Nonlin Asks About Methodological Naturalism?

( #28

Do you know “the principles” to talk about them? Fact is, ever single experiment is an instance, just another data point. Yes, bariatric pressure is a miracle as much as “Every breath you take and every move you make
Every bond you break, every step you take…” :grinning:

I will be embarassed when wrong. But not much: “errare humanum est”

( #29

You can start by answering these previously asked questions:

What is a “natural force”? As opposed to what? How would we know the difference?
What if we find out more than “matter, energy, and their interactions”? Particle physics shows that matter is itself quite immaterial.
What is “supernatural”? Isn’t the distinction natural/supernatural arbitrary?
How would one differentiate “divine intelligence” from “regular intelligence”?
Why would one absolutely need " modeling the mind "? When someone reverse-engineers a product (say military equipment), do they care about modeling the mind of it’s original inventor?
How would one reconcile Plantinga and Smith with Evolution being a “Blind, Unguided and Purposeless Process”?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #30

It should be clear from the links I gave. Science just does not concern itself with any of these questions. It just assumes everything is natural, and looks for patterns to explain in a mechanistic way. Period.

In every case we study and detect intelligence in science, we end up using an explicit or implicit model of the mind, whether or not its clear.

Yes they do model mind. We are usually working from an implicit model of the intended purpose, background abilities, and context to limit the how they untangle the engineering. Occasionally, for example in security research, we use very carefully constructed explicit models too.

Easy. Covered this before. Evolution appears blind, unguided, and purposeless, from a strictly scientific point of view, because we cannot directly engage by scientific means the God who uses evolution for his purposes. Evolution appears one way, but the reality is different. It is full of purpose, and providentially governed by God, even though science cannot state this in the language of science. The confessing scientist, however, knows.

( #31

Nope. It’s God’s world, not yours. He moves matter around as naturally as He creates it. There couldn’t be something more natural than God. Scientific method is irrelevant to natural/supernatural.

So what exactly do you stand on? You know, "Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth”.

(George) #32

And yet there is a metaphysical way to separate rain storms created by God’s use of evaporation & condensation vs. Rain created by God “poofing” them into existence.

If there were not this kind of distinction… then there would be no difference between God creating humanity by using evolutionary processes… vs. God creating humans by “poofing” them into being from a pile of dust.

And if there was not this distinction… you would not be here to dispute the matter!

( #33

Huh? Metaphysical?

(Daniel Ang) #34

They come from the exact same force, the electromagnetic force. So yes, EM forces are “similar” to the force of repelling magnets. This seems to be the best way of explaining the evidence that we have collected from careful experiments. In fact, this is not just pure science any more: most of the electrical-powered technology around us was built based on our knowledge of electromagnetism.

Sure, people in the past understood matter differently, but the purpose of science is to clarify and develop our current understanding of what matter is and how it behaves. Electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are all the result of quests to understand matter.

If you are concerned with a circular definition of material vs. immaterial, then as others have pointed out in this thread, you can stick with the simple definition that material is that which exhibits regularities that can be tested in the laboratory and possibly mathematically modeled. The immaterial cannot be reached by our scientific equipment. We can never become closer to God by building a spaceship to be driven to heaven, for example, but we can possibly do that by prayer, which involves our mind and spirit. We can never test God (Luke 4:12), which is why one cannot scientifically analyze the supernatural.

It’s unclear how the two quotations you gave supported your point. Planck is saying that matter consists of atoms and their interactions (forces), and that is exactly what I’m arguing. He did believe in an intelligent Mind, and I do too, but this doesn’t mean that matter is immaterial - only that the Mind holding it is.
Heisenberg’s quote is unclear what he means when says that “atoms are not things.” What are “things” then?

(George) #35

If something You think is REAL but is not physics … then it is META-physics.

(Ashwin S) #36

I am not so sure this is an exact definition of “material”. How do you verify a physical object does not have a mind or spirit?
Saying matter is material is a tuatology.
As to defining “material” as things that can be defined mathematically… we don’t have any proof for that. Is PI() Material ? Mathematics is inherently immaterial. So how does this work?

Edit: Your definition of matter boils down to “that which can be investigated by the scientific method”.
This makes it an issue of classification and matter is not ontologically real… it’s a product of an ideal… i.e the scientific method… and hence it’s a classification of the universe that rests on the limitations of a method as opposed to having its own existence in “reality”.


