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gregwilson
Reply with quote  #631 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvolutionaryPsychologist


Humans evolved a pleasurable orgasm because it aids in the purpose of reproduction. While an orgasm is pleasurable for the purpose of reproduction, humans have figured out ways to reach this pleasurable state without having to reproduce..i.e. masturbation or fellatio. 


In the same vein, humans evolved the ability to discern truth from falsehood on the basis of experience in order to help them navigate the world and surive and reproduce more efficiently. 

 

 

 

However, once we evolved the ability to learn truth, we needn't use this ability to discover ONLY truths that help us survive and replicate. We can now use this ability to discover truth based on experience to discover all kinds of truths.

 

 


Including truths about quantum mechanics and special relativity.


Get it?

 

 

 

Just because we have an ability that evolved for one purpose, doesn't mean we can't use that ability for all kinds of other purposes...


We evolved the ability to learn facts about the world because this helped us survive and reproduce.


But we can now use that ability to learn facts about the world for all kinds of things, not just facts that help us survive and reproduce.


This is special pleading. Given naturalism, human cognition is the way it is because it aids in survival--and any truth benefits beyond this are purely incidental. I'll grant, at least for argument's sake, that humans have the ability to discover truth in areas which help them survive--say simple decision making and memory processes. But there is no reason to accept that higher-order thought is anyway pertinent to reality, or higher-level reasoning is similar to basic instinctual reasoning.  In fact, they are completely different mental processes.

Matthias
Reply with quote  #632 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregwilson
This is special pleading. Given naturalism, human cognition is the way it is because it aids in survival--and any truth benefits beyond this are purely incidental. I'll grant, at least for argument's sake, that humans have the ability to discover truth in areas which help them survive--say simple decision making and memory processes. But there is no reason to accept that higher-order thought is anyway pertinent to reality, or higher-level reasoning is similar to basic instinctual reasoning.  In fact, they are completely different mental processes.

Completely different, yes, but why should higher reasoning be useless in survival and reproduction when it's so useful for any other goal? You can use reasoning to figure out which mushrooms are poisonous before going through the work of evolving specific fears of them, or make a better sling to hold your infant in, or come up with a better poem to woo that cutie in the other moety, or, like, basically anything. Humans rely so little on instinct that they have to learn from experience that their limbs are connected to their body and that the world exists in three dimensions! The disadvantage of general reasoning is that it's expensive and slow; but it's extraordinarily flexible.
gregwilson
Reply with quote  #633 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias
But we don't have specifically evolved gut instincts telling us that naturalism is true - if we did, naturalism would be a much less recent view than it is!

 

I agree.  It is a form of higher-level reasoning capacity to believe in naturalism.

 

 

Quote:
Those who've arrived at naturalism did so by the use of general reasoning mechanisms (which we have good provisional reason to consider trustworthy.)

 

Lol.  This is the very issue we are debating.  Do we have good reason to consider our reasoning mechanisms trustworthy?  It may seem that we do, and I agree that humans have the ability to reason.  But I am a Christian theist who believes a Divine being exists, and He wants us to discover truth about the world--both generally and through revelation.  Concepts like redemption, sin, grace, and morality can only be understood by beings with cognitive faculties which allow them to understand higher-order truths.

 

Naturalists, on the other hand, believe the way they received their higher-order cognitive faculties was from a process that is ignorant of and unmoved toward truth.  Thus, theoretically humans could have the ability to reason toward truth, but it is more likely (given the overwhelming number of metaphysically possible realities) that whatever reason they receive, it is severly limited and not reliable at all.

 

Note, this doesn't disprove naturalism per se but is a critique of the coherency of it.  For example, pretend a prize is being given out.  In the first scenario, Person A knows that the prize giver is his father.  Person A, knowing that his father is loving, honest, and had already promised him this prize, has a basis for trusting that he will receive this prize.

 

In the second scenario, Person B knows the prize giver is a lottery.  He is one of 1 million people registered, but still believes that the prize will be his.  He believes this because the lottery had previously selected him out of a preliminary field of 10 to be the only one from this preliminary drawing in the final drawing (which pooled preliminary winners from around the country).

