Open Thread for Episode 20.46: Russell and Phil


Russell and Phil talk with author Darrel Ray about Recovering from Religion.

Comments

  1. Jason Waskiewicz says

    I really appreciate your attempt to make the set more professional. And, you did a much better job lighting Phil in both cameras.

  2. Matzo Ball Soup says

    The discussion about religious freedom brought to mind one of my pet peeves: namely, that a religious reason for doing or not doing something is considered in our society to be better or more valid than a secular reason. This is enshrined in US law — Title VII, for instance, excuses airline employees from serving alcohol on flights (to name something that’s been in the news), simply because they say “That’s against my religion”.

    We see it in public schools, too: “I’ll be absent because it’s Rosh Hashanah/Ash Wednesday/etc” is acceptable, while “I’ll be absent because I’m attending the wedding of a close family member who lives on the opposite coast” is not. (As I found out the hard way in high school, where I was basically shamed for “going on vacation”. Some teachers allowed me to make up the work I missed, but it was just out of the goodness of their heart; they weren’t required to.) Funerals, on the other hand, are OK…as long as it’s a close enough relative.

    If I ran the circus, I would collapse these two things into a single category. At their heart, both are family obligations of some sort. Some kind of ceremony is taking place, and your family (and/or your community) expects you to be there. (Even if I had been given the choice of whether to go to this wedding, you don’t just not go!) The effects are functionally identical: you’re not in school for X number of days. The fact that one of these things gets an automatic free pass but not the other is just one more way that religion is privileged.

  3. says

    chi: “i really want to talk to matt.”
    russell: “phil and i are happy to answer your questions.”
    chi: “sigh. ok, what does matt think about x?”

  4. jsdebruyn says

    I had a thought about the topic one of the callers had regarding theists that ‘bless you’ or ‘pray for you’ both knowing or not that we are Atheists. I’m of the mind that if someone ‘blesses’ me, like Russell, would want this person to know that I’m an Atheist and would also let them know that I do appreciate the sentiment and emotion of their blessing although don’t particularly think their endeavor will have any meaningful effect. I have, when told by someone that they will pray for me, told them that “I appreciate your energy spent in prayer. But as I am an Atheist, would you, while you pray for me, place some emphasis on the fact that I am and get back to me as to what your deity says.” I do get some looks and do get a little flack, but it I believe they also don’t bother to pray for me. I like to think that they are afraid of the answer. It has the added benefit of them not directing this platitude towards me at future encounters. The other part of the conversation touched on the ‘God bless you!’ upon a sneeze. I like to say ‘Oyshhh!’ It has the same beginning sound as “Oy vey”, but ends in “sh”. It’s more for the sound of a sneeze, including my dogs, which make a sound like ‘OYSHHH!!!’ when we sneeze (I started doing this when my dog sneezed). My dog Jack wags his tail like crazy in response to my ‘Oysh’ after sneezes and looks at me with a look that says something like “Thanks boss! I appreciate that you acknowledged my monster sneeze where I just whacked my nose against the ground! It’s just an acknowledgment of the sneeze, but it takes god completely out of the equation… which Jack (and others) truly seem to appreciate! :) BTW, A ‘doff of the cap’ to the wisdom which seems to nearly always emanate out of Austin on a regular basis! Thanks!

  5. says

    Why is this person (in the study) trying to demonstrate reincarnation? Usually one starts with a phenomenon and goes from there… not the conclusion. What we have is children who know things.

    Scientist A: “Hmm… here’s a boy who knows about events that took place before he was born. I wonder how.”

    “Scientist” B: “THAT MEANS HE WAS ALIVE BEFORE HE WAS ALIVE”

    Scientist A: “Maybe he just overheard some people talking about something, and no one knew he was listening”

    “Scientist” B: “HE TRAVELS THROUGH SPACE AND TIME”

    … why would we leap to a ridiculous idea that goes against known mechanics, and is not supported by any known mechanics?

