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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Consolations - Atheist FAQ

Jim Lazarus over at The Consolations has posted his answers to the sixteen questions for atheists at Christian Skepticism. If you'll remember, this answering "spree" was kicked off by Paul Manata over at Triablogue, who had compiled a list of answers to the questions posted by the Rational Response Squad.

At any rate, I'm solidly behind Jim's answers. Go check them out.

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62 Comments:

At 3/06/2007 2:27 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach, what does it mean to say that you're "solidly behind" Jim's answers when one of Jim's answers is that consciousness is immaterial and supervenes on physical brain states?

Do you agree with this? Do you think it's false? If so, why would you stand "solidly behind" what you take to be false answers?

Indeed, if this is so, then when you give theists "answers," and you say that you "stand behind" your answers, should we even view you as thinking these answers are true?

Can a false answer really answer theism, Zach? Now go ahead, think of a way to weasle out of another one.

 
At 3/06/2007 8:31 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

I think I've already addressed this here.

 
At 3/06/2007 10:24 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

No, actually you didn't Zach.

Jim holds that the mind is immaterial, though causaly dependant on the physical. You do not.

Do you stand behind his answer? If you stand behind a view of "supervenience" that does not include an immaterial mind, then you don't "solidly stand behind" *Jim's* answer.

Are you going to come clean, Zach? Why do you stand behind answers you think are false? Kind of like a football player saying that Wheaties is what makes him big and strong. Are you just doing comercials for atheism, Zach?

Oh, btw, would you mind finding one philosopher of mind who says that the mind is material in constitution, yet calls himself a supervenience theorist? You don't even know how to use the term as it bears on the philosophy of mind, do you?

Why do you hate theists so much that you can never admit when one is right? Is this why you left Christianity? Pride? Couldn't stand there being a being who was smarter than you and who owned you?

 
At 3/06/2007 11:56 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

My reading of Jim's answer doesn't imply a necessarily immaterial mind. If that is incorrect, I'll wait for him to clarify it. If that's what he meant, then I'll change my evaluation.

I do not "stand by" answers that I think are false. I do not "do commercials" for atheism.

I don't think that any burden is on me to find a philosopher to agree with. I find it somewhat odd to judge the opinions of a person by the number of philosophers he can agree with- but I'm not a student of philosophy as you are, so perhaps I'm just used to a different paradigm. In the scientific paradigm, there is value in disagreement, especially against the established ivory tower opinions; more than one Nobel Prize has been given to such lone dissenters who have stuck to the conclusions of their evidence.

I have no hate for theists, Paul. I'm worried that you're projecting your own feelings onto me, as there is no way that you could have access to my psychology. In fact, after being separated from them for so long, I've begun to appreciate the efforts of theists (even you), and their desire to rectify their theology with reality. You see, it was doing this that led me out of Christianity- not pride, and certainly not intellectual anxiety. What I was doing was very similar to the Reformation effort in general- I thought that I was being a more faithful, and a more reasonable Christian by examining Christianity to sift human tradition from divine communication. I couldn't have been more surprised that the end of that path turned out to be atheism. But, it's not something I regret; ultimately, I think that I regarded truth as more important than Christianity, and that may have been my fatal flaw.

 
At 3/06/2007 12:20 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach,

To make the move you're making requires you to change definitions. To change what they always mean by the term.

So, in one sense, no one would disagree with you. If you said, "Hey, I know that everyone means __W___ when they say ___Y___ but I want to mean _____X____ when I say _____Y_____. Sure, you can do that and save the charge of complete ignorance here.

I mean, the word *blue* does not *necessitate* the color we all call "blue," and so I could use "blue" to mean "red." And, when people slap their forheads, I'll just respond: "Hey, the word "blue" doesn't *necessitate* that I use it to refer to what *everyone else in the world uses it to refer to,* and so I'll use the word blue to mean red.

C'mon, Zach, April Fools day is next month. Wait 'til then to trick me. I'm being charitable because I knwo you're a smart ole chap, and so I must believe that you're pulling my leg with these stunts of yours. Good one.

As far as psychologizing goes, I'm not doing any such thing. I'm seeking a hypothetical model to explain certain data. The only think I can come up with is that you must have some psychological and emotional probloem with theists, because in the rest of your life I assume you grant people points that are obviously the case.

And, Jim did tell us his position. He said he agrees with Jaegwon Kim pretty much. And, if you had bothered to read your Kim, you'd know that "supervenience" is an immaterial mind "supervening" on top of a material brain (or, mind states on brain states). That's why Kim calls his book: Physicalism Or Something Near Enough. His conclusion is that physicalism about the mind is false but very nearly true: it's probably true of propositional attitudes, but almost certainly false of phenomenal properties (i.e., qualia). (Though I'd disagree with him here about beliefs, that would be a digression, my point has been made.)

As Kim tells us,

"So qualia are not functionalizable, and hence physically irreducible. Qualia, therefore, are the "mental residue" that cannot be accommodated within the physical domain. This means that global physicalism is untenable." (p. 170)

and

"Intrinsic qualities of qualia are not functionalizable and therefore are irreducible, and hence causally impotent. They stay outside the physical domain . . ." (p. 173)

And so as Jim gives his answer:

"Consciousness is supervenient upon the brain. A few good books I’ve recently read in the philosophy of mind include Kim’s introductory “Philosophy of Mind”, Kim’s “Physicalism, or Something Near Enough”,"

And therefore we see that Jim takes (at least) the features of the mind that Kim takes to not be material, but, rather, they supervene on the material.

And so Zach, would you like to retract, or will you continue to dig in your heels, grit your teeth, and refuse to let a theist make a point? This is really nothing new, though. We've done things like this countless times.

 
At 3/06/2007 1:28 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

I'm not aware that what I'm doing is redefining anything. From my understanding of it, (which may be wrong) my conception is consistent with supervenience. Although I open to being corrected, nothing that you've shown me so far is persuasive.

If the only hypothesis that you can come up with to explain my atheism is that I hate theism, then I would suggest that you've not been imaginative enough. Similarly, I wouldn't suppose that the only reason that you are a Christian is because you love the Christian god. But ultimately such "hypotheses" are irrelevant to the issue at hand, as guesses about each others motivations make for clumsy ad hominem tactics.

I haven't "read my Kim," although I am interested in it now.

After looking at those citations, though, I think I would also say that I "agree with Kim pretty much" too. Also, I don't think that what he's said is inconsistent with what I've already mentioned about meta-data. At least, that's my take on it- I would hesitate to speak for another, whether it be Jim or Kim- although you seem to have no qualms in doing so.

 
At 3/06/2007 3:16 PM, Blogger Brother Blark declaimed...

Paul sure seems to have a special 'thing' for Zach. Good thing they're both married, and living in different states!

 
At 3/06/2007 5:58 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Brother Blark,

Apparently it is a sin in the atheist community to make sure people are consistent, duly noted.

Zach,

It's not consistent with supervenience. You're wrong. No one in the world agrees with you here. But, the prideful always think they're always right. Hence, no God. Zach just can't fathom that he could be wrong.

