What is it?

Furion

Well-known member
Well, if you ever find an example, feel free to share it. Note that what I am saying is not poetry but pure fact. Mere matter in motion can produce truly amazing things, just as mere paint on canvas can produce amazing art.


What I am saying does not go against anyone's knowledge.


It sounds like you are unable to appreciate beauty in a purely natural universe. If so, then that is incredibly sad.


Are you unwilling to concede that we have found precisely that?
I don't think you recognize you appeal to emotion
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
Sounds like an intelligent design.
C. S. Lewis is somewhat pertinent here:

“If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents—the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts—i.e. of materialism and astronomy—are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milkjug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.”
 

Algor

Active member
I am chagrined over someone who allegedly claims science as the governing authority in life, and must wax poetic about atoms in motion. Your post is just a reminder not an example.

What I have learned is some know it is simply atoms in motion, yet they must find meaning, even if it goes against their knowledge.

I am waiting for the hard appeal to:

"the wonders of the universe, how utterly amazing and orgasmic they are!"

Yes, I have read atheists here preaching similar.

I begin to consider some like that as being in full delusion. Unwilling to concede they search for significance among a pile of atoms.
It's more like people find meaning in piles of atoms regardless. It isn't something one can help.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
I don't think you recognize you appeal to emotion
Nearly. It's an appeal to value, which is always subjective. But the point is that there are a great many things we both value that do not require anything more than matter in motion. If you are unable to value things without adding a layer of supernatural mythology, then that is your failing, not ours.
 

Furion

Well-known member
I know it's a standard claim among theists that, sure, if God doesn't exist you can still have these mere subjective purposes, but only if God does exist can you have objective purposes (which can range from "my purpose is to do what God requires of me" to "my purpose is to do what God requires of me"); and that for some reason the atheist should be envious of the theist, for having (or at least imagining) this superior kind of purpose. But I don't really see why I should feel that way.


If you're asking, "how can there be such things as thoughts in an entirely material universe?", there would have to be some convincing demonstration that thoughts really could be reduced to the activities of matter and energy, the way there's been a convincing demonstration that reproduction and the inheritance of traits can be reduced to the activities of matter and energy (DNA and all that). Or else there would have to be a convincing argument that thoughts really are material things, albeit an odd sort of material thing. I don't think there ever will be such a demonstration or such an argument, so I suppose I'm not a philosophical materialist in the standard sense.


I don't follow. If you know how prime numbers are defined, for example, you have sufficient knowledge to claim that there are no even prime numbers larger than 2. This is true whether you're a materialist, idealist, dualist, Christian, Buddhist or atheist.
When you stop juxtaposing your beliefs against some christian belief no one has claimed, we can proceed.

I have no reason to appeal to God with you. Do you understand that?

Read the OP again, explain your reasons why I should believe 'matter in motion' is anything more than matter in motion.

I've gotten some emotional appeals anyway...
 

Algor

Active member
I take it you are very forgiving when it comes to human delusions, as long as God is not involved.

Not sure what you mean. I personally don't care much what people carry inside their heads so long as they leave others in peace. That includes a deity or even any number of them.
 

Furion

Well-known member
I suppose I'm a hardened atheist by local standards, so I'll give it a go.
It takes effort to separate your thoughts from responses to other's thoughts.

For example, when I ask an atheist what is life, more often than not the answer will include "well you believe God blah blah blah, but I believe blah blah blah"

In other words, they've not made their case, even to themselves. They pick the greater of two thoughts in their mind. That is not science, that is a confused mind. Well, confused unless they acknowledge the shortfall. Few do or are even aware of what they do.
Mystery is over-rated, although for any careful thinker there is no shortage of it even for an atheist. But to me, wonder is where it is at. It is a trite observation that, if you crack a nut, you see something no-one has ever seen before, but at the heart of that observation is a sense that the world is ever new and ever fresh, and it's constant rebirth is a reason to love it and the people in it. And no, not worship the world, but to find perennial meaning in it.

