Thursday, October 20, 2005

Christian Apologist Inadvertently Supports My Arguments

You may have noticed that I recently added a new links section to my blog. It can be found on the right-hand side, and it is called "Hit List." In this new "Hit List" section I am adding links to pro-afterlife blogs, mostly of the Christoid variety (sorry I just had to use that phrase again). Included in this links section is a blog called The Good Fight. Thanks goes to Dawson Bethrick from Incinerating Presuppostionalism for the heads up on this Christian blog.

The owner of "The Good Fight" blog is Tom Wanchick. He wants to combine Mixed Martial Arts with Christian Apologetics to become the Ultimate Christian Warrior. Sorry Tom, but Paul Manata already has that title. Unless Tom can come up with a catchier battle cry than Manata's "Reap the whirlwind," I don't see how he can get his big break.

But enough about that. Let's get to the real topic of this post. I am claiming that Tom Wanchick inadvertently supported the arguments I've made in my Kill The Afterlife blog. To sum up my blog's arguments up in a nutshell, simply read the description below the blog title:

"The concept of an afterlife is inhumane and immoral. Belief in the continuation of your "soul" or consciousness after death is wishful thinking. Belief in an afterlife devalues the one life that actually exists: this one."


But what is it exactly that Tom wrote? How did he inadvertently support my arguments? To answer that, take a look at this post. Allow me to quote a few snips:

The church...Scripture...disbelieved that any human person is really good...everyone is sinful and bad...deserves eternal punishment...

[N]o humans are good...

[P]eople are truly bad and deserving of Hell, as Christians hold...they are morally bad and blemished...so much so that they deserve eternal torment... Humans don't, after all, deserve good lives.


I only quoted the parts where he talks shit about humans, but if you go to Tom's blog and read the entire post, you will see that I am most definitely not taking anything he said out of context. In the comments section of his post, I replied:

Look at what you wrote! Your superstition has definitely messed you up good. Is this some kind of anti-Evangelism?

The best you have to offer from your religion is that people are bad and deserving of Hell, and we should all be thankful that we were redeemed by sacrificing and destroying the only human that WASNT deserving of Hell? Thank you for proving the things that I have been saying in my blog.

Christianity destroys self esteem, praises destruction, worships a bloodthirsty god, and can only provide a brutal carrot-stick moral code from an arbitrary dictate.


I started this blog making claims and accusations against afterlife belief and god. Then I used scientific studies to confirm my claims from a scientific perspective. Then I used news reports of Christian and pro-afterlifer behavior to support my claims from a psychological perspective. Then I used quality of life studies to support my claims from a social perspective. And now I am using Christians' own apologetic methods to support my claims from a religious perspective! My position has been consistent and has been backed up by evidence from scientific, psychological, sociological, and now even religious sources. The evidence, the logic, the proof, the reason, the truth, is on my side.

Kill. The. Afterlife.

46 comments:

LBBP said...

Aaron: I guess I'll have to go back and read more of your archives, I am curious how you are able to make a scientific argument against the "afterlife". As you know I share your opinion that belief in the afterlife is just wishful thinking, but I think it is very difficult to prove it one way or another.

I whole heartedly agree with your assessment of this blogger and his "religion".

"Christianity destroys self esteem, praises destruction, worships a bloodthirsty god, and can only provide a brutal carrot-stick moral code from an arbitrary dictate."

That certainly applies to this guy.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hey Lbpp!

Most of my scientific related posts are older posts. Ive been on a big morality push lately.

If ya want some scientific arguments, I suggest you click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Enjoy!

Aaron Kinney said...

I think blogspot is messed up now. I just posted that comment, but my blog homepage still says "1 comments" rather than "2 comments."

Let see if this comment does anything.

groundfighter76 said...

Just curious Aaron but can you name me one mind-body dualist who would disagree that the brain can have effects on the mind and/or vice versa?

Lindsay said...

Aaron, it's been so long since we talked, I didn't know you held such strong beliefs. I think what you are doing is awesome! I really enjoyed reading your posts, keep 'em comin!

Aaron Kinney said...

Groundfighter76, good to see you! Thanx for stopping by! But unfortunately I dont understand your question. Whats a mind-body dualist?

Lindsay, hey you found my blog! Well I became an atheist around the end of high school, but I didnt care much about this whole issue until the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It may be cliched, but those attacks really opened my eyes. Now I fight for reason and atheism and materialism very passionately because I believe that religion is the single greatest threat to the existence and prosperity of humanity today.

Thanx for the support! Stop by often. I usually update this blog once or twice a week.

Tanooki Joe said...

Aaron, re: mind-body dualism, think Cartesian system. At least that's what they usually mean.

You didn't know that Christianity basically views life as crap? Evidently you've never learned alot about Calvinism -- which basically applifies all these points about hundred times.

Aaron Kinney said...

No I am totally aware that Christianity views life as crap. I am also moderately familiar with Calvinism.

I think the problem here is that I didnt understand the word "dualism" in this context. I didnt want to make any statements about mind-body issues until I was exactly sure what GF76 was referring to.

Anonymous said...

Christoids (good term) tacitly provide an excellent rationale for mass infanticide: if the conversion-to-xianity rate is around 1/3, and we assume babies go to heaven, then killing 10 babies results in a net salvation ratio of 7/10. Sweet.

groundfighter76 said...

Good to see you as well, Aaron.

What I mean by mind-body dualism is that there are two fundamental kinds or categories of substance (one for mind and one for body). I don't know of any mind-body dualist that would necessarily disagree that when certain emotions or other activity (e.g. humor) occur a certain area of the brain is affected - this appears to be one of your 'main' proofs. Hence I was wondering if you could provide a mind-body dualist who would disagree. In summation, I would say that it seems as though you have misconstrued the entire debate.