What do you mean when you say “He moves matter around naturally”?

( #38

The material/immaterial barrier is arbitrary. What “can be tested in the laboratory” has and will continue to change. And we can model anything mathematically. I am not advocating “spaceship to be driven to heaven”. Just the acknowledgement that the barrier is imaginary and that materialism has no support whatsoever.

Read again, perhaps you missed Plank’s: "There is no matter as such. " and "We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter” and Heisenberg’s entire quote.

( #39

What is “real”? What is “physics”? Does it matter what I think? :smiley:

(Neil Rickert) #40

I don’t actually see this as an important question. Some people say that mathematics is real, that numbers are real. I say that mathematics is abstract and that numbers are useful fictions. But I don’t need to get into arguments with people over this. Mathematicians can agree on the mathematics without agreeing on what’s real about it.

And I think something similar can be said about other “is it real” issues.

Physics is that which physicist study. The way that we use the word “physics” has grown out of traditions, particularly traditions within the scientific community. We don’t need to pin it down.

I’m sure that it matters to you. But nobody else can be quite sure what you think, so it cannot matter as much to us as it does to you.

( #41

Hello, Neil Rickert from TSZ.
Those were rhetorical questions - food for thought… and a reminder to be very careful with categorical statements.

( #42

“Natural” is just a word. What was magical in the past is very natural today (like nuclear energy). So what you consider “supernatural” now will be proven natural tomorrow until everything will be revealed to be natural.

(Daniel Ang) #43

So? Just because the barrier between material and immaterial might slightly shift over time based on the findings of science doesn’t mean that the barrier doesn’t exist.

You cannot model everything mathematically equally well. That’s what I mean by modelling mathematically. Can God’s behavior be modeled mathematically? How would one even start to do that?

I am not a materialist either, but you have not shown that the barrier between material and non-material is imaginary.

Can you explain to me what this quote means? What is “matter as such”, and how does it differ from “matter as not such”?
And you haven’t answered my questions:

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #44

That is easy. I agree, materialism has no support whatsoever. Nothing in science presumes materialism. you appear to be boxing shadows.

(Daniel Ang) #45

That’s an interesting question. What I do know is that science cannot verify if a physical object has a mind or not. Science assumes that physical objects don’t have a mind. Instead, it assumes a mechanistic worldview where objects in nature act according to certain regularities that can be comprehended by humans. Because this is an assumption, not a discovery, science cannot judge whether something has a mind or not. Even if the object does have an immaterial mind, science is only analyzing the material, non-mind part of it.

I did not say that the “material” are things that can be defined mathematically. Rather, they are things that can be modeled using mathematics. And this is merely a sufficient, not necessary criterion, as some sciences, like biology, don’t always use mathematics in all their theories. What I actually mean is the material is that which can be explained in terms of regularly occurring mechanisms.

I agree with you that it is an odd definition, but it seems the best solution I can think of right now to avoid circularity. But my definition is motivated by the fact that I think the defining feature that differentiates a spirit vs. material is that the former behaves in ways that are unpredictable. Thus, one cannot treat a spirit as one would atoms in a lab. I touched upon this in a reply in another thread.

It would be nice to come up with a definition of the material which is both non-circular and explains the nature of its existence. How would you define the material vs. immaterial?

(Ashwin S) #46

It doesn’t avoid circularity. A set of all things “unpredictable” by human beings is not a fixed quantity with respect to time. So the definition itself is based on something that cannot be determined.
Besides, if quantum physics is right… some things such as location cannot be predicted in some situations. Which leaves a grey area.

To be frank, I think it’s an arbitrary classification made by human beings. I would define it as “the set of things that seems to interact with each other to create effects measurable to human beings”…
I don’t think we can avoid circularity.

(Daniel Ang) #47

As I replied to above, just because the definition is dependent on the state of human knowledge, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. One could just say that science can help us in the quest to find the exact definition of material vs. immaterial.

Even though there is some inherent uncertainty and randomness in quantum mechanics, for the most part we can model the equations to characterize the behavior of quantum systems very well. In that sense quantum systems are very material. And sure, I don’t discount the possibility that there might be a mind or spirit secretly operating in the realms of uncertainty in QM. We are just unable to study that scientifically.

If that is your definition of material, then how do we differ, exactly? I also think that is the set of things that seems to be measurable. By measurable I also mean repeatable, which is why I think the idea of regularity is important.