(shrug) That's where I live. It doesn't make a lot of rational sense, but I don't demand that anyone draw meaning from pure reason.

WRT morality, I think our fundamental moral alignments are intrinsic to us (as your St. Paul says, though with a different metaphysic) they are written on our hearts. How that happened, I do not know, except that, given consciousness (which I do not understand, and frankly do not think I ever will understand), I do not see why they could not have been shaped, like our intelligence, by evolution. Maybe it was some other way, I don't know (oh look, another mystery.....). In any event, there is no shortage of profound mystery, but mystery is secondary.
Very good, you acknowledge the issue rather than stand upon Mount Science, declaring what everyone should believe.
 

Algor

Active member
C. S. Lewis is somewhat pertinent here:
I like C.S. Lewis, but he has bundled two arguments together here.

1. "But if their thoughts—i.e. of materialism and astronomy—are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents."

There's no reason to believe them as authorities because of any social status, that's for sure. But the question is how well do their explanations allow people to predict and manipulate the material world? If their ideas allow them to do that, then maybe they are on to something.


2." It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milkjug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.”

It is true that the shape of the splash will not give a complete picture of why the jug was made, but it may tell you something about the shape and size of the jug, and the force and direction of what upset it. Shape and size will tell you a surprising amount of information about the function of the jug, etc. etc. etc. This is what forensic analysis and cultural anthropology attempts. So while I agree one shouldn't expect complete, ultimate answers to questions, one can draw some reasonable conclusions. Maybe I am content with a lower bar for explanatory capacity, but it is also one set with an eye to practicality.

PS: one of my prize possessons is the original pen and ink of a Pauline Baynes illustration out of The Last Battle. I've read Screwtape and the Perelandra series aswell. Enjoyed them.
 

Komodo

Active member
When you stop juxtaposing your beliefs against some christian belief no one has claimed, we can proceed.

I have no reason to appeal to God with you. Do you understand that?

Read the OP again, explain your reasons why I should believe 'matter in motion' is anything more than matter in motion.
As long as we're issuing instructions to one another on what steps must be taken before we can proceed further, I'll instruct you to first wipe off all that snot. Done? OK then.

1) You dismissed what I said about purposes as merely reflecting 'subjective' purpose. If you are not claiming to possess some superior, objective kind of purpose, particularly one based on the existence of God (your challenge was specifically to atheists, after all), then this dismissiveness is pretty obviously misplaced.

2) I didn't claim that the universe consisted of nothing but "matter in motion"; in fact I do not see thoughts and feelings as types of matter. You can confirm this by reading my post again, particularly the passage beginning "If you're asking..." and concluding "I suppose I'm not a philosophical materialist in the standard sense."
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
Shape and size will tell you a surprising amount of information about the function of the jug, etc. etc. etc.

WHAT? If I came across a splash of milk on concrete, the shape and size of the splash would not only tell me nothing about the function of the container, it wouldn't even tell me if there WAS a container, much less that it was a jug.
 

Furion

Well-known member
You don't know that. You say it, but you don't know it. Why must that be so?
I don't know, you don't know it, no one knows it.

So when you proffer it, I already know you don't know it.

It's not as if this or that can or cannot be true. With lack of knowledge should come lot of "I don't knows"

Because consciousness can't arise from materials? Why is *that* so? Because consciousness is a different type of thing than materials? But wetness is a different type of thing than what oxygen and hydrogen are when they are not combined into water.

Different types of things emerge when constituent parts are arranged in certain ways and we look at what results from the arrangement, not just the materials themselves. We see it with hydrogen and oxygen and water, so why can't consciousness, as a different type of thing than brain cells, emerge?

You keep asking me "why can't."

When in fact you need to answer why.

What is it about a plant that is not completely able to be described and analyzed in purely material terms? Remember, plants are just as much alive as animals are.

No, because we already know that different things emerge from the arrangement of constituent parts.

You will be able to always say that if you just ignore what I'm saying.

See above.

You really cannot posit much I don't already know on the subject. And here is the kicker, I don't need to answer it.

