On 13 Mar 2012, at 02:16, meekerdb wrote:

On 3/12/2012 10:30 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 12 Mar 2012, at 05:50, John Clark wrote:

On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 1:52 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

>>  Do they really have to state that they assume existence exists?

> You mean that primary matter exists? Yes that is an hypothesis.

So your complaint is that a biologist like Richard Dawkins doesn't start all his books with "I assume matter exists". Bruno, that's just nuts.

Yes that would be nuts, but that is not what I am talking about.
I meant that he should assume PRIMARY matter, instead of taking it for granted, in his book on THEOLOGY, like his "The God Delusion".

>> It would be great if I could explain exactly why there is something rather than nothing but unfortunately I don't know how to do that, but a atheist does not need to,

> I am not sure anybody needs that

A atheist would need that if a theist could explain why there is something rather than nothing, I would be in a pew singing hymns next Sunday if they could do that, but of course no God theory can provide even a hint of a hint of a answer to that.

AUDA is an elementary counter-example. Read my paper on Plotinus. Prerequisites: a good book in mathematical logic (Mendelson, Epstein-Carnielly, Boolos-Burgess-Jeffrey, ...).

The "correct" theology of a machine is defined by the set of true sentences *about* the machine. The proper theological part is given by what is true (and might be known) but can't be justified rationally.

The nice thing with comp, is that you can still justify a part of that truth rationally at the meta-level from the comp necessarily hypothetical assumption of being an arithmetically sound machine (= relatively finite digital entity).

> I have no problem with those who say that they are not interested in such or such question.

Well, personally I feel that anybody who has not even thought about it a little would be a bit dull, and somebody who thinks about it a lot is probably wasting time that could be more productively spent.

Why judge people interest and passion?

A important part of genius is to know what problem to go after, it should be profound enough to make a big increase in our understanding but not so difficult as to be out of reach. For example in Darwin's day there was no possibility of figuring out how chemicals turned into life, but a real first class genius might be able to figure out how one species can change into another, and that's exactly where Darwin set his sights. But for Darwin's ideas to come into play you've got to start with a reproducing entity; so he could explain how bacteria turned into a man but not how chemicals turned into bacteria, so Darwin explained a hell of a lot but he didn't explain everything nor did he (or Dawkins) ever claim to.

> Only with those who assert that it is a false problem, a crackpot field

It's not a crackpot field but I think you would have to admit that it does attract more that its fair share of crackpots.

That is normal given it is very fundamental. That's why fear sellers like to appropriate them, and of course they injure the field, and the humans, a lot, but they does not betray everything, and, especially in front of the mind body problem, we have to be cautious not throwing the best together with the worst.

Physics does not address the theological question, so to oppose physics and the abrahamic theologies makes physics confused with physicalism/materialism. It makes physics like taking metaphysically for granted the main point of the abrahamic theologies, which mainly take the physical reality existing as such. Of course such a belief is widespread, but the greek platonists created science, including theology, by taking distance with that idea. By doing so they (re)discovered a mathematical reality which will inspire the world of intelligible ideas.

> and this by letting believe that science has solve or dissolve the question, when it is hardly the case.

But Dawkins has never done that, never, and being a biologist most of his books concern how the laws of chemistry (which is already something as he would be the first to admit) produced life, including advanced life like you and me. And Dawkins does not claim he has a complete explanation for even this much more limited (although still very profound) problem. Science in general and Dawkins in particular can't explain everything, but they can explain a lot. Religion can explain nothing, absolutely nothing.

Science can't explain everything, but after Gödel 1931, and using comp, science can explain why, for machine, science cannot explain the "whole truth", nor even give it a name.

Dawkins is correct in denunicating that particular "God delusion", but he fall in that exactly same trap by opposing science and religion.

I believe only in scientific attitude, and that is nor field dependent. And basically it is an attitude of modesty, and of putting clearly the cards, the hypotheses, on the table.

> The hard body problem is the question of its existence, its nature, ontological, or epistemological, and where it comes from.

The answer to the hard body problem is 42;

Well actually it is 24, but that's another story.

but now comes the really difficult part, clearly explaining exactly what the hard body problem is.

I just said it. Does it exist? What is his nature, is it made of something? Where and why does it comes from? What are its relation with qualia, etc.

> I did like a lot "the selfish gene", but was rather disappointing by its other "philosophical book", where

The Selfish Gene was one of the best books I ever read and Dawkins has advanced philosophy far more than anybody who lists their occupation as "philosopher" on their tax form.

I might agree with you for a class of philosophers, but let us not generalize too much quickly. But yes, I think some philosophers, especially when the power separation are leaking a lot, can even have a bad effect on science, like pseudo-theology can too.

> he [Dawkins] lacks rigor in the large, and make believe that science give credits on his pseudo-religious opinion.

Wow, you're calling someone who hates religion religious, how novel, I've been a atheist a long time but I never heard that putdown before!

Just to be clear, I am using this definition of atheism. "g" is for "god exists",

But what god?

Anyone. Even primary matter, but for pedagogical purpose I treat it explicitly below, with "m".

You seem to believe in arithmetic and want to call it "God" so the study of arithmetic = theology.

Arithmetical truth plays the role of Plotinus' ONE indeed, but for machine it is not definable, and "arithmetic" will only mean what it means to us: some theory. Now, a theory is believed, and if someone believes it is literally true, then it might be a theology, although "God" would be a non relevant name in most context.

