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  #41  
Old 23rd February 2012, 10:43 PM
Sir Patrick Crocodile Sir Patrick Crocodile is offline
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Default Re: Please present a compelling explanation why naturalism is true

LP: he was confined to FI within the first post actually. I saw the whole thing.

As for the forums not deserving the light... well that nonexistent invisible infrared light of Christ is quite annoying and hinders the forum's stealth capabilities somewhat so I suppose he has a point there.

Last edited by Sir Patrick Crocodile; 23rd February 2012 at 10:44 PM.
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  #42  
Old 24th February 2012, 12:46 AM
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Default Re: Please present a compelling explanation why naturalism is true

Normally, we can learn from experiences with religious posters that come on here and challenge us or try to convert us or... I dunno.. "Piss in our water supply"... I dunno what they are trying to do 99% of the time....

This is a wasted space of pixels. Disappointing, wasteful and pointless.
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  #43  
Old 24th February 2012, 10:34 AM
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Default Re: Please present a compelling explanation why naturalism is true

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Originally Posted by jireh View Post
Please present a compelling explanation why naturalism is true

how can we explain our existence through naturalism ? how can natural events account for

- the existence of the universe
- its fine-tuning
- the existence of life
- the existence of consciousness, intelligence, hability of speech
- morality
It's a little disappointing nobody made a serious effort to answer these questions, since I think they are really good ones, and although nobody may have an onus on answering them, and an inability to give specific proven answers doesn't prove that God exists or is the best explanation, many people do try to answer them.

I've been slogging my way through "A Metaphysics For Scientific Realism" by Anjan Chakravartty for a while now, which is a tough read, especially for somebody like me who is not well versed in the competing philosophies that book discusses, but I think provides a very good framework for answering these kinds of questions, so I recommend interested people read that book.

I'll do my best to answer the questions;

1. the existence of the universe
I think the best place to look for answers to this question is Lawrence Krauss' new book "A Universe from Nothing" There is also a good youtube talk which provides the basis for that book here;



Basically "nothing" contains energy, and is unstable. Given essentially infinite time prior to the big bang (I'm being loose on the definition of "time") the quantum fluctuations led to the unlikely event that was the big bang, and the creation of space, time and matter. I can't stress enough how much of a simplistic explanation I've given here, and suggest you read that book or watch that youtube video.

2. its fine-tuning
Richard Dawkins at the 2010 GAC gave a talk on this very issue, so he is at least one person who thinks this is a meaningful question. There are a number of ways of explaining this, and contrary to popular belief, the "many universes" theory was not constructed in response to this idea.
I think this is basically a confirmation bias, sometimes called the "anthropomorphic principle."

Basically we don't know that any of the so called "fine tuned" constants in physics could be different to what they are, and we don't know how one being different would change what the other constants are. At this stage we don't know the relationship between them. Most importantly, because we don't know the relationship between the physical constants, we don't know how different the universe would be if those constants were different. We evolved to be best adapted to the conditions we find ourselves in, so if the conditions were different, we would have evolved differently. We don't know what the possibilities for different types of life under different physical constants are. So we don't actually know how fine tuned the universe is. Obviously we have to exist in a universe fit for life, because if it wasn't fit for life we wouldn't exist, and couldn't contemplate it.

3. the existence of life
I think this question has been broadly answered by science. We don't know the specifics, mainly because it happened a few billion years ago. Basically there was a slow build up of various organic molecules (amino acids etc.), which we know can form naturally without life present, these molecules interacted and over time the reactions became more and more complex until you ended up with what we'd call life (but it was obviously a slow increase in complexity over millions of years, rather than a sudden event). More specific explanations of how this happened can be found in many books. I would really recommend "Life by Richard Fortey, but there are plenty of other good books that discuss it.

4. the existence of consciousness, intelligence, hability of speech
Consciousness is a massive question. Daniel Dennett has written an amazing book on the topic called "Consciousness Explained", and I also really enjoyed Susan Blackmore's book "Conversations on Consciousness".

Basically the explanation I accept is that consciousness slowly emerged as brains became more complex as a way of juggling many different competing processes. I think an ok analogy is that consciousness is like the computer monitor, while the actual computing is happening hidden away from sight. Again, this is an embarrassingly simplified explanation for a complex question.

Intelligence obviously has a massive evolutionary advantage, that is greater than the energy cost needed for it. It's easy to see how intelligence could evolve through natural selection, where more intelligent members of a species would out perform less intelligent members. The high energy cost obviously meant that animals had to first evolve pre-adaptations for intelligence, especially relating to the ability to maintain high metabolisms. That's why the most intelligent animals are warm blooded, with the exception of cephalopods, which have also evolved closed vascular systems and have very fast metabolisms compared with other molluscs.

I don't know much about the question of speech. It's easy to think of how it may have come to be though - natural selection is based on the ability to successfully reproduce, rather than just "fitness" and obviously being able to communicate better increases your chances of convincing a female to mate with you, as well as your ability to work together. The question becomes a little more complex because being as social as we are, which presumably led to our ability to speak, probably developed due to having more free time (as we see in the two subspecies of palm cockatoo). We must have already been evolving traits that allowed us to gather food more easily, and so presumably a range of factors and feedbacks were involved.