Aaron Kinney said...

Thats what I thought you were referring to GF76, just wanted to make sure.

Paul Manata, for one, has disagreed that when a certain activity occurs a certain area of the brain is affected. You can find him saying so in the comments section of the "Tremblay, Moore, and Curtin" post at Goosing the Antithesis.

And GF, lets talk about the mind body dualists that you describe -- the ones who say that the brain can be physically afected in specific areas when actions occur in the mind. If they admit this much, then I contend that they have admitted too much.

See, the concept goes in boh directions. If you accept that the physical brain changes when the mind commits actions, then you have no reason not to accept that if the brain is destroyed, that the mind will be destroyed as well.

If a mind body dualist concedes that the mind and brain are linked in such a way, then they concede that they are dependent upon eachother. If you concede that the brain has cetain areas that "light up" or become active when you think certain thoughts, then I contend that you are conceding that those thoughts are electro-chemical (material) processes that cannot exist without the physical matter/energy to comprise them of. In other words, no brain = no mind.

Its like Zach Moore said. The mind is an emergent property of the brain.

And so far, the Christian that Ive argued at the most length with about this, Paul Manata, has totally denied any such connection. He has refused to concede that the physical brain can be observed to have specific areas of it "active" when specific thoughts are conceived in the mind.

Mike Althaus said...

The ability of a Christian to blatantly dismiss evidence laid before them because it contradicts their religious belief still astounds me.

Any High School graduate has seen the studies that measure brain activity while performing various actions. It’s common knowledge that different arias of the brain “light up” while doing different things.

I have been an Atheist sense I was born. At no point did any aspect of religion seem feasible or even appealing. At one point, as a child I helped the teacher in Sunday school teach class not knowing why she was teaching what was clear to me as a work of fiction as fact.

I truly don’t understand why so many people fight on behalf of ignorance so tenaciously.

groundfighter76 said...

Aaron said, ”Paul Manata, for one, has disagreed that when a certain activity occurs a certain area of the brain is affected. You can find him saying so in the comments section of the "Tremblay, Moore, and Curtin" post at Goosing the Antithesis.”

Maybe you could actually quote him instead. I have read through Paul’s posts three times but maybe I’m just missing it. I saw him deny that logic *existed* in the brain but not that when a certain activity is occurring a certain area of the brain is affected, which is totally different than what you were proposing.

I did see this that Paul said, “Also, why assume that if he thinks about it, and a PET scan picks up some electrical readings, that means the *law qua law* is in his brain? I've seen no argument here.” This is similar to what I’m saying above.


Aaron said, “And GF, lets talk about the mind body dualists that you describe -- the ones who say that the brain can be physically afected in specific areas when actions occur in the mind. If they admit this much, then I contend that they have admitted too much.”

Ok but let’s see if you show this.


Aaron said, “See, the concept goes in boh directions. If you accept that the physical brain changes when the mind commits actions, then you have no reason not to accept that if the brain is destroyed, that the mind will be destroyed as well.”

Yes we do have a reason not to accept your proposition since we don’t believe that a physicalist account of the mind is adequate to explain all of the phenomena in the mind-body problem. Also, the contention is that while the ‘mind’ (ie soul) is encased inside the body, it would have effects on the body and vice versa. It does not necessarily follow that if the mind was no longer encased by the body that the mind would die as well - only by equating the mind with the brain in a physicalist manner (or maybe if they were dependent on each other – see below) would it follow. So all you’ve done is re-assert your position.


Aaron said, “If a mind body dualist concedes that the mind and brain are linked in such a way, then they concede that they are dependent upon each other. If you concede that the brain has cetain areas that "light up" or become active when you think certain thoughts, then I contend that you are conceding that those thoughts are electro-chemical (material) processes that cannot exist without the physical matter/energy to comprise them of. In other words, no brain = no mind.”

Being ‘linked’ or affecting each other does not entail that they are ‘dependent’ on each other and all you have done is to assert that it is so.


Aaron said, “And so far, the Christian that Ive argued at the most length with about this, Paul Manata, has totally denied any such connection. He has refused to concede that the physical brain can be observed to have specific areas of it "active" when specific thoughts are conceived in the mind.”

See above.

Aaron Kinney said...

GF said:

Maybe you could actually quote him instead. I have read through Paul’s posts three times but maybe I’m just missing it. I saw him deny that logic *existed* in the brain but not that when a certain activity is occurring a certain area of the brain is affected, which is totally different than what you were proposing.

Did you notice how he mysteriously dissapeared after my last comments post? Let me quote him:

Oh, extra credit: if we had a powerful enough microscope would I see this : A v B, in your brain? I mean, what does the law of excluded middle look like? I mean, what does it even mean to say that you have *THE LAW* in your brain. Since anything physical should be, in theory, able to be pictured, what does it look like.

Look at what hes saying! Hes totally misrepresenting the materialist position and I called him on it. He has yet to respond to my latest reply. Maybe hes too busy to do so.

I did see this that Paul said, “Also, why assume that if he thinks about it, and a PET scan picks up some electrical readings, that means the *law qua law* is in his brain? I've seen no argument here.” This is similar to what I’m saying above.

Now let me quote my reply to this exact statement of his:

"Its a concept, and if Franc had received the information about such a concept, and thinks about it in his mind, then necessarily, the concept itself is stored within his brain.

Paul, your argument is so silly, that I could use it to argue that your Windows Operating System is not actually on your computers hard drive. But for some reason I doubt that you would agree with me that the Operating System is indeed not stored on your hard drive.

Sorry you didnt see it. On the same vein though, Ive seen no argument from you. All ive seen is a strawman being propped up under the guise of the visible light spectrum being the only medium in which to determine somethings material existence."

