Comments

  1. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Um, this episode brought the laughs.

    Andrew was my favorite caller this show.

    Don’t care about Nazi punching.

    And thanks to the crew for the bts work.

  2. says

    steven is the walking talking embodiment of crank magnetism:

    Crank magnetism is the condition where people become attracted to multiple crank ideas at the same time.

    Crank magnetism also denotes the tendency — even for otherwise “lone issue” cranks — to accumulate more crank beliefs over time.

    You know that old saying about not being so open-minded that your brain falls out? People with crank magnetism didn’t pay attention to that.

    Crank magnetism is an important stepping stone on the path towards being wrong all of the time.

  3. marx says

    Why do theist use science or science fiction to prove a deity?
    Science has nothing to do with religious beliefs in the first place!

  4. andre1 says

    In regards to the last call, in which I’m the last caller, btw: The universe is the brain. Matt’s pants would be an idea, as is everything else within that brain. That’s the Dormanian Argument For God, named after myself: Andre Dormand. Somewhere it got lost in the feed that abstraction is thought and thought is abstraction.

  5. Tiomkin says

    Why do you guys spend so much time talking about stuff that is not god related? What has Nazis got to do with atheism? You should tell nut jobs that you are there to discus god beliefs or lack thereof. Your old show were great but these shows are just garbage now and not worth the time to watch. The theists have won because you don’t know how to keep a show on track.

  6. marx says

    We need theistic callers from many moons ago to present their lame arguments.
    At least then,the show would be entertaining again!

  7. Yaddith says

    According to the Bible, the existence of God is a self-evident fact denied only by the wicked: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

    Of course, most Christians do not really believe that. If they did, they would consider arguments for the existence of God completely unnecessary, and we would not be subjected to their inane apologetics.

  8. Monocle Smile says

    @Tiomkin
    This kind of dictionary atheist trolling nonsense is just as obnoxious as the nutty calls.

  9. John Garcia says

    “Is there a mind in my pants?”

    “That’s where I was going.”

    Does Beth know about this?

    /sarcasm

  10. Murat says

    Right before Steven’s call, Matt said that, if either Slick or he himself found themselves in a position to feel “unreasonable”, that would be a “win”.

    The way I read Slick so far, I think he would not find any comfort or challenge in the idea of being exposed (or, exposing Dillahunty) as unreasonable. Because he doesn’t believe reason to be the ultimate compass for “truth”.

    Just like no single element having fixed superiority over both others in a game of paper, rock, scissors, Slick refers to reason, faith and facts as things that tail each other in a circle, one becoming more important over others due to the context, while positioning his conception of God as something above and beyond all three.

    So, I wonder if Slick has even the remotest chance of ever changing his position due to a self-discovery of himself being unreasonable at any point.

  11. says

    First caller: “I’ll continue adding to the argument”

    What argument? All you did was bounce back and forth between “B-b-b-b-b-but there’s GOTTA be a god… just GOTTA BE” and “Atheists can’t explain that!”

  12. Robert, not Bob says

    @Tiomkin, #9, People have been going around and around that argument as long as the show has existed. Responses to your question include “atheists are people with more interests than just I Don’t Believe in God” and “it’s their smegging show”, but the most important point is that other subjects related to skepticism-or lack of it-are intimately related to the god question. Clinging to the god concept can inspire people to suppress their skepticism and believe other sorts of nonsense.

  13. Matt from Australia says

    While I agree with Matt on the free speech regarding the protection of the rights of someone to speak publicly, I disagree with the way in which he “privately” no-platformed Milo by using the usual phobic words rather than addressing the actual argument.

    If he watched the segment, it would be fairly obvious that sometimes Milo was making a serious argument and sometimes he was just shit stirring the other members of the panel. I blame Milo for this. Perhaps it is time that he drop the useless trolling part of the act and focus on just the useful stuff.

    While I don’t like that Milo put the spotlight on this particular trans gender person who may or may not be a good person, I agree with the argument that biological men should not be in the same change rooms as little girls.

  14. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    @Matt from “Down under”

    *lifts up sign that reads*

    “Thou surely intends to provide some reasoning for such a position as-

    *lifts up another sign to continue*

    -that position acts as though biology determines who should piss and shit in a particular place at a particular venue.”

  15. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    ^preemptive for my psychic abilities and my gun gymnast skills.

    *The prior post is for any likely possible toilet objection too,* also what’s the reasoning for this changing room position? If you would be so kind as to shed some light for a guy on the net.

  16. Matt from Australia says

    Chancellor of the Exchequer
    Sorry, but I didn’t understand all of that signage stuff in your message.

    If you are arguing for the creation of purely unisex toilets, then that is another discussion and I am sure there are places where they are appropriate and probably even places where they are not, such as grades 3 and up in schools.

    But to suggest that toilets and change rooms are one of the least likely places to create segregation based on which body parts you have, seems silly considering that it is precisely those parts that are visible and being used there.

  17. Monocle Smile says

    @Matt from Australia
    Chancellor is asking for your reasons for holding your position, because it’s one that enjoys very little reasonable support. I’m worried that you have very severe misunderstandings about biology and psychology and no insight into actual data on the matter.

  18. Monocle Smile says

    @Matt from Australia

    If he watched the segment, it would be fairly obvious that sometimes Milo was making a serious argument and sometimes he was just shit stirring the other members of the panel

    And yet people wonder why giving him a microphone is met with resistance. Fuck “freeze peach.”
    I have yet to hear a single thing from Yiannopoulos that’s worth more than beer shits. This is not a Voltaire situation; nothing that has happened to Yiannopoulos thus far is relevant to the free speech part of the First Amendment.

  19. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

     
    Twitter Thread: Sarah Nyberg

    We warned you all about Milo Yiannopoulos so many times. we tried to tell you who he was, what he’s done. no one cared until CPAC.
     
    Milo tried to destroy my life specifically b/c I tried to shut down a site (8chan) that harbored child abusers. He protects these people. (Milo worked with a stalker that was a denizen of that child abuse site who was infuriated I shut down part of its funding.) He printed things that he knew to be defamatory about me with the intention of getting me killed or getting me to kill myself.
     
    I still, more than a year later, receive explicit death & rape threats from his fans.
     
    Milo yiannopoulos published a stolen, sexualized picture of me that I took as a 15 year old for my girlfriend at the time. Milo Yiannopoulos repeatedly linked to stolen revenge pornography of me and *many* other women.
     
    Milo sent the names & photographs of my deceased family members out to his mob to give them ammo to hurt me with.
     
    The only thing novel or unique about milo is his willingness to maliciously inflict pain & to paint that as a moral good. Milo Yiannoulos’ entire career is about painting the abuse of the vulnerable as being about “freedom.”
     
    None of this should have been shocking to anyone that’s paid any attention at all to what’s happened to all of us.

  20. says

    Re Steven: I didn’t buy into his apparitions, but was especially convinced they were delusional when the “angel” turned out to be a “magical negro” (before anyone gets mad, please look up the term). It’s a particularly tiresome cliche and it weighs heavily against his “experience.”

    Re Lisa from Michigan: Perhaps when a caller acknowledges up front that her spouse recently had her committed for a 72-hour psych hold, the hosts might want to limit that person’s time on the air. Sounds like her husband did the right thing.

    Re “Wow” Andrew: For brevity, I’ll simply quote him: “I might not really know what I’m talking about.”

  21. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    So… I’m not a philosopher. I have never formally studied philosophy. Even when I was actively engaging in debates around philosophical issues on a regular basis, I was never more than a journeyman philosophizer, and it has been some time, so I’m perfectly willing to believe that this is a failing of my own philosophical skills, rather than one on the part of so, so many theists, but I don’t understand why the laws of logic are considered a) interesting or b) compelling evidence for the existence of a god.

    If a thing is a chicken, it is not not a chicken. Also, if it is not a chicken, it is not a chicken.
    A thing must either be a chicken, or not a chicken.
    If a thing is a chicken, it is a chicken.

    …this requires a god?

    …what?

    I agree with the argument that biological men should not be in the same change rooms as little girls.

    What is it with you people and always sharing the same changing room with everyone else? Personally, I go into my own changing room, alone, change, alone, and then leave the changing room so that another person can enter. Just get individual changing rooms. Jeez! Does every country but the UK have nothing but communal changing rooms? Stop that! Have you never heard of privacy? Some of the world’s population are shy and do not want to show their dangly parts to everyone who passes by!

  22. sayamything says

    Long time listener, first time commenter. In fact, I mde an account specifically to do that.

    I was more than a bit taken aback by Matt’s comments on Milo. I’m kind of hoping he simply didn’t know better, but this is a man who has made a habit of doxing and outing LGBT people, putting them in very real danger. It’s my understanding he and Maher actually defended this practice on Real Time, but I’m not going to give either of them more attention than is necessary. Matt may not have intended it as such, but his comments mirrored an army of people who tend to normalize things like death threats by downplaying what Milo does as “free speech.” People can die when this sort of thing happens, so I have trouble just dismissing him as just a troll. I have no doubt that he is also a troll, but rallying people against minorities to harass or harm is not trolling.

    As the Atheist Experience as a whole and Matt specifically have both come across as LGBT-friendly (or even positive) in the past, I sincerely hope that the position of either the ACA or Matt himself is that doxing and outing people, particularly to an audience that will attack said people, is acceptable as “free speech.”

  23. Matt from Australia says

    @CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    You are quoting a twitter rant from someone who at best sounds shady. At a glance into the issue, it appears that people have been calling her out for years before Milo ever said anything. I am more concerned about people who shut down free speech, using their (often) unfounded accusations and name calling as excuses for bad behavior and violence.

    @Monocle Smile
    “Fuck “freeze peach.” I have yet to hear a single thing from Yiannopoulos that’s worth more than beer shits.”

    You do a disservice to people with genuine criticism of things that he says, including myself. You would hear at least some very rational points if you listened with your ears rather than your mouth.

    Re: change rooms or toilets and my “severe misunderstandings about biology and psychology”. It is simple.
    If you have a penis, then go through the door to the left. If you have a vagina, then the door to the right.
    Those that don’t fit into one of those categories are so statistically irrelevant that they can go into either door or even pee on the roof for all of the practical difference that it would make.

    BTW. I don’t mean that those people are irrelevant, but just that the number of people in neither category would likely be less than the number of people already peeing on the roof.

  24. floridaantitheist says

    I realize this is not on topic and that most skeptical people (including myself) are instinctively wary of conspiracy theories, but I would like to mention one that has, at least, logical viability. Mike Pence is, quite probably, a Dominionist, so much so that he is unelectable on a national scale. What would you think about the possibility that the religious right. both in Congress and nationwide, conspired to engineer the election of Trump on the American people, knowing that he would not last long. And also persuaded him to name Mike Pence as Vice President, the next in line for the office of President.

    I don’t believe that is too much of a stretch to think that the religious right has the motivation and the capacity for such a maneuver. But I don’t know what I can do with this understanding. HELP!

  25. Monocle Smile says

    @Matt from Australia
    Nice poisoning of the well re: Sarah Nyberg.

    I am more concerned about people who shut down free speech

    Who is doing this? It seems you are yet another person who doesn’t understand what free speech means.

    If you have a penis, then go through the door to the left. If you have a vagina, then the door to the right

    I asked for “reason,” not “bald-ass assertion.” Please tell me you’re not falling for the “but but but pedophilia” garbage when such an incident has never been recorded.

    You do a disservice to people with genuine criticism of things that he says, including myself. You would hear at least some very rational points if you listened with your ears rather than your mouth

    Yet more assertions with no evidence. Would you mind articulating some of these “very rational points?” Or is this a “just sayin” rebuke that serves no purpose?

  26. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Matt from Australia

    If you have a penis, then go through the door to the left. If you have a vagina, then the door to the right

    But…

    I agree with the argument that biological men should not be in the same change rooms as little girls.

    So… what? You’re fine with trans women sharing these weird communal changing rooms of yours with little girls if they’re post op?
    Does that make some kind of difference?

    Actually, I’m still confused regarding the communal changing rooms. Where I have encounter communal changing rooms, it was either as a little child, with other little children, at school for swimming lessons (and I hated it, because communal changing rooms are horrible) and no adults apart from the teachers who I don’t remember actually seeing but were presumably in earshot, or as an adult at a gym with other adults (which I also hated, because communal changing rooms are horrible). There have been no adults & little children changing rooms in my experience. Why do you have these anyway?

  27. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    (Also, bonus points for Nyberg is shady – people (chandroids) have been calling her out for years! in the same paragraph as I’m concerned about people who shut down free speech, using unfounded accusations.)

  28. Matt from Australia says

    @Monocle Smile
    My Sarah Nyberg comment wasn’t poisoning the well. It was pointing out that the evidence that you obviously though told the facts about Milo were in fact from an obviously poisonous well. In case you didn’t realise, Twitter rants are not very sound evidence, but then, maybe I am just making another assertion.

    Free speech is primarily useful so that people can discuss topics that may be deemed by some as dangerous ideas or against he grain of certain groups. The shutting down of Milo from speaking at Berkeley by illegal rioters from BAM and other violent organisations is just 1 case. Many things were done on his tour by both the universities and the disruptive protesters. While some people with opposing views attended the lectures and challenged him in civil ways, none of these protests promoted discussion on any of the topics he was addressing. Instead, they used violence, noisy chants and antics to stop all discussion and it made their side of politics look bad.

    As far as the reason for men’s and women’s toilets goes, I am not against unisex toilets so long as people have privacy. But while there are men’s and women’s toilets and change rooms which expect that only women will be in the women’s rooms, then a clear distinction would be useful. Maybe this could include post op trans gender people.
    There may well be no recorded cases of men dressed as women committing pedophilia in public toilets, but then that isn’t my argument.
    I would prefer unisex toilets to be more common but it would slow things down massively at events if there were no urinals.

    As for the rational points that Milo has made. Those above may well be ones that he agrees with. If you want actual information, simply watch some of his videos. It won’t actually hurt you. It is just the discussion of ideas.

  29. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To floridaantitheist

    I don’t believe that is too much of a stretch to think that the religious right has the motivation and the capacity for such a maneuver.

    Maybe. I think the simpler explanation is that the religious Republican leadership have spent decades cultivating a base that is fact-resistant, tribalistic, racist, and sexist, and they have recently lost some control of the beast that they have created. Trump just happened to come along at the right place, and at the right time, and his ego got the better of him, and he ran for president, and he won. It seemed fairly obvious during the primaries that the Republican leadership really wanted anyone besides Trump, but the rabid Republican base chose Trump.

    But I don’t know what I can do with this understanding. HELP!

    What can you do to fight Trump? Or fight the Republican base? Or fight the culture of the Republican base? Fight sexist, racism, classism? I don’t know on any of these things. I hear that getting involved in local groups can help. My brother just took part in a partial takeover of the Democratic party of Michigan. He got elected (sort of – official alternate) as one of the members on the Democratic group that sets Democratic party policy in Michigan. He didn’t have to do much to do that. I’m not saying you have to go that far, but to even go that far doesn’t take that much effort. Again, if you’re serious, get involved with local groups, whether explicitly political or not.

    Or just give money or labor to charities and groups, like the ACLU. <3 the ACLU.

    Finally, just take part in conversations like these, and offline with friends and family. Don't put up for bullshit, whether religious, economic, sex, race, or other political issues. Change the Overton window through your speech and actions.

    Emphasis: I don't know, and only whatever level that you're comfortable with.

  30. Monocle Smile says

    @Matt from Australia
    I was correct. You’re utterly clueless about what free speech constitutes.
    Here’s a helpful comic that I wager has been sent your way before:
    https://xkcd.com/1357/

    But while there are men’s and women’s toilets and change rooms which expect that only women will be in the women’s rooms, then a clear distinction would be useful. Maybe this could include post op trans gender people

    And here’s another topic on which you demonstrate a lack of knowledge. You seem to think that “woman” refers only to sex organs. This is false. I also asked for reason and you came back with fiat assertion for the third time (“expectation” isn’t reason unless the expectation has a solid foundation).

    There may well be no recorded cases of men dressed as women committing pedophilia in public toilets, but then that isn’t my argument

    But it sure is the foundation for loads of transphobia. Just look at the response to Target’s decision on their bathrooms on social media. This is the most common attempt at providing reason for being up in arms about allowing trans women into women’s bathrooms…and since you haven’t disclosed anything resembling reason and evidence, it’s not exactly a stretch to at least bring up this talking point.

    As for the rational points that Milo has made. Those above may well be ones that he agrees with. If you want actual information, simply watch some of his videos. It won’t actually hurt you. It is just the discussion of ideas

    What? What “points?” Why the tap-dance? Do you really think I haven’t watched any of his videos? Or did you just assume I pulled the beer shits comment out despite being clueless? I asked which of Yiannopoulos’ talking points YOU think is rational. I asked it that way for a reason.

  31. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Matt from Australia

    While I agree with Matt on the free speech regarding the protection of the rights of someone to speak publicly, I disagree with the way in which he “privately” no-platformed Milo by using the usual phobic words rather than addressing the actual argument.

    Well, that’s good. I cannot accuse of you freeze peach. I can simply “strongly disagree” right back.

    If he watched the segment, it would be fairly obvious that sometimes Milo was making a serious argument and sometimes he was just shit stirring the other members of the panel. I blame Milo for this. Perhaps it is time that he drop the useless trolling part of the act and focus on just the useful stuff.

    No “perhaps” about it. If he’s going to be a professional troll and say outrageously bad things, then he should be called on it, and attacked in this way. That’s the way that a free and democratic society should work.

    […] I agree with the argument that biological men should not be in the same change rooms as little girls.

    Nitpick: Based on subsequent comments, it might be more accurate if you instead use the term “anatomically male”.

    Like the others in the thread, I would like to know why you would want such a policy when it appears to be:
    1- sex discrimination, which is generally considered to be unconstitutional and bad (that whole “separate but equal” thing), and
    2- based on nothing but animus against a group, and designed solely to negatively impact members of that group, which is also generally considered to be unconstitutional and bad (see the SCOTUS opinion in the gay marriage case for some example legal reasoning of this kind, IIRC).

    Free speech is primarily useful so that people can discuss topics that may be deemed by some as dangerous ideas or against he grain of certain groups. The shutting down of Milo from speaking at Berkeley by illegal rioters from BAM and other violent organisations is just 1 case. Many things were done on his tour by both the universities and the disruptive protesters. While some people with opposing views attended the lectures and challenged him in civil ways, none of these protests promoted discussion on any of the topics he was addressing. Instead, they used violence, noisy chants and antics to stop all discussion and it made their side of politics look bad.

    The violence is unfortunate. I don’t defend it as moral, necessary, or even productive.

    Having said that, I must take issue with what you said because of your use of a particular word, “civil”. “Civil” has certain connotations. Let me quote dictionary.com.
    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/civil

    7.
    adhering to the norms of polite social intercourse; not deficient in common courtesy:
    After their disagreement, their relations were civil though not cordial.

    8.
    marked by benevolence:
    He was a very civil sort, and we liked him immediately.

    In essence, you’re asking us to be nice. To that, I say: fuck no. There is a very wide space that is both non-violent and non-nice. One should not be nice to people like Milo.

    No one ever got anywhere from being nice. That’s not how actual social movements succeed. I think you need to read Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter From A Birmingham Jail.

  32. Matt from Australia says

    @Monocle Smile
    Apparently you can still claim to be right if you hold your fingers in your ears and ignore the clear reasons given regarding the toilets. Sorry for not quoting from a gender studies bible.
    Oh, and you are also strawmaning my very specific description to free speech that I gave as “violating the first amendment.”
    I gave fairly clear descriptions of shutting down free speech and why those specific cases are bad. Making assertions that I am clueless rather than engaging the argument kinds of shows that you are not interested in discussing these things honestly. I’ll spend more energy on people with a more open mind.

  33. Matt from Australia says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal
    Thanks for the post. I agree with almost everything that you said.
    I don’t believe in “Nice” either and I think that it was obvious what I meant by civil.
    “adhering to the norms of polite social intercourse” is probably the closest definition that you quoted but I am not too interested in word games. If people want to change intended meaning to suit their rebuttal then I can’t stop it..
    I believe in discussion protocol for it’s usefulness when it is available. Sometimes it isn’t. In this case, it most certainly is.

    If you think “fuck no” to nice then you may agree more with Milo than you think. As many now say, “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” But it is useful to have a means of resolution rather than yelling nonsense and smearing blood during an otherwise peaceful and productive talk.