5. morality
Although it's very misunderstood (and often commented on by people who haven't read it), I think an excellent book on this topic is "The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris. Morality evolved because it makes societies run better, and because being more social gives both survival and reproductive advantages. Again, natural selection can essentially explain this. What's interesting is that in a moral society, there is still a niche for "cheats" who don't follow the moral laws, and in our society we do find a small percentage of "cheats", which is predicted by evolutionary theory and game theory.

I hope this has helped answer the questions. They are big, complex and difficult, and I think a great deal of reading is required to get a good grasp of any of them.
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  #44  
Old 24th February 2012, 11:08 AM
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Default Re: Please present a compelling explanation why naturalism is true

I don't think our interlocuter was looking for answers. At least, not alternative answers to the ones he already had.
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  #45  
Old 24th February 2012, 11:12 AM
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Default Re: Please present a compelling explanation why naturalism is true

@owheelj

Still a very well worded response kudos for the answers.
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  #46  
Old 24th February 2012, 12:06 PM
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Default Re: Please present a compelling explanation why naturalism is true

I'd like to begin by saying .
If you waste all your time on made up bullshit you have no time for reality!
I can't fucking stand it when people use either naturalism or physicalism for that matter in a pejorative sense, like there's something else! It makes me want to say FUCK YOU! Instead I will say this............
Quote:
Basically "nothing" contains energy, and is unstable. Given essentially infinite time prior to the big bang (I'm being loose on the definition of "time") the quantum fluctuations led to the unlikely event that was the big bang, and the creation of space, time and matter.
We know this due to Werner Heisenberg and what I consider the greatest scientific discovery of mankind, The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Many people recognise it in relation to position and velocity, that is if we accurately know the position of any given particle we can never accurately know it's velocity and vice versa. It also applies, however, to time and energy. At the smallest scales of the universe, the sub microscopic or Planck level (a Planck length unit is 1.616199(97)10−35 meters and Planck time unit is 5.39106(32)10-44 seconds) quantum effects take place and the uncertainty principle kicks in, that is, because it can't be accurately known whether or not there is or isn't any energy at that level of space and time virtual particles can actually come into existence by borrowing energy from the vaccuum as long as they pay it back quickly enough. The energy comes into existence as particles of matter and antimatter which almost instantly annihilate one another which is the payback, this happens absolutely everywhere in the universe all the time........Physics says thank you to Werner and of course Paul Dirac.
As Owheelj quite rightly points out that over long enough "time" conditions come about (I recommend Brian Greene's The Fabric of The Universe to find out more about this it's a complex issue that he deals with well) that craeate a massive expansion event and these fluctuations actual become the stuff of the universe. I'd like to stress this IS NOT made up theory. There is an abundunce of evidence and in fact the experimental results from quantum physics are THE MOST ROBUST AND ACCURATE of any of the sciences. On a large scale the CMBR is direct evidence of quantum fluctuations and the beginning of our universe.
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  #47  
Old 24th February 2012, 12:11 PM
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Default Re: Please present a compelling explanation why naturalism is true

Oh and also I reckon that is the most posted video on the whole forum, as it should be! I have personally posted it several times. De Ja Vu I'm sure I've posted this before!!
I also recomend the dual doco's Everything and Nothing by Jim Al-Kahlili really worth the watch.
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  #48  
Old 24th February 2012, 12:18 PM
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Default Re: Please present a compelling explanation why naturalism is true

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Originally Posted by robertkd View Post
@owheelj

Still a very well worded response kudos for the answers.
Ah, yes, I was intending to reflect on the OP; the response will be useful to anyone else who happens along.
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  #49  
Old 24th February 2012, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: Please present a compelling explanation why naturalism is true

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Originally Posted by owheelj View Post
It's a little disappointing nobody made a serious effort to answer these questions
As disappointing you a little seems to be my basal state, if I ever impress you I will seek immediate medical help. Could be a tumour brewing.
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  #50  
Old 24th February 2012, 12:43 PM
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owheelj owheelj is offline
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Default Re: Please present a compelling explanation why naturalism is true

Yeah I think the OP has been banned, perhaps temporarily and said that they're not coming back anyway. They are interesting questions anyway, regardless of the motivations in asking them, and I guess the only way ignorance can be overcome is through education (even if the ignorant do not immediately listen). Anyway I'm not sure I did any of the questions justice. You could probably create whole forums dedicated to discussing each question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaar-Gilon
I can't fucking stand it when people use either naturalism or physicalism for that matter in a pejorative sense, like there's something else! It makes me want to say FUCK YOU!
I think that's a pretty understandable position, but I've really found the Chakravartty book I mentioned eye opening in this respect. Although I agree (or think I do) with your sentiment that naturalism is correct, I think there is real value in learning about and discussing the metaphysical basis of it, starting with what the OP seems to be suggesting; "Why believe naturalism?" I think the "realist vs antirealist" philosophical debate is an important one.
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