Materialism is Dead

Is materialism, which has dominated science for so long, dead?

  • Yes

    Votes: 1 14.3%
  • No

    Votes: 6 85.7%
  • Maybe

    Votes: 0 0.0%

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RJM

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Right now it sounds to me as if he is engaging in trying to revive the poor old watchmaker argument...
Not really, imo.
More along the lines of: no use taking the watch apart looking to understand time?

Time gives emergence to the watch, as the human interface ...
 
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Ahanu

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Not really, imo.
More along the lines of: no use taking the watch apart looking to understand time?

Time gives emergence to the watch, as the human interface ...

I'll have to listen to this talk before writing more replies. Right now it sounds to me as if he is engaging in trying to revive the poor old watchmaker argument... but then I'm giving in to knee-jerk reactions myself :)

We're talking about Plantinga's view for the moment, not Hoffman's.

A brief video of Plantinga's argument can be found here.

 

Cino

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So I listened to a portion of the Hoffman interview. I understand what he means by "space-time is doomed", but I don't hear him saying that materialism is not tenable, just that using space-time as a mathematical framework is not what the cool kids in physics are doing nowadays - they're looking for a better frame of reference for the math to describe matter and energy. Sounds thoroughly materialist to me.

And then he invokes Goedel, which is where I turned off the interview in exasperation ... Goedel's incompleteness theorem is really deep and beautiful, why does everyone ever only use it as a kind of glorified version of Russell's Teapot?

I want to stress that I am really enjoying our discussion here, as it is about things close to our hearts (even if I didn't like the Hoffman interview all that much)!

Question: why should a highly magnified view of the universe, where everything dissolves into quarks and leptons, be a more "truly materialist" view of the Universe than a view zooming out to galaxies, or a view where our human lives and concerns come into focus? In other words, What's with the obsessing about high energy physics as the "truest form of materialism"?

Question 2: Maybe I am using the word "materialism" with a different emphasis from other participants here. To me, it simply means that matter and mind are not separate, but are of the same stuff. To me, materialism is diametically opposite to dualism. Do the other participants here have a dualist understanding of the universe - mind or spirit as completely separate from matter, a light vs a dark realm, something like that? How do you define "materialism"?
 

Aupmanyav

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Material is energy. So the question is where from energy arises? And secondly does it disappear in the same way as it arises. Answers not available. However, there is one answer which suits all questions that you can think of - "Goddidit".
 

Ahanu

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Question: why should a highly magnified view of the universe, where everything dissolves into quarks and leptons, be a more "truly materialist" view of the Universe than a view zooming out to galaxies, or a view where our human lives and concerns come into focus? In other words, What's with the obsessing about high energy physics as the "truest form of materialism"?

Not sure I would describe physics as the truest form of materialism. It's just a tool or science for describing things. Maybe truest measure of reality according to materialism in that it is capable of pinpointing the most fundamental elements that compose the world around us? I'm not sure where you're going with this question. Maybe you think physics is not the truest measure? But materialism assumes only material things exist. I'm still caught up on the words physics as truest form of materialism. When I think of forms of materialism, I think of different ideologies within the worldview of materialists everywhere.
 
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Aupmanyav

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Maybe truest measure of reality according to materialism in that it is capable of pinpointing the most fundamental elements that compose the world around us? .. But materialism assumes only material things exist. .. When I think of forms of materialism, I think of different ideologies within the worldview of materialists everywhere.
We are on a journey, there will be many stops before we reach the destination. If there is any evidence of something non-material. Different (ideologies?) views are part of the game and essential. It is unfortunate that many religions do not allow and are afraid of different views.
Wait. Are you saying scientists must assume materialism to be true?
Have they found any evidence of non-material things? Scientists should not talk rubbish.
 

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RJM

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I do not think it can. Heidelberg's uncertainties step in.
The Uncertainty Principle applies to quantum particles in spacetime? These people are trying to go beyond spacetime, towards whatever spacetime emerges from ...
 
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Cino

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Not sure I would describe physics as the truest form of materialism. It's just a tool or science for describing things. Maybe truest measure of reality according to materialism in that it is capable of pinpointing the most fundamental elements that compose the world around us? I'm not sure where you're going with this question.

Sorry about that. It is not what I am saying, but what frustratingly, seems to be the prevailing understanding of materialism among the faithful.

It seems to me that discussions about materialism so often devolve into discussion the minutiae of high energy physics. I think this is a consequence of reducing Materialism to some stick-figure cartoon like "Materialism says everything is just made up of atoms".

Maybe you think physics is not the truest measure? But materialism assumes only material things exist.

I say that this is a caricature reduction of materialism on par with caricature reductions of religion like Russell's Teapot. It serves only as a cheap excuse not to engage with the topic.

Here's an illustration of why materialism goes far, far beyond "only material things exist":

I believe most religions would term a person who is primarily interested in money a "materialist".

So what is money? It is not the bank notes or credit cards - those are symbols of money. It is not the balance sheets or gold reserves, these are, again, symbols of money.

Money has no material existence. But it is causal, it has undeniable causal power in our reality, it iis very, very real! Think of all the massive projects set in motion by the completely immaterial, non-existent, but very real, and thoroughly materialist concept of money.

So materialism, even when used as a derogative to indicate wealth, cannot be said to view reality only in terms of physically existing objects.

