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Attheists; Why Are they Here Really?


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Posted on 4 Aug 2012 08:57:44 BDT
Palm Sunday, his 'autobiographical collage' isn't bad either. One of the better pieces is about writing S5 and the aftermath.

Milligan's war memoirs are good, but I hold Unreliable Memoirs above all comers.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Apr 2012 17:54:25 BDT
C. A. Small says:
Sombrio - so glad you appreciate the late genius of milligan. I am going to read them again!

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Apr 2012 17:48:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 Apr 2012 17:49:24 BDT
Sombrio says:
Clive,

I'm just three quarters of my way through "Adolph Hitler; My Part in His Downfall", due to your strong recommendations.

You were absolutely spot on in your estimation of Gunner Milligan. I find myself laughing outrageously on virtually every page. Mr Spike was an absolute genius of madcap humour. Thanks for the helpful push in the right direction !

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Apr 2012 17:37:07 BDT
Too little time in the day. I'm going to have to either give up sleeping or live a life of leisure (a lottery win or a rich, attractive widow would do it).

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Apr 2012 17:26:44 BDT
C. A. Small says:
Sam- read Milligans war memoirs first!!

Posted on 24 Apr 2012 17:26:02 BDT
Downloaded Slaughterhouse-Five today, so it's on the reading list. 2.56 - bargain.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Apr 2012 17:22:38 BDT
Pendragon says:
Sombrio

Actually, as I think I have mentioned, I have previously read "Sirens of Titan" - found it rather heavy going. So S Five has restored KV's rep.

I have no objection to "So it goes" as a phrase. But the constant repetition was tiresome, and it did not seem to lead to any startling twist or revelation (as I had suspected it might). Otherwise, I agree with your observation.

Weather was excellent, except Wednesday - p'd down all day.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Apr 2012 18:07:25 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 Apr 2012 18:23:22 BDT
Sombrio says:
Pendragon,

I'm really glad you enjoyed your first Vonnegut experience. Slaughterhouse Five was also the first book of his that I read,... and it made such an impact that I gradually found myself reading every book I could find by him. After spending a great deal of time with any author, after a number of years it begins to seem like you 'know' them,... almost like a 'friend'. So,Kurt and I go back a long, long way now.

It struck me as interesting that the part of Vonnegut's book that struck the strongest chord with you, (his startling idea that the notion of 'free will', exists only on Earth),...is so intimately connected to his use of a phrase that irked you most of all, (So it goes....).

If you are inspired by his ideas,... do read "Cat's Cradle". It's every bit as good. (And every bit as bizarre !)

I found your comments on the Kindle very informative. What you said has certainly made me more receptive to them. But not enough that I would buy one. Who knows,... perhaps I might end up with one as a Christmas present sometime. At least by that time I'll have been softened up by your thoughts on their utility.

I'm happy to hear that you had a welcome break away from the old familiar. Was the weather kind to you ?

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Apr 2012 16:09:58 BDT
Isobel Ayres says:
Sort of. If you remember on what page, or which chapter, or thought to bookmark something for later. I've not found a properly satisfactorily alternative to flicking through the pages (OK, you could press the page turn button a lot, but this not hugely helpful if you are near the end of a really chunky book).

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Apr 2012 16:04:34 BDT
Pendragon says:
Isobel

Agreed. But last point ("I miss being able to flick back a few chapters to find out what a character said.") - you can do this by using the 5 way controller and page turn buttons, or the bookmark function.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Apr 2012 16:01:20 BDT
Pendragon says:
Sombrio

Apologies to you and all, but earlier today I left a reply to a different post of yours, not at that time having found this one of yours. Oh well. What I said earlier was:

"OK, read Slaughterhouse Five last week. Brilliant, just brilliant.

I do, however, have one complaint. You should have mentioned that once I started reading I would not stop till I finished. So by early Sunday morning (that is 15 April) I had finished, and with no internet connection could not download any more. So with Kindle material exhausted, it was back to good ol' fashioned hard copy for the rest of the week!"