    Regarding Sex Discrimination. Having male and female toilets is already discriminating. Having uneven bars only for female gymnasts is also discrimination but I don’t lose sleep over it.

    I don’ t think that some amount of discrimination is the worst thing in the world. I think that causing harm to people is far worse.

    Anyway, thanks for the CIVIL 😉 reply.

  34. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    But it is useful to have a means of resolution rather than yelling nonsense and smearing blood during an otherwise peaceful and productive talk.

    For some disagreements, one can have productive conversation.

    For someone like Milo, and for his followers, productive conversation is almost impossible. Milo himself is a professional troll, and no productive conversation can be had with such a person. Anyone who admires a professional troll is also frequently beyond reason. For these people, reason is an ineffective weapon. For these people, social pressure is the weapon that needs to be brought to bear. You cannot bring social pressure while also being nice.

    As for myself, for people like this, I usually give them one chance to show reasonableness, but if they lapse into naked sexism or racism, I generally stop caring, and I stop trying to engage in reasoned arguments. It depends on how I’m feeling though. Regardless of whether I use reason, I definitely do not limit myself to “civil” rhetoric. Horrible people like this need to be made to feel horrible, so that they stop being horrible. This is how social progress is made.

    Regarding Sex Discrimination. Having male and female toilets is already discriminating. Having uneven bars only for female gymnasts is also discrimination but I don’t lose sleep over it.

    Separate toilets is sex discrimination. Definitely. So are laws against toplessness in public for women but not for men. IIRC, Canada allows topless women in public because of precisely this legal reasoning (please double check me here).

    Of course, I want a doctor to give the proper medical exams based on actual anatomy, biology, etc. It’s nonsensical to give me, a man, a test for ovarian cancer (unless I secretly have ovaries that I don’t know about because I’m genetically female, or have even more interesting genetics). This is still sex discrimination, but it serves a compelling purpose. Customized medicine that is tailored to actual biological and physical differences is sex discrimination, but justified and necessary sex discrimination.

    As for sporting events, in many categories the top women athletes simply do not and cannot perform as well as the top male athletes. Again, biological facts. I’m not going to pretend to know the details, but I think this is well established. From my knowledge, let me emphasize that this is obviously true only for the very top athletes in their field. For mere amateur athletes, IIRC the difference is far less pronounced, and maybe(?) not even visible (please check me again here – not sure). Again, one could argue that there is a necessity for this kind of sex discrimination.

    However, if someone suggested that women can only buy cars from this seller, and men can only buy cars from this other seller, then we have a problem. This is arbitrary sex discrimination, “separate but equal”. There is no reason to do such a thing, and thus constitutional protections, and moral sensibilities, come into play, and disallow such things.

    I don’t see a particular need for separate bathrooms. I especially don’t see a particular need to make trans people use the sex-split bathroom for their genetic sex and not their presented sex / gender. Again, this sort of segregation seems to serve no useful purpose. It seems to exist only to denigrate a particular group because of an animus against that minority group that is held by the larger population.

  35. Matt from Australia says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal

    Let me just break this into 2 sections. Firstly

    The gender toilets section:
    As I mentioned earlier, I am all for unisex toilets and change rooms but I do think that the removal of urinals would have practical issues in some places.
    I think that this is a first world problem on the surface but perhaps is a kind of index for an underlying battle. I think the disagreement is more about the perception that the far left is constantly trying to make society wrong for their own benefit rather than for the benefit of society or the alleged victims.
    People with gender identity issues should not be bullied or made to feel bad, but should be helped to be in the best position possible for themselves and those that they interact with. I think that they would come into far less conflict with people and be used less as cannon fodder between the far left and far right if they were taught that it doesn’t attack who you are if someone misgenders you with a pronoun or if you are still expected to go to men’s toilets when there is no unisex option. You are not a victim and you should do your best to be open with people and understand their position. Taking offense whenever possible is not healthy for people and only positions them to be used as political pawns.

    The second topic.
    The Milo Stuff:
    You may be right that Milo doesn’t expect to change his position on the things he is discussing. However, as you would know from watching the atheist experience, you don’t need to change the mind of your opponent when there are lots of people watching. Non-conservative people respectfully and honestly discussing a point on which they disagree with goes a very long way in the minds of those watching. Especially so if those watching are conservatives that are only seeing craziness from the left.
    Diversity of opinion is the most valuable form of diversity that exists in western democracies.

    I am not sure what you personally have experienced but most of what I see are very friendly people attending his events who are very patient with the protestors and genuinely concerned. Not the supposed redneck religious hillbillies that I would expect based on outside reports.
    I was actually really surprised when a very left wing media personality from Australia reported back about the election night over there. He said that all of the Trump supporters he came across were very nice people and were not being violent etc.
    I know that in the past, the religious right have been very ignorant and unwilling to change. I was fully against them then. I just see the actions of the left now as being something that I can no longer associate with and appear to be even more “religious” and close minded than the right, but I don’t think that the ones we are seeing represent the majority of people out there. Just as the majority of Trump voters are not right wing nut jobs.

    If you have any links that you can point me to that show the opposite, please pass them on.

    Thanks.

  36. Monocle Smile says

    @Matt from Australia
    How is it my fault that you took a very, very common Constitutional right, free speech, and applied a wildly idiosyncratic definition? I’m not a mind-reader. And no, you didn’t actually define “free speech.” You merely went ahead with what appeared to be a misunderstanding. Lots of people think “free speech” means a right to a captive audience and hosted platform, and that’s simply incorrect.

    Apparently you can still claim to be right if you hold your fingers in your ears and ignore the clear reasons given regarding the toilets. Sorry for not quoting from a gender studies bible

    I asked twice. You gave no reason. Again, I’m not a mind-reader.

    I’ll spend more energy on people with a more open mind

    This is a pretty trollish comment. Stop being butthurt that I can’t read your mind and that you can’t answer my questions.

  37. Matt from Australia says

    @Monocle Smile

    I would only want to carry on a discussion if it is useful. If you are going to take every comment in the worst possible light rather than the best, then you are inauthentic in wanting a proper discussion. No trolling intended by it.

    “Lots of people think “free speech” means a right to a captive audience and hosted platform”.
    I have never stated this.
    I am not concerned with people walking out, not turning up, or even “convincing” others not to turn up. I am concerned with physically blocking and disrupting. It tells people that they don’t have any ideas worth discussing of their own. There is a massive amount of evidence that this has been happening. Berkeley is just the most obvious example. I presume that you wouldn’t associate your views with the likes of Yvette Felarca from BAM who advocates violence against those she labels as racist biggot nazi etc. She was behind the riots in Berkeley.
    My main concern is not that these things happen, but that the media and even the police gave it somewhat of a pass. “Well, when people like that are invited to speak, what do you expect.”

    I think that this pretty much lays out what I think. I had better get some work done.

  38. Monocle Smile says

    @Matt from Australia
    Again, I’m not a mind reader. I tend to not be nearly as charitable as EL, and that’s because I’m pretty cynical about people in general. Avoiding direct questions is a very good way to lose whatever charity you have with me.

    “Lots of people think “free speech” means a right to a captive audience and hosted platform”.
    I have never stated this

    This is you earlier:

    Free speech is primarily useful so that people can discuss topics that may be deemed by some as dangerous ideas or against he grain of certain groups. The shutting down of Milo from speaking at Berkeley by illegal rioters from BAM and other violent organisations is just 1 case

    How else am I supposed to take this?

    I am not concerned with people walking out, not turning up, or even “convincing” others not to turn up. I am concerned with physically blocking and disrupting

    Which is STILL not a free speech violation unless it’s specifically the government doing it. This is an extremely important part of the discussion. The rioters were breaking laws, but that doesn’t mean Yiannopoulos’ free speech was violated.
    Now, I agree with your general reaction to these actions, but only mostly. I don’t condone the violence, vandalism, etc., but I have very little problem with physical obstruction of a stage as long as it’s defensive like eco protesters.. There’s nothing stopping Yiannopoulous from merely walking onto the campus of a public university and babbling a la street preachers. He is entitled to exactly nothing more than that.

    I presume that you wouldn’t associate your views with the likes of Yvette Felarca from BAM who advocates violence against those she labels as racist biggot nazi etc. She was behind the riots in Berkeley

    BAM (or BAMN) has been a destructive force in my hometown, as they have violently accosted several school board meetings dedicated to helping those they claim to stand for. Fuck them.

    My main concern is not that these things happen, but that the media and even the police gave it somewhat of a pass.

    I got a different impression, but I see your point. I’m still not about to shed tears for the likes of Milo Yiannopoulos, and I’m still waiting on “reasonable arguments” that he has supposedly made.

  39. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I asked twice. You gave no reason. Again, I’m not a mind-reader.

    Let me note that I also asked, and I’m still waiting on an answer too. I haven’t seen an answer yet.

    I am not concerned with people walking out, not turning up, or even “convincing” others not to turn up. I am concerned with physically blocking and disrupting

    Which is STILL not a free speech violation unless it’s specifically the government doing it.

    Eh… I might have to disagree. I think I do disagree. I disagree. Further, I would be a little surprised if there were not some successsful civil suits of one private person against another private person over denial of free speech rights.

    The rioters were breaking laws, but that doesn’t mean Yiannopoulos’ free speech was violated.

    According to some common law principles, I think that they were. I’d strongly suspect that at this nation’s founding, you could file a legal complaint against someone with that “charge”, and you could win. Today, I don’t know.

    However, let me emphasize that this should not turn on some legal pedantics. He has a right to speak, and that right is against government censorship, and it ought to be against private interference too. Not giving someone a platform is one thing. But using (illegal) violence to silence a person is another. From what I’ve read of the particular incident at Berkeley, it was quite bad on the part of the “protestors” – I don’t know though. I didn’t spend enough time, and it’s hard to get correct and reliable accounts of such things online.

    Had the owner of the building simply turned Milo away, no free speech violations. However, this group of “protestors” interfered with Milo’s constitutionally protected rights to travel, to associate with others, and to speak. It is in the government’s business to use force to ensure that Milo can speak without the problems of a violet mob preventing him from speaking. Whether Milo could win a lawsuit on these grounds is mostly a separate matter.

  40. Matt from Australia says

    @Monocle Smile
    Regarding not answering your questions. Firstly, I don’t need your charity. Secondly, if you have watched Milo’s speeches and are so determined to hate him that you can find nothing to agree with him on then there is no point hashing it out here. I am not an apologist for him, just someone who agrees on several points but not religious ones other than some regarding the islam.

    For some reason, you believe that it is useful to use force to stop people from holding discussions. I don’t. I think this would only be the perspective of someone who either:
    1. Has no means of obtaining their own platform. Not the case for the left in the US by any means.
    2. Realises that their logic is lacking but they still want to get their own way.
    As I have stated before very clearly, I am not referring to the legalities of the first amendment. I am talking about the utility of people freely discussing ideas such that good ideas can prevail over bad ones.

    If a group pays for a venue and another group stops them from speaking there, then they are preventing them from speaking. This seems to be like throwing their toys out of the pram because they can not get their way. I would see it as the governments obligation to not only not stop people from speaking, but also to defend their right to speak at a venue for which they have paid. But like I said, the first amendment isn’t of much interest to me in this discussion.

  41. Monocle Smile says

    @EL

    However, this group of “protestors” interfered with Milo’s constitutionally protected rights to travel, to associate with others, and to speak

    I disagree partly. I don’t think that one of those is Constitutionally protected in this context. You have the right to speak; you are not entitled to be heard or have the platform of your choice. The protesters were committing assault, disturbing the peace, etc., but that’s quite separate from a First Amendment issue. I may be getting a little too caught up in legal pedantry, but I feel this particular issue is extremely important.

    Further, I would be a little surprised if there were not some successsful civil suits of one private person against another private person over denial of free speech rights.

    I’m not sure how this would be possible…if this were the case, then moderators of public domain websites with forums,etc. wouldn’t be able to ban users without facing legal repercussions.

    I will note that I’m fully supportive of university students protesting a university-sponsored speaker to the point where the engagement is canceled so long as no actual violence is done. This situation is different because it was a third party interfering, not Berkeley students.

  42. Matt from Australia says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal
    Regarding the unanswered questions. I think that it would open a real can of worms to go through any list of points that I might agree with Milo on.

    The main ones that are of interest to me is one on which you may well agree and that we are already discussing.
    1) the response of the protesters to free speech
    2) avoiding topics of discussion due to political correctness
    3) the hypocrisy of feminists “intersectionalising” with islamists

    There would be a few more but I don’t know if we would get anywhere discussing them.

  43. Matt from Australia says

    @Monocle Smile

    “I will note that I’m fully supportive of university students protesting a university-sponsored speaker to the point where the engagement is canceled so long as no actual violence is done. This situation is different because it was a third party interfering, not Berkeley students.”

    I don’t believe that it was a university sponsored speaker. I think he was paid for by the college republicans. I could be wrong.

  44. Monocle Smile says

    @Matt from Australia

    Firstly, I don’t need your charity

    Sigh.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_charity
    Learn things.

    Secondly, if you have watched Milo’s speeches and are so determined to hate him that you can find nothing to agree with him on then there is no point hashing it out here

    -____________________-
    Flatulence would have been less pathetic. This seems to be a concession that you were full of shit before.

    For some reason, you believe that it is useful to use force to stop people from holding discussions

    That’s an extremely dishonest bending of my position. I merely place a high value on the right to protest. Note that I very clearly indicated that I don’t condone the violence, but please, go ahead and lie some more. You’re doing so well.

    I am talking about the utility of people freely discussing ideas such that good ideas can prevail over bad ones

    People are really stupid. Bad ideas often triumph over good ideas if lots of meta work isn’t done, like education. What happens on YouTube? Trolls drown out everything even though there are rules. When there are no rules, it gets worse.

    If a group pays for a venue and another group stops them from speaking there, then they are preventing them from speaking

    Sure, but you not only have the payment process reversed in the case of Yiannopoulos, I believe (which makes all the difference), but that group is committing assault, not violating free speech. Stop using “free speech” if you’re not talking about the first Amendment. It comes across as dishonest.

  45. Matt from Australia says

    @Monocle Smile

    I thought that we were getting somewhere, but apparently, you sink to the gutter when your ego is dented.

    I said:
    “For some reason, you believe that it is useful to use force to stop people from holding discussions”
    You said:
    “That’s an extremely dishonest bending of my position. I merely place a high value on the right to protest. Note that I very clearly indicated that I don’t condone the violence, but please, go ahead and lie some more. You’re doing so well.”

    I said force, not violence. Physically blocking people is force. You condoned it with the statement.
    “I have very little problem with physical obstruction of a stage as long as it’s defensive like eco protesters.”
    If you disagree that physically blocking people from moving through public space is force, then good luck to you.

    “Sure, but you not only have the payment process reversed in the case of Yiannopoulos, I believe (which makes all the difference), but that group is committing assault, not violating free speech.”
    No, having your money refunded does not make all of the difference. It still is a massive lack of integrity.

    “Stop using “free speech” if you’re not talking about the first Amendment. It comes across as dishonest.”
    You clearly can’t distinguish between “Free Speech” and “The protection of Free Speech”. If there were no term outside of the first amendment called “Free Speech” then there would be no need for an amendment to protect it. I have been very honest in how I am using the term where as you seem to need to keep using the straw man of the first amendment in order to double down on defending very bad behavior.

    Not everything that even looks like agreeing with Milo needs to be aggressively opposed.

    Life is not that black and white.

  46. Monocle Smile says

    @Matt from Australia

    I thought that we were getting somewhere, but apparently, you sink to the gutter when your ego is dented

    I was up front about what grinds my gears. You’re still not answering my questions. That you both continue to do this AND get butthurt about my hostility is rather…juvenile.

    You clearly can’t distinguish between “Free Speech” and “The protection of Free Speech”

    For the purposes of discussion, there’s no distinction. The term “free speech” is a legal one. If you’re talking about something else, use a different term. This is not inconvenient for you.

    I have been very honest in how I am using the term

    I don’t find your use to be particularly honest, and starting off immediately with an idiosyncratic definition (which is what you did) isn’t, either. You could solve this by using a different term, and I’m not sure why you continue to resist.

    If you disagree that physically blocking people from moving through public space is force, then good luck to you

    Let’s back up. This isn’t about “prohibiting discussions.” This is about making a statement. Do you think the DAPL protesters or any other eco-protesters are out of line by prohibiting large machinery from moving on public lands? This isn’t something that’s settled or black and white. Having someone like Yiannopoulous speak on a university stage looks like an endorsement, which is most certainly protest-worthy. Allowing him to walk through the quad engaging people is not an endorsement…why did Yiannopoulos not do that instead?

    No, having your money refunded does not make all of the difference. It still is a massive lack of integrity

    It makes a difference to the law, which matters.

    Not everything that even looks like agreeing with Milo needs to be aggressively opposed

    Yes, keep poisoning those wells!

  47. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Regarding the unanswered questions. I think that it would open a real can of worms to go through any list of points that I might agree with Milo on.

    We’re both waiting for you to answer why you think anatomically male people must be forced to go to a different restroom in all cases from young girls (paraphrasing your own words). You’ve answered the “what you believe?”. Now answer the “why do you believe it?” part please.

    I’m not sure how this would be possible…if this were the case, then moderators of public domain websites with forums,etc. wouldn’t be able to ban users without facing legal repercussions.

    No no, a much simpler example.

    Start here:
    http://civilrights.findlaw.com/enforcing-your-civil-rights/lawsuits-for-civil-rights-violations-and-discrimination.html

    Now simply imagine that someone is going to give a public lecture. He is kidnapped, and release after the end of the scheduled time of the lecture. The kidnapper admits to the kidnapping, and admits to he purpose of preventing the lecture. In this case, I can imagine filing a lawsuit that one’s free speech rights were abridged. Here, one has both mens rea of the crime, and the conduct of the crime, to deny someone their right of speech. In my preferred legal system, I think that I would want it to be possible for a criminal prosecution on the charge of denying someone their free speech rights, in addition to the criminal charges of battery and kidnapping.

    This situation is different because it was a third party interfering, not Berkeley students.

    I think that the situation is different because they used violence. Doesn’t matter if they’re Berkeley students or not (barring tresspassing concerns of the protestors). If non-violent protestors, whether insiders or outsiders, managed to exert enough pressure to have the building owner cancel the lecture, then the speaker’s free speech rights are not violated. However, if the “protestors” use violence, then I do believe that this is a genuine case of violation of the speaker’s free speech rights, regardless of whether current law allows a civil suit or criminal prosecution for it.

    Do you think the DAPL protesters or any other eco-protesters are out of line by prohibiting large machinery from moving on public lands?

    Somewhat yes, but for other reasons that I won’t get into right now. (Basically, because I have much loathing for the so-called green environmental movement, because I am very concerned about global warming and ocean acidification, and because the so-called environmentalists are standing in way of the only tech that we have right now that can fix the problem: nuclear.)

    Let’s consider the generic case. To me, the proper form is non-violent (but confrontational and disruptive) civil disodience ala Martin Luther King Jr. It can be morally defensible, but it’s still not legally defensible. There is a difference between what is legal and what is moral. Part of non-violent civil disobedience is to recognize and publicly admit that you’re breaking a law because the law is unjust, so that you might bring attention to the law, to get the law changed. So, if the law is unjust, then I can morally support the protestors. If I was on the jury, I might jury nullify. (If I ever get a jury for some bullshit law, like marijuana possession, or underage sex regarding two people in high school together (happened to a friend of mine), I am definitely going to jury nullify.)

  48. Matt from Australia says

    @Monocle Smile

    Re: BUTTHURT
    There is nothing I have said, that means I am “butthurt” by your hostility. I believe that is just a picture that you want to paint to make yourself feel more powerful. I just find it very unproductive and not indicative of someone seeking to challenge their beliefs. I would really rather not waste any more time on nonsense like that.

    Re: Unanswered Questions
    You keep saying that I am not answering your questions. If you are genuine and not just using the complaint as an argumentation tactic, then simply restate your question. Just don’t expect me to be an apologist for someone with whom my main agreement is that he should be allowed to speak.

    Re: Non-leagally bound freeish speachish stuff.
    I am happy to use the term free discussion if you are getting stuck on that. I do wonder that if you can’t divorce the term free speech from the first amendment, then perhaps you are not getting the importance of the concept in its own right.
    Regardless of legal protections, the ability for a person’s mind to be infiltrated with ideas that are not already present is crucial to sharing a fact based reality. For instance, look at how Islam seeks to stop this by many factors such as isolation of communities, insulating them from better ideas around secularism and democracy. Or by threat of hell if you question moohamed as the prophet.
    People who hold to the idea that they should resist taking on new ideas are running a recursive function that makes them spiral dive into a thought vacuum.