Yes we do have a reason not to accept your proposition since we don’t believe that a physicalist account of the mind is adequate to explain all of the phenomena in the mind-body problem.

You dont believe. Simple as that. You are choosing to reject a materialists explanation because you "believe" that there is more to it, despite your lack of evidence to support your contention that the mind is immaterial.

Also, the contention is that while the ‘mind’ (ie soul) is encased inside the body, it would have effects on the body and vice versa. It does not necessarily follow that if the mind was no longer encased by the body that the mind would die as well - only by equating the mind with the brain in a physicalist manner (or maybe if they were dependent on each other – see below) would it follow. So all you’ve done is re-assert your position.

Let me give you an example argument on the same vein as your argument: It does not necessarily follow that if the software was no longer encased by the hard drive that the software would cease to function as well. How silly.

Im not the one proposing unsupported dimensions, like an immaterial dimension in which the thoght processes of a human consciousness can be sustained without physical matter and processes. Next I suppose you will tell me that if I destroy my hard drive, that my installed operating system will still exist in some immaterial dimension?

Thoughts have been shown to be elecro-chemical signals. They are material. Thoughts themselves are material. You are trying to claim that they arent material without any support. What Ive been showing is evidence that thoughts are material. You simply reject it for no good reason other than your desire to believe in something.

And contrary to your assertion, I HAVE supported my position. I have provided detailed examples involving people with cerebral palsy, research with PET scans into linguistic parts of the brain, etc... Why dont you respond to my cerebral palsy examples that I posted in the comments at Goose?

Being ‘linked’ or affecting each other does not entail that they are ‘dependent’ on each other and all you have done is to assert that it is so.

Incorrect. What Ive done is shown that thoughts ARE material. They are elecro-chemical signals. What do you propose they are? And what evidence do you have to support your assertion? The burden of proof is on the one who claims an extra immaterial dimension, and thats you. Ive given an adequate explanation with evidence of what thoughts are. You reject it, but why? What evidence do you have to support your view that thoughts arent material and that they can exist without the physical brain to support them? A John Edwards TV special?

Heres a question GF: if the mind doesn depend on the brain, as you assert, to exist and function properly, then what about brain damage? If I were to suffer a blow to the head or have half my brain surgically removed, then why would my thought processes suffer as a result? If my mind isnt dependent on my brain, then shouldnt I still be able to think just fine with half my brain removed?

Youre in the same spot as Manata is as far as this discussion goes, and last time I checked (2 minutes ago) Manata hasnt replied to my latest response. All youre doing here is repeatin the same things that I already responded to in the other blog. So why dont you bring something new to the table? Why dont you support your assertion?

Ana Simmons said...

Perhaps you have too much faith in your own perception and are not prepared to listen to the still small voice within. If you had suffered the experience of having your last surviving loved one pass into eternity in your arms and know that from henceforth life's path must, perforce be trodden alone, you might, like me cling to the hope that there is an afterlife.

When hope has gone what is left........

if, and when you read my blog remember that it is written by one who continues to be in communion with a spirit that, in your belief, has no longer any existence.

Perhaps I have an all too simple a faith yet in its very simplicity I find peace...............

groundfighter76 said...

Aaron said all this and quoted me a few times, “Maybe you could actually quote him instead. I have read through Paul’s posts three times but maybe I’m just missing it. I saw him deny that logic *existed* in the brain but not that when a certain activity is occurring a certain area of the brain is affected, which is totally different than what you were proposing.

Did you notice how he mysteriously dissapeared after my last comments post? Let me quote him:

Oh, extra credit: if we had a powerful enough microscope would I see this : A v B, in your brain? I mean, what does the law of excluded middle look like? I mean, what does it even mean to say that you have *THE LAW* in your brain. Since anything physical should be, in theory, able to be pictured, what does it look like.

Look at what hes saying! Hes totally misrepresenting the materialist position and I called him on it. He has yet to respond to my latest reply. Maybe hes too busy to do so.

I did see this that Paul said, “Also, why assume that if he thinks about it, and a PET scan picks up some electrical readings, that means the *law qua law* is in his brain? I've seen no argument here.” This is similar to what I’m saying above.

Now let me quote my reply to this exact statement of his:

"Its a concept, and if Franc had received the information about such a concept, and thinks about it in his mind, then necessarily, the concept itself is stored within his brain.

Paul, your argument is so silly, that I could use it to argue that your Windows Operating System is not actually on your computers hard drive. But for some reason I doubt that you would agree with me that the Operating System is indeed not stored on your hard drive.

Sorry you didnt see it. On the same vein though, Ive seen no argument from you. All ive seen is a strawman being propped up under the guise of the visible light spectrum being the only medium in which to determine somethings material existence."

Yes we do have a reason not to accept your proposition since we don’t believe that a physicalist account of the mind is adequate to explain all of the phenomena in the mind-body problem.

You dont believe. Simple as that. You are choosing to reject a materialists explanation because you "believe" that there is more to it, despite your lack of evidence to support your contention that the mind is immaterial.

Also, the contention is that while the ‘mind’ (ie soul) is encased inside the body, it would have effects on the body and vice versa. It does not necessarily follow that if the mind was no longer encased by the body that the mind would die as well - only by equating the mind with the brain in a physicalist manner (or maybe if they were dependent on each other – see below) would it follow. So all you’ve done is re-assert your position.

Let me give you an example argument on the same vein as your argument: It does not necessarily follow that if the software was no longer encased by the hard drive that the software would cease to function as well. How silly.

Im not the one proposing unsupported dimensions, like an immaterial dimension in which the thoght processes of a human consciousness can be sustained without physical matter and processes. Next I suppose you will tell me that if I destroy my hard drive, that my installed operating system will still exist in some immaterial dimension?