 

(At this stage, I hope no one is denying that Person A is justified in his belief.  I further hope that no one is defending Person B's belief.)

 

Person A is the Christian theist, Person B is the naturalist.  In the first scenario, we are assuming the truth of Christianity, and in the second scenario we are assuming the truth of naturalism.  The father is of course God, the lottery is evolution, and the prize is cognitive faculties which can detect higher-order truth.  Just because Person B won the preliminary lottery doesn't mean he will win the second lottery, much like the cognitive capabilities which use discoverable truths to aid in survival don't relate to higher-order cognitive capabilities which make discoveries and truth claims that do not aid in survival.

 

If natural selection provided us our cognitive faculties, it could have given us different cognitive faculties had evolution turned out slightly differently (any one of the 999,999 other choices in the lottery which don't give Person B cognitive faculties which lead toward truth).

 

 

Quote:

Of course, whatever the reason we evolved expensive general reasoning mechanisms, it wasn't so that we could realize naturalism, but the nice thing about Turing Completeness is that they can be used to discover things of that sort anyway.

 

Sure, we might be able to find truth in higher-order reason, but we aren't justified in stating that we know that we can reason given the large number of alternatives and the fickleness of evolution.  Thus the only defensible position would be nihilism (but not the strong form).

gregwilson
Reply with quote  #634 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregwilson
This is special pleading. Given naturalism, human cognition is the way it is because it aids in survival--and any truth benefits beyond this are purely incidental. I'll grant, at least for argument's sake, that humans have the ability to discover truth in areas which help them survive--say simple decision making and memory processes. But there is no reason to accept that higher-order thought is anyway pertinent to reality, or higher-level reasoning is similar to basic instinctual reasoning.  In fact, they are completely different mental processes.

Completely different, yes, but why should higher reasoning be useless in survival and reproduction when it's so useful for any other goal? You can use reasoning to figure out which mushrooms are poisonous before going through the work of evolving specific fears of them, or make a better sling to hold your infant in, or come up with a better poem to woo that cutie in the other moety, or, like, basically anything. Humans rely so little on instinct that they have to learn from experience that their limbs are connected to their body and that the world exists in three dimensions! The disadvantage of general reasoning is that it's expensive and slow; but it's extraordinarily flexible.

 

It certainly appears that these things are all true.  But given naturalism, perhaps we evolved to think this way for other reasons that aid in survival.  We cannot know for sure.

Matthias
Reply with quote  #635 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregwilson
It certainly appears that these things are all true.  But given naturalism, perhaps we evolved to think this way for other reasons that aid in survival.  We cannot know for sure.

Perhaps! You're right, we can't know for sure. But so what? Again, if you're demanding that we have absolute certainty before we can trust anything then you're S.O.L., because people are in fact wrong sometimes (which we know introspectively.)

We have good a priori reasons to believe that natural selection is biased towards the truth. We have no such a priori reasons on generic theism. We may have them on forms of Christianity which take it as a premise that God wants us to have true knowledge, but any strong form of this is clearly false (by the existence of inconsistency among human beliefs) and weaker forms must contend with the same uncertainty as naturalism.
troyjs
Reply with quote  #636 
Quote:
 We have good a priori reasons to believe that natural selection is biased towards the truth.

Although I am not a naturalist, naturalism requires no justification for presupposing humans to be capable of knowledge. Every epistemology and metaphysic, must necessarily presuppose that we can know things, and that the means by which we know things is more reliable than not. Ofcourse, to justify this assumption using one's epistemology would be to beg the question -- but this is inescapable for all theories or explanations of how we know.

It is simply a matter of coherency that when we think, we presuppose that we are thinking correctly.

Even if one is not a naturalist, consider the use of our senses. If a theist (such as myself) wants to use his senses, he presupposes that his senses are reliable. What reason is there though, to believe that the theist's senses are in fact reliable? It is not necessarily true that the senses are reliable, so there is no a priori reason to think that they are reliable. However, if we try to justify the use of our senses, by using our senses, then we presuppose that our senses are reliable, which is to beg the question.