    I agree with your point regarding blocking machinery. The thing is, machinery doesn’t talk. Although speaking / discussing is also an action, it happens to be an action that has the special properties of self correction. What a programmer might describe as self modifying code.
    Things can either sorted out now with discussion or later with violence. (Not that I am against violence in general). Those that enjoy acting out badly are trying to convince everyone that it is already too late for discussion.

  49. Monocle Smile says

    @EL

    Now simply imagine that someone is going to give a public lecture. He is kidnapped, and release after the end of the scheduled time of the lecture. The kidnapper admits to the kidnapping, and admits to he purpose of preventing the lecture. In this case, I can imagine filing a lawsuit that one’s free speech rights were abridged

    Yeah, I don’t want to live in that world. There’s already so much the kidnapper did that was wrong. You’ll need to come up with an example where ONLY the “free speech” charge exists.

    If non-violent protestors, whether insiders or outsiders, managed to exert enough pressure to have the building owner cancel the lecture, then the speaker’s free speech rights are not violated. However, if the “protestors” use violence, then I do believe that this is a genuine case of violation of the speaker’s free speech rights, regardless of whether current law allows a civil suit or criminal prosecution for it

    Depends on how you define “violence.” If there’s a wall of protesters and the speaker himself says “fuck it” and leaves, is that violence?

    Also, I recommend you refresh your knowledge of the pro-nuclear movement. Quite a few environmentalists are on board…including a co-founder of Greenpeace. Also, it’s good to see that you don’t see this as a black and white thing…personally, I feel there are ways to protest legally and also disruptively.

  50. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You’ll need to come up with an example where ONLY the “free speech” charge exists.

    The closest is the actual Berkeley case, or an idealized version where the speaker was never directly harmed. You can pretty easily concoct a plausible scenario where people threaten violence against the building owner with no plausible threats of violence against the speaker. The speaker is not harmed in any way.

    Now, if you believe that it’s the sole responsibility and authority of the state to perform criminal prosecutions, then you probably won’t see much difference. However, as a separate matter, I really want to go back to a system where private persons, and agents of the government, can perform criminal prosecutions. In that situation, it’s very different. When the government has the sole authority to perform criminal prosecutions, the wronged speaker must rely on someone else to fix the wrong. The speaker must rely on the discretion of the government criminal prosecutor to pursue some criminal charges. Whereas, in a system with private criminal prosecutions, the speaker could initiate a criminal prosecution as the victim (assuming it’s limited to victims only – lots of unspecified territory here), but without this criminal charge, the speaker is not a legal victim of a crime at all, and would rely on the state or the University or other victims to pursue criminal charges.

    In short, the speaker was wronged in a way that should be criminal charges, even though he was not personally battered nor threatened in any way.

    This is also all off the top of my head. Maybe I missed something. I don’t see it right now though.

  51. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ah, missed this.

    Depends on how you define “violence.” If there’s a wall of protesters and the speaker himself says “fuck it” and leaves, is that violence?

    No no, I meant using illegal force, such as assault (i.e. true threats) or battery.

  52. Matt from Australia says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal
    “We’re both waiting for you to answer why you think anatomically male people must be forced to go to a different restroom in all cases from young girls (paraphrasing your own words). You’ve answered the “what you believe?”. Now answer the “why do you believe it?” part please.”

    Thanks for clarifying that.

    You already know that I don’t have a problem with unisex toilets, so the question isn’t really describing my position. So let me state my position as it relates to existing toilets set up for specific sexes:

    I see no reason why someone who is an adult male (anatomically or maybe even biologically) should be allowed into a specifically girls toilet / change room / bathroom.

    Yes, this may well seem like a burden of proof trick but I think that the default position that is being changed in cases like the one that Milo cited should have the burden of proof.
    One way of looking at it might be to think about where the line is drawn. For instance, do you believe that there should be no reason to be concerned if you are at the park with your children and you see a fairly masculine looking dude walk right into the girls toilets? If not, then this has ceased to be about trans gender and simply a matter of allowing all people into all toilets.

    Sorry. Gotta get my daughter off to swimming so will be unable to reply for a while.

  53. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also, I recommend you refresh your knowledge of the pro-nuclear movement. Quite a few environmentalists are on board…including a co-founder of Greenpeace. Also, it’s good to see that you don’t see this as a black and white thing…personally, I feel there are ways to protest legally and also disruptively.

    Oh, I know. Unfortunately, last I checked, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, US Green Party, US Democratic Party, and various other green and environmental political parties worldwide, are all anti-nuclear nuclear. Practically all of the powerful and influential green parties are anti-nuclear. The green luddites are winning seemingly even in France, who are going to roll back their nuclear power. Huge shame.

  54. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    One way of looking at it might be to think about where the line is drawn. For instance, do you believe that there should be no reason to be concerned if you are at the park with your children and you see a fairly masculine looking dude walk right into the girls toilets? If not, then this has ceased to be about trans gender and simply a matter of allowing all people into all toilets.

    My answer my surprise you. First, let me say that I don’t have a strong opinion on this.

    The first answer is the most uninteresting answer, because it’s an answer to a contrived question. I would be concerned about a masculine looking person entering the women’s rest room when my daughter is in there alone. However, this is only because of certain social norms in place. I would be concerned because this person is violating a social norm. Because they are violating such a sacred social norm, they may not be mentally well, or they may be violating other social norms too.

    Whereas, if we simply abolished it, I wouldn’t have a problem, because there wouldn’t be that indicator. Entering the bathroom would no longer involve breaking a taboo, and thus I wouldn’t have an indicator of someone who is breaking one extreme rule, which indicates that they might break another.

    In other words, when a man enters a woman’s bathroom now, off the top of my head, the most likely scenarios are:
    1- by accident, forgot to see the sign,
    2- for malicious intent

    Maybe my risk analysis is way off, and the probabilities are different in reality, but I’ll run with this for now.

    So, as soon as everyone starts using the same bathrooms, I lose this indicator. Most men who enter the bathroom would be there just to enter the bathroom. I would have no indicator to raise concern. There would no social taboo that is violated.

    So, you’re dancing around it. I’m wondering if you’re actually going to get there. I’m waiting for you to say it. Are you saying that this should be done in order to prevent adult-on-child sexual molestation and rape in bathrooms? I’m going to assume yes until future notice, given your willful refusal to answer clearly, and your apparent decision to give this answer in riddles.

    Yes, this may well seem like a burden of proof trick but I think that the default position that is being changed in cases like the one that Milo cited should have the burden of proof.

    The burden of proof is a tricky concept. It’s sometimes misused, and you’re misusing it now.

    The burden of proof is two things: 1- It’s the intellectual obligation that we all have to apportion our beliefs in accordance with the evidence that each of us has access to. 2- It’s also a cultural rule to ensure fairness in conversations.

    1- When someone examines one’s own belief, they have an obligation from intellectual honesty to examine their belief and their reasons for the belief, and to use all of their available evidence and knowledge, to decide if the belief is justified. For example, if a second person says a claim, but offers no support, the first person is obliged to use all of their readily available information to judge the claim. If the listener already has sufficient knowledge already to accept, it would be irrational to withhold belief merely because the speaker didn’t provide or cannot provide sufficient justification.

    2- Suppose the speaker makes a claim, and doesn’t provide justification, and then tries to impose the demand on the listener to “go google it”. Oftentimes, we reject that demand. This “shifting of the burden of proof” is often an abusive attempt to move research work that ought to be done by the listener onto the listener. Worse, a particularly abusive speaker could abusive such demands to make the listener perform useless work for a claim that the speaker already knows is false. This has nothing to do with whether one should accept a belief or not. This is all about ensuring that one person cannot unfairly place a demand to do research on another person. In other words, it’s the cultural rule that says: If you want to make a claim, especially a claim that challenges the consensus, bring citations.

    So, let’s be careful about what claims that we’re talking about.

    A- It is illegal (in most places) for a man to enter the woman’s bathroom.
    B- It should be illegal for a man to enter a woman’s bathroom.

    A is a simple factual assertion. B is a moral assertion.

    I think you’re trying to say that because A is true, B should be the default position. This seems to be a variation of the standard “appeal to nature” fallacy, also known as the “naturalistic” fallacy. Your reasoning is simply fallacious. One is a non-sequitir of the other. We should base our moral propositions, our “should” statements, on all of the evidence and reasoning that we have access to. It’s completely irrelevant what we’re doing now. What we’re doing now doesn’t matter. In that sense, it’s also a fallacious “appeal to tradition” fallacy. In other words, saying “we should do it because it’s tradition” aka “we should default to that because it’s the way that we’ve always done it” is one of the worst possible arguments that anyone can ever make (with some exceptions).

  55. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Oh, and I should say:

    There is one particular noteworthy use of the burden of proof, but I think it’s just a specialized application of what I already said. The burden of proof is a reply to a particular fallacy, the fallacy of “argument from ignorance”. An argument from ignorance is an argument of the form: “I don’t know how it happened, and therefore a wizard did it”. In this context, there’s the implied addition “I will continue to believe that a wizard did it until you show me how it could have happened otherwise”. This is an incorrect and unfair shifting of the burden of proof. It violates both #1 and #2. It’s fallacious reasoning – believing something without sufficient evidence – and it’s also an unfair social imposition on someone else to perform work (research).

    If anything, I believe that you are invoking the fallacy that the burden of proof is meant to respond to. You are making a claim, seemingly without sufficient reason for that claim (“that we should default to policy X”), and you are also attempting to unfairly impose a research burden on me (“we should default to policy X unless you have lots of evidence for some other policy”).

    Now, what you could do that is not fallacious is to argue from risk analysis, like I tried to do above. You could say something like: “I believe that there is a non-negligable risk of additional rape of children by adults if we allowed mixed-sex bathrooms. Therefore, according to basic risk analysis, we should ban mixed-sex bathrooms.” Nothing fallacious about that.

    I really shouldn’t have to be doing your work for you though. This is quite apparently your position. Is it really that hard to write it out? It’s really quite frustrating. Sometimes, I’ll guess the position of my opponent, and they’ll say that I’m stawmanning, but other times I meet asshats like you where I need to pull proverbial teeth to get any sort of answer of them, and even then I have to infer because they never come out and say it plainly.

    Of course, at this point in the conversation, we can start looking for further evidence in order to inform our opinions about the probabilities involved. It seems that the only thing that we disagree on is the estimation of these probabilities. With a sufficiently high risk of increased adult on child rape from going to a mixed-sex bathroom scheme, I would very probably agree with you. (Of course, there’s also the problem of how much risk is too much, but given what I know of the data, I don’t think that we need to address that moral question.)

  56. Monocle Smile says

    @Matt

    Just don’t expect me to be an apologist for someone with whom my main agreement is that he should be allowed to speak.

    Then don’t say stupid things like he has “reasonable arguments” and I’m somehow in blissful ignorance of them. I’m not asking you to do anything but back up your own statements, and your response is to alternate between copping out and poisoning the well. I’m not asking for anything crazy.
    Furthermore, nobody’s slicing out Yiannopoulos’ vocal cords or stuffing rags into his mouth. Again, he’s not entitled to an audience. He’s allowed to speak all he wants and always has been in this country. Is every laid-off journalist the victim of a crime?

    I do wonder that if you can’t divorce the term free speech from the first amendment, then perhaps you are not getting the importance of the concept in its own right

    No, I just enjoy clear, well-defined discussions instead of painful, poorly-defined ones.

    People who hold to the idea that they should resist taking on new ideas are running a recursive function that makes them spiral dive into a thought vacuum

    Cool. What “new ideas” is Milo Yiannopoulous bringing to the table?

    I agree with your point regarding blocking machinery. The thing is, machinery doesn’t talk

    -______________________________-

  57. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    I see no reason why someone who is an adult male (anatomically or maybe even biologically) should be allowed into a specifically girls toilet / change room / bathroom.

    Firstly, if you’re only focused on whether adults should be allowed to enter specifically children’s toilets… fine, I strongly doubt you’ll get any disagreement here, but why bring gender into it at all? That seems weird.
    Secondly, are you ok with women being forced to go into a specifically men’s toilet? Or men being forced to go into a specifically women’s toilet? Because if we’re not allowing trans women into women’s toilets, or trans men into men’s toilets, the options are either force men into women’s and women into men’s – which in many cases means men with beards and testosterone in the women’s toilets and women with breasts and oestrogen in the men’s, because for all the unthinking kneejerkery, trans people are not simply in drag – or simply disallow public toilet use for trans people.
    Also, are you ok with masculine-looking cis women being ejected from women’s toilets on the suspicion that they’re “biologically male”? Or feminine-looking cis men from men’s toilets on the suspicion of being “biologically female”?

  58. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    Well this thread has taken off.

    I don’t get this fuss about about transgender men going into male toilets and transgender women going into women’s toilets. What are people afraid of?

    We already have homosexual men going into male toilets and homosexual women going into women’s toilets – how many separate toilets do we need? When I’m peeing at a urinal I don’t care if the person next to me is gay – as long as he’s just having a pee!

    I just don’t see the problem

    – Simon (FROM AUSTRALIA – some of us are trans-person friendly!)

  59. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To indianajones
    I assume because that’s how they appear in the subtitle in the AXP Show itself. They’re probably callers who decided to identify themselves in a way that’s exceptionally clear. It’s quite clever, actually.

  60. indianajones says

    Might well be right there EL, just noticing that often user name ‘X from Y’ folks tend to be a little contentious. Having said that, get a load of this:

    And aren’t I having a productive night! I’m slowly ploughing my way through the back catalogue and I am currently listening to JFLUK’s first call I think! Ep 945 if anyone cares to confirm….

  61. Matt from Australia says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal

    Have you been hitting the pipe after dinner or what?

    It really seems like you are simply having a conversation with yourself. Mental masturbation over the latest logical fallacies that you have read about. How about dealing in real discussion rather than playing at nit picky bullshit. These tools are useful at times but they are pointless if you can’t grasp the basic comprehension of someone’s actual position. As they say, you are all precision with no accuracy.

    It seems that your frustration is that I won’t take on a position that you would like me to in order to fire off your predefined response that you read about somewhere. I do not hold that position. You would have to be as dumb as a sack of hammers not to clearly get my position. So listen “asshat”, because you actually answered the question already for yourself.

    You said that because of social norms, you would be concerned about a man going into a women’s bathroom but that it wouldn’t be a problem if it was standard practice.
    I already told you that I am all for unisex bathrooms which you seem to totally ignore, so if it was the norm, then there would be no concern on my part either.
    I have simply said that if a bathroom is defined as male or female then I see no good reason to let / encourage obvious males to enter the women’s bathrooms just because they dress as a woman. Can a man enter if they think of themselves as a women who likes wearing men’s clothes? Do they have to be convincing as the other sex? You would need to draw the line somewhere and I see no reason not to draw it at biological sex or whether they have male or female parts. If your idea is for all people to be in the same bathrooms anyway, then why the fuck does it bother you if a transwoman goes into a male bathroom????

    I am very unconvinced by this victimism mentality pushed less by the actual trans gender people so much as the politically correct authoritarians who love to tell everyone else how wrong they are. Yah for us. We stuck it to “the Man”. Down with society.

    Damn simple and not dancing around anything. If you can’t argue against real positions rather than fantasy moral chiches that make you feel like some kind of keyboard super hero then unplug your modem and masturbate in your own echo chamber.

    Anyway, I think that you have pretty much convinced me that we can’t go any further in this. I have at least gotten a bit of a feel for the type of people who spend too much time at their keyboard and not enough time facing real life danger. Their world really shrinks. All the best.

  62. indianajones says

    Don’t get me wrong here MFA, my daily ride has 5.7L of motivation under the hood, for no reason other than I like the sound it makes when I hit the loud pedal with sufficient effort. I’m a big fan! But certainly no reason that would more than laughably be called ‘good’.

    But I’m just wondering, do you also have some obnoxiously ridiculous and loud vehicle (the also stops here btw) that sports a sticker shaped liked Australia that says ‘Fuck off we’re full’? Or similar? I reckon ya might. Just that the arguments you make @67, while they may or may not be valid (I’ll let EL respond to those or not (I recommend not by the way, DNFTT in your own echo chamber at least)) are, at the very least, heavily salted with insult. And that tactic, in my experience, tends to come from people with positions that I suspect you hold and will tentatively (and subject to change of course) inform my decision about how seriously to take you.

    Just curious and feeling like indulging my curiosity whimsy though, no problem here if you choose to ignore.

  63. andre1 says

    I posted this a few days ago but it’s still “awaiting moderation.” Do theists get censored here?:

    In regards to points Matt about the last call, in which I’m the last caller, btw: The universe is the brain. Matt’s pants would be an idea, as is everything else within that brain. That’s the Dormanian Argument For God, named after myself. Somewhere it got lost in the feed my saying that abstraction is thought and thought is abstraction.

    Also:
    It doesn’t matter if the proof would just as well apply to the universe being a simulation because as long as that programmer is all-knowing all-good and all-powerful as the argument testifies, which would be “God” by definition, then that programmer would be synonymous with “God” anyway.

    I’ll be handing out this argument to academics this today. Fortunately, it’s foolproof.

  64. Yaddith says

    Athywren:

    Are you saying that a person’s biological sexuality is determined by whatever hormones they take?

  65. Monocle Smile says

    @Matt from Australia

    I have at least gotten a bit of a feel for the type of people who spend too much time at their keyboard and not enough time facing real life danger

    This, coming from the person accusing others of “internet tough guy-ism.” Good thing I have insurance on my irony meter.

    I have simply said that if a bathroom is defined as male or female then I see no good reason to let / encourage obvious males to enter the women’s bathrooms just because they dress as a woman

    How about the fact that we start by allowing everything and then disallowing that which has good reason to be disallowed? We err on the side of more freedom. That’s kind of the whole point of this country, in part.
    Also, bathrooms are defined as “men” and “women,” which is not the same as “male” and “female.”

  66. Devocate says

    “The green luddites are winning seemingly even in France, who are going to roll back their nuclear power. Huge shame.”

    Only if you classify ‘green’ as money. It is just too expensive.

  67. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Mmhmm.

    Running through my checklist:

    Claims of a “victim mentality”: √
    Claims of “PC Authoritay!”: √
    Claims of “obvious man/obvious woman”: √
    Claims of “Must convince me to use room!”: √

    Matt(from Australia): I asked for your reasoning like indianajones upthread, I was curious. I hoped that you were a parent(you are) and I hoped that you were someone with a divergent method that I myself could find value in but you display all the markers of the common “unisex is okay but see we already have these bathrooms/changing rooms for people that fit the mold of “socially acceptable men and women” and since I believe that I can distinguish them from the non socially acceptable men and women I’m okay with the unnecessary division based on genitalia (since I can obviously tell what’s between your legs due to whether or not you fit my mold of “man look” and “woman look.”)

    One thing that made me giggle though was the thought that little girls would be seeing penises in the changing room/s (which caused worry to you) and I understand that the whole social norm is sex=gender and what not but we’ve(mainstream society) learned over the past decade or so that such a belief is not universal and a lot less prominent than society would like.

    Trans women aren’t out to scare your girl kid/s(nor are those that don’t fit your “visually acceptable man/woman” thingamagig.) It’s not up to them to not scare your kid with their day to day urinal/changing room goings as their freedom to enter man/woman bathrooms/changing rooms trumps your fee fees and failure to realize that they can dispose of waste or change clothes without the added baggage of having to tiptoe around your daughter with the hope that she doesn’t see a “pee-pee” or two. It’s up to you to socialize your kid and yourself in a way that prevents the misconception that gender and sex go hand in hand merrily down the yellow brick road.

    There’s no way to “one true man”/”one true woman” hence we’re facing the much needed breaking down of those false ideals. I also feel like bringing in the obvious “what about the concern for trans men?” the hoopla is centered around the one that may or may not posesss a penis and it parades around the idea that a penis is threatening (due to those that use it to threaten and assault) but that fault does not belong on the necks of trans women, why should they pay for the crimes perpetuated against them as well? It’s not like trans women aren’t gravely overrepresented in assualt stats.

