Conversations and relationships that are meaningful take time and thought and attention. I have been studying the ideas of Kant and Schopenhauer very closely, along with taking myself through a detailed overview of the history of western philosophy, all so I can respect you by really understanding the ideas that you hold dear. Hopefully, after I have educated myself to these ideas, we can continue this enjoyable exchange, learning from one another.
So far, I can say that many of the worldview questions I have posed to you have not been answered by Kant's transcendental idealism. He shifts the philosophical problems to different areas, but the problems seem to remain, kind of like Crick's directed panspermia does with the hard questions on origins.
Thank you for taking the time to teach me about falsifiability. If I am understanding correctly, is falsifiability the concept that in order for something to be considered scientific, then it must be capable of being proven insufficient? (Insufficient could be wrong, inaccurate, incomplete or some other form of not fully and accurately describing the object or event in question.) Or said conversely, if any claim about reality also claims to be infallible, then by definition, it cannot be scientific? I think this is what you mean by a "closed system" verses an "open system." In order to be an "open system", those involved in study must admit that their current theory cannot be complete and perfectly accurate. Whereas, those stuck (to use your perspective) in a "closed system" are unwilling to admit that their operating theory(ies) is(are) not complete and perfectly accurate. Am I accurately understanding this important part of your worldview?
"There is no grounded authority in philosophy" certainly seems like a universally authoritative declaration. To claim that an ultimate authority does not exist anywhere in the universe- past, present or future- certainly seems like an ultimately authoritative statement to me. What am I missing? Teach me how my inaccurate (according to you) worldview is causing me to perceive such statements as inherently self-contradictory. Or, is your philosophy not submitted to the laws of logic, and where you say something that appears self-contradictory, that's ok because your worldview is somehow meta-logical. Am I somehow tied down by the laws of logic, according to your worldview? Or, is my logic flawed in this observation? Or, something else?
And, to put it your way, is your statement, "Science never has the complete truth" subject to the requirements of falsifiability? It seems to me that such universal truth claims are not possibly subject to the falsifiability requirement, according to your definition. (if I am understanding correctly) If I am correct, then how is "Science never has the complete truth" different from "You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul, mind and strength." Neither claims seem open to falsifiability. I do not say this to be snide or to take a jab or to try and insult. I am truly not seeing how all this adds up inside of your worldview, and I am truly trying to see how all the parts of your thinking and acting fit together in a coherent and non-contradictory fashion.
No denomination is perfect, but Presbyterianism is the closest. ;-)
Hmm, Zaxby's chicken for lunch, I think. My son really likes it.
For what it's worth, I like spicy food to go with my cold beer.
Greetings again, DD. Busy weekend, just finished a long day at work.
In my understanding, metaphysic is that place of authority used to ground and justify a particular theory of knowledge which then is used to justify a particular set of ethics or morals. Philosophers of different stripes have different metaphysics, but they all end up embracing something as their seat of authority. Without a grounded authority, then knowledge claims become speculative, and without firm knowledge, moral and ethical claims are just more speculation. Thanks for asking. This is my understanding of how authority, knowledge and ethics fit together in the worldview philosophy of any human being thinking according to the laws of logic.
I have read the full Wikipedia entry about Popper. Would you agree that this is an accurate article about him and his philosophy? If so, I appreciate how he rejected legal positivism and saw behind the mask of Marxism, but his critical rationalism and "falsifiability" emphasis are not entirely clear in that article. Could you tell me what you mean when you speak of science being "falsifiable"? Could you teach me its meaning and give me some examples, because I am not sure I really understand what is meant by that. I would appreciate your thoughts.