  6. Hans Torvaldsen says

    “bless you” after a sneeze originated from the time that people believed that the soul left the body and let room for satan. The expression was said to stop the devil and let the soul return to the body.
    The right response would be; “do you really mean that my soul just left me?”.

  7. says

    Or to rephrase my objection,

    The phenomenon is that there’s a person who knows things we wouldn’t otherwise expect the person to know. The proposed solution is reincarnation. You can’t then justify reincarnation by finding people who know things you wouldn’t expect them to know. That’s circular.

    “Reincarnation” may have started as a religious concept – but not ultimately as an original manifesting phenomenon that can be researched. At that point, you’re just collecting data that merely appears to be consistent with the concept… which is vastly insufficient to qualify as evidence on its own. That’s how conspiracy theories are born.

  8. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Great to have DR on, the members in those groups do great work!

    Chi’: I think Russell and Phil addressed it well, there’s no reason to give any more credence to hell than any other punishment realm. He can watch parodies of hell too. Chipping away at the belief that the bible has any truth to its mystical claims is the best course.

    He also seems a bit self deprecating, ‘‘if only I were more reasonable” or something to that effect, dude, you can fix that. Being unreasonable when you become aware of it allows you the chance to remedy it.

    Wiley D: Thanks for putting atheists in the annoying category. Door to door preaching? Stop it.

    Edward: For every ‘Bless you’ ask them for a tissue. If it’s a passive blow, then either stay above the fray, or set them right. I’m confrontational so I always set them right.

    Sean: Urgh, not this crap again. Reincarnation research is so rocky, it’s sleep inducing.

    ‘‘Confirmed: Russell against evolution!!!11!”\jk

    Brendan: Freedom of religion also includes freedom from religion so the religious are free to believe their stuff but that stops at their body hair.

    Lightning Round! Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

    Joe: He started off well but he was struck by Lightning Russ, rest in smoldering crisps, Joe. :’-(

    Cook: A good meal.

    Seth: I’d probably help nail him to the cross.

    Goodbye, Nate. Regressive tool.

  9. says

    Re Chi and hell: A later caller pointed out that Matt has done a good, succinct video, “A Discussion of Hell.” On the chance that Chi/Chee reads the blog, he can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnkW5A124Eg

    The concept of eternal torture as punishment for unbelief, imprinted since childhood, is something like a tattoo: Deeply etched and difficult to remove (at least for many former believers). It’s a straightforward appeal to fear, implanted in the brains of vulnerable children. If any religionist can’t make an appeal for his/her beliefs without an appeal to fear, I say, fuck ’em.

    Chi indicated that he’d dealt with hell intellectually, but that vestiges of hell-fear were harder to erase. Russell suggested reading up on hell, and I find that learning the history of concepts of “the devil” and “hell” goes a long way toward helping people see the very human origins of these concepts. With that in mind, a couple of books:

    “The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics” by Elaine Pagels.
    “The History of the Devil” by Paul Carus
    “The History of Hell” by Alice K. Turner

    On another caller, much to my surprise, I could find virtually nothing in the skeptical literature taking aim at the work of Jim Tucker at the University of Virginia. I’d love to find some.

    Finally, while I appreciate Russell’s “lightning round,” sometimes, the format can be frustrating. The first lightning caller today made a point that both hosts agreed was worth pondering: How much of itself could some purported god reveal before it becomes an interference with “free will”? The caller tried to get a second point out, but under subjective lightning-round “rules,” bang, he was gone. I hope he’ll call back, as this whole area is one that interests me.

  10. Monocle Smile says

    @Clay
    I don’t find that “point” worth a shit. A god revealing itself has exactly zero impact on free will, and we don’t have the libertarian version of free will anyway. Increasing access to a data set isn’t a factor in free will, as far as I’m concerned. The whole theistic free will discussion is a red herring to distract from the fact that there’s no substantive evidence of any gods and it comes from theists not understanding the first thing about free will.