    The glaring issue that I personally look at first is the risk side. It’s propagated that trans women are an equal threat to little girls and women if they still posess a penis and it’s circled by:

    1. The neglect of sufficient evidence of trans women sexually assaulting those girls and women or

    2. Cisgendered men dressing up “as women” in order to sexually assault girls and women in bathrooms/changing rooms.

    3. That your concern of girls or women seeing a sex organ prevails over the trans woman’s freedom to use the bathroom or changing room in peace.

    4. That people who don’t prioritize your concerns are arguing from authority when the case is that they’re usually arguing from empathy i.e “Maybe my uncomfortability with trans women shouldn’t get in the way of them using a restroom/changing room.”

    Matt, I’m a simple sandwich eater so forgive me for any injustice I may have committed against you.

  68. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Yaddith, 69

    Nope. I’m saying precisely zero things about what hormones, naturally produced or medically administered, determine. I’m simply pointing out that excluding trans people from the bathrooms associated with their gender would, if it were enforceable in any reliable way* lead to obviously male-appearing people in the women’s bathroom and obviously female-appearing people in the men’s, despite the fact that one of the arguments in favour of excluding them is the desire to avoid precisely that outcome.,

    Also, what is biological sexuality?

    *Of course, it isn’t enforceable in any reliable way, and where it has been attempted, has resulted in cis women who look a bit masculine being abused which – while I definitely wouldn’t argue it’s worse to abuse a cis person based on false assumptions than it is to abuse a trans person based on accurate ones – is surely not the intent.

  69. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Trying to keep this short.

    Only if you classify ‘green’ as money. It is just too expensive.

    False.

    That’s not a problem inherent to the technology.
    http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/historical-construction-costs-of-global-nuclear-power-reactors
    In particular, check out the reactor costs in South Korea. Far less than the costs today in the rest of the western world.

    Further, we can talk about next-gen designs. One of the big upsides of several next-gen reactors is the inherent passive safety, esp molten salt reactors, and inherent passive safety means less need of complicated – and expensive – redundant engineered safety systems, which much a much safer and cheaper plant.

    For some more reading, I also suggest the following:
    http://thorconpower.com/docs/two_ships.pdf
    http://thorconpower.com/docs/domsr.pdf

    PS:
    I’ve also heard that a similar design, Moltex, has gone through a thorough safety review by a respected independent contractor with expertise in passing goverment nuclear safety review, and they arrive at similar conclusions price conclusions, e.g. roughly half the plant cost of a coal power plant.

    The liquid metal fast reactor, and specifically the integral fast reactor, also known as the S-PRISM reactor, seems pretty cool, in terms of safety. I am led to believe that the cost will be good too.

  70. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I am very unconvinced by this victimism mentality pushed less by the actual trans gender people so much as the politically correct authoritarians who love to tell everyone else how wrong they are. Yah for us. We stuck it to “the Man”. Down with society.

    You seem to stand for everything that I fight against.

    As I start winding down (I hope), let me share this:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/this-google-chrome-extension-replaces-political-correctness-with-something-more-accurate_us_55c82605e4b0923c12bd4a91

    New Zealander Byron Clark set up his web browser to replace the words “political correctness” with the phrase “treating people with respect” — a move inspired, in part, by a Neil Gaiman quote.

    http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/43087620460/i-was-reading-a-book-about-interjections-oddly

    I was reading a book (about interjections, oddly enough) yesterday which included the phrase “In these days of political correctness…” talking about no longer making jokes that denigrated people for their culture or for the colour of their skin. And I thought, “That’s not actually anything to do with ‘political correctness’. That’s just treating other people with respect.”

    Which made me oddly happy. I started imagining a world in which we replaced the phrase “politically correct” wherever we could with “treating other people with respect”, and it made me smile.

    You should try it. It’s peculiarly enlightening.

    I know what you’re thinking now. You’re thinking “Oh my god, that’s treating other people with respect gone mad!”

  71. Yaddith says

    Athywren:

    Thanks for the clarification. I was confused by your mention of testosterone and oestrogen. By “biological sexuality” I mean sex as determined by a person’s sexual anatomy, chromosomes, and hormones.

  72. Mobius says

    Damn, I wish I lived near Austin so I could join you guys for lunch at Star of India. I LOVE Indian food. (My personal philosophy on new food is that if a lot of people like it, it is at least worth trying once, twice if I like it, three time to be sure.)

  73. James William says

    Hey guys, I’d like to throw my two cents in about the DNA “wow signal”. This refers to a paper [1] published in an open access journal. There are a ton of red flags.

    The biggest problem is researcher degrees of freedom. This is exactly what Matt correctly pointed out. The method used to search for a hidden code was essentially designed to find false positives. (Maybe intentionally, or maybe though a complete lack of understanding the scientific method and statistics in particular.) The authors apparently took the genetic code (the mapping of codons to amino acids) and did a sort of “bible code” numerology to extract meaning whether or not that meaning was put there by intentional design. They use p-hacking to give the appearance of statistical significance where none actually exists.

    Even if some pattern is found in the genetic code, as Matt mentioned, this can be a result of natural evolution, which is not a random process! But that’s not the end of the problems for this paper. The authors don’t include in their paper any search for natural processes to explain the patterns they find. For example, they show that the number of nucleons (protons & neutrons) in side chains for A+T equals that for C+G (Figure 5a). This is as unremarkable as the fact that the number of nucleons both sides of a balanced scale are (roughly) the same! These molecules have to (at least in this conjugation) balance very well in weight and shape in order to form long chains. We know they *do* form long chains. So it’s no surprise they have the same number of nucleons. If for some reason they did not, the DNA would be lopsided and not do what DNA does. Such molecular combinations, through a process not dissimilar to evolution by natural selection, never made it as the information carriers for life. No mystery there!

    The last nail in the coffin is the fact that the genetic code, while very well conserved over long periods of time, does in fact evolve. This is evidenced by slight variants on distant branches of the tree of life [2]. For example, UGA codes for tryptophan in some bacteria, but it’s a stop codon in most other organisms. In some proteins, non-standard amino acids are substituted for standard stop codons. Codon degeneracy isn’t what we’d expect from a top-down designed code. (You’d need to design it top-down in order to hide a message there at the “top” i.e. starting from a fixed end result!) The DNA molecule thymine is replaced by uracil in mRNA which appears like a random accident of history and this isn’t addressed by the paper. In other words, much like with the Bible, we don’t have an “original copy” of the genetic code. There are lineages with meaningful differences and the authors chose only one to examine (see Figure 1).

    TL;DR: The true statistical significance is essentially zero, a non-zero statistical significance wouldn’t support the conclusion, and the basic premise doesn’t work because the genetic code (even if it was originally created) evolves.

    1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0019103513000791
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_code

  74. Quasirodent says

    I have a comment about the wording of a bit of logical questioning I’ve heard a few times in the show. It was used fairly recently, in the last 3 or 4 shows but I don’t totally remember which one. Is it okay if I just post the comment?

  75. RationalismRules says

    Thomas is very confused about the WOW DNA signal, I think. The paper has nothing to do with extraterrestrials. It simply took the standards that SETI proposes as markers of intelligence in signals gathered from space and applied those standards to DNA, concluding that, using SETI’s standards DNA shows evidence of intelligence in its coding.
    Even calling it the WOW DNA signal is confusing, as it conflates this paper with a famous SETI moment, ‘the WOW signal’, which is an actual unexplained ‘signal’ (for want of a better word) gathered by SETI.

    By the way, Matt is wrong about rebuttals being easily found through Google. If you Google “WOW DNA rebuttal” you get lots of references to the SETI WOW signal, and fuck-all relating to this paper. When I heard about the paper last year I went looking for rebuttals and the only one I could find was a Pharyngula blog-post. (Full disclosure: I didn’t spend a lot of time on it, but enough to know that there aren’t lots of them sitting around waiting to be found).

    I encountered the paper when a theist posted about it in YouTube comments – she thought it was a knockout punch: a peer-reviewed paper that concludes that DNA shows signs of intelligent design!. I explained that a single peer-reviewed paper does not confer the mantle of ‘accepted scientific fact’, it is effectively only the first step in the process – marking it as worthy of discussion/consideration by the scientific community. Needless to say, I didn’t get a response to that point.

  76. says

    Regarding the “wow signal” genetic-code dude that called in, there’s so much wrong with so much of what he said. Matt also said something wrong about null hypotheses. He said the null hypothesis by definition cannot be falsified, but this is incorrect. It is literally the opposite, the null hypothesis MUST be falsifiable to be a useful null hypothesis. But, failure to falsify the null hypothesis is not proof or evidence FOR the null hypothesis. The null hypothesis is never proven, it is merely either falsified or not. Being charitable I think that’s actually what Matt meant, but he didn’t remember it correctly.

    Back to the caller and his “wow signal” gibberish:
    Put very succinctly, there is very substantial evidence that the near-universal genetic code is the result of an evolutionary process, and that the coding order is due to natural selection. Additional, the near-neutrality of the code is itself evidence for it’s subject to evolution and natural selection, in that it IS subject to change. There are violations of the general coding order in different organisms, even our own mitochondria use a slightly different genetic code and there is evidence for the selection pressures that explain the changes to the code where we see them.

    The operation of the code in terms of the constituents of the translation system (the ribosome, the tRNAs, mRNA synthesis and processing, phylogenies of aminoacyl-tRNA-synthetases and… a host of other lines of evidence) all testify to the genetic code’s malleability and evolutionary history.
    To pick a few examples:
    There is evidence that the tRNA molecule is the result of an unbelievably ancient gene-duplication, since it basically is made of the same structure applied twice sequentially. The two classes of aminoacyl-tRNA-synthetases evolved from the two antiparallel strands of the same gene. The ribosome itself is quite possibly the result of an ancient gene-duplication, and is additionally also (despite it’s extreme level of conservation over evolutionary history) despite this, malleable enough over deep time that it has changed considerably between different classes of organisms.

  77. Monocle Smile says

    @andre1
    Every new poster goes into moderation.
    You’re even more delusional than you were several years ago. Getting better at shitty arguments is not an actual improvement. You still don’t know anything about anything.

    I’ll be handing out this argument to academics this today. Fortunately, it’s foolproof.

    This is a sign of either a bad troll or someone in need of professional help.

  78. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @andre1, 72

    I posted this a few days ago but it’s still “awaiting moderation.” Do theists get censored here?:

    New posters, and posters who have changed their display name – as I have discovered to my cost on a number of occasions – get censored. (Or, to put it in a less dramatic way, simply have to wait for a moderator to check that they’re not just a spambot spewing out adverts for shoes.) True, the group of those posters who are new or have changed name does include theists, but it’s not targeted explicitly at theists.

    I’ll be handing out this argument to academics this today. Fortunately, it’s foolproof.

    It’s not possible to be objective about one’s own opinions. Obviously, you think that which you think is right is right – otherwise you wouldn’t think it was right, and so wouldn’t think it was right. That doesn’t mean that what you think is right is right. Calling your own ideas foolproof – whatever the idea – is begging for an express ticket to embarrassment.

  79. RationalismRules says

    @andre1 #72
    Your argument is indeed “fool-proof”, in that it is proof that you are a fool.

  80. andre1 says

    “Your argument is indeed “fool-proof”, in that it is proof that you are a fool”

    The “foolproof” part of my claim is because when I ask for criticism of it, the best answer I’ve got so far is “What thoughts does my pants have?” But pants are an abstraction in their own right. They’re an artifact invented from somebody’s mind, and continue to be perceived in relation to that creation.

  81. RationalismRules says

    @andre1 #93
    Here is why your “foolproof” is actually proof-of-foolishness.

    The universe is the brain.

    What is this even supposed to mean?
    A brain is a physical organ found in vertebrates. It processes stimuli, controls the functions of the body, and thinks.
    The universe is not a vertebrate organ, nor does it fulfill any of these functions.

    That’s all it takes. Proof of foolishness, right there in your first premise.

  82. Monocle Smile says

    @andre1
    So basically, you haven’t talked to anybody outside of Matt Dillahunty and Tracie Harris about your “argument” and you’ve decided to ignore absolutely everything else you discussed with them.
    Protip: you have a long history of dogshit communication skills. Blaming others for your own shortcomings is rather arrogant.
    Protip 2: you’re far from the first person to propose “panpsychism” and none of its proponents have ever gotten anywhere. That’s because of what RR identifies…a brain is a vertebrate organ. Loads of people get obsessed with the human brain and “consciousness” and I have no idea why. We’re bags of meat. Deal with it. The universe is just the universe. It does not act like a brain in the least.

  83. says

    It does seem to be a rather low bar to set for “foolproof”.

    I look forward to getting the names and credentials of these academics, so we can see what their responses will be.

  84. andre1 says

    I definitely didn’t invent panpsychism, but am admittedly adherent to it … as would any monist. Unless you believe mind and body is one throughout all of nature, supported by Conway’s Free Will Theorem, then you’re as much a Cartesian dualist as is the most misinformed theist who believes God looks down upon us, rather than through us. Accordingly, the universe would, yes, be comparable to an organism. It self-replicates (as in black holes and multiverses), grows and develops (as in evolves), responds to stimuli (as does the most basic of houseplants in response to sunlight … albeit without a CNS. But, even more basic, the term “quanta” itself has to do with interactions to stimuli. It’s a fact that both matter and consciousness consist of information), and is homeostatic (as seen in the commonality of symmetry itself in the universe, and the reliability of nature). It’s comparable to a brain (as in the “is” of comparison) because of the free will implicit in fundamental particles (as per Conway’s theorem) and that for any processing of stimuli to occur on any level, a dualism is presupposed (as in an internal [processer] and an external [stimulus]) UNLESS one accepts the more simplified, Occam-approved panpsychism that both the internal and the external are one in themselves. The notion of a “higher mind” and hierarchies in levels of thought simply solves the combination problem associated with panpsychism.

  85. Monocle Smile says

    @andre1
    None of that passes muster.

    Unless you believe mind and body is one throughout all of nature, supported by Conway’s Free Will Theorem, then you’re as much a Cartesian dualist as is the most misinformed theist who believes God looks down upon us, rather than through us

    This appears to be word salad. I’m a monist as in I only currently accept one form of ontology that falls into the “existence” bin.

    Accordingly, the universe would, yes, be comparable to an organism. It self-replicates (as in black holes and multiverses)

    The fuck? Black holes aren’t the universe self-replicating and we have little to no data on multiverses. Did you just make this up with random words?

    grows and develops (as in evolves)

    So does literally everything. Not impresses.

    responds to stimuli

    What? Prove it. You have to first establish that there’s something outside of the universe that is “prodding” the universe. You’re being extremely wibbly on the term “universe” and just making shit up.

    It’s a fact that both matter and consciousness consist of information

    Only in your delusions.

    and is homeostatic

    Uniformitarianism and homeostasis are wildly different. You also have this backwards, if anything.

    It’s comparable to a brain (as in the “is” of comparison) because of the free will implicit in fundamental particles (as per Conway’s theorem) and that for any processing of stimuli to occur on any level, a dualism is presupposed (as in an internal [processer] and an external [stimulus])

    That’s mostly word salad and I cringe at using “dualism” in a different way than you did before. “Dualism” has a specific meaning in philosophy.

    UNLESS one accepts the more simplified, Occam-approved panpsychism that both the internal and the external are one in themselves. The notion of a “higher mind” and hierarchies in levels of thought simply solves the combination problem associated with panpsychism

    More word salad.
    I have no idea what you’re even trying to say; most of the shit you posted has nothing to do with how the brain works and you get loads completely wrong. You’re just playing with words and can’t even do that properly and you haven’t the first clue about Conway’s theorem.

  86. RationalismRules says

    @andre1 #97
    Additional to MS’s points, as far as I can make out you are now saying the universe is not actually a brain, but is comparable to a brain. Even if the comparison were valid, you just killed your own god argument. To ask the question that gets regularly asked on AXP, when has there ever been an instance of a mind existing absent a brain?

  87. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    A couple additions to MS and Rationalism.

    It self-replicates (as in black holes and multiverses),

    This is an interesting mainstream hypothesis, but far from confirmed. MS doesn’t appear to know what it is. Let me link to a introductory explanation:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Smolin#Cosmological_natural_selection

    grows and develops (as in evolves),

    You’re using terms incorrectly. A single organism does not evolve. Evolution – at least biological evolution – is change of populations over time. A single animal never evolves. Populations evolve. You’re dealing with the wrong layer of the abstraction. For our purposes here, the genome of a particular individual does not change over its life. Rather, change in genome happens during sexual reproduction, meiosis, and the creation of a new individual. (Gross simplifications here.)

    So, it may be that the population of “active” spacetimes, “universes”, does change over time, as new universes are born, and old universes “die” (be in a state of heat death), but in this case evolution is a verb that applies to the population of universes, and not to any individual universe.

    because of the free will implicit in fundamental particles (as per Conway’s theorem)

    This thing?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will_theorem
    The free will theorem of John H. Conway and Simon B. Kochen states that, if we have a free will in the sense that our choices are not a function of the past, then, subject to certain assumptions, so must some elementary particles.

    Well, I can easily dismiss that, because the premise is wrong. We do not have libertarian free will. Libertarian free will is an incoherent concept. Compatibilism is the way to go. Choices, in the moral sense, can only exist in a strongly deterministic system (mayhaps with some elements of true-randomness). Rather than being opposed, choice only exists in deterministic or mostly deterministic systems.

  88. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    Thanks for the Smolin link. You are correct that I have not heard about it, which is rather shameful of me, given my profession.
    The Conway theorem baffles me a bit. Apparently it has some traction when it comes to particle physics and math, but yeah, the premise seems completely wrong and rather off-topic. I’m guessing that the wording is extremely misleading. My suspicion is that Andrew hasn’t the first clue what it means and merely latched on to the term “free will.”

  89. andre1 says

    Thanks EnlightenmentLiberal for referencing Smolin’s theory. As for free will, I’m with John Searle on this one: It’s natural to think “we have free will, and there’s no way we can think away our own free will, because even if you try to think it away in a decision-making situation — if you just say, ‘Well look, I’m a determinist so I just wait and see what happens’ — that is itself intelligble to us only as an exercise of freedom.”

    “Word salad” simply means words you haven’t much inclination to follow. It’s not as though the sentences are improperly structured. They seem legible to me, and yes: I do need words to express this not-yet-so-common claim.

    “You have to first establish that there’s something outside of the universe that is “prodding” the universe.”

    That’s an odd request coming from a monist. I’m a monist as well, in the tradition of property dualism (one substance with more than one property). If you believe mind and body are separate, you’re not a monist. Things that _we know_ emerge have their properties already inherent in what they emerge from, such as the hydrogen and oxygen that water consists of already has the property of liquidity in them, and white light has the color spectrum already inherent in it. Why do you expect anything different to occur with minds emerging from physical properties? This is what Conway’s thereom implies: If you believe you have free will to a degree, then so must some fundamental particles have free will, as well. That’s how emergence works.

    “Only in your delusions.”

    If matter didn’t fundamentally consist of information, there would be no laws of physics.

    “Uniformitarianism and homeostasis are wildly different.”

    Symmetry is just one example, entropy is another: the natural distribution of energy until it’s evenly spread. Even as more disorder is created, the tendency is toward equilibrium. There’s a law-like stablity despite the changes. This gives the universe direction.

    “as far as I can make out you are now saying the universe is not actually a brain, but is comparable to a brain.”

    I meant it’s comparable to the common definition of “brain” according to the present paradigm, yet there needs to be a paradigm shift. The “universe,” apparently, is a thing that functions as a brain regardless of it not being dependent upon vertebrae. Most non-vertebrates have brains, as well btw — a point missed by the OP.

    “You’re using terms incorrectly. A single organism does not evolve.”

    Granted. Its components are evolving and expanding. But my point is: fundamentally, there is only one substance … and I believe that is the position of Monocle Smile, as well, yet he wouldn’t deny evolution. So it’s its properties that evolve.

  90. RationalismRules says

    @andre1 #102

    I meant it’s comparable to the common definition of “brain” according to the present paradigm, yet there needs to be a paradigm shift.

    Translation: I want to call it a brain, but it’s not a brain, so can everyone please change their definition of brain so I can call it a brain.

    The “universe,” apparently, is a thing that functions as a brain regardless of it not being dependent upon vertebrae.

    When has the universe ever produced a thought?

  91. says

    Also keep in mind that “X produced a thought while inside Y means Y produced the thought.” is a fallacy.

    My house ins’t thinking. I (my brain) is.

