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Ninth Doctor

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  1. What are you talking about? Jacob86 hasn't said anything about "energy" or "god particles". His view is that there must be a disembodied, non-physical consciousness possessing volition, which acted on matter somehow (thus far, no how), which explains how motion began in the universe. There are highly distinguished astrophysicists who beg to differ, if he chooses to explore the subject. I've written the only other reply to his post, you interpreted it as a concession?
  2. I suggest you give this a try: http://www.atlassociety.org/logical-structure-objectivism Chapter 1 covers about everything that should come up in a god(s) debate. I try to be sparing in my use of the term “arbitrary”, so far I’ve only used it here: Jacob86: You heavily imply that my inability to produce an empirical example of this phenomena [disembodied consciousness affecting matter no how] makes it automatically false. The Doctor: I was thinking arbitrary, not false. “Not even wrong” is another way of putting it. Arbitrary is a real conversation stopper among Objectivists. You’ll find it defined, with a few examples, in Leonard Peikoff’s OPAR, but I’m one of those Rand fans who avoids recommending that book. Not according to Wikipedia. It reads like an honor roll. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_argument If that’s all there is to your claim, it has been answered scientifically. We know how the universe developed, when matter formed, and how and why its motion began. As Laplace might have said, regarding volition in this context, we have no need of that hypothesis. Now, if you were to ask what made the big bang happen, you’ll actually be identifying a real frontier of science question, and Krauss (also Hawking, etc.) provides an answer. Is he right? I really don’t know. But philosophically, I don’t need to know in order to dismiss your answer for being unsupported by evidence. Do I need to repeat myself about what kind of evidence would suffice to raise the bar? To at least make it debatable? Earlier, I cast a really wide net, or one might say that I gave you lots of rope to hang yourself with. There’s something I wrote on another thread that belongs here, mutatis mutandis for this motion/volition business: First, he assumes the “existence of the physical cosmos” needs explaining, and that this is the job of philosophy. Does this mean that a caveman, or a bronze age city-state dweller, had to accept theistic explanations for existence, lacking, as he was, any kind of alternate, scientific narrative? Or could/should he be what Michael Shermer amusingly calls a militant agnostic: I don’t know, and neither do you! And is it so different today? We have explanations of a kind, but they’re incomplete. They may always be incomplete. That doesn’t give anyone license to just make shit up.
  3. So, no Socratic method for you then. You ignore virtually everything I write. You say God of the Gaps is BS, I reply, you ignore. Name the standard I violated. Now, until someone produces a philosophical treatise geared to your every utterance (“Just basic” my ass), you will not “concede”. I’m not particularly invested in getting you to concede, if you were my child I suppose I’d still be motivated, but you’re just some Jacob out there on the internet. You realize that authors such as Ayn Rand, David Kelley, Nathaniel Branden etc. each labored for years, working full time, to produce books and essays with carefully worded formulations geared to meet the highest standards of clarity? Am I to produce my own just for you, gratis and on the fly, or can I quote, and refer you elsewhere for further reading? Again, do you have an objection to Ayn Rand’s definition of Reason? Have you taken the time to watch Lawrence Krauss’s lecture on the latest scientific theory and data? Here it is again: Anyway, I’m afraid I don’t recall what your original assertion was, can you restate it, and be sure to do so according to the standards you would hold Objectivists to? Or a link, if you feel you’ve already done this. You were offering a version of the first cause cosmological argument, with something about motion and volition mixed in there, so maybe you should take the time to read this very brief piece by Nathaniel Branden, so you’ll be ready for the objections people will surely raise here, this being an Objectivist discussion forum.
  4. Still crapping out. I type out a brilliant post, full of path-breaking new logical integrations, and then poof! It's gone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzqLHiCNr0Q I wonder if it's a Florida thing. The only other complainer also lists this as her location.
  5. Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses. Ayn Rand http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/reason.html In my zeal to supply editorial cartoons to go alongside the Wittgenstein, I missed this part earlier.