Consider something even more fundamental, such as human minds. Every attempt to prove that the human mind is reliable, is to beg the question, but if we want to know anything, then we must presuppose that we can know things, and that our minds are reliable.

To say that evolution defeats naturalism, is to say that there is no possible naturalistic account for the fact that we can know truth. The phrase, 'There is no possible naturalistic account of x', should remind one of every argument from the miraculous, or design. Every anti-naturalistic argument makes the claim that there is some phenomenon which naturalism can't account for, eg, life, resurrections, abiogenesis, the universe, etc.

The naturalist however, must always prefer to conclude that even if we don't have an explanation right now, we may have one in the future, and the observation that we can know things, is just as much reason to believe that there is a natural explanation, as there is to believe in a miracle.

We do not say that there is no natural explanation for lightening, but our ancestors may have. Our ancestoral naturalist had no more reason to believe that the lightening had a supernatural cause, than to believe that it had a natural cause. The fact that he did not know the cause speaks more about his ignorance, than what is or is not naturally possible.

2 points then:

1)
If naturalism can account for true belief by a natural explanation, this only means that naturalism is coherent. To say that this begs the question, is to be ignorant of the fact that all systems of truth, and all epistemologies presuppose their own truth, and that it is metaphysically necessary that every person presupposes that he or she can know truth, even when they attempt to justify this fact.

2)
Even if there is no naturalistic explanation now, there is no reason to believe that our ignorance of a natural explanation is an indicator of the fact that true-belief requires a supernatural explanation. A naturalist, and a good scientist, must always consider the possibility that there is a natural explanation for a phenomenon, even if it is not yet known. Even if current science contradicts, or says, that we shouldn't be able to know truth, we should restructure scientific belief in order to cohere with our ability to know truth. Every new revolution in science has consequences upon other theories. If Newtonian mechanics is wrong, shall we wait for Einstein, or shall we invoke the supernatural?



kind regards
EvolutionaryPsychologist
Reply with quote  #637 
Greg,

How on earth did humans ever build flying machines (planes), it obviously isn't necessary for their survival!

What about the atom bomb! Obviously not necessary for survival! Human's can only use their reason to discover things necessary for survival!

But yet planes, atom bombs, cars, cell phones, all exist do they not?

The human body is athletic in order to run away from predators or hunt prey, yet we use it to do gymnastics, ski, bunjee jump, ride bikes...

How is this possible??

We can't possible use or bodies for anything but survival!

Tisthammerw
Reply with quote  #638 
Recap

The argument can be found here.

SE = semantic epiphenomenalism (a belief’s syntax or neurophysiological properties is causally efficacious, but a belief's semantic content, i.e. the belief that p for some proposition p, does not cause anything).

SPE = semantic pseudo-epiphenomenalism (roughly, the idea for any given behavior B, there are innumerably many semantic contents C—even C’s wildly unrelated to the external environment—that could be associated with B).

Garbage beliefs = beliefs that have little to do with the organism's surrounding environment, as in dreams.  Under SPE, it's possible for an organism's neurophysiology to produce both garbage beliefs and advantageous behavior.


The Post


Quote:
Originally Posted by EvolutionaryPsychologist
Quote:
the problem is that SE and SPE are functionally equivalent; both of can have just about any set of beliefs (including garbage beliefs) linked with fitness-enhancing behavior.


No they can't. For two obvious reasons.

1. The nature of the way beliefs are formed is from some kind of experience. People/animals don't just start believing things willy nilly. they are formed based on experience.  Let's return to our friend the tiger. The tiger one day is walking along and steps on a thorn. OUCH! He comes to form the belief that stepping on thorns cause pain.

A tiger doesn't step on a thorn and think grass is air! Or 1+1=3!  Why would he ever make that connection?

