Cases against Teleological Arguments

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by ThomasHobbes » June 15th, 2018, 10:37 am

Felix wrote:
June 14th, 2018, 10:50 pm
ThomasHobbes: The Swami can say as many crazy things as he can think of. But no matter how clever they might sound does not make them right. In fact this sort of nonsense is beyond empirical verification, or even ontological security, being basically meaningless.
The swami's "crazy idea" was in fact empirically verified, to the degree that such is possible, under controlled laboratory conditions at the Menninger Foundation: he stopped his heart, altered his brain waves at will, produced a temperature differential of several degrees at points only a few centimeters apart on his hand, etc. The study was published in a scientific journal and book, but I don't recall where, I used to have a copy of it.
None of this is the slightest bit relevant to the crazy thing he said.
We alter our own brain waves all the time. All you need is to think towards different emotions.
And yeah, oh um, you don't recall where it says he stopped his heart and still lived. No sh1t! LOl

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Alias » June 15th, 2018, 6:37 pm

Felix wrote:
June 14th, 2018, 11:16 pm
I think that's an unreasonable demand, Alias, like saying scientists should be able to verify their conclusions without any equipment.
Only the ones who categorically stated: "I can see Mars without a telescope, but Mars cannot see me with a telescope" or something equally nonsensical.

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Alias » June 15th, 2018, 6:47 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
June 15th, 2018, 10:24 am
If you consult a dictionary you shall find that function does imply purpose.
I often wonder what people mean by "imply" as an attribute of dictionary meaning.
Do you then claim that none of organs of living organisms have any functions at all? Is there a scientific way to discover how any organ or structure or cell or hormone fits into the overall _________ of an organism alive, without resorting such freighted words as "function"? Or don't any of them do anything?

Just last night a famous TV scientist described the strawberry as offering us red sweet fruit so that it could spread its seeds.

Oh well, no more talking then.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Thinking critical
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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Thinking critical » June 16th, 2018, 12:54 am

Felix wrote:
June 14th, 2018, 5:49 am
Thinking critical: As for Universes spontaneously appearing from nothing, first we would need to define nothing, Lawrence Krauss has a very interesting and coherent explanation of "nothing" and secondly......what do you mean by spontaneously? If by spontaneous you're referring to an uncaused cause, by what method have you deduced that an uncaused cause is NOT allowed in nature?
Well, science studies physical phenomena, anything outside of that arena, e.g., uncaused causes, is totally beyond it's ken. I mean, I can guarantee you that you will never see a Nobel prize awarded for the discovery of a causeless cause.

And isn't that one definition of an atheist: someone who asserts that a causeless cause cannot exist in Nature?
The causality principle is fundamental to classical physics, however at a quantum level the causality principle starts to break down. Simply put, order is no longer deterministic, but more so probable, in that there are hidden variables which cause outcomes to be less specific. The other factor that needs to be taken into account is that causality is intrinsic to the arrow of time due to entropy, so if we are speaking of an event which occurred at the beginning of time there is no reason nor is there any inconsistency in the fundamental laws of physics to propose that uncaused causes can not be a part of nature if certain conditions are met.
Sean Caroll a highly respected cosmologist has written in great detail about this fact (ref:a Arrow of time). As for definitions of atheism, they only one I'm aware of is the absence of belief in God(s). The Uncaused cause tends to be more problematic for theists hence the cosmological argument where they feel it necessary to slot in an agent, then call it god in order to have a complete picture of the Universe which they feel happy with.
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Felix
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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Felix » June 16th, 2018, 2:15 am

ThomasHobbes: We alter our own brain waves all the time. All you need is to think towards different emotions.
One cannot produce the various brain waves at will, e.g., alpha, theta, and delta, by simply shifting one's emotional state.
And yeah, oh um, you don't recall where it says he stopped his heart and still lived. No sh1t! LOl
I guess you haven't heard, a person can survive a heart attack. Obviously Swami Rama didn't stop his heart for an extended period of time, but for 15-20 seconds. Actually he did not stop his heart but sped it up to the point where atrial fibrillation occurred and it could no longer beat and pump blood.