DD, (Continued from above)
And, if my observation is correct about your requirement that religion must be proven according to the laws of logic, then I must ask you to please prove to me, without using logic, that logic is a standard that we must all submit ourselves to. (just like you would require me to prove God to you without appealing to His existence) Don't you see? Within the confines of your stated worldview, you cannot even justify the existence of the laws of logic, and even if you could justify the existence of such immaterial items in a purely materialistic and random universe, you certainly then could not prove that me or anyone else is required to submit to your standard. What if I told you that your belief in logic is nothing but man-made mumbo jumbo delusions? Now, don't get me wrong. I do believe in the existence of logic, and I believe that the existence of logic is easy to explain within a universe created by a logical supreme being. But, if I may say so, you are borrowing from the Biblical worldview when you require me to submit my religious views to logic. According to your worldview, best I can make out, there is no way to be confident about any assertion, most especially assertions that involve immaterial items such as the laws of logic. So, unless you can provide justification for the existence and authority of logic's laws within your stated worldview, should I or anyone else feel compelled to provide you with any proof? To me, your kind of appeal-to-logic argument is like a man in a free-fall, extolling the glory of gravity, but denying the existence of any solid matter, and calling those on solid ground silly for believing in what they feel beneath their feet.
DD, thanks again for the dialogue. Good stuff indeed. I have learned from Hawking and Dawkins and other certain atheists and still find myself unable to understand their level of confidence in their current assertions, just like I have stated about when I read your thoughts and beliefs. And, I understand your lack of belief in the God of the Bible and know that I do not have the capacity to persuade you (or anyone else for that matter) to believe the Bible. Thus, persuasion is not my goal in our dialogue. I just hope that after our interaction, you could get a good glimpse into the intellectual workings of a man committed to the Bible and be able to say, "I knew a Christian once who loved logic and reason also." I wholeheartedly agree with you that much, much of fundamentalist American "churchianity" has refused to address important theological challenges with anything other than, "just have faith." They forget that the Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to love him with all of our heart, soul, MIND and strength. This unbalanced churchianity provides ample fodder for easy ridicule.
Now, let me see if I understand your worldview properly. You do not believe that a metaphysic is necessary in order to justify a particular approach to knowledge and morality? Or, put another way, you do not believe that an ultimate authority is needed in order to obtain knowledge or to know right from wrong? Is that correct?
But, also, if I read you right, you treat logic as the standard we all must submit ourselves to in order to be mature and act properly. Is this a correct view of your position toward logic?
If my observations are correct, please help me understand because I see you saying on the one hand that no metaphysic is necessary in order to justify a particular approach to knowledge and ethics, but on the other hand you seem to be saying that all must submit to the laws of logic if they are to be mature, wise and good.
This, to me, looks like a discrepancy in your inner world.
Now, to my question from your latest post, as your time allows:
I still do not understand enough about your foundational metaphysic to then understand how you can make confident statements about reality. For example, how can you be confident that being a tyrant is bad? Why is it wrong to be petty? And, for goodness sake, no one would ever want to be a PETTY TYRANT!! How can your worldview substantiate the belief in right and wrong? If, as you say, everything came into being spontaneously and instantaneously in a Big Bang, and then randomly rearranged itself into living creatures that then evolved via natural selection into you and me, how can we justify the claim that immaterial items even exist? Laws of science, laws of morality, thoughts, affections, love, hate, envy, joy, language- all of these items are IMMATERIAL. How could a purely physical and material pile of matter randomly rearrange itself into anything at all, much less a living, breathing human being that can ponder and experience the idea of "immaterial"??
It seems to me that according to your foundational metaphysic, you must admit that perhaps the next stage of theoretical improvement could prove that being a petty tyrant is the height of moral excellence. So, shouldn't that cause you to pause a bit, at least according to your worldview, before you express things in such black and white moralistic language?
Philosophy makes me hungry. Hmm, I think leftover pizza and a cold Newcastle will be just right for lunch in the Carolinas today.