  92. Monocle Smile says

    @andre1

    As for free will, I’m with John Searle on this one: It’s natural to think “we have free will, and there’s no way we can think away our own free will, because even if you try to think it away in a decision-making situation — if you just say, ‘Well look, I’m a determinist so I just wait and see what happens’ — that is itself intelligble to us only as an exercise of freedom.”

    All this shows is that both you and John Searle are dumbasses on this topic. This is a childish, wildly wrong notion of free will.
    Try this example: do you have the free will to grow three feet? Maybe this will jog your mind a bit.

    “Word salad” simply means words you haven’t much inclination to follow. It’s not as though the sentences are improperly structured. They seem legible to me, and yes: I do need words to express this not-yet-so-common claim

    Grammar is not your strong suit, and I can also form any number of grammatically correct sentences that are also gibberish. You’re just throwing words into a sentence and it doesn’t matter if the grammar is correct. You don’t understand any of the concepts you reference.

    That’s an odd request coming from a monist

    The fuck? I asked that question to expose the absurd nature of your “response to stimuli” bald assertion, not because I actually believe this happens. I keep forgetting about your exceptionally poor reading comprehension. You have the same problem on the phone.

    Things that _we know_ emerge have their properties already inherent in what they emerge from, such as the hydrogen and oxygen that water consists of already has the property of liquidity in them

    Oh my shit. This smells like Aristotle. This isn’t even remotely how physics works. Try reading some science books instead of old, bad philosophy.

    If matter didn’t fundamentally consist of information, there would be no laws of physics

    This is a special kind of stupid. I don’t think you know what “information” or “law” mean.

    Symmetry is just one example, entropy is another: the natural distribution of energy until it’s evenly spread. Even as more disorder is created, the tendency is toward equilibrium. There’s a law-like stablity despite the changes. This gives the universe direction.

    This is still not homeostasis and is not like homeostasis.

    I meant it’s comparable to the common definition of “brain” according to the present paradigm, yet there needs to be a paradigm shift. The “universe,” apparently, is a thing that functions as a brain regardless of it not being dependent upon vertebrae

    Bald, incorrect assertions. Demonstrate this, don’t just assert it.

  93. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To andre1
    I prefer to appeal to reason and facts, and not intuition.

    Imagine a program written in a conforming and deterministic subset of the programming language C, with a few extensions to read sensory input of a human body, and a few extensions to do motor control of a human body. Imagine a particular program that exactly reproduces your behavior (including speech). It is a simple brute fact that either such a program can be written, or it cannot. If it can be written, then you’re practically a deterministic system. If the program cannot be written, then you’re not a deterministic system – this conclusions follows almost immediately from the Laplace’s Demon definition of determinism.

    If your behavior cannot be predicted in advance, even by this demon, even by a god, then some elements of your behavior are entirely unpredictable. Consider quantum theory. We have a word for this kind of unpredictability: random. Your behavior would be random.

    There are only two coherent options for how the world is, including the humans inside of it: deterministic, or mostly deterministic with occasional calls to a true-random number generator. There is no third option. The so-called third option of “libertarian free will” is incoherent. It’s a contradiction of terms. This is true if you have a soul, or not. This is true if there is a god, or not. These arguments follow immediately from the definitions of the terms involved.

    Finally, I really like determinism from a moral aesthetic. Personal responsibility for good and ill can only exist in a strongly deterministic setup. If I accomplish something, but my choices are random chance, then I cannot claim the accomplishment as my own. It’s only when the accomplishment is clearly a result of my previous actions and choices when I can claim the accomplishment.

    Further, my choices must be a product of my beliefs, knowledge, past experience, preferences, personality, etc., otherwise I cannot honestly claim credit for anything I do. If my choices are not determined, then I have no control over anything I do. Only when my choices are determined by who I am, do I have any control. “Control” requires determinism.

  94. andre1 says

    “Translation: I want to call it a brain, but it’s not a brain, so can everyone please change their definition of brain so I can call it a brain.”

    The contrary could be just as much true: you don’t want to believe the universe is a brain, so you’re accepting only the most limited definition of brain conceivable. If anything is going to be the “one substance,” it would necessarily be a receptacle for all areas of truth, ontologically-speaking: the rational, the moral and the natural.

    “When has the universe ever produced a thought?”

    Negation appears throughout the universe, yet it doens’t exist in a physical sense. It’s required for thought, so must have preceded thought. Without it, all would be a plenum. Functionalism demonstrates that what each individual regards as a “thing” may differ beyond its basic functions, as demonstrated by the “inverted spectrum” thought experiment. As long as we react similarly to the function of a thing, any oppositional conception of that “thing” would be irrelevant, yet may exist all the same unbeknownst to the individuals interpreting the thing.

    “My house ins’t thinking. I (my brain) is.”

    Sure, but in this instance, you’ve evolved from this house as did all life as you know it. The house is self-animating with law-like precision albeit there are basic components of it that appear to act randomly as well. The house has been designed with such balance that you can come to determine and harness its very nature by abstracting things about it from what they are not. Prior to this, everything about this house would simply “be” — a whole. Essentially, some absence must have been ascertained that could only have been from lack of a necessity, as wants could not have occured prior to the recognition of things themselves. For one to recognize the need requires abstraction. The ability to abstract must have came before acknowledging and recognizing such needs, even instinctively. This is because when a need arises, such lacking would weaken one’s condition, rather than strengthen it. Thus, the ability to accurately perceive would diminish upon lacking a need rather than be advanced. So then, would the ablility to adapt be diminished, as well.

    “The so-called third option of “libertarian free will” is incoherent. It’s a contradiction of terms.”

    I’m a physicalist who believes there aren’t so much freely willed acts of randomness in the universe as there are purely freely willed acts based on available choices — such as the person who decides to quite smoking despite every other physical inclination to continue (in other words, despite the determinism that is admittedly there). That’s not to say the act would _necessarily_ be predictable, even by the individual … until the choice is made, or better yet: accomplished. These are the choices that we can be either praised for or admonished, though, I admit these choices may _become_ characterisitic of a person over time as they become habitualized. Thus, they would become more predictable and determined, as well as all-the-more praiseworthy, due to their initially being freely-formed yet now better established. However, I believe for such freedom to occur on any level, there must be something inherent in nature itself to allow it, such as a potential ability to transcend necessity, whether that’s the case of a subatomic particle or a fully-rationalized human, and thus allow choices. Otherwise, there would seem to be something non-physical about such choices that act contrary to given physical tendencies, which opens up a pandora’s box.

  95. RationalismRules says

    The contrary could be just as much true: you don’t want to believe the universe is a brain, so you’re accepting only the most limited definition of brain conceivable.

    I don’t believe that the universe is a brain not because I don’t want to, but because it does not fit the definition of brain. That’s rational – start with the facts, proceed to the conclusion. What you are doing is non-rational – start with your desired conclusion and attempt to change the facts to support it. You require a paradigm shift in order to make your argument – clearly your argument fails under the existing paradigm.

    “When has the universe ever produced a thought?”
    Negation appears throughout the universe, yet it doens’t exist in a physical sense. It’s required for thought, so must have preceded thought. Without it, all would be a plenum. Functionalism demonstrates that what each individual regards as a “thing” may differ beyond its basic functions, as demonstrated by the “inverted spectrum” thought experiment. As long as we react similarly to the function of a thing, any oppositional conception of that “thing” would be irrelevant, yet may exist all the same unbeknownst to the individuals interpreting the thing.

    None of which answers my question, so I’ll simply ask it again: When has the universe ever produced a thought?

  96. says

    @107

    Sure, but in this instance, you’ve evolved from this house as did all life as you know it.

    Are you saying that evolution thinks?

    There’s a difference between X arising from Y, and X doing Y.

    The house is self-animating with law-like precision albeit there are basic components of it that appear to act randomly as well. The house has been designed with such balance that you can come to determine and harness its very nature by abstracting things about it from what they are not. Prior to this, everything about this house would simply “be” — a whole. Essentially, some absence must have been ascertained that could only have been from lack of a necessity, as wants could not have occured prior to the recognition of things themselves. For one to recognize the need requires abstraction. The ability to abstract must have came before acknowledging and recognizing such needs, even instinctively. This is because when a need arises, such lacking would weaken one’s condition, rather than strengthen it. Thus, the ability to accurately perceive would diminish upon lacking a need rather than be advanced. So then, would the ablility to adapt be diminished, as well.

    Literally, nothing about this unnecesarily verbose word salad addresses the core logical problem I was pointing out. It’s like you started babbling about another topic entirely.

    I’m trying to disambiguate the word “produced”. In some sense, chemistry and physics could be said to have “produced” thoughts, as manifested in a brain. That doesn’t mean that physics and chemistry are a brain.

    In this sense, the universe also “produced” plants, but is not a plan.
    It “produced” farts, but does not fart (and is not a fart).

    “Arises from” is not equivalent to “is”.

  97. Monocle Smile says

    @andre1

    such as the person who decides to quite smoking despite every other physical inclination to continue (in other words, despite the determinism that is admittedly there).

    It’s truly shocking how you can blather on about free will and yet know absolutely nothing about determinism. We know for a fact that our brains make decisions before we’re consciously aware. Determinism, simply put in colloquial terms, is the idea that the universe appears to operate under a set of rules. This is either mostly or completely true.

    Negation appears throughout the universe, yet it doens’t exist in a physical sense. It’s required for thought, so must have preceded thought. Without it, all would be a plenum

    I don’t know what in hell’s fuck this is supposed to mean.

    That’s not to say the act would _necessarily_ be predictable, even by the individual … until the choice is made, or better yet: accomplished

    Despite years of being wrong, you still haven’t learned a single thing about the brain. If we had a constant fMRI scan of your brain as you go about your everyday life and we collected sufficient experimental data, we could indeed predict your choices before they were made.

  98. says

    @110

    such as the person who decides to quite smoking despite every other physical inclination to continue (in other words, despite the determinism that is admittedly there).

    It’s almost as though he’s unaware that there may be multiple competing deterministic factors.

    Persuasion from other people to quit, is a deterministic factor.
    Your own biochemical addiction, is a deterministic factor.
    Your own habits and lifestyle, are a deterministic factor.
    Any other additional influences, such as financial or social, are deterministic factors.

    The deterministic factors for the decision to quit smoking can be countered/overwhelmed by other deterministic factors.

    It’s like applying a bunch of forces to a singular object… the question is, what is the net effect?

  99. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To andre1
    Your response is incoherent. You cited a theorem that had a premise of “libertarian free will exists”. Are you a compatibilist? Do you believe libertarian free will exists? If you are a compatibilist, then you should not be invoking that theorem. If you believe in libertarian free will, then that’s what we need to talk about.

  100. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Jasper

    It’s like applying a bunch of forces to a singular object… the question is, what is the net effect?

    Well said.

  101. andre1 says

    “start with the facts, proceed to the conclusion.”

    As I recall the definition of “brain” originally claimed to be definitive here limited brains to vertebrates. Even that was wrong. Many or most non-vertebraic animals likewise have brains. Then the denial was that simple matter doesn’t possess information for a brain to possibly process. Once again: Wrong.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/blogs/physics/2014/04/is-information-fundamental/

    Brains can even be grown in a lab these days:

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041022104658.htm.

    A brain is fundamentally a thing that self-processes information and uses that information for intended purposes. Since the universe(s) sure as heck processes information, and as its absolute and thus would self-contain all other intentionality, and as that intentionality would _depend_ on that information (so, no: it wouldn’t be analogous to a house that may likewise contain thinking beings, yet we don’t depend on its walls to think), then it must be a brain in itself. That being said, the abstractness of thought is the default position, as that’s how it appears to us. Nor has neuroscience concluded at any time that that position is wrong despite occasional efforts to explain thought as being something other than abstract. Even so, the present paradigm of limiting consciousness to neural firing is to deny this default position without offering any data suggesting how such firing can produce this phenomenon of qualia. Bizarre.

    For instance, possibly you’ve considered the brain like a computer. Obviously, though: according to your logic, you’d be wrong. A computer is something that is man-made and works with gears … yadda, yadda, yadda. This is how ill-informed some of the criticism have sounded here.

    “None of which answers my question, so I’ll simply ask it again: When has the universe ever produced a thought?

    Negation. Where is it? Everytime an atheist asks: “How do you expect me to prove a negative?,” such a person is making reference to an object that nowhere exists within the universe except as a thought: the negative. Yet it’s necessary for any particular thoughts to occur. If we only learn things by experience, then how did we ever experience the negation of everything else? We haven’t — which is why proving a negative is impossible. Likewise, how did we ever experience void if there are literally none in the universe? If you accept the commonsensical belief that we learned negation from abstracting a need from its absence, then that’s what my so-called “word salad” already described that you freely chose to criticize rather than analyze.

    “It’s almost as though he’s unaware that there may be multiple competing deterministic factors.”

    … or it can be of a strong willed decision based on the abstract of reason and logic. Btw, most of the “determinism” you describe here are abstract choices in themselves (e.g., persuasion by whom?, lifestyle) and the strong addictive qualities of nicotine would most likely outweigh other habits. For instance, the habits that would lead one to smoke would most likely be the same as those that would make quitting all the more difficult. Also, the addiction involved with smoking would also likely outweigh the other biochemistry you imply since smoking is one of more insistent habits a person may likely have. So clearly, an abstract choice in these matters outweigh the predeterministic factors even if multiplied (as they themselves involved choices in part that would more likely than not continue the urge, rather than suppress it)

    “We know for a fact that our brains make decisions before we’re consciously aware.”

    This is a conclusion from what’s referred to as Libet’s experiment. I’ve written to AE about this years ago. It involves motor skills. Deciding which button to press isn’t exactly consciousness at its fullest potential, nor does this experiment explain whether the detectable micro pattern be the end result of a thought process prior to an action, or the origin of the process. Here’s how a neuroscientist involved with a similar project — placing electrodes into a paraplegics’ brain to provide her a robotic arm — described to me the process of anticipating her movements:

    ‘Briefly, your question hits on one of the main points of the work– the way we decode the recorded signal. This has been worked out over the last 25 years, beginning in the 1980s with the work of Georgopoulos. Basically the finding is that cells in motor cortex change their firing rate when the arm moves in different directions.
    Each neuron has a “preferred direction” for which it fires fastest, and then fires less with direction that are more removed from the one that is preferred. The relation between firing rate and direction can be graphed with a cosine, the peak is in the cell’s preferred direction. We loosely call this the ‘encoding’ process as we superficially consider direction to be encoded in firing rate. For prosthetics, we want to “decode” direction from neural activity. This is carried out by using a population vector algorithm where we consider each neuron’s contribution to a population. This contribution is in the neuron’s preferred direction and weighted by how fast a neuron fires. These directional contributions are added together across all the neurons recorded at the same time, and this results in a vector (population vector) that points in the direction of movement the subject is intending.
    Over the years, we have expanded the definition of movement direction to include, the x,y,z direction of the arm through space, the 3D orientation of the wrist and opening and closing of the hand. So movement is now extracted in a 7 dimensional space.
    By the way the extracted signal is updated about every 30 msec. So the total delay from the signal appearing in the brain to movement execution is about 100 msec.’

    Such a process of decoding can only entertain motor skills, including that of anticipating which button to press.

    “You cited a theorem that had a premise of ‘libertarian free will exists'”

    With all due respect, where in the theorem does it mention anything about “libertarian free will”? Sure, it refers to randomness, but on what level?

  102. Monocle Smile says

    @andre1

    A brain is fundamentally a thing that self-processes information and uses that information for intended purposes

    That’s a terrible definition of a brain, especially…

    Since the universe(s) sure as heck processes information, and as its absolute and thus would self-contain all other intentionality

    when you wibble on the term “information,” like most woo monkeys do. Shannon information and colloquial “information” are much, much different.

    Also, this is a hilariously obvious fallacy of composition that’s been pointed out to you before. My brain thinks. My house does not. Saying that “the universe thinks” because I think is a fallacy of composition, and a very bad, shameful one.

    That being said, the abstractness of thought is the default position, as that’s how it appears to us

    Cool. And?

    Nor has neuroscience concluded at any time that that position is wrong despite occasional efforts to explain thought as being something other than abstract

    This is just you aggressively dismissing the entire field of neuroscience on a whim. You don’t know anything about anything.

    Negation. Where is it?

    It is a concept developed by humans. Yet again, extrapolating this to “the universe has thoughts is a fallacy of composition. Why is this so hard? This is one of the easiest fallacies to spot.

    Even so, the present paradigm of limiting consciousness to neural firing is to deny this default position without offering any data suggesting how such firing can produce this phenomenon of qualia. Bizarre

    You’re just plain wrong here, and you actually reveal that you’ve looked at some of the research and dismissed it for no reason later.

    … or it can be of a strong willed decision based on the abstract of reason and logic.

    I have no idea what you’re trying to say. Are you claiming that “will” can somehow break physics? That it exists in its own ontological category?

    Btw, most of the “determinism” you describe here are abstract choices in themselves (e.g., persuasion by whom?, lifestyle) and the strong addictive qualities of nicotine would most likely outweigh other habits. For instance, the habits that would lead one to smoke would most likely be the same as those that would make quitting all the more difficult. Also, the addiction involved with smoking would also likely outweigh the other biochemistry you imply since smoking is one of more insistent habits a person may likely have. So clearly, an abstract choice in these matters outweigh the predeterministic factors

    Time and again you fail miserably to understand determinism. At this point I have to wonder if you have problems comprehending, because it’s been explained to you multiple times. “Abstract choice” is nonsense. Our brains don’t break physics.

    Such a process of decoding can only entertain motor skills, including that of anticipating which button to press.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    This is part of that aggressive dismissal. You found an experiment that makes you uncomfortable, so you invent a reason to ignore it. Protip: despite the wibbling of philosophers, there doesn’t appear to be a categorical difference between the “easy problem” and the “hard problem” of the mind. One is merely a more complex degree of the other. Are you seriously saying that when we make decisions to move our bodies, we’re fully mechanical, but when we do or think anything else, the brain goes into MAGIC FAIRY MODE and suddenly violates the laws of physics?

    With all due respect, where in the theorem does it mention anything about “libertarian free will”?

    Wow. Just…wow. It’s amazing how you can blather for so long without understanding a single concept that you mention.

  103. RationalismRules says

    @andre1 #115

    “start with the facts, proceed to the conclusion.”
    As I recall the definition of “brain” originally claimed to be definitive here limited brains to vertebrates. Even that was wrong. Many or most non-vertebraic animals likewise have brains.

    a. Where did I (or anyone else) claim my definition was definitive?
    b. Please explain how the factual statement “A brain is a physical organ found in vertebrates” excludes the possibility of invertebrates possessing brains?
    My statement is easily accessed above – instead you chose to ‘recall’ it in a way that supported your argument – another instance of attempting to adjust the facts to suit your argument.

    “When has the universe ever produced a thought?
    Negation. Where is it? Everytime an atheist asks: “How do you expect me to prove a negative?,” such a person is making reference to an object that nowhere exists within the universe except as a thought: the negative. Yet it’s necessary for any particular thoughts to occur. If we only learn things by experience, then how did we ever experience the negation of everything else? We haven’t — which is why proving a negative is impossible. Likewise, how did we ever experience void if there are literally none in the universe? If you accept the commonsensical belief that we learned negation from abstracting a need from its absence, then that’s what my so-called “word salad” already described that you freely chose to criticize rather than analyze.

    Negation is a human-generated concept of a relationship between things. There is simply no basis for claiming that negation exists in any way independent of the human brain. Every point that you have attempted to make in this paragraph references human cognition/communication – that should have given you a clue. To claim that negation is the universe ‘producing a thought’ is laughable.

    I feel like I’ve spent enough time on this nonsense, but before I leave I wanted to return to your post which started the discussion, #72:

    It doesn’t matter if the proof would just as well apply to the universe being a simulation because as long as that programmer is all-knowing all-good and all-powerful as the argument testifies, which would be “God” by definition, then that programmer would be synonymous with “God” anyway.