Thoughts have been shown to be elecro-chemical signals. They are material. Thoughts themselves are material. You are trying to claim that they arent material without any support. What Ive been showing is evidence that thoughts are material. You simply reject it for no good reason other than your desire to believe in something.

And contrary to your assertion, I HAVE supported my position. I have provided detailed examples involving people with cerebral palsy, research with PET scans into linguistic parts of the brain, etc... Why dont you respond to my cerebral palsy examples that I posted in the comments at Goose?

Being ‘linked’ or affecting each other does not entail that they are ‘dependent’ on each other and all you have done is to assert that it is so.

Incorrect. What Ive done is shown that thoughts ARE material. They are elecro-chemical signals. What do you propose they are? And what evidence do you have to support your assertion? The burden of proof is on the one who claims an extra immaterial dimension, and thats you. Ive given an adequate explanation with evidence of what thoughts are. You reject it, but why? What evidence do you have to support your view that thoughts arent material and that they can exist without the physical brain to support them? A John Edwards TV special?

Heres a question GF: if the mind doesn depend on the brain, as you assert, to exist and function properly, then what about brain damage? If I were to suffer a blow to the head or have half my brain surgically removed, then why would my thought processes suffer as a result? If my mind isnt dependent on my brain, then shouldnt I still be able to think just fine with half my brain removed?

Youre in the same spot as Manata is as far as this discussion goes, and last time I checked (2 minutes ago) Manata hasnt replied to my latest response. All youre doing here is repeatin the same things that I already responded to in the other blog. So why dont you bring something new to the table? Why dont you support your assertion?”


GF76: Aaron, no need to get so emotional and write a long, repetitive post.

But alas, let’s get back to the original intent of my first post. I guess you won’t be providing a quote from Paul that is relevant to your claim? Saying that a law doesn’t exist in the brain is different than saying that certain activities affect certain areas of the brain.

Tanooki Joe said...

"Perhaps you have too much faith in your own perception and are not prepared to listen to the still small voice within."

I don't hear it.

If we can properly explain the mind through material means, which we for the most part can, then we can dispense with the immaterial substance with Occam's Razor.

Francois Tremblay said...

My small voice within says you're full of shit.

Aaron Kinney said...

Jenepher,

I believe that you are talking to yourself. I used to think that I was talking to Jesus during prayers when I was a little kid. I used to "feel" Jesus next to me and "hear" him telling me good things. At the same age I also thought that there were monsters in darkened rooms and in my closet. But now that Ive grown up and discarded my silly superstitious beliefs, I have come to understand that what I thought was Jesus was in fact myself. I was telling myself things and imagining things to feel better, like a child with an imaginary friend.

GF76,

Heres the quote right here. I know youve already seen this before. I dont know why you keep ASKING me to repeat myself:

I mean, what does the law of excluded middle look like?

My response: "LOL the same thing that electrons or maybe brain matter looks like. What did you think?"

I mean, what does it even mean to say that you have *THE LAW* in your brain. Since anything physical should be, in theory, able to be pictured, what does it look like.

You misunderstand my response to Paul. He wants to see the actual law inside a brain. I pointed to thought patterns as the LOCATION or PHYSICAL EXISTENCE of such a law in ones brain. They are neural connections and electro-chemical signals stored in your mind. The "law of identity" exists in my brain physically in the same way that Microsoft Excel exists on the hard drive of my computer.

When I click on the Excel icon, the computer can be observed looking for the appropriate memory address on the hard drive and retrieving the software information and storing it in the RAM in order for the softwrae to be used. In the same way, a PET machine shows that, when I think about the "law," my brain retrieves this information from my nerual pathways and processes it in a similar fashion as the computer. The PET machine detects this process.

To see the physical law inside ones brain, one needs only to observe the appropriate neurons and their respective connections.

Look GF76. I can examine a hard drive plate with a microscope, but I wont be able to differentiate the elecronic 1s and 0s that are stored on the magnetic plate. That doesnt make the data immaterial. You need to scan or detect the data through a different process. Same thing with a human brain. You cant make sense of the neurons and electro-chemical signals with a microscope. You need a different detection process.

In both cases, you need a process that observes the electrical activity of the information. To see if Excel is installed on a hard disk, the computer needs to scan the drive. What you see on your screen is the information that was scanned. And with a human brain, to see if you have a memory of something, your brain needs to scan its "memory" so to speak and what you see on the PET screen is that scan.

So GF76, if you STILL want to "see" a "law" inside a brain, I will be happy to help you out further. But first you will need to show me how you can "see" the operating system that is installed on your hard drive.

You still havent presented anything to support your immaterialist position. You havent even been able to explain why you think the materialist explanation is insufficient. All you do is make empty assertions and keep asking me to support my position. Now for once, why dont you support yours?

groundfighter76 said...

Aaron said, “Heres the quote right here. I know youve already seen this before. I dont know why you keep ASKING me to repeat myself:

I mean, what does the law of excluded middle look like?

My response: "LOL the same thing that electrons or maybe brain matter looks like. What did you think?"

I mean, what does it even mean to say that you have *THE LAW* in your brain. Since anything physical should be, in theory, able to be pictured, what does it look like.

You misunderstand my response to Paul. He wants to see the actual law inside a brain. I pointed to thought patterns as the LOCATION or PHYSICAL EXISTENCE of such a law in ones brain. They are neural connections and electro-chemical signals stored in your mind. The "law of identity" exists in my brain physically in the same way that Microsoft Excel exists on the hard drive of my computer.”


I know that’s what was said. However, denying that the “thought patterns as the LOCATION or PHYSICAL EXISTENCE of such a law in ones brain” (aka denying the law qua law resides in one’s brain) does not entail the denial that certain activities affect certain areas of the brain (through firing neurons, etc.) and that is what you have yet to understand. Again you have failed. :(



Aaron said, “You still havent presented anything to support your immaterialist position.”