Anyway, let's use a little logic, shall we:

Zach Moore said: "My reading of Jim's answer doesn't imply a necessarily immaterial mind. If that is incorrect, I'll wait for him to clarify it. If that's what he meant, then I'll change my evaluation."

And, Jim and Kim's view *is precisely* that there are immaterial mental states.

So, how do we make these two claims C consistent:

C1: There are no immaterial mental states.

C2: There are immaterial mental states.

Btw, your dodging and shuffling and dancing a jig are plain for all to see.

Wrt your hatred. Maybe another model will explain the data, but until one is produced, I must go with I think is obvious. I'm not making ad hominems in any fallacious way, for one could hate theism and still possibly make correct and good arguments. Thus the ad hominem is independant of your arguments, and therefore of little consequence to you using it as a "fallacy" I'm committing. Of course if you knew more about fallacies, you'd quit being so liberal with them, especially when they obviously don't apply. Anyway, I've found nothing better for explaining your behavior and tactics, especially in the current conversation.

 
At 3/06/2007 6:18 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Brother Blark-

I would think that Reformed Christians such as Paul have made their views about sexual orientation quite clear, actually.

 
At 3/06/2007 6:31 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

I think you may have misread my comments. You claimed, "Zach just can't fathom that he could be wrong." However, at the beginning of my comment posted at 1:28, I referred to "my understanding of [supervenience], (which may be wrong)." Emphasis mine. So, by no means am I claiming any kind of infallibility here. All I am saying is that I'll need something more than your assertion to the contrary before I abandon my position.

At any rate, you've yet to show that Jim's response necessarily implies immateriality of the mind. I'm sorry, but you just can't speak for Jim here- if he's interested in clarifying his answer one way or the other, fine, but I don't think it's prudent to take your word for what somebody else meant, whether it's Jim or Kim.

I didn't say that your use of ad hominem (and surely any claim on behalf of someone else's psychology falls under this category) was logically fallacious, only that it's clumsy and irrelevant. As you say, my feelings about theism are completely independent of the veracity of my arguments, so why even bring them up? To me, it just seems like a cheap rhetorical approach, at least one that someone who was really interested in positive dialogue would avoid.

 
At 3/06/2007 7:08 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach,

Your first paragraph is window dressing. Actions speak louder than words, friend.


Regarding Jim, he said he agrees with Kim,a nd Kim holds to immaterial mental states, irreducible ones. It's not nice for you to go around making Laz look like he didn't know what he was implying by recommending Kim's position as basically his own. If Jim didn't think that any mental states were immaterial, he wouldn't have recommended Kim. Sorry, Jim's smarter than you make him out to be. At any rate, I'm telling you that supervenience as used in the philosophy of mind does imply immaterial mental states, Zach. This is true by definition. That's just how the term is used, by everyone. As I said above, just because blue doesn't *necessiate* the color we refer to by it, doesn't mean that if I use it to denote "red colored things," I'm not seriously misguided. So, since terms gain meaning by use, your use is inconsistent with everyone elses, Zach. But, feel free to continue to make your knowledge of philosophy rival my 7 yr. olds.

Lastly, my ad hominem is not irrelevant - it explains the data for why you refuse to accept these obvious points I'm making.

 
At 3/06/2007 8:42 PM, Blogger Brother Blark declaimed...

Paul, my inspiration, I love reading your posts, comments, and ravings.

You were the inspiration for my very Blogger ID, as you know.

You've even claimed to be me, while you were pretending to be someone else. Quite the character!

I've become quite familiar with your patterns over the years, and you rarely break form. Someday, I will post a lengthy expose that delves into the "Murky Mind of Manata."

Until then...

 
At 3/06/2007 9:02 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

So what is the point of this whole dispute exactly? Zach thinks Jim's answer means one thing, and Paul another, and this is a big deal? Geesh.

 
At 3/06/2007 9:52 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

The reasons behind the religionist’s attempts to dissociate human consciousness from the human brain are not for what we could call non-fiction. They are, in fact, an effort to replace science with pillars supporting his imagination-based worldview. Given his position's fundamental detachment from reality, consciousness cannot be dependent on a brain, not because scientific research has uncovered data demonstrating its independence from the brain, but because a) the Christian god is supposed to be non-physical but also conscious, and b) man’s soul is supposed to survive his death. Neither view is amenable to the view that consciousness depends on the structure and workings of a physical brain. So the motivation to cram a cosmic wedgie between the brain and conscious states arises with the effort to protect a storybook conception of reality. He worships an imaginary being that is both all-knowing and also brainless. Go figure. Nothing else needs to be said on behalf of the religious worldview, for nothing can salvage the it from its deep conflict with reality.

Regards,
Dawson

 
At 3/06/2007 9:57 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Brother Blark, my little atheist groupie, right now the Manata fan club is all filled up, but you keep sending me those love letters and maybe I'll kick out some old hag and let you into the group. Until then, keep your posters of me up on your bedroom wall, and make sure your wallpaper on your computer is of that night in Toledo, Oh. Anyway, it does keep my strength up to know I have such devoted fans, people who think about me 24/7. I do what I do for the fans like you, Bro Blark. Keep rockin on.


Franc,

Uh, try to pay attention, ole chap. Zach says he's "solidly behind" all of Jim's answers, and all I'm doing is pointing out that one of the answers (there's "Moore," but I'm taking one at a time) is contradictory to Zach's stated position on the issue. Hence, I'm wondering why he's "solidly behind" products he thinks are false. So, I'm thinking he's like those football players who say they're "solidly behind" Wheaties because it helps them perform better. So Zach's doing atheological commercials. Like Lance Armstrong who says he needs Right Guard so that he won't sweat as he races in the Tour De France, Zach "stands behind" (with a big grin) products which eh doesn't really use or trust.

If that's not a "big deal" to you then I assume that you're "behind" people who "stand behind" answers they think are false, and so you're like an actor as well. Like the Mom of the football players on the Campbell's Soup commercials, Franc is "behind" his boys. he'd take a bullet for them. Frank, the Mother Hen of amature atheologians, how cute.

 
At 3/06/2007 10:07 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Oh, Dawson, good, I was waiting for you to show up. I was wondering what you thought about Zach's theory of consciousness, since you have written that you disagree with it, Thus Bethrick,

"Yes, I do accept that there is non-physical existence, but in each instance I recognize that the non-physical is in one way or another dependent upon something that is physical. Consciousness, for instance, is non-physical (I reject reductionism; see H. Binswanger, The Metaphysics of Consciousness for details why), but while I hold that consciousness is not reducible to the physical, I hold that it is dependent upon the human nervous system, which is physical, for its existence."

Zach has said he doesn't think that "consciousness" or "mental states" are "immaterial," in fact, he's explicitly stated the oppositie. Indeed, Moore has even claimed that "language is material." So, there's no doubt here that Zach's position disagrees with Dawson's.

And, let's not derail the comments section. Dawson, do you think Zach should "stand behind" answers that he thinks are "false?" Would you, Dawson Bethrick, the man who thiks with his own mind, stand behind answers you thought false? Doubtful you'll answer here, Dawson's really about herd mentality, rather than rationalist.