    Even if we accept your bizarre thesis for the sake of the argument, ‘the universe is the brain and everything within it is a thought’ does not get you to any of the three ‘godlike’ properties to which you claim “the argument testifies”:
    all-knowing: Brains do not automatically know everything about everything they contain. Knowledge requires awareness, and the human brain does many things that our minds have no awareness of. It has been demonstrated that when we ‘decide to act’ the brain sends neural signals to the muscles several milliseconds before we are aware of ‘making the decision’. In order to get to ‘all-knowing’ you would need to first demonstrate that it is ‘all-aware’. (NB: ‘demonstrate’ is not the same thing as ‘claim’)
    all-powerful: Again, ‘brain containing thoughts’ does not get you to ‘all-powerful’, even if everything that exists is a thought of that brain. Does it have the power to think itself out of existence? Does it have the power to create an entity more powerful than itself (an uber-braingod)? Does it have the power to limit its own power, and if so, does it have the power to transcend those limits?
    all-good: I can see why, on the surface, ‘all-knowing’ and ‘all-powerful’ might appear to be inherent properties of a brainuniverse (although anything beyond the most cursory examination very quickly shows that they don’t automatically follow). But ‘all-good’? How does that make even the slightest semblance of sense? What brain have we ever encountered that has only ‘good’ thoughts? If the universe contains both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ things, and everything in the universe is a thought of the universebraingod (UBG), then the UBG cannot possibly be ‘all-good’. This is the ultimate example of you attempting to claim ‘conclusions’ that bear no relationship to observable facts.

    You said on Feb 22nd “I’ll be handing out this argument to academics this (sic) today.” Please keep us informed as to the progress through academia of the ‘Dormanian Argument for God’ – although you probably didn’t need to attach your name to it, I’m pretty certain nobody else will be claiming it.

  104. andre1 says

    Monocle Smile: the only question that arises from your purely assertive rant is this:

    “Shannon information and colloquial “information” are much, much different.”

    Why is this even relevant?

    Rationalism Rules: “Please explain how the factual statement “A brain is a physical organ found in vertebrates” excludes the possibility of invertebrates possessing brains?”

    Your counter-argument to my claim was, specifically: “The universe is not a vertebrate organ.” If that was your argument, then neither would an octopus have a brain … whereas it clearly does.

    “all-powerful”

    The question essentially is: Can God defy logic? The answer is: yes. Because logic is based on the law of non-contradicton which in turn is dependent on “at the same time and in the same respect.” However, God would be transcendent of time, so the same rule wouldn’t necessarily apply (cf. My “Logic of God” vid, even though the video is poorly done and I give a bad account of Aristotle in it, as I recall).

    Overall, the point is: Even if there was a programmer who made our universe as a simulation, since there are exactitudes in our physical world (such as the speed of light) or even aspects _relative_ to given exactitudes (such as time, for which we require atomic clocks to give us the most preciseness, as opposed to less reliable man-made mechanisms), so then for a monistic, physicalist theory to stay true to itself: the mental would likewise need such exactitude, as well … otherwise, there would be a lack of symmetry and thus, a dangling duality. Such exactitude would naturally entail all aspects of meaning: namely, the rational, the natural … and, yes: even the moral despite our less reliable man-made contrivances in discussing it.

    The rest of your points depend on your modus operandi of “observable facts”:

    Keep in mind, you’re observing not so much how a brain would work now, as evolved as it is (and, thus, an anachronism for the matter-at-hand), but RATHER you need to observe a brain or mind that has just newly emerged. In that manner, you need to do some thought experiments because there are no species currently with newly-evolved brains. The question to ask: Without there being a God, what would have been the first brains first thoughts. Next: how would such a brain have evolved and/or emerged in the first place? I’ve already discussed that “negation” would have preceded thought itself. The question then becomes: Would this have arose out of instinct? I’ve already disagree, as well (in other words, it’s been discussed). This involves the second question. My answer is that such a mind would have arose from a need, as opposed to a want (as there wouldn’t really be any things known as of yet to “want” to the first evolved brain). But it follows: for an organism to have been lacking a need, it would’ve been in a weakened state, as opposed to a state that something more powerful would have developed or evolved from. In other words, it more likely would have died off than would have adapted. So it seems to me that “negation” preceding thought must have come from another cause than the view that it was caused by a recognized lack of something prior to there being any things known.

  105. andre1 says

    Okay, I’ve noticed some typos, so let me clarify the last paragraph (the changes are capitalized):

    Keep in mind, you’re observing not so much how a brain would work now, as evolved as it is (and, thus, an anachronism for the matter-at-hand), but RATHER you need to observe THE FIRST brain or mind that has just newly emerged. In that manner, you need to do some thought experiments because there are no species currently with newly-evolved brains. The question to ask: Without there being a God, what would have been the first brains first thoughts. Next: how would such a brain have evolved and/or emerged in the first place? I’ve already discussed that “negation” would have preceded thought itself. The question then becomes: Would this have arose out of instinct? I’ve already disagreed with that, as well (in other words, it’s been discussed). This involves the second question. My answer is that NEGATION FROM THE MIND OF THE FIRST EVOLVED BRAIN would have arose from AN ABSENCE OF A need, as opposed to a want (as there wouldn’t really be any things known as of yet to “want”). But it follows: for an organism to have been lacking a need, it would’ve been in a weakened state, as opposed to a state that something more powerful would have developed or evolved from. In other words, it more likely would have died off than would have adapted. So it seems to me that “negation” preceding thought must have come from another cause than the view that it was caused by a recognized lack of something prior to there being any things known.

  106. andre1 says

    “Please keep us informed as to the progress through academia of the ‘Dormanian Argument for God’ – although you probably didn’t need to attach your name to it, I’m pretty certain nobody else will be claiming it.”

    One of the persons I handed it out to was David Chalmers after a lecture he gave. He did notice I named it after myself. Whether he read anything beyond that is anyone’s guess.

  107. RationalismRules says

    @andre1 #118

    “Please explain how the factual statement “A brain is a physical organ found in vertebrates” excludes the possibility of invertebrates possessing brains?”
    Your counter-argument to my claim was, specifically: “The universe is not a vertebrate organ.” If that was your argument, then neither would an octopus have a brain … whereas it clearly does.

    Please explain how the factual statement “The universe is not a vertebrate organ” has anything to do with whether or not an octopus has a brain?
    I’m not sure what you are trying to achieve with this whole “invertebrates also have brains” argument – the universe is not an invertebrate organ either, so I don’t really see the point of your argument (is it, by any chance, simply an attempt to point-score?)
    I listed some properties of a brain, including being a vertebrate organ, processing stimuli etc. then went on to note that the universe does not fulfill any of these functions. I did not claim that they were exhaustive or exclusive, simply that the universe didn’t fulfill any of them. I’m very happy to add invertebrate brains onto my list of things that the universe is not. Done!

    “all-powerful”
    The question essentially is: Can God defy logic? The answer is: yes. Because logic is based on the law of non-contradicton which in turn is dependent on “at the same time and in the same respect.” However, God would be transcendent of time, so the same rule wouldn’t necessarily apply (cf. My “Logic of God” vid, even though the video is poorly done and I give a bad account of Aristotle in it, as I recall).

    Instead of answering my direct questions on this issue you address a different question, presumably one that you think you have a better chance of answering. Transcending time is irrelevant to whether universebraingod can create an entity more powerful than itself.
    However, since my last post I’ve realized there’s an even bigger problem with ‘all-powerful’. Your thesis: “the universe is a brain and everything in it is a thought” tells you nothing about what exists outside the universe. Even if the universebraingod does have total power over all the thoughts contained within it, there is no way of knowing whether it has any power at all over whatever lies beyond the universe. So your ‘all-powerful’ claim fails on multiple fronts.

    I note that you have completely ignored the other two properties: ‘all-knowing’ and ‘all-good’. I’ve showed why you can’t get to these from your universebraingod thesis, and you have offered no response. Does this mean you are accepting that you were wrong to claim that your argument ‘testifies to’ these properties?

    The rest of your points depend on your modus operandi of “observable facts”:

    Yes, because that’s the only methodology we have to assess the validity of a claim. Without a basis of observable facts you have no way of distinguishing true claims from false ones, so you are simply pissing in the wind.

    The remainder of your post doesn’t seem to relate to anything I’m discussing with you, so I’ll leave it to others to address. I’m sure MS will eviscerate it in due course.

  108. Monocle Smile says

    Oh my shit. So instead of answering questions, you just dismiss my entire post and then yet again highlight that you don’t know anything about anything. You say stupid shit like “everything is information,” but then apparently have never even heard of Shannon information. You say you want to hand this out to “academics,” but don’t like answering questions that require actual knowledge of the topic. I’m sure this will go well for you.

    David Chalmers? Oh, that’s rich. Handing an “argument for god” to a crackpot philosopher isn’t how you demonstrate things. All this tells me is that you’re more important with stroking your own ego and sharing helpings of word salad with other woo monkeys than actually doing science.

    The rest of your points depend on your modus operandi of “observable facts”:

    This is really all anyone needs to read. This is a concession that you’re full of shit. Yes, those pesky “observable facts,” how dare they interfere with your delusions of grandeur?

    Without there being a God, what would have been the first brains first thoughts. Next: how would such a brain have evolved and/or emerged in the first place?

    What. The. Fuck.
    Why are these even related? Is there supposed to be a connection here? You’ve been asked time and again what’s so special about a brain, but you’ve avoided answering and merely repeated yourself several times. Why do you think a brain is something magical? Why is a god even relevant to brains? It’s just an organ. We’re just meat sacks. Grow up and deal with it.

  109. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    This is me accepting a minor correction:

    With all due respect, where in the theorem does it mention anything about “libertarian free will”? Sure, it refers to randomness, but on what level?

    Ok… So, you want the weaker position: If a person’s decisions are not fully deterministic, then elementary physics must also contain elements of non-determinism. I agree.

    Now I just think that you’re confused. Randomness doesn’t buy you anything in this discussion. What good is it to say that a choice is arrived at by random chance, with nothing to cause it? Choices and moral responsibility are interesting precisely because people can be morally responsible for their choices – a concept that requires choices to be not random events.

  110. andre1 says

    “So, you want the weaker position: If a person’s decisions are not fully deterministic, then elementary physics must also contain elements of non-determinism. I agree.”

    I definitely take the weaker position. I believe I overstated the theory the first time I mentioned it. I apologize for the confusion, and thank you for your input.

    “I’m very happy to add invertebrate brains onto my list of things that the universe is not. Done!”

    Great, you’ve expanded the domain of what counts as a brain. Now how about brains developed in laboratories? Are they not brains? How about plants that are naturally structured to calculate the direction of the sun? Do they not possess a mental capacity without a CNS? On another level, consider lobsters who’ve been demonstrated to experience pain, yet haven’t the same pain centers as do humans. Do you likewise agree that there is a lack of universality in how different brains are strictly linked to identical areas of consciousness? Next, please weigh in on this comment by Antonio Damasio when confronted with a claim by animist William Irwin Thompson that “if mind is in the mental in the system, and in linkage with the enviornoment, [then] if we thought and lived that way we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now.” Damasio replied (2014):

    “Yes and no; Yes in the sense that I’m firmly convinced that bacteria, for example, and groups of bacteria, behave socially, have a very complex life. and have something that is the beginning of sentience. But whether I’m ready to give them the passport to mind is another story. There is sensitivity in fact and that is the bridge to our sentience. But the direct sensation is not there as there is in our mind. What is there is a series of elements that is prompting a series of behaviors that are already installed in the machine, and the machine then behaves accordingly given certain circumstance. But it’s a very minimal difference actually. it’s both very important in the way one talks about it, but I think in the end we’re on the same continuum. It’s just that where I put the border — I sort of come down all the way to the border, but I’m not ready to go the last stretch, because I don’t think the mind is there. But there is the continuity and the reason why we can have a mind is that there are those creatures with all this standard equipment in their organisms.”

    What I gather from this is that neuroscience is ever increasing their domain on what we may consider as having sentience. To quote: “We’re on the same continuum.”

    “Instead of answering my direct questions on this issue you address a different question”

    I just noticed that they _all_ had to do with God defying logic.

    “Without a basis of observable facts you have no way of distinguishing true claims from false ones, so you are simply pissing in the wind.”

    You’re missing the point. I’m not putting down observable facts. My point is just that if you’re relying on direct observation of how brains may have first developed from out of basic matter, or considering upon what the first thought might have been, then please take note that such a mind wouldn’t likely be the same as what we experience in our present age. Nor do minds leave behind fossils. You can only hypothesize and perhaps argue a most likely conclusion based on reason.

    “I’m sure MS will eviscerate it in due course”

    If “eviscerate” is meant to imply limiting himself yet again to assertions about my character without adding anything to the debate, then yes.

    So MS, let me rephrase my _one_ question I asked of you so that maybe you can possibly entertain an answer: Why _do you find_ Shannon information theory relevant to a discussion about the fundamentals of thought and information? Information theory seems derivative of how thought developed, not at the crux of where thought stems from such as we find with pure awareness.

    “what’s so special about a brain?”

    Because everything would be without purpose without it, including your question.

    “delusions of grandeur”

    … this is coming from a guy who labels David Chalmers a crackpot, yet probably hasn’t accomplished nearly as much, and believes the hard problem of consciousness is about to be solved without offering a shred of data or rationale of how he came to this belief.

  111. RationalismRules says

    @andre1 #124

    Great, you’ve expanded the domain of what counts as a brain

    No, I haven’t expanded the domain, all I’ve done is add invertebrate brains to my list of things that the universe is not, because it seemed to bother you that they had been omitted. There are many other things that the universe is not – I won’t be listing any more of them just now.

    “Instead of answering my direct questions on this issue you address a different question”
    I just noticed that they _all_ had to do with God defying logic.

    Still avoiding answering my direct question I see. Let me ask it again: can universebraingod create an entity more powerful than itself? Transcending time has no bearing on this, so your ‘defying logic’ response does not cover it. (Hint: a direct answer to this direct question will start with either ‘yes’ or ‘no’)

    I note you are still avoiding the issues of ‘all-knowing’ and ‘all-good’. Why won’t you address these?
    Let me make it easier for you. Let’s ignore ‘all-knowing’ for now (oh, you already are). Let’s just focus on ‘all-good’. You claimed that your argument testifies to the property ‘all-good’. Please explain how you get from universebrain to ‘all-good’.

  112. Monocle Smile says

    @andre1

    Why _do you find_ Shannon information theory relevant to a discussion about the fundamentals of thought and information? Information theory seems derivative of how thought developed, not at the crux of where thought stems from such as we find with pure awareness

    The second part of that is word salad.
    You said that “everything is fundamentally information.” The only way this is even able to be relevant is if we use the Shannon definition of information. I still don’t really agree and your other wibbling about “information” is wrong, because Shannon information is different from the colloquial “information.” Even so, you’re hopelessly conflating the map with the place.

    My point is just that if you’re relying on direct observation of how brains may have first developed from out of basic matter, or considering upon what the first thought might have been, then please take note that such a mind wouldn’t likely be the same as what we experience in our present age

    No shit. This has jack fuck all to do with the discussion.

    Because everything would be without purpose without it, including your question.

    *rams head into wall*
    So what? What is “purpose” aside from something we invented? “Without brains, we wouldn’t have this concept that human brains developed.” Nice tautology. I wasn’t asking for a stupid deepity.

    … this is coming from a guy who labels David Chalmers a crackpot, yet probably hasn’t accomplished nearly as much

    Pray tell, what has Chalmers “accomplished?” He’s done some decent work with cognitive behavior, but you’re appealing to him for physics questions and other stuff way outside his remit. Yes, the existence of god is a physics question despite your inability to understand this.

    and believes the hard problem of consciousness is about to be solved without offering a shred of data or rationale of how he came to this belief

    Not what I said. Learn how to fucking communicate.
    What makes you think the easy and hard problems are fundamentally different?

    What I gather from this is that neuroscience is ever increasing their domain on what we may consider as having sentience. To quote: “We’re on the same continuum.”

    This also has jack fuck all to do with gods. You’re still talking about biology, and there’s a big difference between sentience and sapience anyway. Yes, I would even go so far as to say an AI using a sufficient number of networked Turing machines could also be considered to be possessing a “mind” depending on the details. Irrelevant. “Mind” is what the brain does. It’s not an entity. And the universe doesn’t function like a network of Turing machines. For some reason you haven’t felt the need to support this; all you’ve done is play semantic games and get things wrong.

  113. andre1 says

    “Still avoiding answering my direct question I see.”

    That’s what you “observe.” But it’s for reasons you don’t recognize. I just didn’t want spend time on it. Actually, I’ve long ago argued these points elsewhere. So, since you’re interested, here’s my old argument of how all-knowing, all-good, and all-powerful can be seen as entirely practical and consistent:

    http://godtrustory.webs.com/godthetruestory.htm

    But since that argument is old, and even I find some minor faults with it, let me add: God represents the absolute of these terms, and thus automatically transcends time and logic … as any pure absolute would. Yet, you’re speaking of these attributes in relative terms. So, please keep that in mind.

    Therefore, to answer your specific questions:

    – “Does it have the power to think itself out of existence?’ Sure, since “God” is the foundation of everything existing, God may be better considered to be “subsisting.” This is why asking for evidence of God existing is so mind-numbing. It’s like asking for evidence of “everything” itself. This is on the same scale as asking somebody to prove a negative. It’s a non-sensical question. However, it’s entirely possible for God to think of God-self as non-subsisting. However, this would likely amount to the end of everything as we know it. It’s entirely possible, though.
    – “Does it have the power to create an entity more powerful than itself (an uber-braingod)?” Sure, since “powerful,” as opposed to “all-powerful,” is a relative term. Humans can arguably be these uber-braingods under certain circumstances. After all, God has given us free will on some level to give meaning to creation. Whether we do so rightly or wrongly is up to us.
    – “Does it have the power to limit its own power, and if so, does it have the power to transcend those limits?” Sure, because again: “power” is a relative term in meaning, as well. If you’re simply talking about “power” as “strength,” then God would need to limit God’s own power _at times:_ the idea of absolute-strength would destroy what is built by it. Fortunately, the concept of “power” is also weighed in by “restraint.” “Strength” and “restraint” go hand-in-hand. One provides, the other, limits.

    I don’t believe it possible for anything to exist outside the universe(s), btw.

    As for “goodness,” it’s just a simple concept. It’s in the nature of the world for living beings such as ourselves to innately know what it is and to expect it. For instance, when somebody tries to define the term _to us,_ we need to compare that definition with what we already know it as being so as to verify that definition’s correctness. Therefore, such definitions are merely redundant. So, to answer your question: goodness is simple knowledge inherent to life-forms, which further testifies to the existence of “universebrain,” in fact.

    “there’s a big difference between sentience and sapience anyway.”

    When I say that abstraction exists throughout the universe, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is inherently wise. This was why I brought up Conway’s theorem. It’s not so much “free will” that’s relevant there, but the acknowledgment that what’s true of the world of sentience and qualia is also true of the world of basic matter. A mere “awareness’ throughout the universe would suffice … just like an electron is aware of the location of all the other electrons in any given atom.

    Lastly, for one to say there is no difference between the “easy problem” of consciousness, such as observing responses in the motor cortex, and the “hard problem” of qualia is probably the most obvious example of “conflation” as I ever encountered. This is why it’s ridiculous to expect anything more than a tautology to the question of what makes the brain so important: The answer is obvious to any thinking, reflective being. Without a brain, the universe would simply be, as opposed to “being as.”

  114. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Does it have the power to think itself out of existence?’ Sure, since “God” is the foundation of everything existing, God may be better considered to be “subsisting.” This is why asking for evidence of God existing is so mind-numbing. It’s like asking for evidence of “everything” itself. This is on the same scale as asking somebody to prove a negative. It’s a non-sensical question. However, it’s entirely possible for God to think of God-self as non-subsisting. However, this would likely amount to the end of everything as we know it. It’s entirely possible, though.

    I’m a kind of positivist. In particular, at a fundamental level, I only understand our shared reality in terms of our sensory access to it. For example, when I say that “this chair exists”, this is merely shorthand for a series of claims of the form “well, you can see the chair, you can touch the chair, you can taste the chair if you lick it, etc.”. If you are unwilling to discuss the existence of “god” in terms of some hypothetical human-like observer, then I literally do not know what you’re talking about, and I literally cannot understand what you’re talking about.

    The common metaphorical comparison is “arguing about the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin”. Talking about the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin is nonsensical, because no one has ever seen an angel, and thus any such argument is based entirely on asspulls. Similarly, if you have zero specific observational evidence for your god hypothesis, then you’re doing philosophy, and bad philosophy. You’re not science. If you’re not doing science, then you have no basis to make any claims whatsoever regarding the existence of a god. I’m also a kind of scientism-ist: The only acceptable basis to make claims about our shared reality is science, which depends on observational evidence. In other words, it’s an a priori assumption of mine that people who makes claims about shared reality by pure logic and pure armchair reasoning – such people are full of shit.