  6. Epistemological premises? I provided Ayn Rand’s definition of Reason, and contrasted it with yours. Here it is again: Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses. You defined Reason as “the general processes of logic”, to which I asked: what gets processed? Do you see why I juxtaposed the two definitions? I say you’re “making stuff up” when you claim there’s a disembodied consciousness (or volition) that affects matter, without providing any means of detecting it, an observable example of it, or even a mechanism by which it worked. Does this jibe with Rand’s definition of Reason? Do you have a better definition you’d like to put forward? I call the cosmological argument a species of God of the Gaps because it claims a necessary being in the face of what’s thought to be an unanswered scientific question, generally that question reduces to: why is there something rather than nothing? In your case you claim motion requires volition, then, tentatively it seemed, claimed that God created matter too. So I’m not entirely sure what you believe. Maybe you should give an example of what format you mean. Syllogisms? Shall I imitate the style of Wittgenstein's Tractatus? 1 The world is all that is the case. 1.1 The world is the totality of facts, not of things. 1.11 The world is determined by the facts, and by their being all the facts. 1.12 For the totality of facts determines what is the case, and also whatever is not the case. 1.13 The facts in logical space are the world.
  7. “Don’t burn your bridges” is one of those truisms freelance consultants always have to consider. Even with the details you’ve given, I don’t feel I can weigh your decision for you. I gather you weren't screwed out of enough money to sue over. I’ve dealt with people who, in a sense, make their living from assigning blame. Most often they're deflecting blame. They’re not productive people, but they can sell, and particularly sell themselves. Cross them, and you’ll be bad-mouthed with vigor. I do try to avoid them, but I find that they’re ubiquitous. So document your communications, and CYA. Hope this helps.
  8. You've run out of syrup of ipecac? You find you urgently need an emetic? Zap to about 12 minutes in on the first one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulO8rl7z5xQhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aouje-qAlcY
  9. Oops, I just realized this last part was a bit ambiguous. It's meant to indicate that I think more highly of Jerry Springer than of Nancy Grace. The Wrath may have read it as a retort to his calling her a disgrace.
  10. It had good plot elements too. Plus it took quite a while for the story to unfold. I just think the cuteness was the clincher. She's crying all the way to the bank. I don't think she created her market niche, she just services and milks it very well. At least Jerry Springer doesn't act holier than thou.
  11. I think the difference was the cute pictures of the dead girl. They were able to tug at the heartstrings and keep people interested.
  12. It's a good list, not that I'm checking it for completeness, but it looks quite thorough. However, having a periodic tendency to bursts of contrariness, I'd like to ask where you'd rather have been living for the last 235 years? I can't help thinking of a certain Monty Python bit:
  13. The site's been crapping out like crazy.
  14. You define Reason as “the general processes of logic”? What gets processed? Here’s Ayn Rand’s definition: Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses. No. I’m using the Socratic method. This is a discussion forum, after all. How do we establish “He exists” when we don’t know anything about the key attribute that would allow us to demonstrate it? You’re claiming a disembodied consciousness, or “volition” can affect matter, so how, where, and when? Otherwise, what explanatory power does your God have? No one can disprove that there’s such an entity or force, but it’s just like Sagan’s dragon in the garage, breathing heatless fire. Ultimately there’s no difference between an undetectable dragon and no dragon at all. I say that you’re using the old notion of a necessary being, which ultimately amounts to a God of the Gaps*, to claim license to just make stuff up. And you seem to have no knowledge of physics, particularly modern astrophysics, which one really should study before making the cosmological argument, don’t you think? To find out if there really is a gap, and if so, where it is? Stephen Hawking’s latest, The Grand Design, repeatedly rejects the notion of a necessary being. Lawrence Krauss is basically on the same page, and you can get the essence of the data and reasoning in an hour, I embedded his talk earlier. They differ in that Krauss derides string theory for its lack of testable predictions and falsifiability; while Hawking acknowledges this weakness, he still uses it as a springboard for various speculations that aren’t relevant here. I should mention that neither of them make Objectivism-specific arguments, Objectivism would be consistent with the steady-state model, if that were where the data led. * Example: The six primary Planets are revolv’d about the Sun, in circles concentric with the Sun, and with motions directed towards the same parts and almost in the same plane. Ten moons are revolv’d about the Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn, in circles concentric with them, with the same direction of motion, and nearly in the planes of the orbits of those planets. But it is not to be conceived that mere mechanical causes could give birth to so many regular motions…This most beautiful system of the Sun, Planets, and Comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being. Isaac Newton, Principia Mathematica, Book III, General Scholium Newton couldn’t conceive of how an orderly solar system could form, so it had to be the work of God. Classic God of the Gaps reasoning. Why don’t theists use this particular argument anymore? Why don’t they cite Newton in their favor? Easy, because 300 years later we know how solar systems form. Undaunted, theists move on to the latest frontier of science issues, and find God there. Except the really lame-brained ones, who don’t bother learning why tides come in and out before running their mouths.
