Can belief in a higher power be combined with Evolution

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by keithzworld, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. donnann

    donnann Active Member

    Aug 8, 2011
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    A vision is literally being transported somewhere.
  2. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

    Jul 28, 2011
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    NOTE: This replaces my post #240 (I was kicked off-line before I could complete)

    If one states thoughts are physical, how can believe in the existence of mind. By definition and about 6000 year of philosophical thought this makes you either a (1) material monist (which you claim not to be), (2) inconsistent, or (3) a believer in some "third option" (like spirits or souls without minds).

    Regardless, if mental events are physical then minds are physical. If minds are physical, and G!d has a mind, then G!d's mind is physical. So where is it located?

    First of all, other vehicles, weather, manufacturer, mechanic can cause problems with the control but cannot be in control. Why? If one is heading for a crash with the other vehicle and one takes one’s hands off the wheel, and a crash occurs, did the other vehicle take over control and cause the crash? No, there is no causal link. If the other vehicle veers and no crash occurs, you could argue you “controlled” the other vehicle. However, we normally do not use “control” this way. You may have caused the other vehicle to veer by forcing a choice on the other pilot but you did not control the other vehicle. Ditto with weather, manufacturer or mechanic. They can influence (wind gust causes your reaction to keep vehicle level or bad design causes your reaction when ailerons fail or poor maintenance causes your reaction when a hydraulic line blows). They can affect your control, but they do not control. Multiple causes and causal link analysis is quite complex and the human functioning therein even more so, but fault tree analysis, failure modes and effects analysis, root cause analysis can model this, if one believes in thought and a mind that can do the analysis (see causality and philosophy of mind or dualism at internet or Stanford encyclopedias).

    If there are two pilots and the auto-pilot is off and one uses the terms “pilot” and “control” as we usually do then either one of the pilots is in control, both pilots are sharing control (thus, both in control), or no pilot is in control.

    The vehicle cannot be in control (say this is a human body, if the body is in control then eliminating the mind will have no effect, this is the case of a botched pre-frontal lobotomy or a coma or brain death and being kept alive via outside intervention).

    Now say the pilots are the mind. If there are two, then one is (1) possessed or (2) suffering from multiple personality disorder. Neither of these two alternatives are “usual” so in the vast majority of cases we can ignore them (and get treatment if this is the case).

    So that leaves one pilot in control. To bring this back to you post—a single individual (me, my consciousness which is not physical) can know who or what is in control by experience. Do I experience a second mind in control? No. Do I experience my body in control? Only if I believe that sub-conscious or un-conscious control loops are physical and control my conscious mind. I can hold my breath until I pass out and the body (un-conscious mind) breathes for me. Think of it as a safety net, or a filter (in reality I do not even have to think about breathing). Is that physical or mental? Call it physical if you like. Other than a very few things (vargus nerve, etc) this physical control is limited and I can override it. The body does not control my looking at the back of my hand or me turning it over to see the palm. The causal connection is within my conscious mind. No, I cannot explain how mentality can control physicality. Big deal, neither can science explain how the quantum world can control the physical world we see out there (see the correspondence principle at even wiki).

    The refutation is easy. I am now looking at the back of my right hand. I have now turned it over and am looking at the palm. The responsibility is mine and mine alone. My thoughts (conscious and unconscious) control my body. Do you have someone else in your body causing you to type your reply to this? Or does your body do it for you without thought?

    Yep. I can demonstrate that easily (and did above). What is the alternative? In philosophy (among those who have spent a lifetime of thinking about this sort of thing) the only real alternatives are: solipsism (the belief that one mind, necessarily yours. exists and reality is defined as its thoughts, in your case defined as your perceptions and mysterious physicality of mind) or epiphenomenalism (my perception of my mind is a mistake, a flaw in my physical make-up tricking me into believing that I am conscious, so my thoughts are really just products of the goat cheese I had for dinner last night). Take your pick.

    The “wet computer” (brain) does little on its own (control various nerve functions that ensure its survival). You can look up Terri Shivo’s x-rays, cat scans, NMRIs, and autopsy data on line (that which was used in the case) and see what the material brain can do on its own when consciousness is not present.

    What I perceive (contrarily to you) is a mind that has access to a lot of realtime information (via my senses) and a lot of stored information (memory) which can solve the problem. If I am driving solo down the highway and have not mapped out my route and need to figure out how to get from point A to point B, I solve the problem by pulling off the road and getting a map or turning on mapquest.

    Fine, the mental (either my argument that I communicate via thought or your analogy of the pilots) does not exist for you. If knowing means to understand without a mind, how, pray tell is this done? Do you go out and touch the thing to be known, look at it? How does that sense experience become stored and filtered information? Knowledge is usually taken as familiarity with and understanding of something? How can one be familiar with the calculus if there is no thought of the calculus? Is the thought a product of my brain? Then the calculus must be a product of my brain. How did it get there? Why did it exist not before the XVXth century? How can one understand what is referred to by the word pi? Pi does not exist. No matter how well you draw or program, there will always be a glitch in both the circle and its radius. There will always be more unknown terms. We do understand pi and use it all the time. I have knowledge of pi? How did this miracle occur? If it is caused by or controlled by my brain, why did so many cultures not have it? Why do so many people not know it even after they read the same material I do? Ditto with time and matter and energy. These are abstractions—things I know that do not physically exist (where do I capture a moment or observe unspecific matter or measure kinetic energy?)

    Interesting, how does one know G!d if there is no mind? Is it a Vulcan mind meld? Does G!d have a physical self? If so where is H!?

    Let us be precise, you deny the existence of thought (“everything is physical”). That is pretty much the definition of materialism. You believe in “faith, love, honesty, interaction, [and] prayer” but you deny them as independent concepts (mental events) so the only way to collect data is to observe outward behavior. To wit, behavioralism.

    Nope, you are right. I think there is a non-physical thing called thinking. You think brains somehow do this. I believe in consciousness (referring to the relationship between the mind and the world per Robert van Gulick (2004; "Consciousness"; Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). You do not (or, rather cannot consistently because consciousness assumes non-physicality). I believe in subjective experience, awareness of things, the ability to feel, a presence of wakeful mind (all consequences of and only consequences of consciousness, see Farthing G (1992). The Psychology of Consciousness or the website of David Chalmers).
    You on the other hand must (again to be logical) not believe in these.I know that G!d is a non-physical thing that is what most people (who understand English) refer to as G!d. You hold that is not true.

    Material proof of G!d’s existence. By the way what is yours?

    Panta Rhei! (Everything Flows!)

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