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III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God" 
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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
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Do we not directly perceive and experience the passing of time? Is this perception and experience real or illusory? You say it is real.If so, time must actually pass or the perception is illusory.


The way I see it is that we pass through time. As Carrier analogizes, it's like walking down a road. This doesn't mean the road behind us or ahead of us doesn't exist, or that the act of walking is an illusion. So, passing through time is like walking down a road. Neither experience is illusory. The road, in both cases, exists independently of our perception of it.

If anything, this makes the dimension of time even more real than we perceive it to be. It has dimension beyond our perception.

Does this help?


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Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:04 am
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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
I don't know if it is helpful Interbane, though of course it's meant to be.
I need to examine these theories more closely before I can say.
A British prime minister from years ago described negotiating with an Irish prime minister of the time as being "like trying to pick up mercury with a fork!" I feel this way about Carrier and his 'explanations'.
You know, he makes a big deal about directly perceived reality then implicitly totally undercuts this and devises some sort of analogy as an out,which someone smarter than me would probably shred in seconds.
All I can say is the proposition remains logically incoherent to me, and I suspect the explanation is faulty.
Adolf Hitler 'exists' both alive and dead on the fixed eternal time model and theoretically he could walk through time backwards from dead to alive!



Last edited by Flann 5 on Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:56 am
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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Flann wrote:
You know, he makes a big deal about directly perceived reality then implicitly totally undercuts this and devises some sort of analogy as an out,which someone smarter than me would probably shred in seconds.


The thrust of this is that from directly perceived reality, we build our worldview upward and outward. It includes everything from viewing distant stars through a telescope to performing mathematical equations that give us a fuller understanding of spacetime.

As far as spacetime is concerned, it doesn't make much sense that we'd have a dimension in which one of the directions doesn't yet exist until us puny humans experience it. That's like saying that nothing east of me exists until I travel east, thereby creating the world with my experience.

The version of time Carrier explains isn't merely his own. It's a popular conception held by many highly intelligent people. You say someone smarter than you would shred it apart in seconds. I don't think that has happened. From my point of view, it makes too much sense not to hold a kernel of truth. Not to say the model he expresses is definitely true, but if you find yourself rejecting it within only a week of learning about it, be wary that the issue isn't your own understanding.


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Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:49 pm
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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Ok Interbane.
I was a bit petulant there I admit.
I'll get back to Carrier's explanation.I was looking at the time theories and had forgotten what he said on the subject.It doesn't add up to me, but I'll look at what he says and see how he squares the circle.I'll probably comment here after I've done that.



Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:59 pm
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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Interbane wrote:
as one naturalistic explanation, the idea of a multiverse is the best bet so far. Why do you think it's not the best bet Robert?

Observation of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, the signature of the Big Bang, indicates uniformitarian physical law within the observable universe. There is no real evidence of any other universe impinging on ours.

The multiverse theory suggests the fine tuning of cosmological numbers in our universe may be random, and that therefore there are whole seemingly infinite realms consisting of nothing but hydrogen and space, because the different fine tuning prevents the fusion of metals.

I prefer the hypothesis that fine tuning is a necessary product of the nature of matter/energy, so that where ever energy exists, it has the capacity to fuse into heavy metals as we see in our universe.
Interbane wrote:
Quote:
… the idea that the laws of physics are not necessary products of the nature of reality.