Here you seem to be saying that SPE is false, and you appeal to how belief/behavior does occur in earth species, but this appeal doesn't show that it's impossible for the belief/behavior relationship to be otherwise.  To show that it's impossible for garbage beliefs (like "1 + 1 = 3") to be linked with fitness-enhancing behavior, you need to give some reason for thinking the ANPD scenario is physically impossible, but given that beliefs and behaviors can be brought about by electrochemical means, the ANPD scenario doesn't seem to violate any physical laws.

A better objection is to grant that SPE is true on N&E but argue that the most selectable neurophysiologies are those that have mostly true beliefs linked with advantageous behavior, and if that is your objection you should address my objections to this rebuttal (I made those objections in this post).

The second reason you gave didn't provide any grounds for thinking that it is impossible for garbage beliefs to be associated with advantageous behavior (again, think back to the ANPD scenario).


Quote:
Originally Posted by EvolutionaryPsychologist
Quote:

We can conceive the mad scientist modifying Smith’s neurophysiology using an ANPD in the following manner.  When Smith’s hand touches a painfully sharp object, the event electrochemically causes Smith to form the belief that “2 + 2 = 1,” and Smith’s neurophysiology is altered so that the electrochemical properties of the “2 + 2 = 1” belief start an electrochemical process that causes Smith’s hand to move away from the sharp object.  The mad scientist similarly transforms other belief/behavior relations such that garbage beliefs electrochemically cause the same sort of behavior Smith exhibited before his neurophysiology was modified.


No. This can't happen.

1)When someone touches a sharp object the central nervous system sends signals to the dorsal horn in the spine which moves the hand before the brain even knows about it. In other words, the hand has moved long before any beliefs in the brain have formed.

Suppose that's true.  That doesn't seem to be any reason that Smith's neurophysiology couldn't be modified to work differently.  Even if a person's neurophysiology does operate that way in real life, what you've said here doesn't provide any reason for thinking that the scenario I illustrated violates any physical laws.


Quote:
Originally Posted by EvolutionaryPsychologist
2) If someone was to form the belief 2+2=1 that belief would have to be rationally relevant to to have causal behavior.

But why?   There doesn't seem to be any physical law that prohibits the existence of some mechanical device where the electrochemical properties of that belief trigger a chain reaction to cause someone's hand to move.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvolutionaryPsychologist
The only way you could make this work is if you had 2+2=1 which causes x, which causes y, which causes z, which then causes the hand to move.

But of course, by then the hand is bleeding profusely and their is no survival advantage. 

Nature simply doesn't work like that.

Even if true, it's irrelevant to my point, which was that it's possible to have wildly different beliefs being associated with a given behavior, i.e. SPE is true.  Again, you could argue that the most selectable neurophysiologies are those that are aimed at true beliefs, but then you'd have to respond to my objections.  Note that if you don't like the sharp object scenario, we can replace it with something else.  For example, if a person touches a sharp object, that person forms the belief "This object knows that 1 + 1 = 3" and Smith's modified neurophysiology is such that if the believes an object knows that 1 + 1 = 3 then he won't touch such objects.  There appears to be no physical law barring this from happening, hence SPE is true.

All things considered you don't seem to have done much in the way of addressing the premises of my actual argument.  One of the reasons I participate in forums like these is to see if there is anything wrong with the justification for my beliefs.  Disagreeing with me without addressing the justification kind of defeats the purpose of forums like these.  In the future, I recommend asking "What position am I attacking?" and "How does this rebuttal show that the position is false?"
Matthias
Reply with quote  #639 
Although this isn't relevant to the probability thesis, N implies ~SE. On N semantic content is reducible to a physical state of affairs, so it couldn't be the case that neural structure underdetermines semantic content. I would also deny that N logically implies SE v PSE, but since PSE (at least if I understand it as weakly as intended) being actually true seems incredibly obvious to me I'd have to concede that my estimate of p(RA) would have to decline significantly on ~PSE, so again this doesn't undercut your argument (on the contrary, it seems like it might generalize it.)