I would add that I did find KV's very frequent use of the phrase "So it goes" a little irksome. However, one of the little gems I found was this (last paragraph in Chapter 4):

' "If I hadn't spent so much time studying Earthlings" said the Tralfamadorian, "I wouldn't have any idea what was meant by 'free will'. I've visited thirty-one inhabited planets in the universe, and I have studied reports on one hundred more. Only on Earth is there any talk of free will." '

Exmoor is not quite such a wilderness as Dartmoor. It has more pubs, for a start! Antidote to city, yes, just as good.

Kindle - had I not been given one as a Christmas present, I would not yet own one. I shared your reservations. Slaughterhouse Five is the only book I have read on it to date. Quite impressed actually. You can bookmark the text (eg the passage quoted above), and word search the text (handy for quickly dealing with that "I am sure I saw a passage saying [...] somewhere earlier" and avoiding unnecessary tearing of hair). You can use Kindle one handed, and it's a lot lighter and easier to turn the pages than a physical book - just press the turn page button. A separate display page lists all your bookmarks, and you can flick back to any of them at the press of a button. That's enough about Kindle.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 17:42:00 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 Apr 2012 04:37:53 BDT
Shakepen says:
G. Heron: the ink or marks represent something else, i.e., they have symbolic meaning. In some writing systems, the marks are symbolic pictures; in others, symbolic sounds. The symbols are processed, generally, in the left hemisphere of the brain. In speech, processing can take place in the right hemisphere if the language relies on pitch and tone, e.g., Chinese, etc. You probably know all of this already. PS. hieroglyphs were interesting in that they could be either a pictograph or a sound.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 18:19:37 BDT
AJ Murray says:
Hey Rd,

Good to see you too. Your 'The beliefs of others' thread is particularly relevant in relation to some of the discussions that go on here. :)

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 13:37:12 BDT
I've missed you AJ. :)

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 13:24:05 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Apr 2012 13:27:43 BDT
AJ Murray says:
Good Afternoon Tom,

-"I think AJ that you have the exectation that I am going to educate your every utterance."

Please. I may be optimistic but i really do not expect anything significant by way of an education from you. The only lesson i can learn from your posts is how *not* to conduct myself in debate.

-"You make comments in philosophy of mind;.."

Glad you noticed.

-"like to jeer at theistic positions..."

Positions that are ridiculous deserve ridicule.

-"...and support positions you probably have barely heard about."

I doubt your omniscience on this matter.

-"You reveal ignorance and arrogance."

Ignorance would be demonstrated by a lack of explanation of an idea or argument, arrogance would be demonstrated through continual boasting that you understand it when you do not.

-"Its a common combination..."

Quite.

-"...and to spell it out for you as you missed the last one, you are indeed unduly impressed with your own notions founded on the ignorance you reveal."

I guess this sounded better in your head.

-

To move forward slightly:

"It is widely believed that the most fundamental facts about our universe are physical facts, and that all other facts are dependent on these. In a weak enough sense of "dependent" this may be almost trivially true; in a strong sense, it is controversial. There is a complex variety of dependence relations between high-level facts and low-level facts in general, and the kind of dependence relation that holds in one domain, such as biology, may not hold in another, such as that of conscious experience. The philosophical notion of supervenience provides a unifying framework within which these dependence relations can be discussed."

Ch2 pg30 'The Conscious Mind' - David J. Chalmers

In the preceeding chapter Chalmers defines consciousness in terms of phenomenal and psychological.

He then goes on to define 4 types dependence relations for supervenience. This is the relationship between Low-level facts (A) that determine the High-level facts (B) and High-level properties that supervene onto the Low-level properties.

