On Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 9:54 AM, John Mikes <jami...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Stathis,
> your lengthy reply to Craig is a bit longer than I can manage to reply in
> all facets so here is a condensed opinion:

Yes, these posts are probably getting a bit too long.

> Your position about the 'material' world (atoms, etc.) seems a bit
> mechanistic: like us, the (call it:) inanimates are also different no
> matter how identical we think they are in those lines we observe by our
> instruments and reductionist means.
> You ask about Na-ions: well, even atoms/ions are different to a wider
> scrutiny than enclosed in our physical sciences. Just  think about the
> fission-sequence - unpredictable WHICH one will undergo it next. It maybe
> differential within the atomic nucleus, may be in the circumstances and
> their so far not established impact on the individual atoms (ions?) leading
> to a "next one". We know only a portion of the totality and just think that
> everything has been covered.
> I am not representing Craig, I make remarks upon your ideas of everything
> being predictably identical to its similars.

As Brent pointed out, there is no way to differentiate between atoms of the
same kind to tell which one, for example, will decay. But even if we could,
it is a fact that the atoms in a person can come from anywhere and the
person is still the same; whereas changing the configuration of the
existing atoms in a person can cause drastic changes in the person. This is
obvious with no more than casual observation.

> The (so far) "known facts" are neither: not 'known' and not 'facts'.
> Characteristics are restricted to yesterday's inventory and many potentials
> are not even dreamed of.
> We can manipulate a lot of circumstances, but be ready for others that may
> show up tomorrow - beyond our control.

There are, of course, undiscovered scientific facts. If scientists did not
believe that they would give up science. But Craig is not saying that there
are processes inside cells that are controlled by as yet undiscovered
physical effects. What he is saying is that if I decide to move my arm the
arm will move not due to the well-studied sequence of neurological events,
but "spontaneously", due to my will. He cites as evidence for this the fact
that on a fMRI parts of the brain light up "spontaneously" when the subject
thinks about something.

> I agree with Craig (in his response to this same long post):
> "...Nothing is absolutely identical to anything else. Nothing is even
>   identical to itself from moment to moment. Identical is a local
> approximation contingent upon the comprehensiveness of sense capacities. If
> your senses aren't very discerning, then lots of things seem identical...."
> I would add: no TWO events have identical circumstances to face,
> even if you do no detect inividual differences in the observed data of
> participating entities, the influencing circumstances are different from
> instance to instance and call for changes in processes. Bio, or not.
> This is one little corner how agnosticism frees up my mind (beware: not
> "freezes"!!).

No two things are identical, but they can be close enough to identical for
a particular purpose. If a part in your car breaks you do not junk the
whole car on the grounds that you will not be able to obtain an *identical*
part. Rather, you obtain a part that is close enough - within engineering

Stathis Papaioannou

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