It also seems, however, that what let's call aggregate semantic realism (ASR) is true: that no two total sets of beliefs (or neural substrates of beliefs) that motivate behavior in just the same way in all circumstances differ semantically. For example, suppose someone has true beliefs, and is then zapped with the ANPD so she believes that:
  • black is white, white is black, red is green, green is red, left is right, right is left
  • the English words for black, white, red, green, left, and right are "white," "black," "green," "red," "right," and "left," respectively
  • distances are (consistently) twice as great as they actually are
It doesn't appear to me that the beliefs here have changed at all - we've only moved words around. Certainly it would be a delusion to think that certain things were twice as long as they actually were, that the English word for right is "left," and so on, but all of these together cancel out. (What would it mean to say all distances are twice what you thought they were?) So in a sense the furthest you can walk into the woods is halfway, as they say.

We can have particular beliefs that are false. (As a matter of fact, I'm deductively certain I have at least one, though I obviously can't identify them.) But these false beliefs always potentially lead to mistakes. Use the ANPD to make me believe that the glass of water will grant me superpowers after death and I may drink it, as you hoped, but I may then act recklessly with my life, get impatient and commit suicide, attempt to give the water to people more deserving, or any number of other things. You can fix these with stop-gap measures, but then things will compound unless you go whole hog and give me a set of beliefs structurally isomorphic to the truth - or at least structurally isomorphic to something enough like the truth to successfully navigate whatever environment you're trying to get me to navigate. So any mad scientist trying to zap me into doing something useful should at least be biased toward the truth. (Other mad scientists, of course, who don't view me as a vehicle for accomplishing particular aims in the world, but take some inherent interest in me, might be perfectly amused to watch me fumble around halfway in the woods.)

A really advanced ANPD might not give me a particular belief but a mechanism for forming beliefs. A mad scientist hoping that this saves her a lot of effort would have to make it a good one - the more general its scope, the better it would have to be at keeping me within a set of beliefs close enough to those isomorphic to the truth, because errors will quickly compound. With "manual" shots the mad scientist can afford to give false beliefs that will guide well enough in the situations the scientist cares about.

So stepping back and evaluationg p(RA|E&N) my prior best guess would be that my most general reasoning principles should be very probably valid (but may very well contain discoverable pitfalls, especially at the only somewhat general level) and that inasmuch as I have baseline "intuitions" I'd expect them to be a much better guide to things like social situations and arithmetic than to things like metaphysics or quantum mechanics. (As it actually happens I would guess that rather than being specific adaptations, almost all our strongest intuitions are imprinted early on through induction - my reasoning here is that you'd think "the world has three spatial dimensions" and "your body is distinct from the rest of the universe" would be the first instrumental beliefs evolution would hardcode, but apparently babies have to learn even this through trial and error. This makes me very skeptical of most evolutionary psychology, which seems premised on the idea that any common human trait must be a hardcoded adaptation. Regardless, it's not like our regular training with the world would have given us halfway decent intuitions about metaphysics or quantum mechanics either.)
Tisthammerw
Reply with quote  #640 
Quote:
Originally Posted by troyjs
The fatal flaw of the EAAN is that it is a naturalistic argument, Ofcourse, Plantinga intended to show that naturalism is self-defeating, however the strength of the naturalistic position is that it is self-regulating and organic.

What about my version of the EAAN?  Can you find a fatal flaw in that?  If so, which premise of the argument is mistaken and why?
troyjs
Reply with quote  #641 
Tisthammerw,

Thank you for your reply.


I am happy to see another Christian put a lot of thought into an argument, and I look forward to conversing with you.

Let us assume that your conclusion is correct, viz., that the Reliability of our intellect is low or inscrutible, given Naturalism and Evolution. That is, according to Naturalism and Evolution, Naturalism is probably false.

This is a Naturalistic argument, designed to show an internal incoherence between naturalism and intellectual Reliability. We can put the argument in the form:

If Naturalism (N) is true, then U. [Where U is the Unreliability of our intellect]

If the previous statement is true, then one should not believe the conclusion of a Naturalistic argument, ie:

The conclusion of a Naturalistic argument is probably false.