(Oh, Btw, Dawson says that his view of consciousness isn't "materialist" or "physicalist," but this is simply false, as Kim et al have shown. I argued thus in my critique of the B-dog, but he chose to ignore it (as he did most of my points).)

cheerio,

~PM

 
At 3/06/2007 10:11 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Oh, P.S. Dawson there are some theists who are not dualists about the body. Indeed, some even say that the soul doesn't survive death, but is recreated at the general resurrection. Though I disagree with them, maybe you should stay up on the current literature so as not to appear like an angry atheist who doesn't bother to read theists but attempts to "refute" them nonetheless. You should really stay away from generalizations and broad brushing, you wouldn't like it if I lumped you in with, say, Platonic or Idealist atheists, would you? Thus I don't think they appreciate your doing the same. Perhaps, though, it's an innocent mistake? Afterall, you've never shown yourself to be a particularly trustworthy and honest critic of theism. So, perhaps it's due to ignorance? yes, that's what it is.

 
At 3/06/2007 10:20 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Paul,

What are you trying to argue? Or, are you trying to argue anything at all? If Zach and I disagreed on a point, it would not be the first time that two non-Christians disagreed on something. What is important to note is that Zach and I can disagree without dubbing one another "heretics" or worse. Zach may be right. Or, maybe I am right. Or, perhaps we are both right, and simply need to fine-tune our terminology. Words like "non-physical" and "immaterial" are inadequate when it comes to identifying the nature of something in *positive* terms. As for "materialism," I do not consider myself a "materialist" on *my* understanding of what materialism traditionally entails. At the same time, I realize that, as a label, "materialism" can be used to refer to a wide variety of views. Some may consider my position "materialist" because I recognize the dependence of consciousness on the brain. If so, so be it. I did not respond to this point in your "Bahnsen Burner" blog because I think it's rather trite, since in the end it boils down to a disagreement in labels. As for substance, you're left way back in the dust as you cling to a storybook view of reality which characterizes the universe in a manner analogous to a cartoon. In order to save face, you hide behind the transparent habit of name-dropping, as if your citations of Kim or some other author is going to compensate for your already-pulverized reputation. You're all dried up, Paul. Go home and spend some time with your family.

Regards,
Dawson

 
At 3/06/2007 10:32 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Paul: "Oh, P.S. Dawson there are some theists who are not dualists about the body."

So?

Paul: "Indeed, some even say that the soul doesn't survive death, but is recreated at the general resurrection."

And? Should any of this surprise me? Granting one arbitrary premise simply opens the door to any other arbitrary premise one wants to adopt. That is both the substance and method of religious belief.

Paul: "Though I disagree with them, maybe you should stay up on the current literature so as not to appear like an angry atheist who doesn't bother to read theists but attempts to "refute" them nonetheless."

Paul, for one thing, I'm not as concerned about how I "appear" to others as you are. So you can pocket your projections. Another thing, I don't know any readers of my writing who make the charge that I do not "bother to read theists." You are the only exception to this, and I suspect you make claims like this because you have a habit of preferring shortcuts to discrediting your opponents. I can and do quote theists in my pieces because I read them. How could I quote Bahnsen, Van Til or Frame if I did not read them? Does that make any sense?

Paul: "You should really stay away from generalizations and broad brushing,"

Are you basing this advise on your own generalizations? I'll generalize and broad-brush all I want, buddy, no matter who disapproves. I really don't care if it offends you.

Paul: "you wouldn't like it if I lumped you in with, say, Platonic or Idealist atheists, would you?"

I'm pretty thick-skinned, Paul, especially when it comes to people who want to discredit me simply because I don't believe in their invisible magic beings.

Paul: "Thus I don't think they appreciate your doing the same."

Tough titties for them.

Regards,
Dawson

 
At 3/06/2007 10:37 PM, Blogger bookjunky declaimed...

Paul's point seems to be to "prove" to himself that atheists are all in lockstep.

What difference does it make if you misunderstood the issue and disagree with Jim on this question? None as far as I can see. I think I agree with Jim on this issue as well, but maybe I don't understand the supervenience issue all that well. So what? BFD.

Just as not all Xians agree on questions of theology, not all atheists agree on any given question. Does this have a point that I am missing? Or does Paul just get off on flogging Zach here?

 
At 3/06/2007 10:51 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Dawson,

Argue? No, just pointing out that Zach thinks you're wrong. He says people who invoke "immateriality" are "irrational." Just thought you'd want to know that Zach thinks you're irrational.

As for my point, no, it's not trite. But, if you want to go off on your lonesome and redefine terms, like a spoiled child makes up the rules to all his games, be my guest. So, easy to win, huh? You're not "irrational" based on how *you* define rationality, Christianity is irrational based on how *you* define Christianity. I mean, I guess congrats are in order. If I could define reality how ever I wanted to, I guess I'd win at everything too. But it appears a little hollow for my taste.

dawson: So?

Paul: So. Do your homework.

dawson: Another thing, I don't know any readers of my writing who make the charge that I do not "bother to read theists." You are the only exception to this, and I suspect you make claims like this because you have a habit of preferring shortcuts to discrediting your opponents. I can and do quote theists in my pieces because I read them. How could I quote Bahnsen, Van Til or Frame if I did not read them? Does that make any sense?

Paul: Read your blog, Plenty of people have commented that you misrepresent or misunderstand, or fail to take into account positions. Plenty. Anyway, buying some books for the purposes of quote mining was not how I was using "reading." I think it was obvious that I was talking about reading to understand. Also, I've already discredited you, now haven't I?. Thinking and wishing I haven't don't change reality, right, Dawson?

dawson: Are you basing this advise on your own generalizations? I'll generalize and broad-brush all I want, buddy, no matter who disapproves. I really don't care if it offends you.


Paul: It doesn't offend me, just makes you look like a hack, though you should know. Anyway, kudos for coming clean about misrepresenting theists.

dawson: I'm pretty thick-skinned, Paul, especially when it comes to people who want to discredit me simply because I don't believe in their invisible magic beings.

Paul: Like believing in an invisible mind? And, since your mind creates things that haven't previously existed before, say, the thought that Dawson is wearing a pink dress right now, shaving his legs, eating Bon Bon's and watching When Harry Met Sally - I'm pretty sure that thought hasn't existed until now...right;-) - then you have an "invisible mind creating reality."

cheers mate,

~PM

 
At 3/06/2007 10:57 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Book junky,

No big deal here. If Zach would just admit he made a mistake, that he doesn't understand basic philosophical issues, I'd be fine. the problem is that he wants to dig in his heels, and in the process he's coming off more and more ignorant by the minute.

Also, I do pit atheists against themselves. They tell me how concerned with "truth" and "rationality" and "good argumentation" and "positions which accord to reality," I just thought that, if this was really the case, they'd likewise spend time critiquing other atheists. But, that rarely happens. Rather, what we usually see is a herd mentality, a "protect the image" mentality, we hardly ever see atheists as concerned about the above things when an atheist makes false claims about reality. That you guys hardly ever critique eachother, but then come down rather hard on theists for the same thing, i.e., believing in falsehoods, makes us a bit suspicious. It's like it's more of an emotional issue with guys like Moore, Tremblay, Kinney, Bethrick, and all the other amateure internet atheologians.