The rest of the world uses "god" to mean an immortal person of magical power.

This is true in some culture. For the greeks it was a debatable point.

It's perfectly rational to believe there is no immortal person of magical power and hence be an a-theist.

That's my point. Atheists does not believe in fairy tales. If that is the meaning of atheists, then many European christians are atheists after the age of seven.

and B is "for believe-in".

Christians = Bg
Atheists = B~g

Agnostic ~Bg  and ~B~g

That's the first reason which makes them "believer". But now, if you replace "g" by "m" = "Primary matter exists", then Both Christians (or only catholics? this is not yet entirely clear for me) and most atheists are of the type "Bm".

That's a second reason to call them believer.

No more that Bc where c=chairs. You are equivocating on "believe" and "god", both of which have a range of meanings.

God is usually understood as primary, in the monotheist tradition, and this is in fact a sort of defense of monism. In other tradition God might have a mother, or a whole family. In scientific theology God is an unnameable notion responsible for our existence, be it a person or a thing. The God of the atheists is primary matter. A god introduced as such by Aristotle. The greeks used the word God in a very large sense, not excluding many possibilities. The narrowing of the sense is explained by its political use, that the atheists, willingly or not, perpetuates. I know this from first hand account, alas.

To practice the scientific attitude in the fundamental field, without begging any question, it seems to me wiser and simpler to be agnostic on both god and matter. Only consciousness here and now can be said to exist without doubt.

~Bg  and ~B~g and ~Bm  and ~B~m

You are careful to specify m = "PRIMARY matter", but you are completely sloppy about the meaning of "god" so that you can include arithmetic and computation as theology.

Arithmetical truth? yes. It is not nameable and is responsible for our existence, if comp is true. Arithmetic or computation by themselves does not fit the definition, despite being very large.
As scientist, we simply does not know.

It is just as rational to believe in matter as in consciousness.

Not at all. Consciousness is lived, and as such we cannot doubt it.
Matter is experimented, and as such is only inferred. The dream argument illustrates that we might be wrong to infer it. And comp makes its primacy nonsensical, or explanatively empty.

> fanatic atheists and fundamentalist religious people are ally in demolishing the moderate agnostics interested in the field.

Yes but you almost make that sound like a bad thing.

Er well, yes. Sure. When fanatics harass the moderates many bad things happen usually.

At least fundamentalist religious nuts make a clear stand on how they wish to live their life, and atheists do too, they feel that the probability of God existing

Which God?
And that's the hard God problem. Which one? The Platonist one? the Aristotelian one? the Chinese tao? the primary physical universe? Arithmetical truth? Set Theoretical Truth?

Science is not an answer. Science is the only a tool. Whatever you believe in is a religion.

More word twisting. What's the difference between 'believe in' and 'believe'. I believe I'm typing on a keyboard - that doesn't make it a religion.

In the larger sense I was using, it is.
In that sense, science is part of religion. Science is only believe. The God theory of the creationist is just naive, and basically dishonest. Not treating creationism as a scientific theory makes it impossible to explain that it has been refuted, or that it is not supported by evidence. Creationism should be taught in high school with a detailed explanation why it fails to explain, and why it make everything more complex. But darwinism should not be presented as explaining everything too. Nevertheless it has not been refuted, and does account of many facts. Now, Darwinism is based on mechanism, and thus we know or should know that its materialist version is not working.

To oppose science to religion is like to oppose science to biology, or science and math.

No it's not because math and biology don't teach that evolution didn't happen,

You don't understand. It is because religion has been separated from science since a long time, that religious people can teach that evolution didn't happen. The atheists mocks religion and prevent seriousness and honesty to tackle the religious problem, so it remains in the hand of the fear sellers and political manipulators. They literally forces us to remain non serious in theology, so it is easy to continue to mock it. And then they oppose science to it, and makes it a semingly more serious theology, but as a theology, it does not work, and this fuels the fairy tales of the politicians-priests-popes.

the Earth is 6000yrs old, women are inferior, human sacrifice is necessary to make the sun rise, condoms cause AIDS, and homosexuals should be stoned to death.

And we have not much change since. That is what happen when human science lacks rigor. Materialist marxism has not done much better.

Science is the building of lantern to put light around us, religion is the believe that there is something.

is just too low to worry about

and so plays no role in their life, but agnostics are just fence sitting wimps who give religion FAR more respect than it deserves.

It quite depends of which one. Some are agnostics just by lack of interest in the field, others, by fear, prefer to avoid the questions. Others, more rare, like the question and are agnostic by lack of information or evidences. Or they are dissatisfied with the current definition or meta-definitions. All this equivalently about m, g and other questions.

But scientifically we have to be agnostic, and make clear what are our assumptions in our theoretical frame. It is far to easy to beg the questions here.

In science we are agnostic on what there is, but we are always believer in something not completely rationally justifiable.

In life we make choices, but we don't have to believe they are always correct.

OK. But everyday life is different from doing fundamental science. You can't compare.

So far as I can tell there isn't any decision that is *completely* rationally justifiable. But that doesn't mean that some choices are much better justified than others.

I agree.

"Atheism is not a religion, just as a vacant lot is not a type of
building, and health is not a form of sickness. "
    --- Jim Heldberg

That quote illustrates the super-widespread confusion between atheism and agnosticism. Atheism is a religion with two main beliefs: that God does not exist (and this is very vague of course) and that Aristotle third God does exist (primary matter). It is not a vacant lot. Agnosticism is a vacant lot.



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