The problem with this though, is the EAAN is a naturalistic argument. If it were not a naturalistic argument, it would be begging the question in favour of non-naturalism.

We have the following syllogism then:

(P1)The conclusion of a Naturalistic argument is probably false.
(P2)The EAAN is a Naturalistic argument.
(C)Therefore, the EAAN is probably false.

Put in another way:

 

According to the EAAN, the EAAN is probably false.



This does not mean that the EAAN is defeated. It just means that if one is to reject Naturalism, one should not do it on the basis of a Naturalistic argument, ie., the EAAN.

One could say though, that according to logic, Naturalism is self-referentially incoherent. According to logic then, Naturalism should be rejected. I am making a distinction between (A) and (B):
(A) According to Naturalism, Naturalism is probably false.
(B) According to Logic, Naturalism is probably false.

We may think of Euclid's argument against the finitude of prime numbers.
Euclid demonstrated that assuming the finitude if prime numbers, we obtain an absurd answer. Therefore, he reached the conclusion that there were an infinite number of primes.

Whereas the EAAN is a Naturalistic argument which is contingent upon the utility of Naturalism, Euclid's argument is not contingent upon what he is disproving.


It may be retorted that the EAAN is not contingent upon Naturalism.
That is:
EAAN can be true, where N is false.

If this is the case, then the Naturalist is not committed to the premises of the EAAN, and can therefore reject those premises and retain Naturalism.

If the set of all Naturalistic propositions do not intersect with those of the premises of the EAAN, then there is no reason why the Naturalist would even think of the EAAN as a threat. Suppose though that Naturalism seemed to be self-incoherent:

The Naturalist in science, often holds theories in tension, eg., the wave-particle duality of light. Rather than rejecting this dual-theory of light, the Naturalist uses it according to it's utility in science. The scientist often finds phenomenon which contradict previous scientific theory, but rather than invoking a miraculous supernatural cause, the scientist proposes that there may be  need to revise previous theory in order to account for the phenomenon. If the stars formed the sentence, 'I am God and I exist', the scientist could rightly say that the occurence of such a phenomenon is evidence that it can occur naturally, just as much as it is evidence of the supernatural. Scientists learn what is possible to occur naturally, by observation. If a scientist observes phenomenon x, then it is to be supposed that phenomenon x is a naturally possible event. When I hold uot a ball and let it go, it falls to the ground. I do not invoke a supernatural cause, but I infer that such a phenomenon of a ball moving by itself towards the Earth, is naturally possible.

If it is shown that according to science, previous scientific theory is false, then this is reason to believe not that science itself is false, but that one should revise scientific theory in order to account for the observed phenomenon.

If it is shown that according to Naturalism, Naturalism is false, then one should revise Naturalism in order to account for this. To say that one should rather reject Naturalism rather than revise it, is to beg the question in favour of non-Naturalism.


Let us consider then, the proposition that Naturalism is logically incoherent, rather than incoherent as it currently stands in relation to itself:

The proposition, 'If Naturalism and Evolution are true, our intellects are Reliable', is the question we are proposing to be incoherent. It is not obviously incoherent, and I would venture to say that it is not knowable to be coherent by an analysis of the meanings of the terms. Rather, the facticity of the statement seems to be something only knowable a posteriori to experience. If it is knowable only a posteriori to experience, then it would be true only by virtue of fact, rather than virtue of logic alone.

In this case, the EAAN fails.


kind regards
Tisthammerw
Reply with quote  #642 
Recap

The argument can be found here.

N = Naturalism (denying the existence of the supernatural)

E = Evolution

R = Our cognitive faculties are reliable.


The Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by troyjs
I am happy to see another Christian put a lot of thought into an argument, and I look forward to conversing with you.

Let us assume that your conclusion is correct, viz., that the Reliability of our intellect is low or inscrutible, given Naturalism and Evolution. That is, according to Naturalism and Evolution, Naturalism is probably false.