Presenting my position or rebutting yours was not the intent of my posting.


Aaron said, “You havent even been able to explain why you think the materialist explanation is insufficient. All you do is make empty assertions and keep asking me to support my position. Now for once, why dont you support yours?”

And again that was not the point of my original posting.

Aaron Kinney said...

Presenting my position or rebutting yours was not the intent of my posting. And again that was not the point of my original posting.

So originally the point of your post was to get me to prove that Paul denied that different parts of the brain are affected by different thought actions, which is a corrolary of whether or not concepts such as the law of identity actually exist in the brain.

I believe that I have done so. Do you agree or disagree and why?

groundfighter76 said...

Aaron said, "So originally the point of your post was to get me to prove that Paul denied that different parts of the brain are affected by different thought actions, which is a corrolary of whether or not concepts such as the law of identity actually exist in the brain.

I believe that I have done so. Do you agree or disagree and why?"

No that was not the original point of the the post - it had nothing to do with Paul per se. But you did not do so anyway. All you have just done is assert that it is correlary. I already answered whether I agreed with you and why in my previous post.

Aaron Kinney said...

Are you sure? You said this earlier:

But alas, let’s get back to the original intent of my first post. I guess you won’t be providing a quote from Paul that is relevant to your claim? Saying that a law doesn’t exist in the brain is different than saying that certain activities affect certain areas of the brain.

groundfighter76 said...

Aaron said, "Are you sure? You said this earlier:

But alas, let’s get back to the original intent of my first post. I guess you won’t be providing a quote from Paul that is relevant to your claim? Saying that a law doesn’t exist in the brain is different than saying that certain activities affect certain areas of the brain."

Well in a way I guess that particular instance could be considered 'part' of the intent. I was in a hurry and should've been more careful in responding to your last entry. Sorry for the confusion.

This is what I posted in my second post, "Hence I was wondering if you could provide a mind-body dualist who would disagree [with causal interaction]. In summation, I would say that it seems as though you have misconstrued the entire debate."

This was the point. I don't know of any dualists who don't hold to some form of causal interaction and most of your posts simply attempt to show scientific studies that point to a causal interaction and you assume that that in turn would lead to a physicalist position. As a result, I think you have somewhat misconstrued (or missed) the debate, which was the point of the post. (Just by positing scientific studies that show interaction is not going to threaten the dualist- you would need to go further.)

The Wanker said...

But why implicate an immaterial diminsion without evidence where a physical explaination will suffice?

The Wanker said...

And isn't it up to the dualists to go further? They're the ones making a claim, it isn't up to aaron to disprove their scientifically unsupported postion.

The Wanker said...

I hate to triple post, but question keep popping up in my head every few minutes. So if there was correlation between brain activity and the supposed immaterial mind, and brain damage could affect the mind in a negative way, then wouldn't death be death for the immaterial mind as well? After all, if negative affects on the material brain can also adversly affect the immaterial mind, then wouldn't death of the brain cause death of the immaterial mind as well? And why does the brain need circuitry if the mind is an immaterial thing "somewhere else"? Where is any of the evidence for believing this? If humans weren't afraid of death, would you believe in this, or would anybody have even come up with it?

groundfighter76 said...
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groundfighter76 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
groundfighter76 said...

the wanker,

you may have missed this but notice that I said, "Just by positing scientific studies that show interaction is not going to *threaten* the dualist".

If you want to critique the dualist position, which is related to the stated position of this blog, you would need to critique an 'actual' dualist position. I wasn't trying to necessarily present a position or debate as my time is somewhat limited.

I say all this because it *seems* as though Aaron is not aware of the fact that dualists believe there is interaction between the two 'substances'. Maybe he is, but I can't tell from the blog entries I've read...

Capice?

The Wanker said...

Ok, it was late (like 1:00 a.m.) and my reading comprehension wasn't at it's best, also note the numerous spelling errors.

DUB said...

I'm waiting for one of the Manataphites to accuse AK of quote mining Tom Wanchick.

Oops...that would imply they know what quote mining is.

We should form a tag team in the Extreme Christian Wrestling federation. We could be the "bad" guys. Steel cage match against Paul and Tom.

(BTW, did Paul ever respond to me?)

Aaron Kinney said...

you may have missed this but notice that I said, "Just by positing scientific studies that show interaction is not going to *threaten* the dualist".

You keep assuming that the burden of proof is on the materialist. But it isnt. In actuality, GF76, the phrase should go like this:

"Just posting empty immaterialist assertions is not going to threaten the materialist."

If you want to critique the dualist position, which is related to the stated position of this blog, you would need to critique an 'actual' dualist position. I wasn't trying to necessarily present a position or debate as my time is somewhat limited.

Actually, I was more like simply stating the materialist position. It is up to the dualist to critique the materialist position. Although I did take the liberty of refuting what Paul said at Goose. Considering that he hasnt replied, I take it he has nothing else to offer. OF course he can always claim hes too busy to respond.

I say all this because it *seems* as though Aaron is not aware of the fact that dualists believe there is interaction between the two 'substances'. Maybe he is, but I can't tell from the blog entries I've read...

Im fully aware of this fact. But Paul Manata claimed that a concept cannot physically reside in your brain, and I proved that it can. Simple as that. Never once did I mention dualism in my blog. Never once did I claim to refute the official "dualist" position. What I did claim was to respond to Manatas claims. And if you noticed, this particular blog post doesnt even deal with dualism. You brought this unrelated topic from Goose into my Kill blog. So quit making strawmen and accusing me of attacking dualism. All I did was have a conversation with Manata, and he abandoned it likely because it wasnt going too well for him.

