For those all who’ve regularly been reading this blog for the past couple years (all zero of you), you’ll know a few things about me. For those who haven’t been following along, well, let me fill you in. And then, once I get that background out of the way, we’re off to the races. (Here we go)
Philosophical principles, much like scientific laws, are descriptive, not prescriptive. But where scientific laws are subject to testing, refinement, and falsification, philosophical principles have no objective and effective winnowing process. The law that heavier objects fell faster than lighter ones gave way to Vf= a t^2 ; Newton’s law of universal gravitation gave way to spacetime; a deterministic, mechanistic cosmos gave way to a probabilistic, intuition-shattering sea of information. What objective tests, then, beyond logical consistency, do we have for our philosophical presuppositions about the absolute, ultimate nature of reality?
And to then use those presupposed principles to prove new presuppostions, seems, well, preposterously presumptuous .
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist)
I was born in the titanic creation of spacetime and matter-energy themselves.
I was born in the sea of pure energy as it condensed to a slow vibration and began to form leptons.
I was born in forces so massive that many stars at the center of galaxies are crushed and die as supermassive black holes.
I was born in hydrogen atoms, fused together into helium and then bootstrapped up the periodic table to iron, and continued up.
I was born in a billion supernovas, scattered through spacetime – and I flew serene and undisturbed through the great black sea.
The hemoglobin in my blood which lets me use the oxygen in my lungs for ATP synthesis, comes from the fires of supernovas from across the known universe. I am an essential and inseparable part of the cosmos; I am a part of the universe experiencing itself; and I am what happens when you leave enough hydrogen around long enough to ask “Why are we here?”
So, as to any magical threats of hellfire that you may have for me?
Give it your best shot.
I have argued in the past, and I will continue to argue, that gnostic atheism and gnostic theism are both intellectual abortions, and both for exactly the same reason. Both evince the exact systemic epistemic error which needs to be addressed in order for empirical rationalism to function. The utility of the null hypothesis does not disintegrate under the presupposition of knowledge.
Contention: Uncertainty is King.
Our probabilistic reality makes the Null Hypothesis mandatory. Nor is pure reason the answer; logic is subject to Godel’s Incompleteness, and axioms can be falsified by empirical investigation. Many of our linguistic and logical concepts are meaningless. (e.g. “nothing”, “identity”, “non-contradiction”, “locality”, “dead people”, etc…) Faced with the limits on certainty, the burden of proof is upon any claimant. The Null Hypothesis has to be falsified in order to accept any claim as provisionally true, and the null hypothesis is always the negation of the claim. And even when the dominant view is falsified, that does not mean that you can use the Fallacy of Bifurcation to substitute an unproven claim. While this does not prove that unproven claims are false, the assumption must be that they are.
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” – Neil Gaiman
I don’t believe there’s any such thing as a heaven, or a hell. I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a spirit or soul. I don’t believe that my mind is anything other than what my brain does. But I do admire the quest for immortality. In fact, I think it may very well be an inevitable part of our species’ evolution, should we ever make it off this rock.
I’ll take it.
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” -Keats
Lets begin with basic epistemology; the basis for all sensation and awareness is the physical reality we find ourselves in. Reality does not care what we think about it, or what we believe. As Philip K. Dick once said “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
This is sometimes referred to as the primacy of reality. When analyzing/viewing/interacting with reality, we have numerous methods and devices available to us that we may use to gather and analyze data, including but not limited to our five senses and scientific instruments. From those data, we abstract initial 2nd order models, those of perception. (Seeing is not the same as perceiving – perception is cognitive. If photons bounce off a camouflaged moth and hit your eye, you have seen it. But unless you realize it is a moth, you have not perceived it.) Continue reading