  11. says

    @Monacle Smile

    I’m actually in agreement with you that a god’s self-revelation necessarily impacts “free will” (Matt Dillahunty’s views on this have been influential on me). I’m pretty sure I first heard from Matt the idea that Satan (in the Christian mythos) was perfectly aware of all of the biblical God’s mighty powers and had seen them demonstrated, time and again, but that didn’t stop the devil from exercising his free will to defy God (again, all this within the mythos).

    Like you, I see no evidence for gods of any kind. Like you, I think theists’ arguments about free will are generally full of holes. I’m guessing Russell and Phil were in agreement that it would be an interesting question to pose to believers, since it is their conundrum, and not ours. If that’s so, I’m with them.

    Since I’m here, re Tucker’s reincarnation work: There is a homer/fanboy story in a 2015 UVa alumni magazine about Tucker’s work, “The Science of Reincarnation.” http://uvamagazine.org/articles/the_science_of_reincarnation

    Most of the commentary below is nonsense, much of it from Hindus, apparently. But I do appreciate the few skeptics who turn up to argue that, for example, the article (and seemingly, Tucker) completely misunderstand the quantum implications of the two-slit experiment and more importantly, that the lack of falsifiability of his thesis renders the whole thing something of a dead end.

    Then one commenter points out dark matter/dark energy, and it got me thinking: Sometimes equations indicate something that doesn’t seem to be empirically falsifiable and for which there is no mechanism described. Should we look on such things as does the single skeptic quoted in the article, “Debates among physicists that center on the clarity and beauty of an idea but not on its disprovability are common to my mind, but are not scientific debates at all”?

    I am no physicist, though as a layperson I am persuaded about why physics points to the existence of dark matter and dark energy. However, as a layperson, I am in no way persuaded that the phenomenon of reincarnation exists—am I being inconsistent or somehow hypocritical?

  12. Monocle Smile says

    @Clay
    Glad that was cleared up. I seem to have misunderstood your commentary on free will.

    As to that last part…no, you’re not being inconsistent. Nobody can be expected to be an expert in everything, which is why there are truth in advertising laws, among other things. What we can do is see which ideas produce actual results that anyone can investigate. “Reincarnation” studies are poorly sourced and hard to even track down, let alone verify. Physics produces real, tangible results, like quantum computing, which would not be possible if we didn’t have an accurate understanding of quantum electrodynamics. What discoveries and real applications have come from “reincarnation studies?” Exactly nothing. Zilch. There’s not even confirmation of the phenomenon itself, let alone how it works. That’s the difference.

  13. says

    You should hang up on jerks who want to know what other hosts say or think! Chi was annoying and had almost nothing to say. Deconversion comes in stages for many of us, and Matt is only an expert on Matt’s deconversion!

  14. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Monocle Smile and Clay Bonnyman Evans
    Regarding “god revealing himself would destroy free will”. I like the devil / Satan angle.

    I have one other favorite argument. The argument is to compare this “problem” to the “problem” of having police. Police impede my ability to harm others and do various evils. Is that an argument against having police? Hell no. And yet, some people use the exact same outcome as an excuse as to why their purported good-aligned god is not more active in the world. Any powerful good-aligned god should be at least as active in our world as our human police (give or take, skipping some details). The argument “the good-aligned god doesn’t appear because it would violate our free will” is ridiculous on its face.

    Remember that these same Christians claim that you can find irrefutable proof of the existence of their particular god by just trying to form a spiritual relationship with the god. “Here’s how to find irrefutable proof. But you cannot find irrefutable proof because that would violate your free will.” It’s wildly inconsistent. Par for the course.

  15. jeffb says

    can phil just get to his points faster? he just rambles on and on, repeating himself, without saying anything of substance just to make a small point that barely moves the conversation forward

  16. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    I was a firm believer in reincarnation (and lots of woo). However, I find it hard to think of how it could be proven.

    Suppose we find a child that has knowledge they couldn’t have learnt and appeared to be ‘born with’ (I’m not saying this has been done, but just suppose it did happen). How do we know this is reincarnation? Why not some other form of telepathy? Why not pixies or aliens? Why isn’t this proof of the holographic nature of the universe?