The study with the swami was published in a medical journal and also in the book, Beyond Biofeedback (I think that's the correct title) by Elmer Green.
Thinking critical: The other factor that needs to be taken into account is that causality is intrinsic to the arrow of time due to entropy, so if we are speaking of an event which occurred at the beginning of time there is no reason nor is there any inconsistency in the fundamental laws of physics to propose that uncaused causes can not be a part of nature if certain conditions are met.
That is illogical. The laws of physics "fundamental" to our universe came into existence when it did, how could we possibly ascertain what preceded them or caused them to exist?
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Belindi » June 16th, 2018, 4:34 am

Thomas Hobbes, this is worth a complaint to the producer of that programme. Producers have to play to an audience that mainly wants to be entertained. However this isn't an excuse for untruth from one of the programme's gurus. Popular language can be correct and true.

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Thinking critical » June 16th, 2018, 6:36 am

Felix wrote:
June 16th, 2018, 2:15 am

That is illogical. The laws of physics "fundamental" to our universe came into existence when it did, how could we possibly ascertain what preceded them or caused them to exist?
Illogical? Since when was the Universe required to operate in a way which aligns human logic?
Further to the point, it is not a matter of logic which has lead science to conclude that the Universe behaved differently in the period of origins than it does now. This was established and varified by observing the CMB, cosmologists, by measuring the rate of radioactive decay of photons which were emitted from certain elements in the early Universe have shown that the fundamental forces of nature, gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak force had different values than what they have today, meaning NO, the laws of physics as we know them today did not come into existence when the Universe did.
This is besides the point anyway, quantum mechanics essentially under writes classical physics and it is the quantum principals where causality breaks down. Although not enough is known about the origin of the Universe at this level to make any empirical claims one thing is for certain, we can do experiments which clearly demonstrate that at a quantum level causes don't necessarily determine effects.
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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Felix » June 16th, 2018, 1:40 pm

ThomasHobbes: Just last night a famous TV scientist described the strawberry as offering us red sweet fruit so that it could spread its seeds.
Hey, he has to be willing to say things like that to be a famous TV scientist. Plants that developed succulent fruit were more successful at propagating than those that did not because animals ate the fruit and spread their seeds. The fruit-bearing competition began and the next thing you know you've got Carmen Miranda, or at least her hat. Is there no teleology in that line of progression?
Thinking critical: Illogical? Since when was the Universe required to operate in a way which aligns human logic?
I was referring to your conclusion, not to the Universe.
This was established and verified by observing the CMB, cosmologists, by measuring the rate of radioactive decay of photons which were emitted from certain elements in the early Universe have shown that the fundamental forces of nature, gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak force had different values than what they have today, meaning NO, the laws of physics as we know them today did not come into existence when the Universe did.
You misunderstood me. The so-called "laws of physics" are a description of the way in which the physical forces you mentioned operate. Clearly they did not operate in that way before the universe was formed, in other words, the particular laws of physics with which we are familiar did not exist, and came into existence with the birth of our Universe. What preceded them or caused them to be structured as they are we cannot say, whether it be due to a causeless cause, a Divine cause, or even a rebel without a cause.
This is besides the point anyway, quantum mechanics essentially under writes classical physics and it is the quantum principals where causality breaks down.
Yes, but I don't hear physicists attributing the breakdown in causality to a causeless cause.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by ThomasHobbes » June 16th, 2018, 3:49 pm

Alias wrote:
June 15th, 2018, 6:47 pm
ThomasHobbes wrote:
June 15th, 2018, 10:24 am
If you consult a dictionary you shall find that function does imply purpose.
I often wonder what people mean by "imply" as an attribute of dictionary meaning.
Do you then claim that none of organs of living organisms have any functions at all? Is there a scientific way to discover how any organ or structure or cell or hormone fits into the overall _________ of an organism alive, without resorting such freighted words as "function"? Or don't any of them do anything?

Just last night a famous TV scientist described the strawberry as offering us red sweet fruit so that it could spread its seeds.