But those aren’t the same claims at all.  It’s quite possible for Pr(R|N&E) to be low while N&E are true.  The naturalist could accept the conclusion and embrace skepticism, for example.  EAAN is less an argument against the truth of naturalism and more an argument against the rationality of naturalism.  The proponent of EAAN is saying that the naturalist who believes evolution isn't being rational because N&E is self-defeating.  That's a very different claim from showing N&E to be false (it is possible for a belief to be held irrationally and yet the belief is true; e.g. a person who believes the earth is round as a result of randomly throwing a dart on a dartboard to randomly select his belief on the shape of the earth).


Quote:
Originally Posted by troyjs
This is a Naturalistic argument, designed to show an internal incoherence between naturalism and intellectual Reliability. We can put the argument in the form:

If Naturalism (N) is true, then U. [Where U is the Unreliability of our intellect]

By and large, your last post does not seem to attack my actual argument.  You don't seem to have clearly targeted any premise that any of my deductive arguments actually contain.  The "If Naturalism (N) is true, then U. [Where U is the Unreliability of our intellect]" claim for example is nowhere present in any premise of my argument, nor is it entailed by any set of premises in my arguments.  The closest I get to that is arguing that Pr(R|N&E) is low, and even then that was to justify the "Pr(R|N&E) is low or inscrutable" premise.


Quote:
Originally Posted by troyjs
The problem with this though, is the EAAN is a naturalistic argument. If it were not a naturalistic argument, it would be begging the question in favour of non-naturalism.

We have the following syllogism then:

(P1)The conclusion of a Naturalistic argument is probably false.
(P2)The EAAN is a Naturalistic argument.
(C)Therefore, the EAAN is probably false.

Arguments aren't "true" or "false" so much as sound/unsound.  Perhaps you think my deductive arguments are unsound; OK, then which premise do you disagree with?  Because my deductive arguments are valid, there needs to be a false premise if any of them are unsound.

And what do you mean by "Naturalistic argument"?  Unfortunately you left that term undefined.  Perhaps a "Naturalistic argument" is one that presupposes naturalism, but EAAN doesn't say one way or the other whether naturalism is true.  Even the conclusion doesn't say whether naturalism is true, just that N&E defeat R and that N&E in this way becomes self-defeating.  The premises of my arguments (once justified) are premises that a naturalist and a non-naturalist could accept (though I imagine many naturalists would be reluctant to accept skepticism).

I think you might need to take another look at my actual argument.  If you believe my deductive arguments are unsound, which premises are false and why?  A good rule of thumb when trying to present a convincing rebuttal is that when your opponent presents a deductively valid argument, attack a premise!
troyjs
Reply with quote  #643 
Tisthammerw,

I apologise for my late reply.

My critique was that because the argument is a 'scientific' argument, ie., it is going to be considered provisionary by the naturalist.

Hume and Flew after him, expressed this when considering the design argument. Upon observing a phenomenon which is naturally impossible according to contemporary science, the observation is reason to revise scientific doctrine, in order to account for the phenomenon.

If the stars moved and formed the sentence, "God exists", in the night sky, the naturalist could still maintain naturalism even though such a phenomenon would be considered impossible as a natural event -- according to contemporary science.

The naturalist can grant that your argument is sound, and still maintain naturalism, with the expectation that one day, it will be accounted for.

The EAAN is as strong an argument for supernaturalism, as was the design argument was for the Greek peripatetic, or the 18th Brit.


kind regards
afunugsamongus
Reply with quote  #644 
Finally I've got a break from classes!

Probability Thesis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tisthammerw
The argument recall was this:
  1. If holding the syntax of beliefs constant while varying the semantics of belief would not change behavior, then the semantics of the belief are not causally relevant to behavior, even if the syntax of the beliefs are.
  2. Holding the syntax of beliefs constant while varying the semantics would not change behavior.
  3. Therefore, the semantics of the belief are not causally relevant to behavior even if the syntax of the beliefs are (follows from 1 and 2).


Why should a naturalist believe (2)?

Quote:
I argued that on naturalism if SE wasn’t true, SPE (semantic pseudo-epiphenomenalism) is true, and that Pr(R|N&E&SPE) is low.