    Even if reincarnation was true it would be very hard to prove.

    – Simon

  17. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking
    Off the cuff:
    Regarding proof of reincarnation.
    Like all things, if something is exceedingly rare, and violates the known laws of physics and materialism, then showing it to be true would require a mountain of evidence. It requires that huge mountain of evidence because it would be overturning naturalism, on which all of our scientific progress is based, and that’s a lot of evidence to overcome.

    However, again like all things supernatural, if reincarnation was commonplace (with full memory access), then it would be trivial to demonstrate that it’s true. If the other person is a gamer, my favorite example of verifiable magic is the fictional worldof D&D, J.R.R. Tolkien, and other fictional worlds where magic is commonplace. In that kind of world, it’s taken for granted that wizards can conjure up balls of fire from “nothing” through study, practice, and force of will, and it’s taken for granted precisely because it’s a common thing. Similarly, if reincarnation was a common thing, the evidence would be overwhelmingly in favor.

    In the standard world of D&D, only a few select few are capable of becoming sorcerers. It’s something that you’re born with. The number of people who can be sorcerers might be as small as 1 out of a million people. Yet, that’s still incredibly commonplace, enough so that it would be common, indisputed fact that sorcerers exist. Again similarly, if reincarnation (with full memory access) was at least as common as that, I would still expect overwhelming evidence. There would be hundreds, if not thousands, of documented cases. Any one case alone is not compelling, but when you bring together thousands of such solid cases, where they recall obscure details, where they can convince the friends and family of their former lives, or otherwise demonstrate the ability to know what they should not know, then that’s good evidence. Yet, as far as I know, there is not even one such case in the world which is well-documented.

  18. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    Hello EnlightenmentLiberal

    Your quote: “if something is exceedingly rare, and violates the known laws of physics and materialism, then showing it to be true would require a mountain of evidence. It requires that huge mountain of evidence because it would be overturning naturalism, on which all of our scientific progress is based, and that’s a lot of evidence to overcome.”

    I disagree. My daughter has a quite rare visual condition (Rod Monochromatism) which is about 1 in 50,000. It’s sufficiently rare that most opticians have never seen it and until the rise of the internet most people with this condition never met anyone else with the condition.

    Yet we can prove it’s real. My daughter has zero colour vision – this can be verified through eye tests, there is also a nystagmus, extreme light sensitivity and impaired acuity. There is plenty of evidence that the condition is real. There is proof that the condition is genetic via modern genetic technology – there are even some early work towards treatments using gene therapy.

    Reincarnation is not like that. Even if this was common, even if people routinely had almost full recall of a previous life there is no evidence regarding how they came to have this knowledge. Recall of previous lives would be a phenomena consistent with reincarnation, but how do you rule out telepathy, aliens and pixies?

    I do get that you’re not suggesting reincarnation was real, but I’m being a pedant and saying that even if recall of previous lives was real (and I’m not convinced this is the case), this wouldn’t prove reincarnation was real.

    – Simon

  19. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I disagree. My daughter has a quite rare visual condition (Rod Monochromatism) which is about 1 in 50,000. I

    I was using the word “rare” in a specific way. If you read on (and I can only presume that you did not), I said:

    In the standard world of D&D, only a few select few are capable of becoming sorcerers. It’s something that you’re born with. The number of people who can be sorcerers might be as small as 1 out of a million people. Yet, that’s still incredibly commonplace, enough so that it would be common, indisputed fact that sorcerers exist.

    Even 1 out of a million people is not rare for our purposes here. Even for 1 out of a million people, there would be thousands of subjects that we could study. That’s a lot.

    Reincarnation is not like that. Even if this was common, even if people routinely had almost full recall of a previous life there is no evidence regarding how they came to have this knowledge. Recall of previous lives would be a phenomena consistent with reincarnation, but how do you rule out telepathy, aliens and pixies?