 
At 3/06/2007 11:05 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Also, Dawson do you think it's good practice to stand "solidly behind" beliefs that you think are false? Why ignore this? Protecting the herd? Good Darwinian.

 
At 3/06/2007 11:09 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Paul: "Argue? No, just pointing out that Zach thinks you're wrong."

As I stated, maybe I am wrong, and maybe he is right. So what? Neither of us claim to be infallible, Paul.

Paul: "He says people who invoke "immateriality" are "irrational." Just thought you'd want to know that Zach thinks you're irrational."

Now who is generalizing? And where did I "invoke 'immateriality'"? Are you equating non-physical with immaterial? In either case, they only say what something is *not*. That was my point all along, so you seem stuck on trifling (or, as you once put it, "stuck at the superficial level of words").

Paul: "As for my point, no, it's not trite."

In your mind, your delusions are never trite. But I am flattered that you keep lengthy quotes of mine close at hand.

Paul: "But, if you want to go off on your lonesome and redefine terms, like a spoiled child makes up the rules to all his games, be my guest."

So, I have your permission? Great! Now stop complaining.

Paul: "So, easy to win, huh?"

Paul, you're projecting again. Your ambition is to "win." Mine is to learn and grow.

Paul: "You're not "irrational" based on how *you* define rationality, Christianity is irrational based on how *you* define Christianity. I mean, I guess congrats are in order."

***BOWING***

Paul: "If I could define reality how ever I wanted to, I guess I'd win at everything too."

Paul, you're welcome to state the meanings of your key terms any time. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if many of your readers wish you would.

Paul: "But it appears a little hollow for my taste."

Stating your definitions is "a little hollow for your taste"? Did I read that correctly?

Paul: "So. Do your homework."

Paul, at what point would you dare admit that I do my "homework"? Don't get your hopes up, I'm not aspiring to come down to your level. I'm just curious.

Paul: "Read your blog, Plenty of people have commented that you misrepresent or misunderstand, or fail to take into account positions. Plenty."

I guess we have to take your word for this. I haven't seen them.

Paul: "Anyway, buying some books for the purposes of quote mining was not how I was using "reading."

Then why do you buy books? You sure do not come across as one who is well-read.

Paul: "I think it was obvious that I was talking about reading to understand."

Sort of like when you habitually context-drop while trying to interact with my position? Your silence is deafening.

Paul: "Also, I've already discredited you, now haven't I?. Thinking and wishing I haven't don't change reality, right, Dawson?"

Indeed, reality does not conform to thoughts and wishes, Paul. If only you could honestly and consistently incorporate the fundamental principle rooting such truths into your view of things. But that would require you to abandon theism.

Paul: "Like believing in an invisible mind?"

News flash for Paul: Minds are not magic. Try wishing a spoon into a fork sometime. You'll see what I mean.

Regards,
Dawson

 
At 3/07/2007 1:02 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Such is the level every "debate" with Dawson degenrates to... You will let me know if you ever have anything substantial to say, no?

~PM

P.S. Yes, Dawson, something that exists and isn't physical, material, or otherwise extended in space, is immaterial. But, of course, we can't dialogue because you think you can just make up new meanings for terms, and use them in unconventional ways. Anyway, you go and have fun with your invisible mind. Your mind that creates reality (e.g., thoughts that have never existed until the mind created them). You might also take note that I gave a series of trenchant criticisms against your view of the mind, and those weren't answered either, Guess those were "trite" as well. Hey, you do what you have to do. Perhaps I'll get lazy and refuse to engage in the more substantive rebuttals of my interlocutors, calling them, simply, "trite." Good tactic! You know how I like them shortcuts. Thanks for the helping hand. Anyway, run along with your invisible, immaterial mind.

Oh yeah, remember you had claimed,

"As I have stated before, I do not know how I would go about proving that the mind is not composed of a material that we do not yet understand."

So, the mind is not "material" but it is composed of "material." Non-physical, invisible, material?

You're a real riot, Dawson. Thanks for the laughs. Seriously. I'm not trying to be a jerk. Thank you.

 
At 3/07/2007 1:04 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

p.p.s

dawson: News flash for Paul: Minds are not magic. Try wishing a spoon into a fork sometime. You'll see what I mean.

Paul: so mommy nature is magic then? Changing lizards into birds. Kudos on coming clean on your invisible mind and your invisible, magic, mommy nature. Are you thinking monkey's thoughts after them again?

 
At 3/07/2007 1:08 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

p.p.p.s

im·ma·te·ri·al /ˌɪməˈtɪəriəl/

1. of no essential consequence; unimportant.
2. not pertinent; irrelevant.
3. not material; incorporeal; spiritual.


As I said, anyone can "win" denates when they can use words in their own special way.

So, let me try Dawson's method:

Atheism =df/ The belief that P and ~P.

Therefore, atheism is false and irrational, by definition!

Thanks for this method Dawson, it's working our great, pal.

 
At 3/07/2007 1:10 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

p.p.p.p.s

Dawson: I'll generalize and broad-brush all I want, buddy, no matter who disapproves.

Paul: LOL. Temper, temper. You sound so surly and burly.

"Get your damn hands off her, Biff."

 
At 3/07/2007 6:30 AM, Blogger Brother Blark declaimed...

LOL!!!!

This is classic Paul Manata!!!

THANK YOU PAUL!!!

Your 'efforts' at winning and your transparent projection of your own worries/fears/faults are wonderful entertainment.

As others have noted before, you're like a programmed "Manata-Bot" who spits out the same tired answers and projections whenever prodded. Push the button, and get a cookie!

over and over and over and over

I'm so glad I started reading blogs again....watching Paul flail around and expend so much time/words/angry energy is worth every penny.

p.p.p.p.p.p.s

Come on Paul, re-read everything again and add another thoughtful comment! I can't wait!

 
At 3/07/2007 8:08 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

I'm really not sure what you mean by "actions speaking louder than words," since the sole medium of our interaction is words.

Neither Jim nor Kim use the word, "immaterial," and I guess that's the point that's keeping you from being persuasive here. Kim does use "non-physical," but that doesn't really bother me so much. In your exchange with Dawson, he said, "Words like "non-physical" and "immaterial" are inadequate when it comes to identifying the nature of something in *positive* terms." And I would definitely agree with that, especially because when you posted a definition of "immaterial" just now, the definitions include "incorporeal" and "spiritual." I don't think the former is compatible with the concept of consciousness, because we can localize it, at least generally. At any rate, none of the evidence would suggest that it's separate from the body. And the latter is completely incoherent to me. And so I don't think that my understanding of consciousness is that different from what you've quoted of Dawson, nor of Jim nor Kim. You just keep harping on the word "immaterial," and nobody else is using it besides you.

Now, I certainly do appreciate the desire for you to convince me otherwise, but it's pretty clear that you're not being successful by your usual methods. If you haven't gathered by now, I'm not terribly susceptible to insults or ridicule. The only thing that's persuasive to me is proof.

 
At 3/07/2007 11:12 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach,

They don't need to use "the word" because (a) they used what the term denotes in their positions and (b) because everyone who is converant with the literature knows what they mean.

The bottom line, you still have the problem. Both Kim, Jim, and Dawson have said that the states are *not* physical. They are *not* extended in space. You, on the otherhand, have said that they *are* material, that they *are* extended in space.