Aaron Kinney said...

LOL DUB!

Okay so I looked something up. I highly suggest you read this.

In an attempt to demonstrate the empirical impossibility of an afterlife, the philosopher Theodore Drange has constructed the following syllogism (which he dubs the "Brain-correlations Argument"):

(1) Studies have established such a strong correlation between brain events and mental events that it would be legitimate to declare the latter empirically impossible without the former.

(2) But, in an afterlife, there necessarily occur mental events without brain events.

(3) Hence, an afterlife is empirically impossible.[2]

As Drange observes, "Scientists have determined that certain types of brain damage are always followed by a loss of mental function, which implies that total destruction of the brain results in total annihilation of the mind. And other correlations between brain and mind have been discovered, in addition to the brain-damage correlation."[3]

Another philosopher who expresses this view is Jacques P. Thiroux, who writes: "When thoughts, imaginings, or sense experiences occur, neural (physical) processes are going on in the brain- no one can deny this. In fact, it seems to be true that thoughts never occur in the absence of neural processes and, moreover, that neural brain states or processes are absolutely necessary for the occurrence of thoughts and other mental events."[4]

The Australian philosopher and materialist J.J.C. Smart cites both biological evolution and parsimony as two compelling reasons to embrace HM:

How could a nonphysical property or entity suddenly arise in the course of animal evolution? [W]hat sort of chemical process could lead to the springing into existence of something nonphysical? No enzyme can catalyze the production of a spook! Perhaps it will be said that the nonphysical comes into existence as a by-product: that whenever there is a certain complex physical structure, then, by an irreducible extraphysical law, there is also a nonphysical entity. Such laws would be quite outside normal scientific conceptions and quite inexplicable: they would be, in Herbert Feigl’s phrase, "nomological danglers." To say the very least, we can vastly simplify our cosmological outlook if we can defend a materialistic philosophy of mind.[5]

In what is perhaps his most famous book, Consciousness Explained (1991), Daniel C. Dennett, Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, argues forcefully for HM. He is harshly critical of dualism, about which he wrote this in 1994:

It continues to amaze me how attractive this position still is to many people. I would have thought a historical perspective alone would make this view seem ludicrous: over the centuries, every other phenomenon of initially "supernatural" mysteriousness has succumbed to an uncontroversial explanation within the commodious folds of physical science... The "miracles" of life itself, and of reproduction, are now analyzed into the well-known intricacies of molecular biology. Why should consciousness be any exception? Why should the brain be the only complex physical object in the universe to have an interface with another realm of being? Besides, the notorious problems with the supposed transactions at that dualistic interface are as good as a reductio ad absurdum of the view. The phenomena of consciousness are an admittedly dazzling lot, but I suspect that dualism would never be seriously considered if there weren’t such a strong undercurrent of desire to protect the mind from science, by supposing it composed of a stuff that is in principle uninvestigatable by the methods of the physical sciences.


Theres a helluva lot more in there. And its fully consistent with my position as well. Sorry GF76, but I have not misconstrued the dualist position, despite the fact that I never once even CLAIMED to be attacking the "dualist" position. You on the other hand, have made strawmen claims accusing me of minconstruing dualist positions that I never even meant to attack.

Its pretty clear now that Paul Manata isnt really a dualist. I was only attacking the Manata position LOL

groundfighter76 said...

After this post I'm finished with you for a while.

Aaron said, "And if you noticed, this particular blog post doesnt even deal with dualism. You brought this unrelated topic from Goose into my Kill blog."

AND IF YOU NOTICED This *particular* blog post may not deal with dualism HOWEVER THE COMMENT SECTION OF THIS BLOG POST DOES AS YOU REFERENCED YOUR 'SCIENTIFIC STUDIES' AND OTHER BLOG ENTRIES TO SUPPORT YOUR PHYSICALIST POSITION. That is why I commented on what I did.

Aaron said, "So quit making strawmen and accusing me of attacking dualism."

I have not made a strawman, Aaron. I have not *really* built up any kind of argument against you.

You have attacked dualism all through your blog (posting your scientific studies as if that makes it conclusive)! (or other similar positions - I don't even think Bahnsen was a dualist). So for the millioneth time, I'm not trying to debate you - I'm still studying the mind-body problem and working out a position.

Aaron said, "You keep assuming that the burden of proof is on the materialist. But it isnt."

Yes it is on the materialist(*we share* the burden) and we have had this conversation before.

Aaron said, "Never once did I mention dualism in my blog. Never once did I claim to refute the official "dualist" position."

Ummm hello? Whether you realize it or not, you were presenting your physicalist position and assuming that your scientific studies disprove dualist positions by proving yours in some kind of conclusive manner when you haven't taken other things into consideration. AND THAT WAS MY POINT - FOR YOU TO TAKE 'OTHER THINGS' INTO CONSIDERATION, NOT TO REFUTE YOU NOR TO DEBATE YOU.


Aaron said, "It is up to the dualist to critique the materialist position."

Wow that's convenient for you Aaron!

Tanooki Joe said...

I think the burden of proof is definitely on the immaterialist, as the existence of the material world is not the matter of the dispute. Rather, the existence of the immaterial is, and since the immaterialist is the positive claimant in such debate, the burden of proof should fall on them.

The Wanker said...

Aaron, please respond before I start a flame war with this fucker, I'm feeling irritable today.

The Wanker said...

*Tanooki Joe is not the "fucker" I was refering to. He just posted while I was still typing mine.

Aaron Kinney said...

After this post I'm finished with you for a while.

Yea. Dont forget to give up without one more bark.

