesn't like you?


This is pure sophistry, and contributes absolutely nothing to our discussion.

I could just as easily say "Mordecai, how do you know that I'm not God, and that I didn't create you 5 minutes ago with a complete personality and a fake set of memories?"

Silly little games like this will help to pass the time in a 1st year Philosophy tutorial, but there's nothing intelligent or meaningful about them.

They certainly don't prove anything. :popcorn:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#16 Evangelion

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 05:51 PM

The Admonitions of Ipuwer.

:colter:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#17 pantrog_*

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 10:09 AM

If, on the other hand, you are suggesting that all our decisions are caused by influences of which we are not conscious (thereby providing a mere illusion of free will) I would have to say that this is mere speculation.


I agree it would be illogical to claim that _all_ our decisions are caused by influences we are not conscious of. But it would also be unfair to argue that _none_ of our decisions were influenced by things we are not conscious of. Just as we cannot be dogmatic that we are always acting under the influence of unpercieved influences - we should not be dogmatic that we never are.

Given therefore that we have not performed an experiment to measure or exclude these unknowns - a definitive statement on the subject can only be a matter of opinion. Those apparently inconsistent 'acts' may be sheerly the result of influences we were not aware that we were acting appropriately of.

Example:

we may like chocolate, but have been ordered not to eat it. Normally we do not ... but on one day, concomitant with a subtle varaition in CSF pH or concentrations of relevant neurotransmitters - the neurones in our temporal lobe are increased in sensitivity, the memory of 'chocolate taste' is increased .. and we decide to eat choclate! We may not be 'aware' of the cause and effect.... but it was there.

Sometimes the decision is automatic (ie. reflexive and instinctive, such as the knee-jerk or recoil of the hand from a hot surface);


Interestingly (and this is sheerly just for interest - I get your point) neither of these reflexes are actually processes by the brain.

All I know is that a small, grey lump of flesh and blood - powered by nutrients, oxygen and electricity - is responsible.


Thats it E. almost there, materialism beckons. This has revelance on CD theology/eschatology .. I'll illustrate

Q: what is the minimum entity needed to be resurrected on Judgment day - to have successfull resurrection? Heres some possibilities

- The same atoms in the same positions as the deceased brain.
- Different atoms in the same positions as the deceased brain.
- Different atoms in the different positions as the deceased brain.

wales


sorry, thought I'd edited that. fabulous country.

#18 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 10:44 AM

Q: what is the minimum entity needed to be resurrected on Judgment day - to have successfull resurrection? Heres some possibilities

- The same atoms in the same positions as the deceased brain.
- Different atoms in the same positions as the deceased brain.
- Different atoms in the different positions as the deceased brain.

Heisenberg.

#19 Adanac

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 10:48 AM

wales


sorry, thought I'd edited that. fabulous country.

I take back everything I said about you. :bow:

#20 mordecai_*

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 02:04 PM

If it's (a) tangible, (b) rational, © logical, it's evidence.

Irreducible complexity - that's evidence.

Specified order - that's evidence.

Inability of science to explain the origins of the universe - that's evidence.

The record of history - that's evidence. (David Rohl has done some excellent work here.)

The record of archaeology - that's evidence. (David Rohl again.)

Ancient manuscripts - they're evidence. (David Rohl again; see also The Admonitions of Ipuwer, in which Rohl finds evidence for the ten plagues of Egypt.)

My beliefs aren't taken from dreams, visions, supernatural experiences or some vague, indefinable "feeling" inside. They're taken from the conclusions I reach on the basis of the same evidence that I'd expect an atheist to examine.


The problem of course is there only a fraction of that evidence can be examined given the shortness of human life. Similarly, you reject alarmingly high rates of evidence that do not conform to your first principles for interpreting evidence which are derived from apriori belief in god. The time life has been around on earth for example is indisputable (do the math yourself if you think you're so reasonable), yet most biblical YEC's dispute it, also the sun was made on the 4th day yet we know that is impossible. The problem is God acts as a substitute for "anything a person can imagine" therefore you cannot convert other people from other religions on teh basis of logic, reason or rationality, it's still blind faith that drives all religions.