So, you're still contradicting them. Both cannot be right. Even if one didn't know what trublinquotiter meant, if you said ~ trublinquotiter, then you'd be contradicting the trublinquotiters.

Now, you say that conscious is located in the body, but so have some dualists! Thus that cannot be necessary and sufficient for claiming that it is material in nature. And, you conveniently left out one of the meanings of immaterial. That is,

not material;

Hence, Dawson says that the mind is "not-physical" (as I quoted him), and so does Kim (as I quoted him) and so does Jim (by agreeing with Kim), and one of the meanings of "not-physical" means "not material", and whatever "not material" means, it CANNOT mean "made of matter," but your view is that the mind is "made of matter" and, therefore, your view is inconsistent with Dawson's, Kim's and Jim's. It's really quite embarrassing to see this happening to a grown man.

 
At 3/07/2007 11:20 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3/07/2007 12:40 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Hey Bro Blark,

Glad my pointing out that you're a Paul Manata groupie and a Paul Manata wannabe got to you. I liked your illustration as well:

"As others have noted before, you're like a programmed "Manata-Bot" who spits out the same refutations whenever prodded. Push the button, and get a refutation!"

Perfect analogy, my child. Just so you know, the next Manata meeting will be in your area this weekend, can you host it? That would be grand.

And, someone else said something about throwing out "tired answers," wouldn't you say that's better than a groupie (not you) whose claim to fame is *never* giving an answer, let alone a tired one, who only acts like that little laughing guy that sat next to Jabba the Hut, who simply runs around and never has anything substative to say, wouldn't you mock that kind of individual? Now, you're not that kind of groupie because then you'd be involved in self-hate. But maybe I could send you on a mission, bother blark. Maybe you could go around to all the comboxes and tell all those commenters that have never offered a comment of substance in their life, whose blogging career makes a living of others, like a leech, that they are pathetic shriveled up little shells of men. Can you do that for me? it would help so much. Thanks. Buh-bye now.

~PM

 
At 3/07/2007 1:56 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

I’m sorry, but it seems as if it’s you who are playing loosely with definitions here- I’ve only ever claimed to be skeptical of “immaterial” entities, and you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t take your word for it that anyone not using the word “immaterial” actually means that. This seems to me to be simple enough- if the concept of immateriality really is that clear, why not use it? It seems as if you’re so desperate to prove me wrong at something that you’ll semantically stretch my words in an attempt to find any contradiction. The fact that your only response has been to assert to the contrary suggests to me that there really aren’t clear evaluations of the mind as immaterial that you can point to; it amounts to you stamping your foot and insisting that I’m wrong.

I don’t have any problem with the mind being “not physical.” My conception of materialism allows for non-physical entities- radiation, for instance. Neither does it need to be “extended in space,” although again, it is contingent on an organ which is. As you say, some dualists agree with this last point, but so what? I’ve not argued that it is necessary and sufficient for materialism, only that it’s compatible with it. So, you see, none of what Kim or Jim hold to contradicts what I consider to be a material explanation of consciousness, and that’s really what’s at issue here- my opinions.

I’m not claiming to speak for Jim or Kim- you’ve done a well enough job of that yourself. But this entire discussion began because I was unimpressed with your answers, but complimented Jim’s. I could understand how that might hurt your feelings, but I would think that the more mature response would be to shrug it off as just one man’s opinion, but instead you’ve taken me to task, at length, to claim that I have a blatant bias towards Jim, and now you’re taking me to task, at length, to argue that my opinions about the nature of consciousness are contradictory to Jim’s. At a certain point, I think I have to wonder why you’re so dogged in your desire to humiliate me, insult me, and condescendingly pronounce that I don’t know what my own opinions are, just for complimenting some work I thought deserving of it.

But I can take whatever you dish out- have no doubt about that. And I’m happy to, actually, not only because you provide some entertainment value for the peanut gallery, but also because you do offer some nuggets of good sense now and again, and I’m happy to learn whatever I can from anyone who’s willing to offer.

 
At 3/07/2007 2:48 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach, what else besides your hatred of theism, pride, and hatred of me can explain your actions here.

You have said that the mind IS material. So, whatever you think it is, it cannot be NOT material. Something "not physical" is "not material," and, hence, you'll be bound to agree, that your view is that the mind "is material."

You have claimed that the mind is not "a single neuron" but "many neurons taken together." You are the one playing fast. For you have said that the mind "is a phsycial entity" and now you claim that "it is not physical." Pathetic.

You are a liar and both you and I know it. Have you no shame?

 
At 3/07/2007 3:09 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach,

An entity is a thing that exists, does the mind exist? If so, you have an immaterial (read: non-physical) entity, if not, so much the worse for your atheism.

Oh yeah, Zach, what do you think of this claim:

"If I am to have a concept in my head, the concept is material in that it is a particular arrangement of electronic signals inside the neurons in my brain."

 
At 3/07/2007 3:10 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

And, Zach, now that you allow non-physical entities to exist, what about all your arguments against God, logic, etc., being non-physical?

Cut off your nose to spite your face.

 
At 3/07/2007 3:19 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach said, "Especially since I've not argued that consciousness is immaterial."

But above says, "I’ve only ever claimed to be skeptical of “immaterial” entities."

And, "I don’t have any problem with the mind being “not physical.”

So, the mind isn't "immaterial," rather, it's "imphysical."

Zach, how can you look at yourtself in the mirror after you underhanded, shady, and immoral actions. Is this how you protect your atheist, by lying? You think that if you play stupid enough, eventually you'll be able to weasle out of clear implications. You think that eventually you'll employ a sophistic tactic (i.e., I think the mind is material, I think it's not physical, but that doesn't mean not-material) to get yourself out of a jam.

 
At 3/07/2007 3:31 PM, Blogger Brother Blark declaimed...

Paul!

Splendid work!

I was at my job today (something you should check out sometime!) and I noticed this one guy didn't agree with someone else.

I pointed out this OBVIOUS FALLACY and you should have seen the sparks fly! Hoo boy!

And then, there was this lady that hadn't read a book by an author that had something to say about something, and I called her on it, in front of everyone!

BOO YEAH!

I was like "REAP THE WHIRLWIND!" and she looked at me all surprised.

You would have been impressed. Its so fun to show people how wrong they really are.

 
At 3/07/2007 4:16 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

Well, I’d like to think that my desire for the truth has at least something to do with my presence here, but obviously you know my motivations better than I do. I suppose it’s a bit easier for you to assert that I’m lying, given that your interpretation of Christianity tells you that all atheists are liars anyway. I guess what I can’t quite figure out is that, since you also believe that atheists are self-deceived, why you think calling me a liar makes any difference?

You’re right in that my position is that the mind is material. But you are wrong to say that I also claim it to be physical. I do not think that those two concepts are equivalent, and so since this discussion focuses on what I think, I would hope that my opinion would carry some weight.

Again, if I have been clumsy in articulating myself in the past, allow me to attempt to rectify the situation at present. My understanding is that a neuron is physical. A collection of neurons (a brain) is also physical. A mind is a non-physical emergent property of a brain. All of these are material in nature.

