Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Looking at Presuppositionalism - last show

Well, we ended the four-part series on presuppositionalism recently on the Hellbound Alleee show. And it took us almost two hours. If you want to listen to it, check the archives at

I'm afraid I've been derelict in my writing on this blog. There are two main reasons for this. First is that I am starting to see the point of discussing with presuppositionalists less and less. It's obvious that no dialogue was ever started and none ever will. They are not interested in honesty or truth, only in preserving their beliefs. This is no surprise, but the total obliviousness of Manata et al is stunning.

Second reason is that I am working on a new book, with the working title "The Triumph of Materialism Over God". It's about presuppositionalism, materialist apologetics, emergentism, and the human mind. I'm almost done with the third chapter out of five, so it's going pretty well.

Finally, remember to reduce induction. Induction is an epistemic use of the uniformity of nature. Uniformity of nature is an extension of causality. Causality is a corollary of the axioms of identity. Always reduce everything to their foundations.

My point specifically is that uniformity is not non-change. Non-change is non-existence - to exist is to exist in spacetime. We don't make valid claims of induction because concretes don't change, but because of underlying principles. The typical example, "all swans we've seen are white, so probably all swans are white", was correct at the time of its formulation. It was indeed probable that all swans be white. But this is not in fact the case, so the induction is incorrect today. And we know it's wrong, because no underlying principle makes it necessary that swans be white. The "problem of induction" here is not a problem with induction but with our limited knowledge. This applies to all methods, not just induction.

Same for the "grue" example. As I commented, the "grue" scenario is in error because of failing to take into account all the relevant parameters, which is a scenario of either error (forgetting to include) or limited information (not knowing which parameters are relevant). Suppose we have this :

Fact : Grass is "grue" (green until time t, then blue)

t-3) Grass is green
t-2) Grass is green
t-1) Grass is green
Inductive conclusion at t-1 : Grass is green
t) Grass is blue
t+1) Grass is blue
t+2) Grass is blue
Inductive conclusion at t+1 : Grass is blue

Contradiction ? No, not really. It seems like a conclusion because the very fact that grass is grue - which, if true, is observable and knowable - has a bearing on the observed result ! What we should have, without the mistake, is this :

Fact : Grass is "grue" (green until time t, then blue)

t-3) Grass is grue (expressed as green)
t-2) Grass is grue (expressed as green)
t-1) Grass is grue (expressed as green)
Inductive conclusion at t-1 : Grass is grue (expressed as green)
t) Grass is grue (expressed as blue)
t+1) Grass is grue (expressed as blue)
t+2) Grass is grue (expressed as blue)
Inductive conclusion at t+1 : Grass is grue (expressed as blue)

There is no more problem here since grue takes into account both the green and blue expression. Furthermore, we would now know the time t when the causal change occurs due to the grue property.

The point has been made by my esteemed colleagues that "grue" is not a colour in itself, but rather a contradiction, and thus breaks uniformity. I think we might be muddling waters here, and need to introduce the notion of wavelength. Since colours are mental experiences of different wavelengths, this gives us more specific understanding of the scenario.

Does "grue" demand that a specific colour called grue (just like red or orange) change wavelength from 510 nm to 475 nm ? In our reality, colours are attributed wavelengths by conceptualization. So is this what is happening here also ? If so, there would be no break in uniformity at all, although such a change would be undesirable for many reasons.

Or does "grue" demand that the photons emitted by a given object switch from 510 nm to 475 nm, and that is why we call it "grue" - not as a colour but as a change ? In this case, there is, as I commented, no problem of uniformity either. Such change in colour would be knowable through the identity of grass, and we could find out why and when it occurs.

Post a Comment


At 5/18/2005 10:02 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...


Exactly. Whatever scenario that can be conceived of those wishing to advance the PoI can be explained naturalistically. Specifically, in the "grue" example, grass is green by virtue of two isoforms of the molecule chlorophyll, which absorb at 420 and 460 nanometers, respectively, as well as at 620 and 670 nanometers. This leaves the range between 500 and 600 nanometers unabsorbed, and thus reflected, which is why grass looks green.