    You’re making an extremely common philosophical and epistemological mistake: You’re looking for mechanism. Specifically, you’re saying that one cannot demonstrate that something happens until one has a mechanism. That’s wrong. Don’t do that.

    Looking for mechanisms has been an incredibly productive way of learning about the world. This is because our world is a materialistic world where reductionistic explorations and explanations are exceedingly useful. It didn’t have to be that way. It could have been otherwise. There is nothing in the laws of logic that demand that the world is explanable in terms of mechanism like the way that world apparently is.

    In other words, you’re making a common mistake of a faith-based materialist. Please don’t do that. Expecting that there is always a mechanism is a result of someone with a faith-belief in materialism. Please don’t be that.

    In other words, in order to show causation, it is not necessary to show mechanism. All it takes to show causation is a carefully controlled scientific experiment, which is nothing more than looking for correlation in time, where cause precedes effect, and making genuine and thorough effects at detecting and removing confounding variables. There is no requirement of finding mechanism.

    Worse, it’s actually impossible to find mechanism in any ultimate sense. Any mechanism is simply an explanation in terms of something else that eventually does not have a (known) mechanism.
    > Feynman: How do magnets work?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO0r930Sn_8

    Every mechanism begets another question of “ok, what is the mechanism of that?”. How do magnets work? Soon, I’ll start giving answers in terms of field theory. You should then ask “how do iron atoms influence the magnetic field?”. Soon, I’ll answer in terms of quantum field theory and the Schrodinger wave equation. You should then ask “how do these different fields interact according to this equation?”. And the answer is “No one knows. The quantum fields of reality interact in this way, and we know this, but we don’t know how. We know this is true because of the amazing mountain of evidence that supports the model.”

    Think about what an explanation means. In the world of D&D, “Why does that orc have a whole through his chest?”. A good explanation is “Our party’s fighter put her sword through his chest.”. Also, “Why is that orc burned to a crisp?”. A good explanation is “Our party’s wizard cast a fireball spell, which burned the orc.”. In this setting, no one has advanced knowledge of quantum physics. No one has detailed knowledge of chemistry nor biology nor physics. No one knows Newton’s laws of motion. Yet, the “sword through the chest” explanation is a perfectly sensible explanation. It explains the results in terms of something that the listener is (more) familiar with. Similarly, in a world where fireballs are relatively common, the fireball explanation is also a perfectly sensible explanation; it explains the results in terms of something that the listener is (more) familiar with.

    I also strongly suggest this video:
    > God, Science and the Problem with Nature – Scott Clifton (Theoretical Bullshit) – Skepticon 7

  20. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    Hi EnlightenmentLiberal

    Thanks for the comprehensive reply and the video. I still disagree – but possibly because I haven’t explained my position enough (a common problem). Let’s see if I can’t make my position clearer – we may still disagree but at least we’ll agree on what we disagree about.

    Reincarnation, as I understand it, is that the concept that we have some sort of immortal soul that doesn’t die, but is reborn in a new body and a new life.

    The evidence that is claimed for reincarnation is that some people (often but not exclusively children) have memories of their past lives.

    My position is that a memory of a past life isn’t evidence that you have an immortal soul that lived these past lives. It is proof that you have memories of a past life, but not evidence of how you got them.

    I used to be a firm believer in the ‘Holographic Universe’ – particularly the book by Michael Talbot. My current position is I don’t know. It’s possible, but I’m no longer convinced.

    If true though, this could explain how people could have memories of lives they have not lived. So evidence of memories from previous lives is evidence for the Holographic Universe as much as it is reincarnation.

    It’s not that I’m asking for a detailed mechanism before I believe something. I am saying that the evidence needs to directly address the claim. Memories of a past life would be evidence that a person has accessed memories from a past life. It’s not evidence that is was THEIR past life and not evidence of an immortal soul.

    It’s interesting that I agreed with most of the video. I would like to see more religious claims subject to scientific scrutiny – one of the problems is that it is really difficult to design studies that do that.