I’m pleased that you would spend so much time searching out my own words on the subject. As I said, “If I am to have a concept in my head, the concept is material in that it is a particular arrangement of electronic signals inside the neurons in my brain.” I agree with this- the clear fact that concepts experienced in the mind correlate to electric signals in the brain seems to be strong evidence in favor of the mind being of material nature.

I’m not sure why the Christian god, logic, or other concepts are relevant to this discussion. It almost seems as if you want to shy away from this, and take me to task on other subjects we’ve already discussed at length. But I don’t think that I’ve framed any argument about the Christian god being non-physical and material. My skepticism is due to the immateriality of that concept, which I find incoherent. Logic is a separate issue- I would consider it to be of similar distinction to the mind, as a non-physical, material meta-data which describes the nature of the Universe.

I don’t know that “imphysical” is an appropriate term to use, especially since non-physical seems to work well enough. But, as I said, my conception of materialism has always allowed for non-physical concepts (radiation, again).

I understand that you likely feel frustrated- after all, you were clearly excited about the prospect of making me look stupid in front of… who, exactly? At any rate, it doesn’t make sense to you that I’m not crying “Uncle!” at the top of my lungs. Or… what was it that Gene fantasized about making Reggie say? “God loves Jacob and He hates Esau?” Or maybe, “Jesus loves me, this I know, because the Bible tells me so.” I’m sure that you would probably pick something more scriptural- maybe, “The fool says in his heart that there is no God.”

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards, at least not with your current tactics. I’m sure that you think I should have ”reaped the whirlwind” long before now, but from where I’m standing, you’re just shadow boxing. Again, not that I don’t appreciate it- you’re doing more good than you could ever know.

 
At 3/07/2007 6:17 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

Oh my God I cannot believe I actually just read through all these comments.

This was by far the most boring Manata-atheist interaction Ive ever read.

This is not meant as an insult against Manata or anyone else in here, but DAMN! Snooze!!!

Typically, when Manata tangles with other atheists, the exchange can be fun to read at the least. But not this time...

 
At 3/07/2007 6:20 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Hey Zach,

So, you claim the mind *is* material but not physical. Zach, perhaps you can help here. Please define:

Material:

Physical:

And then could you please explain how the mind is *not* physical? What do you mean by that?

And, lastly, can you define "not-physical?" It seems as if you're only telling me what something is not, not what it is.

 
At 3/07/2007 6:30 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Brother Blark,

Sorry to inform you, but I do have a job and I make 80,000 a year. I also own my own home, in California. I only owe a couple hundred thousand on it, and it's worth 800,000 thousand. Have my car compelely paid off too, and pay for my son to go to a private school.

But, perhaps you should pay attention. If you can't pay attention to my arguments here while working, just do one at a time. It's not my fault that I can talk and chew gum at the same time. It's okay to be a bit slow. Anyway, here we go:

BB: "I was at my job today (something you should check out sometime!) and I noticed this one guy didn't agree with someone else."

PM: but my compaint isn't that atheists disagree. is that all you've got out of this? My complaint is that Jim's position and Zach's disagree, but Zach says he's "solidly behind" Jim's answer. So, my question is: Why do you stand behind answers your position (nevermind his lies and serious confusion to the contrary) says is false? Is it like doing atheist commercials? Like how sports players "stand behind" Wheaties, saying how they make them "bigger, faster, and stronger."

So, get back to flippin burders, not_reformed.

 
At 3/07/2007 6:33 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Kinney,

"Oh my God I cannot believe I actually just read through all these comments.

This was by far the most boring Manata-atheist interaction Ive ever read.

This is not meant as an insult against Manata or anyone else in here, but DAMN! Snooze!!!

Typically, when Manata tangles with other atheists, the exchange can be fun to read at the least. But not this time..."


Oh my goodness gracious. I just read the ENTIRE commet by Kinney, and this time he had nothing of substance to say.

typically, when Kinney tangloes with theists he has something.... errrrr, sorry, excuse me, I guess this comment was just typical Kinney, no style, no substance.

But hey, at least Kinney is cool. He did "the blasphemy challenge" and "drives a Stang" and psoted pictures of him at a kegger on his myspace account. Hey Kinney, let's do another beer bong, bro.

 
At 3/07/2007 6:38 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

Sure, no problem.

Material: Of, relating to, or composed of matter (or energy).

Physical: formed of matter.

So, you see, when I talk about the mind as being material but not physical, what I have in mind is that the mind is contingent on matter, but is not itself made of matter. In other words, all physical entities (or properties) are necessarily material, but not all material entities (or properties) are necessarily physical.

A definition of "not-physical" doesn't really make sense to me, because you're right- it doesn't really tell us anything positive. In our discussion thus far, I've used that phrase under the implication that it meant "material, but not physical."

 
At 3/07/2007 6:47 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach says the mind is material but not-physical.

Nevermind that Zach has always claimed the mind to be physical, he says,

"You’re right in that my position is that the mind is material. But you are wrong to say that I also claim it to be physical. I do not think that those two concepts are equivalent"

So, he sees some difference between "matterial and physical" that no one else does. What's fun (since he's already been refuted and shown to be a liar) is to look at what other people, people who know, claim:

"Materialism (or physicalism) can signify either a broad metaphysical view, or, more narrowly, a type of theory of mind."

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/nontheism/materialism/

"Philosophical materialism (physicalism) is the metaphysical view that there is only one substance in the universe and that substance is physical, empirical or material."

http://skepdic.com/materialism.html

I can go one and on.

Anyway, Kim and Jim disagree that all mental states (e.g., qualia) *are* material in nature. The may be *dependant* on the material, but it is clear that you have claimed that the mind *is* material.

Again, to say that the mind *is* material but is not *physical* is absurd.

Now Zach, I understand that you likely feel frustrated- after all, you were clearly excited about the prospect not making yourself look stupid, again. At any rate, it doesn’t make sense to you that I’m not crying “Uncle!” at the top of my lungs. I understand that. But here's what I suggest. Print off this debate, take it to your local univserity college prof, and ask him to tell you how absolutly horrid you did. Perhaps that prof. at Notre Dame was right about you afterall?

 
At 3/07/2007 7:00 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach, what is the difference of being "composed" of matter and being "formed" of matter?


"So, you see, when I talk about the mind as being material but not physical, what I have in mind is that the mind is contingent on matter, but is not itself made of matter. In other words, all physical entities (or properties) are necessarily material, but not all material entities (or properties) are necessarily physical."

Now Zach, you explicitly said that "the mind IS matter." You have not yet said that it is "not" matter, but "dependant" upon matter. You and I both know you've been doing this whole thing ad hoc, learning as you go, so you don't have to eat crow. It is pathetic and I have zero respect for your tactics here.

Anyway, you're saying that not all entities are "composed" of matter, but all are "formed" of matter?

And, something being *contingent* upon matter does not mean that it *is* matter. You *clearly* said that the mind *is* matter.

Furthermore, why use the term "non-physical," when it is "negative," and then out of the other side of your mouth you call theists incoherent for using a term that is negative.

How is "not-material" incoherent while "not-physical" is coherent.

So, it looks like by your own lights you have to drop your position as incoherent.