AND IF YOU NOTICED This *particular* blog post may not deal with dualism HOWEVER THE COMMENT SECTION OF THIS BLOG POST DOES AS YOU REFERENCED YOUR 'SCIENTIFIC STUDIES' AND OTHER BLOG ENTRIES TO SUPPORT YOUR PHYSICALIST POSITION. That is why I commented on what I did.

The whole point of our discussion here has become especially blurry since

I have not made a strawman, Aaron. I have not *really* built up any kind of argument against you.

Yea. You definitely havent built up any argument. And if you havent built up strawmen, yet have no complaint, then just what are you doing here? Trolling it looks like to me. You refuse to allow me to identify your argument. You mischaracterize the materialist position. You mistake the burden of proof. And now you say you have no argument against me.

Ill tell you why you have no argument against me.

1. The materialist position explains everything about consciousness that needs to be explained.
2. The immaterialist position is superfluous.
3. The immaterialist position is without evidence.
4. The immaterialists claims are contradicted by material evidence

You have attacked dualism all through your blog (posting your scientific studies as if that makes it conclusive)! (or other similar positions - I don't even think Bahnsen was a dualist). So for the millioneth time, I'm not trying to debate you - I'm still studying the mind-body problem and working out a position.

Yes it is on the materialist(*we share* the burden) and we have had this conversation before.

Yes we did. And you didnt support your position worth a damn. That was also the same conversation where you denied falsifiability, and therefore denied the validity of any material evidence a priori. You think Im gonna take your word for it on either of those? If you want me to accept 1/2 of the burden of proof, I will only do so under the condition that I at that point argue from the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Invisible Pink Unicorn worldview. Do you wanna argue with me the existence of an Invisible Pink Unicorn or a Flying Spaghetti Monster? Lets keep our unsupported imaginary dimensions/entities to a minimum please.

Ummm hello? Whether you realize it or not, you were presenting your physicalist position and assuming that your scientific studies disprove dualist positions by proving yours in some kind of conclusive manner when you haven't taken other things into consideration.

I was complaining about you using the word "dualism" specifically and throwing it at me repeatedly. Im well aware that some of my posts argue against certain dualist worldviews.

AND THAT WAS MY POINT - FOR YOU TO TAKE 'OTHER THINGS' INTO CONSIDERATION, NOT TO REFUTE YOU NOR TO DEBATE YOU.

Quit changing the point of your posting here every other post.

Wow that's convenient for you Aaron!

Hell yea it is! Materialism rocks. You GroundFighter have to deny all these scientific principles and laws in order to support your worldview. You have to deny occams razor AND falsifiability in order to "share" (and therefore pervert) the burden of proof with the materialist worldview Materialism is the one worldview that doesnt assume superfluous, immaterial, and totally-unprovable-even-in-principle dimensions and entities. It is one degree simpler, one layer cleaner, and one level easier to account for, than all the dualist and immaterialist worldviews.

Christianity, for example, is in just as much trouble as materialism is if we discard occams razor and falsifiability. Because Christianity will be no more provable than any other theistic explanation for everything, from Islam to FSM to the Raelians to the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

groundfighter76 said...

The Wanker.. why act like that?

Because of the misrepresentations Aaron has presented, I will respond. :)

First, Let's all take a deep breath and not get so emotional (myself included!)...

"Yea. You definitely havent built up any argument."

And...


Aaron said, "And if you havent built up strawmen, yet have no complaint, then just what are you doing here?"

I've told you several times. To take everything into perspective (or rather more) so you won't be knocking down strawmen.


Aaron said, "You refuse to allow me to identify your argument."

So?


Aaron said, "You mischaracterize the materialist position."

How? What have I presented to mischaracterize it in our discussion thus far?


Aaron said, "You mistake the burden of proof."

I'm sorry but what does that sentence say under the title of your blog which is somewhat related to what we are talking about and what would be the significance of that?


Aaron said, "And now you say you have no argument against me."

Wow talk about strawmen. I didn't say I didn't have an argument against you. I said that "I have not *really* built up any kind of argument against you." That does not imply that I don't *have* an argument against you.


Aaron said, "Yes we did. And you didnt support your position worth a damn. That was also the same conversation where you denied falsifiability,"

Calm down. I argued against it being used as a *criterion* for **meaningful statements** even by using an atheist as one example of support. :) And did you reply? No you didn't.

Aaron said, "and therefore denied the validity of any material evidence a priori."

Wooaahhh! I never denied the *validity* of 'material evidence a priori'. A refusal to accept falsification in the sense you want it to be construed does not 'deny the validity of any material evidence a priori.' Talk about strawmen.


Aaron said, "You think Im gonna take your word for it on either of those?"

I never asked you to take my word for it!

Aaron said, "If you want me to accept 1/2 of the burden of proof,"

Wrong I never asked you to 'accept 1/2 of the burden of proof'.
Another strawman.


Aaron said, "I will only do so under the condition that I at that point argue from the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Invisible Pink Unicorn worldview."

Hey if that's what you want to do as your worldview already is that extraordinarily ridiculous.


Aaron said, "Do you wanna argue with me the existence of an Invisible Pink Unicorn or a Flying Spaghetti Monster? Lets keep our unsupported imaginary dimensions/entities to a minimum please."

This would be no more absurd than you arguing for your position, which amounts to an IPU assertion.


Aaron said, "Quit changing the point of your posting here every other post."

Aaron, think about this for a minute. I posted to show that you may have 'misconstrued' or 'missed' the debate. In other words, you were not taking 'other things' into consideration.


Aaron said, "You GroundFighter have to deny all these scientific principles and laws in order to support your worldview."

Huh? Another strawman and assertion.


Aaron said, "You have to deny occams razor AND falsifiability in order to "share" (and therefore pervert) the burden of proof with the materialist worldview"

I don't necessarily 'deny' either of them (I'll let you try to figure out why I say that about falsifiability- it's *in another sense* that I don't deny it). Another strawman anyway.