The absorbance spectrum of the two chlorophyll molecules is determined by the structure of their respective porphyrin rings (which is similar to the heme group in hemoglobin, except that the central ion in heme is iron, whereas it is magnesium in chlorophyll). We can conceive of a mutation in the gene that encodes for chlorophyll that would alter the porphyrin ring structure, and thus change the absorption spectrum, resulting in a differently-colored grass. If a strain of grass emerged that expressed the wildtype chlorophyll until sexual maturity, and then expressed the mutant chlorophyll, we would have a naturalistic explanation which would be akin to the "grue example."

My point, if long-winded, is that the conflcting observations that are purported to comprise the 'Problem of Induction' are what drive inductive reasoning through Scientific exploration in the first place. It's not a problem, it's the solution!

At 5/18/2005 2:59 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

I love the lack of logic that goes, "Suppose I throw this monkey wrench into the universe of causality. Now, pretend the monkey wrench was always there, and can exist, and then tell me where's your precious causality?" Nowhere, because you just hypothetically derailed it!

Besides all that, my grass is brown, dammit! My point is this: The color of grass, the state of water, the freezing and melting points of substances are ALL dependent on external factors; several of them. "All else being equal" is fine for discussion, but is untrue in nature from one moment to the next simply because of the passage of time. If enough factors, like temperature and pressure and the spectra of available light and velocity of the observer relative to the object being observed remain the same, then repeating your experiment will yield the same results. Period.

At 5/18/2005 5:13 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

So, it's agreed that Manata is an idiot ?

At 5/18/2005 6:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous declaimed...

Franklin says, "...agreed that Manata is an idiot?"

Agreed upon by fools? I don't think he'd really care.

At 5/18/2005 6:11 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

"Agreed upon by fools? "

I wasn't asking you, so, no.

At 5/18/2005 8:29 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Franc: "So, it's agreed that Manata is an idiot ?"

I don't believe Paul Manata is an actual idiot. I don't think a lack of intelligence is his problem. Rather, I think it's an attitude problem, perhaps due to arrested social development, and surely encouraged by the clique of apologists that he hangs out with. Since he does not ascribe to a rational worldview, he clearly doesn't guide his choices and actions with reason, and this has a sorely detrimental effect on his interpersonal relationships. So I don't think his problem can be blamed on a lack of intelligence, but on a lack of rational judgment.

At 5/18/2005 10:06 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...


Paul's just a bully who worships a bully god. It's sad, really.

At 5/18/2005 10:37 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Zach: "Paul's just a bully who worships a bully god. It's sad, really."

Zach, you said it better than I ever could. His religion hasn't changed him at all. All it's done is enable him in ways that he didn't have available on the street. Now he thinks his bully behavior has been sanctioned from a supernatural source. It's the same thing that enables Muslim suicide bombers, and potentially just as dangerous.

At 5/19/2005 11:06 AM, Blogger CADman904 declaimed...

It's the same thing that enables Muslim suicide bombers, and potentially just as dangerous.

... and that's why I said he scares me...

At 5/19/2005 12:07 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

Actually, that which permits the existence of suicide bombers specifically, is the belief in an afterlife where such actions are rewarded. Without the belief in an afterlife, there's no motivation to kill yourself.

At 5/19/2005 3:40 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Franc: "Without the belief in an afterlife, there's no motivation to kill yourself."

Without the belief in an afterlife, people would soon come to value this one quite a bit more.

At 5/19/2005 9:58 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

I don't think Manata is an idiot. I think that he's got a combination of both a big ego and an emotional/self-worth dependency.

He cannot value himself for the sake of himself, so he thinks he's a worthless sinner and gets his self-worth from the external approval of an imaginary sky-ghost. Basically, he makes up an external source of worthiness to make up for the fact that he's afraid or unable to come up with internal worthiness. Notice how his blog starts with "I am a sinner, saved by grace"?

But, he's very confident in his intellectual capacity, and he thinks that he is correct in his Christian belief because of it. That is where the ego comes in.

The ironic thing is that Paul justifies his faith through is confidence in his intellect, which means that he thinks that he can reason or back up his faith with evidence or logic, but Christianity requires faith (unjustified or unevidenced belief) to attain "salvation" so he defeats his own salvation by trying to intellectually justify his faith (as I described in my "Driving Blind on a Highway to Hell" blog entry).

Or maybe Paul can come in here and refute my analysis?



Create a Link

<< Home