He is saying the laws of physics are a product of nature, I think you misunderstood him. Unless you took him to mean something other than that the laws of physics were naturalistic.
By ‘necessary’ I meant ‘universal’. Apologies for the ambiguity. Carrier is saying there may be areas of reality where our observed laws of physics may not hold. I find that completely implausible on uniformitarian grounds. So he accepts a uniformitarian model for our tiny flea bubble, while everything outside it in the vast ocean of the multiverse may obey quite different laws of physics. I prefer to assume, until some better case is made, that the nature of mass and energy intrinsically produces the fine tuned constants. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe

I think a better hypothesis is that a Grand Unified Theory would show that the physical constants of particle physics are necessary universal functions of the nature of matter and energy.
Interbane wrote:
What is your explanation for the laws of physics? Or more precisely, the value of the constants. Why should they be the value they are, and not some other value? Why these values precisely, that allow for stars to form, which create heavy elements, allowing life to form?
In the absence of a GUT, bringing together relativity and quantum mechanics, cosmology is unable to have any basis to judge between the multiverse hypothesis of varying laws and the universe hypothesis of invariant laws. Scientists and philosophers are left with intuition about which of these options look more elegant. My hunch fwiw is that invariance is an elegant idea.
Interbane wrote:

Quote:
a more constructive approach would be to ask how the idea of God evolved as a psychological fantasy, how it remains culturally adaptive, and how humanity can evolve to a more enlightened spirituality.

That wouldn't be more constructive. People's eyes would gloss over as they hear "support for god", and they'd go on believing what they already believe. It's exceedingly rare to change a person's worldview Robert. This is a defense of metaphysical naturalism, not a defense of cosmological Christianity. All of your comments seem motivated by this disagreement and nothing more.
Perhaps such eye-glazing at the raising of ideas that do not reinforce atheist prejudice is evidence of bigotry? Carrier does in fact come to a realization that cosmological Christianity provides a scientific explanation for the origin of the Christ Myth in his latest book On The Historicity of Jesus. The status of religious concepts within a natural philosophy should be all about where the evidence takes us.

Again we see the psychological memetic driver in place, in the great words of your American poet, a man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest. Carrier and simple atheists imagine the possibility of a world without religion. To me that is a fool’s vision, disregarding the deep wired physiological need for religion as the basis of human belonging to community.

The etymology of ‘religion’ as ‘rebinding’ indicates this necessary social and intellectual function of faith, that we need a story that connects us to our context, binding us to where we belong as a basis for identity, meaning, purpose and direction in life.
Interbane wrote:
What he says regarding philosophy serving as a religion has struck more true to me than most other parts of the book. For me, philosophy is my religion. I've built my worldview with an understanding of what I need to be psychologically healthy, moral, and productive, using philosophy. Perhaps this wouldn't work for mass culture. You could be right. I think the best alternative would be a form of secular buddhism.


My view, following Plato, is that an intellectual elite should construct popular religious myths that are conducive to the orderly improvement of mass society. That means that philosophy should be the religion of the elite, but it also opens questions about the nature of philosophy, especially its links to politics and psychology.

If we understand that it is simply impractical for most people to be philosophers, we see it will be impossible for many people to engage in the sophisticated distinctions between literal and allegorical belief, and will rely on simplified myths.

I actually think that Christianity was constructed with just this Platonic Gnostic intent, but the popular myth became so emotionally attractive that it completely overwhelmed its origins. So we have a possible precedent of a relation between a Gnostic elite and an ignorant mass. In her books such as The Gnostic Gospels, The Gnostic Paul and The Gnostic Exegesis of John, Professor Elaine Pagels of Princeton University identifies three social classes – the Gnostic spiritual elite known as the pneumatics, the religious believers known as the psychics, and the ignorant materialistic masses known as the hylics.

An informative commentary at http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/wor ... xt-imo.htm explains this division into three categories.

The challenge this material poses for philosophy is how to steer popular myth in a constructive way. In Christianity we have a ready-made resource for this problem, with its latent Gnostic Platonism waiting to be rekindled. Christianity is able to engage at hylic, psychic and pneumatic levels, corresponding to ritual, belief and knowledge.

But in arrogant atheists like Carrier we see a strong psychological blockage against dialogue about the epistemic value of Christian allegory, with Carrier advancing the anti-evolutionary argument that instead we can just start again with a rational scientific philosophy that ignores the precedent value of religious heritage.


