…they could do a lot better in ditching atheistic handwaving.
From Uncommon Descent’s Remedial Logic for Materialists:
Materialists have a lot of stock responses they use to distract themselves from the explanatory poverty of the “answers” their faith commitments require them to spew out in response to obvious objections. Consider the materialist responses to my last post, Quashing Materialist Appeals to Magic (Again).
Briefly, I argued that unless materialists can provide some sort of an explanation of the process by which the physical electro-chemical properties of the brain result in the mental properties of the mind, then merely invoking “emergence” has exactly the same explanatory power as invoking “magic.” I quoted atheists Thomas Nagel and Elizabeth Liddle, who concur.
Now to the materialist’s stock answer (courtesy of Popperian): Barry, you have committed the Fallacy of Composition. The fallacy of composition arises when one infers that something must be true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole.
I have not committed the fallacy of composition. Instead, you [materialists – AP] have committed the fallacy of false analogy. The process of analogical inference involves noting the shared properties of two or more things, and from this basis inferring that they also share some further property. The structure or form may be generalized like so:
- P and Q are similar in respect to properties a and b.
- P has been observed to have further property c.
- Therefore, Q probably has property c also.
A person commits the fallacy of false analogy when he makes a faulty inference from analogy. And Popperian’s inference is faulty. Let’s see why this is so. Here is Popparian’s argument from analogy:
- Water and the brain are similar as to the following properties:
(a) Water molecules are made of parts; the brain is made of parts.
(b) The constituent parts of water molecules are organized in a particular way; the constituent parts of the brain are organized in a particular way.
- Water molecules have been observed to have a further property, namely the emergent property “wetness” resulting from the organization of its parts even though none of those parts exhibits that property.
- Therefore, the brain probably also has an emergent property, namely consciousness, resulting from the organization of its parts even though none of its parts exhibits that property.
An analogy is false if the similarities are not relevant to the conclusion. In this case, the similarities are completely, totally, and utterly irrelevant to the conclusion.
We know why water is wet. From Wikipedia:
[…snipped Wiki explanation: basically, oxygen atoms are very eletronegative, leading to hydrogen bonding. Hydrogen bonding is amazingly important: see the video below for details.
One day, someday, there will be serious Christian scientists who will draw out all of the implications of the existence 1) light 2) water 3) information 4) time. That day is not today, though: we have a lot of homework to do first, grasping and understanding the nature of reality-as-it-exists before we can make disprovable predictions regarding it.
God demands that we understand the nature of the creation He has given to us, in order to better exercise dominion over it. It would be good if we got serious about obedience to His will.]
In summary, we know why water has the emergent property of wetness….
If we had reason to know that the parts of the brain were causally adequate to result in consciousness, then that analogy would be apt. But we don’t. In fact, just exactly the opposite is true. We don’t have the first idea how, even in principle, the physical properties of the brain are causally adequate to account for the mental properties of the mind.
Therefore, the analogy to the wetness of water gets us exactly nowhere, because we simply have no reason (other than materialist metaphysical faith commitments) to believe that the wetness of the water is similar in relevant respects to the consciousness of the brain.
Not only has Popperian committed the fallacy of false analogy, but he also has committed the fallacy of “affirming the consequent.” This error takes the following form:
If P, then Q.
The reason this is false is because there may be other causes of P besides Q, as the following example demonstrates.
If it is raining the streets are wet.
The streets are wet.
Therefore it is raining.
Why is this reasoning invalid? Because while it is certainly the case that if it is raining the streets will be wet; the converse is not also true. The streets can be wet when there is not a cloud in the sky (as for example when a fire hydrant breaks).
Here is how Popperain affirms the consequent when he invokes emergence to account for consciousness:
If there are emergent properties, the whole has properties that cannot be reduced to the properties of its individual physical components.
The mind/brain system has properties that cannot be reduced to the properties of its individual physical components (i.e., consciousness).
Therefore, the mind/brain system exhibits emergent properties.
Why is this affirming the consequent? Because there could be another reason besides emergence to account for consciousness, namely, the existence of an immaterial mind.
Popperian, the streets are wet. That does not necessarily mean it is raining. Write that down.
So what have we learned?
Atheistic pretensions of intellectual superiority can definitely be deflated, right before the eyes of the world. But to do so, Christians must actually put some elbow grease into understanding the issues; put in the hours (or weeks or years or decades) into mastering the subject; and grow the spine needed to face the hostility of the (idiotic, intensely self-serving, and increasingly bankrupt) Establishment.
If said Christians do their job right, they will have a massive-if-delayed impact and, about one to four generations later (i.e. after they have died), they will have a paragraph in the history books. But of course, like the prophets, they were not working to gain the favour of powerful men today, but to gain the approval of the God of Truth for eternity.
Sure, count the cost before challenging Our Lying Masters… but also, count the rewards of pleasing our true Lord and God, Jesus Christ.
For some of us, weakening the Establishment is its own reward.
But this is not a joy limited to a select few dedicated warriors. All Christian men can profit in training their sons for victory (in this life, and the next), by:
- getting and staying employed (or better yet, running their own profitable business)
- getting and staying married to a godly and good woman
- having children (preferably, one more than you think you can afford), and
- homeschooling the lot, grounding them in Biblical doctrine, morality, and history; English; Math; the structure of Western Civilization; and entrepreneurship (all provided by the Ron Paul curriculum, by the way)
- gaining their university degree at home (and save a ton of money).
THIS is how you fight and win the cultural war…
…as opposed to, say voting Republican. (Points and laughs.)