Logical supervenience - defined anything that is conceivably possible but not bound by any formal logic
Natural supervenience - defined as anything occuring in nature - {always logical by definition}

Local supervenience - defined (B) properties that supervene on (A) properties if the (A) properties determine the (B) facts. This is not context dependent
Global supervenience - where (B) properties supervene onto (A) properties if the (A) facts determine the (B) facts

He is clear in his definitions and further defines necessity and the role of a priori and a posteriori neccessity in his arguments. He also clarifies that although he thinks that there is not a reductive explanation (at present) he recognises that consciousness supervenes naturally onto the physical.

Which is why i am scratching my head at your recent boast:

-"Supervenience makes is what more people have moved to for these reasons but it is simply a faith statement. There is not a shred of support for it."

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 09:23:47 BDT
"You cannot imagine the principles of triangularity. "
Depends on what you mean. They exist outside of the imagination but being aware of them I can also imagine them.

"You also cannot coherently argue against having free will."
I can and do coherently argue against free will. All actions are causally determined, whether probabilistically or directly, by the fundamental properties of the substances involved. There is no hole for freedom to intervene. Therefore free will is an illusion of the complexity of the processing involved.

"It is these kinds of absurdities and self-refutations that materialism surrenders itself to. These are the points of incherence. "
If those are your counter-arguments in full, then suffice it to say I will remain unconvinced.

"So it becomes the datum of experience that are unintelligible in the task of trying to ignore or deny the spiritual."
No, all the datum of experience are intelligible, again depending on precisely what you mean by that word, and nobody is trying to ignore the spiritual, I merely don't see any evidence for it.

"The answer , of 'emergent properties' is herebye seen to be utterly arbitrary. There is no link whatever established between mental or intentional acts and anything physical, and yet you claim it is an 'emergent property'."
I fully admit that the link is currently tenuous and ill understood, but there is a link. All mental actions have a physical correlate in the nervous system. Almost all physical effects on the nervous system have correlate mental effects. We don't know the precise details of this relation but it is being studied. So the appearance of it being emergent is tentative but would seem an adequate description of what we see so far.

"This is simple assertion for the nature of triangularity and triangles, universals and particular triangles are obviously not the same. "
I would agree that there is a sense of universals. [In terms of properties I am a universalist and not a tropist for instance]. But As you provided no link I'm not sure if this is a stand alone point or is meant to be related to knowledge?

"If they are properties of physical things they must , like ice or water be shown to admit of physical description.
And we see in the example of paper and ink that no 'meaing' is on or can be on the paper or any other physical system. "
And I would agree that there is no meaning in the paper and ink. However there is meaning in the observers, in the patterns of neuronal firing triggered in their brains by the visual stimuli of the paper and ink.

"So your statement here is a dogmatic faith statement that fails to bridge the mental and the physical."
It's not dogmatic, it's tentative. And it's not faith, it's the position the evidence points to so far.

"Once again, your position on free will is incoherent, in that in expressing it you negate the possibility of being free to make the judgment. "
That's not incoherent. I am free in the sense of not compelled to make the decision but it is the result of causal effects on my beliefs and reasoning.

"At the point of incoherence , the battle is over Rd "
Again, you've labelled it incoherence but it is both coherent and non-contradictory. Your argument against physical brain is anargument from ignorance. We do have a gap in our knowledge relating to the mechanism by which brain states give rise to mental states, that cannot be denied. But nothing in your argument is a positive indicator of something spiritual. You also don't bridge the gap between the spiritual and the mental showing how this extra spiritual stuff can cause the concomitant physical effects that correlate with mental states.

The battle is over Tom, but only because you came to it unarmed.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 08:48:55 BDT
G. Heron says:
Tom M

If paper and ink contain no meaning how does reading work?

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 08:11:09 BDT
Tom, I work in IT and it's completely second nature to me that a set of instructions can read data input and make decisions based on it. To me the "meaning" of that data lies in its usefulness to the instruction set. Therefore I don't see any conceptual issue with a materially based process deriving meaning, usefulness, significance etc from raw data which itself has none of these properties.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 07:39:23 BDT
C. A. Small says:
Shakepen- great link - cheers!