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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Quote:
I prefer the hypothesis that fine tuning is a necessary product of the nature of matter/energy, so that where ever energy exists, it has the capacity to fuse into heavy metals as we see in our universe.


The strong anthropic principle then. This principle is far more controversial amongst cosmologists than the weak one. If fine tuning is a necessary product of matter and energy, how do you explain that the laws that govern matter and energy are themselves apparently fine tuned? One cannot be the product of the other and also it's cause. That's circular reasoning.

In thinking of a way for this to work(intellectual humility?), it's possible that some as yet undiscovered elementary forces could be in play which necessarily result in laws within specific parameters. Something akin to string theory, where the forces produced are an inevitable consequence of the process of matter and energy unfolding from a singularity.

There is no more evidence for this than there is for the idea of a multiverse. What's more, we still run into the issue of why the laws that are essentially emergent properties of more basic laws are still apparently fine tuned. Why must the more basic laws lead to fine-tuned laws, and not other laws? I don't know if this avoids the issue at all. I'm open to the idea, but it comes across as tautological, and even teleological.

Quote:
But in arrogant atheists like Carrier we see a strong psychological blockage against dialogue about the epistemic value of Christian allegory, with Carrier advancing the anti-evolutionary argument that instead we can just start again with a rational scientific philosophy that ignores the precedent value of religious heritage.


I don't think Carrier is wrong. Humor the idea that a new secular religion could be created that is founded on a truthful naturalistic worldview, incorporating necessary components of sanctification and ritual, satisfying the deep wired psychological need for religion. This may truly be the only way forward.

I say this because, as you admit, there are portions of the bible that are emotionally(memetically) attractive. If those portions overwhelmed the platonic gnostic intent, it is because they are stickier. It is due to these false appendages that Christianity has spread and still remains popular. It's too late in the game for an amputation, because the sticky bible is so widespread that it will dominate other varieties until it undergoes a mutation so profound that no reverse mutation is possible. Any profound mutation that creates enough distance to avoid the re-attachment of stickier false memes would essentially be an entirely new religion, not merely another denomination. The latent gnostic platonism will not be rekindled as long as a stronger flame is already burning.

This perspective is more true to an evolutionary understanding, if we mean the evolutionary algorithm. Christianity is like the crocodile, perfectly adapted to it's niche and resisting any mutational changes that stray too far from the core(bible). To compete, you need an entirely new species. The environment is ripe for this; we now have the ability to develop a new species of psychologically satiating and naturalistic worldview.

With that said, I agree that distilled metaphysical naturalism is not enough for the majority. But again, what about some variant of secular buddhism? Buddhists are one of the most psychologically healthy groups on the planet, and the sticky practices and rituals are already compatible with a naturalistic worldview. Buddhists already reject the notion of a creator deity. The idea of karma is historically understood as supernatural in a way(I think), but it's only one step removed from an altruistic algorithm.


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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Interbane wrote:
Quote:
I prefer the hypothesis that fine tuning is a necessary product of the nature of matter/energy, so that where ever energy exists, it has the capacity to fuse into heavy metals as we see in our universe.


The strong anthropic principle then.
No, not at all. The SAP entails that the purpose of the universe is to give rise to intelligent life, whereas all I am saying is that it seems more plausible to me that seemingly universal constants are in fact universal. The strong anthropic principle is far too close to intelligent design for my taste. But the weak anthropic principle, that laws of physics must be compatible with our existence, is true by tautology.