If you were a believer and told me Isaiah and Elijah were a tag team in ancient wrestling, I would likely be compelled to respond in some way.

If you, an atheist, demand I answer how life has arrived, then I am not compelled in the least to answer you in your own understanding.

We exist in different belief paradigms.

If you want me to remove my Christian hat and put on my scientific hat, then I can skepticize with the best of em, and drag everything you say into the mud. That is what I see many atheists do here with Christians.
 

Furion

Well-known member
Nearly. It's an appeal to value, which is always subjective. But the point is that there are a great many things we both value that do not require anything more than matter in motion. If you are unable to value things without adding a layer of supernatural mythology, then that is your failing, not ours.
Actually, its worse.

Now you attempt to box me into being insane or being like you.

You really need to understand how you post.
 

Furion

Well-known member
Not sure what you mean. I personally don't care much what people carry inside their heads so long as they leave others in peace. That includes a deity or even any number of them.
When an atheist says "I'm gonna do some soul searching", no one blinks an eye.

When a Christian tells an atheist they should do some soul searching, they are met with fourteen reasons the soul doesn't exist, studies showing when people die their weight doesn't change, and any number of inane comments.
 

Furion

Well-known member
WHAT? If I came across a splash of milk on concrete, the shape and size of the splash would not only tell me nothing about the function of the container, it wouldn't even tell me if there WAS a container, much less that it was a jug.
Sometimes I think people think they really can be like Sherlock Holmes, telling me what my mother ate for breakfast last week because my eye twitched....in just the right way.
 

Furion

Well-known member
As long as we're issuing instructions to one another on what steps must be taken before we can proceed further, I'll instruct you to first wipe off all that snot. Done? OK then.
We will not proceed further.
1) You dismissed what I said about purposes as merely reflecting 'subjective' purpose. If you are not claiming to possess some superior, objective kind of purpose, particularly one based on the existence of God (your challenge was specifically to atheists, after all), then this dismissiveness is pretty obviously misplaced.

2) I didn't claim that the universe consisted of nothing but "matter in motion"; in fact I do not see thoughts and feelings as types of matter. You can confirm this by reading my post again, particularly the passage beginning "If you're asking..." and concluding "I suppose I'm not a philosophical materialist in the standard sense."
You are not getting it. I claimed nothing other than for you to explain your belief, and certainly not juxtapositioning your belief against what you think I believe.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
What you're missing is the concept of emergent properties. Neither oxygen nor hydrogen are wet (at room temperature) but configured correctly they are water which is wet but which is nothing but hydrogen and oxygen. Wetness is en emergent property, something which does not exist at certain level of analysis, but which does exist at another. So meaning and purpose doesn't exist at one level of the materials that make up the universe, but can emerge when those materials are configured in a certain way.
I do not think this is quite right, and Furoin's objection has some validity. There is a real chemical change when oxygen and hydrogen react together to form water; there is nothing emergent about the process.

Emergence is what happens on a large scale as you say, but it is going from a single molecule of water. One molecule is not wet, or even liquid. These are concepts that just do not apply at the molecular level. However, when you have 10^22 of them, then these new properties do emerge.
 

Algor

Active member
WHAT? If I came across a splash of milk on concrete, the shape and size of the splash would not only tell me nothing about the function of the container, it wouldn't even tell me if there WAS a container, much less that it was a jug.
It might not, but it might. Tip over a milk jug, then pick it up and move away. You may see things like an outline of the milk jug. Depending on the volume of milk spilled and the substrate that it spilled on , you might then have a very good idea ofthe height and shape of the milk jug. If you know the substrate and the volume of milk, you can also estimate the height from which a plain old splash is dropped. This sort of stuff is best worked out with blood splash, but the principles work with any fluid.
 

Algor

Active member
Sometimes I think people think they really can be like Sherlock Holmes, telling me what my mother ate for breakfast last week because my eye twitched....in just the right way.
It is fairly important to keep things in perspective: one can only get some crude data, but given the right setting, and a bit of luck, you can make some reasonable conclusions.
 
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