    – Simon

  21. Monocle Smile says

    @Simon
    Pardon, but…what?
    You say you are a firm believer in reincarnation, but you just explained how there’s insufficient evidence to demonstrate reincarnation. What’s going on here? The “accounts” you speak of are specious at best, fabrications at worst. That’s not evidence; it’s barely anecdote.

  22. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    Monocle Smile – I think I said ‘was’ a firm believer. Sorry if I’ve written this wrong somewhere.

    I believed in all sorts of woo on my way out of Christianity and onto a more evidence based system. I agree 100% that the evidence is scant for reincarnation, but I believed due to my biased readings.

    The fact that it was pre-internet is my only excuse!

    – Simon

  23. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    I agree with your overall point about mechanisms, but I don’t accept the extreme view that you seem to advocate (perhaps not intentionally). I understand that it could be turtles all the way down and there’s a point where we are clueless as to the next “turtle.” However, I’m going to remain skeptical of a claim if the first turtle can’t be demonstrated or even indicated. This is because sometimes it’s really, really hard to account for all confounding variables and thus investigating the first turtle can sometimes aid in our understanding.

  24. Curt Cameron says

    Several years ago I saw a TV program which featured that little boy whose family thought he was a reincarnated WWII pilot. The core of those beliefs was how much the kid knew about WWII aircraft, and a special incident was highlighted when he was very young, and his mom was reading to him out of a picture book of WWII aircraft. The kid pointed to something under a plane, and said “that’s a drop tank.” The mom asked, how could a little boy of that age know what a drop tank was unless he really was a WWII pilot in his past life?

    For one thing, we have a bright kid who’s obviously really interested in planes. It’s not too surprising that he would soon know more than his parents about that subject. But then what about that weird “drop tank” thing? I know quite a bit about planes myself, and I had never heard of a drop tank.

    So I went looking, and found an article from a local (Dallas) news source about him, describing how at 18 months old the parents had taken him to the Cavanaugh Flight Museum here in Dallas. So I went to the CFM’s web site to see what they have. Besides some old WWII planes, they have a few accessory items on display separately, such as an ejection seat, but guess what else was sitting there by itself? A drop tank!

    So this bright kid recalls that he saw a drop tank in a place he was really really interested in, and then identifies the drop tank in a photo book with his mother some time later. The mom attributed this knowledge to his being a reincarnated pilot, using the power of confirmation bias to find a true old story to pin it to. I feel sorry for that kid – he had a healthy interest in a subject, and his parents ran with it in a completely different and unhealthy direction.

  25. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I agree with your overall point about mechanisms, but I don’t accept the extreme view that you seem to advocate (perhaps not intentionally). I understand that it could be turtles all the way down and there’s a point where we are clueless as to the next “turtle.” However, I’m going to remain skeptical of a claim if the first turtle can’t be demonstrated or even indicated. This is because sometimes it’s really, really hard to account for all confounding variables and thus investigating the first turtle can sometimes aid in our understanding.

    I’m not sure what point you’re making. Let me try to be clearer.

    1-
    Any sort of explanation in terms of mechanism necessarily involves explaining phenomenon of one domain of discourse in terms of a second domain of discourse. For example, I can explain the functioning of minds in terms of neuroscience, and I can explain the functioning of neuroscience in terms of biology, and that in terms of chemistry, and that in terms of quantum theory. However, I cannot explain quantum field theory in terms of anything else. Maybe there is a mechanism, waiting to be discovered. Maybe there isn’t. However, right now, I have knowledge about causation, and that knowledge of causation ultimately has no reliance on mechanism. For some things, I might know that X causes Y because I know about some mechanism, but as soon as I ask the deeper question, I will quickly find that I do not know any ultimate mechanism nor explanation for why it happens that way as opposed to any other. In other words, asking for a mechanism quickly leads to an infinite regress, similar to the Munchausen trilemma and the regress problem of epistemology. It is, in fact, just one facet of the regress problem.