One pithy definition of Materialism is that "existence precedes essence". I like that, but it is awfully abstract. The German writer Berthold Brecht made it more concrete with his one-liner of "Grub first, the Ethics" ("Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral"). Or, to put it into less crass terms, consciousness arises from noticing "I exist", is the materialist position. I'd like to point out how this is quite the opposite of Descarte's "I think, therefore I am", which puts ideas, thoughts, before existence, and indeed apart from existence, creating a dualism of ideas and matter which is very reminiscent of religious concepts of a spiritual world existing apart from the physical one.

Materialism, to my understanding, is very opposed to dualism. Mind and matter are not two separate realms of existence. Our minds are not "trapped" in material existence - our minds have material existence.

I'm still caught up on the words physics as truest form of materialism. When I think of forms of materialism, I think of different ideologies within the worldview of materialists everywhere.

Yes, right? There is so much more to Materialism than reducing everything to a Lego world of quarks and leptons.
 
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Ahanu

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Here's an illustration of why materialism goes far, far beyond "only material things exist":

I believe most religions would term a person who is primarily interested in money a "materialist".

So what is money? It is not the bank notes or credit cards - those are symbols of money. It is not the balance sheets or gold reserves, these are, again, symbols of money.

Money has no material existence. But it is causal, it has undeniable causal power in our reality, it iis very, very real! Think of all the massive projects set in motion by the completely immaterial, non-existent, but very real, and thoroughly materialist concept of money.

So materialism, even when used as a derogative to indicate wealth, cannot be said to view reality only in terms of physically existing objects.

Not sure I agree with that.

Money is simply what anyone takes to be a store of value (such as glass beads, seashells, gold, fiat currencies, crypto, and so on). To be a bit more precise, it is what one believes to be a store of value. It is a belief system. Because it is a belief system, you may deem it immaterial. However, this concept of money should have some type of belief content in the brain according to materialism's own tenants. Even if you cannot physically describe how that process works, I would not say this defeats materialism. Materialism is the idea any belief, such as money, will eventually be described in a materialistic framework. Here I am describing my understanding. I don't see why I should take money to have no material existence under materialism.
 

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By the way, if you do not prefer the word materialism, let me know what word you prefer instead and why.
 

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creating a dualism of ideas and matter which is very reminiscent of religious concepts of a spiritual world existing apart from the physical one.

My speculation and attempt to bridge our gap in knowledge below.

Perhaps matter has many different worlds.

Like I have said before, I consider our human sense of sight to be supernatural in relation to a tree. It's beyond its nature even though we consider them living. Some trees have the awesome ability of crown shyness, which reveals to me they are intelligent in their own way. I think they experience the world in their own way as well. Even though we believe trees and humans exist in the same world, I think a tree's experience of matter might be quite different. Maybe even radically different.

Just trying to go beyond the typical dualism discussions a bit. Maybe it sounds like gibberish to some. ;)

I am interested in what materialists might think of this idea.
 
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Aupmanyav

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Some trees have the awesome ability of crown shyness, which reveals to me they are intelligent in their own way.

I am interested in what materialists might think of this idea.
"There exist many hypotheses as to why crown shyness is an adaptive behavior, and research suggests that it might inhibit spread of leaf-eating insect larvae." - Wikipedia
Vegetation is reactive and not conscious. Evolution.
 

Aupmanyav

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However, this concept of money should have some type of belief content in the brain according to materialism's own tenants.
Money is what we collectively give value to, it may be gold, currency note, cheque, cows or a stone ring. Some may not consider even diamonds to have any value.
 

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The Earth itself is a living entity, imo
 

Ahanu

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"There exist many hypotheses as to why crown shyness is an adaptive behavior, and research suggests that it might inhibit spread of leaf-eating insect larvae." - Wikipedia
Vegetation is reactive and not conscious. Evolution.

Some materialists have said the same thing about human consciousness. Any sense of free will and self-awareness/consciousness is an illusion, an epiphenomenon since it is an unintended effect of an external stimulus. Our consciousness would be like the shadow of a lit match on the wall; it has no influence whatsoever on the primary causes of the matchstick and matchbox. I reach for my cup of tea because I feel thirsty. It's just a reaction. The experience of wanting to grab my cup of tea was an elaborate illusion. How would you know the difference? Everything is matter.

I take matter to mean anything we perceive in the exterior world. We have to get beyond this idea that we perceive matter as it is in my opinion. I think more fruitful discussions between materialists and nonmaterialists would be possible if we shed this idea. That's why I like to ask: What's it like to be a tree? I find this simple question fascinating. What's time and space like from its perspective?

@RJM previously showed a simulated image of the universe. Zooming out millions of light years, we can see the universe has a brain-like structure. The roots of trees share a similar brain-like structure. There is something creating these patterns. The roots of trees feel. They move around stones and take a different route if such an obstacle is in its path.

As for crown shyness, some believe it is a form of competition between trees to get the maximum amount of light. They form a network that works together so that everybody gets the right amount. Perhaps they are better than most human social groups at sharing resources :).
 
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RJM

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previously showed a simulated image of the universe. Zooming out millions of light years, we can see the universe has a brain-like structure. The roots of trees share a similar brain-like structure. There is something creating these patterns. The roots of trees feel. They move around stones and take a different route if such an obstacle is in its path.
Of course. A lot of sea life -- such as the plankton upon which eventually so much of life on earth depends -- is neither quite vegetable nor animal. There no sharp division. The 'impossible' quantum leap from prokaryote bacterial life to eukaryote multi-celled life is quite literally a once ever in the history of the earth occurrence -- it happened ever just once, and never again since.

Life and consciousness is far too great a subject for anyone to claim they have the answers, based on current human knowledge, imo
 
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