  15. Never mind ATM's, the real villain is a certain unlicensed nuclear fusion reactor, working in cahoots with perfidious Albion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=768h3Tz4Qik Plus, it contributes to Global Warming. It must be stopped!
  16. Would you agree with the statement: one can't prove reason by means of reason?
  17. Fire away, assume I’m an empiricist. Objectivism rejects the dichotomy between rationalism and empiricism, but never mind that, I’m curious to read your answer.
  18. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Swinburne I misspelled it. I gather he's up there with William Lane Craig in the modern day theist's esteem. I was thinking arbitrary, not false. “Not even wrong” is another way of putting it. I wrote "Does your belief in such entities arise out of observation, do you have evidence?" That covers it pretty well. Not good enough? Never mind true, make it falsifiable. Then you'll have to give me something to work with. Otherwise it's just like the dragon in your garage. BTW, are you a physicist?
  19. So you don’t claim that a disembodied consciousness created matter, only that it set it in motion? Then how did the matter get there? I ask for the mechanism in order to put you in an impossible position. I'm impressed that you're not totally evading the question, yet. By all means tell us what the latest and best theistic answer is. A reference would be nice, there’s someone on this site who keeps referencing Swineburne. I love that name, it makes me think of crispy bacon. Anyway, this is invariably where what Objectivists call a “blank-out” occurs. Can you give an example of consciousness creating (or even modifying) existence? A disembodied consciousness, not associated with a physical, living brain in a body with, say, arms and legs. Does your belief in such entities arise out of observation, do you have evidence? I gather that you believe consciousness exists independent of matter. How to prove it? Or even to make it sensible conceptually, something better than Sagan’s “invisible dragon in my garage”. Or do you believe God is the totality of all matter, like in Spinoza? I see that as another reading of your definition of God.
  20. Sorry, but was Sagan refuted? Could I have a link, please? I thought I'd read the whole thread. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOYrlqF-IW0
  21. Volitional? As in, God's will? By what mechanism did God express his will? And could I have a definition of God, while you're at it? Did you watch the Lawrence Krauss talk I embedded earlier? I realize it's long (1 hour), but I assure you, you won't be bored. http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21289&view=findpost&p=277348
  22. I just double checked this, and I was right. Here's a link: http://arc-tv.com/the-moratorium-on-brains/ Zap to about 30 seconds in.
  23. To show that Rand’s statement wasn’t an arbitrary assertion will require grounding the Objectivist ethics, however summarily. It calls for a separate thread, this is a god(s) thread. I have things to say about it, but I won’t do it here, netiquette forbids.
  24. Part 2, Chapter 6. In one of her talks, I think it was The Moratorium on Brains from the early 70's, she read the line as part of the talk, I think it was how she opened the talk. The one on price controls. BTW, it's Mouch talking, here's the whole thing: "The picture now is this," said Wesley Mouch. "The economic condition of the country was better the year before last than it was last year, and last year it was better than it is at present. It's obvious that we would not be able to survive another year of the same progression. Therefore, our sole objective must now be to hold the line. To stand still in order to catch our stride. To achieve total stability. Freedom has been given a chance and has failed. Therefore, more stringent controls are necessary. Since men are unable and unwilling to solve their problems voluntarily, they must be forced to do it." He paused, picked up the sheet of paper, then added in a less formal tone of voice, "Hell, what it comes down to is that we can manage to exist as and where we are, but we can't afford to move! So we've got to stand still. We've got to stand still. We've got to make those bastards stand still!"
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