It is possible to see humanity as a culmination of evolution, where the universe is able to reflect itself in symbolic form, without asserting that achievement of this culmination is in any way necessary.
Interbane wrote:
This principle is far more controversial amongst cosmologists than the weak one. If fine tuning is a necessary product of matter and energy, how do you explain that the laws that govern matter and energy are themselves apparently fine tuned? One cannot be the product of the other and also it's cause. That's circular reasoning.
No, my statement was akin to saying that gravitational attraction appears to be a necessary product of the existence of mass. That is not circular.
Interbane wrote:
In thinking of a way for this to work(intellectual humility?), it's possible that some as yet undiscovered elementary forces could be in play which necessarily result in laws within specific parameters. Something akin to string theory, where the forces produced are an inevitable consequence of the process of matter and energy unfolding from a singularity.
Yes, that is what I was suggesting.
Interbane wrote:
There is no more evidence for this than there is for the idea of a multiverse. What's more, we still run into the issue of why the laws that are essentially emergent properties of more basic laws are still apparently fine tuned. Why must the more basic laws lead to fine-tuned laws, and not other laws? I don't know if this avoids the issue at all. I'm open to the idea, but it comes across as tautological, and even teleological.
The ‘more evidence’ is the existence of consistency in our observable universe. While we can’t deduce that everything is consistent, that is the basic principle of induction. So questions like gravitational lensing and dark matter and dark energy and accelerating expansion are approached on the basis of the universal consistency of physical law. These are immense cosmological questions, and the idea of other universes where they don’t apply has no evidentiary basis.

Your question of why the laws of physics are finely tuned appears to be one of those things that Carrier calls a brute fact. As I mentioned earlier, I think understanding physics does help us towards a scientific understanding of purpose, simply because any entity that stops having the physical requirements of durable stability will disintegrate.

Carrier uses Smolin’s speculation that the purpose of the universe is to create black holes to open up a sort of multiverse teleology, saying “it is almost as if the very purpose of the universe was to create black holes” (Kindle 19%). I think this illustrates that talk of cosmic purpose is possible within a materialist framework, even though the ‘almost’ removes the intentional aspect of supernatural teleology.
Interbane wrote:
Humor the idea that a new secular religion could be created that is founded on a truthful naturalistic worldview, incorporating necessary components of sanctification and ritual, satisfying the deep wired psychological need for religion. This may truly be the only way forward.
That is very like what I propose, although the term ‘secular’ is complex. The usual meaning of secular is “not connected with religious or spiritual matters - non-religious, lay, non-church, temporal, worldly, earthly, profane.” So many would see ‘secular religion’ as an oxymoron, since there is a routine assumption that religion involves theories of the sacred that stand in conflict with secular scientific knowledge.

To show the ambiguity of the secular, the Biblical phrase ‘in saecula saeculorum’, used 19 times in the New Testament, is variously translated ‘for ever and ever’, ‘for an age of ages’, ‘world without end.’ It illustrates that the terms ‘world’ and ‘age’ provide the framework context for our secular paradigm of understanding, and that a shift to a new age involves a change to our theory of the nature of time, in the construction of a new world.

Interbane wrote:

I say this because, as you admit, there are portions of the bible that are emotionally(memetically) attractive. If those portions overwhelmed the platonic gnostic intent, it is because they are stickier. It is due to these false appendages that Christianity has spread and still remains popular. It's too late in the game for an amputation, because the sticky bible is so widespread that it will dominate other varieties until it undergoes a mutation so profound that no reverse mutation is possible. Any profound mutation that creates enough distance to avoid the re-attachment of stickier false memes would essentially be an entirely new religion, not merely another denomination. The latent gnostic platonism will not be rekindled as long as a stronger flame is already burning.
The primary ‘sticky’ idea that the church has used to organise its expansion is that God appeared on earth in the person of Jesus Christ. As Carrier argues perhaps more eloquently and persuasively than anyone else, the absence of secular historical evidence for this idea indicates that it has the status of a Big Lie, a claim so impudent in its audacity that no one could imagine anyone having the effrontery to invent it. The historical evidence suggests that in fact Jesus Christ was fictional, like Adam, Eve, Abraham, Noah, Moses and other mythical heroes before him.