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 05:53:03 BDT
Tom M says:
William

You seem to be losing sight of the argument. Terms like "processes " sidetrack you as if it escapes the funamental problem.

It's like you're saying that there must be something in there that works them over and somehow makes them what they are.

But this is not the issue or problem. The problem is this. We see and know that no physical thing contains the meaning or intentionality of propositions, identities or whatever else migtht be the intellectual content or 'meaning' of the object of the mind.

No paper and ink has the meaning in its paper and ink.

Likewise , no photon emitted from said paper and ink can contain the meaning. Neither does a receptor cell receive a 'meaning', but only the humble photon. So too do the axons and dendrites only deal in chemicals.

The point is that at no point have you escaped the necessary restriction of the merely material. Not in the paper in ink, not in the dots on TV's not in the photons. Not in the cell the photon hits or the one or million next to it.

It is all still physical and there is no warrant for claiming that the limitation of matter has been overcome.

We can't just assert that somehow physical things can do what we can see physical things don't do.

Also of course, you could not have free will or any power of decision in such a scenario. This is fine, but if held, you'll have to stop these exchanges.

The thing I note about agnostics on this site, and I'm not citing you at this point, William, is that when they arrive as Maxwell did , finally, at his own incoherence on free will, he refused to follow reason where it led.

He's probably off somewhere trying to assimilate his dilemna of 'helplessness', but he has no choice.

He must either give up the possibility of his having the free will to assent to any position, or he must give up the ridiculous and very naive materialism that leads rational people to incoherence.

This is what following an argument to its conclusion means.

It's exttremely painless by the way and the beauty and poetry of sunsets become explicable as an act of love.

See what I mean yet?

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Apr 2012 05:34:57 BDT
Tom M says:
Rd

You cannot imagine the principles of triangularity.

You also cannot coherently argue against having free will.

It is these kinds of absurdities and self-refutations that materialism surrenders itself to. These are the points of incherence.

So it becomes the datum of experience that are unintelligible in the task of trying to ignore or deny the spiritual.

The answer , of 'emergent properties' is herebye seen to be utterly arbitrary. There is no link whatever established between mental or intentional acts and anything physical, and yet you claim it is an 'emergent property'. This is simple assertion for the nature of triangularity and triangles, universals and particular triangles are obviously not the same.

If they are properties of physical things they must , like ice or water be shown to admit of physical description.

And we see in the example of paper and ink that no 'meaing' is on or can be on the paper or any other physical system.

So your statement here is a dogmatic faith statement that fails to bridge the mental and the physical.

Once again, your position on free will is incoherent, in that in expressing it you negate the possibility of being free to make the judgment.

At the point of incoherence , the battle is over Rd

Posted on 16 Apr 2012 23:58:49 BDT
Shakepen says:
Google the 36 best signs at the reason rally

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2012 22:37:51 BDT
No I don't see the problem I'm afraid. Do you accept that data can have significance for a process that uses it? Or are we talking about different things?

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2012 11:23:01 BDT
"The difficulty with emergent properties is that they do not at all address the underlying issue which can be illustrated in the example of the perfect knowledge of the principles of triangularity which are in no way reducible to individual particular triangles , or the free will to consider these intentional issues. "
You bring up three points here. Knowledge of triangularity, Triangularity and Free will.

Knowledge certainly does fit the model of an emergent property.
The transcendant principles of triangles are transcendant
Free will also does not fit with emergent properties, but the illusion of it does.

So my answer to these points is Knowledge and the illusion of free will are emergent physical properties, or at least we have no reason yet to assume they are not.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2012 03:49:32 BDT
Tom M says:
Hi William

Software is just softer hardware. The point is , as is evidenced that the intentional content or meaning cannot be in the physical material. We see this. We know this. We have no argument against this.

Calling processes, processes or combinations of processes doesn't change the nature of the problem.

Do you not see the problem here William?
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  59
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Initial post:  7 Aug 2011
Latest post:  4 Aug 2012

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