SPE is true but harmless: it is about the number, but not the likelihood, of various ways content could be associated with behavior. Why should a naturalist believe that Pr(R|N&E&SPE) is low?

Tu Quoque

Quote:
I don’t find it particularly convincing because these two scenarios aren’t even remotely similar.


Then it should be easy for you to find a relevant disanalogy!

Quote:
maybe your objection is that the brain with reliably true beliefs can’t cost more energy than the one that causes mostly false beliefs.  Again, that doesn’t seem like it would be necessarily true.  The supernaturalist could believe that there is some possible world where N&E&SE is true and the reliable-belief brain costs more energy than the mostly-false-belief brain.


1. If SE then no semantic property affects behavior.
2. If a property has an energy cost then it affects behavior.
3. Reliability is a semantic property.

4. (1&3) If SE then reliability doesn't affect behavior.
5. (2) If a property doesn't affect behavior then it has no energy cost.
6. (4&5) If SE then reliability has no energy cost.

If you accept (1)-(3) then you can't consistently believe in the possible world you describe. However I was wrong to include SPE in this objection; I now believe that SPE is true but harmless.

Quote:
But even if we ignore all that, there’s still the belief-behavior disconnect problem that is still unresolved; it doesn’t seem like we could know a priori that a brain with reliably true beliefs would be more selectable (whether for energy reasons or otherwise) than one with garbage beliefs.


We know a posteriori that cognitive reliability is adaptive. What exactly is the 'belief-behavior disconnect problem'?

Defeater Thesis

I'd say some things about P(Y|X) and surgeons but I feel that they distract us from a more important point:

Naturalistic evolution doesn't threaten R at all. Even if the probability thesis is true, N&E needn't reduce our odds of reliability: we may (and we do) have low/inscrutable P(R|N&E) = P(R) where P(R) is our odds of reliability prior to learning N&E. There's just not enough information to test our initial presumption towards R until we consider why we might have evolved faculties for cognition. And cognition helps us survive primarily because it helps us understand our environment. No matter how many deviant cases you wheel out, behaviors are usually more likely to succeed when guided by true beliefs about (among other things) terrain, critters, and fellow humans. Knowledge is power, and denying the essence of this maxim (short of Cartesian skepticism) is utterly implausible.

You might insist that our presumption towards R buoys up P(R), in which case P(R|N&E) floats along with it and the probability thesis is false. N&E adds no weight, so to speak, because it doesn't affect P(R).
gregwilson
Reply with quote  #645 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvolutionaryPsychologist
Greg,

How on earth did humans ever build flying machines (planes), it obviously isn't necessary for their survival!

What about the atom bomb! Obviously not necessary for survival! Human's can only use their reason to discover things necessary for survival!

But yet planes, atom bombs, cars, cell phones, all exist do they not?

The human body is athletic in order to run away from predators or hunt prey, yet we use it to do gymnastics, ski, bunjee jump, ride bikes...

How is this possible??

We can't possible use or bodies for anything but survival!



You only defended the idea that our cognitive faculties are reliable.  But this isn't the question.  Arguments for the reliability of our cognitive faculties are an argument against naturalism if the EAAN is successful.  If the EAAN is unsuccessful, the argument is irrelevant.

Furthermore I never said nor asserted that cognitive faculties could be used only for survival--but that the naturalistic explanation (of our mental processes) states that creatures received their cognitive faculties due to the fitness-enhancing benefits that came along with them, and any other aspect of mental ability (like being able to read off pi to the 100th digit) would be purely incidental.  This is hardly controversial.

But now we're back to square one.  We have to ignore the overwhelming evidence that our cognitive faculties are reliable (or else we'd be begging the question) and ask disinterestedly, if naturalism is true do our thoughts, perceptions, memories, and reason produce true beliefs.  Giving the overwhelmingly large number of ways evolution could have produced beliefs that aid in survival but do not reveal actual truth, one has to place the probability of cognitive reliability, assuming naturalism and evolution, P(R | N&E), as low.
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