A reverse mutation of this false meme is entirely possible. Religion is today widely viewed with disdain as corrupt and unethical, precisely because of its fast and loose attitude towards facts. A common trope within reform movements is that the origins were pure, but were corrupted by later political schemers. Applied to Christianity, a plausible reading is that the Gnostic Platonic origins understood that the ignorant corruption of the world would use their idea of a heroic saviour as a basis for political stability, but that eventually people would look at the coherent origins of the myth and return to a scientific ethical core.
Interbane wrote:

This perspective is more true to an evolutionary understanding, if we mean the evolutionary algorithm. Christianity is like the crocodile, perfectly adapted to it's niche and resisting any mutational changes that stray too far from the core(bible). To compete, you need an entirely new species. The environment is ripe for this; we now have the ability to develop a new species of psychologically satiating and naturalistic worldview.
Christianity is badly adapted to its niche. There are vast churches around the world that have become little more than tourist attractions, where once they were the thriving hub of spiritual communities. The collapse of faith indicates that the swamp has drained away from around this crocodile. Faith is quietly viewed with mockery and contempt, with only the courageous few like Carrier saying what everyone sensible thinks.

The reality is that Churchianity, the fictional myth of the historical Jesus, is a mutation from the original messianic idea of the perfect presence of eternity in time. Churchianity is all about the political stability of Christendom, and only incidentally about a logical understanding. But within this illusion, the Christ story is something of a canary in the coal mine, an alert that human spirit had become alienated from nature. The Christian doctrine of the fall from grace is entirely evolutionary, reflecting the slow natural cycle of life and death, corruption and redemption.
Interbane wrote:

With that said, I agree that distilled metaphysical naturalism is not enough for the majority. But again, what about some variant of secular buddhism? Buddhists are one of the most psychologically healthy groups on the planet, and the sticky practices and rituals are already compatible with a naturalistic worldview. Buddhists already reject the notion of a creator deity. The idea of karma is historically understood as supernatural in a way(I think), but it's only one step removed from an altruistic algorithm.

Carrier raises this idea of Eastern spirituality with his discussion of Taoism as a natural spiritual path of pure logic and truth. This tradition is very like Buddhism, including with the idea of karma as a doctrine of moral causality. I like Buddhism as a path to personal psychological health, but where I think Christianity is essential is in its global vision of history, its sense that Western society in particular has launched humanity on a path towards extinction, and that a comprehensive paradigm shift is needed to shift course. By contrast, Buddhism preaches detachment as the path to happiness, and so provides only an individualist rather than a political vision of redemption.


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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Quote; Richard Carrier,
"But all the past and future exists static and unmoving Everything that was, is, and will be, is already there imprinted in this single shape."
He says of the multiverse. "For the whole thing just exists eternal and changeless."

And of our experience he says; " Existence is like a comic strip,which has a beginning middle and end.It really does manifest causal change from one step to the next as we read the strips of the cell from left to right. Yet in a sense this also is an illusion: for though we read it one cell at a time in that order,the whole comic strip already exists-how it ends is a foregone conclusion."
And; "But in another sense our experience of change is a useful fiction constructed by our brains,much like our experience of colour." All italics are mine.
Carrier seems to me to be trying to accommodate two conflicting ideas here in relation to time. He wants to say our experience of passing time is real and fiction at one and the same time,ironically. Eternalists; as far as I can tell, reject as illusion the reality of the passing of time,and our experienced perception of it as illusion. Carrier wants to include it but it's useful fiction.
For the eternalist, Napoleon Bonaparte, Groucho Marx and Sigmund Freud exist since past,present and future exists static and unmoving. They are both dead and alive somewhere on that eternal time plain.

Speaking of Richard Dawkins embrace of the Multiverse and dismissal of God, David Berlinski comments;" What a man rejects as distasteful, must always be measured against what he is eagerly willing to swallow."
Richard Carrier philosophically prefers the multiverse to God, and notions of time that categorize universal perception of the passing of time as useful fiction produced by the brain, and the existence of the long dead and every aspect of their lives as eternally real. Excepting of course Jesus Christ who didn't and doesn't exist.