    2-
    Suppose we find a theory. We test this theory over a thousand years. All of its predictions are correct. It also correctly predicts all experiments and observations, perhaps with a statistical factor in the prediction (ala quantum theory), and only under the assumption of infinite computing power, e.g. only in principle. I would be willing to grant that this a theory of everything, that this is the fundamental rules that “govern” reality. This would indeed be a “theory of everything”.

    Science wouldn’t stop. There would still be complex phenomena that need better modeling. For example, solving particle physics does not make you a good chess player (to borrow the phrase from Sean Carroll). Exploration of complex phenomena would continue, due to limitations in measurement capability, information storage, and computing power. Being a brilliant particle physicist does not make one a good chess player, or economist, etc.

    Further, exploration into the theory of everything wouldn’t stop either. After a thousand years of success, many people might lose interest in further testing and exploration, but some may continue to probe the model, trying to find weaknesses or flaws. All knowledge is tentative, so even as I grant that it is the fundamental theory that “governs” everything, I would reject that belief if someone discovered new (and surprising!) evidence that the theory had a gap or flaw.

    Of course, after that amount of time and with that kind of evidence, the “odds” of it being overturned are minute. It would be like waking up one day, and having monkeys fly out of my ass. I cannot epistemologically say that it will not happen with 100% confidence, but I’m as confident or more of that proposition compared to basically all other propositions. In all practical terms, I’m certain and absolutely convinced. In that world, the theory of everything would enjoy the same privileged status as today’s “provisional methodological naturalism” which is the underpinning of more or less all modern scientific research.

  26. Monocle Smile says

    @EL

    For example, I can explain the functioning of minds in terms of neuroscience, and I can explain the functioning of neuroscience in terms of biology, and that in terms of chemistry, and that in terms of quantum theory. However, I cannot explain quantum field theory in terms of anything else

    Exactly. At some point, we get to our last turtle, but there are still unknown turtles and an unknown number of turtles.
    However, if someone gets me in a room and a flame appears when they utter an incantation, I have a limited number of ways to determine why. It’s most likely prestidigitation. Now, we COULD find a way to control for all confounding variables in a vacuum, but it’s much more common in science to link a phenomenon to our current understanding. So when people talk of mechanisms, they’re almost never talking about the last “turtle” (if such a thing exists), but merely something in our current understanding that would lead us to believe that a claimed phenomenon is even plausible. While it may not be technically required if you want to get pedantic about it, it sure helps convince the skeptic.

  27. itsmejre says

    Die Induktion stoppt die unendliche Regression, die die induktive Logik nur durch die grundlose Erhebung irgendeiner willkürlichen Grenze zur privilegierten Position als das logische und berechtigte Ende des Erkenntnisprozesses zerstört. Materialistische Wissenschaftler und Denker, die ihre Weltanschauung auf Induktion stützen, wählen meist ihre eigenen Sinnesmechanismen als den willkürlichen Haltepunkt in ihrer falschen Betrachtung der Wirklichkeit.

  28. says

    @28 itsmejre

    What are you even doing? If you’re going to try to make some epistemic points, at least use the language most of us are familiar with. We know you’re capable of English.

    Why would you even bother, unless you’re just flat out trolling in some strange way?

  29. Monocle Smile says

    @Jasper
    He’s not actually writing in German, I think. He’s just throwing English into Google Translate. I suspect this because when entered in German, it pops out the other side in perfect grammatical English, which I think is still uncommon for longer phrases in other languages with translate programs.

    He’s still just trolling. Translate that passage. It’s more of the same ranting about epistemic problems that theism doesn’t solve or even address in any real way.

  30. Murat says

    Having seen the very first public appearances of Trump as president-elect, I can predict the next 4 years of the USA. I’ve seen this movie. Same script, different cast.

    Oh, and forget about the “American context” when it comes to how fascism paves its way to remianing in power forever. There is none. It’s a universally recognizable and very basic road map.

  31. itsmejre says

    Quantenmodell, das erklärt, wie Frage Ordnung Veränderungen der Umfrage Antworten auch erklärt, Verletzungen der Rationalität in der Gefangenen-Dilemma Paradigma