By the way, even if one accepted Occam's Razor, all I'd have to do to throw it out as any 'proof' is to contra'assert' that your view is insufficient with providing just one example and claim that because of this my view holds to Occam's Razor. After that the debate would continue between the two different positions without Mr. Occam's Razor.

Francois Tremblay said...

Gee groundfighter, write us a fucking book !

Aaron Kinney said...

How? What have I presented to mischaracterize it in our discussion thus far?

You mischaracterized it because you said you agree with Paul Manata and he mischaracterized it in that he thinks we can visibly see "laws" inside a brain with a microscope and that we should be able to see everything thats visible, among other things.

I'm sorry but what does that sentence say under the title of your blog which is somewhat related to what we are talking about and what would be the significance of that?

It says: "The concept of an afterlife is inhumane and immoral. Belief in the continuation of your "soul" or consciousness after death is wishful thinking. Belief in an afterlife devalues the one life that actually exists: this one."

Calm down.

From the looks of your first sentence in your last reply, Im not the one that needs to be told to calm down ;)

I argued against it being used as a *criterion* for **meaningful statements** even by using an atheist as one example of support. :) And did you reply? No you didn't.

No you said that falsifiability was useless because it doesnt tell us which things to discard. which is false anyway. I specifically remember it and you know you said it.

Wooaahhh! I never denied the *validity* of 'material evidence a priori'. A refusal to accept falsification in the sense you want it to be construed does not 'deny the validity of any material evidence a priori.' Talk about strawmen.

Okay so you only accept falsification *some* of the time? Like when it suits your purpose? Will you accept falsification in the topic of whether or not consciousnesses can survive a bodily death and pass into some extra dimension of immaterialism?

I dont understand how you can accept falsification on any terms when it comes to the afterlife . After all, you are a Christian who believes in the afterlife and you subscribe to immaterialism that could not be falsified even in principle. Maybe you can clear this up for me and explain in what ways you DO accept falsification when it comes to challenging one of the central tenets of your faith: that human consciousnesses exist after their bodies expire in an undetectable realm?

I never asked you to take my word for it!

Then stop implying that I agreed to your claim of a shared burden of proof just because we touched on the topic before.

Wrong I never asked you to 'accept 1/2 of the burden of proof'.
Another strawman.


Did you forget what you just said? Let me quote you: "Yes it is on the materialist(*we share* the burden) and we have had this conversation before."

So now youve confused me even more. So if *we share* the burden but its not 50-50, then what is it? 99-1? 1-99? 66-33?

Hey if that's what you want to do as your worldview already is that extraordinarily ridiculous.

LOL lets not get into which worldview makes more "miraculous" and therefore "extraordinary" claims!

This would be no more absurd than you arguing for your position, which amounts to an IPU assertion.

Whoops! You seem to forget which of our worldviews makes claims of immaterial supernatural creator entities. ;)

Aaron, think about this for a minute. I posted to show that you may have 'misconstrued' or 'missed' the debate. In other words, you were not taking 'other things' into consideration.

At least now youre being more consistent with your claimed purpose of posting in here.

I don't necessarily 'deny' either of them (I'll let you try to figure out why I say that about falsifiability- it's *in another sense* that I don't deny it). Another strawman anyway.

Then would you care to explain to me how attempting to "share" the burden of proof (give an equal starting point) between one worldview that makes claims of extra immaterial undetectable unevidenced beings and dimensions, and one worldview that does not, doesnt come into conflict with occams razor?

By the way, even if one accepted Occam's Razor, all I'd have to do to throw it out as any 'proof' is to contra'assert' that your view is insufficient with providing just one example and claim that because of this my view holds to Occam's Razor.

I read this sentence a few times and I cant quite understand what youre trying to say of how you would throw out occams razor. Can you rephrase it for me?

Or maybe we can get back to the reason you posted. So you claim Im misconstruing and misrepresenting the dualists position. I did recently post quotes and a link to an article that goes along pretty well with my position, but you were silent on it. Care to tell me how Im misrepresenting dualism without using a quote from Paul Manata?

The Wanker said...

" The Wanker.. why act like that?"

because I have poor social skills and a bad case of the flu.

The Wanker said...

That and it's somewhat frustrating to read your comments and 1) figure out what your point is, and 2) seeing just how god damn far people can twist logic and arguments and realizing that nothing we say on here will change your mind or your way of thinking (though I'm sure you'll claim the same of us, but the truth is, if you provided us with some evidence and a decent, logical argument, we would be more than happy to change our position, I mean, shit, who doesn't like the idea that you could go on existing after death). It just seems like a lot of work that bears no fruit.

I have a plan, rather than us being your adversary, look at us as people who would like to believe but want to know that it's the truth before we go diving headfirst into such outrageous claims. Prove it to me. Show me some evidence that suggests that when I "die", I won't really die. And don't expect me to believe the first flimsy piece of evidence or philosophy you provide me with, because I want to know that it's the truth, much like if my neighbor knocked on my door and told me that he had just heard that I won the lottery, I would want some proof that I have the 10 million before I went and started shopping for mansions and private jets.

Ugg... that drained the last of my energy, headache returning and no doubt the voices in my head as well. Fuggin' flu.

Anonymous said...

What do you call someone who apologizes for an apologist?
Sorry.

John said...

Hey, This is a little off topic, but I notice that some of these comments delve into min/body dualism. Check out my blog posts "Mind: Natural or Supernatural" and "I don't make empty threats" for my rundown of an argument by John DePoe called "An Argument Why the Mind Is Not a Physical Mechanism." If nothing else read the argument. It really isn't very good, but it takes some thought to realize why.