And, it is clear that *even if what you say above is what you originally meant* you have been severely unclear in the discussion.

Lastly, good for you if you want to hold to supervenience, the logical possibility of zombies refutes that view, cf. David Chalmers' arguments.

 
At 3/07/2007 7:05 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach says that "material" means "composed of matter" and physical is "formed of matter." Below we see that the dictionary says that something "composed" is something "formed." So, his definitions look synonymlus. Therefore, if the mind is "material" then, according to Zach's definition, the mind is also physical.

to make or form by combining things, parts, or elements: He composed his speech from many research notes.

 
At 3/07/2007 7:05 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

That's too bad. When you asked how I would define those terms I thought that you had actually realized that my own definitions might have some bearing on whether or not I could agree with Jim.

I guess that wasn't the case- you've essentially ignored what I offered as my own understanding of the terms, and instead told me how other people do. That's a nice gesture, but it's uninteresting and irrelevant to the topic at hand. It really doesn't concern me how some other atheists might conceive of materialism- what matters is how I do, which directly determines whether or not I agree with someone else.

Aaron's right- this is one of your most unproductive discussions so far. If I'm as obviously wrong as you think I am, then it should be clear by now that simply asserting to the contrary isn't going to change my mind. And under the assumption that you don't really care what I think anyway, and are just performing for the other readers here, I would think that your devastating intellect would have been sufficient to get everybody on your side, pointing and laughing at me forty comments ago. So it doesn't seem unreasonable to think that you want something more from me than just concession or humiliation, but what that is is likely as "secret" as the name of that Notre Dame professor your keep tucked, lovingly, in your pants pocket.

 
At 3/07/2007 8:29 PM, Blogger Brother Blark declaimed...

Paul -

That is so very impressive that you make EIGHTY THOUSAND DOLLARS a year. Amazing. And yet you still have time to dork around online...all throughout the day....almost as if you're doing it on company time...and stealing....oops!

I make $500,000.00 a year, and own my own outright. Amazing, isn't it?

you said:

"So, get back to flippin burders, not_reformed."

I don't 'flip burders' and you're confusing your antagonists again.

But your exchange here has been fun!

 
At 3/07/2007 11:04 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Bro Blark, quit lying.

Zach, if you noticed, I took your definitins and showed how they still don't get you where you want to go. I don't care if you and Aaron think this convo is "unproductive." We both know what happened here. Anyway:

Zach says that "material" means "composed of matter" and physical is "formed of matter." Below we see that the dictionary says that something "composed" is something "formed." So, his definitions look synonymlus. Therefore, if the mind is "material" then, according to Zach's definition, the mind is also physical.

to make or form by combining things, parts, or elements: He composed his speech from many research notes.

Now Zach, you explicitly said that "the mind IS matter." You have not yet said that it is "not" matter, but "dependant" upon matter. You and I both know you've been doing this whole thing ad hoc, learning as you go, so you don't have to eat crow. It is pathetic and I have zero respect for your tactics here.

Anyway, you're saying that not all entities are "composed" of matter, but all are "formed" of matter?

And, something being *contingent* upon matter does not mean that it *is* matter. You *clearly* said that the mind *is* matter.

Furthermore, why use the term "non-physical," when it is "negative," and then out of the other side of your mouth you call theists incoherent for using a term that is negative.

How is "not-material" incoherent while "not-physical" is coherent.

So, it looks like by your own lights you have to drop your position as incoherent.

And, it is clear that *even if what you say above is what you originally meant* you have been severely unclear in the discussion.

Lastly, good for you if you want to hold to supervenience, the logical possibility of zombies refutes that view, cf. David Chalmers' arguments.

 
At 3/07/2007 11:05 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Oh, byw Bro Blark, I don't get paid by the hour, and so I'm not on "company time." All that matters is getting done what I need done. if I want to do it at midnight, I can. Anyway, sorry you're so upset about me calling you on your Manata obsession. Glad to have a little atheist groupie. Leech.

 
At 3/08/2007 8:00 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

Right, according to you my definitions for the two terms are synonymous. And I can see how that would be confusing for some people. But I went to the trouble to specify "all physical entities (or properties) are necessarily material, but not all material entities (or properties) are necessarily physical."

If you look at my definition of "material," you see that it describes anything that is made of, or relating to matter and energy. This is a much more inclusive definition than I gave for "physical," which is anything made of matter. For example, a gamma ray might not by "physical," but it is "material," while an apple is both. Thus am I able to classify the mind as material, because it is a property that relates to the brain, which is composed of matter (physical).

I hope this helps to clarify my understanding for you. I realize that it may be very difficult for you to understand what I mean, and our vocabularies are clearly not congruent.

I've admitted that using the term, "non-physical," isn't optimal. For me, it was a short-hand way to describe "material, but not physical" things, so it's not actually a negatively defined term, because it's laid over a positive definition. I would be interested to hear from you if "immaterial" enjoys a similar supporting positive definition, though.

I'm at somewhat of a loss, however, to understand what Chalmers' zombie refutation has to do with this discussion- it was supposed to be about how I'm in disagreement with Jim, even though I don't think I am, right? I mean, sure, supervenience might not be the perfect theory, but it seems to be similar enough to my conception of consciousness to be in agreement with. I think you might be drawing too much from the Reformed tradition, in which a dispute over the positioning of a single doctrinal jot or tittle results in the founding of a new church.

 
At 3/08/2007 11:01 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Yeah, whatever Zach. So, since God "relates" to matter then he's material. No problem here.

Sheesh, you really are a piece of work. Oh, btw, most scientists and philosophers would disagree with your definitions.

Zach, you've also claimed that the mind *is* a bunch of neurons. Those are physical, on your definition. You've also given no account of what it means for invisibke minds to "pop" out of a bunch of neurons. And, you know veery well that previously you've argued that the mind IS physical. You know it. So, know that you need to lie to beat a theist.

You're a liar and you know you've been studying this while we've been debating so you could give yourself enough wiggle room to get out of it. You have NEVER held anything like the supervenience view. You and I both know it. So, my original argument was that you, without lying and changing your former position, disagreed with Laz.

Oh, btw, to say a gamma ray and such is non-physical may be acceptable on your view, but that is NOT what Laz and Kim mean by saying the mind is not physical. They don't think the mind is like gravity, or a gama ray, AT ALL. So, you STILL disagree with them, even though you keep lying and sneaking around to save face. And, btw, most philosophers and physists would say that a gamma ray is physical. Your definition was about one hundred years ago. So funny.

 
At 3/08/2007 12:39 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

and, just so you know, gamma rays and gravity and the like are able to be studied by third-person parties. they are reducible to physics and the laws opf physics.

That is NOT what Kim nd Jim think about mental states such as qualia. They are not able to be studied by thrid parties. They are not reducible to the laws of physics, like gamma rays are.

So, they STILL do not agree with you.

Zach, why do you "stand behind" answers you think are false? Do you do commercials for atheism? Zach, even all your bobbing and weaving diddn't save you. It never pays to lie and make stuff up on the run, friend.

 
At 3/09/2007 7:59 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

Well, you know, that would be interesting. If you were to agree (not just facetiously) that the Christian god has to be material, then I think we could make some progress. But the whole problem is that you insist he's immaterial, which I just can't wrap my mind around (in a manner of speaking).