Oh well, no more talking then.
If you want to address what I say then do so. But this is just rubbish.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by ThomasHobbes » June 16th, 2018, 3:51 pm

Belindi wrote:
June 16th, 2018, 4:34 am
Thomas Hobbes, this is worth a complaint to the producer of that programme. Producers have to play to an audience that mainly wants to be entertained. However this isn't an excuse for untruth from one of the programme's gurus. Popular language can be correct and true.
If this was grounds for complaint, I'd have no time for anything else. I'd be writing letters all day long.

This sort of teleology is common.
The TV presenter was a man I have great respect for - Michael Mosely.

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Alias » June 16th, 2018, 8:43 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
June 16th, 2018, 3:49 pm

If you want to address what I say then do so. But this is just rubbish.
No, thanks. The subject wasn't worth half the effort I've already already wasted.
Have it your way.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Felix
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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Felix » June 16th, 2018, 10:10 pm

Belindi: Universal mind needs the physical world of time and relativity to actualise itself.
So does our universe. Unmanifest need not mean nonexistent.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Thinking critical » June 17th, 2018, 3:12 am

Felix wrote:
June 16th, 2018, 1:40 pm

Thinking critical: Illogical? Since when was the Universe required to operate in a way which aligns human logic?
I was referring to your conclusion, not to the Universe.
I know you were, my point was there is no evidence or law which requires a preceeding cause in order for Universes to emerge. Just because at a macro level of reality humans rely on causality in order to make sense of the world it does not mean that causality is an innate property of the Universe, this is evident in quantum mechanics.
You misunderstood me. The so-called "laws of physics" are a description of the way in which the physical forces you mentioned operate. Clearly they did not operate in that way before the universe was formed, in other words, the particular laws of physics with which we are familiar did not exist, and came into existence with the birth of our Universe. What preceded them or caused them to be structured as they are we cannot say, whether it be due to a causeless cause, a Divine cause, or even a rebel without a cause.
Or perhaps its just BEcause......end of story.
Yes, but I don't hear physicists attributing the breakdown in causality to a causeless cause.
Of course you don't, because causality litterally describes a process - cause/effect, action/reaction. The frontier of cosmology and astro-physics is pointing theories further and further away from any form of causal process all together. If the Universe can be traced back to a first cause, an event which was a necessary consequence in order for the universe to exist, why is it so many people feel compelled to go back one step further? I'll tell you why, it's becuase humans percieve the Universe in accordance with the arrow of time, they are fixated to the point we might say we have a cognitive predisposition, to understand the world based on algorithms which rely on a conceptual understanding of causality.
Seeking causes for events is an unescapable consequence of being human, the illogical fallacy of this mind set however is somewhat self evident in that every path we take eventually leads to infinite regress.......for some reason this does not seem to concern a lot of people.
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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by ThomasHobbes » June 17th, 2018, 6:46 am

From a sci-fi story I read a few days ago.

“All evolutionary history, plainly indicates the effort of nature to maintain a balance, to try new methods and processes with the aim of achieving greater efficiency and harmony of creatures to their environment, and to eliminate or modify creatures which have decreased in efficiency."

It's this sort of mind-bendingly ridiculous and mythical BS that seems widely believed despite all the evidence to the contrary.

It is almost as if humans have evolved an evolutionary tendency to see purpose where none can exist. There may be advantages to this, and though often misdirected to ideas like God has managed to serve some sort of function despite the obvious errors.

If you think the comment is reasonable, ask yourself how nature can "AIM".
Let me know if you are still puzzled by the objection.

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Belindi » June 18th, 2018, 3:43 am

Thinking Critical wrote:
Seeking causes for events is an unescapable consequence of being human, the illogical fallacy of this mind set however is somewhat self evident in that every path we take eventually leads to infinite regress.
I deny that the regress is infinite. The regress ends where causality becomes absolute. Causality become absolute is causeless cause, or cause of itself .

Cause of itself is a name for absolute reality. Our everyday attributions of causes and effects is called common sense. Thinkers are a little closer to reality ; they rely upon science or the arts to steer closer to reality. Maybe mystics, in some sense, know absolute reality.

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