    Literally, if someone starts making claims like you are, I don’t know what you’re talking about. It doesn’t make any sense. You’re talking in gibberish. In a particular phrase of logical positivists, it’s cognitively meaningless.

    One of the consequences of this kind of proper positivist thinking is that claims are only meaningful to the extent that they can be constrasted with alternative competing claims. So, if you claim that there are no logically coherent alternative claims, then you’re not right, and you’re not even wrong.
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong

    In other words, claims must be falsifiable in order to be meaningful. This is but a simple consequence that I only understand reality in terms of sensory description. To make a claim about reality is to make a claim about how I experience reality, and it’s always conceptually possible that I could have a different experience of reality, which means that any proper description of reality is falsifiable – I could have some sensory experience which differs from the prediction. It also means that any description of reality which lacks predictions of future sensory experience are meaningless. Such descriptions are empty, useless, meaningless. such descriptions are not even wrong. To be wrong in this context is to be falsified.

    In other words, if you don’t have some specific observational evidence that convinced you of the truth of your claims, then what convinced you in the first place? Philosophizing that could be done by someone who was blind and deaf? Without all senses altogether? Do you really want to make a claim on this basis? This sort of “reasoning” should have been dispensed with thousands of years ago.

    We can further refine these thoughts into Bayesian reasoning, and Bayesian probability and Bayesian epistemology. In particular, Bayesian reasoing formally captures this notion that we always evaluate claims in comparison to alternative claims. I’ll skip a more detailed explanation for now.

    PS:

    This is on the same scale as asking somebody to prove a negative.

    A common misconception. I can prove a negative quite easily. For example, I can prove (in any meaningful scientific sense of the word “prove”) that there is no elephant in my apartment. If you dispute this, then I think that you’re incredibly silly, and probably not worth my time.

  115. andre1 says

    “For example, when I say that “this chair exists”, this is merely shorthand for a series of claims of the form “well, you can see the chair, you can touch the chair, you can taste the chair if you lick it, etc.”.”

    Do you see, touch or taste your abstract thoughts? No? Yet, you wouldn’t deny that they exists. Correct? If you do so, then you’re making an abstract decision, and thus contradicting yourself.

    This is an example of a modal argument. You’re testing the possibility of a thing. For all I know, maybe God doesn’t exist. I’m just making an argument for how God may do so. At present, people are too quick to right off such an idea, and they do so with faulty reasoning. The problem with academia these days is that their curriculums ignore the fact that science needs to be as consistent with philosophy as philosophy needs to be consistent with science. For one to reject rational possibilities without evidence — merely assuming they don’t exist — is just as bad as that philosopher arguing about angels, assuming they do exist even when she hasn’t yet proven they’re possible. I’m arguing for possibilities. if something is deemed possible, it’s worthy of consideration. In fact, I’m working on an idea of how panpsychism can be used to predict future sensory experiences.

  116. andre1 says

    … and I agree, btw: probabilities would only add to the possibility, and lack of probability would decrease that chance.

  117. RationalismRules says

    @andre1 #127
    Thank you for finally answering my ‘all-powerful’ question.

    Does it have the power to create an entity more powerful than itself (an uber-braingod)?” Sure, since “powerful,” as opposed to “all-powerful,” is a relative term.

    If it can create an entity more powerful than itself, then it is not maximally powerful. If it’s not maximally powerful, it does not possess all possible power. If it does not possess all possible power, then it is not all-powerful. QED.

    As for “goodness”… [SNIP huge quantities of irrelevant crap]….
    So, to answer your question: goodness is simple knowledge inherent to life-forms, which further testifies to the existence of “universebrain,” in fact.

    No, that does not answer my question. You claimed that your argument testifies to the property ‘all-good’ in the universebrain. The key word here is “all”. I didn’t ask for your definition of ‘good’, or whether you think it’s innate in life-forms. It doesn’t matter, because the only thing that is relevant here is that both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ exist in the universe. If everything is a thought within the universebrain, and the universe contains both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ things, then universebrain must contain both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ thoughts. Which means it is not ‘all-good’. There is no other conclusion that can be drawn.

    You have a very bad habit of avoiding difficult questions by addressing a different question than the one asked of you. I don’t know whether this is deliberate dishonesty, or whether you simply lack the cognitive ability to maintain a direct train of thought.

    Since you seem to be having trouble grasping the ‘all-good’ question, I’ll make it simpler for you. If everything in the universe is a thought of universebrain, and universebrain is ‘all-good’ (according to your claim), how is it possible for ‘bad’ things to exist?

  118. RationalismRules says

    andre1 #129

    For one to reject rational possibilities without evidence — merely assuming they don’t exist — is just as bad as that philosopher arguing about angels, assuming they do exist even when she hasn’t yet proven they’re possible. I’m arguing for possibilities.

    cf. andre1 #127

    I don’t believe it possible for anything to exist outside the universe(s), btw.

    so. full. of. shit.

  119. Monocle Smile says

    @andre1

    Do you see, touch or taste your abstract thoughts? No? Yet, you wouldn’t deny that they exists. Correct? If you do so, then you’re making an abstract decision, and thus contradicting yourself

    You are flatly wrong, and demonstrably so. What do you think an fMRI does? When you say that a “thought” exists, it exists as a specific subset of electrochemical brain states. It has no existence beyond that. Abstractions don’t actually exist You keep appealing to things that don’t exist as if they do. Stop wibbling on what it means to exist.

    The problem with academia these days is that their curriculums ignore the fact that science needs to be as consistent with philosophy as philosophy needs to be consistent with science

    I’m with EL, meaning I read this as nonsense. Science is not subject to the wibblings of apologists. The philosophy of science is very well developed and navel-gazing is not a path to truth. “Pure reason” has no real applications aside from castles in the air; ties to empiricism are needed. It’s utterly baffling that this is still being discussed! Democritus put this issue to rest so many years ago, yet Aristotle still reasoned his way into concluding that women have fewer teeth than men.

    For one to reject rational possibilities without evidence — merely assuming they don’t exist — is just as bad as that philosopher arguing about angels, assuming they do exist even when she hasn’t yet proven they’re possible. I’m arguing for possibilities. if something is deemed possible, it’s worthy of consideration. In fact, I’m working on an idea of how panpsychism can be used to predict future sensory experiences.

    Dude, this is fucking stupid. “Not logically impossible” is the first tiny part of step 1 on the path to having a claim be taken seriously. You act as if it’s this monumental achievement. You’re like a toddler taking its first step that acts as if it’s Usain Bolt. You’re making a similar error to many presuppositionalists. You’re accusing people of “assuming” X doesn’t exist as if they have concluded that X can’t possibly exist. This is a lie. In reality, we operate under the tentative conclusion that X doesn’t exist because we have no reason to act as if it does. I don’t expect you to grasp this important distinction.

    Also, don’t expect anyone to be impressed by your bragging about stuff that you’re “working on.” You’ve been “working on” stuff for years and years and have supposedly written a book, and yet you have jack shit to show for it. Again, it’s like you think you’re a world-class sprinter when you can barely crawl. Demonstrate something repeatable in rigorous scientific fashion, THEN maybe you can start pushing it. All anyone’s ever gotten from you is hot air…plus the dumbest christian conversion story I’ve ever heard.

  120. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Do you see, touch or taste your abstract thoughts? No? Yet, you wouldn’t deny that they exists. Correct? If you do so, then you’re making an abstract decision, and thus contradicting yourself.

    Note that I clearly said “shared reality”. Thus, there are two possible responses:

    1- Do you mean your god is like my thoughts? My thoughts only exist in my own head. Do you mean that your god only exists in your head, like your thoughts? You also implied that my thoughts are abstract. Does that mean that you god is abstract? I’m pretty sure you don’t want to go down this path. I’m pretty sure that you mean to claim that this god thing is more than just abstract concepts and thoughts in someone’s head, and that’s precisely the situation where we need observational evidence to make conclusions.

    Your analogy is bullshit. Please try again.

    2- Or, you could go a route like what Monocle Smile did. Let me put my own take on it: My thoughts are part of our shared reality. I’m talking to you right now, am I not? Speech is mere sound waves in the air. That’s part of our shared reality, correct? Hearing my speech, that’s observational evidence of my thoughts. Indirect, of course, but it’s still observational evidence. You know that I have thoughts in part because I’m talking to you right now, and reading this text right now is observational evidence of my thoughts.

    This is an example of a modal argument. You’re testing the possibility of a thing. For all I know, maybe God doesn’t exist. I’m just making an argument for how God may do so.

    Oh. What a complete fucking waste of time. I already accept the epistemic possibility that a god exists. I know some atheists have difficulty admitting such a thing, especially those who subscribe to the wrong-headed view that science can only test natural claims, and I constantly argue against such positions. Of course a god could exist, and of course this is a testable claim. The claim is simply false. If the claim was epistemically impossible, then I could not say that the claim is false. Only epistemically possible claims can be factually wrong.

    At present, people are too quick to right off such an idea, […]

    Nope.

    […] and they do so with faulty reasoning.

    Sometimes, with some atheists, yes.

    if something is deemed possible, it’s worthy of consideration.

    Again, the existence of a god, and of supernatural claims in general, have been considered, and it’s been conclusively shown that supernatural stuff, including gods, do not exist. Materialism and naturalism are true, and quite obviously so. The whole history of scientific advancement testifies to this fact: There have been countless times where a supernatural explanation has been shown to be wrong by being replaced with a verified natural explanation, and there has been not a single case of a verified supernatural explanation. Not only that, but the modern Standard Model of fundamental physics successfully explains (in principle) practically every experiment ever done on Earth (however, the model needs some improvement to explain some astronomical observations). It’s hard to imagine more compelling evidence than this.

  121. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Oh wait, I see. I see what you’re doing. I had to write out my reply to see it. You’re trying to conjure an all-powerful god that is consistent with materialism. Fascinating stuff (/sarcasm).

    I have the smallest bit of epistemic possibility for your claims, that the universe as a whole could have thoughts. Having thoughts is going to be requisite to being a god. However, I also think that the idea is ludicrous and extremely unlikely. Thoughts happen in certain, very specific, organizational structures, commonly found in animal brains, and only found in animal brains. The universe as a whole does not have this organizational structure. It seems completely asinine and absurd to suggest that it does.

  122. andre1 says

    “If it can create an entity more powerful than itself, then it is not maximally powerful. If it’s not maximally powerful, it does not possess all possible power. If it does not possess all possible power, then it is not all-powerful. QED.”

    I guess you didn’t appreciate my distinguising absolutes from relativities since you’re conflating the two. But how can an absolute be redundant? The answer: it can’t. There can never be something more absolute than an absolute. Thus, your argument defies logic and is pointless.

    “Since you seem to be having trouble grasping the ‘all-good’ question, I’ll make it simpler for you. If everything in the universe is a thought of universebrain, and universebrain is ‘all-good’ (according to your claim), how is it possible for ‘bad’ things to exist?”

    “Power” consists of strength/restraint, “Knowledge” consists of retention/reversion (cf. the pre-trans fallacy, or if you don’t like that: consider Hume’s fork), “Good” consists of better/worse. The material world consists of conceptual dualities: it’s relative, not absolute. My premise 1, if you recall. However, God, as stated, would be the very measure of goodness at its most basic: the innate simplicity of goodness: the very idea. Why would absolute goodness be anything but pureness itself?

    “so. full. of. shit.”

    Do you believe it’s possible or probable for something to exist outside of the universe(s)? I don’t. My God is the physical universe(s).

    “What do you think an fMRI does?”

    Measures brain activity via blood flow. So?

    “ties to empiricism are needed”

    This is why _you_ need philosophy. I never said otherwise. You relentlessly make up strawmen and call them counter-arguments. I agree with Kant’s dictum: “Concepts without percepts are empty, percepts without concepts are blind.” You, on the other hand, seem to deny concepts as being equal to percepts. My argument was simply that when percepts aren’t readily available (as in a past event lacking any fossil remains), we may need to weigh into it more conceptually, and vice versa in other instances yet to be fully conceived (as in experiencing something newly observed). Over the course of time, we’ll then develop a more conceptualized/perceived balance via the scientific method.

    “‘Not logically impossible’ is the first tiny part of step 1 on the path to having a claim be taken seriously.”

    Which is why I concluded: “probabilities would only add to the possibility, and lack of probability would decrease that chance.” Please read-first-in-full, then respond.

    “My thoughts only exist in my own head.”

    Do they? The idea that your brain operates in a closed system has long gone. Do you not believe your thoughts are predominently influenced by your environment based on innate abilities to perceive from a given vantage point? The vantage point is in your head, not necessarily your ideas. You have mostly your environment to thank for those.

    “Does that mean that you god is abstract?”

    BINGO. But God is abstraction itself, not abstract concepts. “God” is the ontological abstract foundation to the physical — and, thus, uniquely part of the physical world as physicality itself. The only manner in which true monism may be achieved: the physical and the mental are one and the same.

    “Hearing my speech, that’s observational evidence of my thoughts.”

    Read Norman Malcolm’s “Knowledge of Other Minds” for a successful counterargument against your common-sensical approach.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9780470693476.ch16/summary

    “You know that I have thoughts in part because I’m talking to you right now, and reading this text right now is observational evidence of my thoughts”

    A robot can say likewise.

    “What a complete fucking waste of time. I already accept the epistemic possibility that a god exists”

    Then we’re in agreement in part.

    “There have been countless times where a supernatural explanation has been shown to be wrong by being replaced with a verified natural explanation, and there has been not a single case of a verified supernatural explanation”

    Sounds like the gambler’s fallacy of expecting to win yet again due to previous victories. Would you expect such rewards to continue endlessly, as well? In the matter of natural explanations that continue to elude us, what would you expect to change first in order for us to find the next discovery? Nature or one’s search for explanation?

    “Not only that, but the modern Standard Model of fundamental physics successfully explains (in principle) practically every experiment ever done on Earth (however, the model needs some improvement to explain some astronomical observations).”

    How does consciousness fit into this model? There are only two possibilities for excluding it, as I see it: You are a dualist and believe that consciousness doesn’t belong to the material world, or you believe consciousness is somehow not as phenomenal an event as the advancement of base matter. Both views are pretty much ridiculous. Without consciousness, there is ultimately nothing, as in “no-thing(s).”

    “It’s hard to imagine more compelling evidence than this”

    It’s easy to imagine with the hard problem of consciousness of explaining qualia still eluding us. My suggestion: Perhaps a refined model and/or paradigm shift is in order. Why do those who respond here find that idea so offensive? Because I use the term “God”? That choice of words basically implies that it’s more practical to view consciousness as top-down rather than bottom-up, as something we learn rather than develop from scratch. The tabula rasa idea basically went out the window when Chomsky proved that we have an innate ability of acquiring language. Throughout nature, instinct seems adapted toward intelligence … as we see with plant-life. “Adaptation” itself is an idea as much as a process. There’s no reason for the world to develop other than for the sake of reason itself. As there never was an organism so adapted to its environment so as to survive forever, adaptation itself seems to become complete with the ability to reason. Such a development gives individuals an ability to adapt further if one so chooses, as well as undermine its own survival if one so chooses. The process has come full circle.

    “You’re trying to conjure an all-powerful god that is consistent with materialism”

    More to the point: I’m demonstrating how this may be so. Realistically, an atheist could probably use this argument as one against an Abrahamic religion that’s based purely on doctrinal terms, as a believer could use the argument as one in favor of a God on purely rational terms.

    “The universe as a whole does not have this organizational structure”

    I already covered this when I discussed how the universe functions in a manner comparable to the functions of a brain: It self-replicates (as in black holes and multiverses), grows and develops (as in evolves and adapts), responds to stimuli (its very expansion is caused by interactions), and is homeostatic (as in it regulates itself). Furthermore, there isn’t necessarily a strict identity among such structures, as we see with lobster pain. So conflating brains as being one in structure is like conflating apples with oranges.

    Btw, am I the only person who watches this show who doesn’t resort to profanity and insults? lol

  123. RationalismRules says

    @andre1

    I guess you didn’t appreciate my distinguising absolutes from relativities since you’re conflating the two. But how can an absolute be redundant? The answer: it can’t. There can never be something more absolute than an absolute. Thus, your argument defies logic and is pointless.

    Claiming ‘all-powerful’ to be an absolute does not exempt it from logic. Absolute is not a magic word enabling you to make whatever claim you like without being challenged.
    My interest is in the meaning of ‘all-powerful’. If it does not mean ‘possessing all power’ then what does it mean?

    “Good” consists of better/worse. The material world consists of conceptual dualities: it’s relative, not absolute. My premise 1, if you recall. However, God, as stated, would be the very measure of goodness at its most basic: the innate simplicity of goodness: the very idea.

    The other side of the conceptual duality of “good” is “bad”. So using your argument, we can also say that god would be the very measure of badness at its most basic: the innate simplicity of badness: the very idea. Which leads to the conclusion that universebraingod is “all-bad”.

    “so. full. of. shit.”
    Do you believe it’s possible or probable for something to exist outside of the universe(s)? I don’t. My God is the physical universe(s).

    I didn’t think that post needed further explanation, but apparently it does, so I’ll spell it out for you. “cf.” means “compare with”. In #129 you said:

    I’m arguing for possibilities.

    You also said:

    For one to reject rational possibilities without evidence — merely assuming they don’t exist — is just as bad as that philosopher arguing about angels, assuming they do exist even when she hasn’t yet proven they’re possible.

    However, in an previous post (#127) you did exactly what you are now condemning – rejecting possiblities without evidence.

    I don’t believe it possible for anything to exist outside the universe(s)

    This is blatant hypocrisy. Otherwise known as being. full. of. shit.

    Btw, am I the only person who watches this show who doesn’t resort to profanity and insults? lol

    Sanctimonious (saŋ(k)tɪˈməʊnɪəs/) adjective: making a show of being morally superior to other people.
    Usage example: “andre1’s tone-trolling demonstrated that he was a sanctimonious prick”

  124. andre1 says

    “If it does not mean ‘possessing all power’ then what does it mean?

    In the case of “power” — a drive: “all-powerful” refers to possessing all powers, as well as all types of power (as in restraint). You can’t add to an all without being redundant. To say your argument is exempt from logic when it’s not does not make it exempt from logic.

    Likewise with “good”, but in this case the absolute refers to a standard: a simple idea. Badness is just the absence of good. If you say that good is the absence of bad and just as basic an idea, then you’re simply looking at good as your focus point: the norm. This is because good must be standardly experienced over the bad for any organism to survive, and thus is the foundational concept. The only reason you’re able to make your claim is that you persist in time, so must be surviving to some degree and thus have benefitted from the quality of good over the bad on more levels than not.

    “I don’t believe it possible for anything to exist outside the universe(s)

    Because the universe(s) pretty much implies universality. If there is more than one universe, then such a collective would likewise be the universality of existence — take note I referred to universe(s). Even if God was discovered to exist beyond space-time, then “God” would thus be concluded to be an extended part of our existing universe(s). Once again, it’s logically impossible for there to be something more universal than universality. As was the case with “all-powerful,” the term itself implies the limit.

    ““andre1’s tone-trolling demonstrated that he was a sanctimonious prick”

    Again, when all else fails, resort to insult to save face.

  125. RationalismRules says

    @andre1

    “all-powerful” refers to possessing all powers, as well as all types of power (as in restraint). You can’t add to an all without being redundant.

    And yet you said that ‘all-powerful’ universebraingod could create a being more powerful than itself. Which, by your own argument, is redundant.

    To say your argument is exempt from logic when it’s not does not make it exempt from logic.

    What is the point of this? Where have I ever claimed that any of my arguments are exempt from logic?

    “Badness is just the absence of good.”

    The absence of a positive is neutral, not negative. Either you don’t consider ‘good’ to be a positive attribute, or you don’t consider ‘bad’ to be a negative attribute. Either way, you’re just plain wrong.

    “If you say that good is the absence of bad and just as basic an idea, then you’re simply looking at good as your focus point: the norm”

    Using this logic, you saying that ‘bad is the absence of good’ means you’re simply looking at ‘bad’ as your focus point: the norm. The thing about a duality is it cuts both ways. You don’t get to force everything to your chosen perspective, just because you want it to.

    Again, when all else fails, resort to insult to save face.

    It’s odd that you consider insults save face – I’ve never seen it that way. I just find sanctimoniousness to be so odious that the only response it deserves is insult. The profanity is just for my own enjoyment.

  126. Monocle Smile says

    And the Oscar for “not getting it” goes to…

    My premise 1, if you recall. However, God, as stated, would be the very measure of goodness at its most basic: the innate simplicity of goodness: the very idea. Why would absolute goodness be anything but pureness itself?