Last edited by Flann 5 on Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
. "For the whole thing just exists eternal and changeless."

How does Carrier's "compatibilism" work itself into an eternal and CHANGELESS multiverse??

anyone, please?

I am a laymen at this but I think the two are at total odds with each other.



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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Wiki says:
"Compatibilists are sometimes called "soft determinists" pejoratively (William James's term). James accused them of creating a "quagmire of evasion" by stealing the name of freedom to mask their underlying determinism.[6] Immanuel Kant called it a "wretched subterfuge" and "word jugglery"

Given what I have asked above, Id say it is a subterfuge for determinism.



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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
ant wrote:
. "For the whole thing just exists eternal and changeless." How does Carrier's "compatibilism" work itself into an eternal and CHANGELESS multiverse?? anyone, please? I am a laymen at this but I think the two are at total odds with each other.

Debates over the nature of time and change, the relation between being and becoming, go back to before Socrates. Parmenides of Elea held that the unity of truth means the past and future exist, while Heraclitus of Ephesus emphasised the apparently conflicting argument that change alone is unchanging.

These perspectives can be reconciled if we see they are talking about different things. Heraclitus emphasises the priority of the present moment, while Parmenides says the reality of the moment is seen in its place within the broad sweep of time.

The apparent conflict persisted into modern times with Jean Paul Sartre expressing the existential Heraclitean idea that existence precedes essence, meaning that we cannot escape the moral responsibility of total freedom by claiming our decision and choice was caused by prior events. Sartre’s existentialism prioritises the existence of the present moment as the sole reality, as a ground for secular rational atheism, what the French understand in the context of Laïcité. By contrast, essentialist religious views accept Plato’s teaching that essence precedes existence, that there are eternal qualities which form the essential identity of a thing, including the human soul.

Heraclitus further illustrated the ambiguity in this question of the relation between essence and existence with his famous saying ‘ethos anthropoi daimon’, translated as ‘character is fate’, or ‘a man’s ethos is his guardian angel’. Our ethos or moral climate surrounds and conditions our decisions. But we cannot say that our ethos determines our choices: rather the reality is that our context inclines us toward decisions without mechanically compelling us.

How I understand compatibilism is that we can recognise logically with Parmenides and Laplace that the future may well be as set as the past, but we have no way to know if this is in fact the case. We do not know the future, and the appearance of the present indicates that people have complete freedom of choice, except where they have real material constraints. So freedom of the will is compatible with acceptance of physical determinism, because determinism is unknowable and the appearance of freedom should be interpreted as the reality of freedom, as a way to reject the errors of fatalism.

Morality requires that people be held responsible for their choices. So even where a murderer can point to a difficult childhood, it is morally wrong to use the essentialist argument that their action was caused by their context, since a person always has freedom of choice and conscience except where they are physically forced and constrained. The moral argument should also take note of the consequentialist observation that punishment is a deterrent, and letting people get away with crimes on the basis of essentialist defences fails to reinforce the social incentive to be good.


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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
I'll reply to your post when I have time later Robert.

Flann, the experience of time is very real. Nothing changes. To say we feel it passing is like saying we see the landscape passing as we ride in a car. The definition of words still applies, and there is no fiction. His point is that what lays ahead in time exists just as what lays ahead of a car while driving.

Ant, you're spot on. Compatibilist free will is entirely deterministic. At first I balked at the terminology, wondering why a determinist would say we have free will. But Carrier's analogy to a thermostat brought the point home to me, with the understanding that the words we use to describe things are based on the definitions we collectively use.

Our "will" is the intention we have. We have intention, even in a deterministic universe. But this doesn't mean our intention is supernatural. We have a will, and it is free as long as we aren't unreasonably coerced. This holds to the definitions of the words used.