Evidence from nature that the bible is false (meteorite impacts and geological processes for example, on earth the moon and other planets, who's age we can measure through logic and reason)


My refusal to believe in the existence of demons has nothing to do with the question of whether or not nature's laws are unchanging. Nature's laws are totally irrelevant to the issue.


But you believe in an invisible god and invisible angels who keep watch on you ("Angels camp round about us"), who only "special" people "God chooses" can see in history and then mysteriously vanish to some other plane of existence. For instance what is logical about christ ascending up into a cloud and into outer space for example? This implies that god and jesus live in outer space just above our atmosphere, but we've explored there and they dont seem to have a spaceship orbitting our planet.

If angels exist in physical form, just how would they get off the planet and survive? Your answer is of course "God made them differently" but you have NO EVIDENCE that other life forms can exist differently from the ones on earth, the only ones you have to compare to is our kind of life, that is an EXTRAORDINARY claim with NO evidence.

I know of no religious book which has predicted future events with certainty, as the Bible has.


It doesn't matter when the bible got the past utterly wrong, this is selective pseudoscientific reasoning at its best. "Count the hits, ignore the misses".

Using boolean logic for all statements that are literally true in the bible you do not get all ones (trues) you get a mixture of 1's and 0's (trues and falses) but for an omnipotent being all statements must come out true or else god's a liar.

I know of no religious book so well supported by archaeology and history as the Bible is.


History PATENTLY refutes the bible. First of all: God is so dumb that people dont believe in him! Free will isn't an arguement because no one disbelieves in mathematics, and if god can teach people basic mathematics who people have no problem in accepting, belief in him should be cake after all he has the power of your imagination, so any disbelief is in fact evidence that god doesn't exist.

I know of no religious book with greater internal consistency (despite being compiled over so great a period and with so many contributors.)


But it is not internally consistent, do you believe the sun was made on the 4th day? If I can show you physical evidence from nature that proves the sun must come before the earth and evidence that the suns energy has been bombarding the earth for billions of years, then what's your standard for rejecting if not apriori theological reasoning from an ancient peoples sacred text?

For instance:

PR 30:5 Every word of God proves true.
1KI 22:23, 2CH 18:22, JE 4:10, JE 20:7, EZ 14:9 God deceives some of the prophets.

JE 8:8 The scribes falsify the word.
2TH 2:11-12 God deceives the wicked (to be able to condemn them).
(Note: Every word of God cannot prove true if God deceives anyone at all; the Bible cannot be trusted if the scribes falsify the word. The first reference is mutually exclusive with the other three. Thus, the Bible cannot be the perfect work of God since one or more of the above references is obviously untrue. Note also: Some versions use the word "persuade" rather than "deceives." The context makes clear, however, that deception is involved.)

This is pure sophistry, and contributes absolutely nothing to our discussion.

I could just as easily say "Mordecai, how do you know that I'm not God, and that I didn't create you 5 minutes ago with a complete personality and a fake set of memories?"


It's not pure sophistry, there are statements in the bible that says god literally decieves people, either those statements are true or they are false. The problem you fail to see is, in a world of religious gods with different texts, and all claiming omnipotence or omniscience each persons god is equally capable of decieving you or falsifying the natural and historical evidence and you'd never know it simply because your not omnipotent or omniscient (in other words your not in a position of power or authority to judge because you lack the faculty and ability to make those judgements). But you are as a human a fallible horribly error prone being who's mind is defective. All choices are based on the quality of information available to a being in it's lifetime, the problem is for a finite being he has no way to divide true claims from false ones about history because he wasn't there he can only guess and use probabilistic arguments about events he was not present for, and this requires a correct theory of time and causal history, if you are using the incorrect causal theory or use your imagination to imagine fictitious causes that are unknown to any human being on the planet then most certainly it becomes impossible task to claim to know anything about a god or creator being and the nature of that being (finite vs infinite, mortal vs immortal, good vs evil, etc).

Edited by mordecai, 06 June 2005 - 02:22 PM.





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