I'm sure there are plenty of scientists and philosophers who would disagree with my definitions. There are also plenty of scientists and philosophers who are theists. I fail to see why your constant citation of others disagreeing with me is relevant at all, especially since this whole discussion focuses on my own personal opinions.

I don't think that I've ever stated that the "mind is a bunch of neurons." If you can find that quote, by all means let me know, but regardless, I think I've clarified myself here. Minds just don't "pop" out of neurons. I really don't even think that they should be thought of as "things" or "entities," although the language doesn't seem to be suited to represent what I have in mind. I'm not sure if the term "qualia" fully covers it either (contrary to your claim, I haven't had time to "study up" during our conversation), but it might. At any rate, a mind is definitely some kind of property of a brain that is completely dependent on its physical function. Such a property doesn't just "pop" into existence, but it does develop over time. I think this may be yet another example of the "tyranny of the discontinuous mind" that I've run into so many times recently dealing with a lot of subjects that give theists (particularly Christians) fits.

It really would be more convincing if you would stop trying to speak for Laz or Kim, and direct me to a quote by one (or both) of them which states, "the mind is immaterial." I mean, it's a simple enough thing to do, and it's really all that's ever been necessary to prove to me without a doubt that I'm in disagreement with them. You know? Laz has my phone number- he can call me if he wants to set me straight. And feel free to pass my contact info onto Kim if you'd like. But if you're under the impression that you can just insult me into acquiescence, you're completely deluded.

 
At 3/09/2007 5:09 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3/09/2007 5:11 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach,

I have directed you to the quote. And your definition of "not physical" is not theirs. They don't *just* mean "not formed of matter. Read the quotes. Do you even understand them? Apparently not. They do not think, say, qualia is "not-physical" in the sense that you're using it, i.e., "gamma rays and gravity" are not "phsyical." So, you still disagree. I'm not speaking for them. I, unlike you, actually understand what I'm talking about. I'm not willing to disrespect Jim or Dr. Kim by acting as if they use "non-physical" and "supervenience" in a way different than *every other* philosopher of mind uses the term.

You can have the last word, Zach. It's obviously that you're outmatched here, and too benighted to see it. No more pearls before swine here.

 
At 3/10/2007 10:58 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

All you need to do is show me where Kim says, "the mind is immaterial." That's it. You seem to be pinning your argument on your quote of Kim which says, "Qualia, therefore, are the 'mental residue' that cannot be accommodated within the physical domain." And I think that I've made it clear that I have no problem with that. I've tried to communicate to you that I make a distinction between physical entities and the whole of material existence, but you've been deaf to it so far.

This whole discussion was driven because you wanted to point out that you thought that I shouldn't be agreeing with somebody else. That may be the case- perhaps after studying further, I'll find out that I really do disagree with Jim. I'm open to that possibility, but you're vastly misjudging me if you think that I'm likely to substitute your skepticism for my conclusions.

I suppose that I shouldn't be too surprised- after all, Christianity gives its adherents license to tell other people what to think, and the Presuppositionalist approach supposedly gives you special access to what other people actually think, and so what would typically be considered a gratuitous use of the ad homienem tactic is nothing more than par for the course.

But nonetheless, I appreciate the exchange, as always, and I'm happy for you to share your thoughts with us, because what the world clearly needs is more atheists and theists willing to interact. Next time you're in Big D, look me up, and hopefully you'll be ready with some more pearls.

 
At 3/10/2007 6:45 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

this isn't another response, but a clarification of my above post. Zach seemed to not understand it, so I wanted him to be able to re-do his post.

Again, Kima and Jim do not mean by "not-physical" what Zach means by it. They don't think the mind is like a gamma ray or gravity. Those things are able to be studied by third-parties, and they "accommodated within the physical domain." But, as Kim says about qualia, they "cannot be accommodated within the physical domain." And, Kim is not some Democretean who means by phsyical, "able to be touched, since it's "formed" of matter."

So, just a clarification, it is *impossible* that Zach holds their position, and, by "immaterial" I mean "something extended in space," and so the mind is "immaterial." And, furthermore, "not-physical" is not how Zach used the term, for Kim and Jim. For his to say that his use is their use, is a disresepct to both of those men.

 
At 3/11/2007 6:10 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul-

I really appreciate your going to the trouble to contradict yourself just to give me another chance to clarify my position. I think it's a clear mark of your respect for my position that you'd do so.

But I'm not sure that you haven't risked self-contradiction for nothing- I don't see that you've added anything new to the discussion. Your argument so far has been that I disagree with Jim (and therefore Kim), and therefore my compliment was ingenuine. However, I don't see how anything that I've said necessarily contradicts anything Jim's said, so I really don't see how it is possible that I could be falsely complimenting something that I think I agree with. Now, you've gone to a great deal of trouble to insist that I just don't know Jim well enough to disagree with him- that may be true, but I'd need to hear it from him, and not from someone else.

I suppose that I should return the favor and offer you the last word here, but I really don't want to. Not because I think that there's more to say on this subject, or that you have anything substantial to offer. And not because I'm worried that such a display of false magnanimity will look like a way for me to back out of a losing confrontation with some semblance of self respect. But instead, because I really don't want these conversations to end. I like having a dialogue, and I dislike thinking that the exchange of ideas between theists and nontheists ends at some arbitrary point, whether it be at the bottom of a comments thread, or at the conclusion of a debate, or even at the last chapter of a book. If I have to say something, I guess I'll say, "talk to you soon."

 
At 3/11/2007 9:41 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach,

No contradiction. Nothing in my response forces me to not be able to change my mind, especially when future circumstances nullify my previous claims, which were contingent.

So, your response is that what Kim and Jim *mean* by non-physical is simply that, say, qualia is not *formed* by matter, and so qualia are "not-physical" in the same way that gamma rays and gravity are not. But, as any reading of Kim will tell you, he's not using "not-physical" anywhere close to the way you're using it.

You, out of sheer ignorance, have "stood behind" answers wich your previous self (and you "save-face" self) disagree with. And so I rightly ask why you "stand behind" answers you think false. Do you do commercials for atheism, Zach?

If your only comeback is that Kim (and Jim) use physical in the same way you do, then as *anyone* conversant with the issues (and with Kim who, as you admit, you have not read) will note, you're completely out to lunch if you think your maneuver has saved you. I *guarantee* you, Zach, that your definitions and ideas about the mind are not anywhere near what Kim at al has in mind. They *do not,* by any stretch of the imagination, simply mean that the mind is not "physical" because it's not like a hard, tangible thing, but more like a gamma ray, or gravity, in nature. You can not find *one* learned person who would agree with you. Pretty bold claim, huh. So if I'm wrong, you should be able to find *just one* learned person who agrees with your saying your view of the mind is compatible with Kim (or Jim's). So, why not take me up on the challenge?

Again, you've had to disrespect Kim's (and Jim's) intelligence just to save face. Is saving face so important to you Zach/ Do you really hate me and theism so much that this is the depths you'll go to just to not be shown wrong and ignorant? Man, I'm sure glad I don't have that kind of rigid and dogmatic and oppressive worldview.

 

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