Respectfully, as always,
Thank you again for your lengthy response, and for sharing your views. As we enter into more of this conversation, I indeed hope that we can respect one another and focus upon understanding, rather than persuasion. If I ever communicate anything that appears to disrespect you, please let me know. We do have significant differences in how we understand the world, and my goal in this exchange is for us to each have the full opportunity to express our own metaphysic, epistemology and ethic, and also fully explore the other's. (I call this combination of metaphysic, epistemology and ethic a "worldview")
Do you agree with this approach to understanding another person? Or do you have another framework in mind? I think this approach works well, and it has helped me to change as others have pointed out internal inconsistencies in my own worldview. While many others find the Biblical worldview exceedingly unsavory and personally objectionable, my hope is that they will be able to submit my and their worldview to the laws of logic. Thus far in my personal searchings (again, just one limited human being talking here...), I have found that only the Biblical worldview explains the universe and passes the test for logical internal consistency, and I will be happy to lay myself and my beliefs bare before you to analyze, with one point of emphasis for you to ponder. That is, will you be willing to consider that I feel sad and possibly personally disrespected when you speak ill of the God that I love? While you may find the God of the Bible laughable and deserving ridicule, do you find the quest for friendship worth setting aside words of disrespect toward God? I will continue to interact with you even if you insist on mocking God, but just know that you will also be making a choice to sadden and mock me as well. Perhaps this doesn't matter to you, but I just wanted you to know this before we move on.
Hunter_Bluff and degage,
I am indeed pleased to know that others have enjoyed the dialogue with DD (DaytonDarwin, is that ok with you, it is easier to type...) as have I. I enjoy understanding others and being understood by others. We are all human, none of us with all of the answers, each of us with our own areas of strength and weakness. I am thankful to God to learn from all men (all are made in His image) whether they acknowledge Him or not. I have learned from DD, and I hope to continue to learn from him, as time allows. All men bear the image of God, from which we can all learn, if we will look and listen with respect and contemplative humility. So sad that our disagreements so often divide us and cause us to miss out on learning from one another.
I hope to continue my dialogue with DD as time allows.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I am familiar with Kant and Hume, and will look into Popper and Schopenhauer. I really love learning about this stuff. It seems to me that if more folks took the time to really understand one another, and learn together, then our conversations could be a lot more productive and irenic.
I know you probably don't have any more time to spare, but I can't help but voice my continued confusion. Maybe I'm just slow (I am from Tennessee), but I can't reconcile how your foundational standard ("you use the best theory you have now, until a better theory comes along, as it inevitably will") gives you the metaphysical confidence to make conclusive epistemological statements such as "complete knowledge is not possible" and "Jehovah...is not real" and "religious texts are correctly read today as metaphors for the mystery of existence" and "the belief in an inerrant Bible doesn't work" and "the fundamentalist dogma is stagnant as is all revealed religion." It seems to me that your metaphysic should not allow for confidence in stating your epistemological and ethical positions. It seems to me that your metaphysical standard should require you to preface all of your opinions with something like, "I am really not sure about this, but according to my current operating theory, which certainly will change someday, I believe...." Not at all meant as a jab or insult, just pointing out what appears to be some tension between your metaphysic and your epistemology/ethic. Such internal inconsistencies (if my observation is correct) will significantly reduce the persuasion power of your arguments.
If we were at a nice pub, I would say the next round is on me....
Thank you for sharing about Karl Popper. Do you recommend a particular introductory primer on his materials?
Perhaps you have a moment for a question regarding your most recent post? When you describe yourself as an "atheist", are you claiming there is no god, or are you saying you have yet to see evidence of a supreme being? I just wonder if perhaps your position is more accurately described as "agnostic" rather than "atheist"? The agnostic is humble enough to admit they do not have the personal capacity to disprove the existence of a limitless being.
For the purpose of good and open exchange, I will share with you that the materialistic interpretation of reality, usually promoted by atheists and agnostics, is not intellectually satisfying to me. First, I can't understand how a purely physical, material universe could lead to the existence of clearly immaterial items such as emotions and thoughts and perceptions and laws of logic and language. Also, how can everything originate from nothing? Then, how can all this newly existing, disordered matter become self-ordering? How can ordered-matter become complex spontaneously? How can complex matter gain life and reproductive capacity spontaneously? How can simple single-celled non-nucleated life become extremely complex, nucleated cells with multiple interacting intracellular organelles that perfectly order the inner world of the cell and its interactions with other cells? How can these (almost) infinitely complex cells then develop into multicellular organisms of so many types? How could these complex species then come together in a synergistic way to form ecosystems that are self-sustaining? I find that it takes much less faith to believe in an intelligent creator than to believe this all just happened by accident, by chance. Even our best scientific observations confirm the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, at least in the period of recorded history, yes?