It is not theft of terminology, because the words still retain the same meaning. I'm not sure why it's called Compatibilist. Perhaps because all the words definitions still hold true, therefore fit compatibly with a determinist worldview.

Some of the alternatives to using the words "free will" have issues. You could call it "determined will", but that implies we've already made up our minds. The same would be true of "unfree will". It doesn't mesh with common meaning. Perhaps you could call it "causally determined will", referencing the proper connotation of the word "determined" so there's no confusion.

But then, the term is already in the archives. I will continue to call it compatibilist free will, with the disclaimer that it's deterministic. In context, it's compared to libertarian free will, which is the classic uncaused agent version.

Robert Tulip wrote:
How I understand compatibilism is that we can recognise logically with Parmenides and Laplace that the future may well be as set as the past, but we have no way to know if this is in fact the case. We do not know the future, and the appearance of the present indicates that people have complete freedom of choice, except where they have real material constraints. So freedom of the will is compatible with acceptance of physical determinism, because determinism is unknowable and the appearance of freedom should be interpreted as the reality of freedom, as a way to reject the errors of fatalism.

Morality requires that people be held responsible for their choices. So even where a murderer can point to a difficult childhood, it is morally wrong to use the essentialist argument that their action was caused by their context, since a person always has freedom of choice and conscience except where they are physically forced and constrained. The moral argument should also take note of the consequentialist observation that punishment is a deterrent, and letting people get away with crimes on the basis of essentialist defences fails to reinforce the social incentive to be good.


Well said.


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Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:24 pm
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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Quote; Richard Carrier;" But as we've already shown,something must exist without any explanation at all, so it may as well be the multiverse."
"So it (the multiverse) does the same work (as a god) with less baggage. For example the multiverse is eternal in the sense that it exists at every point in time that exists,has existed or ever will exist.And for that reason did not come "from" anywhere. There was never a time when it did not exist,so it did not come from "nothing" because there never has been "nothing." Brackets mine.
Carrier himself seems unsure whether his multiverse is eternal or had a beginning. He postulates an evolving mutiverse from a single point of fundamental simple chaos.How an evolving multiverse could not have a beginning is surely a problem. By opting for the eternalist version of time, he saves himself the considerable headache of having to explain how anything could have come from nothing. You just theorise nothing away.
He also seems to suggest that presentists and eternalists have an imaginary conflict which he can easily 'harmonise'. His version also has less baggage, he says, as it does it's creative work.
However as I've indicated before, adopting eternalism involves believing that for instance, the Marx brothers are eternally enacting all their movies, not to mention their lives.
How could such a thing be proven,experienced or even believed?
In the final analysis Carrier is simply putting his faith in theories such as multiverse theory and eternalism.
It strikes me as a pleasant if absurd fantasy, that the Marx brothers are eternally enacting such as the following scene from; Horse Feathers; Prof Wagstaff's Office. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sk1jrkta2Q A scene changeless and eternal? Well, it has longevity on celluloid, but succumbs to entropy in the end. Bad link. Type in; horse feathers,wagstaff's office; onyoutube if you feel like it.



Last edited by Flann 5 on Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:15 am, edited 6 times in total.



Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:33 am
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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Flann 5 wrote:
he saves himself the considerable headache of having to explain how anything could have come from nothing. You just theorise it away.


But there is no theory that can explain a first cause. I'm not sure why people think postulating a God avoids this problem. If God just always existed, then why can't something else always exist? Because God is all-powerful? That doesn't answer the question, and how do you know that anyway? You either read it in the Bible or you just made it up. Why did he cause the Big Bang? God just felt like it. What happened before the Big Bang? Well, God was just hanging out, or something. Why is the universe the way it is? God just felt like doing it that way. Now where's my honorary degree in theology?



Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:08 am
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Post Re: III. What There Is - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Hi Dexter, Carrier thinks his explanation is better. I'm saying it's not.It's absurd and entirely faith based.



Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:13 am
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