On Sat, Sep 4, 2010 at 7:38 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> On 9/4/2010 12:45 AM, Rex Allen wrote:
>> In what way are my proposed explanations "quasi-physical" instead of
>> just physical?
> Brain-in-vat and the-universe-as-a-computer-simulation are not really
> physical theories since they assume that everything we consider physical
> just exists at the whim of some mad scientist.

That still makes them physicalist theories, not quasi-physicalist.  As
long as the mad scientist and his vats/computers are physical.

>> And honestly I find my proposed explanations more plausible than
>> supernatural ones.  While God would explain the Sikhs prayer thing,
>> that also runs into the problem of evil.
> Who said God is omnibeneficient?

The Sikhs.

>> The simulation argument alone is enough to see off any God-based
>> competition.
> No, it's just a another conception of God - the world is still created and
> formed by a supernatural agent.

We'd just be inside the Matrix.  Nothing supernatural about that.

>> I think all "many worlders" would take this interpretation of events
>> if there were an outbreak of miracles.  Do you disagree?
>> And the many world interpretation isn't that different than the
>> infinite universe option.
> That's one of the criticisms of many-worlds.  If the theory can't derive the
> Born rules then it's not falsifiable, even in a probabilistic sense.

See?  Physicalism isn't falsifiable.  It falls into the same category
as idealistic accidentalism.

And thus, according to Quentin, is worthless.

Specific scientific theories that posit the existence of particular
physical entities are falsifiable, but in no sense does physicalism
stand or fall with them.

> I think this argument though is ill defined.  "Physicalism" or "naturalism"
> isn't a particular theory anymore that "supernaturalism" or "everythingism"
> or "Platonism" is.

The Merriam Webster dictionary shows 9 definitions for the word
"theory".  I'm pretty certain that our usage here fits at least one of

> It's kind of metaphysics which says some things exist
> and some don't, and things that exist are ones we can in some sense interact
> with (If you kick it, it kicks back. is the slogan).  But generally
> metatheories aren't testable in the same sense that theories are.

This is fine.  As long as you're not claiming that physicalism is
superior to idealistic accidentalism by virtue of being falsifiable.

> If you
> want to test whether God exists, you first need to make your definition of
> "God" sufficiently precise to make some inferences about what would or
> wouldn't be the case if God did or didn't exist.

Indeed.  The same goes for the "physical".

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

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