    That’s pulled straight from Thomism and is yet more word salad. You don’t understand anything about the discussion. It doesn’t mean anything to be “goodness” or “pureness,” whatever the fuck either of those actually mean. I have no clue how you think you’re being clear or coherent.

    Measures brain activity via blood flow. So?

    Are you five? Do I have to spell out a point I’ve already made about three times?

    This is why _you_ need philosophy. I never said otherwise. You relentlessly make up strawmen and call them counter-arguments. I agree with Kant’s dictum: “Concepts without percepts are empty, percepts without concepts are blind.”

    You misunderstand wildly. The philosophy of science is already well-developed. The idea that philosophy will somehow make some new discovery that will require science to submit to it is extremely far-fetched and you need more than word salad to make a convincing case.

    Which is why I concluded: “probabilities would only add to the possibility, and lack of probability would decrease that chance.” Please read-first-in-full, then respond.

    Let me rephrase, since despite both EL and I being very clear about this, you have missed the point for the hundred and fourth time: nobody gives a fuck. Stop pretending that you’ve accomplished something. You have accomplished exactly nothing. I DID read in full, unlike you.

    Do they? The idea that your brain operates in a closed system has long gone. Do you not believe your thoughts are predominently influenced by your environment based on innate abilities to perceive from a given vantage point? The vantage point is in your head, not necessarily your ideas. You have mostly your environment to thank for those.

    What the fuck. The fact that our ideas are influenced by outside stimuli doesn’t mean our ideas fucking exist in the outside world. It’s still all contained in our own heads. Nobody said our brains operate in a closed system. Why are your comprehension and communication skills so terrible? And why do you pretend otherwise?

    BINGO. But God is abstraction itself, not abstract concepts. “God” is the ontological abstract foundation to the physical — and, thus, uniquely part of the physical world as physicality itself. The only manner in which true monism may be achieved: the physical and the mental are one and the same

    Word salad, full stop. This is incoherent garbage. You’re using a term to describe a property as if it is an entity. Furthermore, abstraction is a concept itself. It does not exist. I don’t know why it’s so hard for you to understand what “exist” means

    Sounds like the gambler’s fallacy of expecting to win yet again due to previous victories. Would you expect such rewards to continue endlessly, as well? In the matter of natural explanations that continue to elude us, what would you expect to change first in order for us to find the next discovery? Nature or one’s search for explanation?

    Scientific induction is the gambler’s fallacy? The fuck is wrong with you? Does your computer run on fairy dust? You seem to be criticizing a lack of absolute certainty, which is a huge red herring and you should most definitely know better. Also, you’ve been consistent on this whole “science will never discover X” for as long as you’ve been calling in, and you’re so wrong it’s not even funny. We’ve made a ton of progress in neuroscience in the interim between your calls, and yet you’re oblivious. Here’s a fun quote (which may be apocryphal, but never mind):
    “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” — Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Patent Office, 1899
    You sound every bit as stupid.

    Read Norman Malcolm’s “Knowledge of Other Minds” for a successful counterargument against your common-sensical approach

    Shut the fuck up. Like most woo monkeys, you don’t understand the difference between “evidence” and “proof.” Also, that was published in fucking 1958…and Malcolm was a philosopher anyway.

    It’s easy to imagine with the hard problem of consciousness of explaining qualia still eluding us

    So no scientific discoveries will ever be made in the future? You act as if neuroscience doesn’t even exist. You have problems.

    Why do those who respond here find that idea so offensive? Because I use the term “God”?

    YES! That term carries a shitload of baggage! Again, you have serious problems. It is singularly dishonest to try to divorce a very loaded term from thousands of years of baggage for no reason at all.

    I already covered this when I discussed how the universe functions in a manner comparable to the functions of a brain

    But you were demonstrably, laughably wrong. Holy shit, you’re like every other religious apologist, who thinks that any limp-dicked attempt at addressing a topic is automatically a total victory and all their points stand. Grow the fuck up.

    Because the universe(s) pretty much implies universality. If there is more than one universe, then such a collective would likewise be the universality of existence

    Dishonest equivocation. We only have data on our local observable universe. Earlier you made claims about the behavior of the universe, and if this is your definition, then you’re making claims about stuff you can’t possibly know. That’s called lying.

  127. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    BINGO. But God is abstraction itself, not abstract concepts. “God” is the ontological abstract foundation to the physical — and, thus, uniquely part of the physical world as physicality itself. The only manner in which true monism may be achieved: the physical and the mental are one and the same.

    This sounds like a deepity.

    Ex: Love is just a word.

    Well, the word “love” is just a word. However, love is not a word. It might be an electrochemical reaction. It might be a mental state. It might even be an illusion. But love is not just a word.

    The word “god” is a word. Like all words, it’s an abstraction. However, god is not a word. God is not an abstraction.

    I have no idea what you mean with phrases like ” ‘god’ is the ontological abstract foundation to the physical”. It sounds like you’re stringing together random words.

    A robot can say likewise.

    I don’t know how this conversation managed to branch such sophistry as solipsism, but I’m not going to discuss that with you.

    Sounds like the gambler’s fallacy of expecting to win yet again due to previous victories.

    Seriously? You’re objecting to the entire scientific enterprise right now. You’re objecting to the use of science itself. You’re objecting to the use of inductive reasoning, parsimony, empirical reasoning, etc.

    Combined with the previous points that I just responded to, I’m now beginning to think that you’re probably just a troll.

    It’s easy to imagine with the hard problem of consciousness of explaining qualia still eluding us. My suggestion: Perhaps a refined model and/or paradigm shift is in order.

    The so-called hard problem is not very interesting. It’s a non-problem. It’s poorly defined, and ill-conceived. It’s a wordplay that’s been purposefully designed to be unanswerable. Nothing can answer a problem that’s been designed to be unanswerable.

  128. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Actually, I need to continue off that last point. It’s a common misconception of science.

    How do magnets work? This is a simple and obvious question, and you would think that modern scientists can answer that question.

    They cannot.

    This is a fundamental limitation to the scientific method. At the end of the day, the only thing that science can do is give predictive models. It can answer the question “what will happen?”, but it cannot fundamentally answer the question “why does it happen? or how does it happen?”.

    Every time that you think that science answers the question “why does it happen? or how does it happen?”, science does so by appealing to another scientific model via reductionism. However, that sort of reductionistic explanation will quickly arrive at a model that itself has no known explanation. That is the nature of science and reductionistic explanations.

    Again, to go back to magnets. Quite quickly, any proper scientist will start citing the Standard Model of physics, and talk about Quantum Field Theory. However, if you ask the question “but why does the electron field couple with the magnetic field with that coupling constant and coupling interaction?” (paraphrase, I’m not a real physicist), they would say “I don’t know. I know that this is the way it is because of lots of evidence, but I don’t know why it’s this way. I don’t know why it’s this way as opposed to some other way”.

    For a beautiful mini-lecture on this topic by an actual physicist, a Nobel physicist, and quite possibly the best physics educator of the last 100 years, please see this video:

    > Richard Feynman Magnets
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO0r930Sn_8

    The hard problem of consciousness is the same sort of question as “how do magnets work?”. We don’t know that, and because of the nature of our access to reality and consciousness, I believe that we’ll never be able to create a deeper model with which we can use to answer the question via reduction. We don’t need to know “how does it work? Or why does it work?” to know that it does work. This is true for magnets, and it’s true for consciousness. Understanding does not require having answers to the “why / how?” question, and fundamentally, we never have answers to the “why / how?” question.

  129. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    Can you pleeeeeeeeeeeese alter that boilerplate “magnets” screed? I find a huge, glaring mistake, and it’s not a factual one, but a crime of omission. It’s the same thing I harp on every time you post it.

    Yeah, at some point in searching for mechanisms, we hit a wall. If it’s turtles all the way down, we eventually can’t find the next turtle or even know if there is one. We understand that we get repeatable data in accordance with a model, but we run out of known mechanisms. But all the wording of your post manages to do is provide a setup for apologists and woo monkeys to say “See? We don’t actually know anything! Therefore, my made up shit is just as good as science!” However, the truth is that around 99% of the stuff we talk about on a daily basis (unless you’re a quantum physicist) can be explained in terms of other things we understand and the discussion is sufficiently thorough long before we hit that wall. I don’t need to know fundamentally why the electron field couples with the magnetic field to figure out why my car won’t start.

  130. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I really should make it boilerplate. It would save me typing it again every time. Maybe even let me find a shorter version.

    I know we’ve had this conversation before, and I know we’re in agreement in a longer discussion, but I think we might disagree about how I should communicate with religious troll and other trolls. I really want to drive home that the “why does it happen / how does it happen?” question is not the interesting question. The “what will happen?” is the actual interesting question. I agree that using “why / how?” questions and answers has incredible utility as an aid to understanding the world around us, in this reductionistic approach, but my primary goal here is to emphasize that it’s an illusion, because science can never really give answers to the “why / how?” question in the meaning that many trolls demand.

    This guy here is a perfect example. He cites the hard problem of consciousness, which IMHO shows a complete lack of understanding of this point. He wants a “how / why?” explanation, even though neuroscience is doing decently well at answering the “what?” question. Further, it seems quite evident that he will never be satisfied by “what?” answers, even if we were to develop a thorough and exhaustive model of the human brain.

    I’m sympathetic to your complaint, but I’m not sure if I’m sympathetic enough to change. Humor me, what would you suggest that I change in the screed, which still allows me to deliver my thrust with the same strength and vigor. I want to do it this way, to be that out-there, to be confrontational, to shock someone into understanding the truth about science.

  131. Monocle Smile says

    Actually, I think you just did all the work yourself, it just needs tweaking.

    The big first point to make is to hammer the idea that WHAT questions are interesting and are investigated with science and WHY questions are irrelevant or even question-begging (teleology). You open with this, but there’s not much there in defining exactly what you mean when you say “what” vs. “why.” If you can set up a solid dichotomy in what you mean precisely by each rather than relying on the understanding of your audience (because they may be woefully ignorant or dishonest), that segues nicely into the rest of your post. I would even buy the notion that determining mechanisms for higher-level questions (why does my car not start?) fall under WHAT instead of WHY, so simple examples would fly.

    P.S. This complaint is my only one. I sit behind my desk cheering silently whenever you pull this out on someone.

  132. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To MS
    I think I see your point more clearly now. I will try to keep that in mind for my next rant. I could be more careful about my words, to avoid that possible confusion. Let me see what I can do next time.

  133. andre1 says

    Oh, my. Where do I begin? It’s like three emotional outbursts occurred from the same position of material reductionism and now all that remains is straw.

    First of all, Rational Rules: please learn to distinguish between absolutes and relativities. All of your counter-arguments in your last few posts are stymied because of your overlooking this distinction and conflating the two.

    Monocle Smile: Please don’t get caught up over words with baggage. Picking up such baggage hardly makes one objective. It’s not also not much of an equivocation to compare the universe with universality. They both derived from the same latinate word and are meant to signify the same thing: unus — meaning “oneness.” Also: Please learn to appreciate philosophy. Science and philosophy make a beautiful couple. You also seemed divorced from the idea that you’re a material reductionist, which is a philosophical stance in itself.

    By the way, I’m not anti-science. I’m pro-science, pro-philosophy. Philosophy gives science perspective and may be the category to discover those “why” questions. I admit the “gambler’s fallacy” may not have been the best analogy in the world, but if you’re grouping “qualia” — a what — with the supernatural, then it seems like somewhat a random grouping. “Gambler’s fallacy” is to expect random results to continue while “supernatural expectations” don’t necessarily entail one another. So EnlightenmentLiberal, I ask: What’s the relationship among all such claims besides simply ‘faith’ that qualia is comparable to the others? Without that correlation established, I think it’s more reasonable to label qualia a natural event.

    Next, you compare it with a “why” as opposed to a “what.” You do so for what reason? Are you urging science to just give up on the matter, and like with magnetism, just accept it for what it is without knowing what it is: as a given? It’s probably too early in the game for that. Even when Galvani discovered the electric charge transmitted by an iron railing through frog legs hanging from a copper hook, he was ridiculed by his colleagues at the time who called him the “frogs’ dancing master.” What was required was a paradigm shift to get the idea accepted.

    I’m just making a case for what change of paradigm may be required to _solve_ the hard problem of consciousness: a monistic approach. Unlike with Galvani’s frogs, qualia is a phenomenon that everybody seems to be a witness at every moment of anyone’s conscious day … so much so, that we take it for granted. It’s as constant in our lives as is physical matter, so why regard one without the other? For one to group it in among all other unanswerable phenomena is simply giving up the game. That’s hardly a scientific approach.

  134. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    hard problem of consciousness

    Again, the problem cannot be solved. It was specifically constructed to be forever unsolvable. Practically speaking, solving the hard problem of consciousness would allow us to detect the difference between a “real person” and a philosophical zombie.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie
    Such a task cannot be done. Ever.

    It’s the problem of solipsism – how do I know that you have thoughts, qualia, like me?

    For someone who legitimately opens the can-of-worms of solipsism like you do, it’s impossible to answer.

    The only proper answer to solipsism is some a priori assumption, some presupposition, to defeat it. For example, a suitable generalized Copernican principle would be sufficient to conclude that solipsism is false, and that other humans have qualia just like me.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_principle
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediocrity_principle

    If this is where you’re going to argue from, this is literally the end of the conversation. Nothing more can be said.

    PS:
    You’re misusing the term “Gambler’s fallacy”. The Gambler’s fallacy is the false idea that karma exists in independent repeated games of chance, specifically the idea that experiencing recent losses indicates that the odds of winning in the near future are increased above normal.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambler's_fallacy

  135. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ugg, excessive number of links hit auto-moderation. Doing one test:

    hard problem of consciousness

    Again, the problem cannot be solved. It was specifically constructed to be forever unsolvable. Practically speaking, solving the hard problem of consciousness would allow us to detect the difference between a “real person” and a philosophical zombie.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie
    Such a task cannot be done. Ever.

    It’s the problem of solipsism – how do I know that you have thoughts, qualia, like me?

    For someone who legitimately opens the can-of-worms of solipsism like you do, it’s impossible to answer.

    The only proper answer to solipsism is some a priori assumption, some presupposition, to defeat it. For example, a suitable generalized Copernican principle would be sufficient to conclude that solipsism is false, and that other humans have qualia just like me.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_principle
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediocrity_principle

    If this is where you’re going to argue from, this is literally the end of the conversation. Nothing more can be said.

    PS:
    You’re misusing the term “Gambler’s fallacy”. The Gambler’s fallacy is the false idea that karma exists in independent repeated games of chance, specifically the idea that experiencing recent losses indicates that the odds of winning in the near future are increased above normal.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambler's_fallacy

  136. says

    I wasn’t in the game very long, but I was instantly exhausted by the endless corrections for someone who is factually incorrect about virtually everything he says.

  137. RationalismRules says

    @andre1

    please learn to distinguish between absolutes and relativities. All of your counter-arguments in your last few posts are stymied because of your overlooking this distinction and conflating the two.

    You cannot counter my points, so you attempt to dismiss all with this one blanket piece of horseshit. This is so blatantly dishonest that we are now done.

  138. Monocle Smile says

    @andre1

    Please don’t get caught up over words with baggage. Picking up such baggage hardly makes one objective

    Shut. The. Fuck. Up. I swear, you only operate in your tiny little world with zero regard for how other people think.

    It’s not also not much of an equivocation to compare the universe with universality

    Pay attention, fuckwit. You missed the point by a goddamn mile. Earlier you ascribed properties to “universe” that could only be true or possible if referring to our local universe. Now you want to say “universe” means “absolutely everything.” That’s an equivocation; it’s a hasty generalization fallacy as well. You have no fucking clue if any potential multiverses follow any of the rules that our local experiential universe obeys.

    Please learn to appreciate philosophy

    You really, really, really don’t get it. You argued earlier that science should kowtow to philosophical bafflegab. THAT is my objection. I of course appreciate philosophy. I don’t appreciate navel-gazing. What you’re doing is navel-gazing for no reason.

    I’m just making a case for what change of paradigm may be required to _solve_ the hard problem of consciousness: a monistic approach

    Again, you demonstrate total ignorance. Dualism in the context of multiple real ontologies has been rejected by science for a very long time. This is why the concepts of “soul” and “afterlife” are the most dead religious ideas.
    Furthermore, you don’t understand the objection to qualia. I’m not surprised, because your shit-ass reading comprehension is preventing you from understanding any of our objections, it seems.
    What EL objected to was the idea that “qualia” is anything special or somehow a separate thing from empirical observation.

    You also seemed divorced from the idea that you’re a material reductionist, which is a philosophical stance in itself

    I call myself a soft empiricist. I’m willing to have my mind changed and I don’t accept absolute certainty, but you’ll need to bend spoons before I even consider listening to your bullshit.
    Also note that what you call “material reductionism” has never been wrong when it comes to explaining our shared reality. Does this mean nothing to you? You cite Galvani as if he was relevant somehow, but that “paradigm shift” didn’t move an inch away from “material reductionism.” In fact, it did even more to solidify it.

    What are you trying to accomplish? Given the topic shifts, it seems you’re just throwing shit against a wall to see what sticks.

  139. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    What EL objected to was the idea that “qualia” is anything special or somehow a separate thing from empirical observation.

    Eh. I don’t know if I did that. I will say again that “qualia” is often poorly defined, but I grant that it exists. I also argue that surely it’s a part of our reality. I also finally argued that its existence or non-existence in other people cannot be observed, directly or indirectly, unless one starts with some a priori assumption that is tantamount to “solipsism is false”. Therefore, the hard problem of consciousness cannot be solved, except by an a priori assumption.

  140. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    I mean, that’s cool and all, but this is the same apriori assumption that everyone has to make in all cases when evaluating anything about reality. It’s not like this is some special uncommon assumption. I don’t feel the need to even mention that.

    FYI, most people are utterly clueless when it comes to solipsism. Most people don’t even recognize the word. I’m sure Andrew thinks he understands it, but probably doesn’t, so it might behoove us all to actually recap the whole solipsism thing whenever it comes up.

    I don’t grant that “qualia” exists as a thing. If it’s to mean anything, it’s just the term for how our empirical observations translate from direct input into something comprehensible for our brains.

  141. andre1 says

    “Shut. The. Fuck. Up.”

    This is too much. Okay, I’m done here. But I will concede to one point before I go:

    “You have no fucking clue if any potential multiverses follow any of the rules that our local experiential universe obeys.”

    Perhaps I was taking too stringent a physicalist position here. After all, as I heard your show mention many times before: there’s no shame in admitting: “we don’t know” what might be beyond our local universe, if anything. Maybe we should allow some wiggle room for those who state all they have is faith in their beliefs of a God beyond the universe, as long as they’re admitting they have no knowledge what they believe is actually true, and vice versa (accepting non-believers for their having no such faith).

    “it’s just the term for how our empirical observations translate from direct input into something comprehensible for our brains.”

    So since we’re in the world as physical things among physical things, living things have developed an ability to translate direct input as a replicated experience of these same physical things external to us _for the sake of_ of yet another physical thing internal to us, our individual brains to comprehend it. So, why the duality between the external and the internal? Such relationships were discussed in my premise 1 and lead to my conclusion.

    “mediocrity principle”

    Thank you for your edifying conversation, EnlightenmentLiberal. I respect your commitment to staying reasonable, and making good points. So, if you would forgive a possible disagreement and induldence, here: My position concerning the hard problem of consciousness has more to do with the uniqueness of qualia than with the philosophical zombie thought experiment. But, as I see it, if qualia isn’t treated as a unique phenomenon, then it’s commonplace … which is exactly the panpsychic stance (which my full argument also endorses). So we’re left with a choice: either we accept qualia as something that needs to be studied for its uniqueness, and not as a given (since unlike magnetism, it may not be quite as ubiquitous in nature); or we accept qualia as something given in nature, as is magnetism, and thus leave it at that. But either way, it’s hardly a thing we can deny … because, after all, we do experience it during every moment of our existence, experience it as abstract, and if we were to deny our abstract thoughts, that too would be an abstraction … and we would thus be contradicting ourselves.

    The argument is foolproof. QED

  142. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    and if we were to deny our abstract thoughts,

    Our thoughts are not abstract. They are concrete. They exist in reality.

    To contrast: The concept of a perfect Platonic triangle: